Flag Day, Red Skelton, Sir Walter Scott, Johnny Cash and Mom

Tuesday, June 14, AD 2016

I can think of few things more appropriate for Flag Day than Red Skelton’s immortal explanation of the Pledge of Allegiance.  When my sainted mother became a naturalized American citizen, she was given a little American flag.  I have a treasured photo of my Mom and Dad just after the naturalization ceremony, both happy, and my Mom clutching the flag of a land that she loved long before she became a citizen.  I still have the flag, one of my most precious mementoes of my Mom.

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One Response to Flag Day, Red Skelton, Sir Walter Scott, Johnny Cash and Mom

Red Skelton: Thanksgiving 1952

Tuesday, November 24, AD 2015

A Thanksgiving thought in 1952 from master comedian Red Skelton.  Born into deep poverty, his father dying two months before his birth, he went to work at the age of 7 to help his family.  Life dealt Skelton some tough cards at the beginning of his life, and the worst thing that could happen to any parent, the death of a child, lay in his future.  Yet throughout his life Skelton retained a deep faith in God and an abiding love for his country.  He approached life with optimism and a thankful heart, a good message for any Thanksgiving.  Below is his classic Pledge of Allegiance skit.

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6 Responses to Red Skelton: Thanksgiving 1952

  • I remember him from my youth. He was a class act. Those days are long gone. Glad I experienced some of those days.

  • If ever there was an entertainer that possessed humility it was Red. Call it authentic. He served God first. You Mr. McCleary do a service to all of us, by reminding us what ALL of us are capable of…namely serving God by loving neighbor.
    Red Skelton is alive today and tomorrow… thank goodness. Thanks for the memories.

  • McClarey…geesh. (McCleary)
    At least I’m consistent. 🙂

  • I remember him well, our favorite comedian in the 1950’s. His routines and his jokes stand clearly in my memory. “Did you hear about the poor snake?” He didn’t have a pit to hiss in” was about as risque as he ever got. It is a memory of a kind person who played the happy clown, in spite personal sorrows that might make others bitter, humorless, sarcastic and sour. Such can only be the working of Grace offered and accepted.

  • William P Walsh.

    Freddie the Freeloader was one of his top characters. The hobo type, but always squeezing in dignity. He did not abuse his persona, but tried to show a compassionate heart from the pits of poverty. Example; A Christmas special he had with Greer Garson as his guest star. In the skit he needs a stage to for his hobo friends to put on a show for the orphanage. He asks Greer for use of her theatre which of course she agrees and the band plays on.

    He was deeper than the facade as many comics of his era were as well.

    Good man. Great American!

Too Political

Tuesday, September 16, AD 2014

I wish I were more surprised by this:

CBS Sports rejected a 30-second ad consisting entirely of a little girl saying the Pledge of Allegiance, telling the sponsor simply that the ad was “too political” to air. 

Windermere Real Estate/Tri-Cities owner Dave Retter says he thought the cute video showing his granddaughter saying the Pledge of Allegiance, shown after the anniversary of 9/11 and before the quintessentially American sport, a rodeo, would be part of the coverage of the Wrangler Champions Challenge rodeo, shown on September 14. Retter’s company was one of two companies sponsoring the broadcast of the rodeo.

The brief ad had no reference to any political party, simply consisting of a little girl with her hand over her heart reciting the pledge recited in schools across the country for decades and the words “…our future” preceding it. Despite the harmless nature and clearly positive intentions of the ad, CBS rejected it on grounds of being “too political.”

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9 Responses to Too Political

  • Sadly, seen on Facebook. A public school somewhere in Amerika banned a US soldier in uniform from bringing his little daughter to school.

    The supply of small-arms ammunition is woefully deficient in view of the need.

  • One is reminded of the comment by Berthold Brecht, after the June 1953 uprising in East Germany. The secretary of the writers union issued a statement that “the people had forfeited the confidence of the government and could only win it back by redoubled efforts.” In response to which, Brecht observed, “Would it not be easier, in that case, for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?”

  • C ommunist
    B roadcast
    S ystem

    Other potential advertisers need to take note. Hit the new red army in accounts receivables.

