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red clay ponderings

Hmmm… what shall I ponder on today?

Something About Steve

Recently, Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor said to me: “You’re too high maintenance” for our service. He was referring to Bartow Transit, a state and tax funded transportation service available to every Bartow County citizen.

Some other things he said:

 “Bartow Transit is not a Taxi service.”

“You’re not entitled to use our services.”

Why did the Commissioner make these remarks? Because I had the audacity to question why Bartow Transit cancels reservations without notice. Because I express dissatisfaction when the time scheduled for my appointment is changed without notification.

So how did I find myself entangled with Commissioner Taylor?

On Thanksgiving Day 2019, I took myself out of the driver’s seat.

I’ve had declining mobility issues for several years, primarily in my legs. By 2019, muscle strength in my legs had declined so much that when driving I had to take both hands off the wheel and use them to transfer my right leg between gas and brake pedals. It was a frightening exercise. Even so, I had been reluctant to give up driving. I didn’t want to let go of one more article of independence. But on that Thanksgiving drive, I terrified myself. It became dreadfully clear that I was endangering every driver around me. When I got home that day, I put my keys away.

For months afterwards, I only left my house when someone could drive me. I don’t like asking for help, and it takes effort for me to get in and out of most vehicles. So, I limited my requests for chauffeurs to only essential situations. In the meantime, I researched handicap accessible vans and cars. I was searching for something with hand controls that I could operate myself. Quickly I learned the cost for one of these conversion vehicles is out of reach for me.

After retiring from driving, I felt isolated. At the time, going outside, even onto my porch, was not an option. I couldn’t walk to my mailbox. Previously, I had used my car to drive the short distance to retrieve my mail. Now, I had to rely on others to bring the mail to me. My car had enabled me to feel like I was still part of my community. I used it for picnics in the park. I would pick up Chick Fil A from the window and drive over to Dellinger Park for a picnic in my car. Sometimes I had lunch near the duck pond. Other times, I watched teens playing basketball on the park’s courts. I used my car for brief driveway visits with friends and family. These things sound small and insignificant to most, but they were tethers to a common life for me.

Prior to admitting defeat and giving up the open road, walking had become slow and difficult. Additionally, it was awfully painful and unsafe. In a six-month period, I had fallen twice and broken my left foot both times. Around the time that I hung up my keys, my doctor encouraged me to use a wheelchair. I had fought it for years, but I knew it was time. And eventually, I did as she suggested. The wheelchair gave me the freedom to continue to live independently, get some small things done around my house without asking for help, and go outside again. It has become my legs.

The chair liberated me. But I still wanted to leave my driveway. I longed to go to a store without asking for help. I wanted to leave my house for a hair appointment rather than try to find a stylist to come to me. I wanted to meet friends for lunch downtown or go to a medical appointment without bothering family and friends to drive me. People are busy.

I live in a rural area and public transportation options are limited. But one day last fall, a lightbulb lit up inside my brain. I happened to think about a sweet elderly lady I met several years ago. She had been standing outside Ingle’s in Cartersville when I first met her. It was raining and she was attempting to cover her hair with an empty plastic bag in one hand, while holding three full grocery bags in her other hand. When I was within speaking distance of her, I asked if I could give her a ride. She told me she was waiting for a county bus. When I exited the store forty-five minutes later, she was still there. I couldn’t leave her there. After a few minutes, I persuaded her to allow me to drive her home. On the short drive to her apartment, we had a wonderful conversation about her grandchildren and my children. We learned that despite being from different races, different cultures, and different generations, we had many things in common. We even had the same middle name.

Thinking of Dena generated a memory of Bartow Transit.

I googled Bartow Transit and found they are still in business. I called them for more information. I learned they operate Monday through Friday, 9-4PM. They will transport Bartow County residents to any Bartow business (eventually I learned this does not include restaurants). This was great news. It meant I wouldn’t have to bother others for daytime appointments. I could use Bartow Transit for medical appointments, grocery shopping, etc.

From the start, I was impressed with Bartow Transit drivers. They are kind, friendly, and helpful. They are excellent examples of customer service. Perfect, southern gentlemen.

