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TODAY - NEWS FROM THE HILLS

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TODAY
So here hath been dawning
Another blue day:
Think wilt thou let it
Slip useless away.

Out of eternity
This new day is born;
Into eternity,
At night, will return.

Behold it aforetime
No eye ever did:
So soon it forever
From all eyes is hid.

Here hath been dawning
Another blue day:
Think will thou let it
Slip useless away.
by Thomas Carlyle

When we awakened to a vast blue sky, washed clean by yesterday's rain, this poem came to mind. Songbirds were trilling their morning song; a melodious salute to a fresh, new day. The sun was just peeping over Pilot Knob, and a wave of thanksgiving washed over me. God has made this beautiful new day, and I need to use it wisely.

Yesterday, with its problems, disappointments and troubles is gone. I have found that it's not the problems that affect us so much, but it is the attitude we have toward the problems. There's no use to fret about things which we can't control, but leave them to God. Always keep a forgiving spirit ready to be used when it is needed. Another blue day? Don't waste it by holding grudges or unforgiveness. Just enjoy each day—someday it will be the last.

Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day. On June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day's end the Allies gained a foothold in Normandy. The cost was high—more than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded. But more than 100,000 soldiers began their march across Europe to defeat Hitler.

To the younger generation, this may seem as just a far-fetched story, but to the remaining veterans of that assault, it was a grim reality. I have a faint memory of that time since I was almost nine years old. What I remember mostly is the fear that was prevalent among the adults in facing a World War. Grandpa Hooge Samples had many grandsons, and he worried incessantly. He called them "cannon fodder." His mind was growing dim with age, and the constant worry made it worse. After he was bedfast, he called his chamber pot an "invasion mug."

Just as the children of Israel were instructed by God to remember how He had delivered them from Egypt's bondage, and brought them to the land of Canaan, we need to remember. Our children and grandchildren should hear the story of how America conquered our enemies and kept our freedom. It was emphasized over and over to the children of Israel.

In Deuteronomy 4-9, it says. "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thine heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons:" Help us never to forget the price paid for our freedom.

June is a soft month here in our hills—a month of brides and roses. Like most little girls, we were starry-eyed at the thought of brides and weddings. We had lots of mock weddings, starring our best friends and siblings. Being the oldest, I had to be the "boss" and staged these affairs. I remember one wedding in particular that we carefully planned.

We had a wonderful clay mud bank which yielded the finest modeling clay, sort of a bluish color and quite pliable. Mary Ellen and I fashioned an elaborate wedding cake, complete with pink and red rambler roses. Our brother Larry was persuaded to be the groom, and Janice Carol was his blushing bride. We found an old lace curtain which made a perfect wedding veil, and I was the officiating minister.

At the last minute, Larry reneged on us and refused to be the groom. I flew into a rage and threw the wedding cake on the ground and stomped it. In the face of my fury, Larry ran away and left poor Janice at the altar. The wedding party dispersed (Jeuell Beth, and little sisters Jeannie and Susie)—probably disillusioned with the whole wedding thing, and ran off to play cowboys and Indians.

We did have a happy childhood. It was June, school was out and the world was ours. There were trees to climb, woods to explore, the creek to wade and the barn for rainy days. We didn't need hand-held games or television and computer games –there was no limit to our imaginations. We pretended to be the KatzenJammer Kids (wow—that really dates me!) and acted out Hans and Fritz and the Captain with gusto. The old log barn with its tin roof was made for rainy days, and we spent hours in play there.

We didn't realize it then, but those were some of the happiest days of our lives. We played until dusk, usually ending the day with a game of "Hide and Seek" and came home when Daddy called us in. We were so dead tired by then that some of us would go to sleep in the middle of our night time prayers.

I've heard Mom quote the first verse of this poem all my growing-up years, but I'd never read the entire poem.  Here is the poem:

SOLITUDE
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth
Must borrow its mirth,
It has trouble enough of it own.

Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air;
The echoes bound
To a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go;
They want full measure
Of all your pleasure.
But they do not want your woe.

Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all;
There are none to decline
Your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by;
Succeed and give,
And it helps you live,
But it cannot help you die.

There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train;
But one by one
We must all file on,
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

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Alyce Faye Bragg
About This Author
She writes the "News From the Hills" column. Born and raised in the country, and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Has a sincere love for nature and the beauty of the hills. Began writing in 1981 & currently has three books published.
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