Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Every School Day in Every Community

Image result for child with backpack
Image result for child with backpack 

How in the name of all that is righteous can we look at this and not be incensed? 

 Image result for overloaded donkey

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Poor little Wiener.  Next Monday we will celebrate his thirteenth birthday.  Yesterday he got a birthday present, or rather he donated a present.  He had five more teeth pulled.  Let's do the math: (42 - 11) - 5 = 26. Or should the sentence read: 42 - (11 + 5) = 26 ?  Well I guess the little guy will still have enough chompers to be able to eat.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Margot Goes to Sunday School #T

Somewhere, Indiana was a quiet not to say bucolic village of some five or six thousand souls.   And as to the tending of souls, the community was well-supplied with churches.  There were by most accounts twenty-three churches in the immediate environs of the community.  One was Roman Catholic, eleven were Baptist, and the remaining ones were protestant churches of various stripes.  These twenty-three do not include a Kingdom Hall and an LDS facility, both well outside the town proper, and outside the consideration of the citizenry with the exception of the adherents and devotees of those respective faiths.

This seems an awfully ponderous introduction to a light-hearted tale about a little girl and her Sunday School experience.  Yet it is somewhat germane in that it clearly points out that Somewhere was if not a religious place at least a place where the citizens respected or at least supported religious institutions.  And Margot's parents were considered to be heathens by the social standards thereabouts. Oh, Tad and Marsha were nice enough people, good moral people.  They were well-educated and successful in their chosen fields of endeavor.  But they cheerily and cheerfully ignored all attempts by friends or neighbors, laity or clerical, to entice them into participation in religious services.

But seven-year old Margot, while not a social butterfly, had developed a friendship with Luanne.  Lu's parents were staunch Methodists, pillars of Brookside UMC one might say.  Inevitably Luanne prevailed upon her friend Margot to attend Sunday school with her.  And Margot presented the case to her mother.  Mother was open-minded and not averse to the idea that her pride and joy be exposed to the other side of things, and gladly agreed that Margot might go to Sunday school.

Sunday morning Margot skipped down her front steps, blue dress, white bonnet with a broad blue ribbon and blue bow tied just above the brim.  Her Mary Janes were new and white stockings completed the ensemble.  The child skipped along the sidewalk and up the steps to the house next-door but one.  Presently Luanne joined Margot and the two skipped merrily along the walk, a bluebell and a jonquil bobbing along side by side to the Methodist Church a mere block away.

Mrs. Leffler was enthusiastically explaining to the children how God formed Adam from the dust of the earth,  then deciding the man should have a companion put him to sleep, removed a rib and formed a woman.  "Oh," exclaimed Margot, "that's disgusting!"

Startled, Mrs. Leffler said, "Excuse me?"

"First God made a man out of mud then he cut him open and took a bone to make a woman?  Mud and blood and bone?  That is disgusting."

"But, Honey, this is God's word.  It is completely true and this creation story reminds us that we are not all that high and mighty."

"Whatever.  My Mama says I am made of sugar and spice and everything nice!"

"That is a pretty thing for your mother to say, but we must take God at his word."
"Well, I am going with my Mama on this one."

Sunday school was over and the girls met Luanne's parents in the foyer.  Mrs. Jarrett said, "Won't you join us for the worship service, Margot?"

"Oh, no, thank you Mrs. Jarrett.  I gotta get on home now."

Up the front steps, in the front door.  Mama called, "Is that you, Muffin?"

"Yes, Mama."

"How was Sunday school?"

"It was fine, Mama."

"What did you learn?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Margot said as she closed the bathroom door behind her.

And on that issue Margot was completely right.

Word of the day: ponderous

Friday, September 25, 2015

Winters in Paradise

We have enjoyed many "winters" in Hildalgo County, Texas and in other parts of South Texas.  The population of Hidalgo County is largely Hispanic, 88% according to demographic data.

I have a plate on the front of the vehicle which reads "VANILLA."  Sometimes a citizen will notice the plate and say, "Va-nee-ya?" pronouncing it as a Spanish word.  Touching my chest with my right hand I reply, "Yes, si.  I am va-nee-ya."  Always gets a smile.

