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.

Seal of Approval

Are you old enough to remember this corny knock-knock type joke…
What goes “ark ark” at Christmas time?
Answer: A Christmas seal.

Even though “snail mail” is rare these days, Christmas seal are still around. The idea started in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1903, when… “a benevolent postmaster named Einar Holboell was inspired to create the stamps to help children with tuberculosis (TB).”

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word today is SEAL, which brings to my mind the thought of real seals as well as royal seals…and of course Good Housekeeping’s Seal of Approval. Did they ever use a real seal in their ads?

Googling, I discovered that the first Good Housekeeping Seal was issued in 1909. You can read about its history here According to their website…
This is Good Housekeeping’s LIMITED WARRANTY: If any product that bears our limited warranty Seal proves to be defective within two years from the date it was first sold to a consumer by an authorized retailer, we, Good Housekeeping, will refund the purchase price or $2,000, whichever is less or, at Good Housekeeping’s sole discretion, repair or replace the product. This policy covers you, the consumer, whether you bought the product or it was given to you (by the buyer). Products that bear the Green Good Housekeeping Seal have been assessed by Good Housekeeping in accordance with Good Housekeeping’s environmental criteria and are also subject to the limited warranty if proven to be defective.
Read more details here.

People who believe the Bible know there’s an all-important Royal seal God places on a believer, one that says, “This is my child.” This seal admit his children to enter those pearly gates someday.
Simplifying Ephesians 1:10-14:
“we have obtained an inheritance..who trusted in Christ…in whom after ye believed, ye were sealed by that holy Spirit of promise…until the redemption of that purchased possession…”
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
Eph 4:30

Creations in Stone

Stone RDP.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was STONE
It happens that blogger Keith H posted photos he took while visiting what’s left of the English Castle of Corfe. If you want to see STONE in large quantities, hop over to Keith’s Ramblings and have a look. Not just the castle, but the whole town is well blessed with stone.

As an artist, I’m very fond of drawing and painting stone. Artists as a whole love textures and stone gives us lots of opportunities to paint, carve, and design.

Image by Ulrike Leone — Pixabay

We’re fond of clouds and waves for the same reason: these things offer so many textural possibilities on which we can work out our creative urges. Quilters love finding new patterns; those who work with yarn aren’t content to produce same-old flat fabric, but work in a variety of ribs, knots, cables, shells, fans.

It also happens that on one of our calendars this month there’s a picture taken in the U.S. Grand Canyon. No lack of colourful rock there!

Image from earlofoxford — Pixabay

These stones tell the story of water gushing through that land with tremendous force, carving channels in the rock, creating canyons. As these torrents gouged through the soft stone canyon walls, they made fantastic layered textures before settling into a peaceful river. Today visitors look down at the river snaking among the canyons it created and they marvel at the things water can do.

I’ve held feathers in my hand and studied their complexity of colour and texture; I’ve looked through a wildflower book and marveled at the many leaf and petal shapes and colours. From thorny wild roses to fluffy dandelions and fat, fleshy sedum, I find such variety!

Fur, feathers, scales, limbs, horns, tails…shapes and colours galore decorate our world. All these tell me that our Creator loves textures, too.

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11

Giving Disease A Jab

Hello and welcome to SEPTEMBER! Did anyone see SUMMER as it whizzed by?

Leaves are starting to fall, most of our pretty birds seem to have zipped off, harvest is underway — except that the rains we were praying for in July have finally come. I’m glad I’m not a farmer! Mind you, quite a few crops were cut and baled last month because there wasn’t enough grain in the heads to be worth harvesting.

As for me, I’ve started digging up my one large flowerbed. I left it uncultivated in spring because it was so dry; now that it’s been raining I’m getting it ready for winter and for planting next spring.

I’ve been digging around in my family tree roots lately, too, and discovered a family tragedy. One that was quite common back in those days. I can’t imagine how devastated great-great-grandfather Charles must have been when…

– his wife Ann, passed away on Dec 3rd, 1863. She was about forty years old and her youngest child was just a toddler.
– his father, John Watchorn, died on Jan 1st, 1864 at the age of 68.
– his daughter, Ellen, died on Jan 14th. From the records, it looks like she was in her early teens.
– his six-year-old son, Charles Jr, died a few weeks after Ellen.
Ann and her children are buried in one grave with a common headstone.

