Monday, December 22, 2014

Hi-Ho Silver Bells




Of Christmas
(by R.P.Edwards

Christmas at
Its smallest part
Is a child's faith
And a Father's 
heart


I had originally titled it, "Hi Ho Silver-bells," but the St Louis Post Dispatch gave it the moniker shown below. The year was 1998 and the powers that be at said periodical were kind enough to print the story on Christmas Day. I was grateful then. I'm grateful now. 

It's a true story; an episode in this writer's life and, if I'm not mistaken, it was 1994. What brought it to mind is that in the recent searching for "something" else (how often does this happen?) I ran across an item I wasn't searching for...a copy of this story. Being reacquainted with the words and the memories I thought perhaps new eyes and hearts might find encouragement in the lines. So, in this festive season for most, and especially for those whose spirits are on a more somber plane...here is a simple gift. Please enjoy; find encouragement; and may God richly bless you and yours this holiday season...and beyond.


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Christmas Joy from a 2-bit pony ride
(by Robert P. Edwards)

There we were, my two-year-old daughter and I, the day before Christmas, crammed into a department store lobby. All around us the last minute, "Gotta buy it! Gotta buy something...even if I have to run over YOU to do it!" yuletide feeding frenzy swirled and pressed relentlessly against us. For some reason I had been sent out for a last minute do-dad and, having weathered the maddening isles and the raucous registers, we had nearly escaped when the dark-colored, "I know your kid will see me," plastic pony beckoned my innocent miniature. And I, being the obedient parental "sucker," proceeded to feed the merry-go-round thoroughbred its costly race horse fodder...2 bits.

Christmas. Memories include lying in bed, early 25th. I, a mere tot, excitedly waiting for reveille. I didn't want to catch Santa in the act, so I waited...and waited. Then, as was our family custom, breakfast had to be eaten before presents were orderly distributed and shucked.

I remember the night before...Christmas Eve. We would sleepily (the kids anyway) attend "Midnight Mass." None of that "day before" stuff. If you were going to church on "Christmas," well, by golly, its going to be on Christmas proper! After the service Mom and Pop would allow us to open our "hung by the chimney with care" stockings. Among the interesting trinkets contained therein I could always count on finding a variety of chocolate. My favorites were the "Bells." Real milk chocolate, mind you; not that imitation "waxy" junk. And a netted bag of gold-foil coins.

But, that was years ago. Now I was "Pop" and, although "money" is theoretically not the point, it seems to always come down to the "green." And this particular year...there was precious little. I won't go into the gory details, but two weeks before the big day, a collection agency that we thought we had appeased, informed us, with all the delicate charm of a Great White Shark, that they were in the process of litigation. This all happened just as our, "When it gets here we'll buy presents" check from mom and pop arrived. We dutifully turned around and sent our Christmas money to Ebenezer. Despair ruled.

So, there we were. In my arms, my precious Katrina. She, who with childhood innocence was oblivious to the life-draining maelstrom that gripped her father. And, although the "Christmas Spirit" seemed to dance all about, I viewed it with the eyes of a foreigner, an outcast, a prisoner looking through iron bars. Too many years of always being behind. Too many years of seeing my spouse travail, and even weep, over finances. Too many years of relying on the charity of others. Too many years.

"Maybe I can't give you everything...but I can give you this." 

Gently, I placed my darling on her waiting noble steed. She joyfully gripped the reins and bid him go. And, with the drop of the coin...she was off!

Then, and I'm not exactly sure how, but something amazing happened. For, you see, out of this arcade animal came not the short-lived tinny tune--a ten second loop with a 30 second life span--that I expected. But rather, from this fiberglass filly poured a beautiful rendition of the William Tell Overture, or, as we laymen say, "The Lone Ranger theme."

On and on it played; the graceful mount with the beautiful girl. Music and laughter in wonderful, glorious harmony. And, as I stood there amazed; I, who moments before was cloaked in the weighted garment of depression; I, the thirty-something failure in pursuit of normalcy...I felt a quickening. It was as if the death-mask I wore was being slowly chipped away by each liberating note. And, by the time the lengthy chorus was completed, I too had joined my ascending eaglet in her flight far above the tempest.

Well, it's been a few years. The horse is gone and our financial state has improved. But, even in the months that followed, when the quarter was dropped with child aloft...it was never the same. Indeed, it became what I first expected. 

So...what had happened on that special Christmas Eve? What had occurred that made this dead man live again? Believe what you may, but I think it was nothing less than a divine intervention...a gift, if you will, from the one who was born to bear our burdens; from the one who offers hope to the hopeless, and rest to the weary.

So..to Him, my Savior, on this blessed occasion, I say, "Happy Birthday!" And to all others I say, "Merry Christmas! Peace and prosperity be yours. And in all your pursuits; in all your endeavors; may you always remember the greatest gift that was given to human-kind...the gift given on that first Christmas Day!"

