Saturday, May 31, 2014

Big Trees

A few days ago the post was about the tuliptree.  So is this one.  This tree is about four blocks from our house.  It may be the largest tuliptree I have seen.  Note red arrow indicating the first branch above the street lamp.  What a piece of timber!

The white line through the top roughly indicates a "normal" growth pattern.  This giant was adversely affected in a storm a few years ago, and thus a branch has grown somewhat askew.


The tree to the right is directly across the avenue from the giant above.  Its shape is more the norm for the yellow poplar.  This is quite a large example in its own right.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Captain George

Did I ever tell you about your fambly's military hero?  Captain George, that would be.  Amazin' how a man rises in rank after the service is over, idn't it?  Waal, a course you don't have any idee whut I'ma talkin' about.

George was your Aunt Grace's grandfather.  Oh, yes; that would mean he was your grandma's grandfather, too, so he is your great-great grandfather, if I count aright. At any rate, George was born around 1825, so by the time hostilities were a wamin' up atween us and Mexico, this strappin' young fella decide he is fit to fight, so he join th' army, an' the army in its wisdom ship him aroun' here 'n there, have him clerkin' mos'ly.  Now I check this out with the archives, on account I had been tol' so many stories about the glory of "Cap'n George" when he serve in th' army.  His record clearly show that he rise all the way to "Private" in the service, 'n that he had a spotless record, so far as performin' his duties.

So he get out the army 'n go on back home to Hawkins County, 'n I reckon on account he served the country honorably, folk begin to call him "Cap'n."  An' it stick, twel his chilren and gran'chilren actual come to believe he was a officer in th' US Army.  People begin to tell tales of his military exploits, 'n by the time Mary an' Grace are young women, ever'one know that ol' George was a mighty hero, a fightin' man, successfully engage th' enemy and live to tell about it.

Waal, sir, you know me.  Ol' Jep Miller allus believe in honor to him to who it is due.  But th' tales was jes' a gettin' too powerful to believe, 'n thet is why I research ol' George's military history.  Now I want to take nothin' away fum th' man.  Un'erstan' that he perform his duties as they was give to him, and thet he was a honorable man.  But he never get farther fum home 'n Richmon', 'n he never engage anyone in combat, lessen he hafta protec' his personal gear in his quarters.  I dunno about thet.

So Private George in the US Army get a mighty promotion to Captain George in private life.

© 2014 David W. Lacy  32

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Liriodendron tulipifera

 During my bicycle ride this morning I noticed that the tuliptrees are in bloom.

The tuliptree, or sometimes tulip tree, also known as yellow poplar, or even canoe poplar, though it is not a poplar, is the state tree of Indiana.  They are truly lovely trees, often growing to great height, sometimes more than 30 meters, and always with a symmetrical silhouette.

I have always believed, as many say, that the tree is called "tulip tree" because the leaves resemble the shape of a tulip blossom.  Recently, though, I note that some writers are stating that
the name derives from the shape of the flower.

It is a beautiful tree, and the flowers are stunning, though they are usually above eye level, and thus go unnoticed by many people.  I snapped these two pictures of the lowest-hanging flower on a nearby tree.  The green petals with orange and yellow accents combine to make a perfect flower.  But they must be enjoyed in the now, for they do not last long.

(This particular flower is about eight feet above the ground.  I had to pull the branch down to get the interior shot.)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014


In honor of those who served, and in memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  

Photo, Memorial Day, 1938

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Rocking Chair

 We dragged the disassembled parts of the old Kroehler rocking chair from its long storage place.  Cleaned wood, ripped fabric, purchased new hardware.

Two days the kitchen, the sewing room, heck the whole house, all in a shambles as we fussed with the project.  BBBH is the skilled seamstress and upholsterer.  I am a gofer, holder, puller, tugger, and betimes, aggravator, for the suggestions I offered were not always kindly received.
But we persevered!  The project is complete, the furniture piece may now occupy a special place in our home.





We're tired, but pleased.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

God's Rubble

Did I tell you about our trip to the mountains?  Oh, yeah, I recollect I was tellin’ you we were at th' Royal Gorge.  Well, sir, that same afternoon we drive on up to Cotopaxi, find a spot by the river ‘n pitch our tent.  Got the tackle out and flung our lines in th’ river.  We catch three nice rainbows, oh, ten, eleven inches. ‘Course I caught one an 'em, ‘n Grace, she caught two.  Always have to best me, thet woman.  Waal, they was mighty fine eatin’, cook as they were in the arn skillet we bring along.  Your Aunt Grace, she make some fry-bread to go along with, an’ a han’ful a coffee in th’ ol’ tin pot asittin’ on the farr.  Moughty fine.  Mought near as good a meal I ever eat.

Son, I tell ya, sleepin’ on the ground, nothin’ but a ol’ comforter underbeneath me is no way for a feller to treat his ol’ body.  Thet will not happen again, no matter what a hotel mought cost.  So I finely get upright in the mornin’ and got the ol’ bones to move on thoo the aches ‘n pains.  We get a good start, anyway, drive on up to Salida.  Pretty little town, tho’ I can’t fer the life a me see whut for people live up there.  Nice scenery, can’t eat it.

