Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labor Day

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;  Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.  --Colossians 6:23,24 KJV
This weekend is a "long holiday weekend" and the traditional end-of-summer celebration.  Monday is Labor Day.  Labor Day is recognized and celebrated in a third of all the countries in the world.  At its inception the idea was to honor those who work.
Honest work has within itself the roots of dignity, for it is by the toil of one's body and mind that food and shelter for living are obtained.
Have you ever felt your job is a drudgery in which the only rewards are the end of the shift and the paycheck?  Even in such a job is dignity, for by the devotion to the task and the performance thereof, one puts food on the table for those for whom he is responsible; and should the checks be large enough to provide assistance in addition to someone less fortunate, then that laborer is blessed indeed.
Father pounded many things into my head in my youth.  (Yes, I was that hard-headed.)  A crucial lesson had to do with the obligation of the laborer to the employer.  Dad made it quite clear that if I sold my time to an employer it was my obligation to give him full value for the recompense he would give me.  To do otherwise is not honorable.  I believe the scripture quoted above supports this doctrine, for to do right by the employer is to do right in God's sight.
In whatever way you choose to celebrate, or relax and chill, here's wishing you a wonderful weekend, Monday included.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

I Say Toe-may-toe

 We put in three tomato plants this past spring.  About mid-July they started providing us with table-ready produce, about enough each day to keep us in fresh tomatoes.  Now, as August comes to a close, they have gone crazy.  We can't keep up with the supply.  That is yesterday's treasure trove.  Yes, we pick some green ones intentionally.  We like fried green tomatoes, in spite of the negative press the nay-sayers give them.  Some people simply don't know what is good.  Seriously, I understand that not all taste buds are titillated by the same flavors.

 Now that is some good eating, right there.  One tomato on the plate, one waiting its turn.

 One has to put something along the north side of the house.  We made a good choice several years ago when we installed these.

As usual, I planted some morning glories along the fence.  Lots of vine this year, but it took plumb up till now before we got any flowers.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dora's Treasure

[A note from vanilla before today's tale:  Today is the 106th anniversary of my mother's birth.  Mother has been with her Lord and Savior many years now, but I still miss her here on this orb.]

Years after Uncle Jep and Aunt Grace had passed, I was conversing one day with one of their nieces.  Dora was daughter to Aunt Jean.  She was a mere slip of a girl when Jep and Grace got married in 1894, but she remembered being at their wedding.  At the time of my visit with her, Dora was set to turn ninety the following month, and although she may have lost a step or two, she was still in full possession of all her marbles, so to speak.

Dora had grown up in the area with Aunt Grace and Uncle Jep, knew them well in her formative years.  As you know, my time with this wonderful couple was during their later years.  I shared a few of Uncle Jep's stories with Dora, then she opened my eyes to a side of Uncle Jep I had not known.

"Uncle Jeptha used to tell me stories, too.  They seem to be somewhat different, though, from the tales he told you.  Fortunately, when I was a girl I kept a diary, and when Uncle Jep would tell me a story, I would faithfully record it in my journal.  I was but thirteen when they moved to Colorado, so you must remember that the stories were told to a very young girl.

"My diaries from that time in my life were recorded on newsprint Daddy got in Rogersville.  Mama always said fancy books for writin' down stuff simply were outside the range of our needs.  'But,' she said, 'if you really think your life is worth writing about, you will find a way.'  And I did. Leftover ends of newsprint rolls and stubby pencils, that was my way.  I cut nice sheets, kept them in a special drawer, then when I had enough done, I would punch holes in the corners and tie them together with knitting yarn.  I am not long for this world, and there is nothing in those books of which I am ashamed, so if you would like to have them, I will get them to you."

I felt as though heaven had opened and manna had dropped into my hungry mouth!  To actually have records of Jeptha's early stories seemed a dream bigger than any I had dreamed before!  I was so excited that I actually told Cousin Dora that very thought.  She smiled and quipped, "Waal, as Uncle Jep would have said, don't get yer hopes higher'n you can reach.  They are only the scribbles of a youngster, and the tales are certainly different from what you are used to."

