Does Anyone Believe In War?

Field by Brandenberg, Germany. Image by Peter Dargatz — Pixabay

Today’s Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day — Veteran’s Day in the USA. This is the day we remember the ones who paid the price for freedom, to respect the sacrifice they’ve made in the cause of peace and liberty. So we have all heard it for so many years and I think most of us would nod in agreement: we see Remembrance Day this way.

Someone commented recently that to her understanding, wearing a poppy indicates that the wearer believes in, or supports, war. For me. it’s more like an anti-war symbol. “Please, world leaders, remember the terrible cost of war and rather find peaceful solutions to international conflicts.”

What does the Remembrance Day poppy mean to you?

This morning I started wondering, Is there any sane person who actually believes that war is a good thing?

I was a teen in the ’60s — and for us here in North America the news was full of the Nam war. President Kennedy committing the US to involvement in Vietnam, Johnson escalating the war effort, the hawks, the doves, peace marches, draft card burning, etc. And for those of us here in Canada, hearing about draft dodgers slipping in, seeking refuge. The justification may have been: “We need to stop the spread of communism.” However, no one on this side was happy about US troops dying in Nam.

My parents and their peers lived through the 1930s and watched anxiously as Hitler shook hands with Mussolini and divided up Europe. German troops invaded Austria and the Rhine Valley. I remember the Beatles in the 60s singing “Give Peace a Chance.” Neville Chamberlain gave peace a chance, waving his non-aggression treaty as he descended the plane in England after his successful trip to Germany. “It’s here in black and white, folks. The Fuhrer has agreed to stop invading now.” When Poland, the Benelux countries, and finally France fell under Nazi control, that generation knew that only a war would stop Hitler. No one wanted it, though.

Fact is, almost everyone is willing to give peace a chance. A dozen chances, if it meas avoiding war, destruction. bloodshed, more “Flanders fields where poppies blow between the crosses row on row….” These things we’re supposed to remember and grieve today.

I suspect most religious fanatics would rather have people convert to their cause than start a war. Insane people also would probably avoid outright war if possible. I’m sure Hitler would have been delighted if countries had just handed their governments over to him without the loss of German lives. However, he had the expectation that there’d be armed resistance and he was prepared to take by force whatever wasn’t handed over peaceably.

For a wannabe world ruler like Napoleon or Hitler, or an ideologist like Lenin bent on overthrowing the powers that be, violence and outright war are a necessary evil to getting what they want. “If other people weren’t so stupid and stubborn, they’d just give in and let me/us rule them, rob them blind, and/or exterminate them without all this fuss.” Crispina Kemp on her blog recent wrote about William the Norman Prince of Orange invading England. Same deal.

In my parents’ generation few people in Britain or on this side of the ocean wanted war, but they saw it as the only solution to stopping an insane man from ruling the world. I believe that whether they were right in the actions they took or whether they weren’t is for God alone to judge. And I’m not up enough in History to know why Europe and England felt they needed to get involved when The Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo. I have read about the bloody trench warfare and mass destruction of World War I.

Today I’d like to say with the rest of the world, “Please God, never again!” But I suspect humanity may produce a few more wannabe dictators and fanatics. While I don’t “believe in” or support the idea of war, I realize that in the kingdoms of this old world, it’s sometimes unavoidable.

But We’re Canadians

A few days ago I received an e-mail from Merriam-Webster listing all the new words they’re adding to the dictionary this month. I see Heather at Ragtag Daily Prompt has decided to use one of these for today’s prompt. AMIRITE isn’t a word as much as a slurring together of several –something that’s been going on for quite awhile, as you will see in my little dialogue.

Mom squeezed Lanny’s shoulder. “You know our rules, Lanny. None of your friends stay here overnight without us knowing. When we’re away we want to know what’s going on here.”

“So I’m grounded,” Lanny mumbled. “Amirite?”

“Yes, you’re grounded. And can you please pronounce your words properly. It’s Am. I. Right.”

His sister Bella spoke up. “Don’t you know, Mom, that amirite is now a proper word? You can even look it up; it’s one of the newest words is Webster’s dictionary.”

