Saturday, December 31, 2016

Very Late in the Year

With but hours to go.

Looking back on the past year.  Now there is a way to waste some time.  How about investing that time in looking forward to the next year, planning your moves to make it a good one.  What are you going to do in 2017 to make someone's life better?  How are you going to position yourself to be a positive influence on someone?  What can you do to make things better in this world?

We might start by giving up whining about the way things are.  We might consider being considerate.  We might stop thinking  only of self and think of the needs of others.  Cliches?  Sometimes the things we need most can be expressed in just such ways.  We have come to denigrate and disparage when we ought better to accept and encourage.  Accept "wrong"?  No, accept that it may be the case that I am not the only one who is right, that it may be the case that I am sometimes wrong myself.

The term a**h*le has become so common place that we should all be ashamed for using it and for allowing it to be used in print, in confrontation, and in conversation.  People are not a**h*les.  People are people.  People are flawed.  Are you not a flawed person?  People make mistakes; people behave stupidly.  People are often annoying.  But it is our role to live with them, even to care for them and to love them.  Difficult?  We've no idea until we try it.

Celebrate the beginning of a better world, a world that is better beginning with a better you!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Writer's Picks 2016 Part Two

July a little bird told me.

                                 August again, the little dickens

                                                                   September  BBBH cuts a rug

                                                                   October  a church custodian gives grace

                                November PhD to the nth degree

 December ruminations on creativity

Bonus also from December  a Christmas story

 And there you have it.  Thirteen picks for 2016.
 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Writer's Picks 2016 Part One

January  a little dickens lives with us.
   
February  during which I was resident in nursing home.  All month plus.

                                                              March noodles and wedding bands

                                                                                           April  missionary squabble

                                             May  a bit political

June conversation in an elevator

These are the writer's choices for each month of 2016.  The second six months to follow in a day or two.  As I observed on another occasion, much like designating a child as "favorite."

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The day Monkey Wards

 quit monkeying with the government.

On December 27, 1944 President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the National Guard in several states to seize Montgomery Wards and its chairman, Avery Sewell.  Sewell had refused to recognize the government's authority to impose agreements between management and labor.  As Wards was a major supplier to the government for the war effort, Roosevelt was having none of it.  Finally his patience came to an end and Sewell was carried bodily from his Chicago headquarters office.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Comes But Once a Year







Parties are over, She Who Must Be Obeyed relaxes with a coloring book!

Wise Ones Still Come to Him
















Wishing you a blessed Christmas!
--All the gang at Chez Vanilla
   vanilla and BBBH, Bob and Mrs. Warr, Herkimer and Tildy 
   David and JoAnn

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Christmas Eve Story Retold

The Cat and the Christ Child

The cat crept into the cave. Stripy, she was, in the daylight.  But now, well past sunset and the settling of darkness, she was as black as any other cat.  The tabby's left ear twitched, cocked over her left shoulder as she heard the rustling in the straw strewn over the floor.  A great ox lying nearby snorted softly as he dropped his head to the ground.  His horn made a small spark and a clack! as it made contact with the rock.  He exhaled.  His nares vibrated briefly then all was still.

The cat remained motionless.  Long moments dragged slowly by.  In the distance an owl called to its mate.  Then the rustling began again as the mice resumed feeding on the loose grain in the straw.  The cat's right fore paw inched forward, settled softly, then the left paw raised, advanced, soundlessly touched the rock, then pounce!  Her prize in her claw, then between her jaws, she nestled close to the belly of the ox and dropped the mouse.  Stunned and addled but still with a will to live the creature staggered and attempted to run.  But the cat casually reached out, dragged it back.  Again she released it, this time allowing the creature to "get away."  But the cat sprang, recaptured the mouse and lay down again.  She played her cruel game with the small captive for several minutes, but finally tired of it and overcome with hunger she crunched its skull between  her teeth, then dined on her catch.

So Stripy, sated, slept.

A ruckus arose within the stable.  A pair of human creatures shuffled into the space, one carrying a blazing fagot in one hand as with the other he supported the woman who staggered in and collapsed on the floor.  A donkey followed them.  Then entered a large nondescript dog close on the heels of the ass.  He went to the female human creature and started licking her cheek while the man wedged the torch into a notch in the wall that served as a sconce. The presence of the canine got the attention of the sleeping cat, which started and sprang to her feet.  She scaled the flank of the ox where she settled, thus attaining a full view of the goings-on.  The ox slept on.

Soon there was frantic activity, the man bustling around the woman, the woman writhing and screaming in obvious pain. All the creatures in the stable stirred restlessly, the sheep bleated, and even the ox raised its head and voiced his concern.  Following a protracted episode of heavy breathing and intermittent screams, everything fell silent for a few moments.  Then suddenly the mewling of a new man-child pierced the quiet.

The man patiently worked at cleanup chores, handed the infant to its mother.  Everyone except the man, the woman, and the cat finally went back to sleep.  Then the woman laid the tiny human creature in a cradle of straw the man had constructed.  The tabby, her tail erect and switching from side to side drawing esses and zees in the air, left her perch on the ox and sauntered casually toward the small human.  As the cat approached the child, the dog lifted its head, raised itself up on its two forelegs.  The cat made not a sound but gave the canine the evil-eye.  The dog lay back down.  The cat circled the child and we might imagine that she was thinking, "Big deal.  Just another human." Then she went back and snuggled into the warmth of her bovine friend again.

