Thursday, January 31, 2013

An Afternoon in the Park

 As we enter the Zachary Taylor Arboretum Park this cloudless afternoon, we tread beauties as these underfoot.


 This splendid tree has a smooth white bark, and the dark, though now empty seed pods combine with the sky to produce this striking example of nature's artwork.

 This is one of probably dozens of pictures I have taken of live oak trees.  Their surprising postures and gnarly and strangely twisted limbs fascinate me.



Much as I love persimmons, and I confess to having eaten perhaps bushels of them, I have never seen, much less eaten, a black persimmon which is the fruit of this tree.  Guess I need to arrive in the vicinity earlier in the fall! 


Were it not for my annual treks to Texas, I would be completely unfamiliar with this tree, as it apparently thrives only in the area from Central Texas southward into Mexico.

That is my size 11 at the base of the tree so that you might get some idea.  This live oak is reputedly one under which Zachary Taylor pitched camp when he came ashore at Rockport in 1845.  Thus the name of the park and the frequent historical references to this man who was later President of the United States.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Trees in the Breeze

  
 Across the road is a small arboretum, about one-quarter square block in size.

 I thought this a particularly nice specimen.  It is a very pretty tree, and I would describe it as semi-deciduous, inasmuch as it is still adorned with much green foliage here at the end of January.  (It might be semi-evergreen, though such examples are quite rare.  I am not a dendrologist, so I am only guessing here, anyway.)

The bark is very interesting, and the name of the tree is quite appropriate.  The leaves are about an inch in length, typical elm in appearance, and arranged as shown in the diagram.

More about this pretty little park perhaps another time.  "Breeze" in the title:  I used the term because we had a pretty stiff breeze here all day Tuesday, with gusts as high as forty mph, temperatures in the eighties.  The official temperature at the Corpus Christi airport, thirty miles down the road, was 91, a new record for the date.  I love January.  In Texas.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Still, Thanks, but No Thanks

I'll pass on the lamb, and yes there is a story behind that. My late wife, Ellie, grew up in Westchester County, NY and lamb was a great favorite of hers and of all her family. I, on the other hand, had three summers of eating in the cafeteria at a western college whose name started with "R" and ended in "eed." The cafeteria manager, or purchasing agent or whoever made those decisions, had evidently worked a long-term contract with some Montana sheep baron. We had "lamb" and mutton and mouton-- you get the idea-- to the point that I can barely stand to be in the same room with it.

Ellie, on the other hand, was at times almost distraught because lamb was impossible to obtain in our community, even though we practically could see the sheep grazing in the pasture next door. Of course: they shipped their lamb to NY! So when her brother visited, he always brought a leg of lamb: and you gotta love Don. He brought a ham, too, just for me.

A BBBH favorite is gyros so whenever we are in the neighborhood of a good Greek restaurant, she gets to stop for that. Of course, I have a burger.



(Since I have hit a "dry spell," I lifted this from my private blog to share it publicly.)

...and again, ideas and I both being exhausted, I lifted this from the archives; it is a repeat.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Liftoff + 27 Years

11:38 January 28, 1986  Liftoff, and one minute, thirteen seconds from the disintegration of Space Shuttle Challenger, claiming the lives of seven crew members, and forever etching on our minds and in our hearts the knowledge that man's most daring efforts are not always successful.

Crew



One of my staff members was a candidate for the position Teacher in Space which was filled by Christa McAuliffe.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Justice, Mercy, Humility, and Walking with God

He hath known thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? --Micah 6:8

This is a rhetorical question, for the answer is contained within it.  The first clause asserts that God knows us, and thus knows what is good for us.  The second clause contains the question, "What does the Lord require?" and finally, the apparently very simple, three-fold set of actions incumbent upon us.


