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red clay ponderings

Hmmm… what shall I ponder on today?

The Ok Cafe

The owner of the Ok Cafe was bullied into removing a piece of art that has been displayed in the restaurant for years. The art in question is a wooden representation of the (former) Georgia state flag.

I was so disappointed to read that my favorite restaurant had become the target of groups obsessed with a flag that flew in a war that ended in 1865.

I wondered if the bullies have any clue. The name, The OK Cafe, comes from the book To Kill A Mockingbird. An autograph of author Harper Lee hangs on the wall of the restaurant.

The book, TKAM, was written by Lee, a southern woman, and published in 1960. She covers racial inequality, injustice and racial profiling in the book. The character of Attorney Atticus Finch is based on her own father. A man who fought injustices in Alabama courtrooms when it was dangerous for a white man to do so.

In her real life, growing up in her small Alabama town, Harper’s best buddy was a gay man, Truman Capote. In the 1950s and 60s. Do you understand what that implies? She was not one to be bullied into making choices based on other people’s opinions.

Aside from having the best food and sweet iced-tea in Atlanta, Ok Cafe has always employed a very diverse staff. The wooden flag has never prevented their multi-hued wait staff from earning above average tips.

Nor has it prevented team members of the Atlanta Falcons, the ATL Hawks and the Atlanta Braves from being frequent customers.

But the OK Cafe is fighting back in the most beautiful way. They will make Lemonade and Lemon Pie from this sour experience. And you can bet it will be superb. Their plan is to auction the carved artwork and donate the proceeds to the Atlanta Police Department. The spirit of Harper Lee must surely live at the Ok Cafe.

Please don’t misunderstand….I’m not upset that the source of conflict was a flag. The only flag important to me is this one 🇺🇸. I’m upset that self-absorbed bullies can force businesses and individuals to give in to irrational demands and force them into submission.

One day, the very people forcing their ideology on others, will be forced into submission themselves.

That’s how anarchy works.

God Bless America,

Danita

“Come on home man.” George Floyd

For a little while, in the last week of May, we were all together. We were on the same team. Not for Covid19, but George’s Team.

We stood together, against dirty men.

In particular, we formed a line of solidarity against a dirty man wearing blue. Most of us agreed that there are bad men in every profession… preachers, lawyers, doctors…all professions are laced with evil humans. But this time, it was a man who had taken a vow to serve and protect. And we served witness to his evil intentions. Through the camera lens of a seventeen year-old girl, from where she stood on a sidewalk in Minnesota, we, the whole world, watched that dirty slug murder a defenseless man.

I cried when I heard George’s heartbreaking whimper for “mama”.

We hear about the murders in Chicago. We say we want something to be done about the statistics, but we go about our business and we wait for the next news cycle. It was different with George. We watched his murder, as it happened. It wasn’t just numbers in a news ticker. We saw life leaving a man. We heard him plead for breath.

We heard him say the words of a dying man, “mama”. And it did something to us. It changed us.

I’m angry. We are angry. And my gut reaction is the cop (he doesn’t deserve to be called “officer”), should be charged, tried and sentenced to serve his time in General Population, in the roughest prison Minnesota has to offer. Wherever that may be.

It felt like hope, in our brief moment… when we stood together, in the same battle, on the same field. Unified.

But then the looting began. The violence against innocent people was broadcast live, just as it had been with George. But we didn’t have sympathy for the violence. The violence feels like a another violation against George.

We watched mobs working in an animalistic frenzy, stealing from people who had nothing to do with the murder of George Floyd. Fighting each other. Attacking innocent bystanders.

Property was burned.

All in defamation of George.

We’re not all on the same battlefield any longer. That solidarity ended when men and women decided to behave criminally. When they chose to hurt innocent people.

I am still defending George Floyd.

I am still calling the cop a cold-blooded murderer.

But what’s happening in Minnesota has nothing to do with George Floyd.

No matter how anyone tries to paint it or tell the story, the looting and violence in Minneapolis is about criminals taking advantage of a man’s death. It’s about benefiting themselves, not fighting for justice.

This is violent criminal behavior being perpetrated by criminals, against people who have done no harm.

If the rioters are truly fighting for justice for George, why aren’t they protesting at the police stations? Or their Governor’s mansion? The state capitol?

