San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, February 8, 2013

Time To Join The Militia

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."  You may remember the Constitution.  It was written after the Revolutionary War and adopted by all thirteen of the confederated States as an official declaration of the federal government they agreed to live under.  Ever since its adoption every career politician has sworn an oath to uphold what it says.  Of course, the sworn oath of a career politician is worthless, so it has been ignored by those same politicians anytime they wanted to do something the Constitution prohibited.  Ranting about lying politicians, however, is not the point of today's post to this blog.
People who assign characteristics of consciousness to inanimate guns like to flee to an argument in favor of gun control/abolition that goes something like this:  The Second Amendment was written only to arm the Militia.  Since the United States no longer has a Militia, there is no longer any need for the people to be armed.  The simple historical fact of the matter is that the Second Amendment is out of date and no longer applies to citizens of the United States today because no Militia exists today.  That is an interesting argument worthy of some consideration.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines 'militia' as "an army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers."  That is simple enough to understand.  A militia is a group of people who fight to defend their lives, liberty and property without pay for doing so.  A militia does not exist to go and prosecute wars in other lands.  A militia does not exist to attack other sovereign nations in vain attempts to overthrow their governments and establish democracy, whatever that is.  A militia does not keep a military presence in 150 of the 196 countries found in the world.  A militia is called into service when circumstances require it and continues to exist only so long as circumstances require it.  Militia members are generally paid some small amount for their time and services but there is no such thing as a career militia member.  When their service to the militia is complete, the individual members return to their homes, families and careers.  Militia members do not realize a profit for their services.
In contrast, a person who defends other people's lives, liberty and property for pay is called a mercenary.  Mercenaries can be lifetime professional soldiers.  They receive pensions for their service when they retire.  They receive lifetime medical care for their services.  They fight for whoever pays them with little regard to the question of the morality of the conflict.  In fact, they get very angry when questions of morality come up.  Just do what you are told, they say.  Just follow your orders, they say.  Don't think about the moral issues too hard.  After all, everyone is guilty of something.  Everyone deserves to die.  They fight all over the world and they fight all of the time.  Can you think of any mercenary organizations that might exist today?
Now, as I understand the argument, the anti-gun folks argue that a militia is an archaic idea.  I have to agree with them on that point.  Clearly there is no militia in the Socialist Democracy of America today.  The SDA's fighting forces are clearly much more closely aligned with mercenary activities than militia activities.  The anti-gun advocates draw the conclusion that since we have no militia we should have no armed citizens.  If we should have no armed citizens the right to keep and bear arms provided for in the Second Amendment is obsolete.  Therefore, no citizen of the SDA has a right to a gun.
It is important to note that those in favor of the abolition of guns do not believe that guns should not exist at all.  They generally also hold to the belief that mercenaries should continue to have a right to own and use guns.  Game wardens who protect the lives of all animals owned by the state should have the right to carry guns.  Sheriff's deputies who enforce the rules of the county commissioners should have the right to use guns.  Police officers who enforce the rules of the individual cities and states should have the right to use guns against anyone who has the audacity to violate one of those rules.  In addition, police officers should have the right to own and use guns against the citizens of the SDA anytime they "feet threatened" by the actions of a mere citizen.  The FBI, CIA and other secret service organizations must have the right to keep and bear arms in order to defend the career politicians from popular uprisings of the people and the occasional renegade radical.  Of course, and who could not agree with this, all members of the armed forces must have the right to keep and use guns in order to enforce the will of the King of the SDA upon anyone he wishes.
If the argument merely broke down to a discussion as to whether we have a militia or not, the anti-gun advocates would win.  If the right to keep and bear arms is strictly connected to service in a militia, then there should be no guns in the hands of anyone but militia members.  If there is no militia, there should be no guns.  The argument still has to be made as to why the mercenaries are allowed to keep and bear arms but since they hold the guns, they win the argument.  The argument, however, does not simply break down to a discussion about whether we have a militia or not.
