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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Monday, October 31, 2005

joy too

How does one get joy? As defined, you have to have something exceptionally good or satisfying happen to you. But then these events are perceived differently by different folk and can be canted, slanted or leaned according to their age, experience and outlook on life. Perception would seem to be the problem, because even wonderful things can be deemed by some as really not so great. It brings to mind the mental picture on Christmas morning of a child opening their many presents, then looking around to comment “Is that all there is”?

What about depression? Personally I don’t care much for it and don’t intend to stay bogged in it any longer than it takes me to realize that I’m in it – and everybody has a choice – to a degree. There are many very good reasons to be depressed but it seems to me that some folks go to every extreme to expand their horizons in that respect. Days, weeks, months and even years have been wasted in depression because folks perceive life as not giving them what they really want and feel they deserve. From my perception that’s not a good reason, because no matter how joyful a person is, if they wander out into a thunderstorm of ‘wanting’ and ‘deserving’, they are likely to get hit with some splats of disillusionment.

Maybe some folks look too much at the big things and not enough at the little – plus they are not awed or amazed very much at either. I have a very simple outlook – some might say that it goes with the mind involved – as well as simple wants and can be awed, amazed and joyed (it’s a verb too) by the most minute or routine of things. Recently my wife and I saw a small flock of a dozen or so sparrows feeding on someone’s leftovers in the parking lot of Sam’s. To me this was God’s way of caring and feeding them and that awed me and gave me joy, because if He cares that much for them, how much more does He love me.

Joy can be found in the laughter of a child, or their hugs and kisses – especially if they are “grands”. I joy in that certain look my wife gives me that can shout out “I love you” to my consciousness - even from across the room. I delight in being able to repair and/or adjust things to bring them back to working order. Also in seeing the ground crack open as garden seeds start to sprout in spring. The picking of the first ripe garden tomato, squash or cucumber of the summer is a joy. I find enjoyment in the yearly pruning of the muscadine vines in the winter.

There is joy to be had even in smells and after all we need to stop every now and then and smell the pepperoni. A particular favorite of mine is the smell of fresh baked anything - especially cinnamon rolls. The bakery they have in the mall now smells pretty good, but the place they used to have on the first floor had a smell that would reach out and grab you by the nose. It was almost like you didn’t have a choice, if you got into the smell zone, cinnamon rolls had to be purchased. There must have been some lust and/or addiction involved in there somewhere.

But the depths or heights of joy cannot be truly defined or explained outside of the spiritual realm. This because the real joy is placed inside us at the time our sins are forgiven. Rejoice is another word best defined in the spiritual sense. Rejoicing is so much more than the momentary rush of gladness that your side won some physical contest or that a fortuitous occurrence happened in your life.

What is the relationship between joy and rejoicing? The answer starts with another question. How does one express an inexpressible joy? To rejoice would be a good start. Rejoicing in the Lord will not only show outwardly the joy inside, but can have the effect of stirring some up, if perchance it has gone dormant, has been misplaced or been stolen altogether. Even if you feel everything has gone wrong and there is absolutely nothing to be remotely happy or joyful about, the Word still says to rejoice. That almost doesn’t leave any room for the mulligrubs. ec

Sunday, October 30, 2005


The last few lines of an old (1888) poem reads:

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.

It seems to me that there is not much joy where we live either – wherever that may be. Pondering why this appeared to be true, I went to the dictionary to see the actual meaning of the word. Joy is defined as a feeling or state of great delight or happiness, as caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. While this describes a very wonderful condition, it didn’t seem to contain the depth, height or intensity I had expected. There had to be more.

Further reflection brought me to the conclusion that I hadn’t heard the word used but very little outside the Christmas season or a few references at church. Thinking this odd, I asked about this among several acquaintances and they had not either. Could it be that folks were not feeling joy anymore, or were they just using another word for it? Enjoy is a related word – first cousin on it’s mother’s side – but it is much less intense. This because you can enjoy any number of experiences, things or even food – I have even enjoyed watching caterpillars or eating banana pudding - this latter item being right at the top of the scale.

Seeking another word that was being used instead of joy, I reached into the dictionary and pulled out the word “glad” and held it lightly between the fingers of my mind. This was a very meaningful term and just the considering of it made me . . . glad. But it can be a very temporary condition or experience, plus the height or depth can vary greatly. An example can be found in the sentence: I was glad the truck didn’t hit me, but it did run over my toes.

Back in the book of definitions, I delighted in finding the word “delight”. This unit of discourse was definitely in the right direction. Anyone with children or grandchildren knows the true meaning of this word can be found and defined in the actions of these little ones. Almost anything can delight them – from having a butterfly light on their hand to watching a large purple dinosaur on TV. As wonderful as the word is, even considering the fact that we humans are very cyclical in our feelings and emotions, it was still too transient to describe what I was looking for.

Then I went to an ancient Book of Truth and found many references for joy, and several that mentioned great joy. Now this was more like it! Another passage even alluded to exceeding great joy and I knew I was in the right place. It seemed to be that the deepest and highest meaning of joy could only be found in the context of friendship with the One that inspired the writing of the Book. Then there was the verse that told of the possibility of an inexpressible and glorious joy – that’s as good as it gets, and it’s available in this life - all that can be said is wow!

That last was the definition that describes what I feel on occasion. I would have to have a renewed body to stand much more of that kind of joy – hey, maybe there’s something in there about that too . . . ec

Saturday, October 29, 2005


One of my least favorite things in the whole world, just barely ahead of getting a root canal, is to drive in heavy traffic – such as when one dares to venture out on Washington Road in Augusta. The auto crunch is hard to avoid anytime on this particular roadway, especially rush hour, but I have found something that makes it a lot easier to be out in the bumper-to-bumper.

When I fired up the truck the other day to make an errand filled, traffic delayed, white-knuckled, blood pressure raising run through the four-wheelers, the CD of worship music I had listened to on a previous trip cranked up as well. This seemed to be the thing to do, so I turned the volume up a bit and started out on my task. Soon the truck in which I was being transported was not my only mode of transportation as I allowed the Spirit of God to lift me into a place of peace.

The traffic was still there, as were the rude lane-changers and impatient bumper riders, but I was insulated from all this by something much higher and was just not effected by it – somewhat to my surprise. Wow, do you suppose that’s how God meant for us to live? Mind you, I was still alert, because while I am ready to go, I don’t look forward to the pain of passing, especially of being run over 97 times before someone notices that I wasn’t a speed bump. As I worshipped along with - and way beyond - the CD, my dreaded trip became a pleasure.

Nearing the end of my tasks, I happened to go near the neighborhood in which I grew up and decided to transport myself down memory lane. The house in which we once lived seemed much smaller now and painted a different color. They had a different fence around the back yard, I think us kids pretty much demolished the one back then. They even had a tree house and a huge pecan tree – both of which could have been fallen out of with injuries resulting – this would have been the most popular yard in the area back then.

There were three humongous trees in the front yard, all planted by my father while I was away in the army. There was no traffic on this street and I was glad because sentimental journeys go a little slower than others. On up to the corner house and the remembrance of the mayhaw tree they had, the fruit of which my next older sister dearly loved. We were usually confined to our yard if our parents were not home, but she would pay one of the neighbor kids to go up there and pick her a jarful and she would consume them with great gusto and delight.

A little farther down the road, I passed the residence of an ex-girlfriend – one that I did not marry – and a few blocks on down, past the house of another ex-girlfriend – the one I did marry. Then I proceeded on by my old high school with many memories there as well, some pleasant and some not so much so, all colored and shaded by the extreme ignorance of my youth, with its constantly wasted emotions.

