Nip it in the Bud

By Bill Shepard

Nip it in the bud!

I heard those words spoken many times when I was a young lad, and a few times since. It was one of Mama’s favorite sayings. When a quarrel would arise between one of my older brothers and me, Mama would show up and say, “Nip it in the bud, boys!”

Bill Shepard

Bill Shepard

She meant, stop it now before it escalates into a fistfight between you. We knew that Mama meant what she said, and we would obey.

No, Mama wasn’t mean, but she taught us that she said what she meant, and she meant what she said. We learned early that when Mama drew a line and said not to cross it, there would be a consequence if we did so.

Sometimes, when working in the yard, Mama would see a wild plant growing among her flowers and she would pull it up an say, “Better to nip it in the bud than to allow it to grow bigger.”

I thought of Mama’s favorite saying recently when I called a tree surgeon about removing a large oak tree that is spreading its limbs over the roof of my house. When he quoted the cost of doing so, it seemed I heard Mama say, “You should have nipped it in the bud!”
I have said all the things above to say this…I have been reading, hearing, and seeing on TV the horrible things that terrorist groups are doing all over a big part of our world. The latest group called ISIS is doing the unbelievable! It seems not long ago this group was estimated to be about five thousand strong in numbers. Allowed to go unchallenged by any meaningful source, they now number in the hundreds of thousands, with many right here in America, is what I am hearing. Mama would have said, “You should have nipped it in the bud!”

Strong nations stood by while a ruthless dictator had thousands of his own people slaughtered in Syria, innocent folk who could not help themselves. Their cries for help fell on deaf ears. Idle threats were made, and lines were drawn, and then crossed over and over without consequence. Evil is never suppressed by idle threats or appeasement. History has taught that lesson more than once! Remember those words spoken long ago, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

This writer is old enough to remember the time when a man named Hitler, a dictator in Germany, started an aggression against his neighboring countries. Too weak to defend themselves against the powerful aggressor, the small countries fell one by one. With each conquest, the aggressor grew stronger and bolder. The rest of that story is now recorded in history books for future generations to read and ponder. World War II finally brought it to an end. Millions of lives were sacrificed and when it was over, the world said, “Never again!”

Did we mean it?

Some say that history is repeating itself! Time will tell, it always does. Mama would say, “We should have nipped it in the bud!”

Mr. Shepard is a native of Darlington, S.C., and a current resident of Piedmont, S.C. Signed copies of Mr. Shepard’s books “Mill Town Boy” and “Bruised” are available for purchase at the News and Press office. He has been sharing his tales of growing up in Darlington for decades, and we are delighted to share them each week.

Author: Jana Pye

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