Although most citizens of the SDA do not think about it, the Revolutionary War was a war against our own government.  Citizens of the colonies were subjects of Britain.  The Redcoats were soldiers from our own government.  They were not foreign invaders.  The citizen militia of the colonies was an upstart group of citizens who were intent upon throwing off the constraints of British citizenship.  No matter how you look at it, and no matter which side had the moral reason for war, the Revolutionary War was a revolution.  The British soldiers were sent to bring peace to citizens of Britain on British owned land.  The militia that fought against them was engaging in an illegal action according to the law of the time.
When the framers of the US Constitution got together to think about the federal government they were well aware of the tyrannical and despotic control those types of governments are prone to enforce.  They had just finished fighting a war against one such government.  The last thing they wanted was for the US government to come to be like the British government.  They provided many checks and balances in the form of government they created all of which were designed to hinder the growth of the federal beast and allow the citizens to live freely.  One of the most important of those provisions was the right of the citizens of the land to form a militia to protect themselves from their own government.  This was not a strange idea to them since they had just done it a few short years earlier.  The idea of a militia is a very strange idea to the modern citizen in the SDA.  The modern SDA citizen is conditioned to believe that his government is sovereign and morally perfect.  "My government, right or wrong" is his cry.  It has not always been this way.
Thomas Jefferson thought that government should fear the people.  Today, people fear their government.  We have experienced a total flip-flop in political ideology in the past couple of centuries.   Here is what Jefferson wrote about government and the need for politicians to fear the citizens they rule:
I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government. 
Saying or writing such a thing today would, of course, get you arrested for treason, sedition and a hundred other violations of the falsely named "Patriot Act".  Still the fact remains that our founding fathers believed the citizens had the right to keep and bear arms in order to form a militia that would protect them from the depredations of their own government, not some monster from overseas.  Today, anybody that actually acts upon the right to be a member of a militia and bears arms to protect himself from the aggressions of his own government is immediately labeled a lunatic.  BATF is brought to bear and those folks are quickly extinguished in a ball of state-authorized fire.  The believing public joins in the chorus of praise to the federal government for its all-powerful acts of protective power against such obviously insane individuals.
Do you fear your government?  I do.  Does your government fear you?  Don't make me laugh.  The founding fathers of this country gave us the Second Amendment so that our government might fear us.  The reason we have a right to keep and bear arms has nothing to do with hunting.  It has nothing to do with taking down the occasional random shooter at the mall.  Although those are good things to do with guns, the right to keep and bear arms is our moral right to defend ourselves from despotic government.  It must never be infringed. 

Update:  April 30, 2015

After languishing with no hits for years, this post suddenly received several pageviews.  I suspect the reason for the sudden increase in pageviews is that the post has somehow come to the attention of Homeland Security.  Since I am terrified of the government of the Socialist Democarcy of Amerika let me make one thing clear to any jack-booted thug that might be reading this.......I am NOT calling for insurrection.  I am NOT telling people to take up arms against the most high and holy government.  I believe that you are God's punishment upon the people of this land for our rejection of the God of the Bible and the adoption of yourself, the government, as our god.  So please keep on suppressing and oppressing us.  Our job is to suffer in silence and that is what I call all SDA citizens to do. 
As an aside, I also believe the Revolutionary War was an immoral war.  The colonies had no right to throw off the God-ordained authority that was over them.  They too should have suffered in silence.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Crazed Thoughts About Todd Helton's DUI Arrest

Todd Helton is the senior member of the Colorado Rockies professional baseball team.  He has spent his entire career with the Rockies, amassing a number of statistical firsts for the club. As he is nearing 40 years of age, it is widely expected that this season will be his last.   He is a career .320 hitter.  He has 2,420 hits, 354 home runs and 1,345 RBIs in his career.  And, as of yesterday, he has a DUI arrest on his record, although that record is kept by the Thornton police, not Major League Baseball.
Helton released a statement to the press after his arrest in which he said, "I have always tried to set a positive example for my family and in our community and I fell far short of this standard.  I sincerely ask my family, the Colorado Rockies organization, Major League Baseball and the community to accept my apology.  I make no excuses and accept full responsibility for my actions.  I humbly ask your forgiveness."
