Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Keeping Clear the Memory Holes of Our Past

It's our custom on long car drives to listen to audio books on history. Recently Rachelle and I drove back to Enid from Florida and listened to the 12 hour audio book Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick. The New York Times named this book one of the ten best books of the year (2006) and it became a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History.

Rarely have I enjoyed an audio book more than this one. Tidbits of information about the Pilgrims and their journey to the New World came fast and furious. One particular piece of information fascinated me.

Edward Winslow (1595 - 1655) was one of the original 102 passengers on the Mayflower and a leader of the English Pilgrims who landed on the shores of America on November 11, 1620. Winslow would serve as the governor of Plymouth Colony in 1633, 1636 and then again in 1644.  In 1624, not yet four years after the Pilgrims came to America, Winslow wrote an account of the early years. His book,  Good Newes from New England, or a True Relation of Things very Remarkable at the Plantation of Plimouth in New England, is not only primary source material about the Pilgrims, it details many customs and traditions of the Native Americans (Indians).

By the year 1624 Winslow had become a close friend of Chief Massasoit and his Pokanet Indian tribe, the people most historians credit with helping to save the Pilgrims from starvation during that first cold winter of 1620/1621. Winslow recounts taking a long walk on an Indian trail with a Pokanet Indian and learning for the first time how Pokanets preserved their history for posterity through memory holes. Winslow wrote:
Instead of records and chronicles, they take this course, where any remarkable act is done, in memory of it, either in the place, or by some pathway near adjoining, they make a round hole in the ground about a foot deep, and as much over, which when others passing by behold, they inquire the cause and occasion of the same, which being once known, they are careful to acquaint all men, as occasion serveth therewith. And least such holes should be filled, or grown up by any accident, as men pass by they will oft renew the same: by which means many things of great antiquity are fresh in memory. So that as a man travelleth, if he can understand his guide, his journey will be the less tedious, by reason of the many historical discourses will be related unto him.
Using these memory holes the Pokanets shared important events in their history with their children and grandchildren as they walked, telling tribal stories and passing down their heritage as they paused to keep the memory holes clean from overgrown brush. The Pokanet Indians seemed to have understood the importance of preserving past in order to maintain the cultural cohesiveness and intellectual unity of their people.
Could it be that one of the reasons our nation seems to be falling apart at the seams is because we have refused to keep clear and clean the memory holes of our past as a nation? As Independence Day 2016 approaches, I think God that my parents and educators instilled within me a love for America's forefathers and our nation's heritage.

"A nation's posterity knows prosperity only when the nation's principles held dear are made clear and the nation's past is made fast." W.Wade Burleson


Bob Cleveland said...

Perhaps 15 years ago, I told Peg that I'd seen and done a lot of stuff, and it'd be a shame if all those memories died when I died. Shortly thereafter, a couple friends said I should write a book, and that prompted me to do just that.

I simply sat here and typed out everything I could remember. From my earliest memories onward. It ran to about 400 pages, plus maybe 30 or so of my poems.

It's been great fun to go back and read it now & then, plus it'll me here when I'm not.

I need to get to writing again, as I have lots & lots of memories from my involvement in SBC matters and the like ... the book predated all that ... and those memories are a testament to me of God's power and desire to use ordinary folks to do extraordinary things.

I named it "In The Foreword Of The Book Of Life". There's a story behind that, too.

Wade Burleson said...

So cool, Bob. Really cool.

Tom Parker said...


Do you have any copies of your book for sale?

Christiane said...

I'd like to read BOB'S book also. And it would great if REX RAY wrote one and published it.

There is a gold mine of stories within the people who come to this blog, and these stories deserve to be read for all the humor and wisdom and just plain common sense therein. :)

Rex Ray said...


I thought we were writing a book on Wade’s blog. :)

Today, we were at a hospital going through the ropes for an operation to clean an artery in my leg so I can stop using a cane I’ve been on for 3 years. A lady told us her story. Her very young grandson said:

“Where have you been grandma?”
“I’ve been working for God.”
“How did you get up there?”