 Which all took place before the gaggle of rough and ragged men began to fill up the space, babbling about a Heavenly Presence that came to them in the fields praising God and telling them that this child  in the stable was The Christ!

Merry Christmas!
and let there be peace, at least between you and me. 

©David W. Lacy 2015


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Honoring the Spouse


 This was posted nearly eight years ago.  BBBH has put up with me, stood by me, cared for me during the intervening years and she still sings!  So in her honor here is a repost.

Several years before I met her, BBBH published a book of poems and songs she had written. I submit here lyrics to one of the songs. I particularly enjoy hearing her sing this.

Take a Look It's All in the Book

The Bible says we can be free
From all our sins and misery
That the Lord's the only way
Not many paths, like people say

Says we can claim His every word
Of His promises be assured
That we can know He loves us so
And that He just wants us to know

Says in the word that we can find
In the book He left behind
That He shed His blood for me
Took my stripes at Calvary

In His kingdom we can share
Because He'll always be there
He came to set us free from sin
So open your heart and let Him in

So take a look, take a look,
It's all in the book
So take a look, take a look
It's all in the book

John 3:16
Copyright Grace JoAnn Harrison 1995. Used by permission.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Mary, Did You Know?


 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
 --Luke 1:31-33


Last evening I was listening to "A Pentatonix Christmas Special."  I was pleased to discover that the program consisted largely of traditional Christmas music, carols and hymns.  Beautiful presentation.
I paid particular attention to "Mary, Did You Know?" something I have perhaps never really done before.

Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know
The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.
To these lines I think perhaps Mary would have to answer, "No, I did not know that my child would do those things.  But I did know who He is."

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?

"Yes" Mary would reply, "I did specifically know that this Jesus is the Lord of all creation, I do know that He will rule the nations, for Gabriel told me so."  And we know this because Luke tells us so in the passage quoted above!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Xmas and Related Things

Seriously.  I was thinking of writing a post about some of the elements in the "Christmas Wars" and while I pondered, stewing in my own juices somewhat, I started surfing through my blog roll as I hadn't checked on some of my friends in a few days.

I found this at KCBob's and he has done a much better job than I might have done.  I recommend this *click* to you.

You are welcome.

Friday, December 16, 2016

My Daughter and Me

 



Bright sunny day but colder than bears. 4oF when I looked a few minutes ago.  I am in hospital as I write this.  The patient is my daughter, Ivanelle.  The staff just wheeled her away for the procedure and I wait here in room 8, surgery.

Fifty-seven years ago I got the call telling me that her mother had been admitted to hospital in Ft. Wayne.  I was in Muncie.  An hour later I was at Frieda's side.  Perhaps it was a holiday for Indiana Highway Patrolmen.  But having arrived about 3:30 in the afternoon it was nevertheless 11:30 before Ivanelle made her debut.  Not saying she has always been stubborn, but she is tenacious.

I have changed her diapers, picked her up when she has fallen.  I have bandaged her skinned knees and I have taken her to doctors when the need was beyond me.  I was with her when she was in labor with her first child.  What she said then about her husband was not nice, but they eventually had two more kids and they are now loving grandparents to seven.  I have been with Ivy through birthdays of children and grandchildren, through graduations and the celebrations of them.  But today is the hardest thing I have ever done with her.  The symptoms she suffers are scary and we can but trust the doctors and the Good Lord.  It is in their hands.

Update: Doctor says there were no signs of cancer and the irritation in the stomach can be treated with diet and medication.  I brought the lady to the house and she is resting.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Packaging Industry Rules


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Qd0mjR5-3yI/UMYMMPro-QI/AAAAAAAABDQ/sn-2DyNDzys/s1200/Shrinkwrapped%2Bcucumber.jpg

Carton City, Texas

Package the Earth and its parent company, Wrap It All Up, are investing large sums of money to build seniors' assisted living facilities nationwide.  Spokesperson Ewell B. Tapt said today that Wrap It All Up is in a unique position to provide an increasingly necessary service to America's elderly citizens.  He declined further comment when asked about the information this news source  has uncovered.

In a recent meeting of the board of directors of Package the Earth it was revealed that a double-line graph shows a pleasing increase in the inability of people to access their purchases.  Line A shows a steady incline in the toughness and inaccessibility of the packaging, while Line B shows a steep decline in the physical and mental abilities of the customers as they undergo the aging process.   The point X at which the lines cross was the determining factor in the decision of PtE to go into the elder housing business.

Our sources who insist on anonymity revealed that the company policy is to tighten up even further the packaging of everything that is sold.  "We have reached the point where even spuds are wrapped individually!  What a world!" enthused  Frank "Rap" Teight, director of company R & D.  "Soon it will be impossible for people as young as 48 to survive apart from assisted living communities.  Scissors? Knives? Can openers? Pshaw!  We will have them all defeated in five years.  Assisted living communities are the wave of the future, and we aim to dominate the market."

Further, it is rumored that Wrap It All Up is actively attempting a hostile takeover of Waste Systems, Inc.  "Our ultimate goal is to take control of DisposeAll as well," said Teight, according to our source.  "We will have them coming and going!"

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Barn in The Attic

Pulled down the folding stair and laboriously climbed into the attic.  It has been a long spell since I roamed through this silent dusty old place.  I turned the corner and started walking down a narrow lane, clearly disused for some time, for the tracks were overgrown with weeds which had withered and died, drooped over and formed a carpet on which to tread.

