About Me

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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

Welcome to my Opinion Pages

Thanks for stopping by and reading some of my thoughts. I hope you will find an enjoyable adventure here on my pages.



The articles are only my opinion and are never meant to hurt anyone nor to downgrade any other person's ideas or opinions.



Scroll through the page and stop to read any of the articles you wish. If you like what you see leave a comment, then tell someone where they can find this site. If you don't like what you read then leave a comment reflecting your thoughts and I will read them when I visit the site from time to time.



Thanks again for stopping by.





Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial day


The bomb blasted its way through the bunker. Sandbags twisted their way through the air, landing askew on the bunker or trench’s floor. Sand oozed from the bags mixing with the already muddy muck on the floor. Men scrambled to plug the hole, trying to shield themselves against the onslaught of enemy fire. The sounds of war made their way to the ears of those men in the bunker. They were there defending the American way of life. On that, and many other calamitous days, perhaps for one of those men, posterity was unfolding in another scene ten thousand miles away.


The room was sterile and the lights were bright. As the woman lay panting in the throes of yet another contraction, the doctor sat in the ready position in front of the stirrups urging the woman to push harder. With as much adrenalin flowing through her veins as was perhaps flowing through the man’s in the bunker, her final push resulted in the child being ushered into that sterile, brightly lit, and starkly cold hospital delivery room. At that moment, though they were miles apart, that child became the living essence of his parent’s union, and somehow perhaps, even in their separation by miles, they were together.

War is tragic. It separates, destroys and changes things forever. But it also unifies in such a way as to create relationships and friendships that last a lifetime. Sometimes even more than the husband-wife relationship that is based on love, tenderness and protection, the relationships formed in war forms a bond that is maintained through the years by remembrance. Trench, foxhole, jungle or desert experiences forge bonds that change two people in such a way as no other experience can. During those experiences when lives are in peril, spirits and souls become entwined in such a way as to mold into those person’s minds the essence of oneness with a memory that will last a lifetime. Is it any wonder that those who have had such experiences stand tall and proud as they remember and mourn the loss of their comrades?


There are others, however, who may not understand the significance of such a remembrance. To them it may be the sales at the local department stores, or the parade on television. To some it may be that it is a holiday and a day off from work to go to the beach or have a picnic. It may just simply be another day on the calendar. To all of us it should be a day for honoring all of those who have given their all to make our lives more free.


Memorial Day is a day to pause and think of all whose lives have been given in sacrifice to ensure that our lives can remain free. I have a picture in my living room, "Reflections", depicting an older civilian who was a soldier in Vietnam, standing with outreached arm with fingers touching the Wall with thousands of names. From inside the wall two or three young fellow soldiers are standing with one reaching up from inside the wall with outstretched arm touching the fingers of the one standing outside the wall. From time to time I stop and gaze at the picture and am emotionally touched at the scene. The closeness to those with whom they shared the experience is a powerful relationship. That is something that only they have that none of the rioters at that time or anyone else missing that experience has.


So if you see someone pausing on the sidewalk, bowing his head for a minute or two on that day, or someone looking up to a waving flag for a moment, or a man removing his hat at the passing of the colors during a parade you may be watching, just watch for a moment and remember. What you may be witnessing is a person whose memory is that of an exploding bomb, or a best friend’s life ebbing away as he holds him in his arms, or a wife who has lost a husband, or the child of a Mom who gave her best for the war effort back home, or a woman who has gallantly fought in one of our more recent wars. But as you watch, remember too, that all of those men and women who have sacrificed their lives have done so in order to keep all of us free.

Our only true and just response to all of them, both fallen and those still living, is, "Thanks for your service."


