Mr. Hogue’s Wisdom

MrHogueandwife.jpg

Once in awhile, someone will come along who has wisdom that  blesses your life if you take the time to listen to what they have to say.  With this page, I would like to make a tribute to my High School Drama and Public Speaking teacher, Mr. Dale Hogue, who was one of my teachers from 1975-1977 at Bell Gardens High School, in Bell Gardens, California.

Most of you know that from reading my testimony, I didn’t have a great childhood and there were few teachers who took the time to try to point me in the right direction, who actually seemed to care about me as a person. One such teacher was Mr. Dale Hogue. That is why I took him for two different classes a day for two years. I actually wanted to learn something and felt like I did in his classes. A lot of teachers could care less about a student, and they just come into class, write something on the board, tell the students to sit down and shut up and let the book teach them. That is not teaching and that type of person has no business in a classroom. They would be better suited flipping burgers at McDonalds somewhere instead of being entrusted to mold and shape young lives.

Yes, I was a leather jacketed hood and trouble maker. I smoked dope right along with my Marlboro or Kool cigarettes, drank beer, got in rumbles (fights), and recruited for the Ku Klux Klan. I mouthed off to teachers in classes, but not to Mr. Hogue. I had respect for him. He actually made me feel like I was part of the class, and that the class needed MY input, if you could believe it! Oh yes, there was a couple of times that he made me take off my sunglasses and he checked my eyes. He knew I was higher then a kite from smoking dope, and could have sent me to the office, but he didn’t. He allowed me to stay in class in hopes that I might learn something like there is more to life then smoking dope, which gets you nowhere in life. When other’s looked at me and saw a loser, Mr. Hogue seemed to look at me and seen potential.

I will give you a for instance. When I first started taking Mr. Hogue’s Public Speaking class, one of the first assignments he gave us was to give a speech. I stood in front of the class, and attacked Jews, Blacks, Asians, Mexicans, and Liberals, advocating “white power” and told the students that white people needed to support the Ku Klux Klan. I went on to say that this country needed Gov. George C. Wallace in the White House, and that we needed to return to segregation. Of course many of my fellow students, especially the Hispanics, and one girl in particular who was Jewish, was highly upset at my inflammatory remarks. Mr. Hogue took to the floor after I finished my speech, and instead of sending me to the office as other teachers had done, he made it perfectly clear that he did not agree with me, but that he was going to enjoy having me in his class for the year, as he had never had a “redneck” in his class before. He encouraged the students to pay close attention to me whenever I would be called upon to give a speech in the future. He explained that we needed to hear other viewpoints, even if we found them to be repugnant , because as we prepared for life, not everyone would have the same opinion as everyone else. He said that perhaps by having someone like myself in class, the students could learn how to prepare to deal with people like me that would come along in life. Good point.

In Public Speaking, as well as Drama, he actually got every student involved and made them feel they were part of what was going on, and that their opinion mattered. His classes were fun, enlightening, challenging, as well as educational. So many teachers looked at me and saw a hoodlum on the outside. Mr. Hogue didn’t. He looked at me and saw potential, and did his best to change me from a racist hoodlum, to a decent non-bigoted member of society, that could actually do something positive in this life instead of continuing on the path of negativity that I had chosen.

The classroom that Mr. Hogue once taught in at Bell Gardens High School, still stands today, but there is a different teacher there and a new generation of students. There is nothing left of our days there, but the ghosts of our memories. At the time of this writing, it is 26 years later. I am now middle aged and Mr. Hogue is still around and retired now. I was recently blessed to find him on www.classmates.com.

I wrote to him and he remembered me and began to write back. I am thankful that I was given the chance to e-mail him to let him know just how much I appreciated him. There are a lot of teachers who go through their careers teaching thousands of students, but to have very few of those students let them know how much they are appreciated, and what their teaching actually meant to them. He may not have won the Pulitzer Prize, or went on to become President of the United States, but he will always be remembered by those of us who really appreciated having him as our teacher. Mr. Dale Hogue, I salute you, Sir!

This page serves as a Tribute to one of the greatest teachers ever, Mr. Dale Hogue. Below are some of his recent emails to me. These are written by him and are copyrighted. None of the poems, letters, or emails may be reproduced without FULL CREDIT given to their author, Mr. Dale Hogue.

I hope these inspire you as he continues to inspire me a quarter of a century later!. Johnny Lee Clary

**Below is a letter I received from Mr. Hogue’s son Bob, which proves that Mr. Hogue was not only a great teacher, but he practiced what he taught at home and his wisdom proved a HUGE success for his son! The tree of Knowledge bears the noblest fruit!

bobpic.jpg

Dear John,

Thank you for your wonderful tribute to my father, Dale Hogue.  Although I don’t recall meeting you, I first had the opportunity to meet several of his students when I was in 5th grade and he was teaching at Montebello Intermediate (in the mid 1960’s).  Dad was running for City Council at the time and he got some of students so enthused with the political process that they willingly came out to help him campaign.  I’ll never forget how much they appreciated the fact that an adult actually treat them with respect (and truly cared about their own futures).  Dad didn’t win, but he made a huge impact on one young person–me.

As an adult, I have privately tried to pass on some of his teachings to my own children (and publicly through several of the magazine articles that I have written in Hawaii.)  And a couple of years ago, I took a page from his political playbook and ran for office.  Today, I have the title of Senator Bob Hogue, Minority Floor Leader in the Hawaii State Senate.  More importantly, I can proudly call myself Dale Hogue’s son.

Aloha and Thanks again,

 

Bob Hogue

Kailua, Hawaii

 

 

rodney.jpg
A Note From Mr. Hogue:

I am a retired high school teacher.  From 1954 through 1996, at different times during these 42 years, I taught high school English, American Literature, Speech and Drama and History of the United States.   I taught students of every stripe: good ones who wanted to learn and worked extremely hard, average ones who learned when I pushed the right buttons and got them interested in what I was teaching, and poor students who sat in my class with a closed mind and dared me to teach them anything that they might find worth their time and effort.  I liked them all, some a bit more than others, but I gave all of them the same chance to learn.  Some of my former students are doctors, some are lawyers, some are businessmen and businesswomen, some are teachers, some are carpenters, some are plumbers, some are painters, but all of them turned out to be good American citizens. Many of them keep in contact with me via e-mail, many of them call me on the phone from time to time, many of them come to my house for a visit.  If you are interested in some of the poems and essays that I have written you may read them on this page.

Email Mr. Hogue: dalenale@juno.com

Mr. Hogue’s Feature Article:

 

*To Be Or Not To Be A Patriot–That Is the Question*

by Dale Hogue

 

A patriot is a person who is devoted to and ready to support or defend his or her

country.  A patriot can be a nationalist or loyalist.  A patriot can be a flag-waver,

jingo or a jingoist or, even, a chauvinist.  Most people like being called a patriot

while others haven’t quite made up their minds whether being a patriot is good or

not.

 

Consider the words jingo, jingoist or chauvinist for a minute or two.  These words

may cause one to shy away from being a patriot if they are going to be called by a

name that one doesn’t encounter very often in every day conversations.  I will give

you some information about the meanings of these words, but it’s going to be up

to you to decide if you want to be known as a jingo, a jingoist, a chauvinist or even

a patriot.

 

A jingo is a supporter of a policy favoring going to war in order to solve any misunderstandings, misconceptions, misinterpretations or misgivings about a

problem that can’t be settled in a civilized manner.

 

“By jingo” is a mild oath.  In as much as I don’t use mild oaths, I’m not quite

sure what “by jingo” means when used as mild oath!  I think it just might mean something like “by God”, but I wouldn’t swear to it.  Now, a person who is a

jingoist is considered by some people to be a blustering patriot or a warmonger.

