Category Archives: Food for Thought

More proponents of a “Kill Them With Kindness” plan

I like cutesy pictures and saccharin sweet sayings, so here’s what I look at on the hutch above my PC.

An op-ed in the Washington Post a few days ago, The Dalai Lama and Arthur Brooks: All of us can break the cycle of hatred, caught my attention.  It was a short piece about the deluge of angry word flying across the internet.  The Dalai Lama and Brooks write:

“Human beings have a deep longing to live together in harmony. People only feel completely alive when experiencing loving bonds with one another. Everyone, of all faiths and no faith, knows this truth, and most profess it openly.

And yet people fight incessantly. Even though war is blessedly absent in most countries today, these are deeply polarized times. Words too often are delivered with contempt; philosophical differences are likened to warfare; those who simply disagree with another are deemed “enemies.” Often it is on the Internet — which was launched as a forum for unity — where people attack one another, under the cloak of anonymity.”

Their answer to defeating the growing “war of words”, especially online,  is very simple:

“Respond with kindness. Want to say something insulting about people who disagree with you? Take a breath and show generosity, instead.”

As I am typing this, Twitter is aflutter with another Trump-generated outrage spin cycle about Trump’s vicious attack yesterday on the late senator, John McCain, while standing in front of Army tanks and the American flag.  This spin cycle will agitate for a few days, but nothing will really change, despite a firestorm of words flying in the media, covering this latest Trump spin blitz.

Our politics very much reflects our culture and despite many anti-Trump politicians and pundits asserting, “This (meaning Trump) is not who we are,” sadly, Trump very much reflects who we are.

The truth is, in an America where good character and being truthful matters, neither of our two thoroughly corrupt 2016 presidential contenders would have been their party’s choice.  If either party had any ethical standards, they would have rejected such completely mendacious candidates, who were under so heavy a cloud of corruption, and who both have glaring character flaws.   We embrace a culture dominated by social media celebrity, Reality TV stardom and a news media entrenched in promoting political spin cycles.  Absent this media dominated culture, neither Trump nor Hillary would have risen to the top and diligent investigative reporting in the news media would have sunk both of them.

You don’t need a degree in psychology or fancy clinical terms to see that both Trump and Hillary lie outrageously and they both have the disturbing habit of doubling down on their lies, even when there’s video of them saying or doing the exact thing they are denying.  They launch media spin campaigns to bolster their lies rather than admit they lied.

In real life most people with even a bit of a moral compass, recognize thoroughly mendacious people like Trump and Hillary as people to be wary of and untrustworthy, but in American politics now, most Americans chose one of them to lead America…

That speaks to our American culture, where too many people prefer to jump on the latest popular spin train rather than standing up for any sort of moral principles.

Many conservatives and NeverTrumpers made their peace with Trump as POTUS, happily consoling themselves with “But Gorsuch” type rationalizations and trying to skim past the recurring Trump-instigated outrage spin cycles, like this bizarre spectacle of Trump’s attack on McCain yesterday.  Likewise, many Democrats chose to ignore the obvious Clinton corruption.

How many Americans will choose to start being kind and generous when facing hostile attacks?  Well, judging from a couple of decades of watching… and experiencing, social media behavior, even a few people beginning to lead this “kill them with kindness” approach, assuredly, is a welcome glimmer of hope.

The Dalai Lama and Brooks “Kill Them With Kindness” plan, naturally, resonated with me, because it’s the only way to defeat the massive SPIN information war that drives, not only American media, but also American culture.

Since 1998, I’ve wished a thousand times, and more, that I had never posted any comments online, but perhaps working toward writing less about politics and more about things that matter much more to me might be a good thing. Sometimes all it takes is a small gesture to change the tone, so I welcome the Dalai Lama and Brooks suggestion and will work to try to change the only person I can control… myself (and the tone of my blog  &  social media comments).

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Filed under Civility, Culture Wars, Food for Thought, General Interest, Inspirations

Old ways and new with survival

On YouTube, amidst mountains of rubbish, you can also come across truly excellent historical information presented in a very entertaining  video format.  The above YouTube channel, Townsends, offers hundreds of videos exploring 18th century American living.  Along with fascinating historical information, this channel dishes up some amazing 18th century cooking, prepared as it would have been, back when bison roamed America’s fruited plains.   The Pemican video is part of a series of videos on this true early American survival food.