  1. Do justly.  To accomplish this goal, one must first have a sense of justice, then he must have the inclination and will to practice it.  Many people, in my opinion, have a "sense of injustice," by which I mean they recognize the hurts or perceived slights performed by others against them, yet they seem to have a truncated notion of what justice is in their dealings with others.  A "get even" attitude grows readily in this soil.
  2. Love mercy.  Another action required.  It does not tell us to recognize mercy, but to love it.  If we love mercy, we are going to behave in a merciful way; we will practice kindness toward others.
  3. Walk humbly with God.  First, this is a requirement to walk, not to sit, or lie about.  Then we are told with whom to walk; and we are told how to walk-- with humility.  We are clearly not to carry a prideful attitude with respect to our walk with the Lord.
Now this doesn't seem to be so simple, after all.  But it is required.  The additional good news is that there is apparently not a laundry list of further requirements.  Look at the word "but."  The implication is that in doing the three required things we are relieved of the burden of making and following nit-picking rules by which to define a godly walk.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Music

Maria Augusta Kutschera was born on a train which was carrying her mother from a village in the Tyrol to Vienna on January 26, 1905.  By the time the girl was seven years of age, she was an orphan.  She received a good education and became a teacher.  Her heart's desire, though was to become a nun, and to that end she entered an abbey in Salzburg to prepare for the life of her dreams.  

While teaching at the abbey, Maria was asked to take on a student who was the child of one Baron Georg von Trapp.  Through this endeavor, she eventually found herself caring for all this widower's seven children.  Captain von Trapp saw how much the children adored Maria, and thus he asked her to marry him.  The idea did not appeal to her, and she fled back to the abbey to get counsel from her Mother Abbess.  Mother told her it was God's will that she marry von Trapp.

She returned to him and agreed to the marriage, since she had a deep-seated belief that she should always follow the will of God.  Yet she said that on her wedding day, she was angry with both God and von Trapp. She wrote, "I really and truly was not in love. I liked him but didn't love him. However, I loved the children, so in a way I really married the children.  I learned to love him more than I have ever loved before or after."*

Under the Nazi regime, the von Trapps fled Vienna and went first to Italy, then to the United States.  Maria became a U.S. citizen.  Her three children by Georg were thus also citizens.  The five stepdaughters also applied for and received citizenship.  The two stepsons became citizens by virtue of their service during the war.

The Trapp Family Choir became a very popular singing group in Europe during the mid-thirties.  After moving to the United States, they changed the name to Trapp Family Singers and toured the world from their home base in Vermont.

Maria von Trapp  1905 - 1987  RIP


*Autobiography of Maria von Trapp, 1949

Friday, January 25, 2013

Peacock


Peacock is the official mascot of the park.  Mid-afternoon I decided to take a bicycle ride and started out the door.  I turned back to pick up the camera, thinking, "I might see the famous fowl on the premises."  I mounted the bicycle and turned down the drive.  I had not gone ten feet when Peacock appeared in front of me.  I stopped and fumbled with the camera case, a delay just long enough for the bird to decide he did not wish to pose.  He started along the way.  I followed.  He turned onto a neighbor's patio, and there I was able to snap a couple of shots.

Magnificent bird.  But then, he is a peacock.  What can I say?

Did you know that peafowl are closely related to pheasants, the principal difference being in the plumage?

Are you aware that the species is peafowl, and only the male is a peacock?  The female is a peahen, and the juveniles under a year of age are peachicks.  Not to be confused with chickpeas, which peafowl might eat, for they consume grains of all kinds, as well as grass, dandelions, insects and dog food.  Just ask Rover.

Did you know that peafowl can live forty to fifty years?  Neither did I.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gulls, Pelicans, and Shrimpers

 Scoot about, scout it out; check the country-side on your ride.

.From the wetland park, we traveled a bit farther north the next day to check out Fulton Beach. The pelicans like it.
Have you heard the story of the gull and the pelican?  The legend perhaps explains the behavior of the birds observed here.  In truth, you will often see gulls wherever you see pelicans.

A wonderful bird is the pelican, 
Its bill can hold more than its belican.
It can take in its beak,
Enough food for a week.
But I really don't know how the helican.*

 Our timing was excellent, for we came up to the docks just in time to watch the unloading of the days catch.  All those sacks being transferred to shore are loaded with shrimp.

 This fellow seems to have made a catch, as well.

The ride was longer, the activities different from those of the previous day.  Variety, they say...

*I don't know the author.  The verse has been in the lore more or less forever.  I learned it before I would have been allowed to say the last line at home.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Life in the Wetland

We boarded the scooter and left Cat behind.  Cat is the unofficial mascot of the park.  The official mascot is Peacock.  Have not yet photographed him.  Cat is quite friendly, will tolerate a belly rub.  She is surely not an elderly cat, for she has beautiful white teeth.

