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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Friday, September 29, 2006


As the “weed terminator” sat in the shade of his very own fig tree, he rested and savored the aroma emanating from said tree that was uniquely fig. He also thought of his several adventures of the morning that had already taken place. In the first derring-do, he played the role of wasp terminator.

A friend had pointed out the wasp nest on the eave of the house and that became his first mission of the morning. Usually these things are not allowed to get large but this one was about 6 inches across and absolutely covered with the flying stingers. Fortunately it was a cool morning and wasps have trouble flying until it warms up and if they don’t fly, there is much less chance of getting stung.

The nest was pushed off its moorings with the business end of a garden hoe and though they made valiant efforts at flying, they could only crawl. The largest of the entities depicted in this scenario – the role playing weed terminator – went about carefully extinguishing the spark of life in the normally flighted insects – at least 30 assumed ambient temperature.

Next came the efforts of ridding the place of fire ants, or at least reducing their numbers. This was done with a pipe and a propane torch – stab the nest with the pipe and then burn their angry little bodies when they boil out of their lair. They raise my ire by making their mounds either in the garden or around one of the fruit trees. Most of the time all we puny humans can do is cause them to move to another site, hopefully off the property. There are now many less ants infesting blueberry hill.

These adventures being mostly successful, the “weed terminator” started his heavy job of the day, terminating grass, weeds, brambles and briars. The bed being cleaned up today is the last one in the garden that had almost totally gone back to wildness. This brings to the rest time mentioned earlier.

During a later rest period it occurred to me that there is a word for what was being done to the weeds in the garden. It was ‘deracination’ – or basically to pulling them up by the roots. Somehow the job took on a more important meaning and I would like to tell you that my steps grew lighter and the work was easier because of the word, but even with its new name, the sweat was all the same.

We can think up many words about church and say many words in church that sound really reverent but all those and anything else done in the service outside of true worship adds up to being useless and wasted efforts. ec

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Back in the summer, late June I think, I injured my ankle while mowing on the hill behind our residence. This painful joint was nursed along with much carefulness for quite a while. It seemed to slowly get a bit better, or at least I could walk without great gimpiness, but it still wasn’t quite right.

All this while I had backed off on my exercise program and the longer I went without exercise, the worse I felt all over. Since I am not exactly a spring chicken (that means I’m old) and I knew how important exercise was for health, well-being and maybe even a bit of longevity, I decided to start back, gimpy ankle and all.

My routine was to be one night of exercise – stretches, exercises and light weights – with the next evening of walking about 30 minutes. My weights and stuff was already set up from before but I had to find a place to walk nearby. Since my in-laws live behind and across the pond from our house and their driveway is fairly long, I decided to measure that and use it as the walking track.

Since I just happened to have a measuring wheel, I rolled it down the driveway to get a reading on the distance. As it turned out, the distance from the street to the end of the drive at the rear of their house was just a little over 2 tenths of a mile and a good distance to walk additional laps to add up to as much mileage as one would want to walk. All but the first walk has been two miles for me.

This is the third week of my program and the old body is just now starting to feel a bit better from the efforts. The first week was one of feeling like I had been carefully and thoroughly beat with a rubber hose – it was not good. The second was just a bit better, not great, but I was seeing the tiny glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. I did hope that the light wasn’t the headlight of a locomotive.

Every night when I go to the basement to check the doors, I also do 30 reps on our ab-lounger – every little bit helps. At my age, if you don’t keep going, you won’t be able to keep going for long. It also helps us to exercise the brain to keep that part of the body in good shape for as long as we can.

There is another part of us humans that many people don’t seem to recognize as being there – or at least it doesn’t seem to be important to them. This is the spiritual part, the spirit and soul, which will live on for eternity – long after this body of ours has returned to dust. This part also needs exercise and for this we have a Book of instructions. If the instructions are followed to the letter, we will not only never die but we will be in great shape all of that time. ec

Monday, September 25, 2006

family miscellanea

YD’s mate – SSIL – came up with a saying that would explain the news gathering efforts of some media personnel – ‘Assumptions are the answer to a lazy man’s search for facts’. Since I call my wife Spice, SSIL started calling YD his zest, defined as – ‘keen relish; hearty enjoyment; gusto.’ They have several young ones that could be identified as zestfulness personified.

