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Happy Independence Day

What a glorious day

to think about Independence

the blessings and privileges

that have come my way

 

Freedom of thought

and of things to share

the right to agree or disagree

about the things we care

 

Freedom to move about

to see and enjoy this great land

from the seashores to the mountains

by any mode of transportation we can

 

Freedom to worship God

or the freedom not to

expressions of faith

see our souls through

 

Happy Birthday America

celebrations throughout the land

fireworks and barbecue

parades and bands

 

In the pursuit of freedom

many lives have been lost

cherish and protect it

freedom comes at a cost

 

God bless America

on this Independence Day

let freedom ring

as we go our way

 

copyright 2020 Debbie Pierce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Art in the Mist of a Hurricane

IMG_4545

Amidst the ruins

following a hurricane’s fury

lies an esoteric monument

not made in a hurry

 

Compassion is expressed

for a way of life lost

created out of remnants of wood

knowing the cost

 

Fury in a storm

communities wiped out

a national tragedy

there is much fallout

 

Many people flee

having lost all they had

no way to recover

all is sad

 

A small piece of wood

a monument to what has passed

hope has returned

optimism to last

 

The communities are rebuilt

the people have returned

prospering now

with lessons learned

 

Carvings of art

along the highway

may we never forget

those lost on that day

 

copyright 2019 Debbie Pierce

 

https://fivedotoh.com/2019/10/05/fowc-with-fandango-esoteric/

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https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/10/05/rdp-saturday-amidst/

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A Peaceful Museum on the Natchez Trace

Sitting on a hill

the old homestead stood

living in eras past

porch has some chopped wood

 

In days of old

it was the habit of the caretaker

to hand lemonade out to guests

with ice cream from a wood maker

 

In those early days

explorers crossed the land

seeking a nights lodging

listening to nature’s band

 

Confusion reigned 

in the next centuries years

a great war raged 

there were many tears

 

After the war was over

magnanimous reconciliation occurred

as the culture was rebuilt

different sounds were heard

 

Coming forward

the house is a museum now

testament to the changes around it

ghosts of the past taking a bow

 

Sitting along a peaceful road

lessons from the past

one with its surroundings

resting at last

 

copyright 2019 Debbie Pierce

 

https://fivedotoh.com/2019/09/27/fowc-with-fandango-magnanimous/

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Memorial Day 2019

american flag may 5

On this weekend

we remember those that served

fighting for an ideal

having the nerve

 

Coming in many forms

bravery to face the battle

beliefs that all have liberty

and are not mere chattel

 

Through words of love

spoken of lives lost too soon

they will not be forgotten

bugles play at noon

 

Love never dies

they have given us this life

sounds of laughter

peace and not strife

 

There are few

who proudly take our place

to defend a great land

wrapped in God’s grace

 

We are grateful for their service

for defending this great land

giving hugs to their spirits

reverently shaking their hands

 

Happy Memorial Day

to those whom are gone

your sacrifice is not forgotten

you will never walk alone

 

copyright 2019 Debbie Pierce

 

 

 

 

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Spring Travel: Natchez Mississippi

Spring is a wonderful time to travel in the state of Mississippi. The flowers are in full bloom and the weather is pleasant. I recently took a day trip to Natchez, Mississippi during its spring pilgrimage. During this time the antebellum homes are open for touring and the history of Natchez is presented. In addition to the museums several privately owned homes are open during this period. Each house has been a part of American history and tells unique stories. This is a brief summary of the events of the day.

 

Natchez is on the Mississippi River and is the oldest settlement. Founded in 1716 it has served Mississippi from a frontier capital to the tourist destination that it is today. The first stop on my tour began at Fort Rosalie. It survived an Indian massacre in 1729. The Rosalie house was completed in 1823. Nestled along the Mississippi River the old house has beautiful gardens and a stately appearance. The huge trees surrounding the house create a quiet serene haven. There is a wonderful view of the river through the neatly cut grass field. Photography is not allowed in any of the antebellum homes. Each one has a rich history of a succession of families who lived in these homes for the past two to three hundred years.

 

After touring Rosalie the next stop on the tour is lunch at the Carriage House on the property of Stanton Hall. The restaurant serves southern style food and has a blue plate lunch special. I had the deviled egg potato salad, shrimp poboy, and gumbo. It was a wonderful mix of spices and flavors. The staff is attentive and the tables are quite elegant for fine dining. The Carriage House is used for events as well during the year.

