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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Texas trip - 1

Friday, April 30th was our travel day to Texas. Our flight departure time was 2:06pm and our day began in a fairly normal way – whatever that is, if there is such a thing. It was a bit unusual in that most of our packing had been done the night before – wow, what a concept! We finished up the last minute stuff and awaited our ride to the airport.

Our driver was YD and her associate was GM6 – they arrived about 11:40, we loaded up the luggage and were off. Next stop was North Augusta Middle school to pick up GM1 since she was making the trip with us – her spring break is next week. Retrieved her, went by her favorite place – Chic-Fil-A – to get her a bite to eat and we were then headed to the airport.

We arrived there shortly before 1pm and found massive construction going on – something that I should have been aware of, but wasn’t. With luggage in tow, we had a very long trek back to the check-in point. We checked the luggage in and when he inspected the first case, he found a verboten item – a large aerosol can of Lysol disinfecting spray (the container was too big) and fortunately YD had gone in with us and she took it back with her.

I stayed with the luggage inspection to be sure something else didn’t flunk while the girls went to the necessary room. Next we headed to the boarding area to be inspected ourselves. Since anyone that wasn’t flying couldn't go past this point, we said our goodbyes to YD and GM6 and went to the ominous inspection area. This was very interesting and different for me since I had not flown since 9-11, even though I had heard the tales about the adventure.

Since I didn’t want to take a chance about my CPAP machine, it and its carrying case constituted my carry-on luggage. GM1 and I breezed right on through inspection but the Spice was not so fortunate inasmuch as she had an implanted defibrillator and cannot go through the normal metal detection gate. She had to be personally patted down, an action that GM1 found very humorous. On top of that, the machinery found something in her pocketbook that it didn’t like and that had to be hand inspected – turned out to be a small flashlight and they let her pass.

Waiting in the boarding area, our flight departure time slowly came and went – about 45 minutes late, we finally boarded. We went our way still convinced that God is good, all the time. ec

Thursday, March 29, 2007

memory - 2

The houses on my block in my growing up years were built during a housing boom in Augusta – this because of a nuclear plant being constructed nearby in South Carolina. The homes were of a pre-fab nature in that the walls and such were built elsewhere and trucked in to the site. Every other house was brick and the one in between was just a brick front with asbestos siding the rest of the way – ours was just a brick front. It was only two bedrooms, so people were stacked everywhere at night.

All six of us siblings were present in house when we moved there but my older brother and sister both married and moved away within a year or two. The four of us younger kids did most of our growing up at this Hickman Road residence. It would have been considered in a middle class neighborhood in its day – even though we weren’t quite up to middle class. We were the only folks within several miles that kept chickens in our backyard – not sure how popular that made us with the neighbors.

We must have had the most patient folks in existence living next door, the Jessups. She was a schoolteacher and he worked with the government in some fashion and they were both very well educated. They had a couple of older offspring but they were of no interest to us since they were too old for us kids to play with – one was even in college – ancient.

All the yards had fences of some sort separating the back yards from each other and the one between the Jessups and us was fairly worn at the corner fence post. This post had an angle brace down to the ground and this was our quick way to get over the fence, we would run up the angle brace and jump over. We did very little playing in their yard, but it was a quick passageway over to their neighbor who had a son about my age that we palled around with.

This was a day and time when kids played outside – imagine that! We wouldn’t think of staying in the house unless we were sick or the weather was inclement – there were just too many things to do outside. We played most any game we could think up, I’m sure there were some organized sports around town, but I don’t remember playing any of them. We weren’t sophisticated enough to seek these things out and couldn’t have afforded the uniforms if we had.

Most any of our chasing or hiding games would involve passing through the Jessups’ yard at one point or another. On the far side of their house was a picket fence with a gate. Sometimes we would open the gate to pass through but when in a hurry we would hold to one of the crosspieces and jump over. One particular time when we were playing – hide and seek as best as I recall – I was in a huge hurry and I didn’t take time to stop and open the gate, just partially climbed and jumped over the rest.

Sometime in the middle of this jumping over the picket fence, a slip or miscalculation was made and I came to rest hanging upside down with one of my feet caught between two of the picket slats. I started yelling for someone to help me and they finally came and got me loose, but not before they collapsed with laughter about my predicament.

It’s good to know that I can go to God with my problems today without fear of being of being laughed at or made fun of – God has the answers if we will just accept them. ec

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

memory - 1

Memory is defined as the mental capacity or faculty of retaining or recalling facts, events, impressions, or previous experiences and it has always amazed me the things that stick in memory and things that seem to fly away or bury themselves so deeply that they can’t surface again. Occasionally when one of the old bits of memory surface, it will bring one or two others with it – often unrelated to the original – and more often very unimportant.

