ARCHIVE: Ferry Tales – Mt. Island Monitor
Were you invited to the Party of Doom?

Were you invited to the Party of Doom?

With just hours to go until a government shutdown, Congressmen couldn’t seem to agree on much except the fact that drinks were in order.
Reporters tweeted Monday night that they could smell booze on the lawmakers working to strike a last-minute spending deal on Capitol Hill:

Is this what we deserve? While American citizens were waiting for word on the inevitable announcement that the crazies in the Republican Tea Bagger Party had shut down our government, congress was slurping down cocktails.

From experience and observation, I know that within hours you can go from feeling invincible to rack and ruin. Once I was sitting in the intake room of a mental hospital around three in the morning. I was already inside when I heard the front doors swing open and a man and wife entered arguing. She was fed up and this time, he was going to get help. There were whispers as she filled out the forms. Having successfully admitted her husband, his wife stormed out the doors.

They escorted him into the intake room, he sat down beside me and proceeded to tell dreadful jokes. He was at the “let’s laugh at it all,” comedic stage. He tap danced a little and sat down across from me and whispered, “Do I know you?”

I did not know his name, but he worked in the same career field as mine and I had seen him.

“No, I am from Poland,” I answered.

The room was silent as we waited for someone to come for us. During this time, the man began to sober up. A night of bad decisions landed us together in a locked mauve-colored room, but it had taken months and years to work up to the big explosion, the highly regrettable event.

Like the Republicans Tea Baggers, that night we were the result of misunderstanding, resentment, and stupidity and drink. However, the current Tea Bagger Hissy-Fit will harm all citizens and the world was drawn up by elected officials who were drunk with power and liquor.

The elected representatives all claim to be religious and every time they are caught in a dalliance, well, you know the answer. They post it on billboards; spew forth on the internet and in prime time interviews collectively sigh that “God has forgiven them.” Who can argue with that?

But drinking on the job is a slap in the face of every American. The Republican Tea Baggers are like a bunch of drunk, mean cowboys riding into a town to rob the bank and burn down the buildings. They used to end of in jail, but today they are highly paid, praised and revered by the influence peddlers.

Let them have their party and set loose more chaos into the world. As the lady from Poland and the husband already know, that when the morning comes there will be unpleasant conversations and apologies. And like mornings, there is the next election.

Drunken Fools

Drunken Fools

The arrogant House Republicans spent Saturday night on Capitol Hill drinking and scheming to take down America. It must have been quite a party for there was booze consumed by the Republicans during this joyous occasion of plotting the downfall of American health care.

I figure they passed the spirits around, slugging shots and sucking liquor bottles dry. By the end of the evening, America’s sacred Capitol smelled like a sports bar. These revelers became so delighted with their plans that they decided since they were demanding that Obama care be destroyed, to add insult to injury with their last drunken thoughts they decided to add the demand that women’s contraception be taken away by their employers. It must have been some party. It was a party where the attendees enjoyed encouraging hate and bigotry.

The Republicans and their Tea Bagger friends desecrated the hallowed halls where great statesmen once worked together by comprising. They showed the world that the American Capitol has fallen into the hands of drunkards and bullies.

Paid by the insurance, oil, and corporate lobbyists these fiends are hell bent on depriving the middle class and the poor of healthcare or any type of government assistance.

If these American haters and bullies win on Tuesday…it will be the end of America as we know it. If we allow Republican Tea Baggers to win, Americans will lose their right to liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

For seven years, these Republican bullies have threatened us with government shut-downs. I get a little riled up when someone gives me an ultimatum and threatens my way of life. Alarms go off in my consciousness. And they are ringing loudly, now.

I will stand against the drunken Romanesque Republican Tea Bagger Congressman and Senators. Many will stand with me. I pray Obama does not weaken. It is time to draw a line in the sand and not give one more inch to those without a conscious. It is time to stand together because Tuesday, Oct. 1, is approaching and this time, my comment to Boehner, Paul, Cruz, McDonnell and their buddies is, “I am sick and tired of your threats and actions. Just do it. If you have the nerve, shutdown the government then watch what happens as you are taken down in the disgrace you deserve. And the world spins into chaos.”

Stand up for America. this might be your last chance. Obama, stand your ground and we will stand with you. On this day, I am also wondering if after Senator Ted Cruz ruins America. Will he return to Canada to lay waste to that country?

