Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Hate Them Snakes!!

Here it is! I picked up a newspaper and found an article that a snake had bitten a woman when she had the nerve to walk up her front door steps without examining them first. Her own steps!
On top of that, I received an e-mail and picture of a Diamond Back Rattler that was laying in wait in the edge of the woods near a fairway on a Macon golf course. Now I ask you? Who amongst us can be assured of keeping our drive out of the woods always? This sucker was as long as Wilt Chamberlain is tall and at least as big around as the former basketball great. Lucky for the golfers that day, an alert groundskeeper with a two-iron managed to beat his head flat as a flitter before he inflicted his venom into any of the golfers.
Now I know that I stir up the ire of outdoorsmen who think snakes have the right to live, and it is cruel and ignorant to think they should be stamped out just the same as Al Qaeda terrorists should be.
Perhaps, it helps my defense against snakes of the slithering variety if I tell about a childhood incident. When I was about six-years-old, grocery stores would pay me fifty cents to deliver their weekly circulars around town. I was always barefoot in the summertime, and while I was walking up the small concrete walkway to one house, I stepped on a green wiggly snake and jumped straightway upward to avoid being killed. Okay maybe killed might be an exaggeration, but I was terrified and have been that way ever since.
In past Cotton Patch columns, I have made note of the fact that two snake lovers, J. D. and Andrew, have both been critical of my stance on snakes. J. D. said, “Sam, you should look closely at snakes to see what the shape of their head is, or what are the color of their eyes.” In the immortal words of the comedian, Larry “Git ‘er done!” the Cable Guy. I ain’t gonna do that!
Andrew said, “Sam, you ought to get to know the difference in snakes. Most of them are good reptiles.” To my friend, Andrew, I say, “Yeah, sure! An alligator is also a reptile and they eat their young!”
All I ask for is a fighting chance if I see a snake. Give me a gun with some ammo or a long hoe, and perhaps if he could be asleep, I would like my chances.
I don’t have any stuffed animals or fish which have been expertly done by local Taxidermists, because my best weapon has always been my Ford, and I always leave them for the buzzards. However, over thirty years ago, I killed a rattler over five feet long and larger than my arm when he was within striking distance of my small children and my wife. I shot him with my .38 caliber pistol on the first attempt with the only bullet in my pistol, knocking him down. Shaking violently, I missed him with all four of my bullets from my .22 caliber pistol and finished beating his head to smithereens with a shovel. Sometime the next day, when I knew he wasn’t going to come back to life, I cut off fifteen rattles and a button. How do you like that snake talk? They are still hidden in an old unused beer stein.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

America’s Contrasting Mood

I wrote, in part, the following column in my Cotton Patch after 9/11. I was reading it this week and found myself struck almost dumb by the contrasting mood of America today, and found myself wondering why?
Quote: During my life, I have never witnessed such a show of outward patriotism as is currently taking place in the United States of America. As I travel around, I see flags and/or red, white, and blue streamers flying from passing automobiles. Buildings are decorated with huge flags or signs proclaiming support for our great nation. People are expressing their support for, and their disenchantment with terrorism.
One man was overheard explaining to his son that even if the terrorists were able to kill all of the people in this country, they would find the last American still standing—fighting to defend freedom and liberty.
One report given by the news media indicated a support ratio of 95% for the actions of the president and only a dissenting vote of 5%. Even the Democrats who opposed almost everything that President Bush suggested prior to September 11, 2001 are standing behind him and the decisions he is making.
Much has been made of the coalition building that has been done by Mr. Bush’s team, even to aligning ourselves with countries—which have been known to support terrorism in the past—against the likes of bin Laden and his gang of thugs who pretend to be fighting a Holy War. The following examples have been given about past coalitions. During WWII, we were aligned with the Soviet Union, defined by President Ronald Reagan as “the evil Empire.” In the great world war we defended the Chinese, who would later fight against some of our same soldiers in Korea. As has been explained before, we are able to do some of the things we are doing because of the coalition.
In September when those cowardly deeds took place. Americans left their homes on that clear and beautiful morning, with no hint of the tragedy that would take place in this great land.
When a few innocent civilians were reported as being killed by the retaliatory strikes by the American military, many people were heard to say, “let us know when the count gets to 5000!” It is that kind of anger that abides in the hearts and minds of many Americans today. Close quote.
My goodness, how things have changed!
After two terms of President Bush 43, the Democrats took control of the White House with a senator who was in his first term of office. His chief opponent, Hillary Clinton who many thought would win hands down is now the Secretary of State, Senator Joe Biden is now VP, and the economy is shot! General Motors, once the largest employer in America has filed bankruptcy, but only after the government took it over. Chrysler filed bankruptcy and has been purchased by Fiat. The nation’s debt is the largest in history, and promises to get larger!