The destination on this particular day is a wildlife sanctuary/wetland preserve which is located right in town and along a very busy highway.  In fact, the entrance to the park is directly opposite the entrance to Wally World.  Can you spot Bird?  Well, he's not hiding.

This example of a very interesting grass is near the entrance to the boardwalk that goes out over the swamp.  It is called brushy sedge, or some such thing.  Memory isn't the first to go, either.

This photo lacks the clarity I desired, but I snapped it because of the giant "U" shaped vine.  Look just to the right of the upper left hand corner, then follow the swoop down to lower center of picture and back up to the tree on the right.

BBBH was fascinated by the vines.  She tugged on this one, but did not attempt to swing.

What?  You're back?

All in all, it was a very enjoyable excursion, the amount of walking was just about right, and we had  a visit with a pleasant couple from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Butterflight


On a brilliantly sunny Sunday morning, an hour to relax before dressing for church,  I looked across the lane and there around the flowering shrub was a flight of several butterflies.

I got the Canon A4000 IS and walked the few steps to the fence.
Now the problem.  Much as I like this little camera, this was the very situation in which the lack of a view-finder practically precludes getting the shot.

The examples shown here were by point and by guess, for the screen
s



was so washed out by the sunlight that no effort to shade it would allow me to focus on the object of my choosing.  Major flaw.  Fortunately, I still have my A520, so the next time the butterflies fly my way, I'll be better prepared.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Express Yourself


“Hard scrabble” mentioned yesterday, is not a difficult crossword game. Dad’s family lived a hard scrabble life.

A few other expressions we once used which are not heard so much today.

Carl is putting on the dog. Which of course is not to suggest that Carl is going to serve canine for dinner.

Matt earned his degree at the School of Hard Knocks.

Ernie has more degrees than a thermometer, but he he doesn’t have sense enough to pound sand in a rat hole.

Agnes went to college to get her MRS degree.

Liam is too smart for his own good; and

Louise is too clever by half.

I’d like to buy Dunc for what he’s worth and sell him for what he thinks he’s worth.

What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Go to the comments and add a few of your favorite expressions from yore.  Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Oodle Addles, Beans, and Skimmer Handles


My father used a number of quaint but pointed phrases to convey wisdom to me. Some of these sayings evoked images that have stayed with me all these years. There is a certain humor in the statements, but the love and the message were not lost on me.

An expression I heard Dad use often was, “He (she) went up the skimmer handle;” or “Don’t go up the skimmer handle.” I cannot find the phrase “skimmer handle” in the Bible, but I think the wisdom is biblical.

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city. Proverbs 16:32

Another of Dad’s expressions, usually directed to me in the form of a question was, “Do you reckon you’ll ever amount to a hill of beans?” I doubt that can be found in the Bible, but again, I think it has scriptural support.

It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding has wisdom. Proverbs 10:23

There are many other references one might cite to suggest that to amount to something is to be preferred to foolish behavior.

Finally, a thought inspired by a statement that BBBH uses on occasion. “I,” she will say, “am a princess.” If asked, she will expound on this by pointing out that the children of God, that is Children of the King, are, by definition, princes and princesses. Did you know that you are royalty? Are you aware that the Children of God are not tasked with a life of ease and entitlement here on Earth, though their reward for faithfulness will be great?

 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world;  Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. Philippians 2:14-16

Yet another term I recall hearing often as a child was “oodle addle.” This was almost always in the expression, “running like an oodle addle on a windmill.” The missing subject might have been, from time to time, a nose, a Ford V-8 60, or a local politician. I find no scriptural mention of an oodle addle, and though I now know a bit about the derivation of the term, I do not have the slightest idea how my father who grew up hard-scrabble on the high plains acquired the expression. Oh, yeah. “Hard-scrabble.” That is yet another term...


Image:  Wikipedia

Saturday, January 19, 2013

...freezes over

Snowfalls in Florida as yardstick for global warming.

From 1774 to 1900, there were 17 recorded instances of snow falling in Florida.
During the 20th century, there were 20 instances.
Thus far in the 21st century, there have been 12 snowfalls.

Here's the arithmetic:  
Line 1, about one snowfall every seven and one-half years.
Line 2, one every five years.
Line 3, one every year.

