October 3, 2008

Preachers’ Meetings

Category: News — Ira @ 6:56 pm


Quaker’s meeting has begun.
No more laughing, no more fun.

—Children’s rhyme

It’s fall again. Harvest time. Lancaster County’s Amish churches have now held their baptismal services. Next come the Ordnung’s services. Then two weeks later, Big Church. Then the flood of weddings in November.

But before that, one other tradition unfolds. They gather twice a year. Semi-annually. For one long day. The Amish Bishops of Lancaster County.

They came last week from all corners of Lancaster County. The neighboring counties of Lebanon and Perry. And from out of state. One hundred and forty-four of them.

It boggles the mind on several fronts. Or at least my mind. First, that there are so many of them. Around 150 Bishops total. Each usually is responsible for two districts. Do the math. Second, that they all actually assemble twice a year. To keep unified. On the same page. A united front. That’s admirable.

It must be quite a sight. A sea of somber gray-haired leaders, all gathered in one spot, standing about in their broad-brimmed black hats, stroking their beards. Humor would have been at a premium, I would imagine. Perhaps a few strained smiles and restrain-ed chuckles. I’d wager Big Blue there were no guffaws to be heard the entire day. Their frontless buggies all parked neatly in long rows. Had I known of it, I might have driven by in Big Blue and tried to snap a few pictures from the road. But my sources didn’t inform me until it was all over. Probably on purpose, but just as well. Wouldn’t want to antagonize the few connections I have around here.

Preachers’ meetings of all kinds still make me shudder, because where I grew up, they inevitably resulted in trouble for everyone. But apparently that’s not the case here in Lancaster County. They’ve been doing it for years. Quite successfully.

Lancaster County churches are quite diverse. Northern and eastern districts are generally pretty permissible. Progressive. But in the southern end, not so much. There, people tend to cling tightly to the old ways, and the old traditions. You see grown men running around the farm barefooted in summer. They raise lots of tobacco down there too. Like they always have. The Surgeon General can stuff it. Their forefathers raised tobacco, and by George, they will too. Not that I have anything against raising tobacco. Or smoking it.

And so they gather, the Bishops do, to meet formally and discuss the issues of the day that are affecting their churches. I know little of the structure of their meetings. Cultural secret, I guess. I suppose the hierarchy centers on their age, or how long they’ve been in office. At the end of the day, I’m sure each one sees things from his own perspective. Thus, they return to their flocks, some to emphasize one issue, some another. However it’s done, it works. Lancaster County is probably the most stable large Amish community in the world.

I don’t know if they do the same in northern Indiana. Meet regularly like that. If they do, I’ve never heard of it. When I lived there in the late 1980s, all the districts were unified, even though some were much more progressive than others.

It would be impossible to hold such an inclusive gathering in Holmes County, which consists of a patchwork hodgepodge of all kinds of groups who don’t fellowship with each other. Old Orders. Swartzentrubers. Andy Weavers. New Orders. New New Orders. Abe Troyers. And maybe a few other groups I’m missing. They co-exist. But they don’t fellowship.

But maybe they do hold similar but smaller gatherings in both Holmes and northern Indiana. I just don’t know. Perhaps my readers can enlighten me.

When I was a young man in Bloomfield, we had a saying: “Nothing good can come from a preachers’ meeting.” The truth of that saying was proved again and again.

Bloomfield had two or three districts back then. A full contingent of preachers and a deacon in each one. They usually met once a year, on a Saturday. An all-day affair. Everyone held their breath, because at church the next day, we would learn what they had decided would no longer be allowed. Picky little things. Bigger coverings for the women was an old tried and true favorite. And longer, baggier dresses. Always admonitions for the youth, their attitudes, the way they combed their hair, the length of their sideburns, whether the top buttons on their shirts were properly closed, blah, blah, blah.

It was always something. I can’t remember a single preachers’ meeting where they met and decided all was well and they could just go home. Guess they figured if they went to all the trouble of meeting, they might as well make a few “improvements.” A few of the younger, inexperienced preachers let their passions run, their pet peeves blossom into causes, then crusades. Their power swept to their heads and made them giddy. They always convinced the older graybeards to go along with them, when the graybeards should have known better. Taking away existing rights and privileges from members never goes down well. It’s always a bitter pill.

