Monday, December 31, 2012

Thoughts on a New Year

One should have been sleeping, but this one was lying abed between the wee hours and dawn, wide awake and no prospect of getting back to sleep.

I would not count sheep; don't like mutton, and Mary can darn well keep her little lamb.  Instead, I thought about the impending 2013 on the calendar, and I realized that I had not yet factored the number.

2013 will not be a prime year.

3 x 11 x 61 = 2013

and thus the factors of 2013 are 1,3,11,33,61,183,671, and 2013.  I don't see anything in there that bodes particular good favor.  But then I don't generally put much stock in numerology.*

Finally, the restless night passes, the sun rises and another cold day in the Midwest is in prospect.

The morning news seems to indicate only  that 2013 will begin as 2012 ends, cold.  A glance at the calendar tells us that February has lost its "extra" day and is back to its truncated truncated state.

Flipping forward we find that once again July will follow June.

Then 365 days from now we will be looking 2014 in the eye.   Should we  live so long.  It won't be prime, either.

*Arithmetic, on the other hand, I believe in.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

growls and grins

Old man vanilla looked out
on the earth a-freezin'
where the snow lay round about.
He's sittin' here a-sneezin'.

Four more inches of heavy wet
white upon the world has set
 (sat? fat, rat, ratz,
ramafrazzle rackafratz).

Friday, December 28, 2012

Tannenbaum, O, Tannenbaum

 Late Christmas night just before going to bed, I removed the lights from the outdoor tree lest they be frozen there all winter.  Preparation for the storm.

And the wind came, and the snow came, and night.  In the morning, air temperature still below freezing, the sun came up and shone upon the tree.  Nature redecorated the tree, and did a marvelously artistic job, a more beautiful after-Christmas tree than the Christmas tree was with all its bright lights.

We are an artistic bunch, mankind.  Yet with all our talent, technology and creativity, we cannot match the delights of the natural wonders with which the Creator of All Things has endowed us.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Of course I was not going outside to photograph the "natural wonder."  Hence, you are treated to the view through my screen.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gift Scarf and Möbius

My sister, Ilene, gave to BBBH an "Infinity Scarf."  Trade-name, I guess.  Anyway, one glance at the beautifully-made fabric item assured me that it was a Möbius strip.  I announced this information to the gift recipient at once.  She was less than interested.

So I started with my standard seventh-grade presentation of the concept.  A  Möbius strip is a geometric figure which has only one side, and possesses but one edge.  (She:  So?)  Clearly this was going to rival in difficulty the actual presentation to a seventh grade class.

It is lots of fun to make a paper model of this figure with its weird properties, for with a pencil and a pair of scissors some amazing results can be obtained. (So?)

I am now talking to myself.  I did not even get to the rudimentary math involved, and that is the real fun!  The advantage lies with the seventh graders, for they are a captive audience, and may not wander from the precinct at will.

Never mind the background.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sugar Plums Pop, and...

Christmas! morning, sometime before daybreak.  Eldon, still in pjs, slips silently into the living room, as  kids all over the world have done for generations.

There it is!  The package is exactly right.  He knows!  This is it!  This is the Christmas! Eldon has been dreaming of for, well, ever since he can remember.

The swinging door connecting the kitchen and the living area swings into the room and Dad enters.  Mom is right behind Dad.  "Go ahead, Son," Dad says.  "Rip 'er open!"

He didn't have to be told twice.  (For once in his life.)

So as we allow Eldon to enjoy his gift, let us all reflect on the greatest gift of all, the Gift of Eternal Life.
  • "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men." --John 1:1-4

Monday, December 24, 2012

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

He caught her in a jewelry store.  She is happy; he is terrified.

Vanilla and BBBH wish you a Merry Christmas!

May the blessings of the Season be yours now; and the Grace of God be with you evermore.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Advent Sunday Four

On the Fourth Sunday in Advent, the first three candles are re-lighted, and the fourth candle, the Candle of Peace, is lighted. The Scripture lessons are these:

From The Prophets: Micah 5

Excerpt: But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. 5:2

The Gospel: Luke 1:39-55
Excerpt: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." 1:46b

The Psalm 80:1-7
Excerpt: "Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved." 80:7

The Epistle: Hebrews 10:5-10
Excerpt: "And it is by God's will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. " 10:10

Anticipate the Coming of the Lord. Contemplate the Peace of the Lord.

