Life Mysteries

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” – Oscar Wilde

For those who don’t know me I retired from horseshoeing and took a job as a grounds keeper for 3 cemeteries located in Farmington, MO. As I go about cutting the grass I often wonder about the people buried there and what they were like when they were alive.

There was the body of a man that came into the mortuary. Very little information came with him. The funeral director tried their best to find family members but to no avail. All they basically knew was his birth date and death date and that he was married. The only option left for the funeral director was to bury him instead of cremation.

The owner of the mortuary wanted to find someone to say some words over him before he was lowered into his final resting place. So I volunteered for the job.

In putting together some words for a service my mind began to wonder about who he was. What did he do in life? Did he die alone? What kind of person was he? Did he have any family left? So many questions that I will never know the answer to.

The funeral was held the Thursday before Good Friday. I was pall bearer and minister and went back to cutting grass after the funeral. A worker for the vault company and two grave diggers were the other pall bearers. RIP! So much mystery and no answers.

The gentleman was lowered into the ground around 10:40 a.m.. l went back to cutting grass. Around noon I looked back and noticed an older lady standing at the grave. I started to go talk to her but then I realized she had her reasons and I respected that and kept cutting grass. After a few minutes she left. I still wonder who she was but was happy somebody who obviously knew him came to send him off. Life mysteries.

Unfathomable Determination

The rain has pretty much settled in for the night. I sit here with my eyes closed listening to the raindrops dancing on the tin roof creating a soothing symphony.

My mind focuses on those brave men and women, the pioneers, who settled the west. They had no idea of the challenges they would face. The only idea they had of where they were going was the tales they had in there minds put there by the adventurers who went before them.

There were stories of feast and famine. Massacres. Whole wagon trains who died and didn’t fulfill their dreams. Disease and prairie fires. Yet these people had a dream that so obsessed them they were willing to sacrifice anything and everything to follow their dream. That profound dedication my friends died with them and no longer exists in this country anymore.

I don’t know if you have ever been camping in the rain but I can tell you from experience it can be very miserable.

I sit here in the coziness of my cabin listening to the rain and I have a vision of men, women, and children huddled together under the rain fly of a wagon trying to get their nourishment so they will have the stamina to do another 10 to 20 miles beginning at dawn. One can only imagine the sore muscles they must have been nursing. Wondering how much further they have to travel. How many more river crossings and broken wagon wheels they will have to endure. Will it be their wagon that breaks this time? How many more of their possessions will they have to leave behind so they can lighten the load on the wagons so they can get them over the mountain?

With these things dancing through their minds it had to be difficult to sleep. Knowing all to well they needed to sleep so they could get the much needed rest to complete another leg of their journey.

The fingers of dawn ascend on their camp. The rain has stopped and the day promises sunshine to dry things out. They begin packing the wagons, hitching the teams and checking the wagons so they can start out once again. They have to battle the annoying suction created by the mud delivering another hardship for them to deal with.

Guts and grit kept them pushing toward their destination and failure was not an option. True representation of determination and faith. They not only needed faith in God. They had to have faith in those leading them and most of all faith in themselves. There were those who celebrated and those who endured heartbreak. So many died along those trails who never lost sight of their dream and died trying to bring their dream to reality.

People could learn a lot from these pioneers and use it in their lives to achieve their dreams. Don’t ever stop believing. They didn’t.

Spread the love and be kind to one another. It doesn’t cost you anything.

Walk Your Own Way

“I don’t know where all the rivers run. I don’t know how far. I don’t know how come. But I am gonna die believin’ each step that I take ain’t worth the ground that I walk on if we don’t walk it our own way.” From the song Bang A Drum

I once was a follower. I was afraid to do things my own way. I was afraid of being wrong or offending someone. Then one day I heard Chris LeDoux sing these words and it caused an awakening in me that changed my life.

I did a lot of soul searching and looked back at my life in a new way. A way that I had never really imagined.

I will admit that I am hardheaded and by far I am not the sharpest tool in the shed but I realized I had the right to do things and believe the way I wanted too. Right, wrong or indifferent I should believe in me.

