H 34° L 30°
Clear | 0MPH

Experience or judgment

Ever since McCain announced Sarah Palin, the left has been moaning about her lack of experience. Pretty ironic, rather like the Obama calling the Palin black.

Here is another frightening thought: Nancy Pelosi is only 2 heartbeats away from being president. Do her years of experience make you feel any more comfortable with that idea/ 

Read more

Gustav - Katrina - And Miss Molly

My heart is in Pine, Louisiana right now as we watch Gustav menace the Gulf Coast.  
Three years ago next week in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, I traveled to the Gulf Coast with a group from our Church.  When devastation of such enormity occurs our senses don't fully absorb it.  The breadth of the suffering is so great that we too often think in terms of "regions" that are "stricken", when in fact disasters occur to PEOPLE; individual by individual and family by family.  My heart goes out to the people of the Coast, and I think of the members of the Pine First Baptist Church where we stayed.  Most of all I think of Miss Molly.  
We spent one day in Biloxi - right on the Gulf, and I will never forget the scenes of ruin and devastation, the scope of which is beyond the power of words to convey.  Refrigerators in treetops, large commercial fishing vessels laying keel up in the middle of what were once busy streets.  Bare cement foundations where houses once rested, as if some enormous scythe had descended from the sky and severed the homes from their foundations.
But most of our time was spent in the rural setting of Pine, where we set up base camp at a local church.  We spent eight days traveling form home to home repairing roofs, hauling garbage, hooking up fresh water, providing food and medicine, and cutting endless amounts of trees and limbs.  But more than all that we just listened to people tell us of the things they had seen and experienced.  Words fail you at such moments.  Not because you can’t think of anything to say, but because we came to understand that they didn’t want us to say much.  They just wanted us to listen, and to put a hand on their shoulder as we comforted them.  It is on that trip that I came to understand what a Pastor of ours calls "the ministry of presence".

The rural deep South is a different place.  Even in late September the heat was oppressive.  The outdoors was little more than a giant convection oven; an invisible woolen glove pressed down insistently upon our shoulders.  The people of this region are forged in the twin crucibles of the heat and the soil.  Most were less educated, but carried the quiet strength and wisdom of the country.  They were tough - and I mean tough with a capital “T”.  But despite their unspeakable loss, their generosity of spirit matched their grit.  So many images and people are planted in my memory from that week, but none more so than Miss Molly.
She was tiny – just over five feet; and I am sure she didn't hit triple digits on her scale.  She was about sixty and as quiet as a shadow.  I met her one morning as we were finishing breakfast and preparing to head out for the day’s work.  She was standing there, hesitating; she did not want to intrude.  So - I approached her and introduced myself.  I can still hear her reply - “My name is Molly - but folks here call me Miss Molly”.

We talked for a bit, and then she screwed up her courage to ask for help – a request as foreign to her nature as we were to that land. “I’ve heard about your group” she said, “and was wondering if y’all could come by and help me.  You see – I’m all alone”.  As we spoke I learned that she had children, but they were long grown and gone.  I later learned from her Pastor that after years of abuse from an alcoholic husband, she had summoned the courage to divorce him and live alone on her spread.  So we scheduled a day later in the week to visit Miss Molly, and spent that day cleaning, hauling, and repairing.  As we packed up our equipment to leave she could barely speak.  She only murmured, “God Bless you” as she embraced us one by one.  In my memory's eye I see her standing in her driveway and waving good-bye, tears streaming down her cheeks as my own eyes moistened in the back of the pick-up.

She came back to the church a few days later and sought me out, insisting that she be allowed to tangibly express her gratitude to the group.  We refused, but she continued quietly insisting that she be of some service to us.  So we agreed, and I and asked her if she could do some laundry for us. “Why heavens sake sure” she said, and the next day we had fresh clothes to pack up for the long drive home.
First Miss Molly melted our hearts - then she broke them.  Months after the trip we learned from her Pastor that her estranged husband came back, and in a psychotic, alcohol fueled rage, put three bullets in her head.  She was found in a crumpled little ball, her dried blood caked and hardened on the wooden floor of her kitchen.
Why is it that some people have the hardship of ten lifetimes crammed into one?  Why is it that this demure and kindly jewel was mowed down as if she was no more than a steer on the slaughterhouse floor?