So we drive on up to Buena Vista, lovely scenery along the way, your Aunt Grace say.  Now we are up by the headwaters our Arkansas River, it come a bubblin’ down out the mountains.  We drive on up to Leadville, that little V-8 85 workin’ it’s heart out, but she don’t falter, no sir.  Now we drive thoo the barennest places I ever see, higher, higher, climb right to the top a th’ world.  Nothin’ness ever’where ya look.  Even Grace, who see beauty in ever’thing, say, “What do you suppose the Good Lord want with so much rocks and bare lan'?”

Waal, I fancy I know th' answer to thet.  I tell her, “Hon,” I say, “the Bible say God create ever’thin' in six days, an’ He rest on the seventh.  Now he mought nigh get done with his work, ‘n he see thet th’ sun have gone down, night acomin’ on.  So he have all this leftover scrap, ‘n he gotta dis-pose of it afore dark, so He tuk and dump it all out here in the middle a Colorado!”

“You ol’ fool,” say Grace.  “Well, no; maybe  you are right this time.  I sure see no use for all these rocks."

Waal, t’make a long story short, we go on into Leadville, try to visit one a them there mines, jes’ ta see what the fuss is all about.  Prollem is, catchin’ one’s breath up there is not all thet easy.  Like ta starve for air.  Grace, she suggest we stay in thet ol’ hotel over yonder, ‘n I say I druther die on the road then to hafta stay in this place another hour.  I’ma wantin’ home really bad.  So we get in the truck an’ head on out.  Darkness catch us just past Salida, but I’ma goin’ home.  Did her, too.  Find a station in Canon, fill ‘er up, ‘n drive on thoo the night.  We get home two o’clock in th’ mornin’ and if’n I never get out the county again in my lifetime, hit will be plenty soon enough.

© 2014 David W. Lacy  31

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Snark



Yep, cruised around the lake in a Snark.  The guys with their cats might laugh, but I wasn't the one out there trying to right a capsized boat in a windstorm.

Just far enough into Spring to recall the joys of Summer.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The '41 Chrysler

Shelly suggested that I might present a story about the Chrysler I mentioned a week ago.

My father made his 1936 Ford tudor last throughout the war years.  But he very nearly ran the wheels off it, and thus by 1946 he was feeling the need for a better vehicle.  I am sure he would have liked a new car, but since Detroit had made no cars since early 1942, now that production was beginning again, everybody wanted a new car.  There were waiting lists at all dealerships which had the names of those who thought they could afford to buy new.

Someone of his acquaintance had a 1941 Chrysler Royal Club Coupe. It carried six passengers comfortably.  Father bought the car.  I think I am correct in recalling that he paid $1500 for it, or it may have been that he paid $1300, then had to spend another $200 for repairs.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that is equivalent to $18,176 in today's money.  Dad's salary that year was one hundred dollars per month, and thus he spent his income for a year and a quarter on this set of wheels.

The car was a beauty.  The picture shows the correct color, although it was not two-tone, but rather all green as the lower body.  This was the first car I ever drove.  I still remember cutting a corner too short on a right turn, running over the curb with the rear wheel.  Dad, in his calm voice, observed, "You cut the hind leg off on that one."  Good times.  My father was an excellent teacher, economy of words his style.  And that is a good thing, for I do not remember ever being "yelled at" while behind the wheel and he beside me.  He taught me how to parallel park in one lesson on a street in downtown Boulder, Colorado.  By following his instructions, which I still follow to this day, I parked it correctly on the first pass.  Still can do.

This was to be the story of the '41 Chrysler, and look.  I have already made it about me.

It was, I think, in summer 1949 and Mother and Father were on their way to Pueblo for a church meeting.  I was working, so my knowledge of the incident is second-hand, as I got it from Dad.  They were almost to their destination when they came to the intersection of highway 85, on which they were traveling, with highway 50.  The stop sign made it clear that it was Dad's responsibility to allow right-of-way to the cross traffic.  He started to slow, gauging his speed and the distance, applied the brake to stop, but instead of stopping, the car skidded right in front of the car coming from his left.  This event is referred to as a collision.

According to the parent, the newly-laid pea gravel on the surface of the tarmac served the function of marbles beneath his tires, and the rest was his responsibility for failure to yield.  The car was in the shop for quite some time, and hence the borrowed '39 Nash became a part of our daily routines.

Finally, though, the Chrysler returned home, and Dad was never happy with it from that day on.  First of all, though it had a new paint job, the color was not quite right.  It was green, yes, but it seemed to have a sort of aqua tint.  But that was not the prime reason for discontent.  No.  The problem was, that in spite of all the subsequent efforts by the mechanics, the car ran down the road crooked.  Oh, it stayed in its lane, but its rear wheels ever after tracked to the right of the front wheels.  It looked, how can I put it?  It looked like a cattywampus old hound running down the road.

