Greetings, Gentle Reader,

A young man and I approached the post office door at the same time. I smiled at him and stepped aside, expecting him to hold the door for me. Instead, he smiled back, opened the door and walked through. As I realized that I had fallen back into an old pattern that is no longer in effect, it struck my funny bone, and I started to giggle.

It reminded me of another incident of thirty-plus years ago. At that time I was also approaching a post office door. There were several older men standing around, passing the time of day. One of them stepped forward, smiled and opened the door for me. As he did, he touched his fingers to the brim of his hat in a courteous salute. I remember thinking that, though we were in California at the time, this man must have come from southwestern Colorado. It was such a typical Colorado salute for a man of his generation.

At that time in our nation's history, men treated women with respect and courtesy. In fact, contrary to what we are told by today's man haters, a man who abused his wife was not the norm - at least not in southwestern Colorado. And since we were stationed in many different parts of this country over the years, I can say that it was not the norm in any of the other places in which I have lived. Don't misunderstand; I am not saying it didn't happen; I am saying it was not the norm on the east coast, in the Midwest, in the Northwest, nor in Cal ifornia. I cannot say what went on in the Northeast or the Southeast, not did I ever live in the northern part of the Midwest, but for rest, a man who abused his wife was the exception, not the rule.

A paratrooper named Ross Carter wrote a book of his experiences during the hard fighting in Europe, as the allies took the continent back from Adolf Hitler - one bloody battle at a time. He said the men, overwhelming, were fighting for their wives, their fiances, their mothers and their sisters. Each man was fighting for a world in which his loved ones would remain safe and free.

During that period in our history, the term "battle of the sexes" was often used. If it was a battle at all, it was a tremendously fun battle. Good men valued good women, and they were willing to fight to protect them. Having been born very shortly before that war started, I know that is true. In fact, before the feminists began the battle of the sexes in earnest, maligning and abusing all men shamefully and unjustly - with special attention to white men - we women were treated with care and respect; and we were protected by men much more than we were ever abused.

Women were protected from contact sports, because women's bodies take a worse beating from that sort of sport than men's do, seriously compromising their chance of survival during childbirth. Feminists interpreted this as discrimination, while the rest of us interpreted it as protection. Men were kept from women's locker rooms, dorms and bathrooms. Normal women knew those rules were for their protection. Feminists saw it as discrimination (and they have successfully discarded those rules in many colleges.) But when they forced themselves into the locker rooms of professional football teams, they were outraged that the men walked around naked in front of them. They saw no reason why men should be protected from a woman reporter's outrageous intrusion in a locker room - where the men really do take showers with their clothes off - but they were furious when they were not protected from the sight of naked males. What did they think football players did in their locker rooms? Play Old Maid?

When I hear women say they are feminists because they want to be equal with men, I cringe. We were always treated as though we were superior to men. Men held doors, chairs and coats for us. They stood up and gave us their seats, and they let us get ahead of them in a line. If a woman's car broke, some man would invariably come along and fix it - right on the street and without charge. I was never afraid of being attacked when a man stopped to help me; I knew why he was stopping. If I were in trouble and had to go into a man's repair shop to buy something, I knew I would probably be able to buy what I needed for less than they would sell it to a man.

My husband treated women this way. He was an honorable, decent man, and he treated women as though they were God's gift to good men. If I was very tired and would rather go without food than get some for myself, he would get it for me. He tucked me in carefully at night and was happy to get me a glass of water if I was thirsty. He tried to make sure my car was safe and filled with fuel. He didn't like to have me wandering around our property alone at night, and that was especially if it was cold or rainy. He preferred to have me stay inside, while he tended to whatever problem had arisen. If it was something I had to do and he couldn't do it for me, then he accompanied me.

We are in a fight for the survival of our society and our country. That which we know to be good is derided and punished. That which we know to be bad is forced on us by the courts and government. Our government persecutes and prosecutes whistle blowers. Women in the military have to abandon their babies to serve in foreign lands. Men are forced to have women with them 24 hours a day in missile silos. Military people are told that adultery is totally acceptable in our modern society, but are drummed out of the military when they engage in it, and then lie about it. But then politicians seem to have a free pass on all offenses, even when they betray us to our enemies.

The people of our nation have split into two opposing camps. One side aggressively embraces and defends our present society, with its rampant sexual and social depravity, anti-nationalism and refusal to accept personal responsibility for the social violence it has spawned. The other side remembers what it was like to leave the keys in the car and the door unlocked. They remember when children were safe on the school grounds and the schools taught history, geography and the three "R's." They remember unabashed patriotism and devotion to a good, constructive country, filled with freedom and concern for one's fellow man.

If the intelligent women of this country could know what they have forfeited in their ridiculous fight for "equality," many of them would shed tears for its loss, as I do. We are a culture at war with itself, and we are losing.

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

Our wisest leaders are sounding a warning about the fatherless state of America’s youth. Fatherless fathers tend to produce fatherless children, who become, in turn, fathers who see no reason to father. Though they have nothing against impregnating women.

A man of my acquaintance has fathered six children by six different women. He doesn’t support most of them. They are of no importance to him. At this juncture, there will be a hue and cry from feminists to force him to pay child support, as though that were the most important factor in this tragedy. It is not. Each of these children will grow up with either no father, a stepfather, or a series of men who live with their mother for a time and who, statistically, will abuse both mother and child.

Studies have proven that the safest circumstances for women and children are within an intact marriage. The least safe is a woman living with what is now called a boyfriend. About three decades ago, militant feminists declared that no woman would be free as long as she was married, because marriage was a particularly despicable form of slavery. They stated that their goal was to get women out of marriage.