 

It has been my experience, that not too many people want to be considered a

warmonger or, a blustering anything, let alone a blustering patriot.   He or she

is thought of as a belligerent person  who is filled to the brim with bellicosity.

Bellicose people are eager to fight at a drop of a hat. They are considered, by

victims of this bellicosity, as bullies.   I’ve never met anybody who wanted to

be called a bully–at least not to his face.  So, you see, if you are pugnacious

then, if people are smart, they don’t want to rattle your cage very often, if at all.

 

It’s no accident that our national symbol is a bald eagle.  Eagles by nature are

birds of prey who have keen eyesight and powerful flight.  They don’t take to

being riled up or teased by any other bird or by any animal, including humans.

They become bellicose when they are agitated.  If you throw a rock at one of

these birds,  it will fly away,  but if you continue  to throw rocks  in a manner

that appears to the eagle that you mean to do it harm, then you can count on

it becoming hawkish, voracious and madder than hell at you.  If it gets to this

stage, I would suggest that you back off and reconsider your actions.  Eagles

will attack you and kick your ass–so to speak.

 

A chauvinist is a person exhibiting chauvinism.  Chauvinism is exaggerated or

aggressive patriotism. A chauvinist shows excessive or prejudiced support or

loyalty for one’s cause.  In short, he or she is a patriot who will kick your ass

if you continue  to throw rocks  or bombs  or bullets at him or her.  Which is

what President Bush intended to do to Saddam Hussein and all terrorists who

associated themselves with Iraq–whether they had WMDs or not.

 

Now, my friend, it’s up to you.  Do you want “To be or not to be a patriot?”

 

Dale Hogue   November 15, 2005

 

**Black or Colored or African-American?

 

Perhaps you remember reading my most recent letter to New York

Times Op-Ed columnist Bob Herbert–or not. Anyway, I generally write

letters to any columnist whom I feel has written a good column. Not all

columnists  put their e-mail address  out there for  just anyone  to send

comments about their writing, but Bob does,  so, from time to time,   I

fire off an e-mail note to let him know just how his latest column had set

with me.

 

Inasmuch as Bob is an avowed leftist, you can imagine what I write

concerning his political views.  However, earlier this week Bob wrote an

interesting column  about his  experiences growing up black in America.

I enjoyed the column and let him know that I thought it was  the type of

column he should write more often.   In this particular column,  Herbert

referred to his family and his friends as being African American.

 

While I found this particular Bob Herbert column interesting and

well written, his reference to being an African American kind of put me

off.  I’m not fond of calling Americans by hyphenated names, so I did

some thinking on the subject and I tinkered a bit with a follow up letter

that I plan to send him when the time is ripe. What follows is the result

of some of the tinkering I’ve done on the subject of hyphenated names

and my thoughts on the topic  that columnist Bob Herbert wrote about

in that particular column–choices.

 

I’ve sent this letter to you before I send it to him.   Now, consider

this: some  “blacks”  who call  themselves African Americans get a bit

touchy when it comes  to words making  reference to their skin color,

so I might be on shaky ground here, but I am determined to have  my

say even if this essay is not politically correct among members of that

political party way over there on the left side of the American political

spectrum.

 

Those Americans who happen to have darker skin are not African

Americans.  Most of these African Americans have never been to Africa in

their life and have no intention of ever going there.   Also, far too many of

these African Americans have no clue as to the history of Africa. Some of

them have no idea where Africa is located on the map.  Only a very few of

have ever been to Africa.   Most so-called African Americans are as much

a stranger  to the customs of the African continent  as they are to some of

the customs of white America.

 

At one time the Spanish  referred to them  as Negroes–meaning people

who are black. Some of these southerners called them niggers for no other

reason than  that was  the way  the word Negro  was pronounced by them.

For some reason, known only to white American liberals, the word nigger

has become a word that is insulting to those whose skin is darker than the

rest of us.

 

Whatever the case,  Negro, nigger, black  or colored are  some of the

descriptive terms used by both black Americans and white Americans to

describe those whose ancestors were, for centuries, brought from Africa

to be slaves first to the Spanish explorers, then to the French, then to the

English and finally  to the Americans who set the slaves free some eighty

years after we became a nation.

 

Why should  I call these people  African Americans?    As far as I am

concerned, they are Americans  who happen to be just  a little bit darker

than I am.   If these people are called  African Americans, why am I not

called  a European American?   So what  is the big deal?    My skin just

happens to be whiter than the skin of black Americans but not as white

as Michael Jackson’s skin who is considered an African American! Go

figure!

 

If some of us are so hell-bent on pointing out distinctions between us

and them,  why not  call them  Ebony Americans  or Americans who are

lucky enough to have a beautiful sun tan in a rich ebony color. They can

call us Americans,  whose skin is a lighter  than theirs,  Whitey or  Ivory

Americans!

 

Whatever the color  of one’s skin, some of the Ebony Americans are

concerned  about the  fact that not  all of the  Ebony  youths  are taking

advantage of the golden educational opportunities that are offered to all

of them on a silver platter. These young Ebony people can enroll in the

same public and private schools as Ivory youths and can learn whatever

is being taught in some of these colorless classrooms, that’s if they work

as hard as the other students.

 

Just think about this for a moment, these Ebony kids have exactly the

same opportunity as kids of any color to work at being the person that

they want to be.  Ebonites can spend their days in a classroom learning

study skills  that will help them to learn  those skills  they must know to

master all the information that is taught to them. You know, information

we all need in order to learn the skills we must have in order to get good

jobs in one trade union or another. Or, if they work harder, they can get

the good grades that are needed to qualify them for those colleges and

universities that prepare them for this profession or that one.  Wouldn’t

you think that it’s hard to beat that kind of opportunity?

 

They can learn to obey the laws set forth by God (and overturned by

the Supreme Court) or they can learn to obey the laws of the USA, like

the rest of us.  They may even learn which law is which.  If they don’t,

it’s not because they can’t, it’s because they refuse to.

 

In these United States there are black Americans who have learned

how to be doctors, artists, con-artists, lawyers becoming politicians,

merchants, sales people, teachers, tailors, carpenters, painters, and a

thousand other work skills that allow them  to make a living at more

jobs than you can shake a stick at.   They need to know that there’s

many lawful ways to make a good living in this country.   However,

if these Ebony children  won’t take advantage  of these educational

opportunities, it’s the fault of the child, not the fault of the American

educational system.

 

The elders in the Ebony community realistically believe that young

people who want to learn, can make something of their lives, that is,

if they are willing to work as hard as the very best students in school.

However, too many young Ebonites don’t see all the opportunities in

the same way as their elders.  And that, my friend, is the rub!

 

Now, with all the information that I have already given you, I must

point out  that this Whitey won’t blame  Ivory Americans  for those

failures that Ebony children will carry around  as baggage, for it’s a

lack of passion for everything in school  beyond playing basketball

that creates problems for these young people.

 

However, these tough problems, made tougher by a surly attitude

that parents must combat  in order for them  to do the job that they

should be doing—making their  Ebony children  realize that  getting

ahead in our  society depends  on putting forth the right amount of

effort in order for them to create that good life that is desired by all

those  who take advantage of their  educational opportunities,  you

know, the one that is offered to all America’s children regardless of

color, race, creed or ethnic background.

 

You can bet that most of the countries  in Africa don’t offer their

beautiful Ebony children the type of educational opportunities they

get in the United States of America, free of charge, no less.  Ebony

children of America are given the power to choose their own future

and it’s up to them to choose wisely and carefully.

 

Dale Hogue   July 8, 2005

 

 

 

 

Subject: Some Celebrities Owe Americans An Apology.

 

I’m sure that most of the celebrities, and I’m including

the Dixie Chicks, who have made remarks that are anti-Bush,

anti-American and anti-war comments, in the last couple of

months really do believe that they should not be penalized

for making these remarks. Some Americans think differently!