  • Our minor children no longer know and understand the meaning of the virtues of patriotism, allegiance, loyalty, integrity, decency and honesty, virtues exercised through free will and freedom.
    .
    CBS will not allow people to be exposed to these virtues or to think and decide for themselves.
    .
    Karl Marx is raising up a new subclass of orcs.
    .
    I am glad I do not watch CBS. CBS stands for Columbia Broadcasting System. Columbia stands atop the White House dome and is the personification of freedom and of the U.S.A.
    .
    T Shaw: “The supply of small-arms ammunition is woefully deficient in view of the need.”
    .
    I cannot agree more.

  • “bleep out “under God”” Atheism imposed by orcs. “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.”

  • T. Shaw, I read the news article you’re referring to– a couple of days ago,
    Lieutenant Colonel Sherwood Baker was in uniform while dropping his
    daughter off at her new school in Rochester, Michigan. The school’s security
    guard refused the Army officer admission to the school because the sight
    of the uniform ‘might offend a student’. I believe Lt. Col. Baker appealed to
    other school staff, who reiterated security’s demand…
    .
    (Since the incident, the Rochester Superintendent of Schools has issued a
    public apology to Lt. Col. Baker and his family.)
    .
    It’s curious how the apparatchiks who are so solicitous on the behalf of those
    who “might be offended” never seem to worry about the sensibilities of
    those whose worldview is more on the starboard side? CBS bans video of a
    little girl reciting the Pledge, yet their show Two and a Half Men, (which
    once starred the egregious Charlie Sheen) will apparently be ending it’s run
    with its two male leads marrying each other and adopting a child. Evidently,
    in the new normal, no one could possibly be offended by any of that– no
    one who matters, at least…

  • It’s harvest time.
    Autumn is finding its way to Northern Michigan. The leaves are just about to turn color.
    It’s time for the harvest.

    Weeds in with the wheat.
    No problem.
    The weeds will be separated from the wheat. The harvest master will see to it!
    Enjoy the sun (Son) you wheat!

  • These “sports” outfits are getting WAY too political (left).

  • They weren’t afraid it would offend Someone Else – they are offended themselves. I think some of the America haters just a a visceral reaction the rest of us can’t understand.
    Likewise The president and his friends and family don’t understand our love of America and are afraid of us. Same for Lois Lerner etal

Flag Day 2014

Saturday, June 14, AD 2014

The American democratic experiment has been successful in many ways. Millions of people around the world look to the United States as a model in their search for freedom, dignity, and prosperity. But the continuing success of American democracy depends on the degree to which each new generation, native-born and immigrant, makes its own the moral truths on which the Founding Fathers staked the future of your Republic. Their commitment to build a free society with liberty and justice for all must be constantly renewed if the United States is to fulfill the destiny to which the Founders pledged their “lives . . . fortunes . . . and sacred honor.”

Saint John Paul II, December 16, 1997

 

 

Something for the weekend.  There is only one song for Flag Day:  The Star Spangled Banner.

Here is the history behind the song:

Back when I was young and dinosaurs ruled the Earth, it was customary for the National Anthem to be played before television stations signed off for the evening.  This was always my favorite of such renditions:

Red Skelton’s immortal rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance seems called for on this day:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HGHdFmu5GU

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6 Responses to Flag Day 2014

  • Don, why do you keep referring to American democracy? There’s no such animal. We’re a republic, not a democracy.

  • Saint John Paul II referred to Democracy and not I in the above post. More to the point, words change over time. The Founding Fathers, most of whom were classically educated, abhorred the idea of democracy because of the bad press that it got in Thucydides, Plutarch, et al. Over time the term democracy has become a descriptor of government “of the people, by the people and for the people” in Lincoln’s immortal phrase. My own personal preference is that we could use more democracy in this country, in the sense of legislatures actually making laws, rather than court’s acting like super legislatures and government agencies also usurping that role. Courts and executive agencies are the true foes of popular government in our time, rather than too much democracy as feared by the Founding Fathers.

