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Posts Tagged ‘Civil War’

The Problem With The Confederate Flag

flagThere’s no doubt this will disappoint and infuriate some of my readers, but I feel I would be a coward if I didn’t tell you how I feel about the Confederate flag controversy and why.

First, I’m very much a child of the South, the past five or six generations on one side have been in Arkansas, before that Georgia, Virginia and a boat that sailed from England.  On the other side of the family I’ve got four generations from Arkansas, before that Tennesee then Texas where you can still visit the town of Granger, Texas. I’ve been told it was named by my great great great great grandfather Granger Gertrudio McDaniel.   One of my great great grandfathers and several great great uncles fought in the Civil war…for the South.I say all this so you understand there’s not a single yankee in the wood pile.

Still, I’m so relieved the Confederate flags are  being removed from our state capitol buildings. They don’t belong there because that flag does not represent or honor ALL of the people who live in our beautiful state.

I don’t think the Confederate flag should be banned or burned or hidden but it doesn’t belong on our Capitol or in our schools.

Yes, it is our heritage and it’s your right to fly it at home or wear on a tee-shirt. But my heritage is my history….the past. My present, my right now, my at this moment is different.

Right now I have a lot of very dear friends who I love and they are black.  I love them more than I love that flag. I don’t like thinking what my great great great grandfather was doing 175 years ago and what their great great great grandfather’s might have been doing 175 years ago. It makes me sad and embarrassed. And this country belongs to them just as much as it belongs to me.

If the Confederate flag, that brings so many so much pride causes my dear friends one moment of pain or discomfort….well, their love means more to me than pride. I am not ashamed of my relatives, they were brave, strong, Christian people. they thought they were doing the right thing. But they were wrong.

I still like the General Lee, Lynard Skynard and I know every word to Dixie.

Bottom line, my black friends are more important than that flag. They bring me more joy, they help me, make me better and represent my heart more than the confederate flag. I chose those I love.

And the Confederate flag does not define my past and I have other things to be proud of now. If I want to leave a lasting legacy it won’t be the Confederate flag, it will be my children. Sandor, Alexis, Mary and Jack.  They are my battle flag now, through them I will find a way to make the world a better place and I will carry them forever along with the flag of the United States of America.

(If anyone knows a  literacy agent or publisher  help me out.)

Yankees and Clocks in Dallas County, Arkansas

clockThere is a beautiful antique Seth Thomas mantel clock in the closet at my house.  It belongs to my son Jack, who is twenty six years old, but doesn’t really have a place to keep the old clock yet.

The story behind the Seth Thomas clock comes from the Stell side of my family. I heard it hundreds of times growing up but it was never written down. For generations the Stell family lived near Fordyce, in the Big Woods of Dallas County Arkansas, an area full of pine trees and farm land.

Just two months before the start of the Civil War in 1861, a  clock peddle from Connecticut was traveling through Dallas County, Arkansas.  My great grandfather, William Dallas Stell was a teen-ager when the enthusiastic clock peddler’s wagon rolled up to their farm house. He was invited to wash up and stay for dinner.

The young man accepted the invitation and while they ate he explained his predicament. He told the family he was from Connecticut and fully understood the war was about to begin.  His brothers already planned to fight with the Union and he felt he had to return and fight along side them.

He was afraid however that he’d never make it back in time because of his wagon and the Seth Thomas clocks he was carrying with him.  He made a deal with my great great grand father as young William Dallas Stell listened.  He wanted to leave the wagon and the clocks in the barn.  If he lived through the war he would return and give Mr. Stell a clock. If he did not return all three or four clocks and the wagon would belong to the Stell family.

The men shook hands and the younger man said he was certain the war wouldn’t last too long. The next morning, at first light, the young clock peddler took off on horseback to join his own brothers.

The barn, the wagon and the clocks survived the Civil War, but they young man never returned. Each boy in the family was given a clock with the instructions  it was to stay in the Stell family.

And so, the young Yankee  peddlers clock sits in my closet waiting for my son, who bears his great grand father’s name, Jack Stell, to finally take it home.