For This I Am Grateful

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Life – filled with its ups and downs, the level plains which lie between;

The rain without which there would be no flowers;

The valleys where strength and supplies are found to climb to the mountain tops;

Health – though fraught with issues and concerns with which I must daily battle;

Healthcare – which has resulted in finding the root cause of many of my more serious physical ailments along with a cure for the fatal infection that threatened to kill me;

Eye Care – which provides the expertise to restore my vision rather than allowing me to go blind;

Family – who bring joys and tears, but with whom I could not live without;

Sons – those offspring who carry on and outshine the man who was their sire;

Granddaughters – who are beautiful, bubbly, putting a smile on my face even in the darkest moments with a look;

Daughters-in-Law – who put up with the “Old Man” and don’t fuss too much when their husbands stay in touch;

Mom – who may not always agree with the choices, decisions I make, but is always there to support me as her son;

Dad – who often is on opposite sides from where I stand, but is still there when least expected;

The Other Halves – who have brought love and joy to my parents and been there too many times to count for me;

Siblings – who bring the tussle and tumble at times and the closeness and connectivity that none else can know;

Ex-Wives – without whom I would never have known the joy and love of my two sons;

My Ex-Partner – who put up with me through good, bad, sickness and health for over a decade;

Chooey – who provides companionship, alerts me and loves his “Daddy” unconditionally;

Real Life Acquaintances – who have shown up at my door when unexpected, but at the right moment;

Online Friends – some who have been angels in some of my direst moments over the past few years when I felt I could not carry on;

Our Nation – though battered and torn at times, though enmeshed in family feuds at times, yet still the most free and greatest light of liberty in the world today;

God – for sustaining me thus far and deciding it was not time for me to cross the divide and go home yet.

From the Cornfield, I send out my wish to one and all for a day of reflection, a time with family and friends, a day of peace, love and joy this Thanksgiving Day before the madness of shopping fever takes over, forgetting the reason for the season.

May you find no matter your situation, station in life, health or wealth, there is always something for which to be grateful.

Retro in Vogue

Retro is back in vogue. But, not necessarily in the way you may think that phraseology implies.

The retro here is for retroactive, such as when say a pay raise is retroactive back to a certain date behind us, but were not compensated at the time at the higher rate of enumeration.

Or when lawmakers have found the courts frown on attempts to make a certain crime or punishment retroactive due to the uproar from the public or their own disgust over a situation.

Lawbreakers have the protection of being tried, convicted and sentenced not on some new law or new enlightenment on a given crime based on the law and sentencing applicable at the time of the crime. To do otherwise would be unfair and violation of one’s civil rights under our Constitution.

Yet, we are seeing a rush to judgment today based on new emotions, new thinking, new intolerance or new toleration for those of fame, money or power when it comes to what is and is not acceptable behavior in dating, in relationships, in attempts to woo or otherwise engage with another in some type of sexual contact.

We thought we had hit the mother lode when Bill Cosby was arrested and sent to his fate before a jury of his peers.

How little did we know that a couple of years later, the whole country is suddenly incensed in a manner similar to the villagers rising up with torches and pitch forks to make the world “safe” from Dr. Frankenstein’s monster.

I can readily understand the desire to get a scrupulous pound of flesh for those within the decade who have been weighed and found wanting in the realm of unwelcomed sexual contact. But when we attempt to apply today’s standards to actions decades (plural) old to destroy a person on what at the time (though wrong at the time) was not activity roundly decried, is not right.

Should these, mostly men acting badly and without thought, transgressors be judged on the distant past and all the good negated and their change in thought and action ignored because now it is suicide to act in such a boorish and insensitive way?

Should the guilty be allowed to continue the good, repent for their past sins and move on?

For those who are still guilty, still transgressing, that is a different venue and the current moral standards and laws apply, no doubt about it.

Remember when Jesus and His disciples were confronted by the mob with a woman who had been caught in the throes of adultery? Jesus squat down and wrote in the sand with His finger.

When He spoke, it was soft, yet firm, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

After the crowd sheepishly melted away, Jesus was left with the woman. He asked, “Where are your accusers?”

The woman noted they were gone.

Jesus then said the immortal words, “Neither do I condemn thee…

That’s where most of us stop. But stopping there leaves out the most important part of what Jesus had to say.

The final five words were the key to forgiveness, “Go and sin no more.”

From the Cornfield, what these men did was not right, but we must temper our outrage with wisdom.

For those who have moved on, who have gone their way since their sins and crimes to “sin no more“, should be allowed to apologize, make amends and continue to be a benefit to society.

For those who continue to wallow in the mud and slop of their self-delusion and debauchery, let there be a reckoning.

Salute! ~ To Those Who Served

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Tomorrow, we stop and give thanks for all those who have served the nation in uniform, protecting the freedoms we hold so dear. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in order to ensure that we have the life we so proudly proclaim.

