Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Weekend Adventures, part 3

3.  To the reunion!

Saturday, minutes before noon we arrived at the park for the reunion.  The temperature could not have been measurably below 100oF, if any at all.  But the organizers of the party foresaw this possibility-- I mean it was Southern Illinois, mid-July-- and our assemblage gathered in the reserved and nicely air conditioned meeting hall.  Understand that the party included descendants of BBBH's paternal grandparents but also descendants of the sibling of one of the in-laws, a tribe that BBBH went to great pains to convince me that she is no relation to at all.  She isn't, but what fun to tease her about some of the people connected, however distantly, to her relatives.

My approach to a houseful of strangers?  I'm here, what have I got to lose.  There were  about 75 people present, fewer than they had at the last one of these we attended, but nevertheless a rather neat cross-section of mid-America.  The attendees ranged in age from three to ninety-three, male and female, multiracial and bound to be a fun group to accost individually and require conversation of them.  So that is what I did all afternoon, except for the time I was stuffing myself with goodies from the carry-in.

One young man, I'd say 58 to 60, I found as I asked him for his excuse for attending, is single, the result of a divorce, lives in the Florida Panhandle and is a distance runner.  He was wearing his club logo and I asked if they had a website.  He assured me they did and gave me the address.  He and they run half-marathons, marathons, marathon-and-a-half, and hundred mile runs.  I don't get it-- any of it-- and frankly admitted to him that while I admire people with such passion and tenacity I cannot run two steps, never could.

One old guy actually seemed to believe he was oldest man present.  Absurd.  There were at least three other guys older than he, including yours truly.  He is 81.  He found it hard to believe that brother Glenn is 93, but when I told him I am 84 he looked at me and said, "Yeah, I believe that; you certainly look it."  I wandered off.

Visited a bit with a nicely coiffed white haired lady of a certain age.  It turns out she lives less than 25 miles from us.  She belongs to the clan to which BBBH denies relationship.

Big black man, 42 years old, six-foot three, 350 pounds (that's a guess-- could be more) was an interesting conversationalist.  The two youngest of his five children were with him, daughters 13 and 17.  He talked with pride of two of  the others, including the one who had made him a grandparent.  The fifth one, though, was the source of heartache for her father.  I tried to give him some encouragement on that front, pointing out that she is still quite young and sometimes people have to pass forty before any good sense soaks in.

This man wore a name tag that read, "William," and he told me I could call him "Fat"; everyone does.  I thanked him for including me in his circle, then told  him that if I didn't know him I sure as heck would never walk up to him and call him Fat.  Here he raised his right hand, back up, to show me the ring he wore.  Very large-- really large-- gold ring with the word "FAT" embossed in raised letters and studded with 21 diamonds.  Small diamonds it is true, but diamonds nevertheless.  Blessings, Fat, live long and prosper.

In a facebook post I told the best story of the day by the man who told  his mother-in-law, a life-long smoker and who had Alzheimer's that she did not smoke, and she believed him and never smoked again.

So the final one here, another young man, fifty-something, is a Spanish professor at a small Midwestern university.  Serious conversation for the most part, two educators hashing out the problems and outlining the prospects for education in our land.

A good day; tired and so to the hotel to kick off the shoes, BBBH and I shared our individual stories of the day.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Weekend Adventures, Part 2

2.  Adventures in eating, continued

We checked into our hotel and took a bit of rest before calling the elder brother of BBBH.  As usual, his son had to roust him from bed so he could take the call, but see how you do when you are 93.  We invited him to have supper with us and we agreed on a pick-up time of 7:30.  Glenn was ready when we arrived at his house.  We agreed on a location and away we went for the evening adventure!  His son drove along in his car, saying then we would not have to make the return trip to their house.

Where did we go?  We chose a very popular chain restaurant most often found hard by a major highway, you know, the one with rocking chairs on the front porch.  And two hundred thousand kitchy items for sale inside.  But again, I digress.

Following the wait in the store-- and we all know the design here: sign in, get suckered into buying stuff you don't need while you wait.  We were finally seated, orders placed.  After a w h i l e our server returned with the food.  BBBH got what she ordered.  Glenn's order looked to be essentially what he called for, but the scrambled eggs looked to be a scrambled egg.  "I said 'eggs,'" he said.  "Well, they gave you one egg."  John stated the obvious.