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Answered prayer


As I was getting ready to attend church this morning I was struck by so many "little" things around me that made my life easier and provided me with such convenience that provided me much more time than my ancestors had.  Just in the matter of grooming, I found myself being thankful for an electric toothbrush, running water, clean towels that were washed in an automatic washer, a comb and brush, a razor that applied absolutely no pain as it slid smoothly over my face discarding the stubble growth.
Just thinking back to my own Grandfather's childhood in the 1890's what he needed to do just to get ready to travel to church on Sunday morning, I realized he had nothing of what I have today.  If he wanted water he had to go out to the well and pull it up with a bucket.  If he wanted it hot he had to gather wood or coal, start a fire to heat the water.  The towel he used would have been washed by hand, likely with homemade soap.  The temperature in his room would not have been regulated and he likely would not have had indoor plumbing to even have a bathroom inside.
When my Grandfather left the house he would have gone to the barn, hitched up the horse or mule to the wagon and driven over rough, dirt roads to get to the church building where people gathered to worship.  Today I got into my car that automatically adjusts to the temperature on which I set the thermostat, cruised over a perfectly smooth road with music from the radio coming from the car speakers.  I stopped by the local fast-food store to pick up a cup of coffee to drink while I am in Sunday School, and arrived at the church building in a short time without having been exposed to the outside elements.
When I thought about my Grandfather and his family living just a little over one hundred years ago, grappling with the daily grind of just feeding themselves, clothing themselves and keeping themselves warm in the winter and cool in the summer, I know that there were many prayers offered up by them and their neighbors in their community just to make things better, perhaps a little easier.
As I looked around at the modern shower, indoor plumbing, clear glass mirror, razor, hair dryer, clean towels, commercially produced bath gel, soaps, shampoos, and conditioners, I was reminded again that my life has been made easier because of the hard work of those who lived before me.  It was not only their work, but their prayers that has provided me with a better life.  How many times did they pray, "Father, thank you for the blessings you give us, and help us to make things better for those who follow."
Many things have gotten better:  technology, industry, health, safety, security, housing, transportation, inside environments, working conditions, food production, refrigeration, electricity, communication, clothing production, when you think of it, basically everything!  Could it be that we are reaping the results of the answered prayers of our ancestors?
Finally, as I sat in our sanctuary in worship, listening to the preacher open up the Scriptures to us, surrounded by a beautiful building with comfortable furniture and room temperature, I had to think of the generations before me and their steadfastness in praying for me in their future.  I wondered how many times have I prayed for things to get better, not for me particularly, but for those who will follow me; those in my future.  And not just materialistically, but spiritually more importantly.


Two short verses from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Thessalonians' came to mind:  "Always rejoice, constantly pray."  (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17)  And don't forget to pray for your children, and your children's children.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cultural change


Some would like for us to believe that the church has been subverted throughout history by cultural change and the different arguments from various factions that have contributed altering, and somewhat, contradictory interpretations of doctrine.  By having such altering movements through history and cultures the Truth established by Jesus has been altered to such an extent that it is difficult, if not impossible, to unravel the current Christian world view from what it is now back to the original founder of the Church.   
So the conclusion of that thought is that we have incrementally moved from the true representation of Christ beginning with the time He was waving at His disciples as He ascended, and each subsequent year afterward. It sort of makes sense given all the arguments and doubts the early church had as recorded in The Acts. Jew verses Gentile; circumcision verses non-circumcision; speaking in different languages as a sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit; miraculous healing with the touch of a hand, or even having a shadow fall over you; or eating/not eating clean/un-clean food. Even the very debate that the Apostle Paul so eloquently presents in relation to the law (works) versus faith in the work that Jesus alone did on the cross. If we have been so fully corrupted by the subsequent years and the multiple cultures in which men have created and lived, then there would be no way to uncover the real representation of Christ since it would have been so far removed.

I’m thinking that may not be correct. I believe that God’s power and timeless message will stand firm until He decides to return and claim His own. I wrote something to post on my blog the other day that I believe helps us to catch a glimpse into just how we can actually hold on to Christ and His true reflection. Check the following:

It really seems simple, doesn’t it? God looks at mankind and our having fallen in love with our sin nature. Knowing we really can’t fight our way out of a wet paper bag to accomplish any kind of salvation at all, He knows that if redemption is going to be completed at all He is going to have to do it Himself. So here comes Jesus who presents Himself as a perfect sacrifice and does His work on the cross. God judged it and counted it perfect; accepted Jesus’ sacrifice and raised Him from the dead. Satan was defeated, death was cheated, and we, covered by the blood of Jesus, now can walk across that once-deadly chasm that separated us from God and stand directly in front of His Throne because we are covered by the blood of Jesus.
Now as we stand in Jesus, covered by His blood, saved by His Grace our faith in Him urges us to walk in Him. How do we do it? We follow the Apostle Paul’s example and declaration: “Live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want.” (Galatians 5:16-17)  Find a Bible and read the entire book of Galatians to discover that you can be free in Christ, led by His Holy Spirit, and grow to maturity in Him.
I believe that we can truly know what God wants from us. He wants us to worship Him, accept Him and seek Him. I believe that God transcends all cultures and even our time-line that controls generations. He uses the power of His Word to convict us of His Truth and our simple job is to accept it or reject it. It is our “Free Will” that hinders us. We choose to hide ourselves in everything else, including our respective cultures, to refrain from submitting to Him. But when we do finally see Him and accept His grace and become obedient to Him, He gives us His Spirit, along with power, to live in the reflection of Jesus. We must, however, continue throughout our entire lives to exercise our “Free Will” and submit to Jesus and have faith in the work He did on the cross and His work saves us; as we continue to submit to Him He gives us His Spirit to grow us through the power that comes from the Holy Spirit.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

