Category Archives: Stan Paregien Sr

Issue 370 – Christmas Cheer

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The Paregien Journal     –     Issue 370     –     Dec. 4, 2017

Christmas Cheer

Ah, here we are. Another holiday season with both Christmas and New Years Day fast approaching. Amid the din of noisy TV and radio commerials and the ads packing each issue of our newspaper, there is still an opportunity now and then to push the pause button and reflect on what the Christmas season means to me and to our society.

Oh, sure, there are those who see Christmas as just a time for more than a “cup of cheer,” more like a keg of beer and pretzels and tacos. Their anthem is,. “Let’s party! And, oh yeah, Merry Christmas and all that stuff.”

I was reminded recently about how a great many Americans and people in other cultures around the world still pause on Christmas to speak a word of kindness or to actually do a neighborly act for someone as a way of honoring the man Jesus who outgrew that manger in Bethleham and devoted his life to doing good for everyone.

On Saturday, November 17, 2017, we were guests of our son and his wife at whole day walking around Silver Dollar City near Branson, Missouri. People were there for the amusement rides, the Christmas parade, the lights and the vast selection of food items. In addition, though, at about 1:30 pm we joined an overflow crowd (I’d guess about 500 people) who found seats in the beautiful theater there. And then we were all treated to a live play, a really fine production of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.” Like many of you grey-haired or no-haired folks, I have seen several versions of that play. 

However, I must say that this production on that day was the best I’ve ever experienced. The actors were simply superb. The orchestra was magnificent. The sets were like candy for the eyes. And the audience, . . . well, they clapped enthusiastically at the right times and wiped their eyes, as did I, at the quiet and emotional moments. I was so glad I got to experience that production and to do so with family and friends. Despite the fridgid north wind and the occasional rain, I was overjoyed to be there. Again I was reminded that people really do enjoy good stories with good moral values — honesty, loyalty to family and friends, sacrificial love of dedicated mothers and fathers for their children, and that still wonderful bond of community between people of diverse backgrounds.

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On Sunday, Dec. 3rd, we were out kicking around with friends Michael & Penny Letichevsky. Since Peggy and I had outfitted in “Christmas colors,” we all stopped by the Desoto Mall in Bradenton for Penny to take a few photos to try to get one we could insert in a few Christmas cards.

This shot was a great one, by our standards, but it came in 2nd place.

2017--12--03 03B Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

The “1st Place” photo was totally unexpected. Ol’ Santa himself left his station where he was available for photos with kids . . . and sneaked up behind us and got into one of our photos. We love it, because we were blissfully ignorant he was right behind us and getting in on the fun.

2017--12--03 03A Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

Yep, as you can probably tell from the above photo, both Peggy and I have trimmed down considerably over the last four months or so. I feel better now than I have in many years. And prettier, too. Yuk-yuk.

2017--12--03 09 Bradenton, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien - by Penny Letichevsky

And Now, . . . A Word About

Football

Sooners.

Yes, as in the University of Oklahoma Sooners football team. They sport a record of 12 wins and one loss. And on New Years Day they will play the University of Georgia Bulldogs at the one-and-only Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Later that night, the Clemson Tigers will play the Univerity of Alabama Tide. Then the winners of those two games will play for the National Championship.

2017--10--12 Logo for the University of Oklahoma Sooners

Congratulations to the OU football players, to their coaches and to their supporters — “the Sooner Nation.” I am of the humble, unbiased opinion that the Sooners will neuter the Dogs in their semi-finals game and will finally reign as the National Champions.

2017--10--13 Logo for the University of Oklahoma Sooners

After all, we have a not-too-secret weapon in our quarterback, Baker Mayfield, likely the next Heisman Trophy winner as the best football player in America, the world and our universe.

2017--10--10 Baker Mayfield, quarterback at Oklahoma University Sooners

Go Sooners!!

 

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 1 of 3

[Don Betts’ poem, Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale]

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 2 of 3

 

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 3 of 3

Bravo, Mr. Betts. Another amazingly creative and always linguistically challenging poem. Keep up the fine work, my dear friend.

2012--Christmas--tree--Blondie Cartoon--Dagwood trims the new tree--2012--12--16

[“Blondie” cartoon about an ugly Christmas tree and how Dagwood made it uglier.]

Christmas Trees Don’t Have To Be Perfect

To Be Beautiful

 By Curtis K. Shelburne

My earliest Christmas memories are mostly wrapped around our family’s Christmas trees.

 I remember Mom making creamy hot chocolate and my sister stacking the spindle of the old record player with an inch-high pile of vintage vinyl Christmas music by Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and the Norman Luboff Choir.

 Most years the tree had already been bought at (where else?) Amarillo’s Boy Scout Troop 80 Christmas tree lot. I was a member of Troop 80 and thus expected to help sell trees each year. My younger brother was not, but he was a wheeler-dealer sort who liked selling trees and often, as I recall, managed to pawn off more trees than most of the bona fide boy scouts. Jacob (I mean, Jim) always felt Jacob of old settled for far too little when he sold his hungry brother Esau that bowl of stew and only got a birthright for it. Jim would’ve held out for hard cash and then the birthright at the end as a balloon payment.

Christmas Tree-- imperfect trees are okay

[photo of a not-too perfect tree]

We’d lean the tree in the garage for a day or a few on its amputation-site stump in a bucket of water while it waited to be lit and glorified. Anchoring the tree in the stand was a chore. Jim and I would crawl under the scratchy boughs and slide around on our wood floor to turn each screw just the right amount. It was never straight the first time.

Then my 15-years-older sister, the unquestioned head honcho of the process, would ascend to perform the task of highest honor as she put on the lights (bubble lights, snowball lights, and all), a job in later years graciously bequeathed to me.

 Then we would hang the ornaments, a tedious task but nothing like as bad as the final stage in the process: hanging the icicles.

I don’t see those long, thin, silvery strands of foil or plastic, those “icicles,” on trees much anymore. I hope never again to have to put them on one of mine.

1940s Christmas tree - with lots of tinsels

[ photo of a 1940s style Christmas tree with lots of icicles]

According to my sister, they had to be hung with great care, one at a time. Ten million or so came in a box. You’d drag one out of the box and carefully place it over a tree branch. It was essential, my sister assured us, to start at the back near the trunk and make sure the icicle hung straight down on both sides of the branch. Straight down. No clumps. Which is why Jim’s preferred method of grabbing a paw-full of icicles and launching the whole wad in the general direction of the tree was sternly forbidden. No. One at a time. Until you froze there, died there, decayed there, and Christmas never came, and it was spring and you were still hanging icicles. One at a time.

 I don’t know what we thought would happen—apart from sure death—if we didn’t hang the icicles exactly right. Would Santa’s sleigh suddenly crash in flight and the FAA later determine and publish for the whole world full of weeping giftless children to see that the cause was icing—not on the sleigh but improper tree icicling by two Shelburne boys at 125 N. Goliad, Amarillo, Texas, whose wanton and reckless disregard had killed Santa?

I’m sure we never did it “right.” But I remember wandering into the living room as a little lad clad in those great PJs that came complete with feet, lying down almost under the tree, looking up through its branches, and drinking in the beauty.

By God’s grace, Christmas trees don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Neither do lives.

[Copyright 2011 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.]

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an-christmas tree

Christmastree-dog

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Poem 139 - The Truth About Santa Claus -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien on Feb 1, 1992

[ Stan Paregien’s poem, “The Truth About Santa” ]

Poem 393 -- A Holiday Greeting -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien on Oct 13, 2014

[Stan Paregien’s poem, “A Holliday Greeting” ]

Poem 402 Christmas Time in Florida - by Stan Paregien Nov 14, 2014

[ Stan Paregien’s poem, “Christmas Time in Florida” ]Poem by S Omar Barker - One Snowy Christmas Eve - in THE ROUNDUP for Dec, 1978, page 7
[ S. Omar Barker’s poem, “One Snowy Christmas Eve” ]S Omar Barker, 'The Cowboy's Christmas Prayer'
[ S. Omar Barker’s poem, “A Cowboy’s Christmas Prayer” ]

2017--12--03 06 Bradenton, FL - Be still and know that I am God - Psalm 46 v10

[ “Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 ]

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Honor Roll of Visitors

to The Paregien Journal

http://www.paregienjournal.com

I enjoy writing, as all of you can attest. My first published article was in the student newspaper at the first college I attended, back in the fall of 1961. Since then I have had hundreds of articles appear in scores of different newspapers and magazines. And three hardback books, two paperback books and 15 eBooks later, I haven’t lost that drive to find ideas worthy of sharing with all of you.