Congratulations! They have succeeded. It is now common for a woman to have three or four children by as many different men. Those men have no interest in their children; if they had, they would have married the woman they impregnated. It is said that there are more out-of-wedlock children fathered by professional athletes than there are professional athletes. Since so many athletes have been the targets of multiple, DNA-established paternity suits, that statement is probably true.

Unmarried movie and TV stars proudly become pregnant and glamorize the birth of fatherless children. Teenage girls watch and emulate these stars, but it doesn’t turn out quite the way they expected. They end up in horrible circumstances; living in dumps; sometimes fighting for custody of a child; always worrying and working almost as many hours as there are in a day.

These mothers, alone, carry a load that is heavy for two parents. Often, her parents must step in and help, either financially or physically.

Is there a happy ending to this dreary picture? Well, it all depends, as we so commonly say. Depends on what? It depends on whether Cinderella is determined to go looking for and marry nothing short of a prince, or whether she is willing to allow herself to become impregnated by a knave.

The next questions is: Where do princes hang out? Not in a gutter, that’s for sure. A prince is not, nor will a prince marry, a druggie or a drunk. Will Cinderella recognize a prince when she sees one? If her father was married to her mother, if he loved both mother and daughter and cared for them, she will probably know what a real prince looks like. If she doesn’t know her father, or if he disappeared years ago, she may end up impregnated by a series of knaves and her children will most likely repeat the pattern. If so, her sons will produce children they don’t want and refuse to father, and her daughters will produce several children by several different

The real endangered species is the family; only good sense, responsible behavior and genuine concern for women and children can change that. It is late in the game, but it’s never over until the last whistle blows. It won’t be easy, but we can turn it around, if we want to do so badly

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

A man contacted me a short time ago to request a copy of an old column. He said his copy had come from someone else’s copy, which had come from someone else’s copy, and it was practically unreadable. I dug into my archives and found it was several years old and full of quotes from the long-dead, but very wise, Alexander Fraser Tytler; then I knew why it was being passed around. I have quoted him extensively over the years, and I am going to do it again today. In that column I said:

“For many people around this world, freedom is anything but commonplace; it is, in fact, a dream that will never be realized during their lifetime. We who have possessed it for over 200 years think of it as an entitlement, rather than an extraordinary condition enjoyed by comparatively few of this world’s inhabitants.

“If we are deprived of it, and that may yet happen, we will feel as though we have been robbed of something that is rightfully ours. Nothing could be further from the truth; freedom is not a right; it is an earned privilege, and when a nation ceases to value and protect that privilege, they lose it. Now to Tytler:

Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747-1813), the great Scottish economist, wrote these words of warning concerning democracy: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse (money) from the public treasury.

“From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.

“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence:

“From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back again to bondage.”

A man named Carl Wilson wrote a book called, “Our Dance Has Turned To Death.” In it he compiled research from historians, pertaining to the decline of both the Greek and Roman Empires. He listed seven stages of the moral and spiritual decline of families, through which the declining nations advanced:

1) Men ceased to lead their families in worship. Moral and spiritual development became secondary. Their view of God became more naturalistic, mathematical and mechanical.

2) Men selfishly neglected the care of their wives and children to pursue material wealth, political or military power and cultural development. Material values began to dominate thought, and man began to exalt his own role as an individual.

3) There was a change in men’s sexual values, as they became preoccupied with business or war. They either neglected their wives sexually or took up with female or homosexual prostitutes.

4) The role of women at home with children lost value and status. Soon they revolted to gain access to material wealth and freedom to indulge in sex outside of marriage. They began to minimize sex for the conception of children. Instead they emphasized sex for pleasure. Marriage laws were changed to make divorces easier to obtain.

5) Husbands and wives competed for control of money and home leadership and the affection of their children. This resulted in hostility and frustration and possible homosexuality in the children. Many marriages ended in separation and divorce. Many children were unwanted, aborted, abandoned, molested or undisciplined. The more undisciplined the children became, the more social pressure there was not to have children, and the breakdown of the family produced anarchy.

6) Selfish individualism grew and carried over into society, fragmenting it into smaller and smaller group loyalties. The nation was weakened by internal conflict. The decrease in the birthrate produced an older population that had less ability to defend itself and less will to do so,
making the nation more vulnerable to its enemies.

7) Unbelief in God became more complete. Parental authority diminished and ethical and moral principles disappeared, affecting the economy and the government.

Thus by internal weakness and fragmentation, the societies came apart. There was no way to save them, except by a dictator who arose from within, or by barbarians who invaded from without.

Then Mr. Wilson tells us that, though this is an ancient pattern found in Greece and Rome, it is relevant today.

Families are the foundation of a nation. When the family crumbles, the nation falls, because nations are built upon family units.

Social commentator, Michael Novak, has said, “One unforgettable law has been learned through all the disasters and injustices of the last 1000 years: If things go well with the family, life is worth living. When the family falters, life falls apart.”

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

When the First World War ended, it became important to the American people to commemorate the signing of the peace treaties. As a result, November 11 was set aside and celebrated as Armistice Day. Several decades ago, it was changed to Armed Forces Day, and the armistice which ended that awful conflict was forgotten.

The American people wanted to remember those brave men who had fallen in that hideous slaughter, their fathers, sons, brothers and husbands, and so, a day was set aside to decorate their graves. It was appropriately called Decoration Day. Several decades ago, it was changed to Memorial Day. Our men who had fallen in the First World War had made the first step toward becoming forgotten heroes.

The truly great and noble man who was our first President was born on February 22, 1732. I suppose our people must have celebrated his birthday for close to 200 years. School children were taught of his wisdom, courage, honesty, sacrifice and his basic human goodness. And yes, most of all, they were taught of his noble service to his country. A few years ago, we changed all of that. Celebrating his greatness was too much of a bother. Now we sell cars and furniture on that day, and our children aren't sure why we have a national holiday set aside to do that.

