My Father’s Haiku

4 03 2018

Nature's reclamation

Homestead abandoned;

Roses grown wild remember

Love that once dwelt here.

yellow roses haiku


In Congress of the United States of America

4 03 2018
2d Session
H. J. RES. 130

Honoring the life of William (Billy) F. Graham, Jr.

February 27, 2018

Mr. Budd (for himself, Mr. Meadows, Mr. Walker, Mr. Jones, Mr. Rouzer, Mr. Hudson, Mr. Huizenga, Mrs. Handel, Mr. Gohmert, Mr. Aderholt, Mr. Yoho, Mr. Cole, Mr. Norman, Mr. Bost, Mr.Duncan of South Carolina, Mr. Roe of Tennessee, Mr. Kelly of Pennsylvania, Mr. King of Iowa, Mr. Arrington, Ms. Jenkins of Kansas, Mr. Gosar, Mr. Smith of Texas, Mr. Posey, Mr.Hultgren, Mr. Abraham, Mr. Brat, Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Messer, Mr. McHenry, Mr. Marshall, Mr. Goodlatte, Mrs. McMorris Rodgers, Mr. Bacon, Mr. Jody B. Hice of Georgia, Mr. Barr, Mr. Sam Johnson of Texas, Mr. Thompson of Pennsylvania, Mr. Johnson of Louisiana, Mr. Griffith, Mr. Burgess, Mr. Cramer, Mr. Emmer, Mr. MacArthur, Mrs. Black, Mrs. Blackburn, Mr. Palazzo, Mr. Palmer, Mr. Holding, Mr. Webster of Florida, Mr. Hunter, Mr. Conaway, Mr. Newhouse, Mrs. Brooks of Indiana, Mr. Grothman, and Ms. Foxx) submitted the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform


Honoring the life of William (Billy) F. Graham, Jr.

Whereas Reverend Graham was born on November 7, 1918, in Charlotte, North Carolina;

Whereas Reverend Graham was ordained by Peniel Baptist Church in Florida in 1939;

Whereas Reverend Graham then studied at Florida Bible Institute and graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois in 1943;

Whereas Reverend Graham married his wife of nearly 64 years, Ruth McCue Bell, in 1943;

Whereas Reverend Graham had 3 daughters, 2 sons, and 19 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren;

Whereas Reverend Graham founded the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 1950;

Whereas Reverend Graham preached to nearly 215,000,000 people in more than 185 countries and territories on 6 continents;

Whereas Reverend Graham provided spiritual counsel for every President since Harry Truman;

Whereas Reverend Graham prayed with service members in the combat zones of South Korea and Vietnam;

Whereas Reverend Graham spoke against the communist Soviet Union saying “communism has decided against God, against Christ, against the Bible, and against all religion”;

Whereas Reverend Graham fought for racial integration, invited Martin Luther King, Jr., to preach jointly in New York City in 1957, and bailed King out of jail when King was arrested for protesting segregation;

Whereas Reverend Graham spoke words of hope and comfort to the Nation at Washington’s National Cathedral following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks;

Whereas Reverend Graham authored 34 books, including his best-selling autobiography “Just as I Am”, discussing his early life on a dairy farm in North Carolina through his career as a preacher and evangelist; and

Whereas Reverend Graham has received numerous recognitions, including the North Carolina Award in Public Service, Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award, and Congressional Gold Medal: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress—

(1) extends its sympathies to the family of Billy Graham; and

(2) honors the life and ministry of Billy Graham and his contribution to the State of North Carolina, to the United States of America, and to the moral and religious life of millions of people.


Billy Graham

1 03 2018

Billy Graham once said, “Faith that saves has one distinguishing quality: saving faith is a faith that produces obedience; it is a faith that brings about a way of life.”

Woodcraft: A Reminiscence

13 10 2017

Woodcraft shares reminiscences of childhood experience, dating back to the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, as if told by a grandfather to his grandchildren during meals, just before bedtime, and while walking in the woods.

As may be surmised, the stories come through the perspective of a member of America’s Boomer generation. Many Boomers remember hearing stories from those in the previous Builder generation about their childhoods. We heard the now-cliché, “I used to go to school every day in sub-zero weather, knee-deep in snow, walking two miles uphill, both ways.” This anecdote would usually be employed by people who had experienced the Great Depression and World War 2 to remind younger people to put experience into context. Indeed, the Boomers have been among the most privileged generations in human history.

From time to time those of every generation ask themselves, “Which of the aspects of our past ought to be relegated to the rubbish heap of history, and which are valuable heirlooms that ought to be passed forward into the future?”

Jesus said, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household who brings out of his treasure things new and old”  (Matthew 13:52 NAU). Not everything old-fashioned is old. Not everything old is old-fashioned, which is to say that not everything old is obsolete and out-of-date. Indeed, some things old are better than the same things new.