My tasks now behind me and headed for home, I passed by another corner of memory lane, the one on which once stood a small bakery in which my Mom worked for many years. I wonder if there will be any chocolate éclairs at the marriage supper of the Lamb?

Wherever and however we are transported, we can still be in God’s love and care, and that makes me glad. ec

Friday, October 28, 2005


“If a frog had wings it wouldn’t bump its backside when it jumped”. This is an old saying that certainly forms some questions in my mind. If the aforementioned amphibian did have wings, wouldn’t that negate the necessity of jumping at all – unless it had to have this sudden acceleration to get airborne? Then once it was airborne, it would still have to come back down to earth at some point and the rear end bumping thing would come into play again.

If this ex-tadpole did become winged, it would have to sacrifice two limbs to become so, and since it would be more reasonable for the front ones to be used, it would then have to be concerned about bumping its nose upon landing. Then there is the question of what to call this creature of flight. Maybe it could be a frird or if big enough it could be a freagle. There is the case for not messing with the poor frog at all, since it seems to be padded well enough to take the bump, then there would be several less things for us (me in particular) to be concerned with.

“If I had known then what I know now, I would have done things differently”. Of course, I still would have messed up, just with different people and probably on a much grander scale with more turmoil and heartache involved. This because the smaller messes that I did trip over saved me from the much larger messes that were lurking around the corner of opportunism. One could almost hear them lurking – with a faint “lurk, lurk, lurk” in the background of the sound of silence, the sound that we all may need to hear more of.

“If only there were more hours in the day”. The question of “where would we get the extra hours” had barely formed when the answer came to me. The international date line runs from north pole to south pole approximately 180 degrees around the globe of the earth from the prime meridian that runs north to south through Greenwich, England. The reason I know this is that I looked it up for my granddaughter’s homework the other day. Anyway, this date line is somewhat west of Hawaii and on one side of it is one date and the next date just across the line. If then we could capture these days from individuals as they cross that point, they could be redistributed among those that need them the most.

If this was done, I think the time should be encapsulated in recycled plastic and warehoused at central locations across the country to be available to all equally as needed. The problems would start when some would want more days than others and I’m not sure whether the days could be broken down to hours or not. Maybe the government could handle the days and sub-contractors could break down the hours. Of course there would have to be a time tax imposed and then extra fees for the sub-contractor’s hours. Then there would be the problem of the black market, selling time stolen from those that didn’t even cross the date line.

If the hours could be broken down to minutes, we could store a few in the car so as not to be late for church on Sundays. Maybe some of the aforementioned problems are the reasons this extra time is not available, especially the extra tax part. Also there would be problems in relationships, with one spouse on one day and the other on another, and maybe on another page of life as well. This seems to happen enough as it is, with one in a particular time and emotion and the other moved on to another place of time, thought and even person. Breaking apart time or relationships is something to be avoided at all costs, even to the expense of spending precious unbroken time on these relationships.

“If only I could find peace in this troubled world”. This is the easiest of all because the arrangements have already been made for this to be in the heart and life of everyone. But just like any gift, it has to be accepted by the receiver to be of any good to them. Jesus made the arrangements for you to have peace, and made it available for all that would accept it. Hey - today would be a good time!!!!! ec

Thursday, October 27, 2005


The condition of being disgruntled is to occupy the state of sulky dissatisfaction or discontent. It stands to reason then that the word “gruntled” should mean the opposite - having satisfaction or contentment. Of course the dictionary does not agree with me totally, but part of this supposition I have embarked on is also based on this same defining book.

My hypothesis is based on one of the meanings of the root word “grunt”, which states it is a dessert of stewed fruit topped with biscuit dough. I have to assume the article was then cooked, as I’m not particularly fond of raw dough in my desserts, but I am partial to any kind of fruit pie or concoction such as this. The natural flow of deductive reasoning would conclude that once a person partakes of this “grunt”, they then would be “gruntled”.

Another line of reasoning about the word “grunt” comes from personal experience. My eldest daughter has a daughter and a son, and my youngest daughter has a daughter and three sons - all of these have been affectionately called “grunts” by me since their introduction into the world. Being grandchildren, their official title would be grand grunts.

My favorite wife and I baby-sit a fair amount and enjoy that occupation or condition to the same degree. To bring the last line of reasoning to a conclusion, when we are in the midst of attending and enjoying – to one degree or another – our “grunts”, we would then have to be considered “gruntled”.

In the spiritual arena, one only has to look around a bit to perceive a few folks known as Christians that would appear to be disgruntled. There are provisions made to correct this possibly fatal condition. One has only to partake of the slightly bitter pill of asking for forgiveness for being in these disobedient conditions and then the joy found only in Christ can be enjoyed. They then would become “gruntled”, and personally I think we could use more folks of the gruntled type. ec

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

faute de mieux

For lack of something better I have substituted many things, and most were ersatz indeed. The earliest of these makeshift actions usually pertained to something in the food family. Along about my early teens, when my normal appetite quickly evolved into something akin to that of a wild beast, anything edible was fair game.

There were six of us kids, but even with my two older siblings married and gone, that still left several young critters vying for the same available sustenance. The odd thing is that I don’t remember that we had any, or at least not much, junk food – maybe potato chips. There usually was some peanut butter and bread available, and if nothing else, pb&j was acceptable. On several of these forages for food, the absence of jelly was noted with horror, but being the resourceful person I was, my sandwich was studded with many raisons on those occasions – the peanut butter held them in place nicely. Even though, it was still a substitute.

The light inside the frig seemed to be of great fascination to us kids, for by it’s glow we would search the cool containers of leftover items to find something suitable to devour. This in spite of the fact that we had just performed a thorough investigation moments before – it’s a wonder we didn’t all have frostbitten faces. Finally we would eat the least obnoxious item just to sustain us until Mom got home. We seldom had leftovers stay long enough to grow fuzzy stuff on them. I don’t think I ever remember any leftover banana pudding back then. (Oops, I think I just flung a craving on myself.)

Now I’m not saying that I actually tried this, but somewhere in the recesses of my mind it seems there is something about making a sandwich with day-old butterbeans (limas) – the really large ones. In fact, that does not sound that bad to me right now – with the proper condiments. How vegetarian of me to even think of that.

It seems that I’ve always liked foods that others might consider somewhat odd. The foods in themselves were not that odd, but the combinations thereof. It used to really gross out both of my daughters when I would have a large dollop of peanut butter as well as cheese mixed and melted in with my chicken noodle soup. I guess the advantage of liking odd stuff is that nobody else eats it all up – maybe that was a defense mechanism from my youth.

I guess if I were living in Southern England, my delight in hot tea would not seem unusual at all. But here I am in the sweet iced tea drinking center of the whole world and I don’t even like sugar mixed in with mine – or ice – and I drink it all seasons, any time of the day. I wonder when the proper English tea times are anyway? And what are scones?

Substitute foods were sometimes bad enough, but I remember many years ago when I substituted doing wrong things for doing the right ones. It seemed that I had to find out for myself why these things were called wrong and why had I been taught not to do them. These “whys” are the reasons I carry some scars today, even though the wrongs have been forgiven. The scars are reminders not to go those ways again. This forgiveness is still available today - for anyone - my Friend says so, and He doesn’t lie. ec

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

entre nous

Just between you and me, I like canned tuna - the small flat cans that are bought in bulk at Sam's. This product is usually mixed with a condiment or two and consumed in sandwich form. It has also been mixed into various soups and eaten in that manner.

The love of my life (in human form) does not share in the delight that I take in this fishy culinary article. In fact, it's just the opposite, she detests the odor given off by this ex-swimmer when I open the can. This dislike necessitates self-preparation of this particular meal. She has long past the screaming and running out the door stage - lacking the energy - she simply lights one of those scented candles until the ordeal is over.