There are those who will try to make me believe I wasn’t able to make the right decisions on my own. That I would fail if I didn’t listen to the majority that instituted what they believed to be right for me. News flash, the majority isn’t always right.

I thought to myself how could these people tell me what was right for me when they had never experienced my heartaches, my celebrations and other life experiences. We can’t let people live our lives for us. We need to walk this world in our own way.

It was one of the most important changes I made in my life. It raised my self esteem to new heights. I finally felt like somebody. Don’t get me wrong. Yes I made bad decisions and choices and still do but I made them. No one else did and most importantly I learned from those mistakes and couldn’t blame anyone but myself.

No matter what you do in life or what decision you make there is always going to be someone who disagrees with you. It is inevitable. What is important is how you handle the situation. Do you cower and relinquish your opinion to please those people or do you stand up for what YOU believe in and stand your ground?

As for me I am going to fight for what I believe in even if I stand alone. Maybe it is because I have grown older but I really don’t care what people think of me any longer. I have walked the earth long enough to know that I am never going to please everyone and not everyone is going to agree with me. Not everyone will like my writing or political views. Not everyone will like my photography or my horseshoe art. What is important is how I handle it and that I always “walk it my own way”. If we don’t learn to believe in ourselves we do our spirit, soul and our being a great injustice.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It is so deeply appreciated. You may agree or not agree with my opinion but if you don’t I respect that because we all are entitled to our opinion. We don’t however have the right to demean, harass, or stoop to name calling if we disagree which seems to be the norm for so many people.

Remember to spread the love and be kind to one another. Kindness doesn’t cost anyone anything.

Where Do You Stand?

“Life is not tried it is merely survived if you’re standing outside the fire.” Standing Outside the Fire – Garth Brooks

I am definitely not the type of person who stands outside the fire. I have took chances. Sometimes I won and sometimes I lost. I have celebrated and I have cried. I have never, no never regretted that I chose not to stand outside the fire. By making that choice the fire tempered my spirit, strengthened my soul, and made me a better person. The flames tempered my whole being, taught me respect and made me a survivor!

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and remember to spread the love.

Memorial Day

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This grave is located in the Masonic Cemetery in Farmington, MO.

Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” – Franklin D Roosevelt

Memorial Day is upon us.  I know some of you out there aren’t going to believe this but there is a real purpose and reason for Memorial Day other than going out and seeing how hard you can party for three days.  It is a holiday with true meaning and really shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Memorial day was first observed on May 30, 1868 and in 1971 by an act of Congress it was declared a national holiday.  The day of observance was also changed from May 30 to the last Monday in May.  It is also referred to as “Decoration Day”.  The practice of decorating soldiers graves has been a custom for some time even before the Civil War.

In 1868 Memorial Day ceremonies began at Gettysburg National Park but wasn’t known nationally until 1913.  That year veterans of the United States Army and Confederate Army converged on Gettysburg to commemorate the most famous and bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

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Picture taken by me in the Masonic Cemetery located in Farmington, MO.

There will be a special ceremony at this Revolutionary Soldier’s grave tomorrow but I am sorry I don’t know the time.

“For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.” James A. Garfield

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My office at K of P Cemetery located in Farmington, Mo.

As I sit here writing my mind is taken back many years ago when I was a child and we would go camping upon the banks of the St. Francois River at a place we dubbed “sandy banks” located just below the Lake Wappapello dam.  There are a lot of great memories on those banks.  It has been at least 45 years since I have been there but it just seems just like yesterday.

War brings so many casualties and adds to the populations of the cemeteries.  This is the day that was designated by Congress to remember those that lost their lives while serving in the military.  To all you party revelers out there, you have had two days to play and party hard.  I ask that you take one minute of your time today and have a moment of silence for those brave men and women who paid the ultimate price with their lives.

I mow three cemeteries and know for a fact that a lot of graves never receive flowers or visitors.  I would like to see a movement in this country where folks adopt one of those soldiers graves and decorate it with flowers.  You don’t have to know them to place flowers on their graves.

 

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My great grandparents headstone located in Arkansas.

