10MAY2020 – OCF Update – Happy Mother’s Day

Greetings everybody out there.  Hope all the moms out are somewhat enjoying Mother’s Day.  Although the whole cowering-in-place has rendered Camera Girl’s Mother’s Day sort of an academic exercise.  None of her kids can come to see her.  In recognition of this injustice I have spent the weekend as her company.  Unfortunately I’m a poor stand in for her children.  But I did what I could.  She is a Scrabble fanatic so I volunteered to play several games of this bizarre pastime.  It confirmed my belief that she has somewhat unorthodox ideas about what constitutes as legitimate English word.  She used “droid” without any embarrassment.  In addition we watched some movies together.  Interestingly we watched the movies I wanted to see but I attribute that to coincidence.  But I have been incredibly attentive.  I have been talking about all kinds of stuff and asking her all kinds of questions and talking about all the good things we can do together alone.  I’ll have to say, in my opinion, her enthusiasm was somewhat lacking.  Several times she seemed to wander away in the middle of one of these displays of attentiveness.  Apparently laundry and floor sweeping are time critical in her mind.  I’ve always thought men are much more sociable creatures.  Not to mention our pleasant and even-tempered personalities.  Well what can you do?

So anyway, I’ve been unavailable for output on OCF this weekend but that interregnum is now over.  I’ve got a post cued up for tonight on the Flynn fiasco.  I think that should be a major point of discussion for folks on our side of the aisle.  The fact that the information has been transmitted to the public is in itself encouraging.  More to follow.

We had a little more snow here yesterday but it wasn’t much to talk about.  But it really makes you wonder how much later into the year it would have to snow before we could question the reality of global warming.  Would a foot of snow at the Fourth of July qualify?  I’ll have to ask one of my Green friends (if I had any).

So enjoy the holiday to the extent that circumstances will allow but I’m back on the job and content will follow.

Christmas Cooking, Sony A7 III, Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens

Morale in the Time of War

Last week I talked about enjoying life during the enforced depression that the Left thinks we deserve.  In a lot of ways this is similar to what went on during the Iraq War.  The media gave us a steady drum beat of death and defeat for almost five straight years.  They will forego any cheerful or happy news in order to break our spirit and improve their chances in the next election.  As the progs are awfully fond of saying never let a crisis go to waste.  They’ve latched onto the COVID-19 story and they will say anything and everything they can think of to blame the President.  First, they will blame him for not doing enough.  But once it becomes clear that all their direst predictions aren’t realistic, they will switch rapidly to blaming him for the economic crash that the quarantine caused.  And right now, they’re doing both.  After all they’ll milk the fear of death all the way to when fear of starvation overtakes it.  And just like at the end of the Bush II term when the economic crash struck, you’ll feel like fate has stepped in and taken your enemy’s side.  Thinking back to 2008 you’ll remember how inevitable it seemed that McCain would lose to Obama.  It seemed like nothing could be done.

But this is a different President and these are different times.  Already you can see that President Trump isn’t the passive victim that Bush and McCain were.  He makes his case and although he’ll listen to experts if he thinks things aren’t happening fast enough or that too much caution is being used, he’ll make a change.  Look at the way he questioned the ventilator nonsense that DeBlasio and Cuomo were handing him.  And when they said they didn’t have enough hospital beds he called their bluff and set up hospitals on ships and in convention centers.  When the experts said we’d have to wait months to start opening up the country President Trump forced them to look realistically at the difference between Wyoming and Manhattan and admit that most areas of the country aren’t going to suffer if they go back to work.  Now the various states like Florida and Texas are actually opening up for business and a more normal life.  And that’s spreading even to places in the blue states.  People in Michigan and even New York are demanding some easing of the ridiculous “hide under a rock” strategy that hasn’t achieved anything meaningful.

So, here’s the payoff of this essay.  Stop the doom and gloom.  I have good friends who are already talking about how we’re doomed in November.  Mail in ballots, too many senate seats to defend, backlash for the downturn, not enough judgeships being passed, you name it they’re fretting.  Well I have the same advice for them and everyone else.

Relax.