Dora was true to her word.  She could have been home not much more than a few days at most when she mailed the package to me.  It contained two "books" bound with red yarn.  Though she had started the diary when she was seven years old, and though it was written "with a stubby pencil," the treasure was every bit as wonderful as I had hoped.

I mailed a thank-you note with birthday wishes the very next day.  Crossing it in the mail was a letter from Dora's son, Ephraim, telling me that his mother had passed, and that she had mentioned, during her last day of life, how much she appreciated the time spent with me reminiscing about the Old Auntie and Uncle Jeptha.

© 2014 David W. Lacy 45

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hospital Tales

The very old and soon-to-be-superannuated cardiologist was running a treadmill stress test.  I was the victim.  (This was a long, long time ago, which could be a heads-up that detail may be fogged by the passing of time.  Anyway, I was all hooked up and the machinery was set in motion.

I had not yet reached that point where the pain sets in to the degree that one wishes he had had a heart attack when the oscilloscope suddenly flat-lined.  The doctor went into a panic mode, punching buttons and jerking on cables.  To put him at ease, I said, "Looks like you lost me, Doc."

He was not amused.

Now the point of all this:  Click here to read Shelly's account of her recent hospital experience.  I guarantee it is much  funnier than my little tale.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Flowers and The Word

I like dahlias  A lot.  I have never had much success with growing them.

This year I put in a few.  The results are quite satisfactory.

The red and yellow is quite unusual, but I really like the white one.

The sedum is at a fun stage, white turning to pink.

The hollyhock is near the end for the year.  The simple flower has long been one of my favorites, perhaps because it was the one truly showy flower we had in our yard when I was a child.

I have no idea what this flower is.  Planted along the foundation among a bunch of other stuff, it produced one or two flowers at a time all season. But no two were the same color!  Some little bug
enjoyed this one, perhaps even more than I did.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.  --Isaiah 40:8 (KJV)

Saturday, August 23, 2014


We were in the sitting room watching TV when BBBH turned toward the window and saw that we were being watched watching TV.

 If you biggify the pictures, you can see that he is watching us.  Look at those eyes!

After taking a few shots through the screen, I went outside to get this shot from the other side.

We've listened to his song several evenings, but this is the first time he joined us for a movie.

What do you think, Lin?  Our toad is cute, too.  Right?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Moving On

It was Summer, 1952, and I had been with Aunt Grace and Uncle Jep for several years.  "Boy," Uncle Jep said late one evening.  Aunt Grace had already retired for the night, quite unusual for her to toddle off to bed before Uncle Jep.  "You have been with us for a good long time now, and I know we could not have done without ye.  But you are a man now, an' it is clear to me this ol' place is not likely to be able to pervide for you.  Place jus' kin not keep up with mod'n needs.  Not equipped for it, not enough land for it.  Been good to me and your Aunt Grace, an' she'll see us thoo twel we shuffle off this mortal coil.  But you need to get on with your life."

"I know," I replied.  "I have been explorin' some possibilities, yet I am wondering, can you take care the place if I am not here?"

"Good of you to ask; but I hev th'answer to thet.  Yer cousin, Archie, hev a boy, jes' turn sixteen.  He desire to send him here so's I kin polish him out, so to speak."

"You have already agreed to take someone else on?"  I was incredulous.

"Don't get all offended, now.  'Course you are welcome here's long as ya like,"

"No, no.  It's not that."  I burst out laughing.  "I just yesterday agreed to take a job over to Wichita, an' I didn't know how I was going to tell you."

"Waal, now.  I reckon it's my time to be offended."  The he laughed.  "But I'm not.  Having your help has been a God-send, but 'tis shorely time for you to make a life for yerse'f."

© 2014 David W. Lacy 44

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Indianapolis Motor Speedway
before its opening in 1909.

One hundred five years ago today, the first race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Over three days of racing, a driver, two mechanics, and two spectators gave their lives for motorsport.

The first "500" was run on May 30, 1911.

Monday, August 18, 2014

An Important Birthday, and Related Trivia

      This daughter attains double-nickels status today!  Happy birthday, Ivanelle.