The Townsends YouTube channel offers dozens upon dozens of well-researched videos on 18th century cooking and living, presented in an entertaining and educational format.  These videos are like a walk back into early American life and you can almost imagine you’re living in George Washington’s time.  With my fascination with the American colonial time period, once I came across the Townsends channel, I wished I still had my cheap felt tricorn hat and quill pen.

In my last blog post, I took a pretty dim view of some of the “homesteading” videos I’ve watched on YouTube.  There seems to be a consumerist bent to how many of these people approach their “back-to-nature” lifestyle,  being motivated mostly by watching other popular YouTube homesteading “influencers”, then following advice gleaned via social media, embarking on moving into rural settings they are unfamiliar with and lacking financial plans and a means to provide for unexpected expenses.

The ground truth appears to be, their goal seems more to become quickly famous (popular) selling their beliefs about their back-to-nature lifestyle than it does to actually develop good working systems on their homestead and that bothers me.  Many of these people seem to spend more time working on their YouTube videos and social media than they do on finding practical ways to make their actual homesteading more productive.

Any home, requires food, water, heating, sheltering, waste disposal/sanitation systems.  Those are the basics anywhere humans live.  The more effectively and reliably these systems operate in a home, the more enjoyable everyday life becomes.  Absent dependable systems in the basics, the more stressful life becomes.  That’s just common sense, in colonial American homesteading or modern American homesteading.

Rather than be so negative about so much of the YouTube homesteading fad, here’s, the queen of common sense homesteader, Appalachia’s Homestead with Patara, who offers not only sensible homesteading advice, she offers the real deal homespun common sense advice, to people with no background in gardening or farming, embarking on a homesteading lifestyle.   Beyond all of the sensible things Patara says about finances and planning for her homestead, at minute 7:32, in the background is a simple clothesline.

I’ve watched another YouTube channel, of a homesteading couple, with a lot of young children, who have put out several videos where the mother laments about all of her off-the-grid laundry misery.  They choose to live with no electricity and this mother uses a ridiculously small, folding, wooden drying rack to try to dry clothes outside.

In a recent video, she praised her husband for helping her out with laundry… by carting some of their laundry to the neighbor’s, to wash and dry there.  How on earth this is being self-reliant, I have yet to figure out.  In another video, this father also talked about going to part-time hours at his retail job in a home improvement store, in hopes of being able to have more time to work at home… mostly, it seemed, on their social media video “business” ventures.

I kept wondering why on earth, living in the Ozarks and this man working in a home improvement store, he hadn’t put up some real clothesline outside, so his wife could make use of the many days of wonderful breezes there.  I lived at Fort Leonard Wood in the early 90s,  during my husband’s Army career and I had a clothesline in my backyard of our military housing.  On many clear, breezy days, I could fill up my clothesline, sometimes three separate times with loads of laundry.  I started laundry as soon as my kids left for school and got the first couple loads hung out.  Usually by noon, that was dry and I could hang out some more.  And if I had still more, by mid-afternoon, I could hang it out and get it dried.

I had a large capacity electric washer and dryer though, so on rainy days, laundry continued without any interruptions.  One time, living in MO,  the heating element in my dryer stopped working.  My husband went and picked up a new heating element and fixed my dryer when he got home, after working a very long day in the Army.

A clothesline is a common sense thing to have living a rural lifestyle, in most parts of the country.  It’s also one of those basics that could make laundry less of a trial with a large family and no electricity.  A sturdy clothesline doesn’t cost much to put together and for a family with small children, off-the-grid, it makes no sense to me why this mother spends so much time on YouTube lamenting about her laundry woes.

I kept wondering why her husband, who said he worked at a home improvement store, hadn’t put up some sturdy clotheslines, so she could make use of the great breezes that blow through the Ozarks.  Instead, this mother waxes on about amber teething necklaces, pricey amazon health food stuff and the kids, unsupervised, were mixing up batter with almond flour in one video.  I had priced almond flour for a recipe that called for it.  The Walmart store brand was $10 and some change for a 2 lb. bag.  The other brands of almond flour cost more than that.  I decided to stick with my all-purpose flour and skip trying this new recipe with almond flour.

