Editor & Publisher of the St. Croix Review.
Our Mission Is to Reawaken the Genuine American Spirit . . .
Perspective and Motivation
Barry MacDonald — Editorial
The first issue of The St. Croix Review was published in February, 1968. My father, Angus MacDonald, propelled the course of this journal with fierce energy and determination. As an immigrant from Australia he fell in love with American liberty and believed in the promise of America: that he could become anything he wanted in his adopted homeland by dint of self-propulsion.
He often praised his professors at Columbia University, where he studied in the 1950s to earn a Ph.D. in Philosophy. Being young and earnest, he looked askance at St. Augustine of Hippo because as a young man St. Augustine was dissolute with women and Angus thought when he turned to Christ Augustine infused his Christian faith with too much lusty passion. Angus was upbraided by his professors and directed to reconsider his attitude: Angus said his Jewish professors led him to a better understanding of the Christian Saint.
In describing his studies at Columbia he said his professors never discussed their personal political beliefs. They always confined themselves to presenting their subjects, like St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas, as well as they could within the context of their times. The professors at Columbia University had no political agendas to advance and wanted to be truthful — how different American universities are today!
Two essays in this issue capture Angus MacDonald’s guiding passions. Angus was a Christian minister for twenty years and he wanted to lead people to contented lives through faith in Christ, and through the practice of decency and purposefulness.
Angus opposed the sentimentality and falsehoods of leftwing politics and he was impatient with authority that wasn’t based in rationality — what he called common sense. Angus was repelled by the rise in the 1960s of an aggressive, revolutionary, and totalitarian, leftwing movement. He founded The St. Croix Review in opposition to the Left.
It may be helpful to recall what was happening in the 1960s. The Watts riots occurred in 1965 in Los Angeles, from August 11 to 16. There were 3,438 arrests, 1,032 injuries, and 34 deaths. The Detroit riots happened in 1967 from July 23 to 28. Eight thousand National Guard troops were summoned along with 4,700 paratroopers. There was looting, arson, and sniper fire. One hundred square blocks were burned. Seven thousand people were arrested, 1,189 were injured and 43 people died.
During the 1968 summer Olympics in Mexico City, African-Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos won the 200 hundred meter sprints. During the medal ceremony, while the American national anthem was played, they raised their gloved fists in a Black Power salute.
In December 1965, in Time magazine, Milton Friedman wrote “. . . we are all Keynesians now . . .” when describing the “War on Poverty” and the tax and spend policies of economist John Maynard Keynes and President Lyndon Johnson. In 1971 Republican President Richard Nixon was quoted as saying “I am now a Keynesian” when he took America off the gold standard.
Richard Nixon, a Republican, who was not a conservative, founded the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, giving the growth of bureaucratic power a tremendous boost.
There has been a lot of ruination in America since the rise of the Left in 1968. The continuing protests of the national anthem by NFL players over racial tension shows how shop-worn the Left’s techniques are. The news people, the Democrats, and movies stars are becoming increasingly tiresome in their condemnations of America. And the quietude and timidity of the national Republican Party in defense of American heritage is glaring.
I find hope in hearing the thundering boos of fans when the entire team of the Dallas Cowboys decided to take a knee before the playing of national anthem: it shows the paying customer will not tolerate continuing disrespect for America.
I believe the marketplace of political ideals will reward optimism and a “can-do” spirit, because the grievance politics of the Left is badly corroded. Even though the cries of condemnation of America seem to be reaching a crescendo, the bankruptcy of leftist policies over fifty years is on display.
The Left relies on hate and accusation to motivate people. I believe the time is ripe for politicians who inspire with optimism and visions of prosperity, as Donald Trump is doing. Ordinary Americans want to be successful, and we are tired of the negativity of the Left.
Patriotic American are faced the task of replacing many unmotivated and self-interested Republican congressmen and senators. There is a need for a continuing education of the American people in free-market economics and American heritage. The mission of The St. Croix Review is to reawaken the genuine American spirit of living in a good, great, and growing nation as free individuals.
It takes a streak of independence to maintain that America is a good and great nation, and that we have prosperous days ahead of us — but independence is central to American heritage. I believe that the viciousness of the Left will be its undoing. *
The following is a summary of the October/November 2017 issue of The St. Croix Review:
Barry MacDonald finds reason for optimism in “Perspective and Motivation.”