To the best of my recollection and the records that I have, our family moved to Augusta, Georgia in November of 1949. I joined a third grade class already in progress at John Milledge School – I don’t remember if it was called an elementary or a grammar school. We resided at 534 Hickman Road and our phone number was RE3-2498, later simplified to 733-2498 – how do I still remember that? Most of the memories of my growing up were formed in and around that location.

My younger brother and I shared the same small room during those years of growing up. When we first moved there, this room was the kitchen but it was way too small. Dad did some changing around of rooms and appliances and us guys wound up with this small room because you can put boys most anywhere. We had bunk beds for most of that time and for many years they were stacked, mainly because of the lack of space if they were placed side-by-side.

The walls of this room had some rough places and even holes in the walls where appliances and cabinets were taken out. The walls were just roughly patched with sheetrock for many years and I don’t remember it being repainted – at least not until after I was in the army. When I was approaching teens, we did put the upper bunk down on the floor and there was only space between them to have a very tiny night stand of sorts.

In one of the shop classes I had in Junior High (Middle School now) I made a crystal radio and the nightstand was its place of honor. The radio antenna was a small wire attached from the house to the sycamore tree out back and came in to the radio through the window screen. When I should have been asleep, I would sometimes have my earphones on listening to whatever the airwaves sent me.

This scientific wonder didn’t last too long, being hand-made by the amateur that I was, and was replaced by an old AM radio that had been in the family for years. It was pretty well beat up and the dials were not working properly, so the case had been taken off to be able to tune the radio with bare knob stems. This was a tube type radio and these exposed vacuum tubes got very hot. My brother was a rough sleeper and one night he managed to get his foam rubber pillow over on the tubes of the radio that had been left on. I awoke choking in a smoke filled room, fortunately the window was open – no air conditioning – or else neither of us would have likely survived.

We coughed up black particles for a couple of days and didn’t realize then how close to our demise we actually were. Looking back, I am thankful for no air conditioning back then and am thankful for it today. That is close to the scripture that talks about giving thanks to God in all situations. ec

Monday, March 26, 2007


Saturday past was a day of the completion of a goal, a culmination of hard work, the last steps in the walking of a long mile and of reaching the fulfillment of a dream – I finally finished the blueberry bed beside the driveway! This was something that I had wanted to do since the plants were installed during the winter of 2002. The most difficult part of ensconcing the border blocks was the semi-circle on the top end of the bed and getting the blocks to come out even without having to cut one of them.

In the physical, the bounds of my exuberance were limited, but I was doing mental back flips from the joy of a difficult task accomplished. When the last handful of straw was placed, I went in to drag the Spice out to admire my handiwork. She was glad for me but didn’t show quite the same feelings as I felt – “It looks better than I thought it would” said she. That wasn’t exactly the swooning or the oohing and aahing I was looking for but it was enough – that and the sense of accomplishment I felt.

Now it is on to the other tasks that are goals to be completed before we leave for Texas on the 30th. The tack stripping is to be taken up out of the basement bath in preparation for tile to be placed – the cement floor of the room also has to be scrubbed clean. The garage is to be “straightened up” – this involves much more than that phrase sounds like and may take a couple of days – and many things need to be moved to other places or to their place of origin. Some things in that location and others must be taken to the dump, which is another large task in itself.

Some words have several meanings and sometimes they can be opposite ones. Take the word ‘gimp’ as an example. According to Webster’s, one meaning is to limp or walk in a halting manner and according to that, I got up a bit gimpy this morning. But according to another meaning, used chiefly in the Northeastern US, it means spirit, vigor, or ambition and I arose with some of that meaning present as well – at least mentally so. So my problem was that with this second gimp present, how do I work through the first gimp to make the better gimp meaning a systemic reality?

As I am wont to do, I supply the answers to my own questions. The way I work my way through gimpy-land is a two-pronged method, first is the generous application of the topside of our wonderful recliner to the backside of me. Second is that between these applications, I stay busy doing something, even if it is just minor stuff and even if I don’t feel like it.

Today’s ‘stuff’ to do started with gathering up the trash and the cardboard boxes that have been accumulating in the garage – of course the boxes had to be broken down to their flat state for the dump to take them. Loaded all these in the truck and headed to the garbage collection site. After that was the post office to get our mail and to Bi-Lo, our local grocery, for a ‘few items’. The few turned into many and I wound up ‘investing’ most of 50 bucks into the coffers of the grocery chain.