My first impression of their office staff was a good one. My first contact was with a lady who was professional and courteous. For this article, I’ll call her Lady A. But a second woman in the office made me feel as if I was a bother to her. She can’t be described as courteous. Or professional. Rude is too soft an adjective to illustrate her. I’ll call her Miss Trunchbull for now. Every call I make to schedule an appointment with Bartow Transit is a battle if she picks up the phone. At first, I overlooked the rude, belligerent attitude of this Bartow Transit employee. But when my scheduled appointments began to be cancelled without reason or notice, I knew I needed to address the issue. I called the director of the service and filed a grievance. When the director made it clear he wasn’t concerned, I called Commissioner Steve Taylor. It took several attempts by phone and email, plus one in person visit, over a period of weeks, before I received a response from Commissioner Taylor. He assured me the “glitches” were not intentional.

As time moved forward and the same issues persisted, I called both the director and Mr. Taylor again. They implied the problem was with me, not with their employee.  I suggested they record all calls, as many customer-service business do, so they can monitor the level of customer service being provided. With recorded calls, they could hear for themselves what I hear from Miss Trunchbull. Steve Taylor said he would take my suggestion into consideration.

The issues persisted. The rudeness escalated. My reservations continued to be removed or left off the books. In April, I sent Commissioner Steve Taylor an email detailing the most recent incidents. He never responded to the email.

A friend suggested I contact the office of Governor Brian Kemp, since Commissioner Taylor is subordinate to the Governor. I called and sent an email as directed. As of this date, I haven’t received a response from Governor Kemp.

Early in May I scheduled a Bartow Transit reservation for May 24, 2022. The destination was my district’s election center. The director of Bartow Transit answered the phone and scheduled my reservation for 5/24/22, Georgia’s Primary Election Day.

On the morning of Monday, May 16, I called to schedule another trip for later in the week. Miss Trunchbull answered. I told her I was flexible and requested an appointment for Thursday or Friday of the same week. She advised there were no available times and no available days for the entire week. I thanked her and ended the call. We never discussed my already scheduled May 24 trip.

I use Bartow Transit every two or three weeks. Considering the “glitches” with many of my appointments, I am in the practice of calling to confirm the day prior or the morning of my appointment. On May 24, I didn’t call to confirm. My appointment was for 10:00. When the driver had not arrived by a few minutes past the scheduled time, I called Bartow Transit. Miss Trunchbull answered. I asked her if the driver was on his way. She placed me on hold. A few minutes later, the office manager picked up the call and said:

 “Miss Able, you called in on the 16th and cancelled your trip.”

I advised her I had not cancelled. I had indeed called on the 16th to schedule a different reservation, but I had not discussed the appointment scheduled for the 24th. The 24th was the final day to vote in the primary election. Why would I cancel that trip? The manager sent a driver within the hour, and he got me to the poll location with time to spare.

When I returned home that day, I called the director of Bartow Transit. He was unavailable so I left a message describing the day’s incident. I had incorrectly presumed he would want to be aware of the continuing problem. Later in the day, he and the office manager conference called me. In short, he told me I could find another form of transportation. The manage told me that complaining about Miss Trunchbull was equivalent to harassment of her. They were not concerned that one of their employees continually inconvenienced a customer by canceling trips or changing pick-up times.

Wouldn’t you want to know if a business you oversee was practicing poor customer service habits?

A day after the conference call, Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor phoned me. He said he had just ended a meeting with the director of Bartow Transit and Miss Trunchbull. He advised they found no wrongdoing on her part.

Commissioner Taylor accused me of “having it in” for Miss Trunchbull (I’ve never met her).  How so? Was it because I reported the occasions my reservations were cancelled without authorization? Or is it because they were made aware that drivers were sent to pick me up two hours early? Perhaps it’s because I was left waiting outside at an intown location for an hour and a half in 90-degree weather, because the driver was never dispatched? Do these incidents indicate I “have it in for her?”