Presently on my left I spied an old barn, wind-beaten and grey, and listing to the east.  Prevailing winds, you know.  Curiosity poked me in the side and I went through the open gate to the barn lot.  The door hung on a rail and would have been easily opened but that was not necessary for it stood open anyway so I walked inside.

Shafts of sunlight shot through the cracks that separated the siding in random places.  I stumbled through all sorts of clutter, disused machinery, even an old kitchen sink, and galvanized tubs, a 1940s vintage washing machine, its wringer dismounted and jammed into the tub.

Then what is that on this old bureau?  In stunned amazement I recognize this piece of long disused machinery as my old Idea Mill.  I have not seen it in ages and I have no idea how it got here.  I must have placed it in the refuse bin for disposal and somebody salvaged it, dragged it to this haven for old stuff.  Whoop! Perhaps I can now gin this thing up and work up an idea for a blog post.    I reached for the handle and discovered the first problem.  The handle was not mounted on its axle but rather it was sticking up from inside the hopper.

I took the crank and placed it back on its shaft.  I did not have a pin to hold it in place, but it fit snugly and would perhaps allow a few turns without falling off.  I tried to turn the handle.  Frozen.  Looking into the hopper I could see that the raw material for new ideas had been left in the hopper and it was all clotted, gummed up and hardened into an ugly mass.  I looked around for a tool with which to dislodge the stuff.  There is a tire iron.  Surely that will break it loose!  Not so.  All my efforts were futile.
 
I wandered, defeated, out of that place and shambled away.  Another hope dashed.


Word of the day:  shambled  Old Weathered Barn Scott County, Indiana

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Jesus the Christ

The Third Sunday of Advent
  
The book of the genealogy* of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:

Thus begins the Gospel According to Matthew.  Matthew found it imperative to establish the bona fides of Jesus.  Genealogy or where one came from was a very important matter in Jewish society of Jesus's day.

We find here the lineage of Jesus back to Abraham and the establishment of God's people.  A man could not have a more Hebraic background.  Yet it is interesting to look at some of the people in this catalog of ancestors.  Abraham as we know was a servant and follower of God yet he was not above the practice of deception.  Jacob, his grandson, was a deceiver who swindled his brother of his birthright and fooled his father into passing the blessing and inheritance which should have been Esau's under the rules of primogeniture.  
 
In addition to Mary there are four women specifically mentioned which was unusual.  Note that all the progenitors named are male except for these four.
  1. Tamar who deceived her father-in-law into impregnating her by playing the role of a harlot.  Her son Perez then was an ancestor of Jesus.
  2. Rahab was a resident of Jerico who gained her livelihood by working in the world's oldest profession.  Her son Boaz is also an ancestor of Jesus.
  3. Ruth married Boaz and of her was born Jesse who became the father of King David.  But Ruth was not an Hebrew.  She was a Moabite, an alien so far as the people were concerned.
  4.  Bathsheba seduced King David and they together engaged in adultery.  She bore Solomon, forebear of Jesus.  David conspired to murder Bathsheba's husband.
  5. Mary the mother of Jesus.
We have touched on only a few of the weaknesses and sins represented in this list.  What is the point we are making?  Simply this:   Jesus came from sinners; Jesus came for sinners.

The lurid and unseemly behaviors of his progenitors are no worse than the behaviors of all sinners.  And we are all sinners.  But God will forgive our transgressions through the sacrifice Jesus made for us.  He died for me.  And for you and the sinners of the world.

 *Note that this is the genealogy of Joseph the husband of Mary.  The scripture says Jesus was born of Mary and that Joseph was her husband.  Study of the account assures us that Jesus was born of Mary but begotten of God.  So what does Joseph's genealogy have to do with anything?  By adoption Jesus was the son of Joseph, a relationship not to be denigrated for by adoption those who accept Jesus Christ are the children of God!

 First Sunday of Advent Wreath

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Never Forget

December 7, 1941-- a date which shall live in infamy. --FDR

A brief summary and an excellent reminder at "This Day in History."

Saw an interview with a man aged 98 who was an antiaircraft gunner on the Arizona that day.  He has made many visits to the site in memory of his buddies who were lost there.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Life Revised

NBC runs a show called "Timeless."  The premise is ridiculous, though I generally like stories that involve time-travel.  Last night, though, I watched the program, my first time.  I saw it through, but found myself getting increasingly irritated.  Over a fictional story? you ask.  Yes,

Three years ago, coincidentally on the same date NBC ran this show, I posted a fictional tale here in which Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow played roles in my tale.  Though my account was fictional and the actions of the characters were dreamed up in my mind, I went to considerable lengths to make sure that the timing and the locale of the behaviors were such that they might have fit perfectly into the lives of these two notorious characters as they actually lived them.  Preface.

Which brings us to the NBC folly.  The only thing they got right other than the names Bonnie and Clyde was the date, 1934,  Everything else was nonsense and in particular the way in which they were killed.  Now fiction is one thing, but violation of historical fact presented as fact in a fictional tale is an abomination.

We live in the Post-truth Era.  Truthiness is to be accepted as fact, for truth is what I say it is.

One is compelled to believe that whatever he reads or hears is likely to be baloney or horse feathers.

Discernment?  Play a requiem for discernment.  Sad

"When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less." --Humpty Dumpty


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Second Sunday of Advent 2016

  • In this season of Advent it is meet and right that we should reflect on the coming of the Christ in flesh to mingle with mankind and to lay down His life for our salvation.  But it is imperative that we think, too, on the Advent when Christ shall return to Earth as conqueror and king, gathering His faithful to rule with Him.

