Sunday, February 26, 2017

Recent Porch Sits

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Weather and my wife's “schedule” have conspired lately to keep the pooch and I from having much porch time. A week ago today was one exception. It was an indicator of the temperature that we heard the spring peepers singing for the first time this year on our way back from town. That would have been February 19th. A tad early, it seems to me.

When we got to the house, I let the Mighty Dachshund drain and dump and sniff, and then we settled in on the porch for a while. A wren and a couple tufted titmice supplied conversation in the brushy edge of woods before us. In the head of the small hollow only a stone's throw before us, a small woodpecker thump-thumped on a limb, while a larger one drummed out a jungle beat on a dead snag. Crows cawed from a couple locations in the distance, but sounded as if they were moving about as if looking for something of interest. Just under the eaves of the porch roof, I could see through the tree tops as a buzzard circled high over the roadway, just visible through a corner of woods, looking for road-kill, no doubt.

The weather was entirely too comfortable for me to be sitting there in jeans and a T-shirt. I should have been freezing my backside sitting in the swing on a mid-February day. That's why the Easter flowers (daffodils) at the other end of the porch came out in bloom that day. Suspiciously warm winter we've been having! The pooches little nostrils had been doing the tango the whole time she'd been laying at my feet. At one point, she began growling at the orange color visible through the woods from a road sign put up the week before warning of a rough spot in the road. She knew it was something new, since the last time she'd lain there studying the landscape. It's been warm enough lately that the highway department could have repaired the rough spot had they chose, but I guess it was easier to just put up a sign. Finally, the missus got lonely and told me that I should bring in the dog, so we obliged.

It was fairly warm for a night for February, when I took the pooch outside at 3:30 the next morning. It was 49 degrees when I took her out again at 7. After giving her a chance to drain and dump and cleaning her backside (no poopy butts in the house, please), we settled in on the porch. It had rained a little in the night and the fog lay heavy on the hilltop area surrounding us. There were no little birds to be heard at the time, but the sound of traffic on the distant four-lane was louder than normal. The traffic sounds are much more intrusive than they were when I built this house 37 years ago. There wasn't yet any traffic on the road out front that morning, though. A quiet rumble came from the throat of the Mighty Dachshund as she noticed a couple deer on the far side of the pile of wood that I've been stacking up to sell. Their shapes were softened by the fog, but she knew what they were. I told her “no bark” and she grudgingly kept her comments to the low rumbles she'd already been making.

Within a few minutes, I could pick out at least three roosters crowing in the distance and some crows on the far side of the hill were getting a bit outspoken about something. Once, I heard a pair of geese flying through (or above) the fog. They seem to be pairing up for nesting already in my area. The woodpeckers from the day before came back after a few minutes of our watch, but I certainly couldn’t see them. Somewhere above the house a small airplane flew, heading away from the local airport where it had probably just departed. By the time we’d been porch sitting a half-hour, traffic began on the little country road at the edge of our front lawn. It was easy to tell who’d allowed themselves plenty of time for their foggy drive and who was already running late for work. Even with the missus sleeping blissfully away, I decided to end our watch and took the pooch inside. I was on the computer in another half-hour when the sun finally broke through the fog. © 2017
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Saturday, February 25, 2017

More Memories

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This is a letter I wrote to a cousin about my great grandfather's family. Some of you may enjoy the stories. The names have been deleted to protect both the innocent AND the guilty. - lol

I don't remember Grandpa, of course, but I remember Grandma, as we called her, very well. She was absolutely the sweetest little old lady ever. I always liked to visit her. As long as she was living, Aunt Mary would go over and stay for a week or so as she could. I think she did that with your grandma some, too.

Grandpa lived and preached at X for many years, but I know that he also spent a year preaching out in Kansas City, Kansas, where his brother John was a doctor. There should be a photo of John on his cavalry horse in the photos I'm sending you. John's home was damaged and his $1000 grubstake washed away in a big flood in Kansas City soon after he moved there. That must have been a bitter pill to swallow.

Grandpa preached at New Haven, West Virginia (down river an hour or more), for 2-3 years also. Aunt Mary was just little then and remembers always getting in trouble for reaching through the picket fence and pulling the red hair of the little boy next door. She said she always figured the fascination was that his hair was about the same shade as her mother's hair.