January 19, 1977 Miami saw its first snowfall. Snow fell as far south as Homestead.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ditch New Years Resolutions Day

Today is the day to ditch the New Year's resolutions which you made under duress, or from a sense of obligation to yourself or someone else.  Today is the official day to rid yourself of these unnecessary burdens.  Get rid of the resolutions you have already broken. (Yes, I know.  It has been  2-3/7 weeks since the year began.)  Too, you should dump the ones you will break later on.  Do it now and save the aggravation of carrying them any longer.

If you are one of those righteous souls whose efforts toward your avowed goal are intact and you are feeling mighty good about yourself, good for you.  Soldier on.  You are under no obligation to observe this day in the practice, so observe it in the breach.

No one seems to know the origin or the originator of this holiday, but trust me, it is real.

Have you made any resolutions which you are still keeping, and intend to keep?

Happy the-rest-of-2013!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Painting Wyeths

 "What do the Children See? -N. C. Wyeth

 "Soaring" -Andrew Wyeth

"Envy" -Jamie Wyeth

January 16 is the anniversary of the death of Andrew Wyeth.  Three years ago I posted a short tribute to him in which I revealed that he and Homer Winslow are among my favorite American artists.  I reiterate my admiration for Mr. Wyeth's work.

This post, though, is an expression of my amazement at certain occurrences in the panoply of human history. It is stunning to me that the talent and dedication to a particular endeavor would span three generations.  Andrew Wyeth's father was a highly accomplished and well-recognized artist in his own right.  N.C. Wyeth was essentially his son's sole teacher, not just as an artist, but across the spectrum of learning.

Then to follow in his father's footsteps, there is Jamie Wyeth.  The example of his work that I have chosen to share is one of his series "Seven Deadly Sins."  Jamie started his study of art with his aunt, Carolyn Wyeth, accomplished artist, another in this clan of talented people.  Jamie works in many media, and is particularly fond of painting animals.  His attention to detail is remarkable.

Newell Convers "N.C." Wyeth  October 22, 1882 - October 19, 1945
Andrew Newell Wyeth  July 12, 1917 - January 16, 2009
James Browning Wyeth  July 6, 1946 -

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Boston Molasses Disaster

How fast is molasses in January?  According to this great unplanned examination of the question, thirty-five miles an hour.

Near Commercial Street between Copp's Hill and North End Park there stood a vast tank, 58 feet tall and 90 feet in diameter.  This tank was filled with molasses.  January 15, 1919 was a warm day in Boston, the temperature having risen from the twenties to about 41 degrees.  The tank burst.  The ensuing flood took the lives of horses, dogs, cats, and 21 human beings.

It is said that it took about two weeks for more than 300 workers to clean up the molasses.  The harbor was still brown with the stuff the next summer.  The hearings at law were finally completed after six years, proving once again that laborers work faster than lawyers, of whom there were so many that the courthouse wouldn't hold them.  The United States Industrial Alcohol Company which owned the molasses claimed the flood was the result of sabotage.  They were held liable and had to pay out claims in excess of six hundred thousand dollars, which would amount to many millions in today's inflated dollars.  The company went out of business.

Some say that on a warm day, one can still smell molasses in the area.  Of course, there are some who still say the Earth is flat.


(I posted a companion piece about the Beer Flood back in October.)

Sources:
1. John Mason, “Eric Postpischil's Molasses Disaster Pages, Yankee Magazine Article,” Eric Postpischil's Domain, 14 June 2009, <http://edp.org/molyank.htm> accessed 14 January 2013.
2. Wikipedia, including image

Monday, January 14, 2013

Destination!






Snapped these pictures Saturday evening on the beach in Galveston.  Sunday morning we moved on down the road.  A leisurely drive, a great lunch at a nice seafood restaurant in Port Lavaca, then a few more minutes behind the wheel, put us in Rockport.  We are anchored and the intent is to be here for several weeks,

1501 miles behind us, a wonderful Texas winter ahead!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Western South Louisiana and East Texas


 The last night in Louisiana
 Across to Galveston
 Pelican and Old Glory fly with us across the channel.
From the back window of the RV.  Yes, it is a bit foggy.
January 11
We left the comforts of Shepard State Park at ten in the morning.  Fortunately we waited until Friday to make the move, for the tornadoes that we were alerted to did indeed strike an area in Louisiana through which we traveled.  With the exception of a cloudburst just east of Hammond, the weather and the roads were good.  We stopped in Hammond for lunch, buffet again, protected ourselves with umbrella going in, didn't need it going back to vehicle.

