Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Irish in the US and Canada

We are the Fenian Brotherhood, skilled in the arts of war,
And we're going to fight for Ireland, the land we adore,
Many battles we have won, along with the boys in blue,
And we'll go and capture Canada, for we've nothing else to do.
-- "Fenian soldier's song"

145 years ago the Fenian incursions into Canada took place. Erie Raid, May 31, 1866.

Here are some historical what ifs.
1) What if the US had not invoked neutrality?

2) What if the Fenians had been successful in their attempts on Canada?

Many historians consider the answer to both questions to be the same: Ireland would have been free of England a century and a half ago, and Canada would have been annexed by the United States.

Given the many questions that resulted from the actions as they were, it is little wonder that US-Canadian relations were a bit cool until WWII.


"Here Comes that Damn Green Flag Again" by Michael Ruddy

The Fenian Raids" The Manitoba Historical Society

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Honor those who gave their lives to preserve our freedom.

America, home of the free because of the sacrifices of the brave.

ststt post number 900

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Euphemistically Speaking

Seasoned citizen, keenager, golden ager, matured, senior. No. I am old. I may be your elder. There is truly no need to find a euphemistic expression to describe my progess through this adventure we call life. I may call myself a coot, but it is not necessary, nor even desirable, that you refer to me in that fashion. I would never refer to an older lady as a biddy. But I might call her old.

The Wesleyan Church has a ministry for people past fifty which they call "Best Years Fellowship." It is an achievement to have arrived at "these years" but if they are the best years, then what of the fifty or more years we frittered away getting here? Every year is your best year. It is the one you have now. The Baptists defer the membership in their fellowship of old persons to age fifty-five, but they designate them "Keenagers." Oh, yes. That is keen.

While we in the Western World tend to worship youth, seeking to hold on to it long after its time in our lives, the peoples of the East seem to have a rather different outlook. They actually go so far as to venerate and honor the old. Imagine that.

Spare me the pussy-footing around it. Call me vanilla, call me David, call me old if you must. But I am not a senior. I was. Twice. In high school when I was seventeen and in college a few years later. I may be keen, but perhaps not so sharp as I once was. What is golden about my age? Silver, yes. I can see that. In the mirror. The truth about this stage of our lives is perhaps best expressed in the final chapter of Ecclesiastes:

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;
Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

No Place. Like Home.

While the blog ran on autopilot this week, we were camping with our group of friends of a certain age-- our age. I was confident when we left town that we would encounter wonderful and exciting experiences which would make grand blog fodder.

There is not much to report. The park was lush and green. How could it not be, given the overly abundant quantity of rain we have received in the Midwest this Spring? The spring bloom, though was already gone, and the summer flowers were not yet ready. I did not even unsheath the camera. Not that I don't like green. I do. But for blog posts, there is only so much grass the people want. And most of them are getting way too much of it at home. We, for example, have been mowing every five days.

Wednesday, the last full day at the park, we had wave after wave of thunderstorms starting about noon. Sometimes there was almost an hour between the end of one and the start of the next! The one that came between 12:30 and 1:15 Thursday morning woke me not so much with the noise and light, which was abundant, but with the rocking and rolling of the RV which we feared might flip at any moment. It didn't.

Given the ugly nature of numerous storms across the Midwest with serious property damage and loss of life, we have been extremely fortunate. We pray for and try to help the best way we can those who are less fortunate.

A side effect of the wet weather that we observed as we travelled across the Heartland, and a most serious one it is, too, is the fact that much of the farmland is not yet planted, or even under cultivation. In fact, much of it is under water. This, combined with the serious flooding in the Mississippi Valley, bodes ill for us all.

But we are home now, warm, safe, and thankful for the opportunity to spend a few days with friends in the open spaces of nature!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sally Ride

Happy Sixtieth Birthday to Dr. Sally Ride, physicist, first American woman astronaut in space!

Image: Wikipedia

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Aircraft Wizard

Igor Sikorsky was born in Kiev on May 25, 1889. He immigrated to the United States in 1919. He had already designed and launched the first multi-engined fixed-wing aircraft and the world's first airliner.

In 1923 he founded the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. He designed the first "flying boat" for Pan American Airways.

He developed the present-day rotor configuration which is used by most helicopters and started production of helicopters in the 1940s.

