Friday, July 31, 2009

Evonne


How many of you remember Evonne Goolagong? If you're a serious tennis fan, you have to remember her. And the rest of us should remember her, because her achievements in her chosen field epitomized a work ethic which we might well emulate. Moreover, Ms. Goolagong was the first ever Australian aboriginal woman to achieve fame as a professional athlete.


My first memories of her performances are from Wimbledon in 1971 when Evonne defeated fellow Aussie, Margaret Court, in the final. She went on from that point to achieve number one status in women's tennis (1976), supplanting Chris Evert for a time. She won seven Grand Slam titles, the last in 1980 when she defeated Tracy Austin in the semi and Chris Evert in the final at Wimbledon. The one Grand Slam title that eluded her was the US Open, where she competed to the final match four consecutive years only to come up short.


Today, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who resided in the US for several years, lives in her native land where she runs tennis camps with the help of her daughter, Kelly. Her son, Morgan Cawley, was a National Soccer League player.
Evonne Fay Goolagong Cawley, born 31 July 1951 in Griffith, NSW, Australia.
[Picture credit: International Tennis Hall of Fame]

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cell Phone?


The cell phone has been in use five years. It is not its former self. We have for several months been talking about a new one. We have even talked to some of the reps in the stores. Main point: I have frequently said, to BBBH, "All I want is a phone I can make or receive phone calls with." (Yes, I did end that statement with a preposition.) Computers are fine, gadgetry not so much.

So yesterday I told the wife, You go ahead and pick what you want. Go for a new contract if you have to, but let's just get this thing done. (We have been "beyond" contract for at least three years, and the freedom to be able to drop the service whenever we want has some value, even though we never availed ourselves of that option.)
Thus she goes to the shop, spends two hours at the counter-- I am not making this up-- and finally comes home with a two-year contract and a with-all-the-bells-and-whistles-and QWERTY keyboard "phone." PHONE??!! And what can I say? I told her to choose, and she did.
[I did ask, "Where are the hatpins?" "Hatpins," she said, "what do you mean, hatpins?" "To punch the keys with," I sez, "a matchstick is much too thick." When, oh when, will I ever learn to button my lip?]

Henry Ford


Henry Ford was born in Dearborn, Michigan on July 30, 1863. There he hatched his plot to "--build a car for the great multitude." And there he did that.
Yes, his "assembly line" revolutionized the world.
Henry Ford 1863 - 1947 RIP

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wes


I mentioned in a recent post that I had had a close friend for over seventy years. Yesterday, that friend died. It is the way of all flesh, and we are all going sooner or later. The last words he said to me as we parted the last time we visited were, "If I don't see you again here, I'll see you at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb."


Wes leaves, to mourn their loss and celebrate his gain, his beautiful wife of fifty-three years and five children, along with their spouses and their offspring. And me.


So now, I have but to be sure that I am ready to go, so that we will indeed meet at that glorious event!


Wesley G. Reiff 1934 - 2009, until we meet again.


His picture the year we graduated Colorado Springs High School.

Nudity in Hometown

The naked ladies are dancing in the yards here in the Hometown. I have observed this phenomenon since I moved to the Midwest fifty years ago. In fact this occurs with such punctuality that for many years I have predicted that they would enact their show on July 28. Hence, on Sunday, 26 July, I went to the garden to check it out. No nude dancers. Ah, but yesterday! Yes! How do they know? Where do they keep their calendar?
Naked Lady, aka Surprise Lily and Magic Lily (lycoris squamigera) always delights as it dances, long legs crowned with lavender-pink shawl and golden tiara.
The leaves of this plant spring up in late winter or early spring, a cluster of them resembling daffodil, but there is no bloom. By the end of May, the leaves have withered and usually have disappeared back into the earth from which they sprang. Then two months later, showtime.
These flowers do not produce seeds. I saw many of these as I rode my bicycle across town this morning, even several in an abandoned vacant lot.
This flambuoyant planting is in Dick's garden. Mine are in the middle of too many taller plants, and while very pretty, they do not show as well.


Inside the House and Outside







Tuesday, July 28, 2009

You're It.





Chuck has tagged me. Again. Thanks, Chuck.


I've been pondering this question: How much do I want to reveal about myself?
Oh, that could have been the first of my six!

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person or persons who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random and/or revealing things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your post entry is up on your site.

About me.
1. I am a day person; and I cannot believe that I stay up until midnight most nights, since I awaken at dawn. Thanks BBBH.
(I nap a lot.)


