Monday, June 30, 2014

Fishy? I Think Not #T

[Somewhat over a year ago, due to failure of proper functioning of String Too Short to Tie, I transported STSTT over to Bob Warr's blog for a few weeks.  Most of the faithful followers came along, so for them this is rehash.  But I thought there might be some who missed it then and would enjoy it now.]

I wish to express my appreciation to Bob Warr for allowing  me to  use his blog as a platform for my posts for an undetermined length of time.  Thanks, Bob.



Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment purposes only. It is not a theological treatise, nor is its intent to make fun of anyone’s practice of faith.

Fish on Friday

We protestants who lived north of the Arkansas River chided (read: made fun of) our Catholic friends who would drive south of the river on Fridays to partake of their evening meal, for there they felt free of conscience to eat red meat. It was widely believed that Catholics were to abstain from meat on Fridays as an integral part of the practice of their faith. Failure to do so made the offender a sinner in the eyes of fellow Catholics and a hypocrite in the eyes of the protestants.

The trip across the river had its roots in some medieval history. Because of their service in the Crusades, Pope Urban II granted a dispensation to Spanish counts allowing them relief from the meatless Friday rule. In 1571, Pope Pius V extended the dispensation to all lands under Spanish rule. Hence, Spain’s colonies in the New World were excepted.1 Even though Spain had long since lost her rule in the New World and even through domination by various peoples and right on into the twentieth century American world in which I lived, the observance continued in those geographical areas originally dominated by Spain. In the West, the northern boundary of Mexico was the Arkansas River, and hence the Catholics of Texas, New Mexico, and a portion of southern Colorado considered themselves under the dispensation of Pope Pius V.

In 1951, the faithful in the area were advised that indeed they should follow the practice of abstinence from meat on Fridays, along with the rest of the Catholic world. Much confusion exists to this day, and Catholics generally believe that to eat meat on Friday is not sinful, but that Friday should be a day of penance as clarified by the Holy See in 1966.2


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Message to Timothy and Me

Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. God’s servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the Devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands."  2 Timothy 22-26  The Message

Paul suffers in prison � again � this time just before his execution. Rembrandt, detail of St. Paul in Prison (1627). Oil on panel, 73x60 cm., Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart.Here is a passage from instructions that an imprisoned Paul wrote to Timothy. The day and the culture were vastly different from ours in many ways, yet truth is eternal and immutable.  This speaks to me today; would that it would speak loud and clear to all who attach the name of Christ to their belief system.  We are called to be gentle listeners and cool teachers, firm and patient in our work for the Lord.  We are not called to be hammers or cudgels.

(If your preference in scripture is the King James, or the NIV, or some other version, go there and read the passage.  It will say the same thing, different wording perhaps.  But the charge is the same.) 

Image: Detail from Rembrandt's St. Paul in Prison

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Grandma's Tea Table

The project started about three weeks ago when I went to the barn and found Grandma Piercy's tea table.  It consisted of 24 pieces of dirty dark wood wrapped in cardboard and held together with bungee cords, along with some hardware.

I reassembled, and glued and clamped, thereby making a table top, two leaves and a four-legged framework to hold the thing up.  Next I borrowed son Kent's power sander and went to work removing varnish and leveling the flat surfaces. Edges and legs were stripped by hand with glop.

Then we did the hand sanding, 150 grit, 240 grit, and if you have ever done this sort of thing you understand why nearly three weeks have passed since project's inception.  The top photo shows the assembled table, two leaves and the serving tray ready for staining.

The pieces have been stained.

While we were at it, we stained the library table which we stripped perhaps eight years ago.  It has been sitting naked behind the sofa all this time.  I liked it.  BBBH wanted it stained.  It is stained.  

These items are now awaiting final finish.  We are waiting for a low-humidity day before proceeding. How long we will wait is anyone's guess.

Beautiful has had her grandmother's tea table for years.  She mentioned its existence and its need for restoration many years ago.  I finally got a round tuit.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hot Day, Hothead, and Hay #T

Did I ever tell you about the time I get crossways of ol' Aaron Moss? You know Aaron.  Crankiest ol' man ever walk the earth.  You think I'm cranky?  Spend a day with ol' Moss.  No, spend five minutes with him.

Now I know Aaron since the bear come over the mountain.  He 'n his daddy live over on the Clinch when I was a kid.  Waal, Aaron come on out West along a th' rest a us when we all come out here in oh-three.  He settle over atween Bristol and Granada, do all right.  Jes' on'y hisself, ya know, ol' hard head bachelor.  Never marry, luckier the women, I say.

Anyway, one miserable hot summer day, '27 I think hit was, maybe '28, me a mowin' hay on Mark's place.  I have thet mower I get from Ames over to Towner.  You remember Ames?  Nah, not Robert, thet's not hit.  What was his name?  Sorta uncommon name, hit were.  Oh, yes.  Oren.  Oren Ames, married Mildred Tuttle fum over to Lamar, y'know.  Her daddy was the Express agent over there.  So I have this team, Clyde and Aubrey, a pullin' 'n a ring come loose on the doubletree.  Din't break off, y'know, but needin' attention afore it does.

So I'ma sittin' there on a stump, a bindin' and a twistin' some hay warr around the thang, when this rattledy ol' T-model drive up 'n stop.  I first din't re-cognize thet Ford, then ol' Moss, he get out, amble over where I'ma workin', asnappin' his galluses 'n atwirlin' thet toothpick he allus have atween his teeth.

"Hey, Miller!" he say.  "I see ya broke down agin, allus sump'n breakin' on account a ya too cheap ta buy new.  All a time buyin' someone else's headaches."

"And a good day to you, too, Moss.  Whut kin I do fer ya?"  See, I know he din't come all th' way out here fer nothin'.

"I get right to the p'int.  Too hot ta stand here ajawin'.  I want you ta keer me back to Virginny.  I jes' get word my pa die.  Hunnert two year ol', he were.  I need to get back 'n settle up his affairs, see he had anythin' worth savin'."

"I am sorry," says I, "for the loss a yer pa.  But, no, I cannot take you back there.  Aside fum my work and responsibilities, I hev no car, on'y thet ol' double T truck."

"No, no! No is not a cherce.  We take my car, a course."  I look at thet flivver, 'n not a recent one, either.  Prolly twelve year ol' if it's a day.

"I said 'No', Aaron.  Now run on into Lamar an' check about train schedules.  You kin get to Kingsport on the train."

Waal, Moss allus did hev a short fuse.  Hoppin' mad?  I guess not!  I thought he die on th' spot, a jumpin' up 'n down, beatin' his arms in th' air, a cussin' 'n a stompin'.  Call me ever'thin' but a gentleman, 'n as he get to his car, he turn back and holler, "I'll get ya fer this, Miller.  Jes' you wait 'n see.  You'll be sorry!"

He jerk the crank, jump in an' putt on down the road.  I prolly shoulda been a little skeered.

© 2014 David W. Lacy 36

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Wheels on the Bus . . .

The dorm was new this year.

The building I lived in the previous year.

The building behind which the bus was parked.

Bus.  Close, but not accurate.  Couldn't
find a picture of a '33.  This is a '37.

The early morning walk across the quad and across a very busy thoroughfare gave me time to awaken sufficiently to be ready to run the checklist before starting the bus.  On board, contact! And we are off.

The students are in grades one through eight.  I have only twenty-one passengers, and although the route is a 22-mile round-trip, I have only six stops.  It has been arranged that neighborhood clusters meet at a pickup point.

I drive across the Fremont Bridge, drive through Fremont and make my first stop in Wallingford, picking up four kids.  Out 45th NE to Roosevelt, right on Bothell Way.  Stop.  Five kids.  North on 15th Avenue NE to 98th Street NE, turn right, stop, pick up three children.  East and down the hill-- did I mention that Seattle is very hilly?  Steep hill, too.  Left on Bothell way to Lake City.  Stop in LC, collect five children.  Then on to the store which is operated by the trustee who is my employer, where I pick up his children, two.  Over to Aurora where I pick up the last two passengers at 125th.  Book it to North Queen Anne Hill and drop these urchins at their school door.  Must arrive no sooner than 8:35 and no later than 8:42.  Anyway, that was the theory.

Now, if all has gone according to plan, I have just time enough to drive the bus down the hill, make the mile back to campus, park the bus and run to class.

At 3:00 p.m., I must drop whatever I am doing, rush to the bus, get it up the hill, and be at the school door at 3:15, for the darlings are dismissed at 3:20.  The evening route is identical to the morning drive, except we start at the school.  First on in the morning, first off in the evening, and so on, thus every child rides the same distance, and all get to see the entire route every day.  And the driver gets to see it twice.

"Hey, Mr. Driver!"  Directly in my right ear.  "Hey, I gotta pee, right now.  There's a station."  Said just as we pass the station at Northgate.  She is the last stop, and the rain is coming down rather hard for a March afternoon.  Aside:  I have since learned through much experience that the female of the species always "gotta pee" just past the exit.

"Sweetheart," I croon, "it is only two minutes to your stop."

"You stop right now, or I'll pee on the floor."

I didn't.  And she did.  And she didn't get her panties wet, either.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

When It's Hot It's Hot

From time to time I share a sign our local jeweler posts outside his place of business.

Now read this one and chuckle. Then read my take on it.

This rises to the level of "wrong" in so many ways I am not sure I can parse it correctly.  There are so many double entendres and possible warped interpretations, and yet one supposes that the message that there are diamonds for sale within is conveyed.

First, and I think of my Beautiful Beloved Better Half as I write this, one does not want to "set off her fireworks."  Possibly the writer of the sign's blurb had something else in mind.

Then I think of "hot" as a descriptor of diamonds, and perhaps I have read too many detective stories, but "hot diamonds" generally are not something one wants to be "caught" with.  Too, diamonds, both legitimate and "hot" are often referred to as "ice."  Well, there is a conundrum.

I do believe, though, that were BBBH to receive a new diamond her eyes would light up.  She is definitely a member of the "Ooh! Shiny" School of Aesthetics.

Perhaps I should stop in.  If they truly have hot diamonds, maybe they could cut me a deal.

Monday, June 23, 2014


This is Tom.  I am not sure whether or not that is a diminutive for "Thomas," and it really doesn't much matter.  We don't own a cat, and yet we have a cat.

Tom belongs to the next-door neighbor.  Tom is outdoors a lot, and for the most part he prefers our yard to his own.  I don't much mind this so long as he is merely resting, not trampling, mind you, amongst the flowers.  There he is in a bare spot in front of our foundation and behind the columbines.

Certain of his behaviors are less benign, yet he is usually circumspect. Tom is not friendly, but neither is he aggressive.  I can sweet-talk him so long as I stay at least six feet distant from him.  An inch closer, however, and Tom is like the kitty in the old country song, a couple of lines of which say, He's movin' on, he's movin' on. He ripped a stitch when he hit the ditch, and he's movin' on.

We, the cat and I, have an accommodation.  I tolerate him, and he doesn't demand title to the property he co-opts.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hemerocallis fulva

We have several stands of orange day lilies, the common roadside lily, or ditch lily as some call it.  When I first came to Indiana in the 50s, one of life's little pleasures in June and July was to drive down the roads enjoying the massive displays of these flowers. They could be seen along berms, beside small streams, and even in some yards from time to time.  Some roadside areas were populated with what many called cornflower, which was wild chicory, and Queen Anne's lace.  These Delft-like displays of color often alternated with the vivid orange of the lilies.

I have a fondness for these flowers, whether aesthetically pleasing to my eye, or nostalgically pleasant to my mind.  Most people consider these lilies to be weeds, even referring to them as "noxious weeds."  Those people are seeing their apparent wishes to eradicate them come to pass, for with the growth of population, expansion of commerce and industry, increased need for more arable land, and especially the transformation of highways into freeways, and the upgrading of byways into highways, habitat for these flowers is shrinking rapidly.

The Hemerocallis fulva, scientific name for these lilies, does indeed have an invasive habit, and thus might be viewed as a weed.  (Weed: any plant that is where one does not want it.)  Certainly one would be unwise to plant one, just one, of the tubers anywhere near hybrid daylilies, for in a matter of a very few seasons, there will be only orange lilies in that area.  However, by dint of sufficient effort to dig away and corral the rascals in the desired location, they become lovely flowers.

The Midwest in my mind's eye, viewed on a leisurely drive along an eighteen-foot road, today exists only in the memories of those who experienced it long ago, or in the fertile imaginations of east coast city-dwellers who think that we still live in the stone age out here.

Reporting from Perfect, Indiana, this is your fly-over country correspondent, Buford Bumpkin.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wedding Bells #T

Did I ever tell you about the night yer Mama and Daddy get married?  Did they ever tell you? I'm sure you see the perty pitcher, them astandin' aside a thet cake yer Mama's Aunt Grace make. Doesn't matter. They was too eyes-on-each-other to see whut I saw, so le's re-pair to th' parlor an' be comfortable. Grace, hon, could you bile up some a thet sassafras root I shave th'other day?  Jes' have a hankerin' for a nice hot cup!

Waal, son, yer parents have plan their weddin' at th' church there on the corner.  But they plan it for Christmas Eve.  Whyever they would do thet, I've no idee.  Six-thirty, it were, the ceremony, I mean. Suppose ta be six-thirty, I mean.  Ever'body in town, hit seem, were there, ever'body, that is, 'ceptin' the groom.  Now, yer Mama is Grace's first-born niece, 'n course Grace and yer grandma, they allus been close, 'n there they are, next of each other on the front pew.  I'ma sittin' a row aback a them.  Now, there is no one west a the Miss'ippi a better worrier then yer grandma.  If'n she have nothin' ta worry about, then she worry that there mought be something she ferget ta worry about!  So then Mary, she is a frettin' somethin' fierce, 'n Grace, she is tryin' to calm her nerves.  Mary is convinced yer Daddy has been kilt on the way over, or somethin' worse, whatsoever thet might be.  Waal, standin' her daughter at th' altar, thet would be worse!

Then aback a me, I hear the whisperin's, even some gigglin' amongst the younger set, unseemly as that mought a been.  An' I hear ol' Millicent Page, she mutter, "An' him a preacher!  Well, I never."  An' I'ma thinkin' "We all know you never."  But the devil made me think it, forgive me, Lord.

Waal, Brother Morgan, he's the minister, doncha know, with a big smile on his face, ask ever'body to join in singin' "Silent Night."  So we did hit.  An' yer Daddy still wa'n't there.  Then we sing "Hit Came Upon a Midnight Clear," 'n mos' folk still lookin' et th' clock on the wall.

Yet as you already know, Daryl arrive, an' ever'thin' else go on without a hitch.  Er, ah, I mean ever'thin' go on as plan, includin' the "hitch."

Waal, the celebratin' 'n th' cake 'n ever'thin' was special, but we all notice thet Daryl's trousers was bespattered with a good bit of mud.   An' his shoes, well, the less said the better.  Seems th' ol' Chevrolet he drive skid off th' road and get stuck in a barrow pit.  Lucky fer him, 'n fer you, too, mayhap, Ol' Bascomb come along on his hoss.  The hoss take care the prollem.

"What'd I owe ya?" Daryl ask.

Ol' Bascomb say, "How many horsepower thet machine got, son?"


"Waal, look t'me like ya shoulda got the thirty-six horsepower model.  'Night, now!"

 'N all's well thet ends well!

Grace!  Hon, could I maybe have one more cuppa thet tea afore I toddle off ta bed?

© 2014 David W. Lacy 35

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bus Driver

Long before I decided to be a teacher, I was a school bus driver.  No, really.  I was in my junior year at Seattle Pacific College.  A parochial school about a mile up the hill needed a bus driver.  I got the job.  What did I know?

The logistics worked quite well, even though I probably had no idea what "logistics" were.  I lived in a men's dorm about two city blocks from Royal Brougham Pavilion, a new athletic/classroom facility on the corner of Nickerson and Third Avenue West.  The alleyway between this building and the ship canal led to access of a vacant area to the north of the pavilion which was large enough to accommodate a parked school bus, and the generous powers-that-be allowed me to lodge my vehicle there when it was not in use. 

My class schedule was such that I could walk the two blocks to my bus, run my route which extended to Lake City and ultimately East 135th Street, then back to drop the kiddos off at their school on Queen Anne Hill, back to my parking spot, walk to class.  Be back at the parochial school at 2:45.  Sweet.

Big deal.  Yes, it is a big deal.  As a third-year college student trying to make my way in academe, I needed the money.  And that was to become an interesting issue.

The vehicle itself was a 1933 White School Bus, which may seem to be quite ancient looking through the lens of time, more than sixty years past.  But at the time, it was only twenty years old. And had had twenty years of hard use.  In terms of longevity, the bus had seniority on its driver. Another potentially interesting issue.

Among the children on my route was the son of the trustee who hired me and held the purse-strings.  This youngster was on the cusp of adolescence and deep into Knowitall Pond.  Interesting issue.

I thought to tell the entire tale in a matter of three or four hundred words, and yet I note that, as I approach that marker, I have told nothing of the tale, have merely set the backdrop.  Perhaps we can get some actors on the stage another day.  Say, curtain time: next Wednesday.

Monday, June 16, 2014


When I placed these into the earth a while back, I had no idea.  Today I was watering the garden.  I was stunned by the vivid blue of the eyes.

I wish they showed as well in the picture as they do in the garden.

The plant is called osteospermum.

I love summer, even at 83o and 73% relative humidity.  And that is on the way up!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

In the King's Service

We know that David, the King, had six brothers and two sisters.  His sister, Zeruiah, was mother to three sons, Abishai, Asahel, and Joab, all of whom found service in David's military machine.

In conflict with Ishbosheth's Israel, David's army defeated the foe, but Abner, leader of Ishbosheth's forces, fled on foot.  Asahel, noted for fleetness of foot, if not for prudence, chased after Abner.  Abner called to him to stop, averring that he did not wish to kill him, but Asahel persisted, and Abner did indeed slay him.

Abishai stood with David before David was king, for it was he who with David sneaked up on the sleeping King Saul and stole his spear and water flask.  Much later Abishai was noted to have slain three hundred men in battle.

The most famous of the brothers was Joab, and we look briefly at the record of his service to his uncle, the king.  Joab rose to the position of General of the Armies, and as such he was a trusted advisor to the monarch.  Joab's loyalty to Uncle David might well be illustrated by his role in the plot of David to make a widow of Bathsheba, who, as we know, later became the mother of the future king, Solomon.

Let us note here that notwithstanding Joab's forgiveness of Abner for the killing of Asahel, he did ultimately slay Abner, much against the wishes of the king.  Strike one.  Nevertheless, Joab's leadership was invaluable and he continued to rise in the esteem of all, and he had the ear of the king. One bit of counsel he gave, though, that the king rejected was the advice to David, "Do not this thing" in reference to the king's command to enumerate the people.  Failure to heed this advice came back to bite David.

During Absalom's revolt, Absalom appointed Amasa leader of his forces.  This Amasa, apparently a cousin of Joab, reaffirmed his loyalty to David, but was later murdered in a ghastly manner by Joab during the pursuit of Sheba who was attempting to lead the Israelites in revolt.  Though Joab successfully squelched the uprising, this is strike two.

The account of Joab's deeds is contained largely in the Second Book of  Samuel.  We turn to the First Book of Kings, chapter two, to discover Joab's ultimate reward for his decades of service.

In his charge to his successor, Solomon, David said, You know Joab slew Abner and Amasa.  Do according to your wisdom.  Do not let his head go to the grave in peace.

Joab offered his allegiance to Adonijah, Solomon's elder brother.  Strike three.

Solomon followed his father's counsel.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


See him there on the limb
Not yet ready to take wing
Little fledgling, speckled, scared
A frightening world awaits

Poor little robin
If he goes he'll have to walk
His wings are stubby
His belly's tubby

But his beak is long
Ma!  Help!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Not for Want of Trying #T

Waal, I don't have ta ask; I know I have never tole you this one.  Don't talk about it, but hit's been many year a gone now, 'n I know your curiosity is higher'n a kite, now thet I mention this a while ago.

I was a lad, seventeen, I was, a growin' up in the hills.  Stringbean, I moughta been called.  Six-three, thereabouts, 'n a hunnert seventy pound.  Wiry.  Tough, too.  Could work a fourteen hour day should it need be.

Anyway, your great grandparents live with their fambly over to the next holler.  I know them all my life.  Got six chilren, they did, 'n your grandma was the oldest the bunch.  Now she turn nineteen, she marry ol' Sam.  The next girl to her is Grace.  I know Grace since we were both in nappers, but you know, she jes' one of the kids.  Then, like I said, I am seventeen and of a sudden 'n I know not why, hit hit me thet she was the gorgeousest, most angelic creature what ever walk, an' I know I want her to my side forever and ever.  'Course I had to convince her thet is where she want to be.

Waal, thoo good fortune more than great skill, I woo that girl, win her over.  No detail needed; we jump the broomstick, I have jes' turn eighteen, 'n she is seventeen.  Now to be clear, "jump the broomstick" is on'y a manner of speakin', for we got the papers we need over to Rogersville, 'n Preacher Marston perform th' ceremony right there in Palmer Baptist Church.  Everythin' legal and righteous.

We have agree thet we want kids.  Lots and lots a kids, on account she come from a happy fambly with lots a kids, 'n my parents have a right smart passel 'n 'm, too.  Seem the right thing to do.  So we do the right thing, 'n behole! Grace is with child.  Two happier younguns you never see!  But it warn't to be.  On'y two month after she tell me the good news, she tell me when I come in from work of an evenin' thet she lost the child thet afternoon.

We grieve some, 'course we did.  But soon enough, she tell me good news again.  An' this time it go the same as it did with the first one.  Two sadder people you never hope to meet.  So this time we go over to Doc Barrett, an' we talk with him, 'n he examine the little lady, 'n we talk some more.  He advise us that it is likely Grace cannot bear chilren, an' it would be wise for us to take steps to avoid pregnancy.

This is when we decide to pull outa the hills and start a new life away fum the folk we grow up with.  We move to Colorado.  After a while, we go to the city to talk with a special sort of doctor.  He tell us the ol' doctor in the hills was right, 'n the best thing for us is for Grace to have surgery, insure her well-being, doncha know.

Thet was a long time ago.  The rest of the story you know.  You see afore you the two barren ol' people we have become.  Plans in this ol' life don't always work out the way we want, but we are blessed.  We have whut we need, we have friends and neighbors, lots of lovin' nieces 'n nephews, 'n I still have the most angelic woman on this Earth, an' life goes on.

© 2014 David W. Lacy 34

Monday, June 9, 2014

Donald is Eighty

On June 9, 1934, Donald Fauntleroy Duck made his debut upon the world's big entertainment stage in "The Wise Little Hen."1
The Wise Little Hen poster.jpgDonald has since appeared in more films than any other Disney character and he is the fifth-most  published comic book character.2

Donald's distinctive speech was voiced by Clarence Nash3 for fifty years.

And thus it was, eighty years ago today.

1The pig character is Peter Pig, not Porky.
2Image and data from Wikipedia
3Clarence Nash 1904-1985

Sunday, June 8, 2014

City of David

Following the death of King Saul the kingdom split.  David became king of the Southern Kingdom, or Judah, while Ishbaal reigned over the Northern Kingdom, or Israel.  During this time, David’s capital city was Hebron.  After seven years of this rule, Ishbaal died and David united the kingdoms.  He reigned 33 more years.  David was an astute man, and knew that Hebron was not a good location for his governmental headquarters, for it was too far south of the Israelite portion of the kingdom.  And yet to choose Saul’s old fortress at Gibeah or Ishbaal's Mahanaim might have been seen as favoritism toward the North.  Thus he chose a  neutral location, a city hitherto unconquered by Israel.  David conquered the city.  Near the site of ancient and present day Jerusalem, the King erected The City of David.

Reading Old Testament history we find frequent references to Jerusalem.  Its importance to both Judaism and to Christianity, and later to Islam, is clear.  But lest we confuse David’s City with modern-day Jerusalem, let us attempt to gain some perspective.  The City of David was situated on the prominence between the Kidron Valley and the Tyropoeon Valley.  In extent, it measured approximately 600 meters, say 2000 feet running north and south, and about 125 meters, or 400 feet, east and west.  A bit of arithmetic gives us the stunning conclusion that the entire city occupied something less than 20 acres of land, modern standards.

I really do not know what the population of this city was during David’s reign.  Over the course of the 33 years it varied, given that supporters from outlying villages frequented the city for periods of time, longer or shorter, and too, David evacuated the city with his supporters during Absalom’s uprising.  I do know that David got into trouble with God over the issue of enumerating the people, and that would be the kingdom’s population, not the city only.  (2 Samuel 24)

We turn from the geopolitical lesson to the spiritual application.  I have often wondered why the taking of a census was such an abomination to the Lord.  But if one lives long enough, and makes an honest effort to learn, one may gain insights into some puzzling things.  This is one such thing in my thinking; and yet it is simplicity itself.  David, not unnaturally, wanted to know how many men he had, and given the bellicose nature of the people and the times that is quite understandable.  The problem:  God had promised to increase the people, to provide the necessary manpower.  David’s act of counting was a display of his lack of faith, and moreover, David's heart swelled with pride, as though the increase were his, and not God's, and thus the sin.

How often do we fall into error for failure to believe the promises of God, or for undue pride in accomplishments or possessions?

Solomon found the strictures of the city boundaries much too confining, and thus he extended the city greatly to the north and to the west.  Over time, the Tyropoeon Valley has filled in, I am told, and during the historical period between the testaments, probably a century or two before the time of Christ, the powers that be had the hill on which The City of David had been located lowered, so that it would not be higher than the Temple.  The site of David’s City lies outside Jerusalem’s current walls.

Things change.

Maps and diagrams used are from Westminster Historical Atlas of the Bible.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bird Week

 I suggested that this might be bird week, then there is this.  The goldfinch knocked for admittance to our living room.  Repeatedly.  And over quite a stretch of time.  The bird would fly away for a time, but then it would return and knock yet again.  No idea what the attraction was.

Running an errand, stopped at stop sign, spotted this.  Camera beside me, but by the time I opened the shutter this bird was almost gone.  But it was one big bird!

Friday, June 6, 2014

D-Day + 70 years

June 6, 1944, forever immortalized as "D-Day." May we never forget the cause or the sacrifice.

The ranks of those among us who were in that historic event are thinning daily. Nevertheless the world shall always owe a debt of gratitude to them and to all who served in that war.
Thirty years ago on June third, I flew to Europe from JFK and had the good fortune to be on a plane loaded with vets and their spouses who were making the trip back to the scene of their heroic efforts for a Fortieth Anniversary celebration. It was a privilege to be in their company, though some might say for a bunch of old guys and gals they were pretty rowdy! It was a celebration. A celebration of victory, of survival, and of life itself.

Now we celebrate the Seventieth Anniversary of that world-changing event.  The ranks of those who were there has thinned even more now, and those who are able to return to the scene of their service and glory are few indeed.

While we will never forget, let us be sure that those who were not yet born in that day will also remember.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Memorable Moment

It is one of the most undesirable and one of the most important tasks around the place.  Uncle Jep and I are digging a new pit preparatory to moving the outhouse.  It doesn't have to be done often, but when it has to be done, it has to be done.  Mid-afternoon and the zephyr speeds the evaporation that cools our sweaty brows.

"That's got 'er." hollers the Old Uncle, "Come on up.  We need a break afore we start the move.  Worst part now is fillin' th' ol' hole."

I didn't have to be told twice.  Clammered out the pit, admired my handiwork.  A neatly dug hole, if I do say so myself.  We ambled over to the garden where we had left our canteens.  I flopped down on the ground, Uncle sat on Aunt Grace's "prayer bench."  True.  Auntie loved to sit in the garden, listening to the bees and admiring the abundant produce, the grapes on the arbor, the melons on the vines twining through the rows.  And there she would pray, for "It is all a gift from God, and to be ungrateful is one of our worst sins."

I took a long draught from my canteen.  "Ah!  Now, Uncle, give us today's tale."

"Waal,"  he draws the expression out as though it should be written 'way-all,' "I don't have a 'tale' today, but I do have somethin' on my mind thet I been needin' to say to ya.

"You been with me an' yer Aunt Grace how long now? Goin' on four year, I think.  You come over here not dry ahind yer ears, whut?  Sixteen, you were.  I tole Grace, 'I never be able to deal with a teenage kid, all smart-alecky, know ever'thing, they do.'  Waal, I may a been right, but I was wrong. You not on'y a good kid, you have work hard, been a real blessin' to these here two ol' folk.

"Now I know I am a cranky ol' man, can get moughty critical sometime.  But what I hafta say is, You are a son to me.  Never had a chile, y'know.  That is a long an' difficult tale, don't rightly know can I ever tell it you, nor to anyone, come to that.  But Grace and I want you to know that had we ever had a chile, we would have hope hit would be one jus' like you."

Uncle Jep arose from the bench, his old bones audibly creaking.  I rolled over, hopped up from the ground, and we started to stroll back toward our job site. Without a word, on account I was all choked up, doncha know, as Uncle would say, I put my right arm around his shoulder.  He swung his left arm over mine, and we walked just so, back to that hole in the ground.

© 2014 David W. Lacy 33

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


You will come to believe that this is bird week at String Too Short to Tie.  Today's story is nothing earth-shattering, but rather one of the little episodes in the life of vanilla.  Yes, it is a vanilla sort of life, and I like it that way.

You may picture me napping, pitched back nearly full-tilt in the blue recliner in the sunroom.  The reason you would picture me thus is because that is where and how I am reposing as the story begins.

Presently I stir, open my eyes, and still in that state somewhere between Wakefulness and Total Unawareness, I see a movement on the floor and to my left.  I sit up, open eyes wider, and observe a bird, and I am now alert enough to clearly identify the creature as a house wren.  And how ironic is that?  It is in the house!  Bird runs under end table and disappears behind divan (sofa, couch, sometime-daybed) along the opposite wall.

Fully awake now, I rise from my chair, walk over and peer behind sofa.  Nothing.  I get down on the floor (now be aware:  I have to really want to be down there, not that that is too hard to accomplish, but I know that I have to get up, and, well, no more need be said), I poke beneath the couch with a fly-swatter.  See nothing, nothing stirring.

I go into the sewing room where BBBH is working on yet another project.  "Either I am losing my mind, or..."

"No, you are not crazy.  There is a bird out there.  I saw it, too."

So, we left the door open.  One of three things will happen.  1) the bird will find the egress and leave the premises; 2) the bird will eventually die, we'll find it and dispose of the remains; or, 3) the bird will die in a remote corner or inaccessible spot and eventually, dessicated and sere, it will be discovered when the heirs put the house on the market.  In the event of number three, there is hardly any cause for concern for odor, for the creature probably comes thirty to the pound, that is, there simply isn't much of him.

Happy birthday to Delbert, my third child, my first son,  born 52 years ago today in Greenfield, Indiana!

Monday, June 2, 2014


The sparrow stands upon the fence, 
his fight for survival is intense.
Think not that he merely flits around
filling the air with lovely sound.

This bird's every sense is heightened
By each nearby movement he is frightened.
That cat, yon hawk, the monster with machine in hand
Could any one bring his life to end.

Poor bird.  And he must find insect or seed
He is required to fulfill every need.
And that not of himself alone
Nestlings await him there at home

With open mouth and unseemly squawk.
Oh, thinks he, could I only talk
I'd lecture the Maker of this universe.
No, wait, I would doubtless make it worse.

Oh, look! A cricket there!
Snatch it now, say a prayer.
"For what we are about to receive
Make us truly grateful."

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Wise Woman and the King

In my reading a few days ago I came across a reference to Tekoa, the writer naming it as the city from which Joab brought a "wise woman" to assist him in persuading David to allow Absalom to return to Jerusalem.

Tekoa is located about ten miles south of Jerusalem.  It is situated at the edge of the Wilderness of Judea and at the head of a valley which extends to the Dead Sea.  It was a good place for encampment before proceeding across the barrens. There are two other references to Tekoa in scripture, one in the story of David's reign where we are told that Ira, one of David's mighty men, was from Tekoa.  The other instance is well-known, for the prophet Amos was also a native of Tekoa.

You recall, or if not then you should follow the story of the reign of David as told in the books of First and Second Samuel, that Absalom had slain his elder brother, Amnon, as retribution for Amnon's raping of their sister, Tamar.  As David mourned the death of his son, the murderer fled the city, lest retribution fall upon him.  Time passes.

David loves his son, Absalom, but had made no offer to allow his safe return to Jerusalem.  And thus Joab, David's advisor, knowing that David loved his son, devised a plan to persuade the King to allow Absalom to come home.  Enter the Wise Woman of Tekoa.  Joab told her, Go to the King, and say thus and so.  She did as Joab asked, but David in his wisdom, saw through the plot and asked her plainly, Did Joab put you up to this?  Yes, she confessed.

The upshot was that Absalom was allowed to return to Jerusalem, but David would not see him, nor allow him to see the King.  And thus Absalom lived in his own home and devised a scheme of his own.  Absalom would be King!  He connived to win the hearts and minds of the people by installing himself daily at the gates, ingratiating himself to the people, politicking, in a word.

Absalom builds such a following that he overtly announces his intention to rule.  Not wanting to kill his own son, along with other considerations, David flees Jerusalem, and the plot thickens, as the saying goes.

Things to think about.

1.  Joab as advisor to the King is a principal in the rule of David throughout his reign.
[What ultimate benefit did Joab gain, and what price did he pay?]

2.  Beloved as he is by his father, Absalom manages to outrun himself.
[Do we ever take advantage of those who love us most, to our own detriment?]

3.  The Wise Woman steps on stage, plays her role, and fades into the wings.
[Like this woman, we "step on stage" for a moment only, then fade into the mists of the past.]

4.  This Jerusalem: what exactly are we talking about here?
[Interesting question.  That may come up again on STSTT.]

5.  The Bible books of First and Second Samuel, First and Second Kings, First and Second Chronicles present the history of Israel and Judah under the kings.  David's story begins about the middle of I Samuel.
[Go back and reread these very interesting histories.  No, do not tell me there are too many difficult names and too much gore.  These histories are included in the canon for your edification.]

6. As a mere footnote, we wrote about David's youngest son, Eliphalet.
[You may read this account here.]