Friday, February 28, 2014

My Aunt Fern

I got a call from my cousin, Pat.  It was not unexpected, but she conveyed the sad news that her mother, my aunt, had passed.  Aunt Fern was the last member of my parents' generation, so far as family is concerned.  Our generation now boasts the oldest members of the family.  This is not surprising, for most of us are great-grandparents in our own right.

My Thursday posts for the past several months have been fictional accounts of events on the High Plains in an earlier day.  Here, in her honor is my Aunt Fern's obituary.  It is a non-fictional account of one person's life on the High Plains.

Fern Lacy
1/7/1920 2/23/2014

Fern  Lacy


Fern (Hendrix) Lacy, 94, passed away February 23, 2014 at the Belmont Senior Center in Pueblo. She was born on January 7, 1920 in Syracuse, Kansas to Weaver and Nelle (Carter) Hendrix. She was the fifth and youngest child. She married Ben Lacy on May 14, 1939, and began their married life in The Towner and Sheridan Lake areas.  He preceded her in death in 2010.

Fern spent most of her early school years in a little country school. Her parents were living on a farm outside of Syracuse at this time and Fern rode a horse to school. In 1931, Fern’s parents decided to move to Colorado. There was more grassland for their growing cattle herd. On May 1, 1931, when Fern was 11 years old, they began the 60 mile journey to their new Colorado home. Fern rode a horse the entire way, driving a herd of cattle. This trip took about 6 or 7 days. They settled southeast of Brandon, Colorado, where Fern rode 14 miles on a school bus to get to the Brandon school.

In the summer of 1935 a “new boy” moved in to the neighborhood. This new boy was to become Fern’s husband for 70 years. Fern and Ben organized a country/western dance band, the Prairie Ramblers, which became a popular dance band. Fern began teaching 4-H girls to cook and sew. On July 1, 1954 they bought a home in Las Animas and lived there until they retired and moved to Canon City. Ben was elected as the Bent County Assessor, a job he held for 19 years. Fern became active in her church and many clubs and organizations. She continued teaching 4-H girls. She also taught Sunday school for many years.

She is survived by her children, Pat (Wilber) Thomas and Duane (Elsie) Lacy; seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and one great, great-grandson, plus a host of friends. She was preceded in death by her parents and husband.

Peacock-Larsen Funeral Home and Arkansas Valley Crematory is in charge of arrangements. 

   Funeral Service: Saturday, March 1, 11 am
                       Visitation: Saturday, 9-11 am

                              Place: Peacock Memorial Chapel

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Moving Trees and Shopping Sprees #T

Wherein we learn of an unfettered shopping binge.

Well, Uncle Jep had Burl Moffitt bring his old flatbed truck over, and we invited Jake Palmer to bring his McCormick with the lift.  A couple good neighbors is worth more than a city full of lawyers and stockbrokers.  The four of us had wrestled all those logs we had stacked over by the river onto the truck and had hauled them to the sawmill on our place.  Took two trips.  Old saw will be plenty busy.

"Good day's work," chuckled Uncle Jep as we were taking off our jackets and boots in the mud room.  "Tomorrow looks to be a perfect day fer sawin'."

We went into the kitchen where Aunt Grace had supper ready to set on the table.  Pork chops and fried taters!  "Hit du'n't get any better than this!" Uncle enthused as he patted Aunt Grace on the behind.  "Stop now, you Old Coot, and set yourself down."  Auntie joined us at the table long enough to say a blessing over the food, yes, and over mighty near everyone she knew, or had ever heard of.  I swan, I thought the pork chops would be cold before she got "our President and our nation" blessed and said "Amen."  Uncle and I muttered our "amen" and Aunt Grace was up and bustling about as she served us our meal.  Corn dodger and turnip greens to go with!  Man, it is no wonder I love this place.

We all tucked in, and as we were slowing down and mopping the last morsels from our plates, Uncle Jep said, "Your grandpa is coming over right early in the mornin'.  Bringin' Red Hurd with him.  The four of us can make a lot of lumber afore the sun sets.  Did I ever tell you about the time Red Hurd got that bull from over to the Huerfano?  Oh, yeah.  I recollect I tole you that.  Anyway, after Red got that bull, Maybelle says to him, 'You can spend a fortune on a ugly ol' beast like thet, I kin take some time and money to go to Denver to see my sister.'  Waal, ya can't argue with a woman's logic, an' she went.  Red carried her over to Lamar to catch the train, on account a the Chief nor none of the faster trains stop anywhere in our neighborhood.

