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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Thursday, August 31, 2006


The morning of August 30th began with a phone call – BIL had locked his keys in the car down at the local Hardee’s. After rousing MIL to get the extra set of keys, I took them over to the locked-out one. My plans to sleep in were then scrapped and I did a hard charge into a bright new day – yeah, right – more like a stumbling tiptoe through the achy muscles from yesterday’s mowing adventures.

Trying to keep my tasks light before I went to the spinal manipulator, so as to not necessitate a double shower today, I wrote a bit and replaced the popped out lens in Spice’s glasses and tightened the screw that was fortunately still in place, just very loose. One of the closet rods on Spice’s side of the closet had fallen and couldn’t get up – as well as the clothes thereon contained. This was repaired, strengthened and the garments were replaced back in their proper positions.

The Spice decided that she needed her spine manipulated also, so we cleaned up a bit and headed in the direction of the back-cracker’s office. On the way we took YD the portion of peaches we had gathered for her. Arriving at our destination, we hardly had time to sit down before we were called back to a treatment room. A bit later many of my vertebra were put in different locations, hopefully the right ones and hopefully to stay there for a while – I felt better all over more than anywhere else.

The doc cracked up the Spice also and we headed for the home front. The rest of the day was relax time so as to rest the back and not undo anything done by the manipulator and give it time to settle into the new positions. The most difficult thing I did was to peel and cut up some peaches for the Spice and I – several times.

Spoke to OD from Texas (on the phone, of course) for a while and she asked if we had relatives from Germany – this because GM5 was adding suffixes on most all his words that were distinctly German sounding. She got him to say some for me and I found myself hoping that they wouldn’t take him to an October-fest for several more years. Sure do miss those Grunts out there.

We have had some rain and the zinnias and marigolds in the garden are really showing off – the former with their bright oranges and purple-reds and the latter with their bright golden yellow. The heat (and the rain) has kept me from much serious work in the garden, which is definitely on the downhill side of the growing season. Even if I didn’t eat any of the produce, I would still just enjoy seeing the plants grow and give forth the veggies. God does all things well. ec

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

dental sins

My errand on the way to the church men’s meeting (August 28th) was to go by the health food store, since this is one of the few places that I can find toothpaste to which I’m not allergic. The problem is that I seem to be unable to go to that store and just buy the toothpaste. I have an affinity for some of their snack treats – the two for this visit was a container of dried papaya spears and one of carob covered raisons. I don’t think this could be construed as a vice – maybe, unless one ate the contents of both containers at one sitting.

After returning from the successful meeting, I still had to do something with the rejected peaches that we brought home – since they do not keep as well as those not rejected. Fortunately we have an old refrigerator in the basement and I was able to store all but a few in that cool confinement. Shortly after this, I crashed for the evening, having had enough excitement for the day.

Someway, somehow, magical or otherwise, the next morning came – the morning for my early dentist appointment. This day was the day that I had to pay for some past dental sins – I had two cavities to be repaired, discovered on my last checkup. As I sat in the chair, contemplating which of my sins brought me to this place, the piped-in music was supposed to be oldies but I do not remember them – this was troubling, since I am an oldie.

The tooth repairs were successful and though most of my mouth was numb and felt lopsided, I stopped by Wal-Mart for a few items, figuring that I wouldn’t look that odd this early in the day. Had a great time, not much traffic – people or cars – and eventually stepped up to pay. The total rang up to 60 cents more than I had on my person – embarrassing – I had her deduct one item, paid and slunk out of the place, determined to count the cost a little better next time.

Later in the afternoon I mowed a little – unearthly hot and humid – had MIL and BIL over for supper and later had the other BIL, SIL and PN (pregnant niece (with twin girls)) to finish up the victuals. Between the two visits, mostly, I finished the section of mowing I had started, came in and soaked in the tub – for pain relief in old achy muscles.

Not long before my bedtime, I was visiting blogland on my computer when my younger daughter called. When I asked YD how her day went, she just seemed to be happy to be going to bed. I suggested a comeback for my own question – Successful day = nobody's dead, nobody bled, now I’m going to bed. She agreed that these would be some of the components of a good day, considering the rambunctiousness of her three little boys. I consider myself blessed to at least live close to two-thirds of the ‘grands’. ec

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Then came an afternoon like no other, somewhat mainly because it was preceded by a morning like no other. Things done on this afternoon have never been done before. This is because when something is done, it’s done – things that are similar can be done, but not the same thing. This last bit of revelation was laid on my brain by a long ago comedian, Bro. Dave Gardner.

It was decided by the Spice and I that this was to be our afternoon to go for peaches. Loading up several fairly large containers, we departed for the Johnston, SC area and the peach packing plant in that area. We decided that we would ‘rescue’ the rejected peaches into our own containers rather than buy them in a box. This is because (a) they are cheaper and (b) they do not cost as much.

We left the house about noon thirty and headed north for the 40-minute ride to the packing facility. On the way we decided to again listen to one of the books on CD that we didn’t finish on our Texas trip. The trip flew by and we seemed to arrive at our destination much quicker than usual. The price for ‘rescuing’ the peaches from the reject water sluice is $5 per 5-gallon bucket – and they even furnish the buckets to make the measurement the same for all.

