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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Friday, September 30, 2005


I'm not totally sure but I think I have a serious illness that's known mostly by its initials - CRS - or - Can't Remember Stuff. I think the main reason I can't remember stuff is because I forget.

Then I found myself wondering - is it harder to remember or to forget? As hard as it is to remember some things, other things are equally hard, or more so, to forget - especially the things we would like to have out of our mind. The writer of an old country song seemed to have a similar problem when he penned, "I forgot to remember to forget".

I personally seem to remember a large accumulation of odd facts but forget names, even of people I've known for years - especially when it's time to introduce them to someone else. This creating more embarrassment that I'd rather forget.

I've heard it said that around home our memory must be in our backside - cause when we get up to do something we forget what it was and as soon as we sit back down we remember.

Some remembrance of the bad is necessary and even beneficial - to keep us from repeating harmful things - even though sometimes we don't remember till we do them again - then it's oops; I should have remembered not to do that! This would be especially true right after smashing your finger with a hammer.

In the spiritual we also remember sins and tend to beat ourselves up with the club of our past misdeeds - even after God forgives us for them. Why is it so hard to simply accept God's forgiveness? ec

Thursday, September 29, 2005

laying eggs

In the spring, birds seem to be everywhere - feeding, singing, gathering material, building nests and laying eggs for the continuance of their species. It reminds me that in one sense of the words, I have built a nest or two myself and have also laid a few eggs, as mistakes are sometimes called. Those kinds of eggs hatch as well and I've had to deal with the offspring thereof, sometimes at great length.

Whether it’s our own problems or we are looking around at the spiritual condition of our world it would be easy to sink into an abyss of hopelessness and thinking that this world is never going to be any better, nor will it - without the power and love of God.

But we, as Christians, do not have to sink into the bitterness and criticalness of the worldview. Sorry to say that many who claim The Name seem to have their lives ruled by what's happening to them on any given day - surroundings, mood, spouse's mood, children's cooperation, dirty laundry, toothpaste tube squeezed wrong, the dog eating the last jelly donut, the bird of paradise flying up your nose - such should not be the case.

My definition of rejoicing is to give outward expression to inward joy and scripture says, "rejoice evermore" and in a different place it says "in everything give thanks", then with the force of the Word bearing us up, we can rise above the morass and moroseness of those that have no hope.

Years ago, I was somewhat of a blues music fan, but one can't help but notice that the words penned/sung by the writer/singer express the woes brought on them mostly by self infliction. It might be the same with us, but much more than what happens to us, we can control our reaction to it and not allow it to ruin our day / week / month / year / life. ec

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Dancing is something that I neither know a lot about, nor have done very much of in public, other than the long ago clumsy shuffling of my feet to music. But mental dancing, especially with words and definitions, is something I have done a good bit of and enjoy a great deal.

During a recent time of attempted self-illumination, while mentally tripping the light fantastic through my Webster's, I came eye to page with several cool words that one doesn't see and/or read every day. Many of these individual language units are sui generis (unique, peculiar) but the actions they describe are done everyday, just related in different words.

Please understand that I claim no great sapience (wisdom) or sagacity (the quality of being sagacious) in this area, it's just that I find this type study mentally salubrious (promoting health and well being). Contrary to opinions otherwise, I do have other hobbies besides word play, else I would not be well rounded - except in the physical sense.

These word exercises serve not only to slake (I like that word - but it's not used enough) portions of my mental thirst but also to somewhat push back the effects of senescence (state of being old).

Some words just have a fascinating sound as they roll off the tongue - like skullduggery and sotto voce (under the breath), but some (like this last one) cause questions to appear in the mind, because I wonder if a person can think sotto voce or can this action only be muttered.

My desire in writing is to be succinct (concise) without literary trespasses in the area of solecism (blunder in speech or usage) but normally these desires remain unfilled.

Hopefully the effect of this missive has not been soporific (causing sleepiness) or somniferous (soporific), and by this time you have realized: (a) my recent word journeys have been in the "s" section, (b) there are a lot of odd words that are seldom used, and (c) it doesn't take much to amuse some people - namely me. ec

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

from a distance

On another day, in another season and at another time, I always felt blessed and refreshed to be daily working outside and to be able to witness the changes of the seasons. A forest along the road would now look to be an impenetrable green wall, when compared with just a few months back, the horizon was filled with the leafless skeletal remains of last year's trees with only the occasional green of the pines.

On another day I noted an odd contrast in plant life in the ditch opposite one of my work locations – even back then I was always looking for the natural beauty. A spreading group of wild climbing roses had intermingled with an outbreak of poison oak plants - it was as if the pink of the roses invited me to come closer and the poison oak was warning me to stay away. My solution was to admire the roses - from a distance.

The sighing sound a pine forest makes as the wind blows through the needles has a very relaxing effect on me and I'm grateful for this small part of God's creation. It's awe inspiring for me to drive below the trees that form green live canopies growing out over the road and at times completely overshadowing the passageway. It reminds me somewhat of an outdoor cathedral and then I think of the beautiful churches and cathedrals I've seen in this country and many others I viewed in Europe.

