Friday, April 28, 2017

Four-letter Words: C and D

I see today is the day for "C."  The word of choice is:

care.

This four-letter word is sometimes a verb as in "I, [we, they] care for you."  It may also be a noun as in "We placed it in the care of a conservator."

In the first instance the meaning is to attach importance to, or to be concerned for.  In the second it means to provide for the custody of, or the welfare of a person or thing.

This is a good word, not exactly warm and fuzzy, but perhaps that with a bit more steel, more resolve.

At the rate of one word a week this project would require half-year.  So we shall endeavor to "double up," at least on some of the choices.

The second word for this day rhymes with the first one:

dare.

Again, our word may be either a verb or a noun.
dare (v,) " They dare to participate in the pentathlon."  The word in this case indicates courage, boldness, fortitude, on the part of the one who dares.
dare (n.)  "I would not undertake that on a dare."  Our word here is indicative of a challenge.

A great four-letter word is "dare," because we must face up to life's challenges in order to succeed, nay, even to survive!  Dare to do well; dare to choose the right. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Conversation: Not so random

Last evening I was talking on the phone with my brother-in-law who was telling me about his recent hospitalization.  Glenn is 92 years of age, retired military.  Served 22 years in the 101st Airborne and 82nd Airborne, WWII, German Occupation, Korea.  That's background.  The conversation:

Glenn: I'm lying in bed, flat on my back, lady comes in.

Lady:  How are you?

Glenn:  Why don't you tell me.  I'm in the hospital, for heaven's sake.

Lady:  Would you like for the chaplain to stop by for a visit?

Glenn:  Oh, hell no.  I'm not in the hospital to visit with people I don't know.  I came here to get well.

vanilla:  (laughing my butt off)

Glenn:  It wasn't really that funny.

What

will the morrow bring?


Monday, April 24, 2017

Beauty and Entertainment

I am calling this phase 3 on the project downtown.  The wall is painted and now what?



Beauty is where one finds it.  Nestled against the wall of the jar was the olive with the perfect star.
 A few evenings past we were blessed to view a performance of two real entertainers, Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey.  This show was taped years ago but thanks to "Get TV" we were royally entertained.

Miss Bailey left us years ago; Miss Channing is now 96 years of age.

I believe I mentioned this some years back, but I'm a name dropper, so:  I saw Pearl Bailey in person in 1978.  Did you know that these two ladies played the role of Dolly Levi in the Broadway version of "Hello Dolly"?  Can you name one of the other five who also played that role?  All big-name stars.





 Then there is this.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Worship Choruses



Scriptural admonition to continue writing and singing new worship songs?  What say you?

1 O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth.

 Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.

 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people

.For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.

 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens. 

                                                                                                                   --from Psalm 96 (KJV)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Four-letter Words: B

Today's word is:

best. 
 Best is an adjective, the top-level in the hierarchy good, better, best.

When I was a child I spent many hours lying on the floor, propped on an elbow, with a Sears, Roebuck catalog opened in front of me.  This was the sort of entertainment available to young people of a certain stratum and in a certain time.  No smart phones, no television,  A different world.  But not an unpleasant world.  Wish Book, we called it.

Sears, in its attempt to be all things to all people, offered products of almost every sort and in a wide range of price availability.  For instance, a page might feature a certain item say, electric iron.  Mom certainly needs a replacement for the flatiron she heats on the wood-burning kitchen range now that we have electrical outlets in nearly every room in the house!

Sears has the answer:  A "good" iron, 94 cents; a "better" iron for $1.94; the "best" iron, $2.99.  But even Sears jumped the shark on occasion, for, What's this?  One more "premium" choice at $3.88.
This, of course, begs the question, "When is best not the best?"  Perhaps when someone else makes it?

You get the idea.  Everyone wants the "best."  But in the event the budget will not stretch that far, even our entry-level product is "good."

Our language has developed to cover exigencies when the "best" is not in the cards.  We might say we are "settling" as in fitting our means, yet not keeping up with the Joneses.

There are some things for which second-best is not an option, though.  These would be things not obtainable at retail.  For example, don't settle for second-best when choosing your mate.  Don't settle for less-than-your-best in the performance of a task.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Beautification

The pear tree is alive and well.  New blossoms to greet a new season!



The workmen are alive and busy as well.  Phase 2 of a downtown beautification project.  Phase 1 was cleaning the old brick wall.  Next step?  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Four-letter Words: A

The "Four-letter Word" series was scheduled to appear on Fridays.  Because I slipped "N" into last Friday's slot we will insert this one on Wednesday in place of the Pineville tales which may resume Monday if the muse favors us with another idea.

For the letter "A" the word I have chosen is:

able.

"Able" is an adjective meaning competent, equal to, prepared to, having the opportunity to, accomplish an end.  To say one is able implies that he is intelligent, skillful, accomplished, or talented.  Able is a powerful word and conveys confidence in the recipient of this descriptor.

Miss Lillian Bateman, my senior English teacher in high school  was given to nautical references, just one of her many fascinating tricks in her repertoire.   Often when she called on me she would favor me thus: "Mr. Lacy, Able Seaman, please explicate on the reading of the previous paragraph."
When she signed my yearbook she addressed me just so.  I think to this day that the lady was making a sincere attempt to educe the confidence she felt I had buried within me.  Other students had their pet designations, but to the best of my recollection I was the only one on whom she bestowed the adjective "able."  BTW there were many kids in that class brighter than I.   Too bad "bright" is not a four-letter word.  Have to look elsewhere for the next post.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Lone Goose


  
The cry of a lone goose pierced the sky, the haunting notes singing the tale of a bird separated from his family.  It was late April.  This Blue had somehow lagged behind, was left behind and now it is plaintively seeking its kind.  As the sun drops behind the horizon, the goose hears  the clucking and cackling of poultry far below as their keeper is spreading grain for the evening feed.  The goose circles, descends.  In a large open yard it espies two dozen or so common chickens.  Though the birds are not its kind, they are birds.  Blue lands on the periphery of the yard and the hens go ballistic.  The goose assumes submissive posture, offers no threat.  The chickens calm down and the goose cautiously walks toward them.  Finally it is close enough to peck at the grain on the ground.  Blue joins the chickens for dinner.

We have seen that Blue has assumed the role of guardian of the property and protector of the flock.  Even the rooster has accepted this interloper as a part of his family and all is well in Birdland.

September comes, as September will.  On a bright clear morning Blue hears a familiar sound approaching from the north.  A flock of its own people-- snow geese!  Nature stirs the whatever within the creature that impels it to rejoin its own kind.  Blue starts down the lane, runs down the lane, flaps its wings and leaps to launch itself into the air!

Blue gets about three goose-heights off the ground, sails a few yards and crashes headlong into the dirt.  The poor bird has been much too-well fed, its body now heavy with surfeit.  Its sole exercise for months has been waddling around the chicken lot; its pinions are atrophied and too weak to support flight.

The flock, hundreds strong, soars overhead while Blue honks a feeble "Good-bye, good-bye."*

 *There is a moral in here somewhere but I shall refrain from pointing it out.  If I could see it, and I did, I know that you can as well.

 Text  ©2017  David W. Lacy

Image By Adrian Pingstone - Self-photographed, Public Domain, Link

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Resurrection Sunday!



