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Monday, March 11, 2019

Hope's Boneyard


When I was young I thought I wanted to be an archeologist. As I grew older, it became crystal clear that I just wanted to dig in the dirt and unearth what had been lost or otherwise forgotten. It wasn’t so much the studious library hours that appealed to me, it was the excitement of potentially finding something that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. As such I worked, and saved my money, bought the best metal detector on the market at the time, and whenever I would visit my homeland, I would spend countless hours in the neighboring forests, around castle moats, just swinging my detector, hearing a ping, and digging up what had been lying dormant for so long.

Romania is rich in history, and due to its historical richness, I found all manner of things, from arrow heads used in medieval battles, to sword tips, to sword hilts, to hand forged nails used to hold together medieval boots. No, I never found any gold or silver, but that was never the desire to begin with. The very idea of holding an arrow head in my hand and imagining who might have forged it, and used it, and what became of the individual was thrilling enough for me.

One day I was in the middle of a forest, high atop a hill, just swinging my detector back and forth, when I got a ping. I knelt down, and dug around the area, and to my surprise I found a shell casing. I’d found them before, but oddly enough, I tended to find more arrow heads than bullet casings.

Two feet further, and I found another casing, two feet after that another, and as I started kicking at the dirt around me, I made contact with something hard. I brushed away some dead leaves and dirt, and was confronted with a skull. By the look of it, it was a pig skull. A few feet further, I noticed bones peeking out the ground, and further still, more skull fragments, and full skulls of everything from cows, to pigs, to goats.

It was a veritable boneyard, and being all alone up on that hill, with all those animal remains sort of gave me the creeps. I packed up my gear, and made my way down the hill, still wondering about all the bones I’d found, when I ran across an older man carrying a water bucket.

I said hello, he returned the greeting, and since he looked like a local I asked him if he had a moment. “At my age, moments are all I have,” he answered smiling.

I explained to him what I’d found on top of the hill, but before I could even get the whole story out, he started nodding, and said, “that’s hope hill. My guess is you found the killing ground. Back during communism, people used to take their livestock up there in the dead of night, butcher it, and haul the meat back down in sacks. If the police came to inspect and they found animal remains on your property, you could go to jail for refusing to contribute to the general welfare of the people. Let’s say I had a cow I wanted to butcher. Well, I didn’t get to make the choice of when to butcher it, nor did I get to keep the meat. Even though I raised it, fed it, cared for it, it didn’t belong to me in their view. It belonged to the collective, and it was my duty as a good citizen to surrender it to the collective. As a means of getting around that, people would just take their animals up on the hill, butcher them, and walk out with just the meat.”

I thanked the old man for his time, and went on my way. It is only recently, with the new talk of Socialism and how wonderful a model it is that I started thinking back on that day, and what it really meant.

What socialism is, and make no mistake, it is, at its core communism, is the abdicating of all your rights to make decision for yourself, for the promise that some inept, illiterate, functionary of the newly minted government will make all the decisions for you.

Yes, it came to the point that if you had two chickens and you refused to give one to government you were refusing to pay your fair share. Yes, it did come to the point that people would butcher their livestock in the middle of the night just to keep from being discovered.

It is only people who have never had to live it that find socialism so attractive. All others know the truth of it, and abhor its very notion. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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