Some of the European ones were intact and others were in different stages of ruin from the bombing of World War II - all were awesome to behold. But as beautiful as these buildings are, the question occurred to me - what value does any worship structure have if no true worship of God takes place there? ec

Monday, September 26, 2005


The word quotidian refers to something that is done or happens on a daily basis. Stumbling over this unit of discourse in my trusty Webster's caused me to be nudged in the direction of a question. Is there something meaningful that occurs in my life every day outside of the normal happenings?

After extensive research and thought - several minutes - I realized I have a quotidian experience of awe and/or amazement. It is usually something different each time and sometimes several things in a 24-hour period will send me into the land of astonishment.

I'm amazed by the acts that the members of humankind perpetrate on each other, but my sense of wonderment is more often caused by God's creation, and specifically the colors and varieties thereof. This may be the cause of my desire for all the seasons to be like spring.

Awe has even overtaken me in winter, while studying the bare limbs of deciduous trees, because on every branch - large or small - buds are present that hold the tiny beginnings of next season's leaves and flowers. Trees seemingly show more faith than a lot of humans, focusing all their future and energy on the next growing season, because they know the seasons will continue.

After a winter frost, one can pass by a flowerbed that just weeks ago was filled with abundant, beautiful color - now all that remains is the brown, dead plant stems. If these are perennial, they will sprout back in spring - if not, they left seed for the next generation of beauty, and either of these regenerating methods is amazing to me.

How can a whole colony of sightless ants - the equivalent of a large human city - be organized and ruled almost entirely by their sense of smell? They all work very well together for the survival and protection of their society. Their self-defense methods are quickly proven effective if any part of your anatomy encroaches on or even near their abode. They are tiny specks of near incredulity, but a fire ant sting, or multiplied ones, can make a believer out of anyone.

Young human critters are a major wellspring of surprise and entertainment. The small ones I associate with at church constantly amaze me with the variety and fresh newness of their thoughts and ideas. Is there anything more refreshingly delightful than the honest, heartfelt laughter of a child, causing smiles to appear on the most stoic of adults? This takes on even more personal meaning for me when the young smile causers are my "grands".

I have found many other amazements, from tiny to huge in size, feeble to powerful in action, yet most astounding by far are the actions of the Love of God through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. The best word I can find to describe the forgiveness and peace He supplies is the word AWESOME! ! ! ! ec

Sunday, September 25, 2005

wet sounds

While walking out to my vehicle on a morning long ago and not so far away, a crow flew over, loudly announcing his presence by a very non-melodious cawing. The announcement was not needed for one bird because not only was he/she aware of the crow, he/she was in hot pursuit of the noisy one. He had the goal in mind of driving this dark marauder as far away as possible.

This other one was a mockingbird and put on quite a show with his diving, pecking and aerobatics. I don't know if the crow's punishment was for something he had done or for anything the other bird thought he might do, but I do know crows have a reputation for eating the eggs and young of other birds. Despite the size difference of probably eight to one in favor of the crow, said crow was desperately trying to leave the area and to rid himself of this persistent harasser.

With that in mind, the thought came to me that it's not the attaining of a reputation - good or bad - that's difficult, it's the maintaining of the good and the shedding of the bad. But then if your desire is to maintain a bad reputation, that presents problems as well and requires much expenditure of time and energy. This because it seems that someone always happens along that that thinks they are badder than you – and sooner or later someone will be.

I go from that to being somewhat at a loss as to how to spell the sound an impulse lawn and garden sprinkler makes. The best I could come up with was "chk". I made this sound multiple times to myself and I agree with me that indeed this is the sound that this type sprinkler makes. The only sure way to tell would be to stand side by side with the sprinkler while it is in operation and see if the two of you sound alike. But old clothes or a swim suit would be necessary because you will get your whistle wet - along with the rest of you. ec

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Those of us with some method of locomotion are not the only world occupiers that have a daily struggle in our efforts of life. Some trees have a constant fight just to live another day, contending with other trees and plants for nutrients and moisture, as well as dealing with the actions of man inflicted upon them.

An old cedar tree I remember from bygone days had been severely cut back because of its closeness to a power line and was barely clinging to life. Most of its remaining needles were brown with only a few green ones in evidence, indicating its nearness to losing its battle to survive.

Most every forest has older trees as well as those that sprout later. The sproutlings have to compete with the mature ones for life drawn from the soil, and they must put every ounce of their growth energy in striving to reach their own place in the sun. These new ones become very tall but slender, making it hard for them to stand up under stiff breezes except for the wind-breaking abilities of the forest as a whole.

The tree standing alone is strengthened by the buffeting if winds, causing it's trunk to thicken and it's roots to go deeper. This is typified by a tree I used to see several days a week, it was a pine and had open space between it and other trees, it had limbs and needles from top to bottom, with a strong trunk in support.

I didn't notice at first but later saw a small pine tree that started it's growth much more recent but seemed to be thriving under the very shadow of the larger tree, siphoning it's sustenance from the leftovers of the other's roots. All this shows life lessons we could learn; we could entitle them "trees to live by". ec

Friday, September 23, 2005


As I am sometimes inclined to do, (though in this case I'm seated) I looked up a word in Webster's to get the full weight of the meaning - to make sure I don't take it too lightly. The word in this instance was decrepit - I found the following: wasted and weakened as a result of old age - also - impaired by use or wear - or - worn out. From deductive reasoning I concluded that the decrepit one could no longer do what they once could.

