My Photo
Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Friday, June 30, 2006


All last week my gardening was done in fits and snatches with some of the produce getting too mature and having to be tossed. But this week I am pretty much on top of things and have gathered and put up (in the freezer) some squash and okra. I say that I put the stuff up because that is one of my many petty chores around the place. The squash has to be cut up, blanched and put in quart-sized Zip-loc freezer bags before being put in its icy place of waiting for later consumption.

The okra is cut up on oven trays, heated to curb the maturation process, bagged and also put in frozen confinement. So far the tally is 9 quarts of squash and 4 of okra. The prep for freezing is time consuming but worth it at time of consumption later in the year when the garden has long crashed and wilted.

The blueberries are now ripening and I have picked a little over a gallon of those – to be eaten fresh and/or frozen as well. These berries are such a treat, especially in deep winter when the price of most fruit is confiscatory and not very tasty either.

The cucumbers have been producing as well but a problem has developed with one or more deer concerning these. It seems that a certain deer has a real taste for cucumber leaves and munched about a third of them off. Of course this puts somewhat of a dent in the cucumber production of those particular plants. Haven’t seen evidence of missing leaves in about a week, hopefully Bambi found something else to have for a snack.

The animal also munched the leaves off of one okra plant but evidently did not find it to its liking since no more were bothered. Okra contact, when I cut the pods, makes my hands and arms itch, so maybe the deer got an itchy mouth for its trouble – I would consider that poetic justice.

The tomatoes are also giving forth its fruit and these have been used in salads. Several of the plants have been lost to some sort of plant disease – had to pull up three more yesterday. The plants didn’t actually die but were stunted with brown splotches on the leaves and the fruit looks weird – so out they came and were dumped on the burn pile.

The veggie garden is producing very well but am I running slack in the kind of spiritual fruit I should be bearing? Fruit like my character, my conduct, my contributions (to God and others), proper communication and winning converts to Jesus Christ. My spiritual garden probably needs some weeding. ec

Thursday, June 29, 2006

BT - going home

Beach trip – 5 – Our adventure of Thursday evening was to attend a performance at the Carolina Opry – the tickets to which were purchased while we were out and about Wednesday.

We arrived about 7pm for the 8pm performance as we had been informed that a very good concert pianist would be playing in the atrium for a pre-show. Such was the case and his performances were enjoyed to the extent my music preferences would allow. We found our seats and after a short wait an inside comedic pre-show took place that exercised the funny bone and even brought tears of laughter to the eyes.

The main show began and almost every style of music was presented – pop oldies, blues, jazz, show tunes, country, bluegrass, classical, gospel, patriotic and a mix of comedy throughout. Even though the tickets seemed a bit pricey, we left feeling that we had received our money’s worth from the performance.

We slept in on Friday morning and then did some beach observation from the balcony. My spice and I then went for our farewell leisurely beach walk since this was our last full day of vacation. We came in, spiffied ourselves up and went out for our fancy meal of the trip. The meal was good and to help it digest, we went down to an outlet mall to look around and get a couple more gifts for the ‘grands’.

It was about dark-thirty by the time we got back and it was out to the balcony for more observation. Some folks were setting off fireworks on the beach and some of them were near professional. It was a beautiful sight for our last evening at the condo.

Saturday morning came much too soon and we had to load up and check out by 10am – which we did with about 10 minutes to spare. On our way out of town, we stopped briefly to pick up one last gift and we were headed back home. We started out on the by-pass and although many others were headed home everything was moving along just fine – until the by-pass ran into the old highway.

For the next two hours we averaged about 25 mph until the congestion finally cleared up. We drove a short distance on I-95 and then the rest of the way on I-20. Just as we got to Columbia, SC, we ran into construction that had all three lanes bumper-to-bumper for several miles. We had already decided to get off to eat in Columbia and at the first chance we got we slipped off the interstate.

Both of our daughters had attended college in Columbia so we knew our way around just a bit and stopped at our favorite greasy spoon to dine. The place is named ‘Lizard’s Thicket” and they serve just plain ole food that just happens to be good as well. We ate our fill, then left and by-passed a couple of exits by going through town, and missed the rest of the interstate construction.

Even though we had much fun and relaxation and didn’t want to leave, it was still good to get home. Can’t help but think that this is somewhat the way I will feel when it’s time to go to my final home – plus I will get to see Jesus, the one that made forgiveness and peace possible in this life and eternal life a reality in the next. ec

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

BT - weather

This continues the beach trip.

