Political Passionist

My principal in elementary school must be rolling over in his grave.  Today, the Pledge of Allegiance is not necessarily a daily routine; few school children across our nation can recite it.  Some districts suggest that replacing older, thread-worn flags isn’t in the budget, so they do not exist in all classrooms.

But for the children attending Laurel Elementary in the fifties and sixties, the Pledge was recited daily and immediately followed by our principal Mr. K’s favorite song, “I Love You, California” at each and every assembly.  We all groaned but we sang it loud and clear, never once realizing what made this song so great.  It was years later before I fully realized the song’s importance.  Mr. K was a veteran of World War II; in his eyes, we children had good reason to sing about the wonders and fullness of our Golden State.


Dear Readers:

These are two veterans’ organizations that serve our military families past and present that I am particularly fond of!  One is Honor Flight which transports WWII,  Korean and now also Vietnam Vets  to Washington D.C. to visit their respective war memorials.  The other is Veterans Airlift Command, a group of volunteer pilots who transports our current wounded military members’  families to the hospital (often several hundred miles from home) in fully modified planes to accommodate the loved ones and, upon release, their very own hero or heroine in perfect comfort!

Our service men and women serve year round and their needs are greater than the traditional May and November months in which they are traditionally remembered; please give WHATEVER you can, WHENEVER you can, to an organization of your choice.  Remember that within any gift in any form you share, the smiles are free…

the FrogHavenLady xoxox


I was a typical, middle-class, white kid who lived on the east side of town and (with much parental training) learned to respect authority.  I knew that I was ultimately responsible for my own actions and the subsequent consequences.

Positions of authority need only get in line; I was willing, able and obedient, almost to a fault.  I believed (as had my parents before me) that the rules and customs our American society had structured were reasonable and would suit me well through my adult hood and my children’s lifetimes, too. While I may not have yet had my own coming of age experiences to pull from, I knew without a doubt that the rituals and values taught me were meant to be practiced without question.

Yes, I am THAT old.

I grew up believing that police and others with hats and badges were my friends; the white hats were normally the good guys, but as in life, there’d be exceptions. I hadn’t any idea – nor could I have imagined – that some children on the other side of the tracks didn’t also share my self-discipline for obeying the rules, honoring public servants, and basically, just behaving so as not to embarrass one’s parents.

Were there indications of duplicity and racism?  I had no reason to doubt my non-Caucasian friends who respectfully shared their experiences to me.  Yes, they knew racism and discrimination, in all its variations. I had only known discrimination as a public school child who attended Catechism; being a second class citizen in my own parish was enough for me to understand what discrimination could render in matters large and small.

Civil rights?  Yes, they were well past due in several parts of our country, and a necessary priority if America were to remain a leader of the free world.  As veterans on more than one occasion would share:  We served with fellows who had skins darker than ours; but when we bled, we all bled the same color blood.

The Baby Boomers knew then and know now:  our racist tendencies would take years to erase, but we were doing a good job of melding and melting community forums at school and elsewhere.  We remained steady and hopeful in our convictions and idealist beliefs that our generation would end discriminatory practices once and for all.  We had the leaders to learn from; we had lost John, Robert and Martin within a decade.  Our generation would pursue, not the least of our reasons was our shared grief.  The Sixties had interfered with our childhood comfort; there was real pain in this world, real sick-os, beyond the Boris Badenovs and other cartoon villains.

Neighborhood families overrode any contrived civic plans; parents couldn’t be forced to bus their children miles away from the original neighborhood, especially if the schools were less than adequate.   Families congregate where the familiar and the known are the MOST comfortable and the LEAST alarming; it would take time and lots of behavior modification for skin colors to mix…and find common ground…and trust.

Not all of us are born to activism; we are, however, intrinsically aware when questions are left incompletely unanswered or explanations appeared less than genuine.  Could we young people see thru it?  WITHOUT A DOUBT. All the hoopla on the TV didn’t necessarily reflect what my friends and I already understood to be true at our grass roots level: we were all in the same boat.  If America was going to change and improve for the better, it would be up to each of us.

Shame on those who still accuse fellow Baby Boomers of racism!  Speak for yourself if you are unable to discern the differences

  • between criticism and race bating
  • between cronyism and political integrity
  • between spendthrift mentality and financial prudence.