Abraham Lincoln, a man of humility and wisdom, of courage and overwhelming kindness, of sorrow and gentle fun and a man of brilliance and devotion to his country, captained our ship of state through the most turbulent period in our history. He was born on February 12, 1809 Each year on that date, American school children were taught of this great man's humble beginnings, his noble service to his country and of the murder that took him from his beloved people. The celebration of his birthday has ceased to be a time of teaching our younger generation of this great American servant and hero. It has been lumped together with that of George Washington and is now called President's Day. These men of virtue and courage are no longer in style.

Since the end of the Second World War, we have remembered Victory In Europe and Victory Over Japan days. We called them VE Day and VJ Day. That was close enough. The men knew what it meant; they were there. Now that is being changed. Those names are no longer considered appropriate. We have become Globalists, and patriotism of any type is not desirable. It is not even appropriate.

Now, my friends and neighbors, I have no interest in becoming more like Ho Chi Minh. I knew his history before it was whitewashed for modern consumption. I prefer to struggle to be more like Abraham Lincoln. I have no desire to emulate Mao Tse Tung. I was already alive and kicking when he bathed China in the blood of his own countrymen. George Washington will do fine for me, thank you. I have little admiration for the Aztec God, Quetzalcoatl. Human sacrifice has never been my cup of tea. I'll just settle for manger scenes and a constant reminder that I must learn to love ALL of my fellowmen and women, even those who are trying to steal the history of the country I love.

Americans have always celebrated their great historic moments and those men and women who participated in them. They have always celebrated virtue and courage. Those historic moments are no longer in vogue. Sad to say, neither are virtue and courage.

Return to the Neighborhood!

Originally published September 9, 2003

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

Since a friend has just ended her earthly visit and gone back to be with her Lord, her father, mother and grandparents, it seems a good time to discuss mortality. She has left her faulty, failing body here and gone on to better things in a vastly more pleasant place. Since life does not end with death, I choose to refer to her in the more accurate present tense.

Darilynn Murray’s body died Monday evening, September 8th, 2003. She, as all of us, has many strengths. She is a wife, a mother and a friend. Though it is not the most important thing she has done on this earth — that slot must be reserved for her role as wife and mother — she has been a teacher for many long years, and has impacted two generations for good. Some of her students will remain in this area, others have gone or will go out into the world and prove that she is, indeed, a good teacher.

She was head teacher at Lakeview School for many years, before she changed to Manaugh. Her students learned to read, to do arithmetic, to write, but more importantly they learned concrete values, not the wishywashy “if it feels good, it must be good.” She has always been determined to prepare them for the world they would eventually encounter as adults, and because their teacher during their most tender and fragile years was both competent and caring, they go out into that world well prepared.

Having honorably finished her earthly visit, she can move forward without a sense of failure. Her family loves her. They will look upon their separation from her with grief and longing. Her students, most of whom are strong, productive adults, love her. She can hold her head up and
take her place among the truly successful teachers of this earth.

What would happen if every child had a teacher such as Darilynn Murray? Would it make a difference? Another good friend of ours thinks he cannot read. He has been told by the important people in his life that he cannot read, so he brings every critical document to us and asks us to read it.

Since I suspected that he could read, he and I quietly worked together to determine his skill. He can read, but since he has always been told that he cannot, he may never gain enough confidence to do more than read stories to his children.

What would have happened if he had been fortunate enough to have a teacher such as Darilynn Murray? I’ll tell you. She would have encouraged him. She would have told him he could read, and she would have kept telling him he could read until it was a fact.

He wouldn’t be forced to live with the humiliation of thinking he is illiterate. Do we all realize what a difference that would have made in his life? It made the critical difference in mine.
My first-grade teacher, with her bachelor’s degree and many exceptional strengths, couldn’t teach some children to read, and I could not read by the end of my first grade. My second-grade teacher, with her humble associate’s degree, was a beloved aunt, and she knew how to teach children to read. I cringe to think what could have happened to me, if she had not rescued me from a world of potential semi-illiteracy.

How important are the Darilynn Murrays of this world? How can a finite value be placed on the infinite? It cannot be done, therefore, their value must be defined by an Infinite Being, rather than by mere humans.

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

A few years ago, our youngest daughter brought a very nice guy home. She and he were students at the same college. He was a linebacker, and looked like the kind of guy you wouldn’t want to irritate. He gave you the feeling that if you crossed him once, you might not live long enough to do it twice.

But his impressive, indeed ominous, appearance belies a gentle nature. He has turned out to be a phenomenal husband and father, gentle but strong, kind but firm. He willing works at extremely hard, dirty jobs, then comes home and makes delicious pies for his adoring wife and children.

As you can see, we like him. But, inadvertently, I gave the poor guy the acid test the day he walked in our door. I had a young doe, a first-freshener, due to kid that day. When she started her contractions, all looked well, but she didn’t seem to make any progress. On my umpteenth trip to the barn, I found that she was in need of immediate help. When I went in to get the babies, I discovered that I, too, needed help. Not only were the babies not lined up on the “runway,” they were all wound up in a confusing puzzle.

There seemed to be feet and heads everywhere, with no way to tell which ones went to which baby. They wouldn’t be able to be born until I unwound them and got just one baby started to be born at a time. That’s when I got on the intercom and called for our son-in-law-to-be’s assistance.

When he arrived at the barn, I asked him to keep the doe still, while I delivered the babies. He had spent some of his childhood on a farm, but had never done this job before.