Beach trip – 4 – All night Tuesday and most of the morning Wednesday, the remains of the storm named Alberto came through the area with rain and much high wind. The strong wind was whistling at the door all night and it was even causing the outside handrails to vibrate. Wednesday morning came and the waves were very wild, it was as if a million freshman whitecaps in the school of waves decided to all come and foam the beach at one time.

Only a few hardy folks came out on the beach until sometime in the afternoon on Wednesday. These daring ones were mostly surfers, braving the pounding waves, even though the red flags were flying at the lifeguard stations. Several of the surfers were being hauled back up the beach in the back of the lifeguard’s four-wheeler – don’t know if they were in trouble or not. The sun finally came out and it got a bit warmer by about 3pm.

The spice and I finally ventured forth to a theater in the Coastal Grand Mall for the purpose of viewing a movie. The movie was an animated one titled ‘Over the hedge’ and while not quite up there with ‘Ice Age’ and ‘Shrek’, it was enjoyable none the less. Let me state for the record that if Hollywood depended on my support for their livelihood, they would near starve to death. This is because I average going to the theater about once a year – this particular movie was my first cinema visit of the year.

Thursday morning came and any evidence of the storm had long since past and the population of the beach came back up to about half a zillion folks, getting salty and baked all at the same time. It was a lot like a large cookout, except only the people were being basted and roasted. The Spice and I took a stroll on the beach and the faint odor of something cooking wafted into my nostrils. It was somewhat like when bacon is frying except it smelled more like suntan lotion or sunscreen.

After a little less than an hour of bipedal sand and wave meandering, we retreated back to the condo for our lunch and some time on our shaded balcony for continued beach observation. We both arrived at the conclusion that we could get used to this sort of relaxation.

Our pastor has said many times, “If you don’t come apart, you will come apart.” His reference in the physical was that we needed to break the routine and get away somewhere – but his main point was in the spiritual. We need to get away to be with God, to renew our relationship and to hear from Him as to whether we need any course changes in our life. He will redirect but we must quieten the noises of life to be able to hear. ec

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

KS - two girlfriends

Still fall of 1962 - The other young lady of whom I was enamored was the one that wouldn’t date me because of the claims laid on me by her best friend. Not long after I started dating Miss Y, she decided that I really wasn’t interested in these other unknown claims on me and let me know she was interested in me after all. Incidentally, this second young lady – Miss C – was the same one that had stated just a few months before that she wouldn’t marry me if I were the last man on earth.

Another reason Miss C had been somewhat cool towards me was that I had stood her up on a date about five years before. We had “gone steady” for several months back then and the incident happened at the end of that period. I had honestly forgotten the occasion and still didn’t remember until it was brought to my attention. This lady held a hard grudge and wanted no toying with her affection. It was good to be off the odious scale.

I had suddenly gone from no serious girlfriends – on my part anyway – to exactly two and on at least one occasion I saw them both on the same night. It was a little hard to tell if this was a blessing or a curse to my young spiritual life, since I was desperately striving to try to keep my mind on the Lord. This lastly mentioned thought process was probably evident only to the Lord and I; He was still correcting within me some leftover and somewhat warped thought proceedings.

To farther complicate matters, I heard from the civil service job in Lexington, Kentucky and they were willing to hire me on a temporary basis – to make sure I could and would do the job they wanted. Since this was the only occupational door open to me at the time, I decided to walk through it, trusting that it was from the Lord.

It seems that the only keepsakes left from that time period were the blossoms of romances that could only be seen and felt by the heart and the scars from sins forgiven, left there to remind me not to go those ways again.

TBC - ec

Monday, June 26, 2006

KS - major changes

Wow - we have had a massively busy two weeks, this last one with kinfolks as guests - love having the company, there's just not a lot of time to breathe. :) Still have a couple of posts about our beach trip that I will post later in the week. ec

17- Fall 1962 - There I was, standing free and forgiven of every wrong I had ever done, yet still in the full throes of uncertainty about my future life and occupation. While trying to remove the crusty, worldly garments of doubt and fear and find more suitable spiritual apparel to therewithal be clothed, other events started happening that were to have a part in the shaping of my life’s pathway.