The essay “Editorial,” by Angus MacDonald, is the inaugurating editorial of volume 1, number 1 (February 1968) of The St. Croix Review.
In celebration of the 50th year of The St. Croix Review, we are republishing “What Is Religion?” by Angus MacDonald (published in April 2002).
Henry Hazlitt, in “The Task Confronting Libertarians,” in a clarifying essay written in 1962, offers inspiration, and a plan of action, for people who want American liberty preserved.
Anthony Harrigan, in “The Ciceronian Example,” describes the famous orator of the Roman Republic warning Roman citizens of the Catiline conspiracy. This essay was published in February 2001.
David L. Cawthon’s “Leadership and the Coding of Our Souls,” is the first essay of a series on great Western philosophers; he describes Plato’s view of leadership. This essay was published in December 1999.
Allan Brownfeld, in “It Is an Appropriate Time to Review Race-Based Affirmative Action Programs and Return to the Goal of a Color-Blind Society,” writes about university admissions policies; in “With a New Academic Year, the Assaults on Free Speech by Antifa and Others Must Be Resisted,” he chronicles the actions of this violent group.
Mark W. Hendrickson, in “Hypocritical Environmentalists Destroy Wildlife Habitat,” makes the case that environmentalists should be made to justify the costs of their policies.
Timothy Goeglein, in “The Fate of the American Family,” reminds us America depends on the health of the American family.
Philip Vander Elst, in “Politically Incorrect Truths about Colonialism and the Third World,” takes a broad perspective on the influence of Western culture in the world and discovers much that is admirable.
Al Shane, a long-time subscriber to The St. Croix Review, explains his life-style in “My Conservatism.”
Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer: Memory,” shares poetry and memory.
Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives, 67: Anglo-Saxon Attitudes,” reviews Angus Wilson’s novel Anglo-Saxon Attitudes.
Once the idea was accepted that
All means necessary should be taken
For the protection of the earth with the
Support of technological magic
Designers could offer proposals based
On equality and harmony so
Many thousands could live in a single
Sky Tower and the magnificence of
A building in which everyone would be
Given everything necessary and
The elegance of the suggestion that
People would rise above their squabbles and
Hardships to live peacefully in the clouds
Who could resist the enthusiasm?
Designers would need
to discourage obvious
beehives and ant colonies —
who would choose to be a drone?
The idea supporting Sky Towers
Is love of nature and the knowledge that
People tend to despoil the earth so in
Devotion to Gaia people would be
Willing to minimize their destruction
And gather together and the walls of
Their rooms could be pixilated with views
Of a forest a prairie a mountain
And the sensations of outdoors could be
Recreated with the seasons with sun
And stars and frogs in spring and crickets in
The summer nights and there would be no need
For people to roam about the landscape
And everyone could be safe and happy.
And the designers
could monitor the movement
of many thousands
and we could all celebrate
a sky of changing colors.
I’ve been following descriptions in the
News of architectural miracles
Of towers of steel and glass extending
A mile in height amounting to cities
Containing homes businesses indoor parks
And entertainment centers and what a
Dream for designers of an expertly
Controlled community — but I’d prefer
To live on the ground listening to the
Peeper frogs again in the spring and a
Fountain and a collection of trees on
The eighty-first floor wouldn’t be enough
And if there were birds sequestered within
Steel and glass they would be a mockery.
A mile high tower
would make a lovely target
for a terrorist —
with ingenuity he
could detonate a city.
If people chose to live in Sky Towers
The designers would have discretion to
Apportion living space by applying
Flexible standards according to the
Population’s preferences and perhaps
An equal distribution of room would
Prevail regardless of merit but some
Would have sunlight and scenery and some
Would live in boxes — some would be high and
Some low and as the disparity of
Property could be narrowed quality
Of life issues would remain because in
Comparison some people always do
Finagle better than most of us can.
How many things do
people really need and if
constrained within a
limited space wouldn’t we
be happy with less clutter?
Even though people could be cloistered in
Sky Towers some would refuse to be —
Minerals would continue to be mined
And oil would be drilled and piped and with
The best technology the earth would be
Farmed and the animals slaughtered for our
Consumption — so it’s dubious that the
Designers would establish a perfect
Separation of people and nature
But once the bulk of humanity sees
The wisdom of cooperation it’s
Possible that we could achieve the dream
Of sustainable communities and
Limit contamination of the Earth.
