Thursday, February 28, 2013

February


Four weeks to the month, now that’s the ticket
The problem is this sticky wicket.
It applies to February alone
All other months out of the zone
sport too many days to come out right
by three sometimes, or two if light.

Since there seems no rhyme nor reason
and we can’t calculate by season
we have to memorize the days per month
by sheer rote or by jingle

“Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November,
All the rest have 31...”
Well, except that brings us back to one
which has four weeks.

Oh, darn. 
 In years divisible by four...

At any rate, this ends it for this year.
May your March be everything you wish it to be!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bicycle Ride to

the beach, where I caught the gulls in an early morning nap.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wind

I can't take a picture of the wind, though I suppose that if I wanted to walk around the neighborhood a bit I might find some pictures of the effect of the wind.

After lunch, we walked about five blocks to a shopping area to look through some stores.  Going was not a problem, as we were going "downhill" so to speak.  But coming back against the wind we assumed a posture like this as we walked along:  \  \ with BBBH being just behind me, she hoping I would serve as a windbreak.  Even so, she had to sit for a bit to catch her breath before we completed the journey.

Seriously, the sustained winds were in the forty-mile range, and there were gusts that very nearly blew us over, perhaps sixty or so!

The good news is that we arrived safely home, and we spent only five bucks.  Plus tax, of course.

We had left a crock-pot of beans simmering as it sat outside while we were gone.  When we lifted the lid, we found a mixture of beans and really, really fine sand.  Waste not, want not.  The beans were poured into the colander, thoroughly rinsed, place in fresh water in a pot and put on the stove to finish cooking.  Oh, those beans were so good for supper!  Of course, the cornbread that accompanied them put the finishing flourish on the meal.


  • I was born on the high plains in Southeastern Colorado during the Dust Bowl Era.  I recall hearing mother tell of the battle with the dirt in the house, stuffing papers and rags  around the windows and using all techniques available to keep the dirt out, to little avail.  She said that the sugar bowl with the lid on and in a closed cupboard would collect dirt inside along with the sugar.  I should have known that a day such as this one was not one in which to cook the beans outdoors.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Palm


There stands the regal palm tree
Its use is more than I can see.
It wears a crown but gives no shade
and never a bit of fruit is made.

“Regal” is an apt description
The tree, the king, share this affliction
One is useless as the other
Each an embarrassment and a bother.

California in my youth
Sported palm trees, it’s the truth
But the ones I knew there
Wore edible fruit in their hair.
The date palm, a tree utile,
Its production was not futile.

On Oahu I met the coconut,
A palm tree too, similar but
at least it produced a bread
that if it fell not on your head
was edible, a thing of joy,
I’ve eaten them since a boy.

Yet this thing I see above me
Is useless as food or shade. A tree?
What is this tall thing for?
Why, my friend, it is d├ęcor!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Day of Rest and Restoration

 So now you see how the Creator swept into being the spangled heavens, the earth, and all their hosts in six days.  On the seventh day—with the canvas of the cosmos completed—God paused from His labor and rested.  Thus God blessed day seven and made it special—an open time for pause and restoration, a sacred zone of Sabbath-keeping, because God rested from all the work He had done in creation that day.  --Genesis 2:1-3, The Voice

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Charlie's Pasture

We had a really nice ride along the water's edge to visit this nature preserve.

Port Aransas developed this area, with new walking trails, board walks over the salt flats, observation tower, and pavilion, as a nature preserve.  The work took place over the last four years.  It is a wonderful excursion, even if the wildlife observed on a given day is limited to woolly bears and dolphins.



The area is almost two square miles of land.  the designation "Charlie's Pasture" is in recognition of early owner Charlie Bujan who
allowed the local residents to graze their cattle on his property.

BBBH is strolling toward the water.  There were a couple of fishermen enjoying the afternoon there, and this is where we watched the dolphins swimming through the pass.

Friday, February 22, 2013

First-grader Ann and the School Superintendent

I understand that the Midwest is experiencing another hellacious winter storm.  While I am enjoying the warmth and sunshine of the Texas Coast, I offer you this rerun for your enjoyment.  I hope.