We got a bucket each and commenced gathering, the idea is to retrieve the least rejected fruit for our home use. At first it was just the Spice and I, later joined by two others and two more later. At the peak attendance, it looked a bit like the Kodiak bears of Alaska grabbing for salmon. Except we were not hairy (especially not me) and we were grabbing for peaches. We finally freed 5 buckets of the fruit from their doom, placed them in our containers and with slightly aching backs, headed for home.

The gathering process took somewhat over an hour and was quite an adventure for us old people – or at it least broke the routine. We refueled on the way back and paid $2.48 a gallon – he writes in a non-believing manner. We also decided to pick up a pizza for our late lunch/supper and got it on the way home. As I was paying for the Italian/American delight, it dawned on me that our men’s fellowship meeting was this PM and per usual, the meeting is an eating one.

Nonetheless, we took it home and had MIL over to eat with us – we had got her a personal pan size. I did eat a couple of pieces just to be social but saved room for the men’s supper. Got cleaned up a little later and left early for an errand on the way.

The supper, fellowship and chitchat were great and afterward we went into a meeting room, sang choruses and the pastor spoke to us about one of the evangelism programs going on at the church. As per usual, he did an excellent job and I left fired up and feeling much closer to my brothers in Christ – the basic reason for the meeting. ec

Monday, August 28, 2006


The morning began like many others, dragging my nearly ancient frame out of bed and wandering to the kitchen to break the fast. Curious as to what the weather of the day looked like, I opened the blinds to have a look-see. When what to my wondering eyes should appear – perched atop one of the crossbars of the trampoline safety net fence – but a large hawk.

This looked to be the same type and maybe the same bird of prey that I wrote about just before Christmas last year. My imagination being what it is, I wondered if this feathered creature was just resting and using this for a vantage point or if it was contemplating involving itself in the recreational opportunities of the trampoline.

The bird perched there at least 10 more minutes, very still except for the head turning side-to-side almost 180 degrees. This neck flexibility is something that I envied because many times I wake up somewhat cramped and stiff and cannot turn the neck much without a bit of discomfort. This problem is necessitating a visit to the spinal manipulator in the near future.

After the departure of this sharp-eyed creature, my mind pondered that if I were one to believe in omens and signs, what would this one mean? I was surprised to learn that one of the meanings of the word auspice was a divination or prognostication, originally from observing birds.

Could the fact that the bird was perched facing north mean that this was a harbinger of an ill wind blowing in from the north or just that all his prey was in that direction since its back was facing the brick wall of my house? Could the fact that it was perched there at all be an indication that some evil was lurking about, just ready to pounce or that it was just tired and needed a quiet place to rest?

When it flew away, was it a portent that some soul dear to us was about to leave on a permanent journey or that it was hungry and the hunting was poor in this area? Did the fact that it was now gone and not there anymore presage that we would soon be gone and not here anymore or did it just mean that it was gone and not there anymore?

Any dependence that I might have been tempted to have in augury was changed and cancelled out many years ago by a better way of living. Simply put, the better way is to have an up-close and personal relationship with the Son of the living God, Jesus Christ. His ways are far above all our ways and will guide us the right ways if we consent to follow. ec

Friday, August 25, 2006

Madison, GA

Consciousness returned to me the next morning at the insistence of my radio alarm. The voices on the radio seemed to be cheerfully telling me that I should be awake – parts of me agreed and parts did not – most did not. I arose to find this day like no other, inasmuch as this particular day had never been before and was brought into being by the passage of time that God set in motion long ago. I’m sure that many of you already knew that. (smile)

The day was begun as usual by breaking the fast with cereal and silk (soymilk), hot tea and scripture reading – thus feeding two very vital parts of myself, the physical and the spiritual. BIL came and picked me up at 7am and we were magically on our way to Madison, Georgia – our work location of the day. A van for transportation is probably not really so magical to us today, but to the Indians and pioneers of long ago it would have been very magical – even unbelievable.

The day promised to be one of a fair amount of sunshine even though it had not made its appearance totally known above the low hanging clouds. A bit later, as we turned in a westerly direction, the large source of heat in the sky started to make its presence known behind us, even though we still went through some mist and under some clouds.

We did not pass through farmland that was quite as evident as yesterday’s route since we are traveling on the interstate. It seems that the only thing the interstate grows is more traffic. Along our route dwells several infestations of kudzu, a vine that will grow over, under and around anything that doesn’t move. There seems to be more of this pesky plant on the left than the right side of the road, although there are small amounts of token kudzu. This is possibly because it never learned to look both ways before crossing the interstate.

The trip took about two hours and we got to work right away installing equipment and the wires to make it work. After the completion of this, the equipment was then tested and after some minor modifications, it started to work properly. We would have finished shortly after 1pm but it seems that BIL had to doctor every computer in this branch of the business. We finally headed for Augusta about 2pm.

With one more location to complete, we decided to stretch out the day and ourselves to complete it also and not have it hanging over our heads for another day. This branch of the business was near Augusta and we finally installed, completed and tested it – it worked OK and we were on our way home shortly after 6pm. By the time I got home, my GGPM (grunts-groans per minute) were very high and I felt too tired to fall in the floor.

Nonetheless I was very happy to have completed this commitment that had already been delayed many times. After some floor time, two sprigs of broccoli, two stalks of celery, two cups of hot tea and several imitation Oreos, I slowly started to come back to life. God is still good, all the time. ec

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Statesboro, GA

The morning was grey, cloudy and misty when BIL picked me up to go to Statesboro, Georgia to do a job for the company for which he works. BIL is the computer savvy person for this particular outfit and he depends on me to do any associated telephone and wiring work. It was shortly after sunrise but that was not evident according to the available light.