Conversations with the younger people are not difficult for in most cases their English is as good as mine.  But talking with the old-timers often consists of much hand-waving, "Ah, so." and so on, utilizing the half-dozen Spanish words I know and the half dozen English words he knows.

Fun times in Texas.  Surely wish we were planning to be there again this coming winter;.

Word of the day: vanilla

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Conversations with Random People-- Fourteen

BBBH* and I scootered (scooted?) to the supermercado.  Parked near the main entrance.  She went in to pick up a couple items.  I sat/leaned on the vehicle, not even bothering to take off my helmet.  Pickup parks in the handicap zone opposite, old man gets out, reaches back in for a cane.  Using the tripod cane he hobbles over to a nearby grocery cart, places cane in cart, leans on handle of same and heads my way.

He is a few steps from me.  I greet him.  "Nice day!"

"It is," he replied

"Say, tell me.  Does that Hurry-cane help you hurry?"

"Not really, but it helps keep me upright.  I have a new scooter-- 250 cc.  My grandson bought it for  my birthday when I turned 81 a few months ago."

"Really," I said.  "Bet that'll get up and go!"

:"Oh, yes.  She'll probably run seventy but I've only had her to 55.  I rode all my life, Indians, Harleys, the whole bit, but I am getting a little fearful now.  My balance, don't you know?  Hard of hearing, worse in one ear than the other.  Wonder if that has anything to do with it?"

"Couldn't tell you," I replied.  "I ride my bicycle a lot and balance concerns me, too.  Loud noises, like a siren, for instance, seem to almost tip me over.  Say, 1934 was a good year,  but you might be a bit older than I.  When was your birthday?"

"July 5," he said.  "July 5. 1934.  I was almost a firecracker.  Missed it by a day."
(I nearly fell over.)  I extended my hand.  "Some people call me Fizzle.  I was born July 5, 1934."

Well, we talked for a bit more, exchanged names and provenances; he told me his wife passed a year ago following a ten year battle with Alzheimer's.  BBBH returned from her expedition.  The two old guys wished each other well.

[Totally true.  This falls squarely in the category of You Can't Make This Stuff Up.]

*Beloved Beautiful Better Half

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

More Childhood Memories

Yesterday I wrote about some early Nebraska memories.  Others I might have included were these.

We kept a nanny goat which Dad milked.  This provided basic sustenance for Sister and me as well as the parents.  Cheap nutrition, for it is true that feeding a goat is not expensive-- she will eat anything.  And that reminds me that on Monday we were at a luncheon meeting where the entertainment was provided by the FROGS, that is, Four Really Old Guys Singing.  They did barbershop and they were good.  One of the numbers was "Bill Grogan's Goat" and of course I sang along.  It is a song I have known for many decades.  Their goat was greedier than Bill's goat of yore, though, for it ate six red shirts.  The earlier version downed only three.  Well, I got sidetracked there, did I not?

I believe I mentioned it earlier on this blog, but a field lay behind our house and watching the harvest crew bringing the sheaves to the stationary steam thresher was fine entertainment for a four-year old lad.  Beyond the field ran the rail line and watching the interurban cars pass by was fine sport, too.  Yes, I was easily entertained.

My left index finger has a slightly odd appearance and it requires a minimum of seven snips to properly pare the nail.  This is a result of a very curious thirty-month old climbing onto the windmill platform and getting his finger mashed by a bolt in the shaft as it came down on said finger.

I have a scar inside my right wrist which goes nearly all the way across the arm.  Mama's Little Helper scooped up a chunk of broken blue glass from the kitchen floor (I mean, he broke the glass in the first place) and was carrying it to the trash receptacle on the porch, tripped on the threshold.  Hurt.  A lot.  Bled.  A lot. Jumping to the end lest you worry: I lived.  Mother told me the original slash was across the base of the palm, but the scar has migrated more than two inches up my arm in the intervening years.

I was waffling on the issue of showing you the scar, but yeah, we all like train wrecks and the like.