Worship the Great God who has given us His Son, the spilling of Whose blood alone can make us fit for the Kingdom. Go in faith believing, live in peace with your fellow men. Share the Good News of Jesus Christ.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

End of Week Potpourri

Being an overview of the week from Sunday's family Christmas party to Friday's snow and cold.
There were cookies...and cake...and...

there were adult offspring...and...

there were wee ones....and
things went well from Sunday to Thursday when vanilla wound up on a gurney here, ...then...

we came out of the ER at nine in the evening to encounter snow and ice and wind, lots of WIND!
Friday morning found the RV in a sour mood, for she could have been, should have been in Texas.  But n-o-o-o.  Here she sits, snow covered.

Health update: I'm fine.  No, really.

Friday, December 21, 2012

To the End of Time

STSTT Post Number 1400

I have not done any research regarding the Mayan calendar and the apocalypse.  I have not posted an advance warning of our supposed demise.  You are reading this, which does nothing more nor less than to demonstrate to you that the world is still here.

I think the foofaraw is largely the fault of simple misunderstanding of events.  From what I have heard (one could not avoid hearing some of this) it appears that December 21, 2012 is the last day of the Mayan calendar.  The misinterpretation is this:  some have assumed that because it is the last day of the calendar, it is the last day of the world.  All it really means is that the workmen finally tired of the chore of chipping and carving, laid down their tools and said, "The heck with it, let's go for a swim and a cold beer."

Have you never left a task unfinished?  Of course you have.  The only portent for the future is that that task was left unfinished (and that maybe someone else will have to do your job for you).

Happy December 21, and a Merry Christmas, and may the rest of 2012 be filled with good things in your life.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

History and Fantasy

Landsberg, Bavaria
December 20, 1924

A) Today following 264 days of imprisonment for his conviction for treason, Adolph Hitler was released. During his time in Landsberg, he wrote Mein Kampf. He was assisted by his personal factotum, Rudolf Hess.  Hitler’s time in prison was much like a vacation at a posh country club, for viands were abundant and fit for a king, visiting privileges for his friends and cronies were quite generous.

B) Today, following 264 days of imprisonment for his conviction for treason, his appeals having been exhausted, Adolph Hitler was executed.

Which is history and which is fantasy?


Scenario A) Twenty-one years later, the entire world in turmoil and conflict and following the deaths of millions, Hitler himself died, a suicide.

Scenario B) Who knows?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is published on December 19, 1843.
In short,

Office, day before Christmas
Mean old man, calling it “humbug" refuses nephew’s invitation to Christmas dinner.

In bed that night
Mean old man is visited by ghost of one-time partner, is warned to change his ways.
Ghost of Christmas Past takes mean old man on “tour” of happier times in his youth, a reminder of what was.
Ghost of Christmas Present takes mean old man out to see the joy in the world around him.
Ghost of Christmas Future shows mean old man his ultimate demise, dishonored by his fellow men, if he doesn’t change his ways.

Christmas morning
Scrooge awakens, no longer mean old man, but rather a kind, generous and benevolent old man whom everyone is bound to love.
(How likely is that?)

And yet this story has endured, has never been out of print, has been dramatized, bowdlerized, sanitized, and digitized; presented on paper, on stage, on celluloid, in paintings and in drawings, and via electronics.

It is considered a “classic” and scarce there be a person in the Western World who has not been exposed to the story.

As much as anything, I think (note how I gave you a “heads-up”? Opinion coming!) Dickens was hoping to see an infusion of joy into the Christmas Season, which had fallen into a state of dour and somber observation rather than joyous celebration; and, Dickens was hoping to draw the attention of the “better’ classes of people” to the plight of the poor and down-trodden. And in so doing, he wrote a story that bids fair to live in perpetuity, with which even small children to this day are familiar.
(How likely is that?)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Charles Wesley: Preacher, Poet, Theologian

Charles Wesley was born December 18, 1707 to Samuel and Susanna Annesley Wesley. He was one of nineteen children born to the union, and one of the ten who lived to adulthood. Susanna was serious about the education of her children, and she was serious about her faith. All of the children, girls and boys, were trained in the classics and in Latin and Greek. She has been called the Mother of Methodism, because two of her sons, Charles and John, were widely known as the founders of Methodism.