"So Maybelle's sister, Irene, you may recollect Irene, married Stubs McAnally from clear over to Dalhart, but they settle in Denver soon after they marry, Irene meet Maybelle at Union Station.   Stubs' real name were Grover, but ever'one call him "Stubs" after he get the fingers on his left hand am-pu-tated in the mill accident over to Swink.  Waal, he di'n't mind the moniker on account a he never did much cotton to "Grover" anyways.  So afore he come up thisaway, Grover grow up around Dalhart, an ever'one says he had a sweetheart there who done broke his heart, so to speak.  Beauty, she was.  You heard a her, Veronica Land she call herself now.  Been in pitchers out to Hollywood several years.  Well, Stubs got mighty lucky, you ask me.  Not a better woman on earth than Irene, salt a the earth.  Well, Maybelle is, too.  The Wrights knew how to bring up younguns, those girls and both they brothers would give you they last dime, you needed it.  And Veronica, my land sakes, she been married four, five times now, or so they say, not that I would pay any attention."  I sneaked a look at Aunt Grace out the corner of my eye.  And she was rolling her eyes, I tell you.

"So," continued the old Uncle, "those two girls painted thet town, I tell ya.  They got this here Daniels and Fisher de-partment store over to Denver 'n Maybelle not been shoppin' in a coon's age, and a long-tooth coon, at thet.  Believe me when I tell you she 'n Irene like to clean the place out.  I mean, she hadda pack and ship her buys Railway Express, and even the shippin' costs was somethin' to make yer eyes pop.  'Course Red know better than to say a word about any of it.  Well, I reckon I might should 'scuse myself now."

"Oh, now,"  Aunt Grace speaking.  "Here," she says as she sets the plates in front of us, "please to try some of this apricot pie I made this afternoon."  Both of us made many an "Ooh," and "Ah!" and "This is wonderfuls" as we enjoyed the flakiest crust and sweetest fruit ever set before a man.  And Aunt Grace ate it up; the compliments, I mean.  Well, the pie, too.

 At last, Jep scooted his chair back from the table.  “Thank you, Sweet Thang,” he says to Aunt Grace, and he gave her a peck on the forehead.  “I’ma toddle off to bed now; gotta be up when the rooster crows.  You, too, Sonny.  Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

Text © 2014 David W. Lacy

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Talent Gone Too Soon

2011 Commemorative stamp, US Postal Service.

February 26, 1995 before an audience of over 66,000 people, Selena gave a televised performance at the Houston Astrodome.  It was to be her last major performance.

One month later, March 31, Selena Quintanilla-Perez died of a gunshot wound inflicted by a former president of the Selena Fan Club.  She was sixteen days short of her twenty-fourth birthday.

Miramor de la Flor, a memorial to Selena in downtown Corpus Christi, was opened to the public in 1997.  BBBH and I visited this tribute to the singer in 2000.

April 16 is "Selena Day" in the State of Texas.

Selena  April 16, 1971 - March 31, 1995  RIP

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sharp Dressers, Dull Town

When I was a lad I was acquainted with a preacher, a friend of my father, whose name was R.R. Sharp.  This occurred in the mid- to late 40s.  

Mr. Sharp was holding a revival meeting in a small town in Southern Nebraska.  The meeting had been advertised in the local paper, and the evangelist had submitted 
a cut in order to run his picture in the advertisement.

The editor was amazed at the minister's likeness, so he made it a point to contact Mr. Sharp during his stay in town.  He related that there was a local business man who, in likeness, was his double; yet they were exact opposites!

The newsman arranged for the gentlemen to meet in front of the local vendor's place of business, and that is where Mr. Sharp met Mr. Dull.

I have had this picture for many years.  Mr. Sharp is on the left, Mr. Dull on the right.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Wind #T

WOOOO.  WOO. wooo.  WOOOO. The wind howls and WEEE. WEE. whines around the eaves and gutters.  It slaps my window and howls some more; I pound my pillow with my fist.  I flop.  I put the pillow over my head.  The wind yet howls and whines.