This town was a little less than 2 hours away and not too bad of a ride, especially since he was doing the driving. On the way down, I was observing the passing rural scenery – actually the scenery wasn’t passing, we were. In fact, the scenery hardly moved at all except for the waving of a few leaves – not sure if they were waving hi or bye or just being friendly.

The crops we passed looked to be in pretty good shape since we have got some rain in the last couple of weeks. Many acres of healthy soybeans and cotton were in the fields along the road – even several acres of peanuts were the deep green color of healthy plants. This contrasted to the several fields of corn that didn’t make it until the rains came – they were brown and dead, and not over four feet tall.

We arrived at our work location, surveyed the location of existing wiring and started modifying and adding to this to satisfy the needs of the instrumentation we were installing. By noon, we were mostly finished with the wiring and installing and entered the testing phase – which has been known to be just as time consuming.

A sales rep for a company doing business with this company was present at lunchtime and bought us all some mid-day sustenance. This was much appreciated as the hunger pains were starting to rear their ugly head. After we got ourselves around the outside of these consumable victuals, we finished our testing and left the area about 2pm.

We were in and out of not-so-serious rain all the way back to Augusta. We had to make a visit to the parent company to correct some malfunctioning computers and not long after we arrived, it started a downpour. BIL had to back up to an overhang to load – and keep dry – our equipment for working in another Georgia city tomorrow.

Arriving home, I found myself grateful for many things, not the least of which was the fact that I didn’t have to do this every day – even though tomorrow would be a very similar day. God is good in so many ways that they are hard to count. ec

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

butternut squash

The garden had really over-grown in the two weeks we were gone to Texas. It was late on Monday, due to baby-sitting, when I finally was able to get outside to start trying to straighten things up and to see what was still growing and producing. The answer to that was evident right away – not much.

An exception to that was the butternut squash – two ‘hills’ of these were grown, with two plants in each. I had already taken note that my total harvest of these would be 7 squash, but while we were gone we had several large rains and the vines cranked up again. The 7 mature veggies were picked and brought inside but the new growth of the vines had to be rearranged back into the garden rows because they had grown out into the lawn – one had even got into the driveway. New squash are now growing and there is enough time before the first frost for them to mature – double blessing.

Also babysat on Tuesday morning, but was able to get out in the garden again in the afternoon. The okra was trimmed back to about half the height, hopefully for some to come back and produce on the lateral growth. The mature, dried pods were cut off and saved for seed to grow next year’s plants.

Weeds and grass had evidently discovered that I wasn’t at home and had taken this time to invade the garden space. These trespassers had even started growing seed for future generations of annoying growths. One section of these interlopers was hacked from the garden soil and cast forth into outer rootlessness to bleach in the hot sun – they should have known better.

The crookneck summer squash have also pretty much ‘done their do’ - so several of the large mature ones were brought into the garage to finish drying to harvest the seed for next year’s plants. It is always amazing to me that plants and trees seem to have more faith in the future than many people. The garden plants grow seed for the next growing season and the trees have buds for next year’s leaves after they drop the ones from this year.

It seems that many folks have either forgotten or never realized that God made the earth and has everything in control – no matter what it might look like to us. All the time, God is good – even when it doesn’t look that way. ec

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

going home - day 2

In the course of time it became Friday morning, August 18th, at a motel near Mobile, Alabama – and probably was morning for several hundred miles around – though I made no great effort to ascertain that particular fact. After getting the internal engine cranked and the body garmented, I walked over to see how serious they were about the availability of a free continental breakfast.

They were serious and it was what it was, but it came with the room price so I lugged several ounces back to the room and consumed it with mild to nonexistent gusto. The Spice was still struggling at getting her engine cranked – weak battery, I think. She finally got cranked up and I went back for a couple of small cartons of cow juice for her – with which to mix her ‘Instant Breakfast’.

The older I get, the less I like traveling but we finally got loaded up and back on the road. As we did yesterday, we killed some of the monotony of the road by listening to a book on CD that we had checked out of the library before we left home. The title of the book was “Flabbergasted” and it was of the genre that I enjoy – hilarious, but with a message.

We left the crowded and hectic highway of life – I-65 in this case – for a short amount of time to obtain fuel for the van and for the people in the van. The area was close to Auburn, Alabama and home to the college of the same name. We ate at the chicken place that doesn’t open on Sundays, which is both odd and commendable in my way of thinking. Topping this off with an ice cream cone each, we got back to the rat race of interstate travel.

In Montgomery we got on I-85 and headed toward the dreaded Atlanta, Georgia traffic. Along about this time it dawned on me that we were going to be nearing Atlanta about the rush four-hours of traffic. Nearing the more dreaded perimeter route – I-285 – the traffic in the two right lanes slowed to a crawl – these just happened to be the lanes in which we needed to be. We kept looking for the cause of the slow-down but didn’t find it until we finally fought our way onto I-20 East. It didn’t seem to be a major accident, but anything that time of the afternoon can cause several miles of stacked up and frustrated drivers.