“What next! People just can’t jumble a bunch of words together and call it a new word. The English language will degenerate into a series of mumbles that no one understands.”

“Too late, Mom,” Lanny replied. “People have been jamming words into each other for centuries. Like however. That’s in the dictionary.”

“And henceforth,” Dad put in. Mom glared at him.

“And moreover,” Bella added.

Mom sighed. “Nevertheless…”

“See! How many eons ago did someone run that one together?”

Bella grinned. “Yeah. Whensoever did that happen?”

Lanny waved his hand dramatically. “And furthermore, old Daniel added it to his dictionary.”

Mom shook her head. “I give up.”

“BUT,” Dad said sternly, there’ll be no amirites here. We’re Canadians and ‘EH’ will do nicely.”

“So I’m grounded, eh?”

“You got it.”

“Come on, Lanny,” said Bella. “Lets make ourselves some fluffernutters.”

Dad’s eyebrows went up. “What in the world…”

Lanny smirked. “You’ll have to look it up in the dictionary.”

Mom looked helplessly at Dad. “Will we ever understand them?”

El Condor Pasa?

I’m going back to the world of art to do a response to Crimson’s Creative Challenge #142

El Condor Pasa

“Here’s your study for today.”

Art student: “I have to paint that!”

Tutor: “Easy peasy.”

“But it’s so bleak!”

“Then add some interest. A fence, a river, a bird even. Create! Go wild with that brush.”

“If you say so…” He grabs a brush and starts dabbing.

After the last brush stroke, he calls his tutor over.

“How’s this? Ready for the Louvre?”

Tutor: “Um… Definitely unique.”

“I’m calling it, ‘EL CONDOR PASA’.”

“Looks like a robin hunting caterpillars.”

“Robin? Caterpillars! Ouch! We artists are sensitive people you know.”

“Yeah. So I’m here to toughen you up before the critics start firing their big guns. Try again…aim for something more abstract.”

The student grumbles, sets his masterpiece aside and sets another canvas on the easel. Splash, splash goes the brush.

Later…

“How’s this?”

“Definitely better! You’ll be a Van Gogh yet.”

Obscurity

A few days ago I wrote a verse using an almost-obsolete word, GLOAMING. As you’ll see, the story I’m posting today includes several rarely used words, so get out your dictionary. 🙂 And since there’s no ending to my tale, you’ll have to use your own imagination to finish it.

A Sombre Tale

The night was rayless, the moon mist-embalmed, stars lost in the opacity. A solitary bobcat, its pupils expanded to let in what little light there be, listens for the slightest rustle.

Its ears twitch as unusual crunches echo though the bosque – something large and careless is lumbering by. The bobcat sniffs, detects the scent of a human on the nearby trail, and abandons his hunt. Not far away a rabbit, terror-frozen, listens as the pad of the cat’s feet grows faint. The rabbit, sensing hope of escape at last, bolts into the underbrush.

Unconcerned with other drama, or rather too consumed by his own, a man stumbles along the tenebrous trail. Leading the way, his flashlight’s beam flickers off small lumps and bumps on the path. In the circle of light slicing the darkness, the man finds courage to go forward with hesitant steps.

Just as his feet grope for safe footing on the rutted trail, so the man is feeling his way through the murk of his misgivings. As he advances, his mind sifts through the potential consequences that loom so large in the semi-darkness around him. Should he turn around? Should he forsake this quest?

His eyes strain to see village lights ahead, seeking encouragement and a moment of camaraderie at a place where shadowed souls like himself are gathering. A pinprick of streetlight winks through the trees, beckoning him on.

“One last time.” He whispers the promise into the darkened brake.
“Just this one last time.”

Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt: IN THE CIRCLE

Grandma’s New Passion

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is SPRUIKER. An Aussie word meaning (carnival) barker, or hawker of goods (like at a fair or flea market.) My fantasy tale shall carry on from yesterday’s description of pour art.

Grandma’s New Passion

My husband and I were strolling through the farmer’s market yesterday when we heard a shrill spruiker a couple of rows over. I turned to look and saw a teen girl in front of a really colorful display of art. She was calling to passing shoppers: “Pictures, beautiful pictures. One look and you’ll fall in love with them.”

