George Orwell Quotes

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If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.

English novelist and journalist, George Orwell (1903-1950), was an outspoken political commentator, but he was much better known for his literary works, including the novels 1984 and ANIMAL FARM.

Charles Swindoll Quote

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All of history looks back at that moment–to the tragedy and triumph of that cross.  First the crucifixion, then the resurrection of the Son of God.

From Romans 5:8:  “God proves His love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.”

Distant Land

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Nation’s outstretched hand

Shaping distant land


Trade benefits both

Bringing steady growth


Prosperity’s health

Welcoming new wealth


Benevolence molds

Filling now with cold


This mighty power

Seeing its plans sour


Citizens lack voice

Having little choice


Uproar fuels action

Bringing reaction


Hostile clouds amass

Reaching dark impasse


Big brother nation

Facing frustration


Rebels gather ‘round

Fading common ground


More Redcoats arrive

Gathering beehive


Independence shouts

Calling freedom out


Colonists stand firm

Battling to affirm


Mother country’s heart

Tearing self apart


British might stands down

Watching its meltdown


America stands

Molding freedom’s hands


Photo by Lukas on

Throughout history, many nations have attempted to mold and shape other lands into their own image.  Terms such as imperialism, colonization, and nation building sometimes come to mind.  It is worth noting that the British attempted to establish a foothold on the American continent starting in 1607.  By the mid-1770s, their plans for a continuing American empire were crumbling.  Few, if any other nations, have learned from this lesson in history . . . America included.

Monday Memories: Perfect Seat

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Circus shows once filled with excitement to delight

Few spectators now attend circus magic each night


Generation ago, numerous children experienced it all

Now mighty Big Tops have vanished with a huge fall


Sitting in the crowd with a perfect seat

Thrilled to adore another tasty treat


The ringmaster keeps the thrilling show moving along

Audiences soon realize that each act lasts only so long


Three rings keep crowd’s enthusiasm mounting with ease

Here come zany clowns, filled with foolishness to please


Dazzling jugglers and daring acrobats delight

Children dream of being in the circus spotlight


Sitting in the crowd with a perfect seat

Eagerly watching performances so sweet


Lions, tigers, and bears—Oh, what a sight to behold

Bravery shown by animal tamers, awesome and bold


Always pleasing are gigantic elephants from afar

Their majestic presence makes them the stars


Evening’s ultimate act flies high above three circus rings

Trapeze artists dangle with suspense from their swings


Sitting in the crowd with a perfect seat

Looking forward to each astonishing feat


Fewer circus companies still travel the globe

The “Greatest Show on Earth” needed to fold


Audiences once filled the Big Top’s nightly crusade

Now dying out, precious memories stumble and fade


New generation of young children shall never wonder

How circus night brought applause as loud as thunder


Sitting in the crowd with a perfect seat

Recalling circus images that will repeat


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Vanishing Prairie

Courtesy of Pinterest.

Vanishing prairie hangs on

Isolated town foregone


Time long ago, grand premiere

History fading each year


Showing up on highway map

Road’s wide spot, taking a nap


Middle of farming country

Seldom find even one tree


Boarded-up wood-frame schoolhouse

Empty, forgotten courthouse


No longer town’s pride and joy

Critters, varmints now employ


Railroad track hides in tall grass

Recalling past trains, first-class


Grain elevator hanging on

Memories live, town’s swan song


Single street light standing guard

Night’s shadows, lasting vanguard


Yesteryear’s grandest of homes

Mystery for Sherlock Holmes


Faded sign for Ruth’s Café

Long absent dinner entrees


Movie theater shuttered

Smelling fresh popcorn, buttered


Few remember town’s past times

Hearing nature’s windy chimes


Past glory days, now long gone

Dim sunset, well past its dawn


Courtesy of Pinterest.

During my teaching career, I taught 25 years in the eastern prairie country of Montana.  Today, many small farming communities struggle for survival while others such as the one in this poem live on only as memories.

Her Spirit Lives

Montana’s Crazy Mountains (courtesy of Pinterest).

