Saturday, April 27, 2013

CCF 2013

The kick-off of the 2013 camping season!  The Christian Campers Fellowship met for a lovely luncheon.
Thirty people showed up for fun and conversation, to discover who survived the winter, and how well.

Al and Margo entertained while we listened with rapt attention!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

South of the Border (Barely)

I'm sure the sketch artist meant "Ole!" Dude.

BBBH said to me, "That guy over there keeps looking at me."  Nah, why would he want to do that?

When we got up to leave, the dude walked over and presented the sketch to her.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Memory and Recollection

I have availed myself of the files in my personal memory bank, aka cells in the grey matter, for blog fodder. It has served me well and betrayed me seldom. Yet as I age I have reflected on this thing called “memory” and have a few questions that have gone unanswered to date.

 What started me thinking about this today in particular was this. I took a digital camera to our friends’ flood ravaged home to take a few pictures in case they need them for future reference. I have a two-gig memory chip in the camera, and although I store all my photos in the computer, I leave select ones on the chip so that they are portable and I can inflict them on my friends and family wherever I happen to meet them. As I was attempting to snap the third picture, nothing happened. Almost nothing.  “Out of Memory” message was displayed on the screen.

 Good enough. I now know that a two-gig will hold six hundred pictures. Not a problem, though, and not because I had an extra card with me, but rather because I had not edited the last couple of weeks of shooting, though I had stored everything on the hard drive at home. So I simply deleted twenty or so shots and continued shooting.

 Now to my personal memory. This set me to thinking how marvelous it would be if we could select those memories to save in the memory bank, and pick and choose the ones to delete. It does not work that way. There are many things I would like to access which I can no longer order up from the files. My father, though, averred that everything that had ever impinged itself on memory was still there; we simply fail to have the proper trigger to elicit some items. Be that as it may, I struggle a bit with aphasia and language difficulty. Having been a bit of a language geek, I find it extremely frustrating when in conversation I cannot dredge up the exact word to express my thought, though I know the word and know I know it, but it will not out until an hour later, unbidden and entirely too late to be of use.

 An added benefit to using the delete button for our personal memories might be that we could create additional room for building new memories. This is particularly appealing to me in light of the fact that at my age I often find that I truly can remember stuff, even useless stuff, that happened seven decades ago, but cannot remember where I put my shoes ten minutes ago. (The keys are not a problem, for I keep them in my right-hand front pocket at all times. And that would lead into another issue, because BBBH chides me about carrying stuff in my pockets, which, apparently, the well-dressed man does not do; and she wants a well-dressed man if he’s nothing else.)

 So we live with what we have, not what we dream up. I am thankful for my memory bank and for the fact that it is not empty. Yet, anyway.  I am grateful for the gift of continuity. I am who I am because of the sum total of the experiences I have had, and without memory I wouldn’t be much. There is more to this than I have presented, but this entry is quite long enough.

 Happy memories!

Monday, April 22, 2013


Dick and Heide started the process of reclamation of their home.  This promises to be a long process.

 The front-loader drove through the water and the lawn to rescue Heide and JJ.

 The flower beds are mud covered; the driveway still holds water.

Step inside!   Squish!

 You may see the water lines on the cabinet doors.

 Muddy, ruined display cases.

Sofa soaked.  So are the magazines.

Just a sample.  The amount of work yet to be done is incredible.  These people will likely be out of their home for sixty days.

Should I be celebrating whilst my friends are suffering?  This is blog post Number 1500 on String Too Short to Tie.

Bob Warr Goes to Church

I learned this morning from Bob Warr that he is still unable to post on his blog.  He told me the church he attended yesterday had removed the organ to make room for the drum set and the humungous speaker set-up.

He said,  "There is a fine line between a joyful noise and a horrendous racket."

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Flood Update

Richard called me mid-morning yesterday and reported that the water was entering their domicile.  We made arrangements for me to try to pick them up, though we knew all concerned would have to wade to the meeting point.

I got the car to within three and a half blocks.  There was some dry ground on which to walk, but a lot of wading in water up to the crotch was required.  (I hope my shoes recover-- they are my old stand-bys.)  Did I mention that the air temperature was 37oF?  Anyway, when I got to the appointed spot a city employee on a front-loader told me that Dick and Heide had already been evacuated.  He took me back to my car.

