There are all sorts of essay contests out there in our world of deep thought where you can win big bucks and maybe even get on the David Letterman Show, if you're silly enough. If you're naked enough, you might get on the Howard Stern Show.

Now I haven't entered any of these particular contests because that's sort of what I do for a living. By the time I get home, I'm essayed out.

But for those of you who like to pontificate accordingly, the sky is the limit. And speaking of sky, there's probably an award winning essay to be written about the ozone. The ozone, by the way, is a layer of stuff that covers the earth -- kind of like a curtain -- to protect us from harmful rays, and also so that God doesn't have to look down and be constantly reminded of how mean we can be to one another.

This all came to mind this morning when I opened my e-mail and the winner of the "Yoga and World Peace" essay contest was announced.

The grand prize of $1,008 (nice round number) goes to Megan McDonough of Harwick, Mass.

The purpose of this contest was to encourage yoga practitioners to explore the essential relationship between inner and outer peace. The way I understand it, inner peace is about not getting into a fight at the family reunion. Outer peace is not getting into a fight in a bar.

Maybe we should have tried this in Iraq. After all, those people already are dressed for it.

Now on second thought, I might have entered this contest if it had been "Rocking Chairs and World Peace." I have some expertise in the venue of rocking chairs. And given a few hundred words, I think I could have linked those precious devices to the overall socially redeeming cause of us aspiring not to kill each other.

Some of my earliest childhood memories include me sitting in a high-back rocker on Grandma Hattie's front porch, my feet sticking straight out into space where my thoughts also often drifted. Rocking chairs have always been a part of my life. I can't imagine pondering the course of human events without rocking. Sometimes there would be four or five of us on the front porch rocking at the same time. A stranger passing by might have thought we had a rocking marathon under way.

We would discuss a wide array of topics, and I can't ever remember us shouting at each other or getting mad over these subjects while we were rocking. We just talked and laughed, and sometimes we came to a consensus on how we felt about the new preacher, whether to go fishing or pick butterbeans and who had the best baseball team.

I've often wondered if our world leaders might come to more conclusions conducive to our peaceful longevity if they would rent somebody's front porch and all sit down and rock together. I'm not saying that rocking is spiritual. But I'm also not saying that it's not. If I can enjoy a movie or a football game more when I'm in my rocking chair, then it stands to reason that I would enjoy a sermon more from that vantage point.

I've often heard that people discussed big issues over meals throughout history because it's hard to be mad at people while breaking bread together.

Okay, now I think we're on to something. Let's get our world leaders together on a front porch full of rocking chairs and throw in some boiled peanuts. Instead of arguing about who has the biggest missile, it could be that the most combative result would be a hull spitting contest.

Now I'm sure someone is going to tell me that I've oversimplified the challenges of world diplomacy. And perhaps I have. Not everyone likes boiled peanuts.

Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail: dwain.walden

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