Number of posts: 44
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By Jack deJarnette:
Two of our favorite pastimes in my preteen and early teen years were cow tipping and snipe hunting. It was a past time for the country since everyone knew that snipe don’t live in the city and most cities have ordinances that forbid keeping livestock within the city limits.
I had a good friend; Charlie, the frog, so named because of his resemblance to, you guessed it—a frog. Charlie’s daddy had a dairy farm just on the outskirts of town and ran a 80 or head of cows. It was a short bicycle ride to the dairy where there were plenty of cows from which to choose.
On Friday or other non-school nights we would gather around dusk dark and ride out to the farm…
We developed an interest in herons years ago while experimenting with a koi pond. The pond was about 4 feet in diameter and 2 feet deep. The depth was supposedly sufficient to give the koi adequate depth to escape any predators. We also built places under which the fish could hide. When the pond was properly balanced and ready we added six koi. We started with 4 gold fish and 2 koi that were extremely elegant with long flowing fins and tail.
Over the next several weeks we enjoyed the pond and trained the koi to hand feed. One afternoon I went out to feed the koi and noticed that 2 of the smaller fish were missing.
Today I read a thought from a friend about treasures. It started me thinking. When I was 9 or 10 my best friend in the whole world, Georgie Rast, and I found what appeared to be a cave on the side of a creek that ran through the woods near our neighborhood. We knew without a doubt that we had found the entrance to a Confederate cache. There was no telling just what treasures were to be found simply by digging into the creek bank. We were certain that some battle had been fought there during the War of Northern Aggression since we often dug minie balls from trees in that area.
On July 24, 2010, I wrote a story called, “A Story of Sacrifice.” It was the story of a homeless ex-drug addict named Allen Smithfield who showed up at our church and claimed that God had sent him to give a kidney. Allen, the most unlikely of candidates to become a living kidney donor, was accepted. Twenty-one other friends offered a kidney and were not qualified because of things like high blood pressure or on the wrong medications.
How often do you stop and think about the impact of the words you use when speaking to others? Not only do words make a difference, the tone and volume with which you speak them make a great difference also.
Remember that saying your momma taught you the first time you came home with your heart broken from something someone said to you: “Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words will never hurt you”. That is a well-meaning lie. Since sticks and stones can break your bones and words can rip your heart out in a way no stick or stone could ever come close to doing.
In a recent editorial, Cal Thomas wrote, “…the expectations of our culture are now so low that we no longer honor and value people of integrity, only celebrity.” (June 16, Pensacola news Journal). Right off the bat let me state that I am a Christian although so much mis-information has been attached to that word I’d rather say that I’m a student of Jesus. I am not right wing, left wing, or fanatic. On some issues I am extremely conservative while on others I am just as liberal. I am not a tea partier, nor a fundamentalist, neither Democrat nor Republican. I strive to understand the issues and the people behind them and use my influence accordingly. I like some of what Cal Thomas says as I do Susan Estrich, Leonard Pitts, and Charles Krauthammer.
I read The Help by Kathryn Stockett soon after its publication several years ago. Having grown up in the South in the ’40s and ’50s, Stockett stirred some long forgotten memories, but soon they were again stored away in the recesses of my brain, then came the movie—wow.
My Father’s family was “Old Money” Atlanta Aristocratic Socialites. I never saw my grandmother in public without white gloves and a little veiled hat … My grandmother and aunt who lived in Atlanta had servants. The role of the servants in my Grandmother’s house could have been the basis for the servants in Stockett’s story.
I’m not certain whether I heard it; on the news, or got an email about it, or maybe it came to me in idle conversation, but somewhere I heard that checking the paper bill from one’s cell carrier was important because unauthorized charges were sometimes added. I took that advice and this month refused electronic billing and asked for paper billing. Sure enough, there it was. My wife’s cell number had a $9.99 charge for Blinko Club and my number had three $9.99 charges from 1) Best Eco alert, 2) Mobile Downloads, and 3) MOBITV. Each had the same phone number for unsubscribing and suggested that one send an unsubscribe message to a text number using the phone the charge was billed to. I googled each subscriber name and found them all connected.
