Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Morning in Spadoville

You may wonder why the religious icon as a header today. Read on, it might be interesting. It's transition time here at Spadoville. Many things going on, all designed to improve the lives of those that live here. Taking care of the details has been keeping me busy. That equates to non participation lately in Shadow Shot Sunday, Haiku My Heart Friday, Ruby Tuesday, Only the Good Friday or any of the usual storytelling that goes on around here. Now, another Meme will be taking place starting December 1st.
This newest one only will last twelve days. It’s called A Virgin a Day and is created and sponsored by my friend Rebecca from the blog recuerda mi corazon, the same one that does the Friday Haiku.
I’m not sure what my attraction is to the Saints, particularly the Virgin Mary, but I’m drawn to the art. I especially like Our Lady of Guadaloupe and have a few paintings and statues. Some paintings of others adorn small spaces around here as well. No big “collection” or anything like that, but this and that strewn around my living area. There is a Shrine to Our Lady of Guadelupe<> not far from my place. Their gift shop has Virgin Marys in all shapes and sizes as well as statues, flags, paintings, prints and hammered tin.

I’ll try to post some Saint stuff during that time period. But I can’t post every day as I’ll be out of town from December 2nd through at least the 7th. I’ll be on the road again, this time headed to Washington DC, and yes, I’m driving. This trip is sort of business. I sold one of my motorcycles and have arranged to deliver it to the buyer.
By the way, since I started doing the memes on the blogs, I’ve met some fabulous people. Wise ones, artistic ones, funny ones and some wise, artistic funny ones too. Some deep thinkers out there, and some damn good artists who create fantastic things, write dreamy thought provoking poetry and photograph nature at its finest, not to mention just plain interesting intelligent people. Check out some of the sites on my side bar. That’s another thing I need to do, edit that side bar and add more to the list.
Around the house itself there has been some small construction projects. Some in the planning stage, some in the waiting stage and others in the actual doing stage. We’re planning on making some sort of heated hallway enclosure in the garage. With four kids and three adults, the pile of boots, mittens, scarves, hats, winter coats and school/work backpacks is just too much. I tell you we can’t even get the door open, the one that enters the house through the kitchen, when all those things are piled up.
We finally got things together and have signed a contract for a new furnace, A/C system and water heater to be installed. You might remember we wanted to do this last year, but the local bank refused our low life scum-of-the-earth asses a loan. I saw no reason for the loan that would enhance our homes physical plant, save us money, be good for the environment and employ local workers was denied, especially when the tax credit for installing a new heating system was created to stimulate the economy. A lot of faith my bank showed it has in that program.
Anyway, they’re coming to install the new system next week and I will be able to take advantage of the tax credit after all. I did it without borrowing. Took a while to save up, but it’s going to get done.
Let’s see. I have to finish the downstairs bathroom project. Trim, baseboards and a new drop ceiling, oh, and the door needs some repair or maybe replacement. Then there’s a new French patio door to replace the old slider that allows enough cold air to infiltrate our living space to make ice cubes when we set a glass of water down on the end table next to my comfy chair. The new garage service entry door too.
So, you see, I have a lot of stuff going on. Besides all of the above, I’m trying like crazy to finish some Dream Catchers I have promised to people, and I have orders for two drums that I must fulfill before too long. Just busy, busy, busy as a bee. So, my blog posts suffer. And my visitations to other blog friends suffers too. And did I mention the appointments at the VA? Oh yeah, I have to see an orthopedic guy Wednesday. I hope I get that cortisone shot in my left shoulder. I can’t even reach out to get money out of the ATM! I’ll play hell reaching my arm out the window to pay the tolls on my trip out East. Maybe I’ll just stay off the turnpike.
So there you have it. News from Spadoville. Doctors, construction, new furnace, a trip out East, recovery and support group meetings. Maybe I can fit in getting the Grandkids on the school bus and being here when they get off alongside making dinner. When the hell am I suppose to answer e-mail, smoke a cigar or watch some football? It’s hockey season too!
I did have some fun over this long Thanksgiving weekend though. I’ll leave you with a few shots of the kids at the sledding hill. We didn’t have enough snow to make the hill in top notch sledding condition, but it was enough to enjoy the afternoon. The hot chocolate was good after the hill as it was cold outside despite the bright sunshine.