Collect for the Season (from Boston's Church of the Advent)
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Related image

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Kickoff


The article on the front page of our local newspaper announced Friday's "'Tis the Season" celebration in downtown Perfect.  Many fun things planned for residents of all ages, but the clip about the ice sculptor caught my eye.  I am sure his art work is stunning and to see him work should be entertaining.

But the thing I wonder is Where on Earth did he find "18 odd chickens"?  I know that cats are odd, and I have seen some strange rabbits, but just what makes a chicken odd?  17 chickens would be an odd number of chickens, but eighteen?

I am so confused.  Silly, too.

Well, it is December now, so on with the Christmas celebrations!

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Joys of Being Connected to the World

One of "those calls" of the sort you always get at mealtime.

     "David, I am callink about your computah which have a virus. Okay?"

     "No, it is not okay!"   CLICK


Well, the guy gave me the perfect setup for that one.

Not quite as slick as my "grandson" who was calling from The Dominican Republic where he was incarcerated, and could I help him with bail money?  


My oldest grandson.

There's a clue.  Doubt that young'n has ever so much as heard of The Dominican Republic.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Turkey


This bird has been wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving since 2008.  First he was too scrawny to eat, then eventually he was too old to eat.  Yet he is still around, freeloading and having a scratching, squawking good time.  He knows now, I think, that the axe is no longer 
a threat and that he will ultimately die a natural death. barring a possible coyote.  But he is pretty wily.  The bird, I mean.  The Coyote is Wiley.

May the blessings of the Lord abundantly fill your life.
Happy Thanksgiving
_____

2√2b2

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving in another time, another place

 Thanksgiving in the Bowl

Did I tell you about the time we had but one bird and thirty-five people for Thanksgiving?  Well, your Aunt Grace decide we gonna be thankful whether we had anythin' or not.  She didn't miss hardly a fambly member, sayin' to 'em all, "We gonna have Thanksgiving over to our place this year.  Jep and me has been blessed, and we'd be disappointed you didn't join us."  Now in the manner of the times, I guess we had been blessed.  We was still alive, and we managed to scrape somethin' together each day to keep our souls connected to the bodies.

It was Dust Bowl days, doncha know, and nobody had much a nothin'.  We was much better off 'n many around us, 'cause we had saved a little coin which I had failed to put in the bank back in '29.  Always was a bit leery them suited guys with they green visors.  So anyway, we weren't total broke, and I gone up to Canon where I was able to get a few things, couple hunnert weight a cracked corn, hunnert pound a cornmeal, pinto beans, enough for the whole town.  So it looked like beans and cornbread for some time to come.  I'ma thinkin' you was maybe three, four years old at the time, 'cause your Mama and Daddy come on down for Thanksgivin'.

Anyways, when I left Canon to come on home, I stopped by Arly's over to Florence and wha'd'ye reckon?  Ol' Arly had hisself half-dozen turkeys he'd been nursin' along.  Scrawny they was, too, eatin' what they could scratch up.  Arly give me one a them birds, insisted I have it, so I tuk hit.  Well, I bring that bird home, and glory be! I have all that cracked corn and two months 'til Thanksgiving.  Well, son, I kept that bird pretty close, pen him up in the ol' tool shed.  Yessir.  Fed him good and give him more water than I tuk myself.  Well, talk about surprises!  When people start gatherin' in our house on that Thursday mornin', the aroma like to knock 'em down, hit smell so great.  Some a the fambly had had little enough, and then some, when it come to meat in Lord only knows when.

Well, your Aunt Grace had kept the winders sheeted over purty good, and the sugar and flour were kept wrapped tightly and inside half-gallon Mason jars.  Couldn't set out a sugar bowl, nor even keep it in a cabinet, 'cause even with a lid on hit, the dust would just natural get inside.  Gritty sugar ain't fit'n to use.  So Grace had been bustlin' around two days gettin' fixed for dinner on Thanksgivin'.  Now she only invited people to come, she never ask them to bring anything, but they all come with they hands full, and those ladies were bringin' the best they had.  Why Marcella Dean, you know Marcella, her'n Larry brought they six kids along, but Marcella make the best "apple" pie you can imagine from nothin' more'n pie crust, sody crackers, and vinegar and sugar.  I don't rightly know how she done it.

Anyway, the feast was on, and Grace would have it no other way but that she would make a little speech afore we et.  And she lay it on.  She said as how times had been bad for a long time, and some folk was gettin' discouraged.  Why the whole Palmer tribe, she says, done lit out for Cally-forny, and if we was all givin' up, wouldn't be nothin' here no more but tumble-down shacks and rattlesnakes.  And wouldn't you know, like right on cue in a stage play or somethin', Fred Baker speaks up and says, "Let the snakes have 'er.  She ain't no good no more no how."

And Grace let him have it.  "That," she says, "is just what I'ma talkin' 'bout.  This is Thanksgivin', and y'all need to be thankful.  Be thankful that we are still a makin' it.  Be thankful that we have loved ones who care about us and would give the shirt off'n they back to he'p ary one of us.  Y'all buckle in, keep the faith, he'p one another and pray, I mean pray like you believe the promises of God, and pray some more, day and night.  We will be okay.  Now Darryl, please to offer thanks to the Good Lord over these vittles, and we'll tuck into 'em!"