Charles Wesley was a prolific writer and composer of lyrics, for he is known to have written thousands of songs and hymns of the Christian faith. Most readers of this column can no doubt name several Wesley hymns, can indeed sing them. Wesley is famously known for accuracy and care in theological teaching within his hymns. Some might have a favorite among them. 

Because of the season, today’s featured Charles Wesley hymn is “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Were it the Easter Season, we might feature “Christ the Lord is Risen Today," which is certainly a favorite of mine, along with “O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing.”

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

1. Hark! The Herald Angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King;

Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations, rise.
Join the triumph of the skies.
With th' Angelic Hosts proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King."

2. Christ, by highest heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting lord
Late in time behold Him come,
Off-spring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail, the incarnate deity
Pleased as Man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the New-born king!"

3. Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace,

Hail, the Sun of Righteousness

Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His Wings.
Now He lays His Glory by,
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the New-born king!"

4. Come, Desire of nations come,

Fix in us Thy humble home;

Oh, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born king;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the New-born king!"

5. Adam's likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the New-born king!"

Charles Wesley 1707 - 1788  RIP

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas! Gone?

What to do? indeed. Eldon is in the soup now. Only a week until Christmas! Eve, the night the Jolly Old Guy in the Red Suit makes his annual rounds. Not that that makes much difference now.

Well, it was Friday afternoon; it had been a long, long week and a certain fourth grade classroom is insufferably stuffy in the afternoons. Anyway. Mrs. H surely must be as tired as I am. I’ve never seen any evidence of this, thought Eldon, but she cannot be, must not be, Wonder Woman. Recess came at 1:45, an hour and twenty minutes before dismissal. Back into the classroom at two means what? an hour and five minutes before release for the week. I can’t make it, Eldon mused as he strolled aimlessly toward the far left side of the playground. It’s extremity bordered the creek, and anything within ten yards of the creek was off-limits. Yet sometimes, good fortune comes ones way.

The softball game was in progress, and a kid got a lucky hit, placing the ball thirty feet beyond Eldon. It landed just inside the forbidden territory. The fielder made a dash for the ball and Eldon saw his chance. Crouching, making himself small as possible., Eldon shot to his left and was behind an old mulberry tree in a trice. He peeked out. Mrs. H was still standing by the sidewalk looking the other way. Very soon she blew her whistle and her charges ran to the door.

 All but one charge charged into the building, and the remaining one charged into the brush, jumped across the creek and was on his way to... He was on his way where? He certainly could not arrive home this early, and wandering through the village would be entirely too conspicuous. So, while his classmates enjoyed hearing another chapter of Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing Eldon wandered across a recently-combined cornfield, kicking at an occasional stob, picking up an occasional clod and heaving it toward an imaginary enemy.

His triumph was short-lived, because this solitude, while being in the great out-of-doors and free of the stuffy, smelly classroom miasma, was not nearly so much fun as the boy had imagined it would be. The hour dragged on and on, the lad’s fingers were miserably cold. Finally Eldon saw a bus pass on the nearby road. He could head home now.

“Hi, Mom,” Eldon enthused. That was weird. It was like pulling nails, and I mean fingernails, to get a word from Eldon when he arrived home. But Mom didn’t need to guess, because his truancy had been reported to her long before he arrived home. Funny how that works.

Color Christmas! black, Eldon thought. Oh, man, color Christmas! gone.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Advent, Third Sunday

The pink candle, The  Joy Candle, is lighted today.  The candles of Hope and Peace are alight.  As Christ is our Hope, as He is Peace, Christ is our Joy!

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! --Isaiah 52:7 (KJV)

Friday, December 14, 2012


Family Friday logo

The child is my mother standing in front of her grandmother, her shadow cast on her mother's skirt. Neither of these ladies is five feet tall, yet the child grew to 5'3".  The picture would be dated about 1911.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Redeem the Time #T

Monday morning BBBH left the premises with the announcement that she was "going shopping; I'll see you when I see you."

This rather left me at loose ends in an empty house.  Oh, I did have a load of laundry in the washer and a load in the dryer, so I was destined to have a few minutes of productive time.  What else to do?  Ah, peanut butter cookies.  I ripped a recipe from a BH&G that was lying around and gathered the required ingredients.

I do not cook, but Beautiful tells me (often) "If you can read, you can cook."  I'm not about to let that dictum reach the stage of verification, but I don't mind making cookies or candy on occasion, and I have been know to bake a cake now and then.