To see what these lost abilities were I naturally looked up the root word crepit and found no listing. What I farther concluded from this was that a decrepit person can no longer do what they never could do to start with, or at least they couldn't define it.

A word that nearly caught the meaning of crepit was crepitate - that meant to crackle. One could construe this to mean the verve or electricity of life - kind of like Rice Krispies when you pour on the milk. But that was confusing because that's the same sounds my back and knees make then I bend over to pick up something. Take it from me, being decrepit is not all it's cracked up to be.

Decrepitude covers more than just the physical, there's also the mental, emotional as well as the spiritual. One can maintain crepitation through exercise and nutrition up to certain limits in the areas of these first three, but the spiritual is another thing altogether.

The only limitation I find on our spiritual strength and vivacity is whether or not we are willing to draw close to our Heavenly Father with our whole heart. I've known very old Christians, barely able to stand, that were mighty prayer warriors for God. I challenge you - and myself - no matter what our age, to be the same. ec

Thursday, September 22, 2005

old home place

Our family moved to the Augusta area in November 1949 into a house on Hickman Road, and as far back as I remember Dad always talked about moving back to the old home place in Mississippi. It was 80 acres he inherited from his Dad and to him it was the most beautiful place on earth.

When he retired in 1973, he and Mom moved back there and into the four-room house that Dad had built when I was a baby. Back then four room houses only had four rooms - two bedrooms, kitchen and living room/bedroom, with back to back fireplaces in the living room and one bedroom. We didn't have much closet space, but we didn't need it cause we didn't have many clothes.

After they moved back, my older brother, with my unskilled assistance, installed indoor plumbing in the old house - something it had never had up to that point. Dad later added two bedrooms and another bath for visiting children et al.

As long as he was able, Dad had a garden and tended fruit bearing trees, bushes, vines, etc. He had several each of pear, apple and peach trees, several different kinds of plums, at least two fig tree/bushes, a hazelnut, a black walnut, several blueberry bushes, some muscadine vines, grapes and even a small cherry tree that he talked about digging up cause it didn't do to suit him.

One of the rituals of each visit we made there was when Dad would take me on a guided tour of all the fruit bearers and tell me how each one produced that season. He would tell me when they were planted and how he acquired them - some were from the catalog, while others were given to him by friends and kin. I enjoyed these walks and talks that were a "looked forward to" part of each visit.

The last garden I remember them having was one that my brother and I tilled up and planted for them. I took Dad to town and helped him get seed, plants and fertilizer with a certain sadness on my part, because he had always done these things for himself. Memories - even sad ones - are a precious part of life. ec

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


There I was, standing at the spiritual corner of Nothing Road and Nowhere Way, wishing I had studied the road map a little more closely. I did remember that there wasn't anything at the end of one of these roads and the other really didn't go anywhere.

Dressed in my sweater of self-sufficiency and knit hat of indecision, I had walked this far in the thin-soled shoes of world opinion, feeling every sharp pebble of political correctness strewn in my way. I realized it was getting dark; I was cold and felt very alone.

While still in the full throes of hesitancy, a dark thought rushed from the shadows and assaulted me. Flat on my emotional back, I felt as though I was being hit from all sides, it was then I realized I had fought this thought before - a once conquered enemy named Fear.

Fear is big, but I was getting hit too much for just one attacker, and between blows, I caught a glimpse of Fear's two cousins, Doubt and Worry. I could see Panic behind them and he was getting ready to join the fray.

Disillusionment and Disappointment were loosening up, waiting to get in their licks. Behind them was a large ugly thought I also recognized from the past, and would know it anywhere because of previous scars from way back when. His name was Hopelessness.

Then it occurred to me that this beating would only get worse if I didn't start fighting back. My trusty bag of self-created weapons, made for situations such as this, was nearby and I reached for one, desperately seeking to stop the pain.

My hand closed upon the spear I had made from religious words and clever sayings, but it shattered at first thrust.

Shocked and surprised, I reached for another. Fetching out the club of Christian seniority, I felt confident, knowing this would be a great defense since I had claimed to be a Christian for many years. But this too splintered into sharp pieces at first blow, the shards caused more wounding of my spirit.

I tossed my robe of self-righteousness over one opponent to try to hold him down, but there was no strength in the material of this garment in which I had trusted. My foe ripped it into tatters and continued the attack.

Nearing the end of my resources, I had another weapon that I had leaned on before, the staff of good works. But it might as well have been made of wheat straw, for it had no effect except to make things worse. In fact all my efforts at self-defense made these bad thoughts stronger still.

Fading hope caused me to reach for another means of defense even though I thought there was none. Brushing across a once familiar object, the question formed in my mind - what is this? Even before it was completely uncovered, the memories of past victories flooded back - how could I have forgotten, even for a moment, this sword of the spirit, the Word of God!

The awesome power of this sword of the spirit sent my foes fleeing in all directions. What a waste of energy to depend on anything else and I was reminded once again to keep it close at hand, because the thought gang wouldn't go far, and would wait patiently for another chance at me. ec

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Does jogging one's memory build it up? Probably not - anyway, my memory was jogged some time back to the fact that mimosas actually bloom - delicately, but beautifully so. I also didn't think of them as being profusely abundant in the wild, but such is not the case.

