An old man once told me, “Saint Patrick ran the snakes out of Ireland and now they rule the world.”
I thought I would share that belief along with a little history. Oh, and a little poem.
St. Patrick’s Day, feast day (March 17) of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century, he was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped but returned about 432 CE to convert the Irish to Christianity. By the time of his death on March 17, 461, he had established monasteries, churches, and schools. Many legends grew up around him—for example, that he drove the snakes out of Ireland and used the shamrock to explain the Trinity.
“ All eyes were on Wall Street, but truth be told, the market crash paled in comparison to the Navarro County drought.”
The news of Black Tuesday came and went as little more than dry morsels between flapjacks and red-eyed gravy. Black Thursday was no different. Margin calls and ticker-talk; it was all a foreign language to the average man of Navarro county. New York, Chicago and any place not adjacent to the dying province could have just as well been another country – another planet. Suicides headlined newspapers across the globe. Although desperate men (and women) chose gas or bullets; poison or tablets to avoid poverty the stories of men leaping from windows sold more papers and it seemed to pacify the masses, at least for a while.
EIGHT MORE TAKE THE PLUNGE.
The headlines went on and on. Tales of a brutal bearish market where stock prices were plummeting and fortunes were being dissolved. The days grew long and the soup lines grew longer as billions of dollars were lost, except for the sparse crowd who knew how to short the market and profit from despair.
The caste system was readjusting; the prudent wealthy settled into middle-class; the so called middle-class went back to being poor and the poor resorted to begging or starving. Even the outcasts felt the impact.
Amidst all of the chaos and realigning there was one morphological thing that everyone understood; a fact that every race, creed, class and religion agreed upon – the roaring twenties had come to a crashing halt. Literally.
A somnolent bedraggled man stood in the doorway of Crom’s Cafe and eyed the headline of the Navarro County Herald. He thoughtlessly tapped his hat against his thigh to loosen the grit before tossing a nickel into the box that read COFFEE & TOAST 5¢. There were a dozen nickels alongside his.
The usual crowd shuffled in, in their habitual manner. More coffee was poured into waiting mugs, more nickels dropped into the box, a few at the bar ordered a real breakfast and those who could afford to buy a copy of The Navarro County Herald unfurled their paper.
Liam inconspicuously glanced at the man’s paper next to him. The dismal headline meant nothing to most tenant farmers. It meant even less to Liam Weir. He saw it as one less gluttonous banker and they could not die fast enough to suit him. And greedy cotton ginners can go to hell right along with `em.
Another Thursday, another November and another Thanksgiving holiday in the USA. Which means the earth has not quite spun off her axis; some of her inhabitants may have but we are here today so let’s make the most of it.
I have shared the following bit of prose in one form or another for … I don’t know… decades maybe?
Occasionally I vary the wording but the sentiment is always the same, so without further ado, here we go…
A Pilgrim’s Prayer
Once upon a time – a long, long time ago (before Black Friday) Thanksgiving was a celebration of harvest and a time to give thanks. Hence the name thanksgiving.
I don’t think the early pilgrims had a Super Walmart, a Sears or a Best Buy. They had never heard of an indie distributor called Smashwords(yikes, imagine how scary that might have sounded)
I’m sure they didn’t have the www to answer all of you questions or a beastly giant named Amazon— yet somehow they managed.
Can you imagine having to grow your own food and prepare it without the help of of a search engine like google?
When did they have time? Where did they get their Stove Top stuffing and who canned the yams and plucked the turkeys? How did those crazy pilgrims do it?
I didn’t really know any of those pilgrims but I did see a John Wayne movie once. John knew a pilgrim when he saw one. He seemed to know a lot of pilgrims but that was a long time ago too.
I propose we are all pilgrims, each one of us on a journey of sorts. Our own personal pilgrimage…
Aren’t we are all looking for something? Be it a quest for self-confirmation, truth, a cure, enrichment, comfort, a friend, a lover, a job, a meal or a place to lay our weary head at the end of another day.
I believe life is a journey, or at least it should be. It would be terrible to think we were just flailing through this experience; killing time on this giant floating gumball while waiting for the next Black Friday specials.
I believe we all have one destination though we travel different roads and I trust that we have choices.
Hopefully we will choose well. On the occasion we do take a wrong turn [and we will from time to time] I pray we have enough sense and humility to stop and seek direction… to reassess our route and to be considerate in our voyage.
So here’s wishing all of you pilgrims a Happy, Happy Thanksgiving from the Hill house and may we all, whatever road we’re on, take time to look ahead, pause and bow our head in thanks.
My personal prayer:
I pray our good seeds of hope, humility, toil and courage produce abundantly; that love and kindness grow wild like the weeds of early spring – fruitful and undeterred. And may our harvest be rich with wisdom and discernment.
Thank you Father, The Creator of all things, for this day and all it holds. Thank you for the days past, and Father forgive me for my wrong turns. Thank you for the day to come and guide me to make better choices. Thank you for all the pilgrims in my life – for those who’ve gone ahead and the ones that come behind and for those who read this prayer. And Thank You Father for the beacon that lights my way.