Tuesday, October 27, 2020

When Did Aunt Jemina Become Racist?

 I was at an auction last week and purchased an number of cast iron mechanical banks.   One of the banks was a figure of an African American Woman with a scarf tied around her hair and knotted above her forehead.  I took some pictures of the bank and put it up on eBay.  Before listing, I checked and there were currently several of the same bank listed and several shown as sold.  The bank was made in England by John Harper and Co.  I explained that it was in good working condition and that the bank resembled a famous breakfast food marketing icon, Aunt Jemima.  eBay canceled my listing stating:

"We had to remove your listing because it didn’t follow our Offensive material policy. Listings that promote or glorify hatred, violence, or discrimination aren’t allowed."

    I contacted eBay and asked when "Aunt Jemima" became racist. They could not give me an answer.   For those of you that have been living under a rock, Aunt Jemima was a brand of pancake mix, syrup, and other breakfast foods marketed all over America from 1889 to about 2015.  It was my favorite pancake mix and syrup when I was a kid.  I will not deny that racism has existed in this country and around the world for as long as their have been people.  I also know Irish and Catholics in Ireland hated each other and they were the same race.   Just as Muslims and Christians have killed each other because of their religion. But that's not the end of it. It has gone on and on.  

    When I was in middle school, I was one of three white kids in a school with fifteen hundred African American students.  African American are not immune from acting based on racism. I can say from experience that it is far better to be one of three blacks in a white school, than one of three whites in a black school.   

    Why is someone's sensitivities is allowed the set the agenda and define the terms of our society.  Where does this stop?  The fact that someone could possibly be offended by the sight of a Christian cross should not result in the banning of displaying the cross.  People around the world have historically used the symbol of the rolling log, but in one society it is called a swastika and is now banned almost everywhere.  I have a antique American Indian Basket that has the rolling log symbol and I can not sell it on eBay.  

     Imagines and words have no intrinsic power to create a feeling or hurt on their own.  You can call me a cracker all you want. It will not make me angry or hurt my feelings.  I will not give those words that power.  I will however think you are probably an idiot.  



Tuesday, September 15, 2020

New Book in the Works, Excessive Force is the Working Title, Opening Chapter


Standing waist deep, Ted braced against the insistent flow and followed the fly as it drifted with the current.  Watching for the swirl of water that accompanied a trout rising from the river bed.  The air moved with the river, from the west.  The smell of rain was in the air. 

     Fly fishing was a form of meditation for Ted.  He found serenity in its conflicts.  Constant pressure from the force of the water against his body and a lure that floated without resistance on the current.  The reflection of light off the surface and the dark recesses where his adversary lay in wait. He loved the poetry of motion in casting the line.  The raising of the arm, drawing the line up and off the surface, pulling it back over his shoulder, taking in line with his other hand and the moment in time when the line lingered in the air, behind him, then throwing it forward, closing with the opposite hand, whipping the line ahead and watching it roll out across the water.  The voices that echoed in his mind were quieted here.  He could think, feel and reflect.

     Ted kept a wary eye to the west, watching the weather.  Dark billowing clouds at the head of the valley promised rain and the distant rumble underscored the threat of lightening.  Ted made his way to shore and collected Boo who had waited patiently for his return.  Boo was a 14 year old Black Mouth Cur that was Ted’s constant companion. Boo would sit on the shore and watch every cast Ted made.  The river snaked through the countryside nestling up to and running along side Main Street, marking the southern boundary of town, the river soon turn away and ambled down the valley.  Ted and Boo made their way down Main Street along the river’s edge.  People had walked here for hundreds, if not thousands of years.  Main Street was first paved in the early 1900’s. Before it was a street, wagons made ruts in the ground.  The wagons had followed a trace on the land evidencing the passing of travelers on foot. 

      Barely four blocks long and anchored in the center by The Alameda Theater, Main street was a place where a stroll after church was a welcome opportunity to visit with neighbors and friends.  The Alameda was a grand structure opened in the 1930’s built in the art deco style.  The ornate facade included a blade sign reaching upward sixty feet with the theater’s name spelled out in capital letters stacked one upon the other.  It was not a theater, it was a palace to house the nobility of the silver screen and to celebrate the imagining of the impossible.  The Theater was the central landmark of the town.

     Ted’s father and his father before him had walked this street. He passed the building that once held the Five and Dime store, where his grandmother meet his grandfather.  Further down was the old bank building where his mother had been a teller.  She met his father there.  Ted had courted his wife and taken her to the Alameda Theater.  His kids grew up going to the same theater and shopping in all the stores that lined the street.  His roots were deep in this town.  It was a part of him.  There was no place that he would rather live.

     Main street was buttressed by a lattice work of residential streets lined by the elms and oaks planted a hundred and fifty years ago when the town was founded.  The trees had a majestic presence with their branches spreading out and crossing the divide to form a canopy of foliage over the carriage paths that were now paved roads.  Houses with picket fences framed the streets and were loving decorated with ornamental plants and flowers.