First was the accidental meeting of a sergeant that I had gone all the way through training with in Fort Monmouth, N. J. During that time we had talked a lot and became friends, even though I was a lowly private back then. During our getting reacquainted chat, the subject came up about my lack of a permanent job. He was newly retired from the military but still had friends all over the world. He told me he would make some calls and see what he could do.

In a later contact with him, he told me of an opening in a civil service position at Lexington Army Depot, in Lexington, Kentucky. His contact told him that he wouldn’t make any promises, but for me to send them a resume and they would check out my qualifications. It took a bit of time to get together all the paperwork they wanted, but I finally got it gathered and sent off – then all I had to do was wait.

All during this time my personal life was also going through major modifications. Massive changes were ongoing in the areas of my life’s goals, aims and friends, and these were starting to line up much more closely with God’s Word. This will happen when a person is really serious about an up-close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ – and for the first time in my life, I was.

My feminine companions had narrowed down to two and my ambitions towards both were definitely more in line with what they should have been. Of course this required some major changes of thought patterns and actions that had become somewhat normal operating procedure.

My relationship with the first had begun at the request of her family, this relayed to me by a friend. The friend and this girl’s brother and I had known each other since grammar school. It seems that the girl had been driving them all crazy about me and I was only too happy to comply with the request. She was a nice girl and we had a good time together, but up to that time I hadn’t realized that Miss Y was on the planet.

TBC - ec

Saturday, June 24, 2006

BT - shopping

Beach trip – 3 – Sunday’s weather was sunny and hot but with an ocean breeze it was very comfortable. Monday was very nice as well but started clouding up in the afternoon. As per usual, we brought some food items to cut down on the eating out expenses – this is with the agreement that I do the cooking. We had brought a small frozen roast and this was cooked for our late lunch. We also had rice and gravy and broccoli – it was a fairly simple but yummy meal.

After eating, we went out for an episode of shopping. At our last two stops we were racing the rain clouds, trying to get through before the monsoon hit. We just barely got back to the condo and unloaded when the clouds also unloaded, but does the rain really matter when one is on vacation – especially when no little ones are present?

On Tuesday we were out and about most of the day and it was again increasingly cloudy as we were shopping. The thought came to me that vacations are many things to different people. To my beloved Spice, shopping is a big part of her enjoyment while on vacation. To me the word shop is a four-letter word that I want to stay away from. But since she enjoys this venture – or adventure – we do include some of it in the equation.

My part of this part of her vacation mostly involves waiting and the carrying of purchases if any are made. The temperature was comfortable and I carried my small hand-held audio recorder for something to do – taping the happenings and thoughts of the day. She finally tired of this endeavor and this was a good thing because it had just started to sprinkle rain. We made it back to the van without major wetness.

Shopping is not totally repugnant to me if a place that sells hardware and/or tools are included in the mix. One of the two other stops we made between showers was one of these but the visit was much too short because of the weather. Reluctantly leaving one of my favorite places of business, Lowe’s, we got back to our home away from home with only a few drops of rain having anointed our persons.

No amount of raindrops could have dampened our joy of just being together in such a beautiful, relaxing place. ec

Thursday, June 22, 2006

BT - flight

Beach trip – 2 – Small planes fly slowly along the beach on a fairly regular basis, towing signs that advertise different places of business in the area. One of the planes was towing a sign that was of a different nature. It was meant to promote romance and a possible future relationship – in large letters on the towed sign it said, “Will you marry me Ashley”. It bothers me just a little that I may never know Ashley’s response, but hopefully it worked out for the best in their lives.

Not by any stretch of the imagination could I be considered a ‘beach person’, mostly because I am very fair of skin – and sun exposure has caused unwanted skin growths. Many of these have already had to be removed and now my dermatologist and I both agree that I should stay out of the sun as much as possible. This having been said, I still like to walk on the sand in the cooler parts of the day.

There is a freshwater stream that flows alongside this building from the marshy area across the road from the condo. The stream is enclosed in a culvert out to the edge of the beach and its water is a steady flow across the sand and into the ocean. Many birds patrol this stream for minnows, a few small crabs and whatever else they might consider food.

The species that ply this waterway are gulls, terns, a few pigeons and a dark brown, medium sized bird that looks like a distant cousin to the crow family. Two of these birds were down by the stream, one was hunting for food and the other was fluffing out its feathers and doing a funny little bobbing dance.

The first one must have been a female and the second a male. After the dance started, the female promptly flew off with the male in pursuit. When she landed, he would land as well and start doing his dance. This was repeated as far as I could see them down the beach. It was as if she was saying – ‘I don’t have time to watch you perform now, I’m busy.’

