“If the only prayer you said in your life was ‘Thank you,’ that would suffice.” (Meister Eckhart)

As my contribution to Thanksgiving Day 2019 I would like to share my recipe for turkey dinner. I wrote it down to give to a friend at work and the more I thought about it the more sense it made to put it on my blog, so I just copied it and pasted it here. I couldn’t resist the temptation to share my tongue in cheek sense of humor so please excuse me.

How to cook a Thanksgiving Turkey
The definitive guide to preparing and cooking a turkey so good everyone will be
thankful they came to dinner at your house. Well, everyone except the turkey.

Step One – Get a turkey, preferably one that is already dead. Live one’s hate being cooked. The rule of thumb for turkey size is at least one pound of turkey per person so for twelve people coming to dinner buy at least a twelve-pound turkey. Buy a bigger one if you want leftover turkey. It can be frozen for about three months or whenever you remember it’s in the freezer, whichever comes first.

Step Two – Make sure the turkey is not frozen. Most, but not all, turkeys are frozen when purchased at the store. A frozen turkey has to be thawed out before it can be cooked. The proper way to thaw out a turkey is to keep it in the refrigerator for 3 days minimum depending on the size. A 20+ pound turkey may take even longer. If this turkey is for Thursday Thanksgiving dinner, then put it in the refrigerator on the Sunday before. Extra large turkeys need to be in by Saturday.

Step Three – Brine the thawed turkey first thing in the morning on the day before Thanksgiving, which is Wednesday. Brining keeps the turkey from drying out. Here’s how to prepare a basic brine. Buy a gallon of cheap apple juice, pour it into a large pot, (preferably one that can hold more than a gallon of liquid) add ¾ cup of table salt, add ¾ cup white cane sugar, heat and stir until salt and sugar dissolve but it does not need to boil. Add a dozen ice cubes to the pot to help it cool and dilute the brine. While the brine cools, prepare the turkey. Take two NEW kitchen size plastic trash bags and place one inside the other. Put the bags inside the largest bucket you have available (must be big enough to hold the whole turkey and the brine). Put the turkey in the bags in the bucket with the legs at the open end of the bags. Pour the pot of cooled brine into the bags on top of the turkey, being careful not to spill the brine out of the bags onto the floor of your kitchen. Again, the bags and bucket must be large enough to contain the turkey and the brine. This is critical so don’t say I didn’t warn you. A 20-pound turkey may require a gigantic bucket or even a large kitchen trash can. After you have successfully poured the brine into the bags, tie the bags shut and place the whole bucket back in the refrigerator for 12 more hours. After 12 hours remove the bucket and take it to the sink. Carefully, untie the bags and pour out all the liquid into the sink. Remove the turkey from the bags onto a rimmed cookie sheet to keep it from leaking all over your counters. Wash the bucket thoroughly and dry with paper towels. Line the bottom of the bucket with more paper towels… a lot more. Place the brined turkey back into the bucket with the paper towels to soak up more juice. The turkey must dry out before it can be cooked properly. Keep it in the refrigerator until Thanksgiving morning when it is ready to be cooked.

Step Four – Cook the turkey in the oven. First, remove one of the racks and place the other on the lowest position in the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Get the turkey out of the refrigerator and place it in the roasting pan. Use a stainless-steel rack to keep the turkey off the bottom of the pan, if you have one that fits the pan. Cut up one whole apple of any kind into large chunks without the core. Cut up one whole sweet yellow onion into large chunks. Place the apple and onion chunks inside the turkey and around the bottom of the pan. Add 16 ounces of chicken broth, apple juice or water to the pan. Rub the turkey skin with butter or vegetable oil and whatever spice you prefer (salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, Lawry’s season salt etc.). Cover the turkey and place it in the oven on the bottom rack. Cook for one hour per each three pounds of weight (12 lbs. divided by 3 = 4 hours). Take the lid off for the last hour so the turkey skin can brown. Remove when the internal temperature reads 165 degrees. Let the turkey rest for at least 15 minutes. Cut the turkey into portions suitable for consumption. Eat the turkey and enjoy all the compliments for the great meal. Feel free to give me credit for this great recipe if you did it right. Then, take a nap, you earned it.

