Archive for the ‘ Georgia On My Mind ’ Category

Fireworks!

Quite frankly, I liked it better when fireworks were illegal.

Really folks, last night was a bit over the top.

Did I say, “…last night…,” make that more like the last two weeks.

What is it with all the fireworks days and days before and after the holidays?

In Georgia, where fireworks were not sold to the public until the last 10  years or so, they are now all the rage.

It’s not just the 4th of July!

Christmas, New Years, Halloween, even Easter!

I don’t think Jesus is pleased at all!

I do remember the fireworks display at the football field in Germantown back in the day.  They were truly “ooh and aah” worthy.

Do they still have those?

It was a good time for the community to come together and coalesce around an awe inspiring patriotic display.  It was a good thing.

Fireworks date back to the Tang Dynasty of China in the 7th century.  As a matter of fact, the Chinese invented them.  I know, I thought it was rednecks too, but alas, no.

Even today, fireworks are a big part of Chinese culture, and the art of fireworks making is actually a profession there.

Back then and still today, “pyrotechnicians” are respected for the knowledge and ability to create massive fireworks displays.

When they were invented, the Chinese believed they would help to expel evil spirits, bring good luck, and create happiness.

Well, they were right on the happiness part.

And there are a lot of happy people in my neighborhood!

Fireworks were exclusively Chinese until about 1240 A.D. when the Syrians discovered the rocket type fireworks after learning from the Chinese how to make them.  One man even called them Chinese Flowers.

Some believe Marco Polo brought fireworks (as well as noodles) back to Italy after his travels.  Others claim the Spanish and Portuguese picked them UP and introduced them to the West.

That may ring true as Western Spanish cultures like Mexico, Brazil, and Central America are fireworks crazy!  When I was in Mexico 50 years ago this summer I remember being amazed at the fireworks suits worn by Oaxacans in the many festivals there. (See video below.)

In the mid 17th century, everything Chinese became all the rage in Europe, and they really took off.

Peter the Great of Russia was a real fan.  One of his ambassadors turned him on to them when he said referring to the Chinese, “They make such fireworks that no one in Europe has ever seen.”  Peter, ever the sucker for imported culture was hooked.

Now, we’re hooked.  Disney is noted for its nightly fireworks display.  And there might be a Super Bowl without the Steelers, but there can’t be a Super Bowl without a fly-over and fireworks!

Frankly, I’ve had enough for this year!  And so have the neighborhood dogs!

 

and…

Dog Days…

The Farmer’s Almanac tells us the Dog Days of Summer begin today.

I always thought they were in August, and of course, opinions differ on the subject.  With Memorial Day being the “official” first day of Summer and falling nearly a month prior to the Vernal Equinox, I suppose it’s just fine to start the Dog Days whenever you darn well please.

The Dog Days do historically start after the rising of the star Sirius.  The Greeks and Romans blamed the star for heat, drought, thunderstorms, that lazy summer malaise we often feel.  They even blamed mad dogs and bad luck on the bright star!

The Dog Days are the brightest, hottest, and most humid days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Egyptians of old saw the rising of the star as the onset of the flooding of the Nile and associated it with and the goddess Sopdet.

The consort of Sah, Sopdet was the personification of Orion a star near Sirius, and her child with Sah, the star we call Venus, was the god Sopdu, or Lord of the East.

She was the deliverer of the New Year and the flood.

Busy gal!  She also brought the Dog Days.

The term Dog Days is borrowed from the Latin “puppy days” and the Greeks’ word, Canis Majoris, which roughly translates Big Dawg.

But anyway, it’s Dog Days time.

And Dog Days, depending upon which scientist you’re conversing with last from 30 to 61 days and begin somewhere between July 3 and August 15.

Translation, it’s Summer so it’s gonna be hot!

Here in the Steamy South, it gets hot early and stays that way for a long time, so break out the fans, the coolers, and the ice-cream freezers!

Stay cool!

Daily Miracles…

This is Finley Kate Douglass, the daughter of a co-worker and friend and his wife, Jeffrey Douglass/Meredith Mauck Douglass. Finely was born at 26 weeks and weighed in at a whopping 1,5 pounds.

Miracles continue to happen with this child every day; she’s UP to 1 lb 9 ounces and is making progress. There is a Caring Bridge spot for updates, and a Go Fund Me page if you’d like to help. And of course, your prayers would be appreciated.

I contacted Jeff and Meredith and asked them to help me out with the details.

I want everyone to know about this baby, pray for this baby, and help this baby.

