Confederacy

Confederacy: (n) the Confederate states

As I sit quietly, my mind sometimes conjures the memory of something really dumb I have done. I am most comfortable when that piece of idiocy is well in my past.

But it is important, when that nasty memory comes to the forefront, that I own it, regret it and establish how ridiculous it was and how it mustfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
never be done again.

It’s part of being human.

Rationalizing all of our activities and granting them license immediately turns us into assholes.

Assholes, in this instance, are people who think they do not have elements in their past that need to be remembered with shame.

There was a time in this great nation when we denied our creed of the equality of all mankind and decided it was all right to own people as long as their skin was black. So intensely were we deceived that we were willing to go to the battlefield, bleed and die as feuding brothers.

A Confederacy challenged our Union.

It was shameful–a frightening part of our past.Yet it is a chapter of the book we call America.

We have two responsibilities:

  1. Don’t deny it happened
  2. Offer the necessary regret and shame required to eradicate it from happening again by eliminating all the prejudice that brought about such foolishness.

 

 

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Clean-cut

Clean-cut: (adj) giving the appearance of neatness and respectability.

He was Mr. Wintermute.

I did not know his first name since I was a young boy and was not allowed to speak it, or for that matter, hear it. He was our village barber.
He cut hair.

I didn’t like to have my hair cut. I didn’t have any reason. Mr. Wintermute was a nice enough fellow. I suppose in today’s culture, we might accuse him of having “soft hands,” but such things were not considered when I was a young’un growing up.

He offered two possibilities in his shop. The first was called “regular,” and the second was called “butch.”

A butch haircut was one that was combed to the top and then clipped down to look like grass on a putting green.

A regular haircut was a little splash of hair left on the top and white walls on the sides.

Mr. Wintermute did not take special orders.

He had a little speech he delivered every time I went into his chair. “Yes, it’s good that you came. You’re looking a little shaggy, like the dog in the Disney movie. Let’s see what we can do to make you look clean-cut again.”

By clean-cut, Wintermute meant shaving everything in sight, leaving unattractive stubble around the ears, and a clump of what appeared to be crab grass on top. Of course, that clump needed to be clean-cut also, so he offered Brylcreem to smooth it down. And even though “a little dab’ll do you,” Mr. Wintermute was much more generous.

I would actually walk out of the barber shop feeling chilly–because suddenly my ears were on their own, to stay warm. My chubby face now just looked fat–and all the adults around me, who were advocates of clean-cut, “o-o-h-ed and a-h-h-ed” to maintain the belief that how one cut one’s hair actually had something to do with character.

Mr. Wintermute has long ago passed away. I think he would be very pleased that I wrote this essay about him, highlighting a time in American history when how we looked was the essence of who we were.

 

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Bowie Knife

Bowie knife: (n) a long knife with a blade double-edged at the point.

His name was Jim Bowie.Dictionary B

If he lived in your town, you would look at him as the guy who doesn’t have a job–always working a scheme, and you certainly wouldn’t want him dating your sister.

He probably wouldn’t even have made the pages of history had he not ended up in a little mission in San Antonio, Texas, called the Alamo. He arrived there defeated, rejected, running from the law and sick as a dog.

He was known for the big intimidating knife he carried–gaining a reputation by some lethal use.

Jim was with a bunch of other misfits who decided to make a stand in a poorly defended and somewhat meaningless piece of property. History has deemed this to be brave, but if you take a close look, it was just a bunch of macho stupidity. They could easily have fallen back, joined Sam Houston and been part of the victory instead of finding themselves burned up on a mass grave.

Sometimes I don’t know why Americans think that doing “bold maneuvers” is the definition of patriotic manliness. Discretion is not only the better part of valor, but it also enables you to do more things in life … so you’re known for something other than dying and carrying a big, bad-ass knife.

 

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Bibliography

Bibliography: (n) a list of the books referred to in a scholarly work

Dictionary B

It would seem it is necessary in the pursuit of reporting truthful statements, that we find others who agree with us, who have written down their thoughts–therefore supposedly giving these notions greater credibility.

Of course, with the inception of the Internet and freelance writers such as myself, merely finding quotes which confirm your assertion has become easier–and also more comical.

I could probably make any statement whatsoever and produce a list of essays, papers and even books that will confirm my accusations with a hearty literary “amen.”

Here’s the problem: it doesn’t make it true.

Some of the more astute and intelligent writing in American history occurred in the Antebellum period, when it was completely permissible to refer to “Nigger Jim.”

If I were to write a twisted article on my black brothers and sisters and place within the bibliography a considered number of masterful works to support my prejudice, I would have a foundation, yet find it to be constructed on the sand.

A bibliography is a way of proving that a freshman in high school actually cracked a book to crack open his or her brain.

It does not prove that what is being purported is accurate.

Just that we found enough people to concur … to have a small party.

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Alamo

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

 

Alamo: (the Alamo) a mission in San Antonio, Texas, site of a siege in 1836 by Mexican forces in which all 180 defenders were killed.

Reality, think and hope.

These are the three elements that go into telling the story of history. Nowhere is this any more evident than in the tale of the Alamo.

Our great hope is that 180 human souls gave their lives for freedom, making a last-ditch stand against the tyranny of Santa Ana.

We think we understand their motivations–and we also have thoughts that perhaps things could have been handled better so that such a death toll was unnecessary.

Rarely do we arrive at reality.

The truth of the matter is, the “big three” of the Alamo–Travis, Bowie and Crockett–were at the end of their careers and escaped to Texas to start over again–or perhaps, end it all. They had failed relationships, diminishing careers, and a bit of mischief and malfeasance trailing them.

They arrived together in a little mission right between the army of Mexico and an ever-growing infantry of settlers and frontiersmen under the leadership of Sam Houston.

Actually,  it was completely unnecessary to defend the Alamo.

  • We hope that they were buying time for Sam Houston to build up an army to defeat Santa Ana.
  • We think that was on their minds.
  • But in reality, we don’t know.

For after all, when the Alamo was taken over and all occupants killed, Sam Houston intelligently scooted away, avoiding his enemy, until he could choose just the right time–when they were exhausted and he had the best ground.

General Houston finished them off in no time at all, without losing many troops.

So what happened at the Alamo is a typical piece of American history. It had some nobility, some ulterior motives and certainly … a bit of stupidity.