Another place that Grandpa preached was at X, West Virginia, up in X County. He grew frustrated and left after a year, though. He said that he never saw such a place. Half the people who lived there were running around on their husbands or wives, and those who didn't spent all their time talking about those who did. He said he couldn't make a dent in the situation no matter how hard he tried. The funny thing is, forty years after he passed away, I drove a route truck through there for Red Rose Feed (bought out by Carnation by that time) and the town was STILL that way!

He told a story, I guess, of when he first began preaching as a circuit rider. A young couple in some back county wanted him to marry them, and when the time came, the weather was rainy and all the streams were swollen. He rode for THREE DAYS to get there, very nearly drowning a couple times along the way. After the ceremony, the groom asked him what he owed him, and he gave the joking answer “whatever you think she's worth.” The young fellow gave either a dollar or a quarter, I can't remember which now. Of course back then, a dollar was a day's wages and didn't come easy, so he told the story not as a complaint against the young man, but as an illustration that being a preacher wasn't always an easy task, or the job well paid.

Something we don't think about, perhaps, is that the old-time preachers led some pretty rough and tumble lives due to the circumstances of the day. They couldn't always afford to be the mild mannered guys we often think of as being pastoral material. Grandpa was no exception. Sometime while he was still preaching at X, a young man from the community sat in the back of the church and began heckling Grandpa. I think he gave him a warning or two, but it went unheeded. SO, Grandpa walked back to the young man, grabbed him by the back of his jacket collar and his belt, drug him out the door and pitched off the steps and into the lawn. He then calmly walked back to the front of the church and continued his sermon. A few weeks later, the young man was saved and soon became a respectable member of the community. Years later, I went to church for a few years with a lady who was either his daughter or his niece, but I never mentioned the story. LOL

Grandpa came from a large family, and one of his brothers was named Steve (Stephen, I assume). He was a big strapping fellow and became a policeman in Chicago. Because of his size and abilities, they kept sending him into the roughest most dangerous parts of the city. After a few years, he quit, for fear that, like so many of his coworkers, he would die young on the thankless job. He then moved to the Northwest and became a logger, where he eventually got an infection from a splinter under his nail and died of blood poisoning. I guess you never know!

I don't know if Uncle Albert just went from job to job all his life in the oilfields or if he ended up working for one particular company, like South Penn. I DO know that he worked some for my Granddad, and then worked in Texas for a while. I only remember meeting him once, over at the old home place. I don't know if you remember it or not. I know there were cattle in the field, and he had a small garden near the little house. I think the barn was still standing at the time, but I don't remember any horse. I mention that because Norman used to grin and tell of trying to talk him into getting rid of his old work horse. Without thinking, Albert replied, “But I wouldn't have anything to haul out the manure!” He had to laugh at himself as it sunk in that there wouldn't BE any manure if it wasn't for the horse. I think he kept the horse, though. I don't blame him. People are a dime a dozen, but a good horse is hard to come by! ;-)

I think I only met Uncle Charlie one time also. It seemed to me that he was living somewhere downtown in an apartment, or maybe a boarding house or old-time nursing home. He couldn't remember my name and kept calling me “Sam,” not that it mattered. He gave me one of those little hammers with the brass handle that has screw-drivers inside. It disappeared somehow over the years, but I think they still make them. He lived with my grandparents and helped at the farm some after he retired. One day, they were up at my Uncle Jim and Aunt Cora's putting in hay. Charlie arrived and walked into the barn just as the big steel needle-like hay hook broke free from the rope, came right down in front of his nose and stuck in the oak floor of the barn just ahead of his feet. I guess he turned white as a sheet, turned around, and began walking home, all without saying a word.
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Friday, February 24, 2017

A Troubling Tuesday

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You might say that Tuesday wasn’t a good day for us. My wife’s youngest brother came out to check out our clothes washer and dish washer (he repairs them and does HVAC work). The news wasn’t good. The clothes washer needed replaced (not that old, yet long out of warranty) and it was going to cost $100 in parts to fix the dish washer—not good for poor folks. That wasn’t the worst, though.