None of these activities were very strenuous and in the final outcome, did help to work out some of my gimpy-ness. Before all my problems began, these trips were a regular part of my week and I am grateful to the Lord that they are getting back that way again – and I am also glad. ec

Saturday, March 24, 2007


On another day, at another time and during another emotion I was finally able to talk myself into dragging out from the reclining position and chair into which I had gratefully sunk all too few minutes ago. Even though I felt a dissertation on the subject of reclining coming on, I was able to decline due to a lack of inclination or would that be a dis-clination?

Other disturbing news from Blueberry Hill is that I have had to back off on the drinking of hot tea, something I have done for years and enjoy very much. The drinking of it has the effect of making the inside of my throat tender when swallowing. The problem had been around for a couple of months when quite by accident I left off drinking the tea for a couple of days and it cleared up. Not sure at all what caused this, whether it was my condition or the medication involved in controlling it. I have sipped some strictly herbal tea and that seems to be OK, hopefully this is a temporary problem.

More work on the driveway blueberry bed was done. While working I noticed the bees that were busily working the blueberry blooms from bush to bush. They were food gathering and pollinating the flowers all at the same time, making it possible for the berries to be produced. I do appreciate what they are doing and it doesn’t bother me even when they fly just inches away from my face. They are too busy to have interest in me, to them I am no more than a tree or something and will only sting in self-defense when trapped, whether it’s by accident or not. I do sometimes think they will buzz by my ears just to see if I am aware they are there.

After thoroughly expending myself in the yard, I came in, cleaned up and headed over to YD’s for supper. She seemed to be concerned about me because the Spice was still chaperoning on the band trip with GM1. She may have been afraid that I would starve but I can’t see that happening because when it comes to food I am very resourceful, as well as being fairly omnivorous.

YD, SSIL, GM3, GM4, GM6 and I had a very enjoyable meal together and chatted a while. After this I departed for the middle school to pick up the Spice and GM1, as it was getting on toward time for the busses to return from the Myrtle Beach band trip. As it turned out, they were late but the Spice had contacted me by cell phone about this fact and I decided to go on to the school anyway and just wait.

They finally arrived and we got the luggage loaded up and headed to get them something to eat. Chic-Fil-A was our place of stoppage and even though I had eaten, and I can hardly go there without getting a vanilla milkshake, so that happened as well. Took GM1 home and got her stuff unloaded, then the Spice and I headed for the old home place. All this waiting and fetching them took place under an absolutely clear and beautiful night sky, and I was grateful to the One who made it. ec

Friday, March 23, 2007

regular day

It was a day similar to many in the past but unlike all of them because this one had never happened before. After a slow morning of wondering where I was and what I was doing, I finally got outside about 3pm to get a bit done on the blueberry bed. Fair progress was made, getting the grass out of a portion and placing 12 more border blocks. With the straw also placed, the bed is now complete about half-way up the front side. Hopefully this huge task will be completed by the week’s end.

As I was working I happened to look over at the small paw paw trees on the other side of the driveway and the last one in the row looked like it had small objects hanging on the limbs. Thinking this the work of some sort of insect, I walked over to check it out. Much to my surprise, these were the beginnings of blooms. The reason for the surprise was that I had never seen a paw paw bloom before and I thought this one was still too young to do so.

These four trees were planted in 2002 and usually it takes about 7 to 8 years for them to start to produce anything, this according to what I read. The odd thing about this was also the fact that this tree was not the largest of the four. The two closer to the house are the largest at about 4 feet and this one is only about 3 – the other one is the runt of the litter at only about 2 feet, must be very poor soil at its planting site. I have no idea that fruit will actually result, but it does have to bloom in order to bear the produce and this is my first experience with them.

The work session lasted about 3 ½ hours and this was the longest I had been out at one time in several months. It felt good to be out but I was totally worn out by the time I came in. The Spice had been out for an appointment and brought us some takeout for supper. We munched on that while we watched a DVD that we had rented and already had for a week. The title was “Open Season”, an animated movie and while it wasn’t quite up to “Shrek” – my standard – it was enjoyable nonetheless.

After it was over, the Spice had some work to finish so I climbed in the truck and took the movie back to the place it belonged. After safely delivering it back to its origin, I saw an unusual sight as I was exiting the parking lot. This was about 9:30pm and directly in front of the exit was two TV towers, side-by-side and lighted all the way up. Directly between them and about halfway up was a bright crescent moon that was positioned in such a way that it looked like the large smile of the disappearing cat in “Alice in Wonderland”. I thought this comical but I guess one had to be there.

The Spice was to be a chaperone for GM1’s band trip early next morning so YD brought the middle schooler and baggage over to spend the night. We drug out of bed and got to school at the unearthly hour of 5:45am – the sun didn’t even want to show itself yet. The trip will be two days and one night. I came home and relaxed in the recliner for a while and then called an old workmate to meet me for breakfast. We met and ate, he brought the daily crossword and we conquered it as well. We chatted, compared ailments and finally departed, each back to respective places of abode.