Not exactly a parallel but it did remind me that God is never too busy to hear us – no matter how trivial or trifling the matter that concerns us might be. ec

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Beach Trip - getaway

A getaway is defined as a place where one escapes for relaxation, vacation, etc., or the period of time for such recreation. The Spice and I escaped to such a place on a recently past Sunday afternoon. Our place of escape is officially called The Beach House Golf and Racquet Club and is located just North of Myrtle Beach, SC and just South of North Myrtle Beach.

The name of the place is a bit of a misnomer as it is a building rather than a house, they do not have any nearby courts on which to use a racquet and any golf course is several miles away. The beach part of the title is correct and the beachfront view from our 7th floor balcony was a thing of awesome beauty. The near hypnotic sight and sound of the waves reaches down inside, draws out any leftover feelings of tension or stress and washes them all away.

One can hardly watch the ocean and waves without noticing all the people employing the sand for rest and/or relaxation. People of all shapes, sizes, ages and colors were walking, sitting, lying, playing and splashing in the waves. Let me interject here that folks of certain shapes and sizes should not wear bikinis – even guys.

Many skin tones were present on the beach – some colors were from genetics and some by exposure to the sun. A few I had to feel very sorry for because they had really overdone their quest for a tan and would be feeling some pain that night and the near future.

Many Frisbees were being sailed about with varying degrees of skill. The male half of one particular couple threw a Frisbee to the female half when she wasn’t paying attention and this prompted her to throw it back at him. Her aim was a bit off and she hit the female member of a passing couple in the backside as they walked along. The perp looked horrified with both hands to her face and seemed to be very apologetic, although I couldn’t hear that from my lofty vantage point. The struck one tossed back the Frisbee with no apparent ire.

This incident will probably be told to a few of both couple’s friends and pass from memory, as it should. It is a shame that even smaller happenings than this have caused people and couples to become each other’s enemies for life. Life is so much easier when forgiveness is applied to the everyday mishaps. God forgives us if we ask, shouldn’t we forgive others? ec

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

KS - redemption

Early Fall 1962 – The time frame was a month or so of being back home from the Army and I was attending church just enough to please my parents. My usual MO – method of operation – was to sit near the back of the church and then when the sermon started to get really serious, I would slip out the back door to go to the restroom or some other pretext.

One Sunday night in church my timing was just a little off and I actually started to listen to what the preacher was saying. Even today I cannot remember the text of the sermon, I just remember that he was giving some real answers and my every effort thus far had only been coming up with more questions.

It was as though I was frozen in my seat with one voice telling me to get up and leave and the other telling me to go down to the altar and make everything right with God. Every excuse I could think of not to pray came back answered with “Jesus can make it right”. The last straw was when the excuse of “you won’t be able to have any more fun if you become a Christian” came to mind; I knew that was a lie because I had been more miserable than I had ever been in my life.

All this took place in the old Crawford Avenue sanctuary and I felt like every eye in the place was on me, possibly including those of a few demonic beings. From where I sat to the altar in front could not have been much more that a hundred feet, but when I finally stood up it looked like a mile. My heart was pounding and my legs felt so weak that I wasn’t sure they would carry me all the way to the altar.

At the moment my knees touched down, from within came a rush of repentance and tears; a moment later came the flood of forgiveness, washing away the heavy load of sin and wrongdoing that had been slowly suffocating my spirit. Why had I waited so long?

I arose from the altar feeling as light as a feather and as clean on the inside as I could remember being. My future was still not a predetermined certainty, but I knew now that I had someone to share it with and to help me through the rough places. Jesus was one keepsake that I was determined to always have with me.

TBC – ec

Monday, June 19, 2006

KS - quandary

16- Back in 1962, one real impediment to a guy planning his future was the danger of being drafted. This danger was over for me because I had fulfilled my military obligation. I would only be called back up after they had inducted all the women and children – hopefully. I was over 21, single, had a car – and car payment – and health enough to find work to pay my bills. So what was the deal – why was I not happy?

One of the things my parents taught me was to always do the best you could do at whatever you undertook to accomplish. It was starting to occur to me that I was not doing a very good job of sinning. Oh, I was sinning well enough, but real skillful proficiency just was not in evidence, this because I felt too bad about my actions.