Ivy shares her birthday with any number of famous or widely-known people, as we all do.  Some who were born on August 18 are

Virginia Dare, 1587, famously the first English child born in the Americas.
Shelley Winters, 1920, well-known actress, now departed.
Rosalynn Carter, 1927, former First Lady.
Robert Redford, 1936, American actor and one-time heartthrob of every housewife. (I am told.)
Timothy Geithner, 1961, recently Secretary of the Treasury of the United States.

Are you aware of the fact that in any randomly chosen group of 23 people there is a 50-50 chance that two of them will have the same birthday?  The odds in favor of such a pairing increases as the number of people in the group increases, and at 70 people there is a mere one chance in a thousand that there won’t be such a match.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Keys to Right Living, Series Finale

In our study of the keys to right living, we have remaining the list of "Thou shalt nots."  While these directives are couched in the negative, they are really admonitions to eschew those things which are harmful to ourselves and others.  It is all good.

Thou shalt not kill, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness, or covet.  These admonitions are virtually universal, that is, respected as proper regulations to be observed in all societies.  The discussion of universal moral precepts was covered in Ethics 201 sixty and more years ago.  It is of mere academic interest that there are or have been social groups in various places which have not considered one or more of these to be required guides for living.  Such societies are either insignificant or defunct.

Since these rules are pretty much self-explanatory, and since most people have an ingrained sense of the value of living by them, even those who violate them, we are not going to explore each commandment in depth.  We will conclude our study of the ten commandments, though, by focussing a bit on the tenth.  I find it interesting that the "Thou shalt not covet" is followed by a specific list of things that covetousness must not touch, but then wraps up the listing  with an all-inclusive "nor anything that is thy neighbors."  Doubles the emphasis.

Many of us, I fear, are like Jerry Clower's buddy, Marcel Ledbetter.  You may recall that Jerry related the story in which they passed a fabulous pickup truck.  Marcel said, Whooee! I wish I had that pickup truck.  Jerry told him, That is a sin.  To covet is a sin.  You say, "I wish I had a pickup like that one."

All right, said Marcel, I wish I had a pickup like that one.  But if the only way I can get it is take his and him walk, I'd take his.

Our study of the commandments begs the question "Why were we given such directives?"  We were given these commandments of God not to place us in bondage, but to set us free!  To live by these precepts is to be free from the slavery of fear, and unforgiveness, and besetting sins that lead us into captivity and anguish of spirit.

To imagine, though, that we can follow these guidelines in our own strength and without God is folly.  It is only in His strength which he gives us in salvation through Jesus Christ that we will be able to live such a life of freedom.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ouabache in August

 Among the fungus.  

Firebugs at it, as usual.

For this month's campout, we arrived late and left early.  BBBH is going on three weeks of severe pain in the right leg, chiropractor, doctor, and doppler notwithstanding.  Solution to date: painkillers.  Not a good thing.  Thus it was that it was Monday past noon before we decided to go, and by Wednesday at noon, we decided to come home.*

We did get in one short walk, which yielded the fungus find.  And rain Monday night helped us find that we have sprung a leak around the skylight.  Always something.  The good news?  The drip dropped directly into the bathtub.

The girl finally got an X-ray which revealed two crushed vertebrae in the lower back, hence a pinched nerve causing the leg pain.  "Have you fallen recently?' asks the Sawbones.  "Well, yes, I did land on my behind in the driveway a month or so ago, but I didn't think anything of it."   MRI scheduled for Monday.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Road Trip with Auntie

"Tomorry," said Uncle Jep, "I want you should take the V-8 'n drive your Aunt Grace over to Liberal, so's she kin visit her Aunt Laura.  Sam 'n I have too much to do over to his place fer me to take off, 'n I won't much miss you around here for a couple days, leastways, no more'n I miss the woman."

"What? Where's tonight's tale?"

"Nah, you need get on ta bed 'n get some rest. An' I doubt not thet your Aunt Grace will more than fill your want of tales afore you get home."

The sun jumped above the horizon as we passed Coolidge.  As the day brightened, so did Aunt Grace, and soon enough she was rolling along as fast and as smoothly as the pickup was running.

