Friday, August 27, 2010

Saturday's Rally by Glenn Oafish

I tried to embed the funny video on Colbert Nation about Glenn Beck's Saturday Rally. I'm sorry that I was unable to do so. If you go to that Web Site you can watch it and I think you would agree it's worth a little effort. Here's the link.

I find it obscene that Beck is using the same steps on the same monument on the same day as the anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous speech. Lest we forget the difference between a man of love, compassion and intellect and a buffoon like Glenn Beck, following are two quotes from Dr. King's speech.

"A myth that gets around is the idea that legislation cannot really solve the problem and that it has no great role to play in this period of social change because you've got to change the heart and you can't change the heart through legislation. You can't legislate morals. The job must be done through education and religion. Well, there's half-truth involved here. Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed. Religion and education must play a great role in changing the heart. But we must go on to say that while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also. So there is a need for executive orders. There is a need for judicial decrees. There is a need for civil rights legislation on the local scale within states and on the national scale from the federal government."

"In spite of the difficulties of this hour, I am convinced that we have the resources to make the American Dream a reality. I am convinced of this because I believe Carlyle is right: "No lie can live forever." I am convinced of this because I believe William Cullen Bryant is right: "Truth pressed to earth will rise again." I am convinced of this because I think James Russell Lowell is right: "Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne; Yet that scaffold sways the future, And behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, Keeping watch above His own." Somehow with this faith, we will be able to adjourn the councils of despair and bring new life into the dark chambers of pessimism. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation to a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. This will be a great day. This will be the day when all of God's children, black [people] and white [people], Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! Free at last! Thank God, Almighty, we are free at last!'"

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Carrie Amanda Norris
1864 - 1943

I recently wrote that I had been in touch with a relative who found me via the Internet. I have been filling her in on information about our family members. Rather than go into lengthy repeats about relatives that I had already written about, I referred her to the Story Telling Place on the wonderful blog, Time Goes By by Ronni Bennett. I had stories published about my cantankerous great-grandmother, her son, (my grandfather), and his daughter, (my mother).

When I told her to read these stories it dawned on me that I had not written a story about the woman who was the most influential person in my life, my maternal grandmother, Carrie Norris. And Now I intend to remedy that omission. This is for you, Judy.

Carrie was the oldest of 5 children born to an Ohio Civil War Veteran, George Clark, and his wife, Janette. Because Carrie's father had been severely wounded during the war he was never well after he returned. He had been taken prisoner by the Rebels and they thought he would not live so they turned him over to the Yankees.

George Clark had a hard time making a living because of his lingering weakness. To say that they were poor was probably an understatement. In spite of that, money was found to give Carrie piano lessons. When Carrie's 13Th birthday arrived she was given a choice of presents. She could have a new dress or another series of music lessons. She chose the lessons.

Carrie chose wisely because the money she made giving lessons and playing in the orchestra in later years provided the means to buy a very large tract of land on which 4 houses, a restaurant building and some cabins had been erected. The property was at the mouth of a canyon known as Red Rock Canyon. The frontage was on the main street, Colorado Avenue, on which tourists drove to get to Manitou Springs and to Pikes Peak. It was near the Garden of the Gods. You get the picture; it was strategically positioned to be a perfect place for a cottage court catering to tourists. This was a very farsighted purchase.

The property was further divided by railroad tracks that, at one time, went to the gold mines. When the mines closed the tracks were left in place. The houses were located between the tracks and the mouth of the canyon. The lower half of the property was divided by a creek that ran through the middle. A bridge connected the two properties. There was an additional side acreage that was undeveloped and could only be reached through the cottage court. T
hrough the years this area was rented to various men who planted vegetable gardens. At one time the grocery store owner across the avenue pastured his goat there.