Sure, there are all kinds of problems.  And for the people in the blue states it’s going to be really bad.  The small businessmen in New York and the other northeast states have their backs to the wall.  But from my point of view that is more of a problem for governors of those states.  They’re the ones who refuse to loosen the restrictions on business.  They’re the ones who’ll have to answer to the voters for it.  And those are the states that mostly don’t vote republican.  So, if the President is smart, he’ll take care of his own.  The outreach should be to places like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Michigan.  But he should make sure that he takes credit for getting things moving again and blame the Democrats in those states who dragged their feet.  And he should do everything he can to highlight the sensible policies that Republican governors in places like Texas and Florida took and how that sped up their recoveries.

Our part in all this is not letting the FUD get to us.  FUD, in case you didn’t know isn’t a Looney Tunes character.  It’s the acronym for fear, uncertainty and disinformation.  It’s what the media pumps out on a 24/7 basis.  If you let everything they say worry you then you’re going to be a wreck by November.

So, relax.

Your job is to help out your friends and family through all the chaos that comes.  But remember to inject some fun into your life and theirs.  If you remember back in 2016 every single poll showed Trump behind Clinton by 5 to 10 points.  Think about that.  Does that sound like they were using honest numbers?  That was propaganda meant to convince you not to even bother to vote.  They are already doing the same thing.  Save yourself a lot grief and just worry about the things you can control.  Take care of your problems and let the President handle the big stuff.  That’s what he’s good at.  He’ll come up with practical solutions and he’ll make sure people hear about it.  That’s the difference between him and Bush, McCain and Romney.  He’s a winner and they were losers.

So, relax.  Have some fun.  If you’re in a lockdown area have a telecon with your relatives where everyone has their favorite snacks and the little kids talk about whatever cool things they’re interested in that week.  One of my younger grandsons was telling me all about his latest dinosaur movie where one carnivore was biting off the arm of a T. Rex and blood went all over the place.  Bless his blood thirsty little mind.  He had a blast telling me all about it.  And I had a bigger blast hearing about it.  And we all agreed we’re going to have a great barbecue as soon as this nonsense is over.

So, relax.  Take care of yourself and let the President worry about the big stuff.  It’s why we hired him in the first place.  And put in a good word for him with your nervous friends and tell them to relax too.

How Do We Live Our Lives in an Upside-Down World?

I think most people reading this post know precisely what I mean by the title.  And it doesn’t have anything to do with lockdowns or pandemics or even the upcoming election, even though every one of those things highlights the craziness of the world around us.  But I mean to look at the world as a whole and address the larger issue of how we can make our lives better and also add to the effort to push the world toward a course correction away from the madness we see all around us.

The leftists are always fond of saying “act locally but think globally.”  In a sense that is what I’m saying.  But it’s more like think and act locally, think and act globally.  What we will need is a multi-track approach to existence.  We can’t use the same tactics with our family and friends as we use with the town government and PTA.  And we can’t use the same tactics with the state government as we use for our town.  And finally, we have a completely different situation on the national level.  There isn’t a one size fits all strategy.  Maybe surprisingly, the approach we take with family and friends is closer to the way we handle the federal government.  Unless you live in a deep red state there is a lot more opportunity at the national level for the kind of openness you can have with friends and family than is possible in many of the communities, we live in.

There are national organizations that are working to make government policy changes.  Look for organizations that advocate for clear cut goals.  Forget anything that’s generic Republican.  Look for someone who says “we are doing this.”  And then see if they say how they are going to do it.  And then ask them what they’ve already done to make it happen.  Some examples that come to mind are Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Federalist Society.  The ADF is known for defending in court individuals who are being prosecuted for laws that criminalize Christian beliefs.  Florists and wedding bakers who refuse to create products for homosexual marriages are prosecuted in blue states and forced out of business.  The ADF comes to their aid and is helping them to win their rights to religious freedom.  The Federalist Society has been a powerful force for resisting the unconstitutional actions of judges who put social advocacy above the law.  Many of the lawyers that are members of the federalist Society have gone on to careers as judges on the local and federal judiciary all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Supporting organizations that show results in the causes you believe in is an example of global action you can take.  Research the problems that you want solved and find out who is making a difference and then get involved.  Be critical and careful about who you support but don’t become pessimistic.  Donate money, time, or whatever else you have that can help.  Get to know what’s actually out there.  Educate those around you about the bad and the good.

