Contrary to some of our founding documents, not everyone is created equal. Yes, we are born with the same rights, but we vary in size, strength, speed, and stamina. For a long time in human history those who were blessed with size and strength and the mental capacity to use it were often able to exact their will on others, for good or bad. If you were female, a minority or simply small in stature, you were automatically at a disadvantage.
Then a tool of wood and steel and fire was invented – the musket. This tool could sling a lead ball faster and farther than someone could shoot an arrow. These long arms were a game changer, but they were still heavy and cumbersome. They also still required a certain amount of skill and strength to load and fire with any effectiveness.
Then, in 1835, a man named Samuel Colt filed a patent for a percussion cap revolver. It was smaller, lighter and faster than a rifle. It could be fired even by small-framed people and it carried six shots instead of one or two.
This invention altered the landscape of liberty forever.
From there, in 1860, the first practical repeating rifle was produced by Benjamin Henry. Carrying fourteen shots in a tube under the barrel and operated by a lever, it paved the way for most of the iconic rifles of the Wild West. Gun technology evolved rapidly from there, often spurred by conflicts and wars. Then, with the commercialization of polymers in the first half of the 20th century, it really took off.
In 1963, the US military adopted the M-16 as their main rifle and selected Colt (old Sam Colt’s company) to produce the rifles. This opened the door to the popularity of one of the most recognizable, loved and hated rifles to ever be – the AR-15.
The point of the history lesson is this: a few hundred years ago being a woman, being small, being slow, being black, being Indian, or being on the wrong side of any number of governments meant you were going to be relegated to a subpar existence, if not completely annihilated. These days, however, a 90-pound woman can purchase an AR-15 rifle for $500-$600 and be on par with any other person on this planet in terms of lethality.
Yes, the AR-15 is intimidating, but it has a job, and it does it well. Its job is to be a sentinel that watches over its owner and family. This is a scary concept for some, and understandably so. People naturally don’t like to think about bad things. They don’t like to think about armed intruders kicking in your door at 2 a.m., or a rogue state usurping your freedom, or a foreign invader attacking your neighborhood. But just because one doesn’t like to think about these things doesn’t mean they cannot happen. Even in recent history there are examples of this – the USSR, Nazi Germany, Venezuela, etc. When people lose their sovereign right of self defense and preservation, bad things happen.
I know anti-gun forces can quote statistics to support their cause just as pro-gun forces can do the same.
However, it is not just about statistics, but rather principles and what you believe in. Freedom is sometimes messy, hard work. Our founders knew that to preserve our freedom and ensure its advance we would need the capability to defend ourselves, our families and our liberty. As it was understood and predicted by our founders, guns have gone hand in hand with the preservation of freedom and liberty since their invention centuries ago. They have fought back in the hands of Jewish and French resistance fighters against Nazis, they stopped a Russian advance across Finland, they liberated a race during our Civil War, and they birthed the greatest country in the world during the American Revolution.
Our founders knew an armed citizen can never really be forced to do anything they don’t want to do – they must be persuaded. The government, or any evil doer, could try to force them, but it will result in a fight.
And yes, the aggressor may win, but then again, they may not, and that makes them nervous. Any student of history knows that almost every time evil on a massive scale has taken place, it’s been preceded by gun control and confiscation. That is because, in the end, the right and ability to keep and bear arms guarantees all other rights. Remember that the next time someone demands you give that right up.
“A man’s rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.” – Frederick Douglas.
New titles arrive just in time for Winter Reading Challenge
By Post Public Library Staff
We have finally received our first shipment of new adult books for 2021!
If you are taking part in the Winter Reading Challenge, we have a new book to help complete your challenge under author’s name beginning with the letter “A.” In Ace Atkins Jan. 12 release, “Robert B. Parker’s Someone to Watch over You,” Atkin’s has continued Robert B. Parker’s iconic Spenser character since Parker’s death in 2010, adding seven best-selling novels in the series.
Helping you complete your challenge with the letter “H” is the second novel in Karen Harper’s “An Alaska Wild Novel” series, “Under the Alaskan Ice.” If you haven’t read Harper’s first book in the series, “Deep in the Alaskan Woods,” it is also available for grabs.
Another “H” author is Rachel Hawkins. Her debut novel, “The Wife Upstairs,” pairs Southern charm with domestic suspense.
“Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates – a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients.
Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name. But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep.”