Just west of Lake Charles, we took an exit with the intent of finding a campground.  There were three indicated on the exit signs.  First one?  Followed signs for about five miles, never found the place.  Returning toward the highway via another route, we came upon the second one.  Even we would not stay there, interpret that as you may.

The remaining choice was a Jellystone.  We have avoided Yogi and his "resort" parks because they tend to be pricey, and moreover the attractions are aimed at kiddies... well, you see where I'm going.  But we were tired, so we drove a couple of miles to the park and found it to be quite acceptable.  Since it is "off season" there are virtually no kids in the area, and in fact everyone seems to be pretty much what we are... old people RVing their declining  silver years away.

We encountered two young men in scuba gear as they came out of the lake and went to their vehicle  to stow their gear.  We fell into conversation with the older man, large, robust and not what I would have pictured as a professional diver, but so he was.  The other man was completing his course in preparation for a trip to Mexico later this winter.  Justin is a licensed instructor and was winding up Don's final exam.  Justin is a man of many parts, accomplished mechanic, heavy equipment operator, and business owner.  He is in his late forties, but has daughters four and eleven years of age.  Seems to have it all together, and learned that family relationships are more important than certain other things, and has thus determined to give up the excessively long hours in exchange for more time with his wife and kids.

Good for him.  We wish him well.

January 12
Departed Jellystone about 10 a.m.  Just west of Beaumont, we stopped at a gas station where I already had the nozzle in the filler pipe before I noticed that the cost was 45 cents higher than we had been noting on the highway.  That figures.  Beaumont is the place of oil discovery in Texas, and thus, I am guessing, the site of the first refinery in the state.  And still they crank it out.  So it should cost more where it is produced?  Bought only eight gallons and moved on down the road.

Lunch adventure at the same exit.  We were seated in two, count them, two different restaurants and departed both without eating.  I am not a skinflint (well, okay, maybe I am) but when lunch runs to over fifteen bucks apiece, and washing it down with water, it is high time to look for another place to eat.  So we were back on the road.  Half hour or so later, we stopped in Winnie and lunched for a more modest $6.54 apiece.  Okay, okay.  It was hamburgers.  Filled up with gas, price back to a more reasonable level.

Drove south from Winnie the length of Bolivar Peninsula and took the ferry across to Galveston.  We checked in at Dellanera RV Park, a very nice facility where the rear end of the camper is as close to the beach as it will go, and the surf-sounds will lull us to sleep tonight!

We have hooked up the facilities, JoAnn has made a foray around the park, I have typed this update, and it is not yet four in the afternoon.

10:05  Fog quite heavy, wind now from the north, about 18 -20 knots.  Looking for a cooler walk on the beach tomorrow than was the walk we had this evening.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bloggy Interlude

Apology:  The blog has been temporarily co-opted to function as a travelogue for those family members who may choose to keep up via this vehicle.  You may skip over this if you wish, no offense taken.  It is much too long for a blog post.

January 9
We got away from Athens about 9:45. No time clock to punch. Headed south on 65 in rain most of the morning, but it was a short morning, for by 11:45 we stopped for lunch. Following the discussion about big meal at noon vs. big meal at evening, we elected to attend a buffet where we could have but didn’t pig out. Good lunch to be followed by soup and sandwich at seven in the evening.

 Here was a high point of the day. Cruised along at 65 (70 limit, so lots of traffic passing us, not to mention pushing-the-limit-and-then-some traffic.) Anyway somewhere south of Montgomery a gorgeous blue coupe passed us. To the best of my recollection, it was the first time ever I have seen a Maserati on the public highways. Then. Just north of Mobile, the same car passed us again. I am guessing that vehicle gets about the same mileage as the RV, but has a much smaller tank, hence he must have gotten behind to slake the car’s thirst. A Shelby Cobra passed us near Mobile; never saw it again.

 The afternoon drive got us to Gautier (Go-shay) MS where we camped for the night at Shepard State Park. First order of business after basic hook-up: open windows, turn on fan and strip to t-shirts. And jeans, of course. Stop picturing spindly old legs. We have stayed in this park on at least two other trips to the South. It may be a day, or it may be longer, which is to say that we are following no particular plan.