Now what about the local side?  Obviously, you must get involved in the family and friends around you and do everything you can to protect them from the rot and confusion that surrounds everything in our environment.  For the young give them positive role models and provide normal alternatives for the debased entertainment that the popular culture and schools foist upon our young people.  Typically, you can find movies and books from the time before the progressive capture of the entertainment industries and many of these are vastly more entertaining than the propaganda currently being pumped out.  Sponsor activities that allow parents that you trust to join with you to give the kids healthy activities without the loaded messaging that the sanctioned activities always include in their program.  And make sure to get together with your family whenever you can.  A Sunday dinner with your children and grandchildren is one of the nicest ways of spending an afternoon.  A barbecue with your brothers and sisters and their families is a remarkable way to reinforce family solidarity.  Cousins talking about what’s going on in their lives is a great chance to reinforce family ties and lend help and maybe launch a family business.

And for yourself get involved in activities and social organizations that will allow you to find like-minded men whom you can befriend.  Build up a circle of friends who will make your leisure time enjoyable.  Also contacts of this type allow you to build a circle of acquaintances that may have a range of skills and occupations that you can draw on for your own needs.  After all, many of the tradesmen and business owners are on our side of the fence.  Why not throw your business to people that you like and agree with politically and culturally?

And finally, if you have the time and the inclination get involved in local politics.  This is the most difficult aspect of activism especially if you live in a deep blue state.  Basically, you will be in the belly of the beast and surrounded on every side by the enemy.  Everything you say and do will be scrutinized by progressives and measured against progressive dictates.  It would be like the scenes in that old movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” where normal humans try to pass themselves off as pod people.  Eventually some glimmer of emotion or humanity will expose them as “not of the body,” not part of the collective mind.  Working under such conditions would be painful and stressful but also has the potential of getting very important things done.

It’s important to make sure that while we’re all fighting the good fight, we also take care of ourselves and those we love.  What good is winning the culture war if we lose our happiness?  Enjoy your life and your family and friends.  Have fun and do good for those you love.  Think about what is important to you and make sure you take care of the important things.  Go outside and look at the amazing world that exists even in the hellish climate of New England.  Say a little prayer of thanks for the good things you have in your life and be grateful for your health and the health of those you love.  Use your time wisely and don’t let pessimism and depression get a hold of your mind.  Live!

I’ve listed a couple of organizations that I think are doing good work and making a difference to advance our interests, the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Federalist Society.  If you know of other organizations doing good work then please list them in the comments section along with an explanation of what their mission are.  All of us need to share information whenever we can.

Holidays Interrupted

The recent lockdown has done a lot for bringing parents and children closer together.  Lots of moms are reconnecting with their kids as daycare and schools have shut down.  And that’s great.  Maybe a few families will reconsider the value of a two-income lifestyle.

But for the extended family, things are quite a bit different.  In my family Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas are gathering times when three and even four generations gather for a big meal and a long weekend or holiday to catch up with each other and reconnect with parents, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, grandchildren and grandparents.  Everybody plays his role and we perform all the rituals we’ve come to expect.  We repeat all the old stories but with new faces in the younger ranks and maybe an older face or two missing.  We hear about who is graduating or going off to college or has a new job or is getting married.  We try to keep the younger children from getting bored by playing cards or listening to their latest imaginary adventure.  The older folks talk politics and world events.  And everyone eats way too much and for a little while gets to feel much younger again.

Well, not this year.  For the first time in several decades we can’t get together.  I won’t be seeing my brothers and sister.  I won’t even see my own children or their families.  So, no grandkids, no babies.  No fattening and delicious roast beasts or birds.  Just a regular dinner, just me and Camera Girl.  Very sad, very strange.

And I imagine this disruption is being replicated across the country in millions of families in every city and town.  The upshot is that in addition to our jobs and our savings being thrown into disarray and possibly suffering a terrible economic recession we are also isolated and our normal relationships upended.  No one wants to be the cause of someone getting terribly ill or even dying.  And if you have extremely elderly parents in their late eighties or nineties it’s reasonable to say that for the sake of saving their lives, they should be kept isolated at least until we understand this disease a little better.

But now the Health-Nazis are starting to insinuate that we may have to go through this disruption again in the summer and then every year when a fresh seasonal mutant of the coronavirus is identified.  Well, I’ve got news for them.  Not me.  I’m not in my eighties or even my seventies but even at my age there is a higher death rate than in the general population.  I might catch it from a school age relation at a holiday dinner or get together.  Well that’s too damn bad.  I’m not going to allow this charade to go on after this first silliness is ended.  Comes the Fourth of July I’m inviting everyone over for a barbecue and if that puts me in the hospital or sends me to my grave then at least I’ll have had some excellent steak and way too much pie and ice cream.  And I’ll get a chance to see my children and their spouses and my grandsons and granddaughter swimming in the pool and eating hamburgers and watermelon on a hot summer evening.

