Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistWhen is the last time you read the Declaration of Independence?
It is such a great and historic document that many of us actually get “goose bumps” when we read it. The men who wrote and signed this document were no “shrinking violets.” They knew that once this document was published the King of England would react with brute force to compel the colonists to submit to his will.
The Revolutionary War proved King George wrong. Americans were cut out of a different cloth than what he had expected. Freedom to form their own government and control their own destiny were powerful forces at work that would eventually lead to the formation of what is now the United States of America.
The Declaration of Independence was the starting point, an event that we celebrate every July 4th. The men who signed this Declaration knew that what they were doing was going to cause serious trouble not only for themselves, but for their fellow Americans. If you read this document carefully, you learn quickly that Ben Franklin, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, and others, meant business. There are no ambiguities in this document. There was no room for King George to misinterpret what was said. America was declaring its independence from England, and these uncommon men were willing to stand and fight for their God-given rights.
I am always impressed with these men’s reliance on a Divine Being. “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Natures’ God entitle them, a descent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which compel them to the separation.”
The Declaration of Independence leaves no doubt that King George was grossly incompetent, out of touch with reality, or on an ego trip that was sure to lead to war. I am amazed that some of the things the colonists complained about are some of the same things we are complaining about today.
Our elected representatives are either incompetent, out of touch with reality, or they are indifferent to the will of the people.
For example, 68 percent of the American people think that Obamacare should be rescinded. Contained within this disastrous bill are 23 new taxes that were imposed in the dead of night by the Democrat Party. Not one conservative or one Republican voted for this “train wreck.” Contained within the Declaration of Independence is this complaint: “For imposing taxes on us without our consent.”
In the last four years, we have seen the federal government grow exponentially. The IRS, for example, has hired 16,000 new officials to make sure that Obamacare is enforced and to punish those citizens who do not meet the letter of the law. So what complaints are listed in the Declaration of Independence concerning the growth of government? “He has erected a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.” Does this sound familiar?
Our “out of touch” congress has imposed Obamacare which will cause health insurance premiums to rise astronomically. In some states, the cost for a family of four will be near $20,000. Young people, by far the healthiest group of citizens, will be forced to pay these ridiculously high prices for health insurance in order to bring down the cost of insurance for the elderly and the chronically disabled. The facts are that the young, those 40 or less, have very few medical bills (about $840 per year) while the elderly need more services. Is this fair? Does this not take food off of young people’s table? Does this not “eat out their substance?”
The men who wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence were honorable men – men who did not waste their time trying to trick their fellow citizens like Senator Marco Rubio did with the immigration bill or like Tennessee’s Bob Corker. Both of these men are “bait and switch” artists who shrink in comparison to those who signed the Declaration of Independence.
Our founding fathers were honorable men with powerful intellects. They also had intestinal fortitude that makes some of our present day politicians look like circus “scam” artists. Had the British laid hands on any one of them, the hangman would have had a field day. The Declaration concludes with this passage: “And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
These were real men. Perhaps our modern day politicians would take courage from reading or re-reading the Declaration of Independence.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorI was laid out across the floor, looking up at the ceiling.
My arm was actually about to fall asleep as I continued to wait for permission to get up. Feeling my arm slowly going numb, I turned on my side to move off my arm.
My daughter Elsie came running from around her toy chest, heading toward me.
“No, no, no,” she said, waving her finger at me.
Then she took her little hand and shoved my arm back down on the blanket she had prepared for me.
It was still “nap time,” and I was not allowed to move.
This was the routine I followed for about ten minutes the other day as I played with my little girl in her room. My husband Jason had taken our son James outside to work in the yard.
So, it was “girl time” inside as Elsie and I jumped from one activity to the next in her room.
I must admit, it wasn’t just a typical play day. This time, I really watched Elsie with all her facial expressions, mannerisms and actions. It was something else to see my baby girl’s unique personality starting to develop.
The afternoon started with rolling a blanket out across the floor. She pointed to it, instructing me that it was time for my nap.