There is something singularly satisfying about my little blogs published as the title of THE PAREGIEN JOURNAL at http://www.paregienjournal.com. That satisfaction comes from knowing that on any given day there may be people visiting my site from all over the world. Instantly. Amazing.

I am pleased and thankful that – just since January 1, 2017 — people from 72 nations visited this web page. Heck, I don’t even know where many of them are on a map of the world. But here is that list as of Nov. 10, 2017:

Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong SAR China, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

Thanks to all those who live in other nations and have honored us with a visit to this site. We appreciate it very much. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I’m giving some serious thought to doing a series of profiles next year about each of the nations listed above. I’m start with the first three — Albania, Algeria, Andorra — and see how that goes. If you are from one of those nations  or can put me in touch with a knowledgeable person with first-hand, recent information, I’d appreciate a note to me at:  paregien@gmx.com . Thanks.

an-christmas-fiveCats

A very merry Christmas to each and every one of you. And if you haven’t done so as yet, why not take a small gift or a dish of food to someone who is sick or lonely? You could certainly cheer them up. Then that person would be blessed and so would you, especially if you warmly and graciously offer to pick that person up in your car and spend maybe just an hour driving around looking at all the Christmas lights.

Until next year, Lord willing.

— Stan Paregien

2017--12--03 04 Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

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Issue 364 – Fleeing Hurricane Irma, Part 3

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The Paregien Journal    —    Issue 364    —    September 21, 2017

Fleeing Hurricane Irma, Part 3 of 3

[See Parts 1 and 2 for earlier portions of the story of our evacuation from Bradenton, Florida due to the imminent arrival of Hurricane Irma.]

On Thursday, Sept. 14th, we made a mad dash from our motel in Lexington, Kentucky about 20 miles west to visit Frankfort, Kentucky. That is where the state’s capital is, plus that is where the grave of he one-of-a-kind American hero Daniel Boone is buried. The first place we went was to the final resting place of Daniel Boone and his beloved wife Rebecca. A tall, impressively carved marker stands in the beautiful and historic cemetery across the Kentucky River on a bluff which looks out upon the State Capital.

2017--09--14 06--D Frankfort, KY - Stan Paregien at grave of Daniel Boone - by Peggy Paregien

2017--09--14 06--A Frankfort, KY - grave stone of Daniel Boone -2017--09--14 06--B Frankfort, KY - Stan Paregien at grave of Daniel Boone - by Peggy Paregien2017--09--14 06--C Frankfort, KY - Stan Paregien at grave of Daniel Boone - by Peggy Paregien2017--09--14 06--F Frankfort, KY - Stan Paregien at grave of Daniel Boone - by Peggy Paregien2017--09--14 06--G Frankfort, KY - grave of Daniel Boone - by Stan Paregien2017--09--14 06--H Frankfort, KY - grave of Daniel Boone - by Stan Paregien2017--09--14 06--J Frankfort, KY - grave of Daniel Boone - by Stan Paregien2017--09--14 07--A Frankfort, KY - State Capital Building - by Sttan Paregien2017--09--14 07--B Frankfort, KY - State Capital Building - by Sttan Paregien2017--09--14 07--C Frankfort, KY - Ky Historical Society Bldg Quote from Happy Chandler - by Sttan Paregien2017--09--14 07--D Frankfort, KY - First Baptist Church building - by Sttan Paregien

Then we drove up to Williamstown, Kentucky. Never got to see the town itself. But we saw what draws many hundreds of people every day to the edge of town. Just off I-75 is an attraction named “Ark Encounter.” A bunch of some bodies invested a ton of money in this project. Taking the actual dimensions given in the Old Testament of Noah’s Ark, they built a 510 foot arch, with a ground floor devoted to a huge gift shop, some meeting room, etc. Then the ark itself — with all the birds and beasts and such all arranged two by two — takes up three full floors. We walked ourselves silly and were amazed by all of the displays and exhibits. We probably spent three hours or so there.

However, if you’re a serious student of the Bible and/or archeology and such, you really ought to buy a two-day pass. Then pace yourself by maybe spending two hours there on the first morning and after lunch another two hours. Same thing for the second day. My bet is you won’t even be able to see it all even then. It is H-U-G-E, as a car dealer in the Tampa area likes to shout in his commercials.

2017--09--14 11 Williamstown, KY - replica of Noah's Ark2017--09--14 12 Williamstown, KY - replica of Noah's Ark2017--09--14 13 Williamstown, KY - replica of Noah's Ark2017--09--14 14 Williamstown, KY - replica of Noah's Ark2017--09--14 15 Williamstown, KY - replica of Noah's Ark2017--09--14 16--A Williamstown, KY - Noah's Ark - by Peg Paregien2017--09--14 16--B Williamstown, KY - Noah's Ark - Stan and Peg Paregien2017--09--14 16--C Williamstown, KY - Noah's Ark - Peg Paregien2017--09--14 17 Williamstown, KY - Noah's Ark - Peg Paregien2017--09--14 18--A Williamstown, KY - Noah's Ark - Peg Paregien2017--09--14 18--B Williamstown, KY - Noah's Ark - Peg Paregien2017--09--14 18--C Williamstown, KY - Noah's Ark - Peg Paregien

After seeing the Ark Encounter, we had planned on driving on up to Indianapolis to visit Peggy’s eldest sister, Mrs. Charlotte Allen Richardson and her husband Bill. We thought we might spent a couple of nights there, then wander west to our son’s house near St. Louis for the duration of our evacuation from Florida. That is, we did not want to start back until we were sure we had our electricity back on and that food and gas supplies were adequate.

However, about then we got a call from a neighbor back home in Bradenton. She gave us the exciting news that our electricity had been restored (it had been off since last Sunday night). And she said it looked like our house had only very minor damages.

Hallelujah! Those were the words we were waiting to hear. We did a quick u-turn and headed back to Florida. However, I did not want to drive down I-75 again. So we went slightly west toward Nashville and I-65. We spent Thursday night in a very busy, small town named Franklin, Kentucky, right on I-65. We had perhaps the best night of sleep since we had been forced out of our home by Hurricane Irma.

On Friday, Sept. 15th, we left Franklin, Kentucky about 8:30 pm and drove through some patches of fog on the way down to Nashville. Getting through congested “Music City” was no easy task, but I guess it did prepare us for what was coming next.

After actually looking at a map and seeing that the lower part of I-65 took us way west toward Mississippi, we decided to boogie back over to Chattanooga and join back up with . . . yep, . . . I-75. There is some major road construction going on in Chattanooga, so it was stop and go all the way.

When we got to I-75. the pace of the hordes of southbound traffic moved along pretty well for the most part. That is, until we got to Hell. Yeah, you know — Hell, Georgia. Oh, okay, you may know it better as Atlanta. But I’m here to tell you that driving through Atlanta from 2:15 pm to 5:30 pm is as close as I want to get to hell.

2017--09--15 10 Atlanta, GA -- hell on wheels - by Peg Paregien

2017--09--15 11 Atlanta, GA -- hell on wheels - by Peg Paregien

There were six lanes of traffic going each direction, but it all was going at the speed of a senior citizen snail. It was bad. No it was downright awful. I have driven in a lot of big cities — Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Montgomery, Indianapolis, Columbus, and more. But I ain’t never in all my born days driven in anything that could compare to the helter-skelter of Atlanta. I came away from that white-knuckle experience crying, “No mas! No more! Never again!” Or to paraphrase the great Chief Joseph of Idaho’s Nez Pierce tribe who finally admitted defeat at the hands of the U.S. Army. He said, “As long as the grass grows and the water flows, I will fight no more forever.” And I said as I exited Atlanta, “As long as I am half-way sane, I will drive no more forever in Atlanta.” Amen and Amen!

We were physically and emotionally exhausted when we finally got to our . . . eh, well . . . 3rd rate motel in Macon, Georgia. After a few $160 per night hotels we just had to take something cheaper. It turned out to be okay. Certainly nothing fancy about the room, and the continental breakfast the next morning left much to be desired. But it was a bed and the room was air-conditioned . . . and they allowed pets. 

We set our alarm for 5:30 am on Saturday, Sept. 16th. And we hit the blacktop on I-75 at 6:40 am. We were going home. Nothing quite like that feeling after so many one-or-two night stands. There were pockets of very heavy traffic, especially about 11 am at all six exits or so to Gainesville. We wondered why the heck the traffic was backed up so far. And, bingo, we remember that the University of Florida “Gators” had a home football game that afternoon.

Amazingly, we managed to average about 66 mph on Saturday’s travel. We drove into our driveway about 2:00 pm.