God is good in emergencies or on just a regular day. ec

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


As I sat, munching home-dried figs, it occurred to me that these tasted like fig newtons, except without the newton part. This type occurrence would be defined as something that would deem to suggest itself in thought and/or come to mind. The whole event was very encouraging to me inasmuch as it proved to me that I could do two things at one time. I fought the temptation to try to do another thing to make that number three, but I didn’t try it, convinced that I might hurt myself.

After a couple of days of feeling half decent and both translating into some hours of outside work, a fair amount of progress was made on the blueberry bed down the driveway. This bed is about 55 feet long and six feet wide. So far the grass has been cleaned from the back side of the bed, the border blocks are completely ensconced on that side and the straw has been placed. In these last work sessions I have cleaned out the grass and placed the blocks in a somewhat rounded fashion on the lower end of the bed and started back up the front side. Of course I still have about 40 feet to go, as well as the top end, but I rejoice with every block placed.

In further Blueberry Hill news, a new garden tiller has been acquired. This machine is of the rear tined variety with small tractor type tires in front to pull it along. It will be much easier to handle and not as rough on the operator as the front tined one we have had several years. The garden should have already been tilled but the bed needs to be completed first, so the tilling may have to wait until we come back from our visit with OD and her gruntmonkeys in Texas during the first part of April.

When I say that my appetite has really been screwy of late, I do not kid. I have discovered that I like banana and mayo sandwiches, not a revelation since I have eaten these most of my life, but the latest twist is that I have been adding provolone cheese to this aforementioned combo and enjoying the concoction immensely. What is it about the combo of black-eyed peas and coleslaw that causes my taste buds to rejoice so much – of course the slaw has to from KFC to really fit the bill. The peas can be the dried or frozen kind – as long as they are cooked.

On another food note, I wonder if there is a name for the injury received when one cuts one’s tongue while licking the yogurt off the underside of the foil that covers the top of the container. It could be a paper cut except it’s not paper – I wonder if it is widespread or popular enough to be known as a yogurt foil cut. I also wonder if yogurt really is healthy or if some years from now they will find out that it causes auto accidents if you eat it while driving.

Though my writings sometimes wander about with seeming aimlessness, my soul is anchored by my trust in the One that made everything – and that makes me glad, even in tough times. ec

Sunday, March 18, 2007


As I sit here, munching on frozen blueberries from last year’s pickings, I have arrived at some conclusions. First, blueberries, even the frozen ones put up from last year, are good – so are zip-loc bags and freezers. Second, there seem to be enough frozen ones left to last until the fresh ones start to get ripe. Third, the bushes are well underway to providing plenty of berries for this year. The munching session also included dried figs from the fruit of last year. These were dried in my own little dehydrator and also put in zip-loc bags. Though they are noteworthy, I still like the blueberries better.

Other arrivals at conclusions have taken place, some recently and some over the course of time. One of the recent ones is that one cannot rise early, at least not to feel fresh and chipper, if one does not go to bed until 2am. This is not a particularly brilliant conclusion and should be a rather basic assumption but evidently not, since its arrival was made necessary by a couple of very unwise going to bed incidents this last week.

An even rougher conclusion arrived with the knowledge that one can get very little sleep if one depends on a CPAP machine for half-decent sleep and the necessary mask either does not fit or irritates one’s face. Having tried three different masks on as many nights, one is hoping that this last one will be the answer to the problem of nightly mask wrestling – it has done well for two nights now.

An older conclusion arrived some years ago and continues to be tied up to my dock of cognizance. This delightful brilliance is that my study/computer room will not clean up itself. I have noticed that this is also true with my workshop and garage – all of these are way beyond just cluttered. In a variation of an old law let me state, a room in a mess tends to remain in a mess unless acted upon by an outside force. If an archeological dig were made in any of these spaces, evidence could be found that dates back to the beginning – even back to the era of the “killing of the mouse”.

Arrivals at conclusions are not necessarily a permanent thing because the arrival may be at the wrong place or the conclusion may not be the right one. Then sometimes the dock of conclusion at which we have just arrived comes apart and falls into the stormy water of circumstances and our thought or emotional journey toward a solution or conclusion must continue.

My final conclusion for this missive, meant to be a permanent one for me, comes from a line in an old Hymn – “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” – Note that it is on His righteousness and not my own. ec

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Did I mention that the pond bordering the rear of our property has been at full stage for about two weeks? In the past it would occasionally fill up, and a few times even overflow for about a day but then start receding. I’m amazed and even a bit shocked because this is something that hasn’t happened before – of course every moment I live is like that, these times haven’t happened before. Times and events only happen once and never again – things happen that are similar, but never the same things over again because once they’re done, they’re done.