"He isn't here! HE is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen." -Matthew


"The resurrection tidings are far and away the most astonishing news to ever break across the tired, old face of this earth." -Gardner C. Taylor

" The Easter resurrection is the ultimate reason why failure and crosses need not intimidate us." -Ed Hird

"It is hard to imagine anything less hopeful than the sight of a burial. When the body of Christ was taken down from the cross, wrapped in a clean linen cloth and laid in a new tomb hewn out of the rock, how many who looked on had the faith to hope that inside three days this dead Man would be walking again among men and women, alive forevermore? But so it came to pass. Aaron's rod budded. The leafless tree on which the Savior died sprang into bloom. What had been stark death before became life at the touch of God, and the gallows became the gate to everlasting life.

"One thing the resurrection teaches us is that we must not trust appearances. The leafless tree says by its appearance that there will be no second spring. The body in Joseph's new tomb appears to signify the end of everything for Christ and His disciples. The limp form of a newly-dead believer suggests everlasting defeat. Yet how wrong are all these appearances. The tree will bloom again. Christ arose the third day according to the Scriptures, and the Christian will rise at the shout of the Lord and the voice of the archangel.

"Faith can afford to accept the appearance of defeat, knowing the true believer cannot be defeated finally. 'Because I live, you also will live.' That is the message of Easter. What a blessed message for the whole world if men would only believe it." -Aiden Wilson Tozer



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

Happy Easter!

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

Saturday, April 15, 2017


HAPPY EASTER!


Friday, April 14, 2017

Four-letter Words: N

This is Good Friday.  We kicked off the four-letter word series last week with "L" for "love."  To do this alphabetically, today's post should be "A."  I am unpredictable, however, and we are skipping to the first letter in the second half of the alphabet, "n," and the word is:

nail.

Jesus died the cruelest and most insulting death we can imagine.  We observe Good Friday in commemoration of the sacrifice of His own life to atone for our sins.  He died for us that we might live.

The nails were driven through His hands and feet to hold him to the rood.  Yet it was not the nails that held Him there, but rather His unimaginable love for us that forced him to give His life.  Make no mistake.  His life was not taken from Him, He gave his life.  He cried to the Father, "Not my will, but Thine be done."  He gave all in the will, not of self, but of the Father.

I am thinking as I worship this morning of the thud of the mallet as the nails were driven, the agony of  my Lord, Creator of all things, as he suffocated there on that hill we call Calvary.

The greatest Love of all.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Watch Goose and Camaraderie

Darlene: "Ardella came over and told me the cops brought you and Clifton to school this morning.  What happened?  Did he beat on you?"

Darren:  "Not any more than I beat on him!"

Darlene:  "Ooh, I'll get him now!"

Darren: "No you won't.  It is all settled; Clifton and I are good."

And so they were.  The two lads even started hanging out together during lunch time and afternoon recesses.  Darlene was not amused, but she is the loyal sister.  She spent more of her time stirring up difficulties amongst the girls.

One afternoon about two weeks after the fight, Clif (the boys were now "Clif" and "Dare") said, "Come on over to my house.  You can see our chickens and stuff.  And we have a watch goose."

"A what?  A watch goose?"

"Yeah.  We have this goose-- Ma says it's a blue goose-- that came in and started living with the chickens.  He guards them and watches over the place.  No one, but I mean no one, steps foot on our property without a big ruckus from Blue.  He's better than a watch dog.  He'll scare the bejabbers out of you, too, and run you off if you don't stand your ground."  Goose won't let the chickens out of the yard, either.  Haven't had one cross the road since he got here."

"Cool!  But how do I get on your place if the goose attacks me?"

"Oh, he won't attack you if you stand still and make yourself as big as you can--  raise your arms up and spread your feet apart.  He will run toward you honking, but he will stop when he sees how fierce you are.  Then you take two steps toward him.  He will back up two steps.  Then stomp your foot and step toward him again.  He'll turn and run."

And that all happened just so..

While Clif and Dare were checking out the hen house, Louie came out.  "Hey," he said.  "You're the kid that looks just like his sister.  She tried to beat me up.  I oughta clobber you just for being related to her."

"Did beat you up," Darren sassed.

"Why you-- I'll beat you up just because you are a little smart aleck."

"No," interjected Clifton, "you won't.  Dare is my buddy now and you'll have to beat us both up."

"I could do that."

"No, you won't.  Remember, blood is thicker than water, or something like that."

"Yeah, yeah.  Well, have fun."  Louie headed back to the house.

Darren knew a world more about poultry and how he got his eggs for breakfast by the time he left for home.


 ©2017  David W. Lacy

Monday, April 10, 2017

Altercation in Pineville

Inevitably the day came.  Darlene had a bad case of the sniffles, a sore throat, and every good excuse to stay home from school.  But Darren had to get ready and head out by himself.  Darren turned the corner at the end of the block, walked the half-block to the alley, and there behind the lilac bush was Clifton lying in wait.

"Ha!  Gotcha!  Where's Miss Piggy?  Piggy-tails, I mean."

And here Darren's "erudition" got him into serious trouble.  For some inexplicable reason his recent reading had been centered around nineteenth century American history.  Nine years old and already looking as though he'd be a lawyer or worse, a politician.  Or both.

"Sir," Darren cried, "I perceive that thou art a foul Whig!"

There was but one word of the sentence that Clifton understood and what he heard was "fowl."  He instantly concluded that he was being called a chicken, or worse depending upon what "whig" meant.

He flew with unrestrained fury at his antagonist.  Darren dodged and Clifton overshot his mark.  Both boys turned and the fight began.  I will spare you the details.  Suffice it to say that when Hans Freylingheusen drove up in his police cruiser the boys were rolling in the crushed limestone surface of the alley, both covered with the white powder of the recently-laid material, each flailing at the other, screaming and hollering.  Hans stopped the car, leisurely hoisted himself from the vehicle and ambled over to the combatants.

"Hey!"  Only upon hearing him speak did the boys turn to see a pair of black jack-boots and blue striped trousers beside them.  Only then did the beating and smacking stop.  The officer took a shoulder in each had and lifted the guys to their feet.  "Get in the car.  In the front seat.  You're not under arrest."

They complied and Hans walked around and got into the car as well.

"Aren't you supposed to be in school?"  No answer.  "I asked you a question."

"Yes, sir."  Feebly.  "Yes, sir."  Also feebly.

"Now I am going to drive you over to the station.  You can't show up at school looking like that."  In the locker room each boy was given a towel and washcloth.  "You want to beat each other?"  Freylingheusen said.  "Knock that dust and dirt off each other.  And don't get carried away; the fight is over.  Then get washed up."

Hans got the boys back into the cruiser and drove them to school.  The three of them went up the walk together.  Not in the best interests of Darren and Clifton was the fact that the third-graders were  on the playground.  The officer took the lads to the principal, Miss Garst.  "I hope you will excuse their tardiness.  These boys ran into a bit of difficulty but everything is all right now.  Right, fellas?"

"Right."

 "Right.  Thank you, sir."


 ©2017  David W. Lacy

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Jezebel, Elijah, and the Lord Almighty

Elijah had engaged in a contest with the prophets of Baal, built an altar, made the offering and doused it thoroughly with water, called down fire from God.  The sacrifice, the altar, and the water were consumed.  Elijah slew 400 prophets of Baal.

