John Cuddeback

The Death of a Tree

March 11, 2015
I have never thought much about the death of trees. Until today. I have thought about the death of farm animals, since I kill with my own hands the pigs that I’ve raised, with my own hands. I have often…
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Picture-Books in Winter

March 5, 2015
“Water now is turned to stone Nurse and I can walk upon; Still we find the flowing brooks In the picture storybooks. … How am I to sing your praise, Happy chimney-corner days, Sitting safe in nursery nooks, Reading picture…
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Clean Eyes

February 25, 2015
“Again, one time Sophocles, who was Pericles’ fellow-commissioner in the generalship, was going on board with him, and praised the beauty of a youth they met with on the way to the ship. ‘Sophocles,’ said he, ‘a general ought not…
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Remembering Death

February 18, 2015
“You are dust, and to dust you will return.” Genesis Some images are striking reminders of death. There are few like seeing your name etched on a gravestone. In my case it was seeing only part of my name—the one that really…
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The Slavery of Women, and Men

February 11, 2015
“But among barbarians no distinction is made between women and slaves…” Aristotle, Politics Barbarians can be accused of a number of things, but presumably they cannot be accused of considering themselves civilized. Nor did they see themselves as a society…
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Parents Ruling by Love and Age

February 4, 2015
“For the begetter is the ruler by reason of love and age…” Aristotle, Politics Perhaps we do not normally think of parents as rulers. Aristotle did. He seems to think that after giving children life there is nothing more important…
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Acquainted with Grief

December 26, 2014
“He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Handel’s Messiah, Air from Part II, quoting Isaiah 53 Being acquainted with grief does not fit the season. Or so it might seem. Last Sunday…
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Fathers and Sons

December 17, 2014
Hunting season is a time for fathers and sons. I have posted a reflection at The Catholic Gentleman on the need our sons have for more time with us their fathers. It’s Not About the Deer: 3 Reasons to Take…
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Grateful to be a Teacher

December 10, 2014
“It’s no easy task—indeed it’s very difficult—to realize that in every soul there is an instrument that is purified and rekindled by such subjects [liberal studies] when it has been blinded and destroyed by other ways of life, an instrument…
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A Different Approach to Money in the Household

December 2, 2014
“So if one doesn’t know how to make use of it, Critobulus, then money must be kept at such a distance that it isn’t even included among one’s assets.” Socrates, in The Estate Manager, by Xenophon This time of year…
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A Good Wife

November 26, 2014
Nothing is better for man than a good wife…” Hesiod, Works and Days One might wonder whether that is an overstatement. It was once suggested to me that Thanksgiving is a good time to focus on one thing…
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The Land of Storybooks

November 19, 2014
At evening when the lamp is lit, Around the fire my parents sit; They sit at home and talk and sing, And do not play at anything. Now, with my little gun, I crawl All in the dark along the…
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If Sartre is Right

November 12, 2014
“If man…is indefinable, it is because at first he is nothing. Only afterward will he be something, and he will himself have made what he will be. Thus, there is no human nature…” Jean-Paul Sartre, in ‘Existentialism is a Humanism’…
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Slaughtering Pigs Today

November 7, 2014
Today begins the annual pig slaughter at my home. It is always a momentous occasion. Of its many unforgettable moments I think my favorite is when the pig’s carcass has been split in half lengthwise, and laid out on our…
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Gestures: A Meeting of Body and Soul

October 29, 2014
“Imitations practiced from youth become part of nature and settle into habits of gesture, voice, and thought.” Plato, Republic III Plato showed great concern about how people move and use their bodies. Bodily gestures have significance; and they are connected…
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Silence of Monks

October 22, 2014
“For it becomes the master to speak and to teach, but it beseems the disciple to be silent and to listen.” The Rule of St. Benedict Fall break. I am spending a week with fourteen college students, plus my son,…
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