I wrote a few days ago about the book I was reading, If These Walls Could Talk, by Dan Walsh. This story starts out in the present, a couple doing some renovations discover a strange message scratched into some of the studs. As they uncover more of the studs, they find a plea for help.
Then the writer takes us back to June 1964 and a family divided by hatred and contempt. The father and redneck older brother are determined that blacks should be subservient; the younger son believes in equal treatment for all human beings. Walsh works into his story in a very realistic way the deep-seated prejudices, the civil rights marches, hostility and subsequent violence that took place in the South at that time.
In the Afterword, Walsh writes about watching these events on the news as they were happening, including Dr Martin Luther King delivering his famous “I have a dream” speech. I believe most of us in North America would love to see his dream come true: a society where all humans are respected as equals regardless of race, ethnic origins, or religion.
It would be tragic if, after all this time and all these years of struggle and strife, people should sink back into the attitudes so prevalent back then! God forbid that society should lose what it has gained in fair treatment for all!
Anyone who has carefully read the Bible has surely seen these words:
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands…
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth…
– Acts 17: 24, 26
Sad to say, Paul Simon’s line is too often true:
“Still a man he hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
–from his song, The Boxer
I once met a man who’d probably fit the category, “southern white trash.” Definitely a redneck. While his racial slurs were dramatic, it became apparent that the first person this man hated was himself. Though he put on a cheerful persona, those who knew him sensed he was deeply discontented with who and what he was. His own children suffered the fall-out from his frustration, too.
One time I read the memoir of a young boy who’d been verbally abused and severely beaten many times by his construction worker father. He did survive, got an education and became a vet. As a mature adult he asked his father one day, “Why were you so brutal with me?”
His father replied, “I saw your nature as being a lot like mine and I wanted to straighten you out. I didn’t want you to be like me. I wanted you to make something of yourself and have a better life than I had.”
He told his dad that beating a kid is poor way to encourage him. But the father seemed to know no other way; he probably got the same. It’s amazing that the son escaped that vicious circle.
My heart aches for people who haven’t found contentment in life — and for their victims. People who aren’t happy with themselves and what they are, will be inclined to severe depression, because hate has to have an object. If these frustrated ones don’t find some outlet for their hate it will blow their minds somehow, so they turn it on someone else. “Ah! It’s not MY fault. I’m the helpless victim here. It’s HIS/HER/THEIR fault that I don’t have a better place in life.”
Common sense won’t faze people determined to hate those they imagine are oppressing them. People determined to be victims must cast someone, some group or class, into the role of Oppressor. Sadly, the “victims” become the bullies, self-righteously striking back at their oppressors – who are often bewildered by the venom they feel from someone they don’t even know.
Hating the Haters
“I hate rich snobs!”
“I hate people who are prejudiced.”
“I despise religious hypocrites who look down on others.”
“I detest people who are intolerant.”
“I hate abusers and predators.”
“I just hate people who oppress the poor!”
“Of course I’m right for hating them because they’re so worthy of hate.”
Sad to say, if we start hating the haters, we become haters, too. Contrary to popular thinking, there is no “righteous” hatred of other humans.
God asks us to surrender all this hate, give it all to him, and show respect for all people. The good, the bad, the ugly – as much as we are able.
“Vengeance is mine, said the Lord, I will repay it.”
Through the pen of the Apostle Peter, our Heavenly Father gives us this command:
“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.”
– I Peter 2:17-18
Show the same respect to males and females, all races, rednecks and preppies, rich and poor, janitors and CEOs, the government, the Donald Trumps and Vladimir Putins of this world? Doesn’t that just choke you!
We don’t have to approve of what they do; we may denounce their actions as wrong. But Jesus clearly warns us never to call any person a fool, an idiot, or a good-for-nothing:
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
Pretty sobering stuff!
Dear Christian friends & readers, have you taken these Scriptures to heart? Each of us needs to be sure that we are as free of anger and name-calling as the Lord wants us to be.
On Sunday fellow writer Dan Walsh notified his followers that Amazon is offering the first book in his latest series free until tomorrow. Having read the second book in this series and found it very good, I decided to claim this first one.
Sergeant Joe Boyd —If you’ve read the Jack Turner mystery series, you met him there — is a detective in the small city of Culpepper, a town in the deep South. And he’s just been promoted to Lieutenant and given the responsibility to head Culpepper’s Cold Case Squad. He’s down in the basement rummaging through old files…
Meanwhile his friend Jack Turner is doing some renovations — removing a couple of walls — from a lakeside cabin house he and his wife Rachel are buying. They come across some scratching on a couple of the studs, and soon realize these are letters. And the letters spell HELP ME. More tearing out of wallboard reveals more letters and they piece together: I’M CHAINED UP… VERY DARK…
Jack calls Joe, who brings Sergeant Hank along to check this out. A look at the writing and they decide this best be investigated.
Next readers are taken back to June 1964, to a former plantation near Culpepper, where Mason, the youngest son of a prominent, proudly white family, is trying to cope with the attitudes of his people for generations. In a flashback to Civil War hostilities, we see this up-to-date version of “brother fighting brother; father fighting son.” Mason is a believer in civil rights for all; his father and older brother are Klan sympathizers.
I find this book almost too scary because the emotions are so real, the hatred so alive — and this takes place in an era I remember! Not some fictitious world I’ve never seen. I’ve read about all those civil rights marches and protests, about the violence directed against protesters. We see Mason caught up in all of this, prepared to join the march for civil rights, but hoping his family will never find out.