Jezebel sent word to Elijah that she would do to him as he had done to the prophets.

He ran.

Skipping way ahead (catch up by reading I Kings 19), we hear the Lord telling Elijah, "Go stand on the mountain, for the Lord will pass by."
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
 Then the Lord gave Elijah instructions.

How often do we expect the Lord to respond to our prayers in a spectacular way, in a mighty wind, so to speak?  How often do we sit awaiting an earthquake to move us to action?  Neither was the directive of the Lord in the fire, but in a gentle whisper!

Are we attuned to the Lord such that we can hear his whisper?

Do we respond in obeisance and obedience?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Four-letter Words

The term "four-letter words" has painted a huge boatload of English words with a tar brush.  It is true that there is a handful of four-letter words that are scatological, sacrilegious, and disrespectful.  We should know these words in order to avoid using them.  Okay, every twelve-year old boy knows them, anyway, but we need not be stuck in the prepubescent stage of our lives.

Meanwhile there are tens of thousands of perfectly good and useful four-letter words in the English language.  I propose to present a few of these select four-letter words that brighten or enhance our lives and our ability to communicate one with another.  If I have the stamina for it we may go through the alphabet looking for such words.  But meanwhile let us start with the best four-letter word of all:

 love.

As with many English words, this one can function either as a noun or a verb.  This is not a thesaurus or dictionary, nor do I propose to write such for there exists a plethora of such volumes.  We all have a construct of this word and recognize the deep emotional, spiritual, and intellectual power it evokes.
Sad the person who does not experience and receive love.  Even sadder the one who does not practice love toward others.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love."  I Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) 

Remember, too, that Jesus summed up the law in two commandments.  Both were to love.  First, God; then our neighbors and ourselves.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Pineville Retribution

Clifton was a bully but he was not without a crude and shrewd intelligence.  It did not take long for him to figure out who it was who got him into trouble over the yo-yo incident.  Confronted, Darlene did not deny her involvement.

Clifton:  I will make you sorry!

Darlene: Let's get it on!

Clifton:  All in good time, Baby.

Darlene's blood was about to boil, but she let it pass.

Clifton told his older brother, Louis, about this terrible, awful, mean, wicked girl who kept threatening him.  Louis said, "I can straighten her right out."  Clifton grinned.  "Thanks, Brother."

The Pratt's front doorbell rang shortly after five in the evening.  Mrs. Pratt answered the door to find a large angry woman and a twelve-year old boy standing on the porch.

L. A. Woman: Is this where Darlene lives?

Samantha: Yes. How may I help you?

L.A. W.:  How?  Just look at what that wicked vixen did to my Louie!

And there stood Louie, right eye purple and swollen, left cheek raw with claw (?) marks.

Samantha (turning toward the interior of the house):  DARLENE! Come here at once.

Darlene shows up at the door, stands beside her mother, grasping her skirt and looking up, her baby blues all innocence.  Louie's mother looks at this slip of a girl, turns to her son and says, "Is this the girl that beat you up?"

"Yeh, Ma.  That's her."

Ma turned with a roundhouse swing and walloped her son across the cheek.  "You let that little thing beat you up?  I'll show you what it means to get beat up!  Now get to the house. 'Scuse, me, Ma'am.  We'll be getting along now."


 ©2017  David W. Lacy

Monday, April 3, 2017

Crime in Pineville

During their first grade year at Pineville Elementary School, Darlene and Darren had been in the same classroom.  At the end of the year their teacher, a very frazzled teacher, advised most firmly that that sort of placement should not be allowed next year.

So it was that the twins had been in different classrooms since.  Clifton, Darren's nemesis, was in the fourth grade classroom with Darlene.  This sunny October morning Sadie, whose birthday was yesterday, brought her new yo-yo which her Aunt Min had given her.  Sadie had already mastered Walking the Dog and putting her toy to "sleep."  On the playground this morning she had even allowed some of her girlfriends to give it a try.  How pretty it was, shiny blue with silver sparklies that fairly danced in the sunlight as it spun up and down its string!

Back in the classroom, Darlene noticed that Sadie had placed her new treasure on the pencil tray of her desk.  Then it was time for math drill.  The five children in Sadie's row were sent to the chalkboard.  The teacher recited the "problems" and monitored the progress of the kiddos.  As it happened, Clifton was at the board, Sadie was at the board, and the yo-yo sparkled in the sunlight, lying there on the desk.

And you know what Darlene did.

That group finished their drill and returned to their desks.  Before Mrs. Lawton could call another group to the front there was heard a piercing shriek in the room.  Sadie had discovered that her yo-yo was missing.

"Yes, Mrs. Lawton, it was right there."  She points to the pencil tray.  "Someone stole my yo-yo!"
[Insert sobs for effect; oh, yes, those were real.]

The investigation is launched.  Emptying of pockets, dumping of desk contents and so on.  Darlene was "clean," of course, but when teacher got to Clifton, Clifton who in all innocence had no cause for alarm, reached into his desk to pull out the rat's nest he kept there and What's this?  The yo-yo was in the first handful of rubble he pulled out.

Mrs. Lawton palmed the toy.  "Clifton, you and I will spend our lunch time together.  Now class, let us get back to work."

"But, Ma'am! I --"

"But me no buts, Young Man!"


 ©2017  David W. Lacy

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Read the Old Testament

On last Sunday's post, this comment: 
Once again, I puzzle with how to apply OT stories to present day circumstances. But if Brother desires to bestow wealth upon me, I won't worry about application.

I responded:

The application here is simply follow God's lead. Of course, if you wish to share your wealth with your elder brother, that is good, too

 In the wee hours  I became aware of the fact that my answer needs expansion. so this:

It seems to me that the Old Testament provides example after example of the necessity to pursue the will of God.  Those who follow God's leading seem to bask in His approbation.  Those who fail to do so apparently fall into disfavor such that the end results are not pretty.

Beginning in the Garden of Eden we see the forebears, given one simple prohibition, unable or unwilling to abide by the strictures, plunge the entire human race into chaos.

We see Noah accomplish a daunting, even seemingly impossible task.  He is rewarded with life.

Moses rose to worldly prominence, sank to level of murderer and exiled himself from the land, yet at the age of eighty when God called him, he responded.

Saul defies the rules of the Lord and loses everything, including his life.

David is highly favored of the Lord, yet the desire of his life is not granted because of the sin he allowed to creep in..

And so on.



The point that I hope to make is two-fold.  To read the Old Testament is to read the Bible as Jesus knew it, for the OT was the Bible from which he worked and which he often quoted in his ministry.  To read the Bible is not only instructive in the necessity of seeking God's purpose for our lives, it is also laden with fascinating accounts of man's struggles, his relationships with his fellow-man, and his interaction with God.
 
A dear old lady, now deceased, told me she did not like the Old Testament, it is "so bloody," she said.  I submit that whatever blood was shed in the Old Testament was as nothing to the shedding of the blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the blood that is necessary and sufficient for our salvation.
 
"What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus."  --Robert Lowry

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fashion, Theft and Restitution

Darlene hated the brown cotton stockings: thigh high, ugly, held up by the suspenders on the little garter belt mama made for her.  In the wintertime, she really did not mind because she hated the cold anyway.  But in the Spring, well, you get the idea.