Because it won’t do
to have everyone doing
just as they please — we
need to assure our children
will have oxygen to breathe.
I am a driving animal who sees
Nature going by who stopped on a road
While mommy and daddy geese with goslings
Decided to cross which made me ponder
Dignity as I recalled the day I
Gazed at a goose and it looked at me and
I wondered what could it think with such a
Pinched little head and then it hissed which was
Discourteous and as the family
Ambled sedately on attending to
Their business unconcerned with impatient
People I granted them admiration —
Without a smidgen of embarrassment
The caravan waddled majestically.
Sometimes a goose is
Sometimes a goose is
Irascible — who
Am I to quibble?
There’s a fire in the sky today and the
Newly grown leaves are attuned to the fire
And the grass is rising up and as I’m
Turning in a circle there’s the sparkle
Of the sun everywhere among the leaves
Turning in a breeze and the blue of the
Sky without a cloud appears as a dome
Lit by a disk so bright I can only
See it in glimpses and I imagine
Myself as a leaf buoyant in the wind
Absorbing warm energy but as I
Don’t have ability to turn off my
Thinking I can only aspire to
Momentary poise — then go back to work.
There are mornings when
the sun is drenching the earth
appear fresh as if time stopped
and beauty is eternal.
I meet my friends in the morning and for
A laugh I’ll pretend to be limping with
My left leg and then I’ll limp with my right
Just to see if they’re paying attention
Or I’ll stand behind one of them and lean
One way and then the other and I don’t
Need to use words to enjoy myself — I
Don’t even know I’m smiling — but when I
Have to take a photo of me and I’m
manipulating my cell phone trying
To capture the perfect spontaneous
Smile I’m more likely to smirk or even
Grimace because suddenly it’s very
Difficult to put on a happy face.
I stretch my lips and
narrow my eyes and
raise my cheeks and
make the final effort and
Lift the corners of my mouth.
Thunder before dawn is a drum without
Melody and lightning is a crack in
The dark revealing a fracture in the
Sky at odds with the sounding of the rain
On the roof that lulls and soothes and I’m not
Awake and not asleep but in a trance
Of childlike wonder absorbing the force
Of the night unpredictable and sharp
With clamor and fire as if I’m on the
Edge of battle and doom were in the air
As if violence were imminent and
The covers and the roof aren’t protection
As if nothing could shield me from the spears
And the animosity of strangers.
There’s not a hint of
my childish fear this morning
as the day is bright
and all that’s left of the night
are puddles reflecting sky.
Our Mission Is to Reawaken the Genuine American Spirit . . .
Conservatism Is Soiled by Scowling Conservatives
Barry MacDonald — Editorial
The purpose of conservatism is to promote a humane society. Conservatism is no good otherwise. If conservatism doesn’t uplift Middle America, conservatism is worthless.
The uniqueness of America from its Founding was that ordinary people had the opportunity to exert themselves and make their dreams reality.
Conservatives should tirelessly promote the virtues of the free market, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the separation of powers, the rule of law, property rights, the sanctity of contracts, freedom of religion, and assimilation.
The culture war we are fighting with progressives has reached a frightful state, and American traditions are in peril. One has only to watch American colleges to see the rule of law, the free market, and the freedoms of speech and assembly threatened — colleges are imparting poison.
Donald Trump has given America a gift. His rise as people react has allowed us to discern among American leadership who are patriots and who are parasites.
George Will has written an essay that drips with contempt, titled: “Conservatism Is Soiled by Scowling Primitives.” Will doesn’t say who the “primitives” are but we can assume they are Donald Trump and his supporters.
Will writes about the life of William F. Buckley and his “high-spirited romp” through America’s political and cultural controversies. He writes that Buckley infused conservatism with “brio” and “elegance.” He writes that liberalism not only dominated mid-century America, it was the “sole intellectual tradition” before Buckley founded National Review. He cites Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s opinion that the Republican Party became the party of ideas because of William Buckley. He quotes Lionel Trilling who wrote that before Buckley conservatism was expressed in “irritable mental gestures.”
Then Will writes “Today, conservatism is soiled by scowling primitives whose irritable gestures lack mental ingredients” meaning I suppose that Trump and his supporters are crude, rude, and stupid.