2017--07--17 03 Cartoon - even anti-government folks ask for help after a disaster

2017--09--17 01 Bradenton, FL - Cartoon - linemen were heroes

2017--09--17 02 Bradenton, FL - home damaged - by Peggy Paregien

2017--09--19 01 Bradenton, FL - tree damage - by Stan Paregien

2017--09--19 02 Bradenton, FL - tree damage - by Stan Paregien

Yes, we did see a lot of trees down along the roads, all the way from central Georgia to Bradenton. And some of the residents in our 55+ community had some significant damage, with maybe 25 families still without electricity. Florida’s sauna-like summer heat and humidity are terrible for anyone without air conditioning, but it is especially hard on young children and on seniors. But, all in all, we were thankful the hurricane had not made a direct landing here.

Be it ever so humble, it is always a good feeling to get back home. And it is especially wonderful when the house that you half-way expected to lose in a massive storm surge of water is still in tact. Thank you, Lord.

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Issue 348 – This Land Is Your Land

 

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Issue 348     –    February 6, 2017

This Land Is Your Land

I did not watch the Super Bowl football game on Feb. 5, 2017. Half-time entertainer Lady Gaga seems to have gotten favorable reviews from lots of folks. I did catch a news clip of her singing a portion of Woody Guthrie’s popular song, “This Land Is Your Land.” It is a populist, kind of get-together-and-sing-Kumbaya song. 

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However, as the late radio broadcaster Paul Harvey used to say, . . . here is the rest of the story.

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I made the following statements about the history of the song, “This Land Is Your Land.” in my 2012 eBook, WOODY GUTHRIE: HIS LIFE, MUSIC AND MYTH (Chapter 5):  

“On Feb. 23, 1940, Woody wrote ‘This Land Is Your Land’ while living with friend and fellow folksinger Burl Ives at the Hanover House in New York City. He wrote it to counteract what he considered the mindless sentimentality of ‘God Bless America,’ penned by the great Irving Berlin. That song just really irritated him something awful.

“Slowly but surely he worked out the words of his own song and, as usual, simply matched the lyrics up with an existing song. In this case it was the melody of a gospel song, ‘Oh, My Loving Brother,’ a melody that was also borrowed by the Carter Family for their song, ‘Little Darling, Pal of Mine’. Woody titled his song, ‘This Land Is Your Land’ and pretty much forgot about it until April of 1944.

“When the song finally surfaced and was recorded, it only included the first four verses (see below). And it quickly gained traction. Today the first few verses are sung by people all over the world, sometimes with a few adaptations to fit the Canadian or Japanese or Irish or whatever culture. It has been recorded by virtually everyone under the sun, from Bing Crosby to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In the 1960s President Lyndon Baines Johnson was one of the first to wonder if maybe it should replace our national anthem. And various big-name corporations, including United Airlines and the Ford Motor Company, have used bits of it for their sales pitches on TV and radio.

“Here is how those first four verses read:

1   This land is your land, This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

 2  As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

 3  I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

 4  When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

“The problem with most of the admiration for this song is that the four-verses-only version hides or at least ignores the whole point of the complete song. With all of its verses intact, ‘This Land is Your Land’ stands as a Marxist chant for communal property. Here is how those last three verses read:

5   As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

6   In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

7  Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

“Now, go back and read the first line of the first verse. Doesn’t it take on a much darker meaning? It should because this song is, in fact, radical leftist Guthrie’s most clear challenge to life as most American’s know it.

“He understood that private property rights were, more often than not in the United States, used by land-owning corporations to put down the workers. They and their henchmen, the courts and law enforcement, constantly trampled on workers’ constitutional-granted rights of freedom of speech and freedom to assemble.

“So he was calling on people to join the fight against the concept of private ownership of property which, historically, has been the lynchpin of American politics and economics. Woody reasoned that he was taking the high moral ground in advocating that all Americans should share equally in America’s wealth and property.

“Keep in mind, too, that one of the reasons Guthrie wrote this song was to protest the idealism of the big hit song of 1939-1940, ‘God Bless America.’ And it is in verse 6 that he makes the point that the America he saw, from sea to shining sea, was filled with poor and unemployed people standing in welfare lines. And he felt that capitalism and its innate greed were responsible for the awful situation in which there was a great gulf between the bankers and the guys digging ditches or even those who just wish they had a job of any kind. So nothing would change—the poor will continue to be with us en mass—until we change capitalism to communism. And, though not stated in the song, it was his belief that the labor movement—and unions, in particular—could accomplish that goal.

 “Was Woody a Communist Party Member?

 “Was Woody Guthrie a member of the official Communist Party or was he just a sympathizer on the outside looking in or was he just a guy who sympathized and identified with poor, hard-hit people and sought help from any source?

“Guy Logsdon expressed his point of view when I interviewed him in 2006: ‘Woody loved the United States of America. He loved Oklahoma. And he loved Okemah. He never wrote anything bad against them. He wrote against greed and anything having to do with the suppression of innocent people. If that makes him a Communist, then Jesus was a Communist. Woody was the poet philosopher of the people, the voice of the ordinary person.

“’However, Woody was not radical enough to be a communist. The Almanac Singers, some of whom later became stars as a group called The Weavers, wrote and performed pro-labor and anti-war songs. You know Franklin Roosevelt had a program to rebuild the economy and get production and prices stabilized. It involved killing every fourth cow and plowing under every fourth acre. So the Almanac Singers recorded a song called, ‘Plow Under Every Fourth Soldier’ in protest to the war. That offended a lot of people.

“’And the public sentiment changed radically when Germany waged war against Russia. So the Almanac Singers dropped that song from their programs very quickly. And they started writing and performing anti-Hitler songs.

“’When Woody went to New York City, he was in awe of what they were doing. And he sometimes attended meetings of the Communist Party but, as Pete Seeger has often said, ‘Woody was not a Communist. The Communist Party was a tightly structured organization. And Woody Guthrie wouldn’t join anything like that, because his nature was too independent and unstructured.’”

“Perhaps so. But as we have quoted previously, Woody made that admission or assertion of membership himself. And he did it in what my dear ol’ English teacher at Fillmore (California) High School—Mrs. Percy—would call a simple declarative sentence: “The best thing I did in 1936 [he got the actual date wrong; it was 1939] was to sign up with the Communist Party . . . ” (see Chapter 4.)

“When all views are heard, it seems clear that Woody Guthrie was at the least a solid sympathizer and supporter of the Communist Party. He was a man of his times, and those times were very hard for the working class. So whether he was a card-carrying member of the Party seems immaterial today. And it seems to me that, in the final analysis, Guthrie really had more faith in the unions than he did in Communism. In 1944 he said, ‘I live union. I eat union. I think union. I see union. I walk it and I talk it. I sing it and I preach it’ (Quoted by Ed Cray, Ramblin’ Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie [2011], page 283).

 “Well, as I said, he filed the song away and pretty much forgot about it for several years. But it would finally end up as his signature song and in its four-verse form one of the most sung songs in the world.”

One more thing. The big news right now is about our immigration and deportation policies (or lack thereof). It is old news, really.

immigration-plymouth-rock

Woody Guthrie had a big place in his heart for the frequently abused immigrant workers and their families. He spent a great deal of time traveling around to make-shift worker’s camps to listen to their problems and to encourage them with his songs. 

In 1948, an event happened that triggered a great deal of anger in Woody.  The U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Department had chartered a DC-3 airplane to deport back to Mexico both illegal immigrants and those Mexicans whose work permits had expired. They left Oakland, Calif., on Jan. 28th with 28 such deportees on board, plus the pilot, a co-pilot, a guard and a stewardess. The plane crashed in a ball of fire near Los Gatos, California.The news reports mentioned the staff members by name and said 28 deportees were also killed. No mention of their names, leaving the impression they were of no importance.

Guthrie took that as a personal insult and an outrage. He went into a writing frenzy, pouring his heart and soul in a song he titled, “Deportees” (also known as “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos”):

Plane Wreck at Los Gatos

(also known as “Deportees”)
by Woody Guthrie

The crops are all in and the peaches are rott’ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They’re flying ’em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won’t have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be “deportees”

My father’s own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.

Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract’s out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died ‘neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, “They are just deportees”

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except “deportees”?

Sad to say that the practice of devaluing other people is still alive and well. We often find fault with those who are different from ourselves — morally, culturally, racially, religiously and politically. The list goes on.

Now, friends, if you look at this thing strictly logically and scientifically (not morally or religiously) the woes and injustices to the poor, the weak and sickly and the disenfranchised should be of no concern to those of us who are winners in the lottery of life. After all, scientist Charles Darwin preached the survival of the fittest as being in the best interest of the world. So why should one glob of atoms (a human) give a flip about another glob (another human)? You know the routine: (1) Look out for Number 1; (2) What’s mine is mine and I’m after yours; (3) The real “Golden Rule” is that whoever has the gold rules; (4) Greed is good; and (5) Don’t get involved.