A hard delivery can be both a little messy and a lot traumatic for a novice. Unfortunately, as I pulled one baby and hurriedly cleaned it’s nose and mouth, I threw a big blob of mucus on him. He didn’t so much as blink, and I didn’t even notice what I had done, but later he told our daughter that he thought he was going to throw up when he saw that yucky stuff splatter on him.

All turned out well. The babies and mother came through the ordeal in great shape. Our daughter’s young suitor handled his part like a man, but to this day, he tells the story of his initiation into our family. The facts of the story don’t change, but his skill in telling it has increased to the point that, really, he should be on a stage. He keeps his audience breathless with laughter.

Return to the Neighborhood!

Greetings, Gentle Reader,

American culture, circa 2008, is toxic. The question we LDS parents must answer is, simply, "How do we inoculate our children against its destructive influence, indeed, its eternally destructive influence?"

For one thing, do your children like you? Really like you? I’m not asking whether they love you, because they surely do. What I truly mean is, do they genuinely like you? Do you try to have fun with them? Do you try to avoid finding fault with them? I’m not asking whether you are in charge in your family, because you should be, if you love your children. I’m asking whether you avoid picking on them. I’m asking whether they can trust you to back them up, to truly support them, when they need it.

There was a funny experience in our family that illuminates this concept: When our daughter, Candace, was a teen, a friend called and asked her to join in some activity. Candace turned to me and asked whether she could go with her friends. I began working it out in my mind, fitting it in with other family activities, and as I started to tell her how it would work, she began making wild gestures, trying to tell me that she didn’t want to go with her friends.

As I realized what was going on, I stepped close to the phone and said, sternly and loudly, something to the effect of, "Absolutely not! I need you at home!"

The relief on her face was nothing short of comical. She had not wanted to go with her friends, but she needed to have me provide the necessary cover, so she wouldn’t have to be the bad guy.

It all ended well. Candace was able to beg off, while expressing regret, without taking a chance of offending her friend. Her friend had no reason to be mad at Candace. She just felt sorry that poor Candace had such a mean mother!

The moral of that funny story is, can your kids trust you to run interference for them when they need it? If their friends want to see a movie that doesn’t live up to LDS standards, are you willing to make your child, or your child’s friends, mad at you, if necessary, to keep them from exposure to something from which they may never recover?

We are rearing our families in a time of overwhelming corruption. It has increased so dramatically in my lifetime, that I watch my grandchildren growing up in a world totally different from the one in which their parents, my children, were reared. And my children grew up in a world totally different from the one in which I was reared.

We cannot protect them from everything, but we must do what we can. We must accept the reality that our culture has declared war on decency, on virtue, and on responsibility. If we don’t talk about this with our children, if we don’t express our fears for their welfare, for their purity, if we don’t set standards firmly, standards for which we are willing to fight, we will fail our children.

We must let them know the dangers of premarital sex, of drug use, of pornography, of the vicious diseases that await the foolish. Some of them will not listen. Some children, especially teens, have to find out for themselves. Sometimes it works to expose them to people who have destroyed their lives with drugs, alcohol and promiscuity.

The important thing to know–which I did not know when I reared my children–is that some of their friends or acquaintances will tell them that their parents don’t know what they are talking about. They will pooh pooh the dangers. They will belittle your fears and your warnings. Why? Because they have an agenda, and that agenda is to get your children to indulge in destructive behavior.

Yes, we must inoculate our children against the culture in which they live, and it will not be easy, but Heavenly Father’s job of standing back while His Beloved Son died on the cross was not easy, either. He will never require that of us, because that price has already been paid. Now, we must do what He does require of us, which is to spare no effort to protect our own against Satan’s evil designs.

During my teen years, which is a time when so many young girls feel ugly, fat and awkward, I felt beautiful. It was not something I thought. It was something I felt. Elizabeth Taylor was, to my young mind, the undisputed Queen of Beauty and yet I, bearing absolutely no resemblance to Elizabeth Taylor, felt beautiful.

I have contemplated this phenomenon, and have come to realize that my earliest memories include my father's voice, and the words which come back are "Aren't you Daddy's pretty little girl?"... "Daddy's smart little girl"... "Daddy's good little girl"... "Daddy's little girl is so beautiful,"..."so beautiful"..."so beautiful".... Can anyone question why I was vastly less at risk than most of feeling ugly, undesirable or of no value during those fragile years? In today's world, father's role has been devalued to the degree that he is considered by many to be superfluous once the essential conception has taken place. The tragedy of this miscalculation is manifest in every courtroom and jail in our nation. Fathers, real fathers, are simply not expendable.

Of all the societal damage which has resulted from the Feminist movement, respect for fatherhood has suffered most, and the resulting loss is surely the most tragic and far reaching. Little girls and boys need their fathers' approbation to keep them stable, to help them to know how a real man behaves, a real man who loves and reveres his own wife, his girls and his boys, a real man who will work and sacrifice to whatever degree necessary to protect and provide for this little group of humans for whom he is responsible.

Dad, is your little girl beautiful? Good? Sweet? Smart? Brave? Capable? Does she know that? She needs the shield that only you can give her before she leaves the nest and heads out to do battle with the world. Is your young son strong? Courageous? Tenacious? A fighter when he believes he is right? Does he know these are virtues? Will he be willing to pay the price of real manhood when he arrives at the gate or will he be more inclined to take a detour which will leave him lost to society, wandering aimlessly for months, years, or worse, decades. He needs you to lead the way to true manhood, Dad. He may not find it without you.

If a Dad teaches his sons and daughters that they are of great value, they are of value indeed. If he does not, many of them will never be really sure.