Ginger Gibson ? @GingerGibson
I’m not over exaggerating when I say I can smell the booze wafting from members as they walk off the floor.
6:30 PM – 28 Sep 2013

KateNocera ? @KateNocera
I def saw more than 1 member of congress putting a few back on Penn earlier. Ran into 2 in the liquor store.
6:31 PM – 28 Sep 2013

Gus diZerega is a Gardnerian Elder and author of the paragraphs below:

The Danger of Religious Tyranny

Today, religious fanatics and bigots like Rick Santorum or psychopathic opportunists seeking their backing, like Mitt Romney, are destroying this foundation for American liberty and democracy. Along with their incessant lying, which destroys political debate and the discussion of ideas on which democracy depends, they are also destroying the country by casting their arguments in very narrow terms, and then making those issues so central that compromise is impossible. Political discussion that can enlarge citizens’ understanding is replaced by self-righteous shrieking as we see in the falsely named “pro-life” movement that spreads death and suffering for real people while unctuously puffing about their devotion to zygotes. That their motives have nothing to do with life and everything to do with control and domination have been revealed for all but the most blind to see by their recent assaults against contraception and violence against women legislation, even to the point of permitting doctors to lie and occasionally prohibiting them from telling their patients the truth.

The requirement for a secular context within which citizens could make their case to other citizens is rejected as “anti-religious” when in fact it is pro-religious. In its place, they would install rule by privileged groups the worst members of which would rise to the top as genuine spiritual scum, something that we have observed happening whenever religion and politics become indistinguishable. Oppressing other views comes naturally to such people. Some of Santorum’s supporters have said as much, although others are more circumspect.

Either they rule us, or they seek to destroy the country. There is no third option. Under such circumstances the stakes of winning or losing rise to become unacceptably high. No one who values women’s freedom, be they man or woman, can afford to let these people rule us. No one who has any faith other than the most irrational and mindless reading of the Bible can afford to let them rule us either. Nor can anyone who has no faith. History is very clear where these people go when they have the power, and the graves of millions testify to their methods.

For the moment, right-wing Catholics are united with right-wing Southern Baptists, right-wing Pentecostals, and right-wing Mormons in a wholesale assault on America’s best traditions. Their political leaders, such as Santorum, have made it clear that forms of Christianity not like his are not really Christian. Given that they claim America is a “Christian” nation, it takes little imagination to realize what they would do to liberal Christians once they have consolidated power. Totalitarians of the right and left have always been clear as to what they would do, and their future victims have refused to believe them, until it was too late. Now we are facing a similar challenge.

The logic of their positions would turn them against one another after having gotten rid of the wrong sorts of liberal Christians, Pagans, and likely Jews. This is what Christianist totalitarians have always done since the Roman Empire. Today in America, it is as if the worst people from times that repeatedly drenched Europe in war and massacre have crawled like mindless zombies out from the mass graves of mutual religious slaughter to do it again. And most of these zombies are Republicans.

If they do not attain power, their alliance with a powerful element of the corporate oligarchy now dominating this country prevents any pushback against the power of wealth. The Southern Baptists in particular served to support Southern oligarchs against poor whites and blacks alike by splitting them and weakening their ability to see what they share in common. Now they are doing the same on a national scale. Their threat comes not only from what they want to do to the rest of us, but also from their efforts to divide the country to facilitate the rule of wealth.

Our road to safety and a more secure liberty requires calling out these demonic servants of a Sauron rather than a deity, and doing so at every opportunity. Very importantly, this includes as Americans taking back our history from their lies. Hopefully this column gives my readers plenty of truthful ammunition for doing so.

Child Labor

The Republicans think we are not watching them. Michigan now has what the Governor calls Financial Martial Law and no one reported it on the three news stations…wonder if they will face this autocratic objective: child laborers. Are we watching them? Not closely enough.

Tea Baggers

I do not understand a group of people who stupidly named themselves Tea Baggers. This is my problem with them. These underpaid folks, tea baggers, seem to want to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. If they have their way, our grandchildren will not have social security or medicare…they will have voucher systems to purchase insurance from large insurance corporations who will charge high prices. Tea Baggers are an American embarrassment. People who are manipulated by fear, scare me. They become mobs and as we have seen so far…this would be a mob who can’t spell straight.
Teabaggers want poor people to return to the social status of peasants while allowing the Corporate Feudal bosses to become richer. How did Americans come to such a mess? Prejudice and hate taught to us by the Republican party leaders.

American Lysistrata

In honor of the women of Athens, Greece, I am requesting that all 555 wives of our elected goverment officials stop sleeping with their husbands, if they do?

Tell them to forget sex, until your elected husbands stop screwing the rights of American women.