Darlene, though, as we have seen, is clever, and independent, too. She is now in the fourth grade but she discovered as far back as first grade that teasing from the more fashionably dressed girls was to be her lot in her school life.  But clever Darlene did not need much time to figure out that the stockings could be slipped off soon after she turned the corner at the end of the block on her way to school.  She would step behind a spirea bush, divest herself of the hosiery and store said hose in her brown lunch sack along with the apple and the sandwiches therein.

Darren, the loyal twin, never ratted out his sister, and might be said to be an accomplice, for he would wait on the sidewalk to continue his walk with the little look-alike.  If you are thinking that he did this more for his own protection than for the love of his sister, you would be both right and wrong.  There was that, of course, but Darren truly cared for Darlene, and he felt sorry for her, attired as she was in such unfashionable garb.

This Spring a heat wave struck in late March.  Tuesday morning, Darlene stepped behind the spirea, first time since October.  This went through Darren's mind: This has been going on for three years and what am I getting out of it?  Forgetting the protection his rowdy sister provided, he said, to himself, it is time for me to have some fun.

After lunch, Darren took his paper bag and Darlene's, too, and carried them to the shelf in the cloak closet.  But not before he transferred a brown stocking to each of the back pockets in his overalls.  Behind the bush, Darlene made a terribly disturbing discovery.  She was bare-legged and possessed of no stockings.  "Darren!"  she screamed, "Give me your lunch bag."  Darren complied.  Darlene still had no stockings.

Two blocks back to the dime store and Darlene ran all the way.  But as she entered the door it struck her that she did not have the nineteen cents she would need to buy stockings.  No time for such niceties: she strolled, either chalantly or nonchalantly to the hosiery counter, waited until the clerk was ringing up a sale, slipped a pair of brown stockings off the  counter and stuffed them up her sleeve.  She stole the merchandise.  The twinge of conscience did hurt, but not enough to deter her from her mission.  She ambled out the store and returned to the bushes which were her changing room.  Darren, of course, was not waiting for her.  But he was home when she arrived fully clad with stockings and all.

Darren, naturally, ferreted out the truth.  He was appalled.  Ornery, yes.  Mischievous, yes. But criminal?  He was willing, nay eager, to practice disobedience on occasion, but outright theft?  "Darlene, you have to make this right."

"Now just how do you think I am going to do that?  If I confess, Daddy will tan my hide and I might even go to jail."

"Look," he said.  Get your pig-bank.  I'll take care of it.  That's what brothers do."

"Yeah," she said. "Get me out of the trouble you got me into in the first place."

"That's what brothers do!"


 ©2017  David W. Lacy




Monday, March 27, 2017

The Pratts in Church

Pastor Pratt is on the platform.  He takes his position behind the pulpit and begins the introduction to his sermon.  He usually starts his message with a light-hearted or heart-tugging illustration, often drawn from his own experiences.  Today's story is no exception and casts him in the role of Peck's bad boy a quarter century ago.  Like father, like children?

Mrs. Pratt is seated at the center aisle, second row from the front.  Next to her is Darlene, then Darrin.  And next to him is Mindy who is snuggled up against her Grammy.  The two women have effectively blocked the egress from the pew such that no child is going to escape unless he crawls under the bench.  What a great idea!  Darren thought.  If I could get to the vestibule. . . As "all heads are bowed and all eyes are closed" Darren drops to the floor and begins to work his way, on his belly, toward the back.  At the fifth row back, though, he runs into a problem. Two problems, actually.  The first is that this row is completely filled such that there is no space between legs to accommodate the boy's body.  The second is that someone pronounces the "Amen."  Darren is stuck beneath a pew and no place to go.

Samantha is looking all around, turns to Darlene and hisses, "Where's Darren?"  Darlene shrugs, hands at her sides, palms up.  Daddy, in the pulpit, sees that Mama is in a state, but he cannot let that distract him from the point he is making.  But he notes that his only son is absent from his pew.  Pastor intoned, "Let us look at Genesis, chapter 27 and verse 8."  Then louder he read,  "Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee. Bring forth now to thy father the blue hymnal in the rack on the back of the nearby pew."  A bit of snickering, especially from those who had turned in their Bibles to the passage cited.  Darren felt the hair around his cowlicks stand on end and a chill ran down his spine.  He knew he had been had, but he rose sheepishly from the floor, grasped a blue hymnal, bumped past three pairs of knees as he moved to the aisle along the wall, muttering, "Excuse me, excuse me, I beg your pardon."  His father met Darren at the edge of the platform, the boy handed him the book and Dad muttered, sotto voce, "Wait 'til your father gets home." 

The preacher continued his sermon, church was dismissed, and one sandy-haired, freckle-faced boy escaped the environs post haste, but he headed directly to the house.

 ©2017  David W. Lacy

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sheep, Kine, Donkeys, and Camels

Last week we referenced Genesis 32 in which Jacob is given a new name.  Continuing the reading through the chapter and into the next, we find Jacob with his family and his worldly goods approaching the land which had been promised to Abraham and his descendants, the land he had left many years prior.

It seems to be running through Jacob's mind that he and his twin brother Esau had not parted on the best of terms.  And he had to know that the trick he had played on his father, at his mother's behest, which deprived Esau of his rightful inheritance might weigh in Esau's assessment of his brother, and might in fact prove perilous to Jacob.

Then Jacob gets word via his scouts that Esau is approaching with an army of 400 men.

In a tactical maneuver, Jacob divides his camp into two contingents thinking that if one part of his party were attacked, the other part might escape.

But more, Jacob prepared a gift for his brother: 580 animals with their tenders.  These, too, he divided into blocks, sending several groups "with considerable space between them."  When the first group meets Esau the herdsmen are to tell him it is a gift from Jacob.  Then the next group will arrive with the same message, and so on until all the animals have been presented.  Then Jacob himself will show up.

Then the guys saw each other.  Clasping one another, hugging, tears of happiness at the reunion!

Jacob and Esau embracing

Esau said, "What is the meaning of all these beasts?"

"They are from me to you.  I have prospered and I want to share my wealth with you."

"Nay, keep your livestock.  I have also prospered.

"No, please take them.  They are yours."

"Okay."

Esau of course invites Jacob to join him, come with him to his land.

You  need to read the story to discover how much the newly reunited brothers trusted each other.

There is a moral in here somewhere, perhaps many of them.  But, Praise the Lord! I am not a preacher so it is not incumbent upon me to ferret them out and present them to you.

Have a blessed Lord's Day.  As Jacob did, follow God's lead in your life.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Pratt Household

A bit ago you were introduced to the Pratt twins, Darlene and Darren.  Today, a bit about the rest of the family.
 
Mr. Pratt, Edwin, if it really matters, because everyone calls him "Pastor" or sometimes "Reverend," is the pastor of Pineville Community Church.  Pineville, as you are aware, is tucked away in a serene, not to mention somnolent, valley just a bit past beyond.  Parochial?  Not so very much.  If you were not born there you are not a "local," even though you may have lived there for seventy years.  Go figure.  The Pratts are not locals.  They came to town to pastor PCC nine years ago, just six weeks after the birth of the twins.  Five years later Mindy was born.  Mindy will ever be known as a local.  But never her parents or her siblings.  See above.

Mrs. Pratt, Samantha, is very much involved in the good works of the church and with the community at large.  She is a regular participant in the doings of the PTA and is a volunteer at the Pineville Community Hospital.