So right then and there the prayer meetin' start, but hit warn't so drawed out thet the food get cold!  No sir, we done justice to that spread, let me tell you.  And that bird with the fixin's fed them thirty-five people plum easy.  And the prayin' continue, and behole, the very next Fall the drought breaks and the rains come.  And then, well we are still here, hain't we?

© 2013 David W. Lacy

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Be Still

"And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on), but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God."
--I Samuel 9:27

In the previous study we saw Samuel in communion with the Lord, for the people were demanding a king to rule over them so that, "we might be as other nations."  The Lord told Samuel exactly what a king would do to the people (Chapter 8) but nevertheless, He said, they have rejected my rule over them.  Give them what  they want.  And thus ends theocratic rule and that not to be re-instituted for untold millennia.

Samuel in obedience searches the people for a king and finds Saul, handsome and taller than all the people, son of Kish of the tribe of Benjamin.  Samuel called Saul to dine with him,  But Saul was on a mission to find his father's donkeys.  Samuel said, Forget about the donkeys.   They walked together after dining. Now the scripture quoted above.

"Stand still," Samuel said, "that I may show you the word of God."

The word to Saul is the word of the day for us in this day and time.  We must learn to stand still and attend to the message that we may see the will of God.   The hustle and bustle, the pressures of life and living, the distractions of both needful things and the frivolous must all be set out of mind as we stop and listen.  Kish's donkeys were a distraction to Saul.  Samuel told him to put that away and tend to what was truly important.

"Be still," the Lord says, "and know that I am God." --Psalm 46:10

Friday, November 18, 2016

Walter Tell Retold


This from five years ago today, which makes this the 709th anniversary of the famous shot.










Turtle duck turtle duck turtle duck duck duck!


We all recognize instantly the phrase from The William Tell Overture. But this article is not about opera, or music, or Rossini.

Today, if our legends are to be trusted implicitly, is the 704th anniversary of the famous cross-bow shot in Switzerland by one William Tell. It is a story that casts William Tell as a larger-than-life hero. I am of the opinion, however, that the real hero to be memorialized on this date is Tell's son, Walter. In case you need to brush up on your fifth-grade lessons, Tell refused to salute the hat raised on a pole which represented the Habsburg authority in Altdorf. Gessler, Austrian ruler of the dorf, was a harsh and unforgiving despot. He had Tell arrested, and because of Tell's fame as an archer, he required that Tell shoot an apple from his son's head, or both would be executed.

My father never earned any medals for it, because he never entered any competitions. But he had a clear eye and a steady hand which enabled him to be a crack marksman with a rifle. Prior to hunting season each year, we would go to the range to "sight in" the rifles. I have seen him shoot, and he was good. And yet. And yet I think that to persuade me to stand before him with an apple on my head-- oh, no. No, thank you very much. And thus I nominate Walter Tell as the hero of the tale to this point.

At any rate, Tell's shot cleanly split the apple. This is pretty much the end of the school-child tale as I recall it from my ten-year old experience. But Gessler had noted that Tell had taken two bolts from his quiver prior to the shot, so he asked, Why the second bolt? Tell replied had he killed his son, he would have put the second bolt through Gessler himself. Irate, Gessler had Tell arrested. One might like to read the rest of the tale, for it ultimately cost Gessler his life, and forever immortalized William Tell as a Swiss Hero.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

God Will Allow a King

And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.
And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 
 --I Samuel 8:5-7
 Sunday last I posted this scripture along with the admonition to study the Word.

From the time of Israel's release from bondage in Egypt and their subsequent occupation of the Promised Land up to the time of this account the people, unlike the nations around them, had existed without a king over them.  They had relied on a series of judges, men and women of God, prophets to communicate with God and with the people to maintain leadership and justice in the land.

Samuel's predecessor, Eli, was Israel's thirteenth judge and dispensed justice until the day a messenger brought the news that the military had suffered a serious defeat at the hands of the Philistines and the Philistines had taken The Ark of the Covenant.  Eli, at age ninety-eight and extremely corpulent heard this horrifying news, fell from his seat, broke his neck and died.

Now Samuel, Eli's protege, assumed the role of Israel's leader. He has served in his capacity as judge for forty years and is now himself an elderly man.  He places his sons, Abiah and Joel, in positions of judgeship.  But they are faithless and open their palms, ruling not justly but corruptly.  The people start their plaint,  "Give us a king that we might be even as other nations."

Samuel, distraught, lays this case before the Lord.  God now tells Samuel that the people are not rebelling against Samuel but against God Himself.  Further he says, Let them have what they want and here is what they will get.  For the detailed account of the Lord's word, read verses 11-18 of this chapter.

God's guidelines for living are clear and adequate.  Is it possible that we sometimes, like the Israelites of old, pester Him for something until He gives us what we want to our detriment?


Saturday, November 12, 2016

A King for the People

And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.
And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 
 --I Samuel 8:5-7
And therein lies a tale.  Study the Word.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Slather and Mop

I was enjoying my supper this evening-- spaghetti with red chicken sauce.  It was good and it was satisfying.  Nicely buttered rye toast in the left hand.

And as I finished up, mopping the sauce with the bread, I had a flashback to the dinner table in my childhood home.  I realized that I had utilized one of my father's quirks, violated another.  I had slathered the entire slice of bread, plastered it, in Dad's parlance.  He was a stickler on the point holding that while plasterers had their place it was not at the dinner table.  One dabs a bit of butter onto the bread, consumes that portion, then he dabs a bit more, and so on.  I had violated this rule this evening.