     Ted made his way back to his car with Boo leading the way carrying her leash in her mouth as they walked.  People stopped and said hello to Boo. 

“Hello Sheriff.”  A shop owner said as he reached to greet Boo.

“Catch any?” the shop owner asked.

“Not enough for dinner, let’em all go”  Ted replied as he continued his walk home.

Ted’s cell phone rang and the caller ID said it was from the office. 

“Sheriff, this is dispatch, we got a request for a welfare check at the Nielsen place.  Terry’s mother hasn’t been able to reach her is several days and is concerned.”  The dispatcher said.  Can you stop by on your way home?  Everyone else is tied up.”

“Will do, just headed that way now.”


Saturday, September 12, 2020

Smokemont Campground, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Smokemont camp ground is located just north of Cherokee North Carolina in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The camp ground is long and skinny with three separate area, tents only, RV's only and one where both are allowed. The campground is conveniently located close to the several major attraction including Harrah's Cherokee Casino, The Cherokee Indian reservation and of course the National Park. Mingus Mill historical site is just down the road. Also nearby is a National Park visitors center and a 18th century farmstead. The campground in located in Black bear country and the campground enforces proper food storage procedures. The campground is a great base for exploring all that the Smoky Mountain National Park has to offer. Rates are 25 a night.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Mingus Mill


Historic Mingus Mill build in 1886, was restored by the National Park Service and is currently a functioning mill. The mill is just outside of Cherokee NC and a short easy walk from the parking lot. In 1886 most people in the area lived on farms, growing their own food. Regular trips to the mill were required because of the shelf life of the processed food. The Mill was a local gathering place where neighbors met and socialized while waiting for their grain to be processed. The Miller kept a portion of the grain processed as payment for the milling.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Testing,We Need Antibody Testing.

Mark Twain is Quoted as saying there are three kinds of lies. Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics. I wonder how to interpret the information that I have read. As of the date of writing this post, there have been 140,000 people tested in this state and 12,000 confirmed cases. There are 432 deaths attributed to the virus. Of these 12,000 confirmed cases, how many are still contagious? There are 10,500,000 citizens of this state. The math says one out of every 875 people have had the virus. I don't encounter 900 different people in any given month, so not so bad.

Eight and a half percent of those tested were positive. But is there a bias in that number. If it were representative of the population at large then 875,000 people have had the virus and that would be about one in twelve people. I do encounter twelve different people every day. Not so good. But because there are so few confirmed cases in the west, I think the odds of running into someone with Corona are about 900 to 1. But I wish I knew for sure.

We really need wide spread antibody test to make better decisions.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Graham County NC Closes it Boarders

Two days ago I traveled to Graham County, NC. I encountered a Check Point where the local Sheriff was demanding ID and only allowing residents with ID into the county. This is not America.
The County's stated purpose was that County resources should be saved to be available to the residents. This is a cover. This county does not have the any resources to save. With any serious illness a Graham County, the patient is transferred to a larger nearby city in another county. The real reason is that they want to keep out anyone who may be sick. They are afraid that they may catch this virus and they are shutting everyone out.
I believe that the County can not legally shut out traveler or part time residents. If I lived in Atlanta or Charlotte, and had a second home in the mountains, I would want to ride out this pandemic away from the city. The truth is that politicians are spineless cowards. No will will stand up and state publicly that this is illegal. If we all shelter in place, who care who lives two house over, or drives through the county.
We are translating the fear of this virus into fear of our neighbors. We are all going to get this virus. It is only a question of time. Ninety nine percent of us will come through it just fine, Do not allow our humanity to be a victim of this virus..

Friday, March 27, 2020

Eastern Band of the Cherokee Close Their Boarder to the United States

I am currently living on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Western North Carolina.  I have been here for about five months.  I am not Cherokee.   I first heard about these plan to close the reservation on Friday March 20th on social media.  The story I heard was that only Tribal members were allowed on the reservation.  That later changed to tribal member and residents.  The shutdown would start on March 23rd at 12 noon. 

On Saturday, March 21, I was standing in a grocery line and overheard a police officer speaking with someone else in line.  He stated that the basic reason for the shut down was for the tribe to keep all of its resources available to tribal member and prevent people coming to the reservation from the nearby big cities.

I have been living with this limitation for five days and every time I pass through the check point, I get grilled about where I am going. I explain that I am a resident but usually that is not enough.  I have to produce ID, tell them who my landlord is and otherwise convince them to let me in.  I have inquired and there is no method of registering with anyone and getting a pass.

I recently learned that a town down the road, Robbinsonville, NC,  is closing itself off from the rest of the world.  I can't believe that this is what we have come to.  Creating an "us against them" mind set and locking out our fellow citizens.  Both Cherokee and Robbinsonville do not have the resources to respond to any kind of virus out break.  The residents there would have to go to Tennessee or east in North Carolina for treatment if an outbreak occurred.  The resources on the reservation are equally inadequate.   If there was an outbreak, they too would need to rely on outside help.  But, in the mean time, if you aren't from around here, you can't get in.