#youtoo

#youtoo

You must have heard of this one. It’s more extensive than the #metoo campaign. #youtoo transcends race and gender and political parties. It’s in history books and news, both fake and not-quite-fake. It positively blankets social media. We don’t necessarily brag about it, but goodness gracious. We sure do practice it.

We’ve been adherents since we were children. The first time I remember engaging in #youtoo, I was about 4.
That rude gesture—the sticking out of the tongue, sometimes accompanied by a “NYA-nya” sound (difficult to articulate perfectly while the lips were occupied with keeping the tongue extended)—was strictly forbidden.
In case you got lost in the syntax of the previous sentence—I was ordered to NEVER stick out my tongue.

Then my cousin came to visit. My older, cleverer, mischievous cousin. She drove me to distraction one day by being older and cleverer. And more mischievous. So I chased her around the house.
She beat me to her car, leapt in, locked the doors and stuck out her tongue.
AhHA! An unwritten rule in my code of conduct was that when an older cousin disobeyed any commandment, all bets were off.
The command was null and void.

I stuck my tongue out at her.
Whereupon she promptly shouted with glee. I heard her through the closed window and knew that somehow something had gone wrong.

“I’m telling! You stuck out your tongue!”

I couldn’t deny it. But there was that null-and-void addendum.
“You did too! You stuck yours out first!”

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“No I didn’t! I pulled my bottom lip down and stuck it on the window!” She demonstrated. It did sort of resemble a stuck-out tongue. She was fairly dancing with delight as she exited the car to head for the nearest authority figure.

Cousin could have been pulling my leg. It still is a leg undeniably easy to pull. But all I remember was the dread knowledge that now I was in for it. How to explain YOU TOO to the first authority figure on the scene?
YOU TOO=any infraction of any rule is sanctioned when someone else of equal or greater stature does the infraction also. Try explaining that with a 4 year old’s vocabulary.

4 year olds still practice YOU TOO. So do 40 year old politicians and 400 year old nations.
We may not say harsh words in the course of an argument. Unless someone else says them.
We cheat on income tax because everyone else does.
We don’t declare war. Unless someone else does. Or at least does something warlike.
“You started it!”

#youtoo has always been around. Look at Adam and Eve, for goodness sake.

Instead of comparing our own rule-breaking, our own infractions of codes, our own sin, against the righteousness of God, we compare to others. If they are doing it too, we might not be any better than them, but at least we are no worse.

Dear Lord. We are sowing the wind with our devilry and reaping the whirlwind of compounded evil. All because of “You too!”

“Conservatives, you are cruel to immigrants.”
“But liberals, we have proof that your politicians are too.”

“Democrats, you support killing innocent children. Look at abortion.”
“Republicans, you support killing innocent children. Look at your illegal wars.”

“Women, you are demanding rights based solely on your gender.”
“Give us a break, men! You think you don’t do the same thing?”

Europe accuses the U.S. of discriminatory practices against minorities and the U.S. can point to a thousand years of mistreatment against the Romani people.
The United States North snips at the United States South about various procedures and policies and prejudices and the South, with good cause, can point out plenty of examples where the North does the same thing, just dressed up differently.

And nobody changes and nothing gets better because as long as someone of equal or greater stature is doing something similar, we don’t have to quit.

The world points at Christians for hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness and ignorance and Christians point back and—
Whoa. Wait a minute. This is where it has to stop.
Christians, of all people, are the ones who cannot point the finger and say “YOU TOO!”
The only standard to compare ourselves with is the one our God has set for us.
When someone else breaks a rule, that rule isn’t null and void for us.

We’re different, my brothers and sisters.
We can’t use anyone else’s sins to justify our own.
Instead, let’s take a giant step back from #youtoo.
Maybe, at least in the household of faith, it will go the way of #Jeb!2016 or #travelingpantsuit.

 

Combo Plate

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Something good, linked via “and” with something else good, becomes twice as nice.
Love and marriage, bacon and eggs, buttons and bows, Mickey and Minnie.
A lot of my favorite things double their pleasantness when I join them.
I started a list of some favorite combos, old and new. (The new haven’t replaced the old. Just joined them to make an even more superior combo.)

Favorite Combos by the Prude

Quote and the reason
New: “I have made this letter longer than usual only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” (Blaise Pascal)
And I am always in a frenzy of word-cutting to get my manuscripts pared down to the required length.
Old: “Be not the first by whom the new is tried nor the last by whom the old is laid aside” (My father quoting his father quoting someone else.)
And it kept me from being trendy, gave me a horror of group-think, and helped me fight an inborn tendency to stodginess.