He remembers Buckley saying he would rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone directory than by Harvard’s faculty. And he says that Buckley walked a “tightrope between elitism and populism” and never resolved the tension between them. Will writes: “If only he had.”
George Will comments on Whittaker Chambers, whose autobiography, Witness, “became a canonical text of conservatism.” Will writes that Chambers infused conservatism with a “sour, whiney, complaining, crybaby, populism”:
“ . . . It is the screechy and dominant tone of the loutish faux conservatism that today is erasing Buckley’s legacy of infectious cheerfulness and unapologetic embrace of high culture.”
“Chambers wallowed in cloying sentimentality and curdled resentment about ‘the plain men and women’ — ‘my people, humble people, strong in common sense, in common goodness’ — enduring the ‘musk of snobbism’ emanating from the ‘socially formidable circles’ of the ‘nicest people’ produced by ‘certain collegiate eyries.’"
George Will is impressed that William Buckley was a
“. . . Bach aficionado from Yale and [an] ocean mariner from the New York Yacht Club, was unembarrassed about having good taste and without guilt about savoring the good life.”
What I remember from reading and listening to William Buckley was that he was a decent and humane man who was very much concerned with the promotion of American traditions and freedoms because he cared about Middle America and ordinary Americans.
George Will is an articulate writer and has done “yeoman’s work” for conservatism. But it’s a curious fact that when writers are off base they sometimes infuse their writing with unintended irony.
Donald Trump is confronting the entire Washington establishment almost by himself (with the support of his loyal voters). He is taking on the snobs of the left and the right. He’s doing a good job of defending American traditions, and rolling back the excesses of the bureaucratic state.
George Will is offering “irritable mental gestures.” He is “sour, whiney, complaining, [a] crybaby.” George is “screechy.” He is expressing a “loutish faux conservatism” while patriotic Americans are looking for leaders. *
The following is a summary of the June/July 2017 issue of The St. Croix Review:
Barry MacDonald, in “Conservatism Is Soiled by Scowling Conservatives,” responds to an essay written by George Will.
Allan C. Brownfeld in “The Attack on Robert E. Lee Is an Assault on American History Itself,” asks what other nation in 1787 was freer or more equitable than America, and where else was religious freedom to be found in 1787?; in “Free Speech Is Not Only Under Attack at Our Universities, but ‘Objective Truth’ Itself Is Referred to as a ‘Racist Construct,’” he points out that only our Western heritage asserts the rights of individuals against the prerogatives of the state, and champions representative democracy as a proper form of government; in “The Russian Revolution at 100: Remembering the Naïve Westerners Who Embraced It,” he documents the deceptive commentary of liberal intellectuals in praise of Stalin, Mao, and Communism.
Paul Kengor, in “Two Presidents and Two Popes,” compares the meeting of the minds of Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II with that of Donald Trump and Pope Francis; in “Remembering the Rohna: A World War II Secret and Tragedy,” he reveals a heroic story that’s been secret for too long.
Mark Hendrickson, in “President Trump’s Schizophrenic Tax Proposals,” points out the good and the bad in the president’s tax plans, and Mark offers his own dramatic proposal; in “Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard: A Young Idealist Undercut the System That Has Blessed Him and Us,” he defends the free market, the value of work, and the division of labor in response to Mark Zuckerberg’s proposal in a commencement speech of a guaranteed minimum income, provided by the government, for all Americans; in “Remembering Three Great Athletes (and the Way Sports Used To Be)” he tells stories about three talented but mostly forgotten sports figures who died recently, and he shows how the games have changed.
Herbert London, in “War, Peace, and Stability,” writes that the opposite of war is not peace but stability, and demonstrates how the principle applies with North Korea; in “The French Elections,” he writes that the French are undertaking the “dismemberment of political tradition,” Macron’s victory is a stop-gap, and the future belongs to the party that can capture populist sentiments; in “They Want to Kill You,” he points out that the Trump administration is being tested by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, and by a progressive movement in America that is delusional; in “Remaking World Affairs,” he considers America’s pivotal relationship with China after the Mar-a-Lago summit.
Dwight D. Murphey, in “The Lost Context of ‘American Racism,’” provides a comprehensive look at historical slavery, and he places Americans among those who were first in seeking to abolish it.
