Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wile E.

On the way home from the doctor's office Wednesday afternoon, we spotted the beautiful creature walking leisurely alongside the highway. Clearly, we could not stop in the heavily congested construction area, so the picture is borrowed. But the animal we saw was exactly as depicted. It apparently had zero concern for the frenetic human activity in the area.

The doctor was very pleased with the appearance of his handiwork. Good for him. Stitches, he said, will dissolve and all will be well. I should hope so.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stubborn as a Mule Dachshund

Granted, our experiences with dachshunds are limited. We have been well acquainted with only two of them. They are very affectionate and loving dogs, and thus wonderful pets. They are stubborn beyond belief, and thus...

So long as you ask them to do something they want to do anyway, joy! All is well. But request a simple task which is not on their immediate "to do" list, and you have a no-win situation on your hands.

JJ has been trained to the leash to the point that he must be leashed and walked if he is to "perform." Due to my recent surgery and BBBH not feeling too hot herself, we thought to "ask" the dog to please piddle in the back yard. I don't think so. After standing in the cool of the morning for twenty full minutes and with total refusal on the part of the dog to perform, I leashed the beast, walked forty yards and, you guessed it.

I know, Cesar Millan would give me an eff; but the dog is fine. There are no bad dogs...

Dog 1, Vanilla 0

Monday, September 26, 2011

Successful Surgery

Four days behind me now. Having looked in the mirror once or twice, I have a better appreciation and understanding for the lady who undergoes extensive plastic surgery. I know for sure the reason she chooses to recuperate in a remote spa where she is unknown.

This picture was taken the day of the surgery. It will adequately express my feelings for the whole situation. I have a picture taken after the bandages came off. I will not inflict that upon you. TV crama writers and directors, TV creepality show producers, and TV news producers delight in grossing you out. I have more couth.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Eyes Have It!

On this very morning I am having the first of two unrelated surgeries on my eyes. This one is eyelid repair, and I have no idea how long it will keep me from the blogosphere. Know, though, that there may be very few, if any posts in the immediate future. I do have a couple in queue which will post at the predesignated times.

What I will miss even more than writing for the blog is reading your blogs. I hate to get behind, for it becomes almost impossible to catch up with everyone.

The second surgery is three weeks down the road. It is a corneal transplant. I have already been advised that recovery, while nearly 100% certain, is not instantaneous. So I suspect that I am going to have to be finding other modes of entertainment for the next several weeks. C'est la vie.

I wish you well, have a wonderful fall season, and hope the snow doesn't fly too early!

Yours for brighter vision, and a brigher future,

Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction. Psalm 88:9

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes

I had pulled the tomato vines, and last evening Beautiful worked her kitchen magic. She prepared the skillets and the oil, sliced and diced the tomatoes, some sweet onions, and a few mushrooms. The egg-and-cornmeal breading coated these and they went into a skillet. Lovely strips of chicken breast fried in the other pan.

Presently this was all on a platter, and we were at table ready to dig in! I took the biscuits from the oven, and the feast was on. If you should wonder why there is no photo of such a repast, I can only say at such a time "camera" is not one of the things one is thinking about!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Frittering It Away

Catching up with some of the blog pals last evening and while reading "John Deere Mom" I discovered a couple of internet time-sinks I hadn't previously seen. There are so many, many ways to fritter away the time. Unfortunately, some of them are almost addictive. I won't warn you as to which ones. Oh, you probably already have your own monkey-on-the-back websites.

Anyway, one I actually tried is the Montage-a-Google. Go ahead. Try this. Go to the site and enter the name of your blog. See what happens.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Will Cuppy

On this day we commemorate the passing of Hoosier humorist Will Cuppy who died Septermber 19, 1949. Cuppy grew up in and around Auburn, Indiana, and left Hoosierdom as soon as he could, which as it turned out was at the age of 18 when he moved one state over to attend the University of Chicago. It was there that, for all practical purposes, Cuppy became a professional student. After many years in Chicago he moved his act to New York.

Cuppy was a noted writer who parodied everything from nature to historical figures, and the human condition in general. He was meticulous to a fault in his research. The volume The Rise and Fall of Practically Everybody was published poshtumously in 1950. This book fell into my hands and it struck my fancy. I knew just enough history to appreciate the lampooning those old guys and gals got at the hands of this literary genius. I was so taken with it, in fact, that I read some of the "G-rated" excerpts to my sixth grade students, as it paralleled some of the ancient history we were exploring. (History was taught in schools? You've got to be kidding! No, I am not.) Well, I take no responsibility for the warping of any minds with whom I interacted.