My wife follows that old quote, "It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness" - or the tuna. ec

Monday, October 24, 2005


During my recuperation period, cerebration is something that I’ve had a lot of time to think about. I’ve come to the conclusion that every one thinks, but does everyone really cerebrate. At times in my life, I have felt and acted like I didn’t have enough sense to come in out of a shower of lime encrusted, salt-water forams. But who is to say or judge the depth of someone else’s thought processes, since that action alone does not lend itself to outward expression or disclosure.

If we were to celebrate cerebration, how would anyone else know what we were doing if there was no outward bodily sign of such joyous cogitation? At times – whether my face shows it or not – I am having a real cranial, brainial party. Though I mostly control these things in public, I find myself highly amused at home with these odd contemplations. The reason for this is that I never know what I’m going to think of next.

Precontemplation is a word I once saw in an article in a Pittsburgh newspaper. Since it was in print in the newspaper of a large American city, it must be possible, but I’m not sure how a person would go about doing that. To contemplate means to consider thoroughly or think fully or deeply about something. This condition of precontemplation then must come somewhere between wild disjointed (or jointed) thoughts running rampant around the thought faculties and the process of full contemplation. It must be something like getting one’s ducks in a row, except only thoughts are involved – hey, maybe that’s where some folk’s fowl language comes from.

I think that thinking can be very thoughtful indeed, except when it’s done without much thought involved. It’s an activity that is normally not injurious to anyone in any way, though I guess the one involved could strain or sprain their psyche if too many heavy thoughts are considered. I can only imagine having to put an ace bandage around the brain for it to recover full usage. Maybe some have had too many untreated brain strains and arthritis has set in.

Then there is always the danger of getting one’s train of thought derailed. I remember the big derailment back in the summer of ’03 down by the swamp of random rumination. One of the largest thought trains to come through Introspection Town in some time left the tracks on the big curve just before the trestle of deliberation. Every car of valuable meditation went down through the boggy ground before finally stopping just short of the river of indecision. All aboard the train was safe, albeit they were mired in the ooze, but the normal residents of the quagmire were greatly affected.

Squished in the derailment of thought were 14 tadpoles of forethought and 7 minnows of premeditation. An Eastern Spadefoot Toad of musing was severely injured and an Egret of regret – feeding on the tadpoles and minnows - was scared nearly witless. It took three large cranes of reality four thoughtful days to get all the vehicles back on the main thought track. It was determined later that the train just came through town too fast, ignoring all warnings about the curve that life sometimes throws at us.

Way back in the Old Testament, it encourages us to think and reason things out (Isaiah 1:18) in order to bring more order in our lives. Looking back at some past instances of problems in my life, I thought I was really thinking things through, but I wasn’t, I only thought I was thinking. But when I stopped thinking I was thinking and started to really think – with a Higher Power to help in my endeavor – I quit just thinking and started taking action toward the only Source of real solutions. Plus He helps me keep all my thought trains on track. ec

Sunday, October 23, 2005


What is zeal, and how does one go about getting some? Now I do a bit of grocery shopping and I have never seen any for sale, by the pound or by the package. All through Bi-Lo, Kroger, Winn Dixie and even Publix there was none to be found. This was true all through the store, including the produce department, checking there because I desired my zeal to be as fresh as possible, but still nothing.

The dictionary says it is “eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something”. Considering this definition, I posed the question to myself – is anyone zealous anymore? Believe me, I did not like the answer I got and was almost surprised, which might be a little curious, considering the source, which, of course, was me. (All those comas really gave me pause(?), or maybe paws, considering my typing.)

My answer was that I had seen zealousness at work in the world, but mostly for reaching goals of oneself or those of a self-serving despot leader. History and current events are filled with writings about those who were – or currently are – caught up in mass movements to “improve the world” by carrying out the dictates of controlling leaders. The problem with these kinds of movements is that someone, or multitudinous someones, usually wind up at room temperature.

These facts aside - as well as under consideration - is the proper kind of zeal still available today? – and where does one find it? There is one brand available somewhere in the Middle East, but by the results of it, one can easily tell that this kind of zeal is nowhere near the proper type. I say this because the good stuff changes one’s life forever – for the better - and the lives of anyone they happen to come in contact with.

Thinking on the meaning of the word, I pondered on how zeal differed from enthusiasm or excitement – but I did that without a lot of either – much the way I have approached writing of late. In a somewhat cynical way, the scenario I see is that of a flag hanging outdoors – the wind that comes along occasionally is the excitement and the resultant waving is the enthusiasm – which ends shortly after the wind dies down.

I view the proper kind of zeal more as an internal burning, like that of wood or coal or even more, like that of coke – a combustible material made from coal that burns hot enough to smelt iron and steel. That kind of fire will cause changes in the lives of those in which it is ignited and even the Word says “It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good. . . (Gal 4:18).

The zeal of the zealous should be considered right and good if the right things result from their actions. If love, joy, peace and the other fruit do not follow behind us, we might be just a flag, waving in the breeze.

Where then can I find a supply of zeal – maybe I’ve been looking in the wrong places – I wonder if Lowe’s or Home Depot might have that? ec

Saturday, October 22, 2005


In the days of yore I remember viewing an old photograph – circa 1950 – that showed members of a family beside their automobile. The car was a tan, four door, 1948 Chevrolet and it was parked in a dirt driveway of a house on Hickman Road in Augusta, Georgia.

There were several family members in the photo, but the two main ones that catch the edges of my memory were two lads with very blond hair – they were called “cotton tops” back then. I knew both of these boys quite well, but the older of the two was the one whose life and times I have followed with great interest over the years. We became very close friends later in life – though I didn’t care much for him at the beginning.

The many instances in his life that helped develop his character and elemental social skills come back to mind from time to time. The formation of strong determination – some might call this stubbornness – was helped along by something as simple as a game of tag in grammar school.

He was the chaser and the chased was a taller, faster classmate. The chase lasted a good portion of the recess period but determination caused the larger boy to become exhausted and caught. This taught the blonde one the value of not giving up.

Another part of him I saw develop was his love for music and singing. Since he was too young for the choir at church, even though his father was the director, he sat down front in the congregation and on the sly played the famous instrument of comb and paper – somewhat in tune with the choir.

In this same church he learned great respect for God’s presence and power as he witnessed many spiritual signs in the lives of the minister and congregation during the services. During an awesome ministering service, he once saw mist fill the church - almost like smoke - and he perceived this to indicate the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

I also witnessed his growing consciousness of the need to have a relationship with God. His seeking – though mostly motivated by fear – led him to strive to do all the right things – most of the time.

I was also around when he started to realize that girls were different than boys. He held young ladies in such high esteem that he couldn’t imagine them doing anything in the bathroom other than to powder their pretty little noses. Now he had sisters and knew that they had other bodily functions happen in that little room, but they were sisters, not girls, and girls were just too nice and dainty for stuff like that.

Many lessons and experiences later – about the time he had the “thou shalt nots” committed to memory – he was out of high school and in military service. I do not recall him consciously striving to “do” all the “don’ts” he had learned, but that was the end result during his time in the Army.

He never fought in war against a physical enemy, but the spiritual conflict he was involved in was just as real – and just as deadly in the end. One evening he again found himself in the presence of the Truth. It was then, and only then, that he realized he had lost every battle he had fought because he had been alone in the fight.

