The Chicken Truck


This is one of the chicken trucks that travels past my neighborhood ten to twenty times a day to the processing plant. It is a flatbed tractor-trailer stacked deep and wide with chickens headed for the slaughterhouse and then to Publix, or Bojangles’ or Buffalo Wild Wings or maybe my gas grill.

From time to time one of these guys escapes and ends up getting hit by a car. I have also captured many of them over the last thirty years and have taken them to a veterinarian friend of mine who euthanizes them. The reason we euthanize them is that these poor guys can’t be domesticated. My veterinarian friend used the word “demented” once to describe these chickens. They have been raised for one purpose and one purpose only, to be eaten and sadly how they are being transported, crowded together in small metal cages, is pretty much how they have spent their life, on top of each other.

I see these trucks several times a week. I look at their chicken faces, creatures whose lot in life includes no love, joy or compassion. I realize they are not pets, they are simply a commodity. Any personality that they may or may not have been born with is in the end willed out of them and certainly never developed or encouraged.

Now, full disclosure, I am meat eater. I love cow, pig, and chicken all creatures with a face, a brain and if promoted a personality. My Grandfather raised beef cattle. I knew, as a child, that the cute Angus calf frolicking in pasture would probably become the pot roast my Grandmother fixed for Sunday dinner in three years or so. When I was around ten years old I watched my Grandfather deliver a calf that was breached. It was a remarkable experience to witness, performed by a man I already idolized. As the adorable creature struggled to find its footing I told my Grandfather we needed to give it a name, he suggested with a sly smile “How about hamburger”. Yes, I learned at an early age what these animals purpose was, a livelihood and to eat.

But I struggle with the chicken truck. My mother was a school teacher and one year incubated and hatched an egg for her class. That chick found its way to our home in the suburbs and became a pet for several years until it died from some unknown ailment. Chicken, as we called her, had free roam of our yard and our neighbors yards. I am not sure what qualifies as smart in the universe of chickens but this one certainly had both common sense and personality. She enjoyed walks to the park, rides in the car and torturing our poor dog. She also appreciated sharing a cold beer with the next door neighbor much to the dismay of my mother. A drunk chicken is truly a sight to behold and one my mother never appreciated.

So when I am grilling BBQ wings, and drinking a cold Left Hand Stout, I don’t think back on my pet chicken, I probably should. But when I see that chicken truck and all those sad chicken faces looking back at me I do. I know their fate as they speed down the highway leaving a trail of feathers but I also know their potential in a different place and time.

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A Poem: The broken revolution


I stepped over the line drawn by a world that created norms of a society I no longer accepted, if I expressed an opinion, held a sign over my head, standing alone on the steps of your institutions, would I get the picture for my efforts or two paragraphs buried on page five, would blood make the impression more appealing, a body mangled by the enforcers of justice and peace, why do you step around the corpse, glancing as you pass, wondering, where he went wrong, what was he fighting for, outside of the crowd my words ring hollow, detached from convention, isolated from their cause, a voice in the darkness, but you worship to my example, you extract a verse for your convenience, how it fits, if it fits, where it fits and discard the rest, this was our story, a story as one rather than for one, a story of compassion and reason, that has morphed into exclusion and hate, I came to start a revolution, to fix what was broken not to start a new, you did that, in my name, with my symbols, you separated yourself from me and each other with decisive words and actions, a partition of faiths and doctrines that each side defends as the truth, no longer is there room for everyone and anyone, the transformation has ended, the story is broken, the movement is over, you have discounted the effort, overlooked the intent, created a path of benefit for those who believe as you, look as you do and while your numbers flourish my voice grows dimmer and my example draws silent

An original composition by the author of Ends and Beginnings

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An old fat white guy for Hillary


“A 51% majority of likely voters express at least some concern about the possibility of violence on Election Day; one in five are “very concerned.” Three of four say they have confidence that the United States will have the peaceful transfer of power that has marked American democracy for more than 200 years, but just 40% say they are “very confident” about that.” – USA Today 

I have already experienced violence during this Presidential election. I experienced it again today while I was gassing up my car. One of my communities finer citizens came up to me while I was pumping gas and asked, and I quote “What kind of pussy votes for Hillary?” I responded with a smile, “The kind of pussy that wouldn’t vote for a redneck piece of shit like Trump”. Bubba didn’t like my answer. Bubba also didn’t like the fact that a 6 foot tall, 240 pound white male who could kick his short fat ass up and down the parking lot gave him this answer. Bubba then uttered these profound words “Whatever dude” and walked his sorry ass into the store.

This was my second encounter this week with one of Trump’s finest. I wondered if I was being targeted because I am a white male. I have a hard time imagining that Bubba would have bothered me today if I was a female and I doubt “F*ck you” guy would have expressed his delight with me if I had been a black male. I might be wrong, but that is what I am beginning to believe.

