A World I Once Knew


A World I Once Knew

 An Informal Thesis

Behind those stern faces in the faded picture above, there is a stoic acknowledgement of the times in which my Mama and Papa lived. Behind their stern expressions there are compassion and love. They likely didn’t know too much about cameras and picture-taking back then.


How do I know about their compassion and love?


They’re my paternal grandparents, and I lived with them in that clapboard house behind where they sit in the picture. A great depression was hitting the country. Malaria and lack of jobs brought Appalachia to its knees, decimating the southern population. Not only the diseases were claiming lives, but the great depression was claiming families with disconnect and divorces. The men went where there were jobs, often leaving their families and traveling to other states. Many men were angered by what they perceived as a government forgetting the people they represented and took their anger out on their spouses and children.


My father and mother divorced. Because my mother could not provide for us, my older sister was sent to live with my maternal grandparents. I was sent to live with those sweet people in the picture above.


There were some families in our rural hamlet much worse off than my Mama and Papa, and I can remember vividly Papa taking sacks of potatoes to a clan living nearby and to others who needed help.


Mama and Papa had a cow they called Bessie and a mule called Fred. Bessie left each morning to graze in the green fields. She had a brass bell around her neck, and, in the late afternoon I would go find Bessie and bring her home for milking…she was always easy to find because of her brass bell.


Papa tilled his land with Fred, grew corn, potatoes, green onions, tomatoes, turnips, green beans, and slopped his hogs. Aside from those chores Papa also ran a steam engine around the mountain near us and hauled lumber back to the local sawmill. I remember Mama packing his metal lunch pail in the morning, and I ran down the old dirt and gravel road to greet him in the afternoon. He was whistling and grinning when he grabbed me, hugged me, whiskered me gently, teasingly, and gave me what was left in the metal lunch box.


There were two brothers and a daughter living in that small clapboard house. For a while I slept with my pre-teen aunt until a cot was set up for me in the living room. The brothers dropped out of school and were helping Papa with the planting and the hogs. The brothers tried to teach me how to hoe corn, but I was too small and couldn’t last too long.


Mama had her roosters and hens, collected the eggs every morning and carefully filled her apron and carried them to the house. She washed her clothes with lye soap, stirred them with a broom handle in a big black iron tub outside, and hung them on her clotheslines to dry. As another chore she took Bessie’s milk and churned it into butter in a tall porcelain container, pumping that churn rod up and down for what seemed like hours. On certain mornings I would hear the hens yacking like crazy as Mama chased them. When she caught one, she wrung its neck with long sweeping circles until its body went flying off into the grass.


The meals Mama cooked were to my little boy’s tummy a real taste treat…


Well, why am I writing about all of this?


To tell the truth, my memories go back there a lot, some of them really good, some, not so much.


What truly prompts this writing spell are some political speeches heard this year. It is election time here in 2016, and, well, it’s my belief we made a big mistake by twice electing Mr. Obama. (The previous sentence has nothing to do with Racism – in fact, the man impressed me back in 2008 and I wanted him to succeed.) However, in all my years I’ve never seen the country as fouled up as it is today…with all the ‘political correctness’ and what I consider some terrible decisions made by this president and his administration.


Now, we’ve got Hillary Clinton running for the Democrats and Donald Trump running for the Republicans. There are some who believe these two don’t give us much of a choice. But I’m thinking our freedom and liberty, our democracy, are in the worst trouble that I can remember, and I don’t want eight more years with this far-left leaning woman. So, I’m voting for Donald Trump. He’s got some good people in the background working with him, and he’s certainly not the same old brand.


Now, look, of course, you will vote the way your heart and mind tell you. I’m really not trying to sway anybody. For me, though, this Obama fellow and this Clinton woman have screwed things up about as bad as they can be screwed up. I’ve seen the USA in the good and bad times, but, for me, this is a critical election. If there is any chance of saving our republic, we have to get away from establishment politics and get a fresh face in the oval office, make many changes (including on what and how we expect our government public servants to spend our hard-earned money).


If Donald Trump does only a few of the things he’s promising, then I can feel our nation is back on a solid foundation – you know, how those good people who wrote the Constitution wanted it to be, how my family want it today, how Mom, Dad, Mama and Papa would have wanted it to be.


