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PINE NUTS – A Mother’s Wisdom

November 16, 2023 | McAvoy Lane

Thanksgiving 2023

A young son is watching the TV news with his father… 

“Dad, how come all their houses are broken?”

“They are at war, Son.”


“Go ask your mother.”

“Mom, why are all their houses broken?”

“They are at war, Son.”


“Go ask your father.”

“He told me to ask you.”

“Alright then, I’ll tell you why their houses are broken. You see, Honey, grown men have this thing called testosterone. It’s a hormone that brings out the very best, and sometimes the very worst in men. Excess testosterone can cause package rage that can escalate into road rage, and escalate yet again into internecine warfare, and the breaking of houses.

“Do I have testosterone, Mom?”

“No, Honey, but you will soon enough, and it’s your father’s and my responsibility to raise you in an environment that will inspire you to become a clarion call for harmony between neighbors…all neighbors.”

As her son leaves the room, she finishes her thoughts by talking to herself…

“Dr. Martin Luther King told us, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’ Yet this recent spike in human depravity is demonstrating that justice is not inevitable. If we presume that progress is perpetual, well, we are going to fail.  

Each generation, in its turn, is responsible for maintaining the peace, as there will always be belligerents to muddy our otherwise pristine political waters. So it becomes each generation’s responsibility to keep our waters drinkable, or ‘potable’ as the saying is, though I don’t cotton to that particular word. To my mind, a potty-trained child could be called, ‘potable,’ not drinking water. And while I’m thinking of it, it seems to me that, ‘a temporary cease-fire,’ or ‘a limited pause in fighting’ are sanitized terms for, ‘temporary interruption in senseless killing.’ Just as ‘collateral damage’ is a nice clean term for, ‘Woops, sorry we murdered you, but you should have gotten out of the way.’

Warfare is so below us, and should be so far behind us as to be unfathomable, and yet we continue to find reasons to kill each other in the name of one god or another, one politic or another, one misplaced hatred or another. My grandmother used to have an expression that she would use on me when I came crying to her for a third time in an hour, ‘Oh, dry up!’ And I guess that is my mantra to those who feel a need to declare war or fight a war, ‘Oh, dry up!’ I can’t say it like my grandmother could say it, so that it carries the perfect pitch of authority and affection, but it will just have to do for now.”

Satisfied that she had solved the world’s troubles, our mother’s thoughts return to her Thanksgiving dinner…

“Let’s see, I better replace this kitchen sponge, for this one, like artificial intelligence, is about ready to get up and walk out of here on its own.”

Audio: https://anchor.fm/mcavoy-layne

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