Maybe these two dumb rednecks think I am betraying “our” race somehow by not supporting Trump. That an old fat white guy (me) should be voting for the old fat white guy (Trump). I wonder if Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee, another old fat white guy, if that would have been a more palatable option for me to support. Or is their anger directed towards Hillary or simply Democrats in general?

I will vote on November the 8th at a VERY conservative Baptist Church in my neighborhood. This has always freaked me out, remember, separation of Church and State. Given my recent encounters I now have visions of Trump supporters lining the street that leads to the Church from my neighborhood. Given all the bumper stickers I have on my car I am going to be easy to spot as the tree hugging, Grateful Dead listening, COEXIST loving, Hillary voting, liberal. Maybe I should wear a “Such a Nasty Woman” t-shirt to avoid any confusion!

Everyone, get out and vote! You can’t bitch about the outcome unless your vote counted.

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A gentle reminder that Jesus was a brown middle eastern refugee who would not have voted for Trump

Something to consider from Sara BenincasaA gentle reminder that Jesus was a brown middle eastern refugee who would not have voted for Trump

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Building sandcastles

“Like a sandcastle, all is temporary. Build it, tend it, enjoy it. And when the time comes, let it go.” – Jack Kornfield

In 1807, in a small farming community in Anson County, North Carolina a girl was born that would become my 3rd great-grandmother. Louisa Boggan was one of twelve children. Farming families in Anson county had a lot of children. Farms needed labor, and children were cheap labor as were son and daughter in-laws. Louisa’s family arrived in North Carolina around 1760 from Castle Finn, Ireland along with over 200,000 other Irish citizens who emigrated between 1710 to 1775. Louisa married young, had six children and died not long after her 44th birthday.

I would suspect that none of you that will read this post have any vested interest in the life of Louisa Boggan. But my father does, his three children do, and his six grandchildren do as well. Without the short and momentary life of Louisa Boggan none of these ten people would exist today.

When Jack Kornfield says that “all is temporary” this includes me and you. At 55 years old it is much easier for me to accept this certainty than it was at 25. Our lives are much like the sandcastles Mr. Kornfield describes, we build them, tend them, enjoy them and then let them go but rarely do we let them go without a fight.

I have written a lot about my love of genealogy. Researching and working on my family tree gives me time to reflect on who I am, where I come from, and where we have been. It is also a constant reminder of how temporary and fragile our existence truly is. As I go through the roster of my ancestors I am always struck by how young many of them were when they died. 150 years ago, sixty was old but at sixty most had already lived a lifetime. Louisa got married at 15, and had seven children in 20 years that survived. I am sure at 44 she didn’t have much left to give.

Given what I know about the era and area, Louisa Boggan lived a hardscrabble life. By today’s standards of wealth, my ancestors were poor. They were not large landowners in the wilds of Anson County and I have never heard mention or found any records that indicate that they were slave owners, a sure sign of wealth in the South. When I think about Louisa Boggan I wonder what her dreams were, her hopes and wants. Did she ever imagine while she was hoeing the hard soil under a blazing sun with a baby on her hip that I would be here 154 years after her birth? That my children, a new generation, who have no idea that this woman even existed would be here today because of her?

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” – The Book of James 4:14

I have accepted the fact that my life is a sandcastle. That all this “stuff” that I have collected and accumulated over the course of my life will have no relevance or bearing to my future offspring 150 years from now. Like Louisa Boggan, I will simply be a name, a moment in time for my 3rd great-grandchild. But today I am here. I will tend and enjoy what I have and when the time comes, maybe today, or maybe tomorrow, I will let it go. We all will.

“The world is afflicted by death and decay. But the wise do not grieve, having realized the nature of the world.” – Gautama Buddha

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If it’s on Facebook it must be true


I have mentioned several times before that I am not on The Facebook. At times I feel like one of just three people who aren’t.

I remember when The Facebook was a “thing” for just kids. Today my kids, as young adults, spend little to no time on The Facebook. My oldest described it best one day when she said that The Facebook had lost its “playfulness”. What a great word, a very telling word that would describe The Facebook in the good old days as fun, pleasant, and humorous. It appears those days have long since passed as by. 

My wife has a Facebook account because, well honestly, I am not sure why she has a Facebook account. I think, she thinks, it is a social obligation for her to know that the couple that live down the street were at the lake this past weekend getting drunk again. Honestly, I didn’t need The Facebook to know that, they are always at the lake getting drunk based on the extra pounds they are both sporting. But I digress, last night she showed me a very mean-spirited video about Hillary Clinton one of her “friends” had posted on her Facebook page from a very reliable Facebook “news source”.