He said I was “too high maintenance’ for their service. I asked how he concluded that my expectations of service constitute high maintenance? He ignored my question. However, Commissioner Taylor did inform me I am the “only person who has ever called him or the Transit office to complain.“

He said, “We are not a taxi service, and you can’t use it as one.”  Now this was a puzzling statement from the county commissioner. I’ve never thought of the service as a taxi. I follow their rules:

  1. Reservations must be requested by noon the day prior to pick-up (early in my association with Bartow Transit, a family member passed away and I didn’t have a way to get to the funeral home for his service. I called them to see if they make exceptions to the “before noon” reservation for transit for this type of life event. They advised they do no. This is the only request of this kind I have made.t)
  2. Passengers must be prepared for pick-up one hour prior to scheduled time.
  3. Drivers will honk once and will not wait more than 5 minutes, so be ready to go when they arrive.

He accused me of calling to complain if the bus is late. This is partially true. BT requires riders to be ready for pick-up one hour before a scheduled pick-up time. Therefore, I am aware that waiting is involved. I did call to ask about a particular late pick-up. It was 40 minutes past the time they said they would arrive and my appointment at the Hope Center was in 20 minutes. It’s a fifteen-minute drive, not including the on-off-loading of a wheelchair. That day, when I called Bartow Transit, I was advised that I was not on the schedule. But I knew that I had been on schedule because I had called the day before to confirm.

During conversations with the commissioner and the director, both have stated BT is a private company: “we are a private service, and you have no rights here.” This was referring to any rights provided by the American Disabilities Act. In one conversation, Mr. Taylor said their funds come from the GADOT. I have learned from their own website that Bartow Transit is partly funded by the Georgia Department of Transportation as well as funds from the Federal Transit Administration.

Commissioner Taylor banned me from using the service for 30 days and advised the BT office to record every call that comes in from me.  I agreed with him that every call should be recorded so that he is aware of any customer service issues (his office is not in the same building as Bartow Transit).

He said only my incoming calls would be recorded.

“That’s my decision,” he informed me.

I am not seeking special treatment from Bartow Transit. I just want the same service offered to every citizen of Bartow County. Does that really mean I’m “high maintenance” or that I have an “entitled” attitude?

My ban from Bartow Transit expires at the end of June 2022. If I decide to use the service again, I imagine the problem will continue. Why would it not, considering the commissioner does not recognize that he has a breakdown in customer service?

I need the services of Bartow Transit. I wish I didn’t. And I believe if I bring any future concerns to the commissioner’s attention, I will be banned from the transit service permanently.

Individuals with disabilities feel unseen, unheard, and dismissed. It’s partly why I fought to hide what was happening to me. I knew I would be seen as an invaluable member of society to many people. Perhaps these perceptions are unintentional. Nevertheless, they inflict pain and embarrassment onto those of us trying to navigate life in an “able bodied” world. In my limited interactions with Commissioner Taylor, he has proven to embody the point of view that I feared and dreaded…that the disabled are invaluable and unworthy.

Regarding the situation mentioned here with the commissioner and Bartow Transit…. what would you do?

Danita Clark Able

What’s An “Assault” Weapon?

I’m not expert on anything, especially firearms. But I know a little about a few things. And this I know…

The letters “AR” in AR15 aren’t an abbreviation for assault rifle or attack rifle. It’s an abbreviation for the original manufacturer’s name: Armalite Rifle

The AR15 style weapons are not the same weapons used by the military.

The AR15 style weapons were in the hands of Americans for over 40 years before one was used in a mass shooting.

There are more than 20 million AR15s in circulation in the USA and approximately 400 million guns.

All of those guns aren’t killing people.

I support the Second Amendment. But I believe they’d room for improvement. Perhaps more background requirements are necessary for gun permits. The age permitted to purchase semi-automatic weapons (is there really such thing as a stand alone “assault” weapon?) should be increased to 21 in all states. A more extensive background check should be required. Forget the right to medical privacy regarding age and violence. The background check should include mental health records and criminal records that may have occurred when the purchaser/applicant was a minor. Currently, I believe those records are sealed.

Separate from gun owner background investigations, but equally important in my opinion, is the problem with hiding the history of violent minors from educators. Schools, teachers, and employers should be allowed to know the history of students who have violent tendencies. Currently, it’s considered discrimination to “profile” a student based on previous violent behavior or criminal records.