Their sacrifice is honored with each election where not by coup, but by ordinary Americans casting a ballot and choosing those who will lead and represent them. The power and authority of those officials are transferred from one elected official to the next, from the precinct level to the highest office in the land, the Presidency, without the need for troops in the streets because of those who answered the call to duty, honor and service.

The ability to vote, the ability to choose, the ability to speak our minds, the ability to worship or not worship, the ability to write these words without fear, the ability to work, to succeed, to fail, to rise above our circumstances, all of this we owe to those men and women who fought for peace, justice and freedom.

None of our liberties came without cost and thus we owe a debt to each of our veterans and to those who still serve.

Beginning at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 with the treaty signed ending the “Great War” between the Triple Entente and the Allies, the veterans are now honored each year as Veteran’s Day, though initially Armistice Day.

On a more personal note:

Normandy Award to Luther C. Powell

In those dark days following the sneak attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, four brothers from Nashville, Brown County, Indiana lined up at the recruiting office and joined the US Navy. These four brothers went off to save the world for democracy both in the European Theater and in the Pacific.

Homer Powell lost in World War II

Three made it back home at the close of World War II. The one who didn’t return was my Uncle Homer. My grandfather and his other two brothers, Herman and Wesley, came home, but changed, never to be the same.

First Sergeant Jack L. Hollifield

My step-father, a fresh-faced kid from Sullivan County, Indiana didn’t wait to be drafted. He went to the recruiting office and signed up to be a soldier for Uncle Sam. He survived, though wounded once, three tours in Viet Nam. He remained in the US Army to retire after 20 years as an E-8 First Sergeant.

USN veteran Allen Powell

My grandfather’s only son, my uncle, later followed in his father’s footsteps and sailed off on the ocean blue with the Navy. He served around the world, then came home.

Allen's Honorable Discharge

All of these veterans within my own family are now gone, but not forgotten.

AFC Mark after USAF Basic Training

Their service made it possible for me to join the US Air Force in 1976. My time was spent at Grissom AFB, right here in the Cornfield.

It also allowed my step-brother, John Hollifield, a few years later to join the US Army. Unfortunately, we lost him in a drunk driving incident after he did his duty and was home.

US Army vet John Hollifield, victim of a DUI driver

The sacrifice of my grandfather, great-uncles and step-father also allowed all of us to still be living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

This is why I am always appreciative of those who choose to serve in our military. This is why I always have an empathy and a connection to the families left behind to keep the home fires burning to shine the light to lead our service members home.

Each November 11th, we celebrate, not just the veterans of that long ago war that was to be the war to end all wars, but the holiday has evolved to celebrate and to show appreciation for all who have served our great nation and those who continue to serve.

From the Cornfield, veterans, I salute you and thank you!

Sanctimonious Outrage with Injustice for All

Roman Polanski – Alleged inappropriate relations with a minor
Woody Allen – Alleged affair with former wife’s adopted daughter then marrying her
Bill Cosby – Alleged drugged women and took advantage of them without consent
All three are current members of the Directors Guild, who have never been kicked out for their alleged flaws and crimes.
Harvey Weinstein – Alleged abuse and rape, kicked out of Directors Guild, fired from company he founded.
Why?
What dirt do the other three have on the Guild that guards their membership?
From the Cornfield, this inquiring mind wants answers.

Being American

By virtue of having been born on the soil of the United States of American at Welborn Baptist Memorial Hospital in Evansville, Indiana, I can proudly proclaim I am an American.

But – what does it mean beyond being an offspring fortunate enough for my nativity to be in this country?

What distinguishes a person as an American other than the site of birth?

How can we tell who is an American versus who may be, say, a Canadian, who speaks and looks like most Americans?

There is no singular ethnicity to set us apart as American.

There is no particular racial classification, but a hodgepodge of all races and sub-sections.

There is no single country of colonization of this portion of the North American continent.

There is no official language.

There is no particular genetic marker to trace who is and is not an American – such as eye or hair color, skin pigmentation. An American, as the words in a children’s song, may be red and yellow, black or white.

Physical characteristics, speech and dialects, none of the usual suspects define an American.

New Americans come into the world almost every day – and not – by birth.

Americans are not persuaded or aligned with a state religion or practice of faith and spirituality. In fact, one can be an American without any belief system that envisions a power greater than ourselves.

Other than a predominance of democracy and federalism, Americans do not pledge allegiance to a universal ideology or political persuasion. Political leanings are all over the map.

Some Americans amble through life with no basis in the alter-verse of politics or ideology. 

From the Cornfield, I can beat my chest and swell with pride by virtue of birth to be an American.

But what other than that marks me as an American?

Some can lay hold to the honor of being an American through the process of naturalization, denouncing any and all allegiance to the country of their birth or country of last residence.

Many of these Americans are more patriotic and willing to lay down their lives for their adopted country than those who are homegrown, to their shame.