History: The Egyptians of the First Dynasty were already civilized in most respects. They had hieroglyphics, metal weapons for killing foreigners, numerous government officials, death, and taxes.

Nature: A few Cobras in your home will soon clear it of Rats and Mice. Of course, you will still have the Cobras.

William Jacob "Will" Cuppy August 23, 1884 – September 19, 1949 RIP

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Borrowed from Bob Warr

This post is on Bob Warr 'n Picket Fences which very few people read. Sometime in night's wee hours I got a strong impression that it should be posted on String Too Short to Tie. Here it is.


"I wish that preacher would cut it off. Second Sunday in a row the Methodists have beat us to the Brunch Buffet."
"Looka that, hadda wait seventeen minutes for a table."
"Oh, wow! You shoulda seen that game last night. Double overtime and we didn't get home until midnight. What excitement! And we won!"

The Love of God

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. --Ephesians 5:1,2 TNIV

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Scrabble, Piled Up

Most days, BBBH and I engage in a contest over the Scrabble board, sometimes more than one game.

Last evening, we decided to kick it up to the next level, two sets of tiles, multilevel play. This is a good way to increase the challenge and to protract the game. Fortunately, we have time.

The "p" in the cope/pone intersect is the eighth tile in the stack, the "o" in the tone/pone intersect is the seventh. On the other hand, creativity did not extend to altering the "picot," but "women" started out as "woven."

We found it to be not only challenging, but a lot of fun. I'm sure we will incorporate this variation into the rotation of games we play!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pickin' 'n Grinnin'

We just returned from our annual "Seniors Week" at Salamonie Reservoir. I have posted about this beautiful park several time in the past, a couple of these articles may be seen here and here. In addition to many other people, our club had thirty-eight representatives present.
Tuesday evening, the Scott Family Musicians led us in singing of gospel songs and hymns. What a great time we had!

On Wednesday afternoon, this group set up again and had a jam session, singing and playing many old western tunes, as well as some popular rock from the Carl Perkins era! Several people from various spots in the park wandered in to enjoy the music.

Wayne Scott played string bass, his wife, Sylvia was on violin. Eleanor Scott Cole was on keyboard, and her son, Richard played violin and guitar. Richard's wife, Debbie played flute. Margo Scott Rose also played keyboard, and her husband, Al played guitar. On Tuesday, Rachel Herring played keyboard, too, and Fred Wandrei joined the group on alto sax. Mary Scott Johnson was a sparkling, enthusiastic leader in song.

A little jammin' is bound to lift one's spirits!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Long Trek

This is post number one thousand on String Too Short to Tie. It has been an interesting journey for me. Today we will look at life's journey, three trips, actually, pathways diverging.

The snapshot was taken in 1943 in Canon City, Colorado. The three of us, my sister Vee, our friend Donald, and I are standing in Mystic Avenue in front of Donald's house. We lived in the parsonage, perhaps sixty yards behind and to the left of the camera.

We are embarking this beautiful summer day on a hike, destination the top of the Hogback, Skyline Drive. It was another time, and in truth another world. We were six, eight and nine years of age. Our expedition was not sponsored by, nor was it accompanied by, an adult. It was just the three of us. Oh, the parents knew where we said we were going, but their input and their participation was limited to taking the picture and advising us to be careful and that supper would be at the usual time. A different world, indeed.

I have mentioned Donald a time or two on STSTT. Other than my sister, he was my first playmate, as the bleak and remote Nebraska outpost from which we had moved was sorely lacking in social opportunities for the little kid. I was five when we moved to Canon, and Donald and I found each other rather quickly. He was my best friend until we left that town five years later.

Donald was a precocious child and by the time he started school, he was telling folks he was going to be an ichthyologist when he grew up. I recall riding the bus from Colorado Springs to Canon City to visit with Donald. I was perhaps 12 or 13. It was the last time I saw him before he moved with his parents to California. I stopped briefly in Redding more than forty years ago and saw him for a few minutes.

Donald's career path took him to the summit, university professorship, and publication of numerous books. Botany and photography are particular interests. He and his wife Janice have written extensively on our natural wonders. They also write and publish devotional material. Donald was, as the saying goes, a friend for a season.

