Some of the best stories one finds like ornaments hanging on the family tree are tales that the old folks, meaning my parents and grandparents and their generations of relatives, tended to ignore. They involved people only spoken of in whispers, the pretense that they did not exist carried to the very kitchens and workshops of these elders.
I did not hear these conversations. I learned of these adornments on the family tree long after I was well into an advanced age of my own. It took my enlightened generation to be willing to accept and explore the darker recesses of our heritage. Yet my sisters say, No, you may not share these tales.
...of another calendar year, I thought to list some of my personal favorites among the articles on "String Too Short to Tie" during 2011. There is no particular ranking in terms of my preferences. It is simply a dozen I particularly like. Obviously, I must have liked all of them or I would not have posted them in the first place!
But, no. It is Monday after a Sunday Christmas; so in the good old US of A we celebrate this as Christmas. Yes, Christmas this year is December 26. Does that make December 27 Boxing Day? Silly person. We don't "do" Boxing Day" in the US of A. Our friends across the pond do; our neighbors to the north do, but short of smacking the someone around, we don't have a boxing day in the US of A.
Good thing, too, because if we push this calendar on down the road, 2012 may be half over before it starts. Oh, wait! January 1 is on Sunday, so then New Years Day must be on Monday. Hence the new year begins on January 2.
'Tis the night before Christmas and all across the land
All the bloggers, a right hearty band
Are checking their pallies one last time
Before shutting down, going off-line
For Santa won't visit so long as he knows
That the light of the screen continually glows.
The spouse is in nightcap, or perhaps having one
So it's time to hit “Start," strange way to shut down.
Through the list once more wishing the best
to each. To Chuck on his Secondary RoadsMay happiness envelope all your brood.
A Quality Day in Michigan for Joan
This day and every day for her and Om.
To Lin, proprietor of Duck and WheelWe wish blessings abundant and real
As you celebrate with Joe, and Col and Em
Chicago's best and brightest, joy to the brim!
A short hop by 'net, but miles away
We swing down Dragon's Alley.
For Grace and Hubby may they see
Beauty in this day, even in Filthadelphee.
While we're in Pennsylvania, too
I say, Heres's What Let's DoSay, “Merry Christmas" to Mikki
and all her family.
To "Upstate" New York
Rebecca explains her work
On New York Traveler.
Blessings to you, Mrs. Mecomber
and to those whom you love.
Then we need to hurry, shove
Off to the eastern shore tonight
to greet Andrea at Arise 2 Write.
Prayer warrior, God bless you
and all creatures there, four legged and 2.
Marydon in Maryland, historian,
Decorator, Blushing Rose and
family "Merry Christmas!"
My, this tour is getting awfully long,
But we must sing a carol, or song
for John and Ginny at Rabid Fun
Before our trek is done!
Now up! up! away from Florida,
Where we wish the best for Pearl, Why You Little... Go, Girl!
Your writing fantastic,
Comes each day from your mind elastic.
To Colorado for a special shout out to Vee, Very Verla, Joie d' Vivre.
Love you much, and the Mister.
Vee, that's my sister!
Back home in Indiana, must say "Hey"
To Down the Road creator, Jim Grey.
Travels with Jim always a pleasure.
May Christ be your greatest treasure!
And Hoosier Happenings, Indiana man
Respect your anonymity, wish you and
The wife and kids God's richest blessing.
Don't over-gorge on tofurkey and dressing.
Imagine yourself a young person residing in the sparsely populated woodlands of Eastern Virginia, Colonial America. One might speculate that as you approach adulthood you imagine the pleasures and responsibilities of establishing a family of your own. But the availability of suitable partners is somewhat limited.
Thus it is that you find yourself thinking more and more about your first cousin who lives on the neighboring plantation, a fine, upstanding, even attractive person of the opposite gender with whom you are well acquainted. Verily, a match made in heaven, or at least on the fringes of this New World continent.
Too, the happy young couple reflects, there is precedent within the family for just such a match, for our Grandfather and Grandmother Venable are first cousins as well!
Thus it is that my great great great great grandparents Jacob Michaux Venable and Mary Venable were wed on August 23, 1785. The Venable family would continue on another generation! Their grandfather, Abraham Venables II had married his first cousin, Martha Davis in 1723. They were grandchildren of Captain Hugh Lewis.*
Before you form a judgment about my heritage, reflect on these things.
1. If it is true that genetic similarities may magnify weaknesses, it is also likely that they may enhance strengths. Something must account for how we got so smart.
2. Careful about summary dismissal of other peoples' choices. It is legal yet today (2011) for first cousins to marry in exactly half of our states and the District of Columbia. There are some restrictions in six of those states.