Being an engineer, SSIL does some of his work with a team. SSIL had completed a portion of the work on his own and one of the team members was chiding him by using the old cliché ”there is no ‘I’ in team”. To which he responded, “But there is an ‘I’ in time, so for the sake of time I decided to do it myself”. She had no response – not used to original thought I guess.

YD had a back seat driver the other day when from his car seat GM3 told his Mom to ‘speed down, speed down’. YD laughed and told him that he had said an oxymoron. A what? An oxymoron. He seemed pleased that he found a new word and repeated it several times. No doubt he is a young budding etymologist. Not sure what caused his initial response – possibly YD’s foot was a bit heavy on the go pedal.

Several times now, as GM4 is getting out of the tub, he looks at his hands and tells his Mom – “I’m pruning, I’m pruning!” GM1 recently got contact lenses – afterwards her Mom told her that she looked different with contacts – GM1 said, “Well, everybody else looks the same.”

Saturday, September 23rd, was PN’s day of deliverance and through the medium of a C-section; her twins came into the world. Both being born shortly after noon, Baby A weighed in at about 6 pounds, 4 ounces with Baby B tipping the scales at 5 pounds, 13 ounces. They both came in separate delivery packages, so they were not identical.

We went by the hospital Sunday p.m. and being their great uncle, I got to hold the itty-bitties – not at the same time, of course. They both slept through the whole ordeal of all the kin coming in and admiring them. Later on at church that evening, I related their weights to a friend in the medical profession and he said these were very healthy sizes for twins.

I continue to be amazed and blessed by the young ones – they are a gift from God. ec

Saturday, September 23, 2006


It has become several days after yesterday’s missive was written but since it was written about the day before that, and then sent several days after that, the time frame for today would be several days after what used to be tomorrow – when compared to the events therein written. So today’s writing is actually happenings of short-term history, unless I toss in something that happened on a given day just for clarification – I get so much fun out of explaining things.

The main word for that particular yesterday was eradicate and that was my goal of the day – eradicate the morning glory entities and any other weeds or grass that happened to be at residence in the garden. As I am wont to do, I looked up the word to see if it was strong enough to describe what I did. The two definitions of eradicate that would apply to my situation were – 1) to remove or destroy utterly or extirpate – and 2) to pull up by the roots.

These seemed to fit what I did but I wanted to be sure – so I looked up the definitions of the words in the definitions. Extirpate was very close to the same – 1) to remove or destroy totally; exterminate – 2) to pull up by or as if by the roots. Wow – how did these words know exactly what I did?

But I still wanted more definition and the word ‘remove’ added a bit to the action – one of the meanings was – to eliminate or do away with or put an end to. It was getting better all the time so I looked up the word destroy. It had many meanings, but the descriptive summation that best applies to my garden skirmish was – to reduce something to nothingness or to take away its powers and functions so that restoration is impossible. Now I was even more impressed with what I did.

So what did I do in the garden? I eradicated, extirpated, removed and destroyed weeds, grass and any other unwanted plant growths – plus I squashed a few bugs that looked disagreeable. It was a ‘seek and destroy’ mission and a scorched earth policy – except no flames were used. Three of the larger beds (35 feet long) are now cleaned out, except for some flowers and a few veggies still giving it their best shot. The two smaller ones are partially clean and I have just started on the last large one. Basically, I’ve only just begun – why does that sound familiar?

The corpora delicti, the remains of the massive plant kill, were placed on the large pile of no return and non-remembrance, for their bodies to be dried and bleached in the sun. The plots of these evil plant forms were thwarted – they had planned to take over the garden and rule with weedy fists and pervasive roots. The guy with the white hat (actually light blue) has triumphed again, but there are still more weed warriors out there and they seem not to give up until they are on the pile.