Today is just another day, like the ones that come every week. On the other hand, it’s not quite like others, one of my doctors started me on a new medication with a warning. He told me that it might work just the opposite of what he hoped. His warning wasn’t a warning at all, but rather it was a prophecy. This afternoon has brought nothing but intense abdominal pain and liquefaction of my intestinal tract …
It is quiet here at home and I’m alone with my CLWD (cute little white dog) who diligently stays very close to me when she knows something is wrong.
This will be my 68th Fourth of July and I am indeed thankful for each one of them. As I get older, I am becoming more sentimental and thankful, for I realize more and more the incredible blessings that we enjoy as Americans.
I have my grandchildren this weekend, which is not an infrequent occurrence, and we decided, at their request, to watch the Chronicles of Narnia Series. The story starts with the evacuation of children from London as the Nazi bombing starts during WWII. It made me realize just how blessed we are in that we never had to send our children away to keep them safe. God forbid that it should ever happen.
This morning I was sitting in my easy chair reading the paper, my CLWD (cute little white dog) cuddled in beside me when suddenly I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked up and outside the patio door; I saw a real life battle as it began. It was a battle over territory. The valiant warriors waved their battle flags, first one, and then the other and the battle began. It grew in intensity, each warrior determined to prevail. The battle raged for all of five minutes but in spite of their gritty engagement, not a drop of blood was spilled.
It was mid-November 1967, or maybe 1968, well, to tell the truth, it might have been 1969, I’m not sure, but I do remember it was mid-November. Howard Rathwaite, whose family had a farm near Albany, Georgia came in and told us there was going to be a controlled hunt for Russian boar on a 13,090 acre plantation near his home. The rules were that hunting by permit would be allowed from sunrise to sunset for three days only. The only permissible weapons were twenty-two rifles or handguns. I got excited since a .38-caliber Taurus long barrel pistol was my weapon of choice. I could shoot the center of a target at 50 yards again and again without ever a miss.
I called my buddies, “AJ” Puckett and “Walleye” Henderson and said, “Let’s go hunting” …
My Momma grew up in Habersham County, Georgia, which is in the top eastern part of Georgia; it is bounded by North Carolina, South Carolina, and Eastern Tennessee. Our area of operation was to the north, west, and occasionally south.
In my growing up days, bootlegging was quite common, which involved the process of making and distributing liquor, “White Lightning.” P.J. Puckett was a good friend of mine who lived in Cleveland, Georgia and was a co-op student at Georgia Tech. P.J. ( his first and middle names, just P and J) was studying Electrical Engineering. He went to school for one quarter then hauled moonshine for a quarter …
We were sitting on the porch rocking lazily and watching the little ones playing joyfully in the sand. There were piglets, chicks, kittens, and poults everywhere. Robie and Woodrow, our neighbors raised them to sell. It was a sweltering, muggy summer afternoon, the kind where you want to just sit and watch life as it unfolds. We lived next to Robie and Woodrow for four years while we served our first parish.
Suddenly this apparition emerged from behind the barn…
Certain names have been changed to protect the guilty and the innocent, both at the same time.
Once upon a time, my good friend Rusty Randolph and I had been hanging out Shoney’s Big Boy in College Park, Georgia. I didn’t get to hang out much since Daddy was convinced that boys hanging out were headed for trouble. I never did understand his reasoning, but the 11th commandment according to Daddy was, “Thou shall not hang out!”
This notorious event happened on a Sunday evening when Rusty and I had convinced our parents that we were going to youth events at church. Both of us had wailed long enough that we each got to drive a parent’s car.
August 9, 1997 became one of the most terrifying times of my life. Dr. Ray Benza came into our room at the University of Alabama Medical Canter Heart Transplant Unit and said, “I have mixed news. We have found a heart that is compatible with you, but there is someone ahead of you on the list. We will begin the process to prepare you for surgery, but unless he has a problem, he will get this heart and you will have to continue to wait for the next one.” About an hour later, he came back and said, “Good news, you get the heart.”