Did I mention that I don’t like crows? Probably have but I just don’t like crows, they are sneaky, very sneaky. They are ugly, I don’t like their coloration and their cawing is annoying. They also eat other bird’s eggs and will even steal and eat baby birds – just like the whole reason for these young ones being there was for their lunch. Well, they also steal fruit from the place here, but that is minor compared to the other. Just thought I’d mention that I don’t like crows.

Did I mention that I like ‘snow peas’? These are the young green peas still in the pod that are sautéed as part of the veggies in American Chinese cuisine – snow peas are a good thing. This pea is kin to the green peas that we always called English peas. In England, in the 1600s and 1700s, it became popular to eat these peas freshly picked in spring and ‘green’, as opposed to the normally dried and cooked later ways – split pea soup and/or the traditional English dish, ‘pease porridge’ or even ‘mushy peas’. Many different varieties of these peas were developed in England and were imported and became popular in the States. Long story short – I like snow peas.

Did I mention that I was on my way to meet with some of my cronies for supper? This takes place on a monthly basis at some restaurant or home around the area. We eat, laugh, commiserate and retell tales of the past, mostly for the enjoyment of all involved. All but one of us is retired and all worked for the same company and in the same area. Somehow, the way we tell the things of the past, even the things that were bad back then offer up some humor for the present.

Did I mention that the North Augusta police department patrols their area of responsibility with the utmost of care and precision? Not that I have been caught in their ‘web of influence’, but I did notice in route tonight that they had two vehicles pulled to the side of the road and it did not look like they were just saying ‘howdy’ because some writing was going on.

Did I mention that I took the route around Augusta known as I-520? It crosses the Savannah River and goes through some very swampy land on the Georgia side. Also included along this highway are some ponds that originally came as a result of the digging out of clay to make bricks. Many ducks populate these areas and as of yet, I haven’t been able to identify their variety. They were dotting the pond today like freshly shaken pepper on the surface of a pot of soup. On another, colder day, they were clumped together so tightly that they were almost like a large living carpet of ducks.

Did I mention that I ate Bratwurst and sauerkraut with a German salad? The restaurant was one that offered mostly German type food. The food was good, as was the camaraderie, and the time passed all too quickly. Old friends are good but God is better, and all the time. ec

Monday, March 12, 2007


It has become very evident that some of the trees and plants around this area are thinking it is spring. My across the street and next-door neighbors have flowering pear trees and they are really putting forth the blooms. On the way to church many of these same kinds of trees were in yards and along the exits of the interstate and were almost in full bloom. Many of the trees are also showing tiny green buds where leaves are just beginning to grow.

Blueberry Hill is no exception because the ill-kept little shrubs along our north property line have been showing their small yellow flowers for a couple of weeks. One of the scrub trees on the north side of the garden has a vine growing up in it that has been flowering for about a week. On the east side of the house, down close to the pond, is a tree that came up on its own and has been abloom for several days also. This was one that I allowed to live just to see what it was – I’m still not sure but it is possibly something in the wild pear family, this according to the shape of the leaves.

This morning I listened to the outside airwaves and the many birdsongs are telling the news of spring as well. By their calls they are searching for a mate at random, trying to woo a specific prospect or just singing for the joy of being able to do that. The very unmelodious far off caw of a crow joined in the message that spring is upon us. All this plus a proliferation of red, red robins that are bob, bob bobbing along in the yards of the area – why does that sound so familiar?

The really exciting news though is that the blueberries are blooming as well! OK, I guess you had to be here but it was exciting to me. Not all the flowers have opened up but there are enough to start to draw the bees that pollinate them and make possible the berries. These bees are a special breed and resemble a bumblebee except they are smaller. In an article on the internet they are even called ‘blueberry bees’. Several other types come along and help out but these are the main ones.

The time is fast approaching to till up the garden – my target time for planting the veggies is usually somewhere close to Good Friday. The only problem with that is my tiller. It is a front-tine one that has to be ‘man-handled’ with brute strength and it really can put a whuppin’ on a person in great physical shape – and that doesn’t exactly describe me of late. The plan is to purchase a rear-tined machine that is a bit easier to handle – hopefully this week.

As I have mentioned before in many missives, spring is my very favorite time of year because of the coming back to life of the seemingly dead trees and plants. The beauty of the aforementioned and yet to come flowers are also mixed into my enjoyment of the season. It is an illustration in nature of the new life God can give us in the spiritual – now and when we die. ec

Friday, March 09, 2007


The word concrete means: constituting an actual thing or instance, also real, perceptible or substantial. The word also means an artificial, stone-like building material made by mixing cement and various aggregates, as sand, gravel, or shale, with water and allowing the mixture to harden. While concrete blocks are an actual thing and are real, perceptible and substantial, the latter meaning is what they are made from and they do carry a substantial amount of weight. Plus the whole following matter turned out to be a concrete proposition.