It was not long before the car was traded away.  Dad got his first-ever new car, a 1950 Ford Custom fordor.  This car became my first car in 1955.  I traded it in 1958 after it had traversed more than 123,000 miles.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Be Courageous, Be Obedient

A repost.


The seventh chapter of Isaiah tells us that the LORD told Isaiah to take his son, Shearjashub, and go out to meet Ahaz. He was to carry the message that Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah would not prevail against him. God, through the prophet, told Ahaz to ask of Him a sign. Ahaz refused to ask a sign; and God spoke yet again and asked this question:

"Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?"

At this point, I choose to lift the question out of context and apply it to ourselves.

Do we weary God with our obstinance? Do we not consider that He has somewhat for us for which we must ask? Do we continue in our way even when it is clear that our way has yielded nothing? Should we not ask a sign of God? 

 Jesus said, “ Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

The directions are clear. It’s in the Book. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Froggy

Froggy sitting on a loggy

on the edge of her boggy

doesn't mind if air is soggy.*

If it should get too hot

-(^Kersplot!^)-         
 --Bob Warr






*Really soggy here this week; not likely to get too hot.













Yes, this is a dandelion, the puffball soaked. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Hole in the Ground



Did I ever tell you about the time we toured thoo the mountains?  Waal, the rains come in '39 'n by the fall of '40, harvest time, doncha know, things begin to turn around.  It seem time to get shed of th' ol' double A, 'n when I find ol' Hartmyer over to Syracuse have this nice '39 pickup he buy new, 'n now he want to sell hit, I have Gene take me on over to see hit.  Bought 'er, havin' survived the drought pretty good, still had a few pennies tuck away, an' now a bumper crop acomin' in.

Anyhow, Grace an' I decide to see a bit of the great State we live in.  Mostly we see nothin' but along the river atween here and Canon.  So we get the borry of Roper's tent--  you know Ephraim 'n Martha Roper.  They come over here fum Kentuck in '18 or '19, I think it was.  I know it was after th' war. They not kin to us, but Martha' mama grow up in the hills, was a friend of your Aunt Grace.  So then Grace 'n I, we get in the new truck, new to us, hit was, and head on west.  Nothin' much to stop for twel we get to Canon, on account we travel thet road many a time, 'n we wantin' to see the mountains!

Waal, we see the sweep of the San Juans to the south and are anxious to head on west into those mountains.  But first we treat ourselves to somethin' the like a which we have never done.  We check into th' St. Cloud Hotel.  Oh, my!  You shoulda seen thet place.  Chandeliers, the woodwork.  Shoulda eat in thet dinin' room; whut we did.  Venison prepare to tantalize yer memory ever after.

Middle th' night, though, Grace say she hear a strange noise, open the door and look down the hall.  There was a little girl, six, seven year ol', bouncin' a ball agin the wall.  She tell me, "This make no sense, three o'clock of a mornin', so I walk down to tell her she ought not be doin' thet, an when I get five, six steps from her, she jus' disappear!  No girl, no ball.  Ever'thing quiet as a tomb."  Waal, Grace, she not as young as she used to be, and, well, you know.*

Next mornin' we drive on past the penitentiary.  Even plumb out to Holly people hear tales about thet place, the whippin's an' 'specially the gas chamber.  Now we drive right on by.  No stoppin' there for us, no sir.  But on'y yet a couple more mile up the road we come to a turnoff for Skyline Drive.  Waal, why not?  I can now tell ya why not.  One way road, scarce wider than the tread th' truck, twists an' switchbacks, white-knuckle, I was, afore th' road dump us back into Canon.  Then we have to find our way back ta th' highway, and go right past the Pen and the Skyline turnoff again afore we drive on up to th' Royal Gorge.

I hear about this Royal Gorge fer years.  Now thet we are there, I will say thet is some hole in the ground.  Guy up there tell us, "Way back, hunnert years agone, a Scotsman visit this country, sightseein' hereabouts.  Standin' right on this very spot, he accidental drop a penny in a little crevice, start diggin' fer it.  An' here you see the mighty hole he dig afore he find thet penny."

Waal, our trip jes' gettin' started, but we got work to do.

"Uncle," I said.  "Go on with the story.  There shall always be work."

"You tried thet afore.  Now get up offa yer haunches."


*I heard years after Uncle told me this story that many people have seen the little girl with her ball.

© 2014 David W. Lacy



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Justice, Tranquility, Defence, Welfare, Liberty

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 14, 1787
Constitutional Convention opens,
George Washington presiding,
produced this preamble


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

And this provided the purpose and outline for the Constitution which is the basis of the Greatest Nation on Earth.  It is not the political leadership, the partisan politics, nor the citizens themselves, for all people are created equal, nor is it the favor of geographic location that makes the United States of America the Greatest Nation.  It is this very Constitution and its principles that make this the Great Nation.

It shall remain a great nation so long as, and only so long as, we honor the principles established by this Constitution.

