Friday, November 22, 2013

Wet Leaves

Wet leaves
They stick to your feet
And follow you in
Where they aren't s'posed to be

Wet leaves
They cling to your hair
Then fall to the floor
Leaving mess everywhere

Wet leaves
They stick to your clothes
When you brush them all off
They might stick to your nose

Wet leaves
They lay on the ground
And when you walk o'er
It makes nary a sound

Wet leaves
They are wet from the rain
As it soaks in the ground
Where the waters all drain

Wet leaves
They cover the earth
Making food for the worms
Until Spring's new birth

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hauling Them to Town

Today, we hauled the calves to the livestock auction.  They don't sell until tomorrow, but, it is a special sale and they are expecting about 8,500 head of cattle so, we had to schedule delivery.

That meant that we got up really, really early.  The alarm went off at 4:30 and we were headed to the ranch before 5:00 a.m.  We don't have many, so it only took two loads to get them all there.  I unloaded the 2nd load at about 7:15. 

You know, as a child I never quite understood what a "big deal" it was to sell the calf crop.  When Grandpa sold his calves it was important because that was when he got paid for the year's work.  He also was a farmer, so harvest of the crops was much the same.  Only a farmer truly understands how you work all year waiting for the harvest.  They don't have a weekly, or monthly paycheck like most people.  They get paid once each year -- when they sell the product of their labor.  It's a big deal.

I know that I wrote about this on Monday, but, it brings the concept of Thanksgiving into a whole new light.  It has changed my perspective.  It is a celebration of the harvest.  It is the "paycheck" that you have been waiting on.  It is a "Hallelujah Chorus" time of year.  It is something that I wish every person in this country could understand. 

We take our food for granted.  Convenience is a blessing and a curse.  Thank a farmer for the harvest.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Is it Profound or Just Controversial?

I enjoy stirring things up on Facebook.  Those that know me well realize that I sometimes say things to provoke a discussion -- well, for some, it would be an argument.  I don't necessarily desire to be argumentative, but I almost always learn something when there are opposing view points to a subject, especially if those involved are passionate about the topic.

Politics is an easy one.  Religion is too.  I sometimes find it humorous at how quickly things can go from "playful banter" to the edge of anger. 

Passion is a good thing.  Uninformed passion is dangerous.  I think there is a lot of uninformed passion within our country today regarding politics.

Just the other day it was pointed out to me that you can't "win" an argument with reason when the other person is arguing from emotion.  They are unable to hear and understand logic when the pounding of emotion in their ears is as loud as a Bass Drum in the Fourth of July Parade.

I often say that I'm not really trying to "win" an argument; I merely want to provoke thought.  I like to have my own ideas challenged for the simple reason that it helps me to clarify my own thinking.  If I am wrong, I want to know.  If I am right, I want to be able to articulate my ideas clearly and succinctly.  If the truth is somewhere in the middle (which it often is), I want to "see" that and thereby gain wisdom.

I suppose my "quest" for understanding is selfish.  In the process I have offended almost everyone I can think of in my circle of Facebook Friends.  Hopefully, they have been challenged in their thinking.  After all, critical thinking is a skill that is much needed and woefully lacking in society today.  So, I will keep on making my "profound" statements on Facebook and stirring a little controversy here and there.  Hopefully, my offended friends and family will forgive me.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  Proverbs 27:17

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I Really Wanted to Get Political

This Sunday morning I am finally sitting down after a couple of weeks break to write another post.  There is much that needs to be addressed regarding the political scene in this country but, I think I will leave that for another day.  I must admit though, that it is tempting.

Instead, I want to focus on the approach of Thanksgiving. 

I have never been much on holidays and yet, Thanksgiving was always a special time to me.  When I was a youngster it always signaled quail hunting.  It was a time of family being together and eating too much food.  It was a time of transition because it often was accompanied by a blast of cold air from the North that brought traces of snow.  In other years, it might be warm with lingering hints of summer.

Thanksgiving was a time of cattle on wheat and corn pasture instead of summer grass.  It was a time of completion for the cotton harvest.  It was a time when my grandfather used to go deer hunting in the Hill Country -- and I always wanted to go with him but, wasn't big enough.  Quail hunting was the consolation I suppose.