Now understand, if this thing were a threat to the young then I would understand why caution would be needed.  But it isn’t.  It’s a disease of the old and the chronically ill.  For those individuals, death is a real consideration without the COVID-19 pandemic.  If I were someone who wanted to maximize my odds of living to be a hundred and twenty then I would probably live in a bubble and avoid all contact with the young and active.  And for people of that mindset, isolation would be their own choice.  But I’m not and I won’t.  The authorities are going to have to come up with some better way to minimize the effects of this thing.  My suggestion is to end air traffic to China.  Apparently, that country has a never-ending supply of virulent respiratory diseases.  We can’t afford to let hundreds of thousands of infected people shuttle between China and the West every Chinese New Year just because we don’t want to hurt their feelings.

So that’s my thought.  I’ll get through this present phase without the consolation of enjoying the company of my extended family.  We’ll do a video get together and share some time together as we eat our sad meals apart.  But if they think I’m going to keep doing this in the future they are dead wrong.

Reclaiming the Family – Part 5 – Reinvent the Matchmaker – First Thoughts

Two things are true about this particular item.  The first thing is I’m sure this is one of the most important aspects of trying to bring back family life.  The second thing I’m sure of is that I know almost nothing about how this would work.  I know almost nothing about women or dating or anything else having to do with human mating rituals.  I met Camera Girl by complete accident when we were both seventeen-year-old kids each separately skipping out on our separate schools and meeting at one of the most anonymous places in a city as large as New York.  It was at least a billion to one shot so no one should ever take relationship advice from me.

But I do know that kids these days and especially kids from whom their parents hope someday to receive grandchildren need a better way to find mates.  Sure, there are places like match.com and the like but this doesn’t seem to be getting the job done.  What is needed is some kind of sponsorship of social activities where the participants are vouched for by their families.  In other words, you want to keep the freaks out but still have a place for young people to meet.  Now this used to be taken care of by high schools and other teen age membership institutions.  But because college is the place where normalcy goes to die and because women now postpone marriage and childbearing until their mid-thirties, we’re in the place we’re in.  So, to my mind a new arrangement has to be formulated.  And the only ones who have the talent, the inclination and the opportunity are the mothers.  This brings to mind the scenes in Fiddler on the Roof where Tevye’s wife is trying to arrange a marriage for her oldest daughter through the village matchmaker and picks a terrible husband that luckily is sidetracked by a subterfuge by Tevye.  And of course, living in these liberated times no one is going to allow his parents to pick a wife for him and vice versa but setting up opportunities for young people to meet likely partners makes perfect sense.  I will have to consult with my daughters to see if this is an at all reasonable idea.  They both have children who one day (and in some cases soon) will be marriageable.  I am interested to know if they’ve thought of helping along the process by some discrete manipulations.

But one thing that would increase the chances for more women to find husbands is for them to look outside of the college pool.  A young woman right out of high school could do much worse than finding a young man in one of the trades, an electrician or a welder and setting up a home instead of wasting four or more of her most valuable years sitting around a college quadrangle watching the soy boys playing frisbee.

I really have to do more practical research on this and this is just an introductory post.  I am especially interested in getting the mother’s point of view on the practicality of trying to influence the courtship decisions of today’s youth.  But I’m convinced that this topic is of extreme importance in trying to somehow revive the traditional family from inside the modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah that we find ourselves trapped in.  Stay tuned for more on this.

What Does It Mean to Be a Conservative?

Some very old friends recently sent me a link to the obituary of Sir Roger Scruton, an English conservative.  I confess I was not aware of him and so I read the article and wanting to learn about him first hand I went to his website and watched some of his lectures and read some of his papers.

What I heard and read was very impressive.  He was clear, persuasive, intelligent and even funny.  But what struck me as important was that he defined what conservatism is and why it’s important.  And he did it in a way that was simplicity itself and at the same time showed why it was so important.

He said, “The real reason people are conservatives is that they are attached to the things that they love, and want to preserve them from abuse and decay. They are attached to their family, their friends, their religion, and their immediate environment.”  What could be simpler to understand than that?  And what could be more important than that?