The stated goal of President Barack Obama is to spread the wealth around. His stated goal is also to treat the very enemies of America with kindness while vilifying the fighting men of our military. Why not just tie one of their hands behind their back? Why not just say to North Korea, Iran, and any others who would attack our nation, given half the chance, pretty please, don’t mess with us and we’ll do away with our nukes?

Our troops wonder where Americans stand as they still fight a terrible enemy. Where have all the flags gone? What will we do when another successful attack takes place on American soil as most believe it will? Our biggest enemy may not be the radical Islamics, but rather our complacency.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Father's Role in the Family

Last Sunday, the people of America celebrated the traditional Father’s Day, and many children as well as adults were puzzled as to what to give to their dad for gifts. Are the fathers that difficult to give a present? Perhaps it goes deeper than that. Is the role of dad in the lives of families, or lack thereof, the real reason for the difficulty?
This past week I read two summaries which made me think about the role of father in the homes of families in this great nation. The first one was a story in Georgia Backroads Magazine, Summer Edition. On the cover was a picture of a pretty, young girl, most likely under ten-years-old. She was standing by a gigantic machine in a cotton mill with her left hand on her hip posing bashfully for a reluctant photograph. The time line was sometime after the turn of the Twentieth Century.
The title of the article was “Children of the Loom” written by Daniel M. Roper with pictures by acclaimed photographer Lewis Wickes Hine (1874-1940).
Hine was an advocate against child labor, and worked tirelessly to bring an end to it. The article points out that he would show up on mill grounds dressed in a suit posing as a Bible salesman, fire inspector, or as an industrial photographer making a record of factory machinery. When he was denied entrance, he would linger outside the entrance to photograph children as they came or departed work.
My father, Ellis Crenshaw began working in cotton mills at the tender age of nine-years-old. Others still living in the city by the muddy river began their careers at an early age. During the summer after my eleventh grade, I worked for three months, gladly returning to school at the end of summer vacation. Oh yes, my wage was seventy-five cents an hour.
There were many reasons that children went to work at such a young age, but sadly, many of them were forced to work because of a drunken father who only worked part time. Others were never able to look beyond the mill for ways to earn a living.
The other thing regarding fatherhood which impacted my mind last week was found on the Internet web site named The Patriot Post. In part it said, “In a time when many homes are marked by absentee fathers, the last thing we need to be beating up on is fatherhood in general. Yet, ‘dad’ seems to be the only person in modern society who it is acceptable to belittle. To what extent does such treatment pervert our son's developing attitudes about the men they are expected to become? And why would we teach our daughters that there's no real hope or need to marry a strong, reliable man of character? As a wife and mother of two young men who are being raised in an anti-male culture that spews the mantra of radical feminism, I'd like to say a few words to America's dads: We need you. Loving fathers are critical to the development of children. And the truth is that every woman is a better person when she has a good man to rely on. Dads are not an ‘optional’ family accessory to be tossed in the corner like dirty socks or trampled on like a door mat. A good man is a priceless blessing from God. Let's remember to treat them like the treasures they are.”

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What Lies Ahead?