2. For several years I had vanity plates on my car. Then I figured out that it is bad enough to pay mandatory taxes; voluntary taxes must be high on the foolishness scale.
(Or is it that the mandatory ones escalated to the point that there was too little left for frivolity?)


3. I worked my way through college as a hod-carrier, block-layer, schoolbus driver, hamburger
grinder, forklift driver, and sewerpipe maker.
(Want a recipe for 200# of hamburger?)


4. The only job I was ever fired from was at the meat market because the Kappa Delts didn't get their hamburger in time for dinner.
(I had another boss who tried to fire me-- nanner, nanner, nanner!)


5. I sometimes think that when Dad talked about the man that had more degrees than a thermometer, but hadn't sense enough to pound sand in a rathole, he was talking about me.
(How do you pronounce r-a-t-h-o-l-e, rath-olee or rath-olay?)


6. I am very uncomfortable making some of these revelations about myself.
(Transparent is for windowglass.)
Tagging:
1. Elizabeth because she is an extremely bright and insightful young lady, a talented writer.
2. Silver because she is thoughtful and artistic, and she expresses herself beautifully.
3. Candace Jean because she reflects so well the ideal of Love of God and family in her writing.
4. Stacy whose posts are infrequent lately, but the hilarity is worth the wait.
5. HR because his presentation of Indiana's wonders, both natural and manmade, as well as his occasional political foray, make for very interesting reading.
6. I would tag Mikki because she is a great creative writer and a fellow-teacher, and Lin because she and her cats are too funny to miss. But they have already been tagged. (Does the "twofer" make up for the fact that they are playing anyway?)
I need more bloggy friends.
So how do we differ, Chuck? Must be the hirsute facial adornments. Oh, and I'm much the older.




[and Happy Birthday, great granddaughter Gillian]

Monday, July 27, 2009

Little Nightcap

Suzanne Rochet (sometimes spelled "Rochette") was the youngest of the three daughters of Moses Rochet. In 1685, Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes and determined to take away the protections that the Hugeunots had enjoyed for nearly ninety years. Rochet's two older daughters made successful escape to Amsterdam, but fearing it was too dangerous to take her along, they left Suzanne behind. Before they left France, however, they made an agreement with their father that they would send for Suzanne when they felt the time was right. Afraid a letter might be intercepted, they worked out a code. The letter stated that they thought it would be perfectly fine to send the "Little Nightcap" which they left behind.*
Finally, the letter arrived. M. Rochet hid Suzanne in a hogshead, which was entrusted to a friendly sea captain, who had the cask placed on board ship. When the ship had sailed and they were safely past the guards, the barrel was opened, Suzanne was lifted out, and she was brought to safety in Amsterdam. She is still known in the annals of French Huguenot history as "Little Nightcap."
She married Abraham Micheaux, also a Huguenot from Sedan, on 13 Jul 1692 in the French Church in Amsterdam, Holland. The Michauxs left Holland and first moved to London, then later to Henrico County, Virginia. They had twelve children, their son Jacob being my ancestor.^ Suzanne died 17 December 1744 in Henrico County where she is buried. Suzanne Rochet is my 7th great grandmother, agnate.

Suzanne Rochet Michaux 1667 - 1744 RIP

[Historical note: France suffered a terrible loss when so many of its finest citizens left the country due to persecution; but the greater world enjoyed the gain.]
*Some versions of the story state that she was called "Little Cap" because she was plucked from her bed in the middle of the night to be put aboard ship for her escape, the sisters not mentioned.
^Six of the children were born in Holland, the rest in America. Some researchers say there were fourteen offspring, but records exist for only twelve of them. Jacob may also be listed as "Jacques."


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Perfect Priesthood

I have been reading the Book of Hebrews. Melchizedek is mentioned in only two places in the Old Testament. The first mention is in Genesis 14 telling of Abraham's return after defeating the four kings. He meets Melchizadek who is portrayed as the King of Righteousness, the King of Salem, which could be interpreted "King of Peace." Melchizadek presents wine and bread and serves Abraham. Abraham pays tithes to this priest of the Most High God.
It is noteworthy that wine and bread are the memorials of the sacrifice of Himself that Christ served to his disciples. The second mention is in Psalm 110, which is a Messianic psalm. Herein the Messiah is averred by God to be a priest forever after the order of Melchizadek.