The Truth brought back the teachings of his younger years and he once again accepted the help and friendship of the only true Friend anyone would ever have. That was really the time I became his lifelong friend as well. ec

Thursday, October 20, 2005

wow too

Wow is an expression of amazement, but also a place or condition of being. Wow would be a difficult place to live, but it would hurt very few of us if we would visit this area of astonishment a little more often.

Although the growing season is mostly over for this year, the planting of a vegetable garden is something I've done every spring except one since the early 70s. Some would say that this kind of endeavor is not worth the work because you don't get enough out of it to pay for the time, fertilizer and seed/plant costs. These naysayers might be somewhat correct if that was the only reason I planted one.

My reasons? Number one - I enjoy being wowed by the natural laws God set forth and that continue on a constant basis. This year's garden actually started during last winter when I piled organic matter - leaves, straw, tree bark and even some rotted wood - within the borders of its rows.

This material broke down even more over the cold season and I tilled it under to nourish the new growth coming in spring. This brings to mind whether or not the spiritual legacy we leave behind will cause or nourish any new spiritual growth when we are "tilled under".

You might say my garden was planted in faith - it would have been stupid to plant something if I didn't expect it to come up and produce something - there is a spiritual lesson in there as well. About a week later, cracks start to appear in the soil as the germinated seed pushes a sprout upwards to reach the sunshine - that's at least a wow and a half.

This growth process cracks me up too in an odd sort of way, amazement cracks the mold of a normal, ordinary day and can make it into a space of time very meaningful indeed. It can also crack our know-it-all-ness and make us more dependent on God.

Gardening is a hobby of mine and I have gained a bit of experience over the years, but I can only take a minimum amount of credit. This is because it's the plants that produce the veggies, I just try to create acceptable conditions for the plants to do what God made them to do and just stand back and say "WOW".

Of course reason number two is that I enjoy picking and eating fresh veggies. ec

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

beck and call

The last few 24 hour periods have blended themselves together so thoroughly that they seem like just one large, fat, lumpy day. This present space in time finds us still in temp residence in Tennessee, caring for a small grandson and also looking after his residence. I have hardly been out of the house except to check the mail, take out the trash and to make a trip to their local Wal-Mart.

If I were at home, I would probably be wreaking havoc among the weed and ant population just to show them who was the boss. But then they probably already know that they are – I’m just a speed bump on their road of life, but I do make many of them bite the air or dust – which ever one they are not used to. It seems the older I get, the less I want to leave the old homestead – at least for very long.

Meanwhile, the little one here seems to have two full-grown adults at his every beck and call – and he does do some calling. In between times, they do have a computer and a large screen TV with expanded cable that includes two history channels and the military channel – wow. I did figure out how to blog but still cannot send and email – plus I don’t have access to my addresses. I’m such a rookie in some computer ways.

This little one we are caring for has large blue eyes that seem to look right into ones soul and it makes me wonder what he’s really thinking. The thoughts are probably not nearly so deep as my imagination would have them to be, plus he doesn’t speak English as yet. My vocabulary is mostly in English (Southern style), with a bit of French from way back when and a very few words of Spanish – what this little one speaks is none of these, but hopefully he will pick up some of at least one of the languages in a few years.

Even though he can’t speak understandably, he does let his needs be known in no uncertain terms and at times in a very loud manner. It is weird to think about but after crunching some numbers, I came to the conclusion that I may not be around when this little one gets out of high school. This makes it the more imperative that I strive to influence him all I can in the direction of Jesus – in addition to his parents godly training.

The somewhat forced inactivity was broken again yesterday when I went out to their newly opened Sam’s – they have been open for business about two weeks. They didn’t have everything I went out for so I had to go on down to the infamous Wal-Mart – a different one from the other day - just down the road from there. During these shopping excursions I couldn’t help but notice people’s faces and then the drawing of conclusions as to how their permanent wrinkles got there.

The latter part of that statement is true whether we want to believe it or not – we all have permanent facial wrinkles. These are sculpted into our countenance by our experiences, whether these be pleasant or otherwise. Many folk’s faces can be read like a book, especially from middle age and older. Sadly, many of the young gather these readable lines as well – those of the unpleasant type that are much easier to read. These lines, the action of the eyes and body language tell a story that many times do not match the words that come from the mouth.

Some folks do not like to have these natural wrinkles present on their visage and do all they can to remove them – even resorting to surgery in some cases. The frown lines are not my favorite either and I do all I can to replace them with ones caused by excessive smiling. In fact, this is the easiest way to improve the looks of any face – just smile.

Returning from one portion of my writing style – digression – I returned to my home away from home with my purchases, feeling better just getting out and about for a while. The Disney visiting crowd returned late last night – actually early this morning – a bit worse for wear from relaxing so hard. I’m not sure that the little one knew what to think when his Mom was the one that got him up this morning but he dealt with it very well. ec

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Today’s dawn found my best wife and me in temporary residence in the home of my daughter in Cookeville, Tennessee. The purpose of our stay is to care for our young – 8 months – grandson while daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter – 8 years – go to Disney World. The main reason for the little one to be left behind with us is the fact that he is not a “good traveler”.

This thing of being a “good traveler” has to do with the length of time the little one can be in the vehicle without yelling and screaming, the decibel level the utterances reach and the length of time the vociferousness continues. The answers to these three tests in this case is 1- not very long 2- very loud and 3- a very long time. Hence the reason for the trip and the several days of R&R in this more or less thriving middle Tennessee area until the rest of the family returns.

Memory recalls that my youngest daughter was not a “good traveler” either and it was a long ago weekend trip to another location in Tennessee that caused me to draw that conclusion. She was about 10 months old at the time and the trouble started right away. She hardly slept at night and my lady and I took turns trying to shush her to sleep. On the way back to South Carolina, it was one almost constant screaming session all the way back, with only an occasional respite when she would fall asleep from exhaustion. She was four years old before we took her on another trip.

Our trip up here was mostly uneventful up I-20, then North on I-75 and my heart rate had almost returned to normal after Atlanta traffic – even though it was still pretty heavy – and everything seemed right with the world. We were in the center lane of the three North-bound lanes when I suddenly noticed an odd whirring noise and the car started to gently pull to the right. The realization that the air was leaving one of my tires sunk in and I dodged my way to the shoulder of the road. One glance told the situation, the right front tire was without air – it didn’t blow out, just very quickly lost all its air.

With one eye glancing over my shoulder at oncoming traffic – many trucks in that area – I took our luggage and “stuff” out and placed it on the side of the highway to reach the abbreviated spare tire. After taking the regular tire off and putting on the “donut”, I discovered that it was mostly flat as well. I decided that it would be better to ruin this one than the regular tire and drove off the interstate at the exit – our stop had placed us right at the beginning of the off ramp. The place of business across from the exit ramp had a compressor and I filled up the small emergency tire and inquired as to where I could find a place to get the flat repaired. The two men there agreed that I would be better off if I could make it down a couple more exits.

The little tire held highway speed fairly well and we went down to the aforementioned exit and a short while later located a genuine old-fashioned “service station” – they sold gas, tires and did minor repairs. One of the things they specialized in was tires – wow – it was like I was being directed to this place. A few minutes later they found that the tire had a defective valve stem, it was replaced, remounted on the car and we were on our way only twelve dollars poorer. From start to finish the whole episode lasted about an hour.

My favorite wife mentioned that the delay could have kept us out of a wreck up the road and I can’t totally disagree with that. We made it on to the daughter’s house without further incident with only my hands and soiled clothes the worse for the wear. I was a little bummed out about the stem since these tires were only about three months old, but grateful that it wasn’t any worse than that.

The following afternoon, the Disney crowd left out for the airport in Nashville, flew down to the Mickey Mouse place and at last report they were having a wonderful time – working as fast and furious as they could at making memories.

