Jamie Patterson Managing EditorOur son James has really started talking to himself a lot lately.
It’s not that he is playing or greeting an imaginary friend. It usually follows after I give him instructions to do something he really isn’t too excited about doing.
“What did you say,” I asked, after hearing a few grumbles and sighs.
“I was talking to myself,” he responded, looking down.
Not until I had children of my own did I fully realize the sensitive hearing of mothers. My hearing has reached new horizons along the lines of a bat or dolphin. Similar to their advanced sonar system, I hear everything.
So it doesn’t take very much for me to hear these “private” conversations James has with himself.
My grandmother had the best hearing even though she wore two hearing aids and claimed to be deaf. Growing up, I had to almost holler at her for her to be able to hear me.
“Maw Maw, I’m going outside,” I said, running out the screen door.
“Do what,” she asked, from the laundry room.
Throwing my bicycle down on the gravel driveway, I would huff and puff as I ran back inside to repeat myself.
Now mind you, this same elderly lady who claimed to be hard of hearing could hear you whisper in another state if the conversation revolved around her.
My cousin and I would be playing in my room. Upset about having to eat our vegetables or take out the trash, we would vent about Maw Maw. I can remember one time my cousin said Maw Maw was “stupid.”
Within seconds, I could hear the skillet fall (more like slam) into the sink. Maw Maw’s footsteps would shake the entire house as she made her way down the long hallway to my bedroom.
In the distance I could hear the dog being kicked out of the way and my Paw Paw saying a prayer.
There were times I debated even jumping out the window. But Maw Maw would enter that room with such gusto and strength that I would be frozen with fear.
That one smart comment about her resulted in a switching and a firm talk.
After the battle was over, she would return to the kitchen as if nothing has happened.
It would baffle my cousin and me for years about Maw Maw’s selective hearing.
Sitting in church, Maw Maw disrupted the entire ladies pew when her hearing aid began buzzing. That ringing sounded like the bell chapels of the Notre Dame cathedral. Dogs were howling in the yard. The choir seemed to pitch the hymnal based on her device’s hum.
And Maw Maw never noticed.
People would speak to her, and she couldn’t hear them. It was quite the talk of the church when it appeared as if Maw Maw ignored the preacher’s wife’s comment about her dress.
Maw Maw was stone deaf that morning in church.
Sitting a few pews back with the other children, my cousin and I started whispering about how ridiculous our aunt looked in a new hat she bought for the special homecoming service.
It looked like a giant armadillo with a tail for a sash hanging down the back of it.
As we quietly giggled about the massive hat, we never saw Maw Maw heading back our way.
With such sheer force, her large hips broke in between us like the parting of the Red Sea. That was her way of letting us know that it was time to be seen and not heard. She even sat on my cousin’s hand that would later turn blue because she couldn’t hear him asking her to get up for a second.
Once again, the same lady who couldn’t hear anything all of a sudden heard us cutting up in the back pew.
I think I am slowly developing that same condition. I can’t hear James hollering at me from the kitchen. But the second he grumbles a remark, I can hear it perfectly.
“I don’t know where he gets it from,” I said to Jason, during a rant in the kitchen. “Then he tells me he was talking to himself. I know good and well, he was being smart.”
Looking down, Jason begins to mumble.
“What,” I asked, throwing my dish rag in the sink.
“Huh,” he asked. “Oh, nothing. I was just talking to myself.”
Daniel Gardner Guest ColumnistNinety percent of American voters have already decided who they’ll vote for in November and are unlikely to change their minds. That leaves the other 10-percent who are steadfastly ignoring three rings of political theater trying to attract their votes. We’ll see little if any movement in the polls among these independents until probably late September.
In the meantime TEA Parties will be cranking up the volume with regularly scheduled meetings to inform voters of candidates’ positions, and tons of postings on social media sites extolling the virtues of returning to constitutional governance. Though these messages are uniformly conservative, they’re not necessarily Republican, as we’ve seen in elections since 2010.
Independents in general and TEA Partiers in particular are fed up with Washington politics and blame both parties for leading us down a path of big government. Our nation was uniquely founded on principles designed specifically to limit the powers of the federal government. Founders forged limits creating three equal branches of government that would check and balance powers to prohibit any one branch from usurping unconstitutional powers, and then gave all other powers to the states and the people.