Though three years younger than I, Verla kept up, from the day of the hike, and ever afterward. We lived in a parsonage with a dedicated mother who, I think, decided that if she couldn't make a preacher of me, she could prepare Verla to be a preacher's wife. I think it entirely possible that, while she was receptive to instruction and learned her lessons well, Verla was less than enthused with the prospect of being a minister's wife. She has been happily married to a preacher for 55 years.

In addition to "stand(ing) by her man" in the parsonage, Verla gave birth to and raised four beautiful children, each of whom is a credit to his or her chosen profession. While nurturing these offspring, Verla earned her bachelors degree and started a teaching career. Her husband's work took them to Indianapolis, Monroe, Detroit, and Kansas City. Verla stayed by his side and continued her career. She earned her PhD and her last post before retirement was as university professor, department chair. She is a published novelist. Her first novel is released and will be in stores on November 8.

Vee is my sister, but more, she is my friend, "a friend for a lifetime." She now lives perhaps forty miles from where she stands in the picture, and I live more than a thousand. We see each other on average maybe once a year, talk on the phone possibly once a month, but we communicate in the blogosphere and by email several times a week.

David is the only one of the three tykes who started up that mountain that day in 1943 who has not held a professorship, who has not been published. Well, two out of three is not bad.

I jest, yet I say truth. I achieved my career goals; and perhaps I was wise in knowing my limitations, to set the bar where I could clear it. I fathered four children and appreciate watching them and their children in their accomplishments. I had a teaching career which was very satisfying, and when I aspired to move into administration, I accomplished that. Probably the most telling comment ever made to me was by the mother of four of my students, three of whom I taught in junior high school. She said, "It is too bad that they take the best teachers and move them from the classroom to the office." This is a two-edged sword, cuts both ways. I lapped up the compliment, her assessment that I was a "best teacher," but on the other hand, I have reflected on the underlying implication about my administrative work. Snicker-snee.

Every life's journey is unique. Our lives intersect, join together, separate. But I often think of the lines from "A Psalm of Life" penned by Longfellow:

Life is real! Life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dachshund's Fall Vacation

As Lin says when it happens at her house, "It's Wiener Dog Week!" Our dachshund friend arrives tomorrow for a two-week sojourn at Chez Vanilla.


  1. wastebaskets on bathroom counters

  2. area separators for Cookie's bowl and Jay's bowl in place

  3. backyard fence checked for any dachshund-size spaces

  4. all gates closed and latched (brick behind north gate)

Okay, looks as though we are ready for fun and games! The little guy is a romping, playful rascal. And it is up to the human part of the pack to deal with this aspect of the visit, for as a host, Cookie will share the space, but play? I don't think so. He's always been a serious-minded dog, and at eighteen, youngsters can annoy him very easily (both of the human and canine variety.)

So, JayJay, we're ready for ya! Come on over.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This Little Piggy Went to Market...

Our nod to the local festivities Saturday morning included the short bicycle ride to the downtown area. We parked the bikes and walked through the display areas, visiting briefly with those artists and vendors whom we know.
BBBH, of course, could not pass the "antique" store without checking for treasures. I visited next door with the local barber who did my hair for a quarter-century before I married a hair dresser. The wife located me to advise me that she needed bucks, because she had found the thing she had to have, though she didn't know it until she found it.

BBBH collects Rockwell gewjawry and gimcracks, prints and statuettes. She wanted two that she had located, and of course she got what she wanted! From there, then, we went to the official festival Pork Tent where we had barbeque sandwiches. While they were very tasty, it seemed as though the lid had fallen off the pepper can during the preparation. At the top of the page are the tops of a couple of youngsters who were sitting at the next table. Nice hairdos. You should have seen their mother. Or not. Common as it is these days, I just have a hard time accepting that tatoos are attractive on women.

Here are the gizmos that we brought home with us, along with the mandatory elephant ear, which we mostly consumed along the way.

As I say, that was our nod to the festival. Farewell!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ship of Gold

Captained by Commander William Lewis Herndon, she sailed from Colon, Panama on September 3, 1857 headed for New York. The SS Cental America, forever after known as the Ship of Gold , carried 578 passengers and crew and fifteen tons of gold being transported from the California mints to the country's seat of commerce.*

On September 9 off the coast of Carolina, the ship was caught in a category two hurricane. Her sails were shredded, the seals on the paddle wheels failed, the vessel took on water, the boiler fires went out. On September 12 in spite of all efforts to save her, the backside of the storm hit and the Central America sank. 153 people had made it to safety in lifeboats, but all the rest were lost.

