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red clay ponderings

Hmmm… what shall I ponder on today?

Month

May 2013

You Call Yourself A Dad?

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Sometimes, I wish Father’s Day would go away. I wish Hallmark and Dayspring would forget to print all those cards…Not because I didn’t have a good dad. I did. But for the sake of the children who weren’t so lucky. Because for those children, young and old, Father’s Day is a reminder of loss and disappointment.

Setting aside a special day of respect to recognize the lives of deserving dads was a wonderful notion. And I’m acquainted with many men deserving of a day in his honor…and the attention it brings. There’s the gifted and talented young musician who accepted a workman’s wages and released his grip on a musical career; because his wife and little girl were more important to him. They were his responsibility. They were his priority. I know that dad personally.

The young soldier who, upon returning from deployment in the Vietnam War, worked full time in a textile mill at night and attended school full time during the day; so that his wife and baby wouldn’t have to do without. They were his responsibility. He did what was neccessary to better the lives of those he loved.

The divorced dad who gave up career opportunities; advancements that would have required him to move away from his little girl. His love and devotion to her was more important than money, so he stayed nearby and did what he could.

The widowed dad, grieving and heartbroken over the loss of the love of his life, who soldiered on anyway, because his love for his children was just as powerful as the love he had for his wife.

The man who married the mother of fatherless little children and raised them as his own…knowing their biological but negligient parent could enter the scene at any time. Yet his love for the children was greater than his fear.

These dads and others like them positively deserve to be honored on Father’s Day and every other day of the year. But what about the others, the ones like my former spouse, who shirked responsibility and walked away? How should Father’s Day deal with them? Personally, I believe these guys should use Father’s Day as a day to apologize to those they’ve hurt; weep for those they’ve wounded and abandoned. It won’t happen of course. Never, Neverland Boys are incapable of feeling empathy for others, even their children. Yet I hope… I hope that at least one might read the letter I’ve posted in this article; a letter penned by my son a few years ago… and feel a bit of a tug on the cold, rigid muscle he refers to as his heart…and attempt to right some wrongs. Perhaps a few others might do the same.

Fathers, Who do you think you are?
By: Garrett Able

Written at 4:17 PM, August 4, 2009

Fathers, who do you think you are?

Who are they exactly? Dad, Father, Pops, all these names are talking about the first true hero in our lives, the first real “Man”. As kids we are always saying, “My dad can beat up your dad!!!” And the rebuttal, “Well, MY dad can lift that car and put it on your dads head!”

As kids we are so in love with our fathers. As we grow older we become more and more like our fathers because our admiration towards them is more than we can understand. It is so strong sometimes, you take on every characteristic of your dad. And to a loving father, this is the greatest sign of admiration! Of an unconditional Love that runs so deep…the jelly sandwich he made you the night before last was the most amazing bit of food you ever ate. And the one tomorrow will be better even than THAT one. What I don’t understand, is why do some wish they had a better life?

I was seven when my dad showed me his better life. Instead of doing what most dads do and leave their family, my dad was sick minded enough to take me along. Her name was Lorraine*, she lived in Pine Log, not far from my house. My “Father”, my “Hero”, would take me “fishing” but before we got to the lake we would pick up this woman from the country corner gas station. She would then join us and once we got to the lake I would take my rod and fish while my father left me. I was seven. A child. Once he had his fill of filth he would retrieve me. Tell me, ‘don’t tell mom I had a friend.” This continued for the longest time, this secret life I was forced to share with my father, all the while I was there watching, listening and hurting. I was seven years old when I became a bigger man than my father. On the way to tennis practice, we all ended up at the country corner store one evening…my mom, me, my father and Lorraine. I turned to my mom and told her, ‘this is dads’ friend”. She asked me what I meant and hell broke loose in the store when I described the relationship between my dad and this woman. In front of me, my father denied what I said. In essence calling me a liar. My father broke my mothers’ heart through me because he didn’t have the balls to tell her himself.