If you like Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca,” you’re guaranteed to enjoy this read.
We’ve also added books from Danielle Steel, Faye Kellerman, Patricia Cornwell, Christina Dodd, James Grippando, Jayne Ann Krentz and Rachael English to our collection this year.
Haven’t joined the challenge? There’s still time! Plus, who doesn’t like to earn prizes for reading?
The Post Public Library is open weekdays, noon to 5 p.m.
Come in and get caught reading!
Walter and Covey Duckworth
By Voda Beth Gradine
As I was surfing TV channels to avoid watching the inauguration on Wednesday, I stopped on TVLAND to watch “Bonanza.”
Watching “Bonanza,” I was reminded of the extra set of grandparents I was lucky enough to claim during my younger years, Walter and Covey Duckworth.
Water and Covey lived on the opposite end of the 700 block of Main Street as me. Every Sunday night, I would run as fast as I could from my front door to theirs to watch “Bonanza” with them on their color television. Covey would watch me as I ran, complimenting on how fast I was. “Bonanza” began at 8 p.m. when the fire on the map came on. This was our special time. And, as time went by, I started visiting them even earlier to watch “The Wonderful World of Disney” at 6 p.m.
The Duckworth’s lived in the big house across the street from Hudman Funeral Home. All the neighborhood kids would play on their wraparound porch. And, even with all the noise and screaming that we did, they were never upset.
They were also good friends of my parents, despite being over 10 years older than them. What seemed like every Saturday night, Walter and Covery, Pauline and Dee Coleman and my parents would join at one of their homes to play cards. And I, being the only child of the six, was very spoiled by them all. Although there were other couples that played with them from time to time, those six played all the time even occasionally traveling to Ruidoso to play.
During my favorite Ruidoso trip, the three couples stayed at my aunt and uncle’s cabin in the Upper Canyon. Being, snow was everywhere, forcing the couples to park down by the road and hike up the mountain to reach the cabin. Attempting to bring up the food they had packed for the weekend, everyone was slipping and sliding in the snow. Walter, being the “old man” of the group eventually became tired of watching them all falling and laughing. So, he grabbed a box and began trudging up the mountain to show them how it was done. Making it only a few steps, Walter went down, landing on the box he was carrying. And, as he raised his head, broken eggs were dripping off of his chin, making the rest break out in laughter.
Walter was born on January 23, 1891 and was the third son of Ira and Lee Durham Duckworth. Raised on several ranches around Garza and Scurry county, he worked as a cowboy and was known as one of the best horse wrangles around. Later, he owned Texaco Distributorship in Post. He was a quiet man but when he talked it was always important and you could see in his eyes how much he enjoyed being around you.
Eula Covey was born on January 29, 1901. After she was grown, she came to Post with a friend. Here, she met and married Walter. Being older when they married, they had no children of their own. However, they claimed all of Walter’s brothers’ girls, Mary Florence Cross, Ira Franklin (Dude) McLaurin, Frances Lee Camp and Mary Margaret Norman, as their own.
I was very blessed to have these two great people as extra grandparents and also just as friends.
Like me, I hope you all have special people in your life to reminisce on good memories of.
Dwelling with God
by Pastor Genell Knisley, Grassland Church of the Nazarene
God’s ways, His thoughts and all about Him are higher than ours.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9.
God never expected us to be able to get to the place of His Throne on our own. His plan from the beginning was to join us.
“My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be My people.” Ezekiel 37:27.
Yet, we often try hard to be lofty so we can enter into God’s presence.
“I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but God declared: ‘Go down again – I dwell among the people,’” John Henry Newman said.
God knew humankind would fall to temptation and sin. He knew we would be depraved and hopeless without His help. He had a plan from the beginning to send us His Son, Jesus. In prophecies about Jesus, He is called Emmanuel which literally means “God with us.” God knew we would never be able to understand or participate with Him without help. Therefore, He sent Jesus to show us the way! God wants us to accept His invitation to be in an active, interactive relationship with Him. In it, we will be forgiven, cleansed, molded and made holy. He wants to dwell with us!
The amazing thing about the Creator of the Universe is that He never forces anyone to join Him in life. He created each one with the freedom to choose. God wants us all to want to! If we choose to live our lives with Him, He works in us, through us and with us. He does things in us that will amaze and astound us as well as those around us. God does provide and will meet us in what we call those “mountain top experiences.”
