Where Did Our Beloved America Go?

A Democracy forged in the fire of human discontent

and molded into an enduring symbol of freedom.

A Republic founded on the highest of human ideals

to aggressively defend against tyranny and oppression

that may come from within our borders and far beyond.

A country of immigrants from every corner of the world

who always held true to the promise for others that came.

A land of hope cradled between two shinning seas

where anything no matter how improvable was possible,

where dreams that seemed impossible could be realized.

A nation full of people who are stronger and better

only when they elect to embrace their great diversity,

and not only celebrate their differences, but relish in them.

The home of a grand lady with a torch standing in a busy harbor,

a bold monument to the virtues and principles of freedom itself,

a profound testament to what our great country proudly stands for,

a welcoming sight for those desperately seeking a flicker of hope,

for those yearning to be free from persecution and oppression,

for those seeking a new beginning in a more accepting place.

 

Please! Please! tell me where did our beloved America go?

How did we go from tearing down walls in other nations

to erecting these unwelcoming monuments in our own backyard?

How did we go from being the leader of the free world

to putting people from neighboring countries in metal cages?

How did we go from being the world’s defender of democracy

to separating small children from their families at our borders?

How did we lose our civility and our national sense of purpose

to become repugnant provocateurs of ignorance and intolerance?

Today one small child cries for their mother on our border.

Tomorrow we mourn in silence for a great nation,

that once was the focal point of democracy in the world,

that once set the example for other nations to follow,

that once stood as the standard-bearer for freedom everywhere.

Please! Please! tell me will our beloved America ever return?

For The Students Standing Up Against Gun Violence In Their Schools

To all the students that are walking out to take a stand on and seek action on gun violence, I would like to say that every American in this country should be proud of you. Your voices are those that should and must be heard on this issue. You are the ones that must attend our schools and you have an absolute right to be safe in them, no matter what must to be done to achieve it. Do not allow anyone to deny your voice, do not allow anyone to dissuade you from lending your voice to not just the cause of your lifetime, but the greatest good of your lives. Your voices, your tears, and your anger over the senseless death and human carnage these school shootings have caused across this country must be heard, so do not be afraid to shout from every city, town, and village in this country “this must stop now.” Your voices hold the promise that students coming behind you will not have to hide in terror while gun shots ring out in their school, watch as the bodies of friends and teachers are carried from their school with tears of abject terror and sorrow running down their cheeks. Your voices hold the promise that not one more parent will have to stand over the coffin of a child contemplating the life that could have been had it not been for a gunman with too few screws, too many bullets, and the means to turn a school into a war zone. Your voices hold the promise to give voice to all the young people that have been silenced by gun violence in our schools. Your voices hold the promise of a tomorrow when the halls of our nation’s schools will once again hold only memories of the hopes and dreams of those who pass through them, not the memories of bodies, blood, and tears that fell on them or the screams of terror and rapid gunfire that echoed through them one day shattering the lives of many in an instant and forever engraving a horrific memory in the minds of those who survived. You hold the promise of a better tomorrow, so young people be loud, be proud, and make your voices heard every damn chance you get.

Written by Kim Morrison

Someone Up There has Got To Love Us

I wrote this piece for a thought provoking college class I am currently taking on Faith and Salvation online at Saint Leo University. I do not know yet what grade I will get on it, but I figured it was worth sharing with my readers up here.

 