Constitution Day is September 17, commemorating the signing of the completed document.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Vehicular Fun

As an old acquaintance of mine used to say, "Hah. Friday the thirteenth falls on Tuesday this month." I actually thought it a rather silly thing to say; still do. Yet I have adopted it myself, inasmuch as I have decided that a feeble attempt at humor is better than no humor at all.  (File in "Lame Jokes" folder.)

As I was riding my bike around town a few days ago, I happened upon a car show.  I had not been aware that the event was taking place in our town, since I am somewhat out of the loop.  Serendipity.
I strolled around enjoying the display of old iron (and fiberglass, in some cases).  I took several snapshots, but my offering here makes it clear which vehicle was my "Best of Show" choice.

I rather liked the old Nash, too.
Don't see many of them; never did.
When I was a teen, Dad drove a '39
Nash for a while.  Borrowed it while his 
wrecked '41 Chrysler was being 
repaired.  Whole other story.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Mounds State Park in May

If mayhap you noticed the failure of the writer to respond to your comments, I should now tell you that the blog was on autopilot this past week.  We were with our Christian Campers Fellowship, for the season has started!  And what a beautiful week at Mounds State Park.  Ideal camping weather, dry and sunny in the daytime, warm (well, most nights) and dry at night.

These little beauties were everywhere, springing up in the grass, popping up through the duff.

 
 This poor hickory tree is sorely afflicted.  From our campsite we saw this very black tree about thirty meters into the woods.  I don't know what it has, but it is not good.

Lots of these rascals.  The woods are alive!

 Kent and his mother enjoyed hiking; I not so much.

 This is my best photographic accomplishment of the week.  I spotted this Eastern swallowtail about three steps away.  It posed, then flitted away.

 I do not know the "bird" but I am glad it did not show up while I was hanging about.  The eggs are about the size of a volleyball.

 BBBH, the hawthorne, the gatehouse and Old Glory.

A dugout canoe Native American style.  Beautiful is reading James Alexander Thom at the time, and she was relating the experiences at the Mounds to the tales she is reading.

Sadly, I learned a hard lesson about carrying the camera in a pocket.  Walking through the woods, I heard a rustling in the duff.  There, about five meters ahead, was a large bird scratching in the leaves.  I said, "Hello, Chicken," though I knew full well it was not a chicken.  It looked up as I was fumbling to retrieve my camera.  It was a pileated woodpecker.  I, still fumbling, the bird flies to a tree about three meters farther away, perches on the trunk, watches me a bit.  I still have not gotten the camera out of the pocket when it swoops away.

Next month: Summit Lake

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Mothers' Day Tale

The white low-heel pumps elevated her to just over six feet.  She thought them a flattering addition to her ensemble, though the cost at just over two-hundred dollars with tax had made them more than half the price of her entire outfit,  She topped herself off, so to speak, with the cute little short-brimmed fedora, white with a pink rosette attached to the black band on the right, the sole touch of color she wore this morning.

Midge was thankful, almost thrilled, that hats were back.  She had suffered through the long years during which they had fallen out of favor.  She liked to be stylish, but she had doggedly refused to go to church without a hat, and now, glory be, she was no longer the only woman in the pews properly so attired.

The white shantung two-piece suit had been a bargain she could not pass by, and it was flattering to her slender figure.  The skirt and jacket were both modest in cut, but the overall effect said, “This woman knows how to dress.”  So what if the calendar tells her that Memorial Day is yet two weeks away?  It is a fantastic Spring morning, and nothing would make her feel better than to be dressed in her newest and most flattering threads.  Do people refer to clothing as “threads” anymore?  No, probably not.  So much has changed.  So much has changed.

Midge had just observed her sixty-sixth birthday a week ago, but as she checked her appearance in the mirror one last time before departing her house, she thought, “Not too bad for an old lady, considering what I have to work with.”  And with a smile she stepped through her front door to start the walk to the little stone church about a mile away on Langer Road.  Midge’s smile faded as she walked, for she sensed that she was an island alone in a stream, being passed on all sides by those who gave her no thought, no consideration. who in fact, seemed unaware of her existence.  And this is Mother’s Day.  There could hardly be a worse time for this lady to go to church, to listen to the paeans to motherhood.  But she is faithful.

Midge Wilson was born in 1948.  She had never known a parent, father or mother, for she was an orphan, at least so far as anyone knew.  The infant Midge was literally placed on the doorstep of the rectory in a large city in the Midwest.  She had three or four years with a family that had adopted her, but the Wilsons both perished in an auto accident, and again the child was without parent.  No one in the Wilson family was willing to take another child into their home, and thus an orphanage became her home.  Midge was never again adopted, but she was bright and determined.  She graduated high school, went to business college.  She had been engaged as a bookkeeper, a job for which she was well-suited, and she made a career of it.   She had never married, and though she was an attractive lady, she seemed never to be able to make the kind of connection she believed was important to a marital relationship.  She laid her pencils and spreadsheets aside only a few months past. She was anticipating a life of travel, seeing the world about which she had only read.