The baby, four-year old Mindy, is beautiful, charming, a living doll, one might say, and is beloved by all.  She is the good child, the payoff to perseverance, the balance over against the antics of the twins.  And how does Mrs. Pratt cope with all the responsibilities that devolve upon her as pastor's wife, mother to an angel and two hellions, still finding time to be of real service to the townspeople?
Bad luck often brings with it good fortune and in this case the bad luck of Samantha's mother in losing her husband to cancer three years ago has turned into the Pratts' good fortune.  For the past year Mrs. Cline has lived with the Pratts.

There is no cause for mother-in-law jokes, for Edwin and Eldena, that's Mrs. Cline, are the best of friends.  It might even be said that they adore each other, and Samantha loves them both and all is peachy-keen in the household.

Except for Darren and Darlene.  Please understand that these children are loved by all the occupants of the house, that there is no abuse going on.  They are well and properly cared for.  It is just that they are exasperating.  Twins: double the trouble, half the restraint.  If the girl-one don't get you, the boy-one will.  Or they both will.

Case in point.  Last Saturday Pineville Community Church had a Sunday School picnic in Pine Park.  The feast was consumed and the ladies of the Silver Set were tending to the cleanup duties.  People of all ages were entertaining themselves and each other, letting the meal settle a bit, you see, and the softball and volleyball games had not yet started.  Guys sitting around picking their teeth, ladies standing about in little clusters relating-- What?  You think gossip is going to slip into this account?  Not so.

Last Sunday Darren's Sunday School teacher, Miss Prunella (we call her, for Darren thinks of her as an old prune) had been a bit harsh with the lad over an itching powder incident involving Suzie Fletcher.  The young Pratt had yet to develop sufficient spiritual strength to forgive and forget.

So it was that Darren was crawling around on the ground, ostensibly looking for-- for what? Lost spectacles? A four-leaf clover?  Never mind.  As the boy sees his sister, pigtails flying, rushing headlong toward her, Darren positions himself, on his knees, directly behind Miss Prunella's legs.  Darlene turns her head to look back, ostensibly to see if the one chasing her is gaining on her (this is how she told it later) and in that instant of looking back and moving forward she ran into the unlucky SS teacher who staggered backward half-step, ran into Darren and fell on her back, plum knocking the wind out of her.  Beautifully executed teamwork by the twins, all deniability factors rehearsed in advance and carried off flawlessly.

The preacher's kids. You know what they say about those.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Pratts of Pineville

 "Hi.  I'm Darlene and I am nine years old.  This is my brother."

"Hello.  I'm Darren.  I am nine, too."

"Oh, you are twins. How adorable!"`

There is an opinion that will change in less than a week. Most people who know them will say, "Darlene, indeed.. She's no darling, that's for sure. And Darren will dare anything, so long as it's ornery."

 Darlene and Darren are the first offspring of the Rev. Mr. Edwin Pratt and his lovely wife, Samantha. The twins have a sister, Mindy, age four. Technically, Darlene is the first-born of the Pratt children, being four minutes older than her brother. Pratt is their name, and mischief is their game.

Darlene's strawberry blonde hair is almost always in pigtails. Her complexion, to use a cliche, is peaches and cream, but that she wears a permanent Swiss dotted ribbon of rusty freckles across the bridge of her nose and under the eyes to the very corners of those bright blue orbs. A level could be placed across the tops of the heads of these two when they are standing side by side and the bubble would fall strictly inside the lines. It is likely, though, that in a couple of years Darlene will be the taller, but that probably won't last very long.

Darren has distinct double cowlicks and some wag said, not in the hearing of the Reverend, that those were exactly where the boy's horns would sprout in a couple of years, at the rate he was going. Of Darlene, well, she already has horns but keeps them pulled back in braids. Darren's band of freckles is the mirror image of his sister's. The eyes are the exact same shade as Darlene's baby blues.

Despite their similarities in appearance, however, these children were possessed (someone once said, "No kidding!") of two distinct personalities. Prepare to be surprised. Darlene was by far the more rambunctious, the one more likely to engage in physical altercations, and the one chosen first in most pick-up games on the playground or in a vacant lot. By contrast Darren was more the contemplative type, likely to be in a corner with a book, sometimes even a dictionary or encyclopedia. He is the kid who is picked on by the playground bullies. In particular, Darren has one nemesis who persists in annoying the lad, though this exchange once took place when Darlene was with her brother.

Clifton: "One of these days soon I will catch you when your sister's not around and I'll beat the crap out of you."

 Darlene: "You do that and when I catch up with you I will break every bone in your ugly body."

Clifton has confined his pestering to verbal taunts, a circumstance which will doubtless prevail.

 ©2017  David W. Lacy

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Get over yourself, and fear not!

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.  Exodus 14:13-14 (KJV)

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 "The people" whom Moses addresses are Israel as they were fleeing Egypt.  He is using the very name of the people, Israel, to exhort them to trust in God who "will fight for them."

In Genesis 32 we read the story of Jacob wrestling with God and after the night-long contention God gives Jacob a new name, Israel.  Israel: God contends; perseveres. God prevails.

Then the Psalmist reminds us again to "Be still and know that I am God." (42:10)

Fear is an adjunct of self-reliance.  In trusting God we have nothing to fear.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hallelujah Time with Preacher Partlow

Did I tell you about the time Preacher Partlow pitch a tent in Las Animas? Well, Preacher, he work across Kansas from Wichita to Syracuse a holdin' meetin's all along the way. Tuk him most a summer, too, on account he draw such crowds even in that godforsaken territory, well, any entertainment was better 'n nuthin', so as he offen stayed in one place three-four weeks. Well, he closed out in Syracuse on a Sunday night and a Monday he head on over to Las Animas. His old double A truck loaded to the gills, what with the tent, the accordion his wife played, and of course, his trombone and his trumpet. Now his was a small-time operation, doncha know, just him and his wife. His wife was Noreen Gibbs, you know, and afore she married Preacher she was purty well-knowed around Tulsa, on account a she had a voice people pay money to hear. They say she could paralyze the devil, and put the angels to shame. Anyway, people come to Preacher's meetin's to hear him play them horns and hear him preach. Orate was what he done. But it didn't hurt the draw none to have Noreen on the platform with him. And when she close out the evenin' with “Just as I Am,” those folk didn't hit that sawdust trail-- not much they didn't. Line that rail along the sawdust, why I guess they did.

So one Sattidy night about two weeks into the revival in Las Animas, Grady Smith and Hank Morton from over th'other side the river, over to'rd Fort Lyon, made it up atween 'em to go over to Animas an' bust up Preacher's meetin'. Now, ever'body know Grady could whup anyone in Bent County, and Hank was his toady, would do whatever Grady tol' him to do. So they get onto they cow ponies and ride on over to the tent. Now Preacher had a wonderful meetin' that night, the music had plum warmed the people into a most receptive frame a mind, and Preacher know this harvest was ripe to reap. He was givin’ 'em low-pocka-hirem, gettin' ready to thrust in the sickle, so to speak, when Hank and Grady bust into the side a the tent on they hosses, Grady from Preacher's right and Hank from his left, and rid them hosses right up onto the platform. They did. Grady leap out the saddle and drop the reins. “This here meetin',” he shouted, “is over! And I'ma whup you, Mr. Preacher Man.”