Well, . . . if you buy that premise, then it is kinda irrational to do otherwise, don’t you think? Maybe that’s why you’re never seen anywhere a hospital founded and funded by the American Association of Atheists. That’s why there are no major philanthropic foundations operated by the American Humanist Association. That’s what the Society for Humanistic Judaism sits around gazing at their navels. 

Thankfully, however, there are people of goodwill and generous acts of kindness in every group and country. Concern for others, whether a friend or a neighbor or an enemy, is still alive and well.

For example, loving concern is a fundamental theme in the sacred Jewish texts. Here is a sampling from Exodus 23:1-9: “(1) Don’t spread rumors. Don’t plot with evil people to act as a lying witness. (2) Don’t take sides with important people to do wrong. When you act as a witness, don’t stretch the truth to favor important people. (3) But don’t privilege unimportant people in their lawsuits either. (4) When you happen to come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey that has wandered off, you should bring it back to them. (5) When you see a donkey that belongs to someone who hates you and it’s lying down under its load and you are included not to help set it free, you must help set it free. (6) Don’t undermine the justice that your poor deserve in their lawsuits. (7) Stay away from making a false charge. Don’t put an innocent person who is in the right to death, because I will not consider innocent those who do such evil. (8) Don’t take a bribe, because a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. (9) Don’t oppress an immigrant. You know what it’s like to be an immigrant, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt.” — from the COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE (used with permission)

Christians, too, recognize their duty and honor to serve others who have hit hard times. John the Baptist, who was in prison at the time, sent word to this new teacher named Jesus and asked him for some proof that the was the longed-for Messiah. Jesus did not cite as evidence that he had formed a large anti-Roman army, nor that he had a large political campaign war chest, nor that the Who’s Who of Israel were his backers. Amazingly, Jesus told the messengers, “Go, report to John what you hear and see. Those who were blind are able to see. Those who are crippled are walking. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. The poor have good news proclaimed to them.” (Matthew 11:4-5, CEB)

A lawyer with the Pharisee sect of Judaism tried to trap Jesus one time by asking him what the greatest commandment was in the Law of Moses. Jesus said, ” (37) You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. (38) This is the first and greatest commandment. (39) And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” (Matthew 22:37-39, CEB)

It is clear in both Judaism and in Christianity that love for others–not just a good feeling but positive, practical help–is fundamental to religious faith.

The apostle James chided his peers by saying, “(2) Imagine two people coming into your meeting. One has a gold ring and fine clothes, while the other is poor, dressed in filthy rags. (3) Then suppose that you were to take special notice of the one wearing fine clothes, saying, ‘Here’s an excellent place. Sit here.’ But to the poor person you say, ‘Stand over there’; or, ‘Here, sit at my feet.’ (4) Wouldn’t you have shown favoritism among yourselves and become evil-minded judges?

“(5) My dear brothers and sisters, listen! Hasn’t God chosen those who are poor by worldly standards to be rich in terms of faith? Hasn’t God chosen the poor as heirs of the kingdom he has promised to those who love him? (6) But you have dishonored the poor. Don’t the wealthy make life difficult for you? Aren’t they the ones who drag you into court? (7) Aren’t they the ones who insult the good name spoken over you at your baptism?

“(8) You do well when you really fulfill the royal law found in scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself.” (James 2:2-8, CEB)

That, my friends, is why you see hundreds of hospitals and universities and homes for the needy founded by and funded by the faith community. Highly respected Jewish hospitals and Christian hospitals are found across America, as are homes for the homeless and abused. Back in my old stomping ground, Oklahoma City, we had the Baptist Hospital, Deaconess Hospital (Methodist), and Mercy Hospital (Catholic), each of them a fine facility caring for anyone who walked through the door. Other religious organizations work every day to help migrants with legal work or with learning English, or helping pregnant women save their babies from abortions, or rescuing young men and women from sex traffickers and drug dealers. And the list of good works goes on and on.

“This Land is Your Land” is a nice song title and sorta give us a warm, fuzzy feeling. In fact, I have personally adapted it to create songs for the people of Rwanda (“Rwandans, This Land Is Our Land”), for the people of Honduras (“Hondurans, This Land Is Your Land”), and for the people of Ireland (“Ireland Is Your Land).  View videos of those songs and 50 others on my “Stan Paregien’s Studio” on YouTube at:https://www.youtube.com/user/CowboyStan/videos

My point is this: it takes that “good feeling” and $5.00 to get you a cup of java at Starbucks. Fact is, it is up to you and to me to look for opportunities to honor God by doing good wherever we go and by teaching others to do the same.  

So if you are looking for hope and purpose in your life, please take a serious look around you. Observe how your neighbors are living. Is it the Believers who are more happy and fulfilled . . . and busy helping others . . . or is it the Non-Believers? There are exceptions, of course, for no one is perfect in practicing their philosophy of life. But my 75+ years of experience has shown me that people of faith actually believe that history is headed somewhere and they are not just sitting hopelessly on a spinning earth.

Just sayin’.

[NOTE: My eBook, WOODY GUTHRIE: HIS LIFE, MUSIC AND MYTH, is available in seven popular formats at:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/StanParegien . You’ll find over a dozen more of my eBooks there as well. And before long there will be another one on the list, right now tentatively titled MANATEE COUNTY, FLORIDA: FACTS, FOLKS AND PHOTOS. Stay tuned.]

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Issue 344 – Adios 2016, Ola 2017

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Issue 344  –   January 3, 2017  –  Bradenton, Florida

Well, folks, we had quite a nice New Year’s Eve Celebration at our 55+ retirement community down here in Paradise. We ended this 31st day of December, 2016 basking in the sunshine of an 82 degree day. And then we gathered in our clubhouse for a catered dinner, followed by a dance. Pretty doggoned nice, we thought.

Peggy and I stuck around the festivities until about 10:00 pm. We home and started watching an old black-and-white movie about 10:30 p.m. The next thing I knew I woke up and the clock above our TV said 12:09. Peggy had fallen asleep, too. So I awoke her to tell her “Happy New Year!” And then we saundered off to bed. The best part of the day was this part, when I thanked God for being able to start another year with the love of my life.

One of the members of our Home Owners Association had asked me to take photos of our folks as they came through the door for the New Year’s Eve Party. So Peggy took down their names as they lined up and I took two shots of each group or individual. All of the 65+ pictures turned out well, except for four or five, and I appologize for that. I can blame those few  photos on my camera, not the camera operator. For, as you will see, the photo which someone else snapped of Peggy and me with my camera was one of those which was a bit off. Well, at least the price was right (i.e., free). 

I have posted below most of the photos that I took that evening. I hope you enjoy them. 

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2016-12-31-25-carolyn-and-patt-meara-pat-perkins-by-stan-paregien

2016-12-31-26-carol-and-chuck-misiurewiez-by-stan-paregien

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2016-12-31-33a-linda-and-melanie-spafford-by-stan-paregien

2016-12-31-33-ernie-and-joyce-sparks-by-stan-paregien

2016-12-31-34-mike-and-judy-teeuwen-by-stan-paregien

2016-12-31-35-judy-traywick-red-and-maryann-lalonde-by-stan-paregien

2016-12-31-36-judy-traywick-by-stan-paregien

2016-12-31-37-sharon-and-dale-ullery-by-stan-paregien

2016-12-31-38-pam-and-jerry-warner-by-stan-paregien

2016-12-31-39-dotty-wilson-by-stan-paregien

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That’s about it for now. My best wishes to each and every one of you for a wonderful year of 2017.

— Stan Paregien

 

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Flitting Around the USA

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Issue 341  — October 17, 2016

During the last part of August, my wife Peggy flew to Washington, D.C. She went there to be with her sister, Paula Allen King, who was accompanying her daughter and granddaughter on a trip from Oregon to get the granddaughter enrolled and housed as she was beginning her freshman year at George Washington University. Pretty heady stuff to be living right where some of the most important events in our nation have taken place.

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Peggy Allen Paregien in front of the White House. No, the Obamas did not invite her in for an afternoon tea. Oh, well. 

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Paula Allen King stands with her back toward the White House.

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On Monday, Sept. 12th, Peggy and I kicked around Indianapolis on our own. We started by visiting the Indiana State Capital building. That may sound easy enough, but we were a bit overwhelmed by the very limited street-side parking and the one-way streets and the system (or lack of it) for parking underground near the capital grounds. 

