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A Country Rag

I swear that all told following in the entirety of Chameleon: An Interactive Exploration is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me, and everybody, God.

All the good stuff in Chameleon has been fun and healing to recall, tell and share, but remembering and recounting, nevermind living through, well-known and extensively-documented, easily proveable and specific details of vast criminalities, constituting in their totality and reach worldwide crimes against humanity, has made me deathly ill frequently. It's an imperative, however, for well-being everywhere that truth be faced and rectified, and restitution made for damages caused for the good of everyone and redirection of the planet and its atmosphere to healthy, life-sustaining mentalities and consciousness.

Feminist theory has postulated for decades that rape is a crime of power -- the use of force to exert will and dominance -- not sex -- the desire to know somebody and engage in mutually pleasurable sensual activities. Obviously, the perpetrator does not view the victim, male or female, as a fellow human being, or he or she could never engage is such atrocities. A California man left a woman by the roadside bleeding to death with severed arms. In New York City, a woman's breasts and genitals were savagely mutilated with a knife while she was still alive. One was crucified against a barbed wire fence and left hanging, slumped there. Children have been caged, starved and tormented for years sometimes. All, to my knowledge, have pleaded to no avail for mercy and their lives. The traditional punishment for such horrendous behaviors against another living species, especially if accompanied by theft, is and has been public execution. The same is true of traitors -- e.g. Benedict Arnold -- who've engaged in violent and bloody insurrections against law, order and established governments. In some countries leaders have faced, blindfolded, a firing squad. Public beheadings have been popular now and then also. Punishments have been meant, not with vindictiveness but with sorrow at our inability to change some minds and hearts, as a warning to others and children never to perceive or behave in similar ways again. The Nuremberg Trials of World War II Nazi war criminals, and the World Court's of Slobodan Milosevic are examples of bringing those in the vanguard of crimes against humanity to worldwide and historic accounting for the sake of future generations and planetary health and peace. Building of the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC is part of that effort to assure that citizens never forget the consequences of evil enticed, unrestrained and unchecked, that history not repeat itself ever again in the best overall interests of babies, women and men.

There are still people who want me dead rather than the truth be known, told and disseminated, and material amends proferred, so I wish my Last Will and Testament to be publicly and permanently that the above ends be pursued,[RETRACTED AND RESCINDED BY LIVING WILL dated 11/02/2012 most particularly by my well-beloved and inspiring heirs --Goddaughter Leah Grindstaff Daily and her adorable and precocious son, Henry] -- on my behalf and in my name through responsible civil and criminal legal systems until settled satisfactorily to assure that my loving legacy to earth, to all the diversity of life it has supported over millenia, to my country of birth and allegiance --the United States of America, richest and greatest nation on earth, to its true and stalwart citizens, and for a righteous Creator God that I died in the service of all of those by my choice and free will with everlasting belief and faith in their goodness, value and worth of existence.

Let Freedom ring and God bless all, especially our hope of worlds to come and our future, the children.

-- Jeannette Harris, Jonesborough TN, July 15, 2008

Dedicated to children everywhere around the world, especially little girls who need extra prayers and blessings these days, and in hommage for my father, George Arnold Gerlach (7/7/21-6/14/08), from whom I was separated very cruelly at about age one and got to know only many years later when I was middle-aged. There are many photos of him -- a good-looking and good-sized, tall man -- holding his first little baby, a daughter who looked nearly exactly like him, with a proud and pleased smile or grin on his face. He tried very hard, even doing housework and working full-time responsibly, while my mother lay distressed and ill in bed. After she divorced him, he attempted to support me -- as generously ordered by the Court -- and sent a whole year's payments in 12 checks dated by each appropriate month in advance. But my mother returned them all, writing back that she didn't need them and didn't want him to have anything to do with her, or me. I never even knew his address for all those years, finally obtaining it through Social Security. He had saved all my baby pictures and some other memorabilia, and turned out to be a friendly, easy-going, and professionally successful business owner, despite service-related disabilities, as well as charitable. After visiting my A-frame twice in Page County, Virginia, while staying in two different motels there and taking me out for dinner and drinks, Dad wrote letters in an increasingly frail and illegible hand due to a kind of palsy developing, which I answered happily. He sent more photos, presents of money, large and small, and things, and we talked on the telephone on our birthdays and holidays until his hearing loss precluded that. Once a year, he and my stepmother, June Marie, who loved him very much and exclusively for 50 earthly years, traveled to somewhere interesting in the world. One time it was the island of Gibraltar. He owned a winter home by the Florida Gulf Coast and a summer one high in the mountains of North Carolina's Pisgah Forest. When I was ill in Jonesborough around the year 2001, he wanted to visit me and prevailed on my stepmother for it, but was really too ill himself. He'd developed Alzheimer's in addition to his other disabilities. Too sick to get myself together for the occasion, my stepmother related that he opened his birthday cards and gifts one year, looked up at her and said, "Where's Jeannette?" He died without hearing or sight in one eye, very mentally confused about everything from the disease that had ravaged his once-excellent brain, of heart failure. He was a popular accountant and kept his best and favorite clients long after formal retirement. Once owning a yacht, his favorite sport was bowling, and he played for years with buddies in a Florida league. From him I inherited my general shape and coloring, vestiges of the Black Forest region of Germany, as well, at least, as a sacrificial love of this country, numbers, counting, flying and airplanes. There's not much more thrilling a sight for me than seeing them take off from one of our aircraft carriers or in the "missing man" formation during one of our Independence Day celebrations. I know that God will bless him for all the torments he lived through and thank them both for his memory, which I wish to share with all of you as being inspiring and worth emulating now. World without end. Le monde sans la fin.

