Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May Baskets

Children, chances are that were I to say "May basket" you would have no clue.  Here you go, then.  It was in the deep, dark recesses of time past, in that time before there were smart phones, that time before television.  Yes, my dears, there was such a time, and I was eyewitness to that age.  What did one do with himself?  Heavens to Murgatroyd, life must have been a drag.

So you might think.  But that was not the case at all.  Children living in a neighborhood, and that could encompass an area of several square blocks, would gather together and play.  Play?  Yes, play. They would organize themselves, themselves, I tell you, into teams and get up a game of softball. They would play hide-and-go-seek, Red Rover, kick-the-can, or, oh, there were so many games to play!  Quieter activities might include marbles or jacks, hopscotch, I Spy, but now you once again have no clue.

Then on a mid-Spring day we would celebrate May Day.  While the adolescent children might focus on dressing in spring finery and twirling round a Maypole, the younger set would engage in innocent and artistic activities such as the preparation of May baskets.

First, one gets his (or her) crayons, paper, and mucilage.  Nevermind, school paste will do.  After one has made the basket, she (or he) gathers some nice fresh, green grass with which to line the basket.  Then the flowers are gathered.  First of May.  Perhaps a jonquil, if there is one in our own yard-- never steal garden flowers from a neighbor.  Otherwise, some nice, bright dandelions.  A few violets.  See them there, springing up in the grass?  Perhaps some blossoms from the crabapple tree.  Arrange these pretties in the basket.  Now you are ready.

Right after supper and just before dark, twilight, I think it is, we select (in our mind) the recipient of the basket.  We slip across the street, up the sidewalk, and go to the front door of the house.  We hang the basket carefully on the doorknob, or if that is not possible, we set it carefully on the porch in front of the door.  Then, and this is key, then we KNOCK loudly and RUN off the porch and hide behind the hedge were we can watch, but not be seen.

The perplexed householder will look around, look down, espy the basket, and a beautiful smile will brighten his or her countenance!  Or so we hope.

A successful and happy May Day!

Kids, on the next page there are pictorial directions for building a May Basket!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

White Mouse

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Nancy Wake 1912 - 2011 RIP

Last week we looked briefly at The Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, and his contemporaries during the conflict known as WWI.  Moving along, this week we take a peek at a heroic participant during WWII.  Today is the anniversary of the return to French soil via parachute of Nancy Wake, resistance leader, spy, soldier par excellence.  Ms. Wake was known as "The White Mouse" and at one point had a five million franc price on her pretty head, courtesy the German Gestapo.

There will be no lengthy essay here, for her deeds have been well-documented, and I could not do justice to her exploits or her life.

Look it up.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Time is of the Essence

The rotation of the earth on its axis by which we mark the hours of the day is more or less constant.  But the perception of the passage of time varies significantly from person to person, from time of life to time of life.  Those interminable days of innocence when we were yet immortal and indestructible are long past for some of us, and the days pass swiftly, from hour to hour, and week after week.
However, here I wish to address a management technique for the passage of time which is apparently confined to the distaff members of our society.

For a woman in the store, and to the man waiting on the bench, or in the car, the number of ticks of the clock is exactly the same from the time they separated until the moment they reconnect.  But the sense of the passing of time remains a constant for the man.  The woman, on the other hand, has a capacity to “turn off” the passage of time.  She is totally unaware, even though her beloved may have remarked on parting, “Don’t be long.”

I do not think the lady deliberately makes a choice to prolong her mission.  But I do think that she has trained her mind from her youth up to shut off the internal clock when she is engaged in certain activities.  She has accomplished this with such finesse that she does not need to consciously order the stopping of the temporal calculator: it kicks off automatically when she steps before a mirror to “prep herself" or when she steps into a store on a shopping expedition, be her goal clothing, groceries, or paint, and nails and screws.  It matters not.  The two hours her man waits for her is no more than mere, unmeasured moments in her mind.

Perhaps I have not put this well, but there is not a married man alive who does not relate to what I am attempting to convey, nor is there a married woman alive who will not claim it is her man who has a faulty sense of the passage of time.*  Sorry, Honey.

*"I really hurried, because I knew you were waiting."



Sunday, April 27, 2014

God's Overlooked Marvels



Discounting the quality of the photography, please note that the penny is nestled among teeny, tiny blue flowers in the lawn.  The blooms are smaller than forget-me-not, and how oft might I have overlooked them, I know not.
The flowers are quite exquisite, should you get close enough to examine them.  Blue-violet petals, white center with yellow stamens.
We tend to ignore such specimens in favor of the much, much larger and gaudier pansies, and we are even likely to notice the dandelions in their gaudy sunshine splendor.
Yet this begs the question, why did the Creator provide such pretty yet such small beauties that they normally fall outside the range of our perception?
I fancy that I know the answer.