Mr. Sikorsky was a devout Christian and wrote two books based on his views, The Message of the Lord's Prayer and The Invisible Encounter.

He died in 1972 at age 83.

Igor Sikorsky 1889 – 1972 RIP


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wanna Buy a Bridge?

Perhaps the most "sold" bridge in the world; or at least, the most offered for sale piece of real estate.

Spanning the East River, this engineering masterpiece was opened to traffic on May 24, 1883 after 14 years of construction work.

My friend, Heide, displays this exquisite model of the Brooklyn Bridge in her dining room. As a young woman, she immigrated from Germany to the United States. She lived in Brooklyn Heights. In the lower picture, she would have been near the camera location, relative to the bridge, this being the model, of course. She loved her time in New York where she worked as a translator in the United Nations. She keeps this as a memento of that time.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Now, We're Ready to Roll

What you are about to see is not pretty. Avert your eyes if you are squeamish.

We have had a camping excursion scheduled for many weeks, and we have been looking forward to connecting with old friends again. However, a pair of robins set up housekeeping in the well which holds the power cord for 120 AC when we are docked. Last Friday, I peeked inside, saw no birds and breathed a sigh of "oh, good; they have flown the nest." I grabbed a handful of straw and threw it to the ground and pulled the cord out. Then I spied five teeny birds in the back of the box. So I reset the nest, announced to Ma and Pa, who were watching from the ash tree, that they had a week to get the youngsters raised and out of the nest. They returned to their task, and I waited patiently for the kids to grow up and get lost.

Now, in the meantime, the gas prices at the local pump went down twenty-seven cents^ from the week-end gou--, er, ah, pricing. So, I thought, I must get to the station before Thursday, else the price will rise again for the next weekend. I went to check on the birds. Still there. But I had made a watertight nest container with access hole for the parents, and for the kidlets when thrown from the nest.

I reached in, nestled a chick in my hand and dropped it into the container. Next one, same thing, but it immediately flew out the top and hopped away under the RV. Third bird, same as the second. Net result: three birds gone, two in the bucket. So I hung the contraption in the tree and went about the chore of cleaning up bird mess, a process the description of which I will spare you.

As I drove off to the filling station, I saw one of the birdlets with both parents running around the yard together. I later saw one fly to a rooftop!

I am an old softy, but not soft enough to allow a bird family to deter me from camping. I wish them well, but will not hold my breath. Judge me if you must.*

*As of Thursday afternoon, all had flown the nest.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Judgment Day?

Or, May 21, 2011.

If today is the day of the rapture, I will not be here tomorrow to read comments or to continue String Too Short to Tie.

I have absolute faith in the Word of God which reveals that the rapture will, indeed, occur. Christ will take His faithful out of this earth. However, I have zero faith in any man who names the time of this occurance. Just be ready whenever it occurs!

It is small wonder that the world at large, unbelievers, and skeptics, find it amusing when someone makes these predictions. And it would be amusing, if it were not for the fact that it reflects badly on those who are followers of Christ, for the skeptics assume that they are all kooks.

Matthew 24:4: And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6: And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7: For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8: All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9: Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
10: And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11: And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12: And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13: But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14: And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Mt:24:44: Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Mt:25:13: Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Lawson Ancestors

Spencer B. Lawson, son of Jonas and Sarah Bailey Lawson, was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee in 1825. Lawson enlisted in the United States Army and served during the Mexican War. In 1850 he married Mary Ann Johnson, daughter of William D. and Dorothy Lane Johnson. To this union were born six children. Amanda Jane, born 1861 is my maternal great grandmother.

According to Mary Ann's obituary published in Big Stone Gap, Virginia in 1925, Spencer made the choice during the Civil War to remain loyal to the Union, saying that he would not take up arms against the flag he fought under. It was further asserted that he was taken as a prisoner of war and interned in the infamous Andersonville prison.

I visited Andersonville about fourteen years ago and found that there was no record of a Spencer Lawson, although there were other Lawsons from Hawkins County who had been held there. Subsequently I obtained records from the National Archives which I have reproduced here in part. These documents indicate that Lawson was indeed held as a prisoner of war, and following a series of hospitalizations he died in Annapolis, Maryland 1n 1865.
Mrs. Lawson later filed for benefits as a military widow. I have many pages of documents and affadavits that were generated during the processing of her claim. She finally collected a pension based on Spencer's service during the Mexican War.

