Monday, March 31, 2014

The Earth is Alive!

I have probably posted something about the resurrection lilies, or naked ladies, every year for the past several years. But as they are springing from the earth, it occurs to me I have never shown you the foliage. This is how it all starts in March. The foliage will grow to a height of about forty centimeters, then it will all die back and disappear into the earth.

 

 As July comes to an end we will be revisited again.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Misapplication of Technology

I was awake until the wee hours last night, literally, watching the Kentucky-Louisville basketball game along with a few hundred other people.  I do not often watch sports events on television, though at one time in my life I was a serious fan of college basketball.  Things change.  I have changed: I am much older now, and time is precious.  One can only do so much, and the older I get, the less I do.  That is not what this rant is about.

The game itself has changed.  From the early days of my interest in the sport, that would have been in the mid-20th century, Clyde, and Wes, and "Hooks" played a game we knew as basketball.  They loved the game, and so did we, the fans.  Today's game resembles that game in its rudiments:  the court, the ball, and that's about it.  But that is not what this rant is about, either.

I did have a favorite in this game, but that is irrelevant to the rant as well.

Last night's game, poorly executed or brilliantly played as it was, came down to a handful of seconds on the clock with either team in a position to win it.  That is what the game should be!  But wait.  And wait.  The referee made his call, awarding the out-of-bounds ball to Louisville.  But then.  And this is what the rant is about.

For the next seven minutes, the officials reviewed the play via television monitors to determine if the call were correct.  Meanwhile, the network showed the audience at home the disputed play over and over and over and so on and so forth.  (The call on the floor was upheld.)  Before this sort of nonsensical interference in the game, the official would have immediately handed the ball to the player for the inbounds play, and the game would have proceeded.

Look.  Basketball officials are people who are extremely knowledgeable about the game, highly motivated to make good calls, and above all desirous of seeing a good game well and properly played.  Do officials ever make mistakes?  Of course.  But darned few, as a matter of fact.  Is one official likely to call a "tighter" game than another?  Indeed.  But they are not bad officials (those are weeded out long before we get to the Sweet Sixteen, or to March Madness, for that matter.)

And there is another thing that has changed.  During the years of my fandom, the referee was both the instant and final arbiter on the court.  One may disagree with him, but the game is played by the call he made.  As it should be.  Stop the nonsense.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dancing and Fishing

Did I tell you what Aunt Ida and her pal, Laura, did the day after they get to Cedar P'int?
Well, sir, Laura 'n Ida were up an' at 'em the next mornin'.  Now the ladies they was talkin' with on the verandy tells 'em more than they onc't know about this here park.  Sure, you can have a world a fun on those rides, but you seen nothin' 'til you see that dance hall, and hit full of people of an evenin'!

So they spend the day ridin' thet Cyclone, and alternatin' atwixt it and High Frolics.  What a view from seventy-five feet in the air!  But that don't last long afore the car come flyin' down th' other side.  "These monstrous coasters are the cat's pajamas!" enthused Laura.

And of course, they were in that swirlin' mob on the dance floor in the Coliseum that evenin'.

"It occurs to me," remark Ida when they return to their room later, "that while the pin was in the middle of the lake, we've done nothing but skirt along its shore."

"All right, then," respond Laura, "we need to find out what one does in the middle of the lake."

An' thet were their next day's project.  Fishin'.  Fishin' fer walleye, that's what one did in the middle a the lake.  So they go to Port Clinton and get a charter to take 'em fishin'.  "Ugh."  Laura's opinion.

"A wonderful lark," says Ida.  "And it is certainly something I've never done before."

Waal, they catch so many fish, and had such a good time, that Ida is hooked on fishin', so to speak, and say it is her new passion.  And there is a whole world of places out there where one can catch fish!  An' doncha know it was on'y a matter of a year afore Ida is off Cape Hatteras fishin' fer marlin.  Catch one, too.  Big one.  Land it herself.  Little bitty woman, five-foot two.  Tuk her nigh four hours to bring hit in.  Hit weigh 511 pounds, I recollect rightly.