And so, I have found in this an easy way to test if an argument is conservative or not.  If someone tells you that being opposed to gay marriage or transgenderism is wrong, I look at how it affects my family and friends and religion and discover that normalizing these things is harmful to all of those things.  Children will be told things in school that will confuse them and could lead them into great harm both physically and psychologically.  I can thus say that opposing LGBTQ initiatives for these things is conservative and because of the way I’ve just defined it is in the interests of me and my family and friends.  That doesn’t mean I wish harm on these people who advocate for this agenda.  I’m just protecting my family and way of life from the harm they are attempting to inflict on me.

And likewise with something like illegal immigration.  If I oppose illegal immigrants flooding the country that doesn’t make me the aggressor trying to harm these people.  It means I’m trying to protect me and mine from the effects of such an invasion.  I have nothing against the individuals involved.  I am reacting to the problems that such a phenomenon will have on the nation, the community and my friends and family in particular.  Massive immigration will drive up crime, welfare participation, housing costs and the cost of government and will depress wages and quality of life.  Even the loss of the traditions and practices we have grown up with is a degrading of the environment that we live in.  So once again it is simple to see that conservative principles dictate opposition to excessive immigration.

As a final example I’ll look at feminism.  Here is a philosophy that says that women should be encouraged, even propagandized and bullied into thinking that a career is the only acceptable option for a woman’s life.  Marriage and childrearing is a hindrance to this lifestyle and if pursued by her must be done with as little interference to her climbing the corporate ladder.  I can think of no project that has had as disastrous an effect on the modern world as feminism has had.  Our population is dwindling, children have lost the comfort of their mothers in the most critical years and the flooding of the labor market has depressed wage growth to the point that two incomes is barely enough to support a family. In addition, federal affirmative action discriminates against men in the work place to push this feminist agenda.  For these reasons, opposing feminism in general and working mothers in particular is an obvious conservative position.  Does that mean I hate women?  Of course not.  But I oppose feminism because of the harm it does to me, my family, my community and the nation.

I’ll have to thank my friends for introducing me to Sir Roger.  He has provided me with a definition of conservatism that is simple, powerful and easily applied.

Reclaiming the Family – Part 4 – Celebrating the Holidays Right

Thanksgiving and Christmas have always been a time when Americans get together with family and give thanks for the good things in their lives.  For Christians this is a holy season when they contemplate the beauty of the Holy Family and its Christmas story.  But even for non-Christians and even those with no faith there is a recognition by many that this celebration seems to radiate joy and hope to those involved.  I can remember a few truly awful human beings who, even if for a short period around the holidays, were noticeably better people because of Christmas.  Even scientists have lately come to think that belief in God is organically present in the human mind.  And for those of us who were brought up during the happier periods before the Progressives destroyed the culture, the celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas brings back thoughts and feelings of happiness and a sense of community that even found its way into Hollywood films and television shows of the time.  But just because the culture has descended into a depravity that derides or ignores the true spirit of these holidays there’s no reason for us to go along with it.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of the biggest chances to reconnect with your family.  You’ve got at least a few days off and the kids and grandkids are off from school.  Here’s a chance to talk to the kids about things that are important to you and find out what’s going on in their lives.  And for you older folks like me I’m also talking about your grown children and their husbands and wives.  Ask them about their kids and what is going on in their lives.  And if you have the means, ask them if they could use a few bucks or even a hand with some problem they are having.

And turn off the damn phones and shut off the computers.  It won’t kill anybody to lose track of all the nonsense we are plugged into 24/7/365.  And turn off the television.  There’s literally nothing on that won’t damage your brain and soul.  The only exception I’ll make is if you will pick a good Christmas movie (preferably black and white) or two to watch with the kids.  But once it’s over shut the tv and hide the remote.

Have some fun things to do together.  One of the things we like to do is play cards.  The kids play war and Uno and the rest of us play penny ante poker.  It’s basically just an excuse to sit around a table together and talk and interact.  And, believe it or not, in my family the women even bond over the cooking and doing the dishes.  I’m not saying they enjoy the dishes but it’s something they complain about together and provides a stimulating male/female antagonism that everybody enjoys.  But maybe that’s just my family.  But at the very least show appreciation for the hard work that went into the dinner and praise it to the sky.  That’s a sacred duty.