We had been waiting in Birmingham since April 1st, 1977 in hopes of receiving a heart. My heart was damaged beyond repair by a series of heart attacks and two bypass surgeries, beginning in 1976.
By the time Dr. Benza came with the good news, I had been shaved from top to bottom, except my head and big toes. I had been scrubbed two times with surgical soap. We were waiting and suddenly, I panicked.
This morning I was sitting in my easy chair reading the paper, my CLWD (cute little white dog) cuddled in beside me when suddenly I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked up and outside the patio door; I saw a real life battle began. It was a battle over territory. The valiant warriors waved their battle flags, first one, and then the other and the battle began. It grew in intensity, each warrior determined to prevail. The battle raged for all of five minutes but in spite of their gritty engagement, not a drop of blood was spilled. It was over as quickly as it started. I could not tell what the defining moment was, but one of the warriors withdrew as the other stood waving his victorious banner for all to see. I was utterly amazed. The warriors were about two inches long, seemingly equal in every way, yet one had some advantage over the other. What the advantage was I simply could not tell. Here in Florida they are commonly called false or Florida chameleons because they change colors from green to brown and back again depending on what background they find themselves on. Actually, they are not chameleons at all but are Anolis carolinensis, or green anoles. The battle that they engage in is one of head bobbing and flashing a red throat fan or dewlap.
My Dad loved me as much as any man could love a son so he was constantly dreaming up schemes for me to make money so that I could be self-sufficient when I went to college. He was also determined to keep me out of trouble so while the other guys were “hanging out,” Daddy found ways to keep me busy at home.
His first scheme was for me to learn to play the accordion. Accordionists were very popular in that day and time, but that is a story for another time.
The story today is about pigeons and poop. Daddy decided that I could make good money by raising squab. Squab is considered a delicacy to those who know about it.
One of the things that I remember with great fondness about Cornelia was our weekly trip to the movies. We walked down the hill from Momma’s house, around the curve at the bottom of the hill, by the gristmill once driven by a water wheel. I can still smell the wonderful aroma of freshly ground grain. We continued up the hill across the highway (U.S. 441) and finally to the train station. Years ago, Habersham County was a major apple producer until a blight wiped out the apple trees, so the train station is marked with a huge red apple mounted on top of a white pedestal. We always walked through the station to experience the unique smells of rail traffic from years gone by.
Daddy was a traveling salesman. Each week he would board the train with his case of samples and head out for worlds unknown, at least to me. We lived in the country, in the middle of a field, by the railroad tracks, in a renovated sharecropper house.
World War II was over and Mother and Daddy, like so many other Americans were struggling to find their roles in a very different society than before the war.
Daddy was a member of the greatest generation.
When I was young, sometimes Daddy would come in from work and start popping popcorn. We immediately knew—we were going to the drive-in theater. That was a big deal for us because the drive-in always ran several cartoons before the movie started then they showed the first half of the movie, there was an intermission, then several more cartoons, then the second half of the movie. Daddy would make pan after pan of popcorn. He and Mother got a large sized grocery bag, then there were smaller bags for my sister, brother, a friend, and me … We didn’t have to worry about running out of popcorn, Daddy would always gladly refill our small bags.
Today, January 1, 2011 is a totally unique day, it has never been before nor will it ever be again. It is unique because it is the very first day of a decade and a year. 2011 began last night at precisely 12:00.
For me it is a day to look back on the past year and remember the victories and losses, the failures and successes, the illness and the wellness, the joys and sorrows, the things that I got wrong and the things I got right. I like to do that so I can be certain that I have done what I can to negate the negative things, and then release them. At the same time, I categorize the positive things in order to remember them. In doing these exercises, hopefully I learn something worthwhile.