Where were you, friends, when we first learned the value of a dollar? Or answered the call to teach when the profession promised less than lucrative rewards?   Even some claiming bluer blood lines answered the call to serve; in the Peace Corps; in public service; or in military uniform…yes, there was a draft.  But the majority served in some type of capacity.  They served whether they fully understood the risks or not.  Some married outside their race.  Some adopted third-world children who needed homes and a loving family and a second chance at life.  The needs, not the colors, were their criteria; compassion, not greed, an environmental benefit of a shared American mindset.

So where is all this yesterday’s racism coming from?…and why, in my immediate circle of life, is there


Because in this Baby Boomer’s Inn, there is no room for disingenuous, divisive, sound bite clap-trap. Like my counterparts and those mentors before me, I have lived through so many previous responsibilities and phases and am continually challenged in this latter day economy to cut back and stretch my budget and make do and, not the least of matters, thank God for the blessings I have in this, the Greatest Governmental Experiment on Earth.

Granted, I have trusted far too long that my political leaders would “serve our citizenry’s best interests”; thus, I am no longer easily fooled by rhetoric. With the same idealistic fervor of my youth,  I will continue to nurture the American ideals, hopes, and dreams of this country’s foundation so that they will remain the kaleidoscope opportunities of a freedom loving republic’s children.



Promises, Promises…

Author’s note: I’m reprinting this for the benefit of readers young and old; and in honor of a lost loved one who wore a uniform…aj


How often have we witnessed advertising or political campaigns that profess to have fulfilled a previous promise between the speaker and the electorate?


Until the campaign 2012 is a memory, we are going to be bombarded with pseudo-summaries in either political announcements or blurb formats from our news stations that any particular politician has once again denounced, corrected, deferred, adhered, obliged, acquiesced, whatever verb you want to put into this sentence… DON’T BE FOOLED.  DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

Our country’s main media succumbed to editorializing years ago. Tass did not have the market on dog and pony showbiz.  Khrushchev promised he would destroy us from within.  Study the Sixties: the names, the movements, the pledges, the campaign rhetoric; apart from technology’s having inserted itself into our present day lingo, the message is the same.  And it is normally FALSE, anti-free market, anti-capitalistic in its roots.  Do you really know the meanings of Marxism, Fascism, Socialism, Communism, Totalitarianism…oh yes, and our America is a REPUBLIC, not a democracy….look that one up.

Read. Read. And Read again.  Pick up that historical artifact, the newspaper; it is ALMOST a thing of the past…CHALLENGE what you read.  The writers are no longer local; many of them are now syndicated, which means that one man’s voice now overcomes or trumps the local, grass root message.  YOU are being courted by radio, TV, cable, magazines, newsprint…NONE of them are necessarily whole or accurate in their coverage on any one subject.  Challenge all that you read. Fine print no longer means ANYTHING in this printer cartridge world.

Choose to gather AT LEAST three references on the same topic before erroneously adapting or adopting the group think.  Remember what a dictionary is?  Webster comes to mind; this was before Wikipedia for you under forty generations.

YOU are an American, born in one of the greater experiments of liberty and freedom in the world, or YOU are a naturalized citizen.  Speak out, accent and all; we native born need to be reminded once in awhile that the world does NOT operate as we do; and that we are the leaders in liberty. UGLY AMERICANS EXIST; in countenance, in arrogance, in refusal to obey the rule of law.  Point them out and shun them; more importantly, vote them OUT OF OFFICE.

RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL; just listen to our Attorney General and his arguments regarding our border’s security issues.  Fifty plus years after the Civil Rights movement and Herman Cain was attacked.  Did any of the Washington Elite really want to see a Black American with experience and education who achieved the American Dream challenge our present, Black American Community Organizer in Office?  Get real.  I don’t have to be Condi Rice to understand that losing friends in a Sunday school class targeted by bigots was pure hate.  NOT THE AMERICA OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY FIGHT FOR.

Americans insisting on enforcing our sovereignty and its rules are methodically being attacked and defamed.  Joe Arpaio comes to mind.  Would the media and its political contingents really achieve their success if our electorate were better informed or educated?  NOT ON YOUR LIFE.