Consider a tree. What’s an old tree got that a new tree hasn’t? Plenty. More leaves for air-conditioning shade and for the release of air-improving oxygen. More wood, and often more wood of a higher quality, for the production of lumber. More sap for the manufacture of syrup or naval stores. More nuts, more fruit for use as food by wildlife and by humans and their livestock. More seeds for the reproduction of forests.

Woodcraft does more than ring chords of nostalgia. It looks back not just to induce good feelings of old vibrations, but to remind that some things old ought to remain because they are vibrant and vivacious and vital, because they remain new.

Woodcraft may itself be a new kind of writing in its blend of literary fiction and creative non-fiction. It deals with facts of faith, with theology and philosophy and ethics. It also touches upon a number of other subjects: German-American history, mathematics, music, carpentry, woodworking, forest ecology, plant physiology, silviculture, and popular culture now half a century old. The entire story celebrates education in matters both natural and supernatural, temporal and eternal, physical and spiritual.

The narrative reflects the traditional human desire to pass knowledge and wisdom from one generation to next. More specifically, in this narrative a boy hears and learns things from his father and grandfather about the extended family enterprise. The author realizes that many contemporary readers will not care much about that enterprise. The author has, therefore, chosen to publish the text in an unusual format.  The essential story is printed using 14-point type. That which may be termed scholastic detailing is printed in 12-point type. This format makes it possible for a reader easily to skip over what may be considered TMI (too much information) and track the mainline of the story. Others more inquisitive can read the finer print.

Radio producer David Isay has said that, in a culture that idolizes athletes, popular singers, movie stars, and fashion models, it’s good to hear the stories of ordinary people because their lives and contributions are at least as important, if not more so. Certainly, while celebrities may stand in the limelight, the people who stand in our memories with greater significance are parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, best friends, and mentors. Most of these people have likely been, employing a couple words spoken by the late Andy Griffith, “just folks.” Yet they have been the ones who made the big differences in our lives.

The big difference in Woodcraft is this: a grandfather employs lessons in arboriculture to teach his grandson the meaning of “I in Christ, and Christ in me.”

For those who don’t cotton to Christianity, try tolerating it here. If nothing else (and that’s a big if), remember that Christianity has been woven into the warp and woof of the American experience from the first days of the Plymouth Colony. Recall how fundamental Christianity has been in the lives of great Americans from George Washington to George Washington Carver, as well as so many others before and after them. Realize the past pervasiveness of Christianity in the cultures of various communities. The culture of the state of Wisconsin, for example, cannot be appreciated without at least apprehending the massive influences of Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Methodist, and Baptist forms of Christianity. Consider this reading, then, an exercise in cross-cultural appreciation.

Now available at Amazon as a paperback and as an e-book. If you like what you read, do tell others. Feel free to let these words inspire you to tell your own stories to the members of your own household, stories that edify and encourage and enlighten.

Steeds Now Available

23 06 2017


Now available at Amazon.

Steeds 44

8 06 2017





Sheriff Llewellyn E. Leall has arrested two men who have confessed to stealing sixteen horses from merchants and farmers located throughout much of Tuscumbia County.

Arrested: Philip X. Redman, deputy sheriff. Also arrested: Hanega, a native denizen of these lands and waters.

The two were taken into custody on June 21st by Sheriff Leall after an aerial search, made possible by balloonist Joshua Stollfus, revealed the location of most of the stolen horses. They had been hidden within a tract of virgin forest located on the south side of Fairview Lake.

Sheriff Leall, two days earlier, had recovered one stolen horse from Doylestown, south and west of Tuscumbia County. It had come as a welcome gift into the possession of Helen Vrechek, a school teacher, who did not know the horse had been illegally obtained and transferred.

When questioned, Redman asserted that, in every instance, the horses were taken to deliver them from gross neglect or abuse. Redman also asserted that the takings were his responsibility, and his alone. Hanega, according to Redman, assisted in curing and caring for the horses when put into his custody.

Shortly after escorting Redman and Hanega to Uttica, Sheriff Leall offered the citizens of Tuscumbia County, through the county board, his resignation. “I must accept some responsibility for the actions of Philip Redman,” Leall said. “He was my deputy.”

Edgar J. Easton, chairman of the county board of supervisors, has said, “We on the board do not consider Sheriff Leall in any way culpable for these crimes. At present, we do not endorse his offer of resignation.”

Sheriff Leall also said, “I cannot in good conscience continue with what would be considered normal proceedings in resolving crimes of grand theft. This is a case atypical of malfeasance. I wish to assist in the defense of these confessed horse thieves. I do not wish to assist in their prosecution and conviction in court. I believe, therefore, that I ought to evacuate my office.”

Sheriff Leall has confirmed that he did, out of his personal assets, post bail for Redman and Hanega. They are currently residing at the home of sheriff’s deputies Chester and Dorothy Oakley.

Chairman Easton said that, if the sheriff’s resignation becomes official, then the Governor of the State of Wisconsin will need to appoint an acting sheriff until a new election by county citizens occurs.

David K. Whitmore, of Metomen, has tendered to Redman and Hanega his services as attorney-at-law. Speaking on their behalf, he wishes the citizens of the county to become aware of the following statements.