The growth of weeds remind me so much of the actions of the enemy of our soul. He keeps sowing the bad weed seeds that would crowd out the good we are trying to do and we just have to keep fighting the good fight of faith and with God’s help keep yanking up the weeds. ec

Thursday, September 21, 2006


The area of my computer screen in which a missive of some sort is usually written is empty. As I sat and pondered this empty space I decided that I wanted to know more about what empty means to me. Then I wondered if it would mean the same thing to others.

The word ‘empty’ has several meanings at residence in Webster’s book of definitions – some of which were very meaningful in my search for the truth about empty. The first of these was ‘containing nothing or devoid of contents’ and brought several questions to mind. 1) How large would this container be that contained nothing? The larger the container, the bigger the explanation has to be.

2) Does the container really contain nothing or would it have to be considered ‘relatively’ empty? This because in my mind, the antithesis of nothing is something and at the very least the container would contain some controversy as to the emptiness thereof unless independent verification could be obtained. Of course the verification would have to be from a person or agency certified to verify and their certification would have to come from a higher authority still.

3) For the sake of this soliloquy we will scale down the container size so we can peer inside. The ‘devoid of contents’ part of the definition begs a question or two. Did the container once have contents and been emptied of them or has it always been content-less? If it once contained something, does it still have residue of the thing or things therein once contained? If so, the true emptiness of the container could be called into question.

Another of the meanings was ‘vacant or unoccupied’ and it spoke to me of human dwellings that once were filled with the noises of the occupying ones. Some with the anger and hurtful words that caused wounds and scars on body and soul, but others that rang with the joy and laughter of happy family life. Were these sounds recorded in these vacant buildings and imprinted on the walls of the now unoccupied rooms?

A deeper, darker meaning emerged with ‘hollow or meaningless’ and this was driven deeper into the darkness by the thesaurus comparison words: aimless, without substance, vacuous, worthless, purposeless, futile, unfulfilled, shallow, banal and insipid. These are bad enough when applied to one’s emotional self or character, but worse still if they speak of the spiritual part of a person.

No matter how deep or dark the emptiness inside gets to be, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is still the only real solution for the emptiness dilemma. I didn’t make this up; it’s in the Book. ec

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Then came the ‘day of babysitting’. This was not a day of sitting on babies but with them – plus they are no longer babies but now a toddler and two young boys – plus there is not nearly enough sitting involved in this adventure and way too much quick moving. Their Mom, YD, had appointments both this morning and afternoon, so I told her to bring them on and have at it.

As she left them, I was feeding one – GM6 – while GM3 was requesting me to start up a DVD for him and GM4 wanted to go to the basement to play, except not alone. This reminds me a bit of starting three balls bouncing and trying to get back to each before they stop bouncing and start them bouncing afresh. All three were eventually placated but then began the job of keeping them from interfering with the happiness of each other.

This ‘interfering of happiness’ took many forms, the taking of a toy before another was through with it, the hoarding of the choice toys and the striking of one of their persons by a toy in the hands of another – accidentally, of course. The ‘sitter’ – or the ‘mover’ in this case – also had to be alert and aware of the dangers of being struck – by a toy in the hands of an over-zealous young one.

The Spice and her Mom had appointments as well, so I was on my own most of the day. Then came one of the best parts of the adventure, or at least the quietest – nap time! The little one was first, but I had to pay my dues before I put him down – dues in this case took the form of a massive poopie diaper – the ‘up the back’, three wiper kind. He seemed to feel much better when I put him down – certainly smelled better.

About an hour later it was the other two that had to go down. This is not their favorite time of the day and they let that fact be known to me in no uncertain terms. After convincing them that this was not a democracy and they didn’t have a vote – in a very nice way – they both lay down for the dreaded ‘nap’. After hovering nearby for a while and being convinced they were asleep, I went back upstairs to allow peace and quiet to seep back into my consciousness for much too short a time.

In the course of time and tide they all were awake again – they may have been concerned about me enjoying the quietness too much. They were all fed and about their play again when their Mom arrived. The young ones are a blessing from God, sometimes a bit of a noisy blessing, but a blessing nonetheless. ec

Monday, September 18, 2006

morning glory

One of my first views of the outside world in the morning is when I open the blinds of the window over the kitchen sink. On this particular morning, I wandered, semi-awake, into the kitchen to try to crank up my day. First gaze through partially focused eyes revealed my garden area, mostly finished for the year, but still in color from the flowers planted along certain borders and one smaller bed.