Howling wind joins darkness

From mountains standing tall

Screaming into valleys

Her spirit lives to bawl


River bottom cuts through

Shudders at her loud cry

Escaping into night

Her spirit never dies


Myths and legends live on

Woman wanders away

Never noticed again

Her spirit roams to prey


Crazy Woman Mountains

Dramatic island range

Lives into eternity

Her spirit must not change


Another winter night

Shivering voice calls out

Noisy lungs never sleep

Her spirit lives throughout

Another view taken from the south with the Yellowstone River in the foreground with autumn’s colors (courtesy of Pinterest).

Montana’s Crazy Mountains stand as a sentry above the valley near the town of Big Timber.  Nicknamed the “Crazies,” the wind always seems to be blowing.  If you wish to read more about them, here is a link to the mountains.

Buckeye Snapshots (Issue #4)

Every couple of months or so different snapshots about the Buckeye State of Ohio will be featured.

Just like the place where you live, Ohio is loaded with facts which very people may actually know.  Being relatively new to Ohio (arriving here about 13 years ago), I am still searching and discovering more.

Ohio is sometimes referred to as the “Buckeye” state.  But, how many people really know what a Buckeye is?  The Buckeye tree is found throughout the state, and its nut is also called a Buckeye.  While the trees are found in other Midwestern locations, only Ohio has adopted it. 

A collection of Buckeye nuts. Just remember that these are not edible and can be toxic.

Besides being a nickname for the state, Buckeyes is also used as the name for The Ohio State University’s athletic teams.  To be honest, it seems a bit strange to use the name of a “worthless nut” for a college sports team name.

Ohio was granted statehood in 1803 while Thomas Jefferson was President.  However, does anyone know the rest of the story?  When the American Congress approved statehood for Ohio, they forgot one significant step.  Ohio’s state constitution was not ratified by the federal government.  This error was overlooked until 1953 when President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation approved by Congress to rectify this oversight. 

The unique style of the Ohio state flag with its swallow-tail design. A member of The Ohio State University marching band is waving the flag at a home football game.

Ohio is home to eight of America’s Presidents.  Any Americans who can name them all should be applying for a spot on the game show “Jeopardy.”  With the exception of William Henry Harrison, all were born in Ohio.  Harrison was born in Virginia, but lived in Ohio when he was elected President. 

The remaining Presidents include:  Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding.  There has not been a President from Ohio since Harding (elected in 1920).  Seeing that Harding has been ranked as one of the most inefficient Presidents in history, one might understand why Ohio has been on the Presidential sidelines ever since.

Buckeye Snapshots (Issue #3)

This is the third post of a relatively new feature here at Big Sky Buckeye.  Every couple of months or so different snapshots about the Buckeye State of Ohio will be featured.

Ohio uses a number of nicknames.  Many people have heard of the “Buckeye” state, but fewer know some of its other nicknames.

Declared by the U.S. Congress in 2003, Ohio is also known as the “Birthplace of Aviation.”  Four noteworthy Ohioans have stood out for their individual contributions to American aviation.

Many people know of the inventive brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright (1867-1912 and 1871-1948).  Growing up in Dayton, this tandem worked hard to earn a living from their bicycle business, but they were dreaming of more.  Their ambitions credited them with inventing and flying the first aircraft in 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  In winning a coin toss, Orville took the controls of the plane on this historic flight.

Few people may know of the top fighter ace from World War I, Eddie Rickenbacker (1890-1973).  Born in Columbus, this daring aviator earned 26 aerial victories during the Great War.  Being nicknamed “Fast Eddie,” this man seemed destined for greatness.  For his war exploits, he was awarded the American military’s Medal of Honor.  Later in life, he experienced more success as a race car driver, automotive designer, and airline executive. 

