Thursday, April 29, 2021
He told the Red Stick Creeks that the Great Spirit was angry with their enemies. "He speaks in thunder, and the earth swallows up villages, and drinks up the Mississippi. The Great Spirit will sweep those who escape to the hills from the earth with his terrible breath, he said.”
Tecumseh said he would give them proof that the Great Spirit had sent him. "I leave Tuckabatchee (on the Tallapossa River in what is today Alabama) and shall go to Detroit. When I arrive there, I will stamp on the ground with my foot and shake down every house in Tuckabatchee.”
His message didn’t go over well. His audience was skeptical, but imagine their surprise when on December 16, 1811, exactly when he arrived in Detroit, that the first of three strong earthquakes shook the ground. The first one on December 16, 1811, produced a magnitude of 8.1 on the Richter scale; the second on January 23, 1812, registered 7.8; and the third on February 7, 1812, registered an 8.8 magnitude.The epicenter was around what is today, New Madrid, Missouri and were felt as far away as Boston, Massachusetts, where it is said that church bells rang on their own. The earthquakes altered the landscape so severely, that the Mississippi River momentarily reversed its direction. Two thousand aftershocks occurred in the months following. The earthquakes, also known as the New Madrid earthquakes, were the biggest in American history.
The Red Sticks thought that this was Tecumseh’s signal to start war, to unite in resisting the white intruders intent on claiming their lands, but perhaps there had been a large number of mild or moderate tremors in the region leading up to the earthquakes and, since native peoples are more in tune with nature, that Tecumseh merely knew which natural signs to look for.
Was the Great Comet of 1812 part of Tecumseh’s prediction of a great fire, estimated to have been almost fifty percent larger than the sun, coming across the sky? The earthquakes arriving almost in conjunction with the fiery comet rushing across the horizon must have struck fear into many native peoples hearts.
It was in the fall of the year when the call for volunteers went out at the outbreak of the War of 1812. The soldiers would march to Lake Erie to assist General William H. Harrison in a fight with British troops and their Indian allies, including the great Shawnee Chief, Tecumseh. On October 5, 1813, American forces crossed over into Canada where they fought and won the Battle of the Thames. It was said Major WooTecumseh was killed during the battle.
Friday, April 23, 2021
In 2013, I went to see my cardiologist, Dr. Melissa Walton-Shirley, for a check up. When I arrived, I learned that she had to step away for an emergency. Filling in for her was her partner, Dr. Jim Whiteside. Since being diagnosed with CHF and Cardiomyopathy in 2003, I routinely had gone into the hospital every couple of years when the CHF would come back. That day, Dr. Whiteside did something that brought about a big change in my life. He convinced me that a pacemaker/defibrillator implant would cut down on my hospital stays, adding "That thing might not fire in 25 years and you'll say 'that blankety-blank Whiteside talked me into getting this thing and I didn't even need it, but there might come that one time that it will fire, and it will save your life." I made a decision that day to trust him and a few weeks later underwent a pacemaker/defibrillator implant.
I recalled his words soon after an incident that happened to me at approximately 5:32am on Saturday, April 21, 2018. As I stepped out onto the carport, everything within my vision started to spin really fast. The instant it happened, my device fired 30 cycles and I was slung backward, then forward, but I never did hit the ground, as I had always imagined I would. Zapped of all my strength, I managed to lean over and rest my body on the hood of my son's van, which was parked there. The instant I did that my device fired a second time, at 35 cycles, and it worked. My heart was back in rhythm. The entire episode lasted less than 10 seconds.
Later, I was transferred from our local hospital to Cookeville (TN) Regional Medical Center, where I met Dr. Mark Wathen, the former 20-year director of Arrhythmia at Vanderbilt University in Nashville who specializes in the study of heart rhythms. He is an expert in pacemakers, defibrillators and implanted monitors, has performed significant research in these devices and is recognized as a world leader in device treatment of fast and slow rhythms. The incident that happened to me on my carport is known as Ventricular Fibrillation, or as Dr. Wathen said, "(I) met sudden death face to face." 98% of those who experience V-Fib die. My implanted device had saved my life. I am so very thankful I listened to Dr. Whiteside.
My friend and singing partner at church, Kelly, did not know what had happened when she sent me a text a couple of hours later that Saturday morning in 2018, suggesting we work up a version of this 1930's hymn written by A.J. Sims and first made famous by The Singing Rambo's...
That leads through ways I can not see
While going through this world of woe
This hand still leads me as I go
I'm trusting to the unseen hand
That guides me through this weary land
And some sweet day I'll reach that strand
Still guided by the unseen hand"
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Your tombstone stands among the rest
Neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished marble stone
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born
Yet, each of us are cells of you
In flesh and blood and bone
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own
Dear ancestor, the place you filled one hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so
I wonder how you lived and loved
I wonder if you knew that someday I would find this spot
And come to visit you
(Walter Butler Palmer, 1906)
The photo is the grave marker of my 3rd great-grandfather, David Smith, who, along with his son Ahijah, were murdered by Confederate guerillas during the Civil War. The incident occured at their home in Fentress County, Tennessee.
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