After Helton released his statement to the press, the Colorado Rockies had this to say, "We were extremely disappointed to learn that Todd was arrested this morning.  This type of behavior is taken very seriously by our organization.  We know that he clearly understands the seriousness of his poor decision, the harm that could have been inflicted on others and the embarrassment his mistake has caused to himself, his family, the Colorado Rockies organization and to Major League Baseball....Todd clearly understands the severity of the situation."  Something is seriously wrong here and it has nothing to do with Helton's DUI arrest.
The newspaper report asserted that the Thornton police refused to release Helton's blood alcohol level because it is against their standard procedures to do so.  So the press is left to speculate as to how much alcohol Helton might have had in his system when he was arrested.  The details of the arrest are simple.  Helton left his Thornton home late in the evening (actually early in the morning) to go to a local Kwik-E-Mart.  Along the way somebody called the police to report that he was "driving erratically."  The police found him at the Kwik-E-Mart filling up his car with gas.  They approached him and arrested him shortly thereafter.
When I obtained my drivers license forty years ago the legal limit for blood alcohol was .15%.  According to the law at the time, a person was fully qualified to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .14%.  Then the legal limit began to come down.  I do not recall ever reading any scientific studies indicating why the legal limit needed to come down.  I do know that police departments were able to arrest more people and collect more fine money when the limits came down.  For a while the limit was .10%.  That was not low enough.  Today the national blood alcohol limit is .08%.  All states recognize .08% as legally "drunk".  At roughly half the level that it was when I first started to drive, am I to assume that roughly twice as many people can now be arrested for driving "drunk"?  Are those people who are arrested for levels between .08% and .10% really drunk?  Are those people really committing a crime?  Was Helton really drunk?  Did Helton really commit a crime?  A subjective standard that is constantly changing seems less than a legitimate reason to call a behavior criminal.  Remember, just a little over a month ago it was a crime to possess marijuana in Colorado.  Now is is legal.  How can this be?
As expected, Helton's mea culpa is a manly one.  He offers no excuses.  He takes full responsibility for his "mistake".  That makes me wonder....what is the definition of a "mistake"?  The Denver Post, the Colorado Rockies and Helton himself all believe he made a "mistake".  When I take a test and I make a mistake I do not apologize to anyone for it.  The impact of my mistake goes no further than me and the grade I will receive on the exam.  When I am out wandering around the mountains and read a topographic map incorrectly about which trail to take I do not embarrass anyone, except perhaps myself a little bit for being such a bad map reader.  I certainly do not issue a public apology to my family and employer because I made a mistake reading a map.  And that gets to the heart of the problem with these types of apologies.  Did Helton commit a sin/crime or did he make a mistake?  If he committed a sin/crime an apology is required.  If he did not, nothing needs to be said.   If he made a mistake why are we even having this discussion?
If he committed a sin/crime there would be a victim.  Who is the victim?  Helton did not crash his car into anything.  He did not set the Kwik-E-Mart on fire.  He did not run anything over.  If the random motorist had not called the cops the odds are pretty good he would have arrived home from the late night munchie and gasoline run in good order.  Helton and the Colorado Rockies both assume that he has sinned against his family, the Rockies, MLB and the "community", whatever that is.  Since Helton lives in Thornton, did he sin against a person living across the border in Northglenn?  Nobody seems to know.  How it is that the Rockies and MLB have suffered harm and been victimized by Helton's DUI arrest is not explained.  I guess we are all simply expected to assume that they have somehow been harmed.  Still I wonder....how can there be a victim of some action when there is no damage to anyone or anything as a result of that action?
Helton asks for my forgiveness.  I can't give it to him.  Not because I am some sort of mean spirited soul who likes to torment those who ask me for forgiveness.  I can't give him my forgiveness because he did not sin against me. In fact, based upon my knowledge of the facts in this situation, there is nobody aside from God he needs to ask forgiveness of.  If he really was drunk, and only he and God know at this point, he has sinned against God and should seek His forgiveness.  Beyond that he has nothing to say to me, or anybody else for that matter.  Furthermore, if he was not drunk, he has nothing to say whatsoever.