Go to a Mass at your church if you’re religious and even if you’re not put on some good Christmas music but please try to avoid any of the current crop of pop celebrities.  If you have more than a day off then plan something bigger.  If you know of a holiday show or a good play look into it and see if anyone would like to go.  Go ice skating or skiing if that’s your thing.  Or go for a walk in the country if the weather permits.  Just make sure you talk with every single one in your family and make some kind of connection.  Make some memories.  Sure, you’ll get them their favorite toy or gadget but make it more than that.  Tell them what you like about the holidays and find out what would make it more fun for them.

And something that brings family together is stories about your extended family and the world that used to exist in the better times.  Sometimes old photographs and other memorabilia are interesting to the kids and grandkids.  Hearing about how their ancestors overcame the difficulties they experienced and how the families pulled together is a good example for the kids and encouraging even for us.  Celebrate these great holidays.  It’s your privilege and it’s your duty.

 

Guest Contributor – War Pig – The Chicken Story

In addition to his other occupations, War Pig is a gifted story teller and that is an honorable profession.  —  photog

 

Since people seem to like my stories of life pre-1980, here is one from my callow youth.

Another tale from my youth.

When I was quite young, in the middle nineteen-fifties, I went out to watch my paternal grandmother catch, kill and clean a chicken for supper. It was my first time watching. I helped her catch a fat, old hen (her chickens were all free range, plus they got feed). She took it up and with her dangerously sharp butcher knife, she beheaded it in one fell swoop. That didn’t bother me. What got me is that the headless chicken was set down to run and pump out the blood. Chickens can run for an amazingly long time without a head.

Well, the chicken, by chance, came straight at me, spraying blood. That was too much for my young mind and I took off screaming bloody murder while the chicken followed me. I ran to the fence and climbed up the post and perched there, crying, while the headless chicken finished its act of terror by flopping on the ground, spurting blood. Mamaw was laughing so hard she could hardly bend over to pick up the chicken, tie the legs together and hang it on a hook on the side of the shed to finish bleeding out.

She eventually coaxed me off the post and to come and watch the rest of the operation. It didn’t help that the chicken’s head was still apparently alive, it’s beak moving as if to curse the both of us. I stood behind mamaw, putting her between me and the soulless fowl. She heated up a wash pan of water to boiling over a small gas burner, then took down the chicken’s body and drenched it in the scalding water. With a gloved hand she removed most of the feathers then used a small paring knife to pull the “blood quills”. She opened the chicken, keeping the heart, liver, gizzard and egg sack (the egg sack is what mamaw kept for herself, papaw got the rest) and throwing the rest of the offal, and the head, to the farm dogs and cats. A cat grabbed the head and ran off with it.

She then went inside and cut up the chicken. Mamaw had likely cut up hundreds, if not thousands of chickens and she took less than a minute to do it. Her butcher knife had been made for her by papaw from an old truck leaf spring and boot heel leather for handle scales. It was scary sharp. It seemed she just waved the knife over the chicken and it fell apart into the bowl. She then filled the bowl with water, added salt and set it in the fridge to brine. She put the back into the freezer for making chicken stock. She changed the water twice to get rid of leftover blood. Later, she put the chicken into buttermilk and let it set for two hours until time to cook supper. She got it out of the buttermilk, dredged it in flour, waited until the coating softened, then dredged it in flour again and fried it in lard. Better tasting chicken you never ate.

The brining and changing the water drew all the blood from the meat so mamaw’s chicken was always clean down to the bone, none of the red nonsense you see by the bones in restaurant chicken today. The buttermilk does something magical to the meat and frying it in real leaf lard imparts a flavor vegetable oils or shortening cannot match.

As she set the table, she told papaw the story and he almost choked laughing so hard. I got a wing and a drumstick all to myself to go with the mashed potatoes and fresh chicken gravy, made from the fond, melted lard/chicken fat and leftover bits in the pan and considered myself a lucky boy.

 

Guest Contributor – War Pig – On Family

War Pig put up a comment on my Reclaiming the Family thread so I asked him if I could add it to his folder and so here it is for anyone who didn’t see it on the comments. – photog

We moved to California from Ohio in the 60s when dad got transferred from North American Aviation to Rockwell/Rocketdyne and went to supervise the making of the boosters for the space program. Mom took a fall at the ice-skating rink at the Topanga Plaza and had to have bone chips removed from her brain. Her father came out to stay with us kids until mom was back on her feet. Six months. Dad had to keep working to provide the health insurance and also to feed us and pay the rent (even back then California rents were horrible compared to Ohio). Since papaw was retired and his other daughter lived across the street from his home, he could leave mamaw there while he came out. He cooked, made us kids clean, took us to school functions and all the rest of the things mom would have done. He took us to visit mom at the hospital so she could remember us (she had temporary amnesia and did not know she was married or had kids, initially). She had lost twelve years or memory in the fall and skull fracture.