Will man be saved by God? Who will be saved by God? Is one of the Catholic faith more likely to be saved by God than a Lutheran, a Presbyterian, or someone from another faith? Can a simple man who believes in God and occasionally reads the revealed word, but elects not to be connected to any church be saved by God? Would God even bother to try to save a true atheist or a non-believer in God and Heaven? Is there a way for a man to receive the grace of God and be saved and welcomed into God’s Kingdom on his own? I think any man, even those in Godly robes with full knowledge of the revealed word, that thinks he can answer these questions unequivocally to an absolute certainty is exhibiting a level of human audacity, so grand in dimension and size that even God himself is stunned by it. I have no absolute proof, just as no one else does about salvation, but I believe every time our human minds entertain questions which are purely in the hands of the divine one, God is sitting on his throne in heaven with his hand on his forehead going oy vey these wondrous creatures that I have created in my own image cannot even understand what is in their own hearts and minds, yet they presume to know what is in their creators heart and mind based only on those I spoke to or through centuries ago. However, I do believe despite it all that God loves us though and like a mother of many children, God is most protective of the creation, no matter how imperfect or screwed up, that is most like him. I do not believe “man set himself against God and sought to attain his goal apart from God,” because I do not believe there was a deliberate conscious effort on the part of humans to go against the creator. Any appearance that we set ourselves against God must be considered either a thoughtless action on our part or at the very worst an act of hubris in ourselves without regard to God. Pride or hubris is one of the seven deadly sins, but it is one of the sneakier sins because we often do not know it has a hold of us until it is too late. God knows all too well about man’s inclination toward sin because we have failed, starting with Adam, every test he has thrown in front of us, but God also has the wisdom to know that our inclination to sin is equaled with our inclination to do great good.

If we are truly all God’s children and he is our father in heaven as we have often been taught, he must forgive us of our sins for it is not within in a true father to stop loving, to stop caring, to stop being father. It is a job that never ends and with that job comes a lot of worry, pain, and sacrifice and the best any father can hope for, be he God or human, are a few fleeting moments of joy and pride in the being or beings born from the seed he planted.  I do not care whether you are Catholic, Baptist, or whatever, or you never go to church, or what nonsense you believe in, or think you know.  If he is a true father, “our father who thou art in heaven” will not forsake us because it is not in the nature or soul of a true father to do so. Our father will try to illuminate the path to heaven for us all, he will try to save us all if he can, and he will try keep us all from falling into the clutches of Satan’s grip because a true father will protect and defend his children to the end. Unfortunately, just because our father has the will and desire to try and save us all does not mean he will be able to do so. The desire and will to do something even if heaven sent does guarantee thy will be done or achieved. A baby growing in the womb of a mother is not guaranteed life in this world, so how could we expect our father in heaven, no matter how great and wonderful he is, to guarantee us ascension to heaven in the next life. We all know that natural life from start to finish holds no guarantees, so why would you think be you Catholic, Protestant, or a simple man with a deep abiding belief in God above think that a place in heaven is guaranteed to you. God, our father in heaven, does not guarantee us eternal life in his heavenly kingdom.  God merely offers us the promise of eternal life in his Kingdom if we manage to get there through his will and desire.

If it is all dependent on God’s will and desire, what role does the church or organized religion play? They are all well-worn pathways to realizing that promise, but it cannot be the only one otherwise far too many would be left out. If he were to select only Catholics, that would leave all the Protestants and Jews out. If were to select only those who attend some church, he would leave out all those who do not attend any kind of church. A loving forgiving father would not leave so many of his children out in the cold, so there must be other ways he can save them, to help them realize his promise. As our reading states, “the scriptures tell men that God wants everyone saved.” Whether it is a “supernatural salvation” God just grants to his non-Christian or non-believing children or he has some plan or some other way beyond man’s comprehension to save us, a pathway to realize his promise must exist for us all. As we have read, we are all afflicted with the burden of the “original sin,” so through no fault of our own we are all on the road to perdition from the moment we are born. If this is true, there must be more ways off that road. It cannot be all exclusive to one faith, like the Catholic Saints we have read have tried to convince us of for our father in heaven would not want one half or three quarters of his children to perish in the flames of hell just because they do not subscribe to the idea that a wise exalted old fellow in a funny hat is the only one that holds the keys to heaven gate.

I haven’t been to Sunday services in a church in decades, but sitting behind me on my book shelf right at this moment rests several different Bibles. Do I believe every word in the Bible? Absolutely not because literal interpretations of that wonderful book causes people do stupid appalling things in the heavenly father’s name.  God is wonderful, God is great, God loves us and forgives us for our trespasses, but not even divine intervention can fix certain kinds of stupid. Do I believe in God? You bet I do because one not believing in God is far to frightening to contemplate. Two, if any creature on earth ever needed a divine Sheppard to watch over them, it is man because no creature on earth is more hell bent on their own destruction than man. Three, only God could help us make sense of this beautiful chaos we call life. We can only pray that one day we will get the chance to stand in the light of our heavenly father and receive the answers to all the questions religious wars have been fought over, the answers that have always been just out of our minds reach, the answers that have at times both mystified our minds and tortured our mortal souls.