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We decided we’d stop by the Governor’s office for some free coffee and cookies. No such thing. And we found out that Governor Pence must not have gotten our email about us stopping by for a chat, because he ran all the way out of state to hang out with some ol’ billionaire named Frump . . . or Plump . . . or . . . , oh, yeah, Trump. 

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Well, already getting foot-sore, it was upward and onward to the home of President Benjamin Harrison. Heck, he wasn’t home, either. But he had a solid excuse.

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Well, there you have it, neighbors. That concludes the first part of our trip to Indiana. In future issues we’ll show you our brush with General Lew Wallace, the author of BEN HUR. And we’ll visit Springfield, Illinois and Abraham Lincoln’s home and his burial monument.

Plus, in tiny Mount Olive, Illinois we’ll visit the “Union Miners Cemetery” and the grave of the beloved (and hated) union labor leader Mother Jones. And we’ll take you with us to the wedding in St. Louis of our grandson Daniel Paregien and his lovely bride, Leah Cromer.Then, we’ll mosey on down to beautiful Lake Lure, North Carolina for a few relaxing days before heading north with my Hillbilly Cousin to far northeast Tennessee . . . where they love barbeque and storytelling. All of that and more in future issues. So y’all come on back real soon, ya hear?

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The Spiritual Life, Part 2

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 338  –  June 21, 2016  –  Stan Paregien, Editor

The Spiritual Life, Part 2

Our dear friends Clay and Pat Landes came into our lives when we moved from Edmond, Oklahoma to Bradenton, Florida in 2013. We were immediately attracted to them by their openness and hospitality, each with a smile displaying they were in a close walk with God. He has been serving Christ in many ways, and for several years has been one of the elders leading the diverse body of believers we call Central Church of Christ in Sarasota. 

1994  --  2015--09--05  Sarasota, FL - Clay and Pat Landes' 50th Anniversary --  by Stan Paregien

Clay & Pat on their 50th wedding anniversary

renewing their vows. Sept., 2015

 

Though he grew up in a Christian home and once professed his love for the Lord, in his early adult years he had strayed far away. When Clay finally saw the light and returned, he had a burning desire to reach out and help others who had never accepted Christ or who had let their love grow cold. And he is still at it.

That is so despite the fact that about eight months ago he was diagnosed with cancer. In early June, his regular physician said his condition had worsened significantly. So he is now in a hospice program with an array of medical and social and psychological professionals to assist them as needed. Little did that group know that they were dealing with an upbeat, optimistic man . . . who was still on a mission. He told us on Sunday, June 19, 2016, that he had just arranged to have Bible studies with two of those folks “because they need the Lord.”

That same Sunday, Clay found the strength to teach a fine Bible class on 2 Timothy 4:6-18. There was a large audience of adults, many of whom were visitors — friends of his from years back. He began by singing a song that he wrote about a year ago: “Jesus, May Your Will Be Done.” There was hardly a dry eye in the audience.

Then he went on to read the first section of Paul’s letter which begins with, “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

It was a powerful lesson from a man who, indeed, has fought a great fight for the Lord he loves and who trusts deeply in God’s grace. He knows he is going to heaven, fairly soon, and doesn’t want anyone else to miss out on going there, too. 

So here is his song, both as a poem and then as a song with the chords.

 

2016--06--19   03-A    Sarasota,  FL  -- Clay Landes -  by Stan Paregien

Jesus, May Your Will Be Done -- 2, a poem -  by Clay Landes - Copyrighted 2015

Jesus, May Your Will Be Done --  by Clay Landes - Copyrighted 2015

For those who may need a little guidance in how to share their faith more easily with others, I recommend the following book. The author was a student at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee during part of the time that I was also there. He has had a wonderfully productive Christian life. But he, also, had a diagnosis of cancer and went through many treatments before it went into remission. So he knows what it means to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of death . . . and had been able to help others who needed to walk more closely with the Lord.

1997 book by Randy Becton, EVERYDAY EVANGELISM, page 1

1997 book by Randy Becton, EVERYDAY EVANGELISM, page 2

 

Poem 454   The Purpose of the Lord's Supper - by Stan Paregien Sr  1 Cor 11 v17-34 -- Page 1 of  2

Poem 454   The Purpose of the Lord's Supper - by Stan Paregien Sr  1 Cor 11 v17-34 -- Page 2 of  2

Keep on the Sunny Side   --  Ada Benkhorn in 1928  -- gospel, bluegrassLife's Railroad to Heaven  --  Gospel, bluegrass

2015--02   The Christian Appeal -- Page 1

The above little magazine is one I’ve read and enjoyed for many years. The editors are two “Texified” brothers, Gene Shelburne of Amarillo and Curtis Shelburne of beautiful downtown Muleshoe. They are gifted writers, teachers, authors, and preachers. They are simply solid-citizens and dedicated Christian men. 

Their magazine is not jammed with the latest hot topic or with shrill voices. It is a relaxed and thoughtful, Christ-centered journal with real-life applications. So I hope you will consider becoming a subscriber. The additional good news is that it is free. Yes, Virginia, there really is such a thing as a free magazine. It is free as in no cost to you. Hundreds of folks who appreciate the journal do send money to help out. But, again, there is no subscription fee and you won’t be barraged for a donation. So give it a try. And tell them good ol’ boys that Stan sent ya. The address is below.

2015--02   The Christian Appeal -- Page 2

One of my current challenges is reducing my number of file cabinets from three to no more than two. Sounds easy enough. But my collection of articles, songs, photos, genealogical material, and etc. and etc. is a bit overwhelming. Fifty years of collecting will do that to you. But once or twice a month the notion of junking some of it strikes and I dutifully start through the files.

Well, it was while I was doing that a week or so ago that I came across the following message by a former Bible professor of mine. Dr. Batsell Barrett Baxter was a congenial, soft-spoken man with the heart of a servant and the mind of Christ. While I was at Lipscomb University, he was head of the Bible Department. And he was the beloved preacher for the Hillsboro Church. And . . . he was the featured speaker for many years on the radio and TV broadcasts called “The Herald of Truth” originating from a congregation in Abilene, Texas. So he was a busy, busy man.

On the last page of this four-page message, I have added a few photos of this wonderful Christian gentleman who died of cancer several years ago.

Baxter, Batsell Barrett  -  'The Days of Our Lives'  -  Page 1 of  4

Baxter, Batsell Barrett  -  'The Days of Our Lives'  -  Page 2 of  4

Baxter, Batsell Barrett  -  'The Days of Our Lives'  -  Page 3 of  4

Baxter, Batsell Barrett  -  'The Days of Our Lives'  -  Page 4 of  4Bible  -- not a bag of trail mix to pick and chose only what you like

 

Land of a Thousand Hills Cafe - Bradenton, FL 06-02-2016  - Benefits farmers in Rwanda - Part 1 of  2

Land of a Thousand Hills Cafe - Bradenton, FL 06-02-2016  - Benefits farmers in Rwanda - Part 2 of  2

 

Family -- Grandma - church - always welcome at church and Grandma's house --FAMILY CIRCUS

 

 

John 03 v16 --  02

Guess I’d better close for now. I do thank you for stopping by on a regular basis to see what is new. The easy way to do that, of course, is just to sign up to receive a simple email notification that I have posted more material. Please consider doing that.

For several years, Peggy and I had a little sign on our dining room wall that said, “Life is short. Eat desert first.” I saw a lot of wisdom in that and sometimes followed it.

The fact is, though, that none of us has a guarantee of even one more hour of life. Folks die all around us on a regular basis. And in that sense we are all “terminally ill.” So, my friend, let’s you and I do what we can with what we have where we are . . . to help others and to make this a better world, condemned though it is. And that also means periodically conducting a self-examination to make sure we have done all we can to have our lives and our house in order when we die. Just sayin’. 

 

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Life in Florida, Part 5

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 337  –  June 21, 2016  –  Stan Paregien, Editor

Life in Florida, Part 5

2016--05--08   A--1C    Bradenton, FL -- Peggy Paregien on Mothers Day -- by Stan Paregien

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Hillbillies and Flatlanders

My cousin Jerry Paregien and his wife Muriel live in the nose-bleed heights of the far northeast mountains of Tennessee. I am told that he generates his house electricity from the same system that operates his still a hundred yards down in the woods from his house. But that is another story.

Since we have lived here in the Flatlands of Florida, they have been to see us about three times. And we have a boat-load of fun doing whatever we want. I had a sister and no brother, but ol’ “Jay-ree” is about as close as I’ve come. He is a scholar (written a couple of eBooks about particular firearms), a Southern gentleman (he is actually an immigrant, from that other country, . . . California) and our Christian brother and friend. 