Of course, those who grumbled at the incessant rule changes were considered rebel-lious. The young preachers figured that if they decided as a unit to ban something that was allowed to that point, their proclamation was the equal to a word from God. There was always much braying about how they, the preachers, were actually our servants, and not petty tyrants. It was sin to grumble or resist.

One fateful year, the preachers decided that the youth would no longer be allowed to sing in four part harmony at the Sunday evening singings. It had always been allowed, and we enjoyed it. Then, just like that, because one or two of the younger preachers were against it, they decided to unilaterally ban it. Singing in harmony was prideful, they opined piously, stroking their golden beards.

Bloomfield had only two districts back then. That day, church was at our home. My buddies and I weren’t members, but we knew what was coming. Sure enough, after the last song, Bishop George announced that all members should remain seated.

Half an hour later, they were dismissed. Our friends who were members emerged glumly. No vote had been taken. The preachers had just decreed that four part harmony singing should no longer be done. But they didn’t go so far as to say it was absolutely outlawed. Just strongly discouraged. They fully expected their proclamation would be heeded.

We had other ideas. That afternoon, my buddies and I huddled in the shadows and craftily plotted our rebellion. After some somber discussion, we decided that when the English songs started that night, we would just go ahead and sing the four part harmony anyway. One of us would announce a song, lead it and force the issue. We knew that if the ban wasn’t confronted that first night, it would forever be too late. Once harmony singing was gone, it would never return. That’s just the way it worked.

After supper, the singing started. We filed in and sat down. German songs for the first fifteen or twenty minutes. Then the English songs.

The four of us, Marvin Yutzy, Mervin Gingerich, Rudy Yutzy and I sat together. I forget who announced the song or who led it. One of us. The song was “Living by Faith.” Which had clear harmony parts in the chorus.

In the first chorus, the four of us loudly bellowed the parts. Painfully off key, I’m sure. The rest of the youth, most of them church members, stumbled and stuttered a bit, then joined us. The first verse. The second. The third. Then the last. My father sat on a back bench, frowning rather darkly. To his credit, he didn’t make a scene. Then it was over. We sagged on the bench, triumphant. We had done it. All the rest of the songs that required parts singing that night were heartily sung the way we always had.

And so harmony singing was saved in Bloomfield. As far as I know, it’s still done today. But just that close, it was nearly lost. Four young rebels rescued it. With admittedly less than pure motives. But we knew demagoguery when we heard it.

And the trouble all started at one of those infernal preachers’ meetings.


Last Saturday night I attended a birthday party. Anne Marie Zook’s 40th. Paul and Anne Marie invited a sizable group of friends to their house. Delicious food was served, grilled pork sausages and all the fixings.

Anne Marie is doing well. She’s still on her natural treatment program, fighting the malignant brain tumor that was diagnosed almost a year ago. Because of all the natural foods, she has more energy than she’s had at any time since I’ve known her.

She’s not out of the woods, by any stretch. But her last PET scan about two months ago showed no traces of the cancer. They live day to day, fully aware that circum-stances might change dramatically for the worse without warning. But hope is a beauti-ful thing, and they cling to that and their faith as the months and, God willing, the years pass by.

The baseball postseason is upon us. Around here, Phillies fans walk about with exaggerated swaggers. They’ve done it again, won their division in a tight race with a close finish. Gotta’ give them credit. Ryan Howard just might take them all the way.

The poor Mets choked again in the last game of the season, same as last year. I do take great solace in the fact that the vile Yankees are out of postseason play for the first time in thirteen years. Evil Jeeter walks around forlornly, unsure of what to do with himself.

My prediction for the World Series: The Rays and (how this pains me) the Phillies. Go Rays.

My condolences to all those in the south who are experiencing gas shortages. If the government would get out of the way and allow the market to function naturally, you’d have all the gas you needed. Remove the price controls, and watch it flow in. Sure, you’d pay higher prices for a week or two, but the prolonged shortage would never have materialized. It’s basic economics. Too bad our esteemed leaders are blithering idiots.

It’s been a tumultuous week economically. I’ve seen nothing that would make me retract anything I wrote last week. The next seven to fourteen days will be interesting and probably a little frightening. Something’s gotta’ give, and it will. The craven Senate passed the boondoggle bailout bill in the late hours Wednesday night. This afternoon the spineless House caved and passed the abomination into law. Our Congress has rarely sunk this low in its corrupt and shameful history.