There was another slow down about 20 minutes down the road but after this it was smooth driving all the way to our home territory. We stopped by to see YD and her crowd of gruntmonkeys (GM1, GM3, GM4, and GM6) before going home.

We finally drove into the driveway just as the light of day was starting to fade and be it ever so whatever, there’s no place like home. God is good. ec

Monday, August 21, 2006

going home - day 1

On August 16th, Wednesday came just about as usual, right after Tuesday, and came without any great fanfare – but what is fanfare that early in the morning – annoying. It was greeted in somewhat of a newborn puppy way – eyes not quite open. This was our last full day with OD in Texas and one in which no large projects remained for the doing. Future projects were discussed and a kitchen drawer was repaired to mostly sum up the day’s activities.

We mostly just ‘hung out’ and ‘chilled’ – just being with family is a good thing. The Spice and I did watch after GM5 while OD took GM2 to the doctor after she got out of school that afternoon. Then like veggies in the frig; we just chilled until we crashed for the night.

Thursday, our going home day, came without fanfare as well and we packed up to leave while OD carpooled GM2 and other young ones to school. OD returned, we finished loading the van and with heavy hearts departed for South Carolina about 9:25am.

Since it was just too far to drive comfortably in one day, we made reservations for that night in the Mobile, Alabama area. This destination was just a bit over 500 miles and roughly the halfway point of the trip. We arrived at the ‘halfway house’ about 6:30pm and unloaded just enough for the night.

We partook of our evening meal at O’Charlie’s, located just across the parking lot of our motel. It seems that our cell phone service had been very spotty at best – possibly due to the damage from hurricane Katrina last year. After eating, we came to the conclusion that we would have to receive calls on the phone in our room – and passed this number along to the concerned ones in the brief moments we had cell phone contact.

We then went back to the room and waited for the calls to come rolling in and nothing happened. After a while we called the front desk and found out that several calls had come in but they were unable to connect them to our room – something wrong in the communication system. The desk person finally brought another phone to our room and changed it out – only then did the expected calls come in and a few calls later, several kinfolks were reassured that we were OK.

In any kind of relationship, genuine two-way communication is a necessity. Whether this communication be between husband and wife, parent and child, friend and friend or any person to any person, we must be able to grasp what the other person is really meaning by what they are saying. This same type communication is essential between our God and us. Without it, a real relationship is impossible and any benefit of claiming to know God is negligible and meaningless. ec

Thursday, August 17, 2006


In the ebb and flow of time and tide, it somehow, somewhat magically, became Tuesday. Since the day that immediately preceded it was Monday, my deductive reasoning processes told me that time was still passing the same here in Texas as it does in South Carolina, just an hour earlier – or later, however time is thought of and managed by those to whom it is important.

This was the day we had appointed as the one to solve the ‘fan problem’. This problem reared its ugly head on the day last week that GM2’s platform bed was delivered and put together. The existing 48 inch ceiling fan overlapped the raised bed by several inches and if GM2 flung out an arm during sleep, the fan would have clipped her – if it was turning, of course.

OD had wanted a certain smaller fan, but it was out of stock. We determined to try to find some shorter replacement fan blades and use the existing fan, so off to Lowe’s we went. The blades we found were not short enough so we looked around a bit and almost by accident found the same fan she had originally wanted but in the ‘ceiling hugger’ configuration – this would actually be better anyway and further remove the fan blades from reach.

Back to their house, I took the old fan down and started installing the new one with the goal in mind of being finished by the time GM2 got back from school. It was almost finished when she got home, but we made her wait downstairs until it was totally completed. She was appropriately pleased by her new appliance and by the fact that she could now run her fan at night – it came with lights as well.

It was decided that the fan removed from GM2’s room would be placed in the dining room – which OD had made into her crafts room. The chandelier was taken down and replaced by the ceiling fan with lights – done from a stepladder due to the high ceiling. The finished products in both rooms looked very good – plus they actually worked!

Things that actually work according to how they are supposed to are good things – especially in the spiritual realm when the promise is stated in Scripture and more especially when it pertains to forgiveness of all the wrong things we have ever done. God is good! ec

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Monday came and for some reason I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep – I finally got up at 6:40am – very early for me. With all the major projects done, the smaller ones ruled the day. Took a small TV up and checked out the cable connection in the guest bedroom – our bedroom when we are here. The connection and TV worked, so I left them in place, for our ‘small’ enjoyment – 9 inch screen.

In various rooms, pictures have been hung, as were some shelves and even other devices by which things are hung – basically a hanger. But can you really ‘hang’ a hanger on a wall or would it be installed on, attached to or affixed to the said building partition? Possibly it might be better to state this by the type attachment that is used for the affixation – such as being nailed, screwed, glued, stapled and even straight pinned to a wall.

Earlier action, not narrated at the time, is the malfunctioning double switch that controlled the ceiling fan/light over the bonus room. The problem was that the fan and light came on together and with either switch. The way the wiring was designed was that one switch was supposed to work only the light and the other only the fan. The switches were taken apart and found to be properly wired, as was the lighting part of this ceiling device.

Upon taking the whole fixture loose from the ceiling, both switch wires were found to be spliced to both the fan and the light wire. These were then separated and spliced to their proper switch wire and the device then worked as it should – it was not properly installed to begin with and had evidently never worked right – strange.