The final document on this post is the drop report upon the death of the beneficiary in 1925. It indicates that she was drawing a pension of $30.00 (thirty dollars) per month at the time of her demise.

Spencer B. Lawson 1825-1865 RIP

Mary Ann Johnson Lawson 1830-1925 RIP

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo #T

My great-great grandfather, Spencer B. Lawson was a private in the USArmy under Winfield Scott during the Mexican-American war of 1846-1848. The United States drove all the way into Mexico City, thus defeating Santa Anna. The Americans then negotiated a peace treaty with the Mexican government. This Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ceded a major portion of Mexican territory to the conqueror, actually comprising about 55% of the land area of the country.*

The cession gave all of California, Nevada, Utah and Texas to the United States, as well as some or most of the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and Wyoming.

The accompanying map shows what this land mass looks like relative to the current state boundaries.

The hostilities actually ceased on February 2, 1848 and a treaty was subsequently hammered out. The treaty was ratified by the United States Senate on March 10, and became of full effect on May 19 when it was ratified by Mexico.

There are so many "what ifs" surrounding this whole era of history with regard to Mexican-American relations that it would take volumes just to delineate them, to say nothing of analyzing the effects even to now, and into the future.

My favorite "what if" is What if we had subjugated Mexico, took over the entire country to the borders with Guatemala and Belize and annexed it into the United States?

An equally valid "what if" is What if the cession had never occured and the entire "American Southwest" were still part of Mexico?

And finally, What if old guys with too much time on their hands did not engage in the futile activity of imagining suppositions regarding the altering of the past?

*This map includes Texas as part of the cession, which is not technically accurate, in that The Republic of Texas was established in 1836 and annexed as a US state in 1845. Mexico, however never relinquished its claim to the lands of Texas. Since the war and treaty discussed here ultimately resolved that dispute, I have included all the land that the United States acquired from Mexico, as well as the disputed area known as Texas. The southern-most portions of Arizona and New Mexico shown in brown on the map were later acquired from Mexico through the Gadsden Purchase of 1853.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens has it all.

Love, gore, intrigue, revenge, retribution, sacrifice, redemption

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

While absorbed in the story line, yet I was able to mine four or five jewels of wisdom as I read.

"Detestation of the high is the involuntary homage of the low." Wow. What an observation on class envy.

"Then that glorious vision of doing good which is so often the sanguine mirage of so many good minds, rose before him." Yes, be not weary in well-doing.

"'Whatever is is right' an aphorism that would be final as it is lazy, did it not include the troublesome consequence that nothing that ever was, was wrong." Sure gives the lie to that old saw.

These grains of truth are the result of, again quoting Dickens, "the winnowing of many bushels of words..." Quite literally.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I'll Dance, But I'm Leading

Cincinnatus leaves the plow. For a few days.

Everyone past the age of seventeen knows that you dance with who brung you. Except for politicians, who, in spite of having conned the gullible into electing them, do not themselves understand that it is the Constitution that got them where they are; and that it is their duty to guard, defend and protect it, not abuse, misuse and attempt to destroy it. What is wrong with us?

Omnia relinquit servare Republicam, or as (mis)translated by modern "public servants," You should give up everything to provide for my whims.

Update: Ironically, I had written but had not yet posted this rant before the Indiana Supreme Court handed down its decision last Thursday to the effect that, in Indiana, it is unlawful for a citizen to resist unlawful entry into his home by an officer of the law.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America?

Where are the protests from our duly elected members of our government?

Who, now, will "protect and defend" the Constitution?

Update update: On Monday the US Supreme Court ruled that warrantless burst-ins by police is okay if the officer suspects someone is trying to "hide drugs." Ruth Bader Ginsberg was the lone dissenter, writing, "The court today arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement in drug cases. In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, never mind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant."