Meanwhile back on their home front, the little one seems to have accepted us as his caretakers and all is at peace with the world. God is good. ec

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Looking back, the desire had been there for years, but I had always been able to push it into the background and get on with my life. My main explanations to myself had always been that I could not justify the expense and did not think I would use it that much. All that changed recently with a request to help fulfill someone else's dream.

This dream was to build a workshop for my son-in-law in the back of their house. There was an existing concrete slab on the property they purchased earlier this year with the dimensions of twenty by twenty feet. It was placed there by a previous owner with the idea in mind of building just such a shop.

The type building materials were decided on, as well as the locations of a couple of doors and a window. As I was mulling over construction methods in my mind, it hit me like a bolt out of the blue - this was the time for my personal dream to become a reality as well, and my desire to be fulfilled.

Forsooth, I proclaimed to myself - at least mentally - and proceeded forthwith to venture out to yon large home supply outlet and purchase my prize - a pneumatic framing nail gun.

This was a great and magical day, somewhat akin to Christmas, the fourth of July and my birthday all rolled up into one - with groundhog day thrown in for good measure. Back at my residence, I de-boxed my treasure and my eyes feasted on this wonderfully made piece of machinery - wow!

Although I own an air compressor and could have pieced together the fittings and an old hose for a test run of this tool, I rejected the thought and would wait until I could get new fittings and hoses befitting such a finely machined article.

A few days later I ventured forth again and procured the necessary items to make the nail gun fire, among them being not one, but two bright yellow air hoses. Affixing the quick-connect fittings to tool and hoses, it was then down to my workshop to try it out. My purchases had also included two boxes of nails in two different sizes - these being attached together in a row so that many nails could be fired before reloading.

Loading a string of nails and attaching the hose to my compressor, I cast my eyes about for something in my shop that needed another nail. Deciding that my old workbench was a few short, I placed the gun thereon and pulled the trigger. The air pressure and adjustment on the tool was too high and I not only split the board, but also countersunk the nail about a half-inch. After a few adjustments the nails were going to the proper depth and trigger-happy me had used up a whole stick of nails - wow!

On a Friday after this, my brother-in-law and I gathered with son-in-law and proceeded to frame up the shop. Two days and many nails later, we had erected the four walls and had it ready for the pre-fab roof trusses we will put on later.

It doesn't take an expert to drive nails with my new tool, but it does take a little practice. This is because if you don't hold it just right, it will shoot two nails before it can be released - I even hit one spot with a triple during the construction - wow!

To nail down this email, Ephesians 3:20 says "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us," And to that also I say WOW. ec

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

vittles - 4

Taking keyboard in hand, or at least on the fingertips, I decided to write another potpourri of words about combination foods.

One of the first sweet foods I remember participating in on a regular basis was syrup and butter - of course there was usually a biscuit involved in there somewhere.

In pondering this particular subject, I decided to do some intensive research - several minutes - about syrup and molasses, mainly because I wondered what the difference was between the two - if there was any.

According to my research, molasses is a by-product of sugar making and is separated by a centrifuge from raw sugar and is described as having a "robust somewhat bitter-tart flavor". Cane syrup, on the other hand, is arrived at directly with nothing else in mind except cooking the raw cane juice until it gets thick and the taste is about the same, maybe slightly less tongue assaulting.

A somewhat milder, lighter in color, syrup is made from sorghum cane - the highest percentage of this is from Kentucky. This cane's juice is squeezed out and cooked down until thick, much like the last one mentioned. I have eaten and enjoyed some of all aforementioned sweet products.

These flavor descriptions sent my taste buds into a frenzy with memories from my youth - so real that I had to go out to our local Bi-Lo and find some.

Having located and purchased this sweet semi-liquid, I brought it home and mixed up a plateful with the only butter substitute we have on the place - Smart Balance. It was yummy and very closely matched the memory taste of long ago - except we had no biscuits, were low on bread and I had to eat it on saltine crackers. Taste memories make a person improvise.

I do realize that folks up North make syrup from the sap of certain trees, but it's too watery to really mix well with butter - or butter substitutes - no offense.

Some years ago I also would mix syrup with peanut butter on a regular basis - now that was robust. This became a problem down through the years as I developed an allergy to this beloved paste - an almost un-American thing to happen to a person - and had to find a substitute.

The ersatz paste turned out to be tahini, but tahini and jelly sandwiches just do not have the same recognition factor as ones of the PB and J variety. This would leave my tahini and syrup combination even less known and in less demand. Not many people in this area consume tahini, I know this by the fact that when I pick up a jar, it cuts the store's inventory of it by a third or sometimes in half.

My body's allergies, while not massive, have forced me to make substitutions in some of the foods I eat - but there's no substitute for the love and forgiveness of God through His Son Jesus. ec

Monday, October 10, 2005

vittles - 3

OK - here's another about vittles. The first combination food I recall from my formative years is the very basic grits and eggs. One might think that these companion foods always taste the same no matter who prepares them or how it's done, but such is not the case - recalling memories from my long ago Army chow days – though I don’t remember grits, they could mess up anything else.

The taste and texture of grits has many variations, dependent upon the brand name, the type pot in which they are cooked and even the preparer's motivations and emotions. Considering myself to be somewhat of a connoisseur of this ground corn product, let me state up front that my favorite brand is Jim Dandy - with everything else at least a poor second.

Be aware also that I do not consider instant grits to be real food and they do not even deserve to have the noble, ancient name of "grits" printed on its package. This product would rate somewhere below leftover wallpaper paste on my taste scale. This statement is not meant to imply that I stand around licking excess paste off the wallpaper.

My preparation utensil of choice is a tri-clad stainless steel pot that's been in my family at least 22 years, has cooked multitudinous amounts of this item and now holds the honored title of our "grits pot". In my opinion the cast iron or aluminum containers just don't do a proper job, even adding a bit of themselves to the grits with each cooking.

Having arrived at the proper brand of grits and the best choice of a preparation vessel, the variable of the preparer enters the picture. More than just having the proper expertise, we must realize that one's moods and attitudes have be right or it can effect the palatability of the finished product. Imagine if you will, someone with the early morning temperament of a wounded water buffalo doing the delicate job of preparing properly cooked grits.

A person could have their day ruined at it's very inception by being forced by the constraints of time to consume runny grits, having to constantly fight to keep them on the plate, or the other extreme of the Old Testament type - a burnt offering. But on the other hand, they shouldn't be too smooth and perfect either - where's the robustness and adventure in that?

In my amateur opinion, grits should be thick enough to stay on the plate even if piled beyond the horizontal plane of said vessel's rim - even when mixed with partially cooked egg yolks. Also at least a few lumps should be contained therein for the sake of a consistency variance as well as taste, especially if some of these delightful morsels are slightly scorched.

This brings us to the egg part of this food duo. Even though the taste of these can vary from egg to egg and chicken to chicken, our source choices are limited mostly to the store bought kind, so I will confine my comments to the preparation only.

Eggs can be cooked any number of ways, but as a companion food for grits, the proper way should be with the white done and the yolk still in a semi-liquid condition. This for two reasons - first, because this makes it possible to thoroughly mix the egg taste throughout the grits, and second, it adds a richness of color to an otherwise rather pale breakfast staple.

I arrive then at the obvious conclusion that consistency is very important in our food products, but even more so in our Christian lives. ec

Sunday, October 09, 2005

vittles - 2

The reason I write about past events is because future ones are too hard to see clearly. The reason I write about other things is sometimes not very clear either.

Back to combination foods, my Dad also had a knack for making dressing - which would be combined or even cooked with chicken or turkey. This product was a hodgepodge of various items, was very tasty and greatly popular in the family clan. In fact, Mom always let him make the dressing because she liked it better than her own.