Her little heels click as she walks along, but a sense of dread builds up within her.  Now she is seated in the sanctuary and the service begins.  Then, indeed, the praise of mothers begins, the recognition of special mothers, the oldest mother, the youngest.  The mother with the most children present this morning, and so on.  And Midge, having never known a mother’s love, having never been a mother, is less than worshipful in her outlook.  But she endures.

Following the service, Miss Wilson walks four blocks to a nice restaurant for the Sunday brunch.  She takes her time, enjoys the spread.  She manages to put thoughts of the past into the past and begins thinking about her future.  Her  mood lightens, the day brightens, and by the time she steps into the street again, she is her old cheerful self.  A few blocks along and she is in front of a nursing home. On impulse she turns up the drive, goes to the front door.  She is admitted when she explains that she hoped to visit for a few minutes with anyone who might not have family present on this day.  In the lounge, or parlor area, groups of people are laughing, chatting with loved ones and generally seem to be in the spirit of the day.

In one corner of the room sits a lady in a wheelchair.  This woman has clearly lived many, many years.  Midge could not guess how old she was, but some number up to the century mark would have been credible.  Midge pulled a chair near her and introduced herself.  “Have you family, Mother?”  Midge asked.

“Oh, yes,” replied the old soul, “I have two daughters.  They are the loveliest girls in the world.  I am sure they will be here soon.”

“That’s wonderful.  Perhaps we can visit a bit while we wait for them.  Could you tell me about your daughters?”

“Oh, yes.  Susan, Susan is the older one, Susan married well.  Her husband is an executive vice-president with Wells Fargo.  Patricia has four children, the darlingest grandchildren ever!”  And she lives...”  The old lady raised her head, looked toward the door and said, “Oh, look!  Here come my girls now!”

Susan turned to see a short plump woman in blue jeans leading two golden retrievers across the room.  Midge realized that the woman was on a mission to cheer people with her therapy dogs.  The lady came directly toward them, and the old mother reached toward the animals.  “Oh, my girls,” she said, “I knew you would come!”  And as she placed her hand on the head of the nearest beautiful beast, she continued, “Patricia, it has been so long.  How are you?  Are you well?  How are the children?”

Midge left the room and exited the building, all the while thinking.  I really haven’t the faintest idea about motherhood.  Never had a mother, never been a mother.  And now I am thinking maybe that is not a bad thing.

© 2014 David W. Lacy

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Congratulations, Elizabeth

Today the Granddaughter takes the degrees Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Bachelor of Arts in History from Indiana University. I wrote a letter to her.

Dear Elizabeth,

I well remember the night you joined us in the open air of this world.  Your Grandmother and I were at the hospital, eagerly anticipating your arrival.  Our task seemed limited to holding your Daddy’s hand, for there was nothing for us to do but wait.  But the anxiety was soon replaced by excitement as the announcement was made that you were the new granddaughter in our lives.

Grandma was so enamored of you, as she was of all her granddaughters.  The few times you visited in our home while Mommy and Daddy had an evening out were pleasures that Grandma cherished.  We can only imagine the pride she would feel if she could see you now!  I have my own feelings of pride, for, even though we have not been close during your formative years, I have been aware of your progress.  I know that your parents’ happiness is in large measure derived from the very existence of you.  I have every confidence that while you have given them much joy to this point in your life, you will continue to make them proud, and happy, and they will continue to brag on their first-born.

You have always been an avid reader and a wonderful story-teller.  I recall vividly listening to your tales during your preschool years.  I can still picture you as you illustrated your story with hand gestures, enthusiastically engaging your auditors with words and action!  You have traveled a long road since the day I visited you in Mrs. Hageboeck’s classroom.   Now you are equipped to be a professional writer, a teller of tales who may, if you so choose, publish your creations far and wide.  You have chosen to obtain the education and skill set requisite to such a career, and Indiana University has endorsed you for the activities by certifying you for the degrees you obtain today.  Well done, Young Lady.

Like you, I have been a life-long reader, and thus I have great respect for those who write.  I am conveying to you a little volume, A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls, by Nathaniel Hawthorne,  which I believe rightly should be yours. I read this again just recently and find it a charming retelling of some very old tales.   I am respecting your request to abstain from the giving of gifts on this occasion, but this particular book has a history.  If you read the inscription on the fly-leaf, you will understand that I did not find this item in a used book store, but rather that it has been in your family for more than a century.  You might take this as a reminder of your origins and heritage.  Family is of critical importance in our lives.  I am not suggesting that you must go out and do a bunch of genealogical research.  I am suggesting that knowing where we came from serves as light to shine on the pathways we follow.

Finally, the advice that you would expect to get from a “seasoned” old man.  If any of this should seem platitudinous, forget not that just because something is a platitude it is not necessarily wrong.  I believe that it is important to recall daily that we, as the cap sheaf of God’s creation, are much more than a body and an intellect.  We are spiritual beings.  The temptation to please ourselves in the physical and intellectual realms while neglecting our spiritual being is strong.  You will be pulled from all directions, the offer of fame, and perhaps riches, dangling before you.  Acquisition of fame and wealth is not evil.  But the neglect of one’s relationship with God is.  So prioritize.  Keep foremost in your life those things that are most important.  I pray that I, and that you as well, will be able to say at the end of the course, as St. Paul did, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Please keep us up to date on your activities, from time to time.