One last note. The bigger the turkey is, the more room you must have in the refrigerator to thaw and brine it. If the ambient temperature in your garage is less than 40 degrees you could probably keep it out there, provided your garage is varmint-free. Do Not Leave It Outside in 40-degree weather unless you want to feed all of the neighborhood wildlife.

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“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Jesus)

I just finished reading a book titled, Addicted to Outrage, by Glen Beck. I have never been a fan of Glen Beck because he came off as just another media personality who would say anything to get ratings but in the interest of keeping my mind open to new experiences, I gave it a try. What I found was a whole new person who readily admits his huge failings from earlier in his career and is actively seeking to make amends for the truly awful things he did and said. Beck readily admits his struggles with alcoholism, his jaded world-view and his poor choice of words. He also thanks God for saving himself. That confession was enough to keep me going and I’m glad I did. This might be one of the best books I have ever read but he’s still no Mark Twain.

The best parts of the book are all the historical references Beck uses to make his points about our national addiction, to be outraged all the time. He did his homework and the anecdotes he shares are extremely applicable to the point he is making. We, the people of the US of A, are tearing ourselves apart with our constant bickering and pointless complaining. None of it is helping us solve the actual problems that this country is facing today and the enormous problems we will be facing in the very near future if we don’t get our act together soon. I would take this point a step further and argue that the whole world needs to come together. The choices we make today will create the future that our grandchildren will inherit. I love my grandchildren and it pains me greatly to think we may be selling them out for our own selfishness now.

Our insatiable, social media driven desire to be proven right about every last opinion we all hold is the most futile gesture of all time. I’m sure at least one person on the Titanic thought to himself, “There are too many icebergs, we should slow down.” He probably went down with the ship secure in the knowledge that he was absolutely right. He got to point his ice-cold finger at all the experts who were drowning with him and say, “I told you so!” He was dead right. How many of us are going to have that same feeling?

In my opinion, opinions suck. They are just the low hanging fruit of irrational and immature thinkers who don’t want to do the hard work that is necessary to find the truth. Jesus warned us about the truth when he said this, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” I don’t often question Jesus but maybe he should have added, “And if you don’t know the truth, it’s going to cost you!”

Confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance seem to be our chosen ways of dealing with the harsh reality of the world as we know it. Of course, as we know it, doesn’t mean much these days because once we decide what we think we know, we stop trying to find the truth and the internet makes it really easy to reinforce our belief system, any belief system. And when we consider that the purveyors of information on the internet are some of the most aggressive capitalist businesses of all time, we should probably question their desire to deliver the truth when we really need it, like now.

Let me see if I can deliver a little truth, “There are a lot of icebergs ahead and we should definitely slow down.” We should slow down the accusations, the heated rhetoric, the partisanship, the hatred of others, the fear of the unknown, the group-think and most of all we should slow down the head-long rush to judgement. None of us is smart enough to have all the answers. I know I don’t and I never will but I will keep trying. That’s all I’m really asking. Don’t give up on this planet or each other. We can figure this out together.

The best part of Beck’s book is his discussion of forgiveness and reconciliation that he himself learned at Alcoholics Anonymous. We may need to start a whole new version of that group called Outraged Anonymous. We can start by admitting we all have a problem with social media induced outrage. I’m not using anything but WordPress but I can see how many people are affected by the daily dose of dopamine they receive from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This craving for attention is an addiction whether anyone calls it that or not. The truth hurts but only when it ought to.

If we can admit we have a problem with outrage addiction, then we can ask for forgiveness and try to reconcile our differences and this is where Glen Beck really shines. He uses numerous examples of times when people recognized him in public and immediately had horrible reactions to his mere presence. I can’t even imagine what that was like for him or for them. Here’s a guy who spent a huge portion of his career making enemies willingly and now he’s asking for forgiveness. How many of us are willing to attempt that challenge?

Luckily, most of us don’t have a thousand devoted enemies. We just have friends, neighbors and acquaintances that we wronged once upon a time. These are people we probably still care about but we haven’t found the courage to admit we screwed up and we’re sorry about that. I know I have and I’m still trying to make amends. It’s one of the most important reasons why I write this blog. I want to pay something back to the world that gave me so much love and support in spite of my foolishness and immaturity. I sincerely want to leave my grandchildren a world that is better than the one I inherited.

We all have far more things in common than social media and political correctness leads us to believe. We all have a vested interest in making the world safe for all of humanity and we all have a responsibility to share the load. None of us is ever going to be happy without the love and support of others. Let’s all try to reconcile our differences, find our common ground, express our need for absolute forgiveness and move forward together.

Glen Beck was the poster boy for raging alcoholics everywhere and now he’s trying to rebuild his life. If someone as screwed up as he was can make that effort, then I’m sure the rest of us can at least try to get a little better each day. I’m fairly certain that all of the survivors of the Titanic wished they had slowed down, just a little.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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“The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It’s the age-old struggle – the roar of the crowd on the one side and the voice of your conscience on the other.” (Douglas MacArthur)

I just had surgery for an abdominal hernia this week, so I’ve been off work for five days now. I’m not supposed to lift anything heavier than ten pounds so I can’t do the work I need to do for my job or around the house. Boredom is becoming a real problem for me. I can’t stand most television shows because I’ve seen the same stories over and over again, so I’ve taken to watching YouTubeYouTube is the Wild West of media and I really enjoy hearing all sides for a change. The variety of content ranges from ancient concert videos that I wish I hadn’t missed out on as a kid to raging commentators that I would prefer to miss out on as an adult. Opinions have replaced any semblance of journalism. The roar of the crowd and clicks on the keyboard are all that matter to today’s YouTube content creators.

Having grown up in a completely different time, I worry a lot about the children of today and all the ways the internet, and more specifically YouTube, has affected their development. After nine years of working with foster children, I think I can speak truthfully when I say it’s not good. Now that I work with a bunch of teenagers in the store, I have taken it upon myself to be the voice of reason that most of these kids have never heard before. I try to help them think more clearly and not get caught up in the daily drama of life. To that end, I recently gave a print of an M.C. Escher drawing to my young female friend Payton, who is an aspiring artist herself. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Escher’s work, here’s the link to the Art.com website of the exact drawing I gave to Payton.

https://www.art.com/products/p43522251991-sa-i10180995/m-c-escher-drawing-hands.htm?upi=F8JRB90&sOrigID=51898

M.C. Escher was a phenomenal artist but to me his work was more thought-provoking than any other. He drew images that were impossible to replicate in real life and made me scratch my head in disbelief. He created scenes that cannot be explained and left me with way more questions than answers. In short, he made me think and draw my own conclusions about life and the way I viewed the world. Frankly, he could have named this exact print, “Draw your own conclusions”. This piece, titled Drawing Hands, is the perfect metaphor for the lesson I want to impart to my young friends at the store. Your life will be just as good as you draw it up to be. You are in control of your own destiny but you have to be very precise about your actions. Paying attention to detail is critical.

It takes courage to live your own life and draw your own conclusions but it is absolutely necessary for the future of this planet. The roar of the crowd has been amplified by the internet more than ever before in human history and we owe it to these children to help them sort through the maze of disinformation and corruption to find the truth that will make their lives better in every imaginable way. Personally, I would suggest listening to the voice of reason of Jesus Christ. He alone provided the best argument for a better life and a better world and He willingly gave His own life to prove His point. I would take that kind of courage of conviction any day, over the self-appointed media junkies that are so prevalent on YouTube. These people aren’t courageous and they have no real convictions other than promoting whatever idea gets them an audience.