As I indicated, we lived in the last house but one on Water Street as you headed out of town. This location placed us just eight-tenths mile from the elementary school. Each day my wife sent the kid (only one in school so far) toddling off to the seat of learning, only to watch the Heton kids next door board the school bus bound for the same destination. Mommy very soon tired of this, and Daddy was directed to "do something about that."

So I approached the Superintendent of Schools. Was I thinking "professional courtesy" or what was I thinking? Dr. McClurg was a vast, I mean huge, Irishman who had served our country honorably during WWII as captain in the USMC. He affected the same military flattop he wore as an active-duty gyrene, though it was white now, but would still have been a full head of hair had he not had it shorn weekly. At six-five and two seventy-five, he was a formidable man-mountain.

He welcomed me into his office, and we exchanged a few pleasantries, a bit of banter actually, as his school district and the one in which I worked were keen rivals on the football field or in the basketball arena. Then, getting to the point, he asked, "What can I do for you?" I succinctly explained that my child was walking nearly two miles each day to and from school, while my next door neighbor's kids were riding the corporation bus; and since it would not require an extra stop, I would appreciate it if my child could board the same bus.

"Now, Mr. Lacy, it surprises me that you would ask that. You see, the alley between your house and the Heton's is also the town limits line. It is policy that no child who lives within the village proper may ride the bus."

"Well, Dr. M, Ann would be glad to walk across the alley to get on the bus."

"But, don't you see? the line has to be drawn somewhere. If Ann rides, then Mrs. Lewis will want her kids to ride, and so on, until the driver will be stopping 50 yards from school to pick up someone who could get there faster on foot. You take my point!"

Of course I took his point, and besides as a child I had walked farther than that to get to school. Didn't kill me; wouldn't kill my kids.

How cold it can get inside one's domicile, even with the fire burning brightly.

© 2010 David W. Lacy

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Flim Flammin on the Jim Jam






Too busy making music last night; no time for making stories.  Come again.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Zelda's Interview

A few years ago when I was in the mood for reflections on the career, I wrote a number of items about school, both as a student and as a teacher.  I was scrolling through the archives and this one appeared.  Without apology, I repost this item with minor revisions.



We had received a resignation from one of the elementary music teachers. As per standard procedure, the vacancy was first posted within the school system; then the notice of position available was posted at selected colleges and universities.

Several applications and resumes had arrived on my desk.  I had selected four applicants to invite to interviews. In fact, I had already seen two very well qualified applicants when I received a phone call from a young lady who lived in a remote part of the state, 120 or so miles from our school. She had just seen the post at the university of which she was a graduate, and would be delighted to bring her curriculum vitae with her when she came to interview. I told her that the application date had expired, and we were already well into the interview process. She, in her bright and well-educated manner, assured me that she knew for a certainty that she was just the person for the job, and I did not want to miss the opportunity of a lifetime. I relented, granted her an interview date.

Since writing "the young lady" repeatedly would get tedious, I shall call her Zelda.  Zelda arrived exactly two minutes before the appointed time. Good. I like punctuality. I find "too early" to be almost as annoying as "late." My admin assistant ushered her into my office and made the introductions. Zelda, beaming smile in place, stepped forward, offering me her hand. Her handshake was firm, holding on neither too long nor too briefly. Good. I like her already.

As Zelda was seated in the guest chair, I observed that she was dressed professionally, a quite pleasant appearance with nothing out of place. Stylish, too. I'd tell you all about the Louis Vuitton accessories, the Manolos and so on, but I wouldn't recognize any of that if I saw it

As I glanced through her resume, I asked the leading questions, background, training, basis for choice of career. You know, carefully avoiding the questions one is "not allowed to ask." Zelda assured me that she loved children, had been very successful academically and was avidly looking forward to moving into our music program and sharing her expertise with our kids.

I asked Zelda what musical instruments she played. "Oh," she said, "I don't play." "But," I said, "you do play piano, don't you?" Well, no, she doesn't. I asked how, then, would you expect to teach music wherein not only accompaniment to singing is expected, but the basis for an understanding of musical concepts is to be taught? Oh, Zelda brightly assured me, I would use records.

