Thursday, May 30, 2013

Little Things Mean a Lot

"That'll be $6.14, please."  I handed the clerk a twenty-dollar bill.  She got the change from the register, I held out my hand.

Placing the change in my hand, one item at a time, she counted, "six-fourteen and fifteen, twenty-five, fifty, seventy-five, and seven, eight, nine, ten, and ten is twenty."

Need I say I nearly fell over.  The lady was clearly on the sunny side of fifty.  I told her, "That's the first time I've had someone count change back to me correctly in I can't remember when."

"I've always done it that way, since I was a girl."

"Way to go!  It's refreshing to meet someone who does things right these days."

"Thanks!"

I  particularly abhor  the practice, very common these days, 
of putting the coins on top of the bills,  placing the receipt on 
  top of the coins, then jamming the entire pile into the  waiting 
 palm.                                                                       Growl!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spammer Outed

I do not appreciate spam comments on this blog.  Yet I cannot help but smile at some of the postings which are ridiculous beyond description.  Here is a sample for your amusement.
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This particular item was posted on a blog entry in which I described, mostly pictorially, our dog-sitting experience.  I do have to give this spammer points, though.  It is true that "folks think about issues that they just do not realize about."  In that statement, he certainly "controlled to hit the nail upon the highest."

I really don't understand why these people engage in this activity.  Unless they simply enjoy being  pimples on the rump of society, I fail to see what they gain.  "Folks could take a signal."  But there are issues that some folks just do not realize about.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Conversation with Bob

Bob Warr was digging along the edge of the yard.  There was a flat of marigolds sitting nearby.  I stopped to pass the time of day.  He seemed pleased to entertain the interruption.  He stood and leaned against his side of the fence.

We chatted generally about the weather, as guys are wont to do.  This led to Bob's observation about the news reader the previous evening reporting on the floods in Texas.  "She was reading along and as she neared the end of the report she said, 'The rain fell at a rate of two inches per hour and the rivers overflew their banks.'  That," he continued, "was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing.  Imagine what I was seeing in my mind's eye as I tried to picture rivers overflying their banks!"

That is just wrong on so many levels.  Grammatically, editorially, educationally, meteorologically, and in general fluvial and riparian behavior.  Ah, the joys of the twenty-first century.

Bob's report is accurate.   BBBH and I were tuned to the same newscast.  We both heard the same thing.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Eureka!

Saturday I reported the request of a West Coast blogger who was seeking a quote:  Pogo Fans: Can you help? A reader wants to find the original source of a quote I attributed to Albert The Alligator. It was "funny how a handsome man look good in any old thing he throw on." If any of you have old Pogo books with this particular strip, let me know.

I have located the panel.  The quote is pretty close.




Walt Kelly,  The Pogo Sunday Parade, page 125
  (which just  happened to be the 
penultimate page in the 
fifth book I went through.)

I have to agree with Albert.  "Clothes make the man" has always seemed to me to be an oversimplification, and perhaps a bit of wishful thinking on the part of a homely but well-heeled man.  You got it, or your don't.  Right, Albert?

Anyway, one of my favorite quotes with regard to style is from Alexander Pope.  "Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside."  (An Essay on Criticism)  I think this applies to the sartorial as well as to the literary.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Great Commission

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Many of us know this passage as "The Great Commission."  It is Christ's last charge to His followers before His ascension.  Many of us memorized verses nineteen and twenty.  However, in reading the passage a few days ago, it struck me that the introductory words in the eighteenth verse should be given close attention.  If we are to heed the message of the Master, it is important to understand the import of His saying, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."

Since all power is His, to seek our own ends, to attempt to accomplish anything in our own power is to usurp His authority! We are to trust in the Lord, seek His will, and teach the message of salvation.  It really is that simple.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Jus' So



Walt Kelly, Gone Pogo, 1961

I was reading the blog Murrmurrs and Murr asked this: Pogo Fans: Can you help? A reader wants to find the original source of a quote I attributed to Albert The Alligator. It was "funny how a handsome man look good in any old thing he throw on." If any of you have old Pogo books with this particular strip, let me know.