Two times each year, I find myself in a quandary. It is sort of a chicken and egg problem – you know the one, “Which came first the chicken or the egg”? Of course, those of us who know God know the answer, don’t we. God made the chicken, he didn’t make the egg, the chicken did.
Here is my quandary—Which is more important in the Christian year, Christmas or Easter. If there were no Christmas then there could be no Easter, if there were no Easter there would be no resurrection. If there were no resurrection it would be as the Apostle Paul said, “We (who believe in Jesus and the resurrection) are to be pitied beyond all people. (1 Corinthians 15:17-19).
I was doing my final Christmas shopping yesterday and was dumbfounded at the lack of the word Christmas to describe the season. My initial response was anger. I am a Christian and as such, this season for me is CHRISTMAS. It always has been and always will be and by God, no one is going to take that away from me, but they have. I don’t know who they are, but shame on them, it is not just a holiday it is Christmas.
Then I thought, now wait a minute anger certainly isn’t a Christian attitude. What is behind the whole notion of using the word holiday instead of Christmas? The first thing that I did was to research the word holiday.
The strangest thing is happening. I am at home alone, Bev is out with two of the grandchildren. I am sitting in my favorite chair, warm and comfortable. The surround sound is cranked up fairly high and I am listening to some of the most wonderful orchestras as they play the marvelous Christmas classics. The Christmas tree is alight with ornaments that Bev made over the years. The nut crackers are standing guard as the Holy Family quietly gazes out of the Nativities that we have collected through the years. Santa himself has just descended down the chimney and stands there as a silent testimony to the gift that God himself gave us on the first Christmas. Beneath the tree the presents are carefully laid out encircled by the Christmas train. My loyal and precious CLWD (Cute little white dog) is cuddled in my lap. Bev and the grandchildren are due home in a while. What could be more perfect?
Yet all is not right. My heart is troubled.
Thanksgiving is past and we are rushing headlong toward Christmas. This Thanksgiving was very special. Most of our family gathered for the traditional Thanksgiving feast—turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, squash casserole, sweet potato crunch, cranberry sauce, yeast rolls, sweet potato pie, wine, iced tea, and various goodies before we sat down for the feast.
The feast was wonderful, but the most wonderful thing was being together with family and good friends. I have so very many things to be thankful for this year that all I could do was to sit and ponder them. I don’t even know where to start listing my thankful thoughts, my mind is reeling with them.
There I stood on the shore of a large body of water. It was larger than a river, but smaller than a lake. I had lost all sense of time, but I know that I stood there for some time. The sky was dark and the air was heavy with a misty fog, however visibility wasn’t impaired. I clearly see across the water. The mist lifted about halfway across.
I could hear a murmuring behind me. I couldn’t discern any particular words, but it seemed there were many voices. It might have been singing, or words spoken in unison, but whatever it was there was a wonderfully beautiful sound.
My right arm was extended backward to my right and was being held by an unrecognizable force. As hard as I tried to pull away, I simply couldn’t free myself.
As I have mentioned in other pieces I had a desire to be a naturalist. It was my dream from childhood. For my eighth Christmas, I asked for book on snakes and dinosaurs and was disappointed when Santa brought books for eight year olds. I had something much more advanced in mind. Nonetheless, my curiosity, and interest continued.
When I went to college, I met another guy who shared the same interest as I. Billy George Riley was from a small town in South Georgia, he grew up hunting.
My experience with the Boy Scouts, Explorer Scouts, and Walford Rentz had prepared me for wilderness adventures. Walford was a high school friend who kept quite a menagerie of snakes …
Life is the most incredible gift that I have been given. Not just once, but I have been given it many times over; times of which I am aware and times of which I am not.
I have been spared from wrecks or worse when I was that stupid teen and young adult, willing to take any chance that came my way. I once drove down on an interstate at 140 miles per hour in the dark with my lights off. I can’t remember how many times I drove home from parties blind from alcohol consumption.
Today, 46 years after our marriage on October 5, 1964 , I still marvel that God brought such a wonderful person into my life.