Laura, though, did not share Ida's enthusiasm for anglin', so they two friends sorta drift apart.

© 2014 David W. Lacy

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

William Caxton, Language, and Aesop

William Caxton, merchant, writer, and printer, introduced the printing press into England in 1476.  He is recognized as a technician who greatly influenced the development of the English language, in part by drawing together the many dialects used at the time, “standardizing the language,” so to speak.  While he may not have been the greatest translator, he was a prolific printer, bringing many dozens of books to the English citizenry.

March 26, 1484, Caxton published his English translation of Aesop's Fables.
In a 2002 poll by the BBC, Caxton was listed as one of the top one hundred British Heroes.*

William Caxton c.1420 - 1492  RIP


Now I am inclined to present one of Aesop's tales here, albeit in a more modern English translation.

The Ass in the Lion's Skin

An ass once found a Lion's skin which the hunters had left out in the sun to dry.  He put it on and went towards his native village.  All fled at his approach, both men and animals, and he was a proud Ass that day.  In his delight he lifted up his voice and brayed, but then everyone knew him, and his owner came up and gave him a sound cudgeling for the fright he had caused.  And shortly afterwards a Fox came up to him and said:  "Ah, I knew you by your voice."

Fine clothes may disguise, but
silly words will disclose a fool.
Aesop 620BC - 564BC RIP


You may read many of Aesop's fables at this site:  www.aesopfables.com/

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

25 March

Some quarter-century or so ago, I told my sister that the card I sent her on her birthday was the last reminder of her age I would provide.  I lied.
I may have let a few birthdays pass unremarked, but after a bit I realized that no matter the protestations to the contrary almost everyone likes to be reminded of a special day in their lives.  What could be more special than being born?

So the birthday cards again became a part of my recognition of this person who is important to me.
After a bit more time I realized, and I think the ladies realize as well, that there comes a point where age is a badge of honor, a paean to survival.  Now wrinkles, no, not so much, but the number associated with the birthday:  that is Okay.

Yet one never guesses a woman’s age, nor does he mention it if he already knows.
Therefore (fanfare please!) I wish my sister, Vee, a very happy birthday today, and a sincere wish that she will accumulate a whole lot more of them, and live happily and in good health while she does so. 

Vee blogs here.  Drop by and leave your greetings.


Baby Vee posing in front of the 
house in which she was born with
her parents and older brother.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Shopping, Then and Now

BBBH went to market, vanilla stayed home. That led to some riffling through some old newspapers, as I was looking for some material to use in a post later in April.

The newspaper is dated April 12, 1965.  For the most part I don't look at grocery ads and such things, but just for fun, how about a comparison of  "then" and "now"?

If you have an interest in such things, you might note that Ann Margret and Michael Parks are playing in the show at the local movie house. Ann-Margret is a familiar name, and I recall some shows I have seen her in.  Who is Michael Parks?

Back to the task at hand.  Apparently bacon had not yet been discovered.  Poor orphan, going for nineteen cents the pound.  Over at Hank's, I see that we can get ground beef for thirty-seven cents.  The market today does not sell "ground beef."*  It sells "ground chuck," or "ground round," or "ground sirloin," and some packages will be labeled "Angus" and some won't be.  Prices will range from $3.49 to five bucks and more.

This is one dad who is glad his little bread snappers were growing up during the thirty-seven cent era.

Just for fun, the eggs at three dozen for the dollar are now about two dollars the dozen.  What is that, 500% increase?

You might observe here that you could invest your spare cash (who had any of that?) in notes paying 7.053%.  My bank is currently paying less than one-half of one percent.  "Inflation" you might be thinking of the Sixties.  And you would be right.  The difference is, the seven percent or so would pretty much insure that when the note comes due you will not have lost money.  You cannot say that about your "investment" today.

Oh, and you can buy some prescription glasses for under twelve bucks.

Yet I don't need glasses to see that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  If you are raising a family, there shall always be too much month at the end of the money.