My mind smiled as I took in the colors thereof – the orange and red hues in various shades and tones of the zinnias and the golden yellow of the marigolds. Mixed in with both of these were the beautiful blue colors of - - - blue? - I didn’t plant any blue flowers!! Uh-oh, blue is the color of the flowers of - - - ARRRGGG - - - morning glory!!

Even though I glory in God’s creation and the beauty thereof, even of certain weeds, this is one infestation that I prefer to view from afar. Even though I knew I had pulled up many of these in their smaller form, I didn’t realize I had allowed these vines to get large enough to bloom. This dread is because after they flower, they produce seed and these will produce more morning glories. Then as more morning glories are growing, they take over the garden and all you have are morning glories.

As I am wont to do, I went to the computer, got on the web and typed in ‘morning glory’ to learn more about them and to find ways to control future infestations. What came before my very naïve and vanilla blue eyes was many sites touting the ‘medicinal’ and/or hallucinogenic properties of the dried, ground up seeds of morning glory and methods of preparation for best results.

This was obviously not what I was seeking, so I went back and typed ‘morning glory control’ and got the results I desired. Wow, what a difference a word can make! What I read was very enlightening but not necessarily good news inasmuch as the controlling was not going to be as simple as I had thought. It seems that the text was more concerned about the rhizomes (the horizontal underground stems – roots) than the seeds. This is not what I wanted to hear since that is the main method of propagation of my other odious garden plant pests – brambles.

It was then that I realized I have not one, but two unwanted plants that will re-grow from even a small part of root that is left in the soil. This reminds of a spiritual parallel – if we allow even a small bit of wrongdoing to remain in our lives (a root of bitterness comes to mind), it will re-grow into something that will choke out our relationship with God. It’s best to simply allow God in every part of our lives and for Him to weed out anything that is contrary to His will – because it will only cause problems for others and us later on. ec

Friday, September 15, 2006


Wednesday, September 13th, came into being as a very memorable day inasmuch as what the weatherman predicted actually came to pass – it rained. All activities were put on rain delay except for the inside ones – of which there were many. The Spice was up and out early for a doc appointment, she swooped by YD’s and picked up GM4, since he had an appointment as well and YD’s crowd was ailing – some kind of viral thing.

My day cranked up in its usual slow fashion – but I’m grateful that it did crank. After taking in nourishment for the physical and spiritual parts of me, I wandered into my small study/computer room to see what sort of communications might have come in on this electronic marvel.

The Spice called when on the way home from her doc appointment and told me that GM4 was desirous of coming to ‘Granna’s house’. Granna happens to be another of the aliases of Spice and the call was more or less a courtesy one for me to prepare myself to entertain the young one. We checked it out with YD and that was fine too, since she had her hands full with the ailing ones.

GM4 is the one that will be three in November and is quite the live wire as is the custom of boys his age. In due time they arrived and the first thing he wanted to do was to go downstairs and play. There are containers of toys upstairs and down and at the moment he is in his downstairs phase. Of course he wanted ‘Pop-pop’ (my alias) to go down with him and if you are a grandparent, you know what I did – I went down with him.

The first thing he did was to turn the toy box upside down and dumped them all out, so as not to miss any toy that happened to be hiding in the corners. This was a semi-acceptable practice and I had a TV in that location so I turned it on. This was a wasted motion since he wanted me to actively play with him – whether I felt active or not.

There was the car that flipped over if you rolled it fast enough, then the golf game with plastic clubs and blocks and even the play blow dryer that I had to use on his hair. Of course he wanted to use it on me as will – another wasted motion considering the small amount of hair I have available. Also there was the small tricycle that he asked me not to let his brother get – his brother was not here.

It became naptime and he went down with very little protest – I must have worn him out. He slept over two hours, awoke to eat a snack and finally decided that he wanted to go home to see his Mom. In route home he did admit that he wanted to also see his brothers and sister.