  • Stephen Dalton is correct to the extent that Democracy means a system of government where a simple majority can take away the individual right to life, liberty or property (the fruit of one’s own labor).
    .
    Donald is correct to the extent that Democracy refers to a representative system of government where:
    .
    (1) The legislature makes laws consistent with the principle of the individual right to life, liberty and property (the fruit of one’s own labor)
    .
    (2) The executive enforces those laws to protect individuals and families, and where the powers of both government and big business are limited.
    .
    (3) The judiciary makes decisions based on the Constitution being a fixed contract protecting the sovereign citizen and not a living document subjugated to the dictatorship of relativistic morality.
    .
    What Thucidides wrote is perhaps an ideal that we no longer have in this country:
    ,
    “Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighbouring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration favours the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbour for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty. But all this ease in our private relations does not make us lawless as citizens. Against this fear is our chief safeguard, teaching us to obey the magistrates and the laws, particularly such as regard the protection of the injured, whether they are actually on the statute book, or belong to that code which, although unwritten, yet cannot be broken without acknowledged disgrace.”
    .
    Rather, the people of the United States have become like that of ancient Israel in 1st Samuel chapter 8: “Give us a king like that of other nations.” God granted us our wish and we have that godless man of sin and depravity – Barack Hussein Obama and his wife Jezebel. History repeats itself over and over again. The problem is not Democracy or Republicanism or Monarchy. The problem is the concupiscence of man’s heart. Until the heart changes, then nothing changes. As St. JP II is quoted above to have said:
    .
    “But the continuing success of American democracy depends on the degree to which each new generation, native-born and immigrant, makes its own the moral truths on which the Founding Fathers staked the future of your Republic.”
    .
    The Democratic Party is completely opposed to this and the Republican Party is hypocritical and toothless.

  • Donald: I do not know how you do it, but I am glad that you do.
    .
    “My own personal preference is that we could use more democracy in this country, in the sense of legislatures actually making laws, rather than court’s acting like super legislatures and government agencies also usurping that role. Courts and executive agencies are the true foes of popular government in our time, rather than too much democracy as feared by the Founding Fathers.”
    .
    Much like the prodigal son, Congress has spent our privilege, its power, in non-essential ways, handing our freedom over to tyrants on every level.
    .
    For instance: Congress never voted on the HHS Mandate. No American citizen ever voted for or against the HHS Mandate, not anybody. Therefore, the HHS Mandate is unconstitutional, having not been ratified by the people or the voice of the people in Congress.
    .
    The HHS Mandate was added after Congress had passed the ACA known as Obamacare, in the stealth of the night, because Congress allowed that anything can be changed in the bill at any time by anyone, making the citizens voiceless subjects under the existing regime. All bills passed have this open ended requirement. Thus, Congress forfeited the will of the people and the balance of power in government. Why should Hobby Lobby obey a law that was never a law? The HHS Mandate was never passed by the voice of and the will of the people. Whatever the HHS Mandate is, it is not a law passed by Congress and the will of the people.
    .
    Now, the Supreme Court is being abused to impose an unconstitutional contrivance on the American People. Who in heaven and on earth gave Sebelius, or even Obama, the power to write law for the nation, using their own personal opinion to impose decrees and penalties? The people never gave Congress that authentic authority to ostracize the American people from participation in our Republic.
    .
    Even if the HHS Mandate decreed that all American Citizens must have one ice cream cone every day, the law was never passed by Congress. The HHS Mandate is not a law. Whatever the HHS Mandate is, it is not a law passed by Congress and the will of the people.
    .
    Heaven knows American citizens and our tax dollars have helped any one in need around the globe. All of American generosity was voted for by the people through Congress. Extorted charity is stealing and does not happen in any democracy or Republic.
    .
    The HHS Mandate was not put to a vote in Congress, nor was the Mandate put on the ballot and therefore the HHS Mandate is not a law.
    .
    The same goes for prayer ban, the destruction of the living human being in the womb, our constitutional posterity, and the absolute mockery of human beings by denying their rational, immortal souls, created in innocence and virginity, male and female.
    .
    First, acknowledge God, next the sovereign person and then, and only then, proceed with government.

  • Donald M McClarey

    Words do, indeed, change their meaning over time

    Rousseau’s idea of democracy was drawn from the Landesgemeinde of his native Switzerland, as described by Lord Acton, “The idea was that the grown men met in the market-place, like the peasants of Glarus under their trees, to manage their affairs, making and unmaking officials, conferring and revoking powers. They were equal, because every man had exactly the same right to defend his interest by the guarantee of his vote. The welfare of all was safe in the hands of all, for they had not the separate interests that are bred by the egotism of wealth, nor the exclusive views that come from a distorted education. All being equal in power and similar in purpose, there can be no just cause why some should move apart and break into minorities.

    Hence, his famous warning in the Social Contract, “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall. When it is necessary to march out to war, they pay troops and stay at home: when it is necessary to meet in council, they name deputies and stay at home. By reason of idleness and money, they end by having soldiers to enslave their country and representatives to sell it.”