We are Americans

There is so much chatter about the oil explosion in the Gulf, but so little action. We do know now that possibly every Friday, Obama will walk the coast and talk to strangers. When he returns, nothing happens. We in the people watch media images of talking heads, oil-soaked birds, oiled crab and sick dolphins. I have not seen any action. So, I ask myself every morning, “Why doesn’t the government do something?”

Send the Navy, send in the Marines. Send the unemployed. Isn’t contaminating the world more important that wars and hate? There is nothing to be patient about…this is a tragedy of world proportions. If the oil globs are on Florida beaches today, tomorrow…the Islands of Novia Scotia, all too soon oil globs will reach “The Halls of Montezuma.”

What happened to the old American way of life, have we forgotten all that our parents and grandparents taught us? It used to be that each generation taught their children to stand up and claim their mistakes because it made us a better person. Now it is standard to blame problems on your neighbor’s political party. This is not the American way.

Our fathers and mothers once taught us the importance of respect for ourselves and others. Back in a time, “a handshake was as good as a contract and things were built just so.”

I grew up country. A farmer’s child. My parents grew up during the depression. My mother had to quit school and help run the house when her mother became too ill to care for her eight brothers and sisters. My father was the eldest son of five children. His father became ill and he took his place running the farm, this meant he quit school at sixteen. My father worked the farm until noon, Then he would eat dinner, shower, and change into a suit. He was circulation manager of the western counties. He never came home from work before 8 p.m.

I was raised around people who grew up during the depression and frought World War II. Many of them had not had the privilege to complete high school. If a job needed doing…their generation, and our grandparents got it done. They built America.

Why are we, the children of mighty forefathers standing dumbstruck passively watching the Gulf, the sea, and the oceans being poisoned.

Are we so separated from the ways of nature that instead of becoming a land of opportunities, America has become the land of the silent peasant watching the angry peasants. This is so sad because we all live on this one earth. In this time of change, instead of pulling apart, why aren’t we pulling together? Especially, at a time when we all are losing a way of life. Has anyone noticed that harm is done to the earth in our name?

Where are the farmers who could ship loads of hay? If hay is the answer will someone place it along the wetlands and retrieve it to save the day?

If Kevin Costner has spent millions funding a device that can separate oil water…why is it not in use now. But, the whole Gulf oil mess broke down along political parties. This at a time when Anerica’s resources are dwindling.

It is time to remember that America was shaped by people working together. We are the government. We are America.

Does anyone hear the individual voices of America, not anymore. We have done this to ourselves and we need to help each other not fight over Liberal or Conservative. Didn’t our ancestors want us to pull together for each other where there was trouble.

As fathers drive their boats across America’s rivers and lakes, remember all that is nature belong to the Eternal, the God of many names. It is up to us to keep America safe and clean. It is time to label ourselves Americans, roll up our sleeves, and throw away individual labels until our world is repaired. It is the American Way.

Dead Relatives and me…

I own a cemetery and it is occupied by relatives. This might seem like a strange sort of investment holding, but there’s nothing untoward here. I had nothing to do with the demise of any of the relatives, and the cemetery is not in my backyard beneath the rose bushes. Instead, it is unmarked and obscured in deep woods. This dear piece of earth came to me through a quick claim. I was fortunate enough to be hired for a research project. I needed money. I certainly never had any intentions of acquiring said cemetery.

In the fall of 2002, I convinced a friend to hire me to research the history of the Riverbend community. Well, one thing led to another, and in the spring of 2003, I drove to the Gaston County Courthouse, gave the Clerk of Court the filing fee, signed my name on a deed and became the owner of an old and ancient graves. Through a curiously circuitous journey, I was led to these forgotten relatives.

During my history project, I interviewed everyone I could find who would sit and answer questions about Riverbend, including the peninsula historian, Calvin Hart. Calvin knew someone who had an old map of the peninsula. Another person came up with letters and photos of the old Henderson place, and the location of the Henderson ferry which took them across the river to one of the area’s first church, Hopedale on Beatties Ford Rd. I read the tombstones in the Lineberger Cemetery at the end of the peninsula. I spent days shuffling through the archives in the Lincoln County Museum.

I met cousins, grandparents, uncles, and aunts, most of who were dead. I read about ancestry that claims blood kin from Pocahontas and Norman Vikings. Family legend states that John Abernethy, one of the first pioneers to ford the Catawba, arrived from Virginia, and told that one of his grandmothers was Pocahontas. I read of a relative who died in a duel, another was appointed to a government office and when he was excused from the office, he refused to leave.

In Gaston County records there is a reference to an Abernethy family operating a ferry in 1764. This same ferry would be purchased in the next century by Richard Rozzelle, my great, great, and great-grandfather.

Among the early pioneers were Jacob Forney (arrived in 1752) followed by multitudes of new back-country settlers. Among the next wave were the families of Johnson, Mauney, Alexander, Abernethy, McCorkle, Cansler, Rhyne, Hoke, Lineberger, McLean, Howard, Reid, Reinhardt, Reep, Warlick, Chronicle, Dellinger and Ramsour. The Dutch pioneers arriving from Pennsylvania to settle along the Catawba were from the Palatinate Region of Germany. The Scots-Irish were peasant from the Plantation of Ulster.

It was in a conversation with a friend that sent me in search of a forgotten graveyard. I followed my instincts and parked along a country road one bright fall day…I entered the woods looking for a “supposed” cemetery. Leaves crunched beneath our footfalls. Unseen mourning doves called from the brush, periwinkle carpeted the ground, and the trees were thicker than rush-hour traffic. My feet were deep in leaves dropped by many fall seasons, it was quiet. It was spooky. I glanced into the trees one last time before turning back. Suddenly, I saw five tombstones standing among the trees.

These moss-covered slabs marked the final resting place of the first pioneer families to carve out hoe on the Riverbend Peninsula. More than one grave was sunken and most tombstones were broken, scattered, and in various states of disintegration.

Among the tombstones are all are proof of lives that are now long forgotten. James A. Henderson (b. 1796-d. April 18, 1888) rests here as does his wife, Linia Parr Abernethy (b. 1811-d. November 20, 1888). Beneath the fourth tombstone lies their daughter, Mary Adeline Craig, wife of S. W. Craig. Mary was born in 1831 and died April 20, 1855, one month after giving birth to her daughter, Mary Laura Elizabeth Craig.

James and Linia doubtless made many sad pilgrimages to this graveyard. They buried two sons, William Adolphus Henderson (b. 1842 d. 1862), James Lawson Henderson (b. 1839 d. 1864) and their granddaughter, Mary Laura Elizabeth Craig (b. March 5, 1855 d. 1868). Mary Laura Elizabeth was only thirteen at the time of her death. James and Linia Henderson carried on with the task of living for more than 20 years before they joined their children in the cemetery.

According to a letter written by James Abernethy Henderson on September 19, 1962, James Abernethy, one of Henderson’s ancestors, arrived in the Riverbend/South Forks area in the summer of 1769. He traveled to the area with his brother-in-law, Robert Abernethy, Jr. and Robert’s wife, Sarah Abernethy. Robert’s elderly parents were traveling with them as were his two brothers, David and Miles Abernethy, James was known in the family as Cousin James.

They crossed the river at Beatties Ford and settled on the western banks of the
Catawba River. The letter further states that James married Elizabeth Cox Abernethy and they were the parents of seven children. Among the children was a set of twins, Elizabeth and Mary who was nicknamed Polly.

Elizabeth married William Henderson. They had 10 children. Their first born child was James A. Henderson who rests by his wife, Linia Abernethy, daughter of Miles and Susan Paar Abernethy. Her sister, Mary (Polly) Abernethy married Richard Rozzelle and they had six children.

Richard and Mary Rozzelle settled on what became Old Plank Road and were neighbors of Anna Morrison, wife of Civil War legend Stonewall Jackson. Though the Jacksons lived in Virginia, Mrs. Jackson settled in the Charlotte area after the war.

The landscape changes, and decades pass, but as each generation births a new generation into their life’s journey to experience laughter, contentment, and tears; mortgages, weddings, and wars; ancestors are forgotten. If we do not know our history, our forefathers, if we erase history; how will we know who we are?

“Think of all that has happened here, on this earth. All the blood, hot and strong for living, pleasuring, that has soaked back into it.” William Faulkner, “Big Woods”

The Wisdom of Water

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean
over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you,
you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.
~ Winnie-the-Pooh

Ode to Sassy

In a moment, my arms were empty and I would never, again, see her happy smile. Our life changed the moment Sassy died. Diabetes killed her. Her doctors had tried valiantly to save her, but her pancreas, smaller than a thumb, gave out…this time we would not bring her home. We made the only decision a caring parent of a pet-child can make.

Her small fox-like face and black fur were particularly pretty against the soft blue blanket I had wrapped around her. I held her like a swaddled infant and sang softly to her as I had done so many times in our years together. Then, in a moment, she closed her eyes and left. In a moment, everything changed. She will no longer scratch at my leg when I have been writing too long. My arms will always be empty of her black fur, nor will I again, see her mischievous, happy smile. In a moment, our hearts broke. Our world changed.

