Unraveling the realism of racism is distressing for me. Raised by my parents to respect all people and to thwart racist thinking has been my moral compass and buoyed a belief that we are all drifting down this muddy river together. However, watching the Ferguson events the past months have made me realize how idealism is not realty. This is about racism but it is not about black versus white. It is about a certain class of people who perpetuate the poor-me mentality and glorify the gansta lifestyle. Watching the glee on the faces of the looters disgusts me. They have no self-respect, so they disrespect others. I am sad for those who have made it their lifework to be activists against racism. I am angry at the low life, small minded fools who don’t understand how their behavior continues to spread hatred and disgust. They want equality? Well become a self respecting member of the community. The irony is astounding. My grandsons are asking questions. It is a challenge to respond without planting a seed. The cycle will continue thanks to the behaviors of a certain class of people who thrive on division. As long as they continue to play the race card the game will never end.
Imagine how life for millions of people would benefit from a more tolerable, empathetic, open minded society. If I could snap my fingers and change ONE thing on earth what would it be?
The ONE influential area that is the foundation for global unity is in the sphere of education. All children would be shown kindness, taught proper manners and instructed in household chores at home from the earliest age, instilling in them strong morals for empathy and a desire for self-discipline. In primary grades the schools would include mandatory subjects such as Geography, Culture, World History, Science and World Languages, as well as the tried and true Three R’s: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. As these children matured they would then be challenged with more intellectual topics such as Ethics/Morals, Politics, Theology, Environmental Issues, Psychology, and Social Sciences. I may be dreaming, but by the end of high school these children would have been educated in several languages, and have attained an appreciation of cultures across the globe, gained knowledge of not just the United States government history, but also a clearer understanding of the politics of other countries.
I imagine how better off the world would be without racism of any form; for intolerance of another persons’ religious views and pure evil to come to an end. Think of it! A world of productive citizens living on this beautiful planet, and all of them free of judgments, jealousies, greed and resentment, which in turn ultimately lead to hate. This idealized society of the world would be bound together, working for the greater good of all of mankind and striving to protect our dear, fragile Earth.
Perhaps with this start, all the varied societies around the world would be more open and accepting of each other’s values, both religiously and politically and have a more meaningful, honest and productive communication with one another.
Awards would be given more for competence in the area of academics, as a motivation to produce great thinkers, rather than placing such high importance on sports. Naturally, in this idealized world, the media would concentrate their efforts on highlighting those events such as academic achievement, discoveries in science and successful charities, rather than placing celebrities on a pedestal. Criminals would not receive more than 10 minutes of airtime, just enough to get the word out. I say make public the names and faces of great thinkers, problem solvers and profound artists on the front pages of magazines and newspapers!
Time would be more well spent on working on solutions for world peace, to end global warming, reducing poverty and advancing efforts to cure fatal diseases, rather than dreaming of ways to make more money to pay for homes that are too large only to impress. People would gain respect in society because of his value in the community via volunteer work, raising generations of moral citizens, etc., rather than the kind of car he drives. Less time would be spent sitting in front of the tube watching reality shows. Think of how bored we would be, watching those sorts of inane television programs, if we were a more intellectual humanity. Of course the Arts and sporting events would be enjoyed with great appreciation and pleasure. True artistry and phenoms would be regarded with respect and admiration, held in high esteem, but not too loftily.
Imagine if all the people of the world could garner such an education and realize the true purpose of their short existence on Earth.
Donna J. Heatherly
Under stagnant murky water
Lies an entire unidentifiable tree
Fallen at water’s granite edge.
Absence of motion
Bone-gray and dead.
Ugliness amid teeming algae
Deepens the cruelty.
I ponder this tomb.
My skin crawls.
An organic phenomenon leeches life
From the lifeless
Life is gone while life carries on.
My mom was the constant protector of my body, mind and spirit. She was my friend, always ready to listen and offer her opinion to advise me, but only if I asked for it. I miss those conversations we had about all things, large and small, always filled with giggles and her sweet attendance to my words and thoughts. Her exceptional home cooking fueled my tiny bones so successfully that I remember suffering ‘growing pains’. I recall her concern over my distress when my legs ached. She would simply say in her concerned matter-of-fact voice that it was merely growing pains. She would put me to bed, telling me that I would feel better after a good nights rest. Sure enough, the next morning I was ready to grow some more under her care. My most memorable meal will always be her roast beef, potatoes and carrots. My gosh, she made it the best, embedding fresh garlic into the roast, browning it on an old cast iron skillet before baking in the oven. Ahhh, the beauty of those carrots, potatoes and celery surrounding that savory roast beef. When she took off the tin foil tent to so that the potatoes would get a golden patina it was like watching and artist working culinary magic. I miss the aroma of those Sunday afternoons while moms roast beef dinner was baking.