 

Like little children, they believe that they can say any

thing with impunity simply because they are celebrities who

are in show business. Unfortunately for them, celebrities are

asked to pay a higher price than the ordinary guy or gal who

makes what many Americans believe are unpopular remarks

on controversial subjects at inopportune times.

 

If their remarks have made the ticket buying customers

angry at them, then they must understand that the same rights

that allowed them to spout off belongs also with  those who pay

for these tickets.

 

When a celebrity is in a high profile profession, it is not

the smartest thing in the world to make remarks that are going to

come back to bite them in the ass.    Crying about a black list just

makes some of the ticket buying public even more disgusted with

them.  It’s not the way to win friends and influence people.

 

These celebrities, including the Dixie Chicks, had their say

without really thinking about how the public might react to their

remarks and they are going to be feeling the heat for a period of

time.  I suggest that they might find that it is better to keep their

mouths shut and their opinions to themselves and hope that the

public will forget what they said even if, at the moment, they appear

not to be in a forgiving mood.

 

Dale Hogue   April 25, 2003

===========================================

***BEHIND A RAINBOW’S END***
a collection of poetry by Dale Hogue

Behind A Rainbow’s End
by Dale Hogue

I know where I am going
And I know where I have been.
Life’s somewhere ahead of me,
Right behind a rainbow’s end.

I’ve looked this old world over
And I’ve searched with all my might
To see if I could change my life
And make things turnout right.

I saw the world fly by me,
But it never left a trace
Of things that I was searching for
While running this human race.

When today becomes tomorrow
It will seem like yesterday,
For that’s how things have happened
As I walked along this way.

I’d turn back all the pages
If only that I could
Completely change my life around
And live the way I should.

Nothing in life’s been easy,
It is sometimes harsh and cold,
And I don’t expect a change in it
Until I’m gray and old.

I’ll bet my bottom dollar
That the life I’ve got ahead
Will be a great deal different
Than the one that I have led.

I will live this life of mine
In the best way that I can.
Now that I know my way around
I will follow the life I plan.

I know  where I am going
And I know  where I have been.
My life is just ahead of me,
Right behind that rainbow’s end.
_____________________________

Is There Anyone Out There?
by Dale Hogue

Nights lay quiet and solemn
and stillness fills the air;
my heart beats a steady rhythm,
does anyone really care?

Is there anyone out there
who really gives a damn
what I say and think and do
or who I really am?

Life goes on around me
as people hustle through
taking care of business
and leaving right on cue.

Nothing seems to matter
to this world in which I live
except the almighty dollar
and what we have to give.

I think it’s time to slow
our pace, if only a little bit,
so we’ve got time to learn
about those with whom we sit.

It only takes a minute
or three or maybe more,
to learn exactly what
your life may have in store.

Is there anyone out there
who really wants to know
about the roads they’ve taken
and where they’re bound to go?
__________________________

Delusional Psychosis
by Dale Hogue

My blood pressure’s fine
And my joints still flex.
I never feel bad,
But my life is complex.

Not a single thing’s wrong
With my feet or my toes
And everything fits
In my closet of clothes.

When my stomach is queasy
And I think it’s the flu,
I take the right pills
Till I feel good as new.

If something I eat
Makes a pain in my chest,
I visit my doctor
For a cardiac test.

Now, am I just confused
By irrational neurosis
Causing hormonal changes
And delusional psychosis?
________________________

An Ode To A Blank Page
by Dale Hogue

We face each other again; I must confess
I’m happy that I no longer fear you, kid;
nothingness doesn’t scare me as once it did.

At one time, my brain went as blank as your face,
and I do mean totally blank, I could find
not a trace of ideas entered my mind.

Wriggling in chairs, I ponder, I think,  I swear
under my breath at my unresponsive brain
and I tear at emptiness I can’t explain.

Did Walt Whitman have this problem when
writing or did he, as I, find it wasn’t fair
that his thinking apparatus needed repair?

Other poets get bogged down some of the time
and that keeps my ego from turning to stone
to find that I’m not fighting this battle alone.

Gotcha, blank page!  You can no longer destroy
the poet in me by sucking my juices;
Don’t toy with word games,
for my ace beats your deuces.

I’ve been told that writing poetry of any kind
will not bring me big pay, if that is the case
I’ll just end it this way.
__________________________________

Hummingbird World
by Dale Hogue

I watched the hummingbird dance on the morning’s wind.
Up and down, all around, then back to where it had been.
Gracefully shifting gears in mid-flight, it darted from one
Small flower to another like a child moving in the sun,
Drinking small packets of nectar that God had tucked away.
It hung suspended like my imagination, then left to stay
Some where in another dimension far from my poet’s eye.
I could be that hummingbird, if God would let me fly
In worlds I’ve only dreamed about when I was but a child,
Flying here, there and everywhere, living free and wild,
Tasting nectar from the winds and chasing bumble bees
Through worlds within my mind that only a dreamer sees.
I will dance the hummingbird dance on the morning’s wind
When God has given me a chance to live my life again.
______________________________________________

The Poet In Me
by Dale Hogue

It’s very hard to write a poem
and say the things I must
when in my head cobwebs form
and my brain cells turn to dust.

A sharpened pencil doesn’t help
not one single little bit,
if the computer in my mind
can’t make the darn words fit.

I could write a great deal more,

I’m sure you will concede,
that if my mind was truly bright
I’d know where these words lead.

I’ll just finish with this poem
and let the rascal go,
for it’s very hard to write about
things that I don’t know.
___________________________

Nobody is Perfect
by Dale Hogue

Nobody’s perfect in this world of ours,
Even sweet milk gets old and sours.
If left alone it becomes curds and whey,
Nobody knows why it works that way.
But it does, so don’t wrinkle your nose
When a flower dies and its petals close.
It’s just doing its thing and that is why
Nobody should sniffle, snuffle and cry
When things grow old, wither and die.
For nothing’s perfect in this life we choose,
Some days we win, other days we lose.
Perfection?  Not for you, not even for me!
Try opening your eyes and you will see
In life, nothing is perfect, we mortals find
That seeking perfection is a state of mind.
___________________________________

A Poet’s Choice of Words
by Dale Hogue

I suppose that when some of us are reading a poem,
We sincerely believe that the most important thing
Is the rhyming scheme that drives the poet’s machine.
Well, for this Poet, it just isn’t true. The driving force
Are pictures in my mind that I paint in a rhythmic way
With words I carefully choose from my palette that day.
I paint bright reds to postulate power that provokes
And inflames a mind and soul with angry inflection.
I paint with blues, whether written on paper and sung
Or played on a trumpet to calm us with quiet reflection.
Lavender, pink and purple are plucked from my palette
While painting the picture that accompanies a pendulum
Of moods that lovers feel from euphoria to depression.
This Poet carefully uses colors to picture what lovers feel
When near to each other, words which are stimulating
that awakens the basic instincts kept under repression.
I read somewhere that words will soothe a savage beast;
Or was it breast?  Nevertheless, many thoughts of a kind
Are written in poetry, not for rhyming words, but for ideas
And what they do for your memory and for your mind.
_____________________________________

Getting Old Ain’t No Picnic
by Dale Hogue

The time has come when I’ve just got to say,
I can’t keep on playing this game that I play,
For my knees are all shot and I must confess
That my feet are real sore and a terrible mess.

My face is as worn as a well-turned page
And is showing the wrinkles of a man my age.
My old belly has grown to be bigger in size
Than the one that I had when I won first prize.

My feet slap the floor when I’m taking a walk,
And I move real slowly like the hands of a clock.
After I’ve done what I’ve needed to clear out my head,
I turn this old body and go right back to bed.

I hear the young children on the lawns of the park,
Shouting and laughing from morning ’till dark.
My young days were fun and now that they’re gone,
I miss my dear friends playing on that lawn.

