Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Grump, Grumble, Gripe

Morning honestly wasn’t too bad. I woke up too early and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I took a shower. It wasn’t long, though, that I realized that if I didn’t get a LITTLE more sleep, I was going to feel like crap at my noon doctor’s appointment. So, I set the alarm and lay back down. I STILL woke up way before I needed, but I felt okay, so I guess my rest was enough. The sleep doc said that my apnea wasn’t too bad, but that I’d still benefit from a c-pap, so I said “fine, sign me up.” I came home sort of glad that I was still over a half-step from death’s door.

After munching on something that I don’t even remember now, I got the yard half-mowed before the mower went kaput. Same as last time—when I put the blades in gear, the engine dies. Plus, the mower deck is low on the “driver’s side” again. Now my lawn will be half-mowed for the Fourth. Rah! Rah!

I then called the trash company to ask them explain why my bank paid my last check to them, but they show that bill as unpaid. Of course they had no record of my payment, even though I gave them the date of my check, the account number, the routing number and the check number, and the fact that my bank had paid it. Of course, that wasn’t enough, I now need to contact my bank and have THEM fax a copy of the cancelled check to them. That’s okay; I’ll have them do that. I had to discuss this problem with someone in a company office clear out in Phoenix, Arizona, rather than the local office, so I think it’s time to switch to the local trash company.

My wife and I then took a jaunt to town to allow me to pick up some dope at the Kroger’s pharmacy. There were six people ahead of me and by the time I was done at the counter, my water pill had kicked in again, and I had to visit the filthy pig sty that Kroger’s calls a restroom.

On the way home, I stopped at the little country cemetery, where much of my family is buried, and retrieved some flowers and a flag from Dad’s grave before the guy that mows the place pitched them. That’s when my stomach cramps started. Thankfully, I made it home without having to stop the truck and dive into the woods. Apparently, last night’s mushrooms in Fettuccini Alfredo didn’t agree with me. Hey, I just remembered what I had for lunch—left-overs! I better take a little green pill if I don’t want a repeat of that experience!

Oh well, my day is done and TOMORROW IS A NEW DAY! (Of course I’ll have to start it with a call to the bank, though.) © 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

My Day In The Slow Lane

My wife was awake all last night, so slept way past noon. I decided to try napping a little more myself, but it didn’t work. I finally just did everything I could think to do on the computer, in order to stay quiet enough not to wake her. After arising, we talked a while, she fixed some lunch, then finally decided that she needed to go to the Chinese Emporium to pick up a couple things. She goes there partly for exercise, as she pretty much walks around until she wears down.

I did my best to beat in time, but I’ve spent so many hours there in the last few months that it’s almost like torture to have to stay inside while she wanders the aisles. Still, it’s too hot to be outside. I tend to drift from the tools to the sporting goods, to the lawn and garden section, to the magazines, to the restroom, repeat, repeat, repeat.

I very nearly “bumped into” my ex-wife there today, when we almost collided at an intersection. I think we both smiled, I said “excuse me,” she said “hello” and we both moved on. That’s the first time we’ve spoken in 30 years. Actually, I would like to have spoken to her a second and congratulated her on the two teaching awards that she’s received over the years, one state and one national; I always knew that she was good at teaching.

I had to smile after seeing her, thinking about how she got all concerned when I was about 20 pounds over-weight. No doubt, she was shocked at the blimpish old man she saw in the handicapped cart. I have to admit, she was slim and trim and didn’t look her age. Good for her; her life will be the better for it. I suffered a lot of grief when we split up, maybe she did, too; I really don’t know. It was probably for the best, though, especially for her, as we were hopelessly mismatched. I could give some details that would explain some things, but it’s all water over the dam at this point. I wish her a long and happy life.

When the missus and I got back out to the truck, it was 100 degrees in the parking lot. It dropped to 95 as we passed through the “burbs,” and 86 a quarter mile after we hit the country. It was 84 as I parked the truck in front of the house. There’s a lot to be said for country living!

I heard only one locust hollering yesterday; I think they’ve about run their course. I doubt if I’m here to see (or hear) their next invasion; I’d be 78 if I was. I’m not sure that I want to live that long, at least not if this world stays on the same path and my health declines much at all. I have a much better place waiting for me. Still, the drive to survive is so strong, I’ll probably do everything I can to see that next horde of locusts (or the next day). Like they say, we all want to go to heaven, we just don’t want to take today’s bus.

It’s raining again down in flood country. They finally had some reports of looting, probably by druggies needing a fix. The Fayette County Sheriff warned that any looters they caught would be jailed. He also warned that if residents caught them first, they might never MAKE IT to jail. I suspect he’s right. © 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016

More Arrowheads (w/pic)

Click image to enlarge.