In the final week of her life, she and I had a conversation. She had been reflecting on the significance of her life. While I sat with her in the hospital, she raised the discussion about how challenging it is to be a woman, especially these days. We talked about how a woman works twice as hard as a man, with the ongoing domestic tasks on top of having a career. She asked me that age-old question that all mothers have pondered. She asked if I, as a child, had ever missed her when she was away at work. I instinctively knew what she was asking me without her putting it into words. She felt the perpetual guilt that all women have when torn between wanting to stay home to nurture their family but necessity sends them off to work. It took just a brief moment for me to answer her, and I hope relieve her. I told her sincerely that I never missed her one iota, because when she was home she was 100% available to me. I had never thought about this before, but as a child, I never felt that she was distracted with work, because she was always emotionally available when she was at home. I do remember that she did go off to work, but while she was gone my dad stepped up, thus I never had the chance to miss her. I told her that I felt loved my entire life. I hope I alleviated any thoughts of guilt or remorse she had about working outside the home.
My mom carried with her a deep-seated patience, and even though I struggle with that virtue, it is because of her acceptance of others in a nonjudgmental fashion that I am open, caring and able to forgive. I have the capacity to forgive myself my many faults. Her quick beautiful smile and her ability to laugh at herself is also a trait of hers that I hold, and I hope will be passed to my daughters. How can I possibly count the multitude of aspects of being my mothers’ daughter, which make me the woman I am today? I have learned so many morals from her countless lessons from observing my mom’s behavior and interactions with others through the years. Most importantly, I will carry her spirit and feel her love inside my heart, mind, and soul every day.
I am told of a sacred place of hunting ground
Of which he will take me
Sooner than the sun sets in the west
We trail a creek up a steep incline
A beehive appearing boulder
Rises in solitude near the bluffs
Among the pines, ash and oaks
Of the Shawnee National Forest
This mammoth of magnificence reaches 25 feet tall
As he shows me this tribute to Valle
A natural granite ladder leads to elation
Hands, without hesitation, pull me skyward bound
Feet sturdy on unyielding rungs of purity
I tread steps of topography seldom trekked
Reaching the pinnacle
I am solidly secure in the moment
Of our love atop an immovable existence.
With This Ring
With this ring
We share a legacy of love
Over 50 years in the making.
With this ring
We wear a reminder of devotion
An emotion as timeless as the
Beauty of the woman who wears it.
With this ring
We see the great care taken by a man
Who proved his committment many times over
We see the sweetness of years of contentment
We see the significance of mature love.
With this ring
We recycle a precious past
To be carried proudly into the future
A remembrance to our dear mother and grandmother.
With this ring
We carry their love in our hearts and share it with our families
We will savor our heritage and recall stories about
The love of Robert Ralph Heatherly and Ola Jeannine Pharris.
This spring, my dad, my sister and I recently took great pleasure in designing my mother’s wedding ring set into rings for each of her granddaughters, as well as for my sister and I. We had the ring appraised, (to which my dad was quite pleased with the quality of the diamond that he had chosen for his bride many years ago. We then met with the owner at Paramount Jewelry in St. Louis, who rearranged the original diamonds into 5 different new rings. We wear a dear ladies spirit in our hearts, and now on our fingers.
Donna J. Heatherly Hall
D.J. Hall (August 2007)
Search for hidden pond
With an eager anticipation
For a successful expedition
Opportunity for abundant fishing
For answers, blue gill, our emotions unraveled.
Propels us through a path less traveled
Traipsing mile after mile in summer’s humidity
Past endless rows of sunny simplicity.
Yellow faces watch in silence as we feel
Relentless dampness seep from pores at
Neck, cleavage, face and arms, as the
weight of the chaos I have created
continually trickles through my thoughts.
Much like the unremitting, infuriating mosquitoes.
Threatening to drive me crazy.
Onward, our heavy feet trudge, through a
Midwestern field full of tall grass and ticks
Accompanied by droning honeybees and
Annoyance of horseflies, heat and his enthusiasm.
Sulking, I discover beauty beneath the surface.
Like many other spheres of life,
I find a hidden eco-system at the edge of the pond,
Woven between the algae, guppies and tiny frogs.
As I sit and fume about my discomfort, misery and him
is the certainty that we, too, are intermingled.
Energy, fate, force or whim
Compels me to accept the reality that I had
attempted to submerge.
The certainty that I believe in our love, our future,
and that our affections will once again resurface.