On the way to my daughter's home in Tennessee, there's a section of US Hwy 27 just north of Chattanooga that has an amazing amount of mimosa trees on both sides of the highway. I wouldn't have noticed these except for the fact that they were in full bloom. Their flowers are round and from a distance they look like little pink powder puffs and really stood out against the green of their surroundings.

I remember another mimosa tree of long ago that stood in the front yard of the house on Hickman Road in Augusta in which I did most of my growing up. It's branches forked out low to the ground and was very easy to climb and was not tall enough for you to receive the parental warning - "you'll fall out and break your neck"! I don't know why they were so unconcerned about arms and legs and other body parts. It does seem that we fell some and bruised our pride, not to mention certain other portions of our anatomies.

The front yard was just our sometimes playground, but the back yard was the place that we played on, in, around and sometimes under, every tree, structure, fence and even weed on the property. We played every game we could think of that already existed and many we invented ourselves. You have probably already guessed - this was before TV was in our home.

For many years we had a garden and even kept chickens when we first moved there. I remember Dad buying a new batch of chickens - next morning, the rooster's crowing woke my father up too early - we had that feisty fowl for Sunday dinner. You might say that the rooster's advertising got it in hot water - literally.

I don't think that loud, feathered one even got to see the mimosa, because he lived (and died) in the backyard and the tree was in the front. ec

Monday, September 19, 2005

paper route

During my growing up years, I home delivered the Augusta morning newspaper on a rather large route - for spending money and to help out with family expenses. From the age of twelve until high school graduation, my rising time was 4am each morning.

Out of those six years the only serious time I remember missing was about a week or so for an appendectomy - my father filled in for me then, as well as for a very few other sicknesses during that span.

The most historic event that happened to me during that time was when President Ike's motorcade passed by my brother and I in the predawn as we were preparing our papers for delivery. He enjoyed golf very much and would come fairly often to the Augusta National to play and stay in "Mamie's Cabin" - located on the grounds.

I always dreaded rainy mornings because of the extra work of trying to waterproof the paper with waxed paper - plastic bags were still a far off dream. You were almost certain to get a few complaints about wet papers or an occasional one the dog destroyed. We tried to have a few spares to replace the ones that were causing unhappiness.

Deliveries were usually finished around 7am, leaving just enough time to come home, clean up, eat breakfast and barely make it to school on time. The summer freedom from school was a real treat, allowing more time for enjoyable efforts.

There was a drugstore on my return home route, Edmunds and Jones, and back then any of that type establishment that didn't have a soda fountain wasn't worth going in - but this one did and was. They opened early - just about the time I finished my route. In the summer months a banana split special was an ongoing affair. It was not unusual for me to stop in to partake of this aforementioned delight - before going home to a large breakfast.

I did not think this of as odd, but looking back, I was in the minority - because the entire drugstore personnel would shake their heads as they prepared this gooey dessert. I never thought of this as killing my appetite - on the contrary - I believe it may have turned it up a notch or two.

My coming home with banana split on my breath may not have been great, but much preferable to other things that can be detected on breaths. ec

Sunday, September 18, 2005

rice pudding

The food on which I was raised would probably be called coarse by some in our modern society. We usually had meat of some sort included, but it played a minor role compared to the vegetables that were involved. We had cooked greens (turnips, mustard or collards) at least once everyday, along with snap beans, peas, butterbeans, pintos, squash, okra, etc - along with cornbread.

My Mom prepared green beans in a skillet, cooked down almost to the consistency of leather, my older brother still likes them this way -- okra was fixed almost the same way with some meal mixed in.

Breakfast was always a big meal at our house with a seemingly endless supply of grits, with eggs and bacon or sausage. Fatback or streak of lean sometimes happened then but that was mostly reserved for meals later in the day.

In fact, grits were fair game for any meal and I remember some meals of not much more than grits and tomato gravy - the latter consisting of home canned tomatoes cooked with flour and/or other ingredients for thickening. Most nights my Dad would end his evening meal with cornbread crumbled up in a large glass of buttermilk -- I guess that was his dessert.

Years later, after Mom and Dad had retired and moved back to Mississippi, I had a hankering (desire - yen - craving) for the kind of rice pudding Mom made when we were growing up. I called Mom up to ask for her recipe, but like most cooks of that day, she didn't measure many ingredients, just added them until it looked or tasted right - as a result she had no exact recipe to give.

This started me on an experimental quest in search of the rice pudding of my youth. This was kind of like searching for the Holy Grail, except my seekings weren't particularly holy and there was no grail involved.

Being one of my first efforts at cooking, I tackled the chore with great inquisitive zest. I tried every recipe I could find, tinkering and modifying each one to try to recapture the deliciousness I remembered. Finally, after much wasted rice and other stuff, I concluded my endeavors when I realized that the taste for which I was searching was most likely so memory enhanced it was unachievable by mere mortals.

I have acquainted myself with the kitchen just a tiny bit since then and can make a scratch banana pudding that will almost add ounces on a person’s weight by just being in it's presence.

That reminds me that God can bring success and happiness to us, not necessarily because of, and most times in spite of, our own recipes. ec

Saturday, September 17, 2005

small people

This particular day found me just sitting at lunch in Wendy's, munching on a Classic Single - no cheese, pickle or onion - accompanying each bite with a yummy spoonful of a large Frosty. Given no choice about what type piped in music to listen to, the golden oldies cascaded over my ears and memories.

