Monday, February 27, 2023


A successful lesson well-taught is one in which the student achieves the target set by the teacher, or to put it another way, the proof is in the pudding.

I have a friend who is a master of martial arts.  He is a large man, an inch or two taller than I, and by his testimony he weighed 255 pounds at the time of this incident.

Kirk, I use that name because it is his name, was instructing a class of tykes in the technique for escaping the grasp of a stranger.  He was holding the wrist of a six-year old girl, somewhere between 40 and 50 pounds in weight. He told them, "If you are caught in the grasp of a stranger, to free yourself, stretch his arm out, hop back, and sit down. " She did, and my friend was flat on the floor before he knew what happened.  When he looked up, his little student, garbed in her white judo gi, looked down with a big grin on her face and reached out her hand to help him up.

Good teacher.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Unintended Consequences, #T

 or, Foreseeable Future is an Oxymoron.

People do not, as a rule, set out to make bad decisions. But poor choices are often made, and by intelligent people employing the latest methodologies. This is directly attributable to the fact that we cannot see into the future, nor can we picture the outcome of the decisions we make in spite of the hiring of "experts" to do an in-depth study to determine the "impact" of our plans.  We may pay these experts thousands of dollars, particularly if we are a government entity and the thousands of dollars belong to the public coffers, which, I emphasize are filled from the pockets of the public at large, and yes, that means from you as an individual taxpayer as well. Spending other people's money (OPM) seems to be quite easy to do.

The problem with most decisions is this.  The original impetus for the proposed plan is to improve the circumstances of a given situation, to implement progress, one might say.  The problem is that once the person or group of persons (read congress, committee, council, board, what-have-you) latches onto an idea that appeals to the person or to the majority of the group that body immediately is seized of tunnel vision. They can see the entrance to the tunnel, they imagine they see the light at the end of the tunnel, and perhaps they do. but what they cannot see is what inhabits the tunnel, lines its walls and lives within them, so to speak.  They cannot see the bumps in the road, the fissures in the ceiling, and above all else, they cannot see what is on the other side of the mountain awaiting them when they get to the other side.

There will be unintended consequences. These call for more decisions, and in all likelihood more of OPM.  This is the way the world works. And whether the issue is a hurricane of national or international import, or simply a tempest in a teapot, people will take sides, second-guess, point fingers and generally fail to improve the situation or the circumstances. It's the way we are.

    A. There will always be unintended consequences to every decision.

    B. There will be good decisions, even some made by committee, believe it or not.

    C. The ultimate impact of even the best decisions cannot be foreseen.

    D.  Bad decisions will always require more decisions to deal with the unintended consequences. Some of those decisions are likely to be unfortunate as well, requiring more decisions and more of OPM.

Sip your tea, pay your taxes, respect your neighbor, be kind, and hope for the best.  It's the best we have.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Man in a Turnip Patch #T

Axie Wells come over ta see if I was okay, meanin' he come over lookin' for the borry some money.  Axie is not the village idiot; I mean he is smart enough to know he is not very smart, but he is not smart enough to keep his mouth shut.  You know what I mean; he expresses an opiinion on ever'thing, even if he actual knows nothin' about whatever is the topic of conversation, or especially if he know nothin' about it.

Ever'one don't know him think Axie is a nickname for Axel, but that hain't hit. J'ever notice thet all four his fingers on his left hand are ''zackly the same length? Waal, he was once't splittin' sticks for the farr, and waal, you know. So Axie come over and say, "Heidy, Jephtha! How's tricks?" Now Axie always pronounce my name real careful-like, makin' the 'eff' sound where the  'ph' is.  Most folk don't do that, but he's not wrong!

"Slicker'n goose grease on a grain grinder," I says.  "Jest about got this single-tree refitted to like new."

"Kin I he'p you any way?"

"Oh, no; no.  I'ma hammer this last rivet and it is done."  I complete the task whilst Axie stands there agawpin', the timothy stem he's achewin' on twistin' and bouncin' whilst he think on how to get at his purpose.  When I lay the hammer on the anvil and hang the contraption on a peg, he says, "Jeptha, you reckon I could get the loan of two dollars?  Now, Axie get some gummint dole for his inability to provide for himself, but it never quite reach from one check to the next. Partly his own fault, and partly it hain't none too big, anyway

"Axie," says I, "I don't have two dollars in my pocket. I don't mean to be unkind, but my ends don't always come together with enough string left to tie a knot."  Now, I know thet Grace have a stash in her cookie jar, and we'll be fine.  But I'm not askin' her on behalf a Axie.  She's the kindest woman on earth, but she know the man's habits.  Waal, so do I, so I say to him, I say,
"If you're runnin' short on groceries, please to help yourself to some a them turnips in the third row yonder.  It's the best I can do right now."  The man's eyes light up, and he says, "Oh, thank you ever so much! You are a gentleman.  I do need something' to eat, and if'n you were to give me the two dollars, I'd like as not drink it rather than eat it, knowin' me.