This was personally perplexing because I saw others around me that had this thing of doing wrong down to an art form. Plus they really seemed to be enjoying themselves and not at all troubled as to whether or not anyone else got hurt by what they did. What was the deal – I also had what one would call ‘baser needs’ as well.

Maybe I could modify my actions a bit and find the answer – I would do whatever I wanted as long as I didn’t hurt someone else! In practicality I found this a very difficult thing to accomplish. This because when someone is nutso in their affection for you, how can you string them along just for vanity’s sake without pain being felt – even on your part? Why was I caring so much when someone else was hurt?

Then another semi-solution occurred to me – I needed to learn to be a better liar – this might help in several areas because I was feeling entirely too bad about falsifications, in word and deed. This should be simple, just verbally cover up all the things I didn’t want to admit – even to myself – and all would be better.

An effort was made in that direction, but whatever I tried to do for my good was nullified by the bad feelings concerning the false action to do it. Was this honesty thing so much a part of me that I couldn’t shake it? What were my parents thinking when they taught me lying was wrong? Didn’t they know it’s a cruel, lying and cheating world and one had to have these skills and them properly honed to be able to survive?

TBC – ec

Saturday, June 17, 2006

back home

The Spice and I arrived back home this afternoon after a wonderful week at Myrtle Beach. Will post about the trip as time allows. We have come back home to a very busy week of company.

Kinfolk from Florida arrived today for a couple of nights and Monday my daughter and her two young ones will arrive for a week’s stay – I predict a busy, but fun week. This will be the last trip home for the daughter before she makes the move to Texas.

Hopefully sometime during the week we will get a few breaths in the midst of the busy schedule. Hope you all are well and surviving. ec

Sunday, June 11, 2006

beach trip

Saturday was a great day of enjoying the presence of family and extended family – our local family reunion. It is held the second Sat. in June each year at my older brother’s place a bit North of the Augusta, GA area.

My cousin and her husband came in from Tenn. Friday evening to spend a couple of nights with us and to attend the family event. The food was great as was the teasing and laughter. We started gathering around 11am with the official beginning shortly after 12.

Folks started gradually leaving a couple of hours later until it was down to the ‘hard core’ talkers and laughers. On toward 5pm we finally headed for home, bidding goodbye to folks from several cities in Georgia, South and North Carolina.

The Spice and I are leaving this morning (Sunday) for a week at Myrtle Beach, SC and they have no internet connections. My words for the week will be stored up and dumped on you folks when we get back next Saturday. This week will be a delayed anniversary trip – we were married 43 years back on the 2nd of June.

If the Lord wills and the creek don’t rise, I will see you on Saturday. ec

Friday, June 09, 2006


As most of us humans know the shin is defined as the front part of the leg from the knee to the ankle and/or the shinbone or tibia, especially its sharp edge or front portion. All who have brought this portion of their leg forcefully against a stationary or semi-stationary object will agree that this action will bring about pain. The magnitude of pain is in direct proportion to the amount of force, the degree the object is stationary and the solidness of this object.

This painful scenario, described above with only a small degree of emotion, happened to me just recently down in the basement. I was taking something down to the workshop and failed to turn on the one light that would have revealed a protruding corner of a wooden box. This trek had been made many times and there was never any shin danger in that part of the basement.

I was in a hurry so the contact was forceful. Much pain was involved. It did leak red. I was not happy, but did not cuss, since I gave the X-rated language up years ago. The box made quite an impression on me, but no impression was made on the box.

There was no way that I could blame this pain on someone else since I was the one that placed the box there. The box was put there to help GM3 and GM4 (small grandsons) reach the flipper controls on the pinball machine that occupies that corner. Even though it caused them much fun, that didn’t lessen the pain to any great degree. I do not regret causing them fun, just not moving the box when it was over.

Knowledge should cause action or at least face one with the decision of whether or not to act. This painful knowledge caused me to move the box out of the way and prevent future collisions – ‘A man has to know his limitations’ – in the physical or the spiritual. ec

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Recently I ran across a quote by W. Somerset Maugham and while I have yet to research who or what this person is or was, I thought his quote interesting. “Only a mediocre person is always at his best.” Considering the quote, I pondered as to whether or not I could have overestimated the word mediocre, as I understood it.

According to the dictionary mediocre means: of only ordinary or moderate quality – also barely adequate. Casting a glance at the thesaurus for words that meant mostly the same thing, I found words that agreed with my basic mental meaning. It revealed: run-of-the-mill, commonplace, pedestrian (did not know this word meant that), passable, so-so, fair-to-middling, average, medium and normal – and these did not surprise me.