The riots are not about George.

It’s about taking what doesn’t belong. It’s about getting away with stealing new TVs and cell phones.

MLKjr brought change without stealing. Without hurting others.

Without violence.

Without riots.

Animalistic behavior will not change anything. And it will not help the loved ones of George Floyd.

The rioters, and those defending them, further degrade George as a man. They disrespect him as a human.

And that is repulsive.

✨ Dear Floyd Family,

My heart is broken for you.

I am praying for you. May you find peace in your memories, and comfort in God’s love.

I’m am praying for justice.

May it be swift.

In Sympathy,

Danita

* George pleading for an end to violence.

https://nypost.com/2020/05/28/george-floyd-called-on-younger-generation-to-end-gun-violence/amp/

There is a Summer Place

Happy 61st Anniversary to these two!

They were just high school kids when they fell in love. She has said she liked sitting next to him in class, because he was smart and could spell anything. He was her living dictionary and encyclopedia.

She liked hearing him sing.

He and his friends would gather under my grandparent’s big oak tree and “make music”. That’s how they spent most of their dates. Neither of them had a car.

They only dated three months before they were married.They were 16 and 18 when they vowed “until death do us part”.

I was born eleven days before their first anniversary. A year later, my dad was in a terrible accident that required months in the hospital, and several surgeries. Doctors wanted to amputate his arm, but my mom refused that option.

He was a musician; a guitar player. She understood that losing his creative outlet would be detrimental for him. At the time, she was 18 and he was 20. Where did she find the fortitude to resist the advice of top Atlanta physicians? Where did that strength come from?

Love. And grit.

But mostly it came from love. She knew she had to fight for him when he was unaware and unable to fight for himself. Physicians relented agreed to try and save his arm. But it would require extensive surgery. An experimental procedure.

He made medical history.

Doctors at Crawford Long Hospital saved his arm and hand by taking functional pieces of one hand, and adding them to the damaged hand. Skin was grafted from his stomach onto his forearm and hand. The surgery was a success.

But after a long stay in the hospital, they were financially destitute. They were poor kids to begin with, and now they had a mountain of medical debt. Lawyers contacted them and urged them to file suit. They refused. They also refused to file bankruptcy. In their opinions, to file a lawsuit against his employer or to refuse to pay their debt, would speak negatively of who they were/are. So while he was still recovering, she went to work in a poultry plant, Gold Kist. It was the same plant where he had had the accident. She worked long hours in cold, wet conditions. When he was finally released from medical restrictions a couple years later, he returned to Gold Kist. They both worked for GK until the summer I graduated high school. They had remained dedicated employees for all those years. Their time with GK ended only because the company closed up shop in Canton.

During those growing-up years, my brother and I seldom saw them, other than breakfast and weekends. They worked double shifts to pay off the medical debt,and would pick us up from the sitter after we were already sleeping.

When she was 23, she lost both her parents within a two month period. They were the people she had counted on for emotional and physical support when my dad was hospitalized. They were the baby sitters, when it came to caring for my brother and me.

In their stressful, imperfect, tragedy laced marriage, how have they managed to stay together for over six decades?

Several things…

Neither of them have ever had an ounce of alcohol. As kids, both had seen firsthand the damage caused from alcohol, and both vowed to never give it the opportunity to wreak havoc in their own lives.

They took their vows seriously. “Till death do us part” meant something to them.

They fiercely defended one another other. Even if they didn’t fully agree with the other, they still gave support. They worked out the differences behind closed doors.

Respect… for each other and their families.

My mom never spoke a negative word about my dad’s parents.

And he never uttered a negative word about hers.

Are they perfect? Not by a long shot. But they keep trying, even now. They never gave up on one another. Or us. They never gave up hope for better days.

He has dementia. Music helps him. But not long ago, he told me he likes to play Theme from A Summer’s Place on his record player, when she’s around. Because it’s always been her favorite. And because, he said, “I know it helps her memory”.

💞

https://youtu.be/tFi_CKNJj

There’s a summer place
Where it may rain or storm
Yet I’m safe and warm
For within that summer place
Your arms reach out to me
And my heart is free from all care
For it knowsThere are no gloomy skies
When seen through the eyes
Of those who are blessed with loveAnd the sweet secret of
A summer place
Is that it’s anywhere
When two people share
All their hopes
All their dreams
All their loveAnd the sweet secret of a summer place
Is that it’s anywhere
When two people share
All their hopes
All their dreams, all their love

Georgia On Their Minds 🍑

It’s true that the military get to eat MREs (meals ready to eat) when they’re activated and deployed. They don’t go hungry.