Mostly though, He will willingly join us here in our lives; and especially join us in the valleys of our existence. We all have valley times, and He is there with us through them.
“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, … You are with me.” Psalm 23:4.
He gives us proof in those times. There is never a shadow with light. Jesus is The Light of the World. He is with us through His Spirit! God never leaves us destitute in the valleys; it is in the “valley times” that we grow and mature the most!
“You, O LORD, are a Shield about me, my glory, and the Lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3
So, if you find yourself in the valley, do not give in to discouragement. Instead look to the One who will not just “get you through it,” but will dwell with you and bring you to the other side as a Victor in Christ Jesus!
Food and mood
Have you ever felt “hangry?” That is, hungry and angry. According to the American Heart Association, you must understand how food and mood interact to make good nutritional choices and avoid emotional or impulse eating.
Maybe it’s no coincidence that food and mood are just a letter apart; the two are peas in a pod. Think about it, you stick to a giant dinner salad on a “winning it” kind of day and reach for a tub of ice cream after a frustrating day at work.
Let’s look at the food-mood relationship, and how to set it right when it goes wrong.
The First Craving – Even if you maintain a healthy diet, it’s normal to desire unhealthy treats when stressed or depressed. Your body wants to fuel up for fight-or-flight mode. There’s a reason it’s called “comfort food.”
Vicious Cycle – A cheat meal every now and then can be okay, but if you use food to battle the blues, you’re going to lose the war. Research shows that foods full of fat and sugar only increase the likelihood of depression and anxiety. This cycle is a feedback loop.
The Downward Spiral – If the consumption of fats and sugar goes on too long, your body will adapt to it and think it’s normal. Then, when you try to start eating right, you could throw off your system and further increase anxiety and depression, trapping you in a cycle of bad eating to try to maintain happiness.
Breaking the Cycle – There’s a way to avoid the downward spiral; you’re not trapped. In the same way that unhealthy comfort food can keep you feeling low, healthy food can boost you up. In one study, the happiness that came from eating eight portions of fruits and vegetables a day was equal to the joy experienced by an unemployed person finding a job. That’s huge!
Things Keep Looking Up – When you’re happier, you’re more likely to crave healthy foods. In one study, participants watching a happy movie opted for grapes, while those watching a sad movie reached for the popcorn. And don’t forget, eating healthier helps you stay happier. Another cycle.
Up, Up, and Away! – The best part? There are long term mental health effects to eating well. Research has shown that healthy choices, like the Mediterranean diet, full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, can help keep depression at bay, stabilizing mood and keeping you out of the cupcake danger zone.
Good Mood Foods – There are some specific foods to keep an eye on to boost your mood.
• Fruits and Vegetables: An apple a day keeps the doctor away… and maybe the psychiatrist, too! Along with apples, other fruits and vegetables have the same effect.
• Omega-3 Fatty Acids: This is the good stuff, found in foods like fish and nut oils.
• Chocolate: As a special treat, dark chocolate may have properties that improve mood and even reduce tension.
Advice? Start now, stock up on convenient and healthy snacks, like bananas or individual bags of nuts or carrots, and keep them within easy reach at home, work and in the car.
Eat healthy now, and you’ll be in the mood to eat healthy for life!
Bonus Civis – “Good Citizen” in Latin. What does it mean to be a good citizen, really? I believe part of our current situation is the decided absence of good citizens, or at least a temporary absence. The hallmarks of a good citizen are many, but a few stand out above the rest, and ironically do not necessarily coincide with being a successful citizen. Sure, making a ton of money, driving a nice car and having a big house are great and we should strive for our goals, but I’m not so sure we should elevate those goals above all else. So again, what makes a good citizen?
Neighborly – A good citizen is a good neighbor. Not just to those who live next door, but to everyone they encounter. They are polite, pleasant and respectful. They think about how other people feel, and they try to take that into consideration when making decisions. They are also quick to lend a hand when needed, but do not constantly rely on or require help from others. They look out for their fellow man and wish success on all.
Civic – Civics was once taught in grade school, and it may still be in some places, but it is a very important facet of the good citizen. When I was a kid, I remember that my dad went to several club meetings each month for the Lions Club, the Lodge, and a couple of local clubs as well. He also worked charity events and helped out at things like the local rodeo, even though I’m pretty sure my dad couldn’t ride a horse to save his life. But that didn’t matter because the rodeo was important in our town, so he helped out. Being involved and knowledgeable about what goes on in a community is a cornerstone of being a good citizen, and I know this is where younger generations fall short, myself included.