Keep the faith.

Now, go celebrate.  

We love you.
Grandpa Dave

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Shoemaker, Make Me a Shoe

Did I tell you about the time my Uncle Mumford broke the Hammer?  Not what you are thinkin’.  Uncle Mumford an Aunt Louise live over to Rye Cove, Louise were a Boxley, you know from over to Pennington Gap.  The Boxleys quite prominent, they was.  Own the grist mill, have a bakery and run the general store over there.  Prosperous, too, they were.  But Louise, she fall hard for Mumford.  Meet him at a community sing.  Mought be his mellow voice win her over afore she even get to know him.  I dunno.  Anyways, they been wed now over fifty year, so I guess things work out.

But the time I speak of now, Mumford were still a young man, oh, not all that young; had teenage kids ‘n all.  Now he work for Carter Boskin.  Carter were the Hammer.  That’s whut I call him, on account ever’body look to Carter like he is a nail needin' ta be driv.  Demandin’est, meanest, onriest ol’ skinflint ever come through the Gap.  Like the Boxleys over to Pennington, Boskin own up most the main bidness in Rye Cove.  But he nothin’ like the Boxleys who is the kindest, honestest folk on the face a th’earth.  Anyway, Carter, he think since Mumford work for him for fifteen year that he had him pretty well hammered, could tell him to do whatever he want.  Now Mumford, he run the shoe shop for Boskin, an’ he were a fine craftsman, make leather goods and shoes the envy of ever’one.  So Boskin get it in his head to open another shoe shop over to Big Stone Gap, an’ he tell Uncle Mumford to go on over to the Gap two days a week and work out that shop.

“Say what?” my  Uncle ask.  How I’ma get to and from Big Stone Gap?”

Carter not used to being questioned, roar, “What good is that new Ford you got, you don’t drive it?  You take your car, of course."

”What kind travel allowance I get for thet?”

“I give you two dollars a week.  More’n enough to pay fer the gas for two trips. You come out ahead.”

“I come out ahead?  Whut about the tarrs, an’ whut about th’ wear ‘n tear on my vehicle?  Whut about th' extry time?  I cain’t do that fer two dollars a week.”

“You cain’t do that?”  Carter raises his voice even higher, shout, “You cain’t do that?  You will do that.  You work for me, ‘n I give the orders around here.”

“No.”

“Whut did you say?”

Very calmly, and with no rancor in his voice, Mumford reply, “I say ‘No.’  I will not do that for two dollars.  You add hours to my week, you give me no raise, an’you jus’ tell me to wear my car out to make you e’en richer’n whut you already are. No.”

“That, Mr. Miller,” in his iciest tone, “is insubordination.”

“Duly noted.”

“Yer farred!  Get offa my propity.”

So then, you mought ask, were you attendin’ to my tale, how did Mumford Miller break the Hammer? Mumford start a shoe shop in his home, a back-alley operation ya mought say.  Warn’t hardly weeks gone by twel Mumford had all the bidness he had over to Boskin’s store, ‘n Boskin with the new shoemaker he had harr’d, youngster fum Kingsport, had nothin’ goin’ on in his store.  Couldn’t pay the he'p, whole place a drain on his re-sources.  Carter were some mad, but he swallow his pride and go to Mumford, beg him to come back, offer him more money, no foolishments about travelin’ ta Big Stone Gap.

“No,” said Mumford.  “I have a thrivin’ bidness my own now, I don’t need ta work fer any old penny-pinchin’ skinflint, and thet 'specially means you, Mr. Boskin.”

“I understand.  But, truth be told, thet store is killin’ me.  Tell you whut I’ll do.  I’ll sell you the equipment an’ the building as she stand.  Nothin’ down, say $90 a month twel you pay me off.”

“I din’t hear anything about how many months this $90 go on.”

“Why a bargain like that, you will want to retarr in twenty year.  So, until you retarr.  Then I will pass the deed over to you.  You sell or rent the buildin'.  Nice nest egg fer your old age.”

“So again I am workin’ for you.”  Tell you whut I will do.  I’ll move my bidness into thet building, change the name to “Miller and Boskin,’ give you one American dollar, cash money, an’ in exchange you will give me the deed to the buildin’ and a bill of sale for the contents.  Your name will still be in the eye a the community ‘n you will have nothin’ whatsoever to do with the bidness outside a thet.”  Take it or leave it.”

He tuk hit.

© 2014 David W. Lacy

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happiness is

A Clear Sky at Night


Happiness is a choice.

We cannot control all our circumstances.