So Axie go over to the garden and pull him up eight or nine nice, plump turnips, happy as any man you ever see.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Willful Ignorance #T

Be not the first by whom the new are tried,

Nor yet the last to lay the old aside. --Alexander Pope

Granddad was born in 1878. He was expert with horses and mules. He rode them, worked them, doctored them, and in general could not live his life without them. Most of his immediate neighbors could say the same of themselves. Except the doctoring. Grandpa was the de facto veterinarian in his community, and even treated humankind on occasion, especially if it involved extracting teeth or setting bones. He never saw the inside of a university or college, nor even inside a schoolhouse after he finished eighth grade. But he knew animals and he knew how to treat illnesses and wounds, how to deliver the young when something went squirrely in the birthing process. He was an indispensable fixture in the community.
Somewhere around the turn of the century a new-fangled machine began to turn up in the environs where he lived. By 1910 some of the neighbors had automobiles, and by 1925 most of them did, as well as *gasp* tractors. Well, I never! And I won’t, said Grandpa. These creatures are an abomination, and if the Good Lord had intended for mankind to use such gadgetry, he would have given Adam an automobile. Truth be told, he was afraid to learn to use new technology, and thus, though he lived through the first half of the twentieth century, he never owned a car. Or a tractor. Willful ignorance.
Dad was born in 1910. He was forward looking, and by the time he was sixteen, notwithstanding he could ride as well as anyone, and he could plow a straight furrow with a team, he was already dabbling with gas-powered machinery. He had a “souped-up” Model T, and he souped her himself. Father was a mechanical whiz. He could repair most any mechanical device with pliers, screwdrivers, and haywire. He carried these skills into manhood, honed them, and provided services to his friends over the years. But his career went in another direction, and as a minister of the Gospel, writing became an essential skill. To enable himself to increase his output and reduce the effort, he learned to type and had a little Royal portable typewriter which went with him wherever he worked. Somewhere along in the ‘70s some one of his children thought it would improve Dad’s ability to churn out the work and simultaneously reduce the required effort if he had an electric typewriter, a new-fangled gadget that was being made available even to the home typist. So, one of those appeared on his desk. To his credit, I think, he did plug it in and give it a whirl, but it was not long before the Royal was back on his desk. Too hard to control, wants to do its own thing, and other such mutterings. Willful ignorance.
I was born in 1934. I was never any good with horses or mules; was never around them. When I had mechanical issues with any of my rolling stock, I relied on Dad or a nearby mechanic. No talent with tools. But I loved to read, and logically it followed that I wanted to write. So, I learned to type and acquired the proper machinery. Somewhere around the turn of the century, a different century than the one referred to earlier, home computers were becoming the thing. I succumbed. And wonder of wonders, I found that a computer made my writing easier, and I enjoyed using the thing. But sneakily something happened for which I was not prepared. More and more of life’s daily routines were being co-opted by computers and a thing called “the internet.” Now I find that I cannot even make an address change with a company with whom I do business unless I “log into” their website. There’s a thought. I’d like to throw a log into some websites. I digress. It makes me angry, and I am not kidding. Nobody talks to anyone anymore, and companies certainly do not hire people to open, read, and respond to letters, things which used to work wonderfully well for us all. And what makes “them” think everyone has access to a computer? Well, if you don’t, just get off the planet and get out of the way. I do not want to learn to navigate the complexities of the websites of every business or governmental entity with whom I do business. Willful ignorance? 
Perhaps, but believe me, I have a much better appreciation for Grandpa, and for Dad. Troglodyte? Not at all. But maybe, just maybe, the Luddites were on to something.

David W. Lacy word count 776

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Just travelin' along, singin' a song. . . #T


Today is my birthday. Little kids still get excited about their birthdays, at least I hope they do. Iin my case, excitement is probably not the best word to describe my emotional state. Gratitude may be closer, or grateful to have been allowed to be an inhabitant of this orb all these years. I do thank the Lord in Heaven at the end of each day for having given me another day, and I thank Him when I rise in the morning for allowing me to see the light of another day. How much longer this will go on, I have no idea, for we may hope for a future, plan for the future, but we may not see the future, and specifically we are not allowed to see how many days we will yet be allotted. It is our responsibility, and to our benefit, to live each day as though it is our last day. So, what is it that you would like to do with the rest of your life? Do it now.

Old people may or may not be founts of wisdom, capable of offering great advice. But in any event, it is the case that they have lived a long time and have seen lots of days. So, talk to them. You just might learn something, and if you don't, the recipient of your attention will appreciate it in any event. If you talk nicely. And stay off the lawn.

"Many things about tomorrow, that I cannot understand. But I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand" -- Ira F. Stanphill

The only way you can see I-88 is to travel to New York State, for that highway is contained entirely within that state. 

If you want to see somebody who is 88, stop by my house here in Perfect, Indiana, for today I have reached that milepost in my journey here on Earth.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Joan of Shark #T

 My friend, Joan Young, a.k.a Joan of Shark, or Sharkey, left her home near Ludington, Michigan on December 1, 2021 to walk the North Country Trail in its entirety.  She has walked it before, but in bits and pieces encompassing the entire length, but this time she intends to complete it in one journey and has allotted herself a year in which to complete the trek. The NCT extends from Vermont to central North Dakota.  Look it up online. In preparation for her hike, Sharkey devoted considerable time to refurbishing a small travel trailer which she has dubbed "Sunny." She essentially rebuilt the entire vehicle from the ground up, doing virtually the entire job by herself.

