My Photo
Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

KS - drums

Joining the Army in Great Falls, I was officially inducted in Butte, Montana on 24 July 1959. Our group traveled by train – through some of the most beautiful mountains anyone would want to see – to Fort Ord, California for basic training. My file folder of memorabilia contains several items pertaining to this time segment. First in the time line was a small map of Ford Ord as it was back then. It was of little use, since we weren’t allowed to go anywhere anyway, at least not until near the end of our training.

This was my third experience with a uniformed group as I was in the boy scouts a short while and in ROTC during high school. In the first group we learned a bit about knots, but in this third one the sergeants were tying us in knots of a different type as they made very sincere efforts at making proper soldiers out of us. They did this while using a plethora of lower gradient words I had not been exposed to up to this point in my life. Nor did I have much of an idea such words existed or that they could be used as descriptive adjectives concerning so many things and people.

Our training company – 5 platoons of 40 plus men each – learned to march as a unit with the use of drums – one bass and one snare. Since I had a small bit of experience with the bass drum in high school, I made my first real mistake in the Army – I volunteered for something – the bass. A mistake because not only did I still have to carry everything everybody else did, I had to carry – and play – this large percussion piece.

My playing partner on the snare drum was a Mexican-American with the last name of Diaz – can’t remember his given one. Evidently he had a lot of experience – more than yours truly – but our little combo worked out well – this according to those in charge. On a regular basis – after we had marched a short distance – Diaz would turn off the snare part of his drum, turn his sticks around, we both would throw in a few extra beats and would march to somewhat of a bongo beat.

The two drummers marched between the 2nd and 3rd platoons so the whole company could hear the cadence. The perpetrators thereof, the men in the company and most of the cadre enjoyed our special rhythm. An exception to this was our company commander, because after hearing our unusual beat - a couple of weeks into training – he took a very dim view of it and made us stop. He said it made the unit march funny and he didn’t want his men skipping down the street. We didn’t agree with his assessment but stopped anyway, this being less damaging to our budding military careers.

During this time my inner ears were starting to hear a different drumbeat as well, drawing my soul into a march away from the moral teachings by which I was raised.

TBC - ec

Monday, February 27, 2006

KS - Miss. to Mont.

2- The reason much of the following is remembered is because there is a file folder in my small study/computer room that contains documents, maps, military orders, etc. pertaining to my 3-year enlistment in the U. S. Army. This “adventure” began in the summer of 1959 in Great Falls, Montana, because that was where my oldest sister lived and also where the previously mentioned varmint reduction escapades took place.

After high school graduation, I traveled across the country, the first stop being in Mississippi to spend a couple of weeks with kinfolks. My Dad’s two brothers lived on adjoining acreage and each of them had one child apiece. One was a girl and one a guy, they were about the same age and about a year younger than I. They both had vehicles available to them and we traveled around the place quite a bit.

This was farming territory and both uncles were involved in that enterprise, as well as one of them working an outside job and the other owning and running a general store on his property. Since this was farmland, their schools ran later in the summer and started later in the fall because of harvesting. In other words they were still going to school when I got there. The first Friday night I was there, the local school had a basketball game and my girl cousin asked me to go with her – even got me a date.

The boy she was dating had a cousin to go with me, so we double dated to the game. The girl’s name was Wynette Pugh and during the time I was there we saw each other all we could. This girl was really talented, she could play the piano and sing as good as anyone I had heard up to that time in my life. Even though I was young and pretty naïve, without a lot of kissing experience, I still knew that when this girl kissed me, I didn’t have to wonder if I had really been kissed.

After meeting this girl, I had the vague feeling that both my aunts down there had a conspiracy going against me spending much time with her. Years later I found out that my suspicions were true, they didn’t think she was the girl for me. The girl later changed her name to Tammy Wynette and became famous in the country music field.

Then it was on to Great Falls, Montana. My purpose for traveling there was to visit with my sister a while and then join some branch of the armed forces – since the choices back then were to either join or get drafted at some future unknown time. Being one given to the non-enjoyment of suspense, I decided to join up and get it over with.

My original intention was to join the Air Force – for the very intellectual reason that I liked the blue uniforms. Two things influenced my decision to join the Army. First was the fact that an Air Force enlistment was for four years and the Army was only for three. Second was the fact that my bro-in-law was in the Army, serving in the capacity of Army recruiter in Great Falls, Montana and he sort of reasoned me into it – helping me choose a field in that branch of the military to which I would be the most suited.

TBC ec

Sunday, February 26, 2006


A conclusion is a reasoned deduction or inference and/or a final decision or judgment reached after consideration and/or a proposition concluded or inferred from the premises of an argument.