She came into my life on the Sunday Morning that I was leaving to go to college. A friend introduced us, “Jack”, my friend said, “I’d like you to met Beverly Funchess”. Beverly replied, “That’s Funchess like lunches but with a ‘F’.”
My goal of being a biologist or naturalist started with a bang and ended with a thud. I didn’t realize that to be an –ist of nature required one to take botany …
All was well for the first two quarters. General biology—good, human anatomy—good, physiology—very good, embryology—awesome, then botany—very bad. I knew that I wasn’t going to enjoy it, but I thought it would be a piece of cake. As a boy scout, I had learned to identify all of the trees in North Georgia. I could distinguish between poison ivy and Virginia creeper with a mere glance. I knew how to get water from a grapevine. What I didn’t know was there were annuals and perennials. I didn’t know a phylum from a genus and had no interest in doing so.
It was about 1:30 on a September afternoon when the phone rang. I answered to find Junior, Jr. on the line. We were in our first parish where we had served the previous two years. Junior said, “Pracher, kan you come over and help me and Deddy (Junior, Sr.) mark my hog?” Let me clarify, Junior, Sr., was the dad and Junior, Jr. was the son. They were also known as Big Junior and Little Junior, which was weird since Little Junior was at least 100 pounds heavier than Big Junior and six inches taller. But, I digress…
My uncle Conley lived in the hills of North Georgia, when North Georgia was truly rural. Actually, it wasn’t even rural it was pure country. Uncle Conley was a scratch farmer. That means he could barely scratch a living out of his land.
Uncle Conley didn’t own a tractor; he used a mule to pull his plow, drive his cane mill, pull his wagon and doing the myriad other tasks required for operating a farm. I was six. The mule was hitched to the wagon. When all backs were turned, I climbed up on the wagon, sat in the seat and shouted, “Giddy up.” The mule did; not at a slow pace, but hell bent for leather …
The August 30 issue of Time magazine asks the question, “Is America Islamophobic?” Since receiving the magazine, I have thought intensely about the question and sadly I would answer, “Yes”. In answering yes, I feel the need to explain why.
It seems that there is a significant percentage of Muslims who have been and are being radicalized. I believe that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, but we don’t have much exposure to them. They are scattered over America, but I have never met one. Yet the truth is that many are radical.
I enjoyed trout fishing in the North Georgia Mountains. In the sixties and seventies, the mountains were still pristine and there were a few trout streams with native brown trout. These streams were extremely difficult to find and even more difficult to get to. I had two trusted companions with whom I generally fished. One was a 1968 Chevrolet Malibu station wagon. That was undoubtedly the best car I ever owned. I went places in that car that had only seen jeeps before. We even took her to the top of Stone Mountain before the mountain was developed. When we crested the mountain there was an Army signal corps unit. All they could do was gape. The other companion was Creepy Clark. Creepy was called that not because of physical appearance, but because of the stealth with which he moved.
Here I go. I finally have to express a deep feeling that I have had for some time. To begin, I want to make it clear that I am not a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Tea Party-er, Right wing Christian, Liberal, nor do I bear any label except for being a thoughtful caring American. I am a well educated, intelligent senior citizen who has experienced life under many different philosophies, presidents and administrations. I am not a bigot, a racist, a homophobe. My stand on abortion is balanced; for birth control—no; for health, physical or emotional—yes. I am not afraid of immigration from the south or Muslims. I served in the United States Army with distinction. I am not anti government, but I am against what our government seems to me to have become; A bunch of self-centered, self-serving older men (I know there are exceptions), thank God for ladies. The average age of U.S. Congress people is over 55 (easily verified). I am not against seniors since I am one. Far too many are more interested in staying in power than the good of the United States. Gosh, I sound cynical, but it seems to me to be the worst in years.