John got what  he ordered.  I got my turnip greens in a small bowl and my coleslaw in a small bowl and a biscuit on a full-sized dinner plate.  We started to eat, I thinking that my meal would arrive presently.  Finally after exhibiting entirely too much patience, I signaled the wait person and asked, "Where's my fish?"  "Hunh? she replied.  "I ordered fried catfish."  She turned and walked away.  I finished my green stuff, which was good, by the way, and still no fish.  I filed this complaint with a manager, young man very apologetic.  He soon had my fish delivered.  Good thing everyone else had eaten by then, for the aroma nearly sent all my dinner companions into the next room, and I was less than pleased.  I looked at the four sorry pieces of "fish" on the plate, managed to eat most of one of them and when the waitress brought the check she asked if I wanted a take-out box.  "Yes, please."
I carried the remaining three pieces out in the box, paid the bill.  The cashier, as  they are  all  instructed to do, asked, "Was everything okay!"  I said not a mumbling word as I handed her the cash.

I dumped the fish in a waste receptacle.

Friday had not been a good day for us in the comestibles department.

 The view from our hotel room.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Weekend Adventures, part 1

 1.  Adventures in eating.

We loaded a few things in the Escape and made our escape from our humdrum existence, on the road and headed out!  About an hour down the road we were hungry and we were on the outskirts of a small city which we seldom visit.  On our left we spotted an eatery billing itself as a smokehouse.  Immediately I thought of Texas barbecue and a hankering for brisket overcame me; we wheeled into the parking lot.

We were greeted inside by pleasant surroundings and a pleasant hostess who showed us immediately to a table.  Our cheerful young waitress soon served our water and we placed our orders.  The food arrived, we ate.  I have little more to say than that it  was not the brisket I had in Rockport.

 Wall decor

BBBh was not offended but she did think this was, shall we say, not necessary.

Back on the road we soon found ourselves in a neighboring state.  Lots of singing and pleasant conversation and a couple hours later I remarked that I had had only two cups of coffee all day.  BBBH allowed as how she could stand a cup as well, so at the next exit, which promised only a gas station convenience store, we pulled off.  While she looked at trinkets and so on I ordered.  "Do you serve coffee here?"  "Sure! the high school girl said.  She turned, grasped something, and came back to me with three K-cup type gizmos in her hands.  "Which would you like?"  I looked behind her then and saw the one-cup coffee maker.  I picked my poison, told her two cups.

While the first cup was in the making, BBBH returned to the room.  "Where's the coffee?"  "It's brewing."  I will not repeat the remainder of the conversation, for you don't have the time.  Two cups were finally delivered at a cost of two bucks per.

BBBH doped hers up, as  is her wont, and went to a table.  One sip later, *sputter:sputter*  "Gag!  That is the worst coffee I ever tasted!"  She grabbed up the paper cup and headed to the counter.  I stayed at table drinking my coffee.  (I eventually managed to consume about a third of it.)  What went on at the counter I saw from the corner of my left eye.  She demanded her money back, asserting what she had already told me.  This of course required recourse to a "manager" who turned out to be a year older  than the server and and not nearly so bright, but I digress.  BBBH did get "her" refund, which she pocketed without regard to the fact that I bought in the first place.

We arrived at our destination an hour later.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Peter Chamor

And when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Beth′phage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me.  If any one says anything to you, you shall say, The Lord has need of them,’ and he will send them immediately.”--Matthew 21:1-3, RSV)

I observed in reading the accounts of Jesus's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem that Matthew and John both specifically refer to the colt of a donkey, as did Zechariah in his prophecy..(Zech. 9:9)  Yet neither Mark nor Luke mention a donkey, referring to the animal only as a colt.  I wondered if there was any specific reason for the reference to the donkey, and why two of the writers ignored it.

First let us look at the term "colt."  It is technically applied to a male horse, whole, and under four years of age.  It is also used in reference to the male foal of a donkey or a camel.  So one reading Mark's account, for instance, might think "horse" or even "camel" either of which was used as a beast of burden.  Yet I think it is significant that the animal was a donkey.  Why?

There are numerous references to "chamor," donkey, in the scriptures.  But here is an interesting fact that I did not learn in Sunday School.  The Torah demands that the first-born male of mankind must be redeemed, that is the priest is entitled to him lest he is redeemed by way of sacrifice of a lamb or kid.  The priest sacrifices the animal,  and is entitled to certain portions as meat for himself.  This mitzvah is common  knowledge,  but the mitzvah peter chamor is less well-known.  Talmudic scholars insist that  the first-born male offspring of the chamor must be redeemed!  Now we know that a donkey is "unclean" according to the Torah, so what is going on here?  Talmudic scholars teach that the sanctity was imputed to the donkey as a reward for providing transport for the goods of the Hebrews as they fled Egypt.  Thus each first-born male belongs to God, represented by the Levitical order.  This animal may not be used for anything whatsoever unless he is redeemed, "bought back" by the owner by way of trading in a kid or a lamb!