"Did your Uncle Jeptha ever tell you," she asked, "about the time he went off to war?  No?  I thought not.  He'll talk about most anything, but that is a part of his life he'd rather forget.  You see, it was in February of '98, I think, when the Maine was sunk in Havana harbor.  You know about that, don't you?  Of course you do.  You have been to high school, after all.  Well, by late Spring the people across the country were getting quite worked up about Spain and her involvement in Cuba and in other parts of the world.  Must have been pretty general, otherwise how would the people in that little corner our world where we lived get incensed about something so far away?  So, Jep, he decide it was his fittin' and patriotic duty to join up.  The President was pleading for more troops.  Now we were living in Tennessee, but Jep still owned twenty acres in Scott County, so in order to be with his buddies from his boyhood, he joined up with the Second Virginia Volunteer Infantry.  They send him off to Camp Cuba Libre in Jacksonville, Florida."

Aunt Grace went on, filling me in on Jeptha's military training, the crowded conditions in camp, the miserable summer heat, and the mosquitoes.  Always the mosquitoes.  Presently we are in Garden, and Aunt Grace need to stop for a rest break, not to mention that I need that, too.  After a few minutes at a Phillips 66, we drove over to the city park where we stretched our legs and ate the sack lunch Auntie had prepared.  Then we were on the road southward toward Liberal.

"Well, wouldn't you know it?  But another week of training, then they would ship Jep off to Cuba.  Then it happened, not on the training grounds, but as he was walking along toward his quarters when he steps in a hole, breaks his left leg, shin-bone between the knee and the ankle.  Then, what, ho!  His buddies are shipping out to the war, and he is stuck in Jacksonville, set and plastered, but it would take time to heal.

"So it is that Jeptha is put on "desk duty."  The sergeant tells him, "Rejoice, you are now a clerk."  They set him down in front of one of them type writing machines, which he's never seen in his life, and tell him, "Write up this stack of orders."  Well, Jep is always conscientious, and he's a fair to middling quick learner.  Tells me in his letters to me before his stint as clerk is over that the tips of both his index fingers have calluses on them.  But the worst part was the heat.  He thought it had been hot in July, but come August, he thinks "hell has come."

"So then in the middle of August, the war comes to an end.  Of course the military is still needed to enforce the peace now that Spain has agreed to pull out  and grant independence to Cuba.  Well, Jep might have been assigned to a unit and shipped over, but the army decided that they would muster him out, as they had no longer need of so much infantry.  They take his rifle, give him thirty dollars and tell him he is on his own.  On his own, six hundred miles from home.

"Of course he did make it home, as you well know, and for which I am ever grateful.  But it would be in your best interest if you avoid asking your uncle about his military service."

© 2014 David W. Lacy 43

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Oldie Goldie

Seville, dere dago
Tausen bussis inaro.
Dosarnt bussis
Dosar trux
Sumwit cowsin
Sumwit dux.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fits Like a Glove

Every night when I begin to pray
I ask the Lord to help me say
How sorry I am, for mistakes I made
As I went about my busy day.

I ask for the will to forgive
Other people with whom I live
When others hurt me thoughtlessly
That I won't repay revengefully.

To help me do my best in every way
And look to God, He will repay
So many times I need some love
And His love always fits like a glove.

1 Peter 4:8: And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.  (KJV)

Gifts From God, Grace JoAnn Harrison Lacy, copyright 1995, 2014.  By permission of the author.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Conversation with Random People: Twelve

Here about a year ago, I related a conversation with one of the exhibitors at the Mid-America Threshing and Antique Show.  This year I stopped to visit with him again, talked Sandwich engines, our health in general, and wished him a happy eightieth birthday come October.  He said I had a pretty good memory for an old man.

On down the way fifty yards or so, I saw a display which I almost rode past.

I turned the bike around and went back.  An old fellow visiting a few yards away saw me stop, hobbled over on his cane.  He was the proud tinkerer who created these lovelies.

"Keeps me out of bars and out of trouble.  Actually, I don't drink, never have.  I only have one vice."

"Building these things?" I queried.  He might have been insulted, but he didn't seem to be.

