A Time To Remember

Last year my father John Jones passed away. He was a remarkable man; kind, funny, brilliant, humble, generous. He loved people regardless of their social station, education or income. Everyone he met was treated like an old, long lost friend. When he was a young man he was drafted and went to war in Korea. He was in some serious battles against Chinese troops. He didn’t talk much about the war until his later years. Then he talked about the young Chinese fellows on the other side of the line. He talked about how he felt sad for them. He felt like many of those boys had been forced into a situation against their will and that they were often dying for something they didn’t believe in.

He talked about his men, his friends, who were fighting and dying as well. And what were they fighting for? They were fighting so that a bunch of people they didn’t even know could live their lives without being oppressed by a government that prohibited freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom to think, freedom to disagree and the freedom to pursue life, liberty and their own happiness. They were fighting a government that had imprisoned and killed thousands of its own citizens because those citizens weren’t thinking, saying or doing what the communist powers dictated that they should be thinking, saying and doing. He stood shoulder to shoulder with men who died in that fight.

He talked about the sweet Korean boy that used to risk his life every day to bring sandwiches up to the battle lines to sell to the soldiers. He talked about the young radio man that went out each night to repair communication lines that had been destroyed in that day’s fighting. He said those two were the bravest people he’d ever known. The radio man was killed by sniper fire one night. He didn’t know what happened to boy with the sandwiches.

There are times in life when there is a great deal of loss. Many have lost loved ones this past year or so to illness, accident or age. Losing them is sad. But what is even more sad, and what will cause us even more sorrow is if we lose the ideas, knowledge and beliefs that made them the people that they were.

Previous generations had a sense of self reliance and independence that was very powerful. They had a sense of personal responsibility and they were inclined to work hard to improve and build their lives rather than whining, worrying and waiting for someone else to solve their problems. They also had a connection to nature and to the earth’s abundance. They grew gardens. They hunted and raised animals for food and clothing. They also understood the use of medicinal plants.

Those plants were part of their daily life. I was recently in Belize and was amazed at how connected the people I encountered there still are to the medicinal and edible plants that surround them. I was pleased to see that the current generation is as connected to that knowledge as previous generations have been.

I celebrate much of the progress that’s been made in our world in the past few generations. I really do. In many ways our lives and health are vastly better than the lives of our ancestors. But in many ways they are not. It’s clear that we are losing some critical knowledge on a number of topics. One of those topics is medicinal plants.

I’ve had an insanely busy life. My wife and I raised 15 kids and ran several businesses for most of those years. In spite of how busy I already was running a one-man veterinary practice and an online Irish flute store and serving as CEO of a non-profit organization that supported an orphanage in Haiti (be careful with that sort of thing by the way…that’s how you end up with 15 kids), I suddenly had a very strong feeling that I needed to start teaching people about herbal medicine. I felt like I needed to play a part in preserving that knowledge that was being diminished in this world each time some sweet old timer passed into the next one. I felt like if our generation dropped the ball and let that knowledge go, it would be gone forever.

So, I sold the online flute store to a nice man in Colorado. I passed the torch of the orphanage work to a nice lady in Washington DC. I continued with the vet practice because it was a tremendous laboratory for learning what could really be done with plants (and I liked paying my mortgage). I started doing a lot of lecturing and teaching. Then I wrote a little book. Eventually I got roped into creating the HomeGrown Herbalist School of Botanical Medicine and starting an herb supplement company so that folks could get what they needed.

Most days I feel like not enough butter spread over too much toast. My tactic for solving that problem has been to try to recruit some help with the job by focusing my evangelical zeal about herbs into youtube videos, blog articles, plant walks and classes so that other folks can learn this stuff and take up the torch. The HomeGrown Herbalist School is about a tenth of the price of programs offering similar amounts of material. And why on Earth am I working that hard and then selling the school for a tenth of the price it’s worth? Simple. It’s because I’d rather make ten herbalists than one.

I hope that on this memorial day we’ll all take a little time to remember those we love. I hope that we’ll remember the lessons we learned and the good times we had. I hope that we’ll remember the good and forgive the bad in folks that have passed (or that are still here). I hope that we’ll cherish the knowledge they had and shared and that we’ll pass that knowledge to the next generation as well. I hope that we can succeed in helping our children and grandchildren to know what a treasure it can be to understand some of the important things that our grandmas and grandpas understood.