Strangely, though Dad found it anathema to plaster the bread, he thought it not uncouth to mop his plate with the last morsel of bread.  "Waste not, want not," don't you know?  And this quirk I utilized.

Enjoyable meal and fun reminiscing about one of the most loved and most influential people in my life, my Daddy.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Abundantly Blessed



The love of stuff is the root of all clutter. --Problurbs 14:4

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Bored


Election Day, and a pall has settled over the land. 
 Weather, too.  Rain, rain, rain.



Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Grass Withers



“All people are like grass,
    and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
    Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God endures forever.” 
--Isaiah 40:7,8  (KJV)

Image: Samsung DV15OF,
 05NOV16
7:50 p.m
Tipton, Indiana

Friday, November 4, 2016

Decidedly Not Undecided

 I was recently taken to Task for stating that I did not see how in good conscience I could vote for either Trump or Clinton.  When we arrived in Task I was given a stern lecture basically centered around the notion that "a vote withheld is a vote for Hillary."

Yes, Task is a place where such silly notions comprise the basic logic of the residents. I submit that if it is my choice to eschew the ballot, mine is not a vote for either of the candidates but it is exactly what it is (depending, of course, on what the definition of "is" is, to crib a line).  It is a vote for neither of them.  To further the exercise in Taskian logic, it was pointed out to me that "If you don't vote you have no right to criticize what we get;" thereby abrogating my Constitutional right to free speech.  No, my silent protest of the idiotic slate put before us is not crying "fire" in a crowded theater.  It is a conscience-directed decision for which I alone am responsible.

It could be argued that each of the candidates is the choice of his/her party via the voice of the people.  This is true and quite clearly demonstrates the sad state of affairs in the hearts and minds of the people.  Having listened for months to the vituperation, the lies, the scandals, it has to be clear to any thinking person that the choice of "the lesser of two evils" is before us.  Moreover, it should be self-evident that the choice between them should be made by the folk who put them where they are. 

Does it affect me?  Of course it does, and mostly in all the bad ways that might be imagined.  Can I do anything about it?  No.  Should I vote, and that vote happened to be the one vote, improbable as it may be, that put one or the other in the White House, could I live with the guilt?  Should I not vote and find that that vote was the one that could have put the other contender in the White House could I live with that?  Oh, yes, much easier than I could live with the former.

Make up your own mind.  (You will, anyway.)


Note: The above was written weeks before the "October travesties" and placed in queue for publication on November 4.  The only way in which this has been edited in the interim is by way of the addition of this note.




Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Man and His Dog


Photo: Heide G. Prout
 That would be Spot and that would be a very long time ago.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

To A Fine Point

He told me of his early years when he worked in Connecticut, but, he said, he wanted to pursue “further” graduate work, so he returned to Missouri where he took his PhD at University of Missouri. I told him my sister had taken her PhD at Missouri and the conversation turned to areas of expertise. I asked what his field was and he replied, “poultry nutrition.” So now I fancy that I know a fellow who knows more about chicken feed than I do, notwithstanding that I raised a family on a paycheck that amounted to about that.

I have long believed that academia narrows fields of expertise to a fine point, and here is an excellent illustration of that fact. Someday, some university is going to narrow a study down to a vanishing-point, and the recipients of the degree offered will know everything about nothing!

This little snippet is extracted from a longer post from 2012.  





http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/sites/default/files/feeding_chicks.jpgImage: Oregon State University
 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Still my favorite

I am making this an annual event.  That is how much I like it.  Hope you like it.
 
Today is Halloween.  It has become quite a big deal, commercially, that is.  Why, I would guess that the dollar turnover on decorations and partying is as big as Christmas.  Yet I don't think of Halloween as a holiday.  A day for fun and mischief, perhaps, but even the mischief has gotten carried away from fun into wickedness.

But that's not the reason for this post.

Here is the reason:  Wishing you a fun and safe good time on Halloween.  And,



inflicting on you once again my all-time favorite Halloween cartoon.  You are welcome.

Purely for your entertainment (and to keep you out of trouble) check out these rules for sharing your Halloween spoils.


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Jesus and the Pharisees

In Matthew chapter eleven we find Jesus again in conflict with the religious leaders of his time.  Listen to Him:

"To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
 We played the pipe for you,
    and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
    and you did not mourn. " (Matthew 11:17,18)

These children playing these tunes are the Pharisees and scribes.

They are playing the pipe to which John will not dance, eschewing a life of ease for the desert experiences.  They are playing the dirge, for Jesus lives a life style which they perceive to be in violation of the law.  By the law they mean not the ten commandments, but the entire body of "law" as developed over the centuries by the religious leaders.

With these hyper-religious fanatics the only way to "win" is to toe the line they draw.  Yet John did not dance, nor did Jesus mourn.

This chapter ends with these words of the Master:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

Bible quotes from the NIV.

Some commentators suggest that Jesus in quoting the verse about the children playing is borrowing from Aesop's fable of the fisherman piping.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Now What?


The podiatrist examined my toe, advised me that a "procedure" would resolve my issue.

"So I need an operation?"

"Just a procedure I do right here in the office."

"Operation."

"Okay, it is an operation, but there is nothing to it."

"Do it."