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Dad, trying a new combo of his own

Beverage and concurrent activity while imbibing
New: Bulletproof coffee and watching local news
Old (very old. 1970’s old) Diet Dr. Pepper and sunbathing

Author and character
New: Patricia Wentworth and Miss Maud Silver
Old: Josephine Tey and Inspector Grant

Color combination
New: Sage and red
Old: Sunshine yellow and cobalt blue

Sacred song and place to sing it
New: “Merciful God”* and a worship service with my brothers and sisters
Old: “How Great Thou Art”** and a country road, walking, as a melancholy teen. Feeling all nature-y.

Word & its association
New: Hiraeth—A nameless longing and homesickness for a home you can’t return to, or that never was. And the longing for a Home that we’ve never seen.
Old: Serendipity—A happy accident. And my dad explaining the meaning.

Entertainment and simultaneous drudgery task
New: Old B&W Falcon or Charlie Chan detective movies and ironing.
Old: “A Christmas Carol” (1938 or 1951 versions) at midnight and wrapping Christmas gifts.

Flowers
New: Any color and any other color as long as it results in a riot of color
Old:  Wild chicory and Queen Anne’s LaceSONY DSC

Scents
New: Balsam and Cedar
Old: Pumpkin and Spice

Flavor
New: Dark chocolate caramel and sea salt
Old: Clotted cream and jam

Food
New: Naked cheese curds and ranch dip (Wisconsin is basically bathed in ranch dip)
Old: Chili and cold white milk

Poem and location to read/recite it
New: “Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
and sitting on the patio just after sunset when it is still light enough to read. With feet propped up on the sandbox.SONY DSC
Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Old: “Irish Peasant Song” by Louise Imogen Guiney and walking along country roads being melancholy. (no car as a teenager meant my pensive self was resigned to moody trudges along country roads.)

Version 2

This is it. The road I walked along as a melancholy teen, reciting poetry and singing hymns. Sort of the opposite of Betty and Veronica

I try to knead and spin, but my life is low the while/ Oh, I long to be alone, and walk abroad a mile;/ Yet if I walk alone, and think of naught at all/ 
Why from me that’s young should the wild tears fall?



The shower-sodden earth, the earth-colored streams/  
They breathe on me awake, and moan to me in dreams/ 
And yonder ivy fondling the broke castle-wall/ 
It pulls upon my heart till the wild tears fall.

The cabin-door looks down a furze-lighted hill/ 
And far as Leighlin Cross the fields are green and still/  
But once I hear the blackbird in Leighlin hedges call/  
The foolishness is on me, and the wild tears fall!

There you go. Some of my favorite combo plates. Got any others you can share?

*Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend

**Carl Boberg

Well. Shoot.

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Well shoot. Shoot, shoot shoot. I wasn’t going to be here today. I was going to have cancelled my WordPress subscription before it automatically renewed. I was going to pen a gracious farewell letter, telling you that with the million (to the nth power) blogs out there, don’t for goodness sake waste time on this one.

Because honestly, some/most people who stop in here do it out of duty. No. Really. They love me and want to support me. So when my sisters/sisters-in-Christ/cousins/really nice people see I have a new post up, they stop in.

Hopefully they like what they read. But The Tuesday Prude won’t change the world. Believe me. I tried. Yet the world is still full of saggy pants and rude words and  apostrophes scattered hither and thither in singular plurals, isn’t it?

I was going to end my letter with a smiling and still gracious suggestion that the time you would have taken reading The Prude could be better spent picking daisies, watching little children laugh, practicing bird calls and taking selfies.

But here I am.
And you know why?
Because I forgot to cancel WordPress.

And now I’m feeling guilty. I post once or twice in almost never, but I’m paying for each word I don’t press here at The Tuesday Prude.

The journey of a 52-weeks automatically-renewed subscription begins with a single post.
My plan is to write something every week. Just to justify the money that was automatically deducted from my checking account by WordPress.

There will be fluff. There will be criticisms against sloppy dress, an excess of publicly-displayed skin, egregious grammar errors and unpleasant behavior.

There will be conscience appeasement too. I’m a Christian. One of those people who is supposed to bubble over with love for Christ and fellow humankind. I should want to share the Good News with everyone I meet.
Instead my tongue twists into a knot a sailor would envy and I can’t think of a word of witness.