As irksome as I found this couple’s laundry decision-making, it’s nothing compared to some of the YouTube preppers, like a lady waxing on about “dry canning” store bought rice and beans and claiming they have a shelf life of 30 years.  I wondered who on earth tested this “dry canning” method as a safe 30-year food storage method…  She did motivate me to go through my cupboards and discard some food that had long passed the expiration date, lol.  I have a bad habit of stockpiling store-bought canned goods and packaged food.  “Dry canning” store-bought beans and rice is advice, I’ll take a pass on, thank-you very much.

I suppose this sounds like my Three Little Pigs YouTube homesteading saga, so here’s another couple at Living Traditions Homestead (also in the Ozarks), who offer really solid, practical advice on planning and operating a family homestead business.  This couple planned for 7 years before moving to a homestead in the country.  They paid off all of their debt and appear to do their homework before making big decisions and changes.  They offer many interesting cooking and canning videos too.

My dream isn’t a family homestead, but to be completely debt-free and to eventually have a big backyard vegetable garden again and plant lots of flowers.  Whenever I browse seed company sites or walk into stores with gardening supplies and plants, my heart longs to buy, buy, buy, but I’m going to just grow some herbs and veggies in containers this year.  It’s the same response when I watch many homesteading and gardening videos, my eyes are bigger than my physical energy level and time.

For inspiration on container gardening, here’s another YouTube channel, a very nice couple at, Hollis and Nancy’s Homestead, who offer very clear how-to videos on container gardening methods.

You can learn many positive things from YouTube and social media, but often the “most popular” people or the videos with the most likes aren’t the ones offering the most sensible advice.  It’s best to take the time to wander through several YouTube channels when looking for “how-to” videos and think about what that channel is really selling before buying into  magical “healthy” products or lifestyles.

As the Appalachia Homestead lady, Patara, advises constantly, “Slow down and think before rushing into things!”  That’s sound advice on just about all aspects of life.

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Filed under American History, Food for Thought, General Interest

Quest for common American values

“In the military, and in a military family, you learn to do something very hard and not of your own choosing, for a cause bigger than yourself. You’re working for a cause determined by the mechanisms of democracy, standing side by side with others who are fully committed. Current U.S. civilian life has a striking absence of “common causes”—tasks that remind us that there is more that unites us than divide us.”

– Kathy Roth-Douquet

America’s Elite Needs to Get Back in Uniform

I’ve had this link saved for over a week, intending to use it in a blog post, but really there’s not much I can add to this excellent piece written by Kathy Roth-Douquet.

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Filed under American Character, Food for Thought, General Interest, Military

Pie in the sky musings…

In many past blog posts, I’ve mentioned my PA Dutch (not Amish, but PA Germans) heritage.  My father’s family settled in northeastern PA, before the Revolutionary War, making my family tree’s roots in the Pocono Mountain soil very deep.  While many of these PA Dutch relatives and neighbors greatly influenced my life, I have always felt truly fortunate that God blessed me with what I have always considered a wise, Jewish grandmother figure too (mentioned in previous blog posts: here, here, here, here).   My childhood UCC Reformed pastor was married to a lovely Jewish lady from New York City, who was educated at Teachers College Columbia University.

The parsonage for St. Matthew’s UCC Church in Kunkletown was not next-door to the church, but was on the edge of the village (yes, Kunkletown was officially designated a “village” in PA):

Hamlets and Villages[edit]

Villages in Pennsylvania are often small communities within a township that chose not to incorporate into a borough. Many villages are identified by the familiar PennDOT sign along a state highway. Lahaska is an example of typical village in suburbanPennsylvania.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_Pennsylvania

The parsonage was directly across the road from my childhood home.

Our pastor and his wife.  Rev. and Mrs. Boehner,  had collected a very nice home library, which Mrs. Boehner kept meticulously organized and maintained.  They also subscribed to several magazines, some of which their subscription went back to the 1920s.  When Rev. Boehner retired in 1969, he turned a large building next to the parsonage, which  he had built for his woodworking, into a small retirement home.  In this small open floor plan design, with a small kitchen area, dining area, and living room area, they designed a long wall of floor-to-ceiling bookcases, with a built-in desk area centered along the wall, to showcase their home library.  Mrs. Boehner had her piano on one end of the living room too, which added to the air of culture, when you walked into their home.