Getting old ain’t a picnic and the going is rough.
But I’ll stick to my guns to show that I’m tough.
_______________________________________

I’M A CHILD AGAIN
by Dale Hogue

I’m a child again,
scampering down dusty, tree-lined roads
to my secret green meadow where I can
fly my kite or lie in cool grass
and watch clouds drift by.

I’m a child at play,
running past ripe cornfields gleaming in
the shimmering noonday sun, feeling warm
dust between my toes, listening
to the cawing of crows.

I’m a child of peace,
standing on the old wooden bridge that
crosses Malibu Creek and my trolling
entices fish to nibble the bait,
is my only wish.

I’m a child asleep
in my quiet room, snuggling beneath
the covers in the comfort of my bed,
warm, dry with nary a thought that
some day I shall die.

I’m a child of gangs
and they have ruined me and stolen
away my youth; have me fleeing myself,
compromising fate, inspiring
only fear and hate.

I’m a child no more
and I shall die on this battlefield
for what I know not, but I long only
to be a child again, so once more
I can run free and wild.

I’m a child of God
and I shall forever lie beneath a
green meadow far from home, never to know
those who made me die nor understand
their reason why.
____________________________________

TAKE THE DEVIL AWAY
by Dale Hogue

“In the city Angels, a brick smashes a skull
and a thug does a dance of joy over an innocent man
who is left broken and bleeding!
A jury decides that this is less that it seems.”
(Kevin Starr: Los Angeles Times October 24, 1993)

Some believe this is no aberration,
it’s how things should be done in this nation.
When justice appears this way in their mind
they only feel they’re repaying in kind.

It’s a perverse system that works for some
whose sense of justice has only become
concerned with nothing but color of skin,
not by actions or character within.

This despicable game takes its toll
as perfidious thinking gains control
of those misfits who deal in hate and fear
and cause good citizens to shed a tear.

Television will earn the devil’s pay
reporting the mad carnage of the day.
Wild horrific scenes will appear the same
as ruthless gangsters play this deadly game.

Cowardly twisted minds may never learn
that the civilized world will always turn
on degenerate hoodlums small and large
when Law and Order have taken charge.

It’s a stupid game they play!

TAKE THAT DEVIL AWAY!
___________________________________________

ANGER IS THE WIND
by Dale Hogue

The angry wind screamed as it smashed against
the old brownstone building.

Newspapers scrambled about looking for refuge,
touching first one thing then another
before becoming impaled
on the wrought iron fence
that protected the imposing structure.

A roar as declarative as a mob gone mad with hate
surged through the building shaking it to its very foundation.

Closed doors were torn open by the force of the wind
and smashed beyond recognition.

Furniture was turned over and desecrated;
sacred portraits of important ancestors were ripped from their
exalted positions and sent crashing unceremoniously to the floor
to become flotsam in a sea of broken glass.

With the wind came the rain, caustically permeating
everything that the wind had denuded.
The rain was like nothing ever seen before;
shafts of mercury hurled through the night
stabbing the darkness with uncanny and deadly accuracy.

Nothing escaped its chill, its wetness.

The rain fell on the just and the unjust!
__________________________________________________

IF YOU’RE EVER GOING TO LOVE ME
by Dale Hogue

If you’re ever going to love me,
Love me now.
Show me how your love will always be
A part of you and part of me.

If you’re ever going to need me,
Make it now.
Show me how this need will always be
A part of you and a part of me.

I will take this love you share with me;
It will warm
My life every minute, every hour, constantly;
A part of you and a part of me.

If you’re ever going to love me,
Love me now.
Show me how our love will always be
A part of you and part of me.
_________________________________________

EARTHQUAKE
by Dale Hogue

The City awakens as from a sleep
by angry demons more than twelve miles deep
tearing painful adhesions, adjusting cracks,
breaking, slipping, sliding, combusting.

Bringing super pulverizing powers,
destroying homes and shaking towers.
Directed by the San Andreas fault,
it grinds old San Francisco to a halt.

Its fiendishly strong energy slashes
historical walls and bashes
those huddled in doorways amidst the cry,
“This is it for me, I’m going to die!”

From the Bay a horrifying wrecker
brings screams from under the double-decker
as devilish hands close collapsing fans
flattening all cars as they would beer cans.

This horrible scene, veiled in dusty smoke
and shuddering beneath this mighty stroke
causes the frightened people everywhere
to shout and scream their panic in the air.

At the Marina, there’s terrifying
fires burning old homes and people dying
as flames do a mindless demonic dance
where sidewalks buckle and fire hoses prance.

Everywhere there’s a dreadful howling sound
shattering, crashing, undulating, pound
with rumbling, vibrating, quickly pitching
as the earth loses some of its stitching.

In fifteen excruciating seconds
life is diminished when Hell’s fire beckons
Her to quit, She bends, but She doesn’t break.
The City will come back, for Heaven’s sake.
____________________________________________

REFLECTIONS OF A NOVEMBER STORM
by Dale Hogue

Lifeless old buildings on the sandy knoll
were large elephants, crusted with age
and tortured by the raw power from the sea,
exposing their crinkly gray skin to the elements
and shivering against the afternoon chill.

They are derelicts sitting stoically as gray,
fern-covered patchworks of lacy dunes
are ruffled by chilly sea breezes.

Nearby, pine trees, age, black and solemn
watching as a gathering November storm
hangs a misty haze over emerald waters,
giving the ocean a velveteen softness.

Near the shore, waves fluttering white-gloved
greetings to the beach as the sun bursts through
low-hanging clouds setting the water afire.

Golden spores turning to purple and reds
as dusk signals the coming of night.
Blackness swallows the yellows, greens and blues
and a curtain descends on the last remnants of daylight.

A deeper chill signals the prickly coming of the storm
as thunder flings groans of anguish up from the shore

Naked elephants, wriggling from the sting of the storm’s whip
hunching their backs against the wind and digging into the sand,
ready themselves for battle one more time.
__________________________________________________

IT’S MORE THAN A GAME
by Dale Hogue

The games we’ve played are over
And the line scores have been writ.
Nothing in our heads today
Would change a bit of it.

We’ve cleared our minds of pity
And prepared to meet our foe.
For the next game is the only one
That we will need to know.

We’ll put together some gumption
Audacity, backbone and pluck;
We’ll gather up spunk and courage
For the task we have to buck.

It is only a game they say,
But to us it is more than that.
We’ll prepare ourselves for battle
And take them to the mat.

We’ll show them what we’re made of
And give them all we’ve got.
There’s no reason to be timid,
We’ll take pleasure in what we’ve sought.

The games we’ve played are over
And  winning is nothing new
Because of energy expended
We’ve won for LMU.

Honest sweat has soaked our skins
And our uniforms are wet;
Our legs are tired, our feet are sore,
But we’ve met the goal we’ve set.

There’s always another challenge
In learning this game anew.
We’ll have to practice harder
To win for LMU.

We’ve put together our gumption
Audacity, backbone and pluck;
We’ll gather up spunk and courage
For the task we have to buck.

It’s only a game they say,
But to us it’s more than that.
We’ve prepared ourselves for battle
And we’ll take them to the mat.

Honest sweat has soaked our skins
And our uniforms are wet;
Our legs are tired, our feet are sore
But we’ll reach the goal we’ve set.

We’ll dig down deep within our souls
And kindle the flame that glows;
We’ll burn out all the doubts therein
And chase away their woes.

We’ve built anew our self-esteem
And wiped away the fears;
And know that we are more than skills
We’ve mastered through the years.

It’s only a game they say,
But we know it’s more than that.
We’ve given it everything we’ve got;
We’re not choosing to stand pat.

We’ve listened to the Lions roar
And heard the coaches call,
“Play the game the way we planned
And we’ll control that basketball!”

Honest sweat has soaked our skins.
And our uniforms are wet:
Our legs are tired, our feet are sore,
But we’ll reach the goal we’ve set.