The day after the Uvalde murders, Democrats blocked a school safety bill. You read that right. They blocked a bill designed to protect America’s students.

We need to stop the lefty liberal push to remove the Constitutional rights of every law abiding American because of on the behavior of violent criminals.

🇺🇸

December 13, 1940

My dad, Charles Grady Clark, would have celebrated eighty-one years on December 13, 2021. 

He almost made it.

On December 13, 1940, he was born in Coker’s Hospital in Cherokee County. He left us on October 31, 2021. He never lived outside of his birth county, and if he ever desired to live elsewhere, he kept it to himself. 

My mom asked me to write this article about him. 

They were high school kids when they met and fell in love. She liked sitting next to him in class at Cherokee High School. He was intelligent and could spell anything. She has said he was her living dictionary and encyclopedia.

He was talented. She liked hearing him sing.

He had a band, The Rocking Ravens. The band played at Sock Hops and any other local events they could find.

He and his bandmates (Harliss Champion, Butch Looper, David Coker and Sonny Payne) would gather under my grandparent’s big oak tree and “make music”. That’s how my parents spent most of their dates…. with friends, singing and dreaming. Neither of them had a car. There was little money for dining in restaurants. Life was simple in a small cotton mill town.

They dated three months before they were married. They were 16 and 18 when they vowed “until death do us part”. In 2015 he told photographer Cindy Harter, “I decided to ask her to marry me because when we dated, we would have to say goodbye when we went home at night. I told her if we married, we wouldn’t have to part. She agreed and we decided to get married. We have been married 56 years; she lightens everything up. I just feel better when she is around.”

I was born eleven days before their first anniversary. A year later, my dad was in a terrible accident that required months in the hospital, and several surgeries on his hand and arm. Doctors wanted to amputate his arm, but my mom refused that option.

He was a singer, a musician, a guitar player. She understood that losing his creative outlet would be detrimental for him. At the time, she was 18 and he was 20. Where did she find the fortitude to resist the advice of top Atlanta physicians? Where did that strength come from?

She found it in love, grit and probably some fear. But mostly it came from love. She knew she had to fight for him when he was unaware and unable to fight for himself. 

Eventually the physicians at Crawford Long relented and agreed to try and save his arm. They told her it would require extensive surgery. They didn’t offer her much hope, instead they emphasized it would be anexperimental procedure, and if it were to be successful, the recovery would be long and arduous.

He made medical history.

Doctors at Crawford Long Hospital saved his arm and hand by taking functional pieces of one hand and adding them to the damaged hand. Skin was grafted from his stomach onto his forearm and hand. 

The first surgery was a success. As were the following surgeries. In time, he regained full use of his arm and hand.

But after a long stay in the hospital, they were financially destitute. They were poor kids to begin with, and now they had a mountain of medical debt. They were encouraged to file suit against my dad’s employer. They refused. They also refused to file bankruptcy. In their opinions, to file a lawsuit against his employer or to refuse to pay their debt, would speak negatively of who they were/are. So, while he was still recovering, she went to work in a poultry plant, Gold Kist. It was the same plant where he had had the accident. She worked long hours in cold, wet conditions. When he was finally released from medical restrictions a couple years later, he returned to Gold Kist. They both worked there until my senior year of high school. They remained dedicated employees for all those years. Their time with Gold Kist ended only because the company closed shop in Canton.Afterwards he worked for Trans Designs in Woodstock. After that company went out of business, he went to work with the Cherokee County School System and remained there until five years ago.

For several years, other than breakfast and weekends, my brother and I seldom saw our parents. They worked long hours, double shifts, to pay off the burdensome medical debt. They would pick us up from the sitter late at night, long after we were already sleeping, after 12-16 hours of labor. I can’t imagine the fatigue they must have fought,to work like that, day after day.

When she was 23, she lost both her parents within a two-month period. They were the people she had counted on for emotional and physical support when my dad was hospitalized. They were the babysitters when it came to caring for my brother and me.