My wife was raised in a theoretically Christian home, but she’s the only one of five remaining kids who’s a Christian. Two are outright atheists and two are agnostics who “believe in God,” but not necessarily in Jesus. Her youngest brother was the last for which she still had any respect (for multiple reasons). Unfortunately, while he was here Tuesday, and I was outside, he unloaded on her about her religion, us being republicans (which we aren’t), us being Trump supporters (which we are, but never told him) and how global warming was going to kill us all in short order, and it was all the fault of republicans, Christians and Trump supporters. She said her once loving and caring little brother was seething with anger and hatred. She said she just tried to bite her tongue and not egg him on in any way. Needless to say, his behavior hurt her deeply and she now feels that she has no family left, except her son, who they’ve half turned against her.

Her son ended up buying us a clothes washer, despite my protests (we could have stolen the money from our vehicle repair budget). Also, a pleasant surprise concerning our utility bills will allow us to have the money to buy the parts for the dish washer, and we can probably put them on ourselves. Nothing heals a broken heart, though. I used to have a lot of respect for that brother of hers, but there’s none left now. I think he would have been okay if he’d married a decent woman, but he didn’t. She plays the part, but it’s all an act. Thankfully, the Lord is getting my wife through this painful situation. © 2017
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Thought For The “Crooked Media”

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From the first moment that Donald Trump walked onto the political scene, the majority of those in the American press have told one lie after another about the man. Even some liberals are beginning to grow tired of the bias and boldness of the press and are beginning to doubt their relevance. Needless to say, moderates and conservatives wrote them off LONG ago.

SO, let’s suppose that Trump has half of America fooled and at some future point actually turns into the tyrannical, bullying fascist the press has called him all along. The press will go ballistic and raise more hell and throw more accusations than ever before, of course. The problem IS, WHO WOULD BELIEVE THEM, when even many liberals are losing faith in them?

In the highly unlikely event that anyone in the press would actually read this (and most likely not grasp the idea), think of the little boy who cried wolf. © 2017
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Call To Preserve PEACEFUL Protest

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A Call To Preserve PEACEFUL Protest

Peaceful protest has always been a big part of democracy in America. We are guaranteed freedom of speech and assembly by our constitution. These rights are considered by our laws to be gifts from God, not government. However, governments being what they are, our founding fathers felt the need to spell out these rights in order to protect them.

Sadly, there are always people who will abuse every right to the point of endangering the rights of others. Such is the case with violent protests. Whereas protests have normally been a representation of the communities in which they occur, they have become mobile, mercenary events moving from city to city and representing the desires of the super-rich who can afford to pay armies of protesters and transport them. Even foreigners are funding protests in America these days. Since these protesters are from out-of-town, they have no ties to the area where such protests are staged and are given to vandalism, looting and violence. These protests are designed to deliberately promote anarchy and lawlessness in America. Their dangerous behavior also stifles the locals from voicing their opinions for fear of losing life and limb.

Therefore, I ask our elected representatives in Washington to make it a felony to protest for pay, a felony for one person or organization, either directly or indirectly,to pay another person to protest and a felony to pay for the transportation of others to a protest UNLESS those individuals are personally acquainted.

Peaceful protest must be protected; anarchy must be squashed.

(Please repost the heck out of this and send a copy to the folks in Washington, including the president. Better yet, write your own letter.)
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Mystery Car (pics)

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A few months ago, I showed you folks a photo taken at "Speed Church" at Speed, West Virginia, probably in 1945. At the time, I wondered about the type of car whose nose was just showing in the photo. I believe even then, my friend "the guru" identified it properly. Recently, I found a slightly larger and clearer version of the same photo, so here it is, with comments by him on the Art Deco hood ornament. (Incidentally, the guy with the "x" on him is my great grandfather on Mom's side, and the lady with the "x" is my great grandmother.)

Click images to enlarge.

