should we go or should we stay….

“And therefore I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honour and my blood, even the dust. I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too.”
Elizabeth I

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(leftovers from the great wedding of two years ago / Julie Cook / 2014)

The votes have been cast and the people have spoken–much to the disbelief of many other people on this planet of ours…

BREXIT has become reality.

And why pray tell, is this yank daring to wade into the fray across the pond, in the land of over there, you may wonder…

Well, as I’ve stated to a few of my British comrades in arms…. that whereas it would appear that as an American I have no dog in the Brexit fight…it is for that very reason, that I am an American and my closet allies are those of the United Kingdom, that on the contrary, I think we all have a dog in the fight—
as do the other EU countries who are now set for divorce.

It is, however, not for me to ever state how I think those in GB should vote, just as I don’t enjoy being told who I should for for president. But as an outside observer, who is keen on this particular observation, as GB’s decisions do have an effect on this land of their first cousins….I have watched, read, waited and now marvel over the outcome.

The world powers-that-be have each waded deeply into the fray’s waters by telling the people of Great Britain how to vote.
With our President sadly leading the pack.
I apologize on his behalf…that an American president should tell the people of the United Kingdom how to vote on a very in-house sort of referendum…it’s not a very proper thing to do to be sure.

When I was a young new teacher, we had a long standing and powerful superintendent who was considered to be an entrenched member of the good ol boy system within our state’s educational, as well as political, systems.
He and I were not on the same sides of a political fence and I greatly resented each time an election would roll around and he’d make the rounds to each school, calling for a faculty meeting, just in order to tell “his” teachers how to vote…and that was to always cast a vote for his “friend.”

Now I could understand if there had been some sound educational reasons as to why we should be voting for his person of choice…
But for this superintendent, it was strictly a party vote of friends voting for friends—and I for one am not keen to vote for someone just because they are in cahoots with the boss…
especially when I don’t think them worthy of my vote…

I think I was also leery of voting for the entrenched politicians who had made a career out of their office.
For we know what they say…”complacency or familiarity breeds contempt”….
maybe that should read “breeds lethargy and corruption…”

Of recent weeks, I’ve read a great deal concerning the global financial powers-that-be bemoaning or gloating, depending on which side of the fence they line their pockets, what a Brexit would do to the global economy. The likes of George Soros, a man who has profited, or make that made a killing, on the downward slopes of markets before (mainly the Bank of England), is set to cash in once again.
And cash in big—but yet no one really knows how big he cashes in as he doesn’t disclose much…
This man parlays deeply and dangerously into American politics as he gives and gives graciously to the Clintons and their campaigns…He plays his hand in global economies and seems to try to muscle the outcomes of elections as well as markets worldwide—all to his benefit—

The rich and powerful trouble me.
Rich and powerful politicians trouble me.
Even our self-centered, anything and everything goes, millennials trouble me.

I have grown tired, vexed and weary of our political leaders telling us what’s good for us when they haven’t brought about any good themselves…
I am tired of those of the younger generations who whine and complain about those who vote for things such as leaving the EU or vote for politicians that don’t cater to the whims of youth, those young ones whose rallying cry is that “they” have stolen, or are in the process of stealing, our future…”
Yet they are either too preoccupied to be bothered with voting or don’t educate themselves on the bigger picture…

And granted the markets have gone tumbling today…
but it’s that analogy I keep hearing—that the markets are so volatile and actually so unstable that if someone sneezes in one section of the world, every other global market quickly reaches for a tissue lest the sneezing becomes a catastrophic epidemic —sending everyone scrambling for cover…
all of which we are seeing today.
That simply just doesn’t seem very secure in the first place…

So votes like Brexit, which send shock waves into the seemingly untouchable circles of the rich and powerful, the young and the unversed,
as well as for those of us of more average stature,
actually offer a bit of fresh air—
that the people–the average people, still matter.
For good or bad, they still can make a difference.
Their voice, for good or bad, can still be heard…
and that the vote of the everyday person does indeed still matter…

I think Brexit is just one more example of the average, dare I say middle aged and older person, being tired of how this world is being run…

So here’s to adjusting our sails…

The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails.

William Arthur Ward

remembrances

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time,
and your government when it deserves it.

Mark Twain

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(the flag I fly at home / Julie Cook / 2015)

Today Americans will pause in order to celebrate Memorial Day.

A day many assume was put on the calendar in order to mark the unofficial start of summer.

It’s a day for day’s off…
for family gatherings,
for picnics,
for cookouts,
for ballgames…
and basic idyllic enjoyment.

However it would behoove us, on this unofficial day of all things festive,
to recall the original intent of Memorial Day…

Originally it was not a day set aside to commemorate the opening of the seasonal door to summer…
rather it was a day set aside for Americans to remember the thousands of lives lost,
as well as the thousands of bodies forever broken, during America’s darkest days of the Civil War.

It was originally referred to as Decoration Day.

Over the years, Memorial Day has taken on a life of its own.
It has become a day of celebration, an excuse for a party, a shift in the seasons, …

Yet as we celebrate, we must also remember…

We remember the countless numbers of men and woman who have served
and continue to serve in our armed forces.

