Friday, November 30, 2012

Dimples #T

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  To say he is enamored of the girl is a misstatement of fact, for he is much too shy and withdrawn to engage in any conversation more romantic than the typical foolishness twelve-year old boys engage in.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.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bus Connections

Where was I before daybreak this morning?

Several years ago the local factory in which my youngest son worked, burned.
The management kept on a skeleton crew, including Kenny, to clean up; then
they closed down and all the employees were without work.

Since that time, Kenneth is the only one of the children who did not live in the
area, for to find employment he moved around quite a bit, working for over a year in Brooklyn, working in Amish Country, PA, working in East Tennessee.
The point is, he has been away from home for a long time.  He came back to
Indiana this summer and worked near Marion for a time.

Now that stint completed, three weeks ago he came home.  Literally.  His
hope was to find a job right here in his hometown.  He pounded the pave-
ment and submitted resumes.  We enjoyed having his company.
But, employment did not surface here.  However, one of the managers at
a local plant offered him a job in a factory in Iowa, along with living quarters
and transportation expenses.

Bus fare, that is.  So this morning very, very early, we were on the road to Indy where the bus for Iowa departed at 7:30.  Got him there in plenty of time, loaded bags in the cargo hold, hugs and farewells, and I was back in Perfect two hours and ten minutes after we left.

We will miss the man, but we were blessed to have him here for a while.

Images: South Illinois at Maryland in Indy

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Walk around the Yard

 The view toward the house from beyond the "barn."  There are six austrees in our yard, this one between the house and the barn and five along the property line which is also the city limits.

 The austrees are about fifteen years old, very fast growing, and we greatly appreciate the shade.  However they are rather messy trees, shedding branches in nearly every windstorm.  We expend a lot of effort picking up branches.  The leaves are very similar to willow, and thus a real chore to clean up.  Worse, while the ground is now carpeted with fallen leaves, you can see that the trees are still quite capable of providing shade!

The Bradford pear tree is in the front yard.  As I walked by it I noted that the sunlight, shining as it was,  made the colors very striking.  The reds and yellows provided by leaves, the blues by the sky beyond the tree.

Must enjoy fall while we may!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Family Grows

Born November 15, 2012 to Rory and Tasha Stanley
Adylee Jean 

We are pleased to announce the addition of our twenty-eighth great grandchild to our family tree!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Harbinger of Winter

 Yes, it snowed Monday.  Snowfall lasted about an hour, covered things nicely; but by the time I went outside with camera, the paved surfaces were clear.

Okay, I've had my snow.  I am ready for Spring!
The lamp in the window is immediately behind the spot where I sit while I write these witty and profound lines that I post on the blog.
The weeping cherry tree still holds on to a few leaves in spite of the tremendous winds we had Sunday night.

It is calm as I write; the sun is shining and all is right with the world.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Uncle's Livestock #T


I don't know much, or anything, about durocs, hampshires, poland chinas or hogs in general.  These, I believe, are china.

My Uncle Ellis, who was an auctioneer and a farmer, had some livestock on his farm, e-i-e-i-o.  He had a sow which, at the time of my last visit with him, was confined to a very sturdy stall in the barn.  The quickest and most efficient way to get to the nether regions of the farm was to pass through the barn.  Uncle advised me to give Ms. Piggy's stall a wide berth, for, he said, she is perfectly capable of reaching much farther past the wall than one might think, and her intent in so doing would be to bite off my arm.

It didn't take much warning to this city boy.

Down in the back forty was another animal resident of the farm, a jackass which Uncle had bid in at an auction he had cried a year or so earlier.  It had, he said, become a pretty good pet, but it had been a bit intractable at first.

Uncle Ellis told me that fairly early on in their relationship he wanted Jack to go from the barn lot to a field across the road.  In order to exit the home place, one had to transit a wooden bridge over a small rill.  Jack walked down the lane so far as the bridge, but refused to step onto it.  Uncle cajoled, he smacked the animal in the face with his hat. Uncle probably cursed and stomped.  Nothing doing.  The farmer walked back to the barn and picked up a three-foot length of two-by-four.  With this persuader, he smacked the donkey on the rear.  Repeatedly.  No go.  So it was get a log-chain and fire up the Oliver.  Everything in position, donkey chained, tractor up and across bridge.  Now as it was told to me, the donkey crossed the bridge, but he never lifted a hoof across the entire span!

To my knowledge, Uncle Ellis never took a vacation in all the years he lived on that place.  Dairy cows, doncha know.  And we won't even talk about his getting caught up in the nutria raising bidness.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Psalm for the Day

14 For he knows our frame.
He remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like the grass.
As the flower of the field, so he blossoms.
16 When the wind passes over it, it is no more,
and its place knows it no longer.