*Once upon a time I worked in a butcher shop.  It was my job to prepare the "ground beef."  I could give you a recipe for 100 pounds of hamburger, but perhaps you really don't want to know.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Elation!

the flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,

and the voice of the turtle* is heard in our land;   Song 2:12 KJV


And there they are!  The shoots of the daffodils rising from the earth, the robin entertaining me with song.  Oh, yes, it is the song of the robin, yet not the same song he sings a bit later, but rather a loud welcoming of the new season. The mourning doves are fluttering back and forth from the ground to the eaves, their wings whistling as they flit.  Yes, the construction of the nest is already underway.  Unfortunately for them, they shall be evicted, for they have chosen to lay the twigs in the gutter.  Not acceptable.

I have observed over the years that the dove is rather thoughtless in its management of its domicile.  First, the selection of its location is often inappropriate (gutter) or careless (low-hanging branch, easily accessible by cats and small boys.)  Second, the construction of the home is quite haphazard, careless, almost, as though the poor things are so anxious that they cannot take time to construct a proper nest.  (Adolescent behavior.)
And yet for all that, the race continues to survive year after year.  Perhaps if they were more attentive and careful, the breed would overrun the earth, and thus nature protects us all.

The sap riseth in the birch, yea, and drippeth on the ground, leaking from the fissures created by the ravages of winter winds.  High in her branches, in all his flaming red glory, the cardinal percheth.  He screameth his song, "Wheat, wheat, chew, chew, chew, chew."  And eagerly he awaiteth my planting of the flower seeds so that he can gobble them up, should I carelessly leave them atop the soil.

Happy vernal advent!

*Turtledove.  In Jamesian English, the given translation is appropriate.  Scholars agree that modern English would identify the creature as avian not reptilian.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Aunt Ida

Wherein two merry widows set off to see the world.

Did I ever tell you about the time Aunt Ida set off on vacation?  


Ida get to Kingsport, look around a bit and think, "It's not New York, but it is a sight better 'n the Mountain.  She find a job right quick-like, an' a room in a boardin' house.  Waal, Ida were sharp, an' most afore you could say "Jack-in-the-Box," she had married.  She married good, too, on account a though the man were a bit older 'n Ida, he were right well to do.  Widower, he were, lived at the top of the city.  He din't have kids, but he had money.  Lots a money.

Well, sir, tragedy strike whoever it want, and here tragedy struck.  First off, Ida and Paul try to have chil'ren, and it look like it will happen, but the girl miscarry.  An' yet again it happen.  Then Paul drivin' in to work one mornin', same road he always take, beautiful mornin', but a truck comin' through from the left T-bone Paul's car.  Kill him outright.

Anyway, after while Ida an' her friend, Laura Biggs, Laura were a flatlander, come up from Columbia, I think it were, they decide to take a extended vacation.  Ida go downtown and buy a spankin' new Hupmobile.  The girls pin  a big roadmap the Yew-ess-ay on the wall.  Laura blindfold Ida, spin her around three times, and aim her at th' map.  Jus' like Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Ida stagger to the map and stick a straight pin in it.  Pin stick smack dab in th' middle a Lake Erie.

Waal, the girls pack up they car and head on out. They drive on up to Cleveland, leisurely, doncha know.  They warn't in a hurry.  Taken in the sights along the way.  So they get to the shores a Lake Erie an' behol' it to be a ocean, so far's they can see!

It din't take the girls long to find that fun were awaitin' at Cedar P'int, so they head westward along the lake.  Arrivin' at the park, they decide to do a run-through to see what's hit all about.  Well, sir, one afternoon 'n they get hooked on them roller coasters.  Never had so much fun in they lives.

Ida says, "We got to find us a place to stay tonight so's we can do this again tomorrow."

And they did.

© 2014 David W. Lacy




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Go, Snow!

If there were a method whereby one could date the falling of this snow, it would tell us First Week of January.   I am fairly certain of this, because that snowfall drifted a serious mound of the stuff into this spot, following which we had another four feet or so of snow over the course of the winter and lots of serious cold.  So there was no real opportunity for this patch to melt.