Many areas of the country also decorate the graves of their family members regardless of them not being a vet.

In closing I want to wish everyone a safe holiday and if you are traveling be careful.  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.

 

Respect; A Two Way Street

“People have different reasons for the way they live their lives.  You cannot put everyone’s reasons in the same box.”  – Kevin Spacey

 

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Drag races in Bonne Terre, MO.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone had  the same likes and dislikes?   I would think the world would be a very boring place.   Everyone would be driving the same kind of car, eat the same kind of food and wearing the same clothes.  Being different and unique can be a good thing though and sometimes a bad thing.

Behind every person is a reason as to why they like the things they do or the life style they choose to live.  Something, somewhere, one day (or week, month, year) happened that influenced a person to take that first step onto the path of life they wanted to live.  Now you and I may not agree with the path they choose but Newsflash cupcake!  It doesn’t matter because that individual has their rights too.

If we don’t respect the beliefs and ways of others how can we expect them to respect ours?  I see a lot of that in today’s world.  Why can’t we learn to agree to disagree?  There’s no good guy, there’s no bad guy, there is just two people who believe differently for different reasons.  No one is right and no one is wrong.  Let’s quit arguing and fighting.  Debate is good as long as it is in good form.  It can even be healthy.

“Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect.  We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves.” U Thant

One of the biggest problems that I see is when someone tells me I have to respect their way of thinking then shows no respect to my beliefs.  For instance you don’t like dogs,   I respect that and I won’t bring my dog to your house and I won’t force you to like my dog.  So don’t come to my house and tell me I am going to have to get rid of my dogs and accept your way of thinking because you don’t like dogs. 

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My dog Kate

Respect, like common sense used to be common.  Now days neither one are.  I don’t know when or how it happened but it did.  Respect is an integral part of every day life whether we want to admit or not.  I hope one day respect and common sense make a come back.

“When was it that men agreed to respect the appearance and not the reality?” – Henry David Thoreau

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and a big thank you to those of you who follow me.  Remember to share the love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where Has Respect Gone?

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Sunset in Bonne Terre, MO

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” -Bryant H McGill

Respect is a way of treating or thinking about someone or something.  A person can show it by being polite, taking your hat off, standing or just agreeing to disagree and move on.  Just last year some football players decided not to show their respect and knelt for the National Anthem.  Freedom of Speech?

“Treat people the way you want to be treated.  Talk to people the way you want to be talked to.  Respect is earned not given.” – Hussein Nishah

News Flash: You don’t have to like someone to respect them.  I think there are a lot of people out there who really have a problem grasping this concept.  There are people who are nothing but egotistical, arseholes.  I had some teachers and bosses that fell into that category but I respected them because they were good at their jobs.

Opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one.  Social media seems to be an avenue where people like to voice their opinions.  There is a certain group out there that believe their opinion is the only true one.  They believe it so much that they won’t even give your opinion any respect, listen to it or even acknowledge it.  I don’t believe I have seen so much arguing over a sitting President in my life.  Folks let us quit acting like a bunch of  high school kids.  It isn’t worth it.  Let it go.  There has been times I didn’t heed my own advice and it solved nothing and just caused hard feelings.  All it does is bring negativity into your world.   The main stream news media is all ready doing a great job of sewing the seeds of hate and discontent we don’t need to be doing it too.

The protesters that block the highways are the ones that blow me away.  They want me to respect their right to protest but they won’t respect my right to use that highway.  Really?  Did they ever stop to think that someone in that traffic could have a medical emergency, might be a doctor called into the hospital to save someone’s life, etc., so senseless.  Look at the Ferguson riots.  They couldn’t show respect to the businesses that served their community.  Protesters burned them to the ground demanding respect for their cause.

Parents used to respect teachers.  Some of the things I have heard from people mostly go like this, “I think the teacher has it out for Johnny”, the teacher just doesn’t understand my child, etc..  Pretty much the norm of the times.   One of my clients was livid because a teacher took her daughter’s cell phone from her for texting while taking a test.

Bottom line is parents need to teach their children respect.  We need to start getting along together.  Thanks for reading.  Be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.