We can control our attitude.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

. . . Sixty Years Ago Today

It was the sixth day of May, 1954.  The race was a one-mile run.  The announcer proclaimed, "The time was three..." and the rest of his announcement was drowned out by the roar of the crowd.  The time was three minutes, fifty-nine point four seconds.  Roger Bannister had just become the first person to officially run a mile in under four minutes.*

As a young man, I had often heard of "the four minute barrier."  Bannister clearly proved that not only records, but barriers are to be broken.  Sport has moved on.  No one runs miles these days; they run "kays."  I have no idea what the current record is for the so-called "metric mile."**  Nor do I know who holds that record, but Roger Bannister is a name that will live in my mind so long as my mind functions.

Bannister himself, by his own word, does not consider this accomplishment to be his greatest achievement.  He is a medical doctor by profession, and he counts his research into the responses of the human nervous system to be his highest work.

 Dr. Bannister still lives in his native England.  Sir Roger is 85 years of age.  He has been diagnosed with Parkinson's.

*Bannister's record held only 46 days.  It was broken by John Landy.  However in the 1954 Commonwealth games, Landy and Bannister went up against each other in the mile.  Bannister took the gold in 3:58.8, Landy the silver in 3:59.6.  And that was Sir Roger's proudest sports moment.

**Actually, a "metric mile" would approximate 1.6k, and I am not sure that that is even an "event" in track and field.  Perhaps they run 1.5k.  I have not much followed the sport since everything changed.

Joke:  Did you hear the one about the marathon runner who told the proud 5k runner, "Your 5k is my cool-down."?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Birthday, Teacher!

Over the weekend, we attended a birthday party for an old friend.  On the third of May, Bessie Hart celebrated her 95th birthday.

Mrs. Hart was a third grade teacher in our school system for many years.  I asked her if she had ever calculated the number of third graders that passed through her classroom doors over the years.  "No!" she said.  "Don't," I said.   And why not?  For the effort she expended and the wisdom and knowledge she passed on to her charges were accomplishments far beyond statistics.  And I can assure you that her students were never just numbers to her.

Happy birthday, Old Friend.  And we do wish you many more.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Jonah, Unapologetically Reposted

Five years ago I wrote this article about our Awesome God.  Last Sunday, this Sunday, and the next three as well, Pastor is preaching from the Book of Jonah.  He is still in chapter one, so it will be interesting to see if he can get through all four chapters in the time he has allotted to the task.


Today's post is a bit longer than usual, but ponder this.

GOD, ACCORDING TO JONAH

Now Jonah, who lived in the Galilee, was a companion of GOD. He was a man who talked with and to GOD; and he was a man to whom GOD talked. There was true camaraderie between Jonah and Jehovah.

GOD saw that Ninevah, a great city, was truly wicked and walking in ungodly and unseemly ways, so he said to Jonah, Go up to Ninevah and tell them that if they don’t repent I, the LORD, the LIVING GOD will destroy them. Okay, so here are some truly noteworthy things. First, Ninevah is not a city of GOD’s chosen people, but rather a vast city of gentiles. So it is clear that GOD’s intent was to send the message of salvation through repentance to the gentiles. Second, Ninevah is a l-o-n-g way from Johah’s home territory, about 400 miles as the crow flies. It’s location was east beyond the Euphrates, and east beyond the Tigris, and thus 170 miles north of Baghdad at the location of present-day Mosul.

Jonah, though, does not complain of the distance. No. He knows GOD with a true heart. Thus he complains that, If I preach this word to the Ninevites, they will repent and You, GOD, will stay the destruction and the people will live. But GOD said, Go.

So Jonah went. But not north and eastward toward Mesopotamia, but rather he went westward to the sea, where he boarded a boat which in no wise could take him anywhere but away from Ninevah.  But wait. In Sunday school I was left with the impression that this was a story about Jonah, but it isn’t. It is ABOUT GOD!

What happened next is familiar to every child that ever sat in a dank basement classroom on a Sunday morning. GOD hurled a great wind upon the sea, and all aboard the ship were sure they were lost. However, by casting of lots and such necromancy, they determined that Jonah was their, well, Jonah, so to speak. Jonah 'fessed up and asked his compatriots to toss him overboard, which they were loath to do. However the storm worsened, the timbers cracked and the very souls of the sailors were shaken, so they jettisoned Jonah into the sea. At which point, GOD appointed a great fish to swallow the pathetic and disobedient prophet. In the innards of the fish he abode three days; yet from within he cried out to GOD. His prayer, recorded in chapter two, is a beautiful poem in which Jonah says, I cried out of my distress to the LORD, and He answered me. The prayer concludes with, That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD.

The fish puked Jonah out onto dry land.

Now the second time the LORD said to Jonah, Get up and go to Ninevah and proclaim the message I tell you. So Jonah went and preached the Word from GOD, namely repent or else. They repented and turned from their wicked ways and GOD spared them.

It made Jonah mad. So he said to GOD, Please LORD, didn’t I tell you this is what you would do while I was still in the comfort of my own home? And to prevent this from happening, didn’t I board a ship to run to Tarshish because I know that you are a gracious and compassionate GOD, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and One who relents concerning calamity? So please take my life, for to die is better to me than life. And GOD said, Do you have good reason to be angry?