Philip Vander Elst, in “Freedom and Community: A Conservative Perspective,” reacquaints readers with two wonderful classical liberal philosophers, and writes about how our modern society is destroying communal values outside the State, and subverting the virtues, values, and traditions upon which freedom depends.
L. John Van Til, in “Will Christians Survive in Today’s Secular World? A Review of the Benedict Option,” reviews a new book that offers guidance for Christians living in a mostly secular America.
Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives, 65: World War II Again,” reviews two books of history, Overlord and Armageddon, by Max Hastings, who writes that the Germans were superior soldiers because of tradition, culture, ideology and training, while the British and American soldiers were civilians in uniform.
Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer — Grassroots Patriotism,” presents the initiative taken by a small-town woman to honor America’s soldiers.
It was cold again overnight so I
Wore a warm shirt and put my phone in
A pocket for convenience and I was
Crabby because I had to scrape the ice
Off my windshield my nose was running and
I felt a cold coming on and moving
Was difficult and then my phone started
Ringing and I grumbled — who’s calling me
Now and I’m not unzipping my coat to
Get to the phone — and then I realized
Because my ringtone is the singing of
A robin — I was wrong — it wasn’t the
Phone but a robin I was hearing on
A chilly morning on the verge of spring.
And with a woozy
head a sloppy nose and moving
I felt a little foolish
and a little happier.
I don’t consider there’s more computing
Power in the phone I carry in a
Pocket than in the Apollo rockets
That took astronauts to the moon — when I
Routinely talk to people across the
Country while walking along the street or
Get directions by using satellites
Or download wisdom accumulated
Through centuries by connecting with the
Internet — all by using a phone — I
Don’t give technology a second thought
And even become frustrated with a
Slow connection as I’ve grown accustomed
To the magic people have provided.
And it’s easy to
forget separate from
the wind in the leaves
and beyond the sky
another star’s exploding.
Even if I’m driving down the same streets
Everyday there’s a chance I’ll discover
Something I’ve never seen before if I
Pay attention to the flowing world as
I believe there’s always more than I can
Absorb in the moment as my habits
And preoccupations get in the way
And today I saw the willow trees at
The chilly beginning of spring and the
Profusion of drooping limbs were hanging
Limply looking like yellow strings with leaves
Emerging and my imagination
Jumped with the sight of willow leaves flowing
In the resurgence of summer breezes.
I’ve seen the willows
for almost sixty years —
the flowing world better than
willow leaves in summer wind.
Roses in poetry have become trite
As everyone has written of the folds
Within folds within folds and contrasted
Petals with thorns as if the beauty and
The sharpness had a point but during most
Of the year the rose bush consists of stems
And little leaves and yes the bloom in spring
Is lovely emerging in a shower
Of sunlight within a season bursting
With growth and for some reason poets do
Keep writing about roses — more so than
Chrysanthemums — as if a rose were a
Sight to behold like the sun and the moon
And in beholding a rose I am caught.
So there is something
about the bloom of a rose
like the sun and moon
eyes capable of seeing.
I won’t say it’s age as I remember
It happening in my thirties and I
Rely on my memory but sometimes
I would enter a room and realize
I’d forgotten why I came — and I think
It’s the result of an active mind that’s
Processing too much information and
There’s calculation going on and as
My mind is juggling several things at once
Such as the immigration policy
Of the United States and my desire
For toothpaste — naturally my mind would
Drop the ball concerning the paste and that’s
OK because my capacity for
It was inspiring
scintillating even and
I was on the verge
of a pronouncement but then
the brilliant point escaped me.
Don’t you love . . . really just love-love-love the
tactile words . . . those you need to repeat
because they make your tongue and palate tickle,
make you lips quiver, your whole mouth grow
huge as a wind tunnel while they bounce around and resound . . .
words like marshmallow or bamboozle . . . words
to make your ears twitch and your feet flutter up and
off this stick-mud world, words to let you hum
and hover-hover-hover awhile?
Today my favorite word is
epididymis: an epic word, manly word to stash
under one’s breath or utter while your eyes blur and
turn to heaven . . . to enjoy for its drummy-yummy
rhythm. It’s not a party-talk word, not available for How’s your
epididymis today? So I sing it alone in my kitchen,
whisper it while thumping for ripe melons, say it
fast — epididymis-epididymis-epididymis —
as I jump up, jump down, jump out on this limb.