What will they think 200 years from now when they dig up the remains of our civilization?
Let’s pretend that something happens and our lives that we know it are destroyed. Buildings and structures are in ruins from what used to be a living and thriving society. All that remains are the crumbling walls of homes and businesses and paths that once were roads which connected us with people from other cities.
Vines from unattended trees lace themselves around everything, reclaiming what had once been owned by the forest before men of our civilization came through with boats and other forms of transportation clearing the way for others from across the seas to settle the mostly untamed land. Perhaps they will find bleached bones from some great tragedy laying about the ground. Will they be able to find and dig up the 200th birthday vaults buried in 1976 for the benefit of whoever the citizens of our area would be after another 200 years?
If so, what will they think about our civilization in the mid 1970s of the 20th Century? Will the pictures and letters which were buried for posterity in so many towns and cities across the great nation that was known as the United States of America tell the new discoverers much or little about the land?
If we had it all to do again, would we choose more wisely in the chosen buried treasures? At that time in American history, there was a relative peace in the land. An American President, Richard Nixon had been forced from office because of threat of impeachment. An appointed Vice-president, Gerald Ford from Michigan would be defeated in his only attempt at being elected to the top office in the land. His defeat would come at the hands of a peanut farmer from central Georgia who ran on a campaign that was based on the fact that he would never lie to the people of this nation.
Former Governor Jimmy Carter of tiny Plains, Georgia would last only one term. His defeat would be at the hands of a former movie star—some people said he was not that good an actor—named Ronald Reagan. He would go on to serve two terms as President and gain a place in history as one of the greatest Presidents of all time. Many credited him with bringing down the threat of communism and the break-up of the once mighty and feared Soviet Union.
Will they know of a fateful day in September, 2001 when a new war came to the great country, and what will be the outcome of the sudden menace of world-wide terrorism by religious fanatics who choose to blow themselves up while killing others? Will they be able to learn from the ruins of a once-great civilization, going forward to bring about a new way of life?
Will the people who come to this land come from another world, unknown by the former civilization, but suspected by many to exist, or will they be from some former remote portion of the land known as Earth?
Just wondering?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Enjoy Your Money

By J. Steve Miller

Out of the blue one evening, I received the following e-mail from someone named Steve Miller, an author who according to him, has Hawkinsville connections.
Those two things immediately caught my attention—he being an author and having Hawkinsville connections—therefore I began reading with more rapt attention. His e-mail, in part went as follows:
Dear Sam,
Thanks for your articles in the Hawkinsville Dispatch & News! My mom takes the paper and we enjoy keeping up with Hawkinsville news.
My mom, Ann Owen Miller, grew up on Martin Street in Hawkinsville, the daughter of Ed and Pauline "Polly" Owen and sister of my uncle Ed, Junior. All of them influenced my views of personal money management, informing the ideas presented in my recent book. They were all hard workers, frugal, and seemed to understand finances in ways that the younger generations don't seem to get. That's why I mention Polly in my introduction and other relatives in my acknowledgements.
The book is Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It, published by Wisdom Creek Press. It came off the press last month. Although well-researched and documented, I wrote it as a story to capture people who hate financial books. I thought it might be of interest to readers, especially because of my Hawkinsville connections. Perhaps, I could arrange a signing or to speak in a school or to a youth group? It might be a way to help young people (ages 16-30) get a hold of their finances. Even if I just got a mention in the paper, it would mean a lot.
To see a bit more about the book, including an overview and blurbs, check it out.
Chris Stanley of Kingston, PA wrote the following review: “This book provided me with an amazing insight into many different areas of personal finance.

The author covers every topic from saving and investing money to making and enjoying money; and better yet, the book is written in an exciting and fun to read format that won't bore you or become a chore to read. I've tried to read...many other personal finance books, and I'm sure a lot of them had very good information in them; however, they were not engaging enough to get through, and so I wasn't able to gleam most of that good information. This book was different though. With each page I found myself more and more engaged, and before I knew it I had read the whole book, taking a wealth of financial knowledge with me. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, regardless of how much you may or may not know about personal finance. Everyone could take something away from this book. I especially recommend this book to anyone in high school or college, because when it comes to learning about finances, the sooner the better. I personally read the book as a college student, and while other personal finance books for me can sometimes make the concepts of personal finance complicated to understand, the author of this book made the world of personal finance very easy to understand on my level. This is why I think this book would be especially great for any teen or young adult out there trying to get a head start on their financial future.”
By the way, Polly is doing great at age 103! I help mom care for her next door, here in Acworth. We had to move her up here a couple of years ago after both she and dad had strokes.
Steve Miller