Mrs. Boehner dedicated her life to doing good works, in a tradition long familiar in pastors’ wives.  She also became neighborhood children’s go-to source when writing school reports or needing information.  Kunkletown did not have a public library and I believe the nearest public library, when I was a kid, was in Stroudsburg, PA. (half-hour drive away) Later there was a local branch in Brodheadsville, PA (10 miles away).  Mrs. Boehner allowed us to use their home library like our own personal library and she graciously served as our volunteer librarian, project advisor and mentor with teaching us how to research topics.

Often, if we told Mrs. Boehner our report topic, she would search her home library and magazine collection, which she had organized on small bookcases in their attic, and she would have the stack of books and magazines, with article pages bookmarked, waiting for us.  If we wanted to do some sleuthing ourselves, she allowed us to scamper up their attic ladder and spend hours up there looking through her magazine collection.  She often would climb up to check on us or join us in our efforts.  She was a great teacher.

By the time I was a teenager, she had singled me out as her favorite pupil and I am thankful everyday for the efforts she put into teaching me to think about many things larger than my little village.  She would often have books and magazines, neatly stacked, waiting for me, where she would smile and say, “Susie, I thought of you when I read this.”, then she’d proceed to explain an article or a book or often a quote she had jotted down, which she thought was memorable or important to what she believed was the best education –  a classic liberal arts education.

She allowed me to borrow her Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations and of course, I have a copy of my own now.  She told me that it would be a good idea if I started a notebook to keep my favorite quotations all in one place.  I immediately got a Mead spiral organizer notebook, with pockets to serve as my very own quote notebook.  I still have it:

Mrs. Boehner subscribed to Yankee Magazine, often having articles marked, in the latest one, waiting for me to read.   I developed a soft spot in my heart for that Yankee Magazine and later their books.  Even though Yankee Magazine is about New England, I felt a deep connection to much of the homespun advice and stories.   Her love of Yankee Magazine led to my love of it too, but also my interest in learning how “everything” was done in the “olden days”.  I acquire books like:

And, another fascination of mine is what nowadays they call “repurposing”.  That is the process of taking old junk and turning it into some sort of other usable item.  I think this book title is more honest:

However, you might find real gems, so a book like this is handy too:

All of this brings me to the one thing that I laid claim to as a definitive PA Dutch habit – one I grew up embracing wholeheartedly and one my husband never understood, no matter how often I told him, “Pie is the best thing to eat for breakfast. PERIOD!”  I grew up eating pie for breakfast, even though my mother cooked traditional breakfast spreads and we had plenty of cold cereal, oatmeal and even Cream of Wheat options to choose from.

My favorite pies for breakfast were shoofly pie, which is the PA Dutch molasses crumb pie and funny cake, which only the PA Dutch would embrace, with its total disregard for piling in as many extra calories and fat into one dessert as possible.  Funny cake is yellow cake, marbled with chocolate syrup, which pools in a nice gooey layer on the bottom, inside a flaky pie shell – yes, it’s a cake baked in a pie shell.  I used to bake both often when my kids were little.

Funny Cake

Cake batter:

2 1/4 c. flour

1 2/3 c. sugar

3/4 c. milk

2/3 c. Crisco vegetable shortening

1 tsp. salt

3 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Beat, then add:

1/2 c. milk

3 unbeaten eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

Pour batter into 2 – 9″ pie plates lined with unbaked pie shells.  Pour funny cake liquid over each pie and bake at 375 degrees or 30-35 minutes.

Funny Cake Liquid:

1/2 c. cocoa

1 c. sugar

1 c. boiling water

1 tsp. vanilla extract

(Do not cool before pouring over batter)

Then I realized that eating pie for breakfast wasn’t really just a PA Dutch thing…

“A Yankee, to a European, is any American.  To a Southerner, it’s  a Northerner; to  Northerner it’s a New Englander; to a New Englander, a resident of Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont.  But to those of us who are still not excluded by other definition, it’s someone who eats pie for breakfast.