Without going into a lot of dull detail, I can report that Heide and Dick did arrive at our house.  We are so thankful that we have space to accommodate friends in need of assistance.  They have no idea how long it will be before their home is habitable again.  Flood recovery typically takes time.

Meanwhile, we are enjoying their company, and the company of JJ the Wiener Dog.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Traffic Tickets and Water

Looking south from our driveway.  The black mailbox is ours.  Jefferson Street is flooded from the west edge of town to within a block of the courthouse.  That is five blocks north of Cicero Creek.  I made the mistake of going to town.  I made it there and back, but water washed over the hood of the car when those semis went by.  Well, I had to mail my speeding fine so the gendarmerie from Texas would not come after me.  (I must have a "Kick Me" sign on the back of the RV.  Every time I drive through East Texas on the way home...)  And I didn't do it, either.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bev Shea

George Beverly Shea  February 1, 1909 - April 16, 2013  RIP

It is reported that this Grammy-winning gospel singer sang to more people face-to-face than any other singer in the history of the world.  His live audience totals in excess of 200,000,000.

I believe I was eighteen when I first heard him in person.  He would have been 43 at the time.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Perfect, Indiana Welcomes Us Home

Friday, 9:45 A.M. we rolled out of Rockport, Texas.  1281 miles later we pulled into the home driveway at 5:20 P.M. on Monday.  Four days on the road? you ask.  Well, that's an average of 320 miles a day, and I don't do  the six- and seven hundred ones anymore.  Looking back, I now feel it was silly to have done it "back then."
Left the squirrel a few nuts, and left him behind.

A bucolic stopover in northern East Texas.

Some mighty fine catfish in Arkansas.  The waitress asked, "Jaunt some frad paa?"  I declined.  BBBH asked, "What did she say?"  I told her she had asked if we wanted dessert-- you know: frad paa.

Visit with Sister-in-law in Illinois.

Two old dogs and a pup.

Photo op in southern Indiana


In time for cherry blossoms!  BBBH is happy.

And in time for the daffodils.  We are both happy!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tax Day

This date has become known as "Tax Day" in America.  It is the deadline for filing the 1040.  No one wants to pay more taxes than they rightfully owe.  Most people understand the necessity for taxation. Most people would much more cheerfully pay their taxes if they understood the expenditures.  I don't mind paying for what I get, except of course in the case that I feel I am being robbed.  Let us not even delve into the issue of "government waste."

At any rate, as a good citizen, I can report that my forms are filed and all should be well.  You might want to be sure to get to the postal drop before the deadline, or of course you may exercise the option of e-filing.  Anyway, the government is serious about its deadlines.

Remember, if we did not pay taxes, we would have no government, no cadre of eager public servants in Washington to look after our interests.  Worse, much worse, we would have no military protection.  We would have no...

You get the idea.  Pay your taxes!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

As We Leave Texas in the Rearview Mirror

 Leaving for an evening ride.

 Let's ride over to the point and see if the skimmers are nesting.

Lots of skimmers, but none on nest.  These birds will lay their eggs on the ground and hatch them there. We have seen nests virtually in the road.

The gull guards the ramparts while the sun sets.

Art in the park; or so they say.  You may call me "Crabby."

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Jefferson Day

April 13 is observed officially as Thomas Jefferson Day in the United States in honor of the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States.

Thomas Jefferson April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826

Image of Gilbert Stuart's Jefferson is in the public domain.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Drugs, Lawyers, and Major Annoyance

The C___a commercial was playing.  They came to the side-effects warning.  The announcer went on and on and on.  The smiley, happy portion extolling the virtues of this antidepressant  was actually shorter than was the litany of negative things that might happen, or had been known to happen in rare cases.

"Oh, man!" I said.  This stuff will kill you in thirty-nine different ways, but dang!  You will feel better while you are dying!"

BBBH is a believer in these warnings.  I was witness to her conversation with her primary care physician about that very thing.  He really was annoyed; he could hardly keep his cool.  Those warnings made him so angry he could scarce contain himself.  Well, I wonder why that is.