"It was a 1937 Ford with a (very rare) Art Deco hood handle available that year only (the so-called ornaments on many older cars were hood latch handles you turned) BUT with some of the front paws broken off.   After mulling it over I think it could be a 37 Ford Phaeton since they were usually the ones with the special hood handles).
"Four years ago some dude wanted 500 bucks for the one pictured and he did not even indicate it was still incomplete (glass missing). The pictures do NOT include the slide-in-from-the-bottom piece of colored or frosted glass or plastic (whatever they used then, most were glass), but the paws are intact on this one. If I remember rightly, the glass insert was available in several colors to match/contrast the color of the car itself. You can see that frosted glass in place on your car.
"The thin forepaws were often broken off with use, due to the need to twist the unit as a handle. I would think if you did not grab it exactly right you would put a lot of stress on the paw and ultimately break it.

"Also included are a couple of shots of a Phaeton."



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Saturday, February 18, 2017

A So-So Sabbath

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The missus wasn’t feeling well today, so we ate lunch late and didn’t head for Chinamart until almost time for the shows to start that I like to watch on Saturday. She wanted to take the Mighty Dachshund, since she got a bad sting the other day when we left her at home. She swelled up on the chest and around her eyes and ears and threw up her lunch after a while. My wife finally gave her a Benadryl and she started slowly getting better, but she still didn’t eat for two days. She seems okay now.

Taking the pooch along meant that I couldn’t go in and get the 5” paint brush I wanted, though. She wouldn’t eat the cheeseburger we got her, so I tried combing her out some. Unfortunately, the guy who parked next to me parked on the line and I had to work in a twist to comb her there on the back seat, so I soon gave it up.
I did get started in my next “little brown book” while waiting for the missus. This one is Hawthorne’s “Grandfather’s Chair.” I don’t know what the printing date was, but it has a 1904 copyright, and was a gift from a neighbor boy to my maternal granddad’s sister as a Christmas gift in 1923. My granddad would eventually marry that boy’s sister, so I knew the guy as my great uncle. The book is basically written at a 6th to 9th grade level, so it should be just right for my underwhelming intellect. I must say that I enjoyed the first couple chapters. There’s a lot of history in it.

After getting home, I put a tarp over my sawmill frame, since rain’s a-comin’. I weighted the tarp down so it wouldn’t blow off, but the tarp covering the lawn mower had already blown off and I didn’t bother to recover it. I also poured the remaining half-gallon of used motor oil from a plastic jug into a similar amount of creosote, so I’d have something to paint on the sawmill frame. Those things were as close as I came to work this Sabbath day. Incidentally, the frame is made from some of the newer, “safer” pressure-treated wood and it’s trying to rot after only two years. Worthless crap! I may just start using oak, since it might actually last longer.

I wish I could find a reasonable Sabbath-meeting church, but the closest one I know is an hour’s drive away. I’d be all for a legitimate keeping of the Sabbath (including no cooking and no conducting business or shopping), but my wife still leans heavily toward the false doctrine begun by Pope Sylvester and Emperor Constantine in the fourth century and perpetuated by a semi-apostate church ever since. It’s nothing that will send us to hell, I believe, but I think most Christians are losing blessings by teaching that it’s okay to break one of the Ten Commandments. We don’t have good enough clothes to go anyway; God may not care, but PEOPLE DO, no matter what they say.

The missus still isn’t up to snuff tonight, but we’ll probably go back to Chinamart tomorrow and get what she didn’t have energy enough to get today. It’s raining here as I finish this, but it’s supposed to stop in the night. Maybe I can get a few more pieces of wood split tomorrow, like I did yesterday. I guess only time will tell. © 2017
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Monday, February 13, 2017

Down Home (w/pic)

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Click image to enlarge.

This photo is of the house where my paternal grandparents lived the last three-plus decades of their lives. It was taken just a little before my time, as I don’t remember the bee hives at the right edge of the photo (property of a neighbor), while I DO remember a small coal/wood shed at the back corner of the house that isn’t in this picture, as well as a small deck that replaced the front porch that’s missing in this image. If I were to guess a date, I’d say between 1950 and 1958.

This house sat on the same farm where I was raised, except down in the valley (across from present-day Mustang Acres) whereas I grew up in a similar-looking farmhouse less than a quarter-mile away on the hill above this house. Dad was born in and lived in the house on the hill the first four years of his life, until the family moved to this house, because it had running water. He lived there until about a year after he and Mom were married, when the two of them moved to the house on the hill. Dad lived there until his untimely death 35 years later. He always referred to the place where I was raised as “up home,” and this place as “down home.”