Part of the fun we have and the bond we share is that Peggy and Muriel get along so doggoned well. Of course, each of them was a “P.K.”  For the uninitiated, that is a code for “Preacher’s Kid.” And they were. Muriel’s father was a well-known preacher in the mid-West and central California. He had qualms about tying the marriage knot for her, considering her mate selection; but it appears to have worked out. Her brother, Victor Knowles, is a long-time preacher who has lived in the Joplin, Missouri area for decades. He is the editor of ONE BODY, a magazine advocating Christian unity. And . . . Peggy’s father was a preacher in Nebraska (Kearney and Albion) and mostly in Ventura, California. Plus, Peggy was married to a guy who preached full time for about ten years ( I know him well). So Peggy and Muriel have fun discussing the pluses and minuses of living in the glass house of a parsonage.

Anyway, these photos show a little of what we did here this time.

2016--05--14   A1  Bradenton, FL -- Peggy Paregien and Muriel Paregien.jpg

2016--05--14   A2  Sarasota, FL -- Cousins - Stan and Jerry Paregien - by Peggy Paregien

2016--05--14   A3  Sarasota, FL -- Jerry and Muriel Paregien - by Peggy Paregien

2016--05--14   A4  Sarasota, FL -- Stan and Peggy Paregien - by Jerry Paregien

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Note the electric scoot-mobile Jerry has been using for about six months for longer walks. It is an amazing little thing that folds up compactly and only weights about 35 pounds, as I recall. So it gets an amazing number of miles per gallon of gas.

2016--05--17  B01   Bradenton, FL  --  nearly 30 million tourists visited Florida in the first quarter of 2016

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2016--05--15  A8B  Sarasota, FL - Old Guys Napping

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2016--05--20   A01   Bradenton, FL  is 6th fastest growing town in Florida, 46th in the nation

2016--06--15  05A   Venice, FL  -  Dr Brian Smith on his tricycle - by Peggy Paregien

2016--06--15  05B   Venice, FL  -  Dr Brian Smith on his tricycle - by Peggy Paregien

2016--06--15  05C   Venice, FL  -  Hand-made quilt given to Dr Brian and Ruth Smith - by Peggy Paregien

This beautiful quilt, above, was given to the Smiths recently by a friend — Jean Pendergrass. And . . . that reminds me of a poem about quilters . . . 

Poem 450   Old Quilters Never Die  --  Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted June 14, 2016

2016--06--15  05D   Venice, FL  -  View from condo of  Dr Brian and Ruth Smith - by Peggy Paregien

2016--06--15  05E   Venice, FL  -  Stan and Peg Paregien with Ruth and Brian Smith  - by Bonnie Hamill

2016--06--19   01--A  Bradenton, FL  -- 8 dogs in the back of a convertible car - by Peggy Paregien

2016--06--19   02--A  Sarasota, FL  -- Don Betts and Judy - by Peggy Paregien

These are two of our favorite people in Florida. No, make that the United States. Naw, make that the continent of North America. Aw, shucks, you catch my drift. 

2016--06--19   03-A    Sarasota,  FL  -- Clay Landes -  by Stan Paregien

Be sure to check back for the next posting on THE PAREGIEN JOURNAL, as it will tell more about Clay’s story of faith. And it will have a copy of that great song he wrote.

Now, a very important personal note . . . 

Mr. and Mrs. Stan Paregien, Jr.

2016--05--10   Anniversary of Becky and Stan Paregien Jr - May 10, 1986 in Stroud, OK

2016--05--29--B   30th Anniversary renewal of wedding vows of Becky and Stan Paregien Jr -  married May 10, 1986

2016--05--29--C   Waterloo, IL - 30th Anniversary renewal of wedding vows of Becky and Stan Paregien Jr -  married May 10, 1986

Major Stan Paregien Jr., U.S.A.F., and wife Becky renewing their vows  on their 30th wedding anniversary. Columbia, Illinois. May 29, 2016

2016--05--29--C2   Waterloo, IL - 30th Anniversary renewal of wedding vows of Becky and Stan Paregien Jr -  married May 10, 1986

2016--05--29--C7   Waterloo, IL - Stan Paregien Jr, and Becky with kids - Daniel and Jodi - 30th anniversary

Becky & Stan Paregien Jr. with their children: Daniel (also in the U.S.A.F.) of St. Louis, Mo., and Jodi P. Barrow of Arkansas

2016--05--29--D   Waterloo, IL - Brandon Barrow, Jodi P Barrow and Bailee

Jodi Paregien Barrow with her husband Brandon (U.S. Coast Guard) and daughter Bailee (not shown, son Dominic)

Our 54th Wedding Anniversary

Peggy and I celebrated our 54th wedding anniversary on May 31, 2016. This year it was just a little different. Okay, a whole lot different.

Previously, we celebrated it together by eating at a nice restaurant or going some place special. On our 25th anniversary we made our first trip to lovely Hawaii. On our 50th we flew to London and took a bus tour of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and one day in France. 

This time we also celebrated it with a trip to a special place. Only she went alone. And all day and night on May 31st she was enjoying being at sea on a 12-day cruise aboard the Holland American Oosterdam, as the guest of our friend and neighbor Evelyn Skliar. Meanwhile, I was home walking the dog and watering the flowers, neither of which I bargained for when we moved to Florida [upon her return I turned in my license to do such].

Oh, well. One of the little zigs and zags in life. 

Poem 445   Another Anniversary, My Love  --  by Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted  May 31, 2016 -- Page 1 of  2

Poem 445   Another Anniversary, My Love  --  by Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted  May 31, 2016 -- Page 2 of  2

 

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Issue 327 – Life in Florida, Part 3

The Paregien Journal  —  Issue 327  —  March 3, 2016  

Stan Paregien, Editor

Life in Florida, Part 3

 2016--0178--B   Feb 3  -- Bradenton, FL -- sunrise by Peggy Paregien

Florida  -- in the winter  -- 032016--0178--C   Feb 3  -- Bradenton, FL -- Holmes Beach at Anna Maria Island   --   by Peggy Paregien

Florida  --  winter-clothes-in-floridaFlorida  -- in the winter  -- 01

2016--0178--D   Feb 3  -- Bradenton, FL -- Holmes Beach at Anna Maria Island   --   by Peggy Paregien2016--0178--F   Feb 8  -- Sarasota, FL -- Peggy Paregien with sister Charlotte Richardson2016--0179   Feb 09   Bradenton, FL  --  Don Bett's 84th Birthday - born in 1932 -- by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0180--B   Feb 17  air orchids -- Peggy Paregien2016--0189   Feb 20  Bradenton, FL  --  wild parrots by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0191   Feb 20  Bradenton, FL  --  wild parrots by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0191--B   Feb 22  Bradenton, FL  --  sunrise by Peggy Paregien

On to Tarpon Springs, Florida

2016--0192--A   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Hella's Greek Restaurant and Bakery --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0192--B   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Peg Paregien with Becky Paregien --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0194--A   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Stan Paregien Jr, Peg, Becky  --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0194--B     Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Stan Paregien Sr and Stan Jr - by Peggy Paregien girl2016--0195   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Stan Paregien Jr,   --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0196   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Stan Paregien Jr,   --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0197   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Stan Paregien Jr,   --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0200   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver, Stan Jr, Peg, Becky   --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0202   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Becky and Stan Paregien Jr in front of sponge boat   --  by Stan Paregien Sr2016--0203   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sign - I'm a flipflop kinda girl2016--0204--A   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver - by Stan Paregien

The man, above, drove the boat and described the history of the sponge industry.

2016--0204--D   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver - by Stan Paregien2016--0204--F   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver - by Stan Paregien2016--0204--G   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver - by Stan Paregien2016--0204--H   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver - by Stan Paregien2016--0204--K   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver - by Stan Paregien2016--0205   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge diver - by Peggy Paregien2016--0206   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  sponge - by Peggy Paregien2016--0208--A   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Becky and Stan Paregien JR - by Peggy Paregien2016--0209   Feb 22  Tarpon Springs, FL  --  Peggy and Stan Paregien SR - byStan Paregien JR

Holmes Beach, Florida

2016--0211   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Becky - Stan Paregien JR at Holmes Beach -  by Peggy Paregien2016--0212--E   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--F   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--G   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--J   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--K   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--L   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--M   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--N   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--O   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--P   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--0212--Q   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

Florida  -- in the winter  -- 02

2016--0212--S   Feb 23  Bradenton, FL   --  Holmes Beach -  by Stan Paregien

2016--02--19  Bradenton, FL Herald -- Tourism numbers still breaking state records -- page 1 of 2

2016--02--19  Bradenton, FL Herald -- Tourism numbers still breaking state records -- page 2 of 2

Looking for a little pad, maybe even close to the beach?