Below is their story thus far…

Our Story:

Meredith hadn’t been feeling as much movement from Finley all day Saturday or Sunday. so on Sunday morning, March 12th around 10:00 she decided to call her OB as she still wasn’t feeling much movement even though she had eaten a big breakfast and lay on her side for a while.

Her doctor told her to go ahead and come into L&D and get checked out to make sure everything was fine. The doctor said 90% of the time when they get these calls it turns out to be nothing but they always like to check just to make sure.

Meredith kept thinking she was overreacting and that she was going to get hooked up to the monitor and see Finley moving around like crazy.

We arrived 11:30, Mere was hooked up to the monitor and heard Finley’s precious heart beat right away so they assumed everything was fine.

About 30 minutes later the nurse came in and said it seems that your baby is “sleepy” so we are going to give you some IV fluids to see if she perks up and do an ultrasound to check her growth. A little bit of concern came over us but we were still hearing Finley’s heartbeat on the monitor so we weren’t too concerned.

After a full bag of fluids Finley didn’t perk up and the ultrasound was showing her growth at 24.5 weeks instead of 26 weeks. Their doctor came in and said that they were keeping Meredith overnight and most likely a lot longer than that.

The doctor informed us that there was definitely something going on with our little girl that wasn’t normal.

She told us that the maternal fetal specialist group that they work with was going to come and do another ultrasound to see what the blood flow through the umbilical cord looked like and recheck her growth.

During the ultrasound with the specialist Meredith knew something was really wrong. The specialist took over doing the ultrasound from the tech and looked around and then left the room. She came back a few minutes later and told the tech to just take minimum measurements and be done. The specialist doctor came back in and told us the blood flow through our little girl’s umbilical cord was reverse end diastolic flow.

They had two options on the table. 1. Wait it out and try and get at least 24 hours of steroids to help boost Finley’s lungs and development but run the risk of her passing away. 2. Go ahead and do an emergency C-section and take Finley right away. They decided to go ahead and do the emergency C-section in hopes that she would be able to grow more safely outside the womb and mitigate the risk of her passing in Meredith’s stomach.

Finley Kate Douglass was born at 5:50 PM weighing just 1.5 lbs. The NICU team took her away immediately and began their treatment. Since Finley has been born she has seen plenty of ups and downs which is pretty typical of babies born at 26 weeks.

She had a grade 4 brain bleed on day 3 which is the most severe grade of bleed. The doctors don’t know the effects of it and won’t know the full effects of it for years.

The big prayer request was for healing of the brain and for all the fluid and blood to be able to drain properly and not cause swelling in her head. Mere and Jeff We recently received news that by God’s grace there is no swelling in Finley’s head and it appears that she is healing well from the bleed. Finley continues to improve day by day and that is exciting to see.

Her lungs, stomach, and heart all seem to be getting stronger and developing well also.

God is so good and it is amazing to see His work throughout all of this.

Jeff and Meredith Douglass

Hey, it’s me again:  If you’d like to help, feel free to reach out to me via email.  up@rednecklatte.com

 

There’s Always One

Seventy-four years ago today, the United States declared war on the Empire of Japan.  The day before, December 7, 1941, the Japanese had bombed the US Navy Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i, as well as Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

Nine hours earlier, the United Kingdom declared war on the Land of the Rising Sun – partially due to the attacks on their territories, but mostly due to Winston Churchill’s promise to declare war “within the hour” of a Japanese attack on the US.

The American nation entered into the fray of World War II with the vote after President Franklin Roosevelt declared December 7th a day that would “live in infamy,” and requested the declaration of war.

The Senate acting rapidly – a true Unicorn, I know – passed the bill 82 to 0.

The House of Representatives followed a few hours later with a vote of 388 to 1.

Yep, there’s always one.

Jeannette Rankin, a pacifist, the first woman elected to Congress, and a Republican, cast the only vote against the decision to go to war.

Rankin

There were hisses from the gallery of the great hall, and her colleagues asked that she change or abstain so the resolution could be unanimous.  But, she held her ground, stating that “…as a woman, I can’t go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else.”

After the vote, an angry mob followed her from the Capitol building and she took refuge in a telephone booth (…please tell me I don’t have to do a blog post on telephone booths…) until the Capitol Police could rescue her!

Phone booth

Two days later when the vote to declare war against the rest of the Axis powers, Germany and Italy came to the floor, Rankin did abstain; her nine female colleagues voted in favor.

So, who was this lone wolf, this dissenter, this pacifist?