Being around these young ones will either make you feel older or younger, happier or more frustrated, wiser or dumber, but you won’t come away from the experience just feeling the same old way. Not exactly sure of all that I felt, but being with him (and them) was a good thing and I felt blessed to have been present. ec

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Tuesday (September 12th) suddenly appeared on the horizon just like it was supposed to – right after Monday. How do these days know when to appear? If they ever get mixed up, how would anyone know that a Saturday suddenly came into being in the middle of the week – because everyone would call it Wednesday? Would the real Wednesday have to wait until Saturday, or would Saturday have to do double duty and not have a Wednesday at all that week?

OK, if it wasn’t the real Tuesday, I really didn’t want to know anyway. It did feel like a Tuesday, even though I’m retired and it is getting harder to tell the days apart. Thursday is much more difficult, because many times it seems like Friday – and even occasionally like Wednesday. Anymore, the only stabilizing day is Sunday, it always feels the same and right in order.

Anyway, Tuesday, after much dawdling inside the house, became another day of yanking weeds from their places of habitation. With only the intention of weeding the small flowerbed just outside the garage door, the adventure escalated to the whole side of the house. The water faucet area was denuded of the encroaching greenery, as was the area containing both of the thorn-less blackberries.

The Rugosa rose was next and was difficult for a couple of reasons – a) it is much more thorny than regular roses and – b) its shoots and branches underneath are hard to tell from brambles. The gist of my conversation with this bush was mostly promises that it would be severely pruned as soon as the cold months arrive. A few branches got hacked off anyway, just to show that I was serious.

The bush did produce many more rose hips this year than in the past and earned at least one more year of existence. The hips are tasty even though there is not a lot of substance to them. Continuing on around the corner to the back of the house, more weeds and vines were ripped and/or hacked out of the soil. This area has been somewhat neglected mostly in deference to the garden all summer.

Even the weed part of God’s creation is amazing to me inasmuch as they grow almost anywhere from seeds carried in by the winds of change – change being another constant of creation. ec

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

the crash

The year was circa 1965 and the Spice and I had been in our first little house for somewhat over a year. This frame building was a VA repossession and a total wreck when we first saw it, a fixer-upper that had hardly anything going for it except a sound structure and a new roof. My older brother helped me get the inside in livable shape and I finished the outside over the next year or so.

We had splurged and bought a new bedroom suite not long before this time frame – from a member of the Spice’s family that had a large furniture store down in Warner Robins, GA. The suite was French provincial in style and consisted of the usual chest of drawers, dresser, nightstand and bed with footboard and full headboard.

The house was really looking good on the inside, with the proper curtains, decorations and pictures on the walls as per how the Spice desired it to be. The Spice’s family was in the carpet business, so we had carpet in both of the bedrooms as well as the living and dining rooms.

It was in the wee hours of the morning and the Spice and I were both very sound asleep when suddenly there was a loud crash that sounded very close, even like it was in the room with us. Our home protection at the time was me and a Colt single action 22 cal. pistol – it was soon in my hand and I was slowly searching the house, under or behind anything that a person or thing might hide.

The search was fruitless and all the doors and windows were found to be still tightly shut and locked. With the mystery unsolved and the adrenalin still pumping through the veins, it took a while to settle back down to be able to get to sleep. Next morning we still wondered what the loud noise was and looked around some more with no conclusion.

It was a week or so later that we noticed that the picture previously hanging over the headboard was missing. It was found, hidden from sight, on the floor behind the headboard – we instantly realized that this had been the crash that had caused our middle of the night alarm and consternation.

This little adventure caused two things to happen – one, for almost forty years after that there was nothing hanging over the headboard of our bed – we still have the same bed. And two, this caused my husbandly hanging duties to improve in the area of the strength of the fastener – I don’t think anything has fallen of it’s own weight since – a few have been knocked off accidentally.

Only about a year ago was the Spice able to convince me to hang another picture on the wall over the head of our bed. This one was hung in a manner that assures it will be there unless some catastrophic event occurs, i.e. earthquake, plane crash, buffalo stampede, a herd (or flock) of turkeys flying through, etc.