Courage in the face of the crowd comes from within and gives your life a moral center that cannot be shaken, no matter how loud the crowd outside gets. This is the ultimate challenge in everyone’s life, go along or go alone? If you choose the path of least resistance your life might actually be easier but it won’t be more meaningful. Your self-worth as an individual is inextricably linked to your moral center and the decisions that follow will determine your destiny over time, either good or bad. Jesus never promised anybody an easy life but a good life is far more valuable to yourself and the world at large. We are all invested in life on this planet together. None of us can survive without the love and support of others. The courage that is needed to face our daily challenges comes from a deep-seated love of life and for humanity. The more courage we share with others, the more we will receive in return for ourselves. That’s a huge part of a life well-lived and one that cannot be taken lightly.

I don’t have that many years left to help this generation learn the meaning of life but I’m not going to waste any chances I get to make a difference. I’m going to keep writing this blog, giving away meaningful art and talking about courage and convictions. I want them all to know I’m here for them and they can ask me any question as long as they are willing to take the time to hear all of my thoughts on the subject and draw their own conclusions. I will never go along with the crowd just to be liked but I will always trust in my moral center to make my life meaningful. As the end of my life approaches, I will make every effort to draw that conclusion as carefully as possible and trust in Jesus to guide my hand.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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“Curiosity is the thirst of the soul.” (Samuel Johnson)

Two nuns walk into a grocery store to buy soda pop…

I know you’re waiting for the punchline but in this case there isn’t one because this really happened to me this weekend. That line is just the beginning of the explanation I wrote on the back of the receipt I kept to explain to our accounting department what I did to resolve their customer service problem. Now granted, I took some creative liberties with my explanation because accountants don’t get a lot of laughs with their work but in this case I didn’t have to try too hard to make it sound funny. Here’s the whole story for the sake of clarity.

Two nuns came into the store to buy soda pop that was on sale. English was clearly not their first language. None of the pop they bought was actually on sale under the terms we expressed in the ad. Our teenage assistant manager gave them a huge discount for no good reason and then they came to the old guy at customer service for help because they still didn’t know what they paid for and the devil is always in the details. No pun intended. Well, maybe a little. They arrived at my counter shortly after I had finished sending a large sum of money to Colombia, even though Western Union questioned the transaction as potentially fraudulent. That was thirty minutes out of my life I will never get back either but on to the nuns and the pop crisis. They showed me the cases of pop, they handed me the receipt and they pointed at the teenage assistant manager, who shall remain nameless and clueless. None of what I was given made any sense to me so I called my 17 year old manager over to explain his thought process. He didn’t have one but he wanted to keep the line moving so he gave them a heavenly discount. Hey, I’m all for nuns. As far as I’m concerned they should be running the Catholic Church but in this case the Vatican still has to answer to our accounting department and I want to keep my job. After several more minutes of consternation on my part, many blank stares from my assistant manager, prayers for intercession from the nuns and a growing crowd of customers waiting for me to solve this problem, I chose to refund their money. I started over with items that met the stated terms of the agreement, then I had my own “Come to Jesus” moment internally and finally I made them happy. I wrote my notes to accounting, gave them their pop, wished them well, had a few fatherly words of advice for my newbie manager and crossed myself. I can’t imagine what the surveillance footage looks like from that lost hour on Saturday.

As I contemplated recounting this story for all my blog readers I kept looking for a theme to explain this nunsense. Pun intended. All I can come up with is that my brain is magnetically attracted to the ridiculous. I have always been this way. When my first grade Sunday School teacher asked the class if any of us would rather be anywhere else but in the presence of God, I actually raised my hand and said,”I would rather be home watching cartoons.” Who does that? Maybe it was that exact moment that God himself took notice of me and thought, “I will show him who’s the boss around here.”

It has been one strange encounter after another for me every day of my life since. In high school, I was out one hot summer night with my best friends, John and Clark. I was wearing a pair of cut-off jean shorts, Clark’s cowboy boots and John’s leather work gloves when we got pulled over by the police. (This was years before the Village People made this a fashion statement.) As we stood in the glare of the cop’s headlights he asked me, “Why are you wearing work gloves at midnight?” My answer, “The same reason I’m wearing cowboy boots.” He looked completely dumbfounded, started laughing and let us go on our way. Who does that?

