Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Prescription

(by R.P.Edwards)

Treat the symptoms
That’s our way
The pain
The cough
The chill
But cancer laughs
At our display
For cancer comes
To kill

“Daddy! Daddy! Come quick!”

It was the ten-year-old, Marybeth, darting in and out before the self-closing (rather quickly, I might add) screen door had a chance to cycle.  Homer, “MB’s” Dad, put down his store-bought coffee and--righting the shoulder straps of his brown coveralls--walked away from the kitchen table a little faster than usual.  His daughter’s voice had the sound of fear in it.  Seldom heard; and never…to be ignored.

With the screen door’s sharp thwack behind him he ran to his daughters side as she gently stroked Elsie’s moist brow.  This “Jersey,” a fine milk-producer, had been his child’s idea in the first place.  And, since the Borden mascot was the inspiration, the name was a natural.  “Honey,” he said softly (also stroking the bovines snout) “she’s just calving, that’s all.”

“But, Daddy (the girl, tears now streaming, looked up into her father’s eyes) it’s different this time.  Something’s wrong.  Something’s terrible wrong!”

The elder took a closer look.  She was right.  Normally this cow could calve and not miss a beat (this would be the third time) but there was a struggle, a hindrance, a reason for the delay.  And, although he was not a vet, he’d read about the problem; and he knew what had to be done. “The calves in the breech position,” he muttered to himself.

“W…what does that mean?” sobbed the kneeling waif, her pigtails lining perfectly with the tears that dripped from her bowed head onto the light tan hide below Elsie’s troubled left eye.

“It means the baby’s coming out the wrong way.  I have to try and turn her.  I’ve only seen it done on TV.  But if I don’t try…she won’t make it.”

A few minutes later Elsie was cleaning “Elsie 2,” and, as the farmer wiped the birth leavings from his muscular bare arms, the smile on his daughter’s face (she, crying again, but this time for joy) made this little excursion into the dairy business something more than just a pet for his pet.  It made it something deep, and warm…and life altering.

Inspiration comes from strange places.  There I was; tucked head first into the slightly elevated wheel-well of my Safari van (that’s how you get to the spark plugs) and, as I contorted to reach the darned things, I thought about those instances (fact or fiction; I know not) where farmers have to reach in…to make things right.

I hear the new guys in the House are going to do something interesting from the “floor.” They’re going to read, aloud, the Constitution of the United states.  What a novel idea.  And, not only that.  They are supposedly going to require that said document be cited when new legislation is proposed.

Now, thinking along the lines of our near-founding document, I remembered that President John Adams had something to say about it.  Part of the quote is well-known (in some circles, anyway).  I’ll expand on it a bit.The following comes from a letter to the officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, October 11, 1798.

“…because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry,  would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

The last line of the quote is the remembered one.  Simply, the Constitution doesn’t work without a “We the People” that are…self regulating.  And, that which bridals the populace is… “morality and religion.”

And so, I am certainly in agreement with the Republican upstarts who want to bring us back to our Constitutional base.  However, sadly, there has to be a solid place… “beneath” the base.  And, sadly, the reading of the document will not repair the bedrock which has eroded so badly.  Frankly, it will take a revival of historic proportions and, although it may very well end up under the Capital dome; it is very unlikely…it will start there.


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