After several days of not feeling up to doing anything outside, today was the day I finally got things cranked back up. The term ‘today’ is not necessarily relative to the day this missive is sent forth. First job of the day was to unload the concrete blocks out of my truck so it could be used for other purposes. The unloading was quite a job in itself – you might say that I unloaded nearly a half-ton of blocks – one at a time, of course. Afterward the inside of my house called me and I answered by going in to crash a while and have a bite to eat.

The pond behind our house has been below full stage for at least four or five years due to not enough rain and possibly low ground water tables. Several regular rains had started to slowly bring the water level up to within about a foot of overflow. The rain we had some days ago not only brought the level to the overflow, but has caused it to overflow for several days now, which is almost an unheard of thing for this pond since it has hit the overflow very few times in its lifetime and then only briefly.

The Spice and I decided to go for a late afternoon walk just after the sun went down – it was still light enough to see very well. As we walked across the dam of the pond, several geese (Canadian) were swimming on the water – 8 of them and two ducks. These flying swimmers were conversing back and forth in a rather excited manner. At least one of the geese was flying at another one or two in a very threatening manner as though it took exception to these others even being on the planet.

Evidently this one was showing dominance and although it happened before we came by, we saw evidence of some sort of altercation. The leftovers of this was in the form of a fair amount of feathers scattered on the surface in one area of the pond. Had it been humans involved it would have been fisticuffs, but in this case it would have been beak-icuffs – snatching out feathers from the other. The two ducks were around the edges of the action, either staying out of the way or trying to see what it was all about. As the ruckus got more raucous, four of the geese finally took off for another pond.

For sure it was a full fury fowl fracas, flicking fine, fluffy, frangible feathers from fractious, fuming, flying foes in the frenzied, frightful fray. The geese were not good to each other but God is always good to us, even when we don’t deserve it. ec

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


It was a late evening walk, an hour or so after dark and the skies were beautiful. There were wreaths of gauzy clouds floating lazily in the night sky with the stars showing themselves through the haze and the moon was brilliant and almost full. Our walking track consists of MIL’s driveway and a good portion of it is on top of the dam of their pond. The lights of the sky were also reflected in these waters adding to the mystique of the walk. The pond is almost full to overflow, which is odd due to several years of semi-drought.

During the walk I kept hearing the unmistakable call of a killdeer – an odd, medium-sized bird in the plover family. This flighted critter builds its nest right out on the ground and depends on the camouflage egg color and trickery to keep varmints away from its future young. If someone or something gets too close to the nest, it will act wounded by flopping around and dragging a wing to draw them away from the area of its eggs.

Even after they hatch, the adults act the same way in protecting them as much as they can until the young can fend for themselves. Plus the little ones will freeze in place and they are very hard to identify in the grass because they are almost the same color as their surroundings. I just couldn’t figure out why this bird was calling out so much because I didn’t think they were active this late at night.

Several years ago I had an experience with one of these birds that illustrated in real life the things I had read and seen on TV. As I try to do at least a couple of times a year, I was mowing the front yard when I noticed that one of these killdeers started doing its act each time I got close to a certain spot. This happened several times and I determined to try and find the nest because it was the time of year that eggs would be present and I didn’t want to run over them.

Getting in the general area, I started a careful search for the nest and after several minutes finally found it and it contained three eggs. That small spot and some surrounding area was left un-mowed on that particular day. Needless to say, the killdeer didn’t know that I was avoiding that spot on purpose and it was caused much consternation and went through every trick it knew to try and draw me away from the nest.

The instincts for survival placed in the creatures of God’s creation have always amazed me. It is as though some tiny chip of information about all it needed to know was placed in its brain to help it survive in a cold, cruel world. All I can say to that is, WOW, didn’t God do good? ec

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


It began as a slow day physically, with most of the body either achy or sore – there is a subtle difference, but I’m not sure what it is. About 2pm or so these irritating inconveniences started to slack off a bit, and accordingly the pace of my day picked up a little. The Spice and I had already decided that the blueberry bed down the north side of the driveway needed some type of border around it and I had looked at several sites on the web to get some ideas. The type border that I liked, the Spice didn’t and vise versa, but she finally consented to the one that was the least repugnant to her and I set the wheels in motion to make it happen. Plus it was one that was available at our local concrete block plant.