The house was built in 1883 by a farmer named Bailey. My granddad bought the place somewhere between 1910 and 1919. (He bought the farm in three pieces and I don’t remember the order.) The family moved there in 1929. Before that, my great grandparents, either together or singly, lived there sometimes, as did one of his brothers and various friends and in-laws.

The brown (unpainted) building you see to the right of the house was built at some point, in part, to hold a store in the front room of the ground level. The milk house was in the downstairs and my great grandfather lived in the upstairs until he passed away in 1927.

My great grandmother, who was anything but charming to the gentle old man, lived in the wash house which you see in the center of the photo. She often visited her other kids for months at a time, though, so the family was always glad to see her come and glad to see her go. The shed that you see blocking the view of the wash house was simply a shed over the gas meter, but appears large enough that it may have been used some for tool, or wood and coal storage. It had been replaced by a much smaller shed by the time I came along. 

The family cellar was beneath the wash house and the well was just in front of the wash house. The running water in the house and milk house came from a spring and cistern farther up the hill, though.
The back corner of the house that you see was a sun porch, which was originally just a back porch, but which Granddad enclosed to get a little extra indoor space for his brood. He put a gas heater in it and they used it even in winter.

If you look closely, you’ll see a truck in the driveway between the meter shed and the wash house. I believe that was Dad’s 1950 GMC. The barn is just out of view to the right of the photo. This photo shows the old place mostly as I remember it, but not completely. I have a lot of good memories from the old place. © 2017
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"Saving Money"

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While my wife was looking through the big craft store today, I went over to Rural King to pick up a couple things I needed. While there, I was viciously attacked by a BAD case of the back-house two-step. While in the process of dealing with that problem, the missus called and said that she was ready for me to pick her up at the craft shop. I explained my situation and told her I'd try to hurry.

When I finished the required paperwork, I took my buggy to the check out. There was only one register open, but there were only a couple people there, so I waited. THEN, the card machine had some kind of problem processing their credit card. A couple minutes later, the problem seemed no closer to being solved, so I left my buggy, with it's three items, and headed off to pick up my wife.

No doubt, the manager though that he/she was saving money by only having one register open, but they lost a $30 sale on account of it. I've seen a lot of other folks over the years do the same thing, so you KNOW they aren't REALLY saving money by being such tightwads. I'm sure their workers get only minimum wage. Oh well, there's another store that I'm near more often anyway; I guess I'll spend my money THERE. © 2017
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Saturday, February 11, 2017

That And This

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It never got up to 41 yesterday as they predicted here, only to 30, so we kept our snow. It started warming in the night, though, and by morning, most of our paltry two inches was gone, due to the 40 degree temperature. When we went to town, though, snow still lay in the valley and in town. It soon got up to 60 and in a couple hours, thoseareas, too, were clear of the white stuff. Have I mentioned how much I love the color brown?

When we got back, the first Woodwright Shop wasn’t anything I wanted to watch, so I set the alarm for an hour later and took a nap. I remember shutting off the alarm when it rang, but not what the second show was about. Half an hour later, I woke up and went downstairs, where my wife told me what the show had been. It wasn’t anything I would have watched anyway, so it’s just as well I got that extra half-hour.

We went out again later and I was tooling along at 30mph in a three-lane, one-way 40mph zone when a ratty-looking pickup pulled along my side and the young male passenger motioned for me to roll the window down. I just ignored him and drove on, figuring he was just going to cuss me for holding him up. They turned off a block down the street, making me think I was right. A lot of guys are brave when they know they’re going to turn off the road soon.

My wife, however, became convinced that he was trying to tell me that my tail-lights weren’t working and demanded that I head for home. When I finally got a place to pull over, I checked and my lights were fine, meaning that my original thoughts about the young hooligan were probably correct.

She then wanted me to turn around and head back towards her son’s house, just so she could drive by. She’d already had me take her by her old home place on the way to town. She apparently has “the lonelies” today. I can’t blame her exactly. For the most part, her family has never paid any attention to her except when they wanted something from her. Her son isn’t too bad a sort, but he lives in his own little world and hasn’t contacted her for weeks. She doesn’t want to push herself in, so she once went five months without contacting him. But anymore, I think even HE would contact HER before that amount of time, wondering why SHE hadn’t called HIM! – LOL -  We’ll probably stop by his place tomorrow, since it’s the only way to ever see him. Hopefully he’ll be there. Maybe the granddaughter will be there, too. I hope so. We old codgers don’t hold much interest for a ten-year-old, but it’s still nice to see her. At least she’ll give us a hug. Old folks can use a hug once in a while!