"No.  Smoking."  Okay, he is nearly as old as I am, and if it hasn't killed him yet. . .

"I have never seen sewing machines repurposed in just this way," I averred.  

Then he was off about his ownership and participation in monster truck rallies, dreams of constructing one more "sewing machine" monster, steam-engined this time, his children, his residence and his loss thereof in the Palm Sunday tornado of 1965, and so on.  You see why I was unable to provide details of the conversation, or I should say monologue, for it was sometime before I found a chink in his reverie where I could put in a gracious "Nice talking with you.  Good luck on your next project."

Allison V-12

Green Monster

Grey Ghost

Sunday, August 10, 2014

More Keys to Right Living

Today we will attempt to deal with a couple of the truly difficult commandments in search for the keys to right living.  Again, scripture references are Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5.

"Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy."  I do not propose to discuss the issue of the meaning of the term "sabbath day."  Suffice it to say that I view the commandment as an admonition, nay demand, that we observe one day of the week in rest, for that is the crux of the matter.

It is not right and meet that anyone spend every day of his existence in labor.  The human spirit, mind and soul, and the human body are not designed to function perpetually like an automaton.  God made us, He knows us, so in our best interest He charged us to "take a day off."

Unfortunately, in this day of frenetic living, this commandment is observed more in the breach than in the practice, both within and outside the church.   In my opinion, "Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy," does not mean fill your day of rest with a different kind of frenetic activity.

"Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the earth."  This may be an even more difficult admonition to deal with.  If you were blessed with parents who modeled right living this commandment may be easier to fulfill than it would be were a parent, or parents, dissolute or cold, or were even abusive and treated the child in seriously ugly ways.  How to honor such parents?

We might start by noting that "honor" and "respect" are not synonymous terms.  Respect is earned, and where earned, respect will be given.  In the event, the parents gave us life. To honor the parent may require forgiveness, indeed we forgive whether or not the forgiveness is sought.  We forgive, not to benefit the unworthy, but we forgive to our own benefit, for to carry the luggage of unforgiveness is a burden too great to bear.  It will ultimately stifle any possibility for spiritual growth.

To follow faithfully these two admonitions, reflect again on Jesus's teaching that we looked at earlier, namely, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.  Master key to right living in all its aspects.

 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  Philippians 4:13

Saturday, August 9, 2014

McCormick at the Mid-America Threshing and Antique Show

A lot of red at the show this year.  What could the featured machinery be?

Then this baby, "Gray Tractor," went rumbling by.  It is a vintage
roller, or road compactor.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dog Tales and Pickle Jar #T

Did I ever tell you about Coonrod Smithers 'n his hounds?

Uncle, says I, you told me about Coonrod and the congressman only a week ago.

Why, says Uncle, so I did.  I recollect we leave Coonrod standin' aneath the big sycamore along of the congersman, 'n Jack 'n Jill.  So le's move 'em fum under there whilst we wait for Sam.

Waal, Al 'n Smithers, they leash the dogs an' head on back home, amblin' along, fur piece to go, but no hurry to get there.  'Sides, the dude is not use ta scrabblin' thoo rocks 'n scrub ina dark.  Anyways, they greeted loudly by the dogs pen up ta home, 'n jes' as they open the gate, Abraham let out a fe-rocious "Ur-A-ur-urrr," an' sure 'nuff, the first crack a daylight appear in the East!  Thet ol' speckled cock shorely keep time, right enough.  He think he make the sun come up, I do b'lieve.

Coonrod stir up a farr in the kitchen stove, crack open a dozen brown hen eggs, stir 'em up with a drap a milk, chunk a hunk a butter size a yer fist in thet ol' black skillet, let 'er sizzle, 'n thow in them eggs.  Bit a streak o' lean sizzlin' in Henry Adam, Rod's gran'ma's fryin' pan, 'n whilst breakfas' a cookin', Al 'n Rod partake a couple snorts a Peck's pizen.  "Whoo-ee!" say Alfred.  "'Em are some squeezin's!