At one time I made a note in my records that gr-gr-grandmother Ann died of smallpox. An epidemic of that sort would account for the number of deaths in one family in such a short period of time. It’s odd that I can’t find any death records for any of these people. Were they lost in a fire or in transit to the Dept of Vital Statistics, or were there so many smallpox deaths in the area at that time that they weren’t recorded individually? Perhaps a local newspaper of the time would give me a better picture?

Of course I wondered if there was no smallpox vaccine available in their day, so I did some research. Yes, smallpox vaccine was available then. However, there was apparently a lot of fear and resistance, or just plain indifference, to the idea of vaccination. According to the Museum of Health Care at Kingston website:
“Smallpox vaccine was used widely in Canada during the early 1800s, although it soon became neglected. Low immunization levels led to persistent outbreaks…”
The Montreal area experienced the worst outbreak in 1885 when 3000 people died from smallpox. The epidemic spread from there into parts of eastern Ontario.
“Anti-vaccine sentiments mixed with religion and French-English political tensions helped fuel the crisis.”

Sigh… Do things never change?

Well, yes, they do, thankfully. In 1924, a Doctor Heagerty writing about smallpox, lists the terror people felt when the menace was mentioned and all damage it has done in the past, leaving so many people dead, crippled, or scarred for life. Then he writes:
“Vaccination has altered this, and forgetful or ignorant of the appalling ravages of the disease in other days, we now scarcely give the subject of smallpox a thought.”

Small pox, whooping cough, diphtheria, polio. Immunization has dealt a death blow to these scourges our ancestors feared. In more recent years measles, rubella, hepatitis, chicken pox, meningitis, pneumonia, and various influenza vaccines have made life easier yet. We’ve conquered a lot of killers.

So it puzzles me when I hear people who are alive today because their grandparents, parents, and themselves have been saved from these once common killers, now opposing COVID vaccination. I guess some things never change.

“Que sera sera” versus Heart Smart

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is MYOCARDITIS, which means inflammation of the heart muscle. Here are my thoughts on the subject of heart health, though not specifically inflammation of same.

Image by S. Hermann and F Richter — Pixabay

In August of 1929 my husband’s grandmother visited her doctor, possibly because of a stomach problem and the pain it was giving her. While she was in the office she had an attack of acute indigestion and passed away right there. Interestingly enough, her husband had also died of “acute indigestion” some years earlier.

Back in the late 1800s John Holdeman, one of the leaders in our church, died of “acute intestinal distress.” If you’d examine death certificates, you’d find that a lot of people prior to 1940 died of some variety of “indigestion” which caused increasingly sharp pains in the chest, followed by collapse and death. Today the diagnosis would be “heart attack,” or myocardial infarction.

Conversely, my long-lost great-great Aunt Henrietta died in 1907 at the age of 55, and her death was attributed to chronic heart disease.

Prior to 1800 doctors had only their ears to tell them what a patient’s heart was doing, or not doing. The first stethoscope, invented by Frenchman Rene Laennec in 1816, primitive though it was, amplified the heartbeat. Subsequent improvements, including the two ear-bud version developed in 1851 by Irish doctor Arthur Leared, have given doctors a much better idea of what’s going on inside us.

This device enabled Gr-gr-Aunt Henrietta’s doctors to tell that her heart beat was not as it should be. But only the last seventy years, give or take, have tests been developed to record the flow of blood through the arteries and reveal that some are blocked.

What we call a heart attack today is a circulation problem. When blood flow to the heart is blocked because of a buildup in the arteries carry blood through the heart, feelings of pressure and chest pains result. Today’s patient stands a good chance of surviving because of CPR and bypass surgeries.

Cardiac arrest, on the other hand, is when the heart suddenly stops beating for some reason. Some signal prompting the heart’s rhythm doesn’t get through – or an air bubble in the blood stream hits the heart and stops it. Medics call this an electrical problem, and bring out the shock paddles. If someone is nearby to do CPR, the heart can be restarted. A pacemakers is installed to kick in if the body’s signal gets lost in transit, and the person may live many more years.