The breed is getting rarer, since most people don’t eat anything for breakfast anymore — or not so’s you’d notice.  Pie for breakfast is a custom from the days when breakfast was a full and hearty meal eaten after a couple of hours of pre-dawn work had already taken place.”

Pie For Breakfast by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers, p. 168, The Yankee Magazine Cookbook

Well, even if eating pie for breakfast isn’t just a PA Dutch thing, let me assure you that shoofly pie or funny cake are way better with a cup of hot coffee in the morning than apple pie or some other not-PA Dutch pie selection;-)

Failing that, my mother baked homemade cinnamon rolls that were to die for…

Have a nice day:-)

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Destiny…

Looking through quotes this morning.  Here’s one I like:

“Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands.  But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters; you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny'”

— Carl Schurz

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Another tale from my doctor’s waiting room

This morning I went to my allergist for my allergy shot, but I was a bit alarmed that my right eye and right side of my mouth were drooping and felt weird, so my allergist examined me and told me he thinks it’s Bell’s palsy.  He told me to go to my primary care doctor or ER, because they’ll want to do an MRI.  So, I went from there to my primary care doctor.  Usually these days I sit and read on my phone or tablet, but my eyes are bothering me, so I decided to pick up a Reader’s Digest magazine sitting on the table.  I started to read a delightful story, but my doctor saw me so fast that I didn’t get to finish it.  My doctor’s diagnosis is Bell’s palsy.  Weird to have one eye not want to move & my mouth feel stuck on one side, but my doctor told me in most people the paralysis goes away.

Tonight, I searched for that story and I located the same story at The New Yorker and finished reading it.  The story is about several topics that are near and dear to my heart – letter-writing, pen pals, and reading encyclopedias.  And what is more inspiring than a story about someone in poverty working hard to become self-educated?

This true story is titled, The Encyclopedia Reader, written by Daniel A. Gross.  The story is about the unlikely friendship between a prison inmate, who writes to an encyclopedia editor about an error in the encyclopedia.  Without giving away the rest of the story,  here is how the prison inmate described his education in school:

“Eventually, the school transferred him to a special-education program. As he progressed through the grades, Woods says, instead of learning to read and write, he was given chores like collecting attendance slips and stacking milk in the cafeteria refrigerator. These tasks earned him mostly A’s and B’s. “Now, of course, I didn’t learn nothing,” he said. In high school, whenever a teacher asked him to read aloud, Woods would put his head on his desk in shame. “They say it takes a community to raise a child,” he told me. “It takes one to destroy a child, too.” Woods dropped out of school.”

https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-encyclopedia-reader

Definitely go read this story.  You’ll be glad you did.  If this encyclopedia editor and a prison inmate could not only find some common ground, but actually strike up a friendship that began in 2004 with a letter and they finally met in 2016, then there is hope for all of America to find some common ground.


Update:  Well, here’s another inspiring piece at National Review to end January:

Remembering Frederick Douglass, Champion of American Individualism, by George Will

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“A few leaves of grass” for remembrance

20171125_132102-1.jpg

We had a very quiet Thanksgiving and only one of our kids could come home.  I cooked the complete turkey meal and baked a couple of pumpkin pies that morning too.  By early evening our son had gone home.  All of the dishes were cleaned up and the leftovers put away.  I spent a few hours working in my sewing/craft room, then picked up a book that I like to read bits and pieces from often.

I keep War Letters:  Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars, edited by Andrew Carroll, on a small table by my recliner.  A few years ago, I mentioned General Pershing’s famous WWI letter to his young son, Warren, which I came across in this book.   General Pershing’s letter to his son was a father explaining the important values Americans fights to protect and preserve.  It’s probably my favorite letter in the book, but a close second is a letter written in 1918,  by Maude B. Fisher, an American Red Cross nurse.  She penned one of the most touching letters to Mrs. Hogan, the mother of a young soldier, Richard Hogan, who died of influenza in their hospital.  This wonderful nurse took the time to pen a very personal letter, so that a grieving mother would know how her son died.  The letter includes details of how brave and cheerful the dying soldier was, the care he received, and even more than that this nurse wrote the details of the soldier’s burial:

“He was laid to rest in the little cemetery of Commercy, and sleeps under a simple wooden cross among his comrades who, like him, have died for their country.  His grave number is 22, plot 1.  His aluminum identification tag is on the cross , and a similar one around his neck, both bearing his serial number, 2793346.