I was born with it, although I didn’t know it or understand it. It has been a constant companion all of my life. Once I thought it a curse, today I count it a blessing. Its name is Attention Deficit Disorder. I resent that label since I believe that it is not a disorder at all, but just a different way of thinking. People with A.D.D. process information quite differently than so called normal thinkers. I grew up in a time when A.D.D. had not yet been defined. Those of us who thought in a different way were simply considered lazy, non-workers, and given other unkind labels. Sometimes I was called stupid. I knew that wasn’t true…
How often do you wonder? Not wondered about anything in particular, just wondered? I often wonder. I wondered about the lightening flash that blasted me out of bed this morning. I wondered about the thunder that followed the lightening. I know that the lightening and thunder are heavenly boxcars banging together, my Daddy told me so. I have been taught the physical science explanations that describe these events, but still, I wonder.
Do you ever wonder why you wonder? I sometimes wonder why people say the things they say or do the things they do. I wonder why I do the things I do things I do or say the things I say. I wonder why I remember things I should forget and why I forget things I should remember.
The night was terribly cold with the wind whistling through rattling windows. Sleet mixed with rain was falling. The coal fire had died. It was very dark and then came the sound. An eerie lonesome wailing which caused goose bumps and the hair on the back of my little neck to stand straight up. I whimpered and shivered as much from fear as cold. Shortly the choo, choo, choo of the Southern Limited was heard as it pulled up the steep grade into Cornelia, Georgia. Aunt Jeanette pulled me closer…
He was one majestic bird. I say was because we haven’t seen him in the last couple of months. We live close to the Gulf of Mexico in Pensacola, Florida. One of our favorite visitors was a big grey heron. We named him Henry for some strange reason. It might just have been that on one of his first visits, Henry just seemed right.
Henry came by almost every afternoon around 5 p.m. for a visit. He was quite bold and if we weren’t paying attention, he would peck on the glass of the French door leading to our patio. Often we sat on the patio waiting for his visit and when he stopped in we fed him his favorite dish—hot dogs.
I grew up in College Park, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. College Park was quite different back then. It was a quiet, lazy town with a small town feel. Sergeant Wingo was the local gendarme. He diligently protected the citizens and occasionally had a counseling session with an unruly teenager, not that I was one of those.
Pup Phillips owned an old time drug store with a real soda fountain. He mixed medications from shelves of exotic powers and liquids … Pups was a local hangout where folks gathered to share stories and sodas. My best high school buddy, Dusty Roads and I liked to hang out there and catch up on the latest gossip. One afternoon I heard a conversation about a big hairy spider at the Fruit Stand.
One of my best friends through high school was Dusty Roads. Dusty had an older brother named Rocky and a twin brothers named Bumpy and Brick. Bumpy and Brick were quite a bit younger and the bane of our existence. The twins were constantly in our hair and our business. Often we had to keep them while Dusty’s mom went on errands. I would like to say that we never took revenge, but …
Dusty was too cool. If I couldn’t think up mischief and mayhem, he could. Dusty’s dad was a colonel in the Army investigating UFOs. Colonel Roads stuff was top secret and he said if we found out about it he would have to kill us. That just made us more curious.
Daddy was a traveling salesman. He was one of the old school salesmen who travelled by train. Some of my earliest memories were going to train tracks with him. He carried a roll of newspaper and as the train approached, Daddy lit the paper and waved it in the air. The train would stop and Daddy would board for his sales trip …
When I was eight, Daddy came home from a particularly long trip. It was cold and Daddy had on a long overcoat … After a few minutes, he called me over to his chair. He still had his overcoat on. I stood there for a moment with tears in my eyes, then Daddy, with a big smile very carefully and tenderly reached in his pocket and withdrew a black and tan puppy …
I was getting desperate. For two long years I had been waiting, hoping, and praying for a kidney donor. My kidneys were failing because of various medications that I take due to a heart transplant in 1997. Dialysis had not yet been necessary, but each month it came closer and closer.
Twenty-one people had volunteered to donate a kidney, but each was rejected. Some had high blood pressure, some took the wrong kind of medication, and some had other problems that prevented their donation. There was a mixed blessing in this because while I did not have a donor, each volunteer discovered something about himself or herself that needed attention.