As I sprawled out across the floor, she patted my back and put her tiny finger to her mouth.
“Sshhhh,” she said, turning on the night light.
I had to “nap” for ten minutes before she turned the night light off and shook me awake.
Then it was time for her tea party. We had a small table, complete with a Cinderella tea pot, four mismatched tea cups, a sugar bowl shaped like a heart and a plate of plastic cupcakes.
Elsie took a seat and grabbed the tea pot that began to make all kinds of noises and trumpet sounds, letting her know the tea was done.
She kept her head low but shot her eyes up at me. She then raised her eyebrow and grinned to the left.
“Get ready,” she seemed to say, as she began to pour the tea out.
We drank about 20 cups of tea in that one sitting. Making slurping sounds and biting on plastic desserts, it was the most sophisticated tea party I had been to in a while.
From there, it was on to take care of our many babies. Elsie had about six of her most prized baby dolls inside a small wooden crib.
Grabbing each one, she placed a bottle up to the doll’s mouth and fed her. It was the bottles that look like they are filled with milk only to disappear when you turn it upside down.
Elsie then “burped” each one before placing them inside their crib and covering them up with a blanket.
As the babies slept, Elsie decided it was time to start on supper. Heading over to her kitchen set, she prepared a first-class meal: spaghetti with peas, topped with a chicken drumstick.
She placed the plate in front of me until she saw that I tried every single thing on my plate.
Then, of course, it was time for tea again.
Our play date continued until the boys returned. At that point, Elsie left behind her baby dolls, tea set and kitchen to find her big brother.
My little princess had been replaced with a rough tomboy who managed to sneak in a wrestling match and race car race in all before bedtime.
Putting her toys away that night for her, I began to smile. I will long for those play days again one day.
And I will appreciate and love every one of them.
It’s those days that matter. The days when the entire world can be visited in a child’s bedroom. When a tea party is the best invite you can receive. When a plastic baby becomes your top priority.
When a dining table covered with a sheet takes me away to the caves of a faraway kingdom. When a plastic pool becomes the raging waters of a river.
Those are the days I will long for when my children aren’t in the mood to play with Mommy anymore. One day I will want those moments back.
But until then, I say pour the tea. Line up the race cars. And let the wrestling matches begin.
Time will one day take those moments away. And it seems that children are the ones who know how to play the game of time beautifully.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorI felt like I had been involved with the workings of a miracle when I was finally able to throw my crutches back into the closet.
After hobbling around town on two crutches as my foot healed from torn ligaments, I felt like doing a Riverdance right in the middle of Main Street when I was finally able to walk again.
Granted, I had a slight limp for a few days. But things were starting to look up for me. Believe it or now, after sitting in a recliner for two weeks, I was ready to get back to my motherly, wifey, part-time homemaker duties.
That sink of dirty dishes was calling my name. Those loads of laundry needed me. The unmade beds were beckoning me back. And my family was ready for me. (At least I thought they were).
The first day that I was able to actually walk back into my home with no assistance didn’t go the way that I had planned. With no crutch, chair or cane by my side...I proudly walked into my kitchen, eager to show off my independence.
Our son James was standing in the kitchen, holding onto a pack of Toy Story fruit snacks.
“See, my foot is better, and I can walk again,” I told him, pointing to my foot. “Things will finally get back to normal around here. Momma is back.”
At that moment, James dropped his snacks and threw his hands over his face...breaking into tears. In the distance, I heard our little girl Elsie crack a few sniffles.
I expected a high five, a bear hug. I wanted a shredded paper parade, an announcement. I thought the idea of Momma getting the house back in shape (and order) would be welcomed.
Instead I had a son with an emotional collapse in front of me. Elsie actually ran up to my husband Jason with her arms extended.
Was I really that bad? But then it dawned on me. The reign of the children was over, done...finished.
Those two kids had taken total advantage of their father was I was chained to the recliner of recovery. There were a few times Jason seemed to be on the verge of running into the woods with his hands in the air, calling out into the distance like a wild animal.