  • Back when I was young and dinosaurs ruled the Earth, it was customary for the National Anthem to be played before television stations signed off for the evening.

     
    Stations also played the National Anthem in the morning when they began broadcasting for the day.
     
    America was a different country back then.

The Pope, The Clown and The Cross

Sunday, June 16, AD 2013

 

skelton_pope

(I originally posted this on September 28, 2009 and it has always been one of my favorites.  I am reposting it now since I assume many current readers of the blog have not read it, and, with the recent death of my son, Larry, it now has a special meaning for me.)

 

 

 

In 1957 comedian Red Skelton was on top of the world.  His weekly comedy show on CBS was doing well.  He had  curtailed the drinking which had almost derailed his career.  Not too shabby for a man who had started out as a circus and rodeo clown and who was now often called the clown prince of American comedy.  He and his wife Georgia had two beautiful kids:  Richard and Valentina Maria.  Then the worst thing in the world for any parent entered into the lives of Red and Georgia Skelton:  Richard was diagnosed with leukemia.  Unlike today, a diagnosis of leukemia in a child in 1957 was tantamount to saying that Richard was going to die soon.  Red immediately took a leave of absence from his show.  CBS was very understanding and a series of guest hosts, including a very young Johnny Carson, filled in for Skelton during the 1957-1958 season.

Red and his wife made two decisions.  First, they decided not to reveal to their son how ill he was;  if  worse came to worst they wanted him to enjoy the time he had left.  The boy’s leukemia was temporarily in remission and outwardly he appeared healthy.    When the boy saw “The Last Days of Pompeii” on TV and was fascinated by it, his mom and dad made their second decision.  They were going to take him and his sister to Europe so the boy could see Pompeii and other parts of Europe and the world, and to allow the parents to consult with foreign physicians and also to conduct a pilgrimage for their son.  The Skeltons were Protestants, indeed, Red was an active Mason, but they had chosen to educate their kids at a Catholic school and Richard was very religious, his room filled with religious pictures and statues.  Like many Christians of whatever denomination, in their hour of utmost need the Skeltons decided to seek aid of the Catholic Church.

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11 Responses to The Pope, The Clown and The Cross

3 Responses to Flag Day: Johnny Cash and Red Skelton

Thanksgiving 1952: Red Skelton

Sunday, November 27, AD 2011

Red Skelton rose from poverty to become one of the most popular comedians of his day.  A comedic genius, he created a gallery of comedic personas:  Clem Kaddidlehopper, the Mean Little Kid, San Fernando Red, Freddie the Freeloader  and others, which allowed him not only to amuse but also to engage in wry commentary about some of the foibles of his time. Skelton the man was fairly simple:  he liked to make people laugh, and he loved God, Country and Kids.  The love of God and his dying son I have written about in the post The Pope, the Clown and the Cross.  Skelton’s love of God and Country shines through in his rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance which I have written about here.

His love of kids was no mere entertainer’s pose as the following anecdote illustrates:

“Funny how you can go to a doctor’s offices and find magazines that are years old in the lobby. I had to go to a dentist two week ago and found a Golf magazine from the 80’s. I also found a magazine that told me the following story:

Decades ago, a young American was flying across the mountain ranges of Europe on his way to London. Accompanying his friend, a Catholic priest, the two were scheduled to have a meeting with the Pope in England. As the priest talked, the plane suddenly rocked. Then rocked again.  Something told the priest the plane was not destined to ever touch land again.

The passengers, busy in their individual conversations, failed to notice, the priest observed, until a flight attendant made an announcement of impending doom. The plane was over a mountain range and losing altitude.

As expected, panic set in.

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3 Responses to Thanksgiving 1952: Red Skelton

Red Skelton, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and One Nation Under God

Monday, November 14, AD 2011

Red Skelton and his unforgettable rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance.  Skelton rose out of abject poverty to become one of the great comedians of his time.  His comment about the phrase “under God”  reminds us how deeply this phrase is embedded in American history:

The addition of “under God” to the pledge of allegiance in 1954 of course echoes this sentence from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The Pledge was altered with that phrase of Lincoln’s specifically in mind.  The Knights of Columbus played an important role in getting the pledge changed, beginning in 1951 to say the Pledge with the phrase “under God” inserted at all Knights of Columbus functions.