What kind of picture was it? A beautiful one depicting what an angel might look like. It does not represent implied protection of any kind, although God’s protection is always at hand, but this comes from and through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. ec

Monday, September 11, 2006


Although we were busy after a fashion most all day, Sunday was a very good day – as usual. After A.M. church we came back home for a few minutes – changed clothes and went across the street to BIL’s to participate in a birthday dinner for PN (Pregnant Niece – expecting twins any day).

It was a very good meal together and enjoyable chitchat as usual when we get together. PN did not have the twins during that time but she is getting extremely uncomfortable – as would be expected. They already have a son that is nearing 3 and when I asked him if he was going to have some baby sisters, he said yes, two – and held up ten fingers. It will probably feel like that many when they get here – especially at feeding or diaper changing times.

We went back to the home place for less than and hour’s rest, then spiffied up and headed back to church for our Bible study course that started back today at 5pm. We took a break in the class, as per usual; to be able to participate in the praise and worship part of the p.m. church service and then it was back to our classroom.

This course is divided into three 10-week sessions, we have completed the first and tonight started the second 10-weeks. It requires some reading and studying every day – we even have homework – it’s been a long time since school on a regular basis for us. The classes have been very uplifting in a spiritual way and good stuff seldom comes easily.

The class and the church service wound up about the same time and we went back to SC. Next morning was a bit foggy, not outside but inside my head. Seems to take me about an hour to really pull every thing together into functionability. After breaking the fast I had very little time for anything else except showering and departing for my doc appointment.

A couple of years ago they found that I had a leaking heart valve, described as moderate. Nothing to do for it unless it gets worse and I’m glad to report that it had not changed since my last checkup. This was determined by an Echocardiogram and the doc’s exam – blood pressure and pulse rate are both good – always good to get a decent report, especially the heart kind. God is still good, all the time. ec

Friday, September 08, 2006

garden battles

Wednesday morning found me on location at the home of YD to sit with GM3 and GM6 while YD took GM4 for a doctor visit. Putting GM6 down for a nap and with GM3 watching a video, peace and mostly quiet ruled the airwaves. One of my favorite things is quiet airwaves, since that seems to be how sound travels. Though it is hard to see, quiet is easy to detect since the absence of noise will allow a person to hear it.

Upon the return of YD and GM4, I launched forth into the world of commerce – I went by Kroger’s for some grocery items. For years now I have done the grocery shopping for two important reasons – a) I don’t mind and sometimes rather enjoy it and – b) the Spice detests going to these sustenance supply buildings. Wandering back to the home front, we got ready to have MIL and BIL over for a late lunch or an early supper – homemade hamburgers and oven potatoes – yum!

On the backside of this time and a bit during, we kept GM6 since he was in great need of a nap and YD had a school function to attend. He was not a happy camper but finally settled for a nap of medium length as opposed to the better ones of long length – but the one he took was better than one of short length. He was retrieved a while later and a youngun-less condition existed once again – hours passed and we settled in for a long summer’s nap.

Thursday a.m. arrived unannounced and after breaking the fast, I drug my carcass outside to do battle with the green invaders of my garden area. Why – you might ask – would you want to get on hands and knees to rip out the encroaching grass and weeds this late in the season? To the which I would answer that I don’t want to deal with their offspring next year – or with as few of them as possible.

A reason for the hands and knees part is because I want to get out as many roots as I can. Some of these evil growths will sprout from the roots if these are not removed. Since the plants only breathe dirt, I put them on the refuse pile, in a condition of air only, and they asphyxiated and wilted in the sunshine. Their deceased forms will eventually decompose and return to the soil from whence they emanated and therewith enrich the spot of their final resting place.

These battles took place between showers and during the sprinkles I would come into the garage to prepare seed for storage over the winter. The dried okra pods were split open and the small, round, olive green seeds were encapsulated in a container and placed in the freezer. The crookneck squash pulp and seed had been placed on a paper to dry. The seed, now dry, was separated from the pulp, containerized and also placed in the freezer.

Even though I have planted a garden every year but one for the last 35 years, it has always amazed me that these small seeds sprout and become a veggie bearing plant next season. God does all things well. ec

Thursday, September 07, 2006


The Labor Day holiday slipped by almost without notice since most every day is a holiday of sorts to me since my retirement. Many of these are holidays of working in the yard/garden of our vast (?) estate. Others are holidays of babysitting or various other chores about the ‘maison’. No matter what they look like to others, they are holidays nonetheless.