The four Grands coming up the hill for more. 

Loading onto the sled for the epic ride
Enjoying a cold but sunny day in the Northland
Cold doesn't phase these kids!
Take care and be well all of you. Be kind to each other. Practice Peace in all your affairs and above all, love everybody, or at least someone.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Trip to Clarks Hill, 2010

The Veterans from the Clarks Hill area. Mrs. Scott, in yellow jacket, is with us.

Many of you know about the reason for my trip to Clarks Hill, South Carolina every November. For those of you that don’t, you can reference back to these previously posted stories about my visits there in 2007 and 2008. I didn’t make it in 2009, but I did return this year. It was wonderful to see my friends again, and enjoy the home cooking.

A small sampling of the great food served to us at the Bethany Baptist Church Dining Hall

Mrs. Scott, who just celebrated her 94th birthday, has opened a museum. It is housed in the old school house on the property of the Bethany Baptist Church in Clarks Hill. What an appropriate place to read and see history but in an old historic building. Mrs. Scott has assembled the history of this parish and school in a simple way, yet so much about life then and now is evident within such a small space. The building itself cannot be but  16 X 20 feet.

In this museum, she reflects her life as a child, a school girl, her college years, as a teacher and now, as the matriarch of this community. Photos of every past reverend at Bethany, the sister churches built and operated around the region to spread the word of the Gospel to others. She honors the Veterans of the community. Relics from the old church and school, including the worn wooden benches that were used by her parents.
This is the military wall. The man in the center above the eagle photo is my friend, Frazier Dixon, KIA 12/03/1969

She tells us of how she picked cotton, and her parents and Grandparents picked cotton. She has a great display about quilt patterns that were used as code by the slaves and how these codes would aid in escape. More about the Underground Railroad and the use of these codes at this fabulous web site on Black history.

This was the lowest gas price we spotted along our journey. This is in North Carolina at a stop along I-77

The trip itself, driving down to South Carolina from Wisconsin, was accomplished in a couple of days. The little Ford Focus we have gets great gas mileage. Since we have a manual, or stick shift, we get 40 mpg on a regular basis. Imagine how thrilled we were when we found gas prices down South to be thirty cents less per gallon than back home.

The original Sanders Restaurant in Corbin, KY. Colonel Sanders started the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain right here.

A highlight of the drive down was a trip through The Great Smoky Mountain National Forest and National Park in Eastern Tennessee and North Carolina. We also drove a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The skies were sunny and the temperature was warm enough for us to have the windows rolled down somewhat, but there was snow on the ground high in the Smokies, as these photos will attest. Many of the trees were still in their best Autumn form. It was a beautiful day for a drive through some very scenic countryside.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

The first day, we drove about 800 miles, all on the Interstate, and covered that in a little more than twelve hours. The second day was leisurely by contrast. We did the same on the way home, a long day of driving followed by a shorter day through some great Ohio countryside, a North South corridor from Interstate 70 to Cleveland, along Ohio Highway 83.

On our road trips, we always look for thrift stores and good food. We knew there was good BBQ in South Carolina and Mutz BBQ in the small town of Greer was where we whetted that particular appetite. I had the rib and pulled pork all-you-can-eat special.

A few weeks ago, I was watching the Food Network and saw this special about fried chicken in a place called Barberton, Ohio. Since our journey home took us from Clarks Hill, SC, near Augusta, GA North towards the Cleveland area, we saw that Barberton was on the way. We scheduled the drive to stop and try this so-called world famous chicken. We were pretty much disappointed. The chicken tasted okay, but it was nothing special. I’ve had chicken just as good from our local  grocery store deli department. The pieces were small, and it seems that the notoriety from the TV spot had the prices high for what was put on the plate. Here’s the Food Network story alongside a picture of what my plate looked like. We ate at a place called The White House. They finished second in the TV show. Maybe we should have tried number one!