Trust me, I wanted to ask, "Can you play a phonograph?" But I didn't. As suavely as I could and with the use of as little time as necessary, I got her out the door and on her way home. I did offer her a few words of kind professional advice, and I hope she took them to heart. I do hope, as well, that she has had a happy and productive life. Just not teaching music to elementary students.

It is my belief that Zelda's lack of expertise in the field in which
she was applying may well have not been entirely her fault.  I mean, she
was a university graduate with a license to teach.  Sigh.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Vanilla and James Joyce

Sunday afternoon reflecting on ancient history. But this has become a standard behavior. Interpretation: here is an old guy.

The mother of my children, who died thirty-three years ago, would have had a birthday today had she lived. Both my daughters are now older than their mother ever was.

This day which started with the brightest of all possible blue skies has turned into an occluded afternoon, the sky a dome of grey with not a spot of blue showing through.

Sometimes we feel as though our lives have clouded over, never to see the sunlight of joy again. This is not the case, for just as these clouds above me now will lift or drift off to another realm, the feelings we hold in our hearts will be assuaged and there will again be blue skies.

Living in a constant state of euphoria would be no more desirable than living in a constant state of dolor. Neither is natural.

I had an acquaintance once whose every moment seemed to be filled with joy. No one knew the pain he bore within. Now, he was either a great actor, or a total hypocrite. You be the judge. There are those who will say that for him to “let it all out” is the only way in which he could find true happiness. Others might say that his actions are heroic, for he does not dump his ills on everyone with whom he comes in contact.

Of course, we have all known someone who cannot corner us quickly enough in order to tell us the panoply of woes with which he is encumbered. And we cannot get around a corner quickly enough to avoid him. So much for “letting it all out.”

I overheard a conversation a few years ago in which one of the participants was told that her daughter had made the trip home safely. She said, “Oh, dear! I forgot to worry about that.”

Were I inclined to “worry” I should be quite good at it, for I come from a long line of worriers. I have yet to observe that the worries of these dear ancestors ever accomplished anything in terms of “fixing” or alleviating a situation. But they loved to worry. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” It is indeed totally unnecessary to borrow trouble. Everyone has an adequate supply of his own.

My Beloved Beautiful has gone in search of a dentist nearby, for in consuming a bite of candy which was a loving gift from a friend, said candy knocked a crown off. No, really. She fished into her mouth, laid the beautiful piece of porcelain or acrylic, or whatever the material is these days, on the table. “And,” she said, “That was a thousand bucks.”

We never know what our “gifts” may do for another. Nor do we know what the gifts we receive may do for us. Beware of friends bearing gifts.

If you draw anything useful from this, you are my guest. If you don’t, well I can’t help how you spend your time.

Disclaimer: This is a Joycean endeavor. Flow of consciousness sort of thing, you know. Sometimes getting into someone’s head isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And just so you know, I sort of feel that way about Joyce.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Bike, A Special Toy


BBBH, as guest blogger for this Lord’s Day, has chosen to give you one of her poems.

My Bike, a Special Toy

Though riding my bike is easy to do
It helps my soul with-in renew
With a healing breeze refreshing my face
I ride along at a nice even pace
Hearing the Whippoorwill sing his song
For memories of childhood, sometimes I long

Or riding alone, at morning’s first light
I see flocks of geese, in perfect flight
Sometimes riding, just before dusk,
Hearing the locust croaking in lust
Reminds me of a lazier time
When bread could be bought for just a dime

Feeling the sunrays hot on my back
It’s already warm at dawn’s first crack,
Soothing my soul with soft inner peace
Riding my bike is like a fabulous feast

Feeling the breeze rumple my hair
Out by a lake, in imagination, I am there
At such times, I yearn for an earlier day
As I watch little children laugh and play
Sharing the ride with another or riding alone
The joy of my inner-child, is ever strong.