We remember the lives taken.
The sacrifices made.
The limbs lost.
The souls shattered
The minds altered.
The hearts broken
And the children who have grown up and continue growing up never
knowing the parent who was called to offer the ultimate gift
to their fellow man.

So as you work in the yard,
fire up that grill,
play in the surf,
build that sand castle,
watch that ball game,
sip that lemonade,
eat that hot dog,
and just enjoy a special moment to be lazy…
Offer up a thank you…
to those men and woman who have given, and continue giving, their all…
allowing you to say “hello summertime”

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.

Luke 9:24

“bully to you” and the wisdom offered from 1907

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(image courtesy Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


“In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American … There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag … We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language … and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

Theodore Roosevelt 1907

Cades Cove, a whisper from the past

If history were taught in the form of stories,
it would never be forgotten.

Rudyard Kipling

Vows made in storms are forgotten in calm.
Thomas Fuller

“Let us save what remains: not by vaults and locks which fence them from the public eye and use in consigning them to the waste of time, but by such a multiplication of copies, as shall place them beyond the reach of accident.”
― Thomas Jefferson

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(A wagon at the old Cable home place, Cades Cove, TN /The Great Smokey Mountains National Park / Julie Cook / 2015)

Dusty and dry
Broken and discarded,
Forgotten and abandoned,

Left to rot a long time back

When was the last day?
The day they simply walked away?
The day it was put aside, forever…?

Was it traded in for something newer, more shiney and sleek?
Perhaps a distraction guised in efficiency?
Maybe everyone had simply grown too old to make repairs.

Or maybe,
it was simply left behind when the last person finally walked away…forever.

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*The Cable house with its surrounding barns, mill and smokehouses are all that remain of the Cable homesite which was once a vibrant part of the community within what was known as Cades Cove’s.
Cades Cove was once a thriving Tennessee Appalachian mountain cove community with upwards of 800 individuals calling the Cove home. The Cove, a farming community, once boasted a post office, general store, boarding house, school and local doctor. Yet Time and the elements had their way with the Cove, by the first World War the population of the Cove was rapidly declining. The State of Tennessee, along with Federal Government, purchased the Cove and surrounding lands in 1927 with the intent of turning it into a National Park.

Much of the work done on the road leading to the cove from cities of both Townsend and Gatlinburg, as well as the work conducted within the Cove itself on the transition from community to park, was completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal relief program during the Depression.

Today’s Cades Cove, a 6800 acre historic preservation and National Park which encompasses pastures, woodlands, trails, mountains, streams and preserved original homesites dating back to 1822 with the arrival of the first white settlers into the cove, boasts to be the busiest and most frequented of all the National Parks in The United States.

There is an 11 mile paved one way loop meandering through the cove which affords the hiker, bicycler or car rider the opportunity of viewing wildlife in their natural habitat–deer, wild turkeys, coyotes, beer, bobcats as well as an opportunity to visit and view the original homesites, churches and cemeteries of the original founding families.

The Cherokee Indians were the first inhabitants of the land surrounding the Cove but lost all rights to land claim in the Smokey mountains in 1819.

Becky Cable, who first moved to the cove in 1868 with her parents and siblings, later bought the Leason Gregg house (pictured above), with the help of her brother, in 1904. Becky who never married, but was affectionately referred to as “Aunt Becky,” remained in the house until her death in 1940 at age 96. Becky was one of the last members of the community to live in the Cove.

Kermit Caughron, a 5th generation descendant of some of the original Cove founding families, was actually the last community member of the cove to call Cades Cove Home. Mr Caughron was affectianely known as the Bee Man by the throng of annual visiting tourists as he owned a myriad of honeybees boxes, harvesting and selling the honey. Mr Caughorn spent his entire life, 87 years, living in the cove until he was “relocated” in 1999. At which time the cove became home to only the local wildlife and a sea or curious tourists

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Places such as Cades Cove are important pieces to intricate patch work to the fabric which makes this country what it is. These preserved sites are but a few remaining tangible pieces to the foundation which makes us who we are as a country.

Some of our original building blocks.

It is extremely important that we never forget the lives lived, the hardships endured, and the paths paved by these early settlers who were brave enough to forge a way of life in an area that was not always welcoming…yet they remained and persevered.
Despite Indian hostilities, devastating snows, ice storms, heat and drought, failed crops, devastating accidents, illness, isolation and death…these are the people who helped define the American spirit.

It is both humbling and enlightening to be afforded the opportunity of stepping back in time, catching a tiny glimpse at a moment in history that helped to bring us to where we are today. Imaging the lives of people long past, who were just like you and I, but who never had the luxuries, “niceties” or opportunities we enjoy today…they worked hard and toiled most of their lives in order to make their lives a success…which was simply a roof over head, livestock that flourished, crops that grew, children who were educated and food on the table. It is imperative that we, as a civilized society, recognize and remember the importance of maintaining and preserving such remaining treasures of our history, our National Parks as well as our National Heritage…

And He gave their land as a heritage, A heritage to Israel His people.
Psalm 135:12