__________________________________________

Per Chance to Dream
by Dale Hogue

On the very best day of my life
I dreamed that I would live forever
I think about how the world could be
In the year of three thousand and three.
The skin of the world’s people
will all be one shade
and those inside
are no longer afraid
of this or that
and where they eat
or sleep or sat.
We really would
be judged
by character within
and not be color
of our skin.
.
________________________________________________

An Ode to John Steinbeck
by Dale Hogue

I grewup reading Johnny and I want the world to note
that, Gosh Almighty, I sure loved how Steinbeck wrote.
It seemed that thoughts, ideas and words just plain flowed
from the pen scratching that he did and before you knowed
it, his stories took shape and he breathed characters to life
and John Steinbeck happened along to become its midwife.

John Steinbeck wrote words like the following during a stage
where his writing was somewhat like I wrote on this page.

“The ancient dog walked lamely through the open door,
looked around with mild, half-blind eyes that were sore.
Sniffing the air, laid down and put his head on his paws.
As Curly popped into the room and looked in all the stalls,
the old dog raised his head and sank it to the floor again.
Candy’s old Shepherd just couldn’t be bothered with men
who had bits of trouble keeping track of their errant wives
who probably had gone drinking in honky-tonk dives.”

The rhyming lines were written by me, but they could have been
written about Candy’s old dog in John’s play, Of Mice and Men.

You can just feel that old dog thinking plain as day.
If Candy’s Shepherd could talk, this is what he’d say:

“I don’t like that little guy they call Curly, no how.
He treats everybody like they is scum from a cow.
Member one time Candy was afeedin’ me at the table
and Curly done chased us all the way to the stable
cussin’ like we was doin’ somethin’ terrible wrong.

He said I was a smelly old dog who’d stayed too long
on this here ranch.  Don’t know what he meant by that,
but I knowed from then on I’d better watch where I sat.

I sure do like it when Candy scratches behind my ears.
Keeps the fleas from comin’ inside and settles old fears
nice and comfortin’ like.  It soothes my brain and makes
me feel I is important, but the other men sniff and takes
the air when I come around them.  They don’t understan’
I knows what they is doing.  They pick up papers and fan
like they just don’t want a dog around where they stood.
It’s their way of telling me that I jus’ don’t smell so
good.
Well, if they was as old as me, they’d smell pretty bad,
too.
Heck fire and little puppy dogs, some of them already do.”

As you can plainly see, Steinbeck told a story that would take root
in your mind and entertain you long afterwards.      I still get a boot
of some of his great stories about his people,  for they are the kind
that provide literary food for my soul and good fodder for my mind.
_______________________________________________________

TASTING LOVE’S FORBIDDEN FRUIT
by Dale Hogue

We were young in youthful prime
Making love most all the time.
We didn’t give a second thought
While plucking fruit most freely sought.

We shared a new found lover’s grope,
Buried seeds in descending slope.
When seeking all our love’s desire
We set our tender hearts afire.

We dressed in not a stitch of wear
and mocked the fever of lovers there
Who ran life’s race with careless feet
In childlike wonder and laughter sweet.

The honey that we surely sought
Would disappear without a thought
When someone new came strolling by
Wiggling buns and showing thigh.

I shared some fruit from off that tree
Picked from the ground in front of me.
Enjoyed the taste with someone new
Who changed my life and made me true.

There are scenes recurring in my dreams
That never, ever ends–it seems.
I’m drinking from a champagne flute
While tasting love’s forbidden fruit.

__________________________________________

COLOR MY LIFE WHITE
by Dale Hogue

White rain clouds in morning
skies awakened this new date.
White rocks hurt inside my head
for staying up too late.

White skin exposed to wanton lust
is warmed by the sun.
White flag brought my surrender
and started my blood to run.

White car, cleaned and polished,
sat wating for my date.
White carpet in the hallway
shows the footprints of my fate.

White wine in two warm glasses
set waiting four our toast.
White lies shouted at the wind
will never stop this roast.

White nurse warms the prickly air
while serving up my tea.
White shoes drift inside my mind
while standing close to me.

White skirt rustles near my head
as she moves inside my mind.
White passion fills my heart
and I react in kind.

White sands burn these poor bare
feet in journeys through my life.
White sweat grows on this old bed
may weary with its strife.

White case on downy pillow
comforts this old man’s head.
White flowers will not comment,
I think that they are dead.

White light of Diogenes found
cracks in all my dreams.
White water in life’s rapids
have smashed them up, it seems.

________________________________

POETRY OUT OF CONTROL
by Dale Hogue

The words were flowing along quite well and the Poet
seemed to have everything under control when things
began to happen to the poem as it took on a life of its
own and started to chatter with incessant bing-a-lings.
The Poet sat and looked at the poem that was now out
of control completely and wondered what could be done
to restore proper order and return the poem to the state
in which it must function or it would ruin all of the fun
that comes from writing the type of poetry that is desired
by the Poet whose brain functions much differently than
people who have more practical means of playing solitare
with minds uncluttered by fantasy beings carrying a can
of weird words that were constantly fighting to be heard.

_________________________________________________

FROM LUST TO DUST
by Dale Hogue

Young women lose teasing these hormones
by exposing skin to warming rays of sun,
inspiring wanton lust and blood to run
into the farthest reaches of my bones.
Melodies inside my head vibrate tones
from a song of my youth half forgotten:
it excites my memory, then was done,
releasing my charge with appropriate moans.
It move me not – great Scott!  I’d rather be
dead in a grave with body outworn
than forced to watch these nymphs beside the sea
and feel their pity and their youthful scorn,
but, if this be my fate, my destiny,
I’ll watch till Gabriel blows his horn.

__________________________________________

During my life these are things I’ve learned:

I’ve learned-
that you can do something in an instant
that will give you heartache for life.
I’ve learned-
that it’s taking me a long time
to become the person I want to be.
I’ve learned-
that you should always leave loved ones
with loving words.  It may be the last
time you see them.
I’ve learned-
that you can keep going
long after you can’t.
I’ve learned-
that we are responsible for what we do,
no matter how we feel.
I’ve learned-
that either you control your attitude
or it controls you.
I’ve learned-
that regardless of how hot and
steamy a relationship is at first,
the passion fades and there had
better be something else to take
its place.
I’ve learned-
that heroes are the people
who do what has to be done
when it needs to be done,
regardless of the consequences.
I’ve learned-
that money is a lousy way of keeping score.
I’ve learned-
that my best friend and I can do anything
or nothing and have the best time.
I’ve learned-
that sometimes the people you expect
to kick you when you’re down
will be the ones to help you get back up.
I’ve learned-
that sometimes when I’m angry
I have the right to be angry,
but that doesn’t give me
the right to be cruel.
I’ve learned-
that true friendship continues to grow,
even over the longest distance.
Same goes for true love.
I’ve learned-
that just because someone doesn’t love
you the way you want them to doesn’t
mean they don’t love you with all they have.
I’ve learned-
that maturity has more to do with
what types of experiences you’ve had
and what you’ve learned from them
and less to do with how many
birthdays you’ve celebrated.
I’ve learned
that your family won’t always be
there for you.  It may seem funny,
but people you aren’t related to
can take care of you and love you
and teach you to trust people again.
Families aren’t necessarily biological.
I’ve learned-
that no matter how good a friend is,
they’re going to hurt you every
once in a while and you must forgive
them for that.
I’ve learned-
that it isn’t always enough to be
forgiven by others.  Sometimes you
have to learn to forgive yourself.
I’ve learned-
that no matter how bad your heart is broken
the world doesn’t stop for your grief.
I’ve learned-
that our background and circumstances
may have influenced who we are,
but we are responsible for who we become.
I’ve learned-
that just because two people argue,
it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other
And just because they don’t argue,
it doesn’t mean they do.
I’ve learned-
that we don’t have to change friends
if we understand that friends change.
I’ve learned-
that you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a
secret.  It could change your life forever.
I’ve learned-
that two people can look at the exact
same thing and see something totally different.
I’ve learned-
that your life can be changed in a matter of
hours by people who don’t even know you.
I’ve learned-
that even when you think you have no more
to give, when a friend cries out to you,
you will find the strength to help.
I’ve learned-
that credentials on the wall
do not make you a decent human being.
I’ve learned-
that the people you care about most in life
are taken from you too soon.
Now, send this to people YOU BELIEVE IN –

I did.