 

After a relaxing lunch the next stop on the tour was Stanton Hall. Built in 1858 the stately house is open for tours and used for social occasions in Natchez. The house has been used as bed in breakfast which included guests such as General Macarthur and his family. It  has also been used for filming movies because of its elaborate furnishings and flair. The bedrooms in the house were used in the mini series North and South. This movie is one of the many stories about the American Civil War. The docents of the house have served there for many years and are happy to share all of the history of this house.

 

The afternoon concluded with a horse drawn carriage tour of downtown Natchez. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and told many stories of the buildings in town. Natchez has some eccentric characters in its history which make for an enjoyable afternoon filled with stories. Many of the buildings downtown have had multiple uses through the years and serve as a reminder of the rich history of this town.

 

It was late afternoon as we left Natchez to make our way home. Memories of this rich historical town will remain with me.  Our tour guides were helpful in suggesting restaurants and other places to visit. I look forward to visiting again to experience more of the historical significance of this town.

copyright 2019 Debbie Pierce

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Concern: Dust Bowl

old family cabin mississippi

Times were hard

there was a scorching sun

dust rolled through the fields

there was no where to run

 

Concern for the family

there was a choice to be made

can the land be managed

or learn a different trade

 

Families had left

to search for a better life

only pestilence remained

it was a life of strife

 

Decision made

to let the land rest

moved to a new place

family thought it best

 

Time passed

returned to the farm

land is better managed

there is not an alarm

 

Plenty of food

grass for the cattle

preservation is an answer

to prevent another dust bowl battle

 

copyright 2018 Debbie Pierce

 

https://pipersadventures.blog/2018/06/06/concern-dust-bowl

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The KerDoodle Daily Prompt

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Assay: Alligator and Turtle

alligator bike ride 3

Sitting on a log

staring into each other’s eye

assaying their fate

deciding to either flee or die

 

Happening upon each other

on a late winter’s day

a perfect moment

where each can have his say

 

Bikers and walkers are stopped

spectators to this contest

wondering if they will fight

or just continue to rest

 

All eyes are upon them

they are like still life

living in the moment

amid some steep strife

 

A meaningful conversation

just between the two

coming to an understanding

only they have a clue

 

Slipping into the water

 each goes his way

having entertained the spectators

on this beautiful day

 

copyright 2018 Debbie Pierce

 

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Mississippi Gulf Coast : The Art of Healing and Remembering Hurricane Katrina

Life is full of challenges that can be damaging to the human soul. Some challenges such as broken relationships and disease are internal. The restoration of the soul may take a long time or there may be a quick resolution. Other life challenges are caused by an external force of nature such as a hurricane. Healing from internal and external forces may be accomplished through art.

Art expresses who we are as individuals. For many people internal life challenges may be healed through music, writing, or painting. Art is like a magnet that expresses our innermost thoughts and feelings. In many ways art will imitate the journey of our lives.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a beautiful nature scene. There are beaches filled with birds and people. Each enjoying the abundance of sunshine, sand and water. The Mississippi beaches feature restaurants, picnic areas, and water vehicles for rent. There are piers where people can fish. Fishermen can be seen early in the morning walking to their favorite spot.  Beautiful sunrises and sunsets may be enjoyed from many spots along the coastline.

The beauty of the Mississippi Gulf Coast is expressed in music venues, art museums, and paintings. All is well today but more than ten years ago a devastating hurricane came ashore that changed the journey of life for people and nature.

Hurricanes are a frightening force in nature. The force of the wind and water causes much damage and pain to all things involved. Hurricane Katrina caused devastation and death along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The tranquil and comfortable lives of people were devastated in a few days. People fled to the north to escape the dangerous gulf surges, tornadoes, and winds. Upon return to the south the land mass between Louisiana and Alabama would never be the same.

After the hurricane people came back to a desolate environment. The homes and businesses of the Mississippi Gulf Coast were either destroyed or heavily damaged. The once beautiful beaches were covered in rubble from buildings. The forces of the gulf water surge destroyed the natural environment.

There would also be death surrounding the survivors. Some people refused to leave their homes and died in the rising waters. There was great despair in many parts of this area.

