Politics and Funerals

On Sunday Studly Doright and I drove south for about three hours to attend a Celebration of Life service for a man I’d never met, and who Studly only knew superficially through business contacts. We went more to support friends who’d known the man well than for any other reason.

The service was held at Silver Springs State Park near Ocala. I’d visited the park a decade or more ago and it’s lovelier than I remembered. When we entered the park a family member of the deceased directed us down a winding path to a rustic pagoda with raised seating and a view of cypress trees rising out of the swamp. The October sun filtering through the surrounding foliage created the most perfect spot on earth that day. We found our friends and sat together as the service began.

From the photos around the pagoda one quickly surmised that the man being honored had been rather remarkable. There were photos of him at the summits of several major peaks including the Matterhorn. He’d also been a deep sea diver and an astronomer. I wished I’d had the opportunity to have met him.

Then one of the pastors officiating the service spoke about the deceased saying he’d disliked Democrats and hated lawyers, and that if the man could speak from the grave he’d tell us to never vote for a Democrat. A smattering of laughter accompanied by a few groans resulted from his statement. I looked at Studly and he put his hand on my arm, most likely to keep me from saying something I’d regret. I’m no idiot, but I must say words bubbled in my mind.

The second pastor then went on to tell us how the deceased had loved the environment and sought God in all the faces of nature. But he’d hated Democrats and lawyers. Now, I’d say the dearly departed thought he was looking for God, but quite honestly never really cared about the meaning of God.

Listen, when I die, I don’t want any mention of politics. Such talk doesn’t belong at a funeral. I wouldn’t mind being eulogized in the sacred forest of Silver Springs State Park, though. Surely the trees will cleanse the air of any negativity.

Peace, people



Don’t be shocked by another school shooting, the eleventh in this brand new year.

Don’t tell me we are better than this; obviously, we are not.

Don’t send up thoughts and prayers. God honors action, not weepy hand-wringing.

Don’t try to console me; your words are empty.

Don’t tell me you are pro-life when clearly you support the industry of death.



When God Speaks


When God speaks I hear
Love others as yourself
Judge not
Fear not

When some hear God
They say He wants them to
Run for office
Exclude others

I really doubt that’s
God talking.

Sad, but oh so True

I was born in Lubbock, Texas, and lived there off and on until I was four or five, then we moved to the small town of Floydada, just 55 miles northeast of Lubbock.
So, it is with a great bit of authority that I can attest to the truth of the quote featured above. And yet, I survived, with my sanity somewhat intact.

Peace, people.



Waits in a darkened doorway, hand on a cocked hip. Long practiced words roll off her lips. 

“Want some company, handsome?” she huskily purrs. He shakes his head, another demurs. 

She drags on her cigarette, poufs out her hair. Straightens her posture, drapes a bruised leg on a chair.

A noisy crowd leaves the theatre two blocks down. Exuberant young people out on the town.

Arms linked, hands clasped, giggling innocents still. She seeps into shadows, ashamed, a nil.

Imagines the life that might have been hers. Friendships and outings, instead of this curse.

An accident of birth, one careless stork’s drop. There, she smirks, go I, but for the grace of God.

Merry Happy Christmas Holidays


Feel the peace and love
Then pass them to another
Hugs work miracles.

From our home to yours
With hearts full of gratitude
Merry Christmas, all.


In my childhood home we opened gifts from one another on Christmas Eve then Santa came as we slept that night to leave presents under our tree and in our stockings. Sleeping on Christmas Eve was a tricky thing. We always wanted to stay awake and listen for reindeer hooves on the roof, but we knew Santa wouldn’t come while we were still awake.

My brothers and I would whisper and giggle for as long as possible, listening to the adults visit in the nearby living room. It was a delicious feeling of anticipation. Almost unbearable in a way that nothing else can ever be. 

Sleep always overtook us before Santa appeared, but we were up before the sun rose over the flat Texas panhandle trying to figure out the best way to get our parents up. There was a rule in the Hall household on Christmas morn: 

Parents were required by the powers that be to make certain Santa had indeed visited. Children were by no means to enter the living room before confirmation was made.

Fortunately, Studly Doright’s family celebrated Christmas in a similar manner, so merging our traditions was easy. We only tangled on issues of opening presents early on Christmas Eve day. I was rigid–no opening until after dark. Studly was flexible and could be cajoled into allowing one gift to be opened. Guess who was the kids’ favorite parent? Take your time. (Hint: It wasn’t me.)

Christmas Day was spent playing with our new toys and reading new books, eating turkey and dressing and Christmas desserts. The best day of the entire year.

It was only late on Christmas Day that I’d remember the why of Christmas Day. Oh, we’d sung carols and participated in Nativity scenes, placed baby Jesus in the manger. But somehow it felt like the big day had been Christmas Eve when Christmas Day was the celebration of Christ’s birth. (Yes, I know it was a pagan celebration adopted by Christians as they absorbed cultures into the fold, but it’s the marking of the event that counts, not the exact day.)

Ahem. So, before falling asleep at the end of Christmas Day I always make sure to contemplate the Christmas story, to thank God the Father for sending His son. Really, the only present we need.

Peace, people.