Politics being what they are, when I heard the gentleman say that our primary problem was a failure in the highest office in the land, I assumed he meant the President. He didn't; he was referring to the failure of fathers to be what they should be. Now Guys, most of you know I loved my father very much. He has been dead for several years, but he was my model, so far as men are concerned. I think he would have known what this man was talking about, because he adored his little girls. I am sure he would have understood what the next man was saying, also:

A family psychologist was describing just what kind of father-daughter relationship is necessary, if little girls are to grow up and become constructive members of society. In the process, he asked individual men about their wife's relationship with her father. He said a strange thing: He said a girl who is confident in her father's love, and whose father spends real time with her - not fake quality time, but real quantity time - will put herself in positions and relationships that will be constructive for her. On the other hand, if her relationship with her father was poor, or if he was never around even though he loved her, she will become involved, repeatedly, in relationships that are destructive to her. He said it is a simple matter of statistics. That's just how the numbers work out.

As I contemplated this particular bit of information, in my mind's eye, I could see myself and usually at least one of my siblings, sitting on our father's lap. He was tall and slender, and he had a marvelously welcoming lap. It could hold several kids at one time, but since it tended to become crowded with several, the human tendency to seek comfort would usually pare the numbers down to two. Otherwise, the kid on the outside, closest to his knee, had to hang on pretty tight, or she could end up on the floor, if a thoughtless sibling wiggled too vigorously.

It was always my privilege to comb my father's hair, while sitting on his lap (Of course, everyone else did the same thing.). He rarely complained, no matter how wildly I arranged his hair, unless I created a tangle and gave the hair a hefty tug. Then he would tell me, instantaneously, that if I wanted to sit on his lap and comb his hair, I had better be more careful. He taught me boundaries, but he taught with love.

As the years went by, and I had offspring of my own, who sat on my lap and combed my hair, I came to know precisely how he felt. I learned that I must never let them use a comb, because I have curly hair, and they would make terrible tangles, until the only solution was to get the scissors and cut the tangle out. So, how did Daddy manage to tolerate my creating tangles and then pulling vigorously to undo them? The answer was that he loved us. Amazing!

How can such a simple thing be the determining factor? And yet, it was. I can actually remember, with a tinge of guilt, turning the comb around and around, until I made a tangle. I did it on purpose, because then I had the exciting challenge of undoing the tangle, without pulling Daddy's hair so hard that he would scold me. Can you believe such a rascal?

And then, there was the music: His marvelous, melodious voice filled our ears forever, it seemed. He could sing anything. And guess who were the beneficiaries? Yup! His daughters. He must have sung every love song the thirties and forties ever produced. We knew them all and could sing every one of them, because he didn't just entertain us; he taught us to sing with him. He loved to sing Beethoven's simple teaching melodies; and though there were no words, we happily sang the music with him. Now to the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say:

My parents were divorced when I was eight years old, and it took many difficult years for us, as children, to overcome the trauma. Divorce is almost always extremely destructive to both children and parents, no matter how many degreed professionals say differently. But neither is that the entire story: We three older girls, who benefitted from our father's abundant nurturing, have consistently put ourselves in circumstances that were beneficial to us; and when we have misjudged either human nature or situations, as we have many times, we have taken action to correct the problem. On the other hand, our youngest sister, who was a baby at the time of the divorce, repeatedly put herself in circumstances that were destructive to her. She seemed to lack a sense of her own intrinsic value, and nothing we could say changed that. She had been deprived of something vital to her well-being, as an infant, and there seemed no way to fix the problem in later years.

Fathers, if you think your sons and daughters don't need you, you are mistaken. You cannot measure the value of the time and attention you give to them, but just because you can't measure it, that doesn't mean it isn't real. And I am not talking about quality time, because a small amount of quality time is of little value, unless it is heavily balanced by an abundance of easy, relaxed, going-nowhere, quantity time.

I promise you with all of the energy of which I am capable, that you are an essential ingredient in your children's future health. You must do everything in your power to keep your marriage healthy, because your children's future depends on the health of that marriage.

Wives need to be courted; they need to be told how essential they are to you and your children; they need to be valued by you, and they need to know they are valued by you. The worst thing you can do is criticize her; it never helps; it always hurts. Her happiness and well-being must be of the utmost importance to you, if your marriage is to succeed.

Marriage is a two-way street, and if you, as father and husband, which truly is one of the two highest offices in human relationships, fail in that office, your failure will reverberate throughout society. Make no mistake; society really does hang on how you conduct your marital and paternal affairs.

And we come to the end . . .

Now let's leave Mary in these appalling circumstances, and find James, the brother whom the Shawnees kidnapped on Sept. 7, 1784. Mary's life depends on him, so let's pull him off the pages of history, and get him into this story. We'll begin with James' own account: His father sent him to the Poage property, which had been abandoned because of Shawnee raids, to catch a horse. It was his regularly scheduled task to take their home-grown wheat 12 miles to the mill, have it ground and return with the flour, often arriving long after dark.

James says that before he had walked half the distance to the Poage place, an overpowering sense of dread enveloped him. He wanted desperately to turn and run home, but he knew his father would not accept his fear as adequate reason for failing to get the needed flour. As he
approached the field where the horses were kept, three Shawnees, one adult and two teens, sprang from hiding.

Suddenly, James understood the dread that had pervaded his being.