One in Christ


When we look at the seventeenth chapter of John in the New Testament we see a prayer that Jesus prayed.  The prayer is so intimate as He involves Himself with His Father in Heaven and asks that He might be glorified and allowed to give eternal life to all who are in Him.  Jesus prays for His Disciples as well; but not only them, for each of us who have committed ourselves to Him as well.
Picking up with verse twenty in chapter seventeen, Jesus says, "I am not praying only on their [His Disciples] behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, 17:21 that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. 17:22 The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one – 17:23 I in them and you in me – that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me."  (John 17:20-23)
Imagine, Jesus was actually praying for us.  He looked from His vantage point from the Alpha to the Omega, the Beginning to the End, and saw us who needed redemption, atonement and justification.  Through the testimony for the first Disciples and their position of being in Jesus Who was in His Father, we believe, and because of it have been given the glory the Father gave the Son, so we can be one with the Father and the Son.
With the shed blood of Jesus wrapped around us who believe, it hides our nakedness in much the same way as the animal skins hid the nakedness of Adam and Eve.  Our sin is hidden from God because He chooses to offer His Grace and forgiveness because of what the Son has done once, for all, on the cross.  Finally, through His work we are loved by the Father just as He loved the Son.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Alligators in the moat






When late-night comedians in their stand-up routines poke fun at various people we sometimes laugh and think it is funny.  When they take events that are happening around the country and turn to a funny side of even a serious matter, we might smile.  And so with political pundits who squeeze a laugh line from the audience by turning an issue to hyperbole with obvious exaggeration to bring home some intended message, we sort of chuckle at the amusement.  With such musings we often find relief.

But it is not such a relief to know that the President of our great nation, the United States, is so frivolous about preserving the safety and integrity of all our citizens against those who would enter illegally to do us harm.  His speech in Texas the other day was appalling to say the least.  His lack of concern for each of the citizens in Texas and all the border states leave us with a feeling of fear and emptiness that we haven't felt for many years.  When it comes to mocking and ridiculing the people who are desperately trying to protect themselves against the onslaught of thousands of illegal intruders, who are actually killing American citizens, it becomes a travesty of justice.

No, the citizens of America are not wanting a moat built around America; they are not wanting it filled with alligators.  What those who are desperately in need of relief really want is for the Administration to enforce the laws that are currently on the books.  Citizens of various states who are treading waves of illegal persons crossing the boarders, protecting themselves in some cases just to stay alive, just want the Administration to back off from suing them for enacting laws that mirror federal laws already on the books.

If the Mexican government built up several divisions of their army on their northern border and launched penetrative attacks across the border against the citizens of the United States, killing them as they went, would the Administration interpret that act as war?  There are drug cartels aligned against the southern border of the United States who are at war with each other, killing each other, and spreading their war into the United States.  Mixed within that war are those who are human smugglers bringing illegal people into the United States by the thousands and the Administration makes jokes about the people who are being hurt wanting to build moats and stock them with alligators.  And this frivolity is coming from the highest levels in our government.

This question of illegal immigration has been around a long time.  There are many difficult questions that must be worked out with the persons who are already here.  But similar to the issue of a broken water pipe spewing water all over the house the first order of business is to turn off the water!  Do not make jokes to the people who own the house about soon having an indoor swimming pool.  For those people who are already here and have been born here in America or have entered illegally, we can discuss their fate, and take the time to rationally, logically do it.  But for now we must turn off the water!

To get serious, the Administration should consider the following:

1.   Protect the borders of the United States properly.

2.   Allow people to enter the United States legally.

3.   Once here, learn the language, which is English.

4.   Study the history of the United States.

5.   Accept the founding principles of the United States.

6.   Obey the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the land.

7.   Integrate into the culture of the United States.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Media attacks


It looks as if the Governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels may possibly run for President of the United States.  He has been the Governor for two terms and for the most part has been a good one.  Not too much is known about him outside of Indiana but it seems he is a conservative and big business officer in private firms.  From most accounts he is a pretty good guy with upstanding character and integrity.  Too bad, he will be fodder for the media hounds who are already drooling to jump in and rip him apart.  People of high character and honesty lose before they even enter the game.  I would be surprised if he decides to enter the fray. 
People of his character and savvy are not going to put themselves out there because of what our media have become. They are like birds of prey, circling just overhead ready to strike anyone who even appears to challenge their sacred liberal agenda. They don't just ask questions or challenge issues or ideas, they attack the person with a vengeance to destroy the person and reputation. They fight dirty and aim to destroy; they hover closely to strike at any moment. They start rumors and lies about the person's character and rise up people from the person's past to castigate and intimidate the person's family and friends.