Then the words after that had much poorer meanings that went downhill in a hurry with: insignificant, slight, trifling, paltry, meager, inferior, rather poor and second-rate. A word can be known by the company it keeps and these latter snippets of language were not a good crowd to hang around with. This was a disappointment to me since I had considered mediocre more normal and average than that.

The word is what it is and I must admit I have seen many mediocre things and products that were proclaimed to be much better than what they actually turned out to be. Then a thought stumbled across the early morning fuzziness of a mind that one hopes would be a little sharper after the brilliance of later thought burns off the haze. The thought was in the form of a question – can animals be mediocre?

This seems to come back in the negative since the natural selection process rules with these critters. What I mean is that the ones that are not up to par in the area of quickness or carefulness can become eaten. The eaters are not immune to this process and can expire because they are not quick or adept enough to catch something to devour and maintain health and fur quality – and what animal would want to live with poor quality fur.

The next natural question in my mind is whether plants can be mediocre. The harvests of some garden plants in my past have been mediocre but I do not lay the fault to the plant. All plants will grow and produce according to the way they were designed unless they have a lack of moisture, nutrients, proper temperature, or are interfered with by disease or natural disaster.

If plants are healthy they always do all they can with what they receive to do with. Considering this, maybe people should strive to be more like plants, at least in their productivity. Of course some folks would take this to mean that they should be rooted to one spot and never move.

Mediocrity is rampant in humankind – and the in things they produce – because we are the only creature given the choice as to whether or not we want to be mediocre. We all may have worked with folks that considered mediocrity their highest goal – sometimes they reach it and sometimes not.

Since mediocrity is a choice in the physical, one might wonder whether it is also a choice in the spiritual. That doesn’t seem to be the case since we are warned in scripture that God would have us either hot or cold – anything else would cause us to be spewed out – that doesn’t sound like a good thing. ec

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

rain dance

The two words in the title of this post have nothing in common with each other, besides the fact that I thought they would make a catchy title. The rain portion of the title is descriptive of something we haven’t had very much of this year – until last Friday. I had been desperately striving to keep the garden alive with my trusty sprinkler – as well as watering many bushes with the hose.

Many short-lived insects have likely lived and died without ever having seen rain but that has all changed now. The rain was so hard for about 30 minutes that it was difficult to determine whether it was a gully washer or a frog strangler type downpour. It was at least a gully washer because I saw the gullies being washed, but I wasn’t close enough to the pond to check on the frogs.

Even though my garden is terraced, it washed a bit because the berms on either end were not high enough to catch the water. About a third of the okra plants were blown to an angle and that was quickly repaired on hands and knees. But the rain has done wonders for all the plants – even the half-dead gardenia. The okra seems to have grown about half a foot in this last week and they are now nigh unto blooming.

The squash and cucumbers are blooming and some of the tomato fruit are about 2 inches already. The blueberries are still a couple of weeks from being ripe but a few blackberries are already ripe. And the subject of blackberries brings about the second half of the title – dance.

Just the other day we were tending to the three local grandsons – GM3, GM4 and GM6 – and we were wandering around outside, checking on the wonders of nature. We had already checked out the clouds and voiced opinions as to what animals they resembled. Next it was leaves and why they were as they were. Then it was on to the blackberry bushes and a few of the ripe ones were picked and parceled out to the older two of the boys and were enjoyed to the nth degree.

When it came time to go back inside, I picked and gave a couple more to each of them. My attention was diverted by trying to get the younger back up the hill and didn’t notice the antics of the older. When I turned back to him, his feet were running in place, he was shaking his hands and making a very weird face.

It startled me momentarily until I heard his 4-year-old voice say ‘soouuurrr’ and I realized this was his ‘sour dance’. He didn’t spit the not-quite-ripe berry out so he must have still enjoyed it – but not as much as I enjoyed the ‘sour dance’. Children and especially grandchildren are a blessing from God. ec

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

KS - beach trip

Summer 1962 – The construction job lasted only a few weeks and then the steel part of the building was completed – it didn’t last long enough for me to be comfortable with walking on the high beams. Another job of a similar nature lasted only a week and I was laid off again, but it was enough ironworking experience to determine that I didn’t care for that line of work.

