There’s One In Every Woodpile!


I was born to an Irish father and a Dutch mother who gave me up for adoption. I was adopted by a German couple who raised and parented me.

Their marriage did not last and they divorced when I was nine.   Both remarried but lived in different cities.

Needless to say I had plenty of issues. Not the least of which stemmed from my Irish genes.   Especially the red hair, green eyes and pale white skin.

I screamed Irish in my look and behavior. I seemed to “Ask too many questions for my own good.”

After asking one too many questions I would invariably hear:

“There’s one in every woodpile.”

Now I had no idea what the reference was until a kid in school finally told me.

The Irish are as close to Blacks as you see around here. He actually used the “n” word, which I will not use.

Well, until then I took that expression to mean there was always one in every group that questioned the way things were and wanted more out of life.

I didn’t then or now see real difference among any humans. So why would I focus on skin color as a point of differentiation?

We didn’t have many Afro-American families in Lincoln, NE at the time. Most notably the blacks I knew were Nebraska football players.

My step-dad was good friends with a past All-American linebacker and fullback at Nebraska and an avid NU supporter back when businesses could ‘hire’ star players, but not expect them to actually show up for work.

He hired Charlie “Choo Choo” Winters, a terrifically popular and talented fullback.

Then one day Charlie lost his scholarship and was kicked out of school in the middle of the school year.

Naturally, I wanted to know why and wouldn’t take “that’s the way it is” for an answer.

Finally my step-dad told me. “He was dating a white gal.”

Which unraveled to “Well, you wouldn’t dance with a black gal would you?” Turns out I would and had, so that didn’t work.

After a good more prodding I learned Charlie had gotten his long time girl friend pregnant.

Unfortunately for Charlie she was white.

When my cousin got his girl friend pregnant that meant they had to get married quickly, but she couldn’t wear a white dress.

Purity and all that. Since she’d spoiled hers, you know.

Apparently, the penalties were more severe if you happen to have a different color skin than the majority.

My skin was a different color than the majority. I was the one in every woodpile in my bunch.

But porcelain white isn’t as bad as brown or black as it so happens. So I was spared the horrors that have been inflicted upon our darker skinned family members.

In church I heard that we should love all our brothers and sisters.

That we were one family.

That we were all God’s children created in His Own image.

That we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Except, apparently, when it comes to skin color or country of origin or religion or sexual preference or people who’d rather eat papaya than oranges.

May God forgive us!

Diane and I love our heritage, but we cannot abide prejudice in any form.

Why do we focus on differences?   Why do we hold hate in our hearts?

I barely have enough room for love, beauty, joy, happiness, giving, abundance, unity … you get the picture.

Why on God’s green earth do we ask the Source of All-Unity and Love to provide for our Good while our hearts are filled with prejudice?

No one wants war and yet that’s the natural outcome of all this hatred and separateness.

Sooner or later we’re all going to have choose which side we’re on.

The side of hate, war and separateness or …

The side of love, peace and unity.

Which makes more sense to you?


Love and Blessings All,

Tom and Diane Pauley

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