For the past three years, we had adjusted our life to caring for Sassy. We fed her on a strict schedule and prepared her meals in our kitchen. Our weekend activities began or ended only before or after Sassy had been fed and given her last insulin shot for the day. We never gave a moment’s thought to any other choices.

Sassy must have known that her time on earth would be limited to almost six, short years. Sassy was a black toy Pomeranian I rescued from a puppy mill. The cages behind the double-wide were guarded by large, high strung dogs. We followed instructions and stayed in the car.

After a short wait, a woman appeared out of the trailer carrying a puppy wrapped in a towel. I stepped out of the car, took the wet puppy placed it underneath my winter coat and held her under my heart.

You were so tiny and shivering, all black fur and small enough to fit into a ladies glove, you became mine the moment our hearts met. Lee paid the agreed upon bail and we drove away. Leaving what would have been a short, unhappy life of a puppy-mill bitch-dog. Lee named her. I sang to her. And Jipper, her three year old brother, also a Pomeranian, licked her face. You were six weeks old and not as long as the television remote. As you know, we spent most of that first night watching you. We were family.

As she grew, Sassy became, not the seven-pound toy Pomeranian, instead, Sassy was a dog. Sassy grew to fourteen pounds and was sassy. She trained her father to take her out at 2 a.m. two or three nights a week. She convinced him to rise and walk her by licking his bald head until he relented. Their nightly sojourns continued until she left us.

Once, when the four of us, Lee, me, Jipper, and Sassy, were visiting our home in North Carolina, we had a picnic. During the evening someone gave Sassy a spear of cooked broccoli. Since, she was probably already full, she buried the broccoli. We left for Los Angeles the next day, not to return to our home in NC for three months. The morning we arrived we were all out checking the garden on the back patio. Sassy dug up her broccoli and ate it.

In Los Angeles, there are claw marks on the Palm tree on the corner, where the squirrel waited for Sassy on morning walks. It was a game of seek and catch, the squirrel never lost because between the two of them; only the squirrel could climb trees. A fact which had not gone unnoticed by Sassy who during her lifetime made several attempts and did learn to climb the palm tree until gravity won. Sassy loved to run, she would run in circles until she tired and then she would fall asleep. like an innocent in summer grass. Each day we fell more and more in love with our little angel clown. Sassy and Jipper adored each other. Like all sisters and brothers, they picked on the other and kept each other company at the vet’s office, and when we were absent.

Life with Sassy was never boring and Sassy seemed happy even when she was sick. But I would say that the happiest day of Sassy’s life was a December day on a small farm outside Los Angeles. It was a curious and handsome house and you explored every nook and cranny. We spent the day with friends who raised twenty or so chickens. If we were outside, Sassy was chasing a chicken or chickens. They were running and trying for take-off’s that would land them safely on the lower limbs.

The squawking was louder than a Lady GaGa concert. Once, the chickens tried a strategy; they all gathered in the henhouse waiting for Sassy to run into their domain where they would peck the little aggravation in the head. Sassy trotted over to the hen house…stuck her head inside, and decided her job was done. She cut and ran for the porch. No one, there was no distraction that could stop Sassy from chasing the chickens. It lasted all day tiring all.

We left as the sun was beginning to spread across the horizon. By this time, the chickens were exhausted and so was Sassy. Both were too tired to run. As we walked to the car, a chicken would step from the crowd and take their turn walking in circles and letting Sassy sniff her feathers.

Sassy’s last trip was to the Atlantic Ocean. It is a natural…a beach and a dog. She ran straight into the sea. She chased every bird that had the audacity to land on her beach. She followed them into the water. I saw her jump over sea foam and seemed startled when the water was deeper on the other side. We walked up and down the beach and when Sassy tired; we carried her home. Sassy, you were my perfect angel and the only dog I ever raised from a puppy.

We knew she was not feeling well, and when we got home; we took her to the vet. We did not know that seven days later; she would be worse not better, ready to come home. It had been a week of tubes and shots, but she lay in her cage and smiled at everyone who passed. We visited her twice a day and she brightened with each visit. But, she was far too sick to recover. Her pancreas was destroyed.

Before noon, on Friday, January 22, 2010, I kissed her goodbye and together her parents grieved for our dog-child. She gave us laughter and unconditional love, I read once that God created dogs to show us unconditional love; hoping maybe we would learn from them. We said goodbye to our wonderful companion. Sassy was of another time. A time when there was a land called Pomerania where a proud breed of dogs known as Pomeranians herded sheep…and chickens. Some say pomeranians could climb trees.