Apropos of nothing: It is legal in two states, Colorado and Minnesota, for an uncle to marry a niece, if it is the tradition of the aboriginal tribe of which they are members. (And I believe there is just such a connection in my family, a good many generations in the past.) *Genealogical assertion without documentation is like a horse with no legs. Nothing to stand on. Legless horse.
I had a seat in the doctor's office and awaited the call. Presently a young lady stepped through the door and called, "David." I was so startled, inasmuch as I am not accustomed to being called by my given name by persons at least two generations younger than I, that I did not immediately respond. Again she called, "David," and I got up and went along with her.
In the exam room, the young lady had written down perhaps three of my responses to the request to list my expectations of the visit when there was a knock on the door. Another young person entered. The two ladies compared charts and concluded that my interrogator had the wrong "David." I remarked that I thought it strange that they did not page me using my surname. "Oh," the Perky Young Thing said, "we aren't allowed to use surnames due to privacy issues." I wanted to say "Poppycock," but I am a gentleman and held my peace.
There is no reason on this green earth, privacy issues, legal profession, inept or heavy-handed bureaucracies, why civility should not reign in the medical workplace.
This sort of tomfoolery needs to cease.
What say you to the "privacy issue" of my responses being recorded on someone else's chart?
Today we will be hosting Beautiful's Family Christmas party. Your best wishes for us will include in addition to the traditional "Merry Christmas!" the good thoughts that peace, amity, and goodwill shall settle upon this household, and that a good time will be had by all.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
As I have mentioned in the past, December 17 is a memorable day in my life.
When I was a college student on the West Coast, on occasion someone would ask me, "What part of Alabama are you from?" Well, the part that does not end sentences with a preposition. At the time, I had never been in Alabama in my life. That oversight has been corrected now with numerous visits to that great state.
The point is, if there is one, that I had grown up in Colorado, and yes, I was, and still am, rather slow of speech. It might be characterized as a drawl, but not at all as "Alabama," y'all. Why this rambling introduction to Family Friday? No particular reason.
As we discovered last week, my parents were married in Hartman, Colorado. Nineteen months later, I was born in that same town in the home of my grandparents. Soon after, our little family of three moved to Southwest Virginia. The move was precipitated by the terminal illness of my mother's aunt. That household was in need of assistance which Mama proposed to provide. And of course, the people of the hills were in need of the gospel, and Daddy was the very one to deliver it to them. We are not going to explore today the challenges of life for outsiders in a closed community. Leave that to the sociologists.
I, of course, being only a year old when we moved from Virginia, do not remember any of the experiences the family had while there; but Dad was a wonderful observer and storyteller, and my sisters and I grew up on his tales.
Uncle Chris, Aunt Laura, daughter Iris
This impressed me. Over Clinch Mountain a matter of some miles resided the doctor who was charged with the care of Aunt Laura. In that time and that place there was little to be done for a cancer patient other than to make an attempt to keep the suffering to a minimum. When the medicine supply was running low, as Dad told it, he would walk over the mountain to obtain a refill from Doc Barrett. who in addition to being a physician, bore the given name "Doctor." Now there was a man whose parents believed in the power of the name! Using online resources for genealogical research, I have verified that the man's name was Doctor.
But what really sticks in my consciousness is this. Doctor Doctor Barrett was born in 1857. Thus, my own father, after I was born, had direct face-to-face dealings with a man who was born before Abraham Lincoln was elected president! Yet I am not old.
Laura Morrell died in February, 1935. We moved from Virginia to Nebraska in June.
This account qualifies as "family history" on the genealogical level, too, for Doctor Barrett married my maternal grandmother's father's sister. His daughter married my grandfather's uncle. You figure it out.
Uncle Chris was my grandfather's brother; Aunt Laura was my grandmother's sister.
What goes on here ten days before Christmas? Novelty. BBBH and I are engaged in cleaning the interior of the house. No, I don't mean "deep cleaning" that you fastidious ones are thinking. I mean attempting to make the house "presentable" for those who call and are more interested in us as friends and family than they are in the state of the housekeeping.
I spent the better part of two days getting my "office" straightened up. You have to understand the system. It works like this. Anything that needs to be "filed" or used in the office is taken upstairs when a trip that way is being made anyway. These items are stacked on top of the desk, and the pile grows, and grows, and grows until it takes most of a good morning to sort through and file the stuff accumulated there. The resulting packing of the file folders reminds me that it is the time of year to go through the folders themselves, discarding material no longer required to be kept. But that is for another day.
So, the desktop is clear and now it is time to get a wheat scoop and a dust rag. (The dust is layered so deeply on the horizontal surfaces that a scoop is required to get it down to a level where the cloth will be effective.) There are four bookcases, two tables and two desks in this room; so the job is not completed in one day.
Day two. Finished the office! And what, you might ask, has Beautiful been doing all this while. Too tedious are the tasks she has accomplished for me to enumerate them, but suffice it to say they have involved mops, buckets, washing machine and dryer. And she fixed my meals somewhere in the interstices of her busy schedule. ( I like to pronounce that "shed-yule" to emphasize the quality of the efforts we expend around here.)