The ballot box is our last vestige of hope.  This means that all of us at the grass roots level must take an active involvement and support our county clerks in their promise and oath of office to make sure that our votes are collected and counted according to the due process of our American ballot system.

SPEAK UP! VOLUNTEER! TALK WITH AMERICANS WITH ACCENTS!!! They will know and recognize American systems and rules that are being torn asunder under political correctness and present day practices considered “routine”.

CALL.  WRITE.  BOMBARD them with letters.  DON’T LET YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES TELL YOU THERE IS NOTHING THEY CAN DO.  PRESSURE THEM AND MAKE THEM SQUIRM until they understand they WORK FOR YOU, THE AMERICAN PUBLIC; and no public office is higher than its citizenry.  When was the last time you heard a statesman? Why must we go to historic tapes to hear a voice that is focused on what is best for the country as opposed to what is best for the elected official?

Lastly, follow the money.  Monitor present and past congressional leaders who now lobby for special interests…think they don’t know where the loopholes and power centers exist?  And if you believe it is too late, then you don’t deserve any other kind of government than what you have supported; and you are committing your children and grandchildren to a future of serfdom.

Listen. Study. Act. Get involved.  The country you save may be our own.

Talking Turkey

Our most American tradition – celebrating the year’s harvest and blessings – is once again upon us.  Thanksgiving is a holiday that Americans can historically claim as our very own. Does that mean that other peoples before us were ungrateful?  Not by any means.  But IT IS OURS, the one day on the calendar that evokes a melting pot of commonality, culture,  and deep emotions; encouraging a nation of immigrants to give official thanks for the many blessings and bounty we share in our land.

I submit that while holidays can be difficult at times, maintaining some or all of the family traditions can be especially comforting; let these rituals provide the familiar landscape wherein each of you can still participate, even if the role is slightly amended from years before.  If need be, add a new tradition. I suggest:

The “Talk Turkey” Challenge:

  • Give yourself permission to share a story that you’ve never told before; grandparents, this means YOU.
  • Encourage all ages to join in the conversation.  Keep the technology at a minimum (football games excluded)
  • Don’t pull rank; parents often do, then wonder why the kids never talk.  Embrace the ones around you; life is too short to let a minor grievance ruin the holiday camaraderie.
  • Allow a bit of silliness!  (Not necessarily at the expense of table manners, but you be the judge; lots of family stories evolved from dinner tables in past years; try not to shudder.)
  • Fight over the last drumstick; cajoling a sibling into a little childhood skirmish can be fun, especially if one or both parents or an aunt or uncle are still around to watch and laughingly reminisce…
  • Consider each new happenstance a future memory; find the humor in it and laugh together.
  • Look into each face around the table. Observe the personality nuances and mannerisms.  In as brief a span as five years, table personalities will change; children will grow, friends will leave the area; family branches will sprout afar.
  • Can’t travel to be together this Thursday?  Just wait until the next time you can all regroup!  The possibilities are endless!

Growing up, it was easy to take the Thanksgiving holiday for granted; November was a happy month, the start of the Holidays!  Some of us matured rather abruptly once we saw our president assassinated; we all remember where we were, who informed us, and the immediate days after when, as a grieving nation, we gathered that next week to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Many of us remembered only a little boy saluting goodbye to his daddy.

The old adage, Death has no age, was suddenly meaningful; it is this year for some whose  loved one will be missing for the first time this Thanksgiving.  The holiday season can be a particularly painful period.

The coming months present some economic challenges for many; some earners last year are currently unemployed and find themselves in a completely different scenario than the last time they hit the pavement.  Hitting a keyboard can be just as frustrating.

Thanksgiving will arrive just the same. This season, keep our fellow countrymen in prayer.  Choose how to make Thursday one of the sweeter Thanksgiving Days in recent memory.  May we forever feel a depth of gratitude for the lives and goodness He has bestowed upon each of us.

Rejoice! Celebrate! Praise God! Lastly, may God Bless America.

Gifting Outside the Box – 2021 UPDATE

Establishing months for special causes works really well for marketing purposes, but it won’t prevent the occasional gaps that occur in between.  A good example is our Military Families and Veterans.  May and November holidays call attention to these groups, but their needs are year-round.