In my parent’s stressful, imperfect, tragedy laced marriage, how did they manage to stay together for over six decades? Several things…

•Mutual respect. •Neither of them ever drank an ounce of alcohol. Not one ounce. Growing up, each of them had seen firsthand the damage caused from alcoholism. Before they met, both had individually decided to never give alcohol the opportunity to wreak havoc in their own lives. •They took their wedding vows seriously. “Till death do us part” meant something to them. •They fiercely defended one another other. Even if they didn’t fully agree with the other, they still gave support. They worked out the differences behind closed doors. •Respect… for each other and their respective families. My mom never spoke a negative word about my dad’s parents. And he never uttered a negative word about hers.

Were they perfect? Not by a long shot. But they kept trying, until the very end. They never gave up on one another. Or us. They never gave up hope for better days.

He developed dementia.

We noticed the changes a few years ago. He noticed too, but never spoke of it. Then one day he and I were in my car, just the two of us, and he told me, “I like to play the theme from A Summer Place on my record player, when she’s around. Because it’s always been her favorite. And because I know it helps her memory.”  I realized he was letting me know I should play their music, for both their sakes. And when he no longer remembered how to operate his musical devices, that’s what we did.  

There’s a summer place
Where it may rain or storm
Yet I’m safe and warm
For within that summer place
Your arms reach out to me
And my heart is free from all care
For it knows

There are no gloomy skies
When seen through the eyes
Of those who are blessed with love

And the sweet secret of
A summer place
Is that it’s anywhere
When two people share
All their hopes
All their dreams
All their love (Composed by Max Steiner)

 

My dad was the same at home as he was away from home. There was no pretense. He was kind, humble, and gentle. A simple man. He loved my mom, his extended family (even the ones he seldom saw) and Chick fil-A. 

In the end, he no longer knew my mom. He didn’t remember that she was his wife. Yet his face would light up when he was near her. In the last months of his life, he would become sad and worried if he couldn’t see her, even though she was just in another room. Then she would enter the room or call out to him, and a look of relief, followed by a huge smile, replaced the concern in his expression. 

His mind didn’t remember his forever love, but his spirit did.

Happy Birthday Daddy

♥️ Deeta

Helen and Grady October 2021 *Photo credit Samantha Able

The Rocking Ravens – Harliss, Grady and Sonny

Leave It At The Door

I struggled with this for a while. I held on to pain and bitterness because it seemed to me if I let go of it, then it meant I was saying what had happened was ok. My offender never said “I’m sorry” for the pain he caused my family. He never sought my forgiveness. And he never expressed remorse. So I held onto my anger. I wore bitterness around my neck like a gold medal.

But then I got tired of carrying that heavy chain around. It was hurting others who didn’t deserve my bitterness. And it was preventing me from living a peaceful life. Peace was what I craved, because chaos had surrounded me for over two decades.

So I decided to forgive.

Finally I realized I could forgive without giving my offender a free pass to hurt me again. I could forgive without inviting him back into my life.

You can do the same. Forgive and let go. Your life will get brighter and your burden will get lighter.

I’ll add this caveat…and it’s a very important one… if someone you love has unintentionally hurt you, give them the chance to redeem themselves. We all mess up, yet when remorse and repentance is sincere, God shows us grace and mercy. We should do the same for those who love us. Humbleness is not weakness. It is strength. My dad was the perfect example of this quality.

“What if they do it again?” you might ask. Then you forgive again, but you move on. “Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on you.”

My son once said, “I forgive him. Because everyone deserves love. Even those that destroy it.” At 19 he understood that forgiveness and relationship are two very different things. It took me a while to grab hold of that wisdom.

Forgive the ones who love you. Give them another chance.

Forgive the ones who don’t love you and leave them to their choices. But you… you keep moving forward with God and the ones who love you.

Zach Williams

Just Here For My #BidenBucks

I don’t have the identification or documentation to prove who I am or what I’m about to tell you.

You’re just going to have to believe me.

In 2018 my twelve minor children and I walked 1000 miles through our home country of Mexico because we wanted to make it to the free and prosperous USA.

My twelve kids are all under the age of 13.

I have four sets of triplets.