Lincoln probably recalled the phrase from George Washington’s use of it in his order to the Continental Army on August 27, 1776 before the battle of Long Island:

The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.

 

 

 

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4 Responses to Red Skelton, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and One Nation Under God

4 Responses to A Pledge

  • Nice but God didn’t get much mention.

  • Did you miss the ending Joe?

    The addition of under God to the pledge of allegiance in 1954 of course echoes this sentence from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

    “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

    The Pledge was altered with that phrase of Lincoln specifically in mind:

    http://acheritagegroup.org/blog/?p=12

  • I just put the flag out with my two sons and we said the Pledge of Allegiance. The musical 1776 is playing on the TV. Cathy has some tasty ribs for our lunch and then our family reading of the Declaration. The Fourth is off to a traditional start at House McClarey!

  • I admit, Don, I quit watching after about 3 minutes because I figured he was through with his definitions.

The Pope, The Clown and The Cross

Monday, September 28, AD 2009

skelton_pope

In 1957 comedian Red Skelton was on top of the world.  His weekly comedy show on CBS was doing well.  He had  curtailed the drinking which had almost derailed his career.  Not too shabby for a man who had started out as a circus and rodeo clown and who was now often called the clown prince of American comedy.  He and his wife Georgia had two beautiful kids:  Richard and Valentina Maria.  Then the worst thing in the world for any parent entered into the lives of Red and Georgia Skelton:  Richard was diagnosed with leukemia.  Unlike today, a diagnosis of leukemia in a child in 1957 was tantamount to saying that Richard was going to die soon.  Red immediately took a leave of absence from his show.  CBS was very understanding and a series of guest hosts, including a very young Johnny Carson, filled in for Skelton during the 1957-1958 season.

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37 Responses to The Pope, The Clown and The Cross

  • Beautiful story, Don. Thanks for posting it.

  • Thank you John Henry. I was vaguely aware of the death of Skelton’s son, but until I began researching Skelton last week I was unaware of the connection to Pius XII. Courage and grace in the face of death always moves me, and Richard Skelton had those qualities to the full.

  • Good story. I see Red’s own father died shortly after Red was born. He must have been grounded well in his beliefs. I’m sure there are DVDs of his shows, I think I’ve seen them advertized on TV.

  • Wikipedia has interesting information, I wonder if they reference his Catholicism.

    I see it says he was a FreeMason and more on the story above,

    “As if the loss of his show was not enough, his ex-wife Georgia committed suicide in 1976, five years after their divorce and on the tenth anniversary of their son’s death years before. That was her second attempt at suicide. Georgia left a note that said, “The reason I chose this day, is so you wouldn’t feel bad twice in one year.” [8]”

    So nix to that about being grounded in Catholicism. If Red were a midwesterner from Indiana, Dean Martin was born in Steubbenville, Ohio of all places, if Ohio is considered Midwestern. Interesting to track down where some of these people hailed from.

  • An anecdote about Skelton:

    “Funny how you can go to a doctor’s offices and find magazines that are years old in the lobby. I had to go to a dentist two week ago and found a Golf magazine from the 80’s. I also found a magazine that told me the following story:

    Decades ago, a young American was flying across the mountain ranges of Europe on his way to London. Accompanying his friend, a Catholic priest, the two were scheduled to have a meeting with the Pope in England. As the priest talked, the plane suddenly rocked. Then rocked again. Something told the priest the plane was not destined to ever touch
    land again.

    The passengers, busy in their individual conversations, failed to notice, the priest observed, until a flight attendant made an announcement of impending doom. The plane was over a mountain range and losing altitude.

    As expected, panic set in.

    The priest loosened his seat belt, realizing he had but minutes to offer last rites to any who might desire them. His young friend, Richard, sat motionless, staring at the seat before him. The priest went about his duties. Then, all at once, reality hit Richard in the face and he noticed that behind his seat and to the right was a child, two children, several children. If indeed this was to be the last moments of their short lives, Richard determined, he would make sure the children never knew it.

    The young American rose to his feet and started to make faces at the kids. Horrible faces, ugly faces. Most of the youngsters laughed, but one did not. This boy, about the age of 5, became Richard’s focus. Richard stuck his tongue out. So did the boy. Richard did it again, making an awful face. The boy imitated him. As the priest delivered last rites, Richard kept the children amused. None of them knew the earth was rushing up to meet their craft in spikes of ancient stone.