We are entering uncharted terrain. Night is coming on. And after November, it looks like a child will be leading us into the darkness.



  1. I was horrified at the House today. The corruption and greed in the latest bill is almost unfathomable. I was sure that honest politicians would step forward and call out all the pork barrel spending and blatantly bought votes required to make this bill pass. But no. Perhaps they are more corrupt than I thought.

    Comment by Howard — October 3, 2008 @ 10:31 pm

  2. The richest pork ever to be passed around the dinner table of greedy politicians. One Congressman from Missouri freely admitted that the calls he recieved from the people were 90:1 against the bill, but the spineless little coward voted for the bailout. Democrat, by the way.


    Comment by Andrew Yutzy — October 4, 2008 @ 10:22 pm

  3. I’ve been away 5 weeks, and now I’m in the office to collect your blogs to read at home.

    Here’s a topic I wonder if you will comment upon: Ron Paul endorsed Chuck Baldwin for President on Sept. 22.

    Dr. Paul’s book The Revolution: A Manifesto was a great read, like a Libertarian tract. Yet he endorses a Constitution Party candidate. He must think the policies he shows are necessary and workable would actually be implemented by Constitution Party candidates.

    Regardless who gets the Presidency, I think it is important we get Constitution Party and Libertarian candidates in the House and Senate, to reign in an out of hand Federal Executive and Judiciary. I’ll look forward to your pre-election thoughts, should the muse so strike.

    Comment by LeRoy Whitman — October 4, 2008 @ 10:33 pm

  4. Ira:

    When you write about politics, I can almost be convinced to become a subscriber. However, I have never in this past year enjoyed the bright white letters on red background. It is a hard read. It may be that I have my text size so small on my screen. If there are others that agree, you might consider changing it for Nis in the Great NW.

    Ira’s response: Sorry. It is what it is. And will be. Maybe you need some reading glasses. That said, I do sincerely appreciate all readers.

    Comment by Dave Nissley — October 4, 2008 @ 11:38 pm

  5. I was happy to see your endorsement of our local team, the Tampa Bay Rays.

    Now, for politics, sadly we don’t agree. There is still time to make a difference. If you think things are bad now, do nothing and let the man who is a friend to terrorist win in Nov. Let’s do our God-given duty and elect the 2 true mavericks to fight wasteful spending and corruption in Washington, keep our taxes low while growing the economy, drill at home and end our dependance on foreign oil. We in America, the home of the free, are at a crossroad. We choose on Nov. 4 which way we want to go.

    Ira’s response: It’s funny. Every four years we hear the exact same words. We are always at a crossroad, and doing nothing will always make things MUCH worse. And yet nothing changes. Leviathan, my friend, has you exactly where it wants you.

    Comment by P. Graber — October 5, 2008 @ 10:16 pm

  6. I agree that the white letters on red background are hard to read.

    Comment by Darve Knepp — October 5, 2008 @ 10:37 pm

  7. for what it’s worth…i never gave the white on red a second thot.

    Comment by fritz — October 6, 2008 @ 8:22 pm

  8. The tones of negativity has caused me to respond. As Christians, hopefully we still serve the same God as we did last year, or is it the god of money? If there was ever an opportunity to be a light it is during these times when it is proven that we can not trust in the things of the world to save, but in the King of kings, Jesus Christ the risen Lord.

    There is no need to fear: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God.
    —Romans 8:38–39

    Surely Bible-reading Christians should be the last persons on earth to give way to hysteria. They are redeemed from their past offenses, kept in their present circumstances by the power of an all-powerful God, and their future is safe in His hands. God has promised to support them in the flood, protect them in the fire, feed them in famine, shield them against their enemies, hide them in His safe chambers until the indignation is past and receive them at last into eternal tabernacles.

    Comment by J Y — October 6, 2008 @ 9:31 pm

  9. … I was at my favorite book store this weekend and thumbed through a copy of Hobbes “Leviathan” – that’s a term or concept that has been tossed around here pretty liberally – but how many have read the texts that apply it to social theory – beyond an OT animal or beast? Admittedly – Aquinas, William Blake, Hobbes and Milton’s Paradise Lost are not generally found in my stack of curent reading … but perhaps they should be. My point I suppose is that the “knowledge” Hosea refers to perhaps includes more than just scripture and includes the documenta of one’s revelant culture..