Wide awake, body desperate for sleep.  The mind kicks into gear.  These words of Jesus impinge themselves upon my consciousness:

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: John 3:8a (KJV)

And finally sometime before dawn I slept a bit.  Yet I will have a long morning, nodding and groggy, for I was short-changed of sleep.

The scripture quoted here is wrested and wrenched from context, such doings being the sport of many Christians who are too concerned with finding a tidbit in the Bible that seems to support what they want to believe.  But that is another chipmunk running across the trail.  The big game to be pursued here is this.  The third chapter of John recounts the incident in which Nicodemus sought Jesus out by night and asserted that he knew that Jesus was from God.

Jesus outlines precisely what one must do to enter the Kingdom, stating that one must be born not only of flesh, but he must be born again, in the Spirit.

The entire message of salvation is delineated in this chapter.

WOOO.  WOO.  Weee.  The wind still blows. And the truth of Christ's teaching still endures, and shall endure aeons after this wind ceases.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Reflections on Corporal Punishment

Tuesday we saw the Little Buck Private and his dealings with Corporal Punishment.  Today is a follow-up, for some of the readers commented provocatively, and inspired this sequel.

Vee, whom I suspect you all know is my little sister to whom I referred in the article, said she could well-imagine the scene, even though she was not witness to it.  Yes, I believe she knows very well what I was writing about.  Then she said she wondered how I might have handled "time-out."  I really don't know, though I thought about it a bit, tried to put myself back into my seven-year old self, and concluded that I probably would have handled it with a great deal of resentment.  Whether or not it would have done me or anyone else any good is moot.  Or put another way, I shudder to think.

Jacqueline remarked that in her case the admonition to obtain a good switch was followed up with the warning that if it broke, parent would "wear it out on you, then you will get another one."  Yes, I can relate to that, too.

Shelly opined that it was too bad that the method described was not used more freely these days.  Here is one fellow who concurs with that opinion.  I am pleased to know that I am not alone.

Another reader who seems to be in agreement with Shelly and me is Sharkebytes.  The switch she was required to procure was from the lilac bush.  That would work.  She opines that procuring the switch gave the culprit time and opportunity to reflect on the behavior that got her in trouble in the first place, and whether continuation of the behavior was worth the consequences.

All of which calls to mind a story my father told me about his brother, Ellis.  Ellis was a year and a half younger than my dad, and as boys will do, he was climbing fool's hill, say along about thirteen years of age.  Ellis had taken to going over to the neighboring farm and complaining to the old Dutchman about the severity with which his dad was treating him.  The old fellow became convinced that Ellis was being abused, felt sorry for him, and told him to come on over and stay at his place. Ellis took him up on the offer.

Then on a Saturday a week or so later, and as all you farm folk may recall, Saturday was the day everyone went into town, Hans made the weekly trek.  And so it was that Hans met some of the neighboring farmers at the general store.  One of them said, "Ay, Hansie, I hear that Lacy kid is staying over to your place.  How's that working out for you?"

Hans replied, "Ya.  Boy says his Pa licks him pretty often.  An' I tell ya that boy's Pa never gave him a mis-lick in his life, 'less he licked at him and missed!"

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sawmills, Dogs, and Calves #T

Wherein the dog is the hero.

"Hand me that one-and-a-quarter box wrench, Boy."  Uncle Jep held his left hand toward me without raising his head from beneath the frame.  Grandpa and Uncle Jep have this old sawmill they cobbled together years ago.  We are getting it ready to saw some logs we've had stacked for a couple years down by the river.  Those two old coots have got it into their heads that they can erect a new chicken coop and storage barn with the native timber they have collected.  I am not exactly work-brickle, but I hate that sawmill.  You would too, could you see that 48-inch blade in action!

So anyway, I am told that years ago Uncle Jep and Grandpa argued the merits of building their own sawmill as opposed to carting the logs miles away and hauling the lumber home, and paying someone else to do what they could do themselves.  Well, as they travelled about the countryside doing their work here and there, junk started coming home with them, a few pieces at a time.  Rails for a carriage, scrap iron for frames and beds, the old rusty Buick.  And now here stands the testimony to their ingenuity and perseverance.  And here we are, Uncle Jep working on that old Buick straight eight that powers this monstrosity.