The details would only bore you, thus it is sufficient to say that the cookies were baked, the kitchen cleaned up, and the laundry folded by the time the spouse arrived home.

What a good boy am I.

The point?  Surely not to fish for your approbation or admiration.  But go ahead, if you wish.  Rather it is this.  I was thinking of an expression, probably biblical1, which my father used quite often.  "Redeem the time," he would say.  I suspect, looking back through the tunnel of time, that often his point was simply that I was a sluggard, or at best I was wasting good time which might be better utilized.  When I was twelve, fourteen, seventeen, or whatever, I suspect that I had little enough grasp of the true value of the time we are allotted.  I may have taken his words as chastisement and received them with resentment on occasion.

That is one of the problems of youth.  In our youth, we have the strength and stamina for the tasks set before us, but we haven't the good sense to recognize the gift we have received in having been granted time.2

Now, Dad is gone and the time remaining to me is rushing past like a foehn wind down the east slope of the Rockies.  I have neither the strength nor the stamina, I have too little time.  What I have is the wisdom that comes with experience,but not time enough to avail myself of the benefit of that wisdom.

So, in an effort to "redeem the time," I may just bake more cookies, read more poetry, take more pictures.  Well, it's a thought.

1Ephesians 5:15-17
2Teenagers, sadly, are immortal in their own eyes.
3BBBH says it is true we learn by experience; but, we will never have that experience again.  So what do we do with the lesson learned?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas! Gift

Eldon looked at the calendar. He noted that today is December 10. Christmas! will soon be here. What? No, it is not “what?” for ever since the disappointment of last Christmas! Eldon has known exactly what he wants this year. Eldon is nine now. That has to be old enough. Does he need to start dropping hints? Well, that did not work last year. What to do? What to do?
Eldon is too big to climb up in Santa’s lap and wheedle. Wheedling Mama or Daddy doesn't work. “Gets me what I don’t want. I guess,” the boy thought, “I will have to try good behavior.” 
 Oh, what a trial that will be. But it’s only fifteen days until Christmas! “What to do? what to do?”
What is "it" that Eldon so fervently desires for Christmas!? What can he do to improve and promote his chances of receiving "it"?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Advent, Second Sunday

Luke 1 (CEB) Song of Zechariah

67 John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied,

“Bless the Lord God of Israel

    because he has come to help and has delivered his people.

He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house,

     just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago.
 He has brought salvation from our enemies
    and from the power of all those who hate us.
 He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
    and remembered his holy covenant,
         the solemn pledge he made to our ancestor Abraham.
He has granted  that we would be rescued
        from the power of our enemies
    so that we could serve him without fear,
         in holiness and righteousness in God’s eyes,
            for as long as we live.
 You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High,
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
 You will tell his people how to be saved
    through the forgiveness of their sins.
 Because of our God’s deep compassion,
    the dawn from heaven will break upon us,
     to give light to those who are sitting in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
        to guide us on the path of peace.”

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Singing for Supper Won't Get It

Vanilla is sitting here typing, but hungry.  No supper tonight.  BBBH decided what she was going to fix for dinner.  She started looking for the item which was part of the grocery purchase four days ago.

I "help" in the kitchen.  Such things as clean-up, pots and pans, and loading and unloading the dishwasher comprise the basic chores.  On shopping days, I also carry in groceries and put them away.  

When Beautiful could not find this item in the freezer, she went into search mode.  Destroy mode came later.

The box was found in the pantry.  And why not?
Does not this item look like all the other boxes that one would store in the pantry?

I probably don't need to tell you that when I dug this from the waste bin to take the pictures the odor almost knocked me down.  (I wondered why it smelled funny in the pantry the last day or so.)

Anyway, it is my fault that there is no supper tonight.  Clearly my fault.  Destroy mode?   BBBH found it necessary to "mention" that that was $8
down the drain.

I am going to build a "man-cave" and retreat into it.
Maybe even pull it in after me.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Annual Reminder

Each year on this date I post a reminder of a very significant and sobering event in our history.  Because this particular item from three years ago expresses exactly why I do this, I am re-posting today.

On this day I reflect that I was seven years of age when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. I remember people discussing this horrible event. Of course over the years I learned a great deal more about it. My point regarding this personal observation is this. Most people younger than I have no personal memory of Pearl Harbor, and a very high percentage of people today are younger than I. So if the memory is to be kept alive, it must be inculcated into the minds of the coming generations.