While trying to concentrate on great and eternal truths, I got the feeling I was being watched, I glanced up into the big blue eyes of a three year old young man at the next table that seemed to be much more interested in what I was doing than in the food his parents were urging him to eat.

I find children to be totally fascinating miniature humans. The afore mentioned youngster and his slightly older brother, to the mock horror of their parents, each received Pepi-la-pew ball point pens in their kid's meal - the Mom mentioned something about seeing the "writing on the wall", literally speaking.

As they left, she was trying to convince the younger one not to be a goober head - I wasn't sure I wanted to see that happen either.

I also enjoyed watching the brief encounter two young girls had with the ketchup dispenser when their mother's attention was directed elsewhere. They were barely counter top tall, but the taller of the two decided to be the pump handle pusher, while the other held the small container.

After climbing up and several tries, a small glob of the red stuff exited the nozzle, landing partly in the container, partly on fingers but mostly on the counter - this was almost immediately cleaned up by an elderly woman I took to be their grandmother, who finally noticed their efforts.

It doesn't take much to entertain me and small people antics are particularly enjoyable to me - especially those of my "grand" ones.

During all these activities there was a squirrel that wandered - with seeming purpose - across the drive-thru driveway toward the pick-up window - possibly one of those nutty phone-in orders. ec

Friday, September 16, 2005


I was not where I needed to be. I was not where I wanted to be. I was not where I should have been. Nonetheless, there I was, reclining in the dentist's chair, contemplating which of my dental sins brought me to that place.

My mind flashed back - was it the candy marshmallow peanuts? Possibly it was the innocent looking banana completely hidden in scoops of raspberry ice cream? It couldn't be the very healthy yogurt parfait with real chunks of fruit purchased at McDonald's during a highway road trip pit stop. Maybe the whole bag of brightly colored gummy bears eaten over the distance of about 40 miles on the same road trip?

But these were only the recent tooth transgressions; perhaps the cause is a multiplicity of errors of the past, accumulating together and attacking the very soul and structure of the tooth. Whatever the cause, I was there and now must pay the price, in more ways than one.

This reminds of the soul decay in the lives of many today, yet they are unwilling to go to the only One willing and able to cleanse and make them anew, as if they had never sinned -- like some, with bad teeth, that refuse to go to the dentist.

I shall suffer but the momentary discomfort of the "drill and fill" to enable me to enjoy with zest the culinary delights of the future. Forsooth! He will fill the tooth! ec

Thursday, September 15, 2005

the child

Some time ago - before I retired from Bellsouth - I was working at a telephone pedestal along side the roadway and I noticed the approach of a young woman. She appeared to be in her late teens and was trailed at a short distance by a small girl I guessed to be about three.

The purpose of her short trip from her rental trailer was to ask questions concerning how to get a phone hooked up to her residence.

While answering her questions I heard the anxious cries of a younger child that I was unable to see at first because of screening bushes. A small lad of about one toddled into view, having only one shoe and one dirty bare foot, a scene that might have been comical in other circumstances, but I had just learned from her that she was living with her boyfriend.

She didn't appear to be negligent and walked to pick up the little boy that had slipped down several times on the uneven ground. My mind wanted to believe other scenarios, but all evidence pointed to the fact that this was an unmarried mom with two small children in a relationship without real commitment.

She did not yet have the "hard life" lines in her face, I don't know if it was just too soon for that or if she simply didn't know there was a better life than this. She walked away with one child on her hip and the other in tow and my mind glimpsed the limitations and heartache of her future.

Even though she was not my child, as I drove away, this father's heart broke and I cried for this child with children. ec

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


The word propensity and I are passing acquaintances, being first introduced to it by an ex-boss from the ancient days of yore.

He used this word in reference to his son mostly, but occasionally concerning one of the grunts that worked for him. His statement was: "He has a propensity for thoroughly irritating me". He did use somewhat cruder words for the latter part of this expression, but that's what it meant.

He had other expressions that he used with regularity. One was always spoken if any doubt was proffered about a solution he gave for an on-the-job problem - - "If I tell you a grasshopper can pull a buggy, you can hitch him up".

Another favorite of his was given as he was leaving after an on-the-job visit - -"Keepa loadin' and a shootin'".

I'm not sure the word nonsensical is supposed to go with the word profundity, but in his case it fit rather well, as he had a proclivity in that direction - a leaning that I possibly could be accused of as well.

The natural propensity of humankind is toward selfishness. In addition many have a proclivity in the area of procrastination and other more - or less - endearing character flaws.

At times confusion reigns supreme because I can't figure out whether a fault of mine is a propensity or a proclivity. So what's the difference? The former seems to be an inclination and the latter a leaning.

The problem with either an incline or lean is that once you go beyond a certain degree of angular slant from the vertical, natural laws take over and a fall to the horizontal goes rapidly from a possibility to a probability on to a reality.

The good thing about a horizontal position is that the next natural position in the process of rising again is to get on one's knees. This is especially meaningful if the fall we suffered was in the spiritual arena.

From that position of body or soul we can ask God to rescue us from our natural propensities and proclivities and change them into something more useful in the building up of others - and the Kingdom of God. ec

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


A conclusion is a much more determinate thing to arrive at than a continuation - the former showing a point of arrivation with the latter denoting continued wandering. There is the possibility of temporary or continuing conclusions and maybe some among us that never reach a conclusion until they die.