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Belated Pearl Harbor Day





The Stone
(by R.P.Edwards)

Names
At first
With meaning
Mourned 
And grieved 
As loved ones
Lost
But time
Removes
The tie
Of skin
And blunts
The awful 
Cost


Most of my "Pearl Harbor" day was spent at work. So, what should have been published on the 7th, is now assigned to 8.

Nothing new here. The farther from the conflict, the sacrifice, the pain; the more blurred the lines. There are few World War IIers left. And, the "values" of that generation are also weakening.

Enough said. Following is a song written with the Greatest Generation in mind. Rather long, but there's a lot to say.



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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

John Kasich and me





Of Captains
(by R.P.Edwards)

At the helm
A steady hand
The course determined
The purpose planned
The thoughtful captain
Tested, sure
Years in training
Purged
And pure
Then storms, they threaten!
The weaker wail!
Those unfamiliar
With wind and sail
The bowing mast!
The creaking deck!
The novice screams
Of reef...and wreck!
But the captain knows
The end's the thing
And to the tempest
Whispers, "bring"
Then face like flint
He parts the waves
And those who'd rule
He makes them slaves
 On and on
Through valleys deep
From crest to crest
No rest!
No sleep!
He guides the ship
To distant land
Where those below
Can safely stand
And as the plank
Is pushed and placed
The battle's clamor
Gone, erased
A precious few
Will turn and wave
A thanks to him
Whose wisdom saved
But most go on
 In selfish more
Until their need
For "tested...sure"


"Who's your governor?" A simple question asked of a couple fast-food friendlies who were fetching some much needed coffee in a post midnight hour. We (the "six;" a number that made "flying" [the preferred mode of transportation] a bit too pricey] were well on our way to the nutmeg state and I, the primary driver, needed some liquid stimulant. I knew we were in Ohio and, being a John Kasich fan, I thought I'd test the knowledge of these fine and faithful young men. They hadn't a clue.

Oh, I don't blame them. At their age I wasn't nearly as tuned into the boring world of politics. But, seeing how the proper "captain" at the helm can steer a state into solvency, Governor Kasich's name came to mind and, the mouth (to the consternation of the graveyard shift) followed.

Just a thought about the coming election. That is: the "choosing" of the next chief executive. I hope we've all learned that experience governing is a must. Sure, I believe a different prior position can produce a memorable offspring (Lincoln comes to mind), but, "governors" know how to, frankly, govern. Therefore, let "We the People" wisely think along these lines when the contestants line up. Kasich? Yes. Christie? Yes. Huckabee? Yes! (my choice). Jindal, Walker, Brownback? Yes, yes, yes! And the list goes on.

And to the Senators of the conservative ilk which speak well and inspire much, to these I would suggest the second position of Vice President. It's a place (although we rarely say it), for the not quite ready...to become ready. Something to think about, inspired by a long trip. A few more musings may follow.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

American Heresy




Scripture Roulette
(by R.P.Edwards)

By using Scripture
Pick and choose
You win your point
And then...you lose


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
(Proverbs 9:10)


It had been hinted at, leaked, suggested, implied, and now it was here...the President's predicted slap in the face to the newly elected Republican majority (albeit not yet in place). It was the announcement of the forthcoming executive order that would "free" a people who, as some say, "now live in the shadows." Following is the text: 

My fellow Americans, as your president it is my sworn duty to uphold the laws of the land and to defend the constitution. I take this responsibility very seriously and, in this regard, I am keenly aware that sometimes, in our Republic--for we ARE a Republic, where the PEOPLE elect representatives to stand in their stead in the halls of power--I am aware that this system; this most enviable form of government, has, built in, checks and balances and procedures that often delay needful legislation, sometimes indefinitely. Therefore, I have decided to act alone in an area that cries out for remedy. It is, and has been, a grievous cancer in our body politic and, left unresolved, left UNREMOVED, it will continue to grow, and fester, and infect, until this great compassionate nation--this bastion of freedom!--sickens to the point of no return.

Therefore, understanding the underlying premise of the Supreme Court ruling in 1973--that is: that the Justices of that day, due to the limits of science at the time, were not able to conclusively verify when human life begins--these then handed down a ruling that  made "constitutional" the right to kill the "thing" in a pregnant mother's womb; which has resulted in abortion on demand and the subsequent death of multiplied millions. Now, forty-one years later and, seeing how science has proved conclusively that human life begins at conception and, since the wheels of government needed to reverse the previous ruling will be slow in coming, I have decided, by executive order, to issue an emancipation proclamation to free these "citizens" who are the most vulnerable among us. Therefore, immediately upon pen to paper federal marshals will be sent, nation wide, to close every abortuary in the land.