The Hebrew letter, written as the title indicates, to the Hebrews, explains the priesthood of Christ as superior to and superceding the Aaronic priesthood. The writer indicates that Levi paid tithes to Melchizadek through Abraham, honoring him as superior to the Levitical priesthood and since Christ is priest forever after the order of Melchizadek, He has supplanted the law of the priesthood as given to Moses. A superior priest, a superior law: the law of faith, and a once and for all sacrifice for our salvation.

This is much too rich to be dealt with in a blogpost; hence, the purpose here is to encourage you to get your Bible and pursue this truth in depth.


Meeting of Abraham and Melchizadek by Dierec Bouts the Elder, c. 1467
[and Happy Birthday grandson Jamie]

Saturday, July 25, 2009

On Guard



You go, Blue! Keep an eye on things. Good dog.












[pictured is a "Blue Lacy," official state dog of Texas]

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Few Impossible Things


Two weeks ago in a post entitled "Mirror, Mirror," I raised the possiblitiy of believing impossible things. Today, we look at a few of the impossible things the Wonderful Wizards of Washington want us to believe.

1. We can spend our way to prosperity.

2. Universal health care will get costs under control.

3. Bureaucrats know what is best for hoi polloi.

4. Bureaucracy will enhance efficiency in any arena.

5. We can borrow our way out of debt.

6. Though "freedom of religion" as a principle was established early on, what was really meant was "freedom from religion."

7. The framers didn't really mean it when they said that areas not addressed in the Constitution were reserved to the states, or to the people.

8. The people and the government are separate entities, and the government knows what is best for the people.

STOP! STOP! Wait. This is not impossble to believe. We had better believe that the WWofW are making every effort to separate the people from the government, and that the WWofW will be the government.

See how many of these you can believe before breakfast. I'll give you until ten tomorrow morning.
Incidentally, have you noticed that even the wizards are beginning to doubt some of their own stuff? We don't hear about "global warming" anymore. Now it is "climate change." What's up with that? Well, you know, don't you?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dark the Night



I observed this in a parking lot. I cannot imagine the darkness in which this soul lives. The sadness it evoked in me made me want to stay around to see what light I might offer; but that probably would have been ill-received. Duty called, and I can only pray for those who wander in this morass, arms extended, while fingers grope in the gloom for something to grasp.
Do you know someone who is grappling with despair?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Supper's On!






















Wiley Post


Many times during my childhood years I heard my dad refer to Wiley Post and Barney Oldfield. These were among the heroes people admired in his day.

Today is the 76th anniversary of Post's completion of the first-ever-to-be-done solo flight around the world.

Post was to die just two years later along with his passenger, Will Rogers, in a crash at Point Barrow, Alaska.
Wiley Post 1898 - 1935 RIP





Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tag!


Chuck at Secondary Roads played this meme and challenged his readers to take it up. Later I read Mikki's list at Here's What Let's Do

1. Write something about 15 persons you know.2. Don't mention the names of these 15 persons.3. If someone asks who they are, don't tell them.4. Tag 15 persons but don't include persons you refer to in your post.

1. YOU-loved me when I wasn't lovable.
2. YOU-are always on my mind.
3. YOU-put itching powder down my back during church.
4. YOU-helped me work through my grief.
5. YOU-have been my best friend for seventy years.
6. YOU-put my life back together when it fell apart.
7. YOU-don't like jalapeno kisses.
8. YOU-are smarter than I, but I like you anyway.
9. YOU-are the best boss I ever had.
10. YOU-are truly weird, but I like you anyway.
11. YOU-are the first person I hired when I became boss.
12. YOU-moved me to the Pacific Northwest.
13. YOU-were on my side when I faced my orals.
14. YOU-taught me English in HS, and you still keep tabs on me sixty years later.
15. YOU-were a student in the first class I taught, and I still keep tabs on you fifty years later.

Now, since you have read this, YOU are tagged. Let me know when you post!

Monday, July 20, 2009

One Small Step for Man...

20 July 1969

[Happy Birthday to daughter Shari]

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Forgiveness That Is Real


This morning's sermon was the final message in Pastor Doug's "Because You Asked" series.
The scripture lesson is Luke 6:37 - 38: Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Our goal as Christians is to love God and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves; and to become like Jesus Christ.

When are we most like God? When we forgive.