    “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” Hosea 4:6

    Comment by Glo — October 7, 2008 @ 6:47 am

  10. I’m not sure…who is in ‘hysteria’ here…?


    Matt 24:15-22
    15  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
    16  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
    17  Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
    18  Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
    19  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
    20  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
    21  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
    22  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

    Regardless of who these people were, that Jesus was speaking to here, just think about their frame of mind as the time drew close.

    God’s way of ‘taking care of His people’ often comes via the means of giving them knowledge of what to DO to prepare.
    If one fails to take heed to the warnings He sends, folks are going to reap the consequences.

    There was a ‘woe’ pronounced upon those that were with child…or had a suckling child when this time came.
    So this means they had to try to avoid having children for the last couple of years!
    And they were to PRAY that it not happen in the winter, or on a sabbath day.

    If, whoever those folks were that Jesus was speaking to in the text, failed to prepare….and then to flee with haste when it was time, they either were going to have great, great hardships…or even lose their lives.
    Even if they followed the instructions to a tee, they were STILL going to go thru hardships.
    So the choices they had, were to go thru hardships; Great hardships; or lose their lives.

    The main point is to consider the principals of how things worked in this text.

    God did His part…but the people had to do their part as well. If they didn’t do their part, there was no way that God was going to come along and rescue them in some miracelous manner.
    If they would of had the attitude that God was ‘going to take care of them’, and didn’t do their part, they would of simply lost their lives.
    It was VERY CRUCIAL that they do their part…and do it RIGHT!

    There is a time…for everything under the sun.
    That means…there IS a time for being CONCERNED!
    The question is…what time is it?

    Comment by fritz — October 7, 2008 @ 5:12 pm

  11. …”Crazy little thing called, Mercy”

    Comment by Glo — October 7, 2008 @ 9:55 pm

  12. Yep…there are folks that believe in universal salvation because they are counting on it… [mercy]

    It’s rather amazing…but a man and woman got kicked out of a paradise of a garden for doing something so little as eating off of a tree that they shouldn’t of.

    Think about the mental anguish they went thru over this matter!
    Especially Adam.
    For…Paul let us know that the sins of Adam and Eve were of a different nature.

    Eve was deceived into partaking of the forbidden fruit. Adam was not deceived into doing it. He did it willingly.

    He did it in order so his wife could be ‘saved’.

    So Adam thot long and hard about what he was about to do! I’m sure he went thru a lot of mental anguish over the matter!

    I’m sure those watching Noah build the Ark thot God would never do that to them.

    Then there are many principals we can learn by considering the Lot/Sodom/Gomorrah scenario. Lot and family had to follow instructions in order to be spared. How his wife ended up losing her life by disobeying what could seem a ‘little thing’.

    And in 2 Sam 6 there was a man that put his hand out to steady the ark as it was being transported, and God slew him for it.

    Then there was the matter of some children mocking one of His prophets…and a couple of bears destroyed them all.

    And when it came time for Jesus to give his life, he was in such agony over the matter he sweated drops of blood. He prayed earnestly, 3 different times, to not have to go thru it, if it were possible.
    He prayed so earnestly, an angel had to come strengthen him!
    After the 3rd time, he resigned himself.
    Sure, from that time on, God helped him. But, God ALSO let him go thru the mental anguish….and to earnestly beech Him concerning the matter.

    Read Heb ch 11 and see what His people have went thru.
    There is no doubt in my mind, that these folks went thru the same type of agony of spirit that Jesus went thru.

    Sometimes He saw fit to deliver ones, down thru the ages, true, but there were many, many times when He went ahead and allowed folks to go thru the mental anguish…and then also allowed them to go thru great hardships/sufferings in the physical and to even give of their lives!

    It is not a lack of faith…or a lack of believing in the power/mercy of God to be in agony over what lies ahead.
    Or even to EARNESTLY beech Him over the matter!!
    Jesus did!!

    There are GREAT rewards involved…..by going thru the agony!!! That is why He allows folks to go thru that.