I don’t know the answer to that any more than you do.  But some things I do know………

I know that Miss Molly was the REAL DEAL.  I know that despite her size she was a giant; a lioness whose courage roared louder than mine ever will.  Despite her suffering and despite her living amidst the greatest devastation I have ever witnessed, she was concerned about doing my laundry.   My LAUNDRY for heaven's sake.

Why? How could this have possibly mattered to her at such a time?

I doubt Miss Molly would have given much thought to that question.  It’s just who she was, and if I had asked her I suspect she would have said something like, “You got to help people when they need it.  It’s just what folks around here do”.

I don’t have a picture of Miss Molly; somehow in the rush of things I just forgot.  That was a big mistake. I would give a lot to have that picture.  I would give a lot to show it to our kids as I told them about her.  
But I would give more to do her laundry.

Brookfield has Green Herons too

Birds, Just for fun!, Nature

One of the things I love about living in our City in the Countryside is the variety of wildlife here. Last year, it was not unusual to see a Red Fox or the entire Red Fox family out and about in our neighborhood. This year I saw a coyote in my back yard.

Birds also abound here. When the fruit trees are in bloom and when mulberries are ripe, Baltimore Orioles are regular visitors to my yard. Hummingbirds frequent my perennial flower garden. I love it!

Read more

20 years of experience did not = understanding

 Vicious attacks on Palin and family

Do you know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick. 

Read more

Vicious attacks on Sarah Palin

The left is acting like McCain picked Sarah Palin out of a hat on Monday and announced her on Friday without proper vetting. How silly. By this time the McCain camp probably knows what toothpaste she favors!

Evidently Sarah Palin was warned about the potential for vicious attacks from McCain's opponents. She is no shrinking violet.

Read more

Gustav miss the reason oil falls? Stocks lose steam; Oil tumbles on relief over Gustav

The Dow Jones industrial average initially surged nearly 250 points on Tuesday as oil prices dropped as low as $105.46 a barrel on reports that the Gulf Coast and its oil facilities have been spared heavy damage from Hurricane Gustav.

Read more

Obama experienced--Palin not? How can that be?

Criticism of Palin shows lack of understanding of conservative Christians

You make a mistake, you ask for forgiveness and dust your self off and get up and try again. Righteous man gets up. King David sinned, he was called the apple of Gods eye. Do Christians think this is a license to sin? NO, Paul, God forbid.

Read more

Mainstream Media Blues - Revisited

"It wasn't a speech - it was a symphony". 

So opined one network reporter on live national television just minutes after Barrack Obama's acceptance at the DNC in August - so much for journalistic detachment and integrity.  The Wall Street Journal's incomparable columnist Peggy Noonan nailed it when she deplored this  "inexcusable suck-upedness" for what it was.  

Read more

Brookfield's Farmers Market and Fall's Run

Tuesday of last week saw high humidity and temperatures approaching the mid 90's.  Then on Saturday morning as I walked around the Farmers Market there was a chill in the air.  Where else but the upper Midwest would you run air conditioning on Tuesday and wear sweats just a few days later? 


Read more

Project 2996: A 9/11 Tribute

blog stuff, Projects/Ideas, Writers/Books

My blog today is about Michael M. Taylor, a man I don't know. His name was provided to me by Project 2996.

Founded two years ago, Project 2996 pays tribute to the victims of 9/11 by asking bloggers to blog about a victim and then post the written tribute on September 11.  A blogger can choose a specific person or, as in my case, write about a person that the website selects.

Read more

Reflections on September 11

I had dinner last night with a man who was in Manhattan on 9-11.  He saw the second plane; he smelled the burning steel and fuel; he wintessed the death and mayhem.  Driving home I recalled another dinner I had with my father decades ago, where somehow we got talking about Pearl Harbor.  My Dad was an articulate and educated man, but he could not capture for me the reaction that the country experienced upon news of the attack.  He tried to convey what it was like as he huddled around the radio with his parents and siblings, listening to Franklin Delano Roosevelt give his famous address to Congress.


Read more

A Cross Country Drive

The concept:  Drive cross country to visit an uncle in California.

We had done it once before - when we were 4, 6 and 10 years old. It had been, as we recall, a grueling trip. Those long, long days of driving nineteen hours a day.  Three kids in the back seat. Our parents were unable to wake us for Grand Canyon.

Read more

The Voices We Listen To - My Favorite Journalist

I believe that the voices we listen to when receiving our news is becoming as important as the news itself.

Most people I know expect our leaders and our pundits to disagree and to hold different views.  They not only expect it; l believe they want it.