Partlow raise both hands, palms out toward the crowd and cry, “Folks, just hold your seats and put on a Lord's measure of patience. I am going to step out back of this tent with this youngster for just a few seconds, and I'll be right back.” Grady roared with laughter, and Hank, still aboard his pony, said, “Like hell.”

Now Grady was a hoss his own self, six-three and prolly went two thirty. Preacher mought a weight one fifty-five, but he'd have to be plum dressed and plum wet to make 'er. Preacher step offa the platform and out back the tent with Grady right on his heels. Miz Partlow step to the platform and in her angelic voice start singin’ “When We All Get to Heaven.” Preacher turn to face Grady, Grady tuk a roundhouse swing with his left, which Preacher duck quicker'n I can tell it and come up with a right widow-maker smack! into the bottom side Grady's chin, whilst he bury his left in his gut. Grady hit the ground, out like a campfire in a hail storm, just as Noreen was hittin’ the strains of “what a day of rejoicing that will be!”

Preacher step through the tent-flap onto the platform, raise both hands again, said, “Thanks be to God!  Now, all you sinners come to Jesus now!” And they done it.  And Hank Morton on his knees with ‘em. There was a stringer there thet night, and the La Junta Tribune-Democrat reported they was forty-seven people confessed Christ as they savior!

Text © 2013 David W. Lacy


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Seriously

No getting 'round it: today is π day.

Make mine pecan.  (Aren't all mathematicians a little bit nuts?)

The printer dropped his tray.  Everything was pied.

&ik(^gh%RF3n$14


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Tale of the Three A.M. Blog Post

A marvelous idea for a blog post slapped me upside my mind at three o'clock in the morning.  This happens.  All too frequently.  I lay abed and composed it.  This is good stuff.  So l edited and polished it, refined it, perfected it.  Four-fifteen I make a trip to the little room next door, return to bed.  Shiver a bit to get warm again, run the post through my head one more time.  It is perfect!

I slept.

After I showered and dressed, eight o'clock, I went to the computer and logged on.  Brought up blogger to write my post.

I could not remember. One. Single. Word. Of that perfect gem.

I wrestled with this throughout the day, convinced that ere nightfall I would recover my work.  Not so.  Not one inkling.  But I do remember that it was an absolutely wisdom-of-the-ages, polished and perfected, ready for the world

One-liner!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Lunch Hour

Swimming was scheduled from 11:20 to 12:10.  That class was followed by lunch and I had no obligation to be any particular where until my next class started at 1:00.  Choices for lunch were many and as I like variety I availed myself of various opportunities.

At the top of the list was the brown bag, for Mom would make the sandwiches and cookies, Dad would pay for the victuals, and David ate well, but on the cheap.   Sometimes in the fall and in the springtime this lunch was consumed as Roland and I sat at a chess table in Acacia Park which was just across the street from school. Some days, though, as this student was usually pretty flush for funds as he had a job he worked twenty-eight hours a week a different option would be selected.

Next choice was the school cafeteria.  I remember little about it except that it was on the top floor and a walk back from the Y, climbing the stairs and joining a vast mob was not always an appealing option.  But like clockwork, I am thinking on Thursdays, the staff made and served Spanish rice.  Now why exactly I found this appealing I don't remember, but I liked it a lot in those days and I could get the full meal including milk and dessert for thirty-five cents.

My next choice was the cafeteria at the YWCA.  The YW building was another block yet farther south than the YMCA.  The YWCA building was a five-story affair on the corner of Nevada and Kiowa.  It was probably the second-tallest building in town and today would be referred to as a "low rise."  It has since been placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

I could easily walk the block from the YM to the YW, ascend the elevator to the cafeteria and enjoy a luscious meal, a gustatory delight to a boy, full meal, for example. a pork chop with potatoes and white gravy, green beans on the side, for sixty-five cents, coffee included.  Cherry pie, fifteen cents, twenty-five ala mode.  Change left over from my dollar for a Nehi Cream Soda after school.  Too, the girls with the smiling voices, that is, telephone operators, worked at the exchange next door and several of them had lunch at the Y.

A block and a half north of the school was a "corner grocery" where a certain element hung out, before school, after school, and at lunch time.  I think they dined on soda pop, moon pies or twinkies, and candy bars.  Most importantly to most of them, though, was the fact that they could get in a smoke or two before class.  I never went there, but you know.  Word gets around.

Across Nevada Avenue from the YMCA was a hoppin' soda shop.  I stopped a few times after school but never took lunch there.  Most of those students who did lived on upper Cascade Avenue or Wood Avenue, Culebra Drive.  You know, out of my social stratum.

Finally, of course, which I have already mentioned elsewhere, were the days that the lunch hour was spent shooting pool at the Y.  Candy bars and RC Cola.

Bon appetit!

 My Little World
Colorado Springs, Colorado
1951-1952

#11 Red Top Cafe.  I did not include it as a school lunch choice as I reserved this very special treat for my Saturday lunch.  Walked across the street from the office, #10, then thirty steps up the alley to the hole-in-the wall behind the theater.  The best burger in town ("one's a meal")--maybe anywhere--thirty-five cents.  Coffee, a nickel.
 #12 Shop mentioned on Bob's blog a few years ago. 
*Intersection of Pikes Peak and Tejon was known as "Busy Corner."  It was said you could meet up with anyone in town if you stood there long enough.  Second door east on north side of Pikes Peak, a broom closet-sized hot roasted nuts! shop.  A dime's worth of Spanish peanuts gave two boys an abundant snack!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Kate and Tommy Reprise

In Springtime, they wander through the flowers, walk in meadows, long, happy hours.  “A year this June,” Tommy said, “in yon church we will be wed.  You’ll meet me at the garden gate.  My carriage comes.  Don’t be late!”

Summer’s languid afternoon found Kate and Tommy on the ground, the picnic blanket spread, their hungry bodies to be fed.  “Not yet,” said Kate, “Mama counseled me to wait.  The pleasures of wedded life to be shared by man and wife.”  “I’ll wait 'til then, don’t be late.  Meet me at the garden gate.”

That Fall needles on the ground from dark green pine trees all around.  “Here, Love, lie with me on the duff.”  “Oh, Dear One,” said Kate, “That’s not enough.  I’ll hold and keep you evermore after we exit the church house door. I’ll meet you at the garden gate.  And, oh, Tommy, don’t be late!”

Winter's winds now harshly blow as Kate walks alone through the snow.  Her heart, though is far away for on this cold December day Tommy’s ship is hast'ning home and nevermore shall Tommy roam.  His last words to her had been, “Don’t be late; I’ll meet you at the garden gate."

And at June’s first full moon breezes aloft softly croon.  Kate in gown of white shimmering in evening’s light was waiting at half ‘til eight at end of lane, at the garden gate.

The moon is high, no longer evening; bright, starry sky.  Tommy’s horse and shay have not appeared this summer day.  Mama comes to hold Kate’s hand.  The girl sobs, “I don’t understand.  He said he’d meet me at garden’s gate; promised he would not be late.”

“Kate,” Mother said, her voice severe, “Each mid-June you have stood here.  Tommy’s ship went down, you know.  It’s time for you to let him go.  It’s now been eight long years.  Get up, sing again, and dry your tears.  Tommy cannot meet you at the gate; life marches on, and you’ll be late.