[following the President's address a call for impeachment began to well up from the democratic ranks]
__________

The president recently gave an eloquent speech concerning his decision to bypass congress on the issue of illegal immigrants; thus taking the law into his own hands. Again, as many have said, it's not the result, but the process. He IS NOT a king! And to act as such, no matter how laudable the motives, is tantamount to American heresy. And, to then use scripture to back up his "claim" (Exodus 22:21), while totally ignoring the Bible's clear instruction as to his other missteps (i.e. abortion, gay marriage) well, that is to invite a "divine" impeachment. Truly, the fear of the Lord IS the beginning of wisdom. Sadly, that fear seems very far...from the executive. We will continue to pray for him.

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Just added this. Why? Made me laugh. Needful in the trenches (from time to time).



 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Our Fight




Our Fight
(by R.P.Edwards)

As they have fought
To keep us free
Let us defend
Their bended knee




While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.

 George Washington


Veterans Day. From the restaurant window I saw fire fighters atop their truck, pausing at each light post to place a flag; preparation, no doubt, for the ensuing parade. I waved as they passed. They waved back.

As I've written somewhere, I'm a veteran of sorts. No, not the battle tested kind. But one of those "peacetime" occupiers. Truly, the only real danger I faced in my troubled youth was of my own design.      Long ago.

Anyway, my thoughts on this day are not so much on the sacrifice of the many (of which I am thankful and, if the reader has a few minutes, the above song speaks at length of the WWII generation), but more on how in recent years the "separation sickness" that was birthed in and has now moved beyond academia; beyond courts and congresses and classrooms; of how it even now infects those needful military institutions that would bid our young men and women willingly sacrifice themselves even unto death, but, at the same time, the divine connection that molds and makes them more than just good soldiers, but makes them...GOOD soldiers; this, my friend, is forbidden.

So, my thinking is...it's time for "us" to fight. It's time for "we" civilians to come to "their" defense. For, this damnable, godless tide that wreaks and has wreaked havoc in our society needs to be battled back before our military; the defender of all...loses its very soul.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Of Pumpkins, Politics, and Pizza





Post Election
(by R.P.Edwards)

No more placards
No more ads
No more telling
Good and Bad
No more phone calls
Robo breath
No more polls
 To plumb the depth
No more frenzy
In the press
Searching, trying 
To undress
No more hoping
To retain
No more taxing
Of the brain
Enough, Enough!
Election speak!
Enough, Enough!
It's rest we seek!
The race is over
At an end
But very soon
We start again.


A couple days since the midterms and the color change (i.e. Blue to Red). Happy to see it. Not somersault happy, but maybe a smile with teeth happy.  

Harry Reid, no longer obstructing. We'll finally get some "Bills" on the way to the Chief executives desk and, with less of a pulpit, perhaps the voices that preach immorality...will be softened.

And, on that note; I did indeed NOT cast my vote for the Republican contestant in the Illinois Governor race. The Libertarian said he was pro-life, and it earned him my vote. However, I certainly am glad Mr. Quinn is heading for retirement. It's rather refreshing to have a governor go...without stopping for a stint in the pen.

And, as for the title; the picture is the home-made (can you tell?) sign screwed into my front porch. The pumpkins are the decaying remnants of Halloween past; and the pizza? Well, that's what I was munching on when I began this blog in earnest.

Heard a rather humorous song on the Glenn Beck show yesterday. Following is a link (don't know how long it will last.) Made me laugh. 



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Monday, November 3, 2014

Vote!!!!!



Neglect
(by R.P.Edwards)

Evil lies
Within the eyes
Of those 
Who do not do
 By their neglect
They genuflect
To enemies
Of true
Their slack of hand
Both woman, man
Invites corruptions' reign
So souls arise!
Your sloth despise!
Repent and start...again! 


Alright, alright, the last word of the opening poem (again) must be read as if enunciated by Henry Higgins of My Fair Lady fame; as in "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain."

Anyway, it is election eve and I'll probably spend part of this night looking at the particulars of the candidates I will have the opportunity to support...or not...tomorrow.  If the reader has been enduring my previous posts you know that I begin with the "God Issues" and work out from there. Pro-life? Check. Pro-Israel? Check. Pro-traditional marriage? Check. Then, all things being equal (which will be a rare occurrence, indeed)  we'll look at the lesser motivators. 

And so, as the opening poem alludes, "neglecting" to vote...is to vote. So, come morning (or afternoon) whatever your political stripe...get off your padded place and toddle to the blood-bought booth. Cast your vote. And, with the tallying there will be reason for celebration...or sadness. I just hope my fellow "believers" decide to take a stand and take on--for the sake of a dying America--the attributes that will help revive and renew. I.e. Salt...and light.

For your enjoyment; the aforementioned scene from My Fair Lady



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