Since the Bible is God’s Word and since God’s Word is true and even truth itself and since this Word of God states: “The fear (reverential awe) of God is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” – the only conclusion I can reach is that many, even in institutes of higher learning, even some of the teachers thereof, have yet to start on the path of wisdom. ec

Saturday, February 25, 2006


The following results from a tag by Morpheus.

1-What is the total number of books you own? Somewhat over 200 hard copies and more than 650 titles that are installed on my hard drive. These latter are several Bible versions, Bible studies and commentaries, religious classics, Bible dictionaries, sermon collections and concordances.

2-What is the last book you bought? ‘Letters from Dad’ by Greg Vaughn.

3-What are you currently reading? Nothing other than the Bible at the moment – I’ve started, but haven’t finished several – ‘Love must be tough” by James Dobson – ‘Improving your serve’ by Charles Swindoll – ‘The Ten Commandments’ by Dr. Laura Schlessinger – and ‘How to Live with Your Kids’ (When You’ve Already Lost Your Mind) by Ken Davis.

4-What books do you wish to buy next? At present I would like to own a book on Tree identification and one on birding.

5-What books have you owned for ages but haven’t read? ‘In pursuit of God’ and several other Tozer titles, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Paradise Lost and Pilgrim’s Progress.

6-What five books have influenced you? Only one book has totally changed my life – the Bible. God’s Word has taken me from hate to love, from death to life, from darkness to light, from turmoil to peace and from hopelessness to joy. It turned my life from being hell-bound to the promise of forever with Christ.

There are many more that had some influence, I will mention four that come to mind at the present. Two are novels oddly enough – ‘This Present Darkness’ and ‘Piercing The Darkness’ by Frank Peretti – and though they were novels, they were based on the true experiences of many different people and helped me explain to myself many of the unseen things in the spiritual world – good and bad.

‘The Longest Day’ by Cornelius Ryan sparked an interest in history that I didn’t realize was there, especially anything surrounding World War II. And the book ‘Letters From Dad’ by Greg Vaughn inspired me even more to create a written family history for my children and grandchildren. ec

Friday, February 24, 2006

rr - baloney

No matter how it's spelled on the package, there has never been a "g" in all the baloney sandwiches I have eaten over the years. It almost puts me off my feed (nearly kills my appetite - if that's possible) to think that the very company that makes the stuff has spelled it wrong for all this time.

Maybe they eat bologna up north somewhere, and possibly that word is a foreign word that means ground up and jelled miscellaneous meat and animal parts. If that were the case, I certainly wouldn't want to offend any ethnic group by making disparaging remarks about the name of their product.

But could it just be government regulation that defines this bologna meat product as being made only from certain parts of an animal - like from the horns to the tip of the nose and everything in between. Then if another part of the animal was used, they would have to use another foreign name to describe that.

It just seems to me that since we have consumed such a tonnage of the stuff over the years in this part of the country, that they could at least be allowed to print it's real name on the package.

This reminds me of an old saying, qualified as such by the facts - 1 - it was said (a blog is a statement) and - 2 - said by an old person (me). The statement: If you can't dazzle them with brilliance then baffle them with baloney sandwiches. ec

Thursday, February 23, 2006


The nursing/rehab center in which FIL is presently residing has a fairly large courtyard that is totally enclosed by the buildings of the facility. This grassy area has several trees, much shrubbery, several walkways, and benches with a gazebo out in the center.

During a recent visit, I looked out the window of FIL’s room and noted that there were no folks in that rather peaceful appearing area. The reason for this was the mostly dingy day we were experiencing – its cold dampness had chilled the enthusiasm of any human fresh air seekers.

But this enclosed space did have an occupant of another sort. It was a very healthy looking gray squirrel, bounding around either looking for food or for a hiding place for some he/she already had.

From the chunky appearance of the animal I came to an either/or conclusion. Either this was a female squirrel and the tree rodent population was on the verge of increasing or it was a male that had been lounging around, involved in too many non-active squirrel amusements while over-indulging in acorn munching.

My mind wondered if this courtyard was the total world of this squirrel or just a small part of its territory. If this rodent was being fed by the residents or staff of this business, there would be the danger of it getting so fat that it couldn’t climb back over the buildings and out of the area. It would then become a prisoner of its own wants/desires.

Many of us humans are prisoners that way and like most all prisoners, we become very unhappy with what we have or don’t have, where we are, whom we are with and even who we are. Freedom and happiness comes from the inside of a person and is only supplied by a loving God that puts these things in the realm of our choice – basically, just choose to ask. ec

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


From the continued postings you probably have concluded that I have made it back from Tennessee and if you did, you would be correct. The problem I have had is to try to get back into a routine – that effort is complicated by the fact that I really didn’t have a regular routine when I left. The effort is further complicated by care giving – for young and old ones.