 January 10
And the threatening weather to the west of us has delayed our departure from Gautier. No desire to drive into severe weather. This morning we walked the trails along Lamotte Bayou here in the park. Excellent walking trails for people such as ourselves, for while there were some dips and rises, there were no physically daunting portions of the walk. Got a few nice pictures, and since the temperature hovered right at seventy, we enjoyed the morning very much. The glories of nature clearly do not provide sufficient incentive for some people to use the park, so the areas through which we walked are encumbered with an 18-hole (basket?) Frisbee “golf” course.

 About lunchtime, we drove into town, explored a bit, then had lunch at a nice Mexican restaurant where we have eaten on previous trips. More driving around and some shopping at “Dirt Cheap” which other than a half-dozen books JoAnn bought, had tons of junk, but little of interest. We arrived back at the park just as the clouds burst open, and had we been five minutes sooner I would not have had to hook up in a downpour. Rained a good bit of the afternoon, and in fact, though we had a couple hours respite, it is raining now (9:00 pm).

 Forecast says rain gone by morning, but also warns of probable fog. That is a condition that could preclude travel, too, as neither of us is fond of driving in bad visibility. Clearly we have had no internet connections, so I say, who knows when this may leave the folder and arrive on your desk?



January 11
At Lake Charles, Louisiana we now have internet connection, but this is too long already, so later.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

First Day Out...



a visit with the kids!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fifth Grade, once upon a time.

Almost inevitably there was in every class I taught over the years one child who has it all.   She* is cute, personable, likes everyone and treats them with respect, gets the top scores in every subject.  It would in the broader scheme of things seem to be a bit more fair if she had a flaw, say rich, cute and smart, but arrogant and insufferably intolerant of others.

But no.  Lou Ann is perfect in every way.

Billy, same class, repeating the grade, hold-back from the previous year.  Physically awkward, dressed in the same sweats a week at a time, loud, obnoxious, and bidding fair to barely pass this year.

You see, this is the "great experiment" which is public education.  These two  children, along with 37 others, are thrown together in some series of random accidents which place them all in the same classroom, and thus their lives impinge upon each other for nine long months.  Longer in small communities, for they are apt to be thrown together again and again.

Then there is "outcome based evaluation."  And this not of the students only, but of the teacher as well.

This is not a treatise on educational practice.  It is simply a set of recollections of times I spent pursuing my vocation.

And you know what?  I had the best job in the world!

*Some years it was a Mr. Perfect.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mail Pouch or Kentucky Twist?

A little while ago I had occasion to call at a local funeral home.  Now the proprietors are neighbors, friends, people I have known since they were children, yet a visit to their establishment is almost always connected with a loss of a friend or acquaintance.  In this instance, the decedent was an acquaintance of many years and a man for whom I had great respect.

For eight years he had been a member of the school board, and thus in a manner of speaking, my employer.  Later, his daughter was a teacher on my staff.  It was for her primarily that I made the call, for Don was no longer with us.  I'm sure it didn't matter to him one way or the other.

Following a wait in line for over an hour, I was privileged to visit with Don's family members for a few moments.  Then I went into a parlor where many people were gathered.  Here it was that a young man of, say forty-something, approached me.

" Mr. L!  Hi, do you remember me?"  (Always the first question the guys ask thirty years after our last encounter.)

"Of course," I said.  "How are you, Justin?"  (This part was easy, since I had just visited with his sister a few minutes earlier.  She had pointed him out across the room.)

"Remember how you tried to get me to give up chaw?" Justin asked.

"I'll never forget it," I replied.  Justin was a student in my school for six years, kindergarten through grade five.  The chewing tobacco issue came up in his second grade year.  It never went away.  "Hope you've dropped that foolishness."

"Nah.  Still chew."  Said, apparently with a great deal of pride, as though his standing there before me in apparent good health somehow proved he was right.  And coincidentally, that I was wrong.

"Sorry to hear it.  But it is good to see you again."  We chatted a few minutes about his doings, and I headed home.

Quite possibly a  lot of our efforts, well-intentioned as they may be, go for naught.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Busy, busy, busy.

Mobile.  On the go.  Grab your mobile phone.  Do your mobile banking.  Don't stop for anything; you might get run over from behind.  Haven't time to...

What a frenzied life-style people have chosen.  I almost wrote "chosen to live."  Just in time to stop the silly fingers, I realized that this is not living.  It is frenetic, frantic, and all too often pointless activity.