— Bev Bonn Jonnes
The following is a summary of the April/May 2017 issue of The St. Croix Review:
Jigs Gardner, in “The Dualism of Donald Trump,” presents one key to Donald Trump’s success in the election — his assault on politically correct speech.
Allan C. Brownfeld, in “Assaults on Free Speech Continue as Many Young People Seem Indifferent to Permitting Dissenting Voices,” believes the violence of protesters to a speech given by Charles Murray at Middlebury College in Vermont demonstrates the fragility of free speech in America; in “Conservatism May No Longer Have a Home in the Republican Party,” he criticizes the Trump administration and offers examples of conservative thought; in “Nat Hentoff, 1925-2017: An Eloquent Voice for American Freedom,” he remembers the life of his friend who was a fierce defender of free speech.
Mark Hendrickson in “Medicine That Hurts,” writes that no matter what Republicans do, there is no avoiding massive upheaval in America’s healthcare system — millions will lose coverage; in “Globalization, Not Globalism, Improves Human Lives,” he defines his terms and identifies “Globalism” as the connivance of international bureaucrats and global élites; in “Five Ways the Minimum Wage Isn’t as ‘Moral’ as Some Claim,” he reveals the negative incentives and burdens on the poor imposed by minimum wage laws; in “The Inestimable Importance of Econ 101,” he points out that many of our political problems are founded in the denial of basic economic fact.
Paul Kengor, in “Going Red for International Women’s Day,” reveals the Marxist-revolutionary history of the Women’s March on March 8; in “Neil Gorsuch on Life, Liberty, and the Natural Law,” a question posed to Neil Gorsuch during his confirmation hearings set the stage for an exploration of natural law: in “Socialism Attacks the Family, Just as Its Inventors Intended,” he reveals the long history of leftist assaults on marriage and the family.
Herbert London, in “Weighing Aspirations, Trump Argues for Increased Defense Spending,” lays out complex considerations in formulating a defense budget; in “Change in Our Time,” he suggests that advancing technology added to social media added to crumbling institutions presages unpredictable change; in “Revanchism and Crisis Management,” he notes the difficulties involved when nations make claims on other nation’s territories based on history or falsehoods; in “What Social Epidemiology Means for Foreign Policy,” he considers how the unraveling of healthy American institutions and the rise of narcissism will effect American leadership in the world.
John Anderson, in “Health Care at the Brink,” considers how American health care came to its precarious condition.
Timothy Goeglein, in “How World War I Changed America, 100 Years On,” he marks the consequences of America’s entry on the world’s stage.
Philip Vander Elst, in “Revolutionary Socialism and Sexual Politics,” shows how the political left for decades has been using “gay rights,” feminism, “sexual equality,” and abortion as methods to undermine the free economy and advance socialism.
Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer — Comedies of the 60s,” describes the way-out characters that only the 1960s could have engendered.
Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives, 64: Thomas Sowell: A Great Teacher,” provides a splendid example of Thomas Sowell’s incomparable insight.
June is a memory in November
As I remember the roses and the
Lilacs blooming and the persistence of
The rain the fresh air and the insistence
Of the sun coaxing the season of growth
Along and all the leaves are pristine the
Birds are melodious with the dawn and
The roots of the grass are absorbing the
Rain but now a bitter wind surges through
The trees that stand starkly bare a frosting
Has hardened the ground and the night has grown
Wings and is overshadowing daylight
But none of it matters to me because
Your ebullience overcomes the darkness.
The overcast sky
in November is glowing
because the sun is
always dispensing light and
every day you’re radiant.
There are moments of awakening that
Aren’t altogether enjoyable in
The winter months of Minnesota and
When walking on the asphalt or concrete
After a drizzling that froze into
An almost invisible layer of
Ice we learn to look for a glint of light
Reflecting off the walkway because a
Second’s carelessness leads to a quirky
Jerk to discombobulation to an
Impactful connection with a very
Hard surface after which we’re completely
Awake realizing penetrating
Insight into the quality of now.
Because I’m spry I
jerk discombobulate but
sometimes I’m able
to catch myself before the
fall discovering balance.
Circumstances coordinate outcomes
Not always to my satisfaction as
I encountered the invisible ice
While driving down a sloping street and if
Only I hadn’t tried to turn I’d have
Been OK but I did and the car slid
As my frantic gestures with the steering
Wheel were operatic but quite useless
So I smacked into a parked car leaving
Minor damage on both vehicles and
Though it’s not catastrophic I’d rather
Have nothing to regret but that’s life as
Once in a while I fall through a trap door
Of an uncontrollable circumstance.