FIL has finally recovered enough to return to the nursing/rehab center, but he is still very weak and somewhat confused. We have encouraged MIL to start back walking down at the North Augusta gym/track. The track is indoors and my spice and YD has been going down with her each morning this week. This exercise is helped along by the fact that a friend and peer of MIL has also been walking with them – her spirits seem to be lifted a bit already. The walking necessitates my caring for YD’s young ones while she is out but that is hardly an odious task and they supply joy and amazement to me in every session.

My desire has been to post a wise and witty writing each day – even though that didn’t happen daily from Tennessee. Mostly failing at the wise and witty, I often settle for the silly and even inane. Most all of my missives have a lot of tongue-in-cheek included, this effort may be obvious only to me but hopefully not.

Wisdom, insight and philosophy can be found in many areas of life but one of my favorite sources is from the comic strips in the newspaper. With this source one can smile as they soak in the sagacity thereof.

Where else could a person find a very deep, yet short, discussion of the nobility of not speaking ill of the un-smart. In another, the main character was bemoaning the fact that another year was almost past and was wondering what happened to all those days. His sidekick simply concluded that they turned into nights.

It was interesting, amusing and indicative of human nature when another strip concluded that the boss only listened when he himself was talking – much wisdom there. A study of the frustrations of parenthood in three frames showed the multitudinous demands of an offspring and the young one’s bewilderment at the parent not getting their own projects done.

Another answered the big question of ‘Why are we here’? The answer was ‘because your car wouldn’t make it to there’ – really deep stuff. Another reached the conclusion that it was a real bummer to have your MIL write down your New Year’s resolutions.

One even discussed a project that caused them to start praying. It was great that they started praying but not so good that the thing that started this spiritual exercise was golf. One young man stated that he believed every life had a purpose and he was born for a reason and he concluded that this reason was to give his Mom someone to nag. His Mom concluded – ‘You have fulfilled your destiny – now pick up your shoes’.

I strive to fulfill my destiny by including in my writings some of the light and joy that my Heavenly Father has given me to give to others – hope those things shine through. ec

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

KS - The blue box - 2

Another keepsake in the blue box is a small cardboard container that once contained 50, 22 caliber Rifle cartridges. Within this is three somewhat corroded 22 cartridges and two sets of rattles that were very unceremoniously and indelicately removed from the non-serious ends of slain venomous vipers. This happened in 1959 as well, when a friend and I were varmint shooting a few miles out from the city of Great Falls, Montana, just before I joined the Army.

Besides the two rattlesnakes, several other varmints either came to the end of their career or were greatly affrighted by a closely passing projectile. Being young and ignorant of many things, our motto was: If it moves, shoot it! Of course this did not apply to people, but there were very few of those around, as it was in an area called the “badlands”, mostly sand, rocks, scrub trees and weeds.

The main target of our varmint shooting was a furry mammal called a “rock chuck”. The ranchers in that area had to pile their hay very high – about like a two-story building – to be able to get to it in the deep snow in winter. The “rock chucks” thought the hay piles were a great place for a home and burrowed all through them. This left a certain odor on the hay and the cows were then very reluctant to eat it.

Thus the ranchers were glad to have anyone come along and rid their hay of these “rock chucks” – though in this case they would have to be called “hay chucks”. My friend and I were only too happy to oblige and created havoc among the hay varmint population. That was then and this is now – I even have trouble shooting crows stealing fruit from my trees in the yard. I mostly just shoot to scare them away – though I accidentally did kill one last year, and gave it a proper burial - but I won’t go into the grisly details of that.

The aforementioned memorabilia reminds also that this was a time of running – away from God. It didn’t seem to be a conscious thought process, but somewhere along that time I determined to find out what was so bad about “the world” and why all the Sunday School lessons and sermons had warned so much against living like that. It also brings to mind the power of prayer – those of my Mom and Dad for my safekeeping. Most of all it showed to me – after the fact – the power of the Grace of God in keeping me, and three years later rescuing me from myself.

To be cont’d - - - ec

Monday, February 20, 2006

KS - The blue box - 1

1- Looking around our home, I find many keepsakes, some of which are very meaningful and others are things that I simply never got around to throwing away. I guess the reason for the latter is that even though they have little or no value in themselves, they key in my mind remembrances of time segments from my past – some pleasant and some not so much so.

There is a wooden box down in our storage area that I made in Jr. High – circa 1956 – during wood shop. It was fairly well made - I thought - but the teacher didn’t seem to think too much of it because he wanted me to build something more complicated. This box is painted a bright blue – somewhat faded now – and is almost empty except for many memories. The blue box was the thing that started this whole writing project, starting mostly after high school graduation and continuing the story until after I got married.

The good things I remember about Jr. High were getting decent grades – as long as I didn’t have to work too hard for them – and the library. I read more books in ninth and tenth grades than before or since. The bad had to do with the normal turmoil of growing up and being accepted. Wrestling with my developing spiritual beliefs made all the other seem much more complicated and/or stressful.