Sharkey is a world's wonder.  Originally from Upstate New York, she now lives on Michigan's west coast.  But Indiana made a contribution to the woman she is today, for she took her baccalaureate degree from Taylor University at Upland, just up the road a piece.  Joan is a botanist with expanded interests into many areas scientific. She is a novelist and has published a number of mysteries. She is an avid and faithful blogger. 

You may follow Joan's NCT adventure at You will find an account of each day's adventures and the wonderful pictures she takes along the way. Joan has currently completed over 900 miles.



Saturday, January 1, 2022

Margot Comes to Call #T

You remember Margot.  Of course you do.  She was the little girl who terrified the circus animals and the townspeople.  She's the little girl who broke Grandma's treasured keepsake and tried to cover it up-- and lied about it, too. She's the one who argued with the Sunday school teacher.  Margot was a pill.

But Margot grew up, and as time will do, it has had its way with her, so to speak. She is no longer a little girl in Mary Janes and pinafores.  Neither is Margot the lovely yet snippy little thing who tore the hearts out of many admirers in her youth.  Oh, she was not cruel, deliberately breaking hearts.  It is just that the young men could not but want her and she was very picky, even persnickety.  So, it was rare that she deigned to notice the attentions of a would-be suitor.  Yet blessedly she eventually found Mr. Right and they shared their lives together a long happy time. They produced offspring, who in turned produced offspring of their own, and so on.  But only days after Margot and Evan celebrated their sixtieth anniversary Evan departed this life.  

Margot soldiers on.

Magot is not only active in her community's affairs, but she also devotes considerable time to her grandchildren and their children.  In a word, she is family oriented. Everybody loves Margot.  Yet she is as outspoken as ever.  One never wonders what Margot thinks of anything or anybody.  We have all come to accept that in her, and not only accept it, but admire it, too.  Lordy, how I wish I could be so forth-coming sometimes.  But while everyone thinks Margot is cute, and strong, and upright, if I were to respond to people or situations as she does, I would be labeled a cranky old man.

Margot celebrated her 85th birthday last week.  Some of her "girlfriends" got up a party and took her out on the town.  I guess it was something else; and since it was something else it is merely mentioned here in passing.  She dropped in on me recently in the company of her eldest daughter, Gwen.  We had a wonderful visit, rehashing old times, reliving the good old days and so on.

Over the third cup of tea I ventured to remind Margot that though we had some years on us we were both single now.

"Well," Margot said, "that's a good thing so far as I'm concerned.  That we are both single, I mean, and as for me, I intend to stay that way."

"But," said I, "I thought you and Evan had the perfect life together."

"Absolutely did," she said.  "And nobody else could ever match my Evan, and by nobody, I mean you."

"Oh, yes.  I am a nobody.  Perhaps that's why I thought we might be the perfect match."

It is the only time ever in my long acquaintance with Margot that I saw her at a loss for words, and Gwen, bless her heart, laughed out loud!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Virgil's Farm #T

 As Virgil picked up the pen with which to sign the papers the Rep for the developer said, "We'll go another mil for the five acres not included in these documents."

Virgil twirled the pen in his fingers, moved the Skoal a skotch farther back behind his lip. "With this thirty-five acres you will have the entire section but for only this five acres I'm holding.  My great great grandpa settled on this land, cleared 60 acres and lived out his life here.  My great grandpa cleared another 100 acres and lived out his life here.  Grandpa kept up the good work, opened more land, built bigger barns and lived out his life here.  My daddy finished clearing the section, worked himself into an early grave and passed it on to me.

"I've done well here, raised my family and was a faithful steward of this land.  None of my kids chose to follow in my footsteps and here I am selling out.  Selling out the sweat and dreams of four generations of God-fearing, hard working people.  Y'all don't have enough money to get this last five acres.  My home sits on this property.  I know you have big and glorious plans for turning this place into a place of commerce with a "planned community" and only the good Lord knows what all.

Now here's what I'm gonna do.  I am going to live out my days in that house whilst I watch your bulldozers 'n construction crews tearing up and paving over this paradise, putting in your strip mall and your signs will go up touting your hoity-toity development.  I don't know how much you will destroy, or as you see it, "improve" before I die, but I'ma tell you up front that even when I'm gone you won't get your greedy hands on this five acres.

I have already made arrangements and established a trust to provide for keeping the weeds down and the property mowed, so don't expect to have it condemned.  The taxes will be paid in perpetuity and the house and the equipment will sit right here, rust out and melt into the earth for all I care, but a sign and symbol forever that this place one time produced, produced, I tell you; fed people and meant something.  It will be a reminder that something precious and worthwhile was destroyed for the sake of. . . 

"For the sake of what, I dunno.  Have a good life."

Virgil scratched his signature seven times, put down the pen, arose from his chair and strolled out the door, the heels of his boots clacking loudly on the wooden floor.