The Power To Change History

History is a part of all of us. It shapes the world and everyone in it. We learn from it, if we choose to. Sadly, mankind as a whole does not. How to pick from its archives one or two events that I wish to see is mind-boggling. I've been struggling with that chore all month.

Yesterday, life chose for me. It’s not a big event, like the landing of the Mayflower. Nor one I would want to see. I would not be content with being a spectator either. I would want to make a difference and try to change that particular piece of history.

Yesterday, they found a young man, someone I know, whose mother is a dear friend of mine, dead. At this point there is no explanation. I don’t even know what happened, but the choice to be there, in the off chance I could have helped, is my pick in history.

We are on this planet to make a difference. We impact people’s lives each and every day. Sometimes for good, and sometimes, not so much. This young man needed help. Whether that be to talk him out of killing himself, helping to fight off a murderer or performing CPR until the ambulance arrived, remains to be seen.

There are times in our personal history when we would all desire to turn back the clock. Living with regrets is the pits. Making an effort to live outside the box of self-interest brings less regret. Choosing to make a difference for good, no matter how small, builds a chest of treasured memories.

Someone somewhere knew this young man needed help. Whether a neighbor who heard fighting but ignored the nudge to call the police, or a friend who knew he was depressed. We may never know all the answers, but we do have a solution. Act when you sense trouble. Go out of your way to help those that need it. Respond to cries for help, even from strangers. Make your mark in history a good one, and choose to live a life of no regrets.

Grandpa and Me (Penny Rader)

This month’s theme is If you could have personally witnessed one event in history, what would you want to have seen & why?

I hope you don’t mind if I take it in a slightly different direction.  Instead of picking one historical event, I’d go back to the first half of 1971.  I would play more with Grandpa, my mom’s dad.  I would snuggle more and play games and ask him to read to me. His birthday was the day before mine.  I don’t remember if we celebrated our birthdays together that year, as we sometimes did.  But if I had the power to go back in time, we would have a blowout b-day celebration, even if it was just the two of us.

I don’t remember when Grandpa got sick or when I realized something was terribly, horribly wrong.  For the life of me I cannot remember the last time I saw him alive or what we were doing and that really bugs me.  I do remember he was in the hospital the summer of 1971.  I loved spending time with him.  He had the best, most genuine smile. I don’t remember him ever being grouchy. At one time he had a car dealership.  Once, when Grandma and Mom told us we were going to Winfield to see Grandpa, I thought we were going to a place full of fields.  Some kind of magical fields, I guess, because we lived in the country and I had certainly seen plenty of wheat fields.  Imagine my surprise when I realized Winfield was just a town and not a mass of magical fields.  But it didn't matter because we got to see Grandpa.

 If I had the power to go back in time I would find a way to sneak into the hospital every day Grandpa was there.  Even if the hospital had strict policies about kids not visiting.  Even if maybe he wasn't exactly up for company.  Contrary to public knowledge, I can be quiet.  Stop laughing and shaking your head.  I really, truly can be quiet when I have to.  If I were able to visit and had to be quiet, I would sit beside him.  I would hold his hand and whisper to him that I loved him.  Whispering counts as being quiet, doesn't it?

July 26, 1971 was my first experience with heart-wrenching grief.  One of my sisters and I shared a room.  My brother had his own room.  We also had a baby sister.  I can’t remember if she was sharing our room yet because she was just a bit over a year old.  I heard the phone ring late, long after we went to bed.  It may have been 10 pm.  Nothing good ever came from calls that came after 10 pm. Way down deep in my soul I knew something bad had happened.  It took me a while to gather the courage to leave my bed and open the door to the living room.  One of my cousins was there.  Mom and Dad had gone to the hospital.  Pretty soon all three of us oldest kids were in the living room.  Our cousin didn't make us go back to bed.  I don’t remember what we did or if we talked.  We probably watched TV, though this was long before cable.  We had four channels and they did not have all-night programming into the wee hours.

Seems like hours passed.  Another cousin came to take over babysitting duty. (We were never short on cousins.  Dad is the second youngest of seventeen kids, so I have a bazillion cousins.)  Mom and Dad finally came home.  Something terrible and horrible had indeed happened.  Grandpa had died.  My brother and sister and I gathered into a circle, hugging and quietly crying.  I think we probably even slept in the same bed, unable to let go of each other because we were so sad.  I’m not sure my brother and sister completely understood what had just happened.  Of course, being a kid, I don’t think it occurred to me how much it rocked my mom’s world to lose her daddy.  I hope I gave her lots of extra love and hugs.  Much of that time is fuzzy.  And being a kid, I was probably all wrapped in missing my grandpa and not thinking about anyone else.

So even though this month’s topic isn't exactly about wishes, this is my wish: I wish I could have told Grandpa good-bye and made absolutely, positively sure he knew how much I loved him.  And I wish my baby sister could have had the chance to know him.

(I mean no disrespect to my dad’s father.  He died when I was three and most of my memories begin when I was five.  Note to self:  Ask Mom and Dad to share stories and memories about their parents and siblings.  I was blessed to have grandmas who lived into their 90s, but there’s too much I don’t know about our family history.)


So.... if you could have personally witnessed one event in history, what would you want to have seen & why?

How Do YOU Value Your Writing?

To be a writer is to have the ability to put pen to paper. To tell stories, one needs the ability to make one up or at least be able to make one sound plausible, whether it be verbal or on paper. But, to really get to the meat of a writer is to find out how much they value their writing.

Hmmm. Never thought about that have you?
Here's another one. How do you value yourself?
How important are you?
How important are you to yourself?
How important are you to your day?
How important are you to your community?

If your community is WARA, you are very important. As some singing group will sing, all God's creatures have a place in the choir. Here in WARA everyone has a place in the choir of voices that make up such a wonderful group. Without one of us, we are all diminished.

If you are important to your day, then it is pretty well important to keep thinking about yourself and what you need to get through the day. Have you been thinking about you?

How important you are to yourself shouldn't really need to be said, but sometimes we give so much of ourselves to others, who seem to be in more need, that we fade away from our own thoughts and become as nothing in our own lives. That was a long sentence. Please re-read and think about it. Then quit. The answer is quite simple. If you are so important to others that they rely on you, then if follows you must be important to them. Now, think about that. If you are important to them, then you have greater value. Maybe you might want to consider that a person of great value might be a little bit important to themselves!!

If you are important to yourself, which you've just proven you must be, then why aren't you putting some of the things you think are important ahead in the queue of things needing done?

Have you proven to yourself you have value?

If you have value, then it follows that the things you think are important must have value too. Like your writing. Are you treating your writing as if it has value or are you getting to it last?

Did you like this exercise in logic?

I did it and didn't like what I discovered. I discovered that I was putting my writing, something that is a part of me, last. Why would I do that? Because I saw it as not as important and immediate as other things. Well, Duh! If I am that way, then why would anyone else honor my writing time? Quick answer--they wouldn't!

By never thinking about my writing creativity's importance, I let it drift away.....

Lucky for me, I can rethink my position. Grasp the initiative. Put my rear in the seat in front of my computer and tell the world to go find themselves something important in their own activities. I found mine.

Back in Time

I'm a day late, thanks to life.  But without life, we wouldn't have history or events that make up history.

When the topic of this month's blogging was introduced, I couldn't immediately think of a time or event in history that I would want to go back and experience.  Friday, I gave it more thought and settled on three different ones.  Hear me out.  I did come up with something minutes ago, something completely different, and it's history I and many others experienced, who are still kicking around, experienced.

I remember hearing about Pompeii back in grade school and then reading books on it.  Living in Kansas doesn't raise a lot of fear of volcanoes, so maybe that's why I was drawn to Pompeii.  It was different.  It was horrendous.  Imagine living in a modern-for-that-time civilization that was there one minute, then hours later covered completely in the ash from a volcano.  Of course that would mean I, too, would be one of the 20,000 who were buried within minutes.  But I found so many things about it fascinating, including the ways the remains of people were found, going about their daily habits in a city with an amphitheater, two theaters, a community swimming pool, a gymnasium, and a hotel.  The aqueduct supplied water to the city and the many fountains. It must have been beautiful.

 Another time, although not necessarily history, has to be Atlantis.  Yes, Atlantis is fictional, so naturally I couldn't go back in time to visit, but the idea always sparked my imagination.  There are many theories about Atlantis, one being that island was inhabited by aliens with advanced knowledge and powered by crystals brought from beyond.  The tale continues that the aliens mated with humans to create Atlanteans and shared knowledge that made Atlantis a paradise.  If, indeed, Atlantis had existed, it might have been found in many locations.  The Mediterranean, the Caribbean, near India, and in what's known as the Bermuda Triangle.  My choice is the Mediterranean, near Crete.  Back in the 60s, folk singer Donovan sang a song about Atlantis, inspiring my imagination even more.
Knowing her fate, Atlantis sent out ships
To all corners of the Earth, on board were the
Twelve, 'The poet, the physician, the farmer, the scientist
The magician and the other so-called Gods of our legends'

I've already blogged here about Athens being my dream vacation. For me, this is history.  Along with Pompeii and the Atlantis myth, I must be drawn to those places known best for the arts and mythology.  And let's not forget that it's considered the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy.  It has been inhabited for at least 7000 years.  Imagine what it must have been like to be the center of nearly everything. Imagine how long it would take to study that one in school!

But, no.  As I sat in front of the television for a few minutes tonight, I know what time I would choose and event I would have liked to have experienced.  Because I did.  I grew up in an age where so many things happened.  Black and white television became color television, changes in civil rights, the space race, and too many things to list.  We had the assassination of President Kennedy to mourn and remember for always.  In the year I graduated alone, Sesame Street premiered, Charles Manson's band of hippies murdered Sharon Tate and friends, and a man walked on the moon for the very first time.  And there was Woodstock.  But one of the most important things happened in 1964.  The Beatles made their first visit to the Ed Sullivan show.  My choice for an event would have to be that moment, when teen girls screamed and cried at the four mop-tops who performed on stage.

Silly?  Maybe, and maybe not.  It was one of the biggest--if not THE biggest--moments in music history.  The Beatles not only changed music, they changed the way we thought and acted.  They changed the world.

Sure, a visit to Athens or the site of Pompeii are something I would love to experience, but I did get to experience something, via the magic of television, that will stay with me forever.

Yes, I was (and still am) a Beatles fan. ;)

Battles? Weddings? Which Event? by J Vincent

After ruminating a week over which historical event I would want to see I finally found one.  Why so long?  It turns out I have a rather bloodthirsty sort of mind.  My first thoughts went to battles--Talavera, Salamanca, Waterloo to name a few.  Then I turned to things like Cromwell taking over England--with the beheading of Charles I.  Or the fall of the Bastille and the Terror in France in 1789 with knitters using the guillotine loping of heads to count stitches.  I decided I had to look at happier or at least less bloody events.  I passed on weddings; the signing of peace treaties came next but held little appeal.  “Grand ceremonies?” I wondered.  “The cardinal enclave electing a pope?  The coronation of Napoleon--by himself?” I was at a loss.
 And then it came to me.  The event I WANTED to see.  If only I was the star of the old series Quantum Leap and could “leap” into the middle of the meetings of the Continental Congress in 1776.  But it isn’t the adopting of the Declaration of Independence, which we celebrate on July 4th every year, I’d like to see.  No, I’d like to see the signing of it which took place on August 2, 1776.

On that day fifty-six intrepid souls took quill in hand, dipped it in ink and put their “John Hancock” to the Declaration.  It was a treasonous act punishable by death.  In fact, at that time John Hancock already had a reward of 500 British pounds offered for his capture.  Benjamin Franklin was the only old man among the signers, most were under forty.  All were rather well to do which meant they had a lot to loss rather than gain by declaring their independence from George III.  Some of them lost their lives during the Revolutionary War.  Most lost their homes and members of their families.  They realized the danger ahead.  They knew the British fleet full of soldiers was in New York Harbor and yet they signed below this last sentence of the Declaration:  “For the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Lives.  Fortune.  Honor.  Not a play on words.  Not a prosy promise to be ignored if inconvenient.  A mutual pledge that was honored to the fullest by each and every one no matter the cost, dreadful though it was for some of them. This is who I want to believe I can be.  This is who I write my heroes and heroines to be.  Free.  Independent, but relying on each other.  Honor above all.  These men made it possible for us to be all of these things today.  I do wish I could see them, study their faces, hear their words on the day they committed all they had with no idea whether their fledgling nation would survive or not, let alone what it would become as the years passed.  If you are curious, or want to give a brief “thank you” by reading their names go to

The First Really Big One by Theresa Jaye

I thought and thought about what event in history I would like to have witnessed and there were so many my poor little brain was reeling like a slot machine so I went with my gut.  Literally.
The first Thanksgiving.