Waal, they get down to bidness, devour them vittles 'n talk hound.  "I tell ya, Al, ol' pal, I once shuck the dumbest dog on God's green earth off on a slicker fum Asheville.  Dog one a them accidental dogs.  Dam was a beagle, 'n sire was on'y God above know whut.  But hit were a purty thang, an' I work her anyway.  Good nose, but no sense, ya see.  Anyways, she'd track 'n she'd bay, but on'y heaven know whut she mought tree.  Let her off leash one moonup, she catch scent 'n holler fum here to Kentuck, mought nigh.  Wind up the crack a dawn twenty mile fum home with a chipmunk up a tree!

So this Everett guy, fum over to Carolina, here lookin' my dogs, see this oddball, tricolor she were, but dumb.  "Thet dog hunt?' he says.

"She shorely do," I say.  Bein' the righteous fella I am, I went on,"She will fin' scent or tree quarry, but whut she tree may not be the biggest coon you ever see."

"Wha' cha want for her?"

"Oh," says I, "she not yet thow'd a litter, 'n I sorta 'spect ta use her fer stock, accounta she have such a fine nose."

Anyway, we haggle back 'n forth a bit, 'n he pay me seventy dollars* fer the bitch.  Three week later I get a letter fum Everett.  He write, "First time out with Mollie she raise a coon right off.  Coon knows he is tailed, runs to my pond other side the pasture.  I came up on her in time to see the coon take to water, swim out about twenty feet and wait for the dog.  She come up, leap into the water.  Coon waits.  When dog gets near enough, that raccoon jump on the damn dog's head, hold her under until she doesn't move any more.  Coon swims off, and $70 floats to the surface, deader than last week's pork chop.

"Not that you didn't warn me that that was one sorry dumb dog, but could you make some sort of adjustment on my loss?"

I write back 'n say, "Certainly.  I got a whole passel a pups ya kin pick from, 'n prices range from $70 and up."

Well, the congersman got in his swell rig, head home with two fine Redbone Coonhounds trottin' along ahind on they tethers.  An' Coonrod is chunkin' a sack a new Morgan's an' a couple a banknotes inta the stone crock where he store his not-likker.

*If seventy dollars seem small potatoes to you, consider that in 1888 a retail clerk might earn $10 a week for eighty hours work, while a skilled workman in a factory could make perhaps twelve dollars a week.

© 2014 David W. Lacy 42

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Strolling Around the Yard

 BLT time!

 The hen's brood of chicks.

What the heck? "Banana pepper"?  I think not.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Instant Ancestors

BBBH dug out an old shoe box quite filled with old pictures.  A few of the photos had been labelled, most had not.  Beautiful has an excellent memory and she did a credible job identifying many of the snapshots, but some of the really ancient postcard mounts were beyond her ken.

As she called out names, I pencilled notes on the backs.  Occasionally I would find an unidentified character that I found interesting.  A probably not-too-productive activity for a hot summer afternoon, overall.

She did identify these three ladies as her aunts, sisters to her father.

This work crew reminded me of some highway department crews I have observed, less the horses and wagon, of course.

I remarked to her that the unidentified people should be placed in a separate box so that when she has her garage sale, (she is always "going to have a garage sale") she can vend them as "instant ancestors" to people who lack old-timey family photos and would like to have some!

Would you not just love to pass these charming children off as your
great-great grandparents?

This fellow, frozen in time, may want cigarettes, or a chew.  Or perhaps he simply needs some ice.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Memory and Reality

Cormac McCarthy is a writer who takes the reader into the most bizarre and grotesque situations, grabs him and holds him transfixed.  His books are literally "can't put them down" adventures.  I have been riveted by several of his works.

For some reason I missed The Road when it was released in 2006, but that is okeh because now it is a new adventure for me.  I am not reviewing the book here, but rather I am lifting a sentence or two which give me pause.  "He thought each memory recalled must do some violence to its origins.
. . .What you alter in the memory has yet a reality, known or not." (p. 111)

I have been operating String Too Short to Tie for nearly six years.  Much of the material is drawn from memories of my life past, and of course in the assembling and publishing of that material, new memories are created.  McCarthy, in this brief reflection of his protagonist, has caused me to reflect on the questions, "What violence have I done to the past, to the origins of those memories by my recalling them, by recording them?  And how much warping of reality have I engendered?  Or have I, in fact, created new realities thereby?"