The video had all the hyperbole of a National Enquirer article, sensational headline, unflattering pictures and no checkable facts, none, zero, zip. Is it the truth? Well based on the 5,535 likes, 4,007 shares and 234 comments it must be or at the least the truth to the people who want to believe it is the truth.

I have always wondered how a magazine like the National Enquirer has stayed in business all these years. I have seen them in the check-out aisle of the grocery store for as long as I can remember but I have never actually seen anyone buy one. Someone is and obviously they believe the trash they are printing. Hell, even Donald Trump has used the National Enquirer as a source when he said Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of JFK.

I have an uncle that according to wife, remember I am not on The Facebook, appears to be spending every waking moment of his day posting pro-Trump propaganda and anti-Hillary material on his Facebook page. In his little friend universe this is being countered by his brother, my Dad, with pro-Hillary propaganda and anti-Trump material. I have been told, again, not on The Facebook, that this little battle royale has gotten uglier as the election draws near. I will very interested to see if these two almost eighty year old brothers can mend the fences they have built around their opinions after the election.

This feud between brothers, if you will, maybe a little microcosm for the rest of our country to watch. One of them is going to wake-up on November the 9th (they are almost eighty and go to bed at 8:30 pm) as the winner, while the other will be the loser. That sounds very personal, but this election has become not only very personal but also very emotional. For the guy that yelled “F*ck Hillary and “F*ck You!” at me yesterday this election is obviously very personal and emotional. What rational, sane person does that to a total stranger otherwise?

So on November the 9th 325,000,000 American citizens will have a new President. Roughly half the country will be happy with the outcome and the other half will not and in my family, one brother will be celebrating and one won’t. The question is, will this division heal or fester like an open wound for years to come for the brothers and for our country?

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Trump supporter: “F*ck Hillary and F*ck you”


Warning: This post contains adult language thanks in large part to a Trump supporter 

I wasn’t going to write about this. Honestly I was just going to chalk it up to a sore loser but after this most recent encounter I thought I would share my experiences with you.

As I indicated in my previous post I was in Charleston, SC this weekend. On the back of my car I had two Hillary Clinton stickers, a “Love Trumps Hate” and a “Clinton – Kaine 2016”. Let me remind you that South Carolina is a solid red state, no wavering or waffling on this fact.

Sometime this past Saturday, in a parking deck on St. Phillips Street, someone peeled my Hillary stickers off my car and replaced them with a Tim Scott for Senate sticker. Honestly I was surprised but not mad. Better to have a two dollar sticker removed than a brick thrown through my window. Also, I understand that this is an emotional contest and after having lost the last two presidential elections and possibly a third come this November, the majority of citizens in my state are tired of losing.

So when I got home yesterday, I put two more Hillary stickers on my car and went on my merry way. Then I came home for lunch today. I was driving down the road, minding my own business when a red pickup truck following behind me got very close to my rear bumper and started beeping the horn. I wasn’t sure what was going on and looked in my rearview mirror. What I saw was a very angry man yelling and giving me the finger. Now, sometimes I drive too slow so I checked my speed and determined that wasn’t the issue. He aggressively stepped on the gas and pulled into the lane next to me. His window was down so I rolled my down also and heard “Fuck Hillary and Fuck you!” over and over while he waved a Trump button at me. I got to be honest, I was stunned and a little scared. This dumb redneck was angry, I mean, pull a gun on you angry. But we were coming up on a traffic light, still right beside of each other and rather than stopping and facing me like a man, this piece of shit blew through the red light.

Clinton has taken a lot of heat for saying “you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables” labeling them racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and Islamaphobic. You know at first I thought this was a harsh statement but now I agree with her. I don’t understand all this anger, all this hate and I blame one person for it, I blame Trump.

Think about the platform Trump has run on from the very beginning, no facts, no plan, no reasoning, no rational, just fear, hate and anger. What he has stirred up isn’t healthy and creating unrest without a plan of action is irresponsible. He preys on the weakness, the fear, the vulnerabilities of people, people who are obviously not smart enough to see through the bullshit he spews. Trump is accountable to no one certainly not his basket of deplorables. He doesn’t give shit about me or you, hell he doesn’t give a shit about this country. His make “Make America Great Again” is just a slogan to sell hats and t-shirts. Hopefully he was smart enough to use American made hats but he doesn’t give a shit where they were made as long as he can buy them cheap. Here is what the deplorables will learn on November 9th, Donald Trump cares about one thing and one thing only……Donald Trump.

So to the dick-head who peeled the Hillary stickers off my car and to the redneck in the pickup truck yelling “Fuck you”, if you aren’t happy when you wake-up on November 9th and if you don’t believe you will ever be happy again feel free to leave this great country, I will help you pack.

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