What is Loyalty?

Down through the ages, loyalty has been earmarked as God first, family second, and country third; meaning your loyalty to God, your loyalty to family and your loyalty to your country.

Webster says, as a noun, it means the quality of being loyal to someone, or something, i.e., a strong feeling of support or allegiance.  

Fights with in-laws or family cause divided loyalties.

Synonyms of loyalty are: allegiance, faithfulness, obedience, adherence, homage, devotion, steadfastness, staunchness, true heartedness, dependability, reliability, trustworthiness, duty, commitment, patriotism, and fealty.

There are many quotes about loyalty. “Blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family,”  is one.  Followed by, “I am more concerned about who you are behind my back than who you are to my face.  Your loyalty should not depend on my presence.

Loyalty should always be considerate of the other person’s feelings.  Would you be offended if the other person did exactly the same thing to you?  

Loyalty:  A deep and beautiful word.  How deep does your love of God, family and country run? Are you ready and willing to defend your love and friendship with your accountability?

Many found fault with Trump’s address to the Boy Scouts of America and his saying loyalty was growing faint in our country.  It no longer holds the priority it once did in our lives.  He spoke the truth.  Friendships have faded, love of God has faded, love of country has been spit on and it all goes back to that basic need for loyalty from ourselves, to those we find important, whether it’s God or family or country.

So why has loyalty faded?

I don’t know. I’m not qualified to judge, I’ll leave that to God. But I will tell you this, once loyalty is kicked aside, all the other synonyms it pertains to are in danger of dying. I’d rather be old fashioned in my beliefs and loyal to the ones I love, than to be found short in the loyalty department.

It’s elementary to me, simple enough to define, simple enough to practice.  Some use the excuse, I didn’t think.  That makes a lot of sense.  Some never think before their actions.  Maybe that’s why loyalty has faded, the lack of thinking. After all, thinking requires you to use your brain and it’s just too simple now days to just toss all values out the window and let it be all about our wants, our needs and the hell with everyone and everything else.  I did it all by myself.  I am so important.

May God have mercy on us all. I am so ready for morals to once again reign throughout our land, throughout our families and throughout our churches.  I’m so ready for accountability to return regardless of sex, or age or nationality.  I’m so ready for loyalty to return and be understood and practiced. Perhaps it never will, but I chose to remain forever the optimist with loyalty to my God, my family and my country.

If that’s wrong, then so be it.  I am willing to stand accountable before God for that.  

Are you?

If you enjoyed today’s blog, and would like to read more of my writings, including the Geovanni Legends series and the Ivan Bennett of Scotland Yard series, please visit http://jrmartinauthor.com/


Hi-Ho-Silver Away

It’s wonderful how smells of food can trigger certain memories. After all these years, every time I smell popcorn, I am transported back in time to Saturday night and the picture show.

I was seven years old and I had waited all week to see my cowboy hero. I would enter the movie house and immediately the smells of spearmint gum, orange soda pop and hot buttery popcorn greeted me. My mouth still waters as I think of all those delightful smells housed inside that magical place.

I would quickly take the dime from my sweaty hand and place it on the counter. Then, I waited and watched with anticipation, as the boy beside the popcorn machine, slowly filled a paper bag with that captivating goodness. The extravagant butter soon soaked thru the paper bag, but I didn’t care.

Clutching my treasure in one hand and holding the orange soda pop in the other, I made my way inside to the front row. I would turn the seat upright and plop down, pretending I had just mounted my trusty steed. Then, I took that first bite of heaven and hugged the hot, salty, buttery popcorn bag close to my chest as the aromatic smell was rivaled by the crunchy goodness of this movie cuisine.

I watched in blissful silence as strains of the William Tell Overture, filled the dark room. I knew my hero waited in the wings. Suddenly, there he was astride his beautiful white horse named Silver. The black leather saddle with its silvery stitching was outlined against the powdery color of the horse, and it seemed to gleam in the dimly lit theatre. I can smell the leather of the saddle now if I will close my eyes and remember with my heart, that wonderful moment in childhood time.

I watched as the Lone Ranger along with his faithful companion, Tonto, rode into dangers that a small child could cover their eyes and not be a part of if they didn’t want to. I could feel the stinging dust from the trail they rode, and I could smell the gun smoke that came from the silver bullets fired from his gun.