During World War II, my grandfather lived on a small farm near Point Pleasant, West Virginia and worked in a ship-building yard there. With their fields in the flood plain of the Kanawha River, it’s not surprising that they turned up a few arrowheads as they plowed with their horses or mule. I suspect these arrowheads were all found by my grandfather, but some could have been found by my uncle or great-grandfather. Regardless, it was my uncle that put them on a small board and took them to grade school for a project.

As I said when I showed the photo of my dad’s collection, I can only say for sure that the smallest ones are truly arrowheads, though the others might have been. The rest could just as easily been points for lances (not spears) or atlatl darts. Something to think about – any complete point was probably lost in use; otherwise, they would have reused it until it broke. That brings us to the roundish pointed one – my guess is that the point broke in use and the owner reworked it to use either as a blunt arrow point for small game, OR as a skinning knife. Naturally, that’s only a GUESS.

My uncle passed away several years ago and I inherited these because everyone knew that such things interested me. He DOES have one adult grandson, though, so I’ve decided to pass them along to him. With them, I’ll include a small, three compartment mahogany box that my uncle gave me, which he picked up in Haiti, when he was in the navy. Also, I’ll send him a brass belt buckle with Granddad’s initial on it (his great-granddad) that he wore for years on his work belts. I hope he appreciates them. He seems like a good guy, so I suspect he will. © 2016



I can't remember now if I stole this from Harry or found it on Facebook. Hey, maybe I should go into politics, too!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Corporate Greed

I was complaining recently of sticker shock on some small hardware items. It’s easy for companies to make excuses for the higher prices, but the lack of production in this country and having near monopolies on the market encourages many companies to severely gouge the consumer, whether we’re speaking of drugs, food, hardware or other goods.

A case in point is common nails at Lowe’s. From a reliable source, I’ve learned that Lowe’s buys their nails from China at $350 a ton if they buy 25 tons and more. I can’t even imagine them buying ONLY 25 tons EVER, considering the size of their company. That’s about 17 cents a pound. In 30# boxes at $45.43, they get $1.47 per pound. In 5# boxes at $11.98, they get $2.30 per pound. In 1# boxes at $3.87, they get (obviously) $3.87 a pound. Remember, they paid only 17 cents a pound; I’m sure that boxing them didn’t cost $3.70 per box!

If I’m thinking correctly, their mark-up is approximately 850% for 30# boxes, 1350% for 5# boxes and 2000% for 1# boxes. Keep in mind that jewelers used to be considered greedy with a 400% mark-up.

If you look around, you’ll notice that the things people NEED the most, have gone up the most. Now I fully understand and support supply and demand, but I also understand monopolies and GREED! The market will deal with the former. God Almighty will someday deal with the latter! © 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016

More Word-Loss “Beefs”

Language is a living thing. Otherwise, we’d still be saying “ugh” and using pantomime to communicate (if we ever did in the first place). Still, some changes are technically improper English and I don’t condone them, even if I sometimes use them. Other words simply replace the terms of the previous generation; perhaps that’s why old geezers like me sometimes object. I don’t care so much for change, and I don’t always enjoy being reminded just how old I’m getting.

One word that I get tired of hearing is the term “tsunami.” Why must we always use the word from some other culture? I thought “tidal wave” was just fine. Then there’s “lanai” being used for “porch.” Now, I realize that if you’re in Hawaii, that IS the proper term. I also understand that it can be used to differentiate a hard-floored, roofed area furnished as a room and maybe even with removable wall panels. However, more and more, I’m hearing the term used for a plain old porch on any house within sight of a body of water, anywhere along the coast of the continental U.S. Get off your high horse folks, it’s just a cotton-pickin’ porch.

I notice, too, that the terms “twister” and “cyclone” have pretty-much disappeared from the American version of the English language. Every circle of wind is now called a “tornado” if the wind speed is judged fast enough. I suppose it’s because the term is of Spanish origin, thus making more politically correct.

And what about “dinner?” Everyone today assumes you mean supper when you say the word. Dinner is at or about noon, folks. That’s why those big noisy things are called “dinner bells.” They called the farm workers into the noon meal, or dinner. Now, we say lunch, which is a corruption of the French term “luncheon,” which originally meant a snack, NOT a full meal. Even worse, restaurants often serve “brunch” these days, a meal for people too lazy to get up for breakfast and too impatient to wait for dinner!