My too-frequent visits to medical professionals this year taught me, and that early on, that "procedure" is the professional euphemism for "operation."  Dr. G stuck my toe with his needle while our banter continued a bit.  He left the room for a few minutes while my toe died.

The doctor returned, jabbed the toe in a few places, asked his assistant for his thingamabob.  Less than six minutes later the assistant was placing this beautiful bandage on the offended digit.

My sixth operation in 2016 encompassing the Me from head to foot!

Now.  We shall see.*

*a/o Friday night, toe looks good, pain-free.  Color me happy!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mt. Carmel Community Church

I was working at the back of the platform in the sanctuary.  Seems the term "stage" would be more applicable since the transformation of the entire space four years ago.  Piano, organ, pulpit, lectern, altar rails all removed.  Pews removed and replaced with cushioned chairs and so on.  But on with the story.

I had my bottle of window cleaner and a soft towel quietly contemplating the elements of worship as I cleaned the enclosure surrounding the drum set.  Pity the percussion instruments are not completely surrounded with sound-proof glass, but again I digress.  The area at the back of the room brightened as someone opened the front door.  I looked in that direction.  A woman clad in a yellow knee-length dress with full skirt and a red bolero-style sweater stepped in and glanced around.  It was evident that she did not see me as she went directly to the "missions" box that sat on a table to the left of the  door.

The woman picked up the box, glanced around the sanctuary again, then she set the box down.  The lid was fastened with a hasp, but there was no lock so she simply opened the lid and reached inside.  I could see that she had several bills in her hand as she open the purse that was slung from her left shoulder.  But she dropped the money back into the box, removed the purse from her shoulder and set it on the table.  I took a step toward the front of the platform and she quickly looked up and toward  me but she seemed not to see me.  This small, thin, brightly clad being then took the offering box in both hands and dumped its contents into her purse.

By this time I was near the steps at the front of the stage and as she was zipping her tote I said, in my best stentorian manner, "Bless you, my child!"

Startled?  I thought she would surely break for the door but she was so startled that she was frozen in place.  As she looked at me her eyes and her mouth were as though they were three gaping caverns.  Her face was so thin that the rest of it seemed to disappear,

When I was ten feet from her I stopped.  Black hair, black eyes, olive complexion.  As she closed her mouth I could see the creases  in her forehead and the age lines around her mouth.  She wore  white sneakers, not the spike heels of someone out on the town.  This was not a young person.  I've no idea of the burdens of life that may have caused the creases and wrinkles and I normally do not try to guess ages by appearances, but I am guessing that the person I was confronting was late fifties, perhaps even early sixties.

"Tiena usted Ingles?"  I asked.

"S-si, uh, yes."  As she was unzipping her bag she continued.  "Look, sir, I am putting it back."

"No!  Listen to me."  She looked at me.  "Listen.  Take the money home and count it carefully.  Write down the amount on a piece of paper."

"That is hard.  I keep four nietos.   Grandchildren.  You understand?"

"Look at me.  What is your name?"

Glancing quickly at the wall opposite then meeting my eyes she said, "Carmel.  Carmelita."  On the wall was a banner which proclaimed "WELCOME TO MT. CARMEL COMMUNITY CHURCH."

"Listen. Carmelita.  Write down the amount.  Next time you are in the neighborhood drop that paper into the box, okay?  I will make up the amount in the missions box. Go."

Purse strap over her shoulder, she turned to go.  "Gracias,  SeƱor."

"Vaya con Dios."

That's the end of that, I thought.

Two weeks later on impulse I looked into the offering box.  There was a folded scrap of paper.  On the inside was written in pencil "2642$."

I surely hope there is supposed to be a decimal point between the six and the four.

Epilogue

The next Sunday just before the drummer tapped the rhythm for the first number on the rim, the sanctuary door opened and a certain small, sixtyish lady, clad in red and yellow, walked in, followed by four children ages probably five to twelve.

©2016 David W. Lacy







Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ten Word (sort of) Wednesday

2016 WS game 1 on tv.


Who left the room?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Oversell

In whatever arena, politics, commerce, sports, and so on, the following truism seems to apply.

"Hype outrunneth performance."  --2 Lamentonians 1:1

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Good Old Days

How often we wax euphoric over the "simple, gentle country of our childhood."

Let's discuss that simple, gentle time a bit.  On numerous occasions I have posted nostalgic pieces about my own childhood.  They are often filled with the joys of kidhood, the games, the friends, the loving care of the parents, experiences that may be had only by the young.  And the key is that we were children not yet saddled with the burdens and responsibilities of making a livelihood for ourselves or a family; not yet aware of the onus of political self-determination; and fully too young to be directly involved in the martial conflicts that eternally rage somewhere in this world.

The simple, gentle country of my own time was a place where I had the freedom to roam our town so long as I was home by suppertime.  It was a time in which I did not have to concern myself with the intense struggle and long hours of hard work and worry that accompanied the parents' efforts to keep the family fed and clothed on an erratic and unstable income much too small to gain more than the rudimentary survival necessities.  And yet my memories are of an abundant table laden with good things that Dad acquired and Mother prepared for our consumption.  It was only as an adult that I came to understand the intensity of that struggle.

In that simple, gentle time when a child suffered illness, as I often did, the burden of doctor bills was borne by extra work, more stinting of their own needs by the parents.  The doctor's advice to the parents to have pictures of the child made because he may not be long for this world was of no comfort to the parents and did nothing to alleviate the suffering of the child.  The still-extant pictures that resulted, though, are a treasure even after nearly eight more decades added to the child's life.