The chicken dinner as served at The White House, Barberton, OH

We did Waffle House a couple of times for breakfast, but in rural central Illinois, we stopped in at a place called Grubsteakers. At first, we thought it a bar and didn’t know if we should try it. When we got closer and saw the restaurant part of the place, I pulled in without hesitation. It was really good food. Good pancakes, and some of the best American fried breakfast spuds I’ve had anywhere and a good cup of coffee to go with ‘em. All this with great service.

Maybe it wasn't as bad as I might try to have you believe.

That’s about it for our culinary adventure part of the trip. Of course the reason we go down to South Carolina every year around this time is no secret. It was great to visit old friends. My friend Frazier Dixon, who died in Vietnam in 1969, was born and raised in Clarks Hill, SC. We attended the Veterans Program again this year and also got to see Mrs. Scott’s museum. We talked with Anthony, Frazier’s best friend from his school days, and Shirley, his blood sister. Dan and Lois, his cousins were there and other Veteran friends from the Clarks Hill area, Sam and James.

A few years ago, you may remember I participated in an event called The Longest Walk. I met many fabulous people on that walk and one of them lives near the Cleveland, OH area. Her name is Jen. On the walk, I found out that Jen was born in the same hospital as my daughter Maggie, and that her birth took place exactly one week previous to Maggie’s birth.

I tell you, it seems our Maggie follows us everywhere!

Jen had a baby 17 months ago. His name is Sam and I had never met him. The idea that we were on the road and had a chance to stop off near Cleveland had us heading that way after we left South Carolina. We got to see our friend and her Mom and meet Sam. It is such a great feeling to reconnect with friends while on the road.

My friends Jen and Sam having some fun.

I won’t have too much time to wait around until I’m back on the road again. I’ll be leaving for Washington DC on December 2nd. I’ll be on the road, driving again. This time, I’ll be in the van and hauling a motorcycle out that way that I’ll be delivering. I’ve got a few plans for a couple of stops, but this trip is mostly business.

An interesting building along a small two-lane road in South Carolina

All in all, it was a great trip. We drove in sunny warm weather all the way in both directions. The Focus ran admirably. We found numerous thrift stores and brought back treasures for the Grandkids. We got to see the museum and attend another Veterans program in Clarks Hill and place flowers on the grave of someone very dear to me. We presented the Clarks Hill community with a beautiful Star Quilt given to them by the community of my spiritual leader friend from Red Cliff, Wisconsin.

This Star quilt was presented to Mrs. Scott to share with the Clarks Hill community

In the meantime, thanks for letting me bend your ear about my goings on. What’s new with you?
Have a peaceful day, everyday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

By Popular Demand, More About the Quilt Barns

In the post below this one, the Shadow Shot Sunday offering, there seemed to be a lot of questions and surprise about the subject matter, Quilt Barns. Here are more facts about Quilt Barns in general and how this whole mess started.

In my Shadow Shot Sunday post, I used a couple of photos I took on a recent trip through the Southeast USA. These shots were of Quilt Barns, a barn where someone has either painted on a quilt pattern, or where the pattern was painted on wood and hung up at the peak of the barn roof.

