Family and Politics

calvin & afterlife bad day in persepctiveWhenever I am struggling to find a way to begin my blog, I know that I can always count on Calvin to provide me with an opening!!!  Ah yes, I have been coming a bit too close to Calvin’s philosophy this past week as I have begun my yearly proclamation to various family and friends about the fact that while the weather is getting a bit sunnier and warmer here in the Buckeye state, in another seventeen days, the days will start getting shorter…….and shorter……..and shorter!!!!  Why, oh why, am I the glass half-empty, OCD, worrier extraordinaire???  Why, when I was standing in the personality traits line before my birth, did I not realize that there was another personality line that I should have been in…… know, the one where God was handing out the glass half-full, I don’t give a care, “whatever”, life is a beach traits??????

Well, well, well……………here it is twenty days later and I am just now returning to my blog!!!   And, as of today, you can shave six minutes from your daylight schedule!!!  Hey!  I simply refer you back to the opening paragraph……… Popeye was want to say, “I am what I am”!!!!

So, just in case you may be wondering what has kept me away so long, I can sum it up in two words… and politics!!!  (fair warning!!!)


It seems like we wait with such anticipation for the lazy, hazy days of summer, that when they finally arrive, they fly by in a flurry of graduations, birthday, anniversary, and wedding celebrations.  Throw in vacations (for some of us that simply means no grocery shopping/no cooking, hence no “pot of boiling water”!), outdoor activities (for some of us that means, mowing, mulching, weeding!), baseball/softball leagues (for some of us that means…….a fair-weather spectator!!), and just effortlessly hanging out at the swimming pool (for some of us that truly means “hanging out”…….. ha, ha, ha!!). What I am attempting to convey is a longing for the “good old days” where paradise was sitting on the front porch, sipping on a glass of ice-cold lemonade with not a thing in the world to do…………….just the lost art of “being still”!!

In a large family such as ours, one’s “being” is hardly ever permitted to be “still”!  This month alone we celebrated Luke’s 10th birthday, Olivia’s 8th grade graduation, Kathy and Bob’s 30th wedding anniversary, Dylan and Nick’s high school graduations (sorry to have had to miss Nick’s party), and Erin’s college graduation.  Kathy and Bob’s surprise party was attended by aunts, uncles and cousins from hither and yon and from the ages of 7 months old to 90 years young.  The very youngest generation was having a difficult time distinguishing between a first cousin, second cousin, or a first cousin once removed; also between an aunt/uncle, great-aunt/uncle, or great-great aunt/uncle!!!!  I was quite disappointed that I, myself, was never confused with anyone in the millennial generation!!  LOL  The celebration was held outside at a small park which showed great potential for lots of outdoor summer games…, badminton, frisbee, croquet, wiffle ball…….but just as the party was to begin, the Ohio weather turned ugly………and I do mean ugly!!!  The rain came down, the wind picked up……fortunately we had a wonderful shelter house to protect us from the rain, but instead of looking for ways to cool off as one expects in June, everyone was looking for ways to stay warm.  We were grateful that my cousin, Greg (California) had been visiting his Mom and so he drove her to Columbus from her home in North Carolina.  Aunt Jeanne hadn’t seen anyone for a couple of years so she had plenty of catching up to do.  Another Clark/Scully/Heubel get-together is planned for this weekend……….guess that about sums up the definition of never-ending!!