    If we consider the broadroad/narrow road scenario, then the huge bulk of Christianity cannot lay claim to Ro 8:28 and context.
    Yet, they are ALL laying claim to that promise!

    Just because someone can stand up and freely..without agony….go thru suffering or even give of their lives means NOTHING! Folks are doing that for all kinds of causes. [Consider what is going on across the waters]
    It is not some kind of a sign of ‘great faith’.
    If it is, then Jesus lacked ‘great faith’.

    We are living in the day and age when folks have no fear of God…nor what He might ask them to go thru!

    They think it is a sign of weakness/lack of faith to be in agony over a matter, or to earnestly beech God to not have to go thru something…to be spared from something!

    In essence, they think they are superior to Jesus.

    Now…it is true that we as a nation have went thru nothing…yet. What we are facing now…is as nothing. True.
    But, Jesus agonized and earnestly besought God when He saw what LAY AHEAD!!

    The SINS of this nation are GREAT! Greater than any nation that has ever existed.

    God is a God of principals.
    There are 2 main sources where we can study and learn principals from. Scriptures and nature.
    For…BOTH are MIGHTY works of TRUTH!!

    Step 1 is to learn His principals.
    Step 2 is to know how and when to apply them.

    That is the TRUE avenue to TRUTH.
    To learn His principals and how to apply them.

    His principals are being broken over and over and over and over.
    Ex. The principal of ‘esteeming others better than ourselves’. What is set before us by the leaders of this country?
    Belittle the other guy…lift yourself up!!!
    It is a sickening thing to watch!!!!!
    Utterly sickening and disgusting!
    How SICKENING do you think it is to HIM!!!!!!
    It is very sickening to me, but I belive it is more sickening to Him than what I can grasp!

    That is an example of a violation of ONE principal. Now multiply that times 1000’s !!
    The reaping is going to be GREAT.
    We can COUNT ON IT!!
    God will not break His law of ‘sowing and reaping’.

    I shudder when i think of what lies ahead!

    Call it a ‘lack of faith’ if you want.
    You can believe His ‘mercy’ is going to cover all this if you want…

    I don’t see it that way.
    Oh…i wish it would!
    But, i’m afraid it just ain’t gonna work that way!

    For your consideration…is all….

    Comment by fritz — October 8, 2008 @ 12:13 pm

  13. Those who don’t feel this Love
    pulling them like a river,
    those who don’t drink dawn
    like a cup of spring water
    or take in sunset like supper,
    those who don’t want to change,
    let them sleep.

    This Love is beyond the study of theology,
    that old trickery and hypocrisy.
    If you want to improve your mind that way,
    sleep on…

    -Rumi (trans Coleman Barks)

    Comment by Glo — October 8, 2008 @ 2:09 pm

  14. The blog seems to be getting afield of your article, Ira. To go back the tangent line to your thought about economics, I bring to your readers’ attention the link below; the article has a great picture! The quotes here give the principles:

    As Ludwig von Mises argued: “It is impossible to grasp the meaning of the idea of sound money if one does not realize that it was devised as an instrument for the protection of civil liberties against despotic inroads on the part of governments. Ideologically it belongs in the same class with political constitutions and bills of rights.” …

    …The Federal Government is given no authority to charter a central bank, issue currency or define legal tender. States may define legal tender but are [restricted] to only gold and silver. Thus, a free market for currencies is preserved. On the other hand, the fifth plank of the Communist Manifesto calls for: “Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.”
    –see http://www.jbs.org/index.php/jbs-news-feed/3290

    Comment by LeRoy Whitman — October 8, 2008 @ 3:18 pm

  15. As for Holmes Co being a hodgpodge of most everything…i would say that is pretty well the way it is.

    I used to work with a variety of young Amish boys…used to make my rounds picking them up for work…and i was amazed at the animosity between the various districts.

    I always felt they were a reflection of the way their parents felt.

    The feelings of superiority…because they were ALLOWED to have ‘air in their tires’…came thru very strongly.
    And then the ones that felt righteous and holy because they DIDN’T have air in their tires.

    Some were preachers kids…so maybe they were indoctrinated stronger. Don’t know.

    Then i also had some work for me that were as nice as could be.

    What i’ll never forget, is as a young lad, how scared i was different times at the Kidron sale barn…especially the machinery sales, which took place twice a year.