Now we have had two days in the sixties and another one or two in the fifties during the past ten days.  Our snow decor has been reduced to this blob on the north side of the barn.

Tuesday afternoon it was perhaps six feet wide, fourteen feet long.  Today, Wednesday, it is predicted that we will have rain.  Likely, therefore, the snow will be gone this evening!  Well, it has been a long winter, and I for one hope that this is really the end of the snow.  For this season.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wish Book

VTG SEARS & ROEBUCK ORIG.CATALOG 1945-46 FALL & WINTER COVER BY A.D. GREER

From shoes to houses to auto parts.  You could get it all through Sears catalogue.  Without doubt, it was the goal of Sears, Roebuck and Co.1 to be all things to all people.  And Monkey Ward2 did all in their power to best Sears.

Both of these giants published humungous catalogues which were delivered to customers' homes via the mail twice a year-- Spring and Summer edition, Fall and Winter edition, not to mention that eagerly awaited special number, The Christmas Catalogue.

The arrival of a catalogue in our home when we were children meant many hours of lying on the floor, chin in hand, book in front, pages being slowly turned, dreams and fantasies of what might be swirling through our heads.

For many years, Sears used the "good, better, best" marketing ploy, dreamed up, no doubt long before companies had "marketing" departments.  Or for that matter, before the term was coined, for all I know.3  As I recall, and who knows how reliable that recall is, a page might show an item marked "Good" and priced at $2.98, a "Better" item of nearly identical appearance priced at $3.49, and finally the "Best" priced at $3.98.  What parent is going to buy the cheapest item, when their offspring deserve only the best?  Well, perhaps the parent for whom that extra dollar might represent two-days' wages.  But only if it were a real need in the first place.

"Wish Book" was the designation applied to each of these things in our home, and apt it was, too.  You may wish all you want, but chances are. . .

1Also designated "Sit Up and Rear Back" in our childhood world.
2Officially, Montgomery, Ward & Co.  But we always called it "Monkey Wards."
3Term apparently coined in the 16th century.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Shopping With Vanilla Reprise

I was searching the archives for a particular item, which of course took me longer than I expected, due to my proclivity to wander off on hobo trips.  I found this item which I posted four years ago.  Perhaps you will find it fun.  Again.

I had occasion a bit ago to stop at the Dollar General. BBBH had asked me to get some cooking oil. My shopping technique is simplicity itself. I enter store knowing what I'm there for, proceed to item, pluck from shelf and proceed to checkout.

Today as I arrived at the (sole open) checkout counter, simultaneously so did Ms. Late-50-Something Hausfrau from 90 degree angle. We both stopped, ostensibly to avoid collision, she glanced at me, clearly had to see that I had one item. She wheeled her laden cart in front of me.*

I stood patiently throughout her transaction, whistling, and not on lowest volume, the whole time, "Help Me Make it Through the Night." And I was careful as I segued into the chorus to pitch just-enough-off-key to be totally irritating to anyone who is not tone-deaf. Yes, I am good enough to do that. So anyway, as it transpired, one of her items was neither tagged nor in the original bag. Well, clerkie rang up the rest (almost, see below) of the items, THEN Ms. 50+ headed to the back of the store, housewares dept. and eventually returned with item similar to the one she wanted, but still in its wrapper. The clerk scanned that and announced the total.

Then, of course, the scramble through the purse to find the plastic. Swiped, whew! and whee! because there was no problem there. The woman stepped up to gather her packages and I stepped forward and placed the canola on the counter when the clerk espied six cans of paint on the end of the counter. Yours? No, that woman's. The poor cashier looked dazed, puzzled and apologetic, and I said, "Please go ahead and ring mine up, then finish her off." And maybe I really did mean "finish her off." Kidding. So that's how it went down, and as the woman stepped back to the counter for her "second set of purchases" I think she might have glowered at me. Oh, did I mention that I divined that it was the perfect time to pay for my $2.50 purchase with the collection of pennies, nickels and dimes that I had accumulated in my right front pocket?