    Meanwhile, the pilot had been amazed that the plane had cleared most of the rough crags that reached for the skies. One lone mountaintop was left to clear; their fate waited on its other side. By inches, the plane cleared that last mountain. What lay on the other side was a large cow pasture with soft, rolling grasses. The craft slid in on a cushion provided by Mother Nature – rough, but not the landing the pilot and most of the passengers had imagined.
    Certainly not what either the priest or Richard had expected.

    Those young children never knew how close they had approached Heaven’s gates, nor did many of them ever know the young, auburn-haired performer who kept that knowledge from them miles above the earth.

    His name was Richard but we knew him as Red Skelton.”

    I can believe the anecdote. Throughout his life Skelton’s motto appears to have been “Kids First”.

    http://finaltaxi.wordpress.com/2007/09/17/has-america-forgotten-its-famous-clown/

  • Great story. Thanks Donald.

  • Thanks for this story, Donald.

  • Thank you gentlemen.

  • British journalists revel in being mean.

  • I see a family resemblance in his son. Bless Them.

  • Main thing I remember about Red Skelton:
    “Good night, and God bless.”

  • wow, that was very touching.

  • Great story! Thank you.

  • i recall Richard’s passing well. Such a tragic loss. Red was never ever the same. what parent is. He was a great clown ,lover of mankind and beautiful human being. thsnks Brad. I know this story for 50 years. may both their gentle souls rest eternally in peace. bless them and you for reminding us how gentle but strng love is between parent and child.

  • Thank you gentlemen. Tom, your last sentence says it all. I think in the love between parent and child we get a tiny taste of the love God has for each of us.

  • I have deleted the comments of Crusader. They were off topic and frankly a little strange. I have also placed him on moderation for the time being. I have also deleted my response to Crusader as well as the responses of foxfier and cminor, no offense to either of them intended, especially since they are two of my favorite commenters.

  • No offense taken, Donald; I understand completely. The whole situation had me wondering if there was a full moon out.

  • Keeping the peace without harm– sounds like a good plan to me.

  • Crusader, I’ve deleted your latest comments. They were bizarre and had nothing to do with this topic. You are banned from this blog.

  • From the little I know about families, it is extremely difficult for a marriage to succeed when a child dies before their parents, especially when they’re still in adolescence.

    I am sure there are marriages that have been able to stay together, though I have yet to hear or see of one.

    Just a side note.

    On the posting…

    Wonderful story, touching and moving.

  • Tito-
    I know of one, personally, where the child was killed in a farm accident while his mother and brother were near– keeping themselves intact was not easy. I think other children being very young and how sudden the loss is might have a big effect on it.

  • From the little I know about families, it is extremely difficult for a marriage to succeed when a child dies before their parents, especially when they’re still in adolescence.

    I am sure there are marriages that have been able to stay together, though I have yet to hear or see of one.

    My parents. My dad’s parents. My mom’s parents.

    I’m very much hoping not to have to follow in their footsteps, obviously — but a lot of people do deal with it and stay together.

  • That is great to hear Darwin. I knew there were those out there that persevered. That explains a lot of the deepness of your Catholic faith now.

    I hope the same for me if I’m blessed with a family.

  • I think it’s one of those things, like extreme financial difficulties, which can break a marriage that wasn’t strong to begin with. And sadly, a lot aren’t.

  • Also my uncle and aunt, grandparents, and great-grandparents. The latter two couples lived in a different time, of course: losing a child was unfortunately more common and divorce almost unthinkable. Likely that element of unthinkability makes a difference.

  • In the 1800s, killer diseases of children filled the graveyards. One story in my family that was told by my great-grandmother was the rapid succession of death of her three, beautiful, younger sisters from diphtheria. Her mother dreamed, or had a vision, of an angel who shed three tears, and said, “Bea, Flora, and Ada.” Her three, beautiful daughters soon thereafter contracted this childhood killer disease. From that point on, no one in the family was allowed to relate any mystical experiences or dreams. One can imagine the heartbreak of so many families in this time period and speculate that their wardrobe must have consisted of many black garments. No matter how much a family suffered grief and heartbreak, divorce was a rarity. Families were much, much larger then and perhaps were better able to absorb the loss.

  • Lack of three generations that have been taught “when the going gets tough, leave”– and a lack of unilateral decision making for said divorces.