No, I’m not kidding. Wouldn't it have been awesome to sit at that table and break bread with these hardworking English settlers and Wompanoad Native Americans?  I'm not discounting their hard work and I mean no offense to anyone, but I would have done it a little differently. 
What qualifies me to say that?  Well, I can hold my own in the kitchen and spend many, many hours a week cooking, baking and sharing the fruits of my labors--but not always my recipes.  <g> 

First off, they served way too many varieties of the main dish. At our house, we stick to ham and turkey for the showcase items. At the first Thanksgiving, they served swan, goose, duck, deer, bass, cod, clams, eel, lobster and turkey. Have you ever anxiously stood in a buffet line behind little old ladies or finicky pre-teens who can’t make up their minds when all you want to do is fill your own plate? Seriously, too many choices slow the table traffic down to create a dining room bottleneck of nightmarish proportions.  

For sides, the pilgrims served cornbread, corn pudding, dried beans, squash and turnips. What about mashed potatoes and giblet gravy? The homemade noodles and green bean casserole? Cranberry salad? Candied sweet potatoes? Dressing?
My kids would have made a run to McDonald's before they'd eat corn pudding and dried beans for Thanksgiving.  Everyone in my family has their favorites and I don't dare dissapoint them. 
It's been written that the pilgrims had run out of sugar by this time so their desserts consisted of fruit and nuts. Now I like fruit and nuts as much as the next gal, but come on, really?  I like them IN THINGS, not sitting lonely on the plate.  I'm pretty sure my family would stage a demonstration if there wasn’t at least one pecan or pumpkin pie, chocolate cake or homemade whipped cream to slather on top.

So tell me, do you like to cook and what are your favorites dishes?
Theresa Jaye

A Chip of The Block of History.

Patricia Davids here, wishing you all a happy February. A month known far and wide for romance.

I looked up our blog topic for this month and after reading it, I sat scratching my head for quite some time. If I could personally witness one event in history, what would I want to see and why?

That's like asking me to walk through the Russell Stover candy factory, pick out one piece and then tell you why I chose it. I love chocolate in all its forms, and I love HISTORY. I can't choose one event. I'd like to witness it all. I can't, of course, so it's a good thing someone wrote it down.

Someone wrote it down. Wow. That's what I'd like to witness!

I'd like to go back in time and meet the young man who carved the Rosetta Stone. I'd like to tell him that his ordinary day at the office (or temple) would one day unlock the secrets of ancient Egypt. I'd like him to know his creation would solve some of the greatest mysteries of mankind. He had no idea that his society would crumble and fall or that his very language would be lost for centuries. He just went to work like usual, got out his hammer and chisel, and knocked out another decree from the higher-ups.

So what is the Rosetta Stone you may well ask? (My daughter did. I was shocked.) Well, it is an ancient Egyptian granodiorite stele.

A what?

A granite-type rock, carved and placed upright as a monument or commemorative plaque. (I had to look that one up.)

Written in about 196 BC, the inscription on the Rosetta Stone is a decree passed by a council of priests. It affirms the royal sect of 13-year-old king Ptolemy V on the first anniversary of his coronation. It lists the good deeds done by the king for the temples and people of his kingdom. The decree is inscribed on the stone three times. Once in hieroglyphic which was suitable for a priestly decree. Once in demotic, which is the native script that was used for daily tasks, and once in Greek, the language of administration. How long or where it stood, we don't know. We do know it was covered over by the sands of Egypt until 1799. Some soldiers in Napoleon's army discovered the Rosetta Stone when they were digging the foundations for an addition to a fort outside the town of el-Rashid (Rosetta). Thank goodness they didn't use it for building material. After Napoleon's defeat, the stone became the property of the British under the terms of the Treaty of Alexandria in 1801. It remains in the British Museum to this day.
With it, scholars were able to decipher the previously unreadable hieroglyphic in the royal tombs and throughout Egypt. Everything we know about ancient Egypt today became possible because of one young priest with a hammer and chisel.

I'd like to think someone will find my writing entertaining or useful after 2000 years, but I'm sure not going to carve my manuscripts into stone to help them out. Imagine the postage for sending that to New York.

Did you know what the Rosetta Stone was before reading this? Are you a history buff?