*I am assuming that she determined that at my age, I had no place to be, nothing pressing to do. Whippersnappers and boomers might consider that at my age I may not have left much time to do anything, hence they should respect what little I have.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Aunt Grace's Sunday School Lesson

Aunt Grace was ready for church.  She had only two blocks to walk, but, truth be told, it rankled her spirit a bit that she had to walk it by herself.  And that wasn't good for the development of worshipful attitude.  "C'mon, now Jeptha.  Throw on that shirt and go along with me."

"Now, Grace, you know I gotta replace the leathers in that pump.  An' besides, the Bible say, "The Lord help those who help themselves."

"Jeptha Miller, the Bible says no such thing.  It actually teaches that without God, we are helpless.  Besides, that pump will still be a-sittin' there after services are over."

Well, Aunt Grace started quoting scriptures, had the references, too.  "Isaiah 25:4 says, Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in distress.   In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Romans 5:6 tells us For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

"Does that sound like we are taught to help ourselves?  Seems to me it says we are pretty helpless, but for the grace and strength of God."

Uncle Jep had shrugged his shirt on, and said nothing as he was buttoning the last of the buttons.

 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. –Psalm 46:1

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Puzzling


Last week Lin related a bit of the good time she had while her daughter, Em, was home for a few days.  Among other things, they worked a puzzle which we had sent to them.  She called it, I believe, a "hellish" puzzle.  It was difficult, the frustration deriving in large part from the fact that too many pieces "almost" fit into the space, but not quite.

Well, I would be remiss if I did not relate the fact that Lin reciprocated the challenge by sending this puzzle to us.  It was difficult, too, possibly even "hellish," although I suspect we would need to ask Lin for her definition of the term.  The difficulty of this one lay, in my opinion, in the bizarre shapes of the pieces, such that it was difficult to look at a space, then hold the "shape" in ones head long enough to find the corresponding piece.

Each puzzle in this exchange was a thousand piece gem.  Good deal.

Thanks for the fun time, Lin!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wired!

Wherein the lady's purchases makes work for her man.  Electrifying!

The second day at the sawmill left me to pull off and stack by myself, because Red Hurd had a prior commitment.  But Grandpa was there, brighter than a penny and chirkier than Pollyanna.  "Waal," he enthused, "Old Sol'll be up in a minute.  God has started His day; we best be gettin' ours started."

"Grandpa, your enthusiasm is less contagious than it is irritating at this hour."

"Lad, you are in for a miserable and probably difficult life, you don't re-adjust your attitude."

"Aw," I replied, "you know I'm only funning with you."

"Yeah, I know.  But I'm tellin' the truth.  Come on, let's fire up that mill."

It was a smooth morning of good work, even if we were short-handed.  We finished the last log just before eleven o'clock.  We all sat down by the pump, had us each a long draught of cool water.  Uncle Jep said, "Sam, you din't finish tellin' whut Mary and Margaret bought over to Lamar thet day."  Grandpa and I both near fainted, we were so taken aback.  Could this be, that Jep Miller was asking someone else to spin a yarn?  Seems it was, for he said, "Go on, now, Sam.  We been waitin' since yestiddy to get the wherefores of your tale."

"Waal, I told you the womenfolk got in the truck, and Mary tells me to drive on over to the loading dock at the Mercantile.  So I did it.  There was a stack of boxes yea high waitin' for us.  Mark Todd was standing there with the lading recipe for me to sign.  The first box warn't too heavy, maybe twenty, twenty-five pound.  The next two were real light.  Now what could that be?  Those women haven't been hornswoggled into buying two boxes of air, have they?  The next five boxes were middlin' to heavy, like machinery, I'd say.

Waal, there's nothin' for it but that I tell you what those gals had done.  The first box was dry goods and notions, enough material, threads and ribbons to keep their sewing projects going for who knows how long.  The two "airy" boxes, no, not air, but foolishments, nevertheless, but don't ye ever tell Mary or Margaret I said that.  Hats.  They each bought a new hat.  Why, what is the world comin' to, woman spend a man's hard-earned cash on such frivolous things."