The plot of the grave in the cemetery where your son is buried was given to the Army for our boys and the people of Commercy will always tend it with loving hands and keep it fresh and clean.  I enclose here a few leaves of grass that grows near in a pretty meadow.

A big hill overshadows that place and the sun was setting behind it just as the Chaplain said the last prayer over your boy.”

page 171, War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars, edited by Andrew Carroll

No one required this nurse to write to this grieving mother, because the Army notified fallen soldiers’ families, but she cared enough to want this mother to have more details.  The book offers a few details about each letter.  Mrs. Hogan lost two of her other children back home in Woburn, Massachusetts, during the 1918 influenza epidemic.  It must have been a great comfort for her to know her son far away was dutifully cared for as he lay dying and that he was given a proper burial.  And imagine her relief knowing exactly where her son was buried.

Thoughtful good deeds, like Maude Fisher’s, used to be very common when most people were reared to put other people before themselves and when quietly doing the right thing was drilled into children and served as the cultural norm.

Almost every good deed now is posted on social media, hyped as some fake gimmicky publicity stunt for attention, or used to sell oneself as more caring than someone else.

Maude Fisher reminds me of the same kind of nurse my mother was.  My mother sent me a little book of Psalms and prayers in 1980, when I was far away from home and going through a hard time in my life.  My mother explained how she came to have this little book:

“… died in 1964 and this booklet was unclaimed by her relatives.  She was a lovely old lady and it was a rewarding experience caring for her.  I am giving this to you Susie, as over the years I found pleasure in reading psalms and prayers.

As you know I’m not a person to force religion on anyone.  I do have faith in God and you will find comfort in reading psalms in times when you’re distressed and unhappy.”

In 1980, I was young and considered myself more agnostic than faithful, but my mother was right.  Over the years, I have picked up this little book or my Bible and turned to the Psalms when I feel  “distressed and unhappy”.

In 2001, my mother was hospitalized for several weeks and I began to worry a great deal, even though she and my sisters assured me that she was improving.  My mother kept telling me there was no need to come to PA, because she would be out of the hospital soon.  Still, I worried and I mailed this booklet to PA and asked my sister to take it to my mother in the hospital.  My mother was happy to see it again and to read it.

My mother died suddenly and unexpectedly on the day she was supposed to be discharged to a local rehabilitation facility for some follow-on care.

My mother quietly helped as many people as she could.  She never talked about it, she just did it, because it was the right thing to do.  People like Maude Fisher and my mother used to be the rule, not the exception.

I don’t have the religious education to argue Christian theology and truthfully if something doesn’t make sense to me, like so much in most religions, I refuse to say, “I believe.”   However, I think having rules or guidelines to serve as guard rails in life, to keep you on track, and sign posts to keep from getting lost, are very helpful.  I reread the Sermon on the Mount often.  I can understand that.  Matthew 6:1-4 has served as the guide for how I try to live my life and it assuredly was how my mother and Maude Fisher lived theirs:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205-7

Watching America’s endless game of partisan one upmanship has caused me to reevaluate my own strident partisan views.   Truly, so much of the extreme emotional investment in these “political hills to die on” won’t matter at all if the country is filled with raging partisans, who hate each other.  The hate bodes poorly, with many Americans who refuse to even talk to anyone with opposing political views, some want those with opposing views silenced, and there are even some wishing those with opposing partisan views were dead.

We could all take a page from Maude Fisher’s and my mother’s book.  Caring about other people is about more than clicking “like” on social media feeds or posting about every shallow thought that pops into your head.   I wonder how many people attending a funeral today would take the time away from their smartphone to even notice that the sun was setting when a young soldier was buried or the pretty meadow.   Assuredly, I doubt hardly anyone would take the time to pick “a few leaves of grass” for remembrance and pen a letter like this to a grieving mother.

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