The past two weeks have been structured...but on the terms of a five year old and a two year old.
Bedtimes were not strictly enforced. A few tears, another request for milk, a sudden “tummy ache” and a lost pacifier kept those two out of bed two hours past normal. Trying to fulfill so many requests left Jason exhausted.
Meal times were ignored. Spaghetti and meatballs were replaced with Pop Tarts and yogurt. Healthy apples slices were exchanged for Butterfingers and Oreos.
Daddy’s firm talks now consisted of tickle sessions. Jason claims he can’t discipline “his little girl” because of the way she looks at him. So, for the past 14 days...she has been tickled instead. Her tantrums would lead to belly tickles.
James has gone to school looking like someone forgot to comb his hair. Elsie’s clothes didn’t match a single day.
James’ hair may have been a problem, but Elsie’s remains an unsolved mystery. Jason still insists that a little girl’s pigtails require an engineering degree.
So, naturally, I thought the (almost insane) order I bring to the table would be welcomed.
That was not the case.
The kids are dragging their feet a little, but they are adjusting back to the real world.
They are now in bed on time. Snacks come after supper. Time outs have returned. Clothes now match. And pigtails are back.
I thought I would forever be labeled as the “bad guy” while Jason assumed the “fun guy” role. It might still be the case, but I wear that title with honor.
It’s fine to have those fun, crazy times. But there has to be some order or things go wild. There has to be that Mommy touch.
I snicker about the kids’ reaction when they realized I was back in the swing of things.
But there was one perk to my return.
Jason gave me a hug, followed by a sly grin and a high five when he saw me prancing around like normal.
“I’m glad you’re back,” he said. “It got crazy around here for a minute.”
“It wasn’t that bad,” I reply.
And as Jason makes his way out of the room, I throw away the stash of candy I found under a certain child’s bed.
Yep, Momma’s back.
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistThe experts tell us that the Information Age began sometime in 1964. That is when we began to use computers to store and process data. But apparently when the computer began to think for us, common sense went out the window.
Take for example the military. We have a commander-in-chief who never served a day in the military and the most influential leaders in the Senate are Barbara Boxer, a true California Democrat liberal, and Diane Feinstein, another California Democrat liberal who, it seems, has as her mission the destruction of our military.
Now there are others in the Democrat Party who have as much disdain for the military as these two senators, but they don’t seem to be as vocal or as irrational as these two.
If you have been reading the newspapers or watching the news, you have no doubt seen stories about “sexual abuse” in the military. Not only that, but you read about the high number of pregnancies that occur aboard Navy ships, and the Admirals and Generals are blamed because they “do not have control of their men and women in uniform.”
Let me assure you that I am against the “sexual abuse” of women.
As a Southern Gentlemen reared by Christian parents, I was taught to respect and honor women. One of the four spankings I received as a child from dad was when my mother had the women of the Missionary Society over and I “showed off” in front of these dear ladies.
When my mother informed my dad of my inability to control myself in front of the fairer sex, he made a short trip to the peach tree, and when he returned, I experienced a lesson in how to behave – especially in front of women.
It was a lesson well taught. I remember that experience today, and every time I have the impulse to do something untoward, I remember the “showing off” lesson.
But back to commonsense. We live in a “politically correct” world. Gov. Phil Bryant found out what speaking the truth could do for you with the press when he said that when women started working outside the home and putting the children in day care, that marked the beginning of some of our educational problems.
Well, that is a true statement. Most ministers and psychologists I have heard believe that it is better for the child if mom is at home nurturing him and instilling confidence. The sad truth is that many moms would like to stay home with the children, but in order to make ends meet and maintain a reasonable standard of living, they must work outside the home.
This is a modern-day fact of life. But the governor was at least partially correct, and his critics are so “politically correct” that they remind me of clueless California Democrats or worse, Senator Chuck Shumer of New York.