Principled – This is a difficult attribute to explain and grasp. On the surface, it’s pretty straight forward, but ironically, it’s more nuanced than people give it credit for. Often if you ask someone what their principles are they will give you their opinions or even talking points. However, they miss the underlying reason as to why they have those opinions or listen to those talking points. Knowing your principles and what you stand for is integral to being not only a good citizen, but a good person overall. Without principles it can be hard to know where you stand, and more importantly why you make your stand there in the first place.
Spiritual – A good citizen is spiritual. Not religious, but spiritual. This spirituality is personal and varies, but in the end, it means the same thing. It means that a good citizen knows there is something bigger than themselves. They know that what they do in their lives reflects in eternity. For me, personally, Christianity has guided my decision making and how I view the world, even when no one else is around. It also reminds me that we all come from the same place as human beings, and it helps me to maintain empathy and compassion towards my fellow man. In recent years spirituality has been slowly replaced with humanism and materialism. I am guilty of it, too. But without spirituality everything in life is relative, and it becomes more difficult to maintain the other characteristics on this list. Without spirituality and faith, we are lost. Without it, being a good citizen is often done for the wrong reasons, or it’s done in a wrong way.
Notice that monetary items are not mentioned anywhere above. A good citizen is a hard worker, and a good provider, but without the characteristics above, the success is empty. I’m an accountant by trade, and I’ve looked at the world through dollars and cents since I was in college, so it took me a little while to come to that conclusion, but it’s true. When we get back to being good citizens, we will see the change in this country for the better.
Hunter Throckmorton is the controller at a local college in East Texas. He is also a Certified Public Accountant who helps small businesses and start-up companies across the nation. To read more of his work, visit www.bonuscivis.com. He can also be reached by email at [email protected]
Robots and bathtubs
About 45 years ago a friend of mine said she planned to marry the inventor of a self-cleaning bathtub. She’s still single.
If anyone has invented a self-cleaning tub, that clever person didn’t have a booth at this year’s big tech trade show in Las Vegas – the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), by name.
Other husband material did show up. Robots.
No, I didn’t go to Vegas, so I met none of them personally. Besides, I’m married. But a CES robot I saw on morning television did catch my eye. He can pour you a glass of wine.
I’d be more impressed if he could clean the tub.
When it comes to housecleaning, vacuuming seems to be the main skill on the resume of the latest breed of robots. Ho-hum.
There’s a vacuuming robot that also can double as a home-monitoring device. Now we’re getting somewhere. Any housecleaning robot naturally wouldn’t want any burglars tracking in dirt. Me either.
Maybe by next year the do-it-all domestic robot not only will monitor but also will attack intruders – on command, of course. That added ability is more likely than a tub-cleaning feature. After all, it’s easier to clunk someone over the head than to eradicate tub scum. Quote me.
Why is it that life’s most difficult chores are the ones that are hardest to assign to robots? Case in point, the task of sorting.
On the other hand, over a hundred years ago my father must have been wishing someone would invent a machine to milk cows. We know how that turned out.
But sorting? It’s more of a personal brain thing. What robot can decide for me whether to keep the notes from Sunday’s sermon six years ago? Same goes for the used-just-once envelope lined with bubble wrap and the scrap of paper with the scribbled words that seemed at the time like a hook for a hit song.
If anyone ever invents a robotic sorter, AI will be involved, meaning artificial intelligence. Maybe you didn’t need the clarification, but down on the farm, AI means artificial insemination, which does require some intelligence to effect. We still have a bull on our place.
That’s an acronym for you. The stale ones tend to get eclipsed. Ask the Bureau of Land Management.
But even though artificial intelligence is constantly improving, can robotic thinking ever replace a human brain?
For one thing, our brains are moving targets. When it comes to sorting stuff, brains make decisions based on accumulated criteria. Right? Every day brings new memories. When it comes to sorting, you are sifting through tangible elements of your past. Memories.
Maybe the answer is a robot who goes everywhere with you, meaning the companion robot builds a memory that matches yours and thereby, when sorting time comes, will know exactly what to keep and what to toss.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the killer robot is bored but keeps vacuuming.
And the tub still needs cleaning.
Time is running out for my single friend.