Everything was in place before and was working after a fashion, but not as designed. Reminds me a little of marriage and family – things God established – but many folks strive to run these by their own rules – instead of God’s way. When we don’t go by God’s rules, we don’t know the full joy of anything in which we are involved. ec

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Galveston - 2

Backtracking just a bit in the Saturday narrative, we go back to the restaurant and the point after our meal when the waiter rolled out the dessert cart. This tall, portable device containing the luscious goodies was stopped directly beside GM5 and his eyes and motions followed every calorie-ladened dish as the service person described them in great detail.

Our orders were made but the cart was left in the same spot to be used later by someone else. This caused GM5 great consternation because he had already picked out the one he wanted and couldn’t understand why he couldn’t have it right then, since it was right there beside him and he could almost reach it. He let us know his desire in no uncertain terms and I finally asked one of the waiters to move the cart – to stop the fuss he was emitting onto the airwaves.

Then later, after the ‘adventure’ of the little one soaking himself in the waves, his somewhat chagrinned parents took him to the swimming pool next to the restaurant and showered off the sand and salt water. One of the pool personnel allowed them the use of a towel and thanks to the forethought of having brought an extra outfit, he was showered and in clean, dry clothes when they brought him back to the van.

We loaded up and went for a further tour of the island. On the ocean side of the road there was an entire hotel out over the water on pilings, even the parking area. On the back side of the island many of the larger buildings had a very old look to them and possibly some of these survived the storm of 1900. Also on that side is a working port and even a takeoff point for cruise liners.

We got back to their home late and the little one had finally dropped off to sleep about 10 minutes previous, after being fussy the whole way. Fortunately he went straight to bed and back to sleep. We all crashed not long after that.

The sun rose on a beautiful Sunday morning – a quiet day of being with family – small and adult – and just enjoying the time together. It was a day that the Lord made and I rejoiced and was glad in it. ec

Monday, August 14, 2006


Saturday morning came with more projects on the horizon. The main one for the day was to put the jump fabric on the trampoline frame with the associated springs. Since the side safety net/fence and poles were damaged and didn’t make the move, these had to be purchased locally – as well as the pad over the springs. These were obtained and after a very sweaty morning, the springs were put on, the safety poles were put in place, the safety net erected and the bottom of the net was woven into the spring holes with the rope supplied.

It had been very sunny and hot, but as soon as we finished and went into the screened porch, the clouds covered the sun and a nice breeze sprang up – could have happened sooner, but we were glad for it even then. We just sat and rocked for a while and reveled in the satisfaction of a very hot job completed. Enough soon became enough and we went back into the air conditioned house – just not very tough I guess.

Early afternoon we decided to get cleaned up and head toward Galveston Island, to check out the area and have a meal. This island was one that I had heard and seen much about on the History channel and even the Weather channel – particularly in relation to the hurricane of September 8, 1900. This is still considered the deadliest natural disaster in US history with over 6,000 fatalities and with one third of the town of 38,000 destroyed.

In response to that disaster the city decided to build a seawall 17 feet tall and 7 miles long and start a project to raise the elevation of the entire town. This latter project was finally completed in 1962 with the cost being about 14.5 million dollars. Our trip revealed much construction on the way into the main sections of town. This was in the form of large beach houses and condos – where does all that money come from?

Our family group then populated Landry’s Seafood House in the main section of town. This very nice eatery is located across the street from the aforementioned seawall. It was a large place and the food was excellent. I was much too stuffed for a dessert, but the Spice wanted one – Bananas Foster, with one half normal and the other half of it drenched in strawberries and sauce. Of course I had to help her eat it, this is just one of the tough parts of marriage that I have to go through to hold the relationship together.

After this large meal we all waddled across the street to walk on the beach and out on the breakwater. This latter structure is made of huge blocks of granite and several fishermen were plying the waters at the end for some unknown species of finned swimmers. Along the right side of the breakwater many small fish were jumping out of the water every few minutes. I tried to point the fish out to GM5, and though he pointed in the same direction I did, I’m not sure he ever caught sight of them.

SIL took GM5 down to the edge of the waves and the little one promptly sat down in the water, more than once. He was soaked but still cried when he was taken away from the water. Then just a moment later a woman came by with a puppy on a leash – the little one was reaching out for the puppy and the puppy was straining at the leash to get back to GM5 – natural affinities at work once again. It was a good day – a day blessed by the Lord. ec

Saturday, August 12, 2006

projects - 2

Left out of the last narrative was our visit to El Toro Mexican Restaurant on Wednesday evening. Where else could one find a Tex-Mex place to eat if not in Texas? The eating place was rather large and even though we got there early, we just barely arrived ahead of the crowd. The food was of the type expected and definitely decent. To top it off, they had a soft-serve ice cream machine that was free to patrons of the eatery. I did try out this machine and its product to see if it was acceptable to the palate – it was – both times.

After eating, SIL took us on a tour of the Freeport area. This is an area that has a very Florida feel to it because of the flat terrain. The many industrial plants in this location were only a few miles from the Gulf coast, including the one in which the SIL works. We went all the way to the beach and actually drove just a bit on it. It was not at all like those of Myrtle Beach or of Florida inasmuch as seaweed populated the water and it was in abundant evidence, washed up all along the shore. Several bare-bones communities were populating these beach areas, perched high atop their pilings of various types of treated wood.

This brings us back to Friday and a much different type of day inasmuch as I have mostly been baby sitting with the young man known as GM5. This was to enable the OD and my Spice to have an adventure in shopping. GM2 is in her second day of school in a new town, she seemed to survive the first one without major trauma, and that is a good thing.

The only thing I have accomplished thus far today, besides the babysitting, is to install a portable Dirt Devil charger/holder on the laundry room wall during the small one’s nap time. Plus I did remove the batteries on the baby gate alarm. This latter action was decided on because any benefit of the alarm was far outweighed by the annoying and nerve-grating sound created by this so-called safety device.

The youngster of my charge today – GM5 – is 1 ½, has startlingly blue eyes and a very disarming smile. He rules over the family’s two dachshunds with any one of several plastic toys. The animals seem to know the level of his benevolence at any given moment and keep an eye on him when he is near. There is not a mean streak in his little body, he is just very exuberant and in the throes of this, will step on or trip over them or at random toss or swing things in their direction – maybe just to test their reflexes.

The ladies returned and I started what I considered the last major project of the trip – to place a phone outlet in the room of GM2. A hole was drilled and a wire passed through into the 2nd floor attic, this was pulled through and down into a section of the first floor attic in an area where access to a working line could be gained. A couple of splices, a few staples and the installation of a jack later, dial tone was achieved in the room desired. Left out of this simple sounding operation was the large amount of sweat involved in working in the hot attics.

Not left out and woven all through the projects is the enjoyment of doing things for the ones I love. Amazing and awe inspiring to me are the institutions of marriage and family that a loving God established. Of course humankind has been known to mess up the things that God set up for our good – this because of selfish wants and ambitions. But when the family and marriage go according to how God set them up, there is nothing better. ec

Friday, August 11, 2006


The days seem to have really flown while we have been here in Texas, visiting with these ones that we kind of and sort of love a whole lot. Arriving on Sunday evening it is now Thursday and time seems to have flown, but in a joyous fashion. Monday was a bit slow, with me trying to recover from van lag – as opposed to jet lag. We did manage to put together a to-do list to strive to get completed and thereby make the house more livable and convenient for OD and family.

We had to make a materials and hardware run to Lowe’s and then the projects began. Tuesday was the day for conquering two cranky commodes – one was minor repairs and the other was somewhat minor replacement of a flush handle. Both were then given proper flush lessons and they were once again on the straight and narrow. A clothes hook was installed on the back of the bathroom door at a level that made it reachable for GM2.

An odd noise was checked out and found to be from the hot water heaters in the attic. Placement of a couple of cable outlets were nixed because there was no way to hide the wires. One telephone outlet was undoable for the same reason and one that was possible remains to be done – possibly tomorrow. A basket was hung in the pantry. Sat with and entertained GM5 while the ladies did some last minute school shopping for GM2 – and I was here to oversee the delivery and putting together of some new furniture.

Wednesday was mostly work done in the laundry room. First and foremost was the replacing of an incandescent light with a 4 foot fluorescent one and it almost literally made the difference of night and day. Shelves were repaired and rods added to them, a storage rack was placed as was a household battery storage rack, a plastic bag holder and a broom rack on the back of the door.

Four links were taken out of the chandelier to take the pressure off the electrical wire by which it was totally being supported. Then a couple of boards were cut to make possible the placement of a couple of baby safety gates the next day. Evidently I don’t work this hard at home or I wouldn’t be this tired at the end of the day.

Thursday’s big project was the placement of the baby gates, one at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom. This is for the safety of GM5 – this young man is one and a half and doesn’t yet understand how gravity works in relation to stairs or the possible gravity the fall involved. SIL was able to take off a half day to help out with this and other projects that are difficult for one person to do.

To add to the difficulty of the installation of these gates, this stairway is a decorative one with very little to which to attach the hardware. We did manage to complete the two gates and they work reasonably well. Then it was outside and we put together the frame of the trampoline – the rest will be completed before we depart. We then tackled the swing set and after much sweat on a very humid afternoon, we completed this task before supper.

We had lasagna, a salad and OD made a sweet potato custard pie that made my lips want to slap one another to injury – to say it was delicious would be much of an understatement. God is good – even in the inspiration of someone coming up with the recipe for this great dessert. ec

Thursday, August 10, 2006

the journey - 3

We were late getting our bodies cranked up the next morning (Sunday) and it was about 11am before we finally got back on the road again. We had fueled and just got on I-10 West when we espied a sign that a Waffle House was ahead. We got off the highway and promptly almost creamed someone that pulled directly across in front of us. This served to awaken any part of me that even thought about being remotely drowsy.

After our delightful (?) meal, we got back on the interstate and headed west. After just a few miles, traffic slowed to a crawl and finally stopped altogether. We had brought some books on CD and put in one of these to pass the waiting time. The traffic finally started to crawl again and since all the truckers got into the left lane, I did as well. Several miles later we came up on an accident scene with an 18-wheeler off the road. We then got back up to highway speed; it had taken an hour and a half to go 24 miles.

We crossed a long bridge that spanned about 20 miles of swamp and marsh – though it is hard to tell the difference between these two boggy places. We continued with our travels and listened to the book, being entertained as the miles passed. On through the remnants of Louisiana, we finally crossed the Texas border. After a fair amount of miles and as we neared Houston, we exited onto one of the beltways around that city – highway 8.