Christiane said...

I love this! Your stories are the best!
Hope you are going to feel better. I'm going for surgery soon myself, but that's another story . . . no big deal and no worries. I'll pray for you to get cane-free soon.

Bob Cleveland said...

Tom and Christiane: It was never printed as such. I just had it printed and spiral bound at Kinkos'. I do have it somewhere saved as a Word file. If you'll send me your email address at mightyfowl@gmail.com, I'd be happy to send you the file.

Soon as I find it.

Bob Cleveland said...

What really prompted it was the realization that I'd interviewed a 100-year-old man, in 1952, about the city we lived in. He had personally met, as a young lad, Abraham Lincoln. That and the fact that my first job was working for a vet who was pretty old at the time, and his first job had been tending firehorses for the Indianapolis Fire Department (before the invention of trucks).

I figured those stories were too good to die off when I die off.

Wade Burleson said...


"What really prompted it was the realization that I'd interviewed a 100-year-old man in 1952 about the city we lived in. He had personally met, as a young lad, Abraham Lincoln."

That's so cool.

Rex Ray said...


At age 65, I swam 4 miles across the Sea of Galilee, but at age fourteen I was an average ‘dog-paddler’ and my twin brother could swim only a little.

The Navy-base at Grand Prairie, Texas had extended their runway a long way into a large lake. It looked attractive and I decided to swim to it. My brother said it was too far. He was right.

I wouldn’t be writing this today if he had stayed on the bank, but he tagged along at half speed yelling, “Come back!” I would yell, “Go back!”

And so it went until his distant cry became faint and garbled. I turned around as I realized he was going to drown.

Rex Ray said...


“SEE SOMETHING SAY NOTHING” is a book by Philip Haney whose job as an officer of the Department of Homeland Security was to report information that might harm America.

He was told to modify his 850 records on the ‘The Muslim Brotherhood’ because the Obama administration did not wish to investigate Muslim Brotherhood members as terrorists

Three years later in 2012, the administration erased his 67 records dealing with Muslims associated with a movement known as Tablighi Jamaat, and investigated him for doing his job.

Obama’s ‘protection’ of Muslims and Islam is shown by him not releasing any reference to Islam and ISIS on the tape by Omar Mateen at the Orlando massacre.

Since Mateen attended a Mosque that had ties to Tablighi Jamaat, Haney believes the massacre would not have happened if his 67 records on Tablighi Jamaat had not been erased four years earlier.

Haney states the Obama administration’s dedication to avoid offending Muslims is at the expense of national security.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2016/06/dhs-whistleblower-why-obama-is-so-adamant-to-protect-islam/#zUl6Qa22Vh8qIgBL.99

Christiane said...

your memories about your brother ... so very sad

Rex Ray said...


I’m sorry…several people didn’t know how the story ended…my bad.

When I turned around, we both swam back to the bank. I was angry at the time, but now I realized he saved my life.

Christiane said...

well, I needed that update on your story today .... I remember the 7 month old baby of some friends of ours in D.C. drowning in their pool and the agony of his mother. They had sliding glass door that led out onto the patio surrounding the pool, each family member thinking the other was watching the little boy, an older child carelessly left the door opened. The little crawled out and was found too late. Heartbreak. So much pain.

We have an in-ground pool at my home and my son often had friends over. I was home during summers and I was able to give directions and supervise. Only once did I have to send two children home and forbid them to return. We had a no-running policy on the pool deck, and these two brothers, when corrected, talked back to me. Well, I sent them home. Their father called and tried to smooth things over, but I told him 'no' that I couldn't prevent them from injuring themselves if they were not going to take direction respectfully. I wasn't a 'tyrant' about it, no. I just carried in my memories the sadness of a friend whose little baby boy accidentally drowned. Some things you don't forget.

SO GLAD your story has that added 'alternate ending' there, REX RAY.
What a relief!