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.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Meddies, Anyone?

Friday evening I watch a couple of o.t.a. programs.

Last evening I had the following for my viewing pleasure: 

Rexulti
Viberzi
 Xeralto
Trivago
Trintellix
Xeljanz
and my noon news today: Humira.

What in the ever-loving blue-eyed world? Any government that cannot or will not control this sort of thing is either ineffectual or immoral. imho
(Yes, I know  one of the above does not fit the category, but the name would, don't you think?)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Obviously I stole this. You well know that I've neither the tools nor the talent to do it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Putting Toothpaste Back into the Tube

In my reading recently I happened upon a  phrase the author used to describe a  character.  He  wrote, "Lowell was educated beyond  his  intelligence."

My father used a similar  saying.  His comment would  have been, "Lowell has more degrees than a thermometer, but not sense enough to pound sand in a rat hole."

Why do I  bring this up?  Simply this: there is a vast  chasm  between knowledge  and  wisdom.

It seems to me that  we are  living in an age  of knowledge in which learning is prized  above  all  else.  That is not  entirely a bad  thing, but that which  we emphasize in  the learning process is woefully incomplete and entirely inadequate to the building of individual character  such that  the society  might function smoothly as an  integral  organism.  Witness  the  incivility of man to  fellow-man; the  uncivil reactions and the mob mentality of the  many who disagree  with "the other side."

What we will ultimately witness is the ripping asunder of the society, chaos, anarchy, and who knows what.

Is it too late to inject an emphasis on character development into the learning process; too late to  teach respect for the self and for  others?  I like to hope not.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I 💗 U 😎 & 🌜,  U R my 😎, 🌜, & ✨,   🌭! I 💗 U > 🍦 & 🥓.  Ur my 💟!!!!!


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Love Lifted Me-- The Original Post

This morning I posted a blurb poking fun at myself for my ineptitude.  Well now.  This is the rest of the story.  I have a private blog in which I store thoughts, ideas, concepts, notions and so on that I do not share.  I thought I had lost the following post and wrote a substitute.  Today when I went to the private place, I discovered that I had written "Love Lifted Me" in the hidden blog.  There it was, so now I bring it forward to STSTT where it belonged in the first place.
"Lord I Lift Your Name On High"

Lord I lift Your name on high
Lord I love to sing Your praises
I'm so glad You're in my life
I'm so glad You came to save us

[Chorus:]
You came from heaven to earth
To show the way
From the earth to the cross
My debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord I lift Your name on high  --R.D. Founds 
We sang this chorus several times last Sunday as we often do.  Praise  is appropriate and certainly must be an element of  worship.  I have been  thinking, though, that some of  the old songs provided  a  deeper insight  into  the salvation message  and just why we praise God.  Yes, I know "It is  all about You." Yet it  is our  relationship with God  that provides us with an awareness  of who He is.
The phrase "lifted up" occurs well over 100 times in the King James Version of  the Holy Bible.  In most  instances it is  used in  reference to lifting up the eyes, the voice, the hand, and so on.  On occasion it refers  to lifting someone  up as from a pit (Joseph).  I do not find any reference  to man's  lifting  up of  the  Deity.  God  lifts  us up!
Jesus alone spoke of being lifted up, referring to His crucifixion.  These are the only references I can find regarding the lifting up of God.  John 3:14, John 3:18,

And thus it was an easy segue into recollections of songs we used to  sing in church.  This one  came to mind.  The  complete  teaching on  the condition of man without God, God's mercy and  forgiveness when we cry out to Him, our complete submission to His will.  From this, then, praise flows from man to God.  "Love so mighty and so true merits my soul's  best  song."   Finally the last  stanza characterizes our missionary zeal, for as we are  commanded, we  seek to persuade others  to come to  Jesus!

Apart from a simple-minded longing for the good old days, I miss the  worship in song plumbing the depths of man's degradation and soaring  to the heights to which the love of God lifts us!
                 