Tuesday, (September 5th) crept into being almost before I was aware and the holiday of the day was babysitting – mostly. This festival was interrupted shortly after noon by the partial day celebration of ‘going to the doctor day’, a time of reflection and examination. The reflection was on my part and the examination was her job – of this ancient skin of mine – since she was a dermatologist.

She was a very cool professional, cold even, or at least her ray gun of liquid nitrogen was – as she froze several unwanted growths on my scalp. This caused somewhat of a ‘freeze headache’, not unlike the one from eating ice cream too quickly – I would have preferred the ice cream.

She then started to needle me but proved to be a real ‘cut-up’ as she excised a questionable growth for an in-depth study. My efforts a grinning through the ordeal probably came out more like a grimace. She is to inform me later on of the biopsy results and as to whether she is to become a ‘cut-up’ on a much larger scale.

Back to the home front and after a couple of hours of respite and/or an interval of relief, my babysitting holiday began again. This latter segment was for their parents to attend a school function for GM1. Babysitting the grands is not odious and can be very enjoyable, but on occasion it can twang the nerves much like one could do to a cheap off-key guitar with rusty strings.

After YD retrieved the young ones, the Spice and I returned to our solitude – but can two have solitude together or does it have to be separate? Anything is usually more fun when done with someone, so we enjoyed our solitude together. This was a day blessed by the Lord and we rejoiced in it accordingly. ec

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


One of the meanings of wry is distorted or lopsided, such as a wry grin. An example would be – I have a wry grin, my brother’s is wrier and his dog’s is wriest of all – but can dogs really grin? Another, more sinister meaning would be – devious in course or purpose and/or misdirected – even the meaning sounds devious. Somewhat more ironic and/or amusing is the definition saying that wry means bitingly ironic or amusing – but you would have had to be there.

This is obviously one of those posts in which I use seldom-used words and have a wonderful time doing it. Wry’s cousin is awry, and it carries the meaning – away from the expected or proper direction, or something amiss, or something has gone wrong. Such as – my day has gone awry and I have gotten very little done except for chopping up a rotten stump and cutting off 5 large pine limbs. That was when my energy went awry and I came into the house and sprawled on the floor.

My Webster’s informs me that the word skew is a verb and I don’t argue with that since it means to turn aside; or swerve or take an oblique course. Also means to distort or misrepresent such as – to skew data – knew those two. But one form is even used as a noun, as statistics having skewness – don’t think I knew that. Other forms would describe something as skewed and if one was in the process of doing this, they would be skewing.

Then the word askew would complete the circle by meaning: to one side, crookedly or awry. But another one of the meanings is askance and this word can be as innocent as – with a side-glance, sidewise or obliquely – or the more suspicious meaning – with suspicion or disapproval or skeptically. And this brings up the question: Which is worse, being skeptical or cynical?

With just a glance at the definitions I answered my own question. Whereas skeptical means having and/or showing doubt, the harder cynical means distrusting or disparaging the motives or sincerity of others. It also carries the harder meaning of being bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.

It occurred to me that one is the natural progression of the other. After one has been skeptical hard and long enough, they graduate to the more bitter cynical. This is especially true in the arena of the spiritual and it takes much prayer and the Spirit of God on their behalf to move them from that self-destroying spot. But God can and will do that if we so choose. ec

Monday, September 04, 2006

Gastonia reunion

Having left explicit instructions for it to do so, I wasn’t at all surprised when my clock radio alerted me to the fact that it was Sunday morning (September 3rd). Making my way either limpingly or haltingly to the kitchen, I proceeded to take my vitamins and break the fast. My scripture reading of the day was in the Old Testament and it reminded me so much of the moral fiber – or the lack thereof – in many of the politicians of today. Won’t go into it but you probably get my drift.

