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One of Those Days

Posted on Friday, January 26, 2024
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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19 Comments
Winston Churchill; one of those days

It was 0600, and I knew it was “one of those days.” Churchill sometimes lifts me, and he did that day. “Kites fly highest against the wind, not with it,” he once said.   

The preceding night all the world had been beautiful, fluffy snow. But by daybreak, the white was gone, all turned to mushy mud, the world reduced to rain, another flood.

Halfway through the windy night, my dogs had gotten antsy and started whining, sheepdog went into the bathroom, drooled a puddle, closed the door, used her nose for what she thinks her nose is for – and then stuck, whined some more.   

Listening hard, I finally got the hint. Above the rain, I heard a “beep.” You try to unhear things like that, ignore them, like a drippy faucet, natty schoolmarm, but I knew what the beep was, an overdue fire alarm.

So, at three a.m., the parakeet now awake and lecturing me, I realized that a battery somewhere needed changing, without hesitation. But which one? No idea.

Stumbling around, stiffly walking, I found a 9-volt battery and started to search for what was squawking. “Beep.” Ah, over there, somewhere down the hall. “Beep.” Standing on a wobbly chair, that battery finally got changed, and then back to bed.

You know how worries are, they multiply and drain your courage. Did I shut off the lights, and close the garage door? Things had to be checked, but yep. Okay, no worries.

Soon the rain stopped, replaced by bright sun – right in my eyes, fresh from the northeast. So, up for my coffee, only we were out. So it was instant, kettle on.

Soon that kettle whistled, even screamed, which would have been fine, except the parakeet followed suit, whistled, and then screamed. Taught by the dogs who forgot they taught him, he started to bark, which set them off, since barking needs barking. Soon, I had a steaming, screaming, barking menagerie.

Surely there must be good news somewhere? Yes, I thought, kettles cannot bark. Coffee now poured, it hit me: Propane and oil were low. Quick to phone, go, go!

That done, weary eyes swept the deck, brown and wet, but that was not it. Where Christmas lights had lingered lit, the breeze tangled them. The grill had flipped, flown through the air, pieces everywhere. No matter … life was good. Um, the hood?

Ok, stop this, I told myself. Things are fine. What’s the news? Border secure? Crime, inflation, interest down? Gone latest political clown? Accountability back, federal budget in the black? World calm, and no fresh fights? Well, not quite.

Forget that, let’s just get some work done, floors swept, plants watered, dogs fed, calls engaged, meetings had, articles written, bills paid, and headway made.

I thought, late that day, are the bases covered? Have we worked some noble end, helped some friend? Have we taken command, turned this day around, gone from muddy to drier ground, glass half empty to half full, risen on Churchill’s wind?

Not sure … was my answer, less sure as I thought about 2024’s landscape, battles to be fought and won, so much out of reach. Yet Churchill faced far worse, and even now his life, words, and courage teach.

“Difficulties mastered … are opportunities won,” he once said. Optimism is born of courage, fights engaged not fled, what choose to do, not what we flee or dread.

Said Churchill: “Courage is rightly esteemed the first among human qualities … the quality which guarantees all the others.” He meant in all things, big and small.

At a tough moment, before America entered WWII, Churchill spoke from the heart: “Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

So, as that tiring, wet, cold, mid-winter day came to an end, not unlike days we all have this time of year, Churchill’s resolve and tenacity lifted me, should you.

He wrote that when facing high adversity, “there is not time for ease and comfort, it is time to dare and endure …Sure I am of this, you have only to endure to conquer.”

On days when we rise troubled, hunt for a higher purpose, curse the times, chores, noise, cold, and wet – and we do – do not regret. As Churchill wrote, “What is the use of living if it be not to strive for noble causes …and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?”

In short, get up, and make this day yours. That recent night, I resolved to write. Then, looking out the window, what do you think I saw? Triumph over my inner foe … falling, gently mounding, white and fluffy snow.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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Rhoda
Rhoda
1 month ago

RBC: Another great article. Brought several smiles to my face! Would love to have hears the parakeet, dog, and smoke alarm symphony! Churchill was awesome. The left doesn’t think so, which make him even greater!!

Sarah
Sarah
1 month ago

Excellent! So refreshing to have something positive to read in these crazy times.

Sharon Churchill Stearns
Sharon Churchill Stearns
1 month ago

Wow! I so appreciate this message of courage and purpose as we face our days with evil taking over our towns, state and nation. I was discouraged today after fighting another battle against the left at the town and state level. Thank you for sharing this entertaining and uplifting message with us. I just love Winston Churchill’s motivating quotes!

SusanW
SusanW
1 month ago

Loved starting my day with this very humorous but realistic article. I would have so enjoyed being a fly on the wall, as all your sweet and vocal companions made their concerns known. Robert, as a writer you have a true gift of being empathetic and encouraging by sharing your own experiences which are so similar to what we all go through on a daily basis. Your humble background of growing up in rural Maine has given you a very good heart which is filled with love, compassion, and the ability to understand what challenges and anxieties we all go through. And, you have a wonderful ability to flavor it with quotes from great leaders of the past. Churchill will always be one of my favorites! You and Churchill have reminded me to never give up, continue to find the humor in my day, and to be there for others! Thank you!
”Success is not final, failure is not fatal:it is the courage to continue that counts.” Churchill

Charlene
Charlene
1 month ago

Robert Charles–Thank you for this well written, poetic article–I really enjoy your writing 🙂

John Oemler aka Hassayampa Slim
John Oemler aka Hassayampa Slim
1 month ago

Mr Charles is a good example of a time when our government was staffed by people of courage and conviction to high principles… unlike today’s mob nepotism.
Thank you sir, for such an uplifting commentary.

Luke
Luke
1 month ago

Lovely stuff, Man. Thanks lots. Plan accordingly.

Max
Max
1 month ago

RBC, another great article. I smiled because I still have those type of days every once in a while. The only thing missing are those young grandkids that join in with the animals and alarms. have a great Maine weekend. Sempre Fi.

Richard Langworth
Richard Langworth
1 month ago

Churchill never said that. Scroll to “kites”: richardlangworth.com/quotes-churchill-never-said-2

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