Hope began to rise in the destruction as Mississippi Gulf Coast residents returned to rebuild. The work was hard and the days were long but the people were persistent. Over eleven years have past and the Mississippi Gulf Coast has recovered and is growing once more.

During the rebuilding years many artists have used the devastation and rebuilding process as inspiration. There are paintings, sculptures, and music to reflect the healing of the times. This artwork is displayed in many venues. There are museums reflecting the culture of the people.

The healing of this devastation has taken years to accomplish. In the mist of the destruction some artists have taken some creative steps to create beauty out of the devastation on the scenic highway 90.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina the median along highway 90 in Mississippi was filled with live oak trees. These beautiful trees were tall and commanding along the coastline. For many years these trees stood as a reminder that nature once stood guard against the storms. These live oak trees also served as a postcard to years past.

Some artists decided to create sculptures out of the dead oak trees now scattered along highway 90. Taking chain saws these artists created art out of the devastation. The sculptures now replace the oak trees in the median of highway 90.

Each day people traveling highway 90 look upon the beauty of these sculptures. The sculptures are a postcard to the past and present. They are a reminder of how new life can spring from extreme devastation.

turtle sculpture may 2

Many of the sculptures use the subject of marine life. Several of the sculptures have pelicans and other coastal birds as subjects. Each appears to tell the story of nature along these coast lines.

The beaches and gulf waters of the Mississippi Gulf Coast have been repaired. The coastal birds and marine life are wonderful to observe and photograph. The old pier posts are filled with pelicans and other birds. It fills the soul with a sense of peace observing these birds splashing in the water and enjoying the day on the pier post.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast if an example of how life changes have a positive influence on the soul. The art that is exhibited in the museums, highway 90, small shops, and in music venues shows the spirit of renewal after a time of devastation. Truly it is a lesson for all of us. It is well within the soul.

Copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

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An Adventure at Mount Locust on the Natchez Trace

The Natchez Trace Parkway begins in Natchez, Mississippi and ends in Nashville, Tennessee. The Natchez Trace has long served as a highway for explorers and travelers.  One of the oldest places to explore is Mount Locust which according to our paper map is located close to Natchez, Mississippi.

Jess and I took a road trip to Natchez, Mississippi via the Natchez Trace. On the way home we decided to stop at Mount Locust. This particular afternoon was hot and it seemed like a great place to rest and have a snack. We parked the truck and began to explore the grounds.

There is a large field that is lined with trees and a wooden fence. Glazing across the field I imagine what a comfort this must have been to weary travelers seeking lodging on the old Natchez Trace. In those days there were no paved roads just a path through the woods. This path was well-traveled until more modern modes of transportation powered by steam would arrive in this part of the country.

mount locust property april 27

We walk up to the information area and view the informative signs explaining the history of Mount Locust. The signs weave a story of the humble beginnings of this place to its current state. Mississippi is home to many interesting historical places that change as time moves forward.

Mount Locust was built in the late 1700’s and has served as an inn for weary travelers to changing into a working plantation. Today Mount Locust is owned by the National Park Service and has been restored to how it looked in the early 1800’s. The admission is free and open most days of the year.

Jess and I move along the path to the old house. The old house is small with a large porch in the front. We climb the steep stairs to the entrance and stand on the porch to reflect on the history of this place. It is easy to imagine the guests in this house sitting on the porch in the evenings exchanging stories of their adventures. The porch must have had a grand view of the property at that time.

Entering the house the dining area is the first room that we explore. There is a large table with plates and mugs carefully set. This room is small but the table fits nicely and one can almost smell the food cooking and being eaten by the guests of this house. History is wonderful and alive if one’s imagination will take you on the journey into the past.

mount locust dining hall april 27

Jess and I move on to the next room and observe a bed and a desk. The room is quite comfortable as we glance into the past. There is a fireplace in this room that would have served as a source of warmth in the cooler weather.

mount locust room 1 april 27

The next room is for guests with children. It is a larger room with two beds and a table. There are toys on the table for the children to play with. I can hear the laughter of young ones playing and enjoying the travel adventure.

mount locust toys april 27

Our next stop in this small house is a storage area. The sun filled room is home to dishes, shoes, and work tools. This small room has shelves and was more likely used for whatever was needed for the everyday life of the inn.

mount locust storage room april 27

We leave the interior of the house and move into the backyard area. There is a wooden soap making machine in the corner. The early pioneers in this area made their soap from lye. The site has a sign that explains how the soap is made.