This is a large plant and supplies many types of concrete blocks for several cities around the area. This is where the blocks are actually made and there is no pristine showroom on site, only a dusty display of their products and an office where mostly the drivers come in to get their orders and destinations of the plant’s output. I checked out the display to be sure that they didn’t have something that I would have liked better than our decision. They did not so I made my order, paid and was told where to take my truck to have the blocks loaded.

I pulled my small pick-up out among the two semis and one large rental truck – just like I was somebody. A forklift driver finally came out with a palate of my kind of blocks and loaded me up. I purchased 40 of these and he even gave me some extras for breakage and also a few that were broken in half – these would be good for the corners of the bed. By the time we got through there was about a half-ton of blocks in the bed of the truck, but it seemed to still handle well and brought them home without incident.

The block of mention is 16 inches long, 8 inches wide and 2 ¼ inches thick and will be set on edge around the bed with about 5 inches buried and 3 inches above ground – they each weigh over 20 lb. They will serve two purposes, first, to hopefully keep the grass out of the bed – which is why I’m so determined to get the present grass out of the bed now – and second, it will keep the straw in the bed. I had already purchased 6 bales of pine straw, plus our neighbor volunteered some more and even brought me two loads in his garden trailer.

Along about 4:30 I finally got back to the project and had another adventure with “the frame” and cleaning the dirt off the grass roots. It is working even better than I expected and is speeding up the process somewhat. As I started out, I took three of the border blocks down to the bed area to see how they would work out. Plus I planned to intermingle the two tasks and hopefully not get quite as sore. Going back and forth between the jobs, I got the three blocks ensconced in the dirt and they look like they will work out well. I had previously pulled a tight string to keep the edge of the bed straight – for the de-grassing and to keep the border blocks straight as well.

It would be a job of just a few days if I could work for more than an hour or so at a time, but such is not the case as yet. After thoroughly wearing myself out, I came in and ate a bite and realized that I had not been to walk yet. It was way past dark-thirty, but the walking is a much-needed thing for my recovery. It was a bit chilly but with a hat and vest it was still comfortable. So out and down the driveway I went with my trusty stick, stop watch, flashlight and my small tape recorder to record any thoughts that I might have – if I had any.

I felt blessed to have the energy to walk – God is still good, all the time and in every situation. ec

Sunday, March 04, 2007


At another time and in another place, a very thought provoking segment of language was passed on to me by one of my favorite nephews: Pondering the imponderables. Somehow this seems so much more reflective than even reflecting on the unreflectables because if something is not reflected to begin with, how and where can the reflection begin. But this might be more reasonable than reasoning with the unreasonables – especially since things or people of this latter persuasion can be very unreasonable.

To cogitate the incogitatables would be right up there close, but I think only intellectuals cogitate – but then who can really correctly identify these individuals. One could deliberate the undeliberatables but it takes longer to deliberate and the process is harder to interrupt if one suddenly has to get on with a real life. Closer to the original premise of pondering is to contemplate the uncontemplatables, but this seems to imply that a decision must be made and sometimes that is tough.

To ruminate the unruminatables would be OK, except in action it is very close to a bovine activity and that just doesn’t seem to be intellectual enough. All of this plus where is the time to even think the unthinkables, which also seems to be an unthinkable thing to do.

While pondering on all these thought provoking things, an old song came to mind – ‘The Impossible Dream’ or more accurately, ‘The Quest’. The song was from a Broadway musical and was a hit back in the “olden days” – those of us that are ‘olden’ might possibly even remember it.

Lyrics follow: “To dream the impossible dream – To fight the unbeatable foe – To bear with unbearable sorrow – To run where the brave dare not go. To right the unrightable wrong – To be better far than you are – To try when your arms are too weary – To reach the unreachable star. >> This is my quest, to follow that star, No matter how hopeless, no matter how far – To be willing to give when there’s no more to give – To be willing to die so that honor and justice may live.

And I know if I’ll only be true to this glorious quest – That my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I’m laid to my rest. >> And the world will be better for this – That one man scorned and covered with scars – Still strove with his last ounce of courage – To reach the unreachable star.”

The impossible dream in our day seems to be ‘world peace’ – and it is impossible to have peace in our world the way the human mind wants to have it. This is because we are born flawed beings and at war with the One who made us all. The only way peace is even possible is to seek it first with our maker on an individual basis, because real peace only comes from the inside. ec

Friday, March 02, 2007


The milkshakes of the last missive reminded me so much of homemade ice cream. It seems that the Spice and I have had at least one type of ice cream churn the whole time we have been married. In the early years it was the hand cranked type and in later years, up until today, we have had electric churns. We still make ice cream several times a year, usually timed with some holiday, a family get-together or sometimes just when we have company for supper. The permanent flavor was and still is vanilla and if we happen to be feeling froggy, we might even turn out some banana or peach.