The spitting freezing
rain is no excuse said the
as the fact remains I lost
control of the vehicle.
Like a basset hound with droopy skin and
Ears baying so mournfully at the moon
And disturbing my sleep I’ve tossed about
With worry and during the day the hound
Gets his teeth into a rag and won’t let
Go no matter how I pull to free myself
From cogitating over offensive
Words and it’s useless to ruminate with
Sad eyes with my hound’s head between outstretched
Paws on the floor because wherever my
Thoughts go my paws are sure to follow so
I’ve learned to throw the dog a bone to let
Myself chew joyfully on projects that
Channel enthusiastic energy.
When I’m searching for
the appropriate words and
images to fit
an emerging line of thought
I don’t know my tail’s wagging.
The Jogging Birder
I was jogging,
and the push had
was hanging onto my heels
and croaking like a frog,
and while I was begging the uphill
to pull me
to greater heights
(where near the crest
I could see a grassy bank
that looked more and more
like a bench)
over the hill flew a
beaky and goggled biker
with shoulders hunched and arms
akimbo — buzzard
on bicycle wheels —
and a bubble of laughter
carried me over the hill
headed for home.
—Bev Bonn Jonnes
Our Mission Is to Reawaken the Genuine American Spirit . . .
The Story of Dino Casali
Editor’s Note: Dino Casali was a long-time subscriber and supporter of The St. Croix Review. He died several months ago at the age of 87. This biography was sent to The St. Croix Review by Dino’s friend Thomas F. Wall who wrote: “I enclose a short biography of Dino’s life prepared, by his home city’s Torrington [Connecticut] Historical Society, which is most inspiring and shows how many older U.S. citizens accomplished so much in the old-fashioned way of working for it.”
Thomas Wall writes of Dino Casali: “He had a distinguished career, although his quiet demeanor would not indicate this. He made a deep impression on me.”
It is the mission of The St. Croix Review to reawaken the Genuine American Spirit of Living in a Good, Great, and Growing Nation as Free Individuals. The writers — and the subscribers — of The St. Croix Review cherish our American freedoms and we are ingenious and industrious people who are capable of solving whatever difficulties we encounter. We find strength in our families, in our neighborhoods, and in our faiths.
The bond that holds America together is a belief that ordinary people of whatever ethnicity or faith can accomplish extraordinary feats as long as American freedom is preserved. To preserve America as the land of opportunity it is necessary to oppose and reverse the growth of the federal government, including the onerous bureaucratic regulations of the various agencies, intended to render individuals subservient to the state.
America was founded as a nation of immigrants who arrived in America legally, who wanted to become Americans, and who were willing to play by the rules. That Dino Casali was a long-time subscriber to The St. Croix Review was not an accident — his story embodies the ethos we promote. Indeed, Dino Casali’s father immigrated to America from Italy, just as my father, Angus MacDonald, came to America from Australia following W.W. II — Angus founded The St. Croix Review in 1968.
Immigrants who come to America, and who want to become American, are able to see America with fresh eyes — they are able to appreciate this nation as a land of opportunity — because they can compare America to wherever they came from.
I would never have learned of Dino Casali’s story if his friend Thomas Wall hadn’t sent me Dino’s biography. I’m grateful for Thomas Wall and for the Torrington Historical Society. And I’m grateful for all of the subscribers of The St. Croix Review. I haven’t been able to meet very many of you — though I have been typing your names over and over again in thank you notes year after year. I suspect we all have much in common.
If you, the subscribers to The St. Croix Review, would send us memoirs or biographies we will reserve a place for you within our pages — we’d like to foster a sense of community among us. —Barry MacDonald
Carlo Casali emigrated to the U.S. in 1907 after hearing stories of great opportunity there. Upon his arrival in 1907, he was refused admission because of a hernia. He returned to Italy, had the hernia corrected and promptly returned to the U.S. [and was admitted into America].
He had to return to Italy in 1914 because of World War I.