I’ve even been caught out in the rain
Stopped at a corner by a slow moving train
But I’m so thankful for these special rides
They help my heart deal with changing tides

As I ride beside a little stream
Life goes on like a changing dream
Pearls of life, like beads are strung
But in my Spirit, I am ever young
I thank the Lord for this simple joy
Even grown-ups, can enjoy this special toy

Psalm 103:5
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed like the eagles’. 

© Grace JoAnn Harrison Lacy, Gifts from God, p.98, 1995, 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Settled In

 The park here is a little different from those we are used to.  No "wasted" space, one might say.  The picture above doesn't really show the half of it, for between each two units that are visible, there is another unit.  They are arranged, though, so that no one has to look into his neighbor's windows, and each unit has a yard, 12' x 30' with reall grass.  Texas grass.

That's us on the right side of the picture.  We found that the next-door neighbors are from the town  where my sister used to live and where her ex still lives.  These people are acquainted with them.  "You can run, but you can't hide."  We almost always meet someone who knows someone, or at least knows someone who knows someone.

We took a nice scooter ride, picked up a few grocery items and visited the "birding" area.

 This little fellow greeted us at the park.  He did not shill for Geico.

 I have had an aloe vera in the house for more than forty years,  It has never bloomed.

BBBH really liked the rubber tree plant.  This the biggest one she has ever seen, she said.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentines Day Observed

 We did not forget to express our love for one another on Valentines Day.  I understand the symbolism of the red rose; but you need to understand that the yellow rose is the favorite of BBBH, hence she got yellow roses.  Please note the fancy vase.  (Yes, that merits the "vahz" pronunciation.

I happened upon an old sketch I used  a long time ago, so I repurposed it as a greeting card.  Someone enhanced my work, and now the caricatures actually resemble the inhabitants of this domicile.  As for my response to her question, 1) Hmm, why did she ask? and 2) it is a true answer, and trumps the "You are so beautiful" and similar lines, though they may be true, too.

AND, she had her t-bone steak dinner!

Just call me the last of the romantics.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mustang Island



Wednesday we pulled up stakes and moved down the road and across the pass to Port Aransas. We had booked a spot here on the Island when we were over a while back. This is the kind of day that makes one glad to be here, glad to be alive. Sunny and bright, the air temperature in the high seventies. Our plan is to stay here a month, then decide what is next.

It is certain that there will be beach time, singing, and dining. The first because the beach here is wonderful and is about seven blocks east of us; the second because we, and especially BBBH, love to attend the jam sessions here on the island. It is amazing how many old people are gifted with musical talent and how eager they are to get together and make music. The third item is a function of the abundance of eateries here, and the fact that we do get hungry on a fairly regular basis.

We spent a good part of our honeymoon here on Mustang Island thirteen years ago. In fact, we would have been heading for home on this date, I think. It was five years, then, before we returned. This time we had joined the ranks of our country’s RVers. We stayed  for an extended period. I think on three other occasions since then we have spent part of our winter here, but this is the first time we’ve camped here since 2009, though we have visited several times for short term fun.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Strolling Along

The story of the railroad in Rockport.

 That's right.  The sea is right over there.


 No tracks anywhere.

 Along the waterfront.

A little farther along. 

We are having a nice walk.

 A bit windy, but a great day on foot.

About here I said to BBBH, "Be sure to tell me when you've gone half as far as you can go."  Couple more blocks when I heard, "That's it!"

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Today is Lincoln's Birthday

Abraham Lincoln, without doubt one of the strongest and most outstanding men in the history of our country, was born in Kentucky 204 years ago today.  There may be no one in our country's history about whom more has been written.*  It would be presumptuous of me to believe I could add anything to that noble library.

This I will relate, though.  When I was a boy I recall that on the classroom walls of probably more than one room in which I spent my elementary years there was a huge calendar with the pictures of the presidents.
I remember, too, that there were two presidents whose birthdays were noted and called by their rightful names.  February 12, Lincoln's Birthday, and February 22, Washington's Birthday.  We didn't have a Presidents' Day.

There aren't any other presidents whose birthday I can tell you.  I could look one up if I had occasion to want to know it;  but these two birthdays I shall always remember in honor of two of our greatest men.