The belief in and living up to the radical idea ascribed by the Founding Fathers that an American will defend to the death, pledging honor and fortune to protect and uphold the belief that all humans are endowed by their Creator with “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is what makes me able to crow, “I am American.”

Not – because I was born in the Cornfield.

If you are an American, what makes you – other than birth – an American?

Hold Your Head Up

The refrain from the classic song by Argent has added meaning, not just for me, but Americans everywhere today.
For me on a personal levels hearing, Hold your head up,” pushes me to keep up the fight.
For the millions of us Americans, following senseless mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, the words us the strength to not be cowed by a madman.
We will weep.
We will mourn.
We will struggle with survivor’s guilt. We will not quit living.
We will not back down.
We are Americans!

Bang for Buck?

Not getting enough bang for your hard-earned buck?

Lord knows I am not in the Cornfield! And yet compared to the rest of the nation, the Ohio River Valley states do better. That is all, but liberal Illinois.

Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio have more healthy bangs for bucks.

From the Cornfield, make your dollar go farther – move to a conservative state in the Heartland.

When You’re Wrong

When you are wrong, you are wrong.

Mr. President, you are wrong.

Yes, hate is hate and violence is violence.

No, you cannot equate the hatred of Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan with the hate of those on extreme left.

A complete renunciation of these bigots and racists elements who seek to corrupt history and to divide us must be done without any equivalency.

Your failure, Mr. President, to offer condolences and to reach out to the family of the woman, Heather Heyer, who was brutally murdered by a deranged man, advocating the destruction of those not like him, is a monumental fail on your part.

Heather Heyer died a martyr to the cause of freedom on which this nation was built.

Mr. President, you are President of ALL the people, not just your base or those who spew hatred and advocate violence among the races and those of differing religious adherents.

If you expect to be a strong, successful President, it is time, Mr. President to take a look in the mirror.

It is time, Mr. President, to reflect on what it truly means to be an American.

It is time, Mr. President, to rise to the office to which you have been elected. It is time, Mr. President, to offer a sincere apology to the American people for failing to be the man you should be in occupying the Oval Office.

If, Mr. President, your interest is purely self-serving, it is time, Mr. President, to hand the reins to someone else.

From the Cornfield, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong.

There is time to rectify the situation, but that time is running out.

Soon the sands will have run out.

Happy Birthday, US of A!

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Today, the US of A celebrates its 241st birthday.

It was, like with any birth, one that was born out of travail, crying, shouts of glee, bloodshed and even death. Truly the continent was in heavy labor as the push and screams of thousands were heard around the world.

That sorrow and agony gave way, however, to jubilation as the nation emerged scathed and covered with the scars and trappings of nativity. But as difficult as that birth was, the struggle was not over.

There would be growing pains, illnesses and diseases to overcome. There would be those who would attempt to reclaim and to destroy that life which was born out of a pledge to devote honor, lives and fortunes to see this epic birth come to be and last through all time.

Through the years, as with any baby maturing to toddler to child to teen to adult, this great nation of states joined to form a “more perfect union” had to go through its share of perils, tests and trials. In each instance, in the end, the US of A emerged on the other side a better nation.

The most trying time is undisputed, which is what occurred during what I would call the teenage years, puberty, when literally brother was pitted against brother, sister against sister, sons and daughters against mothers and fathers. The greatest and most costly toll of lives and bloodshed threatened to tear the nation apart. Yet through the trauma of the Civil War, the War Between the States, a united and stronger country came of age.

Dark days still lay ahead, but it seemed the worst had passed.

Through more battles and more wars, we find ourselves today celebrating the nation we’ve become and feeling the pain of the mistakes we have made. We honor the lives who gave their all to keep this nation the home of the brave and the land of the free.

Now, we look forward to the days and years ahead.

We are traveling the rough and choppy sea of economic uncertainty, but which seems to be slowly recovering.

The ship of state must traverse the gulf as the skipper maneuvers the ship to avoid crashing on the rocks of lost hope, despair, keeping an eye on the course and the port of serenity which lies in the distance.

The tides of global unrest threaten to engulf us. We must stay resolute and strong. Together we can ride the waves and dock in safe harbor.

Many have lost hope.

Many no longer aspire to the American Dream.

Many wonder if the flag will still wave for much longer.

But we are Americans.

We will survive.

From the Cornfield, America, may she always be that shining city on a hill to which others seek to aspire.

Happy Independence Day!

Divided We Stand

In my most recent unscientific survey from Cornfield Polls, trust was the thrust.

Not many participated, but from the results it is clear that we remain deeply divided.

So what are we to do?

Does it matter whether we are buying into facts or fiction?

Are Americans doomed to what the Scripture refers to as “believing a lie and being damned?”

Was the Apostle Paul right when he wrote about “ever learning, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth?”

From the Cornfield, our 16th and perhaps greatest President, Abraham Lincoln, cited the words of Christ when he intoned, “A house divided cannot stand.”

How can we as a nation hope to stand when we remain so divided even over whom to trust?