My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

I remember a Christmas growing up in the mountains of upstate New York when things were hard, money was shorter than usual, and my father was not around much. As we approached Christmas that year, it looked like my mother and I were not even going to have a Christmas tree. I was only about twelve or thirteen that year, but the idea of not having a Christmas tree that year just didn’t set well with me, so without my mother knowing I got up early one morning and gathered up a hand saw and my father’s double-bladed axe. It had snowed the night before and it was very cold as it usually was up there that time of year. However, I was determined to have a Christmas tree one way or another, so I trudged through about four inches of snow into the woods behind my house with the saw in one hand and a double-bladed axe over my shoulder.  Even being bundled up good I was getting cold, so I knew I had to find a tree soon. The best tree I could find was a tall oddly thick pine tree. I could not use the whole tree because it was too tall, so I climbed half way up the tree carrying the handsaw and cut the top off. I tossed the saw down just before I cut through it all the way and pushed the tree top with my shoulder just enough to make it crack and tumble to the ground. When I got down, I tied the saw and axe on the tree with a piece of rope I had stuck in my pocket and dragged my Christmas tree through the snow to my house about a mile or so away. I was really freezing by the time I got back and my hands because I had to remove my gloves to use the saw felt like they were not far from frostbite, so I went in to get warm and to pull out the tree stand. I told my mother I got tree and she looked at it from the window and said, “I do not think that old pine tree is going to work because the needles are going to fall off quicker.” I said, “I guess will just have to make it last somehow.” After warming back up, I went back outside and shaved the trunk flat, brought it in the house, and stood it up in the tree stand. I looked at it and thought well at least my tree looks better than “Charlie Brown’s.” We decorated the pine tree with just about every decoration and light we had that year and it wound up being one of the best Christmas trees we have ever had and the aspirins we put in the tree water did make those needles stay on into the next year. We didn’t have much more than my “Charlie Brown Christmas tree,” but it still wound up being very special Christmas because we made our own Christmas that year.

When we think about Christmas we need to realize that it isn’t just about Santa Clause, presents, or even Jesus Christ, but about tradition. It is about doing those things your family has always done despite what is going on in your life, the passage of time, or the loss of loved ones and friends along the way. The traditions you follow may seem trivial, or unimportant to anyone else, but they are what makes your holiday season special to you. The little things people and families do every Christmas is where the spirit of this season comes from. I make a Christmas cookie from a recipe that has been in my family for a hundred years around every Christmas. I certainly do not need the cookies because I am diabetic, but it is one of the smells of Christmas I remember as child when my mother made them and others. I have Christmas bulbs on my tree now that have hung on my families Christmas tree since my birth and I am fifty-six years old. They say people are usually a little kinder and gentler this time of year. If you believe that they are, it is not just because it is Jesus’s birthday, but because of all of us following our traditions during this special season and doing the things our families have always done for years. The sights, sounds, smells and everything that is wonderful about this holiday are born out of the traditions of families.  Santa Clause is alive in the hearts of small children and the spirit of Christmas is alive and well in the hearts of many during this season because of things big and small that families throughout history have always done. We make this wonderful season what it is to us by the little things we do every year. It doesn’t take much to make a Christmas special or memorable. Sometimes all it takes is a “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.”