Now I reveal the troglodyte within me.  I hate, hate, hate with a purple passion the advertising of pharmaceuticals on the airwaves and in the print media.  (There oughta be a law.)*  I am also less than fond of the advertising by lawyers who prey on people who have been "injured" by one of the drugs advertised. (There oughta be another law.)   I really like the "If you or someone you know has ...  ... experienced death..." line.  Does anyone else see a vicious cycle here?

Yes, I know how annoyed the television industry would be with people who think as I do.

Or maybe I have become such a curmudgeon that everything annoys me these days.

(If you has [sic] experienced death, call a lawyer.)

*I am not one who believes government should control our lives.  But where are the ethics?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Palm Sunday to Remember

April 1965.  My wife, Frieda, and I were living with our three young children in Converse, Indiana.  I was employed as junior high math teacher at Greentown, twelve miles to the southwest.  I did a series of tales from Loonville which were based on our experiences during this time.  Several of these stories are grouped together on Retrotechnocracy.

On Sunday evening, April 11, the five of us were home.  We knew that my father would be preaching in  South Marion, a dozen miles to the east.  We would have liked to be in attendance, but the weather forecast looked quite grim and we chose not to be out and about.

April 11 was the day of the infamous Palm Sunday tornado outbreak which created devastation and inflicted injury and death on many people all across the Midwest.  As we listened to reports of the progress of the storms, we realized that we were very near the path of one of the most vicious of the storms (F4, as it turned out).  Before the evening was over, we knew that Russiaville, Kokomo, and Greentown had been hit hard.  We knew that the storm had passed through South Marion, and very near the place my parents were.  We soon got word, though, from Dad that they were safe.

Monday morning I got up and headed to Greentown, knowing that there was no school, but not yet aware that there was no school in a literal sense.  I had to park the car about a mile north of town, as that was as close as traffic was allowed.  I  walked into town, and the gendarmerie knew me and knew why I had business in the village, so I was allowed to proceed.  Picking my way through the rubble, I found my way to the site of the school where I worked.  The buildings were destroyed and the scene defied description

My friend, Bob Durr, who was the physics teacher, lived about a block east of the school.  I headed in that direction.  I met Bob, who was wandering around the streets in his bathrobe.  We walked to the site of his home.  The entire house was gone to the floor, with the exception of the framing and pipes around the bathroom in the center of the house.  Guess where the Durrs rode out the storm without physical injury.  In future, Bob never remembered talking to me on that Monday morning.

As the road to recovery was long and arduous for all concerned, I will truncate the story to relate our completion of the school year.  The senior high students were dismissed for the year, and ceremonies for the graduating class eventually took place off-site.  Portable classroom units were brought in and the junior high students finished their year in those, and did two more years in them while new construction proceeded to replace the losses.  The elementary children completed their year in church Sunday school classrooms scattered around town.

The blessing was that this violence occurred on a Sunday night and not during a school day.  I also think that this case is one of the strongest possible arguments against the campus approach to school building whereby small school districts locate all their students on one site.  Yet literally hundreds of communities have done just that in the years since this instructive example.

Note: I prepared this article several days ago.  Now, watching the  weather across the Midwest this week, I see irony in the timing.  But it is April 11, and I tend to respect history in posting.  I pray for safety and well-being for those who may be subjected to violent weather this week.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Making Memories in Paradise

 Our time here is quickly slipping away.  On a beautiful afternoon we took in a few of our favorite things.  BBBH would admit this is one of her favorite places.  I pretty much wait outside.

Our way home very often includes a ride down Water Street.  Beyond the little spit is one of the very long piers along the way.

This pretty yard exhibits some of the signs of Spring!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Good People, Good Behavior

Bob Warr and Picket Fences

“Understand one thing, Mr. Chantry. You can make laws against weapons but they will be observed only by those who don’t intend to use them anyway. The lawless can always smuggle or steal, or even make a gun.”  --Louis L’Amour, North to the Rails

Eternal truth.

(Note from vanilla:  Bob is currently unable to access his blog posting tools and he has asked me to reciprocate his kindness by allowing him to post an excerpt from his reading on STSTT.  Fair is fair.)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Moving On

Since I was but five years of age, less a day, when we moved from Bladen, I do not have a large store of memories of the place.  In fact, I have pretty much exhausted that store in sharing these few articles about our time there.  So I am concluding the series with a few photos which were taken on my last visit a couple years ago.