All people have done things in their past that would be embarrassing if the beam of daylight were focused directly on specific incidents. Unfortunately, the press sees itself without sin, for they surly are on the front line to cast the first stone.

It is too bad we sometimes have to settle for the second string of long-time politicians who have already been "vetted" by the media.  Most of them have spent a lifetime in politics from one position to another.  They wait in line and the political parties just seem to give the nod because it is "just their turn."  


Strength through gentleness


Bitterness, loneliness, hatred, retribution, anger or even rage are emotions that infect and break down the character into such a shattering, destructive way, that people who experience such emotions often reach a point of breaking.  It is at that point that they begin their wrestle with God.
Joni Eareckson Tada is a lady who is internationally known for her devotion to God.  At a young age she dove into a lake where she suffered an injury that left her confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic that has prevented her from walking or moving her arms for most of her life.  Her condition has not prevented her from excelling in almost everything she has ventured.  For years she has hosted a radio show called Joni and Friends, she has achieved honors and celebrity through her paintings.  Yet there was a time when she experienced bitterness and anger toward God.
This is interesting that Joni experienced this type of bitterness.  Her experience where she voiced her confrontation with God reminded me of something in my own studies.  She said, “It was as if God were holding my anger up before my face and saying lovingly but firmly, ‘Stop turning your head and looking the other way.  This bitterness has got to go.  What are you going to do about it?’"
A psychologist named John McGee has developed the procedure of Gentle Teaching.  It was very popular during the 1980’s and can be very powerful.  Gentle Teaching does not focus on compliance or obedience, but focuses on teaching Individuals to feel safe with others. In order for this to happen, we must look at ourselves as caregivers. Looking at ourselves is assessing how we use our Tools (our hands, eyes, words and presence) to facilitate an understanding of safety with those we work with. We learn best when we feel safe. If the Individuals we work with do not feel safe, the learning environment is non-existent.
Gentle Teaching uses the relationship between the Individual and the Caregiver as the foundation for teaching. This relationship requires a feeling of companionship. But some Individuals with cognitive impairments or challenging behaviors such as what Joni was experiencing do not develop effective strategies to experience a feeling of companionship. As a result, they may not feel safe. By trying to teach and provide a feeling of safety, we improve their quality of life.
It seems amazing to me that people like John McGee can stumble on a method of helping people by having the Therapist take the role of strength with gentleness with the person.  It seems like just the thing Joni said that God did with her.
We need to understand that God is the author of all gentleness.  His Grace is sufficient not only to lift us from ourselves, but to provide the true gift of relationship with Him.  As good as all man discovered "self-help" methods can be to console the grieving heart, it can never touch the reality of the loving God who loved us so much that He sent His only Son to offer Himself a sacrifice so that we may be lifted to Him and experience His wonderful Grace.
Don’t you know that God smiles at us as we “discover” things that He has already created and just placed here for us to find?


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Poor performance of public schools


Would you believe that in some parts of the country the rate of high school dropouts from the public school system is reaching 50 percent.  There are more honor students in China than there are students in America.  With the national "No Child Left Behind" law teachers throughout the country spend three/fourths of their teaching time, which is still only 180 days per school year, teaching to the test the students take toward the end of the school year.  Even among the students who do graduate from high school in America barley half read above the 5th grade level.  The greatest fear among teachers in most inner city schools is the fear of being beat up by students.  In most public high schools in America, as well as most public schools from the 5th grade forward, the administration will not fail a student the teacher says needs to fail if the parent does not want their child to fail.  In America it is virtually impossible to fire a tenured teacher even if it is proven they are incompetent to teach.
In community after community you can talk to teachers who will tell stories of students who openly challenge the authority of the teacher.  A student will curse, even using the so-called "F" bomb to scare, intimidate and outright defy authority.  When the student is sent to the office for misbehavior or disrupting the class room, the administration is gripped with fear to do anything punitive to the student because of the threat of lawsuits from parents against the school district.
More money is being spent on education every year; politicians campaign on more money for education, taxing the property owners or offering up referendums for general tax increases earmarked for some educational need.  It just does not seem to help the quality of education when it is thought that more money will increase test scores; it does not.  We continue to build multi-million dollar buildings in communities across the nation, but classrooms are still being ravaged by a contingent of rabble students who use violence and intimidation to control the teacher and other students in the class.
Several years ago a man was recognized in Paterson, NJ at Eastside High School for bringing order to a school that had been lost to violence, drug pushers and students inside the school who practiced fighting, vandalism and abuse of teachers and students.  In his biography we read,