It’s supposed to be warm again tomorrow; I hope it is, since I’d like to split a little firewood. I worry that things will bud out with all these warm spells, though, and then get burned back by frost and freezing. The poor, pathetic deer in this area could sure use a good acorn crop for a change. I’m sure those with fruit trees are concerned, too. Oh well. Que sera, sera. © 2017
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Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Little Catching Up (Why, I Don’t Know)

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Sunday, I finally got some more firewood poles and logs drug up from the back yard to my front-lawn “log-yard.” I had to air up the left rear tire again on my lawn tractor. I really should take it to town and have a tube put in. Even after all these years, I STILL don’t like tubeless tires.

Monday, we got my wife’s car started and she drove it a few miles to charge up the battery. Before she left, I told her to back into the sloping parking space and jam on the brake, to see if my fallen socket would shake loose from a plastic “tray” under the radiator that I can’t reach. Instead, she crept backwards, nearly hitting my truck three times before I moved it. When she returned, she hit one of my firewood poles coming in the driveway (no damage, thankfully). I’ve been telling her for several years that she needs to get out at least once a week and drive, so her car would keep running okay. It appears that I should have been more concerned about her losing her abilities. From now on, it will worry me every time she leaves the driveway, especially since I notice her memory slipping slightly. (Don’t you DARE tell I said any of this!)

Tuesday, I finally managed to get a haircut. I’ve been trying to get one for weeks, but anytime I had the $10, I didn’t have the time, and whenever I had the time, I didn’t have the money. I finally managed to lay back an extra $10 and save it until I had the time. You’d think a retired guy would have all the time in the world, but I carried that small stash in my wallet for over TWO WEEKS!

Wednesday, I got the firewood poles and logs in my log-yard cut to length, and the wood that was already stacked covered with a tarp. It began to rain about dark and turned to snow before midnight, so I’m glad it’s covered. I have to split the rest before I can stack it. We ended up with about two inches of wet snow. It never got up to freezing today, so nothing melted, but it should be gone tomorrow or the next day, according to the weatherman. I have to admit that it’s beautiful outside today. It wasn’t a lot of fun knocking off the ice that was covering the door handle on my truck today, though.

I took the missus to walk a round or two in the mall today (Thursday). The pooch and I waited in the truck. She nearly fell when exiting the mall door, due to the strength of the door cylinder, and a nice young woman insisted on helping her over to where I pulled up on the sidewalk for her to climb in.

I don’t know what will happen tomorrow around here. Between how I’m feeling, the weather, necessary errands, and my wife’s changeable schedule, everything’s a crap-shoot. Only hindsight will tell, I guess. © 2017
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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bob White And Jesus

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I’m not sure how I first met Bob, but it was either as a sawmill or Christmas tree customer. Bob was tall and lanky, sort of like Abe Lincoln, but still with enough muscle that he’d probably be just as good at splitting rails. His hair and beard were reddish, and he wore glasses. He always had a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face, and his complexion was naturally ruddy, I think, but it was made more so from years of working outdoors every day. You see, Bob was a well tender in the local oil fields—whenever I saw him, he was always in a flatbed pickup with a four-wheeler and a bunch of gas cans in the back. There was often a layer of red clay sticking to the two vehicles. I’m usually not good with names (as opposed to faces), but I always remembered Bob’s name because it was so similar to the little game bird that I used to hear as I was growing up on the farm (they’re extinct around here, now). His last name was actually Whited, not White, but the memory trick always worked and I could remember the “D.”