One of the items the box still contains is a pack of business size cards printed only with my full name and were meant to be put in my high-school graduation invitations or to be handed out to fellow high-school graduates in 1959. Only a very few are missing for at least three reasons. The first was due to the fact that in the excitement they were forgotten and second, I don’t think I got around to sending any invitations out and third, I don’t remember having very many close friends during that time - being somewhat of a loner.

This is not to say that I didn’t have any friends, just hardly any close ones. The reason for that was mainly because I rose at 4am every morning all through my junior high and high school years and that kept me from being up very late at night. Also most of my friends were church ones and this also contributed to me not running with any ‘wild’ crowds. I didn’t object to having friends, especially of the feminine type, but being painfully shy precluded many of these connections as well.

TBC - ec

Sunday, February 19, 2006

rr - doggerel

As I walked along one day
I felt the pain begin,
Between my insole and my foot,
I sensed a rock within.

I cast my eyes around me there,
T'was no convenient place,
To loose my shoe and get it out
And get back to my pace.

On I walked the more in pain,
The rock began to grow,
But knowing nature just a bit
I knew this was not so.

The more I walked, the more it grew,
In size and in the hurt,
Still I could find no place to sit,
So I sat down in the dirt.

Off came the shoe, out came the rock
And I held it in my hand.
I was amazed it was so small,
Just like a grain of sand.

Then I thought just how much like
Our Christian walk this is,
It’s not the boulders, but the sand
That causes us to fizz.

We're troubled by the small things
That we allow to build,
The little this and the tiny that,
Until our soul is filled,

With many problems, toil and strife,
Trouble and discord,
That could all be washed away
If we'd take it to the Lord.

Still we tend to stumble on
Through the heartache and the pain,
Maybe feeling that through all this
Our sainthood we could gain.

It is according to God's will
That we should all have peace
And so it states in the Word of God
That our prayers should never cease.

For through our prayer and constant faith
Those troubles melt away
Cause as we use the Word of God
Our problems cannot stay.

Then we are free, just as at first
To live and tell God's story,
And we can have a peaceful life
And joy that's full of

Friday, February 17, 2006

returning home

This trip to Tennessee has been a very eventful one and some of it has already been written about. The previously mentioned main purpose of the trip was to see Michele (OD) through her surgery and the critical first part of her rehab. The secondary purposes were to be present for OD’s birthday on the 12th of February and Cooper’s (GM5) first birthday on the 17th. Friday, if it goes according to plan, will complete all objectives and will be my return home day.

The weather here has been much a part of the story of the trip. We arrived on the evening of January 31st and on February 1st it snowed – this being the 2nd snowfall I have experienced this year, with both of them being at this location in Tennessee.

We got word Thursday AM (Feb. 9th) of FIL’s worsening health and being back in the hospital. Thursday PM found us on the road toward the Atlanta area to meet with YD to ferry the spice on to the Augusta area. We both arrived safely – her to S.C. and me back to Tennessee, about midnight.

On Friday the 10th it snowed again here in the evening and overnight, but it really wasn’t cold enough and the accumulation was very spotty. The snow continued off and on Saturday as well as Sunday, finally getting enough depth for playing and snowman building, but still not over a couple of inches.

In the PM of Saturday the 11th, I kept the two young ones while SIL took OD out for her birthday – one day early. After the wife’s departure, the tasks increased accordingly because then I was still transportation but also cared for the little one during the day. OD has improved with her rehab and is slowly starting to be able to take on more of her ‘old job’.

Another occurrence I was blessed to witness was getting to see GM5 walk his first five steps on Monday the 13th. On Tuesday, he took ten steps by his Mom holding out pieces of chocolate to tempt him onward. We need to make him a little sign – ‘Will walk for chocolate.’

Thursday PM we had a small family birthday party for GM5, one day early since I will be leaving on Friday his actual birthday. OD made him a small cake and set it in front of him to see (and photo) his reaction. His reaction was to slowly put his fingers in the cake and then lick off the icing – before this event was over, he had cake and chocolate icing from one end to the other. We needed to take him in the yard and hose him off but it was a little chilly for that. He did enjoy the cake though – and the ice cream.

Friday we will complete several errands, take OD to rehab, go by and get GM2 from school (as usual) and then go back to get OD. All this while GM5 rides with me, supervising my driving and routes – and if it goes as per usual, he will occasionally comment in his own language – at a high decibel level.

After getting them safely home, I will depart for S.C. – having finished packing my auto Friday AM – hopefully to arrive back at home – as the Lord wills – somewhere around midnight, Friday PM. ec

Thursday, February 16, 2006

in circles

Possibly the best place to start anything is at the beginning. But how can one tell the point in time that is really the origin of anything unless we look back into the past to see when it actually started. Even then what we think was the beginning may have been only part of the start, with interrelated events that are important parts of the main event actually commencing before and after the original time we thought was the start.