The reaction of the Rockies is unconscionable.  They are treating Helton like he is some sort of combination of slave and child.  Look at how he is scolded by his employer for his arrest.  Why is it that people who are employed as professional athletes are always expected to report to their employer about their private legal affairs?  If Helton was a janitor do you think we would see his employer issuing a statement about how ashamed he is of him?  Yet, for some inexplicable reason, because he is a baseball player his employer has to get involved in the situation.  Note to the Colorado Rockies:  Butt Out!  Helton's legal affairs are no more your business than they are mine.  You do not own him.  He is not your slave.  You employ him to play baseball, nothing more, nothing less.
Something is seriously wrong with us when we take personal offense when somebody is arrested for DUI.  Something is seriously wrong with us when we expect the arrested person to issue us an apology for his actions that, according to everyone, did no harm.  Something is seriously wrong when a man's arrest for DUI, without any knowledge of his blood alcohol level, makes the front page of the local newspaper.  Something is seriously wrong when I have to make this a topic for my blog.  So I will stop, now.

UPDATE:  February 9, 2013
I was watching the news on television last night and saw a report about a local Sheriff's deputy who was arrested for sending sexually explicit text messages to a minor.  The report said that his identity was being withheld.  So why is it when a citizen, who also happens to be a public figure, gets arrested his mug shot is on the front page of the morning paper but when a person who has sworn an oath to "serve and protect" the public is arrested his identity is withheld?   It seems as if those who enforce the rules do not have to subject themselves to those rules.  Unfair and equal enforcement of the rules will eventually drive the citizenry crazy.



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Colorado's Democratic Legislators Go Insane

Here is the first line of a report on the front page of the Denver Post this morning:  "Colorado Democrats on Tuesday announced a far-reaching package of gun bills that includes a measure to hold manufacturers and sellers of assault-style weapons legally liable for damage inflicted with such firearms."  Specifically, the proposed bill is entitled the "Assault Weapon Responsibility Act" and it "would create strict liability for manufacturers, sellers, owners, and possessors of assault-style firearms."  Although I do not believe it is likely this particular bill will pass Colorado's wildly anti-free market legislature, it still serves as a good indicator of just how far these politicians have departed from reality.
I was watching television last night when a news report came on about this bill.  One legislator, who's name I did not get, was speaking to the press about the bill.  I believe he was a sponsor of the bill.  In the course of his speech he described how "we" must "protect our children" from assault weapons.  He described how the passage of new laws was the best way to make sure massacres "never happen again".  Then he said one of the most amazingly stupid things I have ever heard come out of the mouth of a career politician.  He said, "someone has to be held accountable for the things these guns are doing."  You read that right.  He clearly asserted that guns come fully equipped with a will of their own and they are going around doing things for which they cannot, under current law,  be held morally and legally accountable.  Therefore, his solution to the problem is to sponsor a bill creating a new law in which the manufacturer and seller of a gun will be held legally and criminally responsible for anything that the gun does.  Strangely absent from the list of people who will be held strictly liable for the activities of the gun was the person actually doing the shooting.  Since the state has declared all perpetrators of massacres legally insane, there is no point in speaking about them I suppose.
There are two obvious problems with this bill.  The first is one of definition.  What is an "assault-style" weapon?  The term 'assault rifle' is used all the time but I am still waiting for a definition of what it is.  Most people use the term in reference to any gun that has camouflage on it.  Most people use the term in reference to any gun that does not have a wooden stock.  Most people also use the term in reference to any gun that is semi-automatic.  So, by most people's definition, my semi-automatic shotgun is an assault weapon whenever I am sitting in the duck blind with camo over the barrel of the gun.  I believe it is fair to say that "assault weapon" is commonly defined as any semi-automatic weapon, regardless of its appearance.  That being the case, this bill is a straight out assault against any semi-automatic weapon.  If the nanny-state Democratic legislators get their way, semi-automatic guns will soon be unavailable in Colorado.
The biggest problem with the bill has to do with the fact that it singles out guns with the expressed intent of making the manufacturing and sales of all semi-automatic weapons legally impossible.  By holding the manufacturer and the salesman of the gun to "strict liability" for use of the gun after the sale it is virtually guaranteed that no gun manufacturer or salesman will every operate in Colorado.  If the principle of holding the manufacturer and salesman of products legally and criminally responsible for the use of those products after the sale is deemed to be morally proper, then that principle must be applied to everything manufactured and sold in Colorado.  Indeed, if this principle is a moral principle, it should be enshrined as the law of the land everywhere in the Socialist Democracy of America.