For those who don’t know, you have to keep the oil pumped off natural gas wells or it eventually plugs off the flow of gas. That’s why you see “nodding donkeys” (oil pumps) and oil tanks scattered around oil and gas country. In the old days, the pumps were powered by big one-lung engines that burned natural gas from the wells. Somewhere along the line, they switched over to Briggs-type engines that could be run on gasoline and switched out easily when they had too many problems to fix in the field. I thought about applying for such a position once, but figured that I wasn’t enough of a mechanic to fix an engine at 110 degrees in the shade or at 15 below zero in the howling wind, or any OTHER temperature for that matter. It takes a special breed to do that kind of work, and I got the impression that I might not have the skills required.

I pretty much quit seeing Bob once I quit sawmilling and selling Christmas trees. It was probably 15 years ago when I bumped into him at the gas station one of the last times. We said hello and called each other by name, and had exchanged a few words, when the female clerk spoke to him and called him “Bill.” After just enough conversation to tell me that they were well acquainted, he turned to leave and spoke to me again. I asked him if his name was actually Bill and he grinned and answered to the affirmative. I asked why he hadn’t told me 20 years ago that I was using the wrong name. His eyes twinkled as he said, “I didn’t figure it mattered; I knew who you were talking to.” I vowed to try to do better; we laughed, and then went our separate ways. I think I’ve only seen him twice since, and I managed to call him by his real name both times. He’s well past retirement age now, so I may never see him again, but I’ll always remember his pleasant nature and that day of surprise.

To address the second part of the title above, I grew up in a home that, like most Christian homes, referred to the Messiah as “Jesus.” Quite a few years ago, I learned that His Jewish name was some version of “YESHua,” with some saying “YOSHua,” and others saying “YeSHUa.” Since they couldn’t agree, I just kept calling Him Jesus. Gradually, there seems to be a general agreement forming that “YESHua” is the proper pronunciation, and I’ve been trying to use it, since some folks believe that “Jesus” has links to the name “Zeus,” of mythology. After a lifetime of calling Him Jesus, though, I only get it right about half the time. When the day comes that we meet, if I happen to mention my failure to always call him by his proper name, I sort of hope he does like Bill and smiles and says, “It didn’t matter; I knew who you were talking to.” © 2017
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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sunday Grump And Growl

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I took the missus to Chinamart again today. While she started shopping, I went next door to Lowe's and looked for a handicapped spot between the doors, forgetting that they don’t have any. Instead, they have some by the exit and some by the lawn and garden center, but NONE in a central location where they would do the most people the most good. Plus, they only have about half as many as they need. Stores seem unaware that the nation’s largest generation is aging rapidly and could use a break now and then.

Going inside, I found only two electric scooters, neither of which had a key. After checking with the closest clerk, he told me that one didn’t work, but that the other one did and should have a key. It did, in the fold of the floor mat. It took me all of 30 feet before it died. The scooters they use are super cheap and have no charge indicator. I was hobbling a bit today and chose not to trek the vast warehouse to find what I wanted. The entry doors wouldn’t open to let me back out, so I had to hobble clear around the “service” area and go through an unused check out to get to the exit door RIGHT BESIDE THE ENTRANCE! Despite having scooters, Lowe's apparently doesn’t really want any business from handicapped folks.

Next, I went across the road to Tractor Supply. They have no scooters, but they’re a smaller store and their handicapped spaces are right by the door. They had the small wire brass brush I was looking for, but were selling the thing for triple what it was worth because of the name on the handle. I didn’t buy it. Then, I looked for filing gauges for the rakers on sawchains. There are three common sizes of chain, so I wanted one of each, but they only had the largest (and most common) size. It was more than I had planned on spending, so I was going to have to use my credit card. However, after standing in line a while, the guy in front of me used a card and the machine wouldn’t process it. I put the gauge back and left. Just as I walked out the door, the machine kicked in and the fellow got to the door just after me.

I noticed they had wisk brooms while I was there, but they were from Mexico and weren’t worth taking home. Besides, I bought some cheap paint brushes to serve the same purpose recently. When I went in Chinamart, I learned that they also had gotten some in since the last time I looked, but they looked like crap, too. The scooter I got there had a full charge, but it seemed to have a flat spot on one rear wheel. I call those scooters “Galloping Gerties,” since you feel like you’re riding a horse.