That having been said, the official beginning of a thing would have to be the oldest part or partial part of any small portion or sub-portion of the whole of an event – whether these parts are known or unknown. But it’s these small, unknown parts that are the things that thicken the plot and muddy the water of the whole main event.

These unknowns, whether they contribute to the whole or to a part or sub-part, can only contribute partially until they are either known or at least partly known. Then if one of the unknowns happened to be a secret and only revealed after severe coercion, it could become a separate event altogether and no longer related to the main, except in its past.

Hopefully this cleared up any confusion anyone may have had as to how I arrived at the timetable of the main event. Sometimes a clear, concise explanation can be as important as the event that it explains, maybe even superseding it. It has certainly caused me to feel more like I do now than I did just a short while ago.

Whether the events of our lives are simple or very confused and run in circles, God can answer all our questions and forgive any sin – even complicated, confusing ones – if we will only ask Him to do so. ec

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


The following is concerning words that I have stumbled across, run up on, saw out of the corner of my eye, found in crossword puzzles or just ones that generally are not heard in everyday conversation.

When I think of the word caldron, the image that comes to mind is one of a huge black pot sitting on a roaring wood fire. This image comes complete with a witch stirring her brew with a large wooden stick or paddle.

But then the reality of my memory brings back to mind the caldron we had in the country when I was a kid. It seems that my Mom used to boil our clothes in this large black pot. Of course this was done outside and this was also the same pot in which my Mom made lye soap. Don’t remember all the ingredients of the soap but I know it contained lye and the fat trimmed from slaughtered animals. These and possibly other ingredients were boiled together – then was taken off the fire and allowed to cool and harden. It was sliced in blocks that made it easier to handle. I understand it was good soap but not exactly easy on the skin.

The crossword puzzle clue was ‘pin-up’s leg’ – the answer was ‘gam’, a word that hasn’t seen much use since the ‘40s and even then not in proper circles. A quick check in my hand-held dictionary revealed the word gamin – defined as a boy who hangs around on the streets. Following that is gamine – which describes a girl with the same hang out habits. Then there was gammer – defined as an old woman. The very next word, strangely enough, was gammon – a cured ham or side of bacon – don’t know if any of these ‘g’ words are related or if one might lead to the other.

Many folks, even younger ones, suffer from the condition of ennui and don’t even know it. At first glance this word sounds like a weird medical condition and in a way I guess it is, but boredom – which is what it means – can be cured by simply having a meaningful something to do. This doesn’t mean just having a multiplicity of things to do without any time between, because we must have some quiet times to think and recover our peace of mind – but most importantly to listen to God.

It is a bit disturbing to me to see a generation coming along that must be constantly entertained and have continuing noise of some sort every moment. God can speak to us in many ways but most often does in a still small voice that we cannot hear unless we quieten the noises in our life and listen to God on purpose. ec

Sunday, February 12, 2006


It was a quiet weekend morning and my duty of the hour was to tend to GM5 while OD, SIL and GM2 were attending church. I had put him down for a nap some time earlier and he kept making noises, oral and manual. When I entered to room to check on him, my olfactory senses told me that I had a job to do. This diaper change would be one of real ‘substance’.

Said ‘substance’ was somewhat the consistency of caulking compound and I wasn’t sure for a moment but what I was going to have to get a putty knife to get him scraped off. But through the miracle of several baby wipes, I finally got the young one cleaned. He was then re-diapered and put back down in a more ‘peaceful’ situation for the delayed nap.

This reminded about how, in a spiritual sense, I had first come to God all covered in my ‘substances’ of wrongdoing and He miraculously cleaned up my life through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ and made it possible for me to have peace once again. God is good, all the time. ec

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Cookeville, Tennessee continues to impress me as a very family oriented area with a good school system as well. They have a decent number of shopping places plus Nashville is only about an hour away.

They have a restaurant row near the interstate with a good selection of decent chains, as well as most all the fast foods there and other places in town. There are two super Walmarts in the area – wow – and a Sam’s wholesale recently opened!! What more could a person really want?

As you may have already guessed, I’m still in Tennessee with OD for at least another week to aid in her recovery. Of course my length of stay depends on FIL’s condition remaining somewhat stable – but that is very iffy as I write this missive.

In ‘beautiful’ downtown Cookeville they have a bakery that is unlike any we have back on my home turf. It’s the ‘Great Harvest Bread Co’, and their claim to fame is whole grain bread and pastries baked on site. They bake what they think the demand will be on a given day and if they have sold out of your favorite item, you just have to get it another day or settle for a substitute.