Everyone knew when you found the silver bullets and someone mentioned a masked man it could only be one person, and that was the Lone Ranger. He rode across the silver screen with a hearty “Hi-Ho-Silver Away,” as I sat with orange circled mouth and popcorn buttered hands, totally mesmerized in cowboy paradise.

Sometimes it rained on Saturday and we couldn’t travel the black dirt road that turned to sticky, slippery slime. Our house sat at the end of the black lane, and if it rained, the only way out was by foot. On those rainy days, and on the other days that were not Saturday, I still enjoyed my childhood hero because I had a swing in a big Oak tree. That beautiful Oak carried a rusty chain with a wooden plank for a seat, and a small little girl to the land of “Let’s Pretend.”

I would pump my legs to go as high as I could, and then I would yell for all the mockingbirds and jackrabbits to hear, “Hi-Ho-Silver Away.” In my mind I became that tall masked man riding his horse of white and telling my Indian sidekick, Tonto,what I wanted cooked for our supper.

My mother was my Indian sidekick and I can hear her laughter when I would yell, “Tonto, we will have beans for our supper tonight.”

She would reply, as mothers do, “Okay, Lone Ranger, they’ll be ready when you are.”

I can still smell the wonderful aroma of fresh biscuits and a pot of simmering red beans. I can taste the soft beans cooked to perfection over a burner on our old kerosene stove. The biscuits were home made and drowned in home churned butter. My mom was the best Indian sidekick a little cowgirl could ever have.

That was long ago and far away, but every time I smell buttery popcorn or taste hot biscuits soaking in soft red beans, that sweet memory returns.

It will forever be stamped on the heart of this Lone Ranger, and under my breath I thankfully whisper, “Hi-Ho-Silver Away.”

Guess Who

“On guard, you scoundrel, draw your sword and fight.”

What maniac was challenging another in the dead of night?

It was well past midnight when the voice rang out and I stood amazed as it continued to shout.

“What a vile coward you are to break in my chambers, the hour is late and my fire is nothing but embers.”

The reply was muffled, so I barely could hear, but I could tell it was spoken from a foreboding fear.

“What’s that? Speak up. What’s your need for me? Step into the light so your face I can to see.”

I peeped into the chamber of my friend for years and saw him standing in the shadows confronting his fears.

I said, “Put down your sword you’ve had a nightmare, nothing more. There is no one here that seeks to harm, only a dream your sleep has torn.”

With questioning eyes he looked at me as though to say, “Please set me free.”
I took his arm and helped him down, while seeing his face in a frightful frown.

I patted his shoulder to reassure he was safe with me, and from his ghoulish sleep, he’d been set free.

He thanked me for the glass of water, I handed him without barter. I felt his pain and understood that dreams feel real when we think they should.

I sat with him and we talked awhile until once again, he could easily smile. He laughed at himself for his vivid dream and the villain he fought with a sword that gleamed.

He asked me if he had dreamt before and awakened me with his words of lore? I admitted he had, but I chose to forget and let it go and not mention it.

“Why did you not tell me I often slept with nightmarish actions causing you regret?”

I replied with a smile and a flic of my wrist

“Because you’re my friend,” I said with a gest.

We continued to talk till the wee hours of morn, discussing stories and trials and memories forlorn. We talked of mysteries solved and people we’d met and murderous scoundrels we’d not captured yet.

He asked me my feelings about Scotland Yard and I truthfully told him I often grew tired; when they moved like turtles and snails with their actions, and doled out advise and their help was rationed.

He agreed with me on the points I made, then smiled and said, “You’ve learned the detective trade.”

“Thanks, Sherlock,” I said with heartfelt grin.

“You’re welcome, Watson, I’m glad you’re my friend.”

Sound of Silence

The room was cool, dark and smelled like lavender. I walked across the carpeted floor to the window. I opened the shutters and the morning sun cast rays of golden light into the room, filling it with sunlight. It always amazed me when light penetrated darkness. It made my heart feel light and airy. This morning was no different.

As I took a seat in the chair next to the window, l leaned my head back against the rocking chair’s head rest. As I started rocking to and fro I noticed there was no noise. The old rocking chair’s usual creaking was silenced by the carpet on the floor. There was no familiar sound of footsteps in the hall, no melodic sound of birds outside, no animal noises; only the sound of my breathing. Could this be similar to Paul Simon’s song?