God bless you all today. May He give you comfort and peace as you lovingly reflect on those that have gone home to Him. May He give you the courage and strength to take up the good banners that they often carried. And, if you pull any weeds at the cemetery today, take them home and make some medicine. Grandma and grandpa would have liked that.

Doc Jones

55 thoughts on “A Time To Remember

  1. Lisa says:

    Thank you for your thoughts and sharing your father’s stories. I can imagine the atrocities that were witnesses during that time for him. I’m so grateful for you and sharing your info with us all. I saw you speak on Marjorie’s site long ago.

  2. Laura DePonte says:

    Thank you, Doc Jones for this beautiful sharing. With you on all points there. Hope to join the school sometime… I am a great lover of the Green World and all those wild medicine gifts too…

  3. Phillip Selfridge says:

    Thanks Doc for sharing this with us. I agree with your message. I am taking your school and have bought products from your web-site. I am enjoying all of them. I am 64 retired and living full time in my RV. I am growing plant and wild crafting almost everyday. It has become my greatest joy next to God, family and friends. It would be a dream for me to someday do a plant walk with you or work alone side of you in some way. Thanks again for all you do.
    Phil Selfridge

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      If you’re ever going to be in this neck of the woods, give me a heads up a few weeks ahead of time and I’ll schedule a workshop and plant walk for those dates. I do it all the time for students. :0)

  4. Megan says:

    Good post. My dad fought in that war, too. He almost never talked about it. He told me he thinks he killed three men, all snipers. He mentioned having to run with the medics one time to help with an ambulance that had overturned and was glad he didn’t have to do that again.

    When he died, a lot of knowledge died with him. In part, because he died younger than many expected, and in part because he had definite ideas about what girls should know. Even though I was interested in learning, he didn’t think I needed to know all he knew.

    Both my parents passed along many valuable tidbits and wanted to supply our adult toolbox with useful items. They did a good job for the most part, but didn’t live long enough to show us how to use them extensively.

    After their demise, when I really needed to learn something, a teacher always showed up.

    I have passed along what I have learned. I am a slow student with plants. Fortunately, I found you, Doc, and a couple other teachers.

  5. Carol Ciarniello says:

    What a beautiful tribute–your daddy would be proud 🙂
    I love how passionate you are about plants and their healing properties. I am a Homegrown Herbalist School student and so thankful that you wanted to share your knowledge and experiences.
    God bless you Doc Jones!

  6. Dennis McMaster says:

    Thank you Doc. You have always been a source of great wisdom, practical knowledge and joy of life. You have been an inspiration.

  7. Janet Wilkinson says:

    I love your heart and what’s inside. You blessed me greatly with your musings about past generations and every thing else you shared, especially about the 15 kids! My son hosted a Haitian exchange student for a couple of years until he graduated high school. Sadly, too many graves at the cemetery I visited yesterday were forgotten. I wonder how much knowledge went off into eternity with them when they passed. I try to learn and share, but not many people are interested in the world all around us and the benefits it holds. Thank you for not deciding to go into the flute business full time. We dumb humans need more people like you. 🙂

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      Keep reaching out Janet. If you pray for folks to find you that want to learn things you can teach, God will bring them to you. He likes volunteers who want to help His kids out. :0)

  8. Barbara says:

    Thanks for that beautiful story and beautiful reminder. Peace and beauty surrounds, we should never listen to anything else!

  9. Maree says:

    Thank you for posting. We are all so very glad that you chose to sell that flute store and focus on the wonderful knowledge that you are passing on to the rest of us. Thank you.

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      I still play my Irish whistles for the weeds in my yard sometimes. I think they really like it because they dance a lot…especially if it’s windy. :0)

  10. Ranger Rick says:

    Doc, thank you for sharing your dads story. I was a SF Medic and worked with and for DOD for 39 years 7 months. Got to old to keep up with the kids. For the comments I have read so far, thank you folks for being who you are and sharing.
    Ranger Rick
    North Idaho

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      Thank-you for spending part of your life taking care of those soldiers that are willing to risk everything to keep us all safe. A lot of those men and women would never make it home if it weren’t for folks like you.