The only answer I can possibly come up with is that I have an infinite amount of fun-loving curiosity that spills out when I encounter strange and unpredictable situations. The more uncomfortable I feel, the more likely I am to say or do something completely off the wall just to get a reaction. Luckily, most of the lines I come up with are perceived as humorous by most people. The rest of them just walk away muttering about my sanity. God made me this way so it’s not really my fault and honestly I wouldn’t change it if I could. Curiosity and a sense of humor keeps me going every day. Working in customer service in a giant grocery store is the perfect place for me to encounter all kinds of people and to express my curiosity over and over again. As long as I can physically do the job, I want to keep meeting new people until God can no longer resist the temptation to call me home. When I finally get to meet my maker, I wonder what the first thing I say to him will be? Maybe I should take a note from those two nuns with me.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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“I’d love to change the world, but I don’t know what to do, so I’ll leave it up to you.” (Alvin Lee)

I work with a lot of teenagers in my job at the grocery store. Some of them I have very high hopes for like Ben, Aubrey, Shelby and Lauren. The rest of them need to study more and so to that end I would like to offer my services as professor of remedial education. Today’s lesson will be about the meaning of the word, Epiphany.

I started my current job about one year ago this week. After I left my last job working with foster kids, I had to give up my company car so I planned to walk to work at the store, given that it was only a mile from my neighborhood. And when I say neighborhood I mean exactly that, we are neighborly to a fault. Neighborly is an old word that means friendly, caring and helpful. So much so that when my neighbors found out about my new job, they threw me a party. It was fun. We drank a little and talked a lot. Or it might have been the other way around. During the course of the evening my close friend Howard had an epiphany. An epiphany is defined as a sudden intuitive insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple or commonplace experience, like drinking beer. In this neighborhood, we have a lot of epiphanies. They’re not all worthy of a blog but let’s get back to the lesson.

Howard and I have been close friends for 25 years. When I say close, I mean within 100 feet of each other because he lives right across the street from me. I also mean that friendship is very important to both of us. Howard’s epiphany was to make my life easier by giving me his old 1998 Ford pickup to drive to work. It was just sitting in the driveway for the few times he still needed a truck but often times it sat there so long it wouldn’t start so Howard intuitively realized that if I drove it every day, even two miles, it would keep the battery charged and help me out at the same time. I gladly accepted his generous offer and my life has become much easier because of his act of kindness.

I walk about 3-4 miles a day at the store so an extra 2 miles back and forth would have been tough. The truck solved my biggest problem and also enabled me to put all of my energy into learning a new job. After 6 months of proving myself to upper management, I earned the right to seek out more responsibility. Mostly, I was focused on ways to become more efficient and much less wasteful.

A significant part of my job is to give people back their money for products they don’t want or were somehow damaged. Anything that leaves the store that requires refrigeration has to be thrown out no matter what, even if it’s still cold when they give it back to me because we have no way of knowing what happened to it while it was gone. We also throw out a lot of food that has passed its expiration date as determined by the manufacturer. The waste we deal with haunts me because I know so many kids in foster care who need good food. I haven’t figured out a good way to solve that problem but when a truckload of pet food passed its expiration date I knew I had to act. I went directly to the assistant store director and asked for all of it to be donated to the local shelter. She agreed to give it away as long as I took responsibility for getting it delivered. I loaded up Howard’s truck the same day and got it to the shelter the next day. They were thrilled to say the least. Subsequently, I have delivered small American flags to a retirement home down the street from the store, several dozen flip flops to the local foster care agencies and a few hundred T-shirts to those same organizations. Without the truck I would have a much more difficult time making these donations.

Here’s what I want the children to learn from my experience. Every act of kindness has the potential to lead to more good deeds. Howard’s epiphany led directly to my realization that I could use the truck to reduce the waste at the store and provide food  for animals and clothes for children in need. Now everybody in management at the store knows they can count on me to turn waste into something useful for the needy. Dogs got fed, kids got clothes and some old vets got reminded how much we appreciate their service. It may not seem like much but it really is changing the world.