I guess I’d best shut my trap. Most of you probably feel that I’ve blathered on long enough (for those of you familiar with the term). ;-) © 2016

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Have You Heard…


…of the expression “Wednesday week” (or Monday week, and so on)? I used the expression on the phone with my mom today and, of course, she understood. A lot of folks these days wouldn’t, though. It’s a term that I don’t hear anymore, except on rare occasions from old geezers like myself. I suppose it’s a dying piece of American terminology. To those who’ve never heard, it simply means “a week from Wednesday.” Have you heard the expression? Do you STILL hear it in your “neck-of-the-woods?” © 2016

The Trip Home

It was grey dawn as I stepped out the door at the hospital annex where I’d been overnight for sleep testing. As I had done first thing when exiting my truck at sundown last night, I surveyed the parking lot. There were no drunks, suspicious characters or questionable critters, so I proceeded. (Not that I wouldn’t have anyway; I just like to be aware.) There had been no-one inside the unlocked automatic doors as I’d come last night, and there was none this morning. The guard house on the far edge of the lot had obviously been abandoned long ago. I suppose the hospital will wait until some madman kills a few folks before they reinstate the funds to have meaningful security. I call my wife to tell her that I’m on my way home, and notice that the read-out on the dash says 65 degrees.

I pull onto the deserted Sunday morning downtown street, go around a couple blocks to get headed the right direction and find myself alone on a three-lane street, headed for my “end of town.” I check my mirror again at the first light and hear the driver who just pulled up behind me give a slight beep of his horn. I return my gaze forward to discover that the light has turned green in the second that looked into the mirror. As I pull away from the light, the guy changes lanes and shoots around me. I can’t help but be amused at the next light when he has to stop, but I go cruising by in the turn lane.

The streets remain nearly deserted as I go through the north end of town. Even the church crowd hasn’t stirred yet. At the edge of town, an almost painfully bright area glows on the horizon, as the dew on the grass makes the golf course appear to have suffered a heavy frost. One of last year’s raccoons trots away from the playground equipment of the nearby school, where he’d probably been checking for treats the neighborhood kids may have dropped. The read-out on the dash now says 63 degrees.

It seems to be grit-gathering time for the birds, especially the cardinals, as I drive along and spook them from their stations along the side of the road. At the first valley farm, a thin layer of fog, perhaps only four feet thick, rises from the over-ripe heads of grass yet unmowed, due to a rainy spring. At the next farm, mown hay lays in the dew, the owner hoping that it will dry enough to put up before the predicted rain comes on Tuesday. At the next farm, a mist rises from the waters of two ponds that cover ground where cattle grazed when I was a kid.

As I turn up the hollow on the road that takes me home, I notice that the little valley is filled with a light fog. I wind up the road of the high ridge where I live, remembering that my wife said it felt like she was driving in the mountains the first time she drove it. It even has a hairpin curve. At least the road has guard rails now. It didn’t until about ten years ago. Of course, I can remember when it was gravel, too. As I top the hill, I exit the forest that lines both sides of the drive up, and enter between fields of another farm. This one, too, has hay down, the owner hoping for a couple days of dry weather.

Before long, I pull into the driveway and park the truck in front of our porch. The sun is now one finger above the horizon and the read-out says 61 degrees. My wife waits in the doorway, glad to see me after a night of deliberate wakefulness. She can put the gun back now. Even the dog seems relieved that “the BIG dog" is back to keep an eye on things. We don’t usually eat breakfast but, today, my wife has gravy and biscuits prepared. After some food and a little chatter, we all go to bed to get a little more rest. © 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Looking At Tools

We went to the Chinese Emporium again today. While my wife picked up a few things, I wandered around most of the store trying unsuccessfully to find something interesting. Naturally, nearly ALL the tools in the hardware area (both hand tools and electric) were from China. I DID find a couple trash cans made in America. When I can spare a few bucks, I think that I’ll get one and use it for a “water barrel” at one of our downspouts; it never hurts to have an extra source of water. Eventually, I’d like to do that at every downspout.

My last stop of the day was out in the lawn and garden section to look at the hand tools. Since I used to work for Ames, I’m always interested to see how they’ve further sold their souls, since becoming just another importer for the most part. Their stuff seemed to be made less in China these days than in India. Also, many of their tools were “assembled in America from foreign and domestic parts.” I guess that means the handles are American ash, while everything else is from China or India. They bought out Council Tools a while back, I heard, so I look for THEIR products to eventually go to hell in the proverbial hand-basket as well, if the story is true.

There were “splitting wedges” there made by somebody (they didn’t put their name on them) that were so blunt that they’d probably jump out of the wood for the first five minutes that you beat on them. Stanley’s shovels, which we used to make at Ames, are now made in China. The morons stamp their name, in big raised letters, right on the blade, never considering how that would add friction to use of the shovel and make dirt stick to it worse.