He says he screamed with all his might, causing the Shawnee man to put his hand on his head and warn him, in Shawnee, to be still. I will let James report his own reaction: (Remember, James had not experienced a ruthless slaughter such as was to be perpetrated on his family two years later, so he reacted differently than he would had he been kidnapped after a bloody attack.) He said he spoke aloud, saying, "It is an Indian, why need I be scared?" and I (James) said to myself, "All that is in it is, I will have to go to the Shawanee (He spells this name differently than others.) towns." In that instant James became the slave of Black Wolf, a middle-aged Shawnee warrior. Black Wolf ordered James to catch the horses, but he failed, the horses being spooked by the presence of the Shawnees. Failing to get mounts, the four left immediately, on foot, for the Shawnee towns. The two Indian youths walked first in line, James second, and Black Wolf last.

Though he was barefoot, James tried to leave a trail for rescuers, but Black Wolf repeatedly removed all sign and, finally threatening him, made him abandon his efforts. They slept without a fire though it was rainy and cold, with James tied to Black Wolf by a rope around his neck.
The relationship between James and his captors was astonishing; he was a slave, but he didn't hesitate to stand up for himself. Black Wolf's trip was a slaving expedition, with the hope of stealing some of the settlers' horses, and James seems to have known that he was not to be killed.

Whatever the reason, he was a pretty brassy kid, as we will see by the following:

On the second day, Black Wolf went into the brush and brought out a dutch oven. He made James carry it, fastened to his back, which James decided was too uncomfortable. Shortly, he set the oven down and refused to carry it further. Black Wolf put down his own pack and ordered James to carry that instead; James tried, but couldn't even pick it up. He says that softened him a little, and slightly humbled, he picked up the oven, put it on his head and moved on.

That night it rained again, and Black Wolf's 18 year-old son took James' hat off his head; James grabbed it and punched the boy in the stomach. The boy then spoke to James in signs, explaining that he wanted to cover the "gunlock" of the rifle with the hat. James let him have the
hat, which the boy promptly returned the following morning. On the third day the Shawnees killed a bear but didn't eat it, because it was so lean. They went several days without food, only drinking a tea made of poplar bark, taken from the north side of the tree. James says it helped the hunger pangs.

On the fourth day they killed a buffalo, cut up the stomach and cooking it with a little meat, ate the stomach, leaving the meat. James says the Shawnees never ate meat after they had fasted. Leaving the rest of the buffalo untouched, they moved on. Several days later, they killed
a cow buffalo and cooked as much meat as they could carry.

Sometime during the trip, James was sent for water. Thinking he was hidden and having privacy to consider his circumstances, he burst into bitter sobs. When he returned Black Wolf, who had been watching him, instructed him never to cry again.

It took the party 22 days to reach the Ohio river. On arrival, James' captors carved pictures of three Shawnees and one white boy into a tree. These pictures were shown to James' mother and sisters two years later, when they were brought to the same place.

Nearing the Shawnee towns, his captors painted themselves black, leaving James unpainted. Had he been painted, James says it would have signified he was to be burned to death. Instead, Black Wolf sold James to his own half-sister, for an old gray horse. James' Mistress was kind to him, and left him completely alone at first, during which time he says he, in his extremity, began to follow his father's pattern of earnest prayer.

His Mistress' husband was a member of a religious society James calls the Powwow. Only men of highest character were admitted into membership. Women were not only excluded, they weren't even allowed to come near the meeting place.

The husband attended a meeting of the Powwow, and upon his return, the look on his face alarmed his wife; she asked him what was wrong. He said the Great Spirit had spoken to them and pronounced judgements on the Shawnees for their wickedness. Three towns, including the
one they lived in, would be destroyed. The Great Spirit had also denounced their wealth, pride and laziness, saying that brotherly love had departed from them. He said that she, his wife, would be humbled because of her pride in her riches. (James says, "She was so rich that she could clothe herself in garments so full of silver broaches that they would almost stand alone.")
These predictions were all fulfilled within three years.

We already know of the burning of the three towns because that was the cause of Mary's being in Canada. Let's observe the fulfillment of the other prediction: James was taken to a dance by his Mistress where he met a French trader named Baptiste Ariome. Monsieur Ariome bought
James because he resembled his own sons. He and his good wife treated him with love and kindness, becoming his parents in fact, if not in blood. (Although they actually owned him, they encouraged him to strive to return home.)

While James lived with them, his past Mistress, reduced to starvation, came begging for bread, which Mrs. Ariome gave her. She had, indeed, been humbled, as the Great Spirit had decreed. At the previously mentioned dance, James met a Mr. Sherlock, by whom he sent a message to
his father.

An incident occurred during James' time with the Ariome's, proving that boys will be boys:

Monsieur Ariome took him on trading trips. On one trip, four young Indians (no tribe mentioned) boasted of their bravery, declaring,

"One Indian could whip four white men."

James says, "This provoked me, and I told them that I could whip all four of them myself. They immediately attacked me; but Mr Ariome hearing the noise came and took me away." Monsieur
Ariome probably saved James from a beaut of a whipping. On another trading trip in the summer of 1786, James was told by a Shawnee acquaintance of the massacre of his family. He learned that Mary was still alive, but a captive. The Shawnee acquaintance had been one of the
raiding party.

In the winter of 1788-89, James heard of his sister's being sold to Stogwell, whom he describes him as a man of foul reputation. The following spring Stogwell moved closer to where James lived, and finally, James was able to visit his beloved little sister. He says of her, "I found her in a
most abject condition, almost naked, clothed in a few dirty, tattered rags, an object of pity indeed."

He went to the commanding officer at Detroit, informing him of Mary's treatment and condition. A Colonel McKee had Stogwell brought to trial, but was unsuccessful in getting Mary freed. (Remember, slavery was legal.)