This younger generation talks about changing the world quite often but they don’t seem to know what to do. This is how you do it. Start by changing yourself. Make yourself better by being compassionate and acting on it.  Do something every day that matters to someone else. By putting the needs of others before ourselves we change the world just a little bit for the better. It’s one small step at a time with tiny acts of kindness building a foundation of goodness that will inevitably lead to a world that is always changing for the better. Everybody needs to do their part by thinking in simple ways that lead to epiphanies and to the resulting actions. If we don’t act, epiphanies aren’t worth much. My friend Howard started a chain reaction of goodness with one great epiphany and his old red truck. Now, if anybody out there has an epiphany that needs hauling please let me know. I’m ready, willing and able to help you change the world and I do know what to do.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

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“No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” (Edmund Burke)

I watched a lecture on YouTube recently that was extremely thought-provoking. The speaker started off by insulting everybody in the audience repeatedly with several discriminatory comments about them. He took it so far as to challenge one of the men to a fight on stage if he took exception with his freedom to say such things. By this point, the audience was becoming outraged and the speaker kept insulting them. Then he shifted his approach completely and apologized for everything he had said. He went on to explain his purpose for behaving in such an unacceptable way. Then it got interesting.

He fully admitted that he was trying to provoke a negative reaction from the audience by saying awful things about them and claiming his right to say whatever he wanted. His admission of guilt made them even more irate because now they knew it was deliberate. Then he asked them how they were feeling. A few of them shouted out some critical feedback and then he said he was glad they were upset and that was the whole point of his speech, to make them feel not think. He spent the rest of his time on stage explaining the critical difference between feeling and thinking and how much the media plays on our feelings and distracts us from thinking. I think he was absolutely correct.

By sensationalizing every story, the media can easily manipulate the public into believing that fear, hatred and danger are everywhere. They don’t want us to think critically about anything because then we might ask for facts to prove their hysterical headlines. Fear is their commodity and they sell it 24/7 and we line up to buy into it because feelings are much more powerful than common sense.

This speaker gave a master class in manipulation and he succeeded on every level. As I watched it play out, I kind of suspected what he was doing but I wasn’t sure until he revealed the truth. I’ve seen this same act so many times in political speeches that it’s becoming more obvious to me when it happens. It’s not just negative emotions either. Some people can manipulate with positive emotions too. I once worked with a salesman in New York City who was an expert in getting people to buy things and all the time he had them convinced it was their idea to begin with. They were eating out of his hand and did not know it at all. Luckily, he was an honest person who never used his ability to take advantage of anyone. I wish I could say the same for celebrities, politicians and the media. They are being deceitful and they are most definitely taking advantage of people.

I think the reason this works so well is basically because of the chemical reaction that takes place in the brain. Endorphins, oxytocin and adrenaline all stimulate the brain in rapid and dramatic fashion and they tend to override the brain’s ability to think clearly. These chemicals elicit strong responses, like fight or flight, while simultaneously limiting the brain’s ability to hold us back from reflexive responses. The internet based world of social media is particularly adept at feeding our craving for these strong emotional pulls. It’s the most insidious form of indoctrination ever invented. All of the major players are collecting information about us with every keystroke and they extrapolate ways to predict what kinds of content are most likely to evoke the action they want us to take. Their whole business model is predicated on getting us to buy the stuff they are selling without much thought given to those buying decisions. The more reflexive the better.

Of course, product marketing has always done this but manipulating people to vote a certain way is something quite troubling. Now we’re on the verge of becoming a society much like the one described in George Orwell’s famous book, 1984. If you can’t see the similarities, you need to read it again. America was founded on the principles of freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom from tyranny. Whenever anyone tells us what to think or what to say or what to vote for, that’s tyranny in its most evil form.