I was glad to see that Fiskars still makes their axes and hatchets in Finland, so the steel should be good, but I was surprised at how thick the blades were and at the steepness of the grind. I’ve never been an admirer of their plastic handles, but I guess I could live with their axes, if I couldn’t find a good antique one to rehaft. As I left, I looked at some Fiskars hand clippers and saw that they were all made in China. I suppose their axes will follow someday, another victim of corporate greed.

More and more, if you want a good tool, you have to buy an antique one and refurbish it. © 2016

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Visiting An Old Friend

The first five years, I went to a three room school in the country. When my sixth grade came around, though, they moved fourth, fifth and sixth grades to a new school in town. I won’t waste time commenting on details of the poor management of the school or its ridiculous architectural design. I was lucky to get a good homeroom teacher, and most of my other teachers were reasonably decent, as well. I certainly got thrown in with a lot of kids that I didn’t know. I soon learned how mean-spirited and cynical a lot of city kids could be. Not surprisingly, we country kids tended to pretty-much hang together rather than trust friendships with the city-slickers.

Ron was an exception; he seemed to be liked by city-slickers and country kids alike. I’m sure it was his contagious orneriness and sense of humor (or was it the other way around). His folks had recently bought the corner store about a half-block from the school, where my dad dealt some, so I sort of got to know him on two fronts. Dad used the little store as his bank of sorts, stopping in to cash his firewood checks of a late afternoon or evening after delivery. He’d usually have a bottle of pop and a candy bar plus, often times, pick up a couple grocery items he knew that we needed. Since I usually went with Dad after school when possible, I often bumped into Ron as he was helping his dad in the store.

Gradually, Ron and I got to be fairly good friends. We had some classes together in junior high and high school, and there were always our meetings at the store. We never got to be “best” friends, there was always someone else in both our lives that filled that spot, but I’d say we were “good” friends. I can’t remember if we ever went hunting together, but he and his brother came out to the farm a few times during squirrel season. Also, the two of them and one of my younger cousins and I once camped under the overhang where Indians used to have a hunting camp. I remember showing them the features that the amateur archaeologist had pointed out to me as we excavated the site several years earlier.

He ushered at my wedding and I at his, but that sort of ended our days of interaction. My first wife soon became ashamed of the two-room apartment where we lived and got to where she wouldn’t socialize with anyone who had a better home than we did, which Ron and his wife soon had. My second wife was quite bashful around strangers and had numerous insecurities, which caused her to not want me to connect with anyone who knew my ex. Also, over the years, she’s become somewhat sensitive about our humble cabin at the edge of the woods (déjà vu all over again). Ron extended several invitations over the years, but finally gave up, understandably.

Through the years, Ron and I have bumped into each other in public and have caught up what little we could in such a small amounts of time. A few years ago, we connected on Facebook and he now follows my blog, so we’re a little more connected than we were for many years.

Recently, he had a fall and broke an ankle badly. He ‘s been pretty much house-bound as he tries to survive the extremely long time needed for proper healing of the awful break he suffered. I’ve been feeling rather small, that I hadn’t made any effort to stop by and see him so the other day, when I was in his area “on business,” I swung by to give him the arrowheads that I’d promised for him and his two brothers. I only stayed for about half-an-hour, since I never told the little woman my plans, but we had a good visit. Our connection was as strong as it was 40 years ago, it seemed to me.

I’m at least going to make an effort to call him once in a while, especially while he’s healing. We’ll see what happens from there. In the meanwhile, I’ve told him that he’s on my mind and in my prayers. © 2016

Monday, June 13, 2016

Lunch With “The Kids”

I had a birthday on Saturday and my stepson messaged me that day and asked if we’d like to have lunch with him on Sunday. The implication was that it was for my birthday. Being a great lover of free food, I quickly agreed. The next day, we met at the restaurant at the appointed time and began what was to be a very pleasant time.

Things weren’t always so. He lost his father, whom he adored, when he was 11. The experience scarred him in ways from which he will never fully recover. I don’t mean that he’s unable to cope with life or anything, but that kind of hurt at that young of an age has permanent effects. It probably was made worse when his mother and I met a year-and-a-half later and soon married. During the confusion of his teen years, I was pretty much the evil stepdad. I think, though, that the problem was made worse by misunderstandings on both my part and his.

He began working before he even got out of high school. Unfortunately, he met a girl there who was a user of people. She liked to party and managed to use up all of his money, and what he could get of ours, before dumping him unceremoniously when his money couldn’t keep up with her desires.

A few years later, He married a girl that we initially thought would be a good little wife for him. That opinion gradually changed, though, as she always made us feel very unwelcome in their home. We noticed that whenever we visited, he was cooking, cleaning, taking care of their little girl and whatever else needed doing, while she sat on her butt smoking a cigarette, drinking coffee, watching TV and ignoring us like we were the plague. She demanded that he leave after seven years, and he finally did. A year or two later, she tried to get him back when he started dating, but he’d learned his lesson.