On the left:  the Wright brothers.  On the right:  Captain Eddie Rickenbacker.  (Photos courtesy of Pinterest)

One of the most recognized of the early American astronauts was John Glenn (1921-2016).  Hailing from New Concord, he flew as a U.S. Marines fighter pilot in World War II (57 combat missions) and the Korean War (63 combat missions).  Following his military service in Korea, Glenn served as a fighter test pilot.  Little did he know that this step in his aviation career would open a door to outer space.  Selected as one of NASA’s original seven astronauts, he orbited the earth three times in 1962 aboard the Friendship 7 space flight in a Mercury capsule.

Any discussion about Ohio’s aviation pioneers would not be complete without including Neil Armstrong (1930-2012).  From his hometown of Wapakoneta, Armstrong would bring a well-rounded resume to his training in NASA’s second group of astronauts.  The Korean War veteran served as a naval aviator and test pilot.  Following Armstrong’s successful Gemini 8 mission, he was groomed to make the historic moon landing on July 20, 1969 with Buzz Aldrin.  As he stepped onto the moon’s surface, his words still resonate even today:  “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

On the left:  John Glenn.  On the right:  Neil Armstrong.  (Photos courtesy of Pinterest)

Each of these Americans played an important role in the development of aviation in the United States, taking us from the first flight to landing man on the moon.  Outside of Dayton stands the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which is also home to the world’s oldest and largest military aviation museum—National Museum of the United States Air Force. 

The sheer number of exhibits is overwhelming, but here is a very brief sample.  Follow this link to the museum website.

  • Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress (the infamous Memphis Belle)
  • Boeing B-29 Superfortress (this bomber dropped the second and final atomic bomb over Japan to end World War II)
  • Boeing 707 (recognized by call sign “Air Force One” for Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon)
  • Apollo 15 Command Module Endeavour (later the name “Endeavour” is used for one of NASA’s space shuttles)

Generation to Generation

The inspiration for this poem comes from an essay written by William E. Farr, “Troubled Bundles, Troubled Blackfeet:  The Travail of Cultural and Religious Renewal.”  This essay is part of a larger collection of writings that link Montana’s past with its future in the book, MONTANA LEGACY.

Courtesy of Pinterest.

Facing an uncertain world

Life asking questions of “when”

Intertribal wars threaten

Hostile danger setting in


Preserving Blackfeet culture

Each passing generation

Saving sacred heritage

Hold for next generation


Ritual artifacts cache

Spiritual lives won’t rest

Supernatural visions

Medicine dreams will attest


Honoring warrior life

Holy treasures speaking out

Collected and safeguarded

Sacred bundles carry clout


Filling with key elements

Common and natural sought

Feathers, hides, shells, horns added

Teeth, wood, bones . . . each with a thought


Passing on these rituals

Mother Earth, Creative Sun

Guarding life’s sacred relics

Legacy, father to son


Sample of a bundle’s contents (courtesy of Pinterest).

Season of Change

In December, 1989, the Romanian Revolution ignited with passion which would no longer wait in silence.  The rest of the Eastern Bloc countries under Soviet influence had already experienced peaceful change from communist dictatorships.  Under Nicolae Ceausescu’s harsh leadership, Romania was the final holdout as the democratic wave of freedom blitzed across Eastern Europe.  This poem shares some of this revolution’s story.

Courtesy of Pinterest.

Ruthless, authoritarian rule controls the cards

Harsh, brutal regime crushes dissenting voices

Quietness hides the remaining, burning embers

Daily life conceals wounds, offering few choices


Citizens endure lack of even the basic needs

Challenging days, facing endless heartbreak

Darkest days of winter, hunger and little heat

Voices stifled, experiencing numbing heartache


Freedom routed, plummeting to rock bottom

System of repression forcefully controls lives

Defiant opposition, beaten down to nothing

Dictator’s untruths cover up with empty lies


Scattering of small voices continues to speak out

Smoldering protests fueled with hungry passion

Government crackdowns to silence any dissent

Voices growing bolder, backed with compassion


Massive protests ignite courage in a distant city

“Timisoara” becomes a rallying cry for liberation

Unexpectedly, dark and evil house of cards folds

Season of change witnesses rebirth of a nation


Courtesy of Pinterest.