Another notable event memorialized on this day, wherein we recount the final moments of a sterling life, that of one of my favorite young people:

http://vanilla-ststt.blogspot.com/2010/02/lady-jane.html

*Moments after I wrote that sentence, I heard Doris Kearns Goodwin state that more than 60,000 books have been written about Lincoln.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Gorgeous Redhead, Exotic Voice



I'll say it again:  1934 was a very good year.

Tatiana Josivovna Chermova  Blacker was born in New York City, Februrary 11, 1934.

Her career included nightclub singer, recording artist, film actress, stage actress, television actress.

She currently lives in the city of her nativity.

Happy Birthday, Miss Louise.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Fish and Fun



Fish fry.  Doesn't begin to represent the quantity of wonderful comestibles.
The pictures don't show even half of the tables, or a quarter of the dishes available.



I, for one, am overstuffed.  And I thought I was being so self-disciplined.  Ah, well.  Not something we do every day.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Serenity and Aggravation

Yesterday's post provided a few pictures of our trip to the Island on Tuesday.  We picked the absolute most perfect day for time on the beach.  You may note the long sleeves and wonder, but trust me.  It was 78 degrees and yet the breeze from the sea gave us a cool experience.  Late in the afternoon, the fog drifted in, completely obscuring the pier a few hundred yards to the south.

Our ferry ride back to the mainland was quite unlike the trip over, for the first crossing was in sparkling sunlight, the second, not so much.  I mentioned that we could stop at the grocery to fill the short list of needs, but that we had to get hooked up before seven so I could watch NCIS.  But...

We arrived back at our home base, hooked up and...

No power.  I notified the camp host who showed up with tools and testing equipment.  A number of neighbors, old guys, dropped by as well.  We old guys are helpful like that.  Determination: problem is my connecting cord, wire near molded plug has broken.

Allen next door says, "I'll take you to Wallyworld, see if they have one."  They didn't.  Ace was closed, and O'Reilly doesn't carry such stuff.  Back at the campground, Allen hooked me up with an extension through the window so I "wouldn't have to go without morning coffee."  Thanks, Allen.

Somewhere in the night, three-thirty or four, it started to rain.  And it rained.  And rained.
Then around nine when I was up and ready to ride the bike in search of part, oh, Noah, didn't it rain! Well, there was finally a break and I bicycled to Camper Clinic where I obtained part.  You guessed it.  Before I got home...  Okay, I was  a little damp, but I did the necessary repair and we have power again.

Yet, the really fun part has yet to be told.  While we old guys were fooling around with the electrical box outside, BBBH went to the fridge to make preparation for supper.  She opened the door and it fell off.  Lower hinge, plastic of course, had broken.  No lady was injured in this episode.  We still have condiments and milk in the fridge in the rec hall.

After lunch I biked to Carquest where I obtained epoxy repair kit.  I hope that worked.  We'll find out about 5:30!*

Oh, the joys of the RV life.  If you are already doing it, you know what I mean.  If you are thinking about it in your future, think on some of these things.  Not that I want to discourage you from the fulfillment of a dream.

*Seems to be holding; groceries rescued and brought home.  Oh, and I didn't mention that the humidity was so high in here that the GFCI for the outlets kept tripping.  That's resolved now, too, via the expediency of less moisture in the air.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"13"

A year ago today I wrote a glowing tribute to my wife and the twelve happy years of marriage we had experienced together.  I prefaced the article with the above picture, and I repeat that here now because 1) we don't look any better today than we did then, and 2) it is quite possible that this is the most recent picture of the two of us together.

So.  Today is our thirteenth wedding anniversary.  The number won't seem very large to our contemporaries in this walk down life's pathway, but to two people who were well into their sixties before they started this adventure, it seems pretty significant.

This thirteenth year was no less tempestuous than any of the previous years, but the love is stronger, and if we live long enough we'll let you know how year fourteen went, in, say, about 365 days.

I still love you, JoAnn.


p.s. It turns out that there is a more recent picture, and I've used it before, too.  We were in the jewelry store, just before Christmas.  And here's how it was done.



She took a picture, I took one; and here we are!