                          "Love Lifted Me"
  1. I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
    Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
    But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
    From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
    • Refrain:
      Love lifted me!
      Love lifted me!
      When nothing else could help,
      Love lifted me!
  2. All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling,
    In His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing,
    Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
    Faithful, loving service, too, to Him belongs.
  3. Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves,
    He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves;
    He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey,
    He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.   --James Rowe

Love Lifted Me

I have a computer the keyboard of  which is  laid out  in such fashion that the "Delete" button is directly above the "Backspace" key.

I had (I thought) a beautiful Sunday morning post prepared and thought to remove an unnecessary space in the text.  You know what  happened.

I cried.  (Well, almost.)

I did a web search in an attempt to learn how to recover a lost draft.  (Wasted the hour in which I might have rewritten the post.)

 I offer you this instead of spiritual guidance or inspiration.  (Because a laugh at my expense is all I can offer you today.  Enjoy.)

The title is the title of the original long-gone and forever-missing article.  Sing the song; it will give you a lift.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Burrell's War

 Burrell:  Chaper 1 here; Chapter 2 here.

Chapter 3

Mr. Jenkins predicted accurately that the Burrell twins would continue to study and learn.  Scooter's passion for history led him to ferret out every book in the county that treated with the development of civilization, and particularly the history of the United States.  Shortly after he turned sixteen he sat  for admission at Emory and Henry College.  With his expansive knowledge of history, getting in was a breeze.  He  matriculated, applied himself to the required Latin and Greek studies, and went on to read  law with Rice & Rice in Bristol.  He was admitted to the bar in  the Commonwealth of Virginia at the age of twenty-one.

Meanwhile, Cooter had  continued his  education in a much different, but equally effective  way.  He fell in with a band of people to whom states' rights trumped the power of the federal government.  He spent hours debating these issues, mainly in the inns within the radius of a few miles, but also in the town squares.  Eventually Cooter was an observer at the Virginia General Assembly listening to the proceedings, and carrying his ideas to the people in the streets.  Always learning, always teaching.  In 1860 at the age of 23, Cooter stood  for  election  to  the House of Delegates.  He  was narrowly defeated, but not discouraged as he continued to promote his political ideals.

Inevitably both George Washington Burrell and Andrew Jackson Burrell were embroiled in the civil strife that tore  the nation apart and  when hostilities began and war was declared, each chose  his  side.  The Commonwealth along with a large bloc of Southern States seceded from the Union.  Cooter enlisted in the Confederate army.  Scooter, on the other hand, had a  deep-seated love for his  country that outweighed all other considerations.  He  joined the Union forces.

In their respective armies, each Burrell achieved the rank of Infantryman, Private and each was posted to active duty in the war.

Nearing mid-February 1865 moving with Sherman's Army up the coast Scooter Burrell was in the push against Wilmington led by General Schofield.  It was vital for the Confederacy to hold Wilmington, equally important to the Union to take it.  Scooter was near the end of the left flank as the point moved ahead.  Slogging through the marshes was incredibly tiring, but vigilance was the watchword.  As Burrell cautiously moved forward, he spotted to his left a grey uniform, twenty-five yards.  As he assayed to take aim, the splash of a fish or a bird on the water behind him caught the attention of the Reb and when he looked up he saw the Blue raising his rifle.  Cooter immediately responded in kind, and in the instant of sighting and aiming, each soldier was looking squarely into his own face.

A choking in his throat and a feeling that his heart would stop, Cooter held his aim.  A tear ran down Scooter's cheek, and the report of the rifles was as one.  Two minie balls  sped toward their targets.

The family Bible, entry on the "Deaths" page:

George Washington Burrell, February 11, 1865, Wilmington, North Carolina.  Aged 28 years, two days.
Andrew Jackson Burrell, February 11, 1865, Wilmington, North Carolina.  Aged 28 years, two days.

finis

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

School's Out

 Burrell:  Chapter 1 here.

Chapter 2

The boys had celebrated their thirteenth birthday on a Sunday.  This was a particular boon to them, for chores, except for milking, and tasks of all sorts were laid aside on Sunday, the "day of rest."

There was no big party, of course, but their nine sisters and the parents made over them something fierce and there seemed to be nothing they would not do for them.  Thirteen!  In that time and place they had been conditioned to believe that attaining the age of thirteen was tantamount to achieving manhood.  And they were, indeed, strong young men, not yet quite as tall as Father, but they had long since passed their mother in height.  And as great as birthdays are, each boy felt in his heart that the coming Friday was even more significant.