We moved to Colorado arriving there on July 4, one day before my fifth birthday.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Early Memories

Lying abed in Grandpa and Grandma Morrell's home in Hartman, the house where I was born, and hearing Grandma, Mama, and the Aunts in the kitchen chitter-chattering.  Oh, the secrets I might learn if I could only lie still and keep my ears open!

I do not remember any earth-shattering information I gathered, but I do vividly recall this experience.  I know I was not yet five years of age, for we had driven down from our home in Nebraska.  The car, which I remember clearly, was a 1928 Chevrolet, a detail which I probably filled in a bit later.  The vehicle was a two-door sedan, dark green body with black fenders.  It had solid steel wheels, not spoked.

Returning to Nebraska late at night, lying in the backseat watching the moon race the car as we sped toward home.  I think I woke up in my own bed the next morning and I don't know how the race turned out.

Our neighbor, Mrs. Anderson, had a radio in a huge cabinet, about as tall as I.  I vividly recall a bright green light in the center of the console that resembled an eye.  Little people lived inside the cabinet and when the knob on the left was turned they would talk to you!  I could not figure how they got in there, nor how they obtained sustenance.

I learned about the qualities of shrinking objects on a trip to Lincoln.  High up in a building in a region accessed by a little room that slid up and down inside the building, one could look out a window and see far, far below, the tiniest little automobiles and such ant-like two-legged creatures hustling hither and thither!  Back on the street level, all these wonders had returned to normal size.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Rain Falls on the Just and the Unjust

Oh, my, you may be thinking.  Why the picture of such a dreary day in downtown Hometown?  And you would be wrong, for it is a day of jubilation!  Having gone for weeks without significant rainfall, it is now raining!  We are pleased, nay, thrilled to have an abundance of life-giving moisture falling from the skies.  Thank you, Lord!

Word of the day:  jubilation

The picture was taken Saturday morning.  We have now started another predicted stretch of dry days.  Fall may be my favorite season.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Two Old Codgers #T

A certain gentleman, a contemporary of mine, and I were chatting when the question arose, "Is this a normal thing, just the 'way it is'?"

We had not been complaining, you understand, but merely in a jocular way comparing notes with each other on some of the things that seem to be different now, some of the things we used to accept as normal which we find we can no longer accomplish.

"Yes," I replied to his question.  "The Bible addresses the issue in various places.  My favorite passage is in Second Samuel where Barzillai declines David's invitation to join him in the palace in Jerusalem.  During David's exile while running from his rebellious son, Absalom, Barzillai had housed and provisioned David and his retinue, for he was a man of great substance.

"When the threat had passed and David resolved to return to Jerusalem, Barzillai, went with David so far as the Jordan to see him safely across.  In gratitude for his service, David asked Barzillai to come up to Jerusalem with him, abide at his house and eat at his table.  The man responded
I am an old man.  This day I am eighty years of age.  Can I discern between good and evil?  Can I taste what I eat or what I drink?  Can I hear anymore the voice of the singing men or the singing women?  Why then should I be a burden to my lord the King?  I will go a little way across the river with you, and why should the King recompense me with such a reward?  Let me then return to my own city where I can die and be buried by the graves of my father and of my mother.
 "Yes, it is a condition of life that the hearing will likely fade, that our judgment may be impaired, that we will be unable to savor our sustenance, and unable to function in many ways that we found normal in our youth.  Another passage that addresses this is the last chapter of Ecclesiastes.  Poetic as it is, it goes into greater detail than the old man did at the Jordan River."

Word of the day:  Read Ecclesiastes 12.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Salamonie September

 On the lake on a fantabulous September day.

 From the boat we spotted this eagles' aerie way up in a tall tree.

 What's wrong with this picture?  Hint: do you see any people?  What's wrong is that most of the group piled into autos and went to some shopping venue.  Not me.  Well, to their credit, they were not gone long and for the most part they bought next to nothing.

 Around the campfire.

By the light of the slivery moon.  And the setting sun.