Carrie moved her family into the largest of the houses and intended to develop the land when the crash of 1929 occurred. She was devastated and didn't know how she could get the money to improve the property. In desperation she rented the front half of the property to a man who assured her he could make a go of it. Instead he built a lodge building and skipped town owing everyone for the materials. Carrie had no choice but to move into the lodge, a building she hated to her dying day, and take over once more.

I call Carrie a Renaissance woman. She not only took over a hopeless situation, but made a successful business of it. More cabins were built, the restaurant was leased out and a camp ground was established on the back half of the property. This later evolved into a trailer park. (See my story on James Jones in the Story Telling Place on Time Goes By.)

I entered the world while all this was transpiring. I lived on that property until I was married and even lived in two of the houses for a short time in later years.

This is Carrie's story and now it becomes mine as well. Therefore, from now on I will refer to Carrie as Nama, a name I gave her. I can't explain why I named her Nama. Possibly, because I had 2 living grandmothers and 2 living great grandmothers when I was a toddler. Too many women called 'grandma' became confusing. Perhaps I heard a child call their grandmother Nana and I misunderstood and thought they said Nama. Or it is possible that Nama was an easier word to say than grandma. I will never know, but she was Nama to me until her dying day.

When my mother was 2 years old the family followed one of Nama's brothers to Colorado. He was tubercular and had to leave Ohio for a dry climate. Colorado Springs had a hospital for TB patients.

After arriving, Nama played the organ, leading an orchestra with her head, for the background music for the silent movies. She continued giving piano lessons and raising her two children, eventually buying the cottage court.

Nama was an avid rock collector and had such an extensive collection of fossils and semi-precious stones that my mother donated her collection to the Geology department of Colorado College after her death. I can remember listening for hours as she explained her collection to tourists who came in to register and ended up spending fascinated hours listening to her. One favorite rock in her collection was a very large smokey quartz crystal. It looked purple in some lights and everyone seemed to be entranced by it.

My father was an irresponsible playboy and Nama ended up supporting Mom and me. My grandparents bought a tour car to set him up in the business of driving tourists up Pikes Peak. He sold the car and left my mother for another woman when I was three years old. As a result, Mom and I moved in with my grandparents in the Lodge building. And that is where I grew up. Nama was more mother to me than my Mom. Mom fell apart after my Dad left and I had to turn to Nama. Then Nama set my Mom up in business and I was still dependent on Nama for attention. Until I was ten years old I really felt like Nama was my mother and my mother was like a big sister.

I digress. This is Carrie's story. The Great Depression hit when Carrie was trying to save her property. Colorado was the pathway for the dust bowl farmers leaving their destroyed farms for California. Colorado Springs was in the middle of that migration. The back half of the cottage court became a sea of tents. Some were only there for a night as the families pushed on, but others were there for weeks as the men hunted for work to provide the funds to continue on to California. Many families did not have money to pay for their tent spots and my grandmother never pressed them for payment. She told them that when they got to California and back on their feet they could send the money. I honestly don't believe that a single person failed to send the money back. My mother was still getting cards from the people Nama befriended long after her death.

While we were better off than many families, I never felt that we were. Nama knew that many of our neighbors were hungry and she gave parties in the lodge every Saturday night. They were always potluck and people brought what they could. If they could not contribute anything they were always welcomed and never made to feel guilty. The parties had different themes. A costume party was called a 'tacky party' because no one had money for costumes. They all had old clothes, so there was a surfeit of hobos at those parties. There was always dancing after dinner and Nama was the pianist accompanied by anyone who could play an instrument. This was probably the best meal that some of them had all week and the only entertainment for most of them.

To say that Nama was beloved by all who knew her would not be an exaggeration. There were two exception's, because no one is perfect. My father and step-father were not her best fans. I know it was because she provided for their families and their guilt was responsible for their resentment. Funny how that so often happens.