 

Once we Were the Greatest of Friends

Once we were the greatest of friends

We enjoyed each other’s company

We could talk to each other for hours

We talked about anything and everything

Nothing was off limits or sacred between us

I used to love to make you laugh and smile

I never thought you did enough of either

You once said that we had a special connection

I thought nothing could ever come between us

I thought you would always be a part of my life

I thought we would be friends until the end

I cared for you to the very depths of my soul

I came to love you for unique reasons

Your difficult life made me crazy with worry

Your silence only served to make that worse

I would wonder if you were hurt or dead

I foolishly tried to be your everything

knowing full well that was impossible

but that did not keep me from trying

because you were always worth it to me

 

Once we were the greatest of friends

You once said you had a big heart

but there was no room in it for me

You must hate me to your very core

You knew nothing would hurt me more

than to leave me writhing in confusion

behind your unrelenting wall of silence

forever to wonder if you are dead or alive

silently praying that your life got less scary

because I will never stop caring about you

I refuse to give up on you like others have

You and others may think me a fool

but realize that I do not have it in me

to do to you what you are doing to me

I truly hope you are in a better place now

and nothing but good ever comes to you

I hope you find everything you seek in life

 

 

Maybe someday before I take my final journey

you will realize the kind of friend you had in me

Hopefully someday you will find a way to forgive me

for being crazy enough about you to foolishly believe

that I could fill all the voids and vacuums in your life

that others deliberately caused or callously left behind

Perhaps someday you will finally come to understand

that I did this because I believed you were far better

than the sum of all your mistakes and bad judgements.

When I looked at you I never saw just another woman

who had simply been ravaged by life and left broken

I saw what I believed was a “Masterpiece Undefined”

Alas maybe I am nothing more than a crazy blind dreamer

stumbling through life seeing only the very best in people

daring to believe that I can make them see what I see.

 

 

 

 

 

Why My Mother?

Dear God

Why did you have to pick her?

Why did you have to take my mom so soon?

Why did she have to go to heaven now?

It just hurts so bad not having her here.

Every time I think about everything she is going to miss

tears flow from my eyes like rain running off a tin roof.

My mother will not get to be here for my wedding.

She will never get to meet all of her grandchildren

or get to see some of them grow up even a little.

I miss her so bad and I need her now more than ever.

Why now God? Why my mother?

 

 

Dear Michelle

Despite what you may might have heard

or seen in those silly horror movies,

there is no pattern or order to death.

Who is selected and when they are selected

is purely by chance, not some grand design.

If you were suddenly dropped in the middle

of the largest most beautiful flower garden

and you were allowed to pick just one

which flower would you pick and why?

Chances are you would seek out and choose  

a captivating flower that beckoned your gaze.

A stunningly unique and wonderful flower,

with a divine strength and beauty that captures

not just the best of your world, but all it is capable of.  

 

Guess Who’s Bringing The Chicken

  Guess Who’s Bringing The Chicken

A play in two acts

By Kim Morrison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                        Characters

Harry Morrison      A tall lean man with cold blue eyes who is a bit of a trickster.

Ward Wilsey           A fat beady eyed man of very limited intelligence

Frank Simpson        A short dirty, but wealthy little fellow wearing round spectacles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guess Who’s Bringing The Chicken By Kim Morrison

 

 

 

The play takes place during the early fall of 1935, give or take a year or so, in the small town of Cairo up in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.  We fade in on a close up of two men driving home from a county work project in their Model “A” Ford truck.  The driver is Harry, “Hank” Morrison a tall lean man with chiseled facial features and cold blue eyes.  His manner is always cool and deliberate, no matter the situation, but he is also a very clever trickster and a masterful liar.  The passenger is Ward Wilsey a tall heavyset man of very limited intelligence with beady brown eyes that look as though they would touch each other, if it were not for the large nose in the middle of his face preventing it.  His manner is amiable and good-natured even when he is drunk, which is usually most of the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACT 1

Scene 1

 

(We fade into to Harry and Ward going down a rural country road in upstate New York in Harry’s Model “A” truck.  Harry is at the wheel as usual and Ward, as usual, has already had a good snoot full of hard cider that Harry always kept a jug of in his truck.)

 

WARD

Ain’t it about time for the yearly town supper Hank?

HARRY

As a matter of fact it is Ward.  The boys have decided to have it this weekend.

WARD

How come you didn’t tell me sooner?

HARRY

I did, I told you over two weeks ago.

WARD

Well I don’t remember.

HARRY

Well maybe you weren’t paying attention when I told you.