Then, he had a relationship with a girl who ultimately turned into a two-timing druggie/drunk. Naturally, that eventually came to an end also, but not until he’d wasted four years of his life with her.

He stayed foot-loose for quite a while after that. Then, he met a girl in a bar where he was working and started dating her. We were a little skeptical, though she seemed very nice. I told him that he was only one more bad “woman decision” from being financially ruined for life, so to be very careful. I don’t know what all happened between them, but they eventually quit dating for a while. By that time, we had gotten to know the girl and her story a little better and we really liked her. She had something the other women in his life had lacked—a good and gentle heart. I told him that if he let this one get away, he might spend the rest of his life regretting it. I’m sure my opinion had nothing to do with it, but they did get back together. They’ve been married three years now, and I think his mom and I are almost as happy about it as they are.

My stepson has turned into a responsible and successful fellow. I tell him that I’m proud of him and that I know his father would be VERY proud of him. His wife, though from a somewhat troubled and difficult background herself (including losing both parents and a sister in a very short time), has stayed motivated to make something of her life, has ended up with a PhD in nursing and has a good job at the local hospital. More importantly, she’s proven herself to be a good mother to her children and his, and a helpful and co-operative wife to my stepson (and I think he returns the favor). Not only is she sweet, she’s a lovely young lady, as well, though that’s more a blessing to my stepson than to us. (lol) We love her to pieces, THAT I know!

And so, we sat and had lunch with these two fine young folks, enjoying every minute of their company. I realize that they aren’t perfect, anymore than I am, but they seem comfortable with each other, with us and with their lives. I’m really happy for them and hope that the Lord continues to bless them. We sat and talked for several minutes after we were done eating, hating to part company with them, but we finally felt that we should free up the table for the restaurant’s sake and went our separate ways. They have busy lives, so we’ll miss them for a while before we see them again, but that will give us something to look forward to. © 2016

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mom Fell Out Of Bed!

She’s okay, but she’s a bit embarrassed. It happened at five in the morning on Thursday. She rolled toward one side and down she went. She grazed the night stand with her head, but has no bump or bruise to show for it. She said that she sort of scraped the leg of the bed with her leg, too, but not hard enough to hurt.

The problem was, she was wound up in the covers as tight as the filling in a Cuban cigar. She couldn’t get her legs free and could only work one arm free. She finally “wormed” her way closer the stand and was able to reach the phone. So, she called 911 and explained her predicament. The lady there promised to send someone, and after asking Mom a few questions to be sure she was okay, told Mom that she could hang up if she wanted. About 20 minutes later, the lady called back to tell her that help should be arriving very soon. Mom laughed and said, “I hope you’re right, because there’s a strange man standing in my bedroom doorway.”

Of course it was the EMT’s - him and a lady behind him. Mom said the guy lifted her up with little seeming effort and then they unwrapped her from the covers. They checked her vitals and stayed a few minutes to be sure that she was okay. Jokingly, Mom asked them if they made beds and the lady actually did it! She apologized for being a bother and the guy told her that she wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last to have such problems, and that they wished that all of their calls were that simple. After thanking them profusely, they left and Mom lay down and went back to sleep. She woke up feeling fine and still feels likewise, so she must have landed gently. I guess the Lord was looking out for her! © 2016

Friday, June 10, 2016

Puttering And “Debating”

I got waylaid in my work on the oak trees in the back yard by a long stretch of rainy and/or overly hot weather. This week was nice, but other things needed done. The yard was in bad need of mowing, due to rainy weather, so I took one day to do that. It doesn’t take all day of course, but with the tall grass, it took longer than normal. I also mowed some things that I only mow on an occasional basis, like into the edge of the woods on one side of the yard and down the log trail a ways.

Another day, I pulled the weeds that were trying to grow out from under the front porch and raked last winter’s leaves out from underneath. Some places, there’s only two or three inches through which to thread the leaf rake, so it’s rather difficult. Since prolonged bending over causes me some problems, I’d rake for a few seconds, then sit down a couple minutes while I got dizzy and then returned to normal. I repeated that cycle dozens of times before I got the job done. In the process, I learned that we have a hill of red ants under the section of porch that’s closest to the ground. I need to see if I can afford some DECENT under-pinning (not easy to find) and fix it so the leaves can’t get under there anymore. I guess I’ll have to poison the ants if I want rid of them.