©2015 David W. Lacy

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Are We Any Better?

http://www.israeli-wine.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/PT-AO225_WINE_F_20100325154532.jpg

Isaiah's Song of the Vineyard (Isaiah 5) is a lovely poem expressing God's loving treatment of his people (the vineyard) and yet the vineyard produces wild grapes (sin and rebellion).  The message becomes a prophecy of punishment for a people who have turned from God.*

This passage from the middle of the song which pronounces woes upon the wicked was certainly intended for the leaders in the Judah of Isaiah's day, yet might it not be instructive for us yet today?

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil;
that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes,
and prudent in their own sight!

Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine,
and men of strength to mingle strong drink:

which justify the wicked for reward,
and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!" (vv. 20-23)

Incidentally one of my favorite passages in the song appear in verse eight:
  
"Woe unto them that join house to house,
that lay field to field, till there be no place,
that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!"

Crowded populations, no place to find solitude.  Sound familiar? 

Grammarian at work:  "a people that is" vs. "a people who are."  There is some history at work here and a choice has to be made.  My first draft used the first form, the final draft the second.
 


Friday, March 3, 2017

Swimming at the Y

I transferred to public high school for my senior year.  My reasoning which sufficed to convince  the parents was that I needed to take physics and senior math which at the time was trigonometry and solid geometry.

Then I found that in order to graduate I would have to have credit in physical education.  So as a senior I enrolled in a  PE class.  I chose swimming.

*WARNING.  If you do not wish to have an image which you cannot unsee burned into your mind, STOP reading now.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
 
The swimming classes were held at the YMCA pool which was a one-block walk to the south of the school.  The routine required stripping and showering, soaping thoroughly, including the hair. (When did you last "shampoo" with bar soap?)  Then we entered the pool area.  You did not read the part about donning the trunks?  That is because there was no, I mean NO, clothing in the pool.  Twenty naked teenage boys lined up alongside the pool so Coach could call the roll, then into the water. The instructor shouted encouragement and humiliating taunts to each and all for the next thirty minutes.

Back to the showers where we rinsed the chlorine off our bodies, toweled down, then, some days, the fun part.  Snapping someone with a damp towel is much more fun than being snapped by a damp towel.  Coach knew this was going on, how could he not?  But he also knew when to step in and put a stop to it.  No permanent injuries suffered by anyone, so far as I know.

Once dressed, we ascended to the main floor where most of the guys checked out and headed for the school house.  Some of us who chose to fritter away the lunch hour stayed to shoot a couple games of eight-ball.  Nope, no "closed campus."  Lunch hour might make another post.

Oh, I passed the course, got my PE credit.


My Little World
Colorado Springs, Colorado
1951-1952

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Pretty Lady

In the attic again.  Picking my way through the boxes and framed pictures, I stooped to pick up a picture lying on the floor.  General Palmer astride his bronze horse, tall  pedestal in the middle  of  the  intersection.  I flipped the snapshot  into  a nearby box and straightened up too fast and too much without regard for the rafter above my head.  I mean, squarely atop my head.


The birds were twittering and chittering in the elms shading the sidewalk as I hastened down Weber Street.  I had walked all the way across town to Memorial Hospital to visit short minutes with my friend, Mary, as she had a ten-minute break at six  o'clock.  We had not seen each other since I left for college those many months ago.  I still had a soft spot for her.   Our visit was pleasant but not very  informative, for what can one say in ten minutes?  So now I am hurrying home because I promised Mom I would go to meeting with her this evening.

Passed by the east side of the old high school and reaching the corner I turned right onto Platte Avenue toward the west.  The sun had dropped behind The Peak, light rays streaming upward and outward, a painting almost as a child would represent a sunset, yet so very powerful my heart leaped within  me!  God's creation is marvelous beyond our abilities to fully appreciate it sometimes.  Then  there are perfect moments such as this one.

What is that figure that just crossed Nevada Avenue and is heading toward me with a quick and purposeful stride?  A young woman.  As she passes the front entrance of the high school I am nearing the middle of the block.  I recognize her.  It is Gwen.  Gwen whom I have not seen since the night we crossed the stage to receive our diplomas more than a year ago.

Gwen and I had started our senior year here in this building that stands beside us as newbies, that is we were both transfer students, the only thing we had in common.  The half-thousand other seniors all knew each other, more or less, but a small subset of the class were new to the facility.  I noticed Gwen.  She would have been hard to overlook because she was easy to look at.

Gwen was one of the best-dressed girls in the school, but fashion did not dictate her choice in style.  Her skirts, for instance, were hemmed two inches below the knee in a day in which the style required the hem two inches above the bobby sox.  She often wore a bolero jacket, style dictating an angora sweater.  The jacket was almost always accessorized with a scarf, either around her neck or over her shoulder.  Her makeup was modest but exquisite, with one exception.  Her carefully-applied lipstick was just a shade too red. Gwen's hair was black and when one looked into her eyes he had to know that the hair color was as honest as the piercing eyes.

Gwen and I were friendly to the extent that we spoke to each other in the hallways, she smiled when she saw me and I thought she was visiting Earth from Olympus.  In other words, way out of my league.

The aura of mystery surrounding the young lady never entirely lifted.  It was known that she had moved into town from another city.  The guys whispered behind their hands, "She lives with her sister, you know.  No parents in that house."  From which I was to infer-- what, exactly?

And thus we met, mid-block, late afternoon on a lovely summer day.  "Hi, David!"  Had she not spoken first I would have passed her without a word, for my daddy taught me that a gentleman never addressed a lady before she spoke to him.  "Hi, Gwen!  How are you?  Haven't seen you in, well, in a year."  We stopped to visit a bit.  I told her of my college choice, my plans for the summer.  She told me she worked in the secretarial pool at a large company whose corporate headquarters were on Cascade Avenue.

Breaking eye contact with me, dropping her head just slightly, her right foot caressed the back of her left calf.  Gwen said, "You could walk me the rest of the way home, if you like.  I live just around the corner on Weber."

Seldom to that point in my life did I fear that my heart would leap completely from my chest.  I took two very deep breaths, blushing I know, for I could feel the heat rising from the top of my head.

"Uh.  Oh, wow.  I'd really like to, but I promised my Mom I would take her to her meeting this evening and I am running late now."

"Oh.  Oh, okay.  Nice to see you again, and good luck with your life.  'Bye!"




Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Can Spring Be Far Behind? Well, Yes.

I have mentioned the  fact that we have six austrees on our property, six very large, extremely messy trees.  It is no exaggeration to state that we have picked up and removed literally tons of branches, twigs, and leaves from our yard over the years.  What do we get in return?  Besides aggravation, I mean.  Shade.

That's it.  We get shade in certain areas of the yard at certain times of the day.

Last December at the time the city was closing down its leaf pickup operation these trees were still green with leaves.  They finally dropped sometime in a winter blow.  More work.  Now the latest chapter in the story.

It is the last day of February.  Here is what we see on these monstrosities:






Sunday, February 26, 2017

Humor and Negativity

It occurs to me that most of the world's troubles flow from humorless people.  In fact, it is my belief that all troubles are caused by people with no sense of humor but I cannot support that statistically.

Think of a handful of people whose behaviors and actions most influence the world, then in each case ask yourself, "Does she/he have a sense of humor?"  I bet that if the influence is largely to the negative you will have to answer, "No."