Perhaps this article is long enough, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about health issues of various sorts, and about fatalistic ideas like “Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be.” Someone recently commented about the COVID threat, that, “If I get it, I do. When my time is up, it’s up.” I’m sure she’s taken every possible precaution, and once you have, you can rest in “What will be, will be.” I also hear people offer comfort when they hear of a death by saying, “It was his/her time to go.” I don’t disagree, but as a general rule we’ll do everything we can to extend our time on this earth.

Circa 1900 people probably had a more fatalistic approach to health. “We’ll live as long as God/ Allah/ the gods/ fate allows us to live.” But amazing medical advances have given a lot of us longer lives than we would have had if we’d just let nature take its course. These days, if you’d go to a doctor with severe chest pains, and he’d say, “You may live or you may die. Whatever will be, will be,” you’d soon be looking for another doctor. One who’d do bypass surgery so your time wouldn’t be up quite so soon.

Monday Modicums

I just searched the thesaurus re: the word BITS, and it gave me the neat word, MODICUMS. “The smallest amount or part imaginable.” And this post is going to be cobbled together bits of news and musings.

Speaking of cobbled together, I started reading a book yesterday. THE GIANT FOREST, by Bill Belew and his daughter Mia, is billed as a “Chapter Book for Parents and Grandparents of Preteens Who Love to Read.” I think they should have run it by an editor, too, as there are a few words missing and some misspellings.

The plot: Half a dozen children from one school go to Mount Hermon summer camp (in California.) Several of these children have parental and/or friendship issues which are detailed at the beginning. The first evening, five of them wander off into the forest, get lost, and have frightening experiences. In one case a girl is captured by giants who plan to eat her. Another trips over the edge of a cliff into a waterfall.

This is a fantasy of sorts; you see shades of C S Lewis in the way intelligent animals and insects rescue the human children. But the scenes flip back and forth between one child and another in their experiences, so the book becomes a cobbling together of small scenes. To add to the melee, the story of an original pioneer couple (not too bright, it seems) is mixed in, also in bits. Since I haven’t finished it yet, I can’t give you an overall impression, except that I’d prefer a more linear story. I feel like I’m on a merry-go-round reading this one.

Today is officially the LONGEST day of the year. How did that happen? We only just finished May, enjoying the spring, and now June is passing in a whirl. Life has become a merry-go-round time-wise, too, with Sundays coming around every few days.

I did more painting last week, including several “pour art” pictures. I have much to learn in regard to this type of painting! Adding a few drops of silicon oil to the paint before you pour it gives “cells”, but I haven’t tried that yet. One day I watched a demonstration where a woman used her hair dryer to blow the paint all over her canvas. That will be my next effort. 🙂

Yesterday was Father’s Day, but was a wipe-out at this house. I had my second COVID vaccination Saturday afternoon and the predicted sore arm by evening. Yesterday I felt so weary and light-headed, so I had several long naps and read some. Bob did about the same, so nothing memorable or exciting to celebrate Father’s Day. We missed the Youth singing at the Villa in the evening, as I was feeling too light-headed to go anywhere. Thankfully that “floaty” feeling has passed and I can resume normal life this morning.

Saturday morning I read an interesting article on the Battle of the Alamo (in Texas), which debunked a lot of the myths that have arisen over time. It wasn’t the “decisive battle” Texas history has made it out to be, and could have been avoided.

Have you noticed how history is full of battles that didn’t need to be fought, if only someone at the time had used some common sense? In Canada we had the Riel Rebellion, which could have been solved so easily without bloodshed if the federal government had only listened to the Metis and native people. They were being driven off their land and some were starving. Their complaints were legitimate, but the federal govt was way off in Ottawa and had no clue about conditions here on the prairies. So send an army; put down the rebellion.

I see where the city of Saskatoon is considering renaming John A MacDonald Road (he was Prime Minister at the time of the Rebellion) Reconciliation Road.

Usually someone at the time has a good handle on, and keeps a record of, what’s really happening. However, the rhetoric and fervor of the hour make so much noise they drown out wisdom. A century or two goes by and historians, no longer caught up in the dynamic, look at all angles of these past events. Just as our great-grands, if time continues, will look at the movements and battles of our day and analyze what all factored in and how it finally played out.

As they say, “Hindsight is always 20/20.