WARD

I know I would have remembered something as important as that.

HARRY

Oh, bull!  You suck up so much of my hard cider every day you wouldn’t remember what day it was, if there were only three days in a week.

 

(Ward mumbles, leans back in his seat, shuts his eyes, and dozes off.  After a brief pause, the audience hears a clucking noise and Ward wakes up abruptly.)

WARD

Wha… What was that you said Hank?  I didn’t quite hear you.

HARRY

(With a slight grin on his face)

Why I haven’t uttered a word Ward, you better quit pulling on that hard cider jug of mine; you’re starting to hear things.

WARD

Damn it Hank!  I know I heard something.  I thought it was you.

HANK

Well maybe you heard something rattle on the truck.  My truck is getting kind of old you know.

WARD

I reckon that could be.

 

(Once again, Ward leans back, closes his eyes, and briefly dozes off.  The audience hears the clucking noise more clearly and it sounds like some kind of animal.  Once again, Ward wakes up.

 

WARD

Huh! What was that you said Hank?  I didn’t quite catch it.

HANK

(Grinning like the proverbial cat that just ate the canary)

Now Ward, if you keep going on like this, I’m going to have to carry you over to old Doc Parson’s.  You’re starting to sound like a man on the edge.

WARD

Now goddamn you Hank!  I ain’t going crazy.  I could have sworn you said something to me.

HANK

(Still grinning)

Now I know you’ve been pulling hard on that jug today because I haven’t said one word.

 

 

WARD

I’ve had a few snorts today, but I ain’t drunk.

 

(Once again, the audience hears what sounds like a clucking noise over the sound of the engine and so does Ward, but he clearly does not know what to make of it.)

 

WARD

(In a more hushed voice)

Did you hear that?

HANK

What?

WARD

I think you got some varmints in your truck Hank.

HANK

(Grinning)

What kind of varmints?

WARD

How in the hell should I know what kind of varmints?  It’s your truck.

HANK

(With more of a smile than a grin)

Well Jesus jumped up Christ Ward!  First, you are hearing voices.  Now you are hearing varmints.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with you.

WARD

Do you mean to tell me you didn’t hear that noise?

 

 

 

 

 

HANK

(Still Grinning)

I haven’t heard a thing.  I am glad we’re almost to your place because if I have to listen to any more of your nonsense, I’m going to get as wacky as you are.

WARD

(With an irritated expression Ward Folds his thick arms and turns toward the door window)

I ain’t crazy neither.

WARD

(After a long pause)

Hey Hank!  Where did you go during lunch today?

HARRY

Oh!  I had a little chore to tend to.

 

(Harry turns up into Wards steep driveway with a bump and a jerk)

WARD

(Before opening the door)

Are you going to pick me up and bring me to the town supper tomorrow?

HARRY

Well I suppose so, if you don’t mind riding with varmints.

WARD

Oh!  What was I supposed to bring for the supper?

HARRY

You and old Frank Simpson are contributing the chickens this year and I am bringing a pig to roast.

 

 

WARD

(Surprised)

Frank Simpson!  Why that old skin flint ain’t never brought a thing to any of these town suppers.  What in the hell makes you think this year will be any different?

HARRY

(With a slight chuckle)

Well let’s just say a little birdie told me that he was going to be a bit more charitable this year.

 

ACT II

(It is the day of the town supper and about three quarters of the people of Cairo and the surrounding area are there gathered around the crudely made picnic tables set end to end in rows of five.  The tables are covered with everything from linen sheets to hand made bedspreads.  There is every kind of meat you can think of, cooking over a pit filled with a bed of cherry red coals.  However, the aroma of fresh pork and chicken turning on spits is the most prevalent.  The first person to join in the food part of the festivities is old Frank Simpson.  Despite the fact that he was one of the wealthier individuals in that area, Simpson always looked like he never washed, and could be best described as a dirty little man who wore small round spectacles.)

 

FRANK

(looking over all the food)

Boy!  Everything looks so good this year I don’t know what to try first.

HARRY

(watching Frank)

Why don’t you tear a piece off that chicken on the end right there?  It looks nice and plump.