  11. Lisa in Texas says:

    What a moving message! Thank you for sharing with us… not just your knowledge, but your SELF. This is a precious gift. My own dear dad was a veteran of WW2. Like many others, he rarely talked about his experiences. Even all those many years later, I suppose they were still too raw. But he used to love the TV sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes”. I think in some way the humor helped him process his own traumatic experiences. Every once in awhile, between the chuckles and the laughter, I’d hear him mutter softly under his breath, “The real Schulte wasn’t like that. The real Schulte was an animal.” What he and his fellow servicemen must have endured! I am incredibly grateful for the sacrifice given by men (and women) like our father’s. They were a breed apart. Oh… one lesson he taught me was to save for what you want and only get it when you can really pay for it! So that’s what I’m doing. I really want to learn all you can teach me in the HGSBM — I’m saving. I’m 1/2 way there! Surely it won’t be long now! (smile)

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      I can’t imagine what some of those men (and women) went through. I’m grateful for their sacrifices. Those hard times really molded many of them into remarkable souls. Almost all of those WWII veterans are in God’s army now. He’s probably enlisted them as ministering angels to go to battle for us again down here.

  12. Michele Nutter says:

    Your last line made me cry. I dreamed about my maternal Grandma the night before Memorial Day. She is the reason I was ever interested in herbal medicine in the first place. It feels like a “Lois and Eunice” thing for me, except it’s both Grandmothers instead of a Mother and Grandmother (my Mom, wonderful Godly woman though she is, gave us amoxicillin, margarine, white bread, and Stouffer’s Stuffing instead of potatoes”. 😉 ). My Mom’s Mother lived on a farm, in a real farm house (not a regular house with ship-lap paneling and pictures of roosters on the wall. Her decor was pictures of Jesus praying in the Garden and a Dodd and Hurt Funeral Home calendar, complete with the moon phases for planting. 🙂 ), saved her lard buckets for berry picking, put the wood ashes in the lettuce bed, made corn bread and biscuits every day for dinner, lived her faith in Christ, and gathered her medicine from “the back place” of their homestead. I spoke with an uncle recently and he made a face at the remembrance of “the old bone-set tea Mother made us drink when we were sick.”. I am so sorry to hear of your loss of your Dad. May the Lord Comfort you. Thank you for all that you have done/do to teach us about herbal medicine! God bless!

  13. jackievb says:

    Thank you Doc Jones for sharing this beautiful sentiment.
    I find it sad that so many people alive today forget the true sacrifice of our brothers who went to war to fight against tyranny.
    …”And what were they fighting for? They were fighting
    so that a bunch of people they didn’t even know could
    live their lives without being oppressed by a government
    that prohibited freedom of speech, freedom of worship,
    freedom to think, freedom to disagree and the freedom
    to pursue life, liberty and their own happiness…”

    Love and forgiveness is crucial for the times we are in now, we must learn to put differences aside, be they past grievances or political differences.
    Herbs were given to us by God and I am so thrilled that you are sharing your vast knowledge with us. How fortunate that you had your veterinary skills to help enhance your herbal knowledge –
    sounds like some divine intervention going on there!
    I hope that everyone gets interested in learning about and growing herbs
    and gardening/permaculture too!

    May God Bless you and your family and all of your readers and students as well. 🙂

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      I agree. The polarity that politicians are whipping up to divide this country (and thus ensure their own job security) is very sad. George Washington actually warned us not to make politics into a team sport by having political parties…looks like he was right. :0(

  14. Karen Hartzell says:

    Thank you for sharing this memorial. And thank you for your continual sharing, of your herbal knowledge. And thank you for sharing with grace & humor.

  15. Madeline Quayle says:

    Dear Patrick. I love your remembrance of your dad. John Jones. I love him. Also your natural healing part of my heart. Ustainability a theme with me. When our kids’ friends would TP the house I’d gather up the toilet paper and put in a paper grocery sack in the bathroom. It’s funny now that I think about it that they went along with it. Another thing ~ I haven’t had a clothes dryer for years. There would be no turning on the dryer to dry a wet mitten. I love it when my kids go on about putting on frozen jeans to wear to school. Thank you so much for your work and for being generous with your knowledge.
    I’m going to print your writing for family history. Love Madeline

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      Good to hear from you Madeline. My kids used to gripe a lot about pulling weeds and turning compost and such. But, they’ve all turned out to be amazing workers that actually love to work. I had to laugh last week when my two biggest complainers (when they were kids) both thanked me and Mom for teaching them how to work so they didn’t turn out like some of their friends that have no idea how to do something hard. I think your sacks of TP and the occasional cold pair of jeans probably taught your kids a lot about what’s important in life and what isn’t. :0)

  16. Joanne Tauferner says:

    Dear Dr. Patrick,
    I came across your website and then your blog after viewing the great interview with Marjory Wildcraft a few days ago. I enjoyed it so such, especially your sense of humor and your genuineness. I ended up stopping and backtracking several times to write down all the suggestions and information you provided; especially the one when discussing how to use vodka in tinctures: “…be sure to pour it from the skinny end.” I want to remember that one. I really enjoyed your blog entry for Memorial Day, remembering your father and his sharing of his experience in Korea. We forget sometimes what our brave patriots went where they were sent–not knowing if they would return to their families. I especially paid attention to those stores this past holiday and have decided to some recommended books telling their stories. We can’t forget this history because so much of what’s true is disappearing out of our history books.