I turned my head so that I could see out the beautiful plantation shutters that adorned the window. The view afforded me the site of tall majestic trees that rested on the lush green lawn. Their branches were covered in thousands, no, millions of beautiful green leaves. The leaves moved with what seemed a steady rhythm to a silent breeze that stirred them. They reflected back to me once again, a vision, but not noise.

Looking across the yard, I could see cattle grazing peacefully in the pastures that surrounded the house. Their munching on the grass was silenced by distance between me and them. I could see the calves run to their mothers, but I couldn’t hear the sound of their mother’s voice as she called them to her.

The hoof beats of the horses that ran free in the adjoining pasture were enjoyed by vision only, no sound could be heard; again the beauty of horses running free enjoyed by vision only. The nickering I knew they were making couldn’t be heard from this distance.

Things are touched by sound. My ears, the sunshine, the cool, once dark room now filled with sunlight, but no noise. In my mind this had created a place of fear. How could I have fear? I often wished I could shut out the outside noises, even hoped they would cease. Yet, now that they had I was fearful. This was insanity. What was going on with me? Why suddenly had no noise made me frightful? I should have realized this was the material experience I had so often wished for. This was that quiet place, a place of solitude, yet now that I was experiencing it I didn’t like it.

Our minds often create places that we wish for. We can just see them and think, ‘if only I had that I would be so happy.’ Then we find out later, sometimes too late, that isn’t what we want at all. We imagine in our mind that it will be wonderful, and then find out it’s not appealing at all. In fact we hate it.

With surprise, I realized I love sounds. I need sound to speak to me, to tell me what is going on in my world. As annoying as sounds can sometime be, I need that. It makes me feel alive. I yearned for the honking of car horns, the laughter of children, the sound of the bird’s song, my dog barking, and the voices of the ones I love. What I often considered annoying, really was a life giving force to me.

I sat back down in the old rocking chair and this time when I looked out the window I saw dark clouds gathering. Streaks of lightning danced across the sky. But, they were still too far away for me to hear the thunder that I knew accompanied them. Still I watched with hopeful sight, and then, ever so slightly I heard the drops of soft summer rain as it hit the window pane.

At first it was gentle, falling slowly and then it turned into a loud melody of rushing rain drops beating a steady cadence on the roof top and against the window pane. The silence had ended and been replaced with the rhythm of the rain, and it was beautiful music to my heart and to my ears.

The Rusty Gate

The rusty latch clicks lazily as the gate swings shut. Time and the elements have taken their toll on this sentinel to the yard.

It has seen families come and go and children grow up with what seemed sonic speed. As the years passed, the old gate’s hinges began to slip a little, lowering the frame downward.

But, still it stood as proud as the rotting wood post would allow.

Just to the side of the aging gate, a rose bush with delicate pink roses, intertwined the barbed wire that kept the cows in the pasture from dining on the flowers in the yard. A bit further down, an old Oak tree lifted its branches heavenward as though giving thanks.

Everything about the old home place was showing its age, if one cared about such things. But, to me it was home.

The rusty gate closing behind me meant I’d arrived home safe and just inside the front door I’d find my parents, my siblings, my loved ones—–if only that were true.

Time has moved on and all that remains is this aging house surrounded by aging fences and run down fields and fond memories— and this one lonely rusty old gate.

A Little Trivia…

July 4th is called the birth of America.  On this day, the Declaration of Independence was signed and America justified her separation from Great Britain, in 1776.

Down through the ages, the 4th of July has been celebrated with firework and picnics and a general gathering of peoples throughout the United States.  The musical accompaniment for this very special day is America’s National Anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.”

In celebration in the years 1777 and 1781, George Washington gave the soldiers that served under him a double ration of rum.

Massachusetts was the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.  It did not become a national federal holiday until 1941.

The Declaration was mostly written by Thomas Jefferson, but he was assisted by John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin and Robert Livingston.  Adams and Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, fifty years after the signing of The Declaration of Independence.

There is a saying, “May we think of freedom not as the right to do what we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.”  How wonderful it would be if each American on July 4th, would remember this statement and pledge to live by it.
Doing what is ‘right,’ has cost America many of her citizens; not only their freedom but their life.

Let us continue to pray for America to remain free and ready to stand for what is right and fight if need be, to keep our freedom.  To do anything less would be disrespect for those who have gone before us.