This road turned into a toll road and we paid about 4 of these while on our route. Being ‘country come to town’, we missed our turn off and went about 10 miles too far, calling SIL, he directed us back to our route. As it turned out we had paid one too many tolls and then had to pay it again when we retraced our route. Looking back, the exit came quicker than we had expected and we passed it while absorbed in an interesting part of the book to which we were listening.

We had no more trouble and followed directions straight to their house. We were joyously greeted by OD, SIL, GM2 and GM5. For me, it was just wonderful to be off the road after about 8 hours of travel on three days in succession. Plus I felt blessed of God to have had a safe trip. ec

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

the journey - 2

We arrived an hour early but a fair sized group was already present at this rural gathering place. Then it was the bringing in of food, arranging it on the long row of tables and greeting the many kinfolks, most of which had not been seen since last year. It was a warm feeling to realize that I was a part of this large group of folks, either by blood or marriage – mostly the former.

The group was called to order, grace was said and we fell upon the victuals and desserts with glee and even in a somewhat orderly fashion. With full plates, we sat around the long tables eating and sharing parts of our lives with our extended families. Abandoning my table, I started circulating, trying not to miss speaking to any of these family members.

This group descends from a common ancestor, John Collier, known in his day as “Hairy John”. This name came from the fact that he never, to anyone’s knowledge, cut his hair or beard. He and Matilda had 8 offspring and the folks of our group are descended from these 8 siblings. Our group’s main historian gave us a genealogy that went back much further than these 8, with records back to the 1700s in York County, Virginia.

The festivities started to slow and the call came for group photos – this seemed to be the impetus for several to leave – I guess they were afraid they would do damage to the cameras. Photos were made and the main group of folks gradually started to leave. The Spice and I finally got all our goodbyes said and departed. We had already repacked the van and about 2:45pm we were on our way to Texas once again.

We fueled up as we neared Tupelo, Miss. and then we turned onto the Natchez Trace Parkway. This is a federal road that passes through a national forest and even though the speed limit was 50 mph it was a very relaxing drive. I thought it odd that we didn’t come up behind anyone the whole time we were on this route. Several local folks did pass us at a much higher rate of speed – I guess the limit didn’t apply to locals.

We turned off on another road in order to reach I-55 and ran into some very hard rain in several places. Even after reaching the interstate highway, we were in and out of rain for many miles. Cell phone service was very spotty, even though we were on the service that claims to have the least amount of dropped calls. We passed a huge billboard with this claim on it just after we had been dropped.

We started trying to find a place to spend the night from the info we picked up from the welcome center. After five places told us they had no vacancy, we called SIL for assistance. He finally found us a place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and even though that was further than we wanted to travel, we continued on to this location.

We checked in at the motel about 9:30pm, and walked over to the Outback that was situated next door and partook of our evening meal. Even then we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table. After the meal I trudged – due to my exhausted condition – back to the motel and we totally crashed for the evening.

TBC – ec

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

the journey

Our first leg of “the journey” started out on Friday past about 8:30am as opposed to the desired time of 7am. This was because one or both of us were a bit slow. Leaving our comfortable residence in South Carolina, we cast ourselves upon the roadway in a general westerly direction. Our Honda Odyssey was packed mostly full, but leaving enough room for the portable potty for highway emergencies.

We traveled mostly in an uneventful manner with only a few minor construction slow-downs and including two fuel stops, one for the vehicle and one for the Spice and I. We arrived in Mississippi about 71/2 hours later and stopped at the Welcome Center for some information on places to spend the night on Saturday night when we were to be on the road again.

Then about 14 miles later we arrived at the residence of my aunt and uncle, he is my Dad’s youngest brother and the only one of his siblings still living. We caught each other up on the goings and doings of each family for an hour or so and then went over to my sister’s place for supper (the southern evening meal). She has 7 offspring and they were all coming in for a special 20 year memorial for their Dad – as well as the reunion.

Four of my sister’s offspring live in Mississippi, two others are from Milwaukee and one lives in Augusta, Georgia. The one from Augusta and one of the Milwaukeeans had already arrived, with the other to come later that evening. The meal was great and the efforts at amusing each other with experiences past and almost present were even better.

The hour grew late and we went back over to my kin’s to spend the night. Next morning we broke the fast with them and enjoyed more happy chatter. This uncle is a WWII vet and has shared many interesting stories with me over the years. A couple of years ago I went to visit him for the specific purpose of interviewing him about his wartime experiences. This was done using my small recorder, then taken home and transcribed on my computer. The result was 39 pages of experiences before, during and after the war – very interesting to me.

Uncle is 86 and had a stroke a couple of years ago – about three months after my interview with him – he still gets around fairly well with his “walking stick”. After breakfast, he and I went over to the aunt’s brother’s place and filled a chest with ice from his ice machine. We then took the ice over to the community center where we were to have our reunion a couple of hours later. This building was built for and by the members of this rural community many years ago – without government help – it is a great place for gatherings such as ours.

We left the ice, turned on the air conditioners to cool the place off and went back to his house. By the time we got back, my aunt had finished her food prep and we got the goodies loaded up and headed off to the reunion.

TBC - ec

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Texas trip

We are leaving the confines of our home area tomorrow and will be heading toward Mississippi. The destination is a rural area about 9 miles south of Red Bay, Alabama – but actually in Miss. Our trip will start Friday morning, August 4th, at or before 7am. The reason for the first leg of the trip is to attend a family reunion in that area on Saturday.