At a five-state press association meeting last week, in response to a question about radicalization of TEA Parties, I laughed as I said most TEA Parties I’ve attended were comprised of relatively small groups of people (50 – 100) averaging over 50 years of age, serving coffee and cookies as they discussed politics. And, the media are still painting these grandparents as radical extremists!
Independents know what we don’t want: more of the same out of Washington. That gives Mitt Romney a slight edge if he’ll tell us more specifically what he plans to do. So far the Romney campaign has been playing prevent defense, trying not to lose the election by making gaffs. After the Roberts’ court ruled Obamacare was filled with taxes, the Romney team brushed aside the gift and actually agreed with President Obama that the mandate was not a tax but a penalty…before coming out and saying it wasn’t a penalty but a tax.
In 2008 many of us independents voted against Barack Obama. If Mitt Romney can’t get his act together any better than this we’ll have to vote against Mr. Obama again hoping someone with real Founding principles will rise up in 2016 because four more years of Mr. Obama’s policies and unconstitutional grabs for power will crush our economy and fuel class warfare to the boiling point.
Mr. Obama talks about “rich” Americans paying their fair share of taxes? What is “fair?” The Congressional Budget Office reports the top 20-percent of taxpayers pay 86-percent of all income tax revenue. Under Ronald Reagan that percentage was 64- percent, and when George W. Bush entered office it was 81-percent. So much for the so-called Bush tax cuts!
Independents who make up the lion’s share of swing voters will likely decide November’s election in six or eight toss up states. None of us want more of the same out of Washington, and that’s all President Obama has promised so far. If Mr. Romney wants to win in November he needs to send a clear message of what changes he intends to make.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorI am brushing up on my knowledge of playground politics with our son James.
When I pick him up from daycare during the week, I take a few minutes in the car ride home to ask him what he did during the day, who he played with and so forth.
His “best friend” changes almost daily. By the time I remember a name, he has changed his best friend to someone completely different.
The same kid he got into a fight with over a truck will be his buddy again the next morning during breakfast.
His take on girls changes with the wind as well.
“Do you like any girls at school,” I playfully ask him.
“No, I don’t play with girls,” he said. “I tried to today but they told me they don’t play with boys.”
At the dinner table, out of nowhere, he will remind me that he doesn’t like girls. They have “cooties” or “they are mean.” Overall, I just don’t think my little man understands them very well.
He talks with his daddy about them pretty regularly. But, like most boys, he blushes and grins when I start prying a little more.
One day he tells me he has a girlfriend. The next day, he isn’t talking to her.
I have been out of the playground politics for quite some time. So it’s taking me a little longer to get back into the swing of things.
I can recall my first saga of school romance in first grade.
Sitting in the hallway of Monticello Elementary during a routine tornado drill, a small piece of paper was shoved into my hand by my best friend Melissa.
“It’s from Tom,” she said, with a grin.
I unfolded the small piece of paper, and it had a horse drawn on it. I loved horses, and Tom tried his hardest to draw one for me.
The note read: Will you be my girlfriend? Or I guess we can be friends.
Grinning from ear to ear, I wrote “yes” and passed it back down to Tom.
It was official. We were “a couple.”
Tom was a short, stout boy who walked like a bulldog. He had dark brown hair and dimples buried in his cheeks. And he was very country, meaning he wore boots everyday and talked just like his daddy, who was a local farmer.
During lunch, we would sit by each other and talk about what we did in class that day. Tom had a hard time learning his writing exercises, and I didn’t like subtraction tables.
But we both enjoyed our art days. He would draw me a tractor or other farm scene. And I would draw him a frog holding an umbrella.
He would give me his cookies at snack time. And he would even push me in my swing during recess.
I wasn’t allowed to talk on the phone at home after school. But it would make my day to hear Paw Paw telling him I was at the supper table and couldn’t talk to him.
“Who is this Tom boy,” he asked, lighting his pipe one night. “Who’s his bunch?”
“He’s my boyfriend,” I said, with a smile.
Paw Paw would grunt and start grumbling. Maw Maw would smile at the notion of a first grade romance.
We only saw each other at school, but we enjoyed each other companies.
But like James’ fickle relationships, it all changed one day.