The elves and fairies, and perhaps the gnomes as well, live beneath the glorious blossoms of which we are so fond, never having the pleasure of their full beauty, as they are merely shade to them, the firmament, so to speak, beneath which they live.
So God has provided for them wonderful beauties, proportionate to their own size, and He has placed them at their level, such that they may enjoy them in their completeness.

So step lightly; if you were to crush the flowers, they will spring back.  But above all, do not walk on the wee inhabitants for whom they were made.

It is probable that the plants I enjoyed here in the lawn 
yesterday afternoon are corn speedwell.  My neighbors
haven't the flowers in their lawns that I have in mine,
for they pay some guy to spread chemicals around their
yards.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Grammar Lesson Mid-Term Exam

The following brief essay appears without standard punctuation
Here is a handful of punctuation marks which you may select and use as you see fit

" . . ."   " "  "  ' ' ' ' , , , , , ,  . . . . .  ! !  - - -   ; ; ; ;  : :  (  )  ? ? ?  Discard any you don t need

A few days ago I presented a grammar lesson which elicited some comments that reassure me  I am not the only person whose take away from English classes was minimal nor am I the only one for whom placement of punctuation marks is somewhat a mystery  Yet having read after these people I am convinced that their communication skills are quite adequate as I hope mine are  I find it amusing therefore to attempt an essay albeit brief sans punctuation  One wonders if in future grammarian will no longer be a career possibility for the aspiring young Likely though the role will not disappear completely as we shall always need disciplines by which we attempt to impose standard behaviors on the young  I am not saying this is a bad thing nor am I saying it is a good thing  I am just saying

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dancin' at the Grange

Did I ever tell you 'bout the time Shorty Jenkins whup Nate Skinner?  Shorty, ever'body call him Shorty so long, twel no one rightly know him by ary other name.  Waal, he were short.  Sometime people tag a moniker like "Shorty" on some tall drink a water, or they mought call a man-mountain "Pee Wee," sorta sarcastic in a funny kind a way, ef you know whut I mean.  But Shorty, he were short.  Stand maybe five-two in his work boots.  Prolly weight 97 pound, but he warn't a weaklin', no sir.  He were a powerful man, an' ever'one in these parts know thet.  I one time saw him move a upright pi-ana offa his truck into his house by hisself.  Offered to he'p, an' he on'y grin and say, Stand back, Gramps, 'n I'll l'arn you a thang or two.

So anyhow Shorty's wife, Tressa, even now in her forties, is a moughty fine figger of a woman.  She know hit, but she is modest, don't flaunt herself none, and Shorty know hit, and he accept thet the fellas is gonna wanna spend time talkin' to Tress when they are out to a social or whatever.  'N he don't mind, on account he know she is goin' home with him.  She never give a fella any wrong notions, an' she never give Shorty any cause to worry.  They got four boys, 'n ary one an 'em could pass for "Shorty, Junior," an' they got that girl, Alana, right in the middle a'n 'em, 'n she is purtier than a pitcher, her mama all over again.

So Nate, he come over here f'um Wichita, or maybe Tulsa, I fergit right now, but the thing is he warn't f'um around these parts.  Now Nate was a bit of a looker, an' he fancy hisself to be the cat's pajamas, doncha know.  So he been aroun' here oh, maybe five-six months, not long enough to know much, or to be much known, 'n he decide to go over to the dance on Sattidy night, a good enough thing to do, on account a near ever'one would be there.  Waal, to shorten this up a bit, Tressa dancin' with Jake Waters, 'n at the time, Shorty was sittin' in with the band, Prairie Ramblers, hit were.  Shorty play a right mean fiddle, an' all the bands around know him and ask him to he'p them make some music.  So Tressa capture Nate's eye as he were awatchin' the merriment.

So after th' number, Tressa havin' some lemonade and laughin' it up with some a th' gals, Nate saunter over and inject hisself into the group, so to speak.  After awhile amongst much laughter and banter, a number or two gone by, the band strike up one a them waltzy thangs, 'n Nate say to Tressa, he say, "Mought I have the honor of this dance?"

"Why, certainly, Sir, I would be delighted."

So then they are on the floor dancin', when of a sudden Tress break away f'um Nate and flounce offa th' floor.  Shorty f'um the stage see that purty yella dress, the teeny, tiny waist, all those crinolines underbeneath a th' skirt, the one allus make his heart go pit-a-pat, go a swingin' over to'rd the punch bowl.  Nate just ahind her; but Shorty get to her afore Nate did.

