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Hero Memories



Ode to the Keeper of the Bees

Around 0730 this Morning of the Sabbath, A dear Friend and fellow Veteran who had served our Country in the Vietnam War crossed over from this World into the presence of our Beloved Lord, after a long and arduous battle with cancer.

One of Walter's hobbies was beekeeping, and he produced some of the finest all natural unrefined organic honey I have ever tasted.

This Morning after I had received the call from his recently bereaved Widow, I noticed the jar beside the toaster oven that they had given me a few years ago, and was empty save about a tablespoon of crystallized honey in the bottom... about enough for one last cup of tea.

A pot of water was boiled, and some of it poured into the jar to dissolve the residual honey, and then into my cup with a bag of herbal tea.

Walking out to the porch from whence I had sounded the shophar just last evening, which was the traditional beginning of the ancient Sabbath, I raised my cup in a toast to the Keeper of the Bees. Perhaps he will have a few hives to tend in the Great Shamiyim (Heaven). Until we meet again, old Comrade... Shabbat Shalom.

Subject: Ode to the Keeper of the Bees
Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2017 11:33:38 -0400
From: Jaque Clarke

For what it's worth: There is a photo on my mantelpiece of my Great Great Grandfather, Sgt. George Varnum Ball of Company F, 25th Mass. Vol. Infantry wearing a standard frock coat adorned only with regulation triple V Sergeant's chevrons. His trousers bear the dark blue stripe down the seam appropriate for his rank. The image was taken at New Berne N.C. probably in 1863, where he was stationed at Camp Oliver.

At the battle of Cold Harbor he was wounded, and lay on the field for 3 days before he could be brought in more dead than alive.

According to the regimental history, Wearing the Blue, by J. Waldo Denny, he was the regimental Color Bearer at the time.

After a coma of another 3 days, from which he was not expected to survive, he began to surprise everybody by regaining consciousness. As he did so, his left wrist which had been tightly clenched all this time began to open. When the attendants began to clean what appeared to be a large clot of blood from his hand, they discovered that the clot was comprised largely of a ragged swatch of red silk, with some shreds of white along two of it's borders.

Apparently, as he was going down, another member of the Color Guard seized the Standard and tore it from his grasp, proceeding only a few yards further in the valiant but ill fated charge before he in turn fell enshrouded in the riddled silk, his own body shredded beyond recognition by concentrated Confederate fire.

What Grandfather Ball was doing with the National Colors having been listed as the Regimental Bearer, I can only speculate.

That old tattered, darkly stained and perforated piece of silk now reposes in a place of honor in our home. It was passed from my Father, who related it's story to me as a child years ago. I have held it in reverent awe ever since, and hope some day a succeeding generation will accept, and eventually pass it on with the remembrance it escorts.

This has a lot to do with why I'm a Civil War reenactor today, to be sure!

It may only be a symbol, but I can't help but be deeply disturbed and angered when some degenerate exercises his so called right of free expression to intentionally desecrate or foul our National Colors.

 There is, I suspect, some traces of DNA within the dark stains on that old patch of silk which would be remarkably similar to that which courses through these veins.

"Uncle Jaque" (John Clarke)
(formerly) Musician
3rd Reg't. Maine Vol. Inf.
Fife and Drum Corp

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