Not only did I not know what I wanted to be when I grew up, I was somewhat ambivalent as to whether I really wanted to “grow up”. All this time my personal life was very much in limbo, caused mostly by the collision of my undecided and uncertain future with the stark reality of a need for some sort of permanence.

I had friends of the feminine persuasion and I knew I wanted one of those to share life with, but the ones that seemed to care for me were not the ones I wanted caring for me. One particular one that I wanted to date would not go out with me because her best friend had laid claim to me without my knowledge.

This issue was further complicated by a trip to the beach with these two friends and their families. They invited me to go along and I was only too glad to go. Both the girls had siblings and we went in two autos. The beach was near Savannah, Georgia and it was a good day of pulling both girls around the water on floats. This even involved sneaking a little affection from the one that wasn’t supposed to be showing any interest in me.

After a good day, we headed back home with the two girls and I in the back seat of one of the cars. The one that claimed me was on one side and the one that was supposed to keep hands off was on the other. It was quite an adventure for me because I was holding hands with the one openly and with the other on the sly. Both girls got sunburned badly from being on the rafts so long, the one of my real interest almost had to be hospitalized for it.

Added to this predicament was the fact that I was living a restless “on the run from God” type of life. Deep down I knew the Truth from being raised in church, but I was not willing to commit my whole self to it, and I knew enough to know that total commitment to God was a necessary thing. I was even going to church every Sunday, but mostly just to see friends. Church attendance was required if I lived at home – plus a thing called respect, which seems to be a foreign concept in many households today.

TBC – ec

Monday, June 05, 2006

KS - steelworking

July 1962 – It was my first day back home as a newly constituted civilian and it felt very strange. After arriving and thoroughly disturbing everyone at home early in the morning, I went to find my younger brother. He had already left the house to go deliver the newspaper on his morning paper routes. I located him at our old traditional place of newspaper preparation in front of the five and dime, next door to the bakery.

He was much changed and now matched me in height – which was not the case two years before – and I could tell he had spent a good bit of time associating with barbell iron. We chatted a while and he left to go fulfill his delivery obligations. Back home, Mom was in big time breakfast prep and I was about to realize the culmination of a two year yearning – that of getting my feet back under Mom and Dad’s table.

The change in appearance of my younger sister was more startling, all grownup and in high school – was it only two years I was gone – it felt more like ten. My first breakfast back home was all I had hoped it would be and I headed off around town afterwards to check out the changes and to visit with a few friends. A few days later the excitement of returning home started to wear off and reality began to rudely look over my shoulder.

A place to stay was not a problem since I could stay at home as long as I followed the basic rules of the household. The main reality was that I now had a car payment and no job. A week or so later I discovered that our next-door neighbor was the union rep for the steelworkers in the area and he got me on as a steelworker apprentice. This was in addition to a part time job I already had at the newspaper downtown – which involved manually inserting sales papers, etc. into the morning newspaper several days a week in the late evening and early morning hours.

The steelworker job involved learning how to erect the steel of large commercial buildings. My first job with them was to help in putting up the steel for an industrial plant out near the airport in Augusta. The first few days my time was spent on the ground and the work consisted of screwing the nuts on the bolts used for fastening the steel together and sending them aloft to the journeymen workers.

They finally sent me aloft to help one of the other men and up the side of the building I went – climbing three stories high by holding to the beams and rods of the outside wall. This didn’t bother me at all since I had something solid to grip.

It was during this climbing adventure that I collected my first keepsake of the time period. This remembrance is a scar on my forearm from a cut caused by a sharp burr of metal somewhere around the second floor – the cut was just above the gauntlet of my work gloves. I just continued the climb and dripped blood because I knew my “scratch” would mean nothing to these grizzled veterans.

When I did reach the top, they found it highly amusing that I was unwilling to stand up on the steel beams; I just scooted around on my backside. It was not unusual for a beginner to have a bit of difficulty walking around on the narrow beams that high off the ground. It seemed to me, especially in this situation, discretion really was the better part of valor.

TBC – ec

Sunday, June 04, 2006

nation healing

There is a very interesting scripture found in the Old Testament – “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Interesting to me because it was originally written as applying to the nation of Israel many years ago, yet it still applies to a people or nation that closely follow the instructions therein written. This is because God’s Word is not only true but is Truth itself.