"What's goin' on?" Shorty ask.  Now he know hit ain't usual fer Tressa to leave the floor middle a dance.

"Nothin', really,"  Tress smile at him, but he ha'n't been married to her twenty-five year an' he not know somethin' happen out there.

"Aw, c'mon now," Nate clomp up 'n chime in, "you know I was on'y funnin' with you."

"Okay, Mr. Fun Times, whut did you do yonder?" Shorty.

"Let hit go, Godfrey, hit were no big deal."  I never hear Tress, nor nobody else, fer that matter, call Shorty "Godfrey."  Godfrey.  No wonder ever'one call him Shorty.

"No," Shorty assert, "I will know right now what happen."

"He only suggest we go outside and 'get some air,'" say Tressa, looking Nate square in the eye when she say it.

"Yeah," Nate say, "an' whut bidness is it of your'n anyhow?"

Shorty square his shoulders and rear up to his full five foot two, look up a foot into Nate's eye an' say, "You invite my wife outside, you invite me outside.  Le's go.  Now."

"Wait a minute; wait a minute."  That's Preacher chimin' in.  "No use anyone gettin' hurt.  Apologize to this fine couple, Oklahoma."

"Say whut?  Apologize to this meddlin' fiddle sawyer?  I'll stuff him down the middle hole in yon outhouse!   Ow-w-w-w!"  For by this time Shorty had Nate's right arm twist ahind Nate's back, hand plumb up atween his shoulders, and was amarchin' him to'ard th' door.

As the two combatants plunge thoo th' open door, Shorty use his left boot to pro-pel Nate eight-ten feet ahead, where the lummox land on his face in the dirt.  Shorty atop him in a trice.  "Who is astuffin' who where?" holler Shorty as he pull the left arm up, up, "Ow-w-w-w!"

"Sorry!" holler Oklahoma.  "Hit won't happen again."

"See thet hit don't.  An' be keerful who you messin' with aroun' these parts.  Learn to mind yer manners, if'n you have any, an' you'll get along jes' fine."

Shorty go back into the hall, walk up onto the stage and pick up his fiddle.  As he pull the bow across the strings, he look across the floor to spot thet gorgeous thang in the lovely yella dress, she a sashayin' with Rex Wilson.

I reckon Nate went on home.

© 2014 David W. Lacy



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Grammar Lesson Comma Again

For one who aspires to write, yet one who largely ignored the instruction offered in his various English classes in his youth, it seems it is never too late to learn.  Commas, their usage and placement, have long been a mystery to me.  I have used them freely when the need seems apparent to me, and I have used them on occasion when I was in doubt, though as a general rule when in doubt I leave them out.  Now, however, I am working at the task of learning proper comma usage with respect to appositives.  It seems, one may learn if he applies himself to a grammar text, that there are two types of appositives: non-restrictive and restrictive.

In the case of the non-restrictive appositive commas are required to set the word or phrase of which it consists apart from the rest of the sentence.

  •   Example:  The dog, a brindle shepherd, greeted us at the gate.

As you see in this example, the phrase “a brindle shepherd” serves to describe the dog, but it is not necessary to the sense of the statement, for the sentence “The dog greeted us at the gate” makes sense without the descriptor.  Non-restrictive appositive.

In the case of the restrictive appositive, the sentence requires the appositive in order to convey the thought. No commas are used.

  •   Example:  The book The Da Vinci Code written by Dan Brown is based on a false premise.


Here we have that the appositive “The Da Vinci Code” is required to convey the writer’s message.  Dan Brown has written many other books.  Restrictive appositive.

(Or is the appositive "The Da Vinci Code written by Dan Brown"?  Oh, snap.  Well, no commas in either event.
(Or is the phrase "written by Dan Brown" a non-restrictive appositive within an appositive? And if so should the sentence read: The book the Da Vinci Code, written by Dan Brown, is based on a false premise."?

Thus I have demonstrated my lack of grammatical knowledge.  Do you see why I paid little attention in class?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Rabbits

Sometime during that time frame in which I was between seven and ten years of age, Sister always two years my junior, we had rabbits.  My clever male parent, I see in retrospect, determined to raise rabbits for the purpose of consumption of same at our dinner table.  Ever the one to kill as many birds as he could with one stone,  Dad acquired two adult does of breeding age.  I think in the case of rabbits that that is almost anytime after the bunny is weaned.  But I digress.  Now the father had constructed two very nice hutches and placed them at the back of the property, next to the outhouse.  But he did not throw the rabbits into their new homes and start raising bunnies.  No.  He "gave" a doe to me and one to my sister.

