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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Sunday, April 29, 2007


It was Saturday and under the bombardment of the morning sun, the night fled westwardly into the darkness. I awoke and knew that it was nearing time to get up because I could no longer make out the time that is projected on the ceiling by our clock because of the sunlight. I lay there some few minutes and then quietly arose and exited the room leaving the Spice in repose, knowing she had a while longer to sleep. The fast was broken with my normal morning regimen of liquid vitamins, meds, hot cereal, hot tea and scripture.

The Spice arose a while later and started getting ready for her appointment of the day which was to help out with the homeless ministry that our church has every other Saturday. We were about to be overrun with trash so my mission was to gather this up and take it to the landfill a few miles away and complete another errand or two while out. When the Spice departed, I still had a couple of minor/major things to do before I departed. Minor because they didn’t take very long and major because it involved the placing of a new decal on the truck tag and placing the card for proof of insurance in the truck and Honda. The lack of either would have cost me had I been stopped.

The trash was loaded and I departed the premises and traveled to the trash drop off. My ‘flattened’ cardboard was placed in the proper container as was the household trash and I went on to other things. Went to the gas dispensing location and filled up the truck (ouch) and then to the Post Office. Next was the grocery and three items became many more and 26 dollars. Swooping by KFC, I picked up a large container of slaw to go with other planned lunch items and headed home.

I have heard of aficionados of various things and I happen to be one of those about slaw and my favorite slaw in the universe – at the moment – is created by KFC. My meal consisted of a pouch of tuna, a can of field peas flavored with peppers and the slaw. The tuna was good but the mix of peas and slaw was to my taste buds what glass of cool water would be to one parched by thirst. I wound up eating the whole can of peas and more than half of the slaw. With this taste combination jingling my taste buds, it was more like a symphony of flavor with a crescendo of enjoyment.

Another task that needed to be completed today was some repair work on the trampoline. The safety netting that keeps the little ones from bouncing off on the ground had come loose in three places and had started creeping down the support poles. Placing the 8-foot ladder at each pole, all the attachments were remade and also fastened with plastic ties for more stable support. Even though the netting is getting a little old, hopefully it will keep the gruntmonkeys from falling off on their heads.

My next self-appointed task was to come inside and hold the recliner down so that it wouldn’t float off somewhere. I am proficient in several things I do and recliner holding down is one of them, I haven’t lost one of these pieces of furniture yet. God is still good, even when I’m napping. ec

Friday, April 27, 2007


Now that the garden is planted I have shifted gears a bit and went on a quick inspection of the bushes and trees of the yard to see if any residual damage remained from the freaky freeze of just before Easter. The first stop was the blueberry bed beside the driveway and the bed itself looks good, the foliage of the bushes shows a few affected leaves but healthy otherwise. The berries are all gone, it seems that the freeze got all of them.

There were just a few weeds starting to sprout and one sprig of grass – all were quickly removed and I joyed that I had removed all their grassy and weedy cousins before I enclosed the bed. The first leaves on the small paw paw trees on the other side of the drive were killed by the cold, but now others have replaced them and all are doing well.

The cornelian cherry bushes and June berry trees were all undamaged. The larger of the June berries even has some small unripe fruit – we’ll see how that goes. The next point of interest would be the very small, stubborn, hardheaded pecan tree that started out in the garden and just wouldn’t die. The leaves are finally starting to sprout on this incorrigible little plant form – it may take 10 years but it will be a tree someday.

The small hazelnuts on the bedroom end of the house are OK but the fig trees are killed back to the ground. The good news is that all four of them are sprouting from the roots to become new trees. The blueberries on this end are looking well in the foliage part but all the berries are gone. The pear tree is another total loss for this year as far as the fruit is concerned.

The muscadines are going gangbusters, as are the larger hazelnuts on the kitchen of the house. The main blueberry patch is OK except for the loss of berries – haven’t done a close inspection of all these larger bushes, but if I get any berries, it will be very few. The Rugosa rose is OK and the thorn less blackberries are blooming – this latter will have some berries but not too many since there are only a few canes producing them.