If somebody is found guilty of vehicular homicide, the manufacturer of the car and the salesman who sold the car to the killer should both be held criminally responsible for the homicide.  If somebody kills somebody while driving drunk, the company that made the booze and the liquor store that sold the booze, as well as the individual clerk that rang up the sale, should all be held criminally responsible for the act.  If somebody gets knifed in a bar room brawl, the company that made the knife and the sales clerk that sold the knife should both be held criminally responsible for the knifing.  If a bank robber stuffs his stolen cash into a man-purse that he bought on E-bay, the company that made the man-purse, E-bay, and the person who sold the man-purse should all be held criminally responsible for the robbery.  If somebody purchases a computer from Dell and then uses that computer to hack a computer belonging to someone else, Dell and the poor person who sold the computer would be criminally responsible for the activities of the hacker.  If somebody takes a tomato and throws it at his neighbor, the farmer that grew the tomato and the grocer that sold it to the assailant would both be criminally responsible for the assault.  Does anybody think this is nuts besides me?
Although I suspect this proposed bill will be shot down, it still serves as a good indicator of the level of economic understanding that exists in Colorado's Democratic congressmen.  Imagine what would happen if the bill actually passes.  Is there anybody who does not understand that gun shops would immediately spring up in Wyoming, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah, just across the border with Colorado.  All that would happen is the law would cause gun shops to re-locate to a place where they will not be held criminally liable for how the gun is used.  I suspect most of these idiot congressmen also have "Buy Colorado" bumper stickers on their cars.  Do you think they perceive the irony?
The fact that these Democratic congressmen could actually conceive of this new law as a solution to human violence is astounding.  I believe they have all gone insane.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Are You Retarded?

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was asked a question prior to the Super Bowl about the feasibility of having football's annual extravaganza at Mile High Stadium in Denver.  His response was "I think it is retarded."  Little did Flacco realize that he had just uttered one of the most reprehensible words in the English language.  Of course, he is not the only one to commit this terrible offense.
Last week I wrote a blog posting about how there have been no terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11.  In the course of that post I pointed out that the alleged terrorist attacks that have occurred since then were all orchestrated by the FBI.  Here is what I wrote in my January 30th post to this blog, "There have been a dozen or so examples of FBI entrapment whereby some marginally mentally retarded Islamists have been duped into pretending to perform some terrorist actions that never were real dangers to any SDA citizen."   Little did I know that I had just uttered a horrible obscenity.
According to "Spread the Word to End the Word" (www.r-word.org), "we need to eliminate the demeaning use of the R-word."  At their website there is a long list of guilt stricken people who have made the following pledge, "I pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities."  Maybe I just fell off the banana boat but does it seem crazy to anybody but me that such a furor would be made out of the word 'retarded'? 
Here is the Reference Dictionary definition of the word 'retarded':  "to make slow; delay the development or progress of an action, process, etc.; hinder or impede."  Here is the Merriam-Webster definition of the word 'retarded':  "slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress."  What can possibly be considered offensive or derogatory in those definitions?  Apparently a lot.
James Schmitz of Aurora, Colorado wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post last week castigating Joe Flacco for his offensive language.  He begins his letter by quoting Flacco and he is so afraid of the word 'retarded' that he has to spell it "r******d".  He goes on to say that "it is disconcerting that anyone would use a term that is so hurtful to our special needs community..."  James does not explain why the word 'retarded' is harmful to an impersonal entity called a "special needs community".  He does not explain how it is that we have come to own this community (he refers to it as "our" community, whatever that means).  I know for a fact that I have no ownership interest in anything called a "special needs community".  And I also know for a fact that if my special needs community displayed the characteristics of being "slow or limited in intellectual development" I would not hesitate to call it retarded.