How wonderful is this?  Now, each child has a "pet" rabbit, along with the requisite care one must bestow on a pet.  You see how this works? Already, Dad not only has breeding stock for table meat, he has caretakers for the project, caretakers who can "learn" responsibilities and the routines that accompany them.  Oh, no one ever said my father was not a clever man.

Now, you might ask, "But how, with only two does, are you to obtain offspring?"  Why that is the easiest thing in the world.  The neighbor directly across Seventh Street from our house had rabbits of his own, and he had a buck!  This buck would visit our rabbits, betimes.  And always, always a month after the visit, both does would have a litter of offspring.  These were not pets, no matter how cute they were.  They were Dad's property.  The upside of that is that he took care of turning them into meat, stretching and hanging their hides and so on.  And after Mama worked her magic, we enjoyed them at the dinner table!

My pet was a beautiful gray rabbit, blue eyes and of the sweetest disposition any animal ever had.  Sis's rabbit was a white doe, pink eyes and schizophrenic.  That is not an official APA diagnosis, it is my conclusion in retrospect after observing her behavior for two or three years.  The night she had her first litter, she gnawed her way out of her hutch, carried her babies to the nearby sweet corn patch and buried them.  This warned Father that in future he would be required to remain alert to the birthing process so that he could remove the infants from harm's way.  This also meant that my lady bunny had to double up on nursing responsibilities, and sometimes that meant as many as 22 children to care for.

Fortunately, we took no rabbits with us when we moved.  But chickens were in our future.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Red Baron

I have never been a fan of "war stories"and have read little on the topic outside the history books.  I have not been unaware of the human proclivity of man to off his fellow-man.

At any rate, as the anniversary of the death of the noted "Red Baron" approached, I did a bit of reading, just to remind myself that war not only is, but has always been, hell.



Curse you, Red Baron!

Manfred von Richthofen had 80 certified "kills" and probably many more, totaling perhaps more than one hundred.  This is the most kills of any WWI fighter pilot on either side of the conflict.  The next five had, respectively, 75, 72, 61, 60, and 57 confirmed "kills"  with probably a significant number more not confirmed by the records.

What does it tell us?  Six men destroyed more than 400 planes, and each man was regarded as a hero. Killing is heroic.  Some killing is heroic.  Whether one is a hero or a villain when he kills is dependent not upon the taking of a human life, but upon when and where, and how, the killing took place.

Von Richthofen met his demise over the Somme on April 21, 1918.  Whether the shot that took his life was from the ground or from the air has been disputed and debated for the better part of a century, and books have been written about it.

Allied Major Blake organized a funeral  with full military honors for von Richthofen.  One of the wreaths presented by a fighter squadron was inscribed "To Our Gallant and Worthy Foe." 

The baron lived twenty-five years.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

O! Happy Day!

Up from the grave He arose,

With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,

He arose a Victor from the dark domain,

And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.

He arose! He arose!

Hallelujah! Christ arose!

--Robert Lowry, 1826 - 1899


Pedro, Juan y Maria Magdalen en el sepulcro vacio
Jaime Dominguez Montes


He died that you might be saved. He arose that you might live with Him eternally!

Happy Easter!


Saturday, April 19, 2014


Low in the grave He lay—
  Jesus my Savior!
Waiting the coming day—
  Jesus my Lord!

--Robert Lowry

Friday, April 18, 2014


 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. --I John 3:16

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tennessee Reunion

I mention a while ago thet my cousin, Harvey Loughmiller stop by to visit.  Did I tell you about the fambly reunion he thow fer ever'body back in '28?  Waal, Harvey, he decide that all the fambly should get together, rebind the fambly ties, ya see.  So he start invitin' one 'n all to his farm over by Caney Creek.  Harvey have him a amazin' spread over there.  Hundreds of acres, he has accumulated, hills and hollers, timber and bottoms, and he has prospered, that would be the word for hit.

Well, gettin' the word out, fambly scattered 'round as they were, got to be a problem fer him and his wife, May Dean.  So he decide to take out ads in the newspapers, had hit printed up in Rogersville, in Kingsport, in Stone Gap and Newport.  Run it in Bristol, too, an' for the Lockmillers what go to Texas, and the Millers now out here, he send invitations to all he could locate.

His ad say, "Big Family Reunion! to be held at the home of Harvey and May Dean Loughmiller, September 1,2,3, Caney Creek Farm, Rogersville, Tennessee.  Bring your musical instruments, your tents and blankets, and bring your big, open and loving hearts.  Loughmillers, Lockmillers, Millers, Whitacres, and Whitakers, all descendents of Jephthah Loughmiller should be here!

"Shucks, if you are a friend of any of the Jephthah Loughmiller clan, come along too.  Plenty of space for everyone's tent, and plenty of food for everyone!"