Collectively, we forget at the peril of freedom and the life of the nation.

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, HI. Directly behind is USS Missouri and to the left, USS Peleliu. I have had the sobering experience of visiting the Memorial, and at an earlier date I was privileged to board the Missouri when she was in Bremerton before she was recommissioned.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Good St. Nicholas

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas. Though the good man died on December 6, 343, he is remembered with adoration to this day. He is the patron saint of children, coopers, sailors, fishermen, merchants, broadcasters, the falsely accused, repentant thieves, pharmacists, archers, and pawnbrokers. He is a particular favorite of children, and of seamen as well.
Nikolaos of Myra was well-known for his generosity. He was known to leave coins in the shoes which were set without the door. He gave life-changing gifts to those in need; but he devised to give them anonymously so that the recipient would not be embarrassed as though objects of charity.
A case in point concerns the poor father of three daughters who had no means for their dowries. Thus, absent marriage, the women would be reduced to prostitution as means of support. Nikolaos devised a plan whereby he delivered a bag of gold for each of the daughters. Stories vary as to detail, but the one I favor is this. On the night before the birthday of each daughter on which she would reach her majority, the good man came by and tossed a bag of gold through the window opening of the house. After the second bag had been so delivered, the father planned to discover his benefactor by lying in wait for him; but Nikolaos, wise to the scheme, came around the back way and dropped the bag down the chimney. The daughter having washed her hosiery, had hung the stockings by the fireplace, and of course the gift landed in a stocking.
It is true to this day that small gifts often find their way into a stocking which is hung by a fireplace.
Nikolaos was also known as Nikolaos the Wonder Worker, not only because of the largess he displayed, but he was believed as well to have resurrected certain murdered individuals through intercessory prayer.
Truly the story of the works of this individual even to this day is much too long to tell in this space. But think on occasion about Sinter Klaas, or St. Nicholas.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christina Georgina Rossetti,

English poet, was born on December 5, 1830.  She was a devout woman, and devoted to literary endeavors.  She had suitors and offers of marriage, all of which she declined.  Some of her most well-recognized poetry was published posthumously, as for instance this poem, "In the Bleak Mid-winter," which has been set to music and is considered an outstanding Christmas carol.

1. In the bleak mid-winterFrosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winterLong ago.

2. Our God, Heaven cannot hold HimNor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee awayWhen He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winterA stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,Jesus Christ.

3. Enough for Him, whom cherubimWorship night and day,
A breastful of milkAnd a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angelsFall down before,
The ox and ass and camelWhich adore.

4. Angels and archangelsMay have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphimThronged the air;
But only His motherIn her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the BelovedWith a kiss.

5. What can I give Him,Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherdI would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise manI would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

Christina Georgina Rossetti, 1830 – 1894  RIP

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Farewell to the Officers at Fraunces Tavern

'With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.'

'I cannot come to each of you but shall feel obliged if each of you will come and take me by the hand.'

Thus Washington addressed the assemblage at Fraunces Tavern on December 4, 1783. It is a well-documented fact that Washington wept upon the delivery of these words. We have relied principally on Benjamin Tallmadge’s account. 

 If his account makes it appear that Washington was flushed with sentimentality, do not be deceived. He was in fact in great distress over the failure of Congress to meet the fiscal obligation it owed to the troops. He had every reason to weep, having devoted his life to leading men in the endeavor to establish a country in which everyone could exercise his freedom. 

Washington resigned his commission as commander in chief of the armies on December 23 and returned to his home in Mt. Vernon. This, some historians declare, was the greatest act of his life.

Read "Why Washington Wept" by Thomas Fleming.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Boy Meets Girl #T

 It was more than sixty years ago. Opal had friends. One of her friends had a friend who lived some fifteen hundred or so miles away. Opal was “eligible,” and the friend’s friend, whom we will call “Ed” because that was his name, was also single. Both were in their early twenties but neither had yet met the love of her, or his, life.

I do not know how the arrangements were made, but the mutual friend “hooked them up” by way of the US Mail. Opal and Ed started a correspondence. The letters were frequent and apparently, though I never read any of the letters, the level of sharing of intimacies increased with time. And time passed and a love-of-my-life feeling developed between the pen pals. A date was chosen and Opal began planning a wedding. Keep in mind that Ed and Opal had not yet seen each other, though I do believe that pictures were part of the mail packets.