FRANK

By God I think you’re right Hank that chicken there does look like it might be just a bit tastier than the rest; I think, I will try some.

 

(Frank fills his plate, sits down next to Ward and Harry, and begins to gnaw on a chicken leg.)

FRANK

(After chewing the last piece of meat off the bone)

My goodness that was the finest chicken I have ever tasted.  I can’t remember when I had better, Hank.

HANK

(With a huge smile and talking loud, enough to be heard by everybody seated there)

Well it ought to be Frank.  It was one of your prize winning laying hens.

 

(There was a loud roar of laughter that shook the tables.  Some people laughed so hard they choked on their food while others just rolled off the picnic tables.)

 

FRANK

(Waving his fists violently in the air)

Damn you Hank!  Damn you all!

(Frank exits mumbling and cursing)

 

WARD

(With a smile)

Well I reckon I won’t be hearing any more varmints in your truck Hank?

HARRY

(With an even more devilish smile)

Well not for a spell anyway Ward, not for a spell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evil Has Many Faces

Why do you come now?

Why do you besiege me

with your fowl unholy presents?

You are the Prince of Darkness,

the keeper of tormented souls,

you are Satan himself are you not?

 

Oh  call me what you wish!

History has seen fit to adorn me

with many provocative names

and I detest each one of them.

For they perpetuate the myth

that every bit of the world’s evil

springs directly from my loins.

 

Why do you come now?

Why do you torment me?.

I have been a great man of God.

I spread his word with relentless zeal

wielding the sword of righteousness

toward all I deemed evil and wicked.

 

Why I have come to take you home.

You have been a fantastic disciple.

Few have served our cause better.

You have made the worst sins

tolerable to the great masses.

Cloaking evil under Godly robes

was a masterful work of genius.  

 

No!  No!  This cannot be?

God has spoken through me.

I have been his earthly conduit.

I am one of God’s chosen people.

I devoutly followed his teachings

and actively preached his word.

 

 You perverted God’s so called revealed word

into a twisted rendition of your own creation.

You stoked the fears of the ignorant into a inferno

and reaped all you could from the true believers.

You have spawned a most delicious type of hatred.

One that will continue to bear fruit for years to come.

Evil has many faces, but none more hideously vile

than those who hide behind the curtain of religion.       

A Special Thanks To Aunts and Uncles

There are days on our calendars that celebrate both mothers and fathers, but none to celebrate Aunts or Uncles, yet the positive influence or impact just one good aunt or uncle, willing and able to take the time, can have on a nephew or niece could never be overstated and should never be overlooked. We loved our aunts and uncles when we were little because in many cases we were the focus of their attention when we were around just them, but what we never realized until we became much older and quite often not until after they had passed on is that they were the people in our lives who filled in the cracks and gaps in our social DNA which invariably whether done intentionally or accidentally was often the glue that made us whole. Those special aunts and uncles that had the time and took the time to play an active role in our lives when we were young  were the people who filled those voids constantly being left by other members of our family. Those unique people in our lives who were, in a very real sense, our social autocorrect between smothering, overprotective, busy, neglectful, overbearing, abusive, or borderline abusive parents and doting, often far too yielding grandparents or great grandparents trying to make up for their children’s or grandchildren’s flaws, excesses, or complete failings as parents. Our social dynamic is in a constant state of change, so the design of a family changes with each square added to our quilt. Some squares added to our quilt will bring more beauty while others will add nothing, but a patch of ugliness. We must realize that it is incumbent on all of us to ensure that our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren see more of the beauty  than ugliness, especially within the confines of our own quilt. What we must also accept is that some aunts and uncles can be the most unique and beautiful patches in our quilt because they made a choice to play a more active role in the lives of their nieces and nephews and in many cases their doing so has made or will make more of an impact on a child than they may ever know. I wish to thank all those aunts and uncles who made a choice to be that unique and beautiful patch on their nephews and nieces quilt. Those aunts and uncles, like a few of mine and like my granddaughter Kitara’s Aunt Crystal who took or take the time to play a larger role in their nieces and nephews lives because you do make a difference.