One of the Quilt Barns I saw in Southeastern Tennessee while on a recent road trip
What amazed me, was that there were so many people who made comments to the effect that they had never seen this before, and also there were those that had never heard of it. I did a little research and found out it is a bit regional. Mostly in the Midwest and Eastern parts of the United States.
As I mentioned in my Shadow Shot post, my friend Mel, who pens the Mel’s Dream blog, has posted photos of Quilt Barns on her site. I’ve seen these before and when I saw so many in Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, I stopped and took a few photos to send to her. I noticed the shadows on the photos I took and decided to include these particular photos for Shadow Shot Sunday, a photo meme that comes from Tracy in Queensland, Australia.
Ironically, when I was in Clarks Hill, SC, the destination and reason for the trip I took in the first place, I had the honor of seeing the Georgia C. Scott Museum there. This small 100 plus year old school house has been transformed into a showcase of the memoirs of Mrs. Scott. More about this and the trip to Clarks Hill to come in the days ahead. Mrs. Scott is the 94 year old Elder, former school teacher and Matriarch of the Clarks Hill community.
But in that museum, Mrs. Scott, whose Grandparents, parents and herself as a child picked cotton, there was a display of quilts and quilt patterns. The story was told about how the pattern that was sewn actually gave out information and was a code used by slaves amongst themselves during the days of the underground railroad.
This excellent site, Owen Sound’s Black History, has a whole section about the Underground Railroad and the use of code in quilt patterns. These pattern messages would be sewn into quilts and hung for others to see and get information about traveling escape routes. When you go to the site, be sure to click on the More about Underground Railroad Quilt Code at the bottom of the page. The actual patterns will be shown and their meaning described.
This symbol is called Britches and indicates the escaping slave needed to dress as a free person
The above picture is the kind is of display Mrs. Scott had in her museum. Samples of the quilt patterns. More irony is that my journey down to Clarks Hill was for the purpose of seeing friends and family of a friend of mine that I had held in my arms as he died on the battlefield in Vietnam in 1969. In a synchronistic way, the family of my friend and I were joined a few years ago. Now, I make the trip yearly to stand with them as they honor Veterans.
In years past, an Ojibwe Spiritual Elder friend of mine from Northern Wisconsin, also a Veteran of the American war in Vietnam, has had me bring down gifts to the Elder Mrs. Scott. One gift was an Eagle feather. The traditional Ojibwe teaching is that the feather represented the Warrior Spirit of my friend and that I have been carrying that spirit with me for so many years. By bringing the Eagle feather to them, I was returning his spirit back to his community.
This year, my friend had a dream. In that dream,  I was to bring a blanket to the community. He chose the blanket. It was a Star Quilt pattern, showing the four directions. The number four represents many things. The four winds or directions, for example, and that the spirits are all around us and come from all directions and in all colors of mankind.

My friend Anthony and I holding up the Star Quilt given to Mrs. Scott for the Clarks Hill community

The blanket itself is given for many reasons. Mainly, I have seen it to honor people or as a gift to honor the dead. The Star Quilt I brought to Clarks Hill was for the whole community to honor the death of one of their own Veteran Warriors, my friend, Frazier T. Dixon. Mrs. Scott, being an Elder and held in high regard of that community, received the quilt on their behalf.
I brought this Star Quilt Blanket down with me to present to the Clarks Hill Community. In my travels I spotted the Quilt Barns and remembered my friend in Iowa and how much she likes the barns. I took photos. Then, in the small museum, I see this display of quilt patterns and how they were used as code in slavery days down South.
A lot of quilt business going down during this entire process. Now, I post a Shadow Shot and find many people interested in finding out more. Well, I did some searching and found page after page of material, (no pun intended), about Quilt Barns. Here are a few sites:

This one is a fantastic blog called Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail
Here’s one from Western Iowa

American Quilt Barns has many links to images and trails in over 25 states

And Here is another from Greenfield, Ohio

Anyway, This turned out to be such an interesting and thought provoking subject. And just yesterday, as I was sitting around the house relaxing, my phone rang and it was a reporter from the small town of McCormick, South Carolina. McCormick is a scant 20 miles North of Clarks Hill.
Last time I was in Clarks Hill, this woman did a story about the Veterans Program that Mrs. Scott puts on every year. She wrote about my visit and the importance of getting together and sharing the memory of Frazier Dixon, my friend, who perished in battle in the Republic of Vietnam on December 3, 1969.
Now, she was doing a story about the museum and Mrs. Scott had showed her the quilt I had given to them. The reporter asked me to tell her the meaning of the quilt pattern, the Star Quilt. I tell you, this quilt stuff just doesn’t quit. I might even learn to sew.
By the way, I have  Star Quilt that was given to me. I’ll post a photo of it and tell you about it and the mysterious journey it traveled some other time.