There's a badge one seldom sees these days.  The camp host had a '55 Ford.  Nice looking old vehicle.

The five days were perfect in every way.  The weather was sunny and warm in the daytime, cool and dry at night.  The compadres were congenial and, to coin a phrase, a good time was had by all.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

How long

will it be?

The gap, I mean, between this and the next post.  Everyone deserves a vacation, right? 

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.
That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.

Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.

 God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.  --Psalm 67 (KJV)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Thursday, September 10, 2015

One Day on Mt. Eremos #T


Near the crest of Eremos sitting just outside a shallow cave in the rock Jason watched the spectacle below him unfold.  The movement had progressed along the shore of Genneseret, a small cluster of perhaps a dozen people in the lead and a host, a vast cloud of people following behind.

As the mob began to ascend the hillside, Jason moved stealthily toward them, taking care to shelter behind the bushes and the scrub growth.  Presently the lead group stopped on a ledge half-league above the sea.  The crowd continued to press toward them, pressing closer, closer, until hundreds of folk had seated themselves around the first little group.  And still they came as Jason crept behind a gnarled cedar a mere ten cubits from the principal of the little tableau, for it was clear from the deference shown him that the fellow wearing a rough woolen tunic and with the shoulder length sandy hair banded around the forehead with a strip of blue cloth was the center of attention.  The man was quite ordinary in appearance, but his face showed an amazing resolve, as though he knew exactly what was expected of him and exactly how to deliver.  The crowd clearly wanted something from him.

The Man, for this is how Jason thinks of him, seated himself on a stone.  The dozen or so men nearest him sat about him.  The Man opened his mouth to speak and this is what Jason heard, the astonishing words he heard.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Jason was mesmerized never had he heard man speak as this swarthy man with calloused hands spoke.  And he went on.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
You are salt, and light, Jason heard.  The man may have spoken for an hour, or for hours, for Jason had lost all sense of time as his heart was stirred and his mind began to play over the memories of his wasted years as a recluse on this mountain.  How can I be salt?  And light?  I must get close to The Man.  I must know what I must do.

The words of The Man as recorded in Matthew 5 (KJV)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Manifesto of a Tired Old Man

Many Christians today remind me more of Chicken Little than they do of Jesus Christ and his saving grace.  How many of us are running around proclaiming that the Sky is Falling when we should proclaim "Jesus is Coming!"

I have been a bit of a political junkie ever since Harry Truman stopped in our town  during his whistle-stop campaign to defeat Dewey.  Perhaps it is a function of age, but I am weary of all that now.  It is all as Shakespeare observed in a different context, "full of sound and fury signifying nothing."  Or as Wordsworth said, "Getting and spending we lay waste our powers."  Reflect on the waste involved in office-seeking, which ultimately is self-seeking, personal aggrandizement, offering nothing of value to the people.

I could not care less who wins the presidency.  It makes zero difference in the long run.  To obsess over it is a waste of what little time I have left and what little emotional and intellectual power that remains in me.

If I change my mind that is my prerogative..

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Toad 2015

Last Tuesday I wrote about the year of the toad.  Although I showed you some pictures, I had none of this year's amphibian crop.

This time I had my camera.  The little guy was resting on the window sill of our sun porch.

Then he hopped into the mulch.

Vanilla dropped a quarter for scale.

There were actually two of these in this corner but I couldn't get them both in the same frame. 

Word of the day:  Fowler's toad, because I think these may be such, but I am not sure. 
  •  Saturday I posed a "mystery" regarding Uncle Bill Lawson.  I found this in the Dallas, Texas city directory for 1884 :  Lawson, William H., shoemkr Hunstable Boot & Shoe Co., r 107 Bryan.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Third Grader: A Repost

Washington School, Canon City: Grades 3 & 4. Building no longer exists, only the bell.  If you click on the picture to bigify it you can see my 1969 Thunderbird with suicide doors.  Cool wheels.

 Once again observing the little angels debussing at the end of their school day, little backs bent under the onus of heavy luggage, I take a look back to another time. Again.