Houses for sale in Bradenton, FL in Feb, 2016

Well, folks, there are plenty of things to interest most any visitor to Florida. Most come here from October through May to experience our relatively warm weather when it is cool or even down-right cold in other northern states. Others come to watch most major league baseball teams getting in their spring baseball practices. Some nerdy folks like me really appreciate the historic areas of Florida, from the tip of Key West up to far northeast Jacksonville and far northwest Pensacola. There are museums and old mansions and graveyards that are centuries old. There’s the art deco part of Miami, the Cuban community of Ybor City within Tampa, the old fishing village here at nearby Cortez, and the quaint Greek fishing village of Tarpon Springs (as you’ve seen, above).

So, whether your passion is in music, hiking, photography, swimming in the Atlantic or in the more sedate Gulf of Mexico, bicyling, horseback riding, sailboating, fishing, golfing, birding, stock car racing, space craft, antiquing and shopping thrift stores, . . . whatever it may be, . . . Florida certainly has an abundance of opportunities awaiting you.

Oh, by the way, please . . . pretty please . . .  take just a moment to regisiter your name and email address at my blog. We’ll automatically send you a simply email notice whenever I’ve posted an item here. Pretty neat, huh? And we do not share your name or email with anyone else.

Until next time, so long from . . . ah, yes . . . Paradise.

AAC  List of eBooks by Stan Paregien Sr  -  2016-02-06

AA  Fair Use Disclaimer - 01 -- designed on by Stan Paregien Sr on 2016-02-01

End.

Issue 297 – The Day Jesus Died

Issue 297    —    The Paregien Journal    —    March 25, 2015

The Day Jesus Died

by Stan Paregien Sr.

1968-001 Cover of The Day Jesus Died

Franklin D. Roosevelt denounced the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, calling that moment in his­tory “a day of infamy.” I was much too young to recall the wave of terror and outrage which swept our nation when the news of the attack shattered an otherwise peaceful Sunday afternoon, but the films and historical accounts of the slaughter have sent chills down my spine.

However, as tragic as was December 7, 1941, it cannot begin to compare with the day that my Savior died.

 That Awful Day

 The day began calmly and quietly; there was no indica­tion that this day would be much different from any other. Jesus and his disciples were gathered in a small second- story room where they had gone to observe the Passover Feast. The observance of this Jewish holy day was nearly finished. The disciples were somewhat perplexed over the manner in which Jesus presided at the memorial, for he indicated to them that certain portions of the Passover Feast would take on greater meaning in the near future. But their theorizing was temporarily discontinued as they joined together in the singing of a hymn or psalm, a custom which marked the end of the Paschal Supper.

One by one they made their way downstairs to the nar­row street. The fine meal and the lateness of the hour had combined to make them drowsy, but the chill of the Pales­tinian night air quickly revived them. The streets were streaked with rays of light which es­caped from the doorways, but few people stirred. Only an occasional bark of a dog some distance away challenged the stillness. Slowly the dedicated group made its way along the winding streets, through the great Wall, and down the sharp slope of the hill.

At the bottom of the hill the group paused and then walked across the tiny brook named Kedron. “There a symbolic thing must have happened. All the Passover lambs were killed in the Temple, and the blood of the lambs was poured on the altar as an offer­ing to God. The number of lambs which were slain for the Passover was immense. . . . We may imagine what the Temple courts were like when the blood of all these lambs was dashed down on to the altar. From the altar there was a channel down to the brook Kedron, and through that channel the blood of the Passover lambs drained away. When Jesus crossed the brook Kedron it would still be red with the blood of the lambs which had been sacrificed. And surely as he did so, the thought of Jesus’ own sacrifice would be vivid in his mind (William Barclay, The Gospel of John, II, 259).

In a few moments the party reached its destination: the Garden of Gethsemane, a peaceful spot where Jesus had often come before.

Sensing that their journey had ended, the disciples be­gan seating themselves, some even reclining. But the Mas­ter had other plans for his closest disciples, Peter, James and John. It was this trio which had stood by Jesus when he preached in Capernaum (Mark 1:21-29), when he raised the ruler’s daughter (Mark 5), and when he was transfig­ured (Gospel of Mark 9:2-8). He needed them again, perhaps as he never had before.

Calling them aside, Jesus said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” One account continues the story this way: “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.’ And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Again for the second time, he went away and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy” (Gospel of Matthew 26:39-43).

Not even the chill of the morning breeze could ward off the drowsiness which now overwhelmed the men. But no matter, the Master’s duty was clear; his mind was made up. Resolutely, he awaited the inevitable intrusion of the tranquil scene before him.

He didn’t have long to wait. Earlier in the evening Judas left the upper room to solidify his compact with the authorities, and to personally lead them to their prey. For “Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’ They answered him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am he.’ Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When he said to them, I am he, they drew back and fell on the ground. Again he asked them, ‘Whom do you seek?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am he; so, if you seek me, let these men go.’ This was to fulfill the word which he had spoken, ‘Of those whom You gave me I lost not one.’ Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?’ So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him” (John 18: 2-12).

“The final absurdity in the arrest of Jesus was the binding of our Lord with ropes they had brought along. A monument to the stupidity of mob action is this ridiculous act. Nothing could have been more obvious than that Jesus had no intention of attempt­ing escape. He did not walk to the cross because ropes bound his hands and feet. He went there be­cause “God so loved the world.” He went because the work of the devil had to be undone. He went because he wept for the sins which separated man from God. The ropes could not have held him any more than a stone at the mouth of a tomb, or grave clothes … or death itself” (Roy F. Osborne, Great Preachers of To­day: Sermons of Roy F. Osborne. J. D. Thomas, ed., p. 79).

The tempo increases now, like a wide and quiet river which downstream becomes a cascading, rushing torrent as it enters a narrow canyon.

The Trial before Annas,

The Jewish Leader

The scenes flash across the screen with breathtaking speed.

There is the inquisition at the hands of Annas. From a legal standpoint, there was no reason for the soldiers to bring Jesus before this man. But the niceties of judicial procedure were to be of only minor interest in this diaboli­cal plot. Annas was almost ecstatic over the capture of this young rebel who had made such a nuisance of himself. Having been the chief beneficiary from the sale of animals in the temple, Annas had wanted to get his hands on Jesus ever since he had driven the animal sellers and money changers from the temple. Even though Annas had not held the official office of high priest since A.D. 15, he was nevertheless the real power behind his puppet-high priest (and son-in-law), Caiaphas.

The interrogation was brief and to the point. Jesus was questioned “about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, ‘I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said.’ When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, ‘Is that how you answer the high priest?’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?’ Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest” (Gospel of John 18:19-24).

At this juncture, we must retrace our steps and bring the lives of two other men into focus: Judas and Peter.

Judas

The name Judas is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Judah, a name which obviously was associated with great persons, events and places in the history of the Jews. But a scant few years after Judas Iscariot’s actions in the Gar­den of Gethsemane, parents no longer named their sons “Judas.” The name became a synonym for a person with no ethics; it still brings to mind the idea of dishonesty and treachery.

Exactly what his reason was for betraying Christ is not clear. Perhaps he was sulking under the stinging rebuke which Jesus administered at the supper in the house of Simon the leper (Gospel of Matthew 26:6-16). Perhaps he simply in­tended to force Jesus into a position of militancy toward the Romans and the Jewish establishment, a desire shared by the rest of the disciples. Perhaps he had simply fallen victim to the love of money, for John reveals many years later that Judas had decided quite early that his job as treasurer of the disciples entitled him to a few extra fringe benefits (John 12:6). Whatever the reason or rea­sons, Judas deliberately and methodically carried out his plan.

The irony of his sordid act was that instead of bringing any degree of satisfaction, it brought shame, guilt and bitterness. “When Judas . . . saw that he was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, ‘I have sinned in betraying innocent blood. They said, ‘What is that to us? See to it yourself. And throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself” (Gospel of Matthew 27:3-5).

Peter

 Then there was Peter. If ever a man lived who had to be where the action was, it was this fisherman from Galilee. Other than his persistent and peculiar knack of placing his feet squarely in his mouth, there was nothing about him to suggest that he would ever get far away from being an average disciple. But he was destined to soar to great spiritual heights, as well as to plummet to the bottom of the barrel.

Peter’s problems were many, but one of his greatest was his unwarranted confidence in himself. Fishermen, like farmers, are hardy, tough-minded, independent individuals. Therefore, one of the difficult adjustments which Peter faced was in learning that there is a spot in the continuum of life where enlightened self-confidence becomes arrogant self-assertiveness.