Olivia's graduation
Olivia’s graduation


Bob and Kathy - 35 years ♥
Bob and Kathy – 30 years♥

The biggest gathering of all occurred on June 14th at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in our nation’s capital where my brother, Jimmy’s service and sacrifice were finally honored at the 16th annual “In Memory Day Tribute”.  Our family is so very grateful to our nephew, Eric (U.S. Air Force, active member) whose dedication to honoring Jimmy’s memory made this tribute possible.  To provide some important background on this special honor……..Jimmy  stepped on a land mine while out on a search and destroy mission with the 1st Air Cavalry three months after arriving in Vietnam in 1967. He suffered shrapnel wounds all over his body, but particularly his head, brain and legs. He lost one eye and was left with very limited vision in the other. He spent two months in a hospital in Japan and then another year at Walter Reed. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1968 with 100% disability. Through the years he learned to accept and to overcome many of his debilitating injuries. In March, 1984 (the same month in which he was born and injured) he suffered a brain aneurysm and died within hours at the age of thirty-seven. The military and the medical community could never agree that his aneurysm was a direct result of the injuries he sustained in Vietnam and therefore his name was rejected for inscription on the Wall. This ceremony is for all of those Vietnam Vets who have passed away since the end of the war with inconclusive or questionable causes of their death. For example, many of those honored this year had died recently of certain cancers which in some medical circles have been attributed to Agent Orange. Eric discovered the “In Memory Day” tribute on a website and submitted the necessary paperwork to have Jimmy’s name placed with these other Vets whose sacrifice is finally being recognized.  We are so appreciative of the Vietnam Memorial Fund organizers whose efforts are bringing peace and closure to so many deserving families.  And so, with a “small” contingent of Clarks (48) and our Scully cousins; Dennis, David, Dick, Bernadette and Kate, along with life-long family friend, Anne we descended upon D.C. to not only participate in the “In Memory Day”, but to tour the national museums, Arlington National Cemetery and the many memorials.  All in all, it was an unforgettable weekend despite the sometimes chaotic, impromptu plans, and the occasional miscommunication which caused some minor distress.   What?????  The Clark family is chaotic????  Flies by the seats of their pants??????????? Communicates by “word of mouth”, much like the old game of “telephone” whereby the ending message is nothing like the beginning???????  LOL!!  Oh yes……………..the D.C. cab drivers and bus drivers will never, ever, ever be quite the same again!!!!

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 And you know what became the real wonder of the D.C. trip????? That this “right-wing nut”   managed to spend an entire three nights in our nation’s capital, walk past the IRS building, the Capital and the White House and never once pulled out her soapbox!!!! Which conveniently brings me to       …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..


Oh, what I wouldn’t give to see the expressions on the faces of all my dear family, who have read this far!!!!!!!!  I ventured into this topic only to share that my four half-days/month job and the myriad of family responsibilities and activities are not the only reasons for my six week absence.  The world often appears to be spinning out of control and over the past six years I have watched as many forces have been colluding to bring that same instability to our country.  And so, in my OCD need to understand and to know, I spend incredible amounts of time reading and researching everything from Common Core, Obamacare and illegal immigration to the IRS, NSA, VA, Benghazi, and Fast and Furious scandals.  I know that many of us share differing political views on a wide range of issues, but I would hope that there is agreement among us all that the Constitution which delineates the national frame of our government must be protected.  To quote Patrick Henry, ” the Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”   And now my dear family, you may all relax, I will hereby honor this quote which was presented to me by………….now I can’t even remember who wanted me to have this so much that they actually paid for it………….or………..maybe in a rare moment of self-awareness, I bought it for myself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep your arm around my shoulder


I must say one last thing in my defense :), and that is that Crick must share part of the blame for my over zealous judgements……………….politics, religion, the culture………… I have always, always, always been a most opinionated person (are your jaws dropping right now?? :) ), and now he is not here to “put his hand over my mouth” !!!!  What I mean is that he had a way……… (infuriating to me as it was at the time)…. of presenting that glass half-full attitude to me that prevented me from taking myself, and events swirling around me, too seriously.  How I would love to ask him what he thinks about the events in the Middle East, the VA scandal or our Commander-In-Chief !!  As it is, some nights, I will find myself in a one way “discussion” with him, and then I will think about the fact that he is in a place where he already knows the answers!!  He has one-upped me yet again!!!  I take consolation, however, in the knowledge that one day we are going to meet again, and this I promise everyone……… if there is a Main Street in heaven…………………………………………there will be a “discussion”!!!!!  LOL

Once again, while searching my devotional for a spiritual message with which to close this post, I just happened upon this particular reading.  Coincidence??  I think rather that God and Crick lovingly conspired to bring me some peace tonight :)!

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.  This planet you inhabit is in such a big mess that sometimes you feel overwhelmed.  Just watching the news on television can make you anxious.  World events and economies seem to be spinning out of control more and more.  This is why it’s so very important to focus on Me and consider who I am:  the Beginning and the End.  I – the Creator of this planet – transcend time.  I know the end of this world’s story just as well as I know its beginning.

I not only know how everything will turn out, but I am absolutely Sovereign.  I am the Almighty; nothing is beyond My control.  The more helpless you feel as you face the challenges in your life, the more comforting it is to trust that I am all-powerful.  Remember that I am also compassionate.  I am the Lord who comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones.  You can transcend your troubles because I am both powerful and compassionate.  So you have good reason to rejoice; sometimes you may even burst into song!                                            from Jesus Today

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”              Psalm 91:1-2