This was the day of attending a family reunion in Gastonia, NC – the family of my aunt – my Mom’s sister. I was taking a couple of food items for the event – a large Tupperware container full of Texas brownies and a squash casserole. This cake-like dessert is made with marshmallows melted on top with chocolate icing over that. The Spice made the brownies the night before and I had cut them in squares and put them in the Tupperware.

The Spice had mixed the casserole the night before and I put it on to cook when I got up that morning. I had shaved the scruff off my face, got ready and was just putting the casserole in a carry container when the bro showed up. SIL and the Spice didn’t feel up to the quick trip, so the bro and I went alone and with each other in his P/U truck.

This is the same bro that I’ve shared many hours with in construction/repair projects. Many of these had to do with maintaining Mom and Dad’s house in Mississippi while they were still with us and also the house of the older sis – she was the one that looked after our parents until they passed. We, with younger bro and other kin had even added a room and half bath onto OS’s house.

The three hour trip to NC was made without incident and we arrived at the church fellowship hall for the reunion a bit early, even had to dawdle a bit along the way to keep from being too early. The bro picked up some fried chicken nearby – so he would not come empty-handed. Some kin were already there and more came in all along. All the ones of my generational level were our first cousins and they were well known, but their young ones were very confusing as to which were offsprung from which cousin and which were their companions and offspring – several generations in some cases.

We then were called to order, the food was graced and we set about consuming, laughing and catching up on the events of the times we were not with each other. It was particularly good to see one cousin who had a stroke a few months back. It had been touch and go for him but he had regained most of his functions through rehab – he was even getting around with a walker, though with difficulty and very slowly. He and his wife had moved in with a daughter and she seemed to be taking very good care of them.

As always it is sad to leave kinfolks that you know you will not see for another year, but we finally said our good-byes and departed for home. The return trip was made without incident as well and a tired yours truly arrived home to relate the incidents of the day to his beloved Spice. God’s protection was in evidence on the trip and gratitude was/is expressed for it. ec

Saturday, September 02, 2006

dessert victory

Awoke to the new day (August 31st) worn out, sore, with very little energy, and just generally feeling stepped on – hope this doesn’t become a pattern for days to come. The day promised to be one of rain, we still need some, but that promise was broken. Even with Ernesto going up our coast, the rain just didn’t spread over this far.

Minor household chores ruled the day, one of which was the peeling and cutting up of peaches – a task that will be at least a part of the next several days. The Spice and I ate some of these soon after preparation. The Spice eats these tasty morsels with salt added – I have no idea why. The ones I consume are in conjunction and companionship with vanilla ice cream – a much better choice in my book – I forget which chapter.

The ingesting of a delightful dual dessert such as this has made me aware of a flaw in either my judgment or powers of estimation. My desire is that both elements of the dual dessert come out equal, with a taste of each in each spoonful. Even with much thought and serious effort one of them runs out before the other – and this time of consumption was no different.

As I was nearing the end of the ice cream, the horrible truth was starting to dawn on me that I still had many peaches and I tried to make this frozen part go further by taking just a tiny bit of ice cream per spoon. Alas, it didn’t work, and the only solution was to add more ice cream. This was done and with careful calculation the two finally came out equal, more or less. Even this faux pas was not as grievous as usual, when each element had to be added several times – I was greatly encouraged.

The morning of September 1st came and I determined that a dessert would not conquer me, as delectable as it might be. About noon I gathered enough courage to fight that battle once again to make the peaches and ice cream come out even and equal. Waiting until the Spice was away from the house on an errand – I didn’t want her to be there if I failed – I then carefully spooned the two elements of the dessert into a bowl. In a methodical manner, I slowly began the consumption, mentally measuring the remainder of each after every bite.

Savoring and calculating each spoonful, I realized that this method was paying off; even though the amounts were different, the ratio of about 3 to 1 was still there. This 3 to 1 ratio of peaches to ice cream is the school of thought that rules my consumption. The excitement started to build as the bottom of the bowl began to show itself. Would this be the final victory? With the last spoonful came a glow of success and I realized that I would never have self-doubts again – about that anyway.

Spiritual victory is much simpler than that – just accept the fact that victory over any problem we have or will ever have has already been won, and then accept the One that won this victory for us – Jesus Christ. ec