The Star Quilt gifted to me years ago, hanging in my old Westside Warehouse gallery and shop


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Quilt Barns

I have posted more information about Quilt Barns in a newer post. If you are interested, Have a look

Shadow Shot Sunday
November 21, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday is a creation from down under, Brisbane, Queensland it says on the profile page. To see more Shadow Shots or to find out how you can participate, go to the Hey Harriet blog.
My Shadow Shots today are from a recent trip I took down the Southeast of the USA. We drove. I have much more time than money, so the forty plus miles per gallon option was a more thrifty alternative to flying. Besides, have you been keeping up with all that flap about the Xray scanners?
A good blogger friend of mine, Mel over at Mel’s Dream, runs around the countryside of rural Iowa, USA in her Jeep and snaps photos of all sorts of things. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets, natural occurrences of flora and fauna, trains and as I’ve taken notice of lately, quilt barns. In fact, she posted a photo today of a beautiful quilt barn.
While on my journey, I mentioned Mel and her blog in casual conversation when we saw a quilt barn. Then, every so often, Mrs. Spadoman would say to me, “There’s another quilt barn”, and point in the direction of said structure. I stopped once and took a couple of photos. Then, I stopped again and actually got out of the car and walked a huge field to take a few pictures of another rather interesting quilt barn.
The first is a small store/apartment in a trendy art gallery area of the town of Corbin, Kentucky. The second is in the countryside in deep Southeastern Tennessee, not far from the Smoky Mountains. Both of these places as well as everywhere we went were casting shadows as the sun is angled so deeply in the sky this time of year.

We saw many more quilt barns, but I didn’t stop and take photos of all of them. The subject did give us something to talk about besides where we were going to be eating our next meal while nibbling on the giant sourdough pretzels and Honeycrisp apples, snacking as we drove.
I love the contrast of the almost new looking perfect quilt on the peak of the old weathered barn.

The shadowy mountainous landscape beyond the barn are the Smoky Mountains, part of the Appalacians.
Have a wonderful day and live in Peace.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk

Haiku My Heart Friday
November 19, 2010

Haiku My Heart Friday was started by Rebecca. To see more haiku and find out how tomparticipate, see her blog, recuerdo mi corazon

In the meantime, I just returned from a journey of extreme importance to me. I'm working hard to piece together the story behind it all. In the meantime, as I sorted through my iPhoto albums, I came across this photo of what looks like a groomed path.

To a certain extent, that's just what it is. But it has been used as a corridor for many years, hundreds of years actually. It is the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, translated, that means the Royal Road to the Interior. This section, between Las Cruces and Socorro in New Mexico was called the Jornada Del Muerto or Journey of Death.

This stretch of the trail is known as being a short cut on the traverse from North to South, but very treacherous for its lack of water and attacks by the Apache. This photo was taken from the new El Camino Real Hertitage Center located about 30 miles South of Socorro, NM.

As I mentioned, my trip to South Carolina was a special journey. I looked at this photo and thought of the people who chose to take this dangerous path instead of the route along the Rio Grande. Then I thought of our own journeys, the figurative ones we might be on or thinking about. I'll let the haiku speak to the rest of my thoughts.

A portion of El Camino Real South of Socorro, NM. If you click on it, you can enlarge this photo.

What path guides your way
Is there purpose in your walk
Following your heart

I hope your life is filled with Peace

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Home Again

View from Clingman's Dome, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, November 2010

I'll have more to say about this latest trip down to South Carolina, but for now, I just wanted to announce the fact that we are home again and doing well. We tried some diners and restaurants and had some real good food here and there. We did get to stop in and visit with some good friends in Ohio on our way home and that was a lot of fun. And of course the visit to Clarks Hill was the highlight and reason we took this trip in the first place. A full report will follow in the days ahead.