In his introduction, Steve talks about his grandmother who began investing her money in her sixties—now 103 years-old—and she has accumulated a small fortune.
J. Steve Miller, educator, investor, entrepreneur, and speaker has taught audiences from Atlanta to Moscow. He’s known for drawing practical wisdom from serious research and communicating it in accessible, unforgettable ways. Steve is the founder and president of Legacy Educational Resources, providing global resources for teachers of life skills in public schools, churches, and service organizations at on the Internet. A self-styled “wisdom broker,” Steve collects wisdom from many fields and packages it for teachers and writers via his published books and the Web. His wife, Cherie, and their seven sons continually remind him what works and what doesn’t. In a question and answer session, Miller did not hold back on his inspirations.Q: Steve, what motivated you to write this book?A: First, people are hurting with their finances. According to recent surveys: Twenty-five percent of American adults live paycheck to paycheck. They fear going under and desperately need to accumulate wealth. Ninety-eight percent of middle-aged people reported regret at how they spent their money in the light of how much they could have saved. Today's college students graduate with, on average, over $22,000 in debt. Their first job out of college doesn't pay what they expected. They want to get out of debt and accumulate enough wealth to purchase a house.
Personal debt is reaching record highs as personal savings reach all time lows (under zero percent average savings in 2006). How will people ever get ahead? B: Second, to get more personal, Cherie and I are raising seven boys, from 14-year-old twins to a 27-year-old. I don't want them to live their lives experiencing the misery of financial bondage.In his preface, Miller states, “This book will help you to get out of debt and accumulate wealth. It will help you to get ahead, even when the work you love doesn’t produce “big bucks.”You will find your strengths and passions and make a living with them. You will live a more fulfilled life. The cast of characters which Miller uses to get his story across are four young people, Antonio, Akashi, James and Amy, and through them and their mentors, he is able to show how money management can be exciting! “It’s fun to see your money grow,” Miller says. “It’s fun to feel successful, and it’s fun to have enough money to help others.

To this end, I hope you have fun reading my book.”During the Great Red Devil Reunion of 2003, I enjoyed communicating with many of the former students who were educated at Hawkinsville High School. Steve Miller’s mother, Ann Owen Miller, was one such individual. The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. In researching the Senior Annual Hawk-eye, it revealed that Ann Owen was a member of the annual staff and more importantly, she was a member of the Beta Club, the smartest of the smart.You may contact Steve Miller concerning this well-intentioned and thought-provoking book at his e-mail address

I Love

In my other life as a traveling salesman, my best friend was always Talk Radio. Sometimes it would be the controversial Neal Boortz who got his start in Talk Radio over thirty years ago on a small station called WRNG Radio. The catch phrase was “Ring Radio.” Sometimes, he stirred my blood with his rudeness, but today he is wealthy with syndication all over the U.S.
Does the name Rush mean anything to you? In 1988, Limbaugh took his program national to set the standard.
My favorite Talk Radio personality in those days was one called Ludlow Porch, one of the all-time trivia masters, and champion of old people who enjoyed making up names for themselves when they called in to his program. Some of the ones that stand out in my memory after all these years are Jim Clip, Miss Kitty, M. T. Head and Homer Southwell, to name a few. Always introducing outrageous and funny subjects, Ludlow could bring up topics like the Sunday “funnies” to bring back wonderful memories. Some of you will remember them. Smilin’ Jack, Buzz Sawyer, Henry, Little Lulu, Dick Tracy, and on and on. What memories!
Once Ludlow had a guest on one of his radio programs who was extremely controversial. The topic was one about raising Naugas for a profit by selling their hides. Incensed, people became caught up in calling about the hides of naugas being sold because of the implication of cruelty to the poor little animals. The guest tried to assure the listeners that it was really not cruel, because the little naugas, once skinned, would grow back their hide to live another day. The beauty of raising naugas was the variety of colors they came in—green, orange, blue, red, and even black and white checked. The hide was especially popular in cheap funrniture, and unless torn, it proved to be very durable. If it got torn or cut accidentally, patching it with duct tape was a cinch. Some people became infuriated with the idea of raising the little slick-skinned animals purely for the purpose of using their hide for sofas and inexpensive recliners.
I think back on that day while listening to the topic of raising naugas for their hides, and I still think it might have been a spoof; Ludlow playing with some of our minds.
I have never actually seen a nauga, which brings me to the topic of a television commercial, which I have been seeing a lot of lately.
I love seems to me to be another spoof. “I just love my alpaccas,” the woman says. “They are so sweet and loving.” Now look, I can spot a spoof a mile away. They have taken the magic of television and spliced a camel head to the body of a shetland pony, added a lot of fur to him with some glue and presto! An alpacca. Doubtful? Go back and view a Star Wars movie and look at some of the furry critters in it. Can you say “Chewbacca?”