"In September 1982, during the first day of class at Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, a student was stabbed. In 1983, things would be different. The school's new principal, Joe Clark, would be the reason why."
"Clark thwarts those who believe that the learning process is disrupted by tough discipline. Instead of offering sympathy, Clark held high expectations for students, challenging them to develop habits for success and confronting them when they failed to perform. On a single day during his first week at Eastside, Clark expelled 300 students for fighting, vandalism, drug possession, profanity or abusing teachers. He explains, 'If there is no discipline, there is anarchy. Good citizenship demands attention to responsibilities as well as rights.'" (Both of these statements can be found at the following link:   
Perhaps it is time for Americans to turn back the clock and see why educators were more successful in years past.


Friday, May 6, 2011

If you died tonight


"So, if you died tonight, would you go to heaven?"  That was a question I asked my friend. 
His response:  "Of course, God has too much grace to leave me behind." 
I continued, "But you are living like you don't even believe in God.  You drink too much, you never attend any church service, and I have never known you to pray."
After a bit of silence, my friend said, "Yeah, but God doesn't expect us to live some kind of 'holier than thou' kind of life.  He expects us to enjoy life and have fun."  "Besides," he continued, "I don't do anything really bad; I've never killed anyone, I don't rob banks or liquor stores."  "In fact," he went on, "I am better than a lot of people I know."
"That may be true," I responded, "but are you better than Jesus?"  "Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?"
He lowered his head, shuffled his feet and seemed a bit embarrassed, and said, "You know I don't talk about all that religious stuff like Jesus and angels and sheep; I am just part of the whole outdoors.  I can worship in the woods while I hunt for deer, or at the lake where I can fish for my dinner."
"But," I started to say.
"No," he interjected, "you believe all that stuff about God and Jesus, but I'm not sure I believe all of it."  "I mean after all, who says that there is a heaven, or a hell for that matter?"
Silence hung for a minute or two and he raised his head and looked at me square in the eyes and said, "Do you believe all that?"
"Yes," I whispered.  I told him I believed in God the Creator and told him the account recorded in the Bible about God and the fall of mankind, Adam and Eve.  I then went through some of the Scriptures that foretold about the coming of the Christ, how Abraham was chosen by God to form a nation.  About the nation of Israel being God's nation through which the Son of God would be born.  We reviewed the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to read about the birth of Jesus and His working on this earth.
I then said to my friend, "It really does make a difference to me.  My life is built on the foundation that God is real, He has communicated with me through His Word, the Bible, and He has said to me that to be with Him forever I need to have faith in Him, submit to Him and take Jesus as my Lord and Savior." 
Finally, I said to my friend, "What if I die tomorrow and on the other side of this life there is absolutely nothing.  I am gone completely, death is absolute and there is no hereafter.  Then it really didn't make any difference what I believed, I would not be facing anyone, I would be dead."
"Yeah," he said, "so then what was the difference."
"Suppose on the other hand," I continued, "You die tomorrow and what you believe about death being the end is not really true, in fact at that moment you find out there is a God waiting for you on the other side, and everything the Bible says is true."  "Will it make a difference to you as you stand in judgment in front of God's Throne?"
"So how do I defend myself?" he asked. 
"You don't; there is no way to defend yourself, if you are covered with sin you are guilty."  "You pay the price of sin, and that price is eternal separation from God in a place of eternal torment." 
"However," I continued, "In the same situation I will not have to defend myself because I have yielded to Jesus and He has become my Advocate, my Lawyer if you will."  "When I stand before the Throne of God it will be Jesus Who will argue my case.  Sin will try to condemn me, but Jesus will have covered me with His blood that He shed on the cross.  Because of that blood God will not even see my sin.  Because of my Advocate Who covered me with His blood, God will declare me no longer guilty and confirm that I was redeemed by the Blood of Jesus."
 




Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Celebration or relief


If a strong man attacks a village with murder and pillage, and the villagers plead with him to stop, but he keeps right on plundering and murdering at will, is it a human response to seek revenge?  If the strong man continues his attacks for years without remorse, but rather celebrates at the greater number of killings, is it a Christian response for the villagers to "turn the other cheek?" 
If finally the village manages to stop the strong man and he dies in the process, would the villagers, through their human side, seek release through celebration, or through their relationship with God in them as Christians simply feel relief?  I think we see that full range of response; but even though each and every one of us who live on this earth are totally human, not many are experiencing the strength of God's Holy Spirit by being Christian. 
I wonder if the celebration is from the result of the chase, while the relief is knowing the strong man is now absent and God's judgment can finally prevail.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Memory lane


Here is a copy of a message I sent to my sisters and brother on my Dad's birthday this year; February 1 would have been my Dad's 100 year old birthday. He was born February 1, 1911 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Of course my memories of yesteryear must always include my life with my Dad and Mom, brother and sisters. I know it is the same for many who have fond memories of growing up in their own family. Really, when you think of it, memories are really great...but I do love to look forward too.
 
Just for a couple of minutes however, take a walk down memory lane; so many people alive in America right now have experienced these very decades.  Perhaps that is why they were called by Tom Brokaw "The Greatest Generation."


Message follows:


Just a note to say Happy Birthday to Dad who would have been 100 years old today. He worked hard all his life even though the times in which he lived dealt him a weak hand. Think of the decades of his life. Born in 1911 just four years after Oklahoma moved from being Indian Territory to a state, Oklahoma. It was still rough around the edges with people still living in the wilderness of the un-tamed West. The horse and wagon was still the primary means of local transportation with the car becoming into its own during Dad's first decade.


By the time he was 10 years old in 1921 the "War to End all Wars" had been fought from 1914 to 1919. WWI had been the bloodiest war to date with over nine million people dead. I'm sure that he heard stories from his Dad and Mom about the war and the people fighting it. I am sure it must have had a lasting effect on his life. But as he entered his tenth year he was also entering the decade of the 1920's which was a time of growth in America with Speakeasies and gangsters headlining the radio stations. In fact, the decade was labeled as the "Roaring Twenties" with post-war growth and some prosperity. I believe I remember that Granddad owned a little gas station during that time. I can almost see Dad puttering around the station, not doing much work with his two left hands, but kicking the can across the parking lot as Granddad waited on customers.


Even though he perhaps came of age during that second decade, the first flawed hand had already been dealt. In 1929 the banks in America and around the world fell with the crash of the stock market. By the time he was 20 years old in February 1931 he had already experienced a taste of the world-wide depression. For that decade he found little work, even though he managed to get married to Mom and had a “ready-made” family. With promises of work in Iowa he migrated toward a promise. But as depressions go, this one had very little hope. Being called back to Muskogee I remember some of his stories about the time when he set bowling pins for a day’s work just to earn 12 cents for his efforts.


Just as he might have been rising from his knees to his feet from the drag of his third decade and the depression that made such a mark on him, the Japanese decided to make his next decade a memorable one. In 1941 with their attack on Pearl Harbor the world again plunged into a second world war. Like so many others he left home and went to Germany where he served in the army as that war was fought.

I often wondered why he liked Ike so much. But in his next decade of life, now in his forties, he liked Ike because by 1952 when Eisenhower was elected to his first term, Dad was finally beginning to see the light. This was the first real decade of his life that held a hope for the future; one with peace and possible prosperity. For that decade he saw a lasting peace (notwithstanding Korea), at least for him anyway. He saw his kids growing and moving into their own lives. My sister going off to college, the first child to go to college, get married; the other kids in school thriving the advent of television and the benefits of the newly found military-industrial revolution that brought a variety of modern conveniences. Even though he lost his own Dad during that decade, he had a family, a steady job, a strong foundation of church life, and the prospects of an extended security.


By the time 1961 came around I lingered until graduation but then left the nest. I didn't live around him too much after that, but I know that those last decades were happier ones for him. He had been to weddings, graduations, flourishing grandchildren and finally seemed to have enough money to be comfortable.


He sometimes told me that he thought his life had been a failure. I don't think he believed that in his later years because he realized that things had really turned for him after he left the army in 1945. I saw a lot of days where his pride came alive and he felt good about things, especially the accomplishments of his kids. So here we are, a hundred years later, the four of us who are left, and I say for my part I believe Dad had a wonderful life, accomplished a great deal, has a great heritage, and I remember him fondly.


Happy Birthday, Dad.