—————————————————————————————–

Pro-Choice or Pro-Life–What should the law be?

For the record, I couldn’t care less what a politicians
position is on a women’s “right to kill her unborn baby
for whatever reason she is using the day that she brings
about the death of an innocent human being whom
God has left in her care.”

A woman can call these killings anything she wants,
but it doesn’t change the fact that a new human being
has to forfeit its life so that a woman can kill her unborn
baby and call this killing a “choice” on whether to be
pregnant or not.

If a female doesn’t want to give birth to a human
being she shouldn’t have sexual intercourse during
the three or four day period when she is most fertile
and the egg is in a position to rendezvous with the
sperm released by her male partner during this sexual
encounter.  Such an effort on her part would reduce
these abortion killings by 70 per cent or more.

I have no argument against the sexual partners using
birth control devices–such as condoms etc.–to prevent
the sperm getting to the egg, but at the same time, I also
believe that a female should not have the “legal right”
to kill the child that was conceived as a result of this
“love making” experience with a partner of her choice.

When she uses the “right” that she has “by law”
to kill her own baby while it is in its formative
stage within the safety of her womb, she cheapens
life itself and in turn destroys the sanctity of life,
as we know it.  With this death, the world is the
worse for it!  She has chosen to kill her own baby
during its most vulnerable period simply because
she doesn’t want the problems that come with the
giving of a life to a new human being.

Her choice to kill the baby may be the result of any
number of problems that she would encounter if she
gave birth, but that is not the topic of this discussion.
The topic of this discussion is whether she should or
should not have the “right” under the law to kill her
baby in the womb.  Those of us who are “pro life”
believe in the sanctity of life itself.  We believe that
life–any life–is sacred and should be protected against
harm from any source.

The womb is the protector of the fountainhead of this
new life and the female within whom this fountainhead
resides is the caretaker of this life.

When she “chooses” to abdicate her responsibility as
caretaker by killing her unborn baby, she has determined
that her “right to choose” is more important than the right
of her baby to live. This odious decision to snuff out the life
of an innocent baby becomes an abomination perpetrated
against the sanctity of life itself! One does not have to be
a member of a religious organization to understand the
significance of her actions against those babies who want
nothing more than to be born and to live a happy and a
fruitful life.

There is no gentle way to put it.  Killing is killing and
putting a “new face” on it by calling it “a woman’s right
to choose” doesn’t change a single thing.  A life is taken
away, no matter if those who believe in the woman’s right
to call it a “choice” or something else besides what it really
is, a premeditated killing of an unborn child.

Murder is not a choice!  Murder is murder no matter
who is doing the killing of the unborn child! I do not
believe that we can call our society civilized while we
have a law that condones the killing of unborn babies
and calls those killings “a woman’s right to choose.”

What do you have to say about Pro-Choice and Pro-Life?
I’m open for discussion…… Dale Hogue

=======================================

An Ode to John Steinbeck
by Dale Hogue

I grew up reading Johnny and I want the world to note
that, Gosh Almighty, I sure loved how Steinbeck wrote.
It seemed that thoughts, ideas and words just plain flowed
from the pen scratching that he did and before you knowed
it, his stories took shape and he breathed characters to life
and John Steinbeck happened along to become its midwife.

John Steinbeck wrote words like the following during a stage
where his writing was somewhat like I wrote on this page.

“The ancient dog walked lamely through the open door,
looked around with mild, half-blind eyes that were sore.
Sniffing the air, laid down and put his head on his paws.
As Curly popped into the room and looked in all the stalls,
the old dog raised his head and sank it to the floor again.
Candy’s old Shepherd just couldn’t be bothered with men
who had bits of trouble keeping track of their errant wives
who probably had gone drinking in honky-tonk dives.”

The rhyming lines were written by me, but they could have been
written about Candy’s old dog in John’s play, Of Mice and Men.

You can just feel that old dog thinking plain as day.
If Candy’s Shepherd could talk, this is what he’d say:

“I don’t like that little guy they call Curly, no how.
He treats everybody like they is scum from a cow.
Member one time Candy was afeedin’ me at the table
and Curly done chased us all the way to the stable
cussin’ like we was doing’ somethin’ terrible wrong.

He said I was a smelly old dog who’d stayed too long
on this here ranch. Don’t know what he meant by that,
but I knowed from then on I’d better watch where I sat.

I sure do like it when Candy scratches behind my ears.
Keeps the fleas from comin’ inside and settles old fears
nice and comfortin’ like. It soothes my brain and makes
me feel I is important, but the other men sniff and takes
the air when I come around them. They don’t understan’
I knows what they is doing. They pickup papers and fan
like they just don’t want a dog around where they stood.
It’s their way of telling me that I jus’ don’t smell so good.
Well, if they was as old as me, they’d smell pretty bad, too.
Heck fire and little puppy dogs, some of them already do.”

As you can plainly see, Steinbeck told a story that would take root
in your mind and entertain you long afterwards.   I still get a boot
out of some of his great stories about people, for they are the kind
that provide literary food for my soul and good fodder for my mind.

==========================================

If you wish to publish the story “A Garland of White Roses” in a book or
on the Internet, please contact Dale Hogue for permission.  You would
make an old man mighty happy! I might even come over to your house and
cut your lawn or shovel snow out of your driveway! That is, if I can get
permission from my cardiologist.

Dale Hogue
714-871-0359
1301 Ironwood Street
La Habra, California, 90631

If you wish to send copies to your e-mail friends, you have my permission
to do so.  You must, however, tell them that the writer is a kindly old
man with a beard who goes by the name of Dale.  You thought I was going
to say Santa Claus, didn’t you?  What ever the case, no payment is
requested nor necessary when you send this story to your friends.

A GARLAND OF WHITE ROSES
by Dale Hogue

Twelve-year-old Billy Siker carried the daily paper to Mayor Dalton
of Morningside City.  He had told the mayor about his grandpa and asked
if the mayor could give Grandpa a job that would get him out of the house
where he sat day after day since Grandma died.

After hearing what Billy had to say about his grandfather, the mayor
gave the old man the job of caretaker for the public statues in
Morningside City Park.

It seems that Grandpa and Grandma, had spent many hours in the park
prior to her death and she had always loved the many statues depicting
historical figures.

He hadn’t given them a thought for the longest period of time and
now he had the job of taking care of them.  It was a real opportunity to
be around something that was important to him and Grandma for so many
years.

Billy had gotten permission from his parents to stay at Grandpa’s
house during this period of time in order to help Grandpa regain his
desire to live.

Billy had promised to work with him during his summer vacation.
Grandpa thought it was a perfect job. He could spend time with his
grandson and do something special for the City of Morningside.

Billy helped his grandpa prepare for their new job by taking out the
old man’s work clothes and work sack and setting them beside Grandpa’s
table before they went to bed that night.

Before dawn, the very next day, Billy and Grandpa put on their work
clothes, ate their breakfast, fixed sack lunches and then marched proudly
toward the park.

As Billy and Grandpa entered the park, two squirrels ran across the
big gravel path in front of them and hid behind some of the overhanging
branches that lined the pathway.  A warm rising sun smiled down at the
scene and a light breeze rustled the branches and sent the squirrels in
search of a safer hiding place.