Thanksgiving meant pecan pies and pumpkin pies (not my favorite) and turkey with giblet gravy for the mashed potatoes.  It was green bean casserole and cranberry sauce and other specialties that each of the family cooks was known for.  It was kids being kids, men watching football and (yes, we were very traditional) women cooking and then cleaning up the dishes. 

Tradition.  That's the word.  Thanksgiving was always tradition and it revolved around family.

What should Thanksgiving mean?  I think that we weren't far off in how we celebrated and continue to celebrate even today.  I do think that most have lost connection with the things that created that celebration.  There are many people who no longer understand the cycles of farming and ranching that they have completely lost touch with where our food comes from. 

Thanksgiving is a celebration of the harvest.  The hard work of tilling, planting and cultivating the fields finally culminates in the harvest.  Thanksgiving celebrates the bounty of the fruit of our labor.  It is a time for thanking God for the bringing in of the crops to the storehouse so that the "lean times" of winter would be lessened by what was grown.

This year, I have the privilege of harvesting the fruits of our first year of our small cattle operation.  The calves are going to town to be sold at auction on Wednesday of next week.  It is one week and a day prior to the day we celebrate Thanksgiving.  My children and grandchildren and in-laws will be coming in for a few days as well.  This will truly be a traditional Thanksgiving at our house this year....except, we plan a meal of beef instead of turkey.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sound Bites

Instant information, instant gratification, pervasive electronic resources -- they all lead to life lived in sound bites.  Have you ever noticed that people only listen long enough to hear what they want to hear?  It happens in one-on-one personal communication, it happens when an e-mail contains more than one topic, it happens in news stories and it happens when I post something on Facebook or on this blog.  The focus of attention only lasts until a previously held belief is either confirmed or challenged.  That fact becomes obvious in the comments.

Politicians and news commentators are well aware of this.  They speak in sound bites.  They want brief phrases that are complete thoughts -- self-contained.  Stringing together a cohesive chain of reasoning in order to build a complete thought is ineffective because attention spans are short.

Why do we have such a short attention span?  I think it is because the American culture is one of instant reward/instant gratification.  Very few know how to work in a sustained manner to achieve a goal anymore.  Is it because everything we could ever want is at our fingertips for the asking?

I don't have an answer.  I suspect that our educational system is partly to blame.  After all, most tests are True/False or Select the correct answer.  Essay answers are almost unheard of because, I would guess, it requires a lot more work on the part of the teacher and is more subjective in nature.  Instant answers are the norm.  Because the material will be tested as instant answers it is often taught in sound bites.  Have you ever heard a teacher say, "You may see this again?"  It is a clue that the sound bite you last heard will probably be on the exam.

Do we not teach reasoning skills because of laziness?  I'm sure if any educators read this they will take exception to my comments.  In reality, I am just wondering -- speculating.  I don't know the answer.  But, I will admit it is difficult to stay with this train of thought for very long.

Who do you think will win the big football game today?

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Coalition of Minorities

As I have thought over the past few years of the success of the Democratic Party in this country in winning elections, I have been befuddled by their ability to win with an economic policy that is so clearly Socialist in nature.  With the failure of Socialism to maintain healthy economies within the countries where they have ascended to power it should seem clear that the policies are those of failure.  So, why then do they continue to garner support?

I have come to the conclusion that it is simply this:  They have learned to offer to minority groups that which is nearest and dearest to them in order to gain their vote. 

If you examine the makeup of the Democratic Party I think you will find, not a cross-section of the U.S. population, but a disproportionate representation of minority interest groups.  By exploiting the "hot button issues" of these groups, the Socialists have retained power, and in fact grown their power base, by encouraging aberrant behavior that leads to more minority groups they can represent.

The single largest coalescent group in America, the hard-working Judeo-Christian middle class, is losing power simply because it is outnumbered by this coalition of minority groups.  This group was once called the silent majority.  The problem is now that their silence and willingness to embrace a diversification of beliefs and cultures -- their willingness to give a chance to the disaffected -- has allowed for the rise to power of those who would exploit the weaknesses in the human character by appealing not to higher instincts, but to the lowest common denominator of the disaffected groups.

The result will ultimately be the demise of this country as we know it.