Oh, Frabjous Day! School's out, teacher's let the monkeys out. "No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks."

But short-lived, and all too soon September returns again. The boy is going to a "new" school this year. That is to say, to the building where is housed grades three through five. I don't know why this structure, I just report, you decide. The main change in the school day routine is that now instead of walking half-mile to the north, The Boy must walk half-mile south.

Total report on inside-the-classroom for this year: 1) The Boy got his knuckles whacked once for something or other, and 2) he could not tell you the name of the teacher if his life literally depended upon it.

On the playground, the little guy found his metier, so to speak. For his father had taught him the correct method of shooting marbles. He was virtually unbeatable. The favorite game was a "golf" style game played with a rectangular array of holes in the dirt, with a fifth hole in the center. Plenty of marbles were thrown into a ring, too, and The Boy could knock the dickens out of them. There was, however, a small problem attendant to this exercise. The Boy, son of a preacher man, was not allowed, in fact was taught it was wrong, to play for "keeps." He could have been the richest marble miser on the East Slope of the Rockies, if only.  

Yet another entertainment, almost as important as the playing of marbles itself, was the trading of marbles. The kids had them all categorized and had developed some sort of table of values in their heads, a virtual Kelly Blue Book of marbledom. The Boy specialized in the collection of "cons" (he lived in a prison town.) This required shrewd dealing, because cons* were worth three or four, or even more glassies.

Ooh, how The Boy hated to hear the bell that ended recess. Ended life, really it did, until the next time they were released to the playground.

*Cons were basic white marbles with gray striping. Get it?


Jim said...
Okay, why was it okay to trade marbles but not win them?p
Secondary Roads said...
Yah, I get it. I was more into comic book swaps than marble games. The ditty we used to recite at the end of the school year was:
School's out. School's out.
Teacher let the fools out.
Open the door and ring the bell.
Tell the teacher that she's swell.

At least that the way I choose to remember it.
Vee said...
Whatever happened to marbles and jacks as favored playground activities?
Lin said...
Playground?? Our kids could barely cram their lunches down in the short time they had for lunch break, more or less have time for jacks or marbles. Teachers unions have killed our school day--reducing the time for lunch/recess to 20 minutes. It's sad for the kids not to have that time for such fun. Recess was a blast when I was a kid.
vanilla said...
Chuck, my friend Wes and I kept our "shared comics collection" at his house. Though our parents were ministers, his were perhaps a little less rigid. I did bring the comics home one or two at a time and when questioned as to origin, ownership, etc. I would say they belong to Wes. Conveniently forgetting to add "and me." I like the way you recall the verse.

Vee, I don't know authoritatively exactly when and how those wholesome pastimes disappeared, but it happened somewhere between the time I finished elementary school as a student and started elementary school again as a teacher.
During that time frame the following occurred:
1) Television became pretty much universally broadcast and pretty much received in most American homes.
2) Ray Kroc's enterprise pretty much overspread the country like a fast-growing fungus.
3) Many homes, it seems to me, became "roosting places" for the few hours between the time frenetic activities ended and the alarm sounded to awaken the inhabitants to another round of more of the same.
I am not necessarily making an argument that there is a cause/effect relationship to be inferred. I understand that in certain technologically less advanced parts of the world, marbles (and perhaps jacks) are still played.

Jim, the second is gambling, which is a vice; the first is commerce. If I were to "put up" a bunch of marbles against a bunch of yours for a shootout, winner take all, one of us would go home deprived, the other sated. Oh, and should I happen to know that you didn't have a chance, I would be running a con. Mom didn't want to raise a hustler. (I wasn't allowed to play pool, either.) If we are trading marbles, we come to an agreement that is mutually satisfactory, each of us getting something we want. Suppose I offer to trade to you my 2009 Escalade and my 50" HDTV for your cherry 1964 Pontiac Catalina Safari. You have the option to trade or refuse. Either way, no one is hurt. Always happy to provide an ethical insight. ;>) btw, I don't have an Escalade.