The scriptures tell us to "be still."  I am not making this up.  I am cherry-picking my texts, but it is in there.

The verse that comes most readily to mind is Psalm 46:10 in which the Lord tells us, "Be still, and know that I am God."  Reflect on that a bit.  Does it not suggest that we cannot get to know God if we are consumed with frenetic activity?  So to "be still" gives us an opportunity to make the most important connection we can or will ever make.

Psalm 4:4 says, "Stand in awe, and sin not; commune with you own heart upon your bed, and be still."  Perhaps it is the case that we fail to grasp the awesome nature of our God because we do not take time to commune with our own heart.  We are not still long enough to even consider the possibilities.  We certainly can't "be still" while motoring down the road at a good hickory, mobile device in hand, staying connected with everyone else, but making no connection with the Creator.

First Samuel 9:27 says, "Stand still a while, that I may show you the word of God."  Short of being still, we may get the word of all our friends but totally miss the Word of God.

Second Chronicles 20:17: "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord."

Indeed.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Pack up your pack!

We were here-- a year ago today.
















Here we are now.  So far as a southward migration is concerned, I have to say we are making zero progress.

BBBH, however, sees an opportunity.  Evidently.  For she told me last evening that tomorrow we would be on the road.  That may take some doing, but then, I'm guessing it is up to me to get it done. Today may be a long day.

Wish us luck.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Spandex shorts and butt cracks

Had to venture out to get bread and laundry detergent.  Headed to the checkout when from a ninety degree approach two young men stepped directly in front of me.  Not a problem, or it wouldn't have been except that the one nearest me who was handling the transaction with the clerk, tall, skinny-- but I didn't notice him first.  His buddy to his right had on a pair of "shorts" of the kind that come to the knee, spandex print fabric, bare shanks (180F outside) and lumberjack boots.  Idiot.

Then I turned my attention to the tall, skinny young man in front of me.  Unfortunately my eyes wandered to his waistline where I saw only grey undershorts, for his jeans were belted around his, I know no other way to put it, butt.  The shorts covered it, but three or four inches of butt crack were evident under the taut flimsy material.

First impulse, and fortunately I am not an impulsive person, was to put my index fingers in the belt loops and drop his pants to the floor, maybe giving him a little nudge in the shoulder to complete his contact with the floor.  But that, of course, would be A & B, so I refrained.  Next I thought to say, "How old are you, anyway?"  because these guys were not teenagers.  They were clearly twenty-something and much too old to look like idiots, unless of course they were idiots.  Well there you go, then.

I didn't do that either.  Bad vanilla.  How judgmental.  Good man; how sensible.  And yes, they are free to wander around in public in that condition, but that doesn't mean they should.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Free snow; haul it away.


Had to put it somewhere.  Looks as though that thing has overstayed the parking limit.  Seriously.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I Love It!

About two and a half years ago I participated in a meme that Chuck sent my way.  I passed it on to several blogger friends.  It came back around yesterday when Bob and Jan of Little Green Truck fame mentioned it on their facebook page.  They reposted their ten loves.  It seemed appropriate at the beginning of a new year to review the things I claim to love.  I went back to the old post and copied it over here.  I had to tweak the age, but otherwise, it is still the same!

Ten Things I Love
1. I love the Lord Jesus Christ who is my savior.
2. I love my wife whom you have met as "BBBH".
3. I love my family which has become so large and so widely extended that it is a challenge as I age to remember all their names. 
4. I love being 78 years old. It's sort of a testimony to perseverance  Next up, 79! and who knows how far one can go from there!
5. I love the community in which we live. It is not "Perfect" in spite of the fact that I have referred to it in that way on the blog; but it is the best place in which I've ever lived, and that's saying something.
6. For the most part, I love blogging, both writing my own and reading others. I have tried to quit, really I have; but BBBH says I'm addicted. There are worse addictions.
7. I love political cartoons and comic strips and their creators. I don't read them all, just half-dozen of the former and dozen of the latter. I love to laugh; and laughing at the nonsense of politicians and the foibles of our fellow-man keeps us from going nuts.
8. I love Coffee.
9. I love Texas. Admittedly I have never been there between May and September. But, subtext 9a. I love the ocean and 9b. I love the desert. Texas has plenty of both.
10. I love living green things. This was my answer to the question, "Why did you ever choose to move to Indiana?"

What do you love?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!