James is more than disconcerted.  He is angry.  He goes on by writing, "The true problem was that it was put in the newspaper.  It was not Flacco who printed the offensive word--it was the Denver Post.  It was not necessary to print that slur..."  So the Denver Post is guilty of a sin or a crime by printing the word 'retarded'.  The sin, of course, must have been committed against people who are mentally retarded.  Opps!  I just sinned. I used the "r-word".   This is really quite the catch-22.  How can I describe the mentally retarded without using the word 'retarded'?  James refers to them as individuals with special needs, whatever that means.  I have special needs.  I need regular infusions of Welsh rabbit.  I need regular exposure to Welsh music and dance. By the way, most people believe the Welsh are retarded when it comes to dance.  I will be the first to admit that I am retarded in regards to the art of dance.  I know others who have special needs as well.   In fact, every single person I know has at least one special need.  That being the case, the "special needs community" must include everyone that I know.  When a word or phrase describes everyone in the universe, it becomes a meaningless term.  'Retarded', on the other hand, tells me precisely what I need to know.  'Mentally retarded' or 'emotionally retarded' or 'physically retarded' is even more precise and, therefore, a superior use of language.  How such precision can constitute a criminal or civil offense against some person is a mystery to me.
James gets even more angry as he goes on.  He says, "The Denver Post rightly does not print other obscenities.  It is disappointing that it chose to print this one.  What could be more obscene than insulting our friends and family most in need of understanding and empathy?"  Wow!  The word 'retarded' is now an obscenity on a scale with the word 'nigger'.  I do not know what world James lives in but it is not the same one I live in.  James believes that he somehow owns some of his friends and their families.  He describes them as "our friends and family".  That sounds a lot like slavery to me.  James has also determined that any person who is associated with a retarded person in any way is someone who is "most in need of understanding and empathy".  Now who is condescending?  If James' point is that mentally retarded people are just like us and should not be singled out by means of the use of the word 'retarded', why does he then go on to grant most extreme victim status to anyone who is associated with them?  
James needs to grow up.  He needs to stop taking offense when offense is not being given.  Clearly he has taken the fact that some people use the word 'retard' in order to insult someone who is not really mentally retarded.  So what?  Does James have any idea how offended I could be if I took personal offense every time somebody used the word "welsh" or "welch" in a pejorative fashion?  Should the word 'friendly' be stricken from our vocabulary and pronounced to be obscene simply because some idiotic yahoos start using it in a pejorative fashion?   I can hear it now.  Some red-neck (another obscenity?) starts calling his buddies 'friendly'.  Next thing we know the mall will be filled with air-headed teenage girls calling each other 'friendly'.  Finally a group will be formed on behalf of the friendly people in this world accusing those who use the term 'friendly' of obscenity.  The whole world has gone crazy.

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Mom Died Today

My mom died today.  She was not an extraordinary woman.  She will not have a listing in the obituary page of the local paper.  She will not have a caravan to a burial site made up of dozens of cars.  In fact, she is virtually unknown.  Or, I should say, she was virtually unknown.  It is going to take some time to adjust to thinking of her in the past tense.  Aside from a couple of friends who can no longer get around, and her surviving children, nobody knows that she is gone.  That's OK.  She would have wanted it that way.
My mom was a very shy person, almost pathologically so.  I think her upbringing had something to do with her shyness.  She was the youngest of three children raised by alcoholic parents who were angry drunks.  It couldn't have been easy looking for a place to hide when the arguments would break out, especially as a little girl.  She told me that when the weather was nice she would run outside to her favorite tree and climb up into it.  There she would sit, looking the leaves and the sky.  She found some solace there.
My mom almost made 80 years old.  March 1st is her 80th birthday.  I mean, would have been her 80th birthday.  She told me she wanted to make it to 80 if she could.  She lived a relatively healthy life until a little over a year ago when she took a tumble in the night. It is hard to believe that less than two years ago we played a round of golf together.  She had been living independently in her own home since my dad died in 2004.  The fall broke vertebrae in her back.  The siblings and I decided it was time for her to move to our neighborhood.  We brought her to Denver and found a very nice assisted living center near us.  I got to spend time with her just about every day over the past year and I would not trade that time for anything in the world. 