This happened two more times, (that I’m aware of), the most recent was two weeks ago. I am 19 years old. Except I feel like I have been 25 since I was 12. My father had a wife who would NEVER leave him. A BEAUTIFUL wife, a loving daughter, and me. His “Buddy” he called me. I am successful, smart, funny, talented, loving, compassionate towards others…but he didn’t want me enough to stay, or any of us for that matter.

The Love that ran deep has only made a scar. I am nothing like my father. At twelve I knew I didn’t want to be like him. My hero died on the beach of Lake Allatoona.

So this is to you fathers out there: If you are faithful, stay that way. You will be rewarded greatly with Love and happiness and moments where your children want to squeeze you because they love you so much. And kisses from your wife that make you melt like it’s the first kiss you ever had. You will see your children grow and look at you like, “There is Superman, he is sitting right there in front of me…across the table and he is my Dad. MY dad.” Your daughters will mold who they want to LOVE out of you!!!! You, who cuts the lawn and drinks out of the jug of milk and chokes on it when your beautiful wife comes into the kitchen and catches you. DON’T LET THAT GO!!!!!!!!!!

To those of you who are not faithful, it’s time to rethink the pros and cons. YOU WILL BE DISCOVERED!!!! YOU WILL BE UNVIELED!!!! YOU WILL BE MADE TO LEAVE!!!!! Because you are WORTHLESS!!!!!

But I do Forgive him.

If you are tagged it’s because you either already know, can help my mother deal with this, or because I think you should know.

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Saving Canton

Canton DepotCanton34 Canton First MethodistCanton46

Canton31 Canton Elementary 1913

In March 2012, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution published an article by Bill Torpy and titled it, Trove of Artifacts in Canton tell story of Indians. The article was a great, educational piece. An education on a very interesting bit of Cherokee County history that we can only read about now…thanks, in part, to greed disguised as progress.

Reading Mr. Torpy’s story, I couldn’t help but feel a huge emptiness for what the former land owner destroyed and the loss he allowed the county of my birth, when he sold his land to developers. I didn’t need to ask why he sold this historical land. I knew the why…it had something to do with a few men: George, Thomas, Abraham, Alexander, Benjamin, Andrew, Ulysses, William, Grover, James, Woodrow and Salmon P. Chase (lots of Woodrow’s and Salmon P’s). So now, instead of a museum…a historical, educational, archaeological site…and a memorial to the Native Cherokee families forced off their land….Canton has a Super Wal-Mart. Yay.
I was born and educated in Canton, Georgia. As a young girl, I watched with a feeling of loss as old homes, historical buildings and important land was destroyed to make way for stores, gas stations and post offices. I watched as the architectural integrity of beautiful old buildings was assaulted for ‘modern improvements’. In high school, I tried to start a campaign to save the abandoned Canton Train Depot. I failed…Canton won…and the building was demolished. I believe the structure was replaced with a vacant lot.

When I was a Cherokee County teen in the 1970’s, I thought our town was a million light years away from the cosmopolitan life of Atlanta. And I guess it was. I realized our families needed more opportunities for employment than the cotton mills and poultry plants in town. I knew we needed alternative stores, restaurants, and a few more places for a teenager to have a summer job. But I also knew there was historical bedrock beneath our ball fields and corn fields…and in the clay along the banks of the Etowah; I wanted it preserved. Eh, but what did I know?

Cherokee County has surpassed all expectations for growth and progress. No longer can every high school student in the county boast about being a Cherokee Warrior, all on the same unified team. Present day high school kids have more opportunities for summer employment than we ever could have dreamed possible. But our slow-moving river and the beautiful green hills of Cherokee County are now obscured by big box stores and the gaudy colors of pre-fab fast food spots. These days, Cherokee Countians have the privilege of sitting in traffic on Riverstone Parkway and Highway 20. Just what we wanted. Oh, Progress, how we love thee.