This sent me to my Pogo collection in search of the requested tidbit.  I have yet to find it.  (Lots of books to wade through... mostly swamp water, in retrospect, but still.)  Meanwhile, I came upon the above panel, a poignant reminder of the reason I was so enthralled with Walt Kelly in my formative years.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Home from Madison County

We had four wonderfully relaxing days at Mounds State Park. Nice trails, good food, camaraderie and fellowship.  

 Ever hear of an "exclosure"?  No?  Me, too.

"Plant community" might mean "flora."  But, never use two syllables if five will do.

A major impact the white-tailed deer have in Indiana is on the vehicular community.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Joy, Happiness, and Perseverance

BBBH and I have been doing springtime chores around the house and in the yard. We have been prepping for a camping excursion with our group of wonderful friends, most of whom have survived nearly as long as we have, or even longer in some cases. Yet as I was toting foodstuffs and other essentials to the RV, I observed to the Beloved that nothing is as easy as it used to be. Now I do not want nor do I intend to lie down and stop living. But I did think, I wonder what advice I have given myself about perseverance, and joy, and happiness? I found the following which I shared on String Too Short to Tie two years ago.
I once heard a preacher discussing the issue of biblical joy vs. happiness. I believe his contention was that we should seek the "joy of the Lord" for the Bible does not teach us to be "happy." Perhaps I misunderstood the thrust of the message, for, although it is true that "joy" is referenced much more frequently than is the concept of "happiness," the word "happy" does occur several times in the Bible,* much more often in the Old Testament than in the New Testament.

In the Old Testament, we find
Happy is
he who hears wisdom
he who God corrects
he who eats the labour of his own hands
he whose God is the Lord
he who lays hold upon wisdom and keeps her
he who has mercy on the poor
he who trusts in the Lord
he who keeps the law.

In the New Testament, we find
Happy is
he who does these things Jesus has taught
he who endures
he who suffers for righteousness sake
he who is reproached for the name of Christ.

I would not presume to develop a sermon from this, as I am not now nor have I ever been a preacher. It does seem to me that in the Old Testament we find specific prescriptions for behaviors that lead to happiness. In the New Testament it appears that we are taught that to follow Christ and keep His commandments will make us happy, even though we will suffer reproach for His name's sake; and we may be scorned for righteousness. How then, to be happy? Endure.

An enigma? Perhaps, but how about this for a puzzle?
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. -1John:3:16
And yet it is so.

Personal conviction: Happiness is a state mind; joy is in the heart.
"The joy of the LORD is my strength!"
And so it is that the rereading has steeled my determination to endure.  I have been often heard to say, "Any day in which I can stand upright and get dressed is a good day!"

Blessings.

*Reading from the King James Version.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Again, the Skunk




From the archives.

Our last visit to the neighborhood involved the egg gathering and the milking lesson. Today, we will focus on the same vicinity. Just below the chicken house (12) there is a little drainage ditch which goes through a twelve-inch culvert under the road. We had been losing some chickens to some feral culprit, the most likely guess being a skunk.

One evening while my mother's Aunt Bessie and her family were visiting us, there arose a clamor in the hen house. Dad said I should get the .25-20 down and take care of the situation. So mother's cousin, Phil, and I headed up the hill to the scene of the supposed carnage. Not that it makes any difference to the story, but though he was my mother's first cousin, Phil was a year younger than I.

Anyway, as we arrived at the henhouse, there ran from beneath it a critter. It headed down the hill and dived into the culvert. It was a skunk. I lay down in the ditch and shined the light into the tunnel. Placing the barrel of the rifle in the culvert, I pulled the trigger. It was a direct hit: in fact, it would have been impossible to miss. We got a length of bob warr from the shed, stuck it in the pipe, twisted it into the carcass, which we retrieved. The wound in the side was big as my hand (remember we are talking twelve-year old kid here).


This resolved the chicken-theft problem. Fifty years later, Phil was visiting me in Indiana and said, "Do you remember the night you shot the skunk?" Well, yes; but I probably hadn't thought of it in many decades.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Senior Coffee, Please

(This post has been in draft form for a week.  The Sister and I emailed back and forth, she suggested I might blog about the coffee issue, I told her the article was already written.  A day or so later, I told her that I had decided not to post this, as I might be seen not as funny, but just mean.  She replied, Post it; now I am curious.  So now... )

Due to circumstances beyond her control, Sister has been temporarily deprived of internet service at home.  Thus she sent out an email, a flyer to her contacts, requesting that they use a gmail address since she would have to go to Starbucks for internet connections.