There is a connection between the forgiveness we give others and the forgiveness God gives us. We struggle with forgiveness because we do not properly understand what it is. Forgiveness means, literally, to not hold against. Colossians 3:13 says, Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Forgiveness is not excusing the offense. If someone asks for forgiveness, never say, That's okay. It is not okay; it is a big deal. God will never say sin is okay. He forgives, He does not excuse.

The reason we are afraid to forgive is that we think that forgiving somehow says that it's okay. Forgiveness says much more about you than it does about the one who gives offense.

We can grant forgiveness even to those who don't ask for it. Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself.

When offended, we have a choice. 1) Hold on, or 2) let it go, i.e. give it to the Lord.

Forgiving is not easy. But we must let it go, or we will become so encumbered with unforgiveness that we are too burdened to properly function. Again, as Jesus says, "Forgive, and you shall be forgiven."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Resolutions Redux



HR over at Hoosier Happenings, http://hoosierhappenings.blogspot.com/ recently posted a "report card" on his progress anent his New Year's resolutions. Made me decide to revisit mine. And yes, I do have these written down. A detailed report card is not necessary. Suffice it to say, I am doing very well with these.

I am well past the milestone “three score and ten.” Life has been good. I have been blessed. I want for nothing. And there are some things I am resolved to do, or to do no longer.
I will not consume 2 per cent, 1 per cent or any other blue form of milk. I will drink whole milk because I like it.
I will eat butter, not margarine; and I will fry my foods, both pan and deep.
I will consume raw vegetables or well-cooked vegetables, but not steamed half-cooked veggies.
The vegetable intake will include generous portions of potatoes, American fried, French fried, hash-browned, mashed with butter and cream--and with gravy on board!
I will eat foods properly salted and peppered to good taste.
I will use sugar, not artificial sweeteners. Pies, cookies, cakes, ice cream. Yum, yum!
I will consume in excess of twelve cups of coffee per day. It is my drink of choice.
I will ignore, nay scoff at, the “food police” whose assistance is not only not needed, it is not wanted.
Walter Cronkite 1916 - 2009 RIP

Friday, July 17, 2009

At the Circus

Kids under ten.

Trapeze.Whatchamaycallit.

Silks.
Seven-person pyramid on high wire.

Wednesday evening our camping group met for an early supper and devotions. During supper, I told the group I once heard a preacher from the pulpit say, "I understand the circus is coming to town. Who goes to the circus? I'll tell you who goes to the circus. Sir Cuss (voice dripping with scorn) that's who goes to the circus. And Mrs. Cuss and all the little Cusses." Following devotions, we departed the campground bound for Circus City, a mere eight or so miles away. Peru, Indiana has long been known as Circus City. It has been the winter encampment site for major circuses for generations.

On this evening we were on our way to a performance in the Permanent Bigtop in downtown Peru. This was an amateur circus, the world's largest, and presented by performers under 21 years of age. Don't let that fool you. These youngsters put on a show of virtually professional caliber. Clearly, these kids spend a major portion of their time honing their circus skills. Amazing and exciting were the trapeze artists and the high-wire performances. But the ground-level activities were mind-boggling, too. They kept three rings moving for three hours.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Home from the Park

The gateway.
The geese.

The dam.
The gathering.

We have just returned home following four days and four nights at Mississinewa State Recreation Area. Our Christian Campers Fellowship chose that site for our July outing. It was four days of face-to-face visiting, chowing down together and engaging in games and activities suited to persons of our age. It was four days without internet access. Each evening we had a devotional period seated around the campfire. Wednesday evening activities report in separate post. Stay tuned.

Next month: Versailles State Park.
[Happy Birthday grandson Kristofer and great grandson Hunter]

Pastor's Son


Silver at REFLECTIONS left these questions: So.. how is it, i wonder being a Pastor's son? Is there some kind of 'pressure'.. while you were growing up?

My first response was, "Yes." I think I need to be a bit more forthcoming. Was being a pastor's son different from being, say the banker's son, or the baker's or the candlestick maker's?
Yes, I suppose in some ways it was; and yet I went to the same schools, played the same games, roamed the same neighborhood that these other guys did.

What 'pressure' could there have been? For starters, it was a given that if a church function was in progress we were there. So if going to 'church' would save me, and it won't, I was well served. There was no doubt that misbehavior in church would result in unpleasant consequences. And not just in the hereafter, either.

Then there was the reminder that "What you do is a reflection on your Daddy," a favorite of my mother, especially during my teen years (read "rebellious years") . It was probably only fair that I was reminded of this, but we needn't go into that.