You have to believe me because I said it.

We walked hours and hours every day, in 118 degree hot hot weather. No water. Just a few peanuts to eat. Miraculously, our iPhones never lost their battery charge and our clothing never got dirty or wrinkled.

We were all still plump and pretty when we finally arrived here.

Yes! Grande, grande miracle!

We rode across the Rio Grande in the boat that sweet Mamacita Pelosi sent for us. We were so happy to be in our new country and very eager to get all our free stuff. But soon as we step foot on USA ground, my babies were snatched from me!!

All twelve babies!!!

That other U.S. President told me to go to court and answer questions so I could be reunited with my kids, but I didn’t want to do that. Told me to prove they were my kids. Didn’t want to do that either.

So I didn’t.

And now, another grande grande miracle!

Aleluya!

Someone fooled all the foolish muricans and told them joe was President! heehee!

Thank you Mr. Biden and Miss Kamala!!! You love us and now you are paying us! We haven’t seen you yet, but we know you will take care of us! You promised, so you will!

Free education, free house, free food, free medication.

So please Mr. Biden, tell me, where do I get my $6,000,000 for my 12 babies? You and Miss K said I get $500,000 for each of my kids that I haven’t seen since 2018.

So here I am.

Where’s my el dinero?

I will sneak more illegal friends and sex traffickers in and break more of your laws. You will not touch me. You will learn my Spanish and all your products will have Spanish translations.

I will not pay your taxes either.

You estùpido Americanos can pay for me.

Now where’s my Biden Bucks?

PS, stop discriminating against me and saying I don’t look like I’m from Mexico. #1800iwillcallKamalaandyouwillbesorry

*This was translated by an interpreter because I refuse to learn English. I will live here and I will not learn your language. You cannot make me.

Poppy, Sweet Music Man

December 13, 1940 – October 31, 2021

A bit about him.♥️

Late Sunday afternoon, on October 31, 2021, Charles Grady Clark, age 80, peacefully left his earthly home.

He was a kind and gentle soul. A devoted husband, dad and grandpa (Papa/Poppy).
He believed in keeping his word, working every day, and honoring his commitments. He paid his bills before they were due. No exception.
He believed in exercising and staying physically fit. Until dementia robbed his mind, he exercised and walked daily.

Our mom loves flowers and trees.
So he planted what she purchased and took great care with them. He groomed their yard to perfection. Many times, travelers would stop and inquire of their landscaper, thinking the yard was surely kept by a professional. It was better.

He thought a man or woman should never stop learning. As a boy and as a man, he learned about the world by reading encyclopedias and history books. And when he was finally able to travel to places he had only read about, he was grateful. He would tell us, “I read about this place when I was a kid. I never dreamed I would actually get to see it in person.”

He was an incredible musician.
He could hear a song once, and somehow make his guitar play the song flawlessly, from start to finish.
Piano, too.
He loved Elvis, the Beatles, Credence Clearwater Revival, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard, The Beach Boys, Rick Nelson… all the oldies.
We made sure his favorites serenaded him in the days before he left on his final journey.

A lifelong resident of Cherokee County, Grady was the youngest of nine children. He was born in Canton, Georgia on December 13, 1940.

He leaves behind Helen, his beloved wife of 62 years. Until the very end, he called her “Baby Helen.” Always referring to her as “the love of my life.”

Other survivors:
Daughter: Danita Clark Able
Son: Dwight Clark

Grandchildren:
Justin and Rebecca Clark
Lindsey and Aaron Fisher
Garrett and Samantha Able

Great-grandchildren:
Carter Clark
Cooper Clark

Sister: Shirley (Phil) Rutherford

Several nieces and nephews also survive.

Grady was preceded in death by his parents, James H. Clark and
Mary Angeline Davidson Clark.
He loved them immensely.

Thanksgiving 2018
Canton, GA 1965
Hawaii 2008
St. Augustine 1975
Hickory Flat, Georgia 1958

I Remember, I Remember When…

That was the day I took the first step towards taking my life back.✨

This post comes up in my social media memories every year. And every year, I’m thankful.