In 1987, a search team found the vessel and recovered the gold which at that time was estimated to be worth upward of 150 million dollars. Naturally, the insurance companies that had paid off the loss a hundred years before sued for possesion of the treasure. A decade later, the issue was settled when the courts awarded approximately 92% of the gold to the finders.

*Numbers of persons and quantities of gold vary from one report to another. These seem to be the most reliable.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

1: The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
14: Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I rode the bicycle to town and took care of the standard Friday errands. Then I passed through the Pork Festival venue around the Courthouse Square. It was a drizzly afternoon, and not much going on. A few young families strolling around with their children, the kidlets getting their faces transformed into monsters by the face-painter. No booths, though, were doing a land-office business. Most of the carnies were sitting in the back of their booths smoking, lending the acrid reek of cigarette smoke to the atmosphere. And it had been such a lovely day, the aroma of rain caressing the parched leaves on the too-long dry trees.

One supposes the vendors were either silently cursing the weather, or optimistically hoping that by eventide the weather might clear and the crowds would grow. Good luck to them, but I'm still praying for rain.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Vanilla Visits Physician

Appointment yesterday with my primary care physician. Wait in the lobby. Of course.

Finally in the examination room to wait a bit longer. Betimes, the doctor came in, all cheery and "How are you doing?" etc.

I said, "While sitting out there this afternoon, I was wondering if I was going to have to look for a physician whose office staff had better taste in music; but not a problem, I fell asleep anyway."

She said, "Did they turn the station?"

"I don't know," I replied, "but I don't do too well with the rap and hip-hop."1

"I can't stand it, either," she averred.

Oops, looks as though I may have inadvertantly got some one in trouble.2

1I know not the difference, if any, between "rap" and "hip-hop." I do know that the only element of "music" involved in either is the "beat." They are atonal, no melody, no harmony, no listening by these ears.
2Dr.'s hubby is office mgr. There are two young ladies there, too.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

In a Pickle

Back in July one of the Sunday lessons addressed contentment in our societal milieu of dissatisfaction. This cartoon published on Monday captures in four panels the essence of my point with regard to the deliberate creation of dissatisfaction in the heart of the viewer.

Earl and Opal seem to be as susceptible to advertising as we are.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

President McKinley

William McKinley, 25th President of the United States, was shot on September 6, 1901 in Buffalo New York. He died eight days later and was succeeded in office by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.

McKinley had a distinguished career as a politician, having served as a US Congressman and as Governor of the State of Ohio. He had been elected to his second term as President the previous November.

Historians generally consider McKinley to have been a formidable political operative and a solid Chief Executive. He is ranked in the top twenty among presidents.

I have visited the McKinley Memorial in Canton, Ohio where he is entombed.

William McKinley, Jr. January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901 RIP

Monday, September 5, 2011

Passengers, Pizza, and Pork

I was riding the bicycle through our beautiful downtown, sweat dripping from my nose and running in rivulets down the crevices in my time-worn visage when I espied the fine-dining train. Yes, the train still comes to town. Sporadically.

It parks beside the Pizza Shack, Tipton's nod to gustatory delights, so that the passengers may disembark, stroll through our beautiful downtown, then return to the Shack to dine before boarding the train to return to its station at the Indiana Transportation Museum in Noblesville.

This street view of Tipton's downtown in the long-before-my-time is testimony to the fact that this was once a thriving mini-metropolis. The most striking feature of the picture, apart from the horseless carriages on the left side of the street, is the fact that other than the men in the barbershop, virtually all the males are wearing hats. And jackets. And ties. Oh, for the good old days! Yeah/no.

The caboose train will provide rides every half-hour on Friday and Saturday during the Pork Festival (Tipton, Indiana, September 8 - 10. Be there.) Train leaves from and returns to Pizza Shack.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Jesus said,

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. --Matthew, Chapter Five

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Great Fire of London

September 2 through September 5, 1666.

London Burns. It is said that more than 85 per cent of the residents lost their homes. Death toll unknown. While there were only six deaths listed officially, possibly there were many poor who lost their lives and were not noted.