I fired back, "You could go to Mickey Dee's."

Now, that's funny.  But apparently the sibling did not see it that way, for she wrote back informing me that there were many places available to the public for free internet access, even naming some of them.

My point was that one can go to Starbucks and get a two-dollar cup of coffee (or whatever it is: I don't go there) or one could go to McD's, ask for the senior coffee, and get a better cup for 53 or 64 cents, or whatever the rate is at the local store.

I started a "senior coffee"1 search on the web, and next thing I know I am finding reams of blog stories by distraught forty-something women who have been offered "senior coffee."2  Oh, the insult.  My word.  One would think that saving a few cents on a cup of coffee might somehow bring the world economy to its knees.  I INSIST that I pay full price for my caffeine.

Now, my sister is a reader of my blog.  I truly appreciate that. She is about the only family member who reads this regularly.

There is nothing but love and blog fodder going on here.  I still think one gets a better cup at McDonalds, and coffee for under a buck is always better.3

1Regular readers know my distaste for the designation of the elderly as "seniors."  Yet one cannot make waves when he needs coffee.

2In order to avoid just such scenes, most places have advised their wait staff that they are never to offer senior discounts.  The customer must ask for it.  Thus, when I approach the counter I simply say, "Two senior coffees to go, please."  

3As usual, one should be careful in the use of the word "always."  I distinctly recall a bad cup of coffee in a McD's far from home.  It was fresh, too, for I watched the employee set it up and waited for it to drip.  Must have been the water.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nap

I love my naps prandial, both pre- and post-
But the one right at bedtime is the one I love the most.
Thirty-seven minutes into the hour-long show
I am suddenly unconscious then don’t you know
When I awaken the words I hear are “update you
On the Daybreak News. “
Oooh. Now wake up and get ready for bed
Where I shall lay my weary head
And wish the night away
Until dawning of the day
That I could go to sleep at night.
What’s the matter with me? This isn’t right.
Yet not to worry, for I’ll get up and dress
Have a cup or two of coffee, I guess,
Then I’ll be ready for the day’s first nap.
What? What? Spouse just shook me. Oh, snap.

(Notwithstanding the fact that nap rhymes with cap, chap, clap, crap, flap, gap, hap, lap, map, pap, rap, sap, slap, snap, tap, trap, whap, wrap, and zap, I could only come up with this pathetic doggerel; but you get the idea.) 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Shopping

We drove the fifteen miles to the Lowe's this afternoon.  Could have bought local, but in this instance I wanted the brand-name.  We have had an Insinkerator disposal fourteen years with no stoppages, leakages, or other difficulties.  Until now.  It leaks.  I mean, it has withstood the pressures of our garbage for a very long time, so no big surprise.  We all get a little corroded after exposure to the detritus of our lives, so why should the disposal not suffer similarly?  Clearly, I wanted to replace it with an Insinkerator.

One stop, one purchase, and on the way home again.

However.  I fell into conversation with the salesperson of whom I had asked directions to the desired item.  (I hate big-box stores.  But I digress.  And repeat myself.)  When he discovered we lived in Perfect, he grilled me as to my "native/alien" bonafides.  I told him I had lived in Perfect for 44 years, so I felt I was qualified to be designated a Perfectonian.  "Not so," he said.  "If you weren't born there, didn't go to school there, you are still an alien."  He further asserted that as he had been born and educated in Perfect that he, though he has not lived there in over forty years, was still a Perfectonian.  He then asked how I was "accepted" and we had a lively and interesting discussion, which revealed among other things, common acquaintances.  One of his classmates had been my closest associate in my professional endeavors; another had been a member of the staff I supervised.  Further conversation revealed that he had earned an MBA  in the pursuit of his goals.  I said it was not every day I encountered an MBA on the sales floor at Lowes.

"Oh," he assured me, "you would be surprised.  I have a good friend who has a PhD and is similarly employed.  The retail world is rife with over-educated sales personnel."

It was an interesting afternoon.  I found entertainment in a place I would least expect to find it.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Mother asks for More than she knows.