Welcome as one enters town from the south.

The U.S. Post Office, Bladen, Nebraska

Mrs. Anderson's home, which I deemed to be a mansion, but unlike

the parsonage where we lived, which is still occupied and lovingly maintained.

Across the street from the parsonage was the church.  The building had a steeper pitched roof, a bell tower and steeple back in the '30s.  Clearly the building has been repurposed, then neglected.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I Am a...

Last summer a young minister of the gospel between pastoral charges wrote a thoughtful blog post in which he wondered where he would be if for some reason the Lord closed the door to his ministry in a professional capacity.  He concluded by asking 
Is it ok, that my identity is so deeply rooted in my ministry? What would I do, if I was not a pastor anymore? What if, for some unknown reason, God decided to take it away from me? What kind of Christian would I be then? What kind of person would I be then? Who would I be?
I responded in the comments section with a rather long but heartfelt analysis of his questions.  For some reason, I feel impelled to share my response here on String Too Short to Tie.  It is redacted only to the extent that I removed the closing paragraph which was personal in nature.  I said 

So, who would you be if God removed the opportunity to minister in a professional capacity? First of all, if God does that, He will provide something that will utilize your skills in an even more productive way. Believe it. Secondly, you will follow the leading and will of God, even if that means the unknown, and seemingly endless hours in prayer. And finally, you will still be the man that God has created you to be, but your job may change.
A typical ice-breaker when we meet someone new to us is “What do you do?” I’m guessing, based on a life-time of observation, that not one in forty answers the question. Instead, they will reply, “I am a teacher,”: or “I am a minister of the gospel,” or “I am an accountant,” and so on, thereby defining themselves by what they do. I think this is one of the great tragedies of our day, for people do literally define themselves by their occupation, or their career, and thus never internalize, then act out their potential. There is nothing wrong with a career, or an occupation, nor is it sinful to take pride in what one does. But it is truly limiting the spirit when we define ourselves in such narrow terms.
Rather, you might say “I am a child of the living God, joint-heir with my Elder Brother, Jesus, who is the Christ. I am a man who is afflicted with weaknesses, but nevertheless a man of great strength; a man of hopes, and dreams, and desires. I am a son, a husband, a father, a functioning and useful member of the society in which God has granted me a place.”
So this is not what the stranger expects when he asks. He expects to hear, “I am a …(insert job title.)” There is nothing wrong with answering the question, by the way, and in a social situation it will probably make everyone, including one’s self more comfortable. But answer it honestly, don’t reinforce the proclivity to define yourself by your job.
I have been retired 22 years. I feel this issue strongly, for while I had the best job in the world, had I defined myself by my job, I would now be a nothing, would I not? So the next question people ask after I tell them I am retired is “What do you do with yourself?” as though they cannot possibly imagine someone being able to maintain an interest in life when his “I am job” definition no longer applies.
One hopes, given the above, that in the scenario you present, the answers to your other questions would be: the same kind of Christian, the same kind of person, the same Person, you are right now. You’d just be used of God in a different way.
Keep the faith. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Back Home Again in the Blogosphere

As mysteriously as it disappeared, my blogger dashboard reappeared.  In spite of all my futile efforts to achieve recovery I had to work around the problem by utilizing Bob Warr's blog on which to post "String Too Short to Tie."  Now I find myself unable to access Bob's tools, but the Dashboard came back.  Bob Warr shows up on the dashboard, but none of the links are operative.

So here I am posting back home again on "String."

Oh, phooey.  Sometimes I just want to scream, stomp my feet and say, "I Quit!"

Okay, tantrum over; we'll see how long this lasts.

Those of you who are frequent readers know about my fascination with the live oaks in the area.  This little cluster of trees is visible from our front window.  The quality of the picture leaves a good bit to be desired, but I wanted to show you the trees anyway.  The trees look as though they have endured great agony, yet prevailed, as they clung tenaciously to life itself.  A cluster of such trees is called an oak motte.  How many trees does it take to make a motte?

Not yet home in the physical world.