"Where you been, Sam?" asked Uncle Jep.  "Women been purely attracted to folderol since Rachel put Laban's idols in her kip.  But get on with it.  Whut was in the heavy boxes?"

"That is the part you won't believe.  Now Mary went and bought a new Zenith Farm Radio, Tombstone model.  Said she couldn' afford to pass it up, as they was offerin' a Wincharger* for only fifteen dollars with purchase of the radio."

"So how much did it cost you for the radio and all?"  I in my impertinence interjected.

"I'm comin' to that," Grandpa growls.  "I swan, this younger generation have no patience at all."  Anyway, the radio was thirty dollars.  I mean, do you know how long it takes a man to accumulate thirty dollars?  Then there was the fifteen for the charger.  And then, then you have to have warr, and staples, and insulators and all thet electrical mumbo jumbo.  And it were all in there, too, because that salesman really knew what he was doin'.  "How far," he said, "is it from the house to the toolshed?"

"Oh," Mary replied, "see that lamppost on the other side the street, down there in front of Mode o' Day?  About that far."

"Good, then.  You'll need about 130 feet of wire.  I'll give you 150, anything longer than five feet you don't need, we'll refund.  Six insulators, box of staples.  You are all set to go then.  Sam will get a kick out of this."

"Well, of course I growled some," continued Grandpa, "like what in the name of Sam Hill do we need with a radio?"  Well, she told me, and I've said no more about it.  Set to work and installed the little tower on top the tool shed, ran the wire.  Neat job I did, too.  Charger not only take care of the battery for the radio, I hung a old headlight from that Essex we dumped by the creek.  Put 'er up right there in the kitchen.  Why, it is just like daylight there in the kitchen of an evenin'.  Radio reception?  You would not believe the places we can listen to after the sun goes down, and Mary so enjoys the foolishments that are on that thing of an afternoon.  Well, a man shouldn't deprive his lady person of a few little pleasures in life.  Lord knows she works her fingers to the bone around the place."

*Many companies made wind chargers for battery operated electrical equipment on the farm in the day prior to rural electrification.  Wincharger Corporation of Sioux City, Iowa was one of the premier manufacturers of wind powered chargers.  In 1934, executives of the Zenith Radio Corporation made a visit to the factory, placed an order for 50,000 units and took 51% interest in the company.  Go here for more.

© 2014 David W. Lacy




Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Better to Hear You With


Wiener has been with us for five months now.  I believe we have all adapted to the new circumstances.  He is a very well-behaved dog, doing what he wants to do for the most part.  The biggest problem is that these two elderly people haven't the energy to frolic with the dog as much as he would like, and thus he gets bored.  How does he handle that?  He gets in his bed and sleeps. Then BBBH feels guilty and says, "He sleeps way too much."  I can think of worse things.

He was walking across the floor with both ears flopped back over his head, so I asked him to stop and pose.  He did.  He often has one ear or the other back over his head, but seldom both at the same time. I thought it quite funny.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Great-grandfather


I have three images of my great-grandfather, Samuel Harvey Morell.  Mr. Morell was born in 1847. The picture on the left is from a family portrait taken in the first decade of the 20th century.  The photographer in those days hauled his equipment to the home.  Ma and Pa each brought a kitchen chair into the yard, the photographer clustered the kids around them in a supposedly artistic arrangement, and shot the picture.  Grandfather would have been about sixty in this pose.

The center picture is another photographer-visits-the-home work taken some time later, so we will guess Samuel to be somewhere in his seventies.  The picture on the right is known to have been taken in 1937.  It is a snapshot.  It was taken on his 90th birthday in January.  He died in April, having spent his entire life in Scott County, Virginia.

I met my great-grandfather when I was less than a year old.  Of course I do not remember that.  I wrote a bit about his family here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What It's Cracked Up to Be

I go upstairs to get ready for bed after watching the local news.  Well, the first twenty minutes of it-- I bail when they start talking about professional sports.  So I walk into my bathroom, flip on the light, and there looking out at me as I look into the mirror. . .