Papaw was always a hoot. He had a little larceny in his heart and was a lot more lenient than mom had been about what we did. He aided and abetted me and my brother’s carbide cannon incident, for instance. We had fruit trees in the yard and he’d go out and pick oranges and make fresh squeezed OJ for us at breakfast. He makes pancakes and biscuits using buckwheat flour.

Later, after the space program ended and massive layoffs happened in the aerospace industry, we moved back to Ohio. Dad got a supervisor job at a plant that made wheels for US military vehicles. We were close to both sets of grandparents. We kids worked on our paternal papaw’s farm and also rode with our maternal papaw when he delivered frozen chickens. Me and my brother loaded and unloaded chickens and papaw drove the truck. On the farm we drove tractors and other farm equipment and the pickup truck, too. We baled hay and straw and put it up in the barn. Me and my brother ate like starving Clydesdales but worked it all off on the farm or the chicken runs. Sis stayed with mamaw on the farm and helped her. At our other papaw’s house, she helped mamaw bake pies for the local restaurants while we helped papaw with the chickens.

Later, when I was a papaw, I took care of my grandson. My wife got to see and hold her grandson before she passed. Since I had no wife and was retired, I concentrated on being papaw for my grandson. I babysat while my daughter and her husband worked. They dropped him off for breakfast and picked him up after supper. All day we played and did things together. To the playground, fishing, walking in the woods. When he was school age, I picked him up from school and we goofed off or I helped him with homework and we had supper together. I would not trade my time with him for a billion dollars. This year he graduates college. Hopefully, I’ll live to see some great grandchildren.

 

Reclaiming the Family – Part 3 – Recruit Grandma and Grandpa

Reclaiming the Family – Part 1 – Bring Back the Dowry

Reclaiming the Family – Part 2 – The Family Business

At least going back a generation or more a pattern of behavior has become established in the colder areas of the country that once people reach retirement age they head south to Florida or Arizona and live out their days in a retirement community.  And I suppose if you are sufficiently wealthy this would not prevent you from supporting and staying in touch with your descendants back North.

But in today’s world of limited opportunities and constrained resources another choice is to use your retirement and the resources you have accrued to reinforce and enhance your family’s opportunities.  Think about how difficult it is for a family with two working parents to provide the opportunities and attention that their kids need to grow up right.  If they manage to check their kids’ homework and get them to sports practices and games that’s probably taking up their whole free time left over from work and sleep.

Now as touched on earlier in this series it is much to be preferred that children have a stay at home mom to take care of them and make sure they’re staying out of trouble but even then, kids should have a lot more of their family’s time and attention.  For instance, who says a father is the only one who can bring the kids to a baseball game or a museum or a movie.  Why can’t grandpa do that?  And grandma is about a million times better at babysitting babies than a 15-year-old girl who will spend all her time on the phone while the baby sits glued to Sesame Street.

With respect to school work many of the baby boomers are STEM professionals and can not only help out with homework but can provide real world insights to children on what career paths make sense and which are dead ends.  For instance, if one of my grandsons asked me whether he should major in computer science or intersectional gender studies I think I’d be able to give him a very clear answer!

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Even the tradition of having the Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house does more for bonding the family than an occasional phone call to Florida provides.  And it may provide the opportunity for a request for financial or other help that otherwise wouldn’t happen.

And what are you sacrificing if you forego the condo in Florida.  Playing shuffleboard with other old people that you don’t even know?  Missing out on skin cancer?  Sure, maybe your arthritis won’t hurt quite as much but don’t forget those alligators that are waiting to pick you off at the mail box.  And how does that stack up against teaching your grandkids how to fly a kite or telling them about the time their great-great grandfather shot it out with armed robbers from the running board of a car.

And there may even be a payback for you besides satisfaction.  When the day comes when you are against it and your time is up maybe there will be someone to shed a tear and say a kind word at your bedside instead of just a text message from up North to say goodbye.