Carrie Norris, was a remarkable woman and I was so lucky to have her for my grandmother, mentor, and comforter. Thank you, Nama, for your loving care.
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Friday, August 20, 2010


The news media focuses on the sensational instead of the many real problems this country faces. The current flap over building a Mosque at Ground Zero is completely irrational. Not only that, it is counter productive. The Imam, Faisel Abdul Rauf, (an American citizen) in charge of the project is from Soufey branch of Islam that preaches tolerance, love and peace. It is as far from being a terrorist organization as you can get. It is reported that Osama bin Laden hated this Imam. So by objecting to a man who would have a good influence on young Muslims, the purveyors of hate are actually doing the terrorists a favor.

How to make an enemy:

Be disrespectful.
Be critical
Ignore their plight
Be intolerant

So what is gained by trying to deny the freedom guaranteed in our Constitution to a religious group? In doing so we have provided another fertile breeding ground for young impressionable Muslims to hate us.

Many have blogged on this subject including Tom Degan's Rant, Bird's On a Wire, and Citizen K. All are well worth reading .

Here is a link to a different perspective on this subject from Bob Cesca in International Clearing House. He makes the case for the hypocrisy of calling ground zero 'hallowed ground' as the reason to deny the Muslims the right to build near the Twin Towers disaster.

I give up. I have deleted the font size in Html 3 time and blogspot is determined to make the font large. I hate you blog spot.

And now for a funny take on the whole issue. Jon Stewart does it better than any serious post. You will love this video. Sorry I had to embed the whole show.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Millie


I love your blog, My Mom's Blog, Millie. You are a blogger par excellence. I am soooo jealous of your fame with your "I can't open it" videos. But I have one advantage; I am 2 1/2 months older than you. Okay already, that doesn't count for much, does it, but I have to take my fame where I can find it. ;-)

Enjoy your milestone birthday and have a super, colossal, fantastic, marvelous, wonderful birthday.

And here is Stevie Wonder wishing you a happy birthday along with some flowers for your enjoyment.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Forgetter

I can relate to this little poem. Can you?

Forgetter Be Forgotten

My forgetter's getting better,
But my rememberer is broke
To you that may seem funny
But, to me, that is no joke

For when I'm 'here' I'm wondering

If I really should be 'there'

And, when I try to think it through,
I haven't got a prayer!

Oft times I walk into a room,
Say 'what am I here for?'
I wrack my brain, but all in vain!
A zero, is my score.

t times I put something away
Where it is safe, but, Gee!
The person it is safest from
Is, generally, me!

hen shopping I may see someone,
Say 'Hi' and have a chat,
Then, when the person walks away
I ask myself, 'who the hell was that?

Yes, my forgetter's getting better
While my rememberer is broke,
And it's driving me plumb crazy
And that isn't any joke


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Common Sense and Pot

The following is part of an e-mail from a friend and it started me thinking about how common sense so rarely figures in our politics.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who
has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was,
since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend
more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are
in charge).

Common Sense was preceded in death
- by his parents, Truth and Trust;
- by his wife, Discretion;
- by his daughter, Responsibility and
- by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers:
- I Know My Rights
- I Want It Now
- Someone Else Is To Blame
- I am a Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.
After I read about the death of common sense I read an article that documented how the most common test for marijuana may have resulted in thousands of false convictions. The article is on Alter Net and the link is here:

It brought back a realization of how many years we have been incarcerating users of a drug that is less harmful than our legal drug, alcohol.

Over 30 years ago my husband and I told some friends that marijuana should be legalized with the same restrictions that control alcohol. The friend was horrified stating that marijuana leads to harder drugs, children could get it easily, yada, yada.
My husband told the friend that if any teenager didn't already know where he could get pot he could easily find out in 15 minutes. As for leading to harder drugs, that turned out to be a myth. Even if true, alcohol can have the same results and we learned a long time ago what folly it was to prohibit that dangerous drug.