This sounds silly, but a large part of one day was spent hanging the two pieces of my 40-foot extension ladder to the outside posts of our back deck. My wife had gotten me some hangers a few months ago, but a search showed that they’d “disappeared” somehow. So I had to go to the Chinese Emporium and get six more. It was too hot to be outside when I got home, so I waited until early evening to resume my work. It took longer than it ever should have for me to hobble around and measure, mark and to drill the stepped holes to accommodate the screw-in part of the hangers and the beginning of the rubbery coating. The ladders looked much better hanging up than leaning against the side of the house.

I’ve been to the top of the extended second section many times in the past, usually tying a one-inch rope around a tree that needed to be pulled a safe direction when it was cut. I only need one of the 20-foot sections to get on my roof, though, so it’s been separated for years. I can’t climb anymore, but I’m keeping the ladder in case I can ever afford to have some work done on the house and the workers need to use it.
Today, I finally got back to working on the oaks again. I found a new blade in the basement, but it was as worthless as the old one. For one thing, it has almost ZERO set. I guess it’s about time for the chainsaw.

I had a political discussion with the young man that I spoke of in an earlier post. His girlfriend (who may actually be his fiancée) was in on it too. They’re both “democrats” I think, but are socialists in reality, being Bernie supporters that they are. I was trying to convince them to vote for Trump, since Hillary is apparently going to be the democrat candidate, but the guy refuses, due an extreme dislike for Trump. I completely understand his feelings but, in my book, NOT voting for Trump is an AUTOMATIC vote for Hillary, whom he loathes. He won’t budge, though, so I didn’t push the issue too far.

 What was interesting was when a black friend of his girlfriend decided that she needed to come to their rescue. She was ready to fight over everything under the sun, not just Trump, and there wasn’t anything that she didn’t “KNOW.” Her mentioning that she was a “graduate,” and her obvious fondness for the logic of race-baiters like Jackson and Sharpton, made me think that she may have grown up poor and had something to prove. I responded to her (well written) raging two or three times, but soon bowed out of the discussion for reasons that you can probably understand. In her next rage, she mentioned that I’d lost the argument, but I didn’t respond. I’m sure she had no idea that she was dealing with an old geezer who learned long ago not to waste time with young know-it-alls. I learned later that she had been on her school debate team, which made her verbal skills understandable. Sadly, being skillful and being wise are two entirely different things.  I noticed that as soon as I dropped out of the conversation, she tried to pick fights with two other guys. I suspect she doesn’t have a lot of friends. LOL © 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Friendly Feller

I don't feel the need to drive as fast as I used to drive. At one time, I could tell you you how fast you could take every bend on my country road in a Plymouth Fury III without rolling it. These days, I rarely make it up to the speed limit. The drive is more pleasant and a vehicle lasts longer if you show a little moderation in your driving. Besides, I gave up my collision insurance, so I'd BETTER be careful.

Unfortunately, most people drive like maniacs and don't like getting behind someone who isn't already doing 15 miles over the speed limit. So it is with a dark grey pickup that sometimes comes up behind me on our country road. Sometimes, I pull over and let him around. Other times, he flies around me like a bat out of....Ohio. Sometimes, when the traffic is heavy, he's just stuck. I will sometimes speed up a little bit for his sake, but never over the speed limit.

He's apparently figured out where I live, for he went by as I was mowing my yard today and gave me the one-finger salute. I don't know who he is, or exactly where he lives, but I went on Facebook and told folks that if they knew anyone who drove my road in a dark grey pickup, to ask him if he'd flown the bird at a guy mowing his lawn today. Then, I told them that if he said "yes," to tell him that I said he was low-class trash, since those are the only folks who communicate that way. If he gets the message, he'll probably be even quicker on the draw next time! lol Copyright 2016

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Photos From A Prior Life

I used to be self-employed, as some of you remember. I grew Christmas trees, logged my own property, ran a sawmill part-time and sold hand-split firewood. I wasn't skinny even then, but swinging an axe, rolling logs and walking up and down hills kept me in pretty good shape. I've always said that I began to die the day I left the woods, and that's in more ways than one. Here are three photos from those days.

Click images to enlarge.

This is a little quarter-acre logyard my neighbor let me keep in a corner of his pasture. As you see, there are piles of seasoned firewood waiting to be split and hauled. My property was just across the fence.

This shows the diameter of the logs that I sometimes hauled on my little truck. The crack in the big log happened after the tree was cut and and the log cut to length. Since it was from tensions within and not from splitting the tree when falling, I doubt if the buyer marked it down. The more horizontal crack in the smaller log looks as if it was probably from misjudging the gravitational tension on the tree when cutting the log to length (my fault), so I probably was docked a grade since there also appears to be a narrow regular tension crack going nearly vertical. This was taken at the opposite end of the little logyard.