I am thinking of. . .  Nevermind.

I thought to write a piece on the influences of negativity in the world, but then I stumbled onto this piece.  It serves to express my thinking on the topic.  Click here.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Wait Five Minutes



76o yesterday afternoon, woke up to 29o and snow this morning.

I love Indiana.


















The lilac bush yesterday.

Friday, February 24, 2017

In the Present

We left Me standing in the attic, a copy of Plato's Symposium  in my left hand. I am recalling, though, a day in which Ben and I were having a heated debate, Plato's idealism, versus Aristotle's realism. Finally, enough time devoted to that on this day, in the opinion of Prof who said, "Enough for now.  You may take it up again on Friday.  But you will switch positions for the balance of the discussion."

"But, Doc.  That puts me at a severe disadvantage, for Alcibiades here is noted all across campus for his chameleon-like non-stance on anything.  He can switch allegiances in an instant."

"And so you must learn to do as well, Mr. Moore," quoth the good doctor, "for you will find in your chosen field of endeavor that you will have every dart and javelin flung at you, every sword the enemy can command will come into play.  To defend your position, you must be able to understand the other side.  And to do that well, you must be able to argue either side.  Point, Alcibiades."

Reverie over.  I dropped the book in the dust, retraced my steps and descended the ladder.

End the portion of the account that may contain some elements of fiction, and back to reality as I start the car, ready to carry out my mission for the day.

The years that followed saw Ben and Wes graduate, and  I, too, the year following.  Ben rather precisely followed his life-goals chart he had developed as a youth.  His career included a successful ministry including the establishment of an outreach mission to the city's down-and-out.  He wrote several books which were published and at least one of them sold quite well.  He might have extended his goals chart a few more years, though, for twenty-five turned out to be enough.  He died just days short of his 44th birthday, 25 years almost to the day that he pinned his Life Goals to his dorm wall.

He planned thoroughly and followed his plan.

RIP, Ben.

I, on the other hand, 41 years after Ben's demise, still live my life one day at a time.

Word of the day realism, in philosophy.

 The real Ben and what he wrote in my yearbook six decades ago.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fences, the Movie

BBBH and I don't go on  dates nearly enough.  Of course we dated, prenuptial, but like other couples we know, with  time we have been overcome by inertia too often.  The principal danger of this is that a couple may begin to take one another for granted, become blase, watch the spark die and just sit.  Lord, preserve us from such fate.

Last evening we went to a movie.  She wanted popcorn, so I sprang for popcorn.  Do you see the romantic overtones coming into play here?  The point.  We saw Fences  with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.  We enjoyed the show and our after-performance review suggests that I might have liked it a bit the better.  There are several things that are certain.  1)  The performances were stellar.  2)  The cinematography did a reasonable job in its attempt to convince the viewer it was a cinematic production and not a stage play.  3) The writer, August Wilson, admirably turned a series of family life experiences into a coherent and entertaining whole.

To the first point, Denzel Washington, as Troy, gave a professional and moving rendition of a man who had his demons, but responsibility became his touchstone.  He was nominated for a Golden Globe and for the Academy Awards, Best Actor.  Viola Davis, as Troy's wife, was fantastic.  Just saying.  She, too, was nominated for GG Best Supporting Actress, which she won, and for the AW, same category.  Also, she has the most amazing hands!

Second point, though played on the silver screen, it was obvious that the story was written for the stage.  There were some scenes, however, where the director was able to utilize the camera to good effect, conveying parts of the unspoken story.  But I still watched feeling that I could enjoy the stage presentation.

Final point.  There is action  in the show, some violent and heart-wrenching, but if you are an action  movie fan, this  one  would not fill the bill for you.  Again, to the credit of the director, Washington, every scene is germane to the development of  the  story.  We are not big fans of the cinema, but our  ratings are given here  for your amusement.

On  a scale  of one to five, BBBH, gives it ✨ ✨ ✨. Story is drawn from common lives of common people.

My rating is ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ .   I thought  it  excellent entertainment and to me, the best stories are those that reflect  the human  condition.  Fantasy may have  been  my bag long ago, but I am older now.😀

Recommend:  See the movie.

To wrap up our evening, we  came home where I made  us a grilled cheese sandwich which we shared with our drinks of choice, milk for me, grapefruit juice  for  her.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Return to the Old Barn

I haven't been in  the attic in  a couple months.  Walking to the car I noted the rope just above my head.  Okay, I am not in a hurry anyway.  I had  to move two boxes from the spot where  the foot of the ladder lands.  Done; pulled the rope and set the contraption on  the floor.

Climbing the steps is not as easy as it once was; it is not as easy as it was two months ago when I last assayed to ascend above.  Atrophy: it's not just for  the mind; the muscles seem to be going as well.  Perhaps I should  attend more  closely when my Sawbones tells me to get up from the lounger more often, walk a bit, he says, chop some wood.  Well, it is easy for him to say.

Feet firmly on the floor and I turn  down the weed-strewn  path.  There is the  old barn where I found my clogged idea mill.  But.  The barn  had withstood the  vicissitudes of time for a century and a quarter (carved into the lintel over the main door was "1887.")  But January's wind finally laid the old structure more or less parallel to the earth.  Rubble was spread several yards to the east and the peak of  the  roof remained a bit above the dreary flatness of the landscape.  "Every  puppy has  its day," and every barn some day shall lie supine  upon the earth, slowly molder  away.

Just there lying open in the dust is a small, gray hardback book, its water-stained pages riffling in the breeze.  I pick it up.  Symposium, Plato.  Suddenly I am transported, as across a time-warp or through a worm-hole, sixty-five years into the past.

I am a philosophy major, as is my good friend Wes.  Also in this class along with six other stalwart and daring souls, is Ben Moore.  We are reading Symposium.  Ben has taken to calling me "Alcibiades" which he continues to do long after this class is over, even to our parting on graduation day.  Ben is a ministerial student, goal-oriented, knows where he is going.  True.  He has a chart hanging on the wall in his dorm room outlining his life for the next 25 years.  When he asked me what I was going to be when I grow up, I replied, "Who knows what the morrow will bring; sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

I call Ben '"Alvin," which is his given first-name.  He clearly uses "Ben" because for some reason he
does not like the moniker his parents tagged him with.  I persisted in this, though at one point I was tempted to call him "Memnon."  I thought better of it, and "Alvin" was sufficient for my purposes.

I liked to think that Ben named me Alcibiades because of my superb skill in debate and oratorical prowess.  Wes, though, maintaining a close friendship with both of us, disabused me of that notion.  "Clearly," he said, "Ben sees you as one who will take either side of any issue, picking  the one most to your advantage."*  Perhaps I could have twisted that somehow  to my benefit, had Wes not  gone on, dragging  something about  a snake into  the conversation.  Oh, well.

Ben, focused, serious minded, was from the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood of Philadelphia.  Wes and I had been raised "free range," Westerners, both of whom showed up  on campus wearing ten-gallon hats.

(If there is more  to this  story  it shall have to appear  in another  installment.  I've  things  to do.)
Word of the day:  Idealism

*Referring to Alcibiades, Aristophanes wrote, "Athens yearns for him, and hates him too, but wants him back."
^o^ Drawing, me, with apologies, sort of, to Bill Amend.