The Truth of the Word only works when taken to heart – literally – to ourselves first and then passed on to the ones around us in the form of love and care for others. God’s Word will change the world for the better and bring about healing of every kind, but only when it is walked out in love by the ones that cling to this Word and the Savior it is written about. ec

Saturday, June 03, 2006

drink of water

A small boy is sent to bed by his father.

Five minutes later....."Da-ad...." "What?" "I'm thirsty. Can you bring a drink of water?" "No, You had your chance. Lights out."

Five minutes later: "Da-aaaad....." "WHAT?" "I'm THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water??" I told you NO! If you ask again, I'll have to spank you!!"

Five minutes later......"Daaaa-aaaad....." "WHAT!" "When you come in to spank me, can you bring a drink of water?" ec

Friday, June 02, 2006

dust bunnies

There was a war in the kitchen and the battle started near high noon. War is always hurtful and wasteful – but sometimes it is necessary. One of the definitions of war is: active hostility, contention or conflict – and this is absolutely what was going on and all because the Spice does not like bunnies.

It’s hard to imagine anyone not liking bunnies with them so cute and fuzzy – the fact that these were dust bunnies should not have entered the equation. She did not want these bunnies to live or thrive or do well and it fell my odious task to rid the kitchen of these harmless critters.

In any war an appropriate weapon and attitude of mind is necessary before the conflict is actually joined. Before I could dislike the bunnies enough to do them in, I had to decide why I disliked the bunnies. Suddenly I realized that they were from the dark side of the force and were determined to insidiously take over the kitchen area and then possibly to move on into the den.

This caused the ‘protector of the household’ emotions to kick in and I knew that I had to do what I had to do, no matter how many dust bunnies were destroyed. The weapon that I decided to use for this defense of the home front was our negative pressurization machine – the vacuum.

The minute I activated this powerful weapon I could see the enemy start to make their move. Their defensive movement seemed to be away from the force of the weapon and toward a place of hiding. This strategy did not work because from my position of higher observation I saw through their plan immediately.

They were then drawn out from their places of hiding and into their final resting place – the abyss of the containment facilities of my weapon. There they will remain until they are emptied onto the ash heap of eternity. Wow – that last part sounded a bit like what I read in the Book about one of the final destinations of mankind – except in the Book that destination was much hotter. ec

Thursday, June 01, 2006

BBH report 402

Blueberry Hill report 402

Another phase of the garden has been completed – the placing of straw for mulch. The straw in this case is wheat straw and was purchased in bales from our local feed and seed. As I may have mentioned, this is done to help keep down the weeds and maintain a more constant level of moisture.

In the case of the tomato plants, this is a bit more of a hassle than for the others. This is true because I place the round wire ‘baskets’ over the tomatoes – for support – at the same time the straw is placed. So far I have kept the space between the rows fairly weed and grass free – minor miracle – but around the plants had to be cleaned out by hand before the placing of the straw and baskets.

This involved much crawling around on hands and knees and the old back reminded me in no uncertain terms that it did not care for this strenuous adventure. In fact, it kept reminding me of its displeasure for the rest of the evening. It seems that I usually wait about two weeks too late to place the baskets and the plants have to be carefully ‘stuffed’ into them so as not to break a limb. The reason I know it was too late was that several did break off but they seemed to come through it OK.

Straw was then placed around the cucumbers and squash – these two are very heat and moisture sensitive and while this procedure does not work a miracle, it does tend to even out the plant shock a bit. Even with some of the scattered storms in our area of late, we have yet to get a good rain. This makes watering the garden a necessity if any produce is to be forthcoming.

This day was such a hot one that the squash and cucumber leaves were looking like limp rags on sticks. The tall sprinkler was hooked up and cranked up and the life giving liquid started being dispersed. In my mind I could almost hear the plants oohing and aahing as the water splashed on their drooping leaves.

The garden can be viewed out the kitchen window and I looked out to check on the sprinkler’s progress. It seemed to be covering everything except for the far corner, which will have to be hand watered. This is when I noticed something that I enjoyed very much because it both amused and amazed me.

In the semi-circle of the influence of the sprinkler, a mockingbird seemed to be having the time its life. It was flying back and forth in the sprinkling water and even jumping through the veggie leaves for the droplets on them to splash on its feathers as well. It reminded me of a child experiencing the joys of a sprinkler for the first time. Of course, if the bird is a first year hatchling, this may well have been the first sprinkler that he/she had ever seen or experienced.

This brought a smile to my face that I know must be like the one on the face of God when we His children have fun doing the right sort of things. ec