AAARGH! I yell, as I rush to the railing on the landing overlooking the great room where BBBH is seated on a sofa reading, as is her wont.  She, a bit startled, starts to rise from the sofa.  "What's wrong?" in an anguished tone of voice.

"I looked into the mirror and there is this terribly ugly and hideous old man in there looking back at me!  Wrinkles, no, gullies and arroyos at the corners of his eyes, the Christmas eyes encased in purple bags, crevices in the forehead."  Long, sustained groan.

She, being who she is, attempts to reassure me with comforting lies.

And I go ahead and brush my teeth and get in bed.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Zerubbabel's Band

Last week we saw in the Book of Ezra that King Cyrus was releasing the people of Jerusalem to return to their city, to rebuild the walls and the temple.  In chapter two we get a peek at the motley assortment of those inhabitants as they make their way back home.

Statistical rundown:

congregation 42360
servants 7337
singers 200
horses 736
mules 245
camels 435
asses 6720

This suggests that there were 42360 citizens of Israel in the band.  The 7337 "servants" were possibly slaves or indentured workers, not Jewish by birth.  The singers, 200 in number, were an essential element of worship, I mean we expect a choir when we attend services-- or at least we did before the platform was turned into a stage, replete with drum set, amplifiers, and other noisemakers.  (Gaah! I get sidetracked so easily.  Function of my age?)  If you enjoy genealogy, there is a world of it there in Ezra, chapter two.

The balance of the tally is self-explanatory, yet I have often wondered, inasmuch as we are advised that all scripture is given for edification, just exactly what I am to derive by way of spiritual growth in knowing how many camels and equines accompanied this band in its return to their homeland.  In a sentence, if teaching a Sunday school class, I think it close enough to say there were fifty thousand people and 8000 beasts of burden.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

DST

Daylight Saving Time (United States) 2014 begins at 2:00 AM on
Sunday, March 9
which is great, because the clock on the car radio will be in agreement with convention again-- for six months.  (But nevertheless, the whole concept is stupid, imo.  It is particularly noxious because we live in a state that observes geographically incorrect time zone anyway, such that we are really on "daylight savings time" all the time.  Except when we are on double daylight time.  Check it out here.) 

Signs of Spring at Chez vanilla

Besides resetting the clocks tonight.

Friday, March 7, 12;47 p.m.  BBBH:  "There's a robin in our yard!"  Indeed there was.

1:45 - 2:30  It is 62o outside.  Really.  Vanilla is in the yard picking up sticks and branches that have lain on, in, and under the snow for many weeks.  Well, some longer than others, for they came down over a protracted period of time.  Some of the sticks had been lightened by the removal of the bark by the starving bunnies.  Glad we could help feed the poor little things.

2:32 p.m.  As he was walking toward the street, vanilla observed an F-250 flying down the road.  It stopped at the other end of the block.  Stop sign.  But then.  Then the driver puts the vehicle in reverse and flies back up the street, passing me at a pretty good hickory. Gets to cross street, stops.  Backs into said street.  To turn around?  Nay, not so.  To back the entire block down the street to the next street.  Then he backs a block up that street, a block back toward our street, and finally puts it in "forward" and proceeds out of sight to the north.  Signs of Spring everywhere, I tell ya.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Making Boards

Wherein Grandpa assumes the role of storyteller.  The Old Uncle is less than thrilled.

Grandpa and Red pulled up in Red's red International as I was toting the last two pails of milk from the barn to the separator in the cellar.  Aunt Grace was turning out the last of the previous load as I poured the next bucket in.

Uncle Jep had let the cows out the stanchions and opened the gate to the east pasture.  He and I strolled over to the saw where Grandpa was checking the belts and levers.  "'Bout time you got around.  Been sleepin' in?"

I glanced to the east and saw that the sun was an exact semi-circle on the edge of the earth, knew it was just a smidge before five-thirty.  How many cows you milked this morning?" I asked.