Well, sir, near as we could figure they were three hundred seventeen people there!

Harvey had put his har'd hands to work gettin' the place ready.  They had fix parkin' space for a hunnert cars, they had dug latrines and set up extry outhouses.  Set up a dormitory in the barn loft for them as din't have tents.  Th' old ones would stay in guest rooms in the main house.   They prepare pits for hog roastin' 'n I believe they go through five, maybe six hogs.  May Dean an' all the cousins who live in Hawkins County pitch in an' prepare baked goods twel you would not believe.  Bread, pies, an' cookies by the hunnerts.

Reconnectin', that's what hit's all about!  Why, catchin' up with kin! Little kids from near-newborns to great-grandpas.  The oldest ones there was the Elspeth Whitacre granddaughters, 94 year ol' twins, they was.

Entertainment?  Oh, my.  Hill people allus been able to make they own.  Mandolins, fiddles, dulcimers, ever' sort a string instrument, many build by the musician whut play 'em.  Singers!  Lord 'a mercy, thet clan were blessed with voices to thrill th' angels.  The Lockmillers from Texas had a quartet, sing in closest harmony you ever hear!  An' my uncle, Rumford Miller, baritone voice transport you to heaven. Anyway, the music go on day 'n night. Townfolk drive out ta hear the music!

Excitement?  Waal, you might imagine the thrill of seein' uncles an' cousins you ha'n't see in ages.  An' sport?  Baseball fer ever'one 'n games fer the kids.  See thet horseshoe nailed above the barn door there?  Thet there is my trophy fer winnin' the horseshoe pitchin' contest.  Hah!  Fool them ol' buzzards, I did.  I allus been purty good at shoes, an' I kep' my hand in over the years.  You know that, boy; I whup up on you right frequent, don't I?

The best show, though, were put on by Cousin Abe Miller f'um over to Rye Cove an' Cousin Marvin Lockmiller from Dothan, Alabama.  The singin' were goin' on, prolly a hunnert people gathered 'round listenin'.  The group whut tuk the stage jes lay a finishin' touch on "Wildwood Flower."  I tell ya, those folk over on the Holston got nothin' on this fambly, come to singin'.  Waal, sir, Abe 'n Marvin were standin' to'rd the back the crowd.  Standin' nose to nose, they were, an' they voices startin' to gettin' louder 'n louder, twel when the music stop, they coulda been heard to Rogersville.  Marvin screamin' "Anyone vote for Hoover is a mo-ron!"  An' Abe come back with, "Who you callin' a moron?"

Hunnert or more eye witnesses by now, an' yet not one could ever say who thow the first fist.  But go at it?  I guess not!  They was punchin' an' kickin', grabbin', and dreckly they was rollin' on the groun', clench in a death struggle, bitin' 'n clawin', an', no lie, still hollerin'.  Now it was "Say Uncle!"  'n "Hah! You say Uncle!" So four five a th' ol' uncles finely separate 'em.  They stagger to the well an' bathe they wounds 'n by the time they was breathin' steady again, they was best pals.  Hang out with one another along of they wives the whole rest of the party.

We wind it all up Labor Day afternoon, all gather together, hold hands in a big ol' double ring and sing "Will the Circle be Unbroken."

© 2014 David W. Lacy

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Where is Jiggs?

I suppose I was nine years of age.  I know I was not yet ten, for just before my tenth birthday we moved some forty-five miles up the road to a city.  I walked each day to school, walked home for lunch, and walked back to school for the afternoon session.  Then I walked home. Each trip was some seven city blocks, or possibly half-mile in standard units.  The two-mile exercise each day did not hurt the kid.  In fact, it was doubtless the most exercise this kid got, for he was much more likely to be curled up with a book than to be out and about.  But this story is about the dog.

One of the first things on the agenda when arriving at the house was the greeting by the faithful pet.  But one day, Old Jiggs did not show when I arrived home for lunch.  Then.  Then Old Jiggs failed to show up that afternoon, nor was he home before my bedtime.  The desultory conversation alluded obliquely to the fact that no one could imagine what happened to Jiggs.

The next evening at supper, the four of us sitting sedately at table, as was our wont, I was fiddling with the food, stirring potatoes with fork, scraping peas back and forth, but putting little or nothing in my mouth.  A lot of silence around the table.  I finally stated, in my pensive way and with a tentative question in my tone, "I've been thinking.  I think Old Jiggs is dead."

Dad looked up, said, "What would you say if I were to tell you Old Jiggs is dead?"

"Is Old Jiggs dead?" I asked in a startled voice, terrified at the prospect.