I know I have written about this subject many times but apparently my words have had little or no effect because we seem to be more afraid than ever before. Politicians aren’t  going to save us from anything. We can only do that for ourselves by continuing to think for ourselves and by holding them accountable to us. When they have to respect us as independent-minded voters then we will see an effective government that serves the public interest but first we have to stop being afraid of each other. Fear is most easily induced out of ignorance and misinformation. The only way to stop being afraid is to turn off the television, put down the phone and go talk to someone who is different than we are. What we will find out is that racism, sexism, nationalism and all the other driving forces of fear are not nearly as prevalent as we have been led to believe. What we will realize is that the vast majority of people alive today share far more similarities than differences and they want the same things we want – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Let’s take that leap of faith together as one nation that is indivisible. Fear is the poison the media spreads but courage is the antidote we can share with each other.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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“Grandpa was a carpenter.” (John Prine)

One of my favorite songwriters is John Prine. He’s not much of a singer but his lyrics are quite memorable. The first time I ever heard Grandpa was a carpenter, I thought he was writing about my own grandfather, Guy McClintick because he described him so accurately in the chorus:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Grandpa was a carpenter, he built houses, stores and banks.                                                      Chain smoked Camel cigarettes, hammered nails in planks.                                                      He was level on the level and shaved even every door.
And voted for Eisenhower because Lincoln won the war. 

As I’m writing this blog post, I’m sitting in a cabin on the property my grandfather bought in 1921. As I look out my window to the north, I see the log cabin he built in 1923 with the logs he harvested right here on the west side of Lake Margaret near Nisswa Minnesota. The original log walls are still in decent shape but the foundation, floor and roof need to be replaced for it to have any chance of making it another hundred years. I still marvel at my grandfather’s tenacity and adventurous spirit but how he ever got my grandmother to leave the city and move up here is beyond my imagination. What makes it even more incredible is that my Uncle Jim was just a baby when they moved here in the fall of 1921. They had no electricity or running water and they had to heat the house with firewood, which meant my grandfather had to start chopping wood the moment he arrived and he had to keep at it all through that first winter. Two years later he decided to build his log cabin in his spare time with a little help from a neighbor. I wonder if he realized he was building a monument?

Here’s a photograph taken today. The log walls are original but the rest has been redone once before in the 1980’s.

Log cabin.JPG

Every time I spend a week here in Minnesota, I am driven to do what I can to keep his memory alive. Mostly, I do my best to keep the forest at bay because if it’s left alone it will take back the whole place. I mow and prune and trim and rake and burn and drink beer vigorously just to show respect for all that my grandfather left for me. And since this is Father’s Day, I think it’s only fitting that I take the time to write about my grandfather, my father and me as a grandfather and a father.

I’m extremely proud of my family heritage and I will do anything to keep it going as long as I’m alive. My grandfather lived to be 82 and my dad made it to 90 by being hard workers and finding ways to make a difference every day. They were the best role models any young boy could ever ask for and I learned what it means to be a good man by eagerly watching them work. Now I get to do that with my son Thomas and my grandson Granger. Granger got his first ride on the John Deere and he grabbed the wheel right away. He’s only ten months old but he already gets it, if you want a John Deere you have to work for it.

In the history of the world, the greatest accomplishments have always been achieved by average people like my grandparents and parents. They aren’t famous but the things they achieved are monumental. My grandfather built Portview Resort with his bare hands and a lot of help of help from his friends. He was instrumental in getting electricity to this part of Minnesota in the 1930’s. He survived the Depression years with very few customers and WWII, while all his boys were away fighting for freedom. My dad almost died from malaria on Guam in the South Pacific in 1943. He made it home, married my mom and started his own printing business which led to the company he and I shared for 50 years. Life, for my grandparents and parents, was never easy but it was always good. They had faith in God and a belief that hard work always paid off in the end and they were right about all of that. That’s my inheritance and the same one I will leave for Granger and Verity and any other grandchildren I may be blessed with in the future.

I sincerely hope that all of you who are reading this today will take a moment to remember the men who gave you life, who worked hard to support you, who honored your mother and left the world better than they found it. None of us is looking for a medal for our achievements. We did those things because we all signed up to be good fathers and that’s what it takes to raise a family the right way. All the great men who have been like father figures to me have had a common theme to their lives. They found ways to serve their families, their friends and humanity in general by sacrificing themselves to the greater good. On this Father’s Day I think it’s important to say thanks to all those great men who came before me and to be reminded that I now have the same obligation to my grandchildren, to leave them a world better than I found it.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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