Apologia: This started as a ten-line condemnation of some politicians' failures to understand their responsibilities under the Constitution. Due to recent rulings of our courts which appear to me to violate the Fourth Amendment, this has turned into something I seldom engage in on this blog: politics. I can't keep up with it, folks. Things are moving too fast.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Marie Antoinette, Poe, and Root Beer

I was thinking that May 16 was certainly a day for foolishness over the course of the past. Witness that on this date in 1770 14 year old Marie Antoinette married 15 year old Louis-Auguste, later King of France. Enough with the teen marriages? No, for on the same date in 1836, Edgar Allan Poe married his 13 year old cousin, Virginia. Enough insanity? On May 16, 1866, C. E. Hires invented root beer!

But as I was walking in the garden, this magnificent creature dropped from the tree into the newly-sprouted yarrow. This brings me back to the reality that it is a beautiful creation. So much for perusal of old almanacs. And I really do like root beer, especially when it is decanted over vanilla ice cream in a tall mug!

Antheraea polyphemus

Sunday, May 15, 2011

On My Father's Side

I like this one very much. The Barn Again Gang (3:39)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Coming Soon!

View from the front window.

Shari and Reid have worked their fingers to the bone in preparation for the opening of their new coffee house. Yesterday they had a "soft opening" by invitation. This gave us an opportunity to preview what is destined to be an outstanding addition to the Marion business community, and it gave the proprietors an opportunity to study and refine procedures.

The Boultbees have been roasting and vending organic coffees from all over the world for the past four years. Now they are prepared to provide an outstanding experience to the coffee aficionado. In addition to the coffee selections, Shari and Reid will be offering a menu that includes soups, sandwiches and homemade muffins and cookies. This may eventually be expanded to include other items. The Internet is wifi accessible on the premises.

Barista Lindsey pulls a brew for our palate's pleasure!

Watch for the Grand Opening of Midwest Coffee Roasting Company about the first of June!

Proprietors Shari and Reid Boultbee.

Eat more muffins. They're healthified, and your taste buds will thank you!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ready to Roll

The rewards of scrubbing and polishing: She's ready to go.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Purse, Backpack, Same Thing

Jeremy and his mother starred in this episode of Zits yesterday. This clearly begs the question, How are Jeremy's backpack and BBBH's purse alike? And the answer is, They are the same shade of green!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Am Usually Behind the Camera

One of the granddaughters was fascinated by the tree spirit, although I cannot for the life of me imagine why she wanted to pose me next to the creature!

We had such a good time at the family picnic that I couldn't refuse her request, so here I am, big as life. Jenn uploaded the picture to facebook with the comment:
David said his face fell off and so he put it on the tree and grew a new face. No wonder this tree looks so much like him!

Monday, May 9, 2011

More About Mothers' Day

I am saying that BBBH had a very successful Mothers' Day celebration. All five of her children were here for the Sunday afternoon get-together, along with their spouses and some of their offspring.

Four generations. BBBH, a daughter, a granddaughter, and a great-granddaughter. That would be JoAnn, JoLynn, Meri Elizabeth, and Kennedy Marie.

The weather cooperated, witness this picture taken about six o'clock in the afternoon.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Our Moms

In memory of our mothers on this Mothers' Day. This is BBBH with her mother, Opal Weatherford Womack.

This is my mother, Vera Morrell Lacy.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Remembering Mother

Although I can still hear my mother's voice in my head, the only physical representation of her voice that remains is on a cassette tape. She does two readings on this tape. The first is this poem, which I give you here as a Mother's Day present. The other is the Twenty-third Psalm.

The young mother set her foot on the path of life.
"Is this the long way?" she asked.
And the Guide said, "Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning."

The young mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, she fed them and bathed them, taught them how to tie their shoes and ride a bike, and reminded them to feed the dog and do their homework and brush their teeth.

The sun shone on them and the young mother cried, "Nothing will ever be lovelier than this."

Then the nights came, and the storms, and the path was sometimes dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her arms. The children said, "Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come."

And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary.
But at all times she said to the children, "A little patience and we are there."

So the children climbed and as they climbed they learned to weather the storms. And with this, she gave them strength to face the world. Year after year she showed them compassion, understanding, hope, but most of all unconditional love.
And when they reached the top they said, "Mother, we could not have done it without you."

The days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years. The mother grew old and she became little and bent. But her children were tall and strong, and walked with courage. And the mother, when she lay down at night, looked up at the stars and said, "This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned so much and are now passing these traits on to their children."

And when the way became rough for her, they lifted her, and gave her strength, just as she had given them hers. One day they came to a hill, and beyond the hill they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide.