There in the upper room Jesus warned the eleven that they would all fall away from him that very night. In his characteristically impulsive manner, “Peter declared to him, ‘Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.’ Peter said to him, ‘Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you'” (Gospel of Matthew 26:33-35). Peter’s affirmation reflects not a spirit of bravado, but a kind of leap-before-you-look impetuousness.

Two trials took place when Jesus was brought to the high priest, Caiaphas. One involved Jesus, the other Peter. Per­plexed by his Master’s refusal to be defended by the sword, Peter found himself following the crowd of soldiers from a safe distance. Periodically he caught a glimpse of Jesus in the sea of unfamiliar and unfriendly faces. He watched from the shadows as the guards led Jesus into the house of Caiaphas.

Not knowing what to do or where to go, and perhaps hoping against hope that Jesus would be released, Peter de­cided to wait below in the courtyard. Some of the guards had built a coal fire, so Peter sat down beside them. He stared motionlessly into the dancing flames.

And then it happened. His face, illumined by the light from the fire, drew the attention of one of the high priest’s maids. “She looked at him, and said, ‘You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.’ But he denied it, saying, ‘I neither know nor under­stand what you mean.’ And he went out into the gateway. And the maid saw him, and began again to say to the by­standers, ‘This man is one of them.’ But again he denied it. And after a little while again the bystanders said to Peter, ‘Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Gali­lean.’ But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, ‘I do not know this man of whom you speak.’ And immediately the cock crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ And he broke down and wept” (Gospel of Mark 14:67-72).

Inside the house the Jewish leaders were carrying out their plot with meticulous precision. “The chief priests and the whole council sought testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. For many bore false witness against him, and their witness did not agree. And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, ‘We heard him say, “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.”‘ Yet not even so did their testimony agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer to make? What is it that these “men testify against you?’ But he was silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am; and you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’ And the high priest tore his mantle, and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?’ And they all condemned him as deserving death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to strike him, saying to him, ‘Prophesy!’ And the guards received him with blows” (Gospel of Mark 14:55-65).

The Trial before Pilate,

The Roman Governor

“And as soon as it was morning the chief priests, with the elders and scribes, and the whole council held at con­sultation; and they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him to Pilate” (Gospel of Mark 15:1).

Interestingly, John tells us that these men who conspired to destroy a good man were still so “pious” that they would not enter Pilate’s palace for fear that they would be cere­monially defiled (Gospel of John 18:28). They avoided “incurring a defilement which, lasting till the evening, would not only have involved them in the inconvenience of Levitical defile­ment on the first festive day, but have actually prevented their offering on that day the Passover, festive sacrifice, or Chagigah” (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, II, 568).

Pilate understood their cus­tom, so he stepped outside to find out what all the shouting was about. Pilate’s patience with the Jews was understandable. He had been sent to Judea just a few years earlier to bring peace to this troublesome Roman territory, but he had failed miserably. The arrogant policies which he first adopted had in fact caused several riots. The emperor ex­pected his orders to be obeyed. So Pilate recently had be­gun shifting his tactics with the Jews from a show-of-power to a policy of appeasement, hoping they would co­operate with him.

He listened to their charges and said, “Take him your­selves and judge him by your own law.” But he knew, and they quickly reminded him, that under Roman law they were unable to carry out capital punishment. The death decree had to come from the Roman governor.

The Trial before Herod,

Governor of Galilee

Pilate tried to get off the hook again. Upon hearing that Jesus was from Galilee he decided to send the fellow over to Herod. “Let him handle this hot potato,” Pilate reasoned. “When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length; but he made no an­swer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehe­mently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then, arraying him in glorious apparel, he sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other” (Gospel of Luke 23:8-12).

Back to Pilate

Then Pilate had a brainstorm. “Why I almost forgot what day this is—I’ve got a way out of this mess after all,” he thought with a sigh of relief. He began to implement his plan: “He went out to the Jews again, and told them, ‘I find no crime in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?’ They cried out again, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas was a robber” (Gospel of John 18:38-40).

Pilate’s bag of tricks was almost empty but he didn’t give up easily. He thought awhile and decided that the fickle Jewish leaders would probably be satisfied with see­ing the man from Nazareth beaten within an inch of his life. After all, everyone knew how vicious Roman punishment was. No man was ever the same after a Roman soldier had cut his back to pieces with a whip which had sharpened bits of metal and bone embedded in the leather strands. “No reason to kill him if we can help it,” he mur­mured to himself.

“Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe; they came up to him saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again, and said to them, ‘Behold, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him.’ So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, ‘Crucify him, crucify him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.’ The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and by the law he ought to die, because he has made him­self the Son of God.’ When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid; he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, ‘Where are you from?’ But Jesus gave no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, ‘You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?’ Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin’ ” (Gospel of John 19:1-11).

The hardened Roman governor was visibly shaken by his conversation with Jesus. “What kind of a nightmare is this? Can this be for real? Why won’t he defend him­self? Is he … is he just a man?” Pilate wondered and worried. Once again “Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, ‘If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; everyone who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.’ When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, ‘Here is your King!’ They cried out, ‘Away with him, away with him, crucify him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar” (Gospel of John 19:12-15).

Pilate could hardly believe his ears. Ever since the Ro­man occupation of Judea, they had demanded—to no avail —that the Jews acknowledge Caesar as their king. But since the Romans considered their emperor to be a god, the Jews refused to acknowledge him as their king on the grounds that they would be committing idolatry. “How strong their burning hatred of Jesus must be to drive them to such inconsistency,” the governor reasoned.

Still seeking an escape from any blame for this act, and realizing that the Jews were adamant in their unholy desire, Pilate “took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it your­selves’ ” (Matt. 27:24). And he sent Jesus to be executed. But the guilt for this crime could not be dismissed so light­ly. It may have been a guilt-ridden conscience which many years later caused Pilate to commit suicide.

The Place Called Golgotha

 Jesus was silent as the death march began. His bleeding back was so painful that every step brought a groan to his throat. And it was on this crimson-stained back that a rough, heavy cross was placed. The pathetic procession made its way through the narrow, winding streets. The multitudes filled the side streets and the doorways. Some of the bystanders jeered and laughed at this young rebel. Others, both men and women, wept freely. Most of the crowd watched quietly and curiously.

Time and time again Jesus stumbled and fell. It became evident to the soldiers that they would never make it to the place of execution at this rate. A Roman soldier turned toward the crowd and surveyed it. “You! Come here!” he bellowed. And a large, dark man named Simon, from the city of Cyrene in northern Africa, stepped forward. This religious pilgrim was forced to carry the cross to its desti­nation, a small hill outside Jerusalem named Golgotha.

“Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him and the criminals, one of the right and one of the left. And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed ‘at him saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar, and say­ing, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’

“One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.’ And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingly power.’ And he said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise'” (Gospel of Luke 23:32-43).

As the spikes were driven through Christ’s hands and his feet, Mary felt them pierce her heart. She watched the proceedings from the foot of the cross and through the eyes of a mother. Her son, whom she knew to be right­eous, was falsely accused and convicted. Now this man, her own flesh and blood, was was dying in muted agony.

“When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved stand­ing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” (Gospel of John 19:26, 27).

The end was near.

Mark tells us that when noontime came, there was darkness over the entire land until 3:00 p.m. And then “Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ And some of the bystanders hear­ing it said, ‘Behold, he is calling Elijah.’ And one ran and, filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed and. gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.’ And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly, this man was the Son of God!'” (Gospel of Mark 15: 34-39).

If this had been the death of a simple Galilean crackpot, a rebel against the religious establishment or a would-be politician on the make, his death would hold little meaning to us today. If his suffering had been inflicted because he rightfully deserved punishment, we would feel no pangs of sympathy. But that’s just the point. His death was dif­ferent. He gave his life—willingly and freely—for others. His crucifixion was an expression of God’s love: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Gospel of John 3:16).

The body of a certain Civil War soldier lies in a cemetery in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The soldier’s tombstone tells the date of his birth and death, plus these three words: “Abraham Lincoln’s substitute.” During the darkest days of the war, when thousands were dying on the battlefield, President Lincoln decided to honor one particular soldier as his substitute, thereby making him a symbol of the fact that those who died in battle were dying that others might live.

In a similar way, when I think of the suffering Savior dying, I realize that I could write across the beam of that old, rugged cross these words: “My substitute.”

And so could you.

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NOTE:  This post, “The Day Jesus Died,” is Chapter 6 in my e-Book by the same name. You may purchase the entire e-Book in one of seven formats (including PDF, Kindle and Apple) at: 

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/StanParegien .

Also, I invite you to visit my other blog sites:

STAN’S PARADISE REPORT

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THE COWBOY WAY:  THEN AND NOW

http:www.cowboystan.wordpress.com

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