"I ha'n't tole you I went over t'see Eldon last night.  Been two months now since we carried him home from that field yonder.  Eldon's doin' right well, now.  Doc Barrett tells him that fer a man what suffered a stroke like he did, he is right lucky.  Well, you've seen him a time or two and know that his right leg is a bit game.  Speech still some slurred, too.  But he is right alert, and determined, too.  Since you saw him, his gait has improved a good 'eal.  We walked together to his hen house last evenin'.  He made it fine.  His talkin' is easier to follow now.  Du'n't seem to have any memory loss or mental lapses.  Fact is, he tole me what he was up to in that field the day he was struck.  Gonna put 'er in broomcorn, can he get all that yucca and tumbleweeds cleaned out.

"Now crank that thing while I crawl outta here."  I jerked the crank once.  She fired immediately.  Uncle adjusted the idle, revved it a bit and she was purring like a kitten.  Then we set to getting the belts down, installing them and dressing them.  While we were attending to the task, Uncle Jep said, "Did I ever finish tellin' you about the time my dog, Budge, brought in that red calf durin' the snowstorm? Yep, jes' comin' on dark and the snow was fallin' perty good, not a blizzard, but definitely gonna pile us up some snow.  I was jes' comin' up from the hen house with a bucket a eggs when here come Budge a pantin' and a whinin'.  I set my bucket down an' start rubbin' his ears.  But he turn back to the barn lot and start barkin'.  'Okay, Boy,' I says, 'let's go see what you want.'

"Well, doncha know he got me back a the barn lot an' layin' there in a snowbank is this little red calf.  Could see she jus' been born a little while ago.  I could see from the tracks that Budge had got her to walk to here, but then she musta drop an' could'n go on.  Well, sir, I pick up the calf and take her to the house an' set Grace to workin' on her.  I start to set down by the farr, but Budge won't have it.  He grab my jacket cuff and he tug me toward the door.  Long story short, he take me out in that snow storm and lead me plumb down to that elder stand by the crick.  An' what do you think?  Layin' there up agin her Mama's body is another calf!  Ol' Maudie had done had twins, but hit were too much for her.  The cow were dead, but the calf were still alive.

"Anyway, those two are Jennie and Jodie, and you well know they are our best milkers.  Good ol' Budge.  He were some dog!

© 2014 David W. Lacy

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Headed the Right Way!

 Through the clerestory, 5:53 A.M.

9:37 A.M. Almost home (see the RV?).  This is what we've looked at for six weeks.  Well, new top layers from time to time.

And. . . 
Ta da! We went out last evening and for the first time in six weeks I went out without my parka!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Little Buck Private and Corporal Punishment #T

Sometimes an incident from my past recreates itself full-blown in my mind and offers the suggestion that I blog about it.  On other occasions, I, thinking the well is drying up, sit and cogitate on my past (reminisce) with intent to think of something to write about.

If you have followed String Too Short to Tie a sufficient length of time, you have been exposed to a number of real-life experiences I have had.  If, because most of them tend to cast me in a light such that by all appearances I was a good child, one who engaged in no negative behaviors to share, you conclude that I never had encounters with discipline, be disabused of the notion.  Surely you do not think that the sessions involving my father, or mother for that matter, flailing my little legs with a peach switch were engaged in merely because my parents and I enjoyed the dance.

Correction was not limited to the use of the switch, of course, as there were counseling sessions in which the rewards of good behavior were touched on, if more detailed attention were given to the wages of sin.  Then of course there was Daddy's razor strop, an instrument of correction truly to be avoided.  There was never any of the "Wait 'til your father gets home" from Mama, either.  She would simply direct one to the yard to get the switch, and "It had better be a good one."

Lest you misunderstand any of this, let me remind you that scripture says, "He who spares the rod hates his son."  I was a much-loved, a well-loved son.

But, and I am quoting my father here, I have said all that to say this.  I vividly recall one incident which I am quite sure occurred when I was seven years of age.  I have no idea which of the Ten Commandments or what Rule of the House I had violated.  But I remember the "session" with clarity as though it were just this morning.  Mother was the administrator of justice in this instance, and the tale begins as I entered the kitchen with the switch I had been directed to obtain.  I handed it to Mama.

Mama took my hand and led me into the back bedroom.  She closed the door.  Remember, there was a little sister in the house who needed not to be disturbed by the proceedings.  As was her wont, Mama delivered the "This hurts me more than it hurts you, blah, blah, blah" speech.  She then took my left hand in her left hand and flailed my little legs a few times.  She let me go, turned toward the door, and I laughed.  Mama seemed to consider that to be inappropriate behavior.  She spun around, and perhaps a bit less gently than she had handled me before, she grabbed my arm and switched me again.

This time as she was leaving, I laughed again.  She returned to me, and I observed quite quickly that as she was punishing me some more, the tears were rolling down her face, and when she started sobbing, I burst into tears of  my own.  This may have been the desired behavior, for we then fell sobbing into each others arms, assuring one another of the deep and abiding love that existed between us.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mama and Six-on-six Basketball #T

In my collection of memorabilia and other stuff there is a copy of a ragged and tattered photo which was taken in 1920 or 1921.  Mother was in eighth grade in Hartman, Colorado.  It is fortunate that the girl is clearly identified because, although she does look like Mama, I am not sure I could have picked her out of the group without the assistance.  Who the other people in the picture are I have no idea, and I suspect that there is no one yet alive who can identify any of them.  But I could be wrong.

Mama did not share an awfully lot of information about her younger years.  I do remember, though, that she clearly and specifically testified to her salvation.  She gave her heart to Jesus at the age of four and never wavered from the path He set for her.  She told me the story of the time her little dog saved her life by coming between her and a rattlesnake.  She lived to tell the story, but the doggie did not survive.

I was well into my adulthood before Mama shared with me the fact that she was on her high school girls' basketball team.  She played guard, and that was in the day when each team fielded six players, stationing three of them at each end of the court, guards not being allowed to move to the offensive end of the court.  Nor could the forwards move to the defensive end.  I suppose one had to be there.

What ever happened to six-on-six girls' basketball? you ask.  Well, no you didn't, but I'll tell you anyway.  In 1958 the Office of Civil Rights, that's right, the Federal Government, started looking at elimination of the game.  It was not finally phased out until 1995.  And who was the last to buckle under?  Oklahoma.  Iowa had given in in 1993.

Trust vanilla.  If a little memorial and tribute to one's mother can be turned into a political rant, vanilla is the guy who can do it.  You are welcome.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


From Proverbs 24
30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; 31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. 32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. 33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 34 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.  --KJV 

It seems that scripture is rife with admonitions to tend to business, to practice industrious living.  And rightly so, I daresay.  But I find this little parabolic sermon to be quite charming.  One gazing upon the fields and vineyards of a lazy and stupid man sees the fruit of sloth, and it is not grapes.  One wonders, of course, if the proprietor in this instance may have found himself in reduced circumstances due to overindulgence in the fermented product of his vineyard. There is, at least, little doubt that such profligate behavior can lead to stupor, stupidity, slumber, and ultimately to ruin.  Or perhaps this individual inherited a thriving operation and lacked the ambition, enthusiasm, and energy requisite to maintenance of a successful business.  In short, he may be lazy and a wastrel, reminding us of the prodigal son of the New Testament.

Yet, a bit farther down the road we may see the evidence of an overachiever, a grasping, greedy, and selfish individual who lacks nothing in the way of ambition, but lacks all in concern for his fellow man.  Too much well-tended land, too many barns, too much gathered to oneself.  Yet it is possible we misinterpret or misunderstand.  This may be the fellow we described, reminding us of the character in the New Testament who said, “I will raze my barns, and build bigger.”  And yet the effort was for naught in terms of his eternal welfare.  Or it may be that this man is a good steward whose concern is not for himself alone, but for others as well, with much of his gain supporting others.

Which leads us finally to this.  Perhaps we should be less hasty in passing judgment on others. We should at least have some understanding of a set of circumstances before we draw conclusions.

Image: Old Wood Company

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Madam President?

During any given presidential election many "isms" get bandied about.  I think it important that as a run-up to the 2016 campaign a bit of agism be injected.  And now is as good a time as any, since we Americans are given to being perpetually in "elections mode" .

Hillary Clinton may be the only American citizen who does not know that she will run for President in 2016.  Or her noncommittal stance may be a sham.  With a politician, this is highly likely.  So what am I getting at?  Suppose that Ms. Clinton does run for the office (she will), then suppose furthermore that she will be elected (highly likely).  Then consider these data.

On Inauguration Day Hillary Clinton will be 69 years, 86 days of age.

The five oldest inaugurates to the office were

69 years, 349 days:  Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
68 years, 23 days:  William Henry Harrison (1841)
65 years, 315 days:  James Buchanan (1857-1861)
64 years, 223 days:  George H.W. Bush (1989-1993)
64 years, 100 days:  Zachary Taylor (1849-1850)

Which would place Ms. Clinton at number two on the list if she is elected, and by less than nine months difference in age from Mr. Reagan.

Is this really what the nation wants?  Yes, we want maturity, and for sure no one would think of her as a girl or a young woman.  But really?  I pose this question not as a smart-aleck whippersnapper who has nothing but disdain for the elderly.  No, I pose it as a person who has gone through all the previous stages of life up to and including 79 years of age.

What about stamina?  What about alertness and quickness on the uptake?  She would be 73 years old at the end of the term, and if a second term were in the cards, she would be 77 at the end.

Do we really want another President who sleeps during Cabinet meetings?  But then, what could it hurt?

Ooh, I am so ticked.  I wrote this item at six o'clock Friday morning at set it in queue to post at four o'clock Saturday morning.  Then I find on Friday afternoon that the topic has been thrown into the media mix, thereby making me look like a copycat.  Thanks, Charlie Cook of the "National Journal."

One commentator said,  "Pfft.  Seventy is the new fifty."  Yeah, well that commentator is still on the sunny side of fifty, the real chronological fifty.

Friday, February 14, 2014

On and On

It is snowing again.  The weather bureau has been amazingly accurate with its forecasts during this excessive winter.  So today I am both annoyed and gratified.  The prediction was for a dusting, or at most half-inch.  Snow started at noon and so far, four hours later, I have shoveled four inches of snow off the drives, and it is still coming down.  I am annoyed because it is piling more snow on our already too deep snow piles, and I am gratified to know that the science of meteorology is still imperfect.

I know we have all been wishing for an end to the stuff; but absent that possibility, how about a little variety?  You know, colored snow in pink, or blue, or even green to lend an aura of Springiness to the landscape.

Being human, we'd soon tire of that, too.
Stay safe, and stay warm!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Broken Ditches and Big Yucca

A few days after our "reconciliation," Uncle Jep and I were cleaning the ditch along the back forty.  Work was going well and the sun was approaching its zenith. We simultaneously jammed our shovels into the bank, straightened our backs, and as Uncle was wiping the sweat from his face with the red paisley bandana he always carried, I said, "The cottonwood tree or the elderberries?"  But before he could answer we were both distracted by the clop of a rapidly approaching horse.  And there she was,  Eldon Moffitt's chestnut mare, running directly toward us.

The horse pulled up directly in front of me, blew and snorted.  "Grab her bridle," Uncle said.  Now Uncle knows that I don't like horses, and I was more than a little tempted to tell him to grab her himself.  But something told me that what was happening here was more than a bit unusual.  I grabbed.  The animal submitted at once.  Then without undue pulling, but with some urgency, the beast began to head around toward the direction she came from.  She pulled.  "Mount her, boy," Uncle Jep said.  "Find out what she wants."  I got on board.  Now usually when a horse senses that the rider is uneasy, she will give that rider a hard time.  And I know that she had to be aware that I scarcely knew what I was doing.  Nevertheless, she started gently back along the fence row, walking quickly, but never breaking into a run.

We went perhaps 200 rods along the fencerow, then the horse turned into a fallow field.  Ten rods, fifteen rods, and she suddenly stopped.  There directly in front of the horse, lying face down under the edge of a  huge tumbleweed was Mr. Moffitt.  By the time I had dismounted, Uncle Jep rode up on the old Avery we had taken out with us that morning.  We quickly turned Eldon face up and determined that he was alive.  He was not able to tell us what had happened, but clearly he was suffering intense physical discomfort.  He had not fallen from the horse, for the adze he had been using was still clasped in his right hand, and the evidence of his efforts were right there .  A few more whacks and the roots of the yucca would have been completely severed.  "Never saw a horse do such a thing," remarked Uncle Jep.  "Now, I had a dog once, Budge, his name was. Did I ever tell you about the time Budge.  .  ."

"Please, Uncle, I want to hear your tale, but we gotta get this man home first.  Plenty of time for talking later."

Uncle Jep fixed a steely eye on me.  One second, two seconds, three. Then he said, "Absodoubtly without a loot; yer right.  Stories later.  Now we'll heist him up onto this here steed, then I'll ride behind him and hold onto him.  Good horse, she can easy carry double.  You drive that tractor on over to Moffitts and tell the Missus we're on the way over.  Then go on over to Restons and call for Doc Barrett."

And that is what we did.

© 2014 David W. Lacy

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sometimes Enough is Too Much

"That thing," she said, "has occupied that table for eight days.  That's it.  I'm done with it."

So does this mean I have to finish it by myself?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sixth, 14th, and 20th Centuries

February 10 is the Feast Day of St. Scholastica.  Scholastica was the twin sister of St. Benedict, well-known as the founder of the Benedictine order.  The lady, in her service to God, founded a nunnery near Benedict's monastery.1  While neither could visit the other on the site of their residences, they met once a year at a neutral site for prayers and conversation.  Scholastica died a few days after one of these annual visits, and it is said that Benedict in a vision saw her soul ascend into heaven.  He brought her body to the monastery for interment in the tomb he had constructed for himself.2

St. Scholastica died in 543.  Now fast-forward 812 years.  In Oxford, England on the saint's feast day, two students from university got into a dispute with an innkeeper over the quality of the drinks, continuing to the tossing of said drinks into the barkeep's face.  The immediate result of this contretemps was the death over a period of two days of more than ninety people of whom two-thirds were students.  The end was not to be seen for yet another 600 years.  Events went briefly as follows:

The resolution in favor of the university required the mayor and councillors of the town to march bareheaded through the streets on St. Scholastica's Day each year and pay to the university a penny for each student who lost his life in the riots.  This continued until 1825 when the mayor refused to participate.

Finally, the matter was resolved when, on February 10, 1955, an act of conciliation saw the Mayor awarded an honorary degree from University, and the Vice-Chancellor was made an Honorary Freeman.3

Long memories, those Brits.

1I first typed "monkery" which is what I have long thought the places should be called, but spell-check objected to the usage.
2Catholic Online

Saturday, February 8, 2014

agony; headache steals sleep,
ibuprofen fails.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Literary Firestorm.

Sadly, the title is no joke.

I have never read the Harry Potter series, but everyone between the ages of nine and twenty-five has, so this is a serious cultural issue.

J.K.Rowling, kazillionaire thanks to the sales of her literary efforts, recently stated that she "made a mistake" in pairing Hermione with the wrong warlock or wizard, or whatever the little devils were.  What?  This woman attributes to herself god-like-powers of determination of the paths her characters take?  That's not right.  She created the characters, true, but surely they take on lives of their own.  By her own admission, predetermination of the outcome was not a factor, for she herself said that she had envisioned Harry with the heroine, but it was not to be.*

Fictional characters, just as non-fictional, or less-fictional ones, go willy-nilly through their lives, bumping into each other, ricocheting or bonding as the case may be.  What has some woman in Britain to do with the outcomes?

Oh, let me guess.  Vanilla's Friday morning forecast:  Ms. Rowling will be releasing a new book very soon.

*One will credit an author with power of naming her characters.  JKR might have chosen a name other than "Hermione," say Elizabeth or Penelope.  As it is, the secondary prediction from this seat is that this generation of young women just graduating college will be naming their daughters "Hermione."

And so what if I throw a little fuel on the fire?
What do you think?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fourteenth Anniversary

 As it was, fourteen years ago today.

And still smiling today.

The ornamentation atop the wedding cake.  The little figurine was painted by Beloved Beautiful Better Half herself.  Note the reality with which she endowed the item, she the cute little blond, I the white-haired older man.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


[These "Uncle Jep" stories are usually posted on Thursdays, but tomorrow is a special day, so here is an instalment a day early.]
Did I ever tell you about the time Jason Sloan. . ."

"Wait a minute, Uncle Jep.  You are just about to wander off from yarn spinning into tale bearing.  There has been entirely too much said about things people know too little about."

"Dagnabit, Boy.  You are getting to be one hard case to talk to about just about anything," Uncle Jep asserted in a voice just below the level of a holler.  He threw down his hoe and headed toward the barn.

I knew that Uncle would sulk for a while.  What I didn't know was that it would be near three weeks before he spoke to me again.  For example, at the supper table, Uncle Jep says to Aunt Grace who is opposite him, me sitting next to him on his left, "Ma, please ask the Boy to pass me those taters."

This put a real crimp in my education, for much of what I learn I pick up from working with Uncle Jep.  But he made it a point to leave instructions for me with Aunt Grace.  Then he would disappear for the day.  But there are some benefits, too.  I actually believe that the both of us got more work done during that three weeks than we had ever done when working together.  But, as Uncle Jep later said, "Hit warn't much fun."  I accepted that as an accommodation, if not an apology, nor was I about to apologize, but I did say, "I surely have missed hearing your yarns," which he accepted by saying, "Then be still and listen when I'ma talkin'."

But I did note that his tales were less scandalous thereafter.

© 2014 David W. Lacy

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Our First President

Gilbert Stuart Williamstown Portrait of George Washington.jpg   

February 4, 1789  The electoral college unanimously selected George Washington to serve as the First President of the United States of America.

His term of office officially began March 4, 1789.  He was sworn in on April 30.  Washington was reelected in 1792 and again received 100 percent of the electoral vote.  He remains to this day the only President to receive unanimous support of the electoral college.

Other posts about Washington on this blog.

1   2   3   4

Monday, February 3, 2014

Again with the Snow

The poor RV wishes it were in Texas.  Okay, perhaps that is a bit fanciful, but I wish it were in Texas with me. 

 The little tree and the grasses in the neighbor's mound.

And a closer look at the grass.

The forecast for one to two inches of snow Saturday night/Sunday morning was accurate up to the point where the two inches was reached, then it went on to pour another four inches on us. Shoveling again.  Got the walks and drives done in four sessions this time.

We have a couple of granddaughters who "love" snow, and they are "so excited" every time a new batch falls.  They are in their twenties and thirties.  We love them anyway.

I've lost count of the total snowfall so far this winter.  One gets numb after while.  I have also lost count of the number of times I have posted about snow.  You may skip it when you're bored with it.

The world's coat is white, 
new wrap around her shoulders; 
hiding grey and slush.

We may be weary; 
nevertheless we are blessed; 
warm and green will come.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Name Game

The series following the fortunes of the Sloan family from the day that Geoff Slade left the river and chose Jason Sloan as his new name has recently ended "up in the air" with this Jason's great grandson, also Jason Sloan.

I have been made aware that in the real world there are a significant number of Jason Sloans.  These, in their life pursuits, range from highly successful entrepreneurs to, in one case, a convicted killer.  Recently I learned that the grandson of my first cousin Pauline has committed to play football at University of Oregon.  Henry Mondeaux will be a fine addition to the Ducks' program.  I find, too, in looking at the roster, that there is a Jason Sloan on the team, currently a redshirt freshman.

All this reminds me that sharing a name is a common occurrence.  When I was a high school student and a messenger for Western Union, there appeared in our local newspaper an article about the arrest of a young man a mere year or two older than I, for robbery, a & b, and resisting.  The name was the same as mine.

I had easy access to the city editor of the paper, in that I frequently carried messages for him.  So I went to him, explained that I was concerned that people might think I was the culprit whose story had appeared in the paper.  He said, "Not a problem.  I'll take care of it."  The next day he ran an article explaining that I of the Same Name was not the culprit who had recently been arrested.  It was perhaps the only time I did anything noteworthy enough to be mentioned in my hometown newspaper.  Oh, the next spring I was listed as a graduate of the local high school. Listed along with the other 421 who graduated with me.  Fine print, that.