Etymology being what it is (the study and history of words and language), this causes me to seize upon another conclusion -- that I am an accidental etymologist as opposed to the more serious "on purpose" person of etymological pursuits.

The difference being that I study words only when I collide with them, from this comes the accidental portion of my assumed title. Colliding with a word in the mental sense is not nearly so serious or physically damaging as a crash involving your mode of transportation (with you in or on it) and another moving or stationary object.

Even so, a crushing encounter with a word or words of unknown or uncertain meaning can leave a dent in your brain -- to only be repaired by a lengthy visit to Webster's paint and body. This brain dent also has the effect of scattering thoughts that happen to be nearby in that section of word storage and this can bring about major confusion.

The up side could be the dislodging of stubborn thoughts that probably shouldn't have been in that area to begin with, but then you have the down time of thought sorting. In the separation and restoring process, thoughts can be found of unknown, random origin that can be very difficult to catalog or even categorize. Since I hate to throw anything away, these are tucked away in the corners of my mind for later possible use.

But then I'm not totally convinced that there are corners in the mind -- with so many running in circles, it would tend to make one believe it's round. This being the case, the only place of storage is right in the main passageway, resulting in trippage when running in circles and then more scattered thoughts.

Back to conclusions -- there are those that would jump to conclusions, this without physical movement, and any pain is usually the mental or emotional kind. This could be compared to jumping to contusions, in which there is actual body movement and several degrees of pain a possibility.

Given the circumstances, the only logical conclusion I can come to is that I need to plant some hibiscus. ec

Monday, September 12, 2005

hash browns

The Waffle House menu states that this particular item can come to you "scattered, smothered, covered and chunked, topped, diced and peppered" which is not bad for a potato product. The down side would be the extra poundage our feet would have to carry around.

While this preparation method works well for hash browns, our everyday lives sometimes could be described like that line on the menu.

Our thoughts can be scattered, we are smothered by stress, our existence is covered with unrealistic expectations and chunked by too many things to do in too little time, topped by a lack of necessary cash, diced by relationship demands and peppered by moral dilemmas.

In the Waffle House, if you don't want that cluttered line on the menu, you simply don't order it, but in life these things sometimes come to us whether we want them or not.

Scrambled conditions are bad enough when they are in the physical, mental or emotional areas of life, but all too many of us are living the "all the way hash browns" spiritual life. Now I'm not wonderfully perspicacious, but I do have sense enough to know that living an ersatz life of spiritual squalor and lugubriousness is not the way to go. (Ain't Webster's wonderful?!)

With any problem or series of problems, it's better to solve the problem(s) than to get all bothered and confounded with the symptoms. Humankind's number one first priority problem is, and always has been, the lack of a real down to earth, up to heaven, everyday, up close and personal kind of relationship with an all powerful God that loves us -- warts and all.

When we make our relationship with God number one priority in life, the rest of the problems we have will be solved in conjunction with, and because of, that priority choice. I realize some things take a little time to work out, but that's probably what we have the most of, at least till we die. But if we die with Christ in residence, we don't have any more problems anyway. ec

Sunday, September 11, 2005


I can procrastinate no longer - - I've tried to push it out of my mind, to forget it, but it keeps creeping back into my consciousness like dark icy slugs, leaving disgusting slime trails of remembrance. These words will be my catharsis, a purgation of the jumbled emotions about the subject I've been trying to avoid - - - rutabagas!!

It's name is derived from the French, meaning, "root bag", and is similar to the turnip except larger and with yellow flesh. It can be grated or sliced raw in salads, cooked several ways and though it's hard to believe, it can be used in recipes for fritters, stir-fry, pancakes, casseroles, soups, pies, cakes and puddings. (I'm feeling better already!)

We could teach children to love this veggie (like in a hundred years) if we started them young enough (before birth) and if we mix it with equal parts of sugar and coat it with chocolate.

But let's go deeper into this rutabaga subject - - What is the emotional profile of those that eat them and why do they do it? I don't know!!

Is there a country that uses this vegetable as a money substitute and what method of transporting them could be used to make a large purchase? Is there a commodities market that deals in rutabagas? If so it would hard to corner that market since they are round.

Is there a small candy company in Texas that makes chocolate covered rutabaga chunks? That would be a delightful confection with just a hint of - - - something different. Does anyone make rutabaga wine - the one with that "down to earth" flavor?

Could there be a child, somewhere in the world, when dreaming at Christmas that would have rutabagas dancing in their head instead of sugarplums?

I feel much relieved by having written this - - knowing that I now have others sharing my rutabaga concerns. If I were reading this to you, you would be able to hear the concern in my voice - along with other obvious things.

If you find answers to any of these disturbing questions, please feel free to enlighten me by your insights. ec

Saturday, September 10, 2005

generalities, etc.

Does character really matter? Not to some characters it doesn't - - and I have seen some REAL characters - - have worked with some and have been lightly suspicioned as to having been one myself, in a wacky sort of way. The trouble with some characters is that they have no character, unless, of course, you count the bad kind.

A person cannot generalize at all except in a vague or indefinite sort of way. It doesn't seem that there can be a definite generalization though, because with the addition of a positive element, (definite) some of the vagueness would be lost and the whole of the generalization would start to deflate like a cheap inner tube.