When I got home, I finally managed to get the sawchain replaced with a sharp one and topped off the bar oil and the fuel. The oil jug that Stihl puts out doesn’t pour well when it’s full, so I got some oil on the outside of the saw. The breeze didn’t help any. I think I’ll pour the oil in an empty water jug, they pour better.
The missus is watching the polygamous Mormons again tonight, so I think I’ll go upstairs and see if I can find anything on what few channels I can get on that TV. I may find some way to get a cheap new one this year, so I can watch something interesting when the missus is watching stuff I don’t approve of.

Well, I guess I’ve gotten everything off my chest, so have a good evening! © 2017
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Thursday, February 2, 2017

In Praise Of “Junk”

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We never had a LOT of old machinery and stuff sitting outside our barn, but we had a little bit. The “best” stuff, though, was kept inside the barn, out of the weather. Our machinery was stored there, too, what would fit, the rest was over the hill in a smaller barn beside where my great aunt lived. Even then, we didn’t have a LOT of junk sitting around, compared to some farms I’ve seen. But anything that appeared to have something that could be used to make or repair something else was saved.

Many a time as we looked through our “supplies,” we found nuts, bolts, washers, rods or sheet metal to use in a project around the sawmill or farm. We never had any drift pins for disassembling anything; we just used old bolts. After all, you had to pay money for a nice set of drift pins, and old bolts were free. Naturally, you’d ruin the threads on new bolts using them for such things, so that was out, too. Most of the time, we could find what we needed to work on something without having to head off to the hardware store.

A couple days ago, I disassembled my old office chair, so I could start figuring out how to rebuild it. It wasn’t made to ever be disassembled, so some parts had to be dealt with using my cordless DeWalt cut-off tool. A couple rods had to be driven out after cutting, and I was stumped for a minute, until I figured that I could use a cut off piece to drive out the piece remaining.

When I finished, I had a couple short pieces of hardened 5/16 steel rod and one longer piece, plus a couple washers. Those pieces will go into a plastic jar in the basement and be saved for later use. Unfortunately, I have no stock of junk to pull from to fix the chair, so I’ll either have to buy some steel or use wood.

Then again, I DO have that old piece of gas pipe under the rear deck! © 2017
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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Pocket Knives And Bureaucrats

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When I was a kid, probably every boy in my grade school carried a pocket knife. Since many of us kids lived on farms and used knives daily, even many of the girls carried small knives in their purses. They were good for a LOT of things, but especially cutting the twine on hay bales, if it was your job to feed the cattle when you first got home. Many a time, a woman teacher who needed to cut something too tough for scissors would ask to borrow a knife from one of the boys. No-one thought a thing about it. That held true all the way through high school. Heck, we even took our guns in our cars in high school, so we could hunt some on the way home at times. But times have changed—DRASTICALLY!

A few days ago, a couple local lads (ages 11 and 17) spent the night with their grandmother. The few items they took with them went into the younger one’s backpack, including the older boy’s pocket knife. Unfortunately, he forgot to remove it the next school day, and it was there in the backpack when the younger boy went to school. Upon finding it there, the trusting kid turned it over to his teacher, knowing that they weren’t allowed to have knives in school. His teacher took the matter to the principle, who expelled the boy for a week. Then, some-one discovered the blade was 1/8 of an inch over legal and the school board expelled him for the whole year.

In my view, if the teacher had any human decency, he/she would have told the boy to put the knife back in the pack and not mention it to a soul. If the principle was any sort of human being, he/she would have done the same. The school board, of course are elected and have to cover their backsides so they can get re-elected, so they were the most heartless, uncompassionate, spineless people of all. Every school official from the teacher on has absolutely no concept of true morals, or they would have behaved differently.

The kid didn’t know it was even there until near the end of the day. He has a good reputation (or DID). It was the older brother who made the initial mistake, but no allowance was made for that fact. The actions of the so-called “educators” WERE a learning experience for ALL students, though. The students should now know to NEVER tell their teachers ANYTHING. They now know that honesty is NOT the best policy, and that they should lie through their teeth to avoid trouble, after all the penalty will be no worse!

Yes, Wood County West Virginia Board of Education and so-called educators, you have certainly taught the students of this county something. You have taught them that you have absolutely no morals or common sense and that they have nothing to gain by having those formerly admirable traits, either. Congratulations folks; you should be SO VERY PROUD! © 2017
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