Build your child’s bone bank account
Your child’s bone health might not be your first concern when you think of how optimal nutrition impacts your kid’s health. After all, osteoporosis largely affects older adults. But, with adolescents reaching 90% of their peak bone mass by age 18 (for girls) and age 20 (for boys), bone health absolutely is a health issue for kids.
Think of bone health as a savings account. Bone is living tissue that is turned over constantly with regular deposits and withdrawals. During childhood and adolescence, bones are primed to make the highest rate of deposits possible, for use throughout the rest of a person’s life.
Many nutrients work in concert to provide the framework for healthy bones. Calcium lies at the forefront, but vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K and regular physical activity also are important.
Aim for a good calcium source in each meal and snack. Milk, cheese and yogurt are the richest natural sources of calcium. For instance, one eight-ounce glass of milk provides 300 milligrams of calcium, or about one-fourth to one-third of the recommended daily intake. Other non-dairy food sources include almonds, broccoli, kale, turnip greens and figs. Some foods and beverages are fortified with calcium, including certain juices, cereals and plant-based beverages.
While sun exposure triggers vitamin D production, varying greatly with skin pigmentation, season and geography, it also increases the risk of skin cancer. There are just a few natural food sources of vitamin D, including egg yolks, mushrooms and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna. You can find vitamin D in fortified sources such as orange juice, milk and some non-dairy beverages. Talk with your pediatrician about giving kids vitamin D supplements.
Look for sources of magnesium in foods such as almonds, spinach, black beans, oats, peanut butter, avocadoes and potatoes.
Leafy green vegetables, such as kale, turnip greens, cabbage, spinach and broccoli, are rich in vitamin K. A small amount of vitamin K is made from bacteria in the colon but it’s unclear how much our bodies are able to produce and use, so it’s important to include food sources.
Regular weight-bearing exercise stimulates bones and makes them stronger. Try activities such as running, hiking, dancing, tennis, gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, soccer and weight training to build bones. While swimming and bicycling are great for cardiovascular health, they are not weight-bearing. So, if these are your child’s preferred sports, encourage them to do weight-bearing activities, too.
Just as important as what kids do to promote bone health is what they don’t do. Bone health can be compromised in these critical years by smoking, drinking alcohol and dieting and disordered eating.
Undereating during times of athletic training may result in compromised hormonal status, which can also impact bone health.
So, remember, when building your child or adolescent’s bone bank account, interplay nutrients and physical activity while avoiding practices that can harm bones to maximize their bone saving potential.
The importance of curbs
By Voda Beth Gradine
As I was riding down N. Broadway the other day, without thinking, I glanced over to Ave. I where my grandmother’s house stands. As I reached 13th St., there was a car parked in the front yard this time which was unusual. It immediately sent my mind back to when I was a little girl and my family parked at the corner of the house in the yard. But this car was facing the wrong direction. Then it dawned on me, there is a curb at the corner now. N. Ave. I is important enough to have a curb.
When I was growing up, if you had a curb around your yard, you were important. While I always thought my grandmother was important being one of the first pioneers in this part of the country, her house was on a corner of two dirt roads, so it didn’t have a curb. I called that part of town the pioneer section.
I lived on Main St., which at the time people called “Silk Stocking.” It was the widest street in town and some important people lived on that street. Nevertheless, my house didn’t have a curb, making us the unimportant ones on the street. And being the only house on the street without a curb, I was so embarrassed.
My parents always explained that when the street was being paved and the curbs were going in, I was facing a major surgery. However, we did own two lots, about a block or two down the street, that were curbed. If you owned lots on the street front that you were not living on, they had to be curbed. My dad said our curb in front of the house would come later, after the surgery.
Dad was right, the curb did eventually come. However, it wasn’t added until I was married and living there. When we moved in, my husband Ronnie asked what I wanted to do to improve the property. The first thing I suggested was to add a curb on the front and side of the yard. Honestly, I didn’t feel any more important after the curb was added.
So, here’s my question to you. How important is a curb in your life?
Ronnie and I lived on Main St. for 16 years before moving out to the countryside where there are no curbs. I guess in the seventy-plus years of my life, only 16 were deemed important. If I think about I, I began my married life, and my two girls were born during those 16 years. It was also during the time frame that I was elected County Treasurer.
Maybe that curb was significant. Who would have thought a little strip of concrete would be that important in someone’s life?