Yet I'm not sure you can have a random or vague generalization either, because there has to be a subject involved or else nobody would know what you were generalizing about. If a person were generalizing about generalizations, both of these negatives would combine and possibly become a positive and where is the nebulousness in all that?

Then maybe we shouldn't generalize at all, but speak of things in a broad, varied and miscellaneous sense. All this sounds vaguely political - - - speaking of voting, I vote every day.

I vote in favor of: My wife's smile - my grandchildren's laughs - cherry cobbler - Breyers vanilla ice cream (with real vanilla specks) - our outside glider rocker in the afternoon shade - consuming a handful of ripe blueberries straight off the bush - the smells of supper cooking - the melody of wind chimes - the sweet tartness of ripe muscadines - helping kids play games and have fun - rocking with eyes closed with my mind smiling over pleasant memories - opening doors for the lady of my life - hot tea served with dreams and plans - a job well done - real wood grain, especially oak.

But best and most of all I vote for, and choose, joy - - body tingling, emotion charging, mind expanding and spirit lifting JOY!!! The kind you receive when standing forgiven and in total praise of a loving heavenly Father! ec

Monday, September 05, 2005


A perfectly good word not in everyday use anymore is tepid - mostly replaced by the more accepted lukewarm. More than my concern about the non-usage of a word is the overriding question - who was this Luke that they named this barely warm temperature after?

Since and whereas this word is mentioned in the Bible, one would be tempted to believe it was a very old word - except for the fact that the scripture wasn't originally written in English. It must have been in common usage several hundred years ago when King James authorized a translation of the Word.

When I traced down the origin of lukewarm, the explanation lacked real excitement, adventure or pizzazz (interesting word), so I decided to set in writing the origin of lukewarm as I wanted it to be. A certain unnamed lord in charge of creating dictionaries in old England had an indolent servant named Luke that was very dilatory with his duties. One of his appointed jobs was to heat the water for his lord's bath and it was never warm enough . . . well, anyway, you get the idea.

Another almost never used word is torpid (sluggish - lacking in energy), it has been replaced with other words or phrases such as: sluggish - or - lacking in energy. Some of the guys I have worked with could be poster children for that word, at least till quitting time and then they change to another word entirely.

Another word and/or concept not used nearly enough is forgiveness - this is a powerful action desperately needed between the members of humankind - and even more we need the forgiveness of a loving God. Of course this type forgiveness has been made readily available to us by Jesus.

What a concept - - to feel forgiven!! Amazing to me is why so many choose to continue living in their rat hole of guilt when the sunshine of spiritual freedom is so freely obtainable. ec

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Standing high atop my point of view looking out across the valleys of my hazy thoughts, waiting for a brilliant flash to burn the mist away, I take writing instrumentation to hand and set my cogitation about waiting into words.

Most of us do not like to wait for anything and I'm almost no exception to that. Garden weeding has been waited on for a while so they could reach just the right size for me to enjoy the pulling thereof - and the casting forth into outer deadness.

The throwing out of leftovers must be delayed until the fuzzy stuff grows on them. Mowing the lawn has been put off until it reaches the right height (6") - needless to say my spouse's ideal grass height is much less than mine. Tarrying for the right time to tell someone they need a better deodorant is difficult. Waiting for our children to be born was no fun for me - less for Carolyn.

I have waited - long ago - in heart pounding suspense to see if I passed one particular subject in high school - the failing of which would have kept me from graduating. That subject was history and the strange thing is I am fascinated by that topic today - history changes people - makes them older too.

Waiting can be a difficult and very heavy situation - the weight of the wait has a way of weighing you way down. Speaking of weights - these can be used to build our physical muscles, and they will if used properly and regularly. Before building though they will tear the muscles down and make you very sore, you have to wait for the weights to take effect in their own way.

Waits will also build our mental faculties and emotional strength, dependent on our reaction to them - they will make us stronger or drive us nuts! I read somewhere - "they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength" - this concerning the spiritual part of us. It would appear then that it's possible to be made stronger in the whole person by using weights and waits, but then it's sort of one of those weighty matters. ec

Saturday, September 03, 2005


What is this thing called quiet, and why are so many people trying to stamp it out? It seems to be feared by some, as shown by their noisy actions, they equate the quiet to boredom, but I find it anything but.

Is quietness just the absence of noise? I think not, because in morgue slab silence, we can still have a cacophony of disturbance in our mind and spirit. This may be the reason physical quietness is not allowed - because they don't want to face this inner turmoil. The inner peace only comes when we have peace with God - - "The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever".

Noise has been described as any unwanted sound, but its total absence can be disturbingly loud as well. As much as I relish and enjoy the relative quiet of my world - even though all of my relatives aren't quiet - I also cherish many sounds.

These may be considered odd to some and the enjoyment of them unique to me, but they have implanted many fond memories in my mind. Here are but a few of them: The clank and squeal of iron weights as I desperately strive to maintain some semblance of physical conditioning and push back for as long as possible the deterioration process of my ancient muscles.

The chk-chk-chk of my garden sprinkler in summer. The sighing of wind through pine needles. A myriad of crickets chirping their serenade, but only when they are outside the house. The whirring "thwack" of my string trimmer as it chops down those vicious weeds.