Daddy laid his fork and knife across his plate, signalling the completion of his meal, and responded, "Yes, he is dead.  I found his body in the ditch two blocks up the street late last night."

Jiggs made an important contribution to my life for the two and one-half to three years he lived with us.

Rabbits.  Our next "pet" experience involved rabbits.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Really?


Yesterday
Today

Saturday: 78o 
Sunday: 78o
Monday: 68o
This morning: 29o  

Is this Mother Nature's April Fool joke?  She's late; but then, everything has been late this Spring.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jiggs

When I was a lad, perhaps six or seven years of age, a dog came to live with us.  I was never sure of the details concerning the acquisition of the beast, but I don't believe he was a stray.  I think Dad had rescued him from some circumstance from which he needed to be free and persuaded Mama that it was the right thing to do.  The dog was housebroken and a good pet, ostensibly for the kids, but there has never been any question that Jiggs was Dad's dog.

Sister and I may have been "involved" in the naming of the dog, I really don't remember.  But again, I have no doubt that the chosen name was the name Dad chose, or would have chosen.  I cannot prove this, either, as so much fades into the mists of the past, but knowing my father as I did I suspect that he lifted the name directly from the comics page in our little local newspaper.  Dad, many times over the course of his life, said, "The only thing you can believe in the newspaper is the funnies page."  And I do know for a fact that Amos Hoople, Alley Oop, and Jiggs and Maggie were among his favorite literary characters.  Hence, the dog's name was Jiggs, or as he came to be known during the two or three years of his residence with us, "Old Jiggs."

The animal was referred to as a fox terrier, and there is no doubt that his parentage was predominantly terrier.  He was mostly white, with black and brown markings.  He would have weighed perhaps twenty-five pounds.  He ate the same things the family ate, assuming there was something left for the dog.  Kidding.  He always got something to eat.  Jiggs was a good house pet, and a suitable companion for the children, both under ten years of age.  But let Mama pick up a broom, and Jiggs's tail instantly protected the underside of his body, as he crouched and slunk out of sight, could he find a place to hide.  Clearly, the dog had suffered mistreatment sometime in his life, but never at the hands of any of the occupants of our house.

Jiggs was otherwise fearless. He never offered to attack or even offend a human. Dogs, on the other hand, were all fair game, size or disposition notwithstanding.  He was an obedient dog, though. He sat on our front stoop, but he would leap down to attack a passing dog only if granted permission to do so .  One of my father's delights with this dog was to sit beside him on the top step watching the world go by. When a dog would approach, Jiggs would prick his ears, thrust his muzzle forward, raise the hackles on his back, thus announcing his intention to vanquish the would-be intruder.  As the offending outsider would pass our walk, Jiggs would start to tremble. Yet there he would stand until Dad offered the magic words:  "Sic 'im, Jiggs!"  Then like a lightning bolt unleashed from a storm cloud, the animal would explode from the porch in hot pursuit of his prey.

I vividly recall watching this tableau play out on more than one occasion when the "victim" was a St. Bernard that lived two blocks up the street, and was given to taking his morning stroll past our place. Unaccompanied. Most dogs walked themselves in that time and place, for the dogs were no doubt brighter in those days than are the namby-pamby creatures we harbor these days.  They were perfectly capable of walking themselves.  And they did.  Anyway, "Sic 'im, Jiggs!" would set Jiggs on this behemoth which no doubt weighed northward of 175 pounds.  Jiggs would burst from the yard, pursue his target, and leap upon the great Saint's back, landing on all four feet and securing his position by taking the scruff of his foe in his teeth.  The Saint would amble on, never missing a stride.  And Jiggs would persevere half or three-quarters of a block, until he heard Dad's shrill whistle, which called him home, just as that whistle would call home the Sister and I if we were out of sight at supper time.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Entry into Jerusalem


Cesare Vagirini mural
Franciscan Church
Bethphage

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Anniversary of a Tragedy

In spite of the skip-to-my-Lou, Pollyanna-everything-is-hunky-dory facade this blog presents, my life's experiences have not all been beer-'n-skittles.

Forty-nine years ago last night, we were sitting in our living room, possibly watching Ben, and Hoss, and Little Joe, and the boys, when the lights went out.

 Peru Daily Tribune, April 12, 1965
  Peru Daily Tribune                     
               Eastern High School Yearbook, Aurora

vanilla's personal photo album, 1965
White loop drawn around my classroom windows.

The 1965 Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak took 271 lives across the Midwest and caused five and one-half billion dollars in property loss.  Our family had no losses of lives or property.  Tragically, some friends and acquaintances did have.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jed Miller

Uncle Jep and I  climbed down from the roof of the new shed.  Our shingling job was blessedly finished!  There is never a good time to shingle, in my opinion.  But it is a satisfaction when it is done.  We dropped our hatchets and nail aprons on the grass and sat down on the well-curb to enjoy some of that cool refreshment from the depths.