After arriving in Italy in 1914, he married and established a family. Carlo Casali and Giovanna Guarnieri Casali were born in the province of Piacenza, Commune (town) of Mofasso in 1885 and 1890, respectively. Morfasso at that time had a population of about 3,000, now about 6,000. They were married in Morfasso on February 13, 1915 and made their home in a section of Morfasso called Sperongia. They farmed the land in an area owned by Carlo called Brandolino. To this day, the heirs may still own the title to this property, but they have allowed their relatives to occupy the property, farm it, and probably have title to it.
One night while sleeping in their home with their two children, August and Domenica (Mae), [Carlo and Giovanna] were frightened by a loud crack in the walls (which was a continuing problem). An investigation determined that the house was unsafe. Having had a favorable experience in the U.S. during his 1907-1914 residence, Carlo decided to return with the objective of paying off debts accumulated in the building of the house which was now a big liability. He, therefore, decided to return to the U.S. in 1919. From 1919 to 1928, he worked in the construction industry and worked for Perini Bros. in Framingham, Massachusetts, for about seven years. He was able to earn enough to pay his debts in Italy and move Giovanna and the two children to the U.S. in 1928. They rented a home on Laurel Hill in Torrington, Connecticut, where Dino was born in 1929. Then in a typical display of courage and confidence for the future, Carlo built a large two-family house at 250 Hillside Avenue in 1932, at the depth of the Great Depression. It was a struggle to maintain the house and provide for his family, but Carlo and Giovanna lived there until their deaths in 1950 and 1974, respectively. His search for permanence was completed on Hillside Avenue but not until the children, August and Mae, were required to leave school at early ages, of necessity, to work and contribute vitally to insure that the house would not be lost. The home is now owned by Carlo and Giovanna’s grandson, Alfred Bonvicini.
Dino went to the East School grammar school (now the Glass Building) where his classmate was his future wife, Corinne Zoli. Starting at age seven he delivered the Torrington Register six days per week door to door to the residents of Hillside Avenue. This early experience of dealing personally with customers, keeping track of their payments and paying the Torrington Register weekly for his newspapers introduced him to the basics of business and laid the foundation for future business achievements. At age fifteen he got a break that would forever change his life. He was hired by Fahnestock & Co. (now Oppenheimer & Co.) by Bob Bligh, manager of the Torrington office and future mentor, as an office boy. His duties varied from marking a blackboard holding 120 stock abbreviations, whose price changes he had to mark with every quarter point change (no computers) to washing and waxing the floor every Friday afternoon. However, in this environment he became fascinated with the stock brokerage business and he decided rather quickly that his life work would be dedicated to this business, a decision that he has never regretted.
Having saved his earnings, and, encouraged by his family and Bob Bligh and his wife, Alice, he was admitted as a freshman to the School of Commerce and Finance of New York University in 1947. He went to daily class from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and walked the ten blocks to the Loft’s Candies store off Union Square where he worked from 2 p.m. Because of this grueling schedule, and because NYU had no dormitories, he enrolled at Babson College in 1949, and was graduated in 1951. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force (during the Korean War) and served until February 1956. On March 5, 1956, he started work (thanks to Bob Bligh’s influence and efforts) with the New York office of Fahnestock & Co. as a security analyst. He learned about the securities industry in depth, but he yearned to be back in Torrington with his new family (he married his childhood classmate, Corinne Zoli on April 30, 1955, and their first child, David, was born on July 26, 1956). They eventually had three more children: Paul, Dina, and Carla. With Bob Bligh’s encouragement, and subsequent help, he made the move [to Torrington] and has never experienced any doubts. As proof of this, not counting his high school employment with Fahnestock, he has, as of March 5, 2014, been continuously employed by one company: Oppenheimer and its predecessor Fahnestock for 58 years. Upon his discharge from the Air Force, he realized that he was eligible under the GI Bill for further education and proceeded to enroll at NYU for the MBA program and completed the requirements in 1961. In accomplishing this feat, he drove to New York from Torrington three nights a week for classes and made a late night return to Torrington, all while working full time for Fahnestock.
Looking back on his 84 years of life, as the sole surviving member of his original Casali family, with appreciation and gratitude for his parents’ dedication and sacrifice, it is evident that whatever success Dino has had in life can be largely attributed to his parents. Their courage in starting a new life in a foreign land with a different culture and customs, with a strange language, in successfully confronting unforeseen challenges and financial difficulties, inspired in Dino an indestructible faith of optimism and confidence for the future. *