I have to say, when we left and even the day we returned, we had fabulous weather for traveling. Sunny and temperatures warmer than normal most of the time. In the 70's down South. The day we got home was pleasant, but last Saturday there was a storm here in Wisconsin. We got home and saw our back yard full of this white stuff. First of the season.

First snow of the season in the back yard at Spadoville

One place we did pass through and stop for a while was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After all the traveling I've done over the years, this place has escaped me. I took some photos and shot a very short video.  Anyone can see why they are called the Smoky Mountains.

It was a beautiful place and the weather cooperated with perfect temperatures and no wind to speak of. We drove through from North to South and found a pretty good BBQ place called Mutz BBQ to stave off starving to death. Here's my plate:

Mutz BBQ, Greer, South Carolina. Ribs, pulled pork, hash and rice with cole slaw bread and butter.

After we drove through the Great Smoky Mountains, we got on a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway and came across this sign designating the highest poiunt along the way.

Along a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina
Come back soon if you care to. It's good to be home and back amongst friends.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veterans Day 2010

This is a repost of something I wrote some time ago, 2007 to be exact. In my mind, it deserves repeating today as we recognize Veterans Day, or Armistice Day as it was originally designated. This message comes from my heart and tells a great deal about what happens to many who are called to duty.

To some, the idea that we need to honor or recognize those that served when they are against the war and the soldiers all enlisted of their own accord, might be prevalent. I don't agree. Men and women of our armed forces each had their own reason to enlist. Some were to get money for higher education as it is a benefit for service to their country. Others were in a situation, on the reservation or in the ghetto and living in extreme poverty, with seemingly no way out. Still others needed extra income and joined the National Guard as a part-time job. Then there are those that believe in war and choose to fight. They are all along side of each other, right along with those that enlisted so others in their own communities did not have to go to war.

Whatever the reasons for serving in the military, these people are serving their country and willing to give their life for freedom, whether or not we believe that is the reason our country is involved in war.

I'll be out of town and away from a computer until next Wednesday, November 17th. Please bear with me and allow me this time and space.

Yours truly, sometime in April or May of 1969 during the American war in Vietnam

The Warrior

Veterans are Warriors, men and women who are trained to kill, for society. Men and women who have taken the life of another human being. Even those Veterans that did not see action in the form of combat signed up or were drafted and followed orders. They would have given their life if asked. They would kill if they thought, at any brief moment in the throes of war, that they had to.

All soldiers, no matter what their military occupation, are taught how to go to combat before learning any other skill or specialty. In basic training, these killing skills are taught to every soldier. Killing is the soldier warrior's job. The warrior is somehow stripped of the belief that life is too sacred to erase, then they are taught the details of exactly how to kill people. With a weapon, with their hands.

They are forced to practice it over and over and over and over until it is automatic, regardless of how scared they may be. Even if their hearts are pounding or if they are scared senseless, these warriors can still load, fire, and erase the life of the human being identified as the enemy. They kill, if not for themselves, for the soldier next to them who is a trained killer like them. A Brother or Sister, and for the society that has required their services as a killer.

Everyone who is trained to kill has lost something of themselves and must find a way to control the imbalance that results. The military calls that control "self-discipline." Without it we would have millions of Timothy McVeigh's eliminating their perceived enemies with the lethal skills that they were trained for. These skills given to them with the approval of the rest of society. The military does not want nor allow this same “self discipline” to weigh in during the wartime activity.

We demand the warrior be disciplined and control themselves but when they return we treat them terribly. For those who have taken a life in a war and dealt with death, this discipline is a life-long struggle that is never truly resolved. They see the dead and relive the killings in their dreams. The soldier who kills another soldier comes home and one day realizes that there is a family somewhere in the world, in its own home, lacking a cherished family member. There are children who no longer have a father, mother, brother or sister. Women without their husbands and husbands without wives. No chance to fulfil the dream of growing old together.