This brings us down to the two largest fig trees. When the frost hit, both of them had leaves that were nearing full size and afterwards they were full of the dried tatters of dead leaves. About a week ago, I was working in the yard and as I went by the larger of the two, I put my hand on a branch and prayed for the tree, that it would sprout back and not have to grow from the ground and later did the same with the other one that is at the other end of the garden.

It was about a week later when I checked them again and the larger one has many tiny green shoots just starting to sprout. There must be a little weakness in my faith though because the other one looks as dead as a doornail – but it is sprouting from the ground again. I’m always amazed at what God will teach me through His creation if I will just listen or pay attention. ec

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The day began in a somewhat normal fashion in that it got light outside. The fast was broken in the somewhat usual and normal ways. Then in a not usual or normal way the Spice and I actually left the house together – in the morning part of the day. Her appointment was one for her hair and mine was to wait for her. To aid and abet the wait, I took some materials to study until she came back to me.

We left that location ahead of schedule, ran an errand and then dropped into Lowe’s just for a look-see – and a restroom stop. From there we went to meet another couple for lunch – we ate and chatted about youth ministry opportunities in the church and a role for the Spice and I in those. We then returned home – I had an appointment with the garden to finish up the planting and she had an appointment at MCG dentistry to adjust her partial for use until the new work could be completed.

She departed for this and I went to my self-appointed task of planting. Two of the longer beds were planted today – these are about 36 feet long with two rows on each. One of these will be summer crook-necked squash and the other will grow okra. This leaves one bed left to plant. A little later BIL and his prayer partner came by and had a good season of prayer for and with me – it was a good time of spiritual communing and worship.

Since SSIL was out of town on business, YD and her crowd wanted the Spice to spend the night with them. She decided to go because I was to be up and out early anyway to help BIL on a project for his job. After she left, I did a little writing and went to bed earlier than usual to enable me to get up earlier – what a concept. We were to go up to Greensboro and I was to help him with telephone related wiring for a business that his employer had bought.

Rising about 6:15am next morning, I broke the fast, got my act together, clowns lined up and my ducks in a row and BIL came for me about 7:30 and we headed west on I-20. From my residence to the business in Greensboro is a little over an hour and neither of us had been to this location. We found it and after assessing the situation – (A) we didn’t have all we needed to do the job, (B) the phone system would require some switching by the phone company that had not been done and (C) it is going to take much longer to complete the task than either of us thought, especially me.

This was not a happy revelation because (A) I am retired, (B) I’m not crazy about being un-retired and (C) I have a BIL that seems determined to drag me back into the workforce. He seems concerned that I might lose all the knowledge that I gained over the years in telephone work. We did what we could with what we had to do with, BIL with the computers and me with telephone wiring. Early afternoon we decided to come back another day after better prep was done and supplies obtained.

Getting back early enough, I finished planting the last garden bed in two rows of cucumbers. Then a row of marigolds was added beside the tomatoes. This leaves only three spaces for additional tomato plants vacant in the whole garden. Now it only remains to wait in expectation to see these tiny wonders of God’s creation sprout and bring forth veggies. ec

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Bottom line for my day was that it did start and I broke the fast with physical and spiritual food as usual and even drank a cup of hot tea, caffeinated green tea in this instance. The decaf doesn’t bother me much and the decaf green tea even less than that. But this morning I just jumped on the caffeinated and let the chips fall where they may – I’m still a little reluctant to try the regular black tea. The tea this morning was a beautiful thing and I enjoyed it very much.

The tomato plants planted a few days ago are all doing well, as are the Spice’s flowers. I have an appointment later today but I need to get the garden completed, so I am just going to have to do it a little at a time. Today I planted the two small beds at the upper end of the garden – these were tilled together, so it is actually a large small bed, if that makes any sense.

This space was kind of humpy and bumpy so I raked it smooth and it looked so good that the thought ran through my head “now, ain’t that purty?” I usually do speak southern to myself so I don’t confuse me with someone else – even though I already know who I am talking to when I speak to myself. Now if I had just stood back and admired the bed and waited on something to sprout, something would have – weeds or grass – since nature abhors a vacuum. Many pets and small children abhor vacuums as well but that is beside the point.