"You may never live long enough to milk as many cows as I have.  You are a bit impertinent, talking to your grandfather like that.  I done been over to Red's this morning, and we already reconnected his windmill shaft where the bolt broke last night.  Enough sass.  Let's get to work."

I won't bore you with the details.  Grandpa is a cracker-jack sawyer.  We all buck the logs onto the carriage, Grandpa and Uncle turn and set them, then Grandpa grabs his levers and BUZZ-ZZZ.  Red and I carry off and stack the boards.

Eleven o'clock Aunt Grace bustles down to the sawmill.  "All y'all on up to the kitchen, now.  Vittles on the table."  I hit the kill switch on the engine, and we all trudged up to the house  where we washed up at the tub by the back door.  The five of us settled in at the table and relished Aunt Grace's scrumptious meatloaf with mashed taters and gravy, green beans she had picked from the garden just yesterday.  Pie, of course.  Cherry this time.

"Did I ever tell you about the time Mary's mother, Margaret came out here and stayed and stayed?" Grandpa asked as we scooted back to relax a few minutes before we went back to work.

"You mean the time you messed with her shoes, 'n then she went home on account a Marvin broke his foot?"  Uncle Jep, of course.  "Man, that woman is a stayer, fer sure.  I recollect. . ."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Jeptha Miller.  You jump in and steal someone else's story.  And no, I'ma not talkin' about shoes.  Mary says to me one evening, "Mama and I are going into Lamar tomorrow.  I reckon that Double A truck will haul the three of us."

So I says, says I, "Then you and your mama are expecting me to drive you into town."

"Yes, " and she blew out the lamp.  Well, I lyin' there thinkin' all the things I had planned for tomorrow gonna have to move to another day, 'cause there is no arguin' with those two when they have made up their minds.

Bright clear morning, not going to be too hot, probably won't get much over ninety.  We drove on over to Lamar, and I am going right down Main Street.  When we get to Olive, Mary says, "You just pull over here and let us out.  Pick us up right here in two hours.  That's not two hours and ten minutes.  Hear?  And go on and do what old men do while hanging around town.  And don't go over to the pool hall, either."

"Well, she knew full well I'd go over to the pool hall.  Now I hadn't shot any pool in a coon's age, but I hadn't lost the touch, either."

Uncle Jep's mill been plugged long as he can stand, so he pipes up and says, "Didja whup up on ol' Harley Dice?  Man, he needin' his ears pinned back."

"Matter of fact," says Grandpa, "I did give him a couple games of eight ball.  Cleaned his clock, too."

"Take any of his money?" asked Red.

"Six, eight dollars," replied Grandpa.  "It was just for fun, doncha know.  Well, I am back at Main and Olive right on the dot.  Those two ladies just rounding the corner from the Mercantile.

They get in the truck and Mary says, "Just drive on around back to the loading dock at the Mercantile."

"There's words to strike fear into a man's heart, believe me.  And oh, my, in this case it were justified fear.  But story time is over for now.  We gotta get back on the saw.  Still have logs begging to be sliced."

© 2014 David W. Lacy






Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Grist for the Mill

Playtime: 35 seconds.

The stories I garnered while we were sawing lumber have been written and are ready to post, and thus it is that one needs to prepare another tale. I find that my mill is turning, but there is no grist.  As I ponder this sorry state of affairs, suddenly I hear, as though he were sitting in the lounger opposite me, the voice of the Old Uncle.





Uncle Jep went on to fill me in on Aunt Ida's life in the City.

Yes, Uncle, thank you.  I think that may get me started.



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Testimony of Cyrus

Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.  --Ezra 1:2 KJV 
(Known as Cyrus's Edict of Restoration)

Cyrus the Great, "King of the Four Corners of the World" ruled the Achaemenid Empire from 559 B.C. until his death in 530 B.C.  His rule encompassed the land between the Mediterranean and the Indus River, the largest empire known to man up until that time.

Interesting how God used a gentile, a powerful world ruler, to effect His purposes for His people.  Reckon He still uses people who are not necessarily His followers to accomplish His ends these days?