    There were gangs of Swartzentrubers….and gangs of Amish boys…that were at odds with each other.
    The hatred between the two was a scary thing.
    For those confrontations, the Swartzentrubers banded together….as did the the Amish.
    They forgot their differences amongst themselves, as they focused their hatred on each other.

    I’ll also never forget, one time i came across these 2 Swartzentruber boys that were stopped on the road.
    Buggy was on the road…horse had come loose from the shafts…still had it’s harness on…and was lying in the ditch.
    I stopped and asked them if they needed help.
    [THey didn’t know i could talk dutch…so they talked freely between themselves.]
    I could tell they had been drinking. [was on a Sat eve]
    They had been beating that poor horse to the point where it simply lay down and resigned itself, and wouldn’t budge anymore.

    They beat it some…while i was there…and i could tell the horse had given up.

    The language they used was quite something.

    The corruption that lay under that garb was quite something to behold. They were about as cold and hard as anybody i have ever met to this day.
    And again, i’m sure there are good folks amongst them as well.

    What always astounded me, was the frivolous things that seperated the various groups. How they came up with them, is flat out amazing.
    What in the world makes one think it is ok to park a tractor by the barn…bring the hay in from the field and bale it, but it is wrong to go out in the field to bale it?
    What do they go by?

    But, that is an endless subject, as the list goes on and on and on.

    No question…it is by far the most diverse.
    Not just the Swartenztrubers and Amish, but the Beechy’s and Conservatives as well.

    Quite a conglomeration! Divided by countless rules and regulations.
    Man made rules and regulations, i might add.
    At least i can’t seem to find them anywhere in the Book.
    But, then, maybe i’m missing something.

    Comment by fritz — October 8, 2008 @ 10:44 pm

  16. I thot this was too good not to pass on.
    Hurray for that Sheriff! :)

    Sheriff in Ill. county won’t evict in foreclosures

    Oct 8, 2:19 PM (ET)

    CHICAGO (AP) – Residents of foreclosed properties in Chicago and other parts of Cook County don’t have to worry about deputies forcing them out. Sheriff Tom Dart says that starting Thursday his office won’t take part in evictions.

    Dart says he’s concerned that many of the people being evicted are renters who were unaware that their landlords have been failing to pay their mortgages. He says his deputies have no way of knowing whether they’re removing someone who has defaulted on a loan or someone who has been faithfully paying rent.

    Dart says he thinks he’s the first sheriff in a major metropolitan area to stop such evictions during the ongoing foreclosure crisis.

    Dart says the number of mortgage foreclosures in Cook County has skyrocketed and will probably keep rising.

    Comment by fritz — October 8, 2008 @ 10:56 pm

  17. To Fritz, being a landlord myself and having dealt with too many deadbeat renters, I say that sheriff has to go!

    Yeah, we saved the singins in old Bloomfield.

    Comment by Rudy Yutzy — October 13, 2008 @ 9:15 pm

  18. Read it again.
    More carefully…

    It’s not talking about folks getting evicted because they didn’t pay rent.

    Comment by fritz — October 14, 2008 @ 8:08 am

  19. I never, never, never would have made it as a respectable, law abiding, just shutup and follow the rules Amish woman. I don’t like people telling me what to do unless it’s something I’ve already decided to do myself. Then they can spew away. I get riled just thinking about it. Anger towards authority? Yeah, maybe. Or just my temperament. I’m polite about it. I shake my head, grunt a few times, smile wittingly. But I do want to bolt.
    When I was about 9, the neighborhood bullies decided it would be fun to have my sister and I and our two little friends line up on the side of a garage and threaten to shoot us with their bee-bee guns. I can still see their mangled grimaces as they belted out orders at us or maybe it was threats. Something in me snapped. I remember saying, “To hell with this.” as I walked away from the scene. (I was shocked that I swore, though I’d heard curse words enough in my own home). One of the raggedy haired boys ran up to me and tried to stop my movements by placing his gun before me. I grabbed hold of it and threw it down. It felt like I was in a dream-half in, half out. I was afraid, but wasn’t going to put up with the bullying. It worked. I made my way home in pure amazement that that was me who said “No!”
    Rebellion? Of course not. Self preservation is more like it.

    Comment by Francine — April 10, 2013 @ 1:32 am

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