That soldier who took a life may look at their own children when they get home, perhaps even years later, hug that child, and think about another child whose daddy or mommy they killed. How easy it would be for his or her child to be the parent less one! That soldier, trying to become a human being again, will not know what to say to anyone on this earth about this feeling. They will wonder if anybody understands what they are feeling or if anyone can. They may be able to share this feeling only with another Veteran, yet feel ashamed at reminding that Veteran of what he or she is also struggling to deal with. Worried that if he or she talks about it, they might be judged as bragging or lying.

The real warrior is abandoned into silence. They fall upon the discipline that was introduced in them but they fall alone. Many Veterans forever fight this never-resolved battle. Veteran Warriors are taught how to kill but not how to heal.

Listen to the Vietnam War Veterans. Listen to how they were received when they returned to this country. Listen to the Gulf War Vets and the veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan that must fend for themselves as the very government that asks them to lay down their bodies vote down funding for proper and substantial treatment of their physical and emotional wounds.

In the case of the returning Vietnam Veterans, it has been said that some were spat upon. Others had to withstand an onslaught of name calling that included things like baby killer and murderer. Society does not know this agent of death that is a Warrior, nor does it possess the skills or the knowledge to reintegrate these people into society. Society asked them to kill on its behalf, but does little to return the warrior to a rightful place as a caring, compassionate member of a family and community.

Can the community do anything to help with this return to so-called normal society? The Warrior Veteran needs to be brought back into the Circle of Life. How can they find spiritual peace and understanding from the community? Only if the circle of their community is a healing circle.

Does the community ever rent a room, invite the Veterans, feed and honor them and listen to their stories of the atrocities of war or the horrors of being the deliverer of death to another by accident or for survival? When do they hear about arms blown off a man who walked down a road not knowing mines were there? Who will listen to the warrior's scramble for words that describe an incoming napalm strike on a village? Who hears the break in their voices?

These things happened. The blood and destruction has been seen by the Veteran. The community must acknowledge the sacrifice their Veteran was willing to give. Society and the community can not know and understand or postulate a reason for what has happened, for that same society and community allowed the war either by electing people into office or by sitting by and watching war upon war unfold without lifting a finger to stop it.

Who will sit and listen to the stories of these Veterans? Will the people of the community come forward and listen or will the Veteran be doomed to the darkness of a house where no one visits? Will the people lean down to say hello to the Veteran whose legs are missing because they were blown off in a battle, or will they cross the street in avoidance?

Many Veterans that seem like they are of sound body suffer with the intrusive thoughts of having to experience death first hand and in many cases, by their own hand. They are also in darkness. A Veteran struggling with his thoughts as he tries to understand PTSD is forever and constantly bombarded by shame, guilt, depression, anger, confusion and loneliness.

This Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is grossly misunderstood by most people. Some even say things like, “Get a life” or “Get over it.” when they hear of a Veteran that gets disability for the loss of control of his own life from the struggles with PTSD.

A warrior is a hunter with death and blood on their hands and real horror to relive in their dreams. They are the ignored and too often the wounded walking suicide-to-be. They are the men and women with visions that they cannot, but want to, leave behind. They constantly try to be sorry for their actions but fail because the destruction of their own heart will not allow it. The blackness is there, forever.

The Warrior accepts the inevitable truth that they will live and die lonely as they struggle to be understood.

Think of these things the next time you see a Veteran. And remember, those who the Warrior fought because they were told they were the enemy are Warriors too. They and their families will suffer the same as “our side”. They also have PTSD. The Mothers and Fathers of those also cry at the loss of a loved one. Brothers and Sisters, Grandmothers and Grandfathers will miss them. We are all on the same side as far as issues with our Warriors.

The Native American communities have been stepping forward for many many years. They welcome back their Warriors. They have ceremonies and honoring Pow Wow’s for the Veterans. They are not glad there is war. But they realize this. The Veteran, drafted or enlisted, whether a regular Army soldier or a National Guard member who was deployed into war, was following orders because they took an oath. They were all willing to sacrifice their own life if need be. They accepted the pain and suffering that happens to them as a Warrior from witnessing the death and destruction firsthand. 

