The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
In Praise Of Snail Mail
While cleaning I stopped to read just one letter from a box I was dusting. The day flew by as I laughed at 85 year old jokes and cried over 60 year old sorrows.
The letters are all I have left except memories of two generations of heroes.
Common men and women doing their best to keep their homes together during two wars that changed the world and saved it just like Superman, only slower, dirtier, hungrier, and a darn sight lonelier in the doing.
My grandpa left his 18 year old pregnant wife to oversee a group of men even younger and greener men than he.
The fiercest enemies they encountered were disease, and new horizons full of people shooting at them. Twenty years later my dad (the baby) was in France just a few miles from his dad; my grandpa was stationed.
One thing snail mail and e-mail have in common these days. My grandparents, father, cousins and uncles wrote each other daily even knowing that it could be months before delivery.
It was necessary for their mental and emotional health to have hope.
I imagine to families separated by war today they must be a necessary e-mail as a touchstone of hope that the day will come when this war will be a memory too.
Prevent Child Abuse
April was Prevent Child Abuse Month. Every month seems to be designated "something awareness" month. Posters are hung in the laundromats and grocery stores.
$5.00 will buy a plastic bracelet with the message of the moment engraved in it, or, for $15.00 you can splurge on a magnetic ribbon to put on your car.
Proceeds of both go toward raising awareness of the problem.
Let me be perfectly clear; I don't question the sincerity of the people involved in these awareness programs, nor do I intend to diminish the importance of their message.
Booker T. Washington said, "In all things that are purely social, we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress."
Here's the problem as I see it. There are children in our community who are being terrorized daily by an adult who lives with them.
At best they survive. I cannot describe in a family newspaper the atrocities I know of that have been committed against children and infants in our own community.
It sickens me to think I could feel satisfied that "I did my part" by wearing a plastic bracelet while even one child lies awake at night dreading the hands of an adult.
The Henderson County Health Department provides medical case management in Henderson and Warren counties for children up to age 6 in foster care. That caseload has increased five times what it was just five years ago.
In 2002 the average cost per gallon of gasoline was $1.31. Rarely a day goes by without hearing a complaint about the increased cost of gas, but if it had risen by the same rate as our children in foster care, we would be paying $6.55 per gallon.
The depressing reality is that child abuse has and will always exist in this world, as will murder, war, and hatred.
I am not going to tell you that I have the answers, or even any original ideas.
I do have a passion for the oppressed and I do know some things.
We don't need any more programs and as you may have guessed, I don't think we need more plastic bracelets.
We need to be people who will not look the other way. We need to be a community intolerant of bullies and who will advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. We need to be thankful for what we have and we need to share with others.
If you suspect child abuse or neglect call the hotline 1-800-ABUSE, or 1-800-252-2873 in Illinois
Mary Lynne Haase, R.N.
Maternal Child Health Coordinator Henderson County
This May HOLIDAY
By Elaine Slater Reese
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND - our neighbors are getting out the boat. Friends are excited about opening the cabin. Some will be planting flowers - others playing golf. Everyone has plans. We are all entitled to this three- day weekend - no rushing to work!
When I was very young, our family went to the cemetery every Memorial Day. We placed flowers at the graves of ALL the relatives. We stood around and listened as family told story after story of those already gone. I actually thought the holiday was just a time to remember our loved ones. Then I learned the real significance of this May day.
MEMORIAL DAY IS ACTUALLY DESIGNED TO HONOR THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIFE FOR OUR COUNTRY - AMERICA.
How much time do we spend in these three days thinking about or paying tribute to those who gave their lives that we might have the freedoms of today?
Can you say the Preamble to the Constitution? Sing the Star- Spangled Banner ? Do you salute the flag when it goes by a parade? Have you thanked God for the freedom you have? Have you told a veteran (regardless of his age) that you truly appreciate the sacrifices he and his family made for what we have today?
Sometimes it appears the greatest significance we give to the war in Iraq is our loud complaints about the price of gas. Would your outlook be different if your son was one of those kidnapped by the enemy or blown up while on a mission?
What if the father of your six-month old grandchild was not there when she was born - and now she will never see or know him because he is coming home in a coffin? What if you are the one saying good-bye as the soldier leaves for the second or third tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan?
This is our world today - our country today. But the holiday weekend is ours - to do as we choose.
We can choose because others gave their lives for the Freedom we have.