The boy and the old man watched the little squirrels disappear into
the green foliage and then turned their attention to the large statue
dominating the park’s entryway.

The bronze statue was of General Hugo Jay Morningside, hero of the
battle of Bull Run in the War Between the States.  He sat on the back of
a rearing charger whose nostrils were dilated in anger.  The General
appeared to be shouting at the sky.

Billy and Grandpa looked skyward to where the General was pointing
his sword.  They saw only blue sky.  Grandpa said to the statue,
“Perhaps you won’t be so angry at the heavens after we give both of you a
bath.”

“I beg your pardon!” the small voice drifted on the cool morning
air.

At first, they thought the voice had come from the statue, then they
saw the figure standing beside the rosebushes beyond the path.  “Oh!  I
was talking to my friend, the General,” Grandpa said, pointing to the
statue.  “I hope you didn’t think…” his voice trailed as he noticed
that the young lady, dressed in a habit of the Catholic Church, was
looking at him with a bemused expression on her face.

“That’s okay, I understand. I come here each morning to tend the
roses.
They’re so lovely this time of year.  I sometimes catch myself talking to
them, too.”  She pointed in the direction of the rosebushes with her
pruning clippers.

“Yes.  Well, we’d better get to work, Billy,” said Grandpa,
self-consciously.    He took a deep breath and whistled as he prepared
himself for the task ahead.

They sat down on the bench under the statue and opened their work
bundles.  Billy took out cleaning cloths, solvents and polishes.  Grandpa
adjusted his over-alls and picked up the cloths, solvent and polishes.
He and Billy began to clean the base around the General.

By 10 A.M., they were working on the horse.  Grandpa had one arm
around the leg of the horse as he cleaned.  Billy worked on the other
side as children stopped their play to watch them work.

Old people smiled their approval as they passed by the two workers.
Several of them shouted encouragement to the old man and the boy.
Grandpa lifted his cloth from the bronze statue and waved to them.  He
felt a warm glow in his chest.  “It’s good to be appreciated, isn’t it
Billy?”

Near the small lake where sparrows splashed and played tag among the
water plants, they ate their lunch. After eating and taking a short nap,
they climbed a green knoll just over a hundred yards from where they had
been working and surveyed their morning’s effort.  For a few seconds they
saw only the golden glare of shining bronze, then they noticed it. A
garland of white roses hung around the horse’s neck.

Grandpa rubbed the top of Billy’s head, stroked his own chin and
said, “Bless her young heart.”  They went back to work, conscious of a
deep sense of guardianship.

CHAPTER TWO

Each morning, Billy and Grandpa pursued their routine duties, wiping
and cleaning the statues in the park.  Each afternoon, they sat on the
bench under the pepper tree and talked to the children who came to see
the horse who wore white roses.

Grandpa and Billy took turns telling the children stories about the
famous general and his great horse.

“He was a brave man,” They  would often start, “who rode into every
battle on his wonderful horse.”

The children would always ask questions about the roses and why they
hung in a necklace around the horse’s neck.  Grandpa and Billy would tell
them about the young lady who loved the horse so much that she would put
a garland of white roses around its neck every morning before the sun was
up.

“But why are the roses always white?” the children would ask.

“Because the horse’s heart is as pure as the white rose and he is a
brave horse who performed his duties gallantly,” they would answer.  The
children rarely asked about the man who sat astride its broad back.
Grandpa and Billy also lost interest in the general and talked only about
the horse.

The summer weeks passed, and each day the old flowers would be gone
only to be replaced by a fresh new garland of white roses. The old man
and his grandson never saw who put them there.  They never once
questioned their first belief that it was the young nun who placed the
garland around the horse’s neck.

Something else was happening to this statue that Grandpa never
seemed to notice.   Billy was aware of the change that was taking place
and attempted many times to make Grandpa notice that the horse was no
longer rearing on its hind legs.  The horse was now standing on all four
legs and looking rather peacefully into the distance.  The General’s face
had softened and he no longer waved his sword at the sky.   It now was
held at his side and pointed at the ground.

Every day, they tended to all the statues and kept them gleaming,
but Grandpa saved his special polishes for the Horse.  He never referred
to the statue as the General anymore.  To the old man and the children
who visited the park, it was “The Horse Who Wore White Roses.”

The horse no longer looked angry and Grandpa and the children
accepted the changes in the posture of the horse and rider without
question or concern.  The only person who appeared puzzled by the change
was Billy.  Every time he attempted to talk to Grandpa about the strange
things that were happening to the statue, Grandpa would start talking
about something else.

This day started like all the rest for Grandpa and Billy.  They
arose before the sun was up, ate their breakfast, gathered their work
sacks and started for the park.  As they entered the gravel path, they
greeted the squirrels as they had done all the other mornings.  The horse
stood tall and gleaming  in the morning’s first light, but something was
different.  The General was no longer sitting atop the horse.  He was
standing beside it.

Grandpa didn’t comment on the dismounted General.  He was concerned
only that the white roses were not on the horse’s neck.  It looked angry
without its garland of roses.

“Grandpa, the General is no longer on the horse!” Billy said,
running toward the statue.

“She is late this morning, but she will come,” Grandpa told his
excited grandson.

Grandpa dismissed the event that was playing itself out in front of
him.  He started to walk down the path to work on the other statues.
Billy watched him walk away.  He looked one more time at the horse, then
followed his grandpa down the path.

They brushed, wiped and cleaned the other statues and time went by
quickly.  Billy’s stomach told him that it was time to eat.  He put the
cloths and brushes in the work sack and took out their lunches

After they had eaten lunch, Billy and Grandpa started back through
the park.  On the way, they discussed the morning’s work.  Talking
quietly, they entered the pathway to the rose garden.  Billy spotted her
immediately.  The nun was tending her roses and didn’t look up as they
approached her.

“Good afternoon, Sister.  Your roses look beautiful. You take such
good care of them,” said Billy.

“Thank you,” she said.  “Your statues sparkle so in the sunlight.
You and your Grandpa have done a fine job this summer.”

The three of them chatted for a while about the roses, statues and
the lovely summer day.  Nothing was said about the horse and the missing
garland.  Turning to leave, Grandpa spotted the horse and noticed that
the roses were still not in place.

“Excuse me, Sister, haven’t you forgotten something this morning?”
He asked, pointing toward the statue of the horse.

She looked in the direction of the horse and shook her head.  “No, I
don’t think so.  I noticed that the roses were not in place, but decided
that you had been too busy to put them on this morning.”

Grandpa and Billy looked at her in disbelief.  They were puzzled by
what she said.

“You mean you haven’t been putting the roses on the horse?” asked
Billy.

“No, I haven’t been putting the roses on the horse.  Haven’t you?”

Billy shook his head.  Bewildered, Grandpa looked at the statue,
then looked at the nun.  “If you haven’t been putting the garland of
roses on the horse, who has?”

The nun shrugged her shoulders.  All three looked toward the statue
and shook their heads.

CHAPTER THREE

That night, as was their custom, Grandpa and Billy sat reading in
the public library.  They found it hard to concentrate, for their minds
kept going back over the events of the day.

“How could we have been so wrong?” Grandpa said quietly to Billy.
“Surely the nun was the only person who could have been putting the roses
on the horse.”

“We don’t see her in the park every day,” whispered Billy.  We’re
not always in that section of the park every morning.  I don’t think she
spends her whole day there as we do.”

“It’s quite a mystery,” Grandpa said, aloud.

Several people sitting at tables near them turned to look at the old
man who had disturbed the silence.  He gave them a small wave of the hand
and with a sheepish grin, nodded in their direction.  He and Billy
returned to their reading.

The next morning, Grandpa and Billy hurriedly dressed, gathered
their work sacks and, still munching on their breakfast rolls, headed for
the park.  As they neared the gravel pathway, both of them could feel
their hearts pump in time with their quickened pace.

