New photo

I just want to take a moment to give credit where credit is due for the new photo. The old one, by the way, was taken by a parent at the school where I teach. The new one was taken by Randy while he was here at the farm on Sunday evening. Those are southern Longleaf Pines in the background, and I think the dogwood and part of a buddleia. I’m trying to persuade him to post one of the ones I took of him, but he’s complaining about looking too grey-headed, or hat hair, or some such excuse. I thought he was a good-lookin’ feller, myself, but he seems not to believe me…


Woke up this morning with the very strong sense that I HAD to get to the local home improvement warehouse and pick up some flowers. Half of them are now potted on my back porch; the other half will go in pots or in the ground later today. So begins my summer.

Randy was here over the week-end, and Sunday afternoon I brought him to the Farm for a couple of hours. It was a time of wonderful gifts of the kind I like best. As he unfolded his nearly – six-foot frame from my little Escort, the first thing he said was, “Man! it’s quiet out here!” and almost immediately we heard the plaintive little “bob-WHITE” of a quail in the woods behind the tobacco barn, and another across the road answering him. The buddleia I almost killed last year by transplanting late in the spring is blooming like crazy, and so are the daylilies and the spiderwort. There are deer tracks within twenty feet of the front steps. I wouldn’t have seen the fox if Randy hadn’t seen it first, gazing curiously at us through the underbrush of the hedgerow in the back yard. When the sun set and it grew quite dark, we went a little way up the road so he could see the stars unimpeded by city lights or my back-yard security lamp.

The one thing I couldn’t arrange for him was one of our glorious summer thunderstorms. We had a grand one Monday night after he had left, and another here last night, with heavy downpours of rain and rumbling thunder in the distance. The lightening bugs also did not cooperate while he was here. I saw a couple last week-end from the kitchen window where I’m now writing. We used to have hundreds of them blinking their way through the early summer evenings, when I was a kid. I suppose the extravagant use of pesticides and other chemicals has destroyed most of them. They’ve become quite rare, and you just don’t hear kids bragging about how many they caught and bottled the way we used to do. It’s a pity, the things we’ve lost over the past couple of generations.

Well, duty calls in the form of a cluttered back porch and two six-packs of impatiens. It’s a gorgeous morning, and I’m glad to be home for a while to enjoy it.

Sticks and Stones…

… can break my bones, but words can never hurt me!

Of course, we all figured out a long time ago that words can hurt a lot. That’s why the Church has some very strong words about the sins of detraction and calumny, which are sins against the Fifth Commandment.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC):

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.[277] He becomes guilty:
– of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
– of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;[278]
– of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:
Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.[279]

2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one’s neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

More thoughts to follow.