Rankin was the first woman elected to Congress in the United States.  Hailing from the state of Montana, Rankin’s campaign was funded by her wealthy and influential brother, also a Republican, who travelled with her as she crossed the sparsely populated state rallying support at train station, city streets, potluck suppers, and in school houses.

It paid off; she won by 7,000 votes!

Forgive me, but we need to jump back in time to explain Jeannette a tad.

Taking over at home when her mother became too ill to care for her seven children, Jeannette became a surrogate mom, sewing their clothes, caring for her complaining mother, and playing nurse to her father when he was dying of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Her brother, Wellington, took over the finances of the family.

Struggling to make a life of her own and a mediocre student, she partied her way to a degree in biology at the University of Montana.  Squeaking by in school, always one for a good time and financially set, she had plenty of suitors, but announced early on she had no plans to be a “baby factory’ like her mother.

Refusing to marry, she reached for the political stars and said, “I saw that if we were to have decent laws for children, sanitary jails, and safe food supplies, women would have to vote.”

Her time in Congress wasn’t lonely; Fiorello LaGuardia, freshman Congressman and future mayor of New York City, made it clear that if she’d have him, he’d marry her.  Realizing married women had few rights, she opted to stay single.

When elected, she said, “I may be the first woman member of Congress, but I won’t be the last.”  During her first term, the State of Montana abandoned the “at large” seats for Congress and created two districts, her turf was heavily populated with Democrats, and she lost her seat.

She was re-elected in 1940.  Her two terms in office occurred with US entry in to both the Great War and World War II.

In 1917, she joined 50 other Congressmen (and 5 Senators) to vote against the US entry into World War I, saying then, “I wish to stand for my country, but I cannot vote for war.”  Many, many years later in an interview, she stated, “…I felt the first time the first woman had a chance to say no to war, she should say it.”

The Speculator Mine disaster occurred during her first term leaving 168 miners dead and bringing on a strike and protest.  Her intervention was met with silence by the mining companies and her proposed legislation failed.

Rankin was a driving force in the suffragist movement in the US – when she was elected, unrestricted universal enfranchisement for women didn’t exist.

In 1918 she opened the debate in Congress for a Constitutional amendment granting suffrage to women, which passed in the House but was defeated by the Senate.   But, in 1919, the resolution passed both chambers and became the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; her vote of Yea made her the only woman to ever vote to give women the right to vote.

Though all of her initiatives failed while she was there, most eventually became law.

While out of Congress, she lived in Georgia on a farm with neither electricity nor plumbing.  She traveled the nation stumping for the Women’s Peace Union and the National Council for the Prevention of War.  She founded the Georgia PEACE Society (not be confused with the Georgia PEACH Society) which died a quick death with the onset of World War II.

She stayed busy between terms, working as a lobbyist and field secretary for several political organizations.

At the age of 60, she was re-elected to the House defeating an incumbent anti-Semite in the primary, and a former representative in the general election.  While in Congress, she was appointed to several committees.

All other accomplishments aside, she’s known as the lone wolf who opposed our declaration of war on Japan.  There were probably a hundred or so others who would have liked to do the same, but pressure from home and peers prohibited their courage.

In 1943, during the midst of the great world conflict that would see the fall of Japan and Germany, she decided not to seek re-election and was succeeded by Democrat Mike Mansfield.

Over the next two decades she became a world traveler with several visits to India where she studied Gandhi’s pacifist teachings.

As the peace movement of the 1960s arose, Rankin was an inspiration to many.  The war in Viet Nam brought her to the spotlight and in 1968, the Jeannette Rankin Brigade, a coalition of women’s peace groups, organized an anti-war march in D.C.

It was the largest march by women since the 1913 woman’s suffrage parade.  Rankin led 5,000 marchers from Union Station to the US Capitol.  They presented a peace petition to the Speaker of the House, John McCormack of Massachusetts who couldn’t find a shredder fast enough!

Not happy with the way things were going in 1972, Rankin – in her nineties – toyed with the idea of a third campaign for a House seat.  Her health wouldn’t allow her to continue.

Rankin at 93

Rankin died at 93 in Carmel, California.  She left her estate, including the severe farm in Georgia, to help “mature, unemployed women workers.”

Her foundation eventually became The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund which awards annual educational scholarship to low-income women 35 and older.  The Fund has awarded $1.8 million scholarships to more than 700 women since her death.

Though many then and now disagreed with her vote back in 1941, history tells us that reasoning never wavered, her stance never changed, and her goal was very clear.

Although her pacifism and feminism have brought her dangerously near deification, we must admit, she was a lonely voice in a wilderness against war.