Gavel Gamut

By Jim Redwine

(Week of 25 May 2015)


It was usually already hot in Oklahoma by Memorial Day. The heat, nor anything else, kept Mom from her appointed rounds at far-flung cemeteries dotting the prairie. My options were limited: swelter in the old Ford or tag along from grave to grave. My brother Philip shared my fate. Our oldest sibling, Sonny, was exempt because he was himself a veteran. Our sister, Jane, was Mom’s willing accomplice, as always.

Mom knew where every departed veteran from our large family was buried. Each one deserved and had to be honored for their service. Poppies were the flower of choice but tall prairie grasses, roses, bundles of home grown petunias and even hollyhocks were drafted into service. The car looked and smelled like a mobile funeral home.

Our family has managed to participate in America’s wars from the Civil War to Iraq. My great grandmother had an article that chronicled her father’s Civil War battles. My Uncle Bill said little about his two years of combat in World War II except to state his respect for the German soldiers. Our son, Jim, served in combat in the Gulf War and the Iraq War and got to know many Iraqi soldiers.

I can only guess at the family’s involvement in America’s next wars. However, I am confident there will be ample opportunity. I note every candidate for president asserts a willingness for others to have that chance. One candidate has even promised to use drones on Americans, in America, if anyone even thinks about investigating the grievances of our current adversaries.

Old people in safe places can be quite brave. On the other hand, maybe the current generation of reluctant young flower bearers will, at least, have air-conditioned cars in which to travel to the graves of our future heroes.


  1. 86,000 soldiers have never been found and returned to their families in all the wars we have engaged in.

    Whenever someone’s schedule is so tight, or they are incapacitated because they must not miss The Young and the Restless and it’s election day, they need to think about that.

    Good article Jim…..

    Over and completely out…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    Oops, by the way CCO, nice picture you’ve posted of me. Just wish to Hell I looked that good.


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