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Tuesday, February 2, 2010 • Posted February 2, 2010

The Hanging

In going through my files I ran into this letter from Shagnasty dated Oct. 20, 1992, in which he tells me some some of his son’s problems followed by his own thoughts on divorce:

Dear Bode,

Back during the days of Desert Storm, when we were getting our daily briefings from the head General, I was getting my briefings on my son’s marital conflict from my daughter who received her information from her dear friend — my son’s estranged wife. Naturally, just like the General’s briefings, (where we heard his side, but never the side of the mean guy Saddam), I heard my daughter-in-law’s side but never the side of the mean guy (my son).

Because of these briefings, I will have to admit, I was about ready to join group that was wanting to hang my son. Then I remembered a visit I had once made to the grave yard at Tombstone, Arizona where I saw a grave with a marker which said, "Hung by Mistake."

It was then that I decided that before I became a party to the hanging of my son I should at least listen to his side of the conflict. So, I wrote him a letter and I said:

" Son, we would be lynchers have got you on a horse with a noose around your neck and the rope over a high limb of a tree, but before we prod the horse to jerk you out of the saddle we are going to give you a chance to tell us your side of this conflict."

And so to show what a "mean guy" he really was my son replied and said:

"Dad, you are right about there always being two sides, but for me to tell my side of this conflict might only bring hurt to others for whom I care deeply. And, since I feel that I can bear the emotional disturbance resulting from this hostility better than they, I refuse to say anything in my defense—so go ahead and prod the damned horse and let’s get this hanging over with."

Well, his acceptance of all the blame convinced me that I would not be a party to his lynching, so I got on my horse and went home. However, and I am sorry to say this, the rest of the lynching party hung him, and would not even admit that he could have been "Hung By Mistake."

This crime set me to thinking about my son’s pending divorce and the right or wrong of it and I came up with the following thoughts:

Which One Is The Coward?


How may times have you heard someone say, "Oh, did you know that Jim and Jane are getting a divorce? Isn’t it a shame. They are such nice people. How is it possible they cannot be happy together."(or something similar).

Then I ask, "What makes you think it is a bad thing? Maybe it is a good thing. What makes you think they could be happy together?" Could it be that before one could speak with authority on this subject one would first have to have lived with Jim or Jane. That, dear people is the difference. Living with them. Or, to reference an old adage, "First walk in Jim or Jane’s shoes."

I came to this conclusion quite some time after a friend asked his wife for a divorce. This happened so suddenly and came as such a shock I could not understand how he could want to leave this lovely, sweet, and talented creature. He would not tell me the reason, and she did not seem to know. So after many months I reasoned it out in this manner: he too must have thought she was lovely, sweet, and talented in the beginning but something changed his thinking, and then— ah-h-h, the light came from the end of the tunnel—he had to live with her, I didn’t.

Now some say that divorce is the wrong or coward’s way out of the situation. Others will say that when the fires of bedroom love and passion have gone out and there may be 10 to 30 years of life ahead with no hope of rekindling the fire, who then is the coward: the one (man/woman) who seeks a divorce in search of future happiness, or the one who chooses to sit in the ashes of a dead love and suffer throughout his/her life because of some vow so made when the fire was first lit.

In view of the high and increasing divorce rate it does not seem right, just because precedent demands it, to force people into making marriage vows that could be broken. Could not those vows be changed somewhat to be more in line with modern life styles and to close another gap, include a pledge by the husband to honor his responsibility to his issue in the event this union was dissolved?

But back to the initial question—which one is the coward? Before selecting the instigator of the divorce as the coward consider these points: Which takes the most courage: (a) to break loose from bondage and build from the ashes of the past, or (b) stay bound to the past by sitting in the ashes waiting for a new life to come along. ? So why be sad?

When as a child I fell and hurt myself a salve was applied to heal my wound. Therefore, could not the hurt from a divorce best be healed by applying the salve of time?


Now those of you who do not agree with Shagnasty please fuss with him not with me.

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