I wonder if other writers reflect on these questions as they are relating the tales they remember or create.  What of the historian?

I have thought on occasion about the players that appear on the stage of my memory.  Do those actors exist in our shared reality; or do they exist only in the reality created by my mind?  Do they still exist?  I have thought, for example, of certain individuals who played a role in a scene of my early life, recalling clearly (to my way of thinking) the incident and the behaviors of the participants, yet my mind may be completely void of any recollection of a name to attach to one of these players.

Why is that surprising?  There is a chance that, were I to be introduced to you today, I would not remember your name tomorrow.  Am I revealing too much about the inner workings of my mind?  Indeed I am.

Good day.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

First Key to Right Living

The post was prepared in advance, as is my wont.  But I inadvertently published it a day early.  Jim Grey caught it, and commented on it yesterday.  I took it down and saved it for this morning.  But, and this is important, I would like for you to read Jim's comment, for I believe his observation is critical to the discussion, and his take on this is more important than my observations, for he emphasizes that God's desire for us to put Him first is an expression of His concern for our best interest.

Moses stood before the burning bush and asked who was speaking to him.  God replied, "I AM."  Moses stood atop Sinai and God told His people, "I AM the Lord thy God."  Then He said, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

Why did the Lord not put a period after the word "gods"?  "Thou shalt have no other gods."

 Is there not an implication that there are gods other than I AM?    Yes, mankind holds before himself many gods, and the Lord is well aware of this, especially since, as our Creator, He knows us better than we know ourselves.  The thrust here seems to be not a requirement of the Lord that we recognize no other gods, but rather as He went on to say, "Thou shalt not bow thyself down to them, nor serve them."  It seems to me that God knows we will have gods, yet he demands that we eschew worship of them.

Of the many things that we allow to be "gods" in our lives, some are marvelous tools, or servants. Yet as masters, they are inefficacious, ineffectual, hurtful.  Money is a tool, a lousy master.  Power is a servant with which we are to serve the common good, not the self alone.

A person's own intellect is a marvelous tool and not to be wasted; but they who worship at the altar of their own intellects have puny and pitiful gods, indeed.

God even provided a good motivator for giving Him first place in our lives.  "For I AM a jealous God, and I will visit the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me."  YET:  "I will show mercy on those that LOVE ME and keep my commandments."

The Ten Commandments can be found in The Book of Exodus, chapter 20; or in Deuteronomy, chapter five.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

My Sister Ilene...

eat your heart out, Emily Kimbrough.

A while ago, I was rummaging through a box of photographs from times past.  I came upon this photo of my sister, Ilene.  She is no longer a little girl, but rather a pretty grandmother.  She lives in New Jersey.  I don't get to New Jersey all that often, and in fact I have not been there since my sister moved to that area. She doesn't get to the Midwest often, so our visits are pretty much limited to electronic media these days.

It is possible that I have mentioned some of this on the blog, but it has been running for some time now, and my recollector isn't necessarily as proficient as it might be.  Ilene was born when I was thirteen years old.  As a proud brother, I had the fun of having a baby sister around.  The thing is, though, that I left home before her fifth birthday.  This meant that my relationship with her was limited in scope and growth to snippets of time, not all that frequent, when I visited the old homeplace, wherever that happened to be at the time.  I married when Ilene was eight and established a home of my own.  Thus it was that we didn't really get to know each other until we were both in our adult years.

Ilene, of course, went off to college, married, and established a home of her own.  Physical distance between us remained an impediment to growth of brother-sister relationship.  Well, we are neither one any longer young, but she is still my sister, a circumstance with which I am well-pleased!

Happy birthday to my little sister, Ilene!

As a little girl, Ilene playing with her dolls and imaginary playmates, could be heard singing, "Hollywood in my soul, and on and on and on!"  Indeed.  Ilene, retired now, had a career as a teacher of drama and a director of stage plays.  Of course, she's still involved, working with her community theatre.