This is what is honored in the Veteran. Honor the Warrior, not the war.

After Vietnam, society had much confusion about the war. Let us not make the same errors in the way we treat our Veterans that are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. If you don't agree with the wars our country is involved in, then do something about it instead of disregarding those that are willing to give their life for you. Let us make amends to ALL Veterans from ALL eras, combat and non-combat.

Honor the dead. Heal the wounded. Work for peace and end all war.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Getting Ready To Travel

It’s November. The changes in the weather really happen in earnest now. We could have snow on the ground any day. In fact, today is the Minnesota deer season opener. The hunters over there won’t be happy with the mid 60’s temperatures. They’d prefer some snow for tracking. Suffice it to say I’m happy for the stretching of the Fall season, the sunshine and warmer than normal temps, as I plan on riding the Triumph this afternoon.
A motorcycle ride at this time of year is usually not possible because of snow and cold. But with the topsy turvy weather, I’ll be out there. I do have to be careful about the timing of such an outing. We changed the clocks back one hour. Now it gets dark earlier and that can wreak havoc on the quality of road vision as the sun is low in the sky and drops from sight quickly. It’s not that I can’t ride in the dark, it’s that I’d prefer not to, especially when the deer are being hunted and are restless and on the move.
Anyway, gonna get out there and ride because I can. Other than that, the Days of the Dead celebration is over. The altar is down and packed away, and the furniture is back where it was at the start. There are always some projects to do, but slowly and surely they are getting done. What’s  the hurry?
Veterans Day is next week, November 11th. I usually go to a Pow Wow at the Lac Courtes Oreille Indian Reservation up near Hayward, WI. They have been honoring all Veterans at this celebration for many years. In the recent past, 2007 to be exact, I started going down to South Carolina for a Veterans Program put on by an amazing woman, the Matriarch of the Clarks Hill Community, Mrs. Georgia C. Scott. Mrs. Scott will be 94 years old this year and has opened a museum.

My friend Larry with me at the Lac Courtes Oreille Pow Wow years ago after receiving our gifts

You might remember the circumstances that brought me there, the miracle, I should say. If not, or if you might be a newer reader of these chronicles, here are two posts about my trips to Clarks Hill, South Carolina, one from 2007 HERE, and one from 2008 HERE I couldn’t make it last year, but I got a call from an old friend and I decided I could go this year.
Mrs. Spadoman will accompany me and we’ll leave on Veterans Day, Thursday, bright and early. It’s at least 1250 miles down there from where I live, so it will take two full days on the road. Clarks Hill is just North of Augusta Georgia, across the Savannah River. Wish I could ride the bike down as I remember weather to be more like late Summer/early Fall, with trees just getting into the peak of color.
I’ll be busy all week, finishing projects at my daughter’s place and tidying up loose ends around here at Spadoville, in preparation of the trip. Mrs. Spadoman has some vacation time, so the plan is to wander a bit on the way home. One possibility is to make it to Barberton, Ohio, the supposed Chicken Capitol of the World, and try this so-called famous fried chicken and hot sauce we saw featured on a Food Network show called Food Feud
So, not sure how much I’ll be blogging until I return. Of course I’ll take the camera and try to get some photos of the events we’ll be attending, some Shadowy Shots, Ruby Red Shots right along with the unique and beautiful if they present themselves. I'm also excited about doing my own report about the famous fried chicken. In the meantime, feel free to read the above referenced articles about my previous trips to South Carolina and what this journey will mean to me.
In the past, I have taken gifts down there from a Native American Spiritual Elder from Northern Wisconsin. An Eagle feather and an American flag flown at a ceremony in honor of my friend. This year, I will carry a Star Quilt blanket to present as a gift from my family and community up here in the Northland, to their family and community down there in the deep South, offering warmth, security and Peace from one culture to another.
Take care of each other, be kind, practice Peace in all your affairs. I’ll try to do the same.