All the horses are in better condition than they were when taken.

Neither Philip Redman nor Hanega have profited in any way from the taking of the horses.

Uttica’s two fire horses have been returned to the fire department after having been rescued from injury, or even death, as a result of responding to the fire at the Massey home and business.

The remaining fourteen horses have been recovered―again, in fine condition―and are available to their owners.

Willard Zik, a traveling salesman who lost his horse in Mascoutin, purchased a replacement from Jeffrey Rayner and left the county. His whereabouts are unknown. It is proposed that the Zik horse be offered to Adolph Kleindl in trade for the horse he lost. It is further proposed that the Kleindl horse be returned to Helen Vrechek.

It is proposed that Philip Redman and Hanega offer recompense to the victims of the takings in the way of providing, free of charge, lessons in horsemanship to all members of each household. These lessons would be taught at the victims’ places of residence or at a new equestrian academy, to be established at the farm of Ella and Clara Ladwig.

Elmer Villwock has offered all four of the horses he lost to the academy. One may be traded to Walter Stancil so his horse can retire. Another may be traded to the William Chesney family so their horse can retire. The other two may be employed in the teaching enterprise.

Terrence Allison has offered himself, members of his family, and his farm hand to become the first students of the academy.

Deputy Sheriff Charlemagne T. Carlisle will interview each of the victims to ascertain their opinions regarding the Whitmore proposals.

This newspaper solicits letters to George P. Hodges, editor, from citizens of the county in response to this report.





The End

Steeds 43

8 06 2017

The risen sun first brightened, and then evaporated, the fog veiling the surface of the earth.

“They’re all safe,” said Philip of the horses populating the pastoral scene.

“I’m sorry to say that’s not true for you,” said Lee. He stood about seven feet to the right of Philip and Hanega, the Winchester cradled in the crook of his left arm pointing in their direction. “You gave one horse to a school teacher in Doylestown. You know her, I presume.”

“She and I were reared in the same orphanage.”

“I know. You were friends?”

“Friendly. Not the best of friends, though.”

“Why did you pick her for Asher?”

“She never had much growing up. She always wanted a horse. Asher wanted a home … a better home than he had before.”

“What were you planning to do with these others?”

Philip answered, “Willy and Billy were going back to the fire station as soon as I thought they were fit for duty. I wanted to give several of the others to the orphanage. The horses at the farm where I worked as a boy meant much to me. Try to understand. The nuns, even though they were all women, felt like one father figure. The other orphans, like cousins and classmates. A few were fast friends. But the farm horses, they were mother and brother and sister; they felt like the family I never had. I figured others of the orphans in the nuns’ care could benefit from having horses.”

“Sister Margaret does have what one might call … presence.”


“I met her just the other day,” said Lee.

“You did?”

“She stopped in Uttica on her way to Holy Hill to pay you a visit. She wants to found a parish school beside the orphanage.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“I told the Oakleys to keep quiet. Sister Margaret helped me with analyzing that note you wrote to Helen Vrechek.”

“Ah.” Philip’s voice sounded a melancholy note.

“I didn’t tell her that, as a result of her assistance, I suspected you of being the horse thief. I didn’t tell Chet or Dorothy, or Charlie. I haven’t told anyone yet.”

“So who do Morris and Radtke think you’re gunning for?”

“The horse thief. Or thieves.”

Philip nodded. “I’m surprised they let you come in here all by yourself.”

“I’m the sheriff; they’re not. I have combat experience; they don’t.”

“So what’s going to happen next?” Philip asked.

“Believe it or not, I don’t know,” said Lee. “Consider yourselves both under arrest now. But next?”

“Could you stop pointing that rifle at us?”

Lee executed a casual left-face and brought the rifle to ready-arms. He kept his right hand at the trigger and hammer. “Sixteen horse thefts,” he said. “You know that means prison.”

“I’ll not go to prison, Sheriff,” said Hanega. “I’ll run, and you’ll have to shoot me in the back. Or I’ll drown in the lake. Land or water, I die here. It’s nearly my time, as it is. To be honest, I feel it is past time. That balloon, it spoke to me. Balloon said, ‘This is no longer your time, Hanega; it is now their time.’ ”

Lee nodded. “Walter Stancil sneered that you aren’t even a citizen of these United States, Philip. That’s true. And it’s true for you, Hanega. You are, as it has been said, wards of the federal government. I could transfer you to a federal marshal.”

“And then what?” Philip asked. “Federal prison? Hanging? Firing squad?”

“Perhaps I could arrange transport to the reservation in Nebraska?”

“Yet another trail of tears, Lee?”

“This is my home, Sheriff,” said Hanega. “This is our home, the home of my people. Not Nebraska.”

“But if, perhaps, the Winnebago tribal police take jurisdiction…. You are members of the tribe.”

“Will the United States marshal allow that? The federal court? And what about the people of Tuscumbia County? What will they allow?” Philip asked.