On their way up to Jerusalem, Jesus called his disciples aside and told them, Look, when we get to Jerusalem I am going to be betrayed to the chief priests and delivered unto the Gentiles to be beaten, and mocked, and crucified; yet I will live again on the third day.

Now stepped forward Mrs. Zebedee with her sons, James and John, worshipping Jesus. And he said, What is it you want?

The mother replied, I would that in your kingdom my boys may sit at your side, one on your right hand and one on the left.

Jesus told her plainly that she did not know what she was asking, for he asked, Will these be able to endure to the end even what I must endure? They assured him they would.

Then Jesus said an amazing thing. “You shall indeed drink of my cup, and be baptized of my baptism. But I cannot grant the seats at my table in the kingdom, for those places are reserved by the Father for whom he chooses to sit at my side. (Based on Matthew, chapter 20.)

This mother, not unlike good mothers throughout history, was seeking the very best thing she could imagine for her offspring. Yet in asking a seemingly simple and yet clearly important thing, she not only asked for the greatest honor that could be bestowed upon her children, but she asked far more than she realized. For the cup that her sons would drink from was bitter indeed.*  Moreover, she asked this boon in the presence of the other ten disciples of Christ, thereby engendering “indignation against them.”

Then Jesus taught them thus. Let him who would be great among you minister. Let him who would be chief be a servant. For I came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give my life as a ransom for many.

May today be a blessed Mothers' Day for mothers everywhere, and for their children. 

*Both sons remained faithful followers of Christ.  Their earthly fates were these.  James was beheaded by Herod and John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos.  John was the only one of the original Twelve who did not die a violent death.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Bob says, "Let's see now...

I probably didn't get this right, for surely this makes no sense."

Dateline:  Indianapolis, May 10, 2013

Governor Mike Pence today signed legislation authorizing loans to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in amounts up to five million dollars a year for the next twenty years.  The loans will be repaid by additional taxes on tickets and other products.

What?

The taxpayers sink their money into the speedway, then the taxpayers pay "additional taxes" on the IMS products in order to pay themselves back.

The improvements proposed will "make it easier to sell tickets."

I am totally confused.  I think.  Either that, or it is another $100,000,000 taxpayer boondoggle.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Blue-dot Tail Lights

I saw a beautiful black '50 Ford Tudor this morning, full continental kit, and running blue-dot tail lights.

A flood of any number of memories, since the first auto I owned was a '50 Ford.  However, today's tale is about blue-dot tail lights.

It was Christmas time, 1952.  David and I had just finished the first quarter of the college year in Seattle, and we had decided to go home to Colorado for the holidays.  David had a 1948 Plymouth Club Coupe which was the vehicle that had gotten us to Washington in the first place.

We had made it all the way to our home state, and were coming down the east slope of the continental divide well after dark.  We were now less than 100 miles from home and determined to make it there before stopping.  The flashing red light strobed through the rear window.  David and I looked at each other.  "What'd we do?"  We pulled over.

"Junior" (that was my father's designation for all state highway patrolmen) strode up to the driver's side window.  "License and registration."  Standard so far, you may know the drill.  Papers presented.  The officer said, "Where you headed?"
"Colorado Springs."
"Where'd you come from?"
"Seattle."
Officer:  "I knew you were a smart-aleck the minute I saw those blue-dot tail lights."
"Hunh?"
Whereupon Junior launched into a lecture about the finer points of the law, young smart-alecks being out on the road in the middle of the night, and other stuff I don't remember.

There are three characters in this little vignette.  One of them is, indeed, a smart-aleck.  Can you guess which one?

Monday, May 6, 2013

More Springtime in the Yard

It is very likely that I have shown similar pictures of the same beauties in the past.   The wonders of the new life in the Spring never cease to amaze me.  I am in awe.  So, once again, walk around the yard with me.

 The holly beside the front door blooms prolifically.  I wonder how many red berries there will be in the fall.

 The redbud on the west edge of the flower garden backdropped by the austrees along the property line.

 The lilac on the south side of the barn.  Fifth year from a stick in the ground.

Nemesis or another of nature's wonders?  It is both.  A weed, by definition, is an unwanted plant.  I don't mind this lovely in the wild flower garden, but it sows its seeds into the lawn where I consider it a weed.  What to do?


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Proverbs


22 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.

The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.

A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

He that has a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he gives of his bread to the poor.