In the middle of the yard is a closed cistern. These days it stands as a relic to the past when houses did not have indoor plumbing. The rain water collected in this cistern sustained people in an earlier time. I admire how resourceful the people of that time were and how they contributed to the ecosystem of the land.

mount locus cistern april 27

The back of  the yard is lined with beautiful trees and a trail. In later times Mount Locust became a working plantation when the power of steam made travel on the Natchez Trace less frequent. The trail leads to an old slave cemetery. This was a darker time in Mississippi history.

mount locust slave cemetery trail april 27

The day is hot so Jess and I decline to walk the trail. We take a last look at the house and begin moving up the path toward the truck. I am inspired by the beauty of the land and how it sustained so many people throughout history. Truly this is a wonderful place to visit.

Jess and I leave Mount Locust and head toward home on the Natchez Trace. We love these road trips and admire the beauty of the land surrounding the road. As the sun begins to set we know it will not be long before time to have another adventure.

Copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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The American Flag: A Symbol of Opportunity

american flag may 5

Flag day is an important day in my household. We honor the American flag and reflect upon how it symbolizes aspects of our lives. I come from a military family that has faithfully served this country for over a century.

There is an American flag that sits in a shadow box on the mantle above the fireplace. It has been lovingly stored there for many years. It was a gift to my father many years ago and he placed it this box . It stood as a symbol of the life he lived and the gratitude felt for being allowed to live in this country.

The flag was special because it had been flown above the United States Capital in Washington, DC. These flags may be obtained through writing your congressman and paying a small fee. It is a privilege to have one of these American flags.

This country was founded on the principle of freedom. In the beginning that freedom appeared to be limited to a few men. After many years of war and various movements freedom is now available to the people of this country. There are still obstacles to be overcome but there is still freedom underneath this flag.

As a family we celebrate the freedom this country allows through the display of the American flag. It is a reminder to my family that the life we enjoy came from the sacrifice of many individuals. They are to be honored and not forgotten.

Struggle for freedom comes in many forms. There are people in this country trapped in economic hardship that seems impossible to overcome. To these people the struggle is real and for many it seems that there is no hope.

America is the land of opportunity. God has blessed this land and her people with natural resources and the freedom to start over repeatedly. This is a country where each day is a new beginning. Economic hardship can become a struggle of the past.

The American flag is a symbol of that opportunity and freedom. Immigrants have long come to this country searching for a better life. When they see the flag it is a reminder of that hope.

In the late 1800’s my grandparent’s immigrated to this country to escape famine. The few family members that remained alive boarded a boat to America. Having heard that there was opportunity and farm land in Mississippi they immediately migrated south. There was hope for the first time in many years.

The family worked on various farms as they made their way to Mississippi. The labor was difficult and they saved money from each meager check. My great-grandfather was a vet and was able to make extra money tending to sick livestock.

Finally arriving in Mississippi the family bought a small farm. They raised their own food and soon life began to improve. The children were expected to seek out opportunity and work hard. Each generation increased a little farther on the economic ladder.

Soon many years passed and the world was in the midst of World War 1. The sons of the family in Mississippi were drafted and fought in a foreign land. Each time the American flag  was flown it reminded them of home. Seeing such destruction in countries at war made them appreciate the blessings of this land.

The next generation faced the Great Depression. The family barely made ends meet and times were extremely difficult. The American flag was a reminder that this country still offered opportunity and the blessings of the essentials of life. The depression extended around the world and the family was grateful for the opportunities in this country.

There were several wars in the following years. Each generation of this family served with pride to protect this great country. The American flag stood as a symbol to them of perseverance. They were proud to live in this country.

My father had a dual career as an engineer in the army and as a civilian. He dedicated his life to the principles upon which this country was founded. The American flag flew proudly in each of his homes. He taught his children the importance of patriotism and hard work.

The American flag flies outside my home today. As with all previous generations there is still struggle in this country. Adversity will always be a part of our lives but we are blessed to live in a country with the opportunity to overcome issues. Each failure may be turned into a success. The American flag is proudly flown as a symbol of that opportunity.

Copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce