Monday, September 30, 2013

Street Vendors

Atlanta, a village some six miles to the south, is a quaint  place with a number of beginning-of-the-twentieth-century buildings in the business district, but few businesses to occupy them.  But the people valiantly soldier on, making an effort to keep their place attractive.

For the past forty years, the last Saturday and Sunday of September (or thereabouts) have been dedicated in this town to "The Earth Festival."  It is, of course, another small-town Indiana street fair, hosting vendors from miles around.  We have attended, at least one year in the past, when we had to walk through driving snow to get back to where we had parked our car.  This year, though, was perfect, weather-wise, for the sun shone brightly on the festival, the temperature was pleasant, and a good time was clearly being had by lots of people.

BBBH and I rode the scooter to Atlanta, walked the streets, and in her case, the lady talked to some of the vendors, and yes, bought stuff.  But no more stuff than we could carry home on the scooter.

 Like fruit flies to pears on the ground, people seem to be attracted to cheaply-made and over-priced merchandise.  Find Waldo?  No, find BBBH.  She is in this picture.*

Some of downtown Atlanta's old buildings seen here behind the street vendors.

 People are also attracted to over-priced junk food.  There were actually lines at some food stands.

 As I snapped this shot, I thought, "This will be the best picture of the day."  I think it is.  This residence is on the Tipton County side of County Line Road and just two blocks from "downtown."  There is a kid peeking through the curtain of the window, stage right.

Someone  always seems to have a set of old wheels.

*BBBH is just about to disappear behind the utility pole in the center of the picture.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

St. John and the Locusts #T

Louie, my brother in Christ, has been a friend for the past decade.  We enjoy discussing various facets of life.  We do not always agree, but we disagree in a most agreeable way.

A few evenings past, Louie and I touched on the ministry of John the Baptist in the wilderness.  In Matthew 3:4, we read of John, "his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey."  

I remarked that though the provision may have been monotonous, it was no doubt plentiful.  "Imagine," I said, "eating grasshoppers and robbing bees of their honey.  Quite nutritious, nevertheless."

When he recovered his equanimity, Louie said, "No, no. He never ate grasshoppers.  I heard a preacher who had visited the Holy Land many times explain that the "locusts" were the pods from the locust tree which is plentiful in the area."

"No doubt there are such trees, but he ate grasshoppers."  (See how agreeably we disagree!)  Well, we left the conversation with neither of us convinced that the other was right.*

Now I have eaten a few grasshoppers in my day, and I am told they are quite nutritious.  Also, I have read the Book of Leviticus (that's heavy sledding), and I found among the dietary rules this from Leviticus 11:22 "Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind."  And thus it is that I am quite certain that as we are told John ate locusts, John ate locusts.

So a few days ago while walking the dog I observed a row of black locust trees.  I plucked some leaves and pods therefrom (see above picture).  I sent the picture along with the following to my friend:
Dear Brother Louie,
This afternoon I was in the parking lot at Aldi with the dog whilst JoAnn was inside shopping.  As I was walking around, I spotted a row of black locust trees along the west side of the lot, so I walked over and plucked a couple of leaves and some pods.  Come on over; bring the wild honey.  We’ll have a feast!

A bit of study shows that the locust tree of America is native only to the western hemisphere, but it has been widely spread by transplanting throughout the world.  It is believed that it was named “locust” by early Jesuit missionaries who mistakenly thought it to be the tree that “fed” John in the wilderness.   In reality, the “locust tree” of the Bible is  the carob, also called St.John’s bread, and its pods are edible and commonly eaten by mammals of the region.  John may have eaten them with his honey.  And I still think he ate grasshoppers as well.

Blessings, and bon appetit!


Ultimately, the point is God provided sustenance for John in the wilderness, and He provides for us as well!

*Louie holds his opinion still.  And I hold mine.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bob's TV Reviews

Check Bob Warr's peek at two or three of the offerings for the new tv season.  Vanilla invites you to click here to visit Bob today.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Project (Continued)

 Then imagine the view when seated rather than standing.

 Last evening, a neighbor had an overnight visitor.

 I was fortunate to get these shots at sundown.

My Dad's '56 Ford had exactly this color scheme, though his was a fordor Custom rather than a Crown Vic.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


A last look at our view from the screened room, for when that project 

is completed, well, I guess we'll still have rooftops.  And it won't be a "see-through" fence, either.

The neighborly thing to do, of course, is to smile and tell the people what a wonderful new pool they have!
And it is a fantastic pool: you could hold the Olympics in it, if only there were  room in the yard for the stands.
But can I muster sufficient hypocrisy to plaster on the smile?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Crabapple Products

The crabapple tree atoned for the paucity of last year's crop by providing abundantly more than expected this year.  Picked apples.  Got the ladder; picked more apples.  Filled a box.  BBBH did stuff with the apples, then we started processing them.

Burbling away!

 We got a bunch of crabapple butter!

Then we canned a gob-lot of crabapple jelly!

Then we cleaned the kitchen.
The end.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Automotive Treasures, or Junk?

I went to a luncheon meeting in a nearby small town.  Because the event was well-attended, combined with the fact that I arrived only fifteen minutes early, I had to park, oh, perhaps forty yards from the entry to the meeting room.  

Following the doings, I walked to the car and started to open the door when I espied across the street this view which I had not seen in my hurry to get to the meeting.  (Now you all know how teachers love a good meeting.  I may work the word "meeting" into this account yet again.)

 One never knows what he'll see behind the gate.  I believe the two-tone beauty is a 1958 Rambler American by AMC.  Next to it is something much more recent by Dodge, probably an '06 Stratus.  Behind it is a pickup, Chevy, probably '49.

Nice '57 Chev here, along with lots of other old iron.  I'd really like to know what the oldtimers  back next to the fence are, but I drew the line at actual trespass.

Next month's meeting is at our local library, so there will be little opportunity for any such surprises as I found on this day.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Conversations with Random People: Six

We had been sitting in the doctor's waiting room forty-five minutes (having arrived the standard five minutes ahead of the appointment)* when BBBH said, "That's it.  I'm leaving."  Now I've seen her pull this on previous occasions.  Her patience with the doctor's scheduling practices is limited.

"Why did you make this appointment?"  I asked.  She rehearsed the litany of complaints, which I already knew, but reiterated that this kind of wait was ridiculous.  I was able to calm her sufficiently to keep her there the additional ten minutes it required before the attendant opened the door and called her name.

Now she is cloistered in the exam room, and heaven alone knows how long I will continue to wait.  And I am cold.  And I have been cold for an hour.  So I decided to step outside for some soothing sunshine.  As I near the exit, I pass a couple who are also waiting.  Guessing ages is difficult, but it is clear that these people have both reached the portals, or have passed through the gates, of "The Golden Age."  The lady is smartly dressed, as though she might have another appointment after this one, in a place somewhat more elegant.  Her hair is that blondish-white that is reflective of the years, and she wears it just a bit longer than do many women of a certain age.  It curls softly to her shoulders.

The gentleman has on an orange and white horizontally striped polo shirt.  His hair is very short, quite curly, and white as the proverbial snow.  He is seated in a wheelchair.  He is strapped into his conveyance.

I stop beside his chair, look at the woman, and say, "Did I hear you say you live in Swayzee?"  Which of course I had heard when they arrived a half-hour earlier.

"Yes, we do.  Except for several years we spent in Utah, we have lived there all our lives."  She described the exact location of their home, and I could picture it in my mind's eye, for I have been up and down that road many, many times over the years.

"I lived in Converse many years ago," I said.  "I worked in Greentown."

"What did you do there?" he asked.

"I was a teacher."

"Oh," she asked by the tone of her voice, "then you knew Dorothy H?"

"Well, no.  I think not.  Perhaps she went there after I left.  I moved from there in '69."

"Yes, perhaps she came later.  Let's see.  My oldest started school there in 1972."

"Indeed that would have been after my time there."

"The mister hunts coyotes.  Even though his Parkinson's causes him much grief, our grandson, who is six-four and weighs about 240, takes his Grandpa out with the dogs."  He gets the hides cured, you know, over at. . . " and here she named a well-known taxidermist.  She had pronounced the name of the prey as I do, ky-oats.

Here the old fellow spoke up, eyes alight with memories of his younger day.  "My passion when I was younger was breaking horses.  Could have stayed in Utah forever!"

And he and I had found common ground, for though horses are not my thing, they are definitely the thing of my eldest stepson.  For him, life has its meaning in horses, and thus our conversation had direction until the nurse opened the door and called the next patient.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Moses Sees the Past

In Exodus 33 we read that a pillar, as of a cloud, came down and stood at the door of the tabernacle and God talked with Moses.

Moses said, You ask me to bring this people up (from captivity).  Pray, go with me, otherwise not.

And God said He would go with them.  Then Moses beseeched the Lord, Show me your glory!

Whereupon God replied, I will make my goodness pass before you; but you cannot see my face, for there shall no man see me and live.  But I will place you in the cleft of a rock and shield your eyes as I pass before you.  And when I have passed, I will remove my hand and allow you to see my back.

I think this is a terribly important passage, yet I have never heard a preacher expound on it beyond the emphasizing that man cannot look on the face of God.  But what does this mean? I believe this speaks clearly to a real issue, and since I have found no one teaching on this vital point, I shall do it myself.

Moses has been credited with the writing of the Pentateuch.  Some have questioned this, saying he could not possibly have known the content of the past to the extent written.  Of course he could have known, for God showed Moses his back parts.

God was telling Moses that he could not look into the future-- that knowledge is reserved to God alone, but he would be allowed to see the past! (God's back).  Thus it was that God imparted the knowledge of the world's history to Moses, who then gave us an account of the beginnings, that is "Genesis."

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fannie Flagg

Fannie Flagg.jpg

I just finished reading Fannie Flagg's I Still Dream About You.  As with the other novels she has written, I found this one to be a rollicking good time.  Several years ago I enjoyed Can't Wait to Get to Heaven, but Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe may still be my favorite.  Is it possible that the film adaptation had anything to do with that?

Now whether you know her as Fannie Flagg or Patricia Neal, one must recognize that this lady is a fine entertainer and proficient as a writer, actor, and comedienne.*

And today is the day to recognize her work, for it is her birthday.

Happy 69th, Ms. Flagg.

Oscar:  Best Actress, 1964.  Hud

Friday, September 20, 2013

10 S, N E 1?

Houston, Texas
September 20, 1973  (Can you believe it was forty years ago?)

Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs in three straight sets to win the "Battle of the Sexes."

Much nonsense has been written about the match in the intervening years; many arguments have been had, including one I had as recently as this summer.

Ms. King won, fair and square, end of story (period)

Thursday, September 19, 2013


1965.  My eldest child, Ann Marie, is eight years old.  She will be in third grade this fall.  I am away from home for a couple of months in a bid to improve my skills in the classroom.  The child and I have become fans of the tv program "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."  So much so that when the child writes to her Daddy, she fills him in on the latest episode of the show.

2013.  My memory of the show nearly half-century later is much like my memories of most tv series I have seen over the years.  I do recall Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, Jr. playing featured roles.  I have not asked her, but I daresay Ann's memory of the program would be no more vivid than is mine.  There is some reason to believe that this show may have been instrumental in propelling Mr. McCallum's career in a most positive direction.

Today the actor plays a role, a favorite role of mine, in my favorite of the current crime-related tv series, NCIS.  McCallum is Dr. "Ducky" Mallard.  If I have idle tv time on my hands and no interesting new material to view, you might find me watching NCIS reruns.  Watching reruns?  Not a problem; reference my earlier statement about my recollections of shows I have seen.

Happy eightieth birthday to David McCallum, Jr.

Some years later as a seventh-grader, Ann and her Daddy watched  "Dark Shadows" together; but that is a whole nother story.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Conversations with Random People: With a Twist

The twist:  This time I was approached by a stranger rather than the other way around.

We had endured two or three of the hottest days of the year, literally.  Then the cold front moved in. The next morning I stopped at Alco to check out an item they had advertised in their flyer.  (Not suitable, as it turns out.)  Anyway, as I entered the store, a rather large fellow, fiftyish, wearing a t-shirt and bib overalls walked through the door just ahead of me.

As I exited the building several minutes later I saw the same man opening his truck door.  When he spotted me he closed the door and came over to me and said, "Is there a Goodwill store in this town?"

"No," I replied.  "But we do have a used merchandise store called "Second Blessing" right down town.

"Do they sell clothing?" he asked.  "I need a jacket; I am freezing to death."

"They do, but they don't open until noon."

"Well, I better go back in here then. Thanks."  And he walked back toward the store.

It was sunny 60o, 10:40 a.m.  I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

There I Go Again

Sometimes for no good reason except to vent, I find a rant tumbling from the ends of my fingers onto the keyboard. These ravings are often unfiltered, and probably unthought.  But, oh! how good it feels to get it out of my system. So far, so good. But then I find myself sometimes without a blog post for the morrow, and I stick one of these rants in the blog. Forgive me, please. This is one of those. You may choose to save your time and move along to the next post in your reader. That’s okay. (Or “okeh,” as a pedant I once knew insisted.) 

The day of interactive everything. Except of course for face to face interaction with another human being. Even the comic strips have to be interactive. Read the funny, write a comment. Who cares? The cartoonist came up with something, drew a picture, added some dialog, expressed an opinion or an idea, perhaps. I am intelligent enough to get what he is saying, or not, but I don’t need help in interpretation; and besides if I don’t get it I can ask my wife! Further, while the first commenter may address the cartoonist’s notion, the whole thing quickly degenerates into a garbage-flinging, name-calling slime fest completely unrelated to the original idea. Who needs that? 

Interactive television? You must be 1) joking, or 2) totally out of your mind. What exactly do you suppose I care about Miranda Moron’s opinion. If the opinion of the “audience” determines anything to come, forget it.

 How about commenting on the articles on the op-ed pages? Now that is opinion, and your opinion is still your opinion, and though you may be angry with the writer, leave him alone. He’s an idiot, too. If you agree with him, well, you know. What to do? Ignore the stuff, move along. Nothing to be seen here, or if there is, it isn’t edifying.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Conversations with Random People: Four

We were camped on Holly Beach, Louisiana in January, the January prior to the August of Katrina and eighteen months before Rita.  We were packed and ready to depart on the following morning after a wonderful week of appreciation for the sun, the sand, the soughing of the wind and the roar of the surf.  We would participate in the pitch-in dinner on the final evening, and say our farewells.

The young man in the sharply creased chinos and the snap-front crisp white western-cut shirt strode into the room on intricately detailed shiny black boots with his wife, and the manager of the campground.  Rex and Jeannie were introduced to the group as the newest members of the  camp community.

I had seen the couple arrive about an hour earlier and noted that the red Ram pickup towing the fifth-wheel RV had the white-on-black license plate with bronco: Wyoming.

After a filling, if eclectic, repast, I made it a point to speak with Rex.  "I see you are from Wyoming.  I was born and reared in Colorado.  Makes us sort of neighbors, I guess."

"Interesting.  I was born in Colorado, too.  Where were you born?"

"Oh, a little town no one ever heard of."

"Try me."

"I was born in Hartman."

"Really?  Hartman.  I know it well. My grandmother lives there.  We just visited her last summer."

Small world, indeed.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Daughters of Job

In the final chapter (42) of the Book of Job, following all the tribulations Job endured, we read,

12 So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.
14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch.
15 And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.
16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations.
17 So Job died, being old and full of days.

I had been puzzled over the years as to why the account includes the names of the three daughters, yet none of the sons are mentioned by name.  So near as I can determine by reading after others who apparently thought about the same enigma, I have pieced together a notion of why this is so.  

First, we are told that these three girls were exceedingly beautiful, even beyond the beauty of any other in the land.  That seems remarkable.  If such pulchritude should be noted, then indeed the names of the possessors thereof should be revealed!

Second, we are told that each daughter had her share in the inheritance from their father.  This is indeed remarkable, for in Hebrew society it is usual that only the sons inherit, except in the case that there are no sons, but only daughters.  If a daughter does inherit, she then is bound to marry within her tribe only, as her property may not leave the tribe.  Job probably predated the giving of the law, but it seems reasonable to believe that these standards may have existed in his time.

Purely out of curiosity, I sought the meanings of these women's names. Using I found this.

Jemima: dove.  One writer after whom I read suggested it means "day by day," a reminder to Job that one is to take life a day at a time.  I was not able to locate a source to authenticate this claim.

Keziah:  Cassia, a tree and an aromatic spice from the tree.  According to the Book of Exodus, cassia was one of the ingredients God directed Moses to use in the compounding of the holy anointing oil.  It is also mentioned in the Psalms and in Ezekiel.

Kerenhappuch: horn of antimony.  Antimony was used as a makeup.  This horn was an implement for the application of the makeup to the eyes.

Takeaway:  If the Lord can see Job through his travails and bless him abundantly, and He can, and He did, then it is no stretch to believe that He can and will see you through your trials.

I think if I had another daughter I'd name her Kerenhappuch.  Well, that won't happen.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


George Frideric Handel completed the oratorio, Messiah, September 14, 1741.  He might be surprised at the venue in this 21st century performance of the Hallelujah Chorus, but I doubt that he would be surprised to find that his work endures.

Flash Mob Sings Hallelujah Chorus in Food Court from jamesw72 on GodTube.

My youngest child was born September 14, 1967.  Happy birthday, Kenneth!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Annual Party at Salamonie

 Just returned from our annual excursion to Salamonie Reservoir.

 Visited the gardens again.

The dahlia is real.  So is the bee.

A good time was had by most.  Unfortunately, for Harvey and Rachel, not so much.  Following a very large investment in repairs, the unit broke down again.

Did I mention that the second day we were there was the hottest day of 2013 to date?  That didn't hold, though, because the third day was the hottest day of 2013 to date.  Well, it was dry and pleasant enough, given the breeze which prevailed a good bit of the time.  Simply sitting in my chair listening to the soughing of the wind in the treetops was pleasure enough!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


A decade and more ago I served on the City Plan Commission for several years.  It provided a great deal of Tuesday evening entertainment, and a good bit of work between meetings.  It was a rewarding experience, though.  Monetarily, nada; but the sense of having accomplished some positive things for the community made it worthwhile.

We had a cell tower company come before us requesting a variance for land usage to permit the construction of a tower in downtown Tipton.  This entailed procedures and due diligence on the part of the commission members, then finally a decision.  We rejected the request on perfectly valid grounds, none of which need to be rehearsed here these many years later.  Anyway, the petitioners got into a Huff and drove away.  A Huff is a very useful vehicle, for it often removes annoying people from the scene.

At any rate, the petitioner, as was his right, appealed the decision to the Board of Zoning Appeals.  I might say here that that board over the years displayed significant confidence in the recommendations of the Plan Commission, for seldom did they rule contrary to our decision.  They upheld this ruling, and to this day, there is no cell tower in the center of our city.

We did recommend that, since we have two fine water towers owned by our local utility, cell companies might pursue the possibility of leasing space on the water towers for placement of antennae. Tower companies, of course, are not interested in this sort of thing because they are in the tower business, not the telephone business.  See, phone companies simply lease available space from owners of tall structures.  This is why, as you drive along certain highways you will see completed towers totally devoid of antennae.  Tower built, phone company not interested.

It is my understanding, and I have not researched this, that some cell providers do contract the construction of a tower in certain circumstances.  But this is not about cell phone service, but about some of my fun times as a commissioner.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mountain Ash

The American mountain ash (sorbus americana) is a very attractive ornamental tree.  It is not a true ash.  It usually  remains rather small, the example shown here being typical for the tree in this area.

The brilliant orange berries are attractive to birds and they remain on the tree deep into the winter, long after the leaves have fallen, or until the birds have finished them off!

Noting this tree today was a reminder of another orange fruit which will be ready soon, the persimmon!  We have to have a frost, though, before that fruit is edible.  And it sure hasn't felt like frost anytime recently, for sure.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Conversations with Random People: Three

Same morning I met Bill, couple hundred yards along the way I saw a trailer with three, three! Sandwich engines.  Old guy (how is it so many of the people at these things are old guys?) sitting behind the display in an old webbed aluminum lawn chair.  Fellow looked to be quite physically fit, probably six feet, two hundred.  White hair in marine style crew.  Not bald, but any shorter and all the hair would still be inside the scalp.

I walked around the trailer eyeing the engines. The largest had a flywheel probably 24 inches, rated 2.5 hp, meaning in this case, two and one-half real horsepower.  The smallest was mounted on an old reel-type lawn mower.  I don't recall ever having  seen a pop-and-spin engine on a lawn mower. The third engine was somewhere between these two in size.  Now I was eight feet from the owner, who had been watching my interest with interest.

"What motivated you to collect and restore Sandwich engines?" I queried.

"Collect 'em.  Not so much into restoring them," he said.  Got interested in collecting because I grew up in Sandwich, Illinois."

"Where is Sandwich?"

"About forty miles west of Chicago."

"Wife is from Illinois.  Born in Mt. Vernon, spent several of her childhood years in Chicago before returning to Mt. Vernon."

"Mt. Vernon.  Somewhere in southern Illinois?"

"Yeah," I averred.  "It's on I-57, hour or so south of I-70.  On 64 hour or so west of St. Louis."

We chatted a bit about roads, how one gets from here to there and such like.  Then, eyeing my bicycle, he said, "Antique Scwinn?"

"No," I replied, "a fairly recent old-style look-alike.  It's maybe fifteen years old."

Then he said, "Got my Schwinn in 1946 when I was 12 years old.  I still have it."

"So I guess we are the same age.  I got my first new bike in 1946 when I was twelve years old.  It was stolen when I was a senior in high school, though, so I don't have it anymore."

"Really.  How old are you, then?"


"When was your birthday?"

"Turned seventy-nine in July."

"You got me by a couple of months," he said.  "I'll be seventy-nine in October."

"Hang in there! Nice talking with you."  I mounted my wheel.

"Drop back by.  I'll probably be starting these up a little later."

Monday, September 9, 2013

What a Hoot!

 I was rummaging through some file folders on a lazy summer afternoon.  This item presented itself to my attention.  Caricatures of the staff members en masse at the junior high school where I taught in the early seventies.

 I have split the drawing for closer detail of the culprits.  Those who cannot pick me correctly from this crowd do not know me. (Even though I was forty-something years younger then.)
Melissa-Guidance; Bill-VP; Steve-Health PE; John-Art; Esther-Math; Gail-English; Jerry-History; vanilla-Math; Jan-Lib; CJ-SS; Blanche-Eng; Gordie-English; Wretha-Choral music; Dorothy-SpEd

I amazed myself by identifying, all these many years later, as many as I did!
David-IA; Barb-Lit; Parker-SS; David-SS; Josephine-Home Ec; John-Science; Charlie-Prin; Phil-History; Sue-Home Ec; Charles-Instr Music; Rebecca-Art (She who is responsible for this); Steven-Ag; Don-Sci; Mary Ann-English; Ellie-Health PE; Peggy SpEd

If I've misidentified anyone, they'll never know it anyway.  I know that ten of these people have left this vale of toil and tears.  I believe but five of the remaining ones still live in this community.  (I have now attached names to the picture.  Would have saved me a lot of time and mental gymnastics had I done it forty years ago.  And the certainty would have been nearer 100%.)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Harvest is Great

Solomon determined to build the temple to the Lord which his father David had not been permitted to do.  We are told that Solomon set 150,000 men to hew stone and carry burdens and over them he established 3,600 supervisors.  That is a ratio approximately one boss for each 42 workers.  Seems about right, and Solomon is said to have been the wisest man in the world.

What's my point?  It seems a superfluity of supervisory employees to have an operation where there is a boss for every six or seven workers, and yet. . .

Ever hear the expression "Too many chiefs and not enough Indians."?  Yeah, politically incorrect, but apt.

Reading from II Chronicles, chapter 2.

"The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few."

Yes, few enough laborers, for everyone wants to be a supervisor.  So what is the prayer to be?  That the Lord send labourers into his harvest.  Doesn't say anything about sending supervisors into the harvest.

Reading from Matthew, chapter 9

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Masonry and Other Stuff

BBBH and I were riding along a scenic country road, pretty little stream running alongside.  As we came around a bend, there to the left side of the road was a substantial little building constructed of concrete blocks.  This sight prompted Beautiful to remark that her Uncle Don and Uncle Sam were blockmasons back in the day.  This, of course, launched me into a rehearsal of my experiences with the mortar, and the blocks, the bricks, and the scaffolding, and on and on.  Because once started, I do go on sometimes.  I told her I would dig out a picture of some of the work we did back then.

From the time I was a freshman in high school I had some experience with "carrying hod," for my dad was engaged in the construction of a church building.  The exterior walls, and the walls in the basement were constructed of cinder blocks.  I helped by mixing mortar and carrying blocks.  I did not do this on a daily basis, as I had another job as messenger for Western Union, but I did learn about consistency of mud and placement of materials.

In the Spring of my senior year, the telegraphers' union, went on strike against the company, and thus I was without work.  Before I was called back, I had found a part time job with a mason for whom I carried hod until the end of the school year.  Following a bunch of experiences about which I may or may not have written, the which included storage bins, wheat harvests, and airplane companies, I went to the West Coast and enrolled in college.

Naturally, having exhausted what little money I had with me just getting set up in digs and laying enough on the bursar to get a "carry" agreement, I had to have gainful employment.  The school was able to help!  At a later date, this might have been designated a "work-study program," but at any rate I was put to work on a construction project.  A new building to house the Industrial Arts department was being erected.  Along with rough carpentry, welding, ditch-digging and other endeavors, I became a block layer on the project.

The new building was a two-story sixty by ninety concrete block edifice being constructed around the existing building which was razed when the new one was enclosed.  The picture shows some of the scaffolding we built to work from as the blocks were laid.  A clue to the location can be found in this picture.  The camera is pointing due east, and in the distance one can make out the Aurora Bridge which in that day carried US Highway 99 over the Lake Union Ship Canal.

The job was four hours in the afternoons, eight on Saturday.  The pay was $1.25/hour, most of which went directly against the note to which the bursar had agreed.  I drew something like $10 a week so that I would not have to go hungry.  I worked this job during freshman and sophomore years; but all good things come to an end, and this ended when the job was completed.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Nicknames, Monikers, and Atrocities, #T

or, What's your handle?

This nonsense kept me awake much of the night; or, I couldn't sleep anyway and this is the sort of thing running through my mind.

When I was a child I had a friend named John W. Dreibholtz.  His family called him "J.W." and so did we all, pronouncing it Western-style, "Jay Dub Ya".  This soon enough was truncated to Dubby, and thus he was known ever after.  So far as I know.  Where are you now, Dubby?

Nicknames and handles other than their given names are part and parcel of many people's lives.  I had an Aunt Mildred whose first name was Sarah.  Her son and I may be the only two people left who know that.  Her nickname was Mickey.  I've a cousin whose first name is Samuel, but he goes by Gene.  Those who use their middle names as their moniker but keep the first initial in their signature "part their name on the left" according to H. Allen Smith.  H. Allen did a study of people named Smith and observed that, in an apparent effort to counter the commonness of the surname, many Smiths gave their offspring odd or unusual first names.  He said he had even met a man named 5/8 Smith. My Beloved Beautiful Better Half parts her name on the left, and on occasion I find myself saying to her, "Gee, JoAnn. . . blah, blah, blah."

My friend Chuck, who will probably read this, may have another given name, but so far as anyone knows he is Chuck.  I also have a nephew named Chuck.  Most of the Richards I know are either Rick, Ricky, Dick, or Rich.  My spouse has a son whose name is Ricky.  That is not a nickname.  His given name is Ricky.  Robert is nearly always Bob, sometimes Rob, or Bobby, except in the case of my nephew, who is Robert.  I have a friend who is my age.  His given name is Bobby.  Do not call him Bob, or Robert, for neither of those is his name.  Another contemporary is named Billy, also not a nickname.  My daughter Ivanelle, known by all as Ivy, has a father-in-law whose parents named him Jacky.  He had it changed to Jack as soon as he reached his majority.

I have known, or now know, many Patricias.  But they are variously Pat, Patty, Patti, Patsy, or even Trish. None of my acquaintances go by Patricia.  Same with Cynthia: Cyndy, Cindy, Cyndi, Cyndee.  When in high school,  I had a girl friend whose name was Elvis.  When we were in our early twenties a certain man named Elvis hit the scene and became wildly popular.  My friend started calling herself Peggy, by which she was known ever after.

My father had nine siblings, all of whom had nicknames, some of which I cannot recall.  It is hard enough trying to remember all their real names.   I have for the most part avoided nicknames of my own. though on occasion a kid might holler "Red" as we were playing ball.  Otherwise I have always been David, except that I allowed my late second wife and her family to call me Dave.  I had a good friend, also David, God rest his soul, who called me Davey and I called him Dave.  You may call me David.  Or vanilla.

Xavier is often "Zay" or simply "X", but what of the girl whose name is Xanthippe?  One might think she would adopt "Zanta" or "Tippy" or "Tipper," but no, she is Xanthippe.  I had a couple of Penelopes in my classes.  Penny is a fine nickname for Penelope.  More recently, I met a woman who was introduced as Penny, but her given name is Carla.  Go figure.

Then there are some guys who really need a nickname, men such as Shirley, and Francis, and Evelyn. Which brings us to the unisex names.  So many of them.  Andy, Bobby, Dakota, Dale, Kim, Merle, Murphy, Max, Riley, Harris, Lee, Lou, Lynn, Jean, and so on.  You have to meet the person before you know, unless they checked an M or F on the application form.