Read more

Our Financial Crisis: Why Character Still Matters - And Why Economics is More Important than Finance

William Manchester is my favorite historian.  An unparalleled researcher and a lover of language; he wrote of the great men and wars of the Twentieth Century, and wrapped them in context and insights so illuminating as to make his work unique amongst all I have read.  Such insight came at the price of personal experience - Manchester was a decorated U.S. Marine who was severely injured on Okinawa.  In his stunning memoir of World War Two entitled Goodbye Darkness, Manchester wrote of he and his comrades on Okinawa that, "we were living very fast".  He meant that they knew they were living in a pivot point of history.


Read more

Hispanic Heritage Month at SJV


The Spanish classes at St. John Vianney have a piñata full of activities to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place from September 15 through October 15. The students will focus on the contributions of Hispanics and Hispanic Americans with varied grade-based activities. Junior High students will research, prepare and present multi-sensory reports on famous Hispanic Americans. A Hispanic "Country of the Month" will be featured throughout the school year, with classes learning about each country's unique culture. Food, games and other cultural presentations will be shared with classmates. Learning about other cultures is one way our school promotes ethnic literacy, and prepares our students to respect and appreciate our diverse society. Spanish is taught to all students in First through Eighth grade. The program is led by SJV Spanish teacher Ms. Carmen Elger.

Ms. Elger began teaching Spanish at SJV in 2004. She attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where she received her B.A. with a double major in Spanish and Sociology. During her studies at UW-O, Ms. Elger spent three weeks studying in Costa Rica and Peru. After her graduation, she worked as a substitute teacher for a number of school districts around the Milwaukee area. She enjoys traveling, camping, fishing, and most other outdoor activities. 

 If you want to learn more, you can visit National Hispanic Heritage Month.  Another fun website is Famous First Hispanic Americans. 

Read more

Get out the Vote for Mrs. Fischer


St. John Vianney teacher Jill Fischer was recently honored with the Herb Kohl Educational Fellowship Award . These fellowships, in the amount of $1000, are awarded each year to one hundred Wisconsin teachers.  Each fellow's school (so St. John Vianney) also receives a $1,000 grant. Teachers are chosen for their superior ability to inspire a love of learning in their students and ability to motivate others, and for their leadership and service within and outside the classroom. 

Some of you may recall that Mrs. Fischer was also awarded the B93 Teacher of the Month last February.  This was a real exciting time for the 4th grades students over at St. John Vianney.  Air personality Julie Davidson presented Mrs. Fischer the award in the classroom and read two award nominations from the Greco and Reuteman school families.  Every month B93.3 awards a local teacher with great prizes including a Target gift card for school supplies from Layton State Bank, a certificate from BBC Lighting, a certificate for fine desserts from Suzy's Cream Cheesecakes and a plaque from RCB Awards in Wauwatosa. 

Read more

Restaurant Review: Wasabi


I had the pleasure of eating at Wasabi, the newest addition to the Asian dining scene in the Brookfield/Elm Grove area.  By my count, Wasabi is now the fourth Japanese restaurant on the Bluemound Road corridor.  Gone are the days when you had to trek down to the venerable Izumi's on the east side for quality sushi.  Wasabi is located in a strip mall at the intersection of Moorland Road and Bluemound, the same mall that houses the Vitamin Shoppe and Starbucks.

As with most of the newer restaurants, the decor at Wasabi is contemporary.  The large sushi bar dominates the room, with tables at the center and small booths and banquette seating to the sides.  Wasabi also has a small regular bar.  It bills itself as having a "lounge" atmosphere, but I am not sure what that means.  Maybe it means "dark" because the lighting was a tad dim the night I was there, which made reading the menu difficult.  

Read more

I Can Eat Fifty Eggs

So proclaimed the fictional character Lucas Jackson - better known to us as Cool Hand Luke.

In my mind's eye I see Paul Newman barking out that line, delivered with a visage that was half grin and half smirk.  His face was sardonic, sarcastic, challenging, and joyful all at the same time.  It was acting in the greatest sense of the word; an indisputable talent that held the power to move us.  Those five words and that one look defined the character of Cool Hand Luke. 

Read more

Take Advantage of These Events

city, Dousman Stagecoach Inn, Elmbrook Historical Society, Town

*  Fire Trucks, Flight for Life and more!

On Sunday, October 5th, from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm, the Town of Brookfield Fire Department is again excited to open its doors for a fun and free family event! 

Read more

Page Tools

Latest Posts