Another combo item stamped into my memory banks by viewing my father's consumption thereof, was cornbread and buttermilk. This concoction was constructed by starting with a large glass - two thirds full - of thick buttermilk - the kind that leaves a road map coating inside the glass after you drink it - then crumble a hunk of cornbread into that to finish filling the glass.

After mixing, the resulting mush was eaten with a spoon - slowly - so as to savor each sour/tart mouthful.

This reminds of the nursery rhyme that had little Miss Muffett sitting on a tuffet - a low stool - eating her curds and whey. What she was eating was coagulated milk and the liquid that separated from it. This product could be eaten as food or cheese could be made from it.

The point is that this was either an early form of yogurt or very thick buttermilk. The rhyme didn't mention it, but she almost had to have an early form of cornbread crumbled up in it - how else could she eat that stuff?

From a famous children's book comes the duo of green eggs and ham. A couple of questions came to my mind at the thought of this. The first one - was it just the eggs that were green - or the ham also? Since I couldn't remember, I checked it out on the web and came up with a picture from the book that showed these items. The ham was indeed green but only the yolks of the eggs looked that color.

Since this book is not in my possession, I'm at a loss as to how these food items got that way - in fact that was my next question and concern. If it was a somewhat harmless food dye this would be one thing, but if it came about through some weird fermentation process, this might be detrimental to the digestive processes and would explain why the dude in the book was so un-anxious to eat the stuff.

A two-part meal spoken of in scripture is the bread and fish with which Jesus fed thousands on at least two occasions. Any explanation as to how God changed the molecular structure of these items of sustenance to expand and feed that many people would not be well understood by me - at least not in this life.

Through supposition I have reached some conclusions concerning these foods. The fish almost had to have been broiled or roasted, since this was a common method of preparation, but also since I just can't see Jesus serving greasy fish to the crowd. The bread must have been made with all natural ingredients, whole grain flour and cold pressed olive oil. God always supplies needs in the best way. ec

Saturday, October 08, 2005

vittles - 1

While on a recent excursion in a certain area of Webster's word land, I walked - at least mentally - right up on the word victual. It means food usable by man or supplies of food. When this unit of communication or it's country cousin, vittle, is used, it's most often in the plural form. The reason for this would seem to be that one victual or vittle is usually not eaten alone, but in combination with another.

One example of this would be the nearly venerable family favorite of macaroni and cheese - this as opposed to the cheesy acrimony more or less endured by some households.

Both of these aforementioned products are cheap and easy to make and difficult to get rid of. The latter because it settles in the soul, wrapping it's acid tentacles around, and demeaning one's self worth. The former because if too much is consumed, it settles around one's middle and ignores even very valiant efforts to melt it away.

Over my lifetime, I have discovered many combinations of vittles, some even going beyond my consumption desires - this being difficult, since I am mostly omnivorous. Some combos were a passing fancy or on the temporary list, while others are staples on my mental menu at this present time.

My normal morning fare of three kinds of cereal layered on top of a mooshed banana in a large bowl, moistened by fruit juice - because of milk allergies - seems to be mostly unique to me. A few have told of using OJ on cereal, but this was only in an emergency - when the milk ran out - and not on a regular basis.

A past favorite of mine was chicken noodle soup - a combination in itself - with a dollop - between a large lump and a gob - of peanut butter - smooth or crunchy - and a couple of slices of cheese melted into it as well. This combo was the subject of at least mock horror on the minds and lips of both daughters during their formative years, but I don't think it left them with emotional scars . . . or did it?

My Dad was a great creator of combination soups. There was usually some sort of meat as a base - though I don't remember any possum - then any and all veggies that happened to be available, including the leftovers of the week. The soup events usually happened on Saturday because my Mom worked that day in a small bakery nearby.

When the time and soup was right, we all gathered around the table and consumed his handiwork with gusto. It was enjoyable, but usually on the hot pepper side - to the point of sweat on the forehead and the clearing of sinuses.

To be contd - - ec

Friday, October 07, 2005


Is it really possible to get less useful than useless? Even the adjectives more and most only serve to classify persons or things as to their amount of uselessness, plus the classification process takes away productive time and the classified beings or objects are still not in the useful category. In a multitude of the useless, could the least useless be considered useful?

Which would be the greater amount of effort – one’s utmost or their uttermost? My conclusion would come down on the side of uttermost simply because it has more letters and takes more effort to write. Are utterances strictly vocal or can they also be thought?

In a multitude of units in the word world, the word ugly is not a pretty thing. In an assemblage of the ugly, could a plain person be considered beautiful? Is the top of the ugly scale the most or least ugly? I will not linger on this ugly measurement thing, not wishing to hurt anyone’s feelings – especially my own.

Can anything be experienced to a greater degree than the ultimate? The words radical and extreme – language units brought to bear by TV producers – can’t quite reach the true meaning of the ultimate. It was just that this word was considered trite and now the replacement words have become bromidic as well. The only way to top the reality shows in existence now would be to bring back a reality version of the very old TV show – “You Bet Your Life” – then when you lost, you really lost.

How much out of the ordinary does something have to be to become unusual? Anything even slightly unusual would have to change the meaning of usual to something else. But maybe it could expand the meaning the other way and be unusually usual in it’s usualness.

There has to be room somewhere for a person or event to be usually unusual and then the unusual becomes usual, thus squeezing the usualityness out of the usual to the point of it becoming unusual. Then when the unusual usual and usual unusual butt heads, all sense of timing and schedule is lost and nothing is usual or unusual, simply taken and/or accepted at face value.

Speaking of that, many people do value their face whether it is usual or unusual, but many do not – on both sides of the equation. These non-valuers use plastic surgery to change it more to what they think they should be like. This cutting on one’s face seems unusual to me, but to those that usually use this unusual face alteration, it seems to be usual. Either way they make their usual face into something unusual.

I usually enjoy movies of a certain type and usually get annoyed at certain other types because I usually know exactly how they will turn out. This is especially usually true of those films that have some sort of religious reference. They usually establish some ridiculous system governing the actions of angels, demons and even God – premises coming from imaginations or human emotion, usually without the least bit of interest in the truth.

But God is not defined by the usual, but by always. I’m usually faithful in doing what I say I will – if circumstances permit, or if I don’t get too distracted or busy and forget – God is always faithful to do what His Word says He will.

I usually love others, especially family, friends and those at church – God always loves, even those unlovable ones that don’t even go to church.

I usually forgive if someone asks and the deed wasn’t too awful – God always forgives, even the most horrible or stupid things we have ever done – but we do have to ask Him.

I’m usually unusually joyful when in God’s presence, which is usually anytime and anywhere, because of Jesus. ec

Thursday, October 06, 2005

tranquility - 6

Day eight, the final one of our tranquility trip, arrived way too soon to suit all involved. This was the first day our alarm clock had been used all week and it sounded rather annoyed at having been forced to do so. The buzz from the radio created such a clatter that I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter - - that phrase sounds so familiar. Actually my springing was somewhat in slow motion and could have been better described as dragging out.

Our breakfast consisted of the odds and ends that were leftovers from our meal supplies for the week. The weather looked threatening and we were concerned about getting damp while loading the van, but we managed to finish before the rain hit, leaving our week-long residence about 10:00am.

We entered the traffic stream on I-4 and headed in a generally Northern direction. Somewhere between Orlando and Daytona we pulled into a rest area for a pit stop. Before this time we had seen several groups of motorcyclists on the highway and assumed there to be some sort of cycling event either before or behind us somewhere. My friend and I finished our rest event first and stood about observing the various groups of two wheel riders while we waited on the ladies.