I cannot understand why there is still so much resistance to that common sense solution to the problems of gang warfare, overcrowded prisons, and lack of testing of pot to make sure it isn't lethal. Anyone high on marijuana is happy, relaxed and no threat to anyone. The term 'laid back' comes to mind. Can you say the same for alcohol?

Marijuana also has medicinal properties that are a godsend to anyone suffering from the nausea caused by Chemotherapy and other illnesses.

True, the use of pot can be abused by some people just like any other drug, but that is not really the issue. Legal or illegal, that happens. Let me state that I have never smoked a single marijuana cigarette, but I sure had a couple of episodes of drinking 'one too many' when I was young and foolish. I probably would have been a lot better off if pot had been the drug of choice then. At the least, I would have avoided a whale of a hangover.

The benefits of legalizing marijuana are many and should be considered. One of the reasons that securing the border is gaining so many advocates is because most of them are frightened due to the violence between the gangs. Now if we took away their source of income by legalizing pot and other drugs it would stop the need for drug trafficking. While it may not stop all of the activity, it would certainly decrease it so it would be manageable.

If drug users were no longer considered criminals we could spend the obscene amount of money now being spent on arresting, trying and incarcerating drug users and drug sellers on rehabilitation for those with a drug problem. Can anyone honestly say this doesn't make good sense? By throwing drug users (a victimless crime) in prison we are now spending billions training them how to become hardened criminals and then turning them out on our streets. I can't see how this makes good sense.

The money saved by decriminalizing drugs would be astronomical. But wait! In addition to saving money we could also make it profitable. Cigarettes are taxed. alcohol is taxed. Wow! We could really clean up if we taxed drugs.

I think it's time that the country becomes practical and uses common sense. Lets face it; we lost the war on drugs years ago. Isn't it time to try something new?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, Lynne


Sixty one years ago last November I got married and was lucky enough to get a cute little 8 year old girl with deep dimples in the bargain.
I started married life with a ready made family and her name was Linda. After she was grown she started calling herself Lynne. The name is interchangeable for me.

Lynne was a Daddy's girl if there ever was one. Before we were married my husband-to-be, Wayne, was tickling me unmercifully and I was trying to fight back when I felt two little fists pounding on me and heard a voice saying, "Don't you hurt my Daddy." All that time I was thinking I was the victim. Ha Ha !! Wayne wisely stopped the horseplay at that point.

There are many endearing stories I can tell about Lynne. That same year the song, " Linda." was popular. When Linda heard it she wanted to know how they found out what her name was. Do you remember this song, Lynne? The recording is poor due to age, but it was the only one I could find on You Tube.

Linda was able to sleep through an earthquake. We lived in Wisconsin when we were first married. One below zero night Wayne and I took Linda to visit friends. They had an upstairs apartment. We put Linda down to sleep while we visited. When it was time to go I woke Linda, or so I thought. I put her shoes, coat and hat on. While we were thanking our hosts for a nice evening Lynne was walking down the stairs. When Wayne and I reached to bottom of the stairs there was no sign of Linda. I told Wayne that she was probably hiding around the corner to scare us. Linda was not there. Wayne finally spotted her about a half block away doggedly plodding down the street. Since she was going the wrong direction we had to get her and half carry her home between us. The next morning she asked me how she got home. She had apparently slept through the whole thing.

We used to go to supper clubs with our friends and, because money was tight and baby sitters too expensive, we took Linda with us. She would study the menu for an eternity while the poor wait person shifted from one foot to the other. It was exasperating and also very funny because she always ordered shrimp.

Our first Christmas we informed Linda that the first person to wake up Christmas morning was to yell, "Merry Christmas" and then we would all go together to see what Santa left under the tree. In the middle of the night (3 am, to be exact) a very excited voice woke us up with the Merry Christmas greeting. We had neglected to tell her that it had to be daylight before she could wake us.

Lynne, I hope you don't mind me telling these stories about you, but now that you are a great grandmother I am sure you will find them as heartwarming as I do.

Happy Birthday, Honey.