My father, whose name was not Sam, was known among the younger set as “The Marrying Parson,” for many of the young people who had been his students asked him to officiate at their weddings when the time came. Opal and Ed asked Dad to perform their wedding ceremony. I had a small part, too, for my friend Wes and I were honored to be chosen to act as ushers.

The week of the wedding came. Tuesday afternoon the plane which brought Ed from California to Colorado arrived. That evening Opal and Ed met for the first time. This allowed them Wednesday, Thursday and a portion of Friday in which to date one another and for Ed to meet Opal’s friends and family. The rehearsal and associated festivities were scheduled for Friday evening, and the wedding was to be on Saturday afternoon.

But every story has a hitch, or a twist, or an unexpected turn of events. Or sometimes the story turns out just as one might have anticipated.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

First Sunday in Advent: The Gospel

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Luke Chapter 21

Friday, November 30, 2012


The Boy is a seventh-grader.  The seventh grade sits in the two back seats in the next-to-last row.  The four seats in front and all the seats in the row to his left are occupied by sixth-graders.  The fifth grade is to the left of sixth, and of course the eighth-graders get the last row, the "move on out row," for they will be gone next year.

Next to The Boy on his left is Sarah, the prettiest little thing the lad has seen, short of a tall stack of hotcakes with butter on top and soaked in maple syrup.  To say he is enamored of the girl is a misstatement of fact, for he is much too shy and withdrawn to engage in any conversation more romantic than the typical foolishness twelve-year old boys engage in.  But he is smitten, can't see straight when she is walking in front of him on the way out the door.  She teases him about his dimples; he is abashed.

While the school is small, not everyone knows everything about everyone else, though teacher certainly must be possessed of such knowledge.  It is certain, though, that Sarah comes from "constrained" circumstances, for although she and her several siblings are clean and neat, they are dressed in clearly more than "gently worn" clothing, and Sarah's winter coat appears much too thin to ward off the blasts that sail down Mt. Manitou into town in January.

 The Boy, by whatever Sherlockian means he has available to him, discovers where this Vision of Loveliness resides, and he rides his bicycle past her domicile on occasion, both in hope and in fear that he might catch a glimpse of her in her native habitat.  The house is on a dead-end, for the street runs into the embankment that carries the rails of the AT&SF as it passes through town.  The cinders from the stacks of the trains would fall down upon the house where Sarah lives were it not that the firebox dampers were turned down in the city.  The wonder of the lad that such an Angelic Creature should emerge each day from such a dark, dingy and besmeared habitat is almost beyond his comprehension.

I cannot tell you now the color of Sarah's eyes, nor can I picture her face; yet I can still hear her laughter ripple across the playground as she and the other girls do whatever it is girls do at recess.  I left the school at the end of the next year, she remained to finish eighth grade.  I never again saw the girl, nor have I any idea whatever became of her.  Still, I have memories.  She was the first girl to say, "You have the cutest dimples."
And to this day, I've no idea what impels a girl to do that,

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Accidental Photography

Full moon is today, but I availed myself of the opportunity to get this shot last evening.  Who knows? It may be occluded tonight.  The November full moon is called Beaver Moon, or Full Frost Moon.


I noticed the decorations up the street, so I turned my camera in that direction.  Seems I moved the camera while the shutter was still open.

And this is the result when I held still, more or less.  Truth, I like the first shot better.

A reminder to me, of course, that I've done nothing to brighten up the premises in anticipation of the Christmas season.  But my neighbors are on the ball.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Compton's Hardware

Every town should have a good hardware store, and by "good hardware store" I don't mean Lowe's or  Home Depot.  A good hardware store is a place where you will find stuff that you thought left the marketplace a generation ago; a place where an old guy knows where everything is and will discount your purchase at the register; no glitzy advertising on TV.  It is  a place where you can get a custom-built chimney cap or your screen doors "re-wired."  And one of the greatest features is this.  You may buy your bolts and nuts in the quantity you desire!  No prepackaged deals where, when you need four bolts, they come in packages of three, and so on.  No, go to the stacks of drawers, pick your hardware and pay for what you need.

This store, half-block from the courthouse, is such a place.  If you look at the pictures and think window shopping is interesting, you should stroll inside and check out the merchandise.  The friendly guys will sell you anything in the store, and if you aren't buying, they will visit with you anyway.

 It has become a tradition over the past several years for the proprietors to raise a corn crop in the entry way to the store.