So maybe that journey will start here too. Maybe if I get my love for my Savior and my awe at grace and my gratitude for mercy on cyber paper, my tongue will eventually follow.

We’ll see. I’ve stalled out on plenty of journeys, be they weight loss or exercise programs or cleaning schedules or devotion time.
In other words, this might be the start of a string of posts.
Or next Tuesday might pop out of nowhere and I’ll tell myself “There’s always next week.”

Either way, don’t take time from a beautiful life to read my blog just from a sense of duty. But if you can wait on that selfie, stop by. Might as well. The post is already paid for.

I blame the mourning dove

 

mourning-dove-1980911_1920Have I mentioned that two of my predominant characteristics are sloth and short-mindedness?
The first is just a more dramatic way of saying I’m lazy.
The second means I can’t see the end of my nose from my face. In other words I can’t anticipate outcomes. I could never play chess or any other game of strategy. I can’t plan my murder mysteries past the next page, which makes for many painful writing sessions.

It snowed here over night. A lot.
I feed birds.
The connection between the above is that I’m too lazy to maintain bird feeders, and I don’t care if squirrels or the occasional possum snacks at the feed on my patio. The grandchildren and I enjoy tossing the food out the back door and watching the birds on the patio eat lunch.

The sloth-bird seed-snow connection occurred when I was too lazy this morning to shovel off the patio. I just swept a clear spot however far I could reach from the patio door.

The mourning dove-shortmindedness connection comes in because a mourning dove was on the stoop outside the door looking in wistfully.
I could almost hear him say “Please, mum, could we have some more? Ours is all covered up.”
(Another feature of my nature is assigning anthropomorphic qualities to everything. I’ve been known to apologize to inanimate objects after tripping over them. Wouldn’t want the footstool to have hurt feelings.)

So slothful me swept off the back stoop and 18 inches of patio. (I was, to give myself a little grace, in my robe, and it was barely light out yet.)
Short-minded and imaginative me rewarded the mourning dove by sprinkling food on the stoop, where he could enjoy a little mid-morning snack since he had been so polite.

Then I heard the thunk. Sure enough, a plump little junco had been going for the food on the stoop and flew right into the patio door. He got blown back into the snow and sat there. And sat there. And shivered. In spite of my prayers and begging forgiveness because I should have anticipated this, he continued to sit.

So I put on gloves and opened the patio door to pick him up. What was I going to do with him?
Good question. Short-minded, remember?
Maybe I planned to put him on near the garage service door where the snow had melted because of lousy insulation.
But it was what we like to call a moot point.
He flew away.
Rejoicing, I ran for the shovel (being fully dressed now) and cleared a fair portion of the patio and tossed out fresh seed and swept any remaining temptation from the stoop.

And I promised to never again be so lazy or short-minded.

That’s when the mourning dove gave me a knowing wink.

 

Photo credit: edbo23 at Pixabay

Well, we sure stink

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PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY Rasterlocke

I had a post all ready. It was this correlation between the disregard for human life as exhibited in the glut of school shootings, and the legalization of abortion.

My reasoning was that, no matter what we call it, or how good the rationale might be for it, abortion takes something that was alive and kills it. And an intelligent kid is going to wonder what makes a life a few minutes after birth more worth the government’s protection than a life a few minutes pre-birth?

Then I was going to espouse my theory that some disturbed people have internalized the question and come to the conclusion that there is no difference between a defenseless infant in the womb and a defenseless student in a classroom. Any excuse might do—the child is unwanted, the classmates are mean. The child has a birth defect, school discipline is unfair. The child and everything it represents will compromise parents’ quality of life, the school and everything it represents compromise the shooter’s power. So might makes right in both instances.

But since I research almost everything I write to death, I started checking on extreme abortion stances. That led to sites on extreme eugenics and that’s when I tore up (in a virtual sort of way) my 846 words ready to be posted to this blog, and decided it was time to kick the human race in its virtual rear.

Seriously. Humans are jerks. I, a human, raised by humans, am sick of humankind’s collective jerkiness. I am ready to resign my citizenship and become a dog. But the dogs probably wouldn’t have me.

What was I thinking, that our problems started with abortion? It’s just another scab on the leprous human condition.

Before 1973 and Roe v. Wade, “separate but equal” laws were in effect in many states and if you think blacks had access to perfectly equal toilets, jobs, drinking fountains, voting rights and schools, I have a lovely little farm with forty acres in Chernobyl you might like to buy.