“Women in the military” is a modern concept totally bereft of any research which would demonstrate that they are warriors. For most of human history, man was the hunter and women maintained the dwelling and raised the children. If war occurred between tribes, the victorious tribe raped and killed the women or worse, made slaves of them.
But there is another factor to be considered. That is the boy/girl factor. What happens when young people of the opposite sex are thrown together? Emotions begin to take over, and common sense goes out the window.
This is as natural as the sun rising in the east. No wonder we have a large number of pregnancies aboard naval vessels. What do the Democrats expect? When you have young physically fit people blended together, things happen, and no Admiral or Commanding General is going to stop that. Who among us is more powerful than nature?
None, and you can bet the farm on that.
Liberalism has brought us to the sad state we are in today. We have a disengaged President who is willing to impede our military’s effectiveness, and we have liberal Democrat women in the Senate and House who have no idea what they are doing. Social experimentation is the order of the day, and anyone with common sense knows what the outcome of these misguided experiments against nature will be.
We now have a “politically correct” military with “politically correct” officers in command. What will happen when we are attacked by a power that is not “politically correct?” Unfortunately, we are being led by people who have no common sense or no basic understanding of human nature.
The results of their actions cannot be a force for good.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorThis weekend will mark a grand celebration of many men throughout the land.
Grills will fire up, gifts will be exchanged, cards will be mailed and phone calls will be made to all the fathers, grandfathers, uncles and others for Father’s Day.
Many will also get a chance to relax for their one day of recognition. The tools can be put away. The “honey-do” lists can be filed. This will be a day of spoils (hopefully) for many.
Although my own father wasn’t around much after my parents divorced, I was blessed to have a grandfather in my life who filled the role perfectly.
He may not have been my “father,” but he was the next best thing. And I wouldn’t exchange him or his life lessons for anything.
You know how many children put their father on that pedestal, making them larger than life? My Paw Paw was that man, my hero.
I thought he was the strongest, toughest yet sweetest soul I had ever encountered.
As I looked over his Army uniform and photographs of his service in World War II, I truly thought he was a hero that you only see in movies. To me, Paw Paw was bigger than John Wayne and all those other tough guys I watched on the television.
Complete with a pipe and overalls, he was a country farm boy who worked hard, played hard. He was a rare breed. And he was mine.
I will never forget the day when Paw Paw was told that a tumor on his spine would cripple him for the rest of his life. The strong man that I use to bend my head back to look up at would be in a wheelchair, almost down to my level.
But watching his journey through a child’s eyes I feel molded me into the adult I have become. He never complained, never asked for help. He was independent, almost stubborn.
Instead he made jokes, at his own expense sometimes. He taught me that laughter is the best medicine. And at time, it’s the only weapon we have.
It would have been easy for Paw Paw to become bitter and give up. But he remained solid and strong. He remained my hero.
He was the man who hugged me every morning when I woke up, and he kissed me and said a prayer with me every night when I went to sleep.
He was my co-pilot in hundreds of games and make-believe scenes. He could sport a Easter hat for a tea party and a helmet for a police chase.
He was my partner in crime, landing in the hot seat just as much as me. And he never snitched on me, not once in my entire life.
He was always in my corner, the only one at times.
He taught me to be loyal and honest, to say what you mean and do what you say. He gave the gift of gab, tall tales and elaborate fables.
He taught me to never blame people’s actions for your mistakes. Don’t use things as an excuse. Come out on top and do the best you can. In the end, you will be winner.
But most importantly, he showed me love. There was never a doubt about it. When I laid my head down on my pillow every night, I knew I was loved. I knew I was somebody’s “little girl.”
Paw Paw died when I was 13 years old, and not a day passes that I don’t mention his name. Whether it be a funny story or a one-liner, James Jackson is a regular name in our household.
I even named my own son after him, a tribute and a sign of thanks for the man who stepped up to the plate for me.
He could have stood back and watched me go, hoping for the best. But he stood beside me, and his spirit remains there to this day.
Happy Father’s Day, Paw Paw.