But the fundraiser Lindsey set up isn’t about food. It’s about showing appreciation for the men and women who are in the middle of this homeland war, fighting to safely get America back on it’s feet, up and running.
I ask you to please consider making a small donation to show them your appreciation.

The fundraiser will also help an American, Georgia based business, Waffle House.
Since their beginning, Waffle House has never closed. But now many of their locations are closing their doors at 2PM. I heard that over 700 of their restaurants have shut down. The servers who still have a job aren’t making the tips they usually make. This fundraiser will help some of them as well.
As my nephew Justin Clark said: “China did what Mother Nature was never able to do… shut down Waffle House”.

For those of you who have already donated, Thank you!
Because of you, we are only $615 away from the goal.♥️

https://www.gofundme.com/f/national-guard-team-fighting-covid19?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet

https://youtu.be/j28ukBPyidQ

Back in the USSR

When I was in high school, in the 1970s, one of our teachers visited the USSR – the
Union of Soviet Socialists Republic.

When he returned, my government teacher asked him to visit our class and share details of his trip with us.

Two things he shared still stand out to me:

• His official USSR government escort had offered him a lot of money for his denim jacket. Over $200 American dollars.

He told us that people of the USSR were unable to purchase denim. Later in his presentation, he told us request to purchase his jacket surprised him (I can’t remember his name… perhaps Bob Connor), but it wasn’t completely unexpected, really. Prior to his trip, he had been warned.

We all lived in a very small foothills town, but our little town had two textile mills, Canton Textile Mills No1 & No2… “the Cotton Mill”.
These two mills produced some of the world’s highest quality, yet inexpensive, denim. The poor people of our town worked in the mills, and we all wore the denim manufactured there. On his trip to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, the teacher was wearing a $7 “blue jean” jacket, made from the denim of Canton, Georgia.
We asked him if he sold the jacket to the Russian.
“No. I did not”.
In unison, the class became animated: “What?! Why not?!!! That was a lot of money!!!“.
The teacher: “Because it was a set up. I would have been arrested if I had sold anything to them”.

  • Toilet Paper.
    That’s the second thing he told us that I’ve never forgotten.

He had witnessed a very long line of people standing outside a large building. It reminded him of the long lines Americans would form when lining up to purchase concert tickets or to enter a professional baseball stadium. But, he told us, “these people weren’t jolly concert patrons, they were glum. Freezing in the cold, wearing threadbare clothing; they weren’t talking to the person in line behind them. They showed no emotion.”

He wondered what the line was about, and asked the escort.
“Toilet paper rations. Every household gets one roll per month, regardless of family size”.

We were incredulous. “What if they have five kids?! One roll won’t last a month!”
He answered, “no. It won’t. Nor will one small packet of dried beans. Remember that. And always, always, fight for your freedom”.

We asked if he had pictures of the people standing in the line. “No. We weren’t allowed. Photography was limited to certain things. We were told when we could use our cameras.

The Coronavirus is real.
Evil empires are real too.
Stay alert America. 🇺🇸

Granny’s House

Looking at it now, you would never know how much this humble place was loved.

It was where I most wanted to be. There was no place on earth, where I was happier.

The tin roof was the color of pewter. And when it rained, the liquid drops sounded like tinkling crystal against the metal.

The outside walls were roughly hewn boards, always painted bright white. Blue Hydrangeas, strategically planted “under the drip of the eaves”, added a touch of lacy elegance to the front corners of the simple porch. Marigolds waved from clay containers…a hedge of crimson roses separated the yard from the road. A couple of yellow and white metal gliders and a creaky, home built white porch swing, provided ample seating for grandkids to tell stories and share dreams…and a good seat for Granny and Papa Clark to hear them.

This house is still loved. Maybe not by the current owners, but by the ones whose memories still linger there.