Here's another shot, taken at the top of the rise, to show the comparative size of the logs to the truck. It was only a 3/4 ton with extra springs under the back. I HAVE taken heavier loads, but I generally tried not to go beyond a certain point, as I couldn't afford down-time for repairs. The rear axle was slightly forward of center on the 8' bed, so most loads were rather heavy in the rear, giving me an "anti-gravitational" assist for my power steering! I'd gladly have another new truck like that one (but with AC) and give up my Toyota. PARTS of that old truck had over 400,000 miles on them. It was a real work horse.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Dad’s Arrowhead Collection (w/pic)

Click image to enlarge.

Ancient man left more signs of his time on earth than we sometimes realize, but many of those signs are hidden. My paternal grandfather told of living on Neal’s Island in the Ohio River during the 1880’s or early 1890’s as a child. He mentioned that during low water, there was a gravel bar running about a mile downstream from the island, and another one running upstream nearly the same distance. During those times, he’d walk the bars and skip stones across the water like any kid. Back then, arrowheads were so common on the river that they were just another stone to skip. Each rise of the river brought new stone points to be skipped across the water. He said that he could have had a barrel or two of them if he’d saved them all. I wish he had!

He was 30 years old in 1910, when he bought the first part of the farm where I was raised. He bought two connected parcels by 1919. My dad was born in 1925 and was doing a man’s work by age 12. That included a lot of plowing, harrowing and hoeing. Dad had more interest than Granddad in the pieces of flint that sometimes showed themselves in the fields and gardens, especially after a rain, and he saved all that he came across. So did I, when I came along, and I added a point or two to his collection, and a couple of broken pieces. I also helped an amateur archeologist dig out the overhang where Native Americans once camped when they hunted the area. That added a few small pieces to the collection. I inherited that collection when Dad passed away too soon, at age 59, a year younger than I am today.

As many of you know, my wife and I have slowly been going through our stuff over the years, trying to thin it out, so her son and his wife won’t have such a big job ahead of them when we croak someday. Being of a practical nature, I first thought of selling the collection. A check online, though, showed that the common garden-variety arrowheads like I have only sell for two to five dollars. That seemed like sort of a waste to me. I decided, instead, to give them away to people who knew Dad and had connections to the farm. The list now includes my stepson and two of his daughters, a childhood friend and his two brothers, two younger cousins, three guys who have helped out on the farm some in years past, and a former friend who used to hunt there with me a lot when I was younger. I was just going to give them one each, so I’ll still have some left over.

The largest is 3-3/8” and is one that I found on a gravel bar when I was fishing the creek over the hill from where I was raised. I suspect it was actually a knife, with a handle glued and wrapped on the wide end. The next largest is the whitish one next to the right on the second row, it measures 3”. Next is the one the top left at 2-7/8”. The two shortest ones measure an inch.

Though any of them COULD be, the only ones that I would say absolutely are arrowheads are the six on the left in the lower row and the two narrow ones near the center of the third row. Any of the others could have, theoretically, been lance points or points for atlatl darts just as easily. The larger they are, the more likely to have been used as atlatl points. If you don’t know what an atlatl is, I’d suggest you google the term and read up on it. As for lances, I don’t mean spears, but fairly light, short 4-5 foot weapons that could be used like a foil when fighting an enemy, or for finishing off a game animal.

I don’t think ANY of these are large enough to be spear points. Incidentally, I seriously doubt that spears were ever thrown normally, but were used like a cross between a quarter-staff and a lance (except maybe when they still hunted mastodons). Throwing a spear would be inviting the breakage of a point that took a fair amount of time to make, plus, it could easily put your weapon in the hands of an enemy. But, of course, these are only my opinions, and you know what they say about opinions.

Despite appearances, the points in the top row are all complete, as are the first seven in the second row. (Incidentally, the point at the top right is of a type of stone that we don’t even have around here. That makes me think that it washed here from a long ways off during the last ice age, or that a warring brave from another area carried it here, or maybe, it was acquired in trade with another tribe.) The eighth point in the second row MIGHT be complete, but I can’t help but feel that it had a base originally. The rest, with the exception of the knife and the six smallest ones, are incomplete points. The object in the right lower corner is a shard of “corded” pottery found at the overhang, while the four objects to its left are charred pieces of bone found in the fire-pit there.

I’ll keep the knife that I found, and I may give the pot shard, the bones and one point to the man who now owns the overhang. I don’t know what I’ll do with the rest just yet. © 2016

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Trip To The Chinese Emporium

Yes, we went again. Disappointing; isn’t it? A big black guy, both tall and overweight (but clean and neat) was walking in the entrance when we got there, but unlike some folks, he stepped over into the grass when he heard us coming up behind him. I let my wife out at the lawn and garden entrance, as she prefers, then went looking for a handicapped parking space.