The brush and slight crinkle of sock-clad feet on carpet. The ping of a table tennis ball when struck by the paddle - or would that be the pong? The distinctive rip of duct tape when it's pulled from the roll. The pop of plastic in the wind when not properly secured over a load in the back of a pickup truck, unless it's on my truck and then it drives me nuts.

The bubbling gurgle a tea bag makes when placed in a cup of very hot water. The plastic sliding of the lid on my Metamucil container as I strive twice a day to be a regular guy. The forceful "PSST" of a freshly opened Coke, as though to tell a very important secret. The stirring of grits with a wooden spoon.

The little plastic burp made when you push the air out of Tupperware. The rushing babble of a fast moving stream cascading over rocks. The rending crack wood makes when split by a mall. The scream of a high soaring hawk.

Quietness plays a role in all these favorite sounds because it lets me know when they begin and end. These acoustic occurrences give me a warm feeling, much like when an improperly diapered baby makes water in one's lap. ec

Friday, September 02, 2005


A search for normalcy seems to be an on going affair around our house, evidently in all the wrong places. I've heard this normal condition hangs around with the crew of usual, regular and routine, but these are hard to locate as well.

In the process of racking my brain to see what I really knew about normal, it occurred to me - what do I really know about racking a brain? But that's another subject and even though digression is very normal with me, I will resist the temptation - at this time.

So what about normal? All I know for sure is that it is the name of a town in Illinois and the name of a button on my dishwasher.

Turning to my Webster's, I find it means - among other things - approximately average in things like intelligence, personality or emotional adjustment. But the problem with an average is that nearly half would be below and most of the rest above.

That would be evident with something like intelligence and could even be measured as below or above normal, but what about the personality or the emotional adjustment parts?

Personality measurement would seem to run from bright to dull, with normal somewhere in the middle. This is not seen with the eye as much as it is perceived by interaction with those on that scale. With personalities showing themselves as bright as the rising sun reflecting off new fallen snow on Christmas morning, all the way down to those as dull and dark as a dead Eastern Narrowmouth Toad.

This leaves the emotional adjustment part and how it could be accurately gauged. The word adjustment would be the key to this and brings to mind a well torqued machine. Properly torqued, it runs smoothly, but if the adjustment is too tight, friction becomes a major problem, heat builds up and much wear and tear is the result.

If torqued too loosely, the machine will start to make too much noise and raises the possibility of the whole schmear flying apart.

If one transposes this whole torque soliloquy onto the emotional adjustment arena, several parallels seem to show themselves. As a matter of fact, I think I might have a few rattles that need to be torqued a bit better.

Back to the "normal" thing - if it means an approximate average across the board, then almost all of us are not normal - since about half would be above normal and most of the other half below. Maybe there is only one normal person in the entire world right in the middle of the measurement and all the rest of us are scattered up and down the scale.

With that in mind, I find much comfort in the fact that I'm not alone in my abnormalities. In fact, I have decided not to look for, get back to, get hold of, or even concern myself as to where this illusive and elusive "normal" is - if it wants me, it can come and chase me down. ec

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Olio is defined as a mixture of unlike elements, potpourri or miscellany - somewhat like our kitchen tool drawer - this as opposed to oleo, which is bit of an odd mixture in itself.

Oleo, better known as margarine, used to be known as oleomargarine, or at least the French language equivalent of this word. The product was invented by a French chemist, Hippolyte Mege-Mouries, in 1868 - the result of a contest sponsored by Napoleon III to come up with a butter substitute.

A large ingredient in this mixture was beef fat, which was once called oleo - hence the name. Other animal and vegetable fats have been used over the years to make this product. Different names for it have been used as well. Two of these would be butterine and lardine, the latter due to it's large content of lard and may or may not have been a big seller to our slightly more savvy consumers today.

This inspired me to look at the container of the margarine we have been using for years. I discovered that it is not even margarine, but a spread! It does indicate that it has one third fewer calories than margarine - but then I wonder why the word "crock" is part of this product's name.

When I was a kid, our oleo came in white form and a little packet of food coloring was included in the package. If you desired it be the color of butter - or even margarine - you had to mix the color in yourself. This is because of some kind of law favoring the dairy industry - I think.

Most of this oleo info came from casual research, which serves to give evidence to the facts that -1- I know how to be casual and -2- I know what the word research means.

Research is what you do when you can't find your keys the first time around. Much research is the next go-around when places in the house are searched that you couldn't possibly have been in the last two weeks. Extensive research is when the search extends to the entire grounds outside, under the house, in the attic, all drain pipe traps and even the oral cavities of pets and small children - leaving no stone unturned - if you are inclined to have any of those laying around – it couldn’t be lying around because most stones are truthful.

Digression seems to have taken place - more than once - so discretion tells me that I had best start regression before I get into literary transgression.

This takes us all the way back to olio. This word seems to be rather uncommon and I don't recall running into it outside the close confines of crossword puzzles. So rather than leaving it "penned" up in those more or less hallowed halls, I feel it's time to proclaim freedom and release for the word. Why shouldn't it run free and frolic in the wide expanses of the vocabulary like the other words? Olio also has the right to explore the bright lands of everyday vocal expression and to play on the tongues of kings, queens and even the common folk.

Each of us should do our part to help this word reach it's full potential. Use this word in several sentences every day and in your email or other correspondence. We could even write it in large letters and put it on the frig.

Hey - wouldn't OIio be a great name for a new baby? ec