 If you are in need of some galvanized tubs or buckets, come on over!

 Snowed a bit last evening, so you might be interested in that Flexible Flyer.  The washtubs may be exactly what you were looking for-- or not.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ahaz and I

The seventh chapter of Isaiah tells us that the LORD told Isaiah to take his son, Shearjashub, and go out to meet Ahaz. He was to carry the message that Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah would not prevail against him. God, through the prophet, told Ahaz to ask of Him a sign. Ahaz refused to ask a sign; and God spoke yet again and asked this question:

"Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?"

At this point, I choose to lift the question out of context and apply it to ourselves.

Do we weary God with our obstinance? Do we not consider that He has somewhat for us for which we must ask? Do we continue in our way even when it is clear that our way has yielded nothing? Should we not ask a sign of God? 

 Jesus said, “ Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

The directions are clear. It’s in the Book. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

King? Well, Maybe Not.

This day in 1499 was the last day on Earth for Perkin Warbeck. Upon his attempt to escape the Tower of London, he was captured, dragged to the gallows and hanged.

Perkin was either Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, son of King Henry IV, and there was a striking family resemblence, or he was not. He might have been the son of John Osbeck and Katherine de Faro, Flemish citizens of Tournai, or perhaps not. The latter details came from his confession before King Henry VII, for what that may be worth. 

What is certain is that Perkin Warbeck was a claimant to the English throne who had serious and persistent support for his claim, both in England and on the Continent. It is also certain that the reigning monarch took exception to the claim and ultimately terminated it with extreme prejudice.

Perkin Warbeck c.1474 - 1499

For an interesting and detailed account of this story, read my primary source, "Perkin Warbeck," by Dr. Ann Wroe.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

More Thankful than Ever

I've scared this bird up yet again.  The bird is tougher than ever, and the wishes are as sincere as ever.

It is time once again to prep the turkey and dressing. I was advised two years ago that this bird was much too scrawny to feed the gang, so I kept him on the premises in an attempt to fatten him up for later. Clearly, my efforts have failed.

This is one smart old bird. He has figured out that by eating just enough for sustenance and the daily chore of obtaining enough provender against the next day, he has a much better chance of survival.
As, I might add, would we all.

He has so frustrated me that I am tempted to wring his scrawny neck purely as the vengeful treatment he so richly deserves. But I won't. May I have another slice of that "tofurkey" ham please?

I wish you enough. Be thankful.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Do I Have To?

It may have been the Black Friday advertisements on the tube that generated the thought in her mind.
BBBH quietly observed that the "Christmas season is upon us; perhaps we should get the decorations out and do something this year.

The weather is quite nice; one doesn't mind being in the yard and the barn, so I took a stroll barn-ward to assess the situation.

This is the corner in which the Christmas decor is stored.  The lens angle is not wide enough to include the entire panoply of boxes in which ornamentation is stored; but the image is sufficient to give you an idea of what I was  am facing.

Clearly, I turned around and walked out, hoping in my heart that I could find a "r & p"1 argument in favor of forgoing the decorating of the place this year.  I mean, ...

And besides, there might actually be as many as six to a dozen people who see the interior of the house during the season.  And that includes my Beloved and me.

1reasonable and prudent

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Going Shopping?

Originally written two years ago, this is presented again, reworked somewhat, as a cautionary tale, or as a "heads up" to those of you who want to go into training for the crowd-beating start Thursday night.

Dozens, yea thousands, will be headed to the malls and other stores on Friday.  And that is just here in our little bailiwick.  Imagine the millions across the nation.  It staggers the mind.  But, I am not one of them. I wish no one anything but the best, but the shopping mania known as "Black Friday" has zero appeal for me. May corporate America put their books in the "black". It is sincerely to be hoped. Yet, too, to be hoped, is that you don't put yourself into the red. Yet many of you will do so. I suppose that most people have to reach a "certain age" before grasping the rudiments of balance between things and relationships. Many never reach that point, and those of us who do, I suspect, are regarded as either weird or too old to be of any use to anyone.

Well, enjoy yourselves. Enjoy your things. Enjoy the juggling of the bills and the decision-making with regard to which things will enhance what relationships. For myself, I will enjoy the comfort and warmth of my home, probably read a bit, perhaps catch a few minutes of the madness via the tube, just so that I have a visual validation of my smug attitude toward the whole thing.