Strangely, it was decided that if an opportunity to return home should arise, she would be released without cost. Martha Ivans' brother, Thomas, searching for Martha and any surviving Moores, traveled to the Shawnees and, doggedly following the three year old trail, finally found the three. According to arrangement, Mary was released and the four headed home. The trip was extremely dangerous, so they traveled with friendly Indians, a necessary protection against a large party of unfriendly Indians. On the trip Mary lost the Bible that had been her comfort
throughout her period of bondage. Her distress was so great that she begged to be allowed to return for it but was denied, the danger being too extreme.

Mary Moore eventually married a Rev. Samuel Brown, and bore him 11 children. Her husband adored, indeed, revered her, as did her children, all of whom honored her by the lives they lived. She was beloved of all for her sweetness and compassion, for her unwavering goodness and her unfailing and unrestrained love for her fellow man.

She, who had been so hideously abused, could have chosen a life of dissipation, indulging in alcohol and promiscuous sex, conveniently blaming her behavior on her horrifying experiences, but she didn't. She could have fomented a massacre of the Cherokees for burning her mother and sister at the stake, but she didn't. She could have instigated a campaign against the Shawnees for killing her father, three brothers and two sisters, but she didn't. She, who had been enslaved, could have indulged in terrorism in an effort to end slavery, but she didn't. She could have sought retribution from Stogwell for treating her far worse than her Indian captors had, but she didn't.

How do I, a stranger, know she was a noble lady? Though we have rejected it, it can and will extract its pound of flesh in self-hatred, as it has with Madonna.

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And we carry on . . .

Martha Ivans and Mary remained with the Shawnees until the fall of 1788. They were slaves, literally property of value, but were treated very like Indian children. Their only danger came from a dispute concerning their ownership. When the Indians who claimed them were sober, the girls were safe, but when they were drunk, the girls were taken into hiding by sober Shawnees in order to save their lives.

The thinking was that if the girls were dead, the ownership dispute would be settled. (A pragmatic solution, indeed!) Fortunately, for the girls, they had devoted protectors among the Shawnees. Unfortunately for the tribe, including the girl's protectors, the many years of bloody attacks had finally moved the settlers to action, and they decided to destroy the Shawnee towns on the Scioto. The traders warned the Indians, and the Indians took their wives, children and elderly and moved into the forest. Late November, 1788, the settlers burned the Shawnee towns and all the tribe's winter provisions, then returned immediately to their homes.

The elder's lack of control over the warriors and the warrior's taste for blood and carnage had conspired to leave the tribe without shelter or provisions. Winter was upon them and, destitute, they left for Detroit. The travelers suffered through one bitter storm after another with only deerskin moccasins on their feet. The girls had only one blanket and often awoke under a covering of new snow; one morning it was 12 to 14 inches deep. Their snow blankets probably kept them from freezing to death.

In Detroit the Shawnees went on a king-sized binge. Finally, their money gone, they sold the only marketable product they had left... the girls. Martha was bought by a man who lived near Detroit and was immediately released into the care of a kind English family named Donaldson. They employed her and treated her well. Mary, on the other hand, was bought by a miserable creature named Stogwell for a half-gallon of rum.

He lived at Frenchtown, near Lake Erie. He neither released Mary nor treated her kindly, requiring her to work very hard, providing nothing but rags for clothing and giving her only enough food to keep her alive. Slavery, though it was legal and accepted, was terrible if the master was a bad human being.

To be continued . . .

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And the saga continues . . .

It was early morning and James had two helpers cutting wheat, while he gave his horses their daily salt. John Simpson was lying in the loft of the cabin, too sick to work. Margaret was fixing breakfast; two of the children, Rebecca and William, were returning from the spring with the morning's supply of water.

With a shout, two raiding parties of Indians burst into view. One party headed for the house, and the other rushed to the field where the men were working. The first party shot Rebecca and William, approximately 7 and 5 years old, as they returned from the spring, after which they shot little Alexander, about 3 years old, near the house.

Mary ran into the house, and Margaret and Martha Ivans, a young member of the Moore's extended family, barred the door. James, running from the field toward the house, was shot seven times. The two men harvesting wheat, seeing what was happening, escaped unharmed and initiated the rescue effort.

Martha Ivans grabbed two of the guns and ran upstairs to get John Simpson to help defend the cabin. Unfortunately, he was already dead, having been accidentally killed by a raider's bullet. The family's two dogs ferociously defended the cabin until they were shot.

Martha Ivans and Mary hid under the floor with the tiny baby, Margaret, but the baby cried so hysterically that it was impossible to remain hidden. Mary had the choice of placing the baby on the floor and returning to her hiding place, or leaving Martha Ivans alone under the house and facing sure death at the hands of the Indian warriors.

Unable to abandon her baby sister, she chose the latter. The warriors began chopping the door and threatening to burn the cabin. (Whether they spoke English is not mentioned, but many Indians did. At any rate, the family understood everything they said.) Margaret, knowing that her guard dogs, John Simpson, her beloved husband and three of their children were already dead, collected her four remaining children (Joseph was away at school) around her. Kneeling to pray, she committed them to God, then rising, unbarred the door.

The Shawnees took Margaret Poage Moore and her children, John, Jane, Mary and baby Margaret, captive. After plundering the buildings, they burned the house. Martha Ivans, Mary's cousin, who was hiding under the house, crawled away to escape the flames. Thinking she had been seen, she arose and allowed herself to be taken captive by an astonished warrior. Captors and captives left immediately on a long march to the Shawnee towns in Ohio. The raiders, hurrying their captives, killed John who was too feeble to travel quickly.

During the trip they told Margaret her husband, who had been shot and scalped, would have survived had he run away, but, "His affection for his family was stronger than his desire for personal safety. He was a brave and tenderhearted man and would not desert his family to save
himself from a danger his perseverance and daring had brought upon them all."