And the mother said, "I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk with dignity and pride, with their heads held high, and so can their children after them."

And the children said, "You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates."

And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her.

And they said, "We cannot see her, but she is with us still."
--by Temple Bailey

Friday, May 6, 2011


"You can't have two big Indians in the same tipi." --BBBH

Guess who is the big Indian in this tepee.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


John Batterson Stetson born May 5, 1830 was an American hatter, industrialist and philanthropist who serendipitously though due to ill health toured the West in the 1860s, the result of which was his invention of the cowboy hat, as it is commonly known today.

He noted that wranglers were a sorry lot, at least with respect to their headgear, as they tended to wear coonskin caps or whatsoever they may have grown up with regardless of functionality. Hence he invented a fur-felt hat with a four-inch brim and a four-inch crown. The hat caught on with a vengeance, and has been used by people worldwide, including the military here and abroad.

I am the proud possessor of a couple of fine Stetsons. The one I am modelling above was a gift to me from BBBH. The tan one I have had a long time. Though I grew up in the West, I was never a wearer of hats, an oversight in my sartorial arrangement about which my father chided me relentlessly. Dad always wore a hat, though he affected a fedora rather than a Western-style hat. He wore either Stetsons or Dobbs hats, and I have two nice fedoras, one that he bought for me and one that was his. By stuffing considerable newsprint in the sweatband, I can actually wear his hat.

Stetson eventually built one of the largest hat-producing factories in the world, and at the time of his death he employed over five thousand people. He built housing, hospitals and parks for his employees and maintained a clean and safe work environment.

Stetson contributed a huge percentage of his wealth to philanthropic enterprises, building schools and giving generously to universities. The Stetson School of Law in Florida is named for him.

John Batterson Stetson 1830 - 1906 RIP

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

One Old Coot Says to the Other

"How old are you, Son?"

"Younger than dirt," I said, "but older than you."

"No way!" he scoffed. "Look at me. I am old. I've been around the Horn, Boy. I've seen the elephant."

"Truly," says I, "you do look an awful fright. In what year were you born?"

"Why," says he, "I'm on the Social Security, born," he says, "in '43."

"So," I says, "if your birthday is before the third of May, you are 68 on this day."

"Yessir," he replied, "and mighty proud of it! So, how old are you, Whippersnapper?"

"Well," say I, "I'm truly not old enough to be your Pa; but I was deliverin' newspapers on my bicycle before you were born."

"If'n you're a standin' there, you're a lyin'," he says.

Well, the nice young officer cuffed me and put me in the cruiser. "Grandpa," he says, "the arrest report's gonna look mighty strange, your name and mine being the same and all."

"Well, says I, "I'm mighty proud of you. You've made something of yourself, and I'm just an honest old Coot who can't stand being called a liar." -30- fictional tale

And just what does this little vignette illustrate? Just one of the inexplicable foibles of people, bless their hearts. People go through childhood pressing their age "to the next level." Children will cite their age as "almost seven" or "ten-and-a-half."

Then we reach the stage where we press for denial. Well, yes, I am twenty-nine (but never thirty). Or I am "in my early forties," (until I'm truly not forty-anything).

But when we are "of a certain age" we begin to exhibit our years with pride, as though it is a personal achievement to have attained x-number of years. Well, perhaps it is an achievement. But now we even go so far as to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the truth. Why, just the other day I heard myself tell someone I am seventy-seven, which will still be a lie for another 63 days.

Back to the story. It is no exaggeration to say that two old men upon making one another's acquaintance will almost inevitably get to the place in their conversation where one or the other will either ask the other's age, or even go so far as to assert, with no evidence greater than the visual assessment, that "Of course, I am much older than you," or perhaps to preface a tale with "When you get to be as old as I am..." No joke. This happens over and over again. I have been the fooler, and I have been fooled. But mostly, it is just a case of two old fools...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

To Be Seen of Men

"The thing for us to do is just to do our DUTY and not worry about whether anybody SEES us do it or not. Hain't you got no principle at all?" So said Tom Sawyer to Huck Finn in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

So when will we quit worrying about whether or not anybody SEES us doing our DUTY and simply get on with doing it? No time soon, I warrant.