So the poor pathetic, yet obedient prophet withdrew from the city and sat down in the desert under a makeshift shelter he tried to cobble together from detritus he found there so he could sit and watch to see what would happen in the city.

Now GOD appointed a plant to grow up over Jonah and provide him with more adequate and cooling shade to alleviate his discomfort. And Jonah was exceedingly happy. About what? About the PLANT! But the next day at dawn, GOD appointed a worm to attack the plant so that it withered and died. Then the LORD appointed a scorching east wind and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul for GOD to let him die, for death would be better than life.

And GOD said, Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant? Yes, said Jonah, yes, I do. I have good reason to be angry, even unto death. And the LORD replied, You had compassion on the vine which you did not plant, and for which you did not work, and which came up overnight and perished overnight. And should I not have compassion on Ninevah, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right hand and their left, as well as many animals?

1. Would you agree that when God makes an appointment it will be kept?
(What certain appointments do we have?)
2. What is the significance of God’s concern for a gentile city?
3. Do you ever have to be told a second time before you obey God’s command?
(Gideon’s fleece. Do you ever “try” God?)
4. The presenter characterized Jonah as “poor and pathetic.” Do you agree with this assessment?
(Both in his disobedience and in his obedience.)
5. Do you agree with Jonah that he had “reason to be angry?”
(What NT character basically said to die is better than to live?)
6. The conversion of Ninevah is sometimes characterized as the “world’s greatest revival.” Would you agree?
7. Most commentators suggest that God’s description of the Ninevites as “not knowing their right hand from their left” could correctly be interpreted to mean that they did not know good from evil. Does this make sense to you?
8. Is there any significance in that God drew attention to the fact that his compassion on the people of Ninevah extended to the animals?
9. Did you ever wonder what happened to Jonah after this last recorded conversation with God?
10. Following their conversion, what happened to the people of Ninevah?
(Read the book of Nahum.)
(Mosaic, Ste. Anne Melkite Greek Catholic Church, North Hollywood)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Catechism

[I was amusing myself by reading some of Bob Warr's blog posts from a couple years ago.  Sometimes he actually makes sense. "Catechism" is quoted directly and in its entirety.]

Based on the eighth commandment. “Thou shalt not steal.”

1. Is this injunction to be taken literally?

Yes, but with certain exceptions.

2. What are the exceptions?

Principally, in the cases wherein the State grants a license to steal.

3. Can you cite examples to illustrate your assertion?

Yes. The banking industry, for example. Banks are granted a license to steal.

Also, telecommunications companies are licensed to conduct business, i.e., a license to steal.

4. Are there other examples?

Yes, a case in point is the State itself, in which it licenses to itself the power of operating lotteries, thereby stealing vast amounts of money from those who can least afford the loss.

Also, the taxation systems in many federal, state, and local governments are essentially licenses to steal, inasmuch as the "ins" use the codes in overreach of their legitimate function in pursuit of activities not granted to them in their constitutions, thereby taking from some illegitimately to buy votes from others. Stealing.  There are yet other instances.

5. If the State then is a role-model for our moral behavior, then is it not right for me to steal if it is to benefit me or my kin?

No, the State will throw you in jail quicker than baking soda reacts with vinegar in a fifth-grade science experiment. “Do as we say, not as we do,” is the mantra of the State.

6. I see. Then essentially might we accurately say we are screwed?

Yes.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Name Game

"Uncle," I said, "I was telling Mama some of your family history story, about how your  great- great grandfather had five children, and all their names started with 'J' except for Elspeth.  She told me to ask you how did it happen that Jephthah Loughmiller name all his kids with a first initial 'J,' but then name the second girl 'Elspeth.'"

"Whut?" said Uncle Jeptha. "I tol' your mama how thet come to be.  Did she ferget?'

"No, Uncle.  She remembers, but she thought I would enjoy the story more if you told it to me."  Stroke his ego a bit, you see.

"Waal, then." replied Uncle Jep, as he stroked his whiskers.  When he does that, I am never quite sure whether he is searching his memory for a fact, or working his loom to create the whole cloth of a new tale. "I ask my grandmother about thet one time.  She tell me this Jephthah Loughmiller have a beautiful wife name Juliana.  They have three boys and the girl, Joanna.  Then during her fifth pregnancy, tragedy come to the little fambly and Juliana pass away.  This leave Jephthah with four chilren to rear, includin’ the little girl who is now but three year old.

"But good fortune befall Loughmiller when he marry another young woman who love him dearly, but more, she love the chilren.  She do her best to care for 'em all.  Then she find herself with child.  While they awaitin’ the happy day, Jephthah an’ Elena, his wife name is Elena, discuss the namin’ a the chile.  They have pick 'Jeptha' if it is a boy, but they have a time decidin’ on a girl’s name.  Jeff, he want to call the girl 'Jillian' but Elena know thet is a dimin, diminu, oh, a pet name for 'Juliana,' an’ while she love Jephthah dearly, she draw the line at namin’ the girl after his first wife.  So they finely agree on 'Elspeth' an’ when she come, that were her moniker.

© 2014 David W. Lacy