We will be spending the night with my Aunt and Uncle on Friday night. My oldest sister lives there, but all of her kids are coming in for this event and there will be no room in the inn – and there is no stable (effort at Biblical humor). We have a fair amount of cousins in the area and then all kinds of kin will be attending on Saturday. We hold our reunion in the rural community center nearby.

After the socializing on Sat., we will head in a southerly direction to spend the night somewhere round about Jackson, Miss. Sunday a.m. we will continue on our way in the direction of Houston, Texas. We will then turn south toward Freeport, stopping just before there in a small town called Lake Jackson.

Oldest daughter (OD) and her crowd, SIL, GM2 and GM5 moved there about two weeks ago. The GM in the previous sentence is for grunt monkey, synonymous with grandchildren and the number is where they rank in order of birth. If you remember, they moved from Tennessee, about 380 miles away from us, to this place in Texas, which is 1000 miles away – makes me tired just to say that.

Besides just being there and enjoying their company, I am taking tools to help them get settled in and customize the house somewhat to suit them better. This has to do with adding some telephone jacks, misc. electrical jobs and then some projects on the outside. These type projects are helpful to them and enjoyable and rewarding to me.

Hopefully by the time we get there, their computer will be connected and functioning properly and I can blog from my laptop as per normal – if it is hit or miss, it will be some malfunction in that area. If you are of the praying sort, I express an interest in your prayers for our safety on the long journey there and back. We will be there at least a week. ec

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Wisdom is the quality or state of being wise or having sagacity, discernment, or insight. Being wise is having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right or possessing discernment, judgment, or discretion. Basically, wisdom is to know what to say after you have asked your wife what is wrong and she answers “nothing”.

Sagacity is the quality of being sagacious. Sagacious means having or showing acute mental discernment and keen practical sense. An example of sagacity is to know to not give a two-year-old a red Popsicle when they are dressed in their white Sunday best and on the way to church.

Discernment is the faculty of discerning and/or discrimination and/or acuteness of judgment and understanding. To discern is to perceive by the sight or other sense or by the intellect. Discernment is to know not to allow a 4-yr-old access to scissors, (accidentally, of course) after stating that this young one really needed a haircut.

Insight is an instance of apprehending the true nature of a thing, especially through intuitive understanding. An example of insight is to know that you should divide the candy bar yourself rather than trusting the older sibling to equally divide it with his younger brother.

Just this week, on two days in a row, I seem to have used wisdom or a related word definition. The problem is that common sense carries a similar definition – i.e. – sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge or training, so I’m not sure to which of the definitions I actually clung. Clung would be correct here since it was done in the past.

This is not to imply that I constantly do actions that are wise or have the nature of common sense. But I know that I do actions that make sense on occasion. Sometimes these proper actions are only revealed much later and at least some of them smack of having been done by accident.

All that to say this – I actually waited until almost sundown to mow a section of my lawn because of the heat and then finished the rest of this job action early the next morning. Exactly how early will not be discussed, but I do know that it was not as early as it should have been. We were having guests for supper (evening meal) and evidently this mowing was done to impress my guests since my neighbors all know that I prefer a jungle.

Parts of the garden are still alive and well in spite of the heat wave in which we are in the midst. Amazement is almost a constant dwelling place for me and that at the wonders of God’s creation in the form of plants and trees here on Blueberry Hill. ec

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

KS - an ending

On November 22nd of 1963, I had worked a night shift and was at home watching TV – we only had two channels back then (no cable) – when the news flashed on the screen about John F. Kennedy being killed. A little later I was still watching when the supposed killer was also killed.

Many theories and counter theories have been offered and bandied about, but I rest assured that God will always bring about justice – in His own time and way. Some stay so involved in the past or who did what and when that they miss a whole bunch of today - and maybe a good bit of tomorrow. This would be concerning the JFK thing or any other mystery, even their own life problems and circumstances.

We had been shopping for a house all along, but found none that really seemed to be just right. My brother found a small house for us at 1404 Maddox Street, just off Wrightsboro Road – near the Lily Tulip cup plant. It was a VA repossession and looked pretty rough, but I saw what it could become and finally talked Mrs. C into it. It required much cleanup, sheetrock work, hardwood floor refinishing and a lot of paint, but it was structurally sound and had a new roof. Everyone needs a good roof over their head, literally and figuratively.

We started a crash program to get the house finished on the inside, and I could finish the outside later. With much help from my older brother and with me burning the candle at both ends, we finally got the house livable. On one occasion I had worked midnights, worked all day on the house, slept about two hours and tried to go back to my job. I said tried because I couldn’t get out of bed since the room was spinning too fast – I had “hit the wall” physically. I had to call in sick and then went back to sleep for over twelve more hours straight.

We were able to get out of our apartment lease a month early and finally got moved into our own little place. My shift work made it nearly impossible for me to be involved in any kind of church ministry like I really wanted to be. In answer to prayer I got a call from Southern Bell (later to become BellSouth) and began work with them on July 20, 1964 – on the day shift – God is good! This is the same company I retired from on July 1, 2002 – almost 38 years later.

It’s hard to find a stopping place to our story since it still continues, so I will just end the “keepsakes” (KS) narrative here. We have lived happily ever after – more or less – more of the more than of the less. ec