Each captive spent the night tied to a warrior, who slept with tomahawk in hand. Their intent was to kill the captives, rather than allow them to be retaken by the rescue party, but the march was so rapid the rescuers failed to catch them.

On the third day, baby Margaret, whose neck had been injured in the attack, began to fuss. The Indians had taken turns helping Margaret and her daughters and Martha Ivans carry the baby, but her crying irritated one of the raiders, and grabbing the infant, he dashed her head against a tree and threw her into the bushes. Margaret, Jane, Mary and Martha stoically continued their march.

After twenty days of hurried travel they reached the Scioto river. Margaret's captors showed her what she called hieroglyphics carved into a tree, representing three Indians and a captive white boy. They told her it was her son, James, whom they had captured two years before, and that he was still a captive.

The prisoners reached an Indian town where they received kind treatment. They arrived in time to hear a tribal elder making a lengthy speech to the warriors in an attempt to persuade them to cease their bloodthirsty acts of war, but his pleas were being ignored. The elders, having lost control of their society, were no longer able to restrain the younger men's lust for blood.

The elderly gentleman took young Mary to his wigwam, where he treated her with great kindness (and saved her life, as it turned out). He appeared to feel great distress over the terrible things she and her family had suffered. As time went by, he often asked Mary to read to him from her Bible (she had brought two Bibles, but the warriors had taken one from her). He seemed to find great joy in her reading.

Shortly, a party of Cherokees stopped by the Shawnee town. Having been on an unsuccessful raid, and seeing Margaret and her daughter, Jane, they decided to take revenge on these two whites for the deaths of their warriors during their raid. The Shawnees were lax in the care of their captives because they were indulging in drunken partying, and it cost Margaret and Jane their lives.

I am going to quote the record word for word at this point. The story is so terrible that I have great difficulty abridging it, as I have been doing: "The Cherokees seized mother and daughter, condemned them to torture by fire and death at the stake. Their sufferings were protracted through three days of agony. The uncomplaining mother comforted her poor dying child with gospel truth and exhortation and died with a meekness that astounded the Indians. The Shawnees never approved of this gratuitous act of cruelty and always expressed unwillingness to converse about the circumstances, charging the deaths upon the Cherokees. They evidently felt dishonored by the deed." Although the Shawnees readily committed extremely gruesome murders, they felt oddly shamed when the Cherokees tortured and burned Margaret Moore and her daughter, Jane, to death. The record doesn't say whether the young warriors felt shamed or whether that reaction was reserved to the elder statesmen. We do know from the record that the tribal elders had lost their influence over the younger men, and the resulting cost in lives, both white and Shawnee, was terrible.

To be continued . . .

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I should like to tell of Mary Moore - a real story about a real person - who lived in Virginia two centuries ago . . . James Moore, of Scottish descent and grandfather of Mary Moore, was born in Ireland. In about 1726, he and his brother Joseph sailed for America, settling in Pennsylvania.

Joseph died after approximately two years, leaving James to discover the wonders of America alone. In his loneliness, he met and married Jane Walker, a girl of Scottish descent, whose father had emigrated to Ireland, married, fathered seven children, and finally, brought his family to America.

James and his beloved Jane lived in Pennsylvania during the births of their first four children, but about that time, Jane's father, John, moved his family to Rockbridge County, Virginia; Jane and James soon followed. Six more children were added to the Moore family, which now boasted 5 sons and 5 daughters. Child number six, named after his father, became the father of Mary Moore, the marvelous lady of our story.

Young James married Margaret Poage (the Poages were of Irish descent), who, in her turn, bore him five sons and four daughters. Our Mary, born in 1777 and named after her father's eldest sister, was James' and Margaret's fifth child; she had three elder brothers, John (feeble in mind and body), James and Joseph and one elder sister, Jane.

Mary's father yearned for a place to rear his family in safety, someplace where there would be fewer of his fellow settlers, but where he would be some distance from the various Indian tribes, the young warriors of which were continually at war, both with the settlers and each other. It was a common practice among the tribes to kill any whites they could find or to kidnap them for ransom, and James hoped to lessen his family's exposure to both threats.

James' cousin, Samuel Walker, made a visit to the southwestern part of Virginia and, returning with glowing reports of its beauty and fertility, caused James to wonder whether this might be the place where he could fulfil his desires for his family. After visiting the area with his cousin, he decided to move his family to this beautiful spot. He and his English servant (probably a bond servant), John Simpson, traveled to Virginia, cleared a few acres of land, built a cabin and made preparations for the move. The Moores moved into their new home in the fall of 1775.

A hunter, Absalom (nicknamed Apps) Looney (that really was his name), built a cabin about a mile down the creek from the Moore home. John Poage built his cabin about two and a half miles up the creek. Other families were scattered here and there in the general vicinity. The area lived up to James' fondest dreams, and the family soon prospered.

After some time, the Indians discovered that whites had settled the area, and the lovely, peaceful, prosperous valley became a place of such extreme danger that many families chose to abandon their beloved homes and move to one of the towns for added safety. The warriors did attack towns, but it was still safer than in the outlying areas.

When Mary was seven her brother James, fourteen, was sent to the settlement which John Poage had abandoned to get a horse for a trip to the mill. When James didn't return, a search was begun. The only thing the searchers found was sign that a group of Indians had been there. James' disappearance occurred on Sept. 7, 1784 and was, ultimately, of great importance to our Mary's survival.

After almost two years, Mary's father received word that his son was in or near Detroit, which was a common slave market, one where Indians often sold their captives. Unfortunately, on the morning of July 14, 1786, shortly after the arrival of this promising message, a party of raiding
Shawnees killed a neighboring couple, then, after burning the couple's cabin, went directly to the Moore's home.

To be continued . . .

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