By Ernie Brown
The merry, merry month of May
May is by far my favorite month.
There are at least six days in May that I enjoy.
The first is the National Day of Prayer, which is the first Thursday of May. Prayer is talking to God. We not only praise him for all he's done for us, but we also ask him to help us in whatever we need or desire and to meet the needs of others.
There is a push by some in this nation to eliminate God from our nation's collective consciousness. A story that was published in this paper last week told of a judge in New Orleans prohibiting a public school district there from passing out free Bibles in a school.
The judge ruled the practice violated the First Amendment separation of church and state.
So, some schools are allowed to have condom dispensers in bathrooms, but school districts cannot pass out free Bibles.
Without God, we are powerless to do anything, and, lest we forget, this nation was founded on biblical principles.
A day set aside to pray for our nation, our national, state and local leaders, and even our enemies and those who dislike us, is a good thing, and it is an event I look forward to participating in each year.
May 5 is the holiday known as Cinco de Mayo, a day our Mexican- American friends set aside to remember the great victory a small band of Mexican soldiers won over the French and traitor Mexican army of 8,000 at Puebla, Mexico, on May 5, 1862.
The day is usually marked with parties, but it also signifies the cooperation Mexico and the United States have enjoyed over the years. I simply enjoy the food.
Of course the second Sunday of every May is Mother's Day. I am blessed to have my mom and my mother-in-law still with me.
They are both old, and the mental sharpness they once possessed is gone, but it is still a blessing to see their faces, hear their voices, and appreciate all the love, sacrifice, instruction and wisdom they passed on to me, my brother, sister, and my in-laws over the years.
My mother-in-law lost her husband in her late 30s, but she went on to raise seven children in south Georgia. Three of those seven went on to obtain college degrees, including one who earned a doctorate. She remains a source of inspiration to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
My mom lost her husband three years ago after 53 years of marriage. It's been a difficult time for her dealing with my dad's death, and that trauma has been compounded by her declining physical and mental health. Still, I am glad she's here, and I can give her that big hug and kiss.
My daughter's birthday is May 14. She will turn 17.
She's a far better athlete than her pop, but that's not saying much. I was just a fair baseball player in my days at East High School, but my daughter plays high school basketball and also throws the discus on the track team. Did I mention that she's also gorgeous? Oops. I'm in trouble for saying that, and I await the familiar silent treatment that will be forthcoming for publicly embarrassing her.
But I've come to learn that many girls don't have a whole lot of conversation with their parents, dads especially, during their teen years. Not a problem, however. My love for my only daughter is great, and, besides, she eventually has to ask me for gas money.
The best day of the month comes six days after Malcolm X's birthday and four days before the birthday of President John F. Kennedy.
That was the day Ernest A. Brown Sr. and Marjorie Thornton Brown welcomed their firstborn child into this world at St. Elizabeth Hospital, as it was called in 1952.
Little did they know that this baby would grow up to become an assistant regional editor at The Vindicator and a columnist.
Finally, Memorial Day is in May. My dad and several of my uncles served in the armed forces, and despite the racial obstacles they faced in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, they served their country with pride and honor.
As the war in Iraq continues, and American blood continues to be shed there and in Afghanistan, with no end in sight, let us remember to pray for their safety and appreciate and honor their sacrifice during all Memorial Day services that will take place throughout the Mahoning and Shenango valleys.