The Coming Winter

June 11, 2018

I am sitting amidst the BOXES and the debris of moving. Today is the day we leave our home of 43 years.

Our home where we raised 3 fine sons.

Our home where we met our son’s wives and life partners and later our grandchildren.

It is a hard thing to grasp. Tonight, we will sleep in a two bedroom apartment.
It simply meets our needs and nothing more.

Our cats that have enjoyed being free to roam outdoors will now be confined to two rooms and a huge cat tree in the middle of the living room.
Like us, they are being squished.

Our dog, a very large Newfie has had the freedom to roam in a fenced in yard will now suffer a life at the end of a lease. She won’t able to go outside by herself. Her life will be at the end of a leash.

She will live life indoors with the least stress. She will find a place on the floor next to a chair where she will lay watching the flow of life around her. She is not high maintenance.

This upheaval is taking place while I contemplate the upheaval our country is undergoing.

DARK DAYS by JEREMY KORESKI Bing Images
DARK DAYS by JEREMY KORESKI

I frequently post articles to my blog with my views of the political landscape.

Today is another day of heartbreak.

I was born in 1949 so I didn’t remember the first years of the decade we now call the fifties.

I recall the bleakness of those days.

Maybe the memories were planted by things I have read but they are colored by my earliest recollections.

We didn’t have a TV. Our neighbors were kind enough to let us kids line the floor in front of their black and white TVs.

We had a very large garden. My mother was raised on a farm that her father and stepmother still raised chickens, and pigs and a giant bull. She tended a large garden as other farmers children did.

It scared me the one time and only time I ventured into its territory. I was chased under a fence to live another day.

They had a herd of milk cows that required early attendance every morning and throughout each day. Vacations? Days off? Not likely.

I remember the sound of the milking machines.

I remember my grandmother sitting on a stool pulling on the teats of cows hand milked. I don’t know why some cows were milked by machine and some by hand.

I remember the barn floor with the trenches to catch the urine and manure generated by a barn full of cows.

I remember the pile of manure just outside the barn. The shaky planks as you rolled a wheelbarrow of fresh manure up its flanks.

The manure pile wiped out in the spring as its aged contents were spread on the fields to fertilize the crops.

I remember a new calf is born. The slime of its mother who cleaned it off with her tongue. The first feeble steps of the calf.

The milk room where the milk was kept waiting for the stainless truck that came and retrieved it for distribution to creameries.

I remember the town creamery just a block from our house.  I don’t remember seeing the inside but playing for hours every summer among the discarded equipment next to the building was a blast. This was the 50s there were no zoning requirements.

On the farm that my brothers, sisters and I visited after church almost every Sunday. The seven of us were crammed into a car noisily complaining about everything on the endless ride (which was maybe twenty miles but seemed to take forever).

The farm where I remember the silo. I wandered into the cool interior thru a small cleanout door. one summer’s day.

It was empty and smelled of the sweet blend of corn. I had to climb out the small door because the new batch of corn was hoisted up the conveyor and deposited into the concrete cylinder to be used to feed the cows.

I remember the hay barn. I climbed among the bales just before the new crop was hoisted up by winch and then manually stacked into place.

The ride on the hay wagon. Not at all pleasant.

It was a hot day and the flying hay stung my bare torso as it was flung about by the machines.

I suffered greatly that day and almost every day we visited the farm. I suffered from hay fever.

Walking into the chicken coop.

Dodging the mud baths of the pigs.

Watching my grandmother cut the heads from chickens. They didn’t run about as is commonly portrayed. She had them hung by their feet so their blood would drain.

The big hole in the living room allowed heat from the fire below to dispel the cold of the winter days. For a long time, the only other heat in the chinked log house was the wood stove in the kitchen.

My grandfather with a wad of chewing tobacco in his mouth constantly spitting the juice into a spittoon or onto the ground. Digging out the spent wad from his cheek and dipping his finger into the small round can that contained his new wad.

I always remember him having no thumbs. He suffered an accident repairing machinery.

The day my father helped grandfather tie a cow up to the fence and shoot it in the head with a 22 rifle right in the center of its white spot.

The cow stood for a minute seemed to wonder what had happened. It quickly fell to the ground.

The next memory is the cow hanging by its hind legs in a big building where all the machinery was kept. It was gutted, skinned and made ready to dismember. I remember the tongue being saved for eating. A delicacy if I remember correctly.

Other disparate memories were riding the tractor when the corn was harvested.

A wheelbarrow of manure wheeled on the wood plank and dumped into growing pile outside the barn and later spread on the fields as fertilizer.

A sleepover. Laying in a bed upstairs shivering under wool blankets. The heat from the big grate barely reaching the room. Shivering is the memory.

But this has been the wandering of my mind this morning at 3 AM as I contemplate the major upheaval of my bride and me.

We are 68 years old and not looking forward to the coming future.T

Winter is Coming Bing Images
Winter is Coming

But I am thinking of the upheaval in our country. The administration trying and successfully turning the country back to the 1950s.

The water quality spoiled. The air soon to be grey again with soot and ash from smokestacks.

The rivers were so polluted that you couldn’t eat the fish. I remember fervently the day fishing was allowed again on the St. Louis River.

The effluent had settled to the bottom and the fish were again editable.

The number of fishing boats on the river was amazing. Almost bumping into your neighbor there were so many.

And the joy of the fisherman again able to enjoy the pursuit of the walleye fish they heartily enjoyed catching and later eating.

I remember the struggles of the ‘colored’ people for their rights.

Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act.

The Clean Water and Clean Air acts.

The soldiers protecting black students into schools and colleges. A flashpoint of the monumental battle between the whites led by Governor George Wallace of Alabama on one side and the protesters on the other.

The march to Selma.

The gathering on the Mall in Washington with Rev. Martin Luther Jr. delivering “I Have a Dream”.

Now, these citizens are again being deprived of their rights.

The gays and lesbians so recently gaining rights that are now being stripped away.

The rights of the poor and elderly (of which I qualify) being stripped away. Will all these be cast out of their homes, the sick and infirm again relegated to old folks homes as in the past?

How will they be cared for?

This administration doesn’t care.

The Republican Party in charge of governing can’t and won’t do their jobs. They are heartless and corrupt.

They are only interested in getting the biggest tax cuts for their backers so these can replenish the party members coffers to run for re-election.

So many people hoping for a wave of change in the elections this year.

I am not optimistic.

The pain of this abrupt fall from a democracy to fascism will continue.

How The Mighty Have Fallen Bing Images
How The Mighty Have Fallen

This country will be alone in the world.

We are returning to the days when President Herbert Hoover ruled the day.

A World War will have to be fought again.

Someday.

Against Russia who invaded us and succeeded in fostering the populism that is destroying us.

Against China who is surpassing us in technology and expanding their influence and challenging us on many fronts.

We are helping China regain stability in one of their huge companies as so many of our companies are looking for help and are being cast aside to flounder before closing up shop.

Do the people that voted for this monster in now recognize what they have done?

No!

They continue to support this purveyor of lies as he demolishes all that a world war and 70 years of diplomacy had created.

The stability in the world order has is ripped asunder.

Our allies cast aside.

And the Republicans are applauding.

Image of World War I soldier with a Kaiser style helmet Google Images
Image of World War I soldier with a Kaiser-style helmet

Thanks for stopping by.

Craig

red-rose-svetlana-manic-674670-unsplash

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