Home of Janes H. and Mary Angeline Davidson Clark
Hickory Flat, Georgia (Cherokee County)
Papa and Granny
Papa, (J. H.) Granny (Mary Angeline) and Wallace Clark
Granny and some of her roses. The car in the background, a light blue Ford LTD, belonged to my uncle, Jake Clark.

Heavy Wings

Last year I read a story about birds on the Galapagos Island. Over time, this one group of birds have lost their ability to fly. Flying was their primary, God given gift.
But they stopped using it.
There were no predators on land to keep them alert and competitive, therefore no reason to use their gift to rise above natural enemies.
The waters around their home are rich with fish, so these birds have developed their secondary gift/talent, diving. They are strong, swift divers.
These birds were made to soar. Instead, they waddle.
They wasted their gift. Their wings are heavy… no longer wide enough, their muscle no longer strong enough, to lift them off the ground.


The birds have all the fish they desire. They are fat and content to piddle around on one island. But they aren’t experiencing the life God desired for them.

They wasted His gift.

Don’t clip your own wings. 🦅

Speaker…you’re no lady.

After making a show of ripping up the SOTU speech, Nancy Pelosi told a reporter it “was the most courteous thing I could do”.
She said to another, “there is not one bit of truth in those papers”.

The names of the Americans in this photo were mentioned in, and printed on, those pages.

I wonder how 100 year old Tuskegee Pilot, WW2 Veteran Charles McGee (who was promoted last night to Brigadier General by President Trump) feels about being referred to as a lie? And his grandson, who stood beside him.

Or Kelli and Gage Hake, the widow and 13 year old son of Christopher Hake. Their husband and dad, Christopher, was killed in Baghdad in 2008. But according to Nancy, there is no truth in that.

Kobe’s Redemption

Redemption.

It’s available to all of us.

If we ask forgiveness and turn our back to the life we lived before… if we cherish the forgiveness our family and God offers us… then we realize the value of redemption, and we make changes.

From that point on, we choose to make deliberate, life changing choices.

It appears that’s how it was with Kobe.

His wife stood by him.

During his public humiliation, we watched a twenty-two year old woman sit stoically by her man. We saw the pain reflected in her eyes, we saw anger in her pressed lips. But she forgave him, even as his poor choices played out on Court TV and the nightly news.

He asked for her forgiveness.

She gave it.

And to show his gratitude for her willingness to give him another chance, he made a public, televised profession of love and commitment. To her, to their family. And he stayed true to the commitment.

— “You’re my backbone. You’re a blessing. You’re a piece of my heart. You’re the air I breathe.” Kobe spoke those words as tears spilled from his eyes. “And you’re the strongest person I know, and I’m so sorry for having to put you through this and having to put our family through this.”

By all accounts, from then on, he turned his face and heart toward his family.

He spoke of sitting in carpool lines to pick his girls up from school. Not because it was expected, but because he wanted to.

In retirement, he coached his daughter’s basketball team.

A man not dedicated to his family won’t commit that kind of time to his teenager’s activities.

Within hours of his death, ugly comments began surfacing about that time in Colorado. The indiscretion, made when he was twenty-four years old, started bouncing around like a foul ball.

None of us are sinless. Yet here we are, holding that ball.

It’s no secret how I feel about unfaithfulness in a marriage. Adultery breaks people into a million pieces.

It hurts children.

Shatters lives.

When Kobe’s indiscretions were broadcast nightly on the six o’clock news, I hated him. When I saw his beautiful young wife’s pained expression, I hated him more. It was all too similar to my own marriage.

Like her, I had forgiven an adulterer and had decided to stay. Concluded my family was worthy of a second chance.

But in my marriage, after I offered forgiveness, adultery became stuck on a rinse and repeat cycle.

I assumed it would be the same for Vanessa.

I was wrong.

There is a big difference in a man (or woman) who commits the same hurtful act over and over again, regardless of the pain caused to others… and one who sees and feels the pain he caused his loved ones and then chooses to change his ways… Chooses to make amends and heal wounds.

I believe Kobe made it a priority to heal the wounds he inflicted. His surviving children will remember a loving dad who put them first. His wife will know she was loved and adored.

That’s the kind of legacy all men should strive for.

“His most inspiring trait was his decision to turn to his faith in God and receive God’s mercy and to be a better man after a regretful decision.” Ballestero

Danita Clark Able, author

DanitaAble@yahoo.com

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