I learned a lot about her over the past year.  She lived a tough life in a lot of ways.  I learned that she had probably been sexually assaulted as a girl.  That really surprised me.  She had never mentioned it before.  She told me of a memory she had of walking home from school one day when a strange man pulled her into a basement.  She did not remember what happened after that, only that she got home OK.  Unlike most people who experience such things she did not dwell on it.  She did not consider herself to be a victim.  That is the way mom was.  She accepted things and moved on with her life.
My dad was a tough person to live with.  Over the past year my mom told me stories about some of the cruel things that he did to her.  She did not tell me because she was angry with him, or with life.  They were just stories from her past, like any other story.  She would tell me stories about happy times as well, and her demeanor would not change.  It was just life.  That is the way my mom was.
Despite her shyness my mom was one of the mentally toughest people I have ever met.  She would never let the circumstances of life get her down.  If I have any mental toughness at all, and I think I have a bit, it came from her, and I thank her for it.  I have a couple of stories about my mom I would like to tell you.  They are just stories that have come to my mind as I am sitting here.  I guess this could be a bit of a public eulogy to her from me.
When I was a young man of 14 or 15 my mom and I got the idea of going for a long hike in a wilderness area near our home in New Mexico.  One hot summer day we set out, with very little water, for a destination that had an Indian artifact on display.  I guess it was probably about five miles with several steep canyons to go in and out of along the way.  By the time we got to the "stone lions" (the artifact), we were out of water.  The hike back was long and we slowed down during the afternoon heat.  We finally arrived at the overlook of the final canyon we needed to descend to get to our car.  I rushed ahead and found a soda machine near the parking lot.  I purchased a bottle of grape Nehi and hurried back up the trail to meet her.  To this day she said that that grape Nehi was the sweetest, most refreshing drink she ever had.  That was a great day with my mom.
When we moved to New Mexico from Ohio I was a ten year old boy in love with baseball.  Several of us were playing a game in the local park when the ball disappeared into some bushes and we could not find it.  For reasons I don't think I fully understood I started to swear.  I had never sworn in my life.  The reaction I got from my compatriots made me swear even more.  In fact, for the rest of that day I don't think I said more than a handful of words that were not swear words.  And that was hard to do since I only knew a couple of swear words. 
The next day my mom called me into the kitchen where she was working.  She had found out about my behavior the previous day.  Now I guess most moms in those days would have reached for the soap and "washed out my mouth" with it.  My mom was not like most moms.  I walked into the kitchen and I could tell I was in trouble.  I knew why I was there.  Strangely, though, she was not mad.  I sat down and she turned to look at me and I saw sadness in her eyes.  I barely remember what she said to me but I do remember how she looked at me.  It broke my heart.  She finished talking to me and told me I could go.  I immediately went outside and climbed into my favorite tree.  While I was sitting in that tree thinking about what had just happened I made a vow to myself that I would never hurt my mom again.   If I was able, I would never disappoint her again.  I could not stand to see that sadness in her eyes ever again.  I hope I was successful in fulfilling my vow. 
I guess boys are supposed to go through a time when they don't like their mothers.  I am told that being seen with mom is the most uncool thing in the world.   I don't recall that time ever happening to me.  When I was a teenager the family won a bicycle built for two in a local raffle.  It was a heavy behemoth, a single speed monstrosity that would be laughed at today.  I thought it was cool.  My mom and I used to ride that bike around "the loop", a short loop route in our neighborhood.  I was probably considered to be the most uncool kid in town but not only did I not care, I never even thought about it.  I was having a great time riding with my mom and that was all that mattered to me. 
I could go on telling lots of stories like this.  My mom was a rock.  She was always there.  She was always supportive.  She would always listen.  I liked to honor her on my birthday by sending her flowers.  That has always seemed reasonable to me.  She was the one who did all the work in bringing me into this world.  All I had to do was show up.  I enjoyed thanking her for the gift of physical life on my birthday.  I am not going to be able to do that this week.  That's OK.  She taught me that life goes on.  The tears will dry and sorrow will wane with time.  She will be right.  She almost always was.
Her death is not without great hope.  My mom was a Christian for many years.  She was praying to the Lord on her deathbed....that He would bless her sons and take her to be with Him.  He was merciful and answered her prayer quickly.  I believe I will see her again.
My mom died today, and I miss her like you would not believe.