Back when the old picture above was taken, the country was not in its best place. But my dearly beloved Mother did eventually make a home for my sister and me through a lot of hard work.


My Dad served in the Navy, as did I. His brothers served in the army and Army Air Force. One of my uncles was at Hickam Air Force Base when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on an early Sunday morning in December, 1941. He lived through that awful attack but it changed him in many ways.


So, surely not bragging, I’ve been in that place called ‘Poverty’, seen the domestic violence that comes from no jobs and the subjugation by government of minorities and the lower class with their ‘Welfare’ programs and give-away experiments – fouling up the middle class along the way.


It’s been said often enough that subjects like politics and religion should be avoided by those of us of different belief and faith. Well, it just seems, if ever there was a time to share feelings and thoughts, it is during this critical year of our republic. Our democracy, our freedom and liberty, those noble ideals in our Constitution, they’re under a heavy weight right now, and a lot of our brave men and women have fought wars to protect the embodiment of that document.


Now, I suspect I should be apologizing for putting out into cyberspace my humble and raw thoughts, but I will because it’s my right. We need a federal government to protect our shores, keep us safe from predators through the ‘Rule of Law’, make sure there is no dominance in one sector of business over another, in short, make sure it understands at all times that it works for the people and that there are no special gratuities for the public servants who wish to serve. With all the bureaucracies set up by the government, the money of tax-paying Americans is recklessly spent and the will of the people are undermined.


In November, we the people must decide by voting who we want to be our next president. For me, the choice is simple because the last eight years have seen incredible decisions and ‘executive orders’ made by an administration who seems to think it knows better than its citizens where it is we want to go and what we expect. It is perhaps repetitive but we do live in a perilous world today, and we really need to inspect carefully the people who would run our country.


For me, I don’t want an arrogant government that tells me: ‘You didn’t build your business!’ ‘ISIS is a JV team!’ ‘If you have a doctor and plan you like, you can keep it!’


What I do want is a government that follows the articles and amendments of our great Constitution: NOT create a bigger welfare system; NOT interfere so actively in our Free Enterprise and let the private sector and entrepreneurs create our businesses; NOT play race, sexist, political correctness, distribution of wealth cards; NOT put off any longer securing our borders; NOT diminish our military might but make it stronger; NOT subjugate any longer our African-American brothers and sisters, our Latino brothers and sisters, set them free to be all that they can be through their own efforts – through family-unity programs, neighborhood embassies; BRING back manufacturing jobs and companies who have chosen to leave our country – create jobs; DECISIVELY defeat the radical Islamic Terrorists.


I really don’t care if it’s a Democrat, Independent, or a Republican who gets these jobs accomplished. However, I’m reasonably sure it will not be Hillary Clinton who has the leadership qualities, the strong will, energy, and the temperament who can do the vital and necessary work to right our tilting ship of State.


Why? Because of the recorded lies she told, the erasure of countless thousand e-mails, the pounding destruction of telecommunication devices, and the distrust so many in our nation have for this woman.


Why? Because I can remember the good people who died in Benghazi, the inaction, lies and cover-up, the Libyan operation that brought death to a dictator and chaos to a country and helped in part the creation of ISIS and other terror groups over that troubled part of the world.


Why? Because, try as I might, no memory comes to me of Hillary Clinton accomplishing anything of notable political significance in her lifetime. It’s my humble opinion we have so many intelligent and wise women in and out of our government ranks that have so much more to offer as the first female president.


So, unashamedly, and, with only my non-pundit gathering of political affairs over the years, I will be casting my vote for Donald Trump. We are at ‘critical mass’ – a change is desperately needed. Mr. Trump has some astute people behind him, exemplary politicians and military brass, to assist him. The Donald certainly has a solid record of achievements – and a beautiful family. He is indefatigable – amazing energy he expends in traveling the states and getting his message out. He can be bold and brash in his assertiveness, but under that veneer is a man of compassion, a man who wants to get things right for our country. He is not a politician, and, maybe, that’s a good thing. If I did not believe these words I’m writing, there would be no vote this November from me.


My hope is that Donald Trump has the chance to ‘Make America Great Again’!


Billy Ray Chitwood – September 27, 2016


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