Psalm 103:14-16

Lexham English Bible (LEB)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sam I Am. Not.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been told that I look like the guy on the left.  I don't see it.  Besides, he'd have to look like me, for I am the original-- I am much the older.

Friday, November 9, 2012

What in the Sam Hill?

It was June 1968. I was headed for Portland where it was my intention to complete and defend my thesis. I had the entire family along. They deserved a couple of months in the great Northwest!

We were traveling along US 30/I-80N, now I-84, in Eastern Oregon. Standing on the escarpment on the other side of the Columbia River was a solitary building, quite large and completely out of place, for the land was totally barren, nothing for miles around. This necessitated a side-trip. Fortunately, there was a nearby bridge spanning the river.

What we found when we arrived at the site of the building was not to be expected, for we had never heard of Maryhill Museum of Art.

Samuel Hill was born in the South, but his parents relocated the family to Minneapolis when Sam was a child. Following graduation from college and his study of law at Harvard, Hill returned to Minneapolis to practice. He became law clerk and advisor to the president of the Great Northern Railway. Sam married the boss's daughter. They had two children, a daughter, Mary, and a son, James.

Sam Hill became president of Seattle Gas and Electric and moved to that city. He experienced great business and social success in Washington State. Among many other activities, he became president of the Washington State Good Roads Association. He was instrumental in the development of the Columbia River Gorge Highway.

Ultimately he purchased a large tract of land and determined to build a town and a home for himself along the river. Unfortunately, lack of irrigation pretty much doomed the plan and though he had constructed a mansion, it was never lived in. He called the place Maryhill after his daughter.

A friend of Hill, Loie Fuller, persuaded him to turn the place into a museum. He donated his own art collection and started acquisitions of other fine art. In 1926, Queen Marie of Romania, at Sam's invitation, visited and dedicated the museum in a ceremony that drew two thousand visitors. The museum did not actually open to the public until 1940.1

We were frankly astounded at the fantastic collections housed in this museum. I am sure that many acquisitions have been made since our visit. Traveling and "on loan" exhibits are a part of the offering, but there are numerous wonderful permanent exhibits. There is an astonishing display of the works of Rodin which includes sculptures and drawings. My personal favorite was the collection of chess sets which required a room of its own. The daughters, who were nine and eleven years of age at the time were quite impressed with the doll collection. In fact, so were both parents, because it was staggering, indeed. The link in the footnotes will give you a better insight into this great place.

I am truly thankful that we took the time to climb the face of that hill (in the car, of course) to find out what was "up there." If you are ever within an hour or two of the place, be sure to make the drive up that hill. Maryhill, that is!

Sam Hill 1857 - 1931 RIP

1Maryhill Museum of Art website
Image: ibid.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 8, 2012

The calendar notation said that this is day number 313 in the year 2012.   Yes, the first thing that came to mind is depicted above.  313 is Donald Duck's license plate number.

Then one observes that 313 is a simple palindrome; and the next step is to factor the number, which is a mental exercise that I have practiced for a long time:  factoring license numbers.  A quick calculation reveals that the number is prime.

There.  Fun, arithmetic lesson, and more of the you-never-know-what-you-will-get on STSTT.

Image: Disney

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Love Letter from Home

 My sister was born in Bladen, Nebraska on March 25.  Mother's mother came up from Colorado to help.  Her husband, Sam, clearly missed his Darling, for not only did he expend the effort to write, but he had to affix a three-cent stamp to the envelope, and that was a big deal.    The letter is written in pencil on both sides of two sheets of 6 x 8 notepaper.

Dear wife
Will right you
to night a few lines and
put in the childerens letters
I received your letter yestedy
was to hear that you was
feeling all right and that
Vera and the baby was
getting a long all right
I am feeling purty good
hav bin working purty
hard. it keeps me moving
around keeping house
and working to. but
you nedent whury a bout
me I am getting a long
fine. I get up of a morning
build a far and whill
the stove gets hot
I milk then I get
breakfast. then when
I come from work
I make a far then I go to
milk take the milk
to flicorts then get
super. then wors the
dishes sometimes ho
ho. Well I love the this
lonin with al of my hart
I saw Bro Stewart this
afir non he had bin
to holley and rented
a bilding to hold a revivel
Just dident know when
he would Start till he
heard from brother
Elkins. sed that he would let me know.
So you fokes must pray much for this
I was talking to Bro
Elkins mondy night
he sed that fellsburg
was at the praings
seeking. the manuell
felesburg he sed that
ted drown had him
seeking. and Paul
Idles sed that Mae
had clear lost out
and wasent triying
to get saved. all
of his church came
back to the pilgrems
well ges that I will
close for this time as
it is getting late
ocens of Love Dearis
the one that loves you ever
S H Morrell

I prepared the above post, then thought to get counsel as to whether I should post it so I wrote to my sister:
Dear Sister,
I thought to post this on STSTT, but then thought perhaps I should run it past you first. To post, or not to post, that is the question.

Here is her reply:

Probably typical writing for a southern man who did not have a lot of schooling. It's hard to believe that this letter is still around after all of these years - almost 76! (Interesting since Grandma wrote very well.) We have to be really proud of a grandpa who, with very little "book learning," supported a large family during hard times. His children's successes testify to his devotion as a husband/father/Christian gentleman. His continued closeness to extended family, even when he lived far from them, provided an example of loving and caring. I doubt that selfishness was even a part of his life. Great example to follow!
Funny that the signature on a letter to his wife is, "S H Morrell." But I do know someone who is younger than us who refers to his wife as "Mrs. Blake" when he writes about her on Facebook. Weird - in my humble opinion.
I remember sitting on Grandpa's lap when we visited them in Hartman before they moved to California. I could not have been very old. He was the first person who ever let me have a sip of coffee. Maybe what got me hooked!
I was not aware that Grandma came to Bladen to help when I was born. I have always been under the impression that Mrs. Anderson was the one who helped Mom and cared for you. Shows what I know!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Different Nation

November 5, 2012, 11:34 p.m., corresponding exactly with the closing of the day's news cycle and the introduction of the hosts of the late-night frivolity programs, the President picked up the phone-set to his right, punched two buttons.  He uttered four words distinctly into the device, "Possum One, Now.  Verify."  A brief pause, then, "Possum One, check."

And thus were the wheels set in motion whereby the entire nation was, in effect, placed into lock-down.  All across the country at six in the morning as poll workers arrive at their respective posts, they find two armed officers barring the locked doors.  They are turned away with the announcement that a grave threat to national security has forced the President to declare martial law.  The prepared text informs everyone that the situation is being controlled; there is no cause for undue alarm, so long as everyone proceeds with their normal activities.  It is unfortunate that the election cannot proceed at this time, but be assured your President will take every necessary step to insure your safety, and the election will be rescheduled as soon as practicable.

At every international airport in the country, Homeland Security and TSA has implemented a sorting routine whereby no U.S. citizen may board any international flight.  Such passengers are advised to return to their homes at once, and those needing flights to a distant point are required to turn in their tickets in exchange for passage to their place of residence.

The President, as Commander-in-Chief, has implemented a plan that has long been ready for execution.  The military and all quasi-military and police departments are under direct control of Homeland Security.  Effectively, no citizen may blow his nose without permission of the President, his directives carried out by the military machine, per DHS.

All property is, in effect, under the direct control of the President and resisting seizure of assets or failure to comply with directives of DHS is, prima facie, treason and summarily punishable by death or imprisonment at the discretion of the ENFORCERS.


This is a work of fiction.  Log off and go vote!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Wheels Grind Exceeding Fine

The US Federal Government imposes an income tax on its citizens, November 4, 1913, ninety-nine years ago today.

What can I say?

Is this any way to observe the Lord's Day?

Well, certain Pharisees and Herodians, trying to trick him, asked Jesus, "Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar?"
And Jesus answering said unto them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."  And they marveled at him.   (Mark 11)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

1755 Lisbon Earthquake

9:30 A.M., All Saints Day. A huge number of the residents of Lisbon are in their respective churches for special Mass on this Holy Day.

The temblor strikes; the churches crumble and crash in on the worshipers. The candles which the faithful had lighted and the kitchen fires at home ignited the flammable material in the rubble.

The city was soon ablaze. The tsunami crashed into the shore, throwing the ships in harbor up into the city.

The Lisbon Earthquake of November 1, 1755 claimed a massive toll of human life. The difficulty of obtaining an accurate count is evident, as not only were people and property destroyed, so were official records. Some estimates of deaths ranged as high as thirty to seventy thousand, and at least one chronicler claimed it was nearer one hundred thousand. Careful study over the intervening years have led most historians to believe that the death toll was probably in the range of ten thousand.

The event had serious and long-lasting effects on Western thought as theologians and philosophers started to reassess their thinking in light of such a disaster. The eighteenth century belief that this was the “best of all possible worlds” started to crumble in the face of the question, “If this is the best of possible worlds, what would any others be like?”

The event sparked interest, too, in search for a scientific explanation for such phenomena, and partly due to the thought and writings of the young Emmanuel Kant, the science of seismology had its beginnings.

It is estimated that by modern standards, the quake would have measured between 8.7 and 9.0.

History is littered with records of natural disasters. Doubtless such phenomena existed in prehistoric times. They are still with us, witness the destruction on the East Coast of our United States just this week. Likely, there shall be no end to such things so long as the Earth exists.

1.  Helena Murteira, Extracts from PhD thesis, University of Edinburgh, 2004