Americans are some of the most caring and generous people in the world. While each generation may have had its challenges, the time for each of us to think and consider gifting outside the box has arrived…so, I suggest we change our course for Thanksgiving and Christmas Seasons THIS YEAR.  Pick up an extra can or two at the market and delete a gift or two from under the tree; here are some alternative gifting ideas:

  • Donate to the local food pantry at your church or one in your community.  COVID-19 and its ramifications have been financially tougher than most for many of our loved ones; some who previously donated in the past now find themselves on the receiving end. No telling about 2022…so,
  • Fill those plastic bags that the Scouts leave at your door with canned goods and pantry staples up to the brim!
  • Support your local merchant; don’t be fooled by a national brand.  Many of the “chain” stores and fast food restaurants are actually franchises owned by individuals who have faces,  names,  families, and payrolls to meet.
  • Let your children carry change in their pockets…The Salvation Army will have their red kettles out very soon.  They will have more needy than ever to feed and clothe.  The change adds up quickly, and the kids will get a big kick out of contributing!
  • Carry an extra ten dollar bill or whatever you can afford on your person when traveling by air…happen to see a serviceman or servicewoman traveling home or leaving on assignment?  Press the bill in their hand, thank them for their service, and give them permission to “spend” a little something on themselves.  You’d be amazed at the morale booster an unexpected greenback from a total stranger can give…I’ve seen the smiles myself.
  • USO Centers  can only stretch their holiday cheer so far; when multiple units begin passing through in droves during the holiday season, the pickings can get very slim.  Check in with the Center nearest you, especially if you have memories of having yourself spent a holiday at one just like it.
  • Your local VFW will happily accept donations for Operation Uplink, the internet phone program for military overseas to communicate with loved ones at home.
  • Some of us had a child who was helped by medical foundations or organizations like Shriners Hospitals for Children.  There are little ones there now, too…in the same departments we once visited on a regular basis.
  • Whether you belong to a service club or not, you have friends who do.  Ask if they need support on any particular projects.  Rotarians are busy year-round, and their Rotary Foundation is one of the best places to put money to work, locally and globally.

THESE ARE ONLY A FEW IDEAS from your humble writer.  Thanks for indulging my 2021 soapbox persona by reading this special snippet.


Custer 🙂

To All the Cars I Drove Before

(With apologies to Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias)

(Verses 1 and 2)

To all the cars I drove before

The ones I sat within their doors

I’m glad they came along

Enough to sing this song

To all the cars I drove before

To all the cars that shared my life

The ones before and after “wife”

Muffler warranties unused

My back and neck abused

From all the cars that shared my life


Though my intentions were sincere, and

Whether hit front, side, or rear

Another tow truck I would see

It’s tow chain dragging me

And the car that shared my strife

(Final Verse)

To all the cars that met their fate

And passed beyond Big Blue Book’s Gate

I pray such times stay few

Hope they ended then with you

And not this Delta Eighty-Eight!




Yes, now even the car has become a classic!


Seasonal American Pie

Having the additional ability to reason and therefore, expected to ably discern differences, man should routinely ask questions.  There is AS YET no harm in being inquisitive; despite what the current, myopic main media might imply, one should freely share and explore all variables of a topic.   While I wouldn’t attempt to read the intent of all the journalists behind the microphones, I would ask that we consider the source.

The US media have been fashioned from liberal arts and collegiate think tanks, many of which are anti-free market.  While there is no immediate harm in being compassionate and relegating a certain amount of the free market net earnings to community needs, the decision makers have grown power-hungry, therefore, less than honest with their philanthropic agendas.  And the main media have been quick to disguise underlying facts to oblige them.

The fiscally aware, i.e. the entrepreneurs and wage earners, are mindful that there are only SO MANY PIECES of the same American Pie…and more than twelve slices are needed in this 21st Century.  Twelve slices of tax payer money are rather thin and finite.  Not nearly enough to accomplish the compassionate missions of the most well-intended; the unscrupulous have yet to be fully vetted or, at the very least, have their microphones taken and discarded.

The competition continually competes for our dollars and rapt attention.    As some of the most benevolent people in the world, perhaps it is better for Americans to test the waters at the local watering hole.  Time to restudy that marketing travelogue…and make sure we are on board and our economic journey correctly remains in a free and open sea.

God Bless America —- and the ones who defend it at home and abroad.