Maybe it was all in my imagination but it seemed all the male riders were standing around trying to look macho – some were succeeding and some were not. Even their female counterparts were making an effort at the looking macho thing – and a few were achieving this aim to a fair degree.

Then there were the few groups of regular people observing the bikers, possibly thinking thoughts all the way from “I wish I could do that” to “They are not as bad as they think they are”. There seemed to be some character study going on from both sides.

As these straddle buggy riders stood around picking the bugs from their teeth, I noticed a small dog – looked to be a miniature schnauzer – tied to one of the cycles by a leash. This tiny bit of dog flesh had evidently had way too much riding for that day because he was hurling (barfing, heaving, tossing his cookies, etc.) right there on the pavement. The images of the huge motorcycle and the wee lap dog just didn’t seem to go together – maybe this was the dog’s way of informing its owner of this particular fact.

The rain that the very overcast skies had been promising all morning started just South of Jacksonville. It was light at first, just enough to be annoying, but started in earnest after our Georgia Welcome Center pit stop. We got tied up in wreck traffic and the rain continued and even worsened in severity. The downpour was so hard that it seemed to be trying to wash all the motorists’ sins away in one fell swoop. We finally got clear of this and pulled off for a combo stop – pit, fuel and to eat. Wouldn’t you know that it would be my spouse’s favorite highway stop – Steak and Shake.

On farther up the road we stopped in an outlet mall near Darien to see if they were still selling stuff - as it turned out, they were. Hung around the van, trying to pull my thoughts together for a Sunday School lesson the next morning, discussing the same with my cohort in a somewhat uncharacteristic serious manner. Back on the road, the rain continued, cycling between medium and misty all the way home.

The temp had been slowly dropping the whole trip and by the time we arrived at our friends’ home, it was downright chilly. We unloaded from the van to our car and drove home. When I entered our garage, I knew the fun was over and I was now going to have to get back to the very serious job of being retired. ec

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

tranquility - 5

Day seven of our tranquility trip began somewhat later than usual due to the late domino playing and the hooting and hollering till the early morning hours. It began in the somewhat usual manner of snacks to sustain until the others arose, hot tea, Bible and a crossword puzzle. We finally got around to breakfasting about 11:30, then cleaned up a bit and headed out to take the ladies shopping.

First stop was the Corningware outlet we had shopped in before, one of the reasons being that Carolyn had lost one of her earrings and thought it to be in that location. Wonder of wonders, they had found it and Carolyn reclaimed it with medium to large joy. Next stop was to return a previously purchased item found to be defective. Then on to our main objective - a large outlet mall - that turned out to be the same one our church’s young people stopped in when we went to Universal Studios in 2001.

The ladies went one way and the gents another, though we remained connected electronically by cell phone. My friend and I wandered around somewhat bored, almost exceedingly so. Our boredom was slightly relieved by a visit to the fudge place and the viewing of a young man constructing fudge and making an effort to entertain as he did so. The jokes were mostly old and somewhat vaudevillian in nature, but the routine was energetic enough to be nearly amusing. It was wasted on me though, since I was not induced to buy any fudge.

Bored and/or tired of walking around, my friend and I went to the centrally located food court and waited for our feminine companions to tire. As in any other time space in which we meet, my amigo and I entered into massive amounts of rhetoric, mostly for our mutual regalement. In addition to solving many problems of our knowledge, we fabricated a few more and solved these as well.

Our mates finally tired of being without us and rejoined our company. My favorite spouse had purchased some items of her own choosing, and then together we hunted down and captured some more for the “grands”. Even in her weakened condition, she can outlast me in those places, this having more to do with lack of interest as opposed to physical condition. We wound up our outing and traversed back to the condo.

For our supper we consumed a variety of items left over from our week’s stay, somewhat regretful that this was the last day thereof. We then set about packing and getting stuff ready for our return home the next day.

You will notice that in spite of our close proximity to a place that has large characterizations of fictitious beings with the first names of Mickey, Minnie and Donald, I wrote nothing of visiting this place – that’s because we didn’t. Just thinking of them raises a question in my mind – why do these characters have a last name and Goofy does not? One might say that Pluto doesn’t either, but Pluto doesn’t wear clothes and it would seem to me that any clothes wearing entity should have a last name. The only answer I can come up with is that it’s a seniority thing because he came on the scene a little later. I wonder if he feels slighted - - - To be cont’d ec

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

tranquility - 4

The awareness that another day had arrived became apparent to me in the neighborhood of 8am. Day six of our tranquility trip began with my normally usual of cereal, hot tea and Bible. This place was not my normal usual place, but in spite of that I had my normal usual food, which I usually do, and in so doing, it made the place feel almost usual, in an unusual sort of way.

Still sipping on hot tea, I casually meandered through my Webster’s, stopping along the way to smell the roses, even though there were no actual flowers involved. My mental exercise continued with working on a crossword puzzle until the others arose from their repose.

The weather was overcast and threatening - even promising - a cloudburst at any moment. I was planning to go walk, but when the threat came to moist fruition and I decided to walk the walkways on the front of the condo. The building shape was a slight arc, about 100 yards long with an open stairway at either end. There were six floors, so I walked from one end to the other and then up the stairs to the next floor. Upon reaching the top, I started back down one floor at a time, then back up and so forth.

After 30 minutes of this, I dragged my somewhat tired, somewhat exhilarated, carcass back into the condo for lunch with my very good friends. We had some yummy sandwiches and all indulged in another absolutely delicious, nearly decadent, ice cream sundae. Convincing my common sense that I had earned this delicacy by the aforementioned walk, I enjoyed it immensely.

It was still raining out, so we unofficially declared it a veg out day – or maybe that was just in my mind – and watched another DVD. This in itself was exercise because laughing does burn calories and does the body good “like a medicine”, so we burned a lot of calories while in various positions of repose on the couch and did our bodies good.

It stopped raining later in the day – around 6pm – and since two thirds of the others were napping, I decided to go out and about for a speed walk. Outside I escalated to my fastest walking speed and traveled a route that took me around the entire condo complex. After completing 33 minutes of this, I dropped back to a cool-down speed. About a minute after that I walked right up on a shoulder-less vertebrate lying in the middle of the sidewalk. Actually I don’t know if he was lying or not, it seemed like the truth to me. It was dusky dark, but in the streetlight’s glow I could tell by the shape of the head that it was non-poisonous. I surmised that it was a water snake traversing between two lakes on the property and shooed it across the road to the grass on the other side – for the sake of other walkers.

Came back in and cleaned up a bit, grazed some and worked on crossword puzzles. We decided to play some dominoes, which we did until about 1am, hooting and hollering and enjoying ourselves immensely.

To be cont’d. ec

Monday, October 03, 2005

tranquility - 3

From the notes in my journal, day four of our tranquility trip continues. After lunch we achieved the necessary amount of spiffiness to show ourselves in public and sallied forth to another resort area owned by the same company as this one.

We explored their main office to check out the facilities, especially the large workout room. It was very well furnished with some of the latest equipment – we even tried out some of the same. Instead of sweating to the oldies, this was the sweating of the oldies – but then oldness is relative – in fact, some of my relatives are older than I – but not very many.

We drove back to a large lake on this property and walked out a long boardwalk to a small island. We checked out the local wildlife in evidence along this route – several types of birds and fish. My consciousness soaked up this scenery with it’s customary amazedness and I was grateful to have viewed this particular segment of God’s handiwork.

We then fueled up the van and toured the area for a while before returning to the condo.