This bakery even has a monthly menu to let everyone know which days they will be baking which items. One item I fell deeply in like with (one shouldn’t love things) is their ‘Mixed fruit Savannah bars’. They are cut in about 4 inch squares, are about ¾ inches thick and delightfully delicious with several kinds of fruit baked into the whole grain goodness.

One of the breads that OD will probably pick up today is called ‘Popeye’ bread – so named because along with the other natural ingredients (whole grain, red peppers, cheese, etc.), spinach is also included in the mix. The have a tasting counter and we checked it out the other day, but when we went back to get some, it was the wrong day – they only have it on Wednesday and Saturday. They make my favorite fruit bars every day but that day it was too late and they had run out.

When OD, SIL and GM2 returned from her basketball game, they had stopped by and picked up some ‘Popeye’ bread, a couple of Savannah bars and some Bar-B-Que. Shortly afterward I got up close and personal with my new-found favorite bread (with Bar-B-Que perched upon and round about thereof) and it was nearly wonderful. I’m saving the bars for later since I can only stand so many good things at one time.

All of the natural ingredients of my life must have the seasoning of the love of God in the mix to be worth anything to me or anyone else once the heat is on.

I must go now – I feel like I can hear Savannah bars calling my name and I must answer. ec

Friday, February 10, 2006

travel and tag

Yesterday the wife and I were still in Tennessee helping OD (older daughter) with child care, transportation and rehab. Today I’m in Tennessee alone and the wife is in S.C. This happened because of a bad turn in the health of FIL (father-in-law).

A brief rundown on his situation – FIL had a heart attack/stroke a month or so ago – went from the hospital to a nursing/rehab facility. Several days ago, he had to go back into the hospital – then back to the nursing home for only one night – and yesterday had to go back into the hospital. To add to his other problems, he now has pneumonia.

Yesterday afternoon my spice decided that she needed to be back home, not only to check on FIL, but to see to it that MIL didn’t run herself into exhaustion. We then packed her stuff and headed South to meet YD (younger daughter) somewhere in or North of Atlanta. Keeping in touch by cell phone, we finally met at exit 269 of I-75 – in the parking lot of Burger King.

YD brought GM(grunt monkey)6 with her while GM1, GM3 and GM4 stayed with their Dad. We purchased a few items and used the restroom. YD had told me on the phone that GM6 had started walking while we were up here but it didn’t become real until she stood him down and he toddled over to his proud grandpa – that was a real charge for me.

We then transferred the spice’s luggage from our vehicle to YD’s and we both reversed our directions of travel. We both arrived at our destinations at about the same time – 12:30am, S.C. time. Of course the reason I came back up here was to continue helping OD. We have accomplished some out-and-abouts already with a couple more before the day is done. There seems to be no rest for the weary or the silly.

I was tagged at least a week ago by CJ and am just now getting around to it – sorry, CJ.

Four jobs I have had. >Soldier, US Army – Fertilizer plant worker – Facilities Technician, BellSouth Telephone Company – and the ongoing job of husband, father, grandfather and practicing Christian.

Four movies I could watch over and over again. >Little Lord Fauntleroy – Outlaw Josey Wales – Star Wars (all) – Shawshank Redemption.

Four places I have lived. >Itawamba County, Mississippi – Paris, France – Lexington, Kentucky – Clearwater, S.C.

Four web sites I visit daily. >My only regular visits are to blogs and many more than four of these.

Four of my favorite foods. >Chinese – Tex-Mex – Banana Pudding – Anything my wife cooks.

Four places I’d rather be right now. >On an Alaskan cruise ship – Australia and/or New Zealand – Clearwater, S.C. – With Christ. ec

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


The year was circa 1955 and I seem to remember that it was summertime. My younger brother and I had early morning paper routes in Augusta, Georgia in areas that adjoined each other. Neither of us were kids that were given to very much mischief, especially at night, since we arose at 4am every morning to attend to our routes.

Augusta is on the banks of the Savannah River and that body of water is the boundary between Georgia and South Carolina. Fireworks were illegal in one state and not in the other, we felt unfortunate to be living in the one in which they couldn’t be purchased. Being readily available in our neighbor state, it was not at all unusual for carloads of folks to cross the river and purchase the explosive devices, especially around any holiday and come back to Georgia to set them off on the sly.

This illegal practice was mostly tolerated by the local constabulary unless it became extreme or someone was injured. On occasion my brother and I would hitch a ride with an older co-conspirator and purchase some minor fireworks, mostly the small firecrackers that wouldn’t blow off fingers if held too long. This occasion had happened again and I had purchased many of the smaller poppers but had bought one very large device for a special event – unknown at the time.

This item was made up of three cardboard tubes mounted on a small wooden base. The tubes were about four inches long and had a fuse to the first, another fuse went from the first to the second and one from there to the third – this caused them to ignite a minute or so apart. Each tube had a powder charge which propelled another exploding container high into the air like a small cannon before it concluded in a loud boom.