In addition to the selection of a name, spelling of the name can be an issue, too.  For example, Michaela, a nice enough feminine form of Michael, has been transmogrified into numerous spellings. Mikayla is quite common, and not bad; then too, there is Mykayla, MacKala, MaCalia, and someone recently jumped the shark with Meighkeighleigh.  The kids are offended when someone misspells their names, but I fault the parents for this nonsense.

I am not even straying into 21st Century territory here, what with the manufactured, tortured, and ridiculous handles some people are tagging their kids with.  Child abuse comes in many forms.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Sun King

Louis was born to Louis XIII and Anne of Austria on September 5, 1638.  He became Louis Quatorze on May 11, 1643.  His reign of 72 years stands as the longest of any monarch in Western history.

Love and Louis XIV is the story of the Sun King's reign told with emphasis on the women in his life, beginning with his mother Anne who was sister to King Philip of Spain.  The story progresses to the marriage of the king to Marie-Therese, daughter of Philip IV of Spain.  Then there are the accounts of the affairs and peccadillos of the king with Louise and Athenais who bore him children, and others.  One does not read this document from prurient interest, but rather as a study in the religion, the mores, and the standards of behavior for those both in and out of power in 17th century Europe.

One finds insight into the various residences and the practices within them, and the famous restructuring and expansion of the Palace at Versailles.

Heavens, this reads like a book report.

Fraser, Antonia.  Love and Louis XIV,  Nan A. Talese, New York, 2006.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

In Celebration of Pig Meat

Tomorrow, Thursday September 5 is kick-off of the Tipton County Pork Festival which then runs through Saturday.  Food, entertainment, street fair.  Come on over and spend your money!

Downtown Tipton, Indiana
Be there.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Conversations with Random People: Two

The old guy looked to have traveled around the sun about as many times as I have.  A wisp of an old guy, five-six or thereabouts, and 130.  He had on a blue plaid shirt and a bolo tie closed with a silver eagle.  His hat was a waterproof trilby, somewhat the worse for wear, but it had a "Missouri" logo, the word and an outline map, on the front. We were looking at an old McCormick-Deering tractor at the tractor and antique show.

 "She looks to be about as old as we are," I opined.

"Ay-a," he said, "she's got some age on her."

"You from Missouri?" I asked.  "I see you are advertising the Show Me State."  (I pronounced it "M'sura"-- you can tell stuff about a Missourian by the way he pronounces the name of the state.)*

"Ay-a.  I lived up to Kokomo for forty-five years, but I went back to Missouri a while ago."  (He pronounced the name with the "ee" sound on the end.)  "Ya can't really go back, though.  Nothin's the same.  Nothin' around there anymore but cotton fields and rice."

"Yep, Tom Wolfe had it right: you can't go home again.  So you live down in the Bootheel?"  (Put two and two together, you see.)

"Yes, I do.  Grew up there, prolly die there."

"David," I said, "nice talking with you."  I offered my right hand.  He shook with me, said, "Bill.  Take care now."

*I one time read somewhere (how's that for citing my source?) that Missouri is the only state whose name is consistently pronounced in more than one way, even by Missourians.  Politicians, it is said, will often use two different pronunciations in the same speech in an effort to appeal to a "broader audience."  Well, perhaps so.  Politicians are notorious for their ability to come down on both sides of the fence without ripping their trousers.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day

 Labor Day was established in the latter part of the nineteenth century* in recognition of laborers.  It has become a holiday, presumably a day in which the laborer can lay aside the burdens of his work for at least that day.

Here's an irony.  Now we have that probably one-quarter of all laborers in the US work in retail concerns.  Retail sales on Labor Day have become such a large part of the industry that the day is second only to Black Friday in dollar volume.+  Now who makes the transactions? Why, the laborers who work in retail. And not only do they work on this, their holiday, but many of them are required to work extended hours!

Happy Labor Day, y'all!

+Or so I read somewhere.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pow Wow

 Tecumseh Lodge holds its Pow Wow on the Tipton County Fairgrounds every year, Labor Day weekend.  Pitching of tipis, beading, dancing, and other Native American stuff.

 I arrived on the scene too early to actually engage any of the participants, so just pix.

 I''m guessing some of these tents are quite a significant monetary investment.  And you'd have to have a thirty-foot flatbed trailer to transport those poles!

Of course not, I cracked, they've eaten their dogs.
That's not funny; so why did BBBH crack up laughing?

Actually, I find it almost unbelievable that that many people would camp out for two days without their pets.  What the heck?