We all prepared and consumed ice cream sundaes, the raw materials having been purchased at Publix during an earlier excursion. Then we kicked back and watched another DVD. Afterwards we booted time around some, mostly in a verbal fashion, with much of it falling through the cracks and wasting. We then retired for our night’s repose.

Day five of tranquility began for me when I awoke with a start – a noise somewhere outside the condo – and I just got on up. Had my usual cereal, hot tea and Bible until someone else arose. My friend also entered wakefulness and we moved out to the balcony where we continued our discussion and solving – to our satisfaction – the problems of mankind throughout the known world.

A bit later, my favorite wife arose and prepared us a breakfast of grits, eggs and biscuits, the latter consumed with the former or with the previously purchased fruit preserves – or both - to finish up the meal.

We got ready and went out to indulge in an uncared for pursuit of mine, shopping, the root of this word being of the four-letter variety, rising almost to the cursing category – not me - the word. We took the ladies to an outlet mall – another four-letter word – and turned them loose, having faith that if they really loved us they would return – sooner or later.

My friend and I walked around the parking lot a while, relating past memories, because it would be very difficult to discuss future memories. We examined the landscape entities – trees, bushes and flowers, and viewed with interest the somewhat comical search for food in which a bird was involved – I took it to be a cattle egret. Then we just sat in the van and spoke of great and wonderful things, some again from the past and some proposals for the future, not caring to speak of the present.

From there we traveled to a Corningware outlet, where all went in and made various purchases for various reasons. On the way home we stopped by a Publix for the express purpose of buying more items for comfort consumption. Back at the condo, we finished prep for supper - the roast was already done, having cooked all night. Rice was prepared, squash was sautéed and broccoli was steamed, whereupon we fell upon this feast and devoured it with great gusto.

We had dessert and cleaned up the kitchen, later watching another DVD. We finally wandered off to bed, tired from dealing with the four-letter word stuff of our day – these being shop and mall. The only sad note was in the realization that our trip was more than half over. To be cont’d ec

Sunday, October 02, 2005

tranquility - 2

Day three of our tranquility trip began for me just short of 7:30am, when I prepared a cup of hot tea and caught up on writing in my journal. Gratitude was present within for the fact that God’s Spirit will speak to my soul if I choose to quieten the inner and outer noises enough to allow myself to hear - and I did so. Read some in my Bible and consumed a couple of the comfort food items that I would probably have been better off without.

The others arose and I put on some grits for breakfast. While the ladies were preparing themselves to face another day, my good friend and I went out for a walk in the condo complex. The area was quite large, looking almost like a small city, with the most of the larger condos being of the six-story or larger type.

We came back in for our breakfast, which included several other items - prepared by the ladies - that went well with the aforementioned grits. Then we cleaned up a bit and went out on our third floor balcony to view our immediate vicinity and to discuss the problems and/or idiosyncrasies of the entire world – at least that of our knowledge. We pretty much solved all the problems discussed but will not pass these solutions along because most everyone had rather work out these things the hard way – their own.

We came back inside for sandwiches for lunch and then played the game Rack-O for a while. Afterward we watched another comedy DVD, the laughter thereof was vigorous, even to the medicinal level, doing us all good. After hotdogs for supper, we viewed another DVD of the comic variety. Exhausted by our rigorous schedule and hilarity of the day, we all retired for the evening.

Achieving the minimum amount of lucidity necessary to arise - around 8am the next morning - I did so to start day four of our trip of tranquility. Began this period with hot tea, snacks and my Bible, then did a little writing. My friend arose and he and I went down to a nearby area to retrieve some furnished continental breakfast items. Items supplied were all in the pastry family and not much to either of our liking. All this aside, they were brought back and consumed because that was what we had planned for the breaking of the fast - or to be more concise - breakfast.

After we started the main ingredient of the noon meal cooking, my friend and I set out on a much longer exploration trip around the other end of the complex. We checked out the main office and other facilities available, then walked on to another of the lakes on the property. This watered area had paddle-boats available for the guests, of the which we were two. We acquired one of these vehicles and amused ourselves by paddling around the entire lake while we discussed the vegetation and wildlife found thereabouts. Although this lake wasn’t quite as large as Lake Michigan, our legs were somewhat exercised when we finished.

In our return walk, we hiked across an area of the property slated for future development. This ground was mostly populated by sparse grass, weeds, small rodents, – made evident by all the small holes and tiny footprints – and many uncared for orange trees, left over from the previous usage of the land. The fruit looked pretty scrawny, but the later consumption thereof proved it to be very sweet. We then made our way back to the developed area and to our home away from home. To be cont’d. ec

Saturday, October 01, 2005

tranquility - 1

On another day, in another season and during another year, day one of our trip that I am simply calling “tranquility” began with rising about 7am. I partook of my usual fare of cereal, hot tea and scripture – this feeding the body and soul. Then I set about with vigor to finish the packing of cases and then the vehicle. My favorite wife and I departed our residence, and after an errand or two, arrived at the home of our very good friends to travel with them – and be their guests – at a condo in the area of Kissimmee Fl.

Not only were these folks good friends of both of us, they are good friends to each other and as a bonus they are also married, the one to the other. Their union has been of even longer duration than our fairly lengthy and very happy one.

We loaded our stuff in their van just ahead of a shower, with the finishing touches a bit on the damp side. Then we were off, traveling in rain most of the trip that varied in intensity from a squall to a downpour. The squall mentioned here was not the definition of the word that involved loud tearful cries, but only the sudden wind with rain. The rain didn’t start to slacken very much until we reached Fl.

Later, we were lulled into believing the rain had mostly quit, so we got out in Jacksonville at the Steak and Shake. Then just as we were paying our tab, it began again in earnest, wetting the physical but not the tranquility deeply embedded in our psyche. This placed there by the love of God and aided by the knowledge that we had a whole week of relaxation ahead of us.

The wetness was in still in evidence when we reached the condo office to check in and we were shown to our unit in the rain. Once inside, we decided to wait for a slack in the weather to unload the luggage - that was when the monsoon hit.

The rain, wind and lightning was so hard that in my mind’s eye I could see the ducks searching for cover and maybe even a few frogs getting strangled by the liquid.

We were to the point of believing we were going to have to wait till morning to retrieve our belongings from the van, when we finally got enough semi-dryness in which to unload. We snagged a couple of luggage carts and in record time we placed the contents of the van in the well-furnished place of residence.

We all gathered on the couch in front of the big-screened TV, whereupon I promptly dozed off – I am such a live wire. After about the third such dozing event, my wife finally convinced me – through my sleepy haze – to stumble off to bed.

Next morning, day two of tranquility, I was up a bit before the others, had hot tea, snacks and spent some time in God’s Word, the which I find necessary to maintain my spiritual equilibrium. Then I did a bit of crossword puzzle work and some mental sauntering through my Webster’s.

We had brought enough snacks to make do for breakfast and about the crack of noon we all decided to go out and about to gather and stow enough sustenance for some meals at the condo during the week. We stopped at Logan’s Road House for lunch and wouldn’t you know that a Dunkin Donuts was right next door. We took several of these calorie-laden tidbits with us, even though I’m allergic to them – I break out in fat!

A Publix was just behind the two aforementioned businesses and we loaded up a cart full of life sustaining and/or comfort foodstuff to take back with us. Back in our dwelling place, we unloaded and stored our food items. The hardest thing we did all day was to hook up the DVD/VCR player our hosts brought on the trip. The existing VCR quite naturally would not play DVD’s, and we had brought several of these for viewing.

We viewed a couple of these during the evening, and did a bit of grazing on our day’s food purchases. Tired at having relaxed so hard during the day, I finally went to bed.

To be cont’d . . . . ec