"Did I tell you that Cousin Harvey Loughmiller drop by for a visit last week?"

"No.  You are a Miller and you have a cousin named "Loughmiller?

"Oh, indeed.  A lot an 'em.  Ha'n't I ever tell' you 'bout my kinfolk?  Well, sir, I grow up in Hawkins County and Scott County, too, a bit later on.  Now, see, the Millers, our Millers, I mean, descend f'um the Loughmillers.  So how come I'm not a Loughmiller?  Long story, but the roof is done, we have time.

"George Loughmiller come over from Holland back afore the Yew-ess-ay were a nation, 'bout 1760, folks reckon.  He land in Pennsylvania and settle there.  He have a son, Jephthah, 'n Jephthah decide  after the Revolution is over to move Westward. That is how he happen to be in Hawkins County.  He settle there, raise a family.   He have three sons, Jedidiah, Jonathan, and Jerome-- some folk say his whole name were Jereboam, I dunno, anyway, he alway call hisself Jerome.  Plus Jephthah had two daughters, Joanna 'n Elspeth.

"So Jedediah grow up and have a fambly his own, start to prosper real good.  He decide he need to learn to sign his name, as he like to buy up property now an' again, an' he din't wan make a "X" for his mark.  But he soon l'arn that writin' 'Jedediah Loughmiller' were a real chore. Not on'y that, but many people see his name call him 'Low miller,' or  'Loff miller,' 'n he get tired correcting them.  So he decide to call hisself  'Jed Miller.'  An he done hit, make hit legal, too.  Oh, he talk hit over with his brothers, 'n they's no hard feelin's, in fack Jonathan decide to call hisself  'Jonathan L-o-c-k-miller' in order to he'p people call his name aright.  Then on'y Jerome, he stay a 'L-o-u-g-h-miller.'

"Joanna and Elspeth both marry into th' Whitacre clan there in Hawkins County.  Now, Jed Miller were my great-great-grandpa, an' I have lots a Miller cousins.  But they's a whole raft a shirt-tail cousins, Loughmillers, Lockmillers, 'n Whitacres.  Had us a big ol' fambly reunion onc't, right there in Rogersville, '28, I think hit was.  Yep, '28, on account thet were the year Hoover were runnin' agin Al Smith fer President.  Oh, yes.  Smith take on'y eight states, an' Tennessee go fer Hoover, but not ever'one in that fambly gatherin' were republican.  Good times, thet get-together!

"Oh, here come your Aunt Grace.  We best be gettin' ready to put the feed bag on!"

© 2014 David W. Lacy

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Beautifying the World

Jørn Oberg Utzon, Danish architect, created many wonderful works, at least one of which everyone in the civilized world has seen, if not in its physical presence, then in a pictorial representation.

Mr. Utzon was born in 1918 and died in 2008 at age 90.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Little Gem


This little building on the southwest corner of Main and Madison is known as "The Little Gem."

This building was constructed and opened as The Little Gem Restaurant in the early 1920s, as I understand it.  That not only was nearly half-century before I moved to this community, it was also a number of years before I was born.

During my years here, it has operated as a sandwich shop, a soda fountain and ice cream store, under different proprietorships, and most recently as a beauty salon.  It is currently vacant.

The larger properties visible behind the little store and the Gem itself are apparently on the market.  Many people, myself included, hope that whoever acquires the property will preserve the landmark building.

Here is the "news" aspect of this report.  The City of Tipton is currently occupying temporary headquarters as City Hall since the demolition of the previous municipal home.  The city council is considering purchase of this property for use as City Hall and municipal utilities offices.  It has been suggested that should they do this, The Little Gem might well be preserved!  Now there is a reason for me to support this move by our leaders!



Monday, April 7, 2014

Somewhere between Louisville and Ludington

A Saturday evening in which we were shaken from the torpor of our humdrum existence lent some sparkle to our lives.

We had visitors!  Blog pal, Joan of Shark, who writes My Quality Day, and her sister-in-law, Loretta, chose to stop over in Perfect on their way home from Alabama.  We had a very enjoyable evening visiting with the ladies before sending them on their way Sunday morning.  Loretta had promised to be home in time for choir practice Sunday afternoon, so they were on the road by ten o'clock.

Thanks for including us in your travels, Sharkey.  We look forward to the next visit!