For the history buff, there are numerous websites that discuss this event. The vantage point of the above painting is from the River Thames, the Tower visible on the right of the picture, artist unknown.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Great Great Grandparents Lacy

Jeptha David Lacy was born July 15, 1823 in Christian County, Kentucky, son of George W. Lacy and Polly Briant Lacy. He was named for his grandfather, Jeptha D. Lacy who was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey in 1769. He also had an uncle, Jeptha D. Lacy, Jr. who was married in McLeansboro, Illinois in 1825. This plethora of Jeptha Lacys has led me into some interesting twists and turns in trying to pin down the ancestors. (Not to mention I've found other apparently unrelated Jeptha Lacys. No kidding.)

Sarah Stone, parents unknown to me, was born October 15, 1831 in Ohio. Her family moved to the Quincy, Illinois area, as had young Jeptha Lacy. This is where they met, and they were married there in 1849. They had three children, Theodore M., Emma J., and Mary E. Lacy. Shortly after the eldest, Theodore, was born in 1850 the family relocated to Fremont County, Iowa. There they established a farm four miles northwest of the soon-to-be town of Sidney which was platted in 1853.

Jeptha was much involved in the development of the city, became the town marshall, and was a leading merchant and landholder. Among other enterprises, he operated a lumber mill and a mercantile store.

The Lacys were charter members of Sidney Methodist Church and Jeptha envisioned a seminary to be located in Sidney. Under the aegis of the Sidney Methodist Church, Fremont County Collegiate Institute was established sometime in the 1860s. It was still in operation as late as the spring of 1868. The school, however, closed its doors, as the Methodist Conference refused to back it, and Sidney never became the "college town" the Lacys had envisioned.

In a 1902 interview with the Fremont County Herald, "Uncle Jep" as he was known throughout the community stated that when he had started improving his land fifty years earlier he could not then realize that "within a half-century this wild, unsettled country which belonged mostly to the Indians and infested with wolves could be brought into such a state of cultivation as now exists, and the same land selling for $80 to $100 per acre."

Mr. Lacy further stated that he had cast his first vote for Clay in 1844. He voted for Taylor in '48, for Scott in '52, and for Fremont in '56. (My record of "picking winners" pretty much mirrors his.) Since Lincoln's election in1860, he said, he's been affiliated with the republican party. "Remarkably he claimed to have never missed an election, national, state, nor county, for fifty years." (FCH)

Jeptha David Lacy, July 15, 1823 - December 19, 1904
Sarah Stone Lacy, October 15, 1831 - September 21, 1911

Both are interred in Sidney Cemetery, Sidney, Iowa

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Aunt Stella and Her Grandson

Several years ago, Beautiful and I on a trip to the West made it a point to go through Lamar, Colorado. I wanted to visit a favorite Aunt who was in a nursing home there. She was really pretty far down the road of life at the time of the visit, and I have never been sure that she really knew me that day. She passed away shortly thereafter.
A much younger Vanilla with Uncle Wayne and Aunt Estella .
Aunt Stella, aunt by marriage as she was the wife of my Uncle Wayne, was one of the sunniest, most pleasant people I have ever known. To visit her was always a pleasure, for she had a way of making one feel that he was the center of the universe. She had plenty to keep her busy, too, for she raised six children, and she was Uncle Wayne's wife. Yet she always had time for me and my family when I would show up on her doorstep.

While in Lamar, we stopped by the Visitor's Center where we saw the large bronze sculpture "Short Fuse on a Slack Rope" near the entry, a magnificent and impressive piece which was done by Justin I. Young. Mr. Young, a well known artist, is a resident of Lamar. He is my first cousin, once removed, and yet I really did not know him. His mother, Aunt Stella and Uncle Wayne's daughter Alice, was considerably older than I, and Justin is a good bit younger than I, we lived in different areas, and thus our orbits just never intersected.
We called Justin, told him who we were, and he graciously invited us to stop by his home for a visit, which we did. He took us into his studio and showed us many of his works. He gave us a very interesting lesson on the process he uses in casting the bronzes which he creates. Justin explains process to JoAnn.

At the time he was working on a large bronze which had been commissioned by a city in Wyoming.
Justin was a wonderful host, and a patient teacher. We were thrilled to have this visit with him .
I am privileged to own a print of his "The Sentinel" which is proudly displayed on the wall in my office. If you would like to see some of Justin's work, you may visit his website. A large bronze by Justin Young.