Truth be told I recall that I was proud of my parents and what they did. It is likely that because that was true my rebellion was largely internalized and quite likely to have been sneaky rather than overt. Am I not human? When cut do I not bleed?

For any one of several reasons, I think other people may have expected something more of the preacher's kids. And some of them were probably secretly pleased when we were caught in a failing, for it made them look better when confronted with the shortcomings of their own kids.

The canard that the preacher's kids were the orneriest kids was addressed by Dad, and sincerely I think. He said that that could be accounted for by the fact that they associated with the parishioners' kids.

Personally, I think it can be accounted for in the truth that we are all sinners and lost but for the grace of God. Being a parson's son did not make me a Christian. God has no grandchildren. But we may each be His child by accepting His unmerited favor through faith in Jesus Christ.

I would not wish to do my childhood over; and I would not change the one I had, nor trade it for any other.
Drawing by Hank Ketcham

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reshaping Tipton


This project is on the maindrag, a block east of the vacant lot created a couple weeks ago. Is this to be another "greenspace?"
Well, we are told that it is a renovation and that the facade is to be restored to its original early-twentieth century glory.
We're watching.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

And Grandpa's Birthday


My grandfather, Samuel Harvey Morrell, was born in Speers Ferry, Virginia on July 14, 1878. He was the son of Samuel Harvey and Sarah Harris Morell. I have related a part of his story by telling my grandmother's story on her birthday last week.

It is not a typographical error which indicates that my grandfather and his father spelled their last names differently. There are various family stories about how this circumstance arose, none to my knowledge indicating friction within the tribe. Since I have no first-hand information on this, I'll say only that there were some of the Morell boys who inserted the second "r" and some who did not, and the whole tribe is related, regardless.

Grandpa was a hard-working man his entire life. While he was not a veterinarian, he was known for his ability to treat ailing animals and his services were often in demand. He also pulled teeth for people who were in agony, and my dad had his forceps and dental tools for years. All four fingers on one hand were truncated, cut off squarely about even with the middle knuckle of the index finger. This accident occured in the haymill at Hartman, Colorado. At the time of his demise at the age of 69 he was a caretaker in a lemon grove in Ventura, California. The time I spent with him there is a pleasant memory, short as it was.

Samuel Harvey Morrell 1878 - 1947 RIP
Mr. and Mrs. S.H. Morrell, circa 1940

Monday, July 13, 2009

Humpty Dumpty


`I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'
`But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.
`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'
`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master -- that's all.'
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They've a temper, some of them -- particularly verbs: they're the proudest -- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs -- however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'
`Would you tell me please,' said Alice, `what that means?'
`Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. `I meant by "impenetrability" that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'
`That's a great deal to make one word mean,' Alice said in a thoughtful tone. --Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!--Isaiah 5:20

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Advice Every Leader Needs to Hear


Pastor Doug's sermon today is based on the visit Jethro, his father-in-law, made to Moses as recorded in Exodus 18: 7 - 27.
"Every one of us is a leader."
A leader has the ability
1) to influence people to move forward.
2) to delegate responsibility to the right people.
3) to foresee (anticipate); has a vision for the future.
Moses was in a leadership crisis, and didn't even know it. Jethro observed the procedure and said, "This is not good."
Why a Leader Can't Do it Alone.
1. You will wear out, and the followers with you. (v.18)
2. The work is too heavy. Morale starts with the leader.
3. It can't be done alone. "A leader who doesn't have a following is only taking a walk." One is not a leader if no one is following.
A Leader's Job Description (vv. 19 -21)
1. Will oversee the people. Sees the big picture.
2. Will teach and model skills needed to do the work.
3. Will delegate duties to responsible people.
"Place leaders over thousands, over hundreds, over fifties, and over tens."
There are not many big tasks in the church, but there are many small one that make a big impact.
What is the Result of the Leader's Work? (vv. 22 - 24)
1. The load is lighter.
2. The leader is able to stand the strain, to endure.
3. The people will be satisfied, because their needs are being met.

If you are a follower, have you thanked your "leader" lately?

We have to have godly leaders; be a pastor to your group. Encourage.

Don't be a queen or a king. Don't reign, but be a shepherd.

As a follower, live so that your leader's responsibility is a joy!



Moses , marble by Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1515

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Personal Reflections


Twenty-eight years ago today Ellie and I were wed. The standard vows, "love, honor, cherish; 'til death do us part." Seventeen years later, death took her from me. I was blessed to have those years with her.