I hadn’t gone far when I saw one, and got ready to turn into that aisle. Unfortunately, a guy coming towards me along the front main traffic aisle took forever getting by. By that time, I had two other folks with handicapped stickers trying to steal the space from me, but they were prevented from doing so by a worker stopped in the way with a string of carts, and an old lady passing me from behind at the dizzying speed of about ½ mile per hour. There we all sat, in a sort of Mexican standoff, until I finally tired of the situation and moved on to other areas to search. I found a good spot on the second swing through the lot.
After hobbling inside with the help of my cane, I waited only a couple minutes when a nice young lady returned a handicapped cart her mother had been using, and asked me if I needed it. I said yes and thanked her.

A little way down the front main aisle, there was another really large black guy selling photo packages. His voice was loud, but friendly sounding, but since my own personal experience with blacks has made me very prejudiced (though not bigoted or racist), I was suspicious of him, especially since I knew he wasn’t a local. My thoughts of him turned 180 degrees, though, when I heard him mention Thessalonians in a conversation with another fellow. Anyone who even KNOWS that term is probably a brother under the skin. My opinion was re-enforced a few minutes later when I heard him thank someone for their time and say “God bless you.”

My water pill soon kicked in and I went to the restroom. I took a seat to check for other possibilities and laid my black plastic phone on the black plastic toilet paper dispenser, since my wife nearly always manages to call at awkward moments. She didn’t that time, though. A few minutes later, I was looking at something in the magazine section, when the black guy who’d walked there began looking at the rack behind me. I politely asked, “Sir, do you need me to move my cart so you can look at the rack better?” He never looked up and he never responded, though I already KNEW he wasn’t deaf. He soon moved over in front of me and then moved on. Guys like him are why some folks still use the “N-word” and why they become prejudiced.

In a few minutes, I went back and looked through the sporting goods stuff. As I sometimes do, I was looking to see if anything was American made. Stanley vacuum bottles were all from China (as are their once fine tools). At first, I thought Thermos brand was American made, but then I found a tiny little sticker on the bottom that said “made in China.” So it was with Zebco and Shakespeare products. Remington’s and Hoppe’s liquid products were American made, but theirs and Outers accessories were all Chinese. All the Real Tree and other camo products by other brands were all Chinese, also. I THINK all the firearms and reloading supplies were American made, though I didn’t check the firearms. The smaller Energizer batteries on sale there to power some of the outdoor gadgets were American made, but the larger sizes were made in Indonesia. Even though I can’t stand any sport that requires a ball or a puck, I checked Wilson products out of curiosity. Every one that I picked up was made in China.

You know, I’m old enough to have witnessed a lot of companies move their operations overseas to cut costs, but NOT ONE TIME did I ever see them pass that savings on to the customer. It was always about corporate profits and the hell with American workers. I think that greed is already catching up with those companies, since poor Americans can no longer afford to buy their foreign products. Even China is feeling the impoverishment from people not buying their production. It’s tempting to blame only the companies, but the truth is, the situation has also been caused by American consumers willing to buy the foreign stuff, until it’s THEIR job that ends. THEN, they scream bloody murder!

Before we left, my wife asked me if I’d brought my phone, because she’d tried to locate me. Forgetful old geezer that I am, I told her that I’d apparently left it at home. When we got home and unloaded our meager purchases, we called the store and someone had turned my phone in, so I went and picked it up. Being grumpy is not a good thing, I suppose, but being old and feeble-minded is even worse. My wife will be hounding me about my phone for a couple months now, maybe because this is about the fourth time I’ve pulled this stunt. Sigh! © 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Found Them! (w/pic)

Click to enlarge image.

When I moved here 35 years ago, I brought a few iris from my home-place . I'm glad I did, because the heathen that bought the place ten years ago mowed off anything that bloomed, including the peonies, the iris and the ancient lilac bush in the back yard. Heathen I tell ya!

I've been trying to find out how long they were there, but no-one seemed to know. Finally, Mom remembered that Dad had moved some kind of flower from an old home-site back on the farm many years ago, before the Japanese Honeysuckle smothered them out. I remember them mixed with some antique roses (now gone) in the side yard. Looking at pictures of the place from the 40's, though, I noticed the iris were missing. Therefore, I've decided that Dad probably moved them there sometime in the 50's, since I always remember them.

My great grandmother had lived in the little house back there before lightning burned it down while she was in town one day in the 30's. So, I still don't know if she planted them, or if the owners before had planted them.

I then got wondering if they had a name, So I googled the phrase "heirloom two-tone bearded iris," and low and behold, the second photo was them! These words were to one side of their photo:"Tall Bearded Iris 'Perfection' - An Heirloom from 1880 - Hybridized by Barr." So now I know what there is to know. © 2016