Bring on the Christmas celebrations!
Disclaimer: BBBH says, Oh, Honey, people will think we are slobs. At least tell them about the kitchen. Okay, here it is. Neither of us will walk away from the kitchen while it is in need of attention.
Mary was born December 8, 1542 and on December 14 of that same year she became Queen of Scots upon the death of her father, James V. She reigned until July 1567. It was a time of intrigue, arranged marriages, arson?, murder?, imprisonment, escape, imprisonment, execution of the principal, and, you know, the usual royal goings-on.
Mary was executed on February 8, 1587 at Fotheringhay Castle. She was 44 years of age.
On the night of December 12, 1942, the poison of war permeating the entire world, a fire in the Knights of Columbus Hostel killed 99 and wounded an additional 109 persons who were attending a “barn dance," an activity welcomed by the hundreds of service men stationed in St. John’s.
St. John’s harbor was a staging area for transport of materiel and personnel to the European Theater.
The Canadians had set up military bases at Gander and Torbay. The Americans had leased Fort Pepperrell, and the Newfoundlanders, who at this time were not a part of the Canadian confederation, had an operational base at Shamrock Field. In addition to these varied military forces utilizing St. John’s facilities, the city was a hotbed of intrigue and was apparently overrun with foreign agents with allegiances to many interests.
And so it was that people, conditions, and ideals converged on a fateful night. A saboteur took advantage of a volatile situation and in an act of arson created the worst disaster by fire in Canadian history.
Honor and Recognition is due those who died here, for they also served in Freedom's cause. A rather detailed but very interesting account is given here, Newfoundland’s Grand Banks Site.
Mr. Chuck who lives on Secondary Roads has challenged us with a "Family Friday" meme. Although I have posted many family stories on this blog, they have been scattered at random. This is as you would expect, since this is a random sort of blog. Please don't let me hear you mutter "undisciplined."
Here is the first of the family stories on "Family Friday."
Spring 1932 on the high plains of Eastern Colorado, twenty-one year-old Delbert Lacy was working in the northeast corner of Bent County. He felt strongly the call of God on his life, knowing with certainty that he was to preach the gospel of Christ. Long before daybreak on Sunday morning he would rise and walk ten miles to a schoolhouse which was his preaching station. He would conduct the services, then trek the many miles homeward. It was while thus engaged that he was able to obtain a Model-T coupe, and thus expand the horizons of his life.
Delbert had heard of a revival which was being conducted in the next county to the north. He made the trip to Haswell where he met a young lady, Vera Morrell, who with her sister was providing the music for the meetings. When the evangelist felt it time to move on, Miss Morrell stayed behind to establish and conduct church services on a regular basis. Thus it was that the young preacher lad heard this preacher girl from her own pulpit. A correspondence between them was started in which they shared accounts of their endeavors in the Lord's work.
Eventually, these young people found their letters to include more and more endearing salutations, and finally a visit by Delbert to Miss Morrell resulted in an invitation to meet her parents in Hartman. Long story short, the wedding took place in Hartman on December 24, 1932. It was the beginning of a life-long love affair with each other, and with their Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, in whose service they labored together until Vera exchanged her earthly life for her heavenly home in 1991. Delbert followed in 1999.
Delbert and Vera Lacy were known to me as "Daddy" and "Mama." It was a blessing from the Lord to me that I was allowed to be born into their home. I have a packet of letters that they exchanged with each other during the year 1932, the last one written four days before the wedding. I have pieced the above paragraphs together from verbal accounts I remember as well as from material contained in the letters.
The echo of the blast rolled around the hills that surrounded the campus. Both youngsters were stunned. Miraculously, neither suffered physical injury beyond the ringing in their ears.
Just as the smoke started to drift away, the grounds keeper came pushing a wheelbarrow up the hill. He had witnessed the spectacle from a mere thirty yards from ground zero. As his path crossed the boys' trek toward the scene of the blast, he said, in a very calm and controlled voice, "I wouldn't do that again if I were you." You think?
At about that moment, the window of the president's office flew up and the glass flew out and fell crashing to the ground. The Man himself poked his head out the window. Ho, boy.
The upshot (so to speak).
It is not known to either of the lads, nor was it ever discussed, how much the fact that the father of one of the boys had been the predecessor to the now sitting president who was prepping for his first academic year in the post had to do with the conclusion to this story. It is not known what discussion took place between the two gentlemen. It is known that the boys were held responsible for replacing the window, notwithstanding that they both ever after believed that they did not cause the breakage, but rather that Tubby the president caused the glass to fall from its frame when he threw the window open with excessive force.