Ghost, digitized acrylic by Jeannette Harris

Chameleon: An Interactive Exploration

Cover: Recitation for America

"I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul,/ The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me,/ The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue./ I am the poet of the woman the same as the man,/ And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be man./... Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams,/ Now I wash the gum from your eyes,/ You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life.... You are also asking me questions and I hear you,/ I answer that I cannot answer,/ you must find out for yourself.... Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you,/ You must travel it for yourself."
-- Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

"First they came for the Jews/ and I did not speak out/ because I was not a Jew./ Then they came for the communists/ and I did not speak out/ because I was not a communist./ Then they came for the trade unionists/ and I did not speak out/ because I was not a trade unionist./ Then they came for me/ and there was no one left/ to speak out for me."
-- Pastor Martin Niemoller, a victim of the German Nazis

".... I am a word/ in a tree./ I am a hill of poetry./ I am a raid/ on the inarticulate./ I have dreamt/ that all my teeth fell out/ but my tongue lived/ to tell the tale./ For I am a still/ of poetry./ I am a bank of song./ I am a playerpiano/ in an abandoned casino/ on a seaside esplanade/ in a dense fog/ still playing./..."
-- Lawrence Ferlinghetti in Autobiography, A Coney Island of the Mind

Statue of Liberty, 'Liberty enlightening the world'
(From a small leather-bound book of the New Testament & Psalms given to my father as a World War II soldier serving in the Air Force, 18th Bomb Squadron, 34th Bomb Group, and dated May 17, 1942)

The White House
January 25, 1941

To the Armed Forces:

As Commander-in-Chief I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel and inspiration. It is a fountain of strength and now, as always, an aid in attaining the highest aspirations of the human soul.

Very sincerely yours,

Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Lord's Prayer

Well-Loved Hymns
Onward, Christian Soldiers
Jesus! Lover of my Soul
Lead, Kindly Light
Abide with Me
Rock of Ages
How Firm a Foundation
Nearer, My God to Thee
Now the Day is Over!

National Anthems


My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the Pilgrims' pride,
From ev'ry mountainside
Let freedom ring.

My native country, thee
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers' God, to Thee,
Author of Liberty,
To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King.

The Star-Spangled Banner

The New Testament


Lady Liberty, 'We can do no otherwise'

".... Ah you've been with the professors and they've all liked your looks/ With great lawyers you have discussed lepers and crooks/ You've been through all of F. Scott Fitzgerald's books/ You're very well read, it's well known/ But something is happening here and you don't know what it is/ do you, Mr. Jones?/...."
-- Ballad of A Thin Man by legendary, Pulitzer-Prize winning, expatriate singer/songwriter/musician Bob Dylan from the album Highway 61 Revisited

"O the joy of a manly self-hood!/ To be servile to none, to defer to none,/ not to any tyrant known or unknown,/ To walk with erect carriage, a step springy and elastic,/ To look with calm gaze or with a flashing eye,/ To speak with a full and sonorous voice out of a broad chest,/ To confront with your personality all the other personalities of the earth."
-- Walt Whitman, A Song of Joys

"When the valley is deep/ When the mountain is steep/ When the body is weary/ When we stumble and fall/ When the choices are hard/ When we're battered and scarred/ When we've spent our resources/ When we've given our all/ .... Dear Lord, with the prize/ Clear before our eyes/ We find the strength to press on/ To press on"
-- Press On by Dan Burgess and performed during the innovative Dylan biography film "I'm Not There"

Flying eagle crest Flying eagle crest

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Flying Skull, Air Force insignia

Up-To-Date Archives -- Table of Contents

ACR Cover Page

Original material c. A Country Rag, Inc. and/or Jeannette Harris, Jonesborough Tennessee, April 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved.