Thursday, July 31, 2014

Coonrod, Coon Hounds, and the Congressman #T

Did I ever tell you about Coonrod Smithers ‘n the Congersman?  I know Coonrod when we live over to Virginny, ‘twoulda been, oh, 1888 thereabouts when I first met him.  I, a boy, ‘course was always attracted ta dogs, ‘n a' course huntin’ was a big thang, too.

Now Coonrod’s real name were Rodney Smithers.  He breed ‘n train Redbone Coonhounds,’n more, he would drop ever’thin’ to go a huntin’, so ever’one call him “Coonrod.”  He tell me one time thet he was born a couple ridges yonder, ‘n down in the holler, thet his birth name was Rodney Smith.  But he grow up to fin' thet ever’one thereabouts was name Rodney Smith, or so it seem to him.  Why, he said, I could pick up a rock, shut mah ahs, give hit a heave, ‘n hit a Rod Smith whutever way she went.  Anyways, he think on a way to solve the prollem, make hisself more unique, ya mought say.  He first think to change his first name, but he was afeard he mought need ta pick one a them Bible names, you know, that no one else have never heard of, like Hophni, or, Zeruiah.  Nah, he din’t like thet.  Too unique, mayhap.  So then he thought, Why, I shoulda thunka this afore.  I’ll jes’ add “e-r-s” ta th’ enda mah las’ name.  Fum this day for’d I’ll be Rodney Smithers!  An’ thet work fer him.  So like I say, ever’one call him “Coonrod.”

Waal, Coonrod raise Redbone 'hounds, train ‘em, run ‘em.  An’ he hev a few other hounds aroun’, too, you know, beagles an’ the like.  Kep’ a brace a big ol’ bloodhounds, Ezra an' Nehemiah was they names.  Kep’ 'em fer the sheriff who use 'em right frequent in thet region, I mean a man could get lost an’ hid out twel the resurrection, were he a mind to.  Anyway, people come fum all over the Cumberland, even fum as far away as Washington Dee Cee.  No, really.  He one time had a senator or such-like drive all the way down to see his animals.  Man drive inta the burg an’ ask aroun’ where kin I fin’ Redbone Coonrod?  Like he think that is Smithers’ name.  Well, people thereabouts moughty suspicious people in tailor cut duds ‘n drivin’ a carriage with a pair hosses woulda cost a king’s ransom anywhere on earth.  

Waal, Ed Markham, you shoulda known Ed.  Whut a character!  Ed had been around some, an’ he not on’y had seen the elephant, he could tell the tale twel tears run out your eyes fum laughin’!  Or f'um cryin', for thet matter, if'n hit were a sad tale.  Ed Markham know this dude, re-cog-nize he is the Yewnited States Congersman fum the next district to th’ north.  So the man’s bonafides is establish.  An’ he din’t really drive thet rig all the way fum Dee Cee; he were home durin’ campaign time, take a day off fum stumpin’ to clear his mind, he tell Coonrod.

Waal, this congersman know his hounds, ‘n excited?  I guess not.  He tell Coonrod he never see purtier dogs anywhere, ‘n he been lotsa wheres.  So nothin’ would do but thet the gentleman stay over ‘n run some dogs with Coonrod thet night.

Waal, Smithers have a pair a hounds he like ta run together, on account one has the better nose, yet t'other is better at tree.  An' atween 'em, no coon gonna escape.  The sun set; darkness settle on, slow-like, then the moon rise, 'n the hunt is on!  Coonrod an' Alfred, the guest's name is Alfred, walk up the ridge 'bout a mile, Jack and Jill to leash.  Jill have the nose.  They settle aneath a huge beech tree, unclip the leashes.  Away!  Soon enough, Jill excitedly cries "Scent!" then settles into bay as she and Jack follow the quarry through the woods.  Coonrod, listenin' carefully, know ever' meanin' of ever' yip 'n beller, know right where the dogs are at ever' moment, and soon know right where they headin'.  He and Al, they are now "Al" and "Rod" to each other, begin the long night walk, knowin' that at the end the prey will be high up a tree.

Then, Jill still speakin', Jack cries, "Tree!" and the arrh! arrh! arrh! that signals the end of the chase continues until our stalwart hunters join the hounds at the base a huge sycamore.

© 2014 David W. Lacy 41

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

For the Birds

I know you may find this hard to

but BBBH and I had a bit of a 
a while ago.

Come, my little
and I will tell you all about it.

Perhaps in the over all scheme of things, it is really nothing to
about; but nevertheless,

my Lady is still

Well, maybe a little "crow."
 We'll come back to that.

Owl, I swan, the hen is in a bonnet.

Wait.  These are not birds.
The drive took us through some lovely corn fields, some beautiful soybean fields.  But the drive through the small town brought us to an "antique" shoppe.  One does not pass such a place: The Gospel according to BBBH.  So stop we did.

BBBH collects cookie jars.  Now why on earth she didn't choose instead to collect hatpins or something that could easily be kept in a shoebox or a dresser drawer, I will never know.  Oh, wait a sec.  She does collect hatpins.  And hats.  But why belabor the point?  She is a collector.

The thing about cookie jars is that no matter how cute, or how grotesque, as the case may be, they take up lots of space, and require a flat surface for display.  Hence a frequent plaint is "I need more shelves."  Or worse, "It would be so simple for you to make me some shelves,"  yada, yada, yada.

So I got a bit sidetracked.  The stop in the shop is where the "lark" comes in, for She Who Must be Obeyed is in a bit of heaven when she is in such a place, and I am sure that we will spend a good bit of eternity there before departing.  Thus it is that often I will scan the entire place and exit same while she is still looking at the first display!  I am not exaggerating.  Anyway, the part that is hard to swallow is that she found not one, but two cookie jars that she had to have.  The first is the crow, the second the hen.  She already had the owl.

Pigs? you say.  Why pigs?  Well, I found those.  They are Shawnee pigs.  They are small, and the price was right.  Worn a bit?  Yes.  A blind pig and a one-eyed pig.  But they are Shawnees.  I will do that within the constricts of a very limited budget for such gew-gaws.

cf pigs and cookie jar:  pigs are 3.25  inches tall, crow is 12  inches.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Morning

Did you ever just feel like slapping someone?  Then you didn't.  Then you wish you had.  Yet you are really glad you didn't.  Mixed bag.


I have heard it said that one advantage of being old is that you can say anything you want to say. Bushwaa.  If one can't be nice in his old age, what was the use of all those bitten-tongue experiences over all those previous years?

Maybe the reason so many old people are lonely is simply because they are not fit company.

Very rich famous athletes are paid to wear advertising logos.  You pay to wear them?  Are  you crazy?  (Or as someone else once said, "There is nothing wrong with a plain T-shirt.")

Which leads to this:  Perhaps your clothing is the only thing your friends read.

This is what happens when one writes down random unfiltered thoughts.  But it is not all bad.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rubric for Living

 I hope to devote a few Sunday posts to the biblical commandments for right living.

The other day I happened upon the admonition or model for Christian living that my mother taught me when I was a wee lad.  I am sure most of you have learned it, too, or at the very least you have encountered it somewhere.  It is this:
God first, others second, self last.
I submit that Jesus was more reasonable than Mama was in this instance.  When asked, "What is the greatest commandment?" he replied, "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment."  Then he told the questioner more than he asked, for he continued, "The second is like unto it:  Love thy neighbor as thyself."

The first requires no interpretation.  It is clear.  The second, I infer, is telling us that love of others is dependent upon love of self, for you cannot love others if you lack love for yourself.  Still, the commandment is to love your neighbor.

I am thinking of the chorus of a hymn we used to sing
How beautiful to walk, In the steps of the Savior, Stepping in the light, Stepping in the light, How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior, Led in paths of light.
--Eliza Hewett, c. 1890 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dick's Flowers, 2014

I like to stroll through Richard's garden several times during the summer.  Two decades ago he set out to develop a daylily garden in his yard.  There can never be too many daylilies, hence his entire yard, front, rear, sides, turned into a daylily display.

At the time he was building this, full of vim and vision, I doubt he ever realized that as an octogenarian he would have this much display to manage.  And so far, he manages.  But I hear him mutter on occasion that it is hard to keep up with it.

In any event, this is doubtless one of the premier gardens in the county!

Beauty even to the little bindweed that sneaked in under the foliage.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dance 'n Skedaddle #T

Did I ever tell you about the time the Slonikers bust up Freddie's Oasis?  Waal, the Slonikers come out here from Omaha.  Think they get into the raisin' end a the cattle bidness, doncha know.  They had live in the city, smellin' the city smells, 'n livin' the city life.  They accume-u-late some coin, doncha know, 'n think to get into the country, raise some beef 'n live the country life.

Anyways, the Old Man Sloniker, he buy a bit a land over by Towner, 'n lease a whole gob lot more, he set to run a thousand head a Herefords, put his boy Junior to oversee th' operation.  No doubt they mought coulda done this in Wyomin', or Kansas, or could maybe even stayed in Nebrasky.  But they come to Colorado.  The thing is, Mrs. Old Man Sloniker, Rhea was her name, an' Mrs. Junior Sloniker, name of Cynthia Anne, bless their hearts, get to missin' the city life.  They both love dancin' an' music, an' the whut-not thet goes with them in the nightclubs they frequent back in Omaha.  But they truly is no such nearby.  Yet they learn a this honky tonk, plumb over to Burlington, mought nigh, where a good time of a Sattidy night was easy ta come by, 'n the booze flowed, 'n the fiddlers 'n pluckers was right pleasant ta hear.

So, a Sattidy of a July they get in Old Man's big long phaeton and head on north.  They get to the Oasis the musicians is gettin' warm up real good, 'n they start in with a couple drinks, Junior 'n Cynthia Anne test out the dance floor.  Presently, Old Man 'n Rhea cut loose, an' those cowhands 'n clod busters, not to mention even the fiddlers 'n pluckers, scarce never see anyone who kin dance the way thet ol' couple kin!  Well, I needin' to abbreviate this tale, les'n we don't finish afore bed time.

After a few more dances, an' doubtless a few more drinks, th' four Slonikers is all astandin' alongside the band, aclappin' they han's 'n stompin' they feet, whilst several other couples is whirlin' aroun' th' floor, when of a sudden, Junior  let out with a mighty "Whoo-eeee!" just as a, shall we say hefty, couple swirl apast them.  Hefty Guy turn loose his partner, turn back to Junior and say, "Whut did you say?  Soo-ey?  You callin' my gal a pig?"  An' athout awaitin' a answer, Hefty slug Junior raght in the mouth, bust out the lef' front bunny tooth.  Plumb out.  Then Old Man Sloniker grab Hefty by his lay-pel 'n holler, "Whut for did you hit mah boy?" An' athout awaitin' a answer, Old Man slug Hefty smack in his considerable nose.  Which instantly spray blood ever'where.

'N thet were the signal fer the freefrall ta commence!  Fists start a swingin' all over the room, furniture start a flyin', chairs abustin' up over tables as people dodge, 'n over heads if'n they don't.  'N the four Slonikers as a man of one mind, 'n thout  a word ta one another, decide it is time to be som'eres else.  They hit the side door, pile inna car, an' hit the road.  Not a moment too soon did they act, neither, 'cause less 'n a mile up the road 'n afore they get to the turnoff where they head back south, fum th'other direction come two po-lice cars, si-reens a blarin' 'n red lights aflashin', headin' right to th' Oasis!

Ever after thet, whenever they agoin' out, Cynthia Anne tell him, "It's 'yee-haw,'  Junior.  Yee-haw."

© 2014 David W. Lacy 40

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I Hope the Balloon is Not

a Metaphor for My Life,

yet perhaps it is.

The toy my wife gave me on my 80th birthday.

It is as colorful as it ever was.
So am I.

It is as brilliant as it ever was.
Well. . .

It is not so buoyantly vigorous as it once was.
Nor am I.

The lift is not what it once was.
Tell me about it.

It is a lot more wrinkled than it once was.
And so am I.

It still represents "80".
I am already 80+.

Yet it is still tethered to its anchor.
As am I.

Still, it is not so full of gas as it once was.
But I am.

Imperfect metaphor.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Public Enemy and the Prostitute

22 July 1934 in front of the Biograph Theater in Chicago, the FBI gunned down one John Dillinger,  public enemy.

The "Woman in Red" led the Fibbies to the quarry.  The burning question:  Did she actually wear orange on that night?  And if she did, what is the significance of that fact? And was Dillinger just as dead, regardless of the hue of the attire?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Celebration of Marriage!

Twenty-five years ago I had the privilege of attending the wedding of son Craig and the beautiful Kim.  The ceremony was conducted at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Indianapolis.

Saturday we were privileged to celebrate with this couple as they marked a quarter-century together.  The party was designed and hosted by their three daughters, Elizabeth, Jennifer, and Anna.  Here we see the daughters administering the "renewal of vows."  The girls wrote and conducted the ceremony; and who better to create vows for the couple than three young people who had lived in their home sixteen to twenty-two years?

It was lovingly done, but certainly with humor and poignancy.

And the happy family sets forth on the journey through the next quarter-century!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Shooting Stick

Several years ago my son, Carl, gave me a vintage shooting stick.  I have treasured the item, and I have used it, though to date the occasions were limited.  In the position shown in the second picture, it is a wonderful seat for those events where seating is limited or inaccessible, and where one does not wish to lug a chair.  As a seat, it is quite comfortable, even after several innings.

Now I find, though, that it serves another practical use quite well-- one I had never hoped to put it to, yet I find that as a cane it is excellent.   The knurled knob twists a bolt out such that one can reset the height.  In fact, if one were shooting from a kneeling or sitting position, it could be used as stabilization of one's aim.  I have never used it in this manner.

The shooting stick was invented and initially manufactured by one William Mills, a British arms manufacturer during the First World War.  Mills was a very successful manufacturer and inventor.  He established the first aluminum foundry in the United Kingdom.  There he began the manufacture of some of the world's earliest metal golf clubs.  His fame, which eventually led to knighthood, was established by his invention and manufacture of a truly useful grenade, or hand bomb.  It is recorded that he produced over 75 million of them during the hostilities.

Among Mills's other inventions was the telescopic walking stick seat, or shooting stick.

The example I own has telescoping steel post, aluminum fittings, leather-covered aluminum handles, and a very nice leather seat which snaps closed with a leather strap, all still intact and completely functional.

I treasure this item, both the gift and the giver.

Sir William Mills 1856 - 1932  RIP

Notes:  The stick is in my possession and gets frequent use these days.  The information about Mills was gathered largely from Wikipedia.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Heaven #T

Did I ever finish tellin' you about the day Jonas Hurd damn me to hell?  Waal, Preacher gone on out ahead, 'n Grace and I, we were a walkin' tord the door 'n th' whole time I'ma thinkin' whut am I gonna say to Hurd if he's awaitin' there on the porch to re-ceive the congrat-u-lations a th' people on his fine sermon this mornin'.  Sure 'nuff. There he stand.

Now, you know me.  I have allus been one to strike whilst th' arn is hot, take th' bull by the horns, doncha know?  So when he put out his hand to shake mine, I quick-like grasp all four a his fingers in my hand an' squeeze.  He have a moughty big hand befittin' a moughty big man.  But I know if he grasp my han' I will not get home twel he was ready to let me go home.  So I have a pretty powerful grip, and as luck would have it, my hand reach around his fingers.  "Fine message, Brother Hurd," I say, "I shorely pray thet them whut need it will heed it afore it is too late."  Grace standin' aside me have her right hand in the crook a my left elbow.  She make a fist an' poke me in the ribs.  Hard.  I look at her, and her face is all made up in a disapprovin' scowl.  Lies!  Account I look into her eyes, an' the truth is dancin' there to the tune of laughter.  But she keep silence.

Waal, I release a startled an' still silent Jonas an' say, "By the way, do let us know when thet new young'n get here!"  And we traipse on down the steps, past the hitchin' rails, an' inta the road, where we turn left tord home.  We scarce ten steps along, an' certain'y not yet outa earshot the door a the church when Grace bust out full-bore with thet musical laugh she have.  She catch her breath in a minute and say, "He truly skin you this mornin', stretch, n salt yore hide, 'n nail it to the woodshed wall!"  Then she laugh some more.

Waal, you have to b'lieve me when I tell ya thet the rabbits in the grass poke their ears up, whilst the squirrels climb down headfirst, ahangin' on the trunk a th' trees to get a glimpse a th' wonderful creature whut make such musical sounds in their woods.  Even Owl open his eyes, right in broad daylight, to get a peek at this wonder!

Then we start to skip.  I'm not a lyin'.  We were skippin'!  Skip near halfway home, twel we mos' near use up the strenth we need to get us the last mile a the journey.  We sit for a few minutes on a big branch thet lightnin' had knock out th' walnut tree last week to catch our breath.

"I love you, Silly Man," crooned Grace.

"And you know I love you, Darlin' Angel.  I'ma livin' in Heaven right here on Earth!"

© 2014 David W. Lacy 39

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Back to the Fair

 Upon a day not long ago, 
and here I am only guessing,
a red hen laid the perfect egg.
It hatched.
A chick.
It scratched.
It ate and grew. 
It morphed.
A rooster.

Now the perfect bird.
Mr. Rhode Island Red
is judged.
A win!
 A blue ribbon
on his pen.

 I got out and about fairly early so I could be present at the goat judging.  It is only fitting that an Old Goat whose bones and tissues developed on milk of the goat would find this of interest.

 Young Garrett here with one of his does and one of his many ribbons of the morning.
In two classes he won both Champion and Reserve Champion.  Also this Alpine doe won in two classes, 2yr old milk doe and with her kid as Mother and Daughter.

An entertaining morning for me, and a great bicycle ride to and from the Fairgrounds!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

White Tail

 This fox squirrel of the white tail likes to forage beneath our bird feeder.  That is, when the feeder is empty, else he would be hanging on the chain, head down, eating from the feeder itself.
 The first three pictures I snapped through the screen and at a considerable distance.  Then I ventured into the yard where the beastie kindly posed.  But then the dog followed me out, and Squirrel was instantly gone.  Dog never saw it.

Some years ago, we had a partial albino robin in our yard.  I posted a picture here.  I did not take the photo.

I spotted this "wild life" as I was walking across the back yard early in the morning.  See the little deer there to the right of the downspout?  Neither did BBBH.  She said, "That is nothing but a whirligig in front of a rock."  But I still see the deer.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Off to the Fair!

 Where have we been?
We've been to the fair!

 To the fair?
What saw we there?
Little Lamancha goats.
Aren't they cute?
No ears.
And lots of other animals, ovine, bovine, porcine, and feathered.

Then after Sunday brunch we return to the car
to find this little green passenger awaiting a ride.
Green?  I have seen black spiders, and brown, grey spiders and white.  
But green?  Not until now.

The American Lamancha is a breed of dairy goat.  While most goats have long, droopy ears, Lamanchas have a mere button on each side of the head.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July Campout

This past week was our annual outing to Mississinewa State Reservoir.  We worked and slaved and packed and toted, because the fun and relaxation at the other end would be worth the effort.

I went to the desk drawer to get the charger for the camera battery.  As I picked it up, I noted the ancient A520 lying there, lonely, unused,  rejected in favor of the newer, sleeker A4000.  And a little voice spoke into my ear, "Take the old camera along.  Just in case something should go wrong with your pet."

Nah.  What could possibly go wrong?  Everything, as it turns out, so there are no pictures from our most recent camping experience.  The lens cover jammed and would not open; camera shut down automatically.  I could think of nothing that helped.

Oh, well.

The next time I have a premonition, I will attend more carefully.  Maybe.

Oh, yes.  It was a great time, even without pix.

Vanilla, you say, you could have taken pix with your smartphone!  Really?  I have never had, do not now have, nor is it likely that I will ever have, a smartphone. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

It is Finished

The tea table, I mean.  Hand rubbed Minwax.

Friday, July 11, 2014

♥ ☺ ☻ ™   Whistling

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Damned #T

Did I ever tell you about the time the preacher send me to hell?  Oh, yes; right there in church, too, of a Sunday mornin'.  I was still a young man, 'n Grace 'n I had walk over ta Church on a glorious Spring mornin'.  Now our reg'lar preacher, Harley Marston, had been ask ta preach at the big First Church in Kingsport, huge brick buildin', white steeple a pointin' ta heaven.  Why, it seem thet steeple almost reach to heaven, sometimes. He accept, a course.  He arrange for Jonas Hurd to fill the pulpit on this day, and fill it he could!

Now Jonas were a deacon in th' church, 'n a jackleg preacher.  Mountain of a man, he were.  Goliath come to mind.  In fact, the kids over to Plum Grove School call him Goliath.  Ahind his back.  To his face, they call him "Mr. Hurd, Sir."  Hurd farm over by the school, an' he is the trustee that oversee the teacher, 'n he is responsible for the properties 'n all thet sorta thing.  Jonas work five or six acres tabaccy, 'n it's a well-known secret thet he run a still sommers back in his woods.  Take good care his fambly, though, an' this mornin' there sit Maudine Hurd, center th' front row to the right of the preacher, three a her kids on one side a her, four on th'other.  She set to deliver the eighth, too, any day now, hit look like.

Anyway, Hurd takes the platform, plops his Bible down on the pulpit, raises both hands, look to the ceiling 'n holler with a mighty voice, "Lard, give us a voce a thunder 'n a tongue a farr as we divide thy holy Word of truth to these sinners among us.  Ay-men, 'n ay-men."  I do believe the Lord coulda heard him wheresoever He moughta been.  All creatures could have heard him two mile around.

Then he light in.  "Look to God's Word, Revelation, chapter twenty-one, 'n verse eight."  His Bible is sittin' there on the pulpit, but he not needin' to look at hit, account he know what he gonna say.  An' he quote, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is "the second death."  

Now he is loaded for bear.  "Now we good folk, here.  Wouldn' you say we was good folk? They's no fearful unbelievers, no a-bom'nable nor murderers amongst us, well as fer all those sinners I jes' read about, we are not them.  Are we?  But wait!  Liars!  All liars!  But Brother Hurd, you say, we'ns not liars.  Really? Whut is a lie?  Is a lie vicious 'n mean?  Oh, it kin be.  Is a lie told to hurt someone, or to gain a  edge on someone?  Oh, it kin be."  And right here, Jonas step from behind the pulpit and walk to his left, all the way to the left side th' platform.  Where he stood direckly afront of me, me a sittin' third row back, next th' wall.

"Oh," he shout, "but a lie is any untruth.  It is a tale told big, stretch beyond the limits of whut really happen.  It is in innocent fun.  NO!  It is a lie, an' all liars shall have their part in the lake of farr.  Oh, sinner,"  'n he is lookin' direckly inna my eyes, "do not let your lyin' tongue be cast inta hell farr, along a the rest a yore body, where parched 'n swollen hit will writhe in agony along of th' rest a yore body, forever 'n ever.  For all eternity.

"Kin you imagine?  All eternity.  You cannot.  See brother Seth a sittin' just yonder?  Brother Seth has live ninety an' nine years, 'n yet the span a his life is no more'n a flyspeck on th' vault a God's sky above, compared to whut eternity is.  Oh, sinner, repent of your lyin' ways.  Prostrate yourself afore God Almighty 'n plead, beg, I say, for His gracious mercy on yore sorry soul afore it is too late." 

With that, Goliath step down fum the platform, Bible under his arm, 'n march straight down the aisle 'n out the front door.

I look at Grace, she look at me, 'n 'thout a word, we rise together and head tord the door.

© 2014 David W. Lacy 38

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Professional Driver's Career Ends

Two little vignettes.

One: Johnnie is the son of the trustee who is in charge of my work, and he is chancellor of the exchequer, i.e., he drafts my checks.  So I have just dropped off the Lake City contingent and we are headed toward the appliance store, about two miles yet from this point.  Johnnie is out of his seat.  Again.  Pestering the girls who ride on to the last stop.  Again.  “Sit, John!  Now!”  I am eyeing him in the mirror.

 He turns back to the girls, as though he is oblivious of me.  “John!”  Nothing.  I slow the bus, pull to the side of the road, pull out the “Stop” sign.  I turn in my seat, call the youngster by his full name.  “You will sit, or you will get off this bus right here.”

“You can’t do that.  My dad will fire you.  Good riddance, too.  You’re a jerk anyway.”

“Off”  I got up and headed toward him.

“Okay, okay.  I’ll sit.” 

“No, you won’t. You will get off.”  He did, tears streaming down his face.  I shut the door, pulled in the arm, and started down the road.  I am a jerk.  Stopped a block down the street, waited while Johnnie caught up.  “Am I going to have trouble with you again?”

“No, sir.  I’m sorry, sir.”

When we got to the store, I went in to talk to John.  I accepted Johnnie’s apology, but I wasn’t about to let him get in the first word with Daddy.

Two:  We are nearing the end of the school year.  It is a beautiful May afternoon, and I will soon have this mixed bag of experiences behind me.  I have a job lined up in Indiana, and I’ve not seen parents or sisters for nine long months.  So, as I turn onto 98th NE and stop to let the charges off, I am in a pretty good mood.  “Good night, now!  See you in the morning!”

I put her in gear and start down the hill.  One block, two.  I touch the brake, I push the brake, the pedal hits the floor and no slowing occurs.  Fortunately, I know how to double-clutch, downshift, use the engine’s compression as a brake.  Down to second,  twirl, twiddle, gas pedal, downshift to first.  We are slowed now, and reach the bottom of the hill.  Fortunately, there is  now an incline before we reach Bothell Way, which is always a very busy highway.  Safely make the stop, the turn, and by very careful, and if I may say so, judicious driving, we limp on through Lake City and to the appliance store.

I park the bus, go in to report to John that his bus has no brakes.  He is not happy, but he gets his delivery van, and we take the last two kids to their stop, then he drives me back to campus.  “Well, he says, I don’t know what to do.  But I think I have to let you go.  We parents will have to get our kids to and from school.  There certainly isn’t enough money to take that beast in to the shop.”

“So my stint with you is over, then?”

“Yes.  You’ve done good work for us, and we appreciate it.  I’ll mail your check tonight.  You should have it before Friday.”

I did get the check.  It bounced.  I learned what “NSF” means.  In Indiana, I talked with my banker, and we tried to run the check through again, which was the only thing he could offer me.  It bounced.  I still have that check.  But I surely could have used that eighty dollars back in 1955.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Diggin' Up Bones

Old papers, letters, notebooks, clippings, accumulate over time.  One stumbles onto occasional reminders of the past he has lived.  I came across a "Li'l Fat Notebook," 4 x 5.5., in which I had scribbled numerous things several years ago.  There are recorded therein a number of chess games I played with friend Marvin long ago.  And near the back, I found this little nostalgic piece.  This was written eleven years ago.  So this is today's layer of nostalgia painted atop nostalgia of yesteryear.

*Third page, fifth line, "reminiscences."
^Third page, last line.  I've not "done it again," though I talked with three or four of the people within the past week.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Celebrating 80 Years

It was a party.  Indeed it was.  My Beloved Beautiful Better Half planned and hosted a celebration for my 80th birthday on Saturday.  There were more than fifty guests present.  Imagine that.

 BBBH designed and ordered the cake.  She very thoughtfully, and in consideration of the guests, chose  to put no candles on it.  She could well imagine any inept effort I might have made at blowing them out.

 One-time coworkers and long-time friends enjoying the swing.  Fortunately, the S-hook did not give way until later in the afternoon.  My son was the recipient of that jolt.  No permanent injury, thankfully.

 I asked these two ladies to pose together, for they are two people who saved me from untold grief over the years.  Dee, on the left, was my secretary for 12 years, Elsa filled that position for six years.

 Good friends and faithful.

 Martha and her husband, Joe, with whom I have a lot in common.  Like me, he is son of a preacher.  Like me, he was a career educator, and like me, he taught mathematics.  Joe was born in July of 1934, as was I.  But I am older than he by a very few days.

 Son Delbert and wife, Denise.  Daughter Ann and her husband, Mike in th background, and almost hidden, my son Kenneth.

 My sister, Vee (left) and her husband, Elvin, came all the way from Kansas to help me celebrate!  She is talking with Martha, my first wife's sister.  She and her hubby, Loren, came from Ft. Wayne.

The hostess and the honoree.

Gene (left) brought Sherry (center) on his Harley, a round trip of a hundred miles.  Cyndy came all the way from Bloomington, Illinois.  These guests are special because Sherry was a student in my sixth grade class the first year I taught, and Cyndy was a student teacher under my supervision when I taught math.  She recently retired from a career as a university mathematics professor.

Here's a better picture of son Kenny posing with BBBH.

There were many, many more callers whom I have not pictured here, though I am pleased that I have pictures of most of them.  I am abundantly blessed, and can in no way adequately express my appreciation to the people who have stood beside me over the years, and who still stand with me!
(Or should I say, "Who can still stand me"?)