The younger boy's father took the lad and the window frame to Madsen's Paints and Wallpaper on North Tejon Street where the window was repaired at a cost of $5.25, which to the boys was a veritable fortune. And they did have to pay it.
The day following the explosion, the two genii (geniuses?) returned to the scene of the "crime." Isn't that always the case? They observed that in the center of the parking lot there was not a pebble of gravel to be found in a circle approximately sixteen feet in diameter. They searched for some time for fragments of the "rocket" and ultimately found it south of the road and about twenty feet up the side of the hill. The can appeared to be intact! That is, it seemed to be of a piece, but it was completely flattened.
Over the past few weeks we have watched him go down the hill into the valley of the shadow of death. Today he crossed the stream and is no longer with us. But he will never be forgotten; he will always be an important part of who we are.
Cookie was born in Clinton County, Indiana January 2, 1993. He departed his life December 6, 2011, aged 18 years, 11 months.
Following a stint in his early life as the long-legged rat terrier stud, he exchanged his role as sire for the comforts of a leisure life as JoAnn's companion. He later accepted David as part of his pack. He has been faithful and true to his people, in a word, Good Dog.
This beautiful seventeen-pound package of fun, enthusiasm and love will be sorely missed
This is the day! It is another hot and lazy summer day. The boys walked up the road to the parking lot, kicking the gravel as they went. Beautiful! There were no cars in the lot this afternoon. They quickly moved to the very center of the lot, about forty feet south of the storage shed. The boys ever so carefully set the rocket at just exactly the right attitude to achieve maximum flight. The fuse was carefully installed in the engine port and cut to a two-foot length, which they calculated to be just right to allow them to move to the shelter of the shed before launch.
Pastor Mark's message is based on the words of the Master found in Matthew 28:16-19
Four truths from Christ's last words.
1. There is power in Jesus' command. "All power is given to me," but power is given to His followers: the Holy Spirit baptism with power from on high. The problem with many Christians today is that they are satisfied to live powerless.
2. We see people in His command. "Go ye..." He is addressing us, His followers.
3. We see a plan in His command. a) "Go" b) "Win" converts c) Baptize d) Teach, that is make disciples of them. We cannot improve the plan. We need to follow the plan. Don't try to reinvent the wheel; get the wheel moving!
4. We see a promise within the command. "I am with you always, even to the end of the world." Go, implement the plan. You do not go alone!
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.--Jesus Christ
Sissela Bok was born in Sweden, December 2, 1934. Both her mother, Alva Myrdal, and her father, Gunnar Myrdal, were Nobel Prize winners in two different disciplines and a decade apart. Her brother, Jon Myrdal, is a well-known writer and journalist. Sissela Bok is married to Derek Bok who was a long-time president of Harvard University. She herself was professor of philosophy at Brandeis. Her daughter, Hilary Bok is a philosopher as well. (Sissela Bok image: Harvardsquarelibrary) I include this snippet about Ms. Bok as a reminder both to myself and to you that while we share space on the same planet we are definitely from different worlds!
A few lines from Ms. Bok: Liars share with those they deceive the desire not to be deceived.
We are all, in a sense, experts on secrecy. From earliest childhood we feel its mystery and attraction. We know both the power it confers and the burden it imposes. We learn how it can delight, give breathing space and protect. While all deception requires secrecy, all secrecy is not meant to deceive. Happy Birthday, Ms. Bok. 1934 was a very good year!
The boys ambled home. It was late in the afternoon; they were tired. They got the comics book stash from beneath the bed and selected a few titles. As they lay under the cottonwood tree thumbing through the pages of "Buck Rogers in the Twenty-fifth Century" and "Mickey Mouse" and "Plastic Man" they gave very little further thought to the scientific endeavor they had launched this day. Perhaps how little thought will become evident with the dawning of a new day.
Wednesday morning broke, bright and fair. Another lazy summer day. The boys departed their respective homes to meet by the lilac hedge* with the ingredients gathered the previous day, along with a mortar and pestle from the chemistry set and the two near-empty adolescent heads they carried with them everywhere.
The first order of business was to build the rocket. A scavenger hunt was the order of the day. Passing up and down the neighborhood alleys the boys scrounged for necessary parts. They did not know what they were looking for, but they would recognize it when they saw it. Eureka!
Just there, in Mrs. Nordyke's ash pit, was a cylindrical object about nine inches in length and two and one-half inches in diameter! Verily, a rocket! and with so little need of modification, for it was made of steel, completely sealed except for a quarter-inch orifice on one end.
Ailerons and stabilizers? Pffft! it is to scoff, for the launch platform will so perfectly aim it that it cannot fail to go airborne. All that remained was to grind and mix the fuel, and fill the fuel chamber, which, as it turned out, was pretty much the entire interior of the spent bug-bomb, for that was what the can was, an early 1940s aerosol can, one of the very first.