I have just finished reading this tale for the however-manyeth time. Like the Bible, one sees something new in it with every reading. Not that I am equating Twain with scripture, you understand; but it is not the same story it was when I first read it as a boy. Nor is it the same as it was any of the other times I read it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Nehemiah Rebuilds the Wall


I’m Nehemiah. If you need bonafides, my father was Hacaliah and I am from Jerusalem. I am cup bearer to King Artaxerxes. My people have been captive in Babylon for a long time. I have been in earnest prayer before the Lord, weeping in supplication and repentance for the people, both day and night.

As I brought his wine to the king and his queen, he narrowed his eyes, looked intently at me and asked, “Why are you sad? You haven’t been sick. What is it you want?”

I had been praying earnestly to the Lord for weeks that this moment would come. “Oh, help me God, Lord in heaven,” I breathed silently, “to say the right thing to the mighty king.” I raised my head and said, “Oh, King, live forever. If I have found your favor, grant that I might go to my hometown to rebuild it, for the walls are down and the dwelling places are in ruins.”

“Okay,” said the King. So I ventured to tell him when I wanted to leave and asked further for letters of safe passage, and directions to the King’s forester, Asaph, to provide me with timbers for the gates of the city and for the palace and for my house.

“Okay,” said the King; and he did as I had asked of him to do. So, I was off to Jerusalem. The governors of the land beyond the Euphrates were given the letters of safe passage. Grudgingly, I was allowed to proceed. Sanballat clearly was annoyed that anyone would come to seek the welfare of the Israelites.

Well, I arrived in Jerusalem and spent three days there, yet not revealing my intent to anyone. Then I got up in the middle of the night and mounted my beast and went out of the city, beyond the rubble of the walls. The stones were strewn everywhere, the gates were burned. I rode many furlongs around the wall, thinking to return to town on the far side. But the going was too rough for the poor animal, and I had to return by way of the same gate I had used to depart the city.


I had started a campaign among the people to encourage them to rebuild the wall. Look, I said, it is a reproach to us to abide in rubble. Let’s get ‘er done! The people agreed, and strengthened their hands to the work. But Sanballat and his toadies, Tobiah and Geshem hooted and laughed us to scorn.

“What? Are you going to stand against the king?” Thus they derided us.

But I replied, “God will prosper us; so we, His servants, will build. But you will have no share nor any rights within Jerusalem.”


Well, we set to! The workers and their deeds are memorialized in the Book which I wrote and which bears my name. Those old naysayers, Sanballat and Tobiah, heaped ridicule and sarcasm on us, but I prayed the Lord visit reproach upon them, and we labored on. They stirred up their minions and thought to overturn us by force. Too much detail to report just now, but you can read it in the Book. We set half the people to work and half to sentry. The great work was completed in fifty-two days! Now the city was large and great, but the people were few. I caused a census to be taken of those who were the first to return from Babylon. You may find a detailed account of this in my Book.

Then old Ezra the priest set up a pulpit and conducted a sizzling revival meeting. The people reestablished and celebrated the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles. Then they fasted and repented; then they all rose in confession and praise to the Lord their God. So the wall was dedicated and the Book of Moses was read in the hearing of Israel.


I’d like to tell you how I cleansed the temple, dispossessed Tobiah, and how I chastised those renegade Jews who married those heathen women! Man, I smacked them upside the head and snatched them bald. But you can read all that in the Book. "Remember me, Oh, God, for good," is my prayer.


Go read Sis's article "Less is More?" about prom dresses and fashion.

Go here for the story of Jonah's missionary journey

Sunday, May 1, 2011


It is not a pleasure to spend time in a hospital. Yet we are truly grateful for the facility and its dedicated staff who are there in the hour of our need.

This is the whiteboard in BBBH's room as she had her surgical procedure the other day. The quotation is there for inspiration and guidance. And a good one it is, too. I read Scott Adams on a daily basis. Always did believe the soundest philosophies are printed on the comics pages. And Dad always said that the only part of the newspaper you could believe was the funny page.

The artwork below Nicki's signature was done by Dr. Weksler after he completed the surgery. He drew the sketch to explain to me where the stents were placed. Like many of the brilliant people I have encountered in my lifetime, this coronary surgeon wielded the pen in his left hand.

Thanks to all the staff at IU North Hospital who helped make the stay for Spouse as comfortable as possible.