The details are intense and quite interesting, but too much for this blog post.  Suffice it to say that when the peter chamor is completed, the sanctity of the animal is gone and thus he may now be used in the normal man/donkey relationship, i.e., as a beast of burden, or for leather, or hair, or whatever.
Now this is extremely odd in such a manner as to spark further curiosity, for this is the only instance in which sanctity disappears in redemption, for in all other cases, redemption imputes righteousness!
Well, talk to your friendly neighborhood kohen.  You will probably confuse him, too.

So back to Jesus in Jerusalem. Jesus chose to ride into Jerusalem on the same beast that was instrumental in effecting freedom of the Hebrews from Egyptian captivity, and now chamor is carrying the Redeemer of all mankind into His city!

It's a beautiful thing!

Why did Luke and Mark elide this detail while the other writers included it?  Fodder for another post.  Be blessed!

Monday, July 9, 2018


It has been suggested that the post on Friday contains  inappropriate language and supports socially unacceptable behavior.  I disagree.

Ignoring the possibly oxymoron "skinny broad" we head straight for the jugular.  Name-calling, and PC violations.  Name-calling can be  demeaning and much has been said about it, including this little verse which I quoted Friday evening to BBBH during our cruise about.
Sticks and stones may break my bones
but words can never hurt me.
Being all PC herself, in that moment, she disagreed with me, asserting that words can and do hurt.  She is in good company, for psychologists have written treatises on the topic.  Anyway, for the record when she calls me "a big baby" I let it roll off and move on.

In this instance we find that "broad" is unacceptable language.  It was her word, not mine and  I merely quoted what she said.  The term has fallen into disuse if not into disrepute, but anyone who grew up during the Forties knows full well that in certain strata of society the appellation was broadly used, so to speak. 

Then there was "skinny."  It seems that might under some circumstances qualify as a pejorative, e.g., when applied as a descriptor of an individual as it was in this case.  When I was a child I was called "Skinny;" "String Bean;" during several school years, "Four Eyes;" as I reached puberty, "High Pockets;" and on occasion, "Red."  Umbrage might have been taken but I don't recall that that was the case.  More likely I was delighted that anyone paid attention to me.

Many of my acquaintances carried monikers which would possibly be considered inappropriate or demeaning in this day and age, and heaven forbid that anyone should have to suffer the indignity.
We called him "Stinky" because we were not creative enough, as Charles Shulz was, to come up with "Pigpen."  "Gimpy" was arguably cruel, as was "Popeye."  But then, kids are cruel.  Walt Disney did not own "Dopey;" we had him, too.  "Peewee," "Tiny," "Hulk," and "Tubby" are self-explanatory.  Golden Roll seemingly had unlimited funds.*

Obviously we all ran to our secluded "safe places" and pined away the rest of our lives.  We did not; we grew spines, stood tall and faced the cruel world.

*There were a couple of others that truly were inappropriate.  I refrained from sharing them.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Friday Evening

at chez vanilla

It was about six in the evening when BBBH  created some sort of unseemly noise-- perhaps dropping a pan "accicentally."  I awakened, of course, whereupon she informed me-- yet again that Friday is date night.  And "we never do anything," and so on.

Omitting a recording of the subsequent conversation.  We decided to go for a ride-- nice evening, you know.  We drove a dozen miles down the road and parked in anticipation of putting on the feedbag at one of our favorite little mom-and-pop eateries.  The place was full-- to overflowing.  It was Friday, remember.

We drove another ten miles or so.  "We've never tried this place," she said.  So we did.  Another establishment similar in appearance to the one we just left, but with tables available.  We were seated.  We ordered.  We were taking in the decor, the clientele, and so on.  Across the room hanging on the wall along with other "works of art" there was a 16" by 24" picture which from our vantage point looked to be a painting.  The waitress came by and BBBH said, "Excuse me?  Who is the skinny broad in that picture over there?"

"That," the young lady replied, "is one of our co-owners."

"Oops!  Faux pas,"  Beautiful apologized.

The waitress grinned.  

Well, I examined the picture up close as we left.  It was a photograph rather than a painting, and she is a skinny thing.  Really skinny.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Birthdays and Highways

The first time I drove this road in Idaho and Oregon it was designated "I-80N."  Actually, the first few times I drove the route there was no Interstate System and the highway, a two-lane, was US 30.  Man, I am old.   Well, yes, that is why I posted this highway logo, for I turn 84 today.

When this western branch of I-84 was on the drawing board it was designated I-82.  But delays and one thing and another ultimately resulted in another route  being so named.  Thus when the powers that be decided to scuttle the I-80N name they chose I-84, which totally flies in the face of the south to north naming system, for I-82 lies north of I-84.

That's not right.

If you need further explication, look it up.

 Image result for 84lumber  Yep; I lumber along toward the 85th!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

242 Years Ago


The last paragraph reads

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.