Curiosity aroused, I tugged my husband over to that booth. The girl was delighted to have an audience. “Can’t you just see one of these beauties on your wall…for only $20.

We spent a moment gazing at the marbled canvases, with every color of the rainbow drizzled or splashed across in random patterns.

“Um.. What are they supposed to be pictures of?” Jaycen asked. My practical husband doesn’t go much for abstract art.

“All kinds of things. Fields, trees, flowers…whatever. Wouldn’t you love to have one on your wall? You could have your visitors guess what it represents?”

“You have such a variety,” I said. “Someone has been very busy.”

“You can say that again! Last month my grandma discovered “pour art” and got so enthused about it, she’s made hundreds. She keeps trying to get the perfect picture.” The girl rolled her eyes.

“Oh, yes. I had a grandma like that, but her thing was afghans. All of us grandchildren got half a dozen. I suppose your grandma has gifted you well, too?”

“You got it! We have two or three on each wall. So does everyone else in our area. When Grandma started buying paint in five-gallon drums and canvases by the truckload, Mom said we absolutely have to do something. So she rented this booth and I’m stuck here trying to sell as many as I possibly can.”

“You do have a problem.”

“I sure wish she’d go back to making quilts. She’s doing a dozen pictures every day.” Her tone became desperate. “You want one, don’t you, people? Or two or three? Only $20 each. Even if you don’t like them so much right off, they’ll grow on you.”

Soft-hearted sorts that we are, we bought a couple. We just grabbed two at random. They’ll grow on us.

Image by delta1 at Pixabay. Here’s an example of pour art where a few drops of silicon oil have been added to the paint-medium mix. That’s what gives it the bubbly look. Creators call these CELLS and when you tilt the canvas, the cells stretch out into odd shapes.

Books: Gone To Green

The Green Series, Book 1

© by Judy Christie;
Published by Brosette & Barnhill Publishing LLC (March 12 2016)
This book is free through Kindle Unlimited

One day Lois’s good friend and work colleague, Ed, tells her how he has planned his retirement from the hectic life of big city news. He’s bought a newspaper in the peaceful town of Green, Louisiana. Owning and operating a small-town paper was his dream, but just as he’s about to take the reins as owner of The Green News-Item, he has a fatal heart attack. He’d made a will and Lois is amazed to discover that he chose to leave this new business to her.

Thus Lois, a thirty-year-old single city news editor, finds herself in possession of a small town newspaper in the deep South, a world unfamiliar to her. While she had been hoping for a promotion in her own sphere, Lois goes down to Green and has a look around. The town and the small local newspaper appeal to her, so she decides to give it a whirl — for Ed’s sake.

Meeting the staff, learning the ropes, getting used to the community; she sees why the adventure had so much appeal to Ed. Most of the Green citizens she meets are kind, friendly, easy-going folks, great to work with. She also meets the kind high school coach who lives down the road from her new home and drops by often just to chat. She realizes this is someone she’d like to get to know better.

But even small towns can have their greedy types and corruption. Her main reporter gets a whiff of something rotten in some local VIP’s proposed property development and she gets glimpses of possible racial prejudice involved in the new development scheme. Ready to stand up for civil rights, Lois encourages her reporter to go after the story, but if they expose local dirty-dealing, the paper may be headed for a hot gumbo.

The plot thickens when she gets a call from another former colleague, suggesting an attractive offer’s coming up back home. “A great offer…you should grab this opportunity.” A big newspaper chain comes up with an offer to purchase the Green News-Item. Decisions, decisions!

I really enjoyed this book and give it five stars. It’s well written, believable, holds a readers interest, and has an old-fashioned flavor. No immorality — and the story line is great. Makes you want to visit the place, drop in on her and say “Hi.” And this is the first in a series, so we can keep on reading about Lois’s newspaper newspaper crusading adventures in Green, LA. I’ve read the second book and enjoyed it just as much. I see three more have been published since.

Ragtag Daily Prompt for today: COLLEAGUE