Loretta took the picture of Sharkey and me. Joan is opening her new tripod so the three of us could be included in a picture. She may post that on her blog?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Right in His Own Eyes

The final verse in the Book of Judges reads  " In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

I read into this the suggestion that without authority over them, men will do as they will.  Further, it is my opinion that most men left to their own devices and having only themselves as arbiters of right and wrong will choose the wrong all too often.

In a perfect world, one which has never been since Eden, parents would raise up their children with a code of moral behavior such that the world could indeed operate smoothly and harmoniously.

However, as Jeremiah wrote, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

Do we not live in a day and society in which it is thought that man should do whatsoever he perceives to be right in his own eyes?

Jesus gave two directives which, were they followed by all people, would resolve all our problems:
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."




Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ida Great Time

Did I ever tell you about my Aunt Ida's tarpon fishin' fo-ray down to Texas?  Waal, Aunt Ida got hooked on fishin' after her husband die, an' she spend lots a money an' even more time on the sport.  She would travel most anywhere for a good time on the lake, the ocean, or the river.  She dearly love to fish.

When Ida learn about the tarpon fishin' off Mustang Island in Texas, she would not rest easy 'til she had done thet.  So she load her best gear in her Hupmobile an' drive on over to Texas.  Now, the lady never in a hurry, an' it tuk her the better part a three week to get to Port Aransas.  She say she have some "adventures" in Atlanta, 'n more'n em in N'Orleans.  Well, she tuk the ferry over to the island and check herself into The Tarpon Inn.  Then she make her arrangements for her fishin' excursion.

Now mought nigh ever'body goin' out is usin' a Farley boat, boat built right there in thet town, design exac'ly for the sort of fishin' thet was done in them waters.  So what do you think happen the mornin' she arrive at the dock to hit the water?  They was a crowd around this one boat, and a whole crew of men come walkin' down the dock pushin' a man in a wheelchair right down to the boat next to where Ida was standin'.  You won't believe me, but as sure as my name is Jeptha Miller, hit were the President a th' Yew-nited States!  Hit was!  Ida were so excited she let out a screech, an' the man hear her, turn his head her way.  He tol' his fellas to "go fetch the little lady."  An' they did.  Tuk her right over and innerduce her ta Mr. Roosevelt!

Well, sir, Ida were so atwitter that she like to not be able ta walk back over to her boat, an' it tuk her most the mornin' to settle down enough to be able to properly take care of what she go down there for.

But that is not all th' story.  Ida catch two nice tarpon, an' when the boat come in, behol' Mr. Roosevelt's boat was comin' in, too.  As he were taken from the boat, he holler over, "Ida, how was the fishin'?"

"Caught two, Mr. President.  How'd you do?"

"Why," he says, "I caught several!"

They all go up for the weigh-in.  Ida's bigger one go seventy-nine pound.  The President's biggest were seventy-seven pound.  "The Little Lady," he says, flashin' thet big ol' grin, "is the Champeen a th' Day!"   Well, sir, Ida has always felt like the Champeen a th' World ever since thet day.

Aunt Ida sign a scale from her fish and pin it to the wall at the Tarpon Inn, alongside hundreds of others.  If'n you go there today you might find her scale should you look hard enough.  She write, "Ida great time in P.A. Texas."

©2014 David W. Lacy

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Don't Got It

The day after.


















Kidding. Not much different from 2:30 p.m. any other day.

Not posed.  I found this on the camera after the fact.  Thanks, BBBH.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I've Still Got It

Today dawned bright and clear.  It is the long-awaited day.  A balmy 55o by 10:30 turned up to 64o by mid-afternoon.

I accomplished both more and less than I had planned for the day.  I wound up doing a great deal more raking than I had planned, and a good bit less planting than I had envisioned.  There are only so many hours in a day, and only so much energy with which to complete tasks.



Following the raking came the removal of a dozen piles of sticks.

During the days of my youth, an old lady told me, "You can work hard or you can work smart.  Pick one while you are young enough to decide.  In my case, I got too soon old and too late smart."

Though I am not yet quite as old as she was then, I am old enough to understand what she was telling me.  But, I, too, am too soon old.

In my head, I heard the "quitting whistle" blow at 3:20.  It may only have been the screaming of the joints and muscles, but I took it to mean it was time to knock off for the day.  When yet a young man I worked in a factory where our quitting time was 3:30; but we were allowed to wash up on company time, so most of the guys headed to the washroom at 3:20.  Those who didn't?  They were on piece-work, turning out product by the job, by the job, by the job.  Hourly employees could not have cared less.

So then, the pay-day here is no more than the satisfaction of accomplishment.  But that is a pretty good paycheck for a fellow of my advanced years!

This is not an April Fool's joke; I really did work four or five hours yesterday.

A follow-up to the rant about video review of game calls appears over on Bob Warr.