On Friday, February 13, 1850, Cooter and Scooter along with a gaggle of sisters made their way, shuffling through a skiff of new snow, to the log schoolhouse.  And today was the last day for the twins.  Just at noon, Schoolmaster Jenkins pushed all the benches against the back wall and assembled the children in a celebratory circle around Ansel Williford, Daisy Norton, and the twins.

 "These four scholars," intoned Mr. Jenkins, "ahem, have successfully completed their studies here at Little Flat Lick School.  I suspect I have little left that I could teach them, but I pray fervently that they have learned enough here to keep the fire of learning burning within themselves that they might continue to be Learners so long as they shall live."

"Now I have the honor of presenting these certificates to the honorees.  Ladies first.  Miss Daisy Norton, these eight years with you have been my pleasure and I wish you God's blessings and all happiness throughout your life.  Congratulations.

"Ansel Williford, you have challenged me for ten terms in more ways than you will ever know.  The row was sometimes hard for you to hoe, but you persevered, stuck with it until you were able to pass all the prescribed courses.  Congratulations.

"Scooter Burrell, Cooter Burrell, if I call one of you I would never know if the right one turned to to receive his certificate."

"Oh, no, Mr. Jenkins, sir.  We would not trick you on this day, lest perhaps we would not be official!"

Everyone laughed, including Mr. Jenkins.  "All right, then, Cooter please step forward."  He did.  "Cooter, the challenges that you and your brother have laid at my doorstep have been many and memorable.  Yet I am proud that you have come to this moment in your life.  You have a burning interest in the affairs of the community and the country.  I foretell that you will serve your community in a capacity which will make us all proud.  Congratulations.

"Scooter, for the times you have taken a test for your brother, and for the times you allowed him to take your punishments, I forgive you."  Scooter's face blushed redder than his hair. "You fellows continue to labor under the delusion that you have me deceived, that I cannot tell you apart.  And for some time that was the case.  But I know you both too well now. A few words from your lips betray the owner of those words.  You, like your brother, have a burning passion.  Yours is for history, where we came from, and I think, the puzzle of where we are going.  I scarce need to urge you to continue your studies in history and civics.  I know you will.  I predict that you will read law and perhaps one day stand in the courts in Richmond.  Congratulations."

And with that and much back-slapping from the younger children, these four were released from school to pursue their life dreams.
TBC

Monday, February 6, 2017

¶unctuation Marks

I wanted  to use the pilcrow in a  response to a blogpost.  But my keyboard seems to  lack this  device, or I  don't know how to  access  it.  Google  to the  rescue "paragraph symbol" and instantly the little dickens appeared before my eyes.  Copy and paste, problem solved.

I have used the same technique  on other occasions  when in need of a symbol  or  even  a phrase in the alphabet of an alien language.  Quick and easy.

You may have referred to the pilcrow as paraph, or alinea, or simply the paragraph mark.*  It's  all  good.  Full disclosure: pilcrow is a new  term to me  as well.

A day in  which  one learns  nothing is a wasted  day.  You are welcome.

*Some refer to the symbol as "a blind P" but I tend to be more careful in  my use of language.

Happy Seventeenth Anniversary to  my Beloved Beautiful Better Half!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Attention to Detail

The Books  of  the Kings (1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings)* are very interesting reading, if sometimes tough  sledding.  There  are many stories, some  brief, some that require extrapolation  in  order  to mine a nugget  therefrom.  Some are  bloody, some illustrative of the rewards of  righteousness as well  as the punishments of  evil.

Today look for a bit at the fifteenth chapter of 2 Kings in which Azariah comes to the Judean throne in Jerusalem.  He was sixteen years of age when he began his reign.  Azariah was the son of Amaziah and Jecholiah.  This reference to his mother is the only place in the Bible where she is named.  The significance of the recognition perhaps lies in the fact that her name means "powerful."  Combine that with the father's name which some scholars believe means "strong" and imagine a son from that union.