Most of us pro-life people know that Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, was an advocate of sterilization. Oh, and she might have had some racist opinions to boot. But wouldn’t you know it. Just when I point my finger at her as a prize jerk, it wobbles over and lands on…Clarence Darrow! Yep. A big advocate of eugenics. While he didn’t support the killing of “imbeciles and morons” (because someone had to do menial labor for the intelligentsia. Truly.), he was all for chloroforming babies seen as unfit. Oliver Wendell Holmes helped make forced sterilization of “undesirables’ the law of the land.

Well sure. They were liberals. What do you expect? Then my finger jerked over and landed on none other than Teddy Roosevelt. And Winston Churchill. What? My conservative heroes? Then there’s Alexander Graham Bell. And even Helen Keller. Say it ain’t so, Helen!
All promoted, at the very least, sterilization of anyone who didn’t meet a certain standard of intelligence, ambition, productivity or morals. At worse, some advocated outright killing of the “unfit,” from infants to adults.

Of course we stunk as humans long before the early 20th century. We stunk before and during and after the Civil War and our “slaves are three-fifths of a person” policy. We stunk in France when we slaughtered each other in the Reign of Terror of 1794 and the massacre of Huguenots two centuries earlier. We stunk in Russia with the starvation of millions, with pogroms against the Jewish population (think Fiddler on the Roof). We stunk in Victorian England when children were just cogs in factories and we stunk during the Crusades when Christians massacred Muslims and we stunk in China and India and…well hey. Can you name a place where humans haven’t stunk? A time in history when some human wasn’t treating another human as something less than a human?

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PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY ranjatm

Seriously, I’ve had it. I don’t like us. I don’t even particularly like me. I was all ready to call out abortion (which should be called out as one of the most noxious). And then I start wondering when in the history of people that we’ve ever smelled really, really good? Never. NEVER.

Aren’t you glad I’m not God? Because I wouldn’t have died for us. I wouldn’t give grace and hope and the Spirit of the Divine to such a group of jerks. I would have tossed our putrid selves into a pit, sprayed some Lysol on our lingering stench, and left us to rot.

Not that we’d have an opportunity to rot. We’ll slaughter each other first.

 

Note- once I get over my snit I’m going to write a post on whatever is true and right and noble and lovely. Because really, if God didn’t give up on us, why should I?

And now for something rather horrifying

Once the mosquitoes die off I hit the bike trail again. One beautiful, misty, moisty morning last November I set out with my camera for some final autumn photos.

The frost lay heavy on the fields.

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Except that it wasn’t frost.

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What it was, was spider webs.

Everywhere.

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Is the quality of the photos wonderful? No it is not. I was afraid if I stood still, the army of spiders responsible for all this would start in on me. Because you see the mass of web in the trees over the creek in the above photo, right?

 

What you can’t see here is the vast expanse of webs across the field, the bushes, the weeds…

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They stopped at nothing.

And you know the creepiest thing? The next day when I went back, EVERYTHING WAS GONE! Only a few innocuous strands blew here and there.

So I ask you. What kind of spiders could coat acres and acres of landscape with sticky strings of—of—stickiness? How big were they? How many of them were there?

And something for you to ponder:

WHERE DID THEY GO?

 

The Dowdy Deciduous

 

SONY DSCMaybe autumn by you this year is spectacular. Maybe the trees are blazing with vermilion red and juicy orange and Fort Knox gold leaves.

Or maybe, like me, you are seeing deciduous trees that should be reaching their glory days but instead are fading to a meek grayish-brown. Their leaves hang from the trees as though too exhausted to put up a fight against winter—the kind of gritty brawl  culminating in those vibrant primary-tinted bruises of foliage that won’t go down without a fight. No, the trees here are waving dingy dishrag-color leaves in surrender.

What is the deal? Our hit-and-miss precipitation of the last past season may be responsible. We’ll go for months with almost constant rain and then see weeks of iron skies and parched earth. The leaves may be tired of all the drama and just want to drift quietly to the ground with little fanfare.

Are these leaf-shedders following the spirit of the times, ashamed of their deciduous privilege? Or, conversely, envious of their evergreen siblings? Who knows. And who knows but that autumn might surprise me and coming storming back in a blaze of eye-searing hues.

It could happen.

In the meantime, (and for my Midwest-homesick son living in gravelly L.A.) I will feast my eyes on these visions of Autumn Past.

Happy almost-October!

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