6.22.2022 – they did not value

they did not value
resources, communities
historic nature

Today’s haiku is adapted from a quote from US Representative Teresa Leger Fernández of New Mexico when she made a statement about the US Forest Service and that they made multiple miscalculations, used inaccurate models and underestimated how dry conditions were in the south-west, causing a planned burn to reduce the threat of wildfires to explode into the largest blaze in New Mexico’s recorded history.

Representative Fernández said, “These are complex issues. Starting a prescribed burn in an area where there are homes and watersheds and communities should be something that you take incredibly seriously because those are high value assets. They did not value the resources, the communities, the historic nature of these communities and so they went forward allowing more risk than they should have.”

She was speaking about forest management.

You could easily think she was talking about any number of things in the news right now.

When talking about right now I must be talking about rights.

Right to vote.

Right to have your vote counted.

Curious how right and right are the some word.

The online Merriam-Webster defines the words like this:

>Something to which one has a just claim.

>Conforming to facts or truth.

>Being in accordance with what is just, good, or proper.

>Qualities (such as adherence to duty or obedience to lawful authority) that together constitute the ideal of moral propriety or merit moral approval.

My thought this morning was to write about how difficult it has been of late to construct a daily haiku and write some commentary in a light hearted way when I am feeling anything but lighthearted.

I saw this quote of Representative Fernández’s and thought how easy it would be to use the words in a commentary on how so many decisions and actions are being taken today without any consideration to the value the resources, the communities, the historic nature of these communities and so they went forward allowing more risk than they should have.

Then by chance I hit that word right.

Seems there has been a major disconnect on the importance of this word.



Right rights.

I am reminded of Proverbs 21:3 (NIV) –

To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

It was a long time ago but I had to take a class in school to learn how to drive a car.

It was a free class offered by the Grand Rapids Public Schools, all you had to do was sign up.

The only restriction was that you had to turn 16 years old, legal driving age, either before the class started or by the time it finished to sign up.

In the winter of 1976, for reasons I have never understood, my Dad was interested in my getting a drivers license.

At the same time he also took a life insurance policy out of me.

Maybe he thought it was a good investment.

It was January and my birthday was in July and I knew that I couldn’t sign up until then but he kept after me to sign up for drivers ed.

Maybe he just wanted to avoid another summer of having a kid in drivers ed instead of during the school year.

To make him happy I went into the office and asked for a registration card and filled it out and dropped it in the office inbox and forgot about it.

I can’t say I have had many you-could-knock-me-over-with-a-feather shocks in my life but a week later, this would have been January still, I was walking home from school in the snow with my buddies when my Dad pulled up next to us in his car, rolled down the window and said, “get in.”


The first thing that went through my mind was to examine my conscience to figure out what I done wrong.

Truthfully, the list was so long I most likely didn’t know where to start.

My buddies all looked at me with that oh-are-you-in-trouble look and they all moved away from me to get away from any possible shrapnel.

Very slowly and tentatively I opened the car door and got in my Dad’s car.

My Dad’s car was one of the pleasures’ he allowed himself to indulge in.

My Dad had driven a Thunderbird convertible in the early 1960’s when there might not have been a more coveted car in America.

He updated that to the Buick Riviera, which in the late ’60s had POWER EVERYTHING.

From the Riviera, he got a 1976 two door navy blue Mercury Cougar.

It was this car I was now sitting in.

15 years old and I learned how to drive in this car

Sitting in the front seat and waiting to find out what I had done.

My stomach was doing all kinds of calisthenics and I kept my mouth shut.

My Dad drove pulled away from the curb and said, “We are going to the park so I can show you have to drive. School called and you have Driver’s Ed at 4 o’clock!”

HUhhhhhhhhhhhhhh whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?

Talk about you-could-knock-me-over-with-a-feather!

We got to the nearby Riverside Park and I was put in the drivers seat of my Dad’s Cougar and on a snow covered park road, I got a quick lesson in how to start a car, put it in gear and drive.

While I drove, my Dad explained that School had called and said that due to a cancellation there was an opening in the Drivers Ed class that started that day.

As it happened, my card was sitting out on the desk and the school was calling to see if I was eligible for the class.

See, when I filled out the card, I put my birthday as being in July, 1976!

The current year.

The school was calling to check if was old enough.

In other words, had I been born in 1959 (when I had been born in 1960).

My Dad said that my Mom had taken the call and she looked at Dad and asked what to say.

“TELL THEM YES!,” my Dad said.

About an hour later, I was dropped off back at school and found the Drivers Ed class where the teacher had my card in his hand.

“You Hoffman?” he asked.

I said yes and the class started.

The teacher started talking to the class about driving and getting a drivers license.

Let’s get this straight right now,” he said.

A drivers license is a PRIVILEDGE not a RIGHT.

Privileges’ can be taken away.

Rights cannot.”

I have never forgot that.

Living in this country, we have so many rights.

Why do we forget what a privilege this is?

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