They moved past the playful squirrels, without so much as a nod, and
into the rose garden.  They stopped, dropped their work sacks and looked,
open-mouthed, at the statue.   The horse grazed on the lawn that
surrounded the pedestal where the General sat reading a book.

The horse had a garland of white roses around its neck.  “Now,
that’s more like it!” exclaimed Grandpa.

Billy looked at the grazing horse and then back at the pedestal
where the General sat.  “I can’t believe that you don’t see the changes
that have taken place with this statue!  What it is going on here,
Grandpa?”

“I can answer that question.”  A familiar voice cut through the
morning air.

Billy and Grandpa turned quickly and saw her standing on the gravel
path.

“When your grandpa and I would visit this statue, I would always say
that it would be nice if we had the power to allow the horse and the
general to rest from being angry all the time.  Now I have the power and
they get to rest.  Isn’t this fun?”

“I thought it might be you, but I wasn’t sure. It didn’t seem
possible that you would come back just to allow the horse to rest.   Now
that I think about it, it couldn’t have been anyone but you.  This statue
was always your favorite and you said the same thing about letting the
horse rest every time we visited the park.”

Her big eyes danced with merriment as she surveyed her handiwork.
Grandpa felt a tug at his heart as she pointed, laughing all the while,
at the small squirrel who had climbed up on the General’s shoulder and
was studying the General’s left ear.

She took Grandpa’s hand.   He looked at her adoringly.  Billy stood
beside them, glad that the mystery had been solved and thrilled to see
Grandma again.  He didn’t question that this whole experience bordered on
the supernatural.  In fact, he thought the idea was really cool.

He walked behind them as Grandpa took Grandma on a tour of the
statues in the park.   They left behind the horse sparkling in the
morning’s sun with a
garland of white roses around its neck while the General took a nap on
his pedestal.

And that seemed the most natural thing that had happened these last
few
weeks.  Just before walking over the crest of a small hill, Billy turned
and looked one more time at the scene below.  He smiled, shook his head
and hurried to catch up with Grandpa and Grandma.

——————————————————————————————————————–

SNAIL MAIL AND JAIL

You may have heard in the news that a couple of Post Offices in Texas have been forced to take down small posters that say “IN GOD WE TRUST”. The law they say that the Post Office was violating is something about electioneering posters not being allowed in a United States Federal Office or Post Office or anything being run by the “State” such as a school.

“Was God running for office?” Their detractors asked.

Some people think that we all should write “IN GOD WE TRUST”  on the back of all our snail mail.  “After all, that is our national motto,” they say!  “When we buy stamps, we should write IN GOD WE TRUST across the front of the bills we use to pay for the stamps,” they added.

What do you think?  Is it a good idea, or not?  In this small way, some people say, that the citizens would be showing Congress and the Supreme Court that the American citizens are making an effort–no matter how small–to show that they are not happy with what has been happening in our country.  They believe that the people who feel that any type of religion offends them should not be allowed to abolish this country’s ideals which are written into the Constitution of the United States.

Okay, let’s take a look at the amendment that concerns religion written into THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES

AMENDMENT {1}

Simple Version–written so that anybody should be able to understand, or not, the meaning that the writers of the Constitution had in mind when they added it to the main body of the Constitution!

{Congress shall not make a law concerning an establishment of a state run religion, or shall not make a law forbidding the free exercise of any and all religions established and run by its citizens.}

As written in the Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances.

Do you see anything in the amendment that says there should be a
separation of the Church–or churches established by the citizens of this country–and the State?  If so, write to me and explain what you see and how you see it and what you believe the writers of the Constitution meant (or had in mind) when they wrote this amendment and added it to the Constitution.

THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE as viewed by the majority of the Supreme Court of the United States of America:

The Supreme Court has decided cases involving separation of church and state: In 1962 the use of a prayer composed by the New York Board of Regents in public school classrooms was found by the majority of the Supreme Court justices to violate the First Amendment, which prohibited the establishment of (a state) religion.  The next year the Court “outlawed” Bible readings in public school classrooms for the same reason.

These decisions provoked outcries from the religious citizens of the
United States. They denounced the Court for undermining the religious faith of American young people.  The recalled that in the 1950s “under God” had been added to the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” was printed on all our currency.

But those people, for whatever reasons, were not religious and,
therefore, did not belong to any church applauded the Supreme Court’s defense of their interpretation of the First Amendment.  They said that “religion was strong in the United States because it was not enforced by the government”–or words to that effect.  The Supreme Court rulings apparently made the non-religious people feel more secure since they would not have to belong to a state run church or any church, for that matter. Because of these Supreme Court rulings, they believed that they would be free to not believe in God and would not have to go to any church in which God was mentioned on a regular basis.

What do you think?  I’m listening!
Dale Hogue
————————————————————————-

HITTING THE JACKPOT

Dale Hogue
714-871-0359
1301 Ironwood Street
La Habra, California

I was paying for a package of gum in a liquor store. As I received
my change, I heard a noise coming from the phone booth next to the
magazine rack  near the counter where I stood.  An old gentleman stood perplexed as coins came tumbling out of the pay phone on to the floor of the phone booth.

“Wow, you really hit the jackpot,” I said to him as I stood near the
booth watching the coins scatter across the floor.

“What did I do? I put in a quarter and pushed this little lever,
that’s all! Did I break the phone?”

“No, I don’t think that you broke the phone, but when you pushed that lever down something happened to the return coin gadget in the phone.  It just released all the coins that it had.”

“What do I do, now. This money doesn’t belong to me.” He was talking to the clerk at the counter at this point.

“I don’t know what you are suppose to do.  This has never happened before, at least not while I’ve been working here.”  He got out a broom and started sweeping the coins back toward the booth.

“Perhaps you can take one of those coins and call the company that services this phone booth.  Somebody there must know about such things,” I suggested.

“That’s an idea,” the old man said.  He took one of the coins from
the floor and placed it into the slot in the phone and called the number listed.

Out of curiosity, I stuck around to see what was going to happen.  I watched the clerk sweep the coins onto a dust pan and empty it into a bucket.  There were quite a few coins.  “Must be at least $20 worth of coins there, don’t you think?” I asked

“A whole lot more than that,” the clerk answered. “It wouldn’t
surprise me if there was over $50,” he ventured.

“Wow! I didn’t think this type of phone could hold that much money!” I said.

We could hear part of the conversation taking place between the old man and the person on the other end of the line.  “But, the money is not mine.  Don’t you understand?”  He turned to us and said, “The lady wants me to keep the money.”

“That’s mighty generous of her.  Did she tell you why she thinks you should keep it?” I said to nobody in particular.

“But the money doesn’t belong to me.  It is not mine!”  He was
getting a bit agitated and started gesturing at the phone then at the
floor.  “No, I will not keep the money!  Just tell me what you want me to do with it.” He listened to the instructions being given by the person on the other end of the conversation.  He shook his head to indicate that he understood and hung the phone up.

“What did she say?” the clerk asked.

“She told me to put the money back into the phone by using the coin slot.”

“Sounds like a plan,” I said, caught up in the little drama that was
taking place before me.

“Give me the money bucket, please,” the old man said.  The clerk
handed him the bucket and went to the back room to put away his broom and dustpan. The old man sat down on the phone booth stool and started feeding the coins to the phone.

“I sure admire your integrity,” I said to the old man. “Most people would have just taken the money and walked right out of this store without a moments hesitation. I shall tell the students in my high school classes that there are still honest people in the world, because today I met one.”

The old man waved his hand to me and continued to stick the coins into the phone slot as I left the liquor store.  “What a jackpot,” I said to myself. “I got to see an honest man at work. That doesn’t happen everyday!”
———————————————————–

Click here for more of Mr. Hogue’s Wisdom