Archive for January 2012

A Letter from Jourdan Anderson to Col. PH Anderson

January 31, 2012

I just read the most amazing letter! Okay. It’s probably not the most amazing letter ever written. There have been some truly incredible letters written in the past, but this one does deserve mention. This is one of those things that I would love to print out and share with so many people, but it would probably get me shot and/or stabbed. Fortunately, kind readers, I don’t have to worry about that from you!

The letter is from Jourdan Anderson to Col. PH Anderson. Here’s a little background. The date is 1865. The Civil War has just ended a few months before. Col. PH Anderson served in the Confederate army. He lived in Big Spring, Tennessee, where he had owned slaves. One of those slaves was Jourdan Anderson. Since the Emancipation Proclamation was declared in 1862 and stated that all slaves from places of rebellion would be freed upon presenting themselves to the Union army beginning January 1, 1863. Jourdan Anderson was declared officially free in 1864, and he had paperwork from the army’s Department of Nashville stating as much.

It seems that Col. Anderson kindly requested Jourdan and his family to return to Big Spring to work on his farm. Jourdan responded by stating that he and his family were quite happy in Ohio. His children were receiving an education. He was earning good wages (more than the army paid white enlisted men at any time during the war). He responded that he would be happy to return to the man who had held his family in slavery and tried to shoot him twice on a few conditions. He wanted to make sure that he would be paid at least as well as he was in Ohio. He wanted to be sure his children could attend a school in Big Spring. He also said that he expected back pay for the time he and his wife had spent working as slaves in return for considering Col. Anderson’s offer of employment. His calculations for his thirty-two years and his wife’s twenty years of labor would amount to $11,680 plus interest. He asked that this be forwarded to him through an attorney in Dayton, OH.

In case you’re wondering, that’s $172,026.09 plus interest adjusted for inflation according to the Consumer Price Index estimates I was able to find for 1865. I’m pretty sure that told Col. Anderson where he could stick his offer! If only I could show this letter to some of my die-hard pro-southern friends, who for some reason find a need to try to cast a positive light on slavery!

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Beware the Deer

January 30, 2012

This past weekend was the annual Youth ski trip. This year, we went to Winterplace in Ghent, WV. For lodging, we stayed at Pipestem State Resort Park in cottages. Pipestem is about ten or fifteen miles from Winterplace as the crow flies. It’s a forty-five minute trip as the Big Blue Bible Buggy drives, though. Still, once the sleeping accommodations were worked out, there was no complaining.

Out the back door of the boys’ cabin was a small deck about a foot and a half off the ground. Beyond the deck was a ten foot clearing, then trees. The trees only went for about 40 feet to the left half of the cabin before there was another clearing for the golf course. To the right half was the beginning of a deep, wooded ravine. Saturday morning, one of the boys went out on the deck and said there were deer. I went out to take a look, and over the next couple of minutes, a group of twelve deer started appearing from the golf course in pairs. They rummaged through the leaves looking for food and paying no mind to the fact that they were being watched. One of the boys who had come outside went back in, then came out again with a cinnamon roll. He tossed it out into the leaves. Two of the deer moved closer to the deck and started digging through the leaves to see what was dropped. We all went inside before seeing if it was found.

The next morning, I walked out onto the deck as the sun was coming up. There were three deer just past the tree line. They started moving to the right as more deer came into the trees from the golf course. When there were seven deer present, they started moving up to the edge of the clearing around the deck. They stood there staring at me. They didn’t move. They didn’t look for food through the leaves as they had the morning before. They just stared. Eventually, four more deer came off the golf course and within a few minutes, all eleven deer were standing in the trees at the very edge of the clearing, doing nothing but staring at me. After a few minutes, it got to be too much for me to handle. I went back in and shut the curtains.

I learned a very valuable lesson this weekend. Never feed the deer. You’ll just end up feeling like you’re living in a Stephen King novel.

Positivity

January 26, 2012

I tend to look at the world and see what can be. This seems to annoy people.

Some people think that I’m an optimist. They usually call themselves “realists” when they are, in reality, pessimists. I don’t see the world through rose-colored glasses. I leave that stuff for the Emerald City. I see hungry people. I see war. I see depression. I’m not some Pollyanna, going through life thinking everything is perfect. No. I see what can be.

If you put half a glass of a liquid in front of me, I won’t say it’s half full or half empty. Instead, I’ll say it’s half a glass and demand the rest of my beer.

I tend to believe in people. When I meet someone, I tend to look for the positive side of them. He may come off as mean, but he’s extremely loyal to his friends. Maybe she watches every reality TV show in existence, but she helps care for her grandparents. Mary Sunshine sings that “there’s a little bit of good in everyone,” and that “although you’ll meet rats, they’re not complete rats.”

I’m no Mary Sunshine, although I do have the vocal range. I also see that people aren’t perfect. I just try to look at them as a whole person instead of writing them off for their faults. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to be their best friend. (At least, I hope for their sake that I’m not the best friend they have.) It just means that if you ask me about them, I won’t give the “She’s an awful person” that you expect.

The same goes for situations. Getting lost in the woods is a chance to get some extra fresh air, exercise and peace, as long as you stop griping about it. Honestly, it’s 2012. If we keep walking in the same direction, we’re going to find a road pretty soon. I think things out. I rarely panic, and I show it even less.

I wake up in the morning and decide it’s another day that I get to live. I get off work and decide it’s going to be a good evening. Sure, I have days when I feel good and days when I feel bad. If you put a full glass of beer in front of me, I’ll be feeling better, no matter which it was!

 

**On an unrelated note, I’ve just been informed that this is my fiftieth entry on this blog.**

Protected: The Guide To Dating Good Guys

January 23, 2012

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I’m back… for now…

January 23, 2012

I haven’t posted since April of last year. Since then, I’ve worked on three drafts that I haven’t completed.¬† I have no idea how often I’ll post now, but I just needed a chance to write to get some things off of my head. What will probably be the next couple of posts are just what’s running through my mind right now. At least one will have coarse¬† language and raw emotion. Normally, I would password protect that, but I don’t much feel like it today. (I may go back later and do that though.*) For those of you who follow me, hi. It’s good to be read again. For those of you who don’t get notifications of my posts, you probably quit looking for updates long ago. Sorry for your loss on the excellent writing to come.

*I password protected it. Since I have a link here from facebook now, I thought it best. If you want the password, just let me know, and I’ll probably give it to you!