15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

16 He that oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he that gives to the rich, shall surely come to want.

I don't often select passages at random, but today's passages are from Proverbs 22 which was a "thumb between the pages" choice.  Included here are only eight of the proverbs from this chapter which includes way too much for me to digest in one sitting.
.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Crabapple Blossoms


Crab blossom time in Perfect
brings a fragrance to the air
brings the bees buzzing ‘round my hair.

Crab blossom time in Perfect
brings blooms, pink and white
brings soft breezes in the early night.




Crab blossom time in Perfect
brings grass growing green and sleek
brings out the mower, whirring twice a week.

Crab blossom time in Perfect
brings a happy smile to my sun-warmed face
brings a sense of wonder, the perfect time and place.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Intersections

The road stretched in a seemingly endless ribbon.  It was as though the driver could see two days into the future.   The broken white center-line zipping by was beginning to have a deleterious hypnotic effect on the over-tired operator.  The Crown Vic drifted to the right, but the rumble .strip alerted Marcus to the danger and he pulled the car back into the lane.  He would be in Dalhart in a few minutes.

As Marcus entered the town from the northeast, he noted the Tri-State Motel on his left.  This only served to remind him of the extreme tiredness he was experiencing.  He was exhausted, yet how he hated to stop at this point.  Soon he saw the Ford dealership on the left.  He really must get that tail light fixed before dark.  Now was the time to take care of that.  He pulled in, parked near the service bays and walked into the service department entrance.

Marcus approached the high counter behind which a blond young man wearing a "Ford" ball cap looked up.  With a start, he thought "I know this man."  Yet he had never been in Dalhart in his life.  He placed his request for service, signed the work order, then he was escorted to the customer waiting area.  "Car'll be ready in forty-five minutes," the service manager told him.  Without looking in that direction, Marcus knew that to his right would be the receptionist.  He knew that she was an attractive middle-aged woman with short auburn hair.  There would be a nameplate on her desk, "Virginia Templeton."  The sales manager would be Chuck Lawton, whose office is right next to the reception area.

Marcus's heart was pounding and the eerie feeling that rushed over him was beyond explanation.  He had never been in Dalhart, yet he knew these things without any doubt whatsoever.

Two years earlier on a very warm Saturday afternoon in late September, Madeleine Wallace stood in front of the dealership's showroom with the young couple who were taking delivery on the new Fusion she had sold them.  Chuck snapped a photo of the three smiling people standing next to the vehicle, Maddy shook hands with the young wife and with her husband.  They drove away and Maddy walked back into the showroom, into her cubicle, and retrieved her purse.  "G'night, Ginny! I'm off to celebrate a good day.  Y'all have a happy weekend."

Maddy walked, virtually skipped, to the east side of the building where the program Mustang she was driving these days was parked.  She really liked the way the 'Stang handled, but she hated the lime green color Ford had chosen for this particular car.  She would be so happy when her new driver would be ready in November.  Maddy turned left onto Liberal and headed west into town.  She and Hubs would be at the Amarillo Country Club this evening for dinner with Sis and her new beau! Sunday she would get to visit with her best friend from high school days.

The green coupe entered the five-points intersection with the light.  The heavily laden semi coming from the south on 385 blew through the light.  The attendants at the hospital were able to determine from her driver's license that Maddy was an organ donor.  Her grieving husband, though in shock, verified that Maddy's wish was to help as many people as possible should something like this ever happen.

Early in October, Marcus kept his appointment with the surgeon who would effect his corneal transplant.  The operation was very successful, and Marcus's vision was clearly better when the bandages were removed.  In a matter of weeks the happy man found his eyesight to be much improved.

© 2013 David W. Lacy


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Frog

Frog  has faithfully watched the entry to the garage for many years.  He previously served as property guard at the lake, but he handled the move to town quite well.  Adaptable amphibian.

 Clearly Frog endured a fearfully harsh winter, for we found he had molted considerably, and worse, his right forepaw had suffered amputation from the freeze/thaw cycle he endured, probably numerous times.

The paw was surgically re-attached by means of epoxy and crumbling concrete.  The skin was replaced by means of acrylic paint.  Some of the molted skin was intentionally left here so that one might note how great he looks now.  Isn't he swell?

Brrr-ump.

Wisteria