Back to the present, where Joe, Jack and Rachel are piecing together letters and puzzling over this message. Joe is investigating when these studs were placed in the wall, and by who. And who scratched the message on them. Did he escape, or will this be one of the cold cases investigated?
I’ve only gotten part way, so I can’t tell you whodunit, or to whom, but it’s hard to put the book down. If you’re interested, pick up your free copy from Amazon.
To come up with a response for this morning’s prompt, ANNIVERSARY, I decided to check out what important events have happened on this day in history. And VOILA! Today is the 265th anniversary of Dr Samuel Johnson’s English Language Dictionary.
There were other smaller dictionaries around, mainly dealing with difficult and obscure and foreign words, so Dr Johnson was commissioned to compile the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language. It took him seven long years to gather and define every word in the language, with all its many angles — and the final book cost more to print than he was paid to write it!
Things haven’t changed much, have they, Writers? No “paid by the hour” in this job. 😉
Dr. Johnson illustrated many definitions with about 114,000 quotes from literature of his day, quoting from the Bible and writers like Shakespeare. He added a generous touch of humor to his definitions, too. For example, his definition of LEXICOGRAPHER:
A writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge that busies himself in tracing the original and detailing the signification of words
One who countenances, supports, or protects. Commonly a wretch who supports with insolence, and is paid with flattery. (Can you guess he didn’t have the best relationship with his own patron, the 4th Earl of Chesterfield?)
It’s amazing how one man, single-handedly, has contributed so much to the English world of his day, and the benefits have rippled down through history. So, word lovers around the world, let’s party! Have you hugged a WORD today?
The helpful site, ON THIS DAY also informed me that:
Leonardo da Vinci was born today. (1452)
US President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. (1865)
The Titanic sank. (1912)
The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is ONLINE
It should be easy enough to use this word, as I wouldn’t be responding to this prompt and you wouldn’t be reading it if we weren’t online. And when I look around ONLINE at all the writing prompts being offered to occupy us these days, I realize I could be online all day. I wrote about a few the other day, but one I didn’t write about was Reedsy’s Creative Writing Contest. Click HERE if you want to see their 744 prompts to date.
They also, among various other sites, are suggesting books we can read while we have nothing else to do. Click Here for REEDSY’s list. Merriam Webster has also published a list of books to read while you’re hunkered down.
I’d gladly add some of these to my TO-READ list. Carla Carlisle’s memoir, Journey to the Son sounds intriguing! I’ll have to add it to my 500+ list of books I hope to read this coming decade. 😉
These book review lists always bring to mind Frank Zappa’s famous words, “So many books; so little time.”
In the midst of all these suggestions that I’m sitting at home with not much to do, I’ve kind of crashed into a “NO TIME” zone. I have SO MANY things I want to read, write, sew, clean, and generally DO, but feel like I don’t have the time — won’t ever have enough time — to do any of it.
Past experience teaches me that this is a chronic feeling, kind of like a migraine, and it will pass. I’ll just haul out my famous little quote and wait it out. (It does help to write about it. 😉 )
How about you? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by these ONLINE thoughts that you must be loafing around and need more things to do? And otherwise, how are you all weathering stay-at-home storm?
Good morning everyone. The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning CALM — which is the weather we’re having this morning. The calm before the snow we’re supposed to get this afternoon.
The Word of the Day prompt is QUEST — which is what I’ve been on.
You see, I’d just written a book review on Amazon and was ready to do the concluding sentence and an edit, but wondered if the author’s name ended with a T or a D. Well, somehow in my “quick-click-to-check” quest, I lost my multi-paragraph review, crafted so painstakingly, etc. 😦
ARRGH! Not so calmly, I searched through my browsing HISTORY, but my words had truly disappeared. So now that I’ve just spent an hour reviewing a book on Amazon, I’m going to post that, adding a few details, in lieu of writing anything else. I hope you all like dogs, as this couple had over thirty in their home at various times.
DOGTRIPPING by David Rosenfelt (with a T) is a long and winding account, but interesting overall.
As an animal lover, I enjoyed reading about this couple’s efforts to save dogs. Different times the writer touches on the sad fact that there are so many more dogs waiting for homes than people to adopt them; so many of these are finally put down. The same couple be said of cats. The Rosenfelts were especially interested in golden retrievers, but took in dogs of mixed breeds as well, usually animals in need of special care, and gave them a happy ending.
Though the book is about the move to Maine, the writer spends a lot of time on the buildup, hopping back and forth between arranging their move and describing the dogs they’ve rescue, their home setup, the people and rescue groups he’s met along the way, the special folks volunteering to make the trip with them. It gets long but I found it all interesting, though not exactly “intriguing” or “compelling.”
I commend him for the way he appreciates and praises his wife, Debbie, who can’t resist bringing home yet another unwanted dog — or two or three — if she ever visits a shelter. For the most part his self-depreciating humor and metaphors are amusing but I feel his wise-cracks about his helplessness on the journey are overdone; it sounds like everyone else worked and he staggered along behind — likely not true.
I’m glad the actual move came off so smoothly, without the disasters he was anticipating. I wish them and their pets an long and happy life in their new home, but their move to ME will bring tears to animal shelter workers in CA. Shelter workers in that area undoubtedly had the Rosenfelts’ phone number on their speed dials. 😉