Nathan Hale Is My Cousin

This week I will visit the Nathan Hale Cemetery in Coventry, Connecticut. Nathan Hale (June 6, 1755 – September 22, 1776) is my cousin.

My name is Peter Sanford Kahrmann. It is a name I am proud of. My name for the first five weeks of my life was, Paul Clark. It is also a name I am proud of. I was adopted at five weeks of age. In  1987, I reunited with my birth-mother. Her name at when she was born was, Leona Patricia Clark. She was born January 31, 1933 and died December 19, 2001.

My mother was Irish and French Canadian, the latter coming from her mother, Mable Milo, who died when my mother was only three years old in 1936. It was researching my grandmother’s family that led me to discover Hale is my cousin.

Hale was executed by the British in New York City for being a spy for General George Washington. He is reported to have said, “I regret that I have only one life to lose for my country,” just before his death.”

British officer, Frederick MacKensie, wrote this in his diary about Nathan that day: “He behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good Officer, to obey any orders given him by his Commander-in-Chief; and desired the Spectators to be at all times prepared to meet death in whatever shape it might appear.”

Nathan’s body was never recovered.

On October 1, 1985, the Connecticut General Assembly, declared Hale the official State Hero.

He was just 21 years old when his life ended.

Hale is the great-grandson of Reverend John Hale, a pivotal figure in the Salem witch trials. He was also an uncle to both orator and statesman Edward Everett and journalist Nathan Hale, and a grand uncle to Edward Everett Hale and his sister, Susan Hale, both writers. All of them, for me, family.

To learn that I am part of this family touches my soul, and brings tears to my eyes; it is a massively humbling reality. What skill I have with the words of my language cannot possibly express how much being part Hale’s family means to me. I can tell you this. If ever courage found its way through a family tree, Nathan Hale’s courage found my mother Leona. I’ve known no one more courageous in life than my mother, and no one with a more loving, compassionate heart.

The Perils of Texting

I hereby declare that if anyone wants to have a conversation of any substance with me, it will not be through texting. Texting is best suited for short, succinct sentences, and nothing more.

Trying to make a substantive point or have a substantive exchange with someone via text is communicating with “one hand tied behind your back.” Texting is a distance-maker. It reduces the level of human contact. Reducing the level of contact does not foster real conversation. In fact, it sabotages conversation.  

If it is important for someone to tell me something of substance, they can pick up the phone, meet in person, or face to face, online. If they don’t want to do any of these, then whatever was on their mind was not that important in the first place.

Responding to “evil f**cks”

Fending off the temptation to eviscerate the behavior of a no-conscience narcissist adult who inflicts nastiness and cruelty on others is no easy task. It is likely the person is trapped in the merciless web of a personality disorder. Mental illness is no easy challenge for anyone to meet, particularly if they do not realize they are not well. If a narcissistic streak is present, the chance they will ever recognize how unwell they are is fairly close to nil.

The temptation to strike back, to verbally eviscerate the emotional assailant is real, and not easy to manage. This is particularly true when you’ve offered an act of kindness to someone only to get a response that can best be described as a kind of rabid nastiness. That their response reflects the absence of a conscience is par for the course, and, in a way, is almost beside the point. I say almost, rather than entirely, because no one, and I mean, no one, deserves to endure one iota of no-conscience cruelty. 

The best response of all is to disengage from the individual, completely. Not doing so is tantamount to staying linked to an active alcoholic or addict under the misguided but heartfelt belief that there is something you can do or say that will heal things. There isn’t. I promise you. Unless and until the individual who is not well registers this truth, they will reach the end of their life controlled by their unhealthiness. A reality that is both tragic, and heartbreaking sad.

Disengaging is not easy. That said, please remember something. Taking care of yourself is not an act of disloyalty to anyone else. Promise.

Smerkle In The House With Two Points To Make

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For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Smerkle Grumpy. Known Peter all his life. I wrote words here before. Been too long since my man Peter gave over the pen to me. I told him just that, to be sure. We hugged. We’re cool.

Now, I am no journalist. I am a being that says what he wants, straight out. I try to stay in the borders of decency and such, but not always. The thing is, there’s a bunch of wickedness out there now. Peter’s a good man, but his words are too polite. He knows I am not as polite as he is, but he said my voice might be needed these days and so he said I could pick two points I want to make, and go for it. So here goes the first point.

If you support the orange American Grand Dragon in the White House, you know damned well you’re supporting a racist and a sexual predator. Does that really mean you’d be just fine about it if he grabbed your wife or daughter, sister, or your mother, by her privates? If you are just fine with that, a sick puppy and you might want to think counseling. Some shit. But get well, for fuck’s sake.

One thing; you can’t support this beast, and act like you’re not supporting, racism, bigotry for all but white and wealthy men, sexual predators, and Trump’s homeboy, Vladimir Putin.

Okay, that’s the first point.  So here comes the second.

I think my imagination knows pretty much verbatim a conversation me and Televangelist Pastor Paula White would have.

Pastor White, born Paula Michelle Furr in Tupelo, Mississippi, is a spiritual advisor to President Donald J. Trump. She has also had a bucket-load of cosmetic surgery on her face. It’s heartbreaking to see. It looks like the poor woman’s beginning to melt, if you ask me.

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Now, this White lady – well don’t that beat all – has a ministry. She knows how to preach, in front of audience and camera. She thumps the bible with the best of them. Can’t you just hear our conversation? Listen. I mean, if I said, “Pastor White, would you agree God created us? That we are created in God’s image?”

She would say something like “Yes, I do,” or maybe, “That is what the bible tells us.”

I would continue. “And we’d agree, would we not, that what God creates, for each of us, is, at its core, is perfection in all ways. That it is up to us to shed ourselves of sin, and recognize the gifts God has given us?”

“Oh, yes. That is absolutely true.”

“We’d agree that God’s creations need no improvement?”

“We’d agree.”

“Then here’s my question. How’d on earth did he fuck up your face? How is it,  that everything God has created from the beginning of whatever-the-fuck time it is, has been perfect, then all of a sudden – badabing! badaboom! – he gets to your face, and something goes wrong? What are the odds of that?”

“I can’t believe you have the audacity – “

“I’m just gettin’ warmed up, lady. I got another one for you. Who are you to decide that God messed up your face in this first place? That’s pretty arrogant ya know – overruling the Big Guy like that.”

I don’t know what she’d say to that. I have no problem at all with anyone who chooses plastic surgery. I have a problem with hypocrisy. You can’t go around saying God’s perfect, but you’re even better.

Anyway, I made my two points. Thanks, Pete.

Love ya all,

Smerkle Grumpy

Wake Up Family America

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Moving muscled rhythms ‘cross the floor
Shape shifting time as boredom
Bends the mind we are
In this together
Brothers and sisters
We are believe it
Or not we are
In this together
Saying it ain’t so
Don’t make it so
We are all America
We are family
Wake up
America

 

***

For Congressman John Lewis