And for all that grief intruded, I am blessed that the Lord afforded me comfort and has allowed me a new love in my life.

Carpe diem.


Lois and Clark, July 11

Friday, July 10, 2009

Firstfruits

Found this baby nestling in the vines this morning! Gardening? Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

Mirror, Mirror


Alice laughed. `There's no use trying,' she said `one can't believe impossible things.'
`I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. `When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. '

--Through the Looking Glass, by Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll

It behooves us all to learn to believe impossible things; because we are doubtless living on the other side of the looking glass.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Washington Revisited


...in all matters of great national moment, the only true line of conduct, in my opinion, is, dispassionately to compare the advantages and disadvantages of the measure proposed and decide from the balance. To Henry Lee, October 31, 1786
I suppose that to expand on this would define "superfluity." Yet I am thinking about this in conjunction with the "debate" on the proposed legislation the Senate is taking up now.
The keyword here, I think, is "dispassionately." Is it even remotely possible in this age of hypercharged ideologies for people to think about anything other than political machinations, much less think about it dispassionately? God help us.
Portrait by Peale

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Grandma's Birthday


Standing: Everett, Ray, Ellis, Ernest (Everett and Ernest are twins.)
Seated: Edrie, Mrs. S.H. Morrell, Mildred, Vera (Picture circa 1960.)

On July 8, 1880 Mary Matilda Palmer was born in Caney Creek, Hawkins County, Tennessee.
Tildy was the first-born child of William A. and Amanda Lawson Palmer. By the time she was eighteen, Miss Palmer was teaching school beside the Clinch River in Scott County, Virginia. She walked the four miles each day from her home to the schoolhouse. It was this that Sam Morrell observed, and within his heart and vocally to his friends he said, "I'm going to marry that girl." And he was right.

They started a family with the birth of a daughter, Ava, about 1904. This child died at the age of five, but Ray was born in 1906 and my mother Vera came along in 1908. Over the next ten years the family grew by five more and the Morrells raised seven children to adulthood.

My Grandmother Morrell was a tiny woman. I am guessing based on memory and pictures from the past, that she was 4' 8'' tall, maybe 4' 9" at the most. But she was not small in spirit, courage or stamina. She, along with Grandpa, survived the vicissitudes of life and innumerable hardships to raise their family. During the Great Depression, they were residing on the high plains of Eastern Colorado. The area became part of the infamous Dust Bowl, and they rode out those years, but ultimately chose to seek a better life elsewhere. At the end of the '30s they moved to Southern California. All of their children, who were adults with families of their own by this time, moved with them, with the exception of my mother. Mother was a pastor's wife and her place was at the side of her spouse whose ministerial duties and responsibilities did not allow him the option of "pulling up stakes." Thus it was that my maternal cousins all grew up on the West Coast and I remained in Colorado. It also limited my visits with my beloved grandparents to perhaps half-dozen times prior to the death of Grandpa in 1947.

Grandma was widowed at the age of sixty-seven and she was dependent on the income from the sale of her home in Ventura. She told me when she was ninety-one, "David, I don't know what I'm going to do. I sold that house on a twenty-five year contract, thinking the income would last the rest of my life; but it pays off next year."
Grandma remained in good health and with strength and faith in her Savior she lived on her own until she was ninety-four. Unfortunately, at that time she broke a hip and was thereafter unable to care for all her needs on her own; but her eldest son took her into his home and provided her with the care she needed. She passed away at the age of ninety-eight.

In her Bible, Grandma inscribed a record of the number of times she had read it in its entirety. There was not a year in her adult lifetime in which she did not read it all at least once.
Mary Matilda Palmer Morrell 1880 - 1978 RIP
[and Happy Birthday to son Carl and grandson Bob]

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jeanne d'Arc

On this day in 1456, Jeanne d'Arc got a retrial for heresy. She was acquitted. She had been burned at the stake 25 years earlier, having at that time been convicted of that crime.

She did not get a do-over of the execution of sentence in the original trial.

Few idividuals have attracted so much attention in the literary world in the intervening centuries. Many famous authors have written extensively about her life. These include George Bernard Shaw and Mark Twain, who was surely obsessed with her, at least during the time in which he wrote of her. His two-volume account is among my favorites.


Ste. Jeanne d'Arc c.1412 - 1431 RIP


Portrait, National Archives, Paris