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      Hi Joanne,

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the recent offerings. I agree that we need to honor and remember the blood that has been shed and the sacrifices that have been made to protect the freedoms of this great country.

    • D says:

      Me too Joanne 🙂 LOVED the interview. He was the best of all that I have watched… Funny and so informative. I came to this website to learn more and purchase some of these products.

      Doc, You are greatly needed in these endeavors. Your work is much appreciated. Please keep it up. I will be back to continue my education in Herbalism with your school. I started a couple other courses/academies previously. My husband has been active duty for serving many times in Afghanistan and he has seen how all the years of war with Russia, etc, killed off all those there with knowledge and gave the example that today they have sheep but didn’t know you use the wool to make material! They have lost so much seemingly obvious, old school know- how by losing their elders. It is a real possibility that we could lose herbal knowledge by suppression. Thank you for sharing and for making it affordable to learn and practice!!! God Bless You and Yours

      • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

        Yup. I think it’s a mistake to blow off the basic knowledge and skills that our predecessors had. It seemed like those folks knew how to do about anything from building a house to growing a garden to treating an illness with weeds to…I hope our generation can keep those ideas alive so that we don’t lose all that information.

  17. Annalisa says:

    Dear Doc, I am sorry you lost your dad, he was such a positive influence on your life. Now you have touched so many people in so many positive ways. Thank you for your sense of humor and for sharing your knowledge with your internet friends. Best wishes, Annalisa

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      Thank-you Annalisa. Dad was a remarkable person as was Mom. I was very lucky to have them. God’s very lucky to have them now. :0)

  18. Annie Schiller says:

    This was beautiful! What a wonderful tribute as well as sharing your heart and vision forward.And ending with some humor which we all need! Your work is truly a God given ministry to help many. Thanks for all you do!

  19. Dr. Patrick Jones says:

    Thank-you Annie. I’m very grateful for the blessing of being able to share some of this information…even more grateful that folks are still happy to learn about it. :0)

  20. Kelli Poll says:

    I loved and miss your parents! They were two of the finest people I have been blessed to know. Thank you for sharing Bishop Jones’ stories here. I’m so glad he shared them with you. I agree, we need to learn from them, all they knew about people and nature, and add to it. Thank you for doing your part!

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      Thanks Kelli. If we all keep trying to do our part we might just keep some of that knowledge alive for another generation. :0)

  21. Linda says:

    Sorry for your loss! My own Dad was a Canadian WWII vet and passed many years ago and your post made me think of him and what he went through. He did not talk much about it either but I will always remember one of the few things he did tell me about. He was going through a deserted village doing recon when he heard a whole lot of German soldiers and hid in a nearby haystack. The soldiers set up camp in the village and were cooking not far from the haystack. He was in there for 3 days before they broke camp and moved on. I can hardly imagine what that was like! I also think of him at Christmas when the Salvation army has their- kettles everywhere. He would never pass one without putting something in it and told me why he did so. It was because they were on the front lines doing whatever they could to support the troops. Since he is no longer here to drop money into every kettle he sees, I do it for him every year in his memory. Some years it could get kind of expensive for me because there were so many of them .My mothers always taught me that whatever you put out good or bad always comes back to you and I have always found that to be true. I live in Mississippi and Katrina put almost 6 ft. of water in my home. The Salvation Army gave me an 800 dollar voucher to use a Lowes building supply It is my hope that those that read your post will take the time and opportunity to learn from those we love while they are still here. An herbal friend in England made me his study buddy and I do enjoy learning from you in the school and hope you will be here still teaching for many years to come!

  22. Marianne Yates says:

    I am late in reading your blog, but I appreciate it. I just attended last weekend’s in person event, I loved it and have very much loved harvesting, drying, and weeding in a whole new way! I appreciate your efforts and will continue to follow you in your mentoring! I will be back there again soon!

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