Saturday, May 22, 2021

4:30AM Porch Sit


I tried going back to sleep, but I knew that I should check on the pooch, so I finally gave in and went downstairs. There, I found the little gal lying against the bathtub looking at me. I was hoping that didn’t mean she’d drained on the carpet and was avoiding the scene of the crime. I put the harness on her, put on my hoodie and took her out. I was relieved that she made a pretty good puddle. When we took our stations on the porch, I zipped up the hoodie. I put the hood up but decided it was too much, so I put it back down. Normally, I wouldn’t even wear a shirt at such a comfortable temperature, but I wanted to keep my aching left shoulder covered. I was surprised that the hoodie actually felt pretty good.

There was a lot of truck traffic on the distant interstate, unlike this time yesterday or even the past midnight. I suppose a lot of long-haulers were making an early push to get home to see their families. The coyotes of midnight had grown silent and fewer dogs were barking in the distance. It was too early for birds to be singing, but I heard a couple chirps--nervousness at something they’d heard perhaps. Last night at midnight, I heard what sounded like two large birds fighting for their lives for about a minute--then silence. I suppose one ate. Sometimes the darkness isn’t so peaceful.

Light clouds were letting only an occasional star show through. Despite morning clouds, it’s supposed to be another hot one tomorrow. High 80s in May seems a bit much. We got a fair amount of rain recently, but the last few days have been dry and we’re supposed to have a few more. My farmer friend in Manitoba finally got a little rain. It’s funny how I sat there in the darkness thinking of rain in Canada. I guess it’s easy for your mind to wander when there’s nothing pressing coming at you.

Eventually, I thought I detected a slight brightening in the east, but not enough to get the birds singing. One of the roosters out the road tested the day with a few crows, but soon decided to go back to sleep. I imagine the hens were happy. My sitter was getting uncomfortable, so I chose not to try waiting for yellow hues and birdsong. The pooch seemed happy enough to go in after our half-hour sit, maybe because she knew I’d give her a cookie and a beef stick. I should really get back to bed. Copyright 5/22/2021


Monday, May 17, 2021



My 2007 Tundra dual cab wasn't cheap to begin with, but then nothing is. There were several small issues that had to be dealt with under warranty. Then the radio went bad just AFTER it went out of warranty.

Then the cruise went out due to overly-short wires in the steering column. I got it fixed, but it soon went out again.

Then, I apparently hit something hard on the highway, which cracked or bent a housing on the lower front end of the engine, which damaged a wire which made my 4WD quit working. After saving several hundred dollars over the course of the WINTER, I got it fixed and paid through the nose for the privilege.

Then, my air-conditioner quit holding coolant and three different shops could not find the leak. I haven't had AC for three years now because it would cost over $1000 to replace all the components.

Last year, the solenoid needed replaced--what used to be a $50 job on older vehicles. However, because it was a Toyota, it cost $900.

It's not a desperate situation, but after 210,000 miles, the brakes are starting to get a bit choppy. The local shop was running a special on $200 brake jobs. However, because it's a Toyota, it would cost $900. I guess I'll wait a while longer.

Toyota always had a good reputation, but mine has turned out to be a lemon. Here I am in my old age with a truck that I can't afford to keep and can't afford to get rid of. Copyright 5/17/2021


Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Amen Bench


My mother lived a few years of her youth at a little wide spot in the road on US Route 21 called Speed, West Virginia. The “Speed Church” sat across the run on the left side headed south. My great grandfather lived two doors down on the right and my great aunt lived two doors up the holler across the road. Mom’s folks lived in the little house up the holler before my great aunt bought it and in another house across from my great grandfather’s for a while, too.

The little church had been the southern church during the War of Northern Aggression, while the northern church sat above the road on the right a mile or more back up 21. Mom’s family usually attended the Speed Church, though they often visited the northern church. That tradition was begun by my great grandfather’s father, a union veteran of that horrible war. Though he’d attended the northern church for years, he finally reached the point where he could no longer pass by the friends and neighbors holding services in the Speed Church to go to the church farther away, Though everyone in both churches were friends by that time, it just didn’t seem right to him to always pass one group in favor of the other. Both were Methodist churches, by the way.

The Speed Church was fairly small, plain and with plain pews and furnishings inside. One of those pews sat in “the amen corner” in the right front corner of the single room next to the old pot-bellied stove. Especially in the winter, some old men sat their aching bones in the extra-short front pew to be near that stove. Being mostly deaf, they had a tendency to shout “Amen” at inopportune times when they thought mistakenly that the preacher was through making his point. Thus the name for the corner and the bench. A charred spot on the edge of the bench testifies that one of them got it too close the stove once.

Years later, after I parted with the first wife and was low on furniture, my mother asked me if I’d like the old amen bench. The church had bought new benches and my great aunt had accepted the offer of one in case anyone in the family wanted it. I would have said yes even if I’d had a house full of furniture. For years, it sat in front of the picture window in my dining room and saw a lot of use. At six feet long with a 14-inch wide seat, I used to nap on it occasionally. Then, the missus had me buy a big harvest table and ladder-back chairs that we rarely use. The bench was delegated to the little hallway behind the chimney and soon became a storage device, with heavy stuff thrust beneath it and lighter things piled on top. There it remains.

I shouldn’t think about such things, but I’ve sometimes thought that if the missus should pass before me, I’d get rid of that cussed table and put the bench back where it used to be. I wish I had a picture of the bench, but it’s too much trouble to move my wife’s junk to take one. Use your imagination. - lol Copyright 5/15/2021


Friday, May 14, 2021



The missus went to the doctor today to be examined for possible laser surgery on her cataracts and was cleared for it on July 20th. He won’t do the surgery, but he does the exams. Funny thing was that he said nothing about her blood pressure or diabetes causing a problem, though he knew of both. Maybe the bleeding in her eye was better, or maybe not. They didn’t take her blood pressure, but they DID take her eye pressure.

Her diabetes doctor had acted like both needed to be nearly perfect or they wouldn’t operate. I have to wonder if she was just trying to hang onto my wife as an active patient to get more money. Then again, did this doctor slide things through just so he and his buddy could get THEIR money? I don’t trust ANY of them any more.

Incidentally, despite an 8:10 appointment, we were there for 2-1/2 hours this morning, most of it WAITING and traveling between forty-leven little exam rooms with a half-dozen different techs. Despite us both having breathing problems, they got spastic if our masks slipped out of place. They did their best to keep us standing all the time, but I’d taken the missus in her wheelchair, so it was only me that suffered. It’s like they’re trying to kill off us old folks. Copyright 5/14/2021