Azariah, or Uzziah as he was also called, he being the same Uzziah that Isaiah referred to in the introduction to the Book of Isaiah, ruled for fifty-two years.  The good news is that he "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord" as his father before him had done.  The bad news is that notwithstanding the good he did, he failed in one point: he did not eliminate the burning of sacrifices and incense in "high places."  These "high places" were forbidden to the children of God as they were basically places of sex-oriented idol worship.  They remained popular with the people.  And.

And "God smote the king, that he was a leper" the rest of his life.  No time frame is given, so we cannot know how long he was so afflicted, yet he did live sixty-eight years.  He lived in what we would call quarantine, no doubt within the palace, and his son, Jotham, carried out the duties of judging the people.

From this example one might extrapolate that it is possible to live according to God's plan and yet neglect one small area that needs to be tended to.  And.

And I think that is not inaccurate.
 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  --Philippians 4:8 (KJV)
*The Chronicles of  the  Kings relate to the reigns  of the same monarchs that  are recorded in the Books of the  Kings.  The principal difference is that the Kings record historical  data and actions of the people involved; Chronicles provides  interpretations of  the acts.

Word of the day: extrapolate

Friday, February 3, 2017

Twin Marksmanship

Burrell

Chapter 1

Cooter and Scooter Burrell, twin sons  of  Stephen and Elizabeth Burrell, were kicking up dust and general orneriness on their way to school, walking the two miles along with five  of their siblings,  two older, three younger than  their nine years.  They had two older sisters who had already completed their schooling and there were two little Burrells who  had yet to start the experience.

These two  boys were standouts at home and in the community for three reasons.  First, of the  eleven Burrell children they were the only boys; and second, they were red-haired, blue-eyed, freckle-faced  identical twins.  The third reason was that Scooter and Cooter very early in life learned to take advantage of the first two blessings  that the Good Lord had bestowed upon them.  It could go without saying that these little rapscallions were the apple of their father's eye.  Or apples.   One for each eye. Daddy did not believe they could do no wrong, for  they proved often that they could, but he was generous in his application of correction and the boys largely strove to walk  the straight and narrow.  This  is not  to  say that there were not times when Cooter took two  whuppins, one for himself and  one for  his  brother.

Then there was  the time that Cooter laid out  of school "sick" on the day of the big history test.  Scooter, who dearly loved history, went to school, took the  test.  The following day Cooter returned  to  school and when Teacher called  him to do the makeup of the test,  Scooter stepped  forward  and  stood  in for him.  Both  boys aced the  exam.  But  only one  of  them took  it.

Some curious person may be wondering about the names of these children, going so far perhaps as  to think I am making this up.   And perhaps  I  am.  But they were  always known  as  Cooter and Scooter and  always so  called.  The family Bible, though, which was passed down to my grandfather  from his great grandmother, Ardis Wilson, who was eldest sister to the Burrell boys, had the following entries on the "Births" page in  the family section dividing the testaments.

George Washington Burrell, February 6, 1837, 5 o'clock evening, Duffield, Virginia
Andrew Jackson Burrell, February 6, 1837, one quarter past 5 evening, Duffield, Virginia

A particular skill which the twins developed was marksmanship.  Father taught the boys to shoot  with an old flintlock pistol.  By the  time they were  twelve  years old  the  Burrell boys had each acquired a Hall Flintlock Rifle, a massive weapon  for a young  lad, but the boys were strong and determined.   By the time they were  fifteen they were not only "shooting the eyes out" of squirrels for the table, they were winning shooting competitions throughout the Clinch Valley.  At one such meet  "over to" Kingsport, Cooter and Scooter performed so identically that the judges could not pick a winner.  So Colonel Maynard with a paint pot and brush dabbed a bullseye on a sycamore tree.  He paced off fifty yards,  had the boys stand side by side with loaded arms and told them to take the shot on his mark.  "One, two, fire!"  Both rifles spat fire and the red paint spot on the tree disappeared.  But there was no other mark on the tree.  "One of them missed!" someone shouted.

"Nobody missed," stated Cooter, as he lay down his rifle and casually walked to the tree.   He took his knife and dug into the hole, removing not one but two balls.  The lads were declared co-champions. 
TBC