I had to finish my music lesson one afternoon and was late getting out to recess. After Mrs. Coleman explained to me for the hundredth time which bar to hit on the xylophone, I darted out to the playground.
It was also snack time when they brought a stand out where you could buy candy bars or chips with the little change your folks sent you to school with that day.
And that is where I saw it all unfold. Tom handed a package of Stage Plank cookies to Samantha.
Samantha was a little girl in the classroom next door to ours. We weren’t friends.
I didn’t really want a Stage Plank, but that wasn’t the point.
I walked right up to Tom and confronted him as Samantha tore into the pink icing, gingerbread snack.
“You’re not my boyfriend anymore,” I said, stomping my foot. “You can go play with Samantha.”
I ran to the swing set alone, but Tom was quickly behind me. He kept telling me he was sorry. But I had made up my mind.
I refused to sit by Tom at lunch. When he passed me a note in class, I threw it under my desk inside the cubby hole under my seat. I told Paw Paw to be mean to him when he called at home. And I refused his cookies, even though I really wanted them.
To be honest, I can’t remember if I ever forgave Tom. But I do know that I remained “single” the rest of the school year.
It was an innocent time that I look back on with a smile. I am taken back there every time James tells me about “his girlfriend.”
I just hope, for his sake, he always gives her his Stage Planks. It can make or break a relationship.
Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistRonald Reagan never referred to Americans as “the masses” or as “the working class.” He never referred to Americans as “subjects.”
Reagan felt that Americans had guaranteed freedoms that made them citizens. Citizens are different from “workers or subjects.” Citizens have choices. They have individual freedoms. Citizens of the United States have a written constitution that guarantees each and every one freedom from an all-powerful, all-intrusive central government.
Reagan fought for these principles and ideals. He understood more than any other president in the modern era how important it was to have a limited central government. Otherwise, the people of this country would live under a “soft tyranny” where everything is controlled by the central government and the individual has little or no freedom.
On Thursday, June 28, 2012, Americans became ‘subjects.” No longer do we have the freedom to spend our money the way we want to spend it. The United States Supreme Court ruled that Americans have to buy health insurance whether or not they want it or need it. This absurd ruling was not based on the commerce clause of the constitution, but on the ability of congress to tax its subjects. Obamacare was declared “constitutional” based on the assumption that congress can tax anything it wants to tax –even behavior. We are now being governed by escapees from the insane asylum,
The Supreme Court ruled that American subjects will now pay the highest tax increase in the history of the world. This has never before happened. Obamacare was sold as healthcare, but in reality, it was simply a tax increase.
Everyone will buy health insurance or pay a fine. To make sure that you pay the fine or buy the insurance, the Internal Revenue Service is at this very moment hiring 16,000 new agents. Healthcare is now going to be enforced by the IRS, a tax collecting agency.
All of us know or have read about some of the things that are contained within this 2700 page Obamacare law. Yes, there will be death panels. Sarah Palin pointed this out soon after Obamacare was passed by the Democrats on Christmas Eve, 2009. If you are a subject who has reached the ripe old age of seventy-five, any treatment for a serious health problem will have to be approved by a “health panel.”
If it is determined that the cost is nominal, then you will receive treatment, perhaps not great treatment, but some treatment. If the cost of treating you is expensive, cancer treatment, for example, the panel will determine if it is “cost effective” to treat you based on your predicted life expectancy. As Obama once told a lady, “It may make more sense to give your mother a pain pill.”
Medical treatment will be rationed, of course. You cannot insure 30 million more people and expect the available doctors, nurses, and hospitals to take care of them. By the way, Obama has just extended amnesty to 1.4 million illegal aliens. Guess who will foot the bill for these people’s healthcare. The producers in this country will have to support those who choose not to work.
Your insurance premiums (taxes) will see a steep rise. Think about this! During a time when the economy is in the tank, you will be required to pay more taxes. More money will be taken out of the private sector. If you cannot purchase an insurance policy, Nancy Pelosi thinks that putting you in jail is a strong incentive to get you to pay up. When is enough enough?