We have a recipe for vanilla ice cream that is yellowed with age and a bit stained with the occasional ingredient spot. If we want another flavor we still use the same instructions and just add the fruit we want. The electric churns usually take about 30 – 45 minutes to turn out the wonderful, cold and creamy dessert. It is started when guests first arrive and normally out in the garage because of the noise – by the time we finish eating the meal, the ice cream is ready.

This reminds me of an ice cream story of long ago – ages past when I still had a small amount of hair. Back when we were a young married couple, we used to gather on the weekends with a few other couples. The purpose of the gatherings was for a meal together, play board games, laugh and talk and in the summer they usually included ice cream. It was at one of these gatherings that the “ice cream incident” occurred.

Our meal of the evening had been enjoyed and brought to a successful conclusion. The ladies were in the living room of our guest’s house and the guys were out back preparing the ice cream for dessert. At the time, the churns were the hand-turned type and the guys took turns at the turning thereof. It was not unusual for the inner container that held the ice cream ingredients to have a few rust spots on the outside of it because it is turned in brine ice water which is very corrosive and such was the case with one of the churns – we had two that evening.

We noticed that one of the churns finished freezing its contents quicker than the other and was even running over into the brine that was in the outer container. We opened it up and the ice cream was a beautiful sight to behold – but then someone happened to taste it. It would seem that one of the rust spots had worn through and the brine had gotten into and mixed with the ingredients and the taste was almost pure salt. The girls were in blissful ignorance concerning this catastrophe, so as guys will sometimes do, we started thinking about how we could at least get a laugh out of the incident – so it would not be a total loss.

My Spice was well known by the group to have a great love for salt on her food, so it was determined that a bowl of this stuff would go to her. A large bowlful was prepared and we trouped in to bring it to her. One of the guys handed it to her and made a big deal about how we were giving her the honor of the very first bowl. She smiled her pleasure until she tasted the salt saturated product. Needless to say, this was a bit too salty for her and she really did not appreciate us thinking of her in that way – and mentioned this fact to us in no uncertain terms. The guys almost fell out laughing, as did the girls when they found out what happened, even the Spice when she got over the taste shock, but probably not quite as much as the others.

Fortunately we had one good churn of ice cream to sate our appetites for the frozen dessert. This incident happened over 40 years ago and the memory is still good and I smile when I bring those moments back. Even in memories we have a choice, we can destroy our own happiness with the bad ones, or ask God to forgive our past, then forgive ourselves and choose to remember the joyous and good parts of life. ec

Thursday, March 01, 2007


In the midst of the remnant of a recent evening, since the Spice was over helping out YD with the Gruntmonkeys, I decided to do my daily walk alone. It was dark but a couple of security lights give luminance to most of the whole driveway where we walk. I always carry two things on a walk, be it night or day, one is my stopwatch and the other is a stick about 5 feet long. The stick is not because I think someone might be lurking about, even though there is a fair amount of forest around MIL’s place, it would be for stray dogs that have been seen occasionally. I would not want to be weaponless should they happen to come calling.

The weather was a bit cool but I didn’t even have to fasten my jacket to be comfortable. The night was clear with about two zillion stars and a crescent moon that my oldest granddaughter would call ‘God’s thumbnail” – this from a long ago movie that she watched many, many times. My walk was at a fair pace, but not breathlessly so and very peaceful and relaxing. The lights of the autos could be seen between the trees down on the highway and even that was calming to me because they were having to be out and about going to some unknown destination, maybe even for tense purposes and I was blessed to be out for a soothing evening stroll.

Upon returning home a little later in the evening, the Spice brought us each a milkshake from Chik-Fil-A. She most always gets chocolate and mine is always vanilla. It is not that I don’t like any other flavor but usually those would involve artificial colors and flavors. Some homemade shakes have been constructed in the past and these were most satisfying, of course they were made with the natural fruit. Probably the best of the homemade was banana, with peach or strawberry coming in up close to the top of the list.

There is something to be said for chocolate shakes – but not much. The only chocolate shakes I remember drinking were not ordered by me or for me, they were the leftovers from the Spice. And as you know, it is my policy and duty to clean up any leftover food, especially milkshakes of any flavor – even if I grimace the whole way. It is not that I totally dislike chocolate and it is not unknown for me to put some chocolate syrup on a sundae occasionally, but at least this way I can have an intermingling of tastes and not just chocolate saturation – but I guess there are worse things.

We are so blessed that God made such an incredible array of the variances of tastes for us to enjoy and then gave us the taste equipment to savor each one. God is good and I feel blessed by Him. ec