I hope Cherokee County will outgrow the need to play ‘progress catch up’ and gain a sense of responsibility for preserving her history. Somehow, I doubt the change will occur anytime soon. Still, I hope. Yet, every now I then, I hear rumors of demolishing the old Canton Elementary and High School buildings on Academy Street. Many of us spent our elementary years in those red brick buildings. A few still living spent their high school years there as well. Losing those buildings would be a disservice to downtown Canton; a disgrace kin to the one we suffered when the old Canton Hotel was demolished and replaced with an ugly bank building.

That’s my pondering for the day,
Danita

Below is a portion of Mr. Torpy’s AJC article.

For 15 years, hordes of shoppers have streamed into the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Canton.

The hilltop along I-575 is a prime commercial location in Cherokee County, a fast-growing community with one foot in metro Atlanta and another in the North Georgia mountains.

What few customers know is they are walking on land that was a hub for Native American life for 10,000 years. At different times, the patch of high ground overlooking the Etowah River has been a village, a fort, a trading center and, finally, home to a cluster of Cherokee families desperately trying to co-exist with the white man.

During the summer of 1995, a large crew of archaeologists and their assistants unearthed a trove of artifacts that told a story of the land’s ancient inhabitants. The property, known as the Hickory Log Site, yielded 48 graves and thousands of artifacts that filled 120 boxes. The discovery offered one of the most detailed looks ever at the life of Native Americans in North Georgia.

Local officials hope to exhibit the findings — ranging from 10,000-year-old spear tips to a rifle used by the Cherokees — at The Funk Heritage Center at Reinhardt University.

“It’s a rare chance to educate people [about] what happened,” said Paul Webb, the archaeologist who headed the 1995 dig and returned to Cherokee County last week to finally speak about his findings and lay the groundwork for the artifacts to return home. “It’s one thing to know this is Cherokee County and another thing to have this tangible evidence of Native American and Cherokee life.

“It remains one of the major projects in North Georgia in size and scope and in what we found. Hickory Log has probably seen 10,000 years of occupation,” he said. “You have high ground overlooking Hickory Log Creek and the Etowah River. It had ample water, rich farmland below. It was a good place to live with access to transportation.”

In essence, what made for a good hub for Cherokee County’s Native Americans later

The Thing About Forgiveness

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“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.”
― Will Smith

One of the biggest misconceptions about forgiveness is that it says to the offender: I’m Ok with what you did. Or: You’re not responsible for what you did to me. We think somehow that forgiving a perpetrator is letting them ‘off the hook’; that we are surrendering to the offender. Not true. Saying I Forgive doesn’t indicate a willingness to be misled again. It isn’t saying: I want that person in my life again. Forgiving someone who has wronged you or hurt you simply says: I will no longer allow hatred, anger, angst, fear and disgust tether me to the offender. I will no longer let the toxins of the offender hurt me.

Another false: The offender needs to ask for your forgiveness. Wrong. The offender doesn’t have to ask for your forgiveness before you can hand it over. And personally, I don’t feel we have to say I Forgive You directly to the offender. I think we can say it out loud in the privacy of our cars or bathrooms and that will be sufficient. Or send a text. Mail a letter. Because really, forgiving your offender is for your benefit, not his. Besides, some offenses are just too vile to consider personal contact.

Unforgiveness and bitterness can seep into your soul and strip the happiness out of your life.
Forgiveness is powerful, so, “Let it go and be amazed by what you see thru the eyes of grace”.

Forgiven,
Danita

Book Trailer for Letters From A Whoremonger’s Wife

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Justin Israel Waggoner did an awe inspiring work in developing, creating and directing this trailer for my book, Letters From A Whoremonger’s Wife.

Garrett Able, thank you for putting your voice to your letter….Remarkable job!

Christina Alexandersen, thank you for being such a great supporter and also for suggesting Justin for this project.

Thank you to the actors, while I don’t know your names, I am very appreciative of your time.

Letters From A Whoremonger’s Wife is available on Amazon, Createspace, Kindle and Nook and can be ordered from your local bookstore.

Danita

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