You and I are now subjects, not citizens. We are going to be told what to do and when to do it. If the central government can tax whatever it chooses, then there will be a tax placed on our behaviors. Federal taxes will be placed on soft drinks because they make us fat. We need to eat less beef because it causes heart trouble. A “beef tax” will be implemented. You will be fined for smoking a cigarette or cigar. The list is limitless. Behavior will be taxed, and this was not on the minds of the founding fathers when they wrote the Constitution.
The Supreme Court has just unleashed a demon, a demon which we don’t fully understand, but one we already know we cannot afford. The Congressional Budget Office has already predicted that this Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will cost the treasury a minimum of $1.4 trillion. We are already $16.7 trillion in debt, so you do the math. We are headed for a financial disaster, and no one in Washington has a clue including Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts masqueraded as a conservative, but now we know he is a liberal as the most liberal on the bench.
With this ruling, we can now officially begin calling ourselves subjects of the American government. We can also refer to our peers as “the masses” or “working class.” Comrade Karl Marx would be proud.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorFor the most part, I feel confident in the kitchen.
Now being married to my husband Jason for five years, I have had plenty of time to try a variety of recipes. I was also blessed with a country grandmother who made some of the best dishes around.
Every single recipe from my Maw Maw that I have tried has been a success. Like many grandmothers, she didn’t actually follow a recipe or use actual measurements. But somehow the food was always perfect.
I have mastered my Maw Maw’s chicken pot pie. Most of the time when we have company coming over, I will make this dish because I’m that confident that it will turn out perfect at the end of the evening.
It has become my signature dish at home. And it’s one where Jason might get up for a second helping.
But for some unknown reason, I decided to try a batch of new recipes last week. Determined to exercise more and eat healthier, I cut out the fried foods. I tucked the butter away in the back of the fridge. And I gathered up a variety of classic recipes with a healthy twist on them.
The first one was a smash success. Instead of frying my chicken in fat and oil, I tried a new way with coating the chicken in Corn Flakes and baking it.
Jason looked at me like I was crazy when I told him I rolled the chicken in a bag of cereal.
“Corn Flakes,” he asked, peeping inside the oven. “I don’t know about this.”
An hour later, he was getting his extra piece of chicken from the pan. He actually loved it, and he was also surprised at how it turned out.
Confident that my healthy recipes were already on a roll, I tried another version of slow cooked red beans and rice. Instead of regular sausage, we used turkey sausage.
I kept in a Crock Pot overnight, and the next day after work it was reheated for supper. It didn’t taste bad, but it just wasn’t the same.
I didn’t eat very much, but Jason had a pretty large bowl of the healthy dish.
I would like to tell you that we went to bed full as ticks and happy as can be. But we didn’t.
We spent half the night and the next day recovering from food poisoning. I’m not sure what happened, but with it being the only thing we both ate, the red beans and rice had to be the culprit.
I doubt we will ever eat red beans and rice again.
So that was my first strike with these new “healthy” recipes.
The next one was a healthier version of shrimp and grits. I followed the recipe exactly. I was determined to recover from my food poisoning failure.
Taking a bite, it felt like my nose instantly cleared up. The taste of onions went all the way down to the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t taste shrimp or grits. It was all onions.
I will admit now that I didn’t make myself a bowl. In fact, I grabbed a hot dog out the fridge before Jason came home.
Once he arrived, he sat down to what he thought would be a nice dinner change for our weekend.
He ate it, but he did a lot of stirring it around in his bowl. It’s the same thing I did when I was a kid. If you stir the food all over your plate, it sure does look like you ate it.
But the nail in the coffin for me was when I sat the pot of it outside for our dog. She normally eats anything, but she sniffed it one good time and walked away.
The dog wouldn’t even eat the mess. We rescued our dog from the Dumpsters down the road, so it isn’t like she’s accustomed to only eating gourmet meals.
I sulked around the house for a week. Within three days, I had poisoned my family and made something the dog turned her nose up at.
Had I lost my touch?
I knew it was bad when Jason took over cooking supper. He has cooked three meals so far this week.
But I have a solution. I am slipping my apron back on, and throwing those awful “healthy” recipes in the garbage.
My butter will be back out on the table. Our biscuits will be covered with gravy. And the cast iron skillet is ready for frying.
Jason and I can limit our portions and exercise more to stay healthy. I have a reputation in our home to keep.
But it may take a few more months to serve red beans and rice again.