    My mom’s dad’s folks were separated– never divorced, just decided they couldn’t stand each other and lived in totally different areas of the country thereafter.

  • It’s interesting how in the earlier generations families were larger, and by secular standards “to hard” to handle, and were more prone to infant deaths yet they remained in tact and even flourished though today many families divorce after the death of a child.

    Can we say “secularization” or “modernism” has had a net negative effect on the nuclear family?

  • Oops, forgot another aspect: most folks don’t have a support structure.

    When my mom was a kid her mother lost two children, and suffered from what we’d call post-partum depression; the older boys looked after my mom, neighbors watched the boys and made sure that Granny was functioning, siblings and in-laws picked up the slack, and it was a worry that the grandparents were in another state.

    Now? It’s unusual if you have one sister and one brother, it’s unusual if your parents are near to help, hardly any neighbors would be comfortable laying down the law for someone else’s kids and the only two examples I can think of where kids stayed at a cousin’s house, there were rather dire results because of such different parenting styles. (In English: folks with stressed marriages seem to always have utter _BRATS_ and defend their every misdeed to the death.)

    Random extra thought: those earthquakes that hit China and took down several schools, killing many children, also triggered suicides in the parents of the children– suspected to be a result of the one child policy, which means that many families were absolutely gutted.

  • Foxfier,

    Excellent point!

    Especially in rural parts of the country, you would have cousins, nephews, and nieces assisting in raising newborns, infants, and children.

    This was their baby-training for when they had families of their own.

    Now, especially secularized couples, have one or no children and they look around and have no cousins or aunts and uncles as well.

  • Speaking of having a family support structure reminded me of a true story. It’s the story of Charlie.

    Charlie was a momma’s boy. He simply adored his mother. He looked up to his older brother and loved his father but his mother was everything to him.
    When Charlie as 8 yrs. old he came home from school one day only to learn that his mother had taken ill and died while he was in class. He was devastated but took solace in prayer to the Blessed Mother the only other women in his young life.
    In less then 3 years Charlie suffered another loss, that of his big brother he so much looked up to. That left just Charlie to be with his father.
    Charlie grew in the love of his father but in Charlie’s 20th year he was alone in life as his father also died. Even before his 21st birthday Charlie had lost all those he loved in life, his entire family. To make matters worse Charlie got on the wrong side of the authorities in charge. He had to go into hiding after a while and was taken in by the towns man of the cloth for safekeeping.
    Charlie also decided to pursue the religious life and soon the man that had once lost his entire family took the entire world to be his family. He went to those that could not come to him. He traveled his whole life to be with that adopted world family. But Charlie grew old and the travel tired him greatly. Charlie left this life in his old age and know one will ever remember Charlie. Yes that’s right! Charlie will not be remembered at all. At least by that name. For you see Charlie is what his name would be in English. But his given first name in his native language was Karol. Karol Wojtyla…Pope John Paul II

    The man without a family left this world with his entire world family in tears at his passing…John Paul the Great…..

  • Great comment Robert!

  • I just happened upon this story. Sincere thanks to the gentleman who posted it.
    I was blessed to meet and become friends with Red Skelton during the last 18 years of his life. As the girl in the article pointed out, Red was just as wonderful a man when out of character as when he was in character. I saw Red in all kinds of situations through the years, but his faith and quiet strength never waivered. Once, he showed me that first Crucifix given him by Pope Pius, and I’ve never forgotten it. Red’s faith and strength of character had a profound effect on my life. I miss him very much; but, as he promised me years ago, “we’ll meet up there someday.” May God rest him, truly one of the finest men I’ve ever known.

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  • I was so moved by this article. I’d like to post it on my blog, attributing it to you of course, this Christmas eve. Please let me know if I can.

    There are people who face this Christmas without someone they love very much. I believe that Red Skelton’s experience with the pope and his son’s illness affirms the power of Christian love over death and despair. Let me know.

  • Please feel free Suzanne; the more people who know about this wonderful story of faith and love in the face of death, the better.

Red Skelton: Pledge of Allegiance

Friday, September 25, AD 2009

One of the forgotten geniuses of American comedy, Red Skelton.  Skelton rose out of abject poverty to become one of the great comedians of his time.  As the above video indicates Skelton also had his serious side.  A remembrance of better times when students pledged allegiance to the country rather than chanting hymns of praise for a living politician.

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