Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


February 12, 2013

Random Thoughts: Love comes in many forms

CROSSVILLE — Today is a special day on most church calendars. It is Ash Wednesday. Tomorrow is a special day on most everybody’s calendar. It is Valentine’s Day. February 13 and February 14 are special days for very different reasons. How often these two occur so close on the calendar I do not know but it must not be often.

Ash Wednesday is described as the fourth day before the first Sunday in Lent or by others as the first Wednesday preceding the first Sunday in Lent. For many it is a reminder of Christ’s forty days fasting in the desert. The actual date of Easter differs from year to year depending on the full moon. It ranges from March 22 to April 18. This year it falls on Sunday, March 31.            

There was mention of fasting in the third century as a penitence during Lent. Ash Wednesday appeared around the seventh century and was associated with the penitent being sprinkled with ashes, dressed in sackcloth, and obliged to remain apart from the congregation until Maundy Thursday when they were welcomed back to the Christian community.

By the eighth century the whole congregation, both the clergy and the people, received the ashes. Eventually and of now the cross is formed on the forehead with ashes remaining from burning the palms on the previous Palm Sunday.        

Would you believe that St. Valentines Day is the second most celebrated day of the year, following number one New Year’s Day. It is true there were at least two saints named Valentine and both were martyred but why the day bears their name is pretty murky.

It was in the high middle ages that love became associated with the spring season of February. Maybe it was because it was mating season for birds or perhaps thoughts went back to the Roman Festival of Lupercalia when love was celebrated. By the fifteenth century gifts of flowers and sweets accompanied words of love.     

It was in the 1400s that handwritten Valentines made an appearance. London has the oldest, written in 1415 by Charles, the Duke of Orleans, to his wife as he was held prisoner in the Tower of London. More Valentine letters appeared during the 17th and 18th century.

In Worcester, Massachusetts she is known as the “Mother of the American Valentine.” Esther Howland began making fancy Valentines for sale in the 1840s. By the 1900s printed cards were being sold in the United States. Billions are sold annually today and most are purchased by women.

Two very special days side by side but both express a different kind of love.

Bill Carey is a name Tennesseans should salute. This man loves history and when he learned schools had down graded Tennessee history he did something about it.

In 2004 he created a non-profit Tennessee History for Kids, which offers nonfiction booklets on the subject. One group is for use in the elementary and middle school and others are written for high school. These booklets sell for $2 each and means an entire classroom can be supplied for the cost of a single hard back text book.

The website,, has videos on geography economics, and history of counties and cities in the state as well as notable Tennesseans. Carey appears as “History Bill” in many of these videos. Adults too can learn much about their state from viewing the website.

Love comes in many forms.   



Text Only
  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

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