The plan that formed in my mind was to take this device along with me when I left the house (about 4:15am) one morning and light it off in front of the house of a friend of mine about a half-block away. This plan was to be great fun and word would get around that I was really bold and brave to do such a stunt – neither of these character traits were things in which I was particularly strong.

The chosen morning finally arrived and my brother and I set off to the place where we picked up our papers. I sent him on a little ahead since I was older and faster on the bike. When he was safely away, I stopped, set the fireworks device in the middle of the dark road in front of my friend’s house and lit the fuse. My running leap on the bike and furious peddling caused me to be nearly to the next corner before the first tube shot its boomer into the air.

The joy of my prank suddenly left me when this first explosion happened and adrenalin pulsed through every muscle, propelling the bike ever faster. The second boom brought great fear and the third brought the dread of impending doom. It had somehow never occurred to me that this device would be that loud. Making my younger brother promise to never utter a word about this dumb adventure, we just continued our routes as if nothing had happened.

The days rocked on into weeks and nothing was ever said about the disturbing neighborhood noises and my brother and I were content to let it just fade from everyone’s memories without ever knowing the perpetrators thereof. Years later I happened on this friend and when discussing the old days, I mentioned the explosion adventure and he didn’t even remember it. The time I had spent worrying about getting caught and nobody remembered!

This reminds of other long ago wrong doings in my life that I didn’t want anyone to know about either. These transgressions were of a spiritual nature and it seemed that I had no way to make them right until I once again encountered the God of my youth. Upon my confession, He forgave every wrong I had committed and if I err even today the forgiveness is still there if I only ask – this will work for any and all that desire to be forgiven. ec

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

good friends - new word

While doing a web search for a great and glorious something else, my consciousness collided with a new word (to me anyway) but I’ll speak more of it later.

Since my retirement, one of my main duties is that of a gofer and on this particular day, a while back, I was out and about to accomplish several errands. The last one of these was to pick up some grocery items necessary to complete the evening’s menu, as we were having some very good friends over for supper.

Some may consider dinner as the evening meal but I was raised that this particular chow time was supper and one shouldn’t go against their raisin’ – unless they were raised to steal, cheat and lie. The meal in the middle of the day used to be dinner to me but it has gradually been converted in my mind to lunch – but supper still stays the same. To me the word is just more comfortable and family oriented – I guess you had to be there.

Back to the grocery – over the years my overly acute sense of smell has at times been a blessing and at others, a curse. This was brought back to my attention as I was wheeling my buggy (cart to some) down one of the aisles. As I passed by a female person, it felt like her perfume reached out and grabbed me by the nose almost as if with a rusty pair of pliers and did a complete body slam to my olfactory sensitivities.

In case you were wondering whether this was a good or bad experience – no body slam is a good one. It took the passage of about three aisles to release myself form the stench of the perfume – yes, I said stench. The same person must have visited dairy as well because the odor slapped me in the nose again over there. I do not tolerate any perfume very well, but whatever happened to just a hint of scent and the subtle nuances of fragrance?

Finally escaping into the fresh air, I made my way back home with the necessary purchases and set about aiding and abetting the wife in supper prep. Our guests arrived and even though we were a bit tardy in the finishing touches, nothing was burned or spilled and we placed the dishes on the table.

Grace was said and we fell upon the sustenance with great gusto – especially me, since in all the excitement of the day I had failed to partake of lunch. It was a great time of food, fun and fellowship – three of my favorite things – the saddest thing of the evening was when they had to leave.

The aforementioned new found word is slacktivism and the following is a condensation of an article found in >> E-petitions are the latest manifestation of slacktivism, which is the search for the ultimate feel-good that derives from having come to society’s rescue without having had to actually get one’s hands dirty or open one’s wallet. For many, e-petitions satisfy the need to feel they are doing good and thus somewhat quell that nagging feeling they should be doing more to make the world a better place. That nothing is getting accomplished is almost beside the point; we believe we’ve been part of something worthwhile and so feel better about ourselves.

Paper-and-ink petitions are signed in a variety of handwriting styles, each unique to its signer. Consequently, signatures on one of these cannot be easily faked else certain glaring similarities would show up in one entry after another. E-petitions come with no such assurance – the same person could have generated all of the signatures. Those in a position to influence anything know this and thus accord e-petitions only slightly more respect than they would a blank sheet of paper. << We live in a strange world – I need to pray more. ec

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Our main study word for today is “Armadillo”. The word in Spanish means “one that is armed” – or so the book says. An armadillo is a mammal with armor plates of bone covering its back – kind of like a possum on the half-shell. This little dude (or dudette) is what they call an omnivorous feeder – in other words, it will eat almost anything. Reminds me of some people I know – no names, mind you.