Amen, Sister. Preach it Lin. I was a school principal for eighteen years, and had to fight tooth and nail to keep recess times for the kids. I think we still have a couple (I've seen kids on the playground from time to time) but it is a shame that children today are not allowed time for free play and kid-to-kid interaction without some adult "organizing" everything.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

High School, Senior English

He prayeth best who loveth best 

All things both great and small

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all.

              --Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Hunstable and Moore

A mystery unfolds yet remains a mystery.  Last Thursday  I posted a picture of my great uncle William H. Lawson in front of his shop in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.  Included in the packet of pictures given to me was the above picture labelled simply "Bill Lawson."  I can see that one of these gentlemen could be a younger version of the shopkeeper in Thursday's photo.

But here is the mystery.  Remember that I know nothing of Mr. Lawson's career other than the line in the obituary of his mother and the snapshots I am sharing.  I attempted some online research and found that Hunstable and Moore established a bootery in Dallas, Texas about 1885 or 1886.  As the only other leather works with a similar name that I could find was a Hunstable firm in Berrien Springs, Michigan, I might, correctly or erroneously, conclude that this picture was from Dallas.  Now I do know that Mr. Lawson was born in Tennessee and died only a few miles away in Virginia.  But I do not know that he ever traveled to Texas.  But he might have done.  So the mystery remains.

Any Lawson descendants who can shed light on my mystery?

The Moore of H & M died in 1894. Some shenanigans, apparently an outgrowth of admixture of business and personal funds, landed the firm in court, the proceedings and outcomes of which are much too convoluted for me to explain.  Heck, for me to understand.   Since I've no personal interest in H & M and since it happened over a century ago, I gave up reading the court documents long before the end.. 

Word of the day: admixture

Friday, September 4, 2015

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Old Times in Virginia

William H. Lawson, shoe repairman Big Stone Gap, Virginia.  Mr. Lawson was my grandmother's uncle.

As is often the case in genealogical research one finds many relatives not directly in ones line. Such a case, for example, would be great great uncles or a great aunt and their descendants.  We are related, yes, but the pursuit of their lives and their offspring is not our primary concern.

A few years ago I received a packet of pictures which included  a number of the offspring of my great great grandmother.  William H. Lawson was among them.  I know from his mother's obituary that he was "a well-known shoe repairman" in Big Stone Gap.   From the photo I infer that he not only could sole your shoes he could block your hat and "French dry clean" your whatever,   whatever that is.  The picture is really cool though.

Word of the day:  infer
STSTT post #2200

*French dry cleaning is a process whereby hand spotting and hand pressing and close attention to detail is employed. I looked it up.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Civic Responsibility


It's that time of year!  Promotional.  The only remuneration received for this advertisement is the warm feeling one gets for doing a good deed.
This coming Monday is Labor Day, the supposed final fling for summer activities.  But wait!  There's more.  On Thursday after Labor Day the Tipton County Pork Festival kicks off its 47th annual celebration on the streets of downtown Tipton.
Our local jeweler has placed the above display in his front window under the banner "Hogs and Kisses."  He's ready for the celebration.  We hope you are too.  Tipton. Thursday noon until midnight Saturday.  Be there. On the Square.
Saturday night headliner:  Joe Diffie
All the events and info here: *click*

Word of the day: pork

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Year of the Toad

This little fellow was on our front doorstep a few years ago.  We see a toad or two in the yard every summer.  This year it has been different though.  We see toads everywhere in the yard, front and back, in the field behind the house.  One can scarcely mow, pull weeds, or even walk across the yard without stirring up a toad or two.  Had to get out of the car and chase one out of the garage before we could put the vehicle to bed last night.

I am wondering of course if this new "plague" could be the offspring of Toad a few generations down the line.  Whereas Toad pictured here was a full three and a half or four inches long, this new crop seems to average about three and a half to four centimeters in length.  Fortunately to date we have neither stepped on one nor churned one up in a mower or weed whacker.

Perhaps the icon that resides by the garage door on a permanent basis is the welcoming factor in this recent invasion.

Given the prodigious number of insects the little rascals consume, we are happy to see them about.

Word of the day: prodigious