In that simple, gentle time it was a given that your financial problems were your responsibility.

Since the War to End All Wars which occurred in the generation immediately prior to my own had failed spectacularly to end mankind's proclivity to belligerence, during my own time as a child there raged a second world-consuming conflict now known as WW II.  I did have acquaintances and relatives a mere seven or eight years older than I who were off fighting in that conflict.  Yet I could still play marbles, stomp in the mud puddles and generally create personal memories of a childhood, one in which the subject but barely understood the concern and worry and sacrifices his elders were making to provide him with the potential for a life of his own.

Next time you hear someone longing for the "good old days," smack him upside the head.

May the world treat you and your offspring in a kindly and gentle manner.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Birds Still Diving

I wrote this verse four years ago and present it again here, for though the avian personnel may be of a new generation, the game is still the same.
 
Desiccated and sere a blob of bird poop right here
in the center of the windshield.
 
The bucket, rag and soap; now it’s clean, for good we hope.
Wring the rag, swirl the pail, toss the water in the grass.
 
Awk! What iridescent flash o’er my head did I see pass?
Grackle Bomber in a dive on the scene does now arrive.
 
*           *             *
**
*SPLAT*
**
*
*
 
Dead-center hit.
The windshield again besmeared with it.
 
The End

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Evening Skies



 Good night, Sol.














 Far places await















 Good evening, Luna.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"I Received My Sight!"

Then the neighbors, and the ones seeing him formerly— because[c] he was a beggar— were saying “Is not this the one sitting and begging?” Others were saying that “This is he”. Others were saying, “No, but he is like him”. That one was saying that “I am he”. 10 So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?” 11 That one answered, “The man being called Jesus made mud and smeared it on my eyes, and said to me ‘Go to Siloam and wash’. So having gone away and washed, I received-sight”. 12 And they said to him, “Where is that One?” He says, “I do not know”.  John 9:8-12 (DLNT)

Now this one who was doubtless a familiar figure to many because he regularly sat in a public place begging presents himself seeing and the people are astonished.  Astonished, but divided.  Some said, "Verily this is he who was blind, and now he sees." 

 Others, less prone to believe, or we might say the more skeptical, saw the man but they saw a doppelganger, "Nay, it is some stranger who merely looks like our familiar beggar."

The man now avers, "I am he; the very man, the blind one, you have passed by for years."

"So then how is it that you see?"

"The man called Jesus," he replied, "daubed my eyes with mud, told me to wash in Siloam, which I did, my eyes were opened and now I see!"

Note the testimony.  "I did as Jesus told me to do, then I saw."  Have you done as Jesus told you to do? 

This, of course, is not the end of the story.  The Pharisees get involved and call the former blind man to account.  He gives his testimony.   Then someone observes that it is the Sabbath.  Surely for One to perform such a miracle is a violation of the Sabbath Laws.


16 Then some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath”. But others were saying, “How is a sinful man able to do such signs?”  (DLNT)


Division amongst the religious leaders.  Now begins the turmoil.  "Who do you say this man is?" they asked the recipient of the miracle.  "He is a prophet," he replied.

This will not do.  The Pharisees call the man's parents to testify.  Yes, he is our son.  Yes, he was born blind.  But for fear of being cast from the congregation they dared not confess that Jesus is the Christ. They said, We have no idea who the man is.  Ask our son; he is of age.  He can speak for himself.

So they called this man, this now-harassed man, yet again and posed their questions yet again.


27 He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You also do not want to become His disciples, do you?”  

28 And they reviled him and said, “You are a disciple of that One, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses. But we do not know where this One is from”. 

30 The man responded and said to them, “Why, in this is the marvel— that you do not know where He is from, and He opened my eyes! 31 We know that God does not hear sinners. But if anyone is a God-fearing one, and is doing His will— He hears this one. 32 It was not ever heard that someone opened the eyes of one having been born blind. 33 If this One were not from God, He would be able to do nothing”. But if anyone is a God-fearing one, and is doing His will— He hears this one.”  (DLNT)

Our subject, knowing that he was blind and now he sees, is clearly convinced that his benefactor is the Christ and makes bold to challenge the religious teachers and proclaims, "We know that God does not hear sinners. But if anyone is a God-fearing one, and is doing His will— He hears this one.  It was not ever heard that someone opened the eyes of one having been born blind.  If this One were not from God, He would be able to do nothing”.

This is interesting because the man, though having been blind and a beggar, is skilled in disputation, for he uses the time-honored technique of binding himself and his  opponents together by use of the "we know" phrase which they themselves had used.  Not only do you know this to be true, but now you know that I know it as well, hence my words are true.  Teachers and mathematicians and genealogists use this to this day.  In effect, If you don't know it, believe me, because I know what I am saying.

Further the Pharisees are challenged to become Jesus's followers as well.  The response to which is the casting of the messenger from their midst.  Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.          TBC


  




Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Forget the Whistle Stop Cafe...

drop in at the kitchen of BBBH.

She said, "Would you like some fried green tomatoes?"

Hard to believe she had to ask.  Oh, I know.  Get the taste buds excited!


 Labor intensive, but oh, my!

 This is the saucepan that featured prominently in last Saturday's blog post.
This is the best I could do.  I was just ready to give it a toss when I heard the words,
"I used that pan for thirty-five years."

What could I do?