Its diet includes even animals that have assumed ambient temperature (dead things); even if those things have been dead for a long time. The nine-banded armadillo is the one found in several Southern states – fortunately for you Northerners it doesn’t like frost.

The female nine-banded armadillo almost always has four babies, all identical (they all look like baby armadillos). A cornered armadillo will fight with its claws or dig to get away, but is most likely to run.

Man and a few larger predators eat armadillos but their main enemy seems to be the automobile. They have a peculiar habit of jumping straight up in the air if they are startled. So even if the tires of a car miss them and they are under the car, they jump up, collide with something under the car and basically commit armadillo-cide – similar to suicide in humans.

It would be bad enough to be flattened by Goodyear radials, but what a disgrace to be killed by a hot muffler and go to your grave with “Midas” branded on your little armor plates.

Our auxiliary study word is a new one “pre-disturbed” – I know this is a new word because I made it up myself. This word describes the condition we are in before we became disturbed. Then “post-disturbed” would describe our condition after our disturbed condition is over. To take this even farther we could even have the condition of post-predisturbed, but then the post and pre would cancel each other out but we would still be disturbed.

Being disturbed is a problem we can take care of by making Philippians 4:6-7 a part of our lives and then we can have peace once again. ec

Thursday, February 02, 2006

OD rehab

OD (older daughter) and her crowd reside in the outskirts of Cookeville Tennessee, which is a medium sized town that just happens to have a university – Tennessee Technical University. My spice and I have only just begun our two-week plus stay in this location to aid and abet in OD’s rehab and recovery from her shoulder surgery.

The folks around here are pretty much like anyone else with one possible exception. I viewed this exception from my location and vantage point out the windows of Putnam Physical Therapy Services building as I was gazing out their window, somewhat lost in thought – and yes, I think quite often - I think.

In the parking lot across the street I noticed that someone was in the cab of an oversized pick-up truck with the door partially open. This person – later identified as a young man – kept moving around inside the truck and this caught my attention. The mystery of what he was doing was solved when his shoe fell out the door onto the wet parking lot surface.

He had been changing clothes completely and happened to knock his shoe out the door. He hopped over on one foot to retrieve and put on the shoe. He then fastened his belt and walked two cars over and checked out his appearance in the reflection of the window of this car. Then I noticed there was a young lady in that car and she shortly got out as well.

Apparently satisfied with his appearance, the two of them walked up to the nearby building and entered. This building just happens to house only specialists in the field of OBGYN. The conclusion I drew was that they were expecting an offspring and the young man wanted to look presentable to the little one in case they did a sonogram.

Of course the reason for OD and I being in this location was for her first physical therapy session – an event that she was not looking forward to at all. While she was being pulled and stretched on, I was people watching – and writing about it. She exited the session looking not too much worse for wear and stated that it was not as bad as she had expected. I surmised this was because there were no internal stitches, only trims, scrapes, grinds and punctures from the procedure.

After SIL came home and we had supper, the wife and I finally got to go see the Chronicles of Narnia – some great spiritual parallels there. This reminds that the final victory belongs to God. ec

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

OD surgery

Nashville Tennessee is considered by some to be the country music capitol of the world. Discounting a long ago trip to Opryland – I finally made it to Nashville! But it was not to sing or even play a guitar – not that I do either of these things well – and one of them not at all.

My spice and I traveled to the home of OD (older daughter) in Cookeville Tennessee and the trip was mostly uneventful - only one near collision. A plethora of drivers in route were upset that they were not the only ones on the road. Despite all they could do, we arrived safely in the PM of Tuesday.

The purpose of the trip was to help OD with child care and recovery from surgery on or about her rotator cuff. Wednesday AM came very early (4:15am) and we dressed and left at 5am to go to the Centennial Surgery Center in Nashville.

The drive duration was about an hour and a quarter and the whole trip was made in darkness. As we neared downtown, the traffic increased dramatically with many folks fighting to get to jobs they possibly don’t like very much. Plenty of stars were available for viewing – but I think it was too early for the singing ones.

We arrived and checked her into the center, filling out much paper work – in our “paperless” environment. An hour or so later they took OD back to get her ready for the knife – except in this case it was of the arthroscopic type. By the time they called me back, they had her almost in la-la land. They took her back to surgery-land, wherever that was – and I went back to the difficult job of waiting in waiting-land.

About half past ten they advised me that she came through the procedure well and was in recovery. Later I was escorted back to find OD awake and reasonably alert. The nurse then de-tubed her, got her dressed and wheeled her down to the entrance to meet me at the van. We fought our way out of town through the traffic and aimed the van toward its home garage, arriving there about 2pm.

With this initial phase behind her, OD now has much recovery rehab ahead, but now she is at least able to see the “light at the end of the tunnel” and will be able to play with her young ones without pain.

Praise God for a safe trip and for bringing OD safely through the surgery. ec