Watching the #gabbypetito video where she’s so distraught brought back many emotions. I knew what was wrong with her the first time I watched.

I recognized Brian Laundrie’s behavior for what it was. His dismissal of her. His blaming her. His charming of law enforcement. His “she’s crazy” comments.

All of it felt like a rerun of my story.

I recognized Gabby’s feeling of hopelessness, and the struggle of wanting help, but not wanting to get the person whom you care about in trouble. She took the brunt of the blame and withheld the truth. And I knew where she was at in her head.

It’s a crazy mixed up place to be. At the time, you know you aren’t helping yourself, but you think you are helping the other person. You just don’t know what to do or how to walk away.

And then one day, you’ve had enough. Someone says, “you don’t have to do this anymore mom.”

And you find strength and courage in their resolve.

Similar words had been spoken by another child, years earlier. But they were very young. Wiser than me. Though I didn’t know it at the time.

My advice:

The formula for regaining your life when you are in a pit is simple:

Listen to the people who won’t steer you wrong. No matter how young or old. Hear them and take action.

Don’t listen to the one who hurts you.

It’s that simple.

The work is difficult and the road may be long, but you can do it. #walkaway

Happy Birthday 1989

Reflections, September 24, 2021

On this night 32 years ago, with great anticipation, I was preparing to meet a wonderful man. He didn’t arrive until the next day, a week later than expected. It’s odd to me now, that he was late for our first meeting. Because he has been on time or early, for all things, ever since.

When we first met, he wasn’t wearing a stitch of clothing. He was almost bald and weighed 10.5 lbs; his face was red and bruised and he was physically exhausted from several hours of hard work….

I fell in love with him instantly.

Happy Birthday (9/25) to my biggest encourager.

♥️

(I’ve shared the message below on a previous birthday post, but it’s who Garrett is, and worthy of repeating.)

✨ On this morning in 1989, I sat in Atlanta traffic as the tail end of Hurricane Hugo whipped wind and rain around our car. It was a Monday. And I was about to become mommy to a baby boy.

Sitting snug and secure behind me, singing a song about rain, 22 month old Lindsey was happy about the event unfolding around her; she would soon become a big sister. She and I had no idea that our biggest supporter and most fierce protector was on his way. Our lives were moments away from receiving the gift of love, laughter and adventure. Stories and antics that are woven into my life like a vibrant tapestry, had not happened yet. And I can’t even imagine my life any other way, not now.

*Photo courtesy of Cindy Harter Photography
*Photo courtesy of Cindy Harter Photography

Happy Birthday Garrett! ❤️

Go Out Fighting

Do you know what this picture is about?

On August 23, 1989, one month and two days before my second child was born, 2 million people from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania formed a human chain that united all 3 countries… their purpose was to show the world their desire to escape the communism that had brought only suffering and poverty to their countries.

This powerful human chain stretched 373 miles.

Two years before this event… 8 months before my daughter was born, I watched President Reagan demand:
“Mr. Gorbachev, Tear down this wall!”

I sat in my home in the USA and watched these events unfold on my TV screen, on the nightly news. I sat on my sofa in my free country, thankful that my children would be born and live in the USA.
I sat there knowing my friends and neighbors would fight to their deaths to preserve our Constitution and our freedom.

I never imagined what would be coming down twenty years later. That in 2008 we would elect a man who hated America. Or that 12 years later, that man’s demented vp would be placed in the White House through a stolen election.

Our younger Americans don’t know…and many of our older Americans have forgotten… about the struggle and incredible strength of impoverished people fighting to be free from dictators and tyranny. Their fight has been too easily erased from books and memory.

Americans who have never known oppression, claim to be oppressed. Politicians with greedy plans push the false narrative. They have convinced some foolish Americans that we are not free. And the deceived are following each other like lost sheep on a steep, slippery slope, sliding into a miry pit. They hope to drag the rest of the country into the pit with them.

I will fight their ignorance by speaking out against their vile plan.
Freedom is worth fighting for. It is worth saving.
I want future generations to know that I did not give their freedom away.
The USA isn’t perfect. But for now, we are free to live imperfectly, without fear. 🇺🇸

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