After the admiring I decided to actually plant something so I would have a general idea what would sprout there. Plus what I planted would stand a chance to be more useful than what would grow on its own. The rows in this big/little bed are about 14 feet long and the end result was two rows of Blue Lake bush beans and two rows of zinnia seed – I like a little color amongst the veggies.

The time was then gone and I had to clean up and go on my doc appointment. It was a short visit and neither of us could remember what it was scheduled for, since it had been rescheduled several times – finally we both concluded that it was an old checkup that had been accomplished on another visit for another purpose. I don’t think I was even charged for it – what a concept!

Some takeout was picked up on the way home and I consumed it while giving some crossword puzzles a hard time. The Spice arrived from her second of two appointments for the day, she also had takeout and we did eat somewhat together and attacked another crossword. After this we went on our daily walk that we hadn’t done in about a week – may have to change its name to a weekly walk. But walk we did and we enjoyed some of it and endured the rest.

Back to the house, the Spice had to depart for a babysitting appointment since SSIL had to go out of town for the week and YD had something to go to at the school. Just a while after that I also departed to go to our men’s fellowship meeting at church. On the way it dawned on me that this was the fifth night in a row that I had made this trip to church plus another trip on Sunday morning. This was definitely one way for me to stay out of trouble. Plus it is good to keep in close contact with my best Friend by going to His house – another way is to talk to Him while I’m at home too. ec

Monday, April 23, 2007


The day about which I am writing is a bit fuzzy in the morning part. I have to assume that I got up from my nightly repose and I vaguely remember having a bowl of cereal with blueberries in it – an unusual and rare occurrence anymore – but beyond that I don’t remember a lot. Another assumption would be that I did enjoy myself, because that is what happens the vast majority of the time – wherever I go and whatever I do.

The memories that started in the early afternoon pertained to the tomato and flower plants that I picked up at the nursery a few days ago. I rounded up the necessary tools and supplies and transplanted the tomatoes first, there were ten of these – Parks Whopper (improved) – don’t know exactly what the improved part means or infers, it was just on the tag.

Next on the agenda was the flower plants purchased at the Spice’s request. They were to go in a small bed just outside the garage door and that just happened to be infested with grass and weeds. The unwanteds were none too gently removed from their places of encroachment and the flowers were gently transplanted in their place – 18 impatiens of three different colors.

Then it was back inside to get a bite to eat, get cleaned up and head to our men’s prayer/Bible study cell group, which was very meaningful as always. Got back home after ten and got to bed as soon as possible because I had already consented to sit with YD’s gruntmonkeys for SSIL to take her for a medical procedure early the next morning.

Next morning, I rose at the unearthly hour of 4:45am and made my way my appointed place of duty. They left about 6am for the procedure at 6:30 and I hung out with sleeping little ones. I worked a crossword puzzle and then it came time to awake the school-ager for a wonderful day of learning – I’m sure she thought otherwise. Finally got her out the door to ride her carpool to middle school.

Soon the small ones were up and accounted for and fed breakfast – all had cereal this particular morning – accomplished with a minimum of mess. I had taken a few items with me to make an effort to keep them entertained – three foam discs to toss like a Frisbee and one of my homemade double-barreled rubber band guns. The foam discs were just a few moments curiosity, but the rubber band gun captured them totally. We set up some paper cups on the fireplace hearth and shot them down like the cups they were. For their (and my) safety, I helped them aim and kept them out of the line of fire – this shooting adventure was exciting to them and occupied their attention for a good while.

After a while YD returned from her procedure and was going to need some time to sleep off the medication involved. Since SSIL had to go in to work, I stayed to keep the boys occupied. We did several activities to keep these young minds out of trouble and somewhat quiet, up to and including putting them down for a nap. We had prearranged for the Spice to come by to relieve me somewhat after noon. She came and I went home to relax a while before our big event at church that night.

In the stillness of a quiet house, one can commune with the One that loves them more than any other on earth. ec

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Continuing from last missive – YD, SSIL and GM1 came in and told of the success of the band concert in spite of one young male member messing up thoroughly. I am very impressed with the skill of GM1 and if she continues it could possibly help her with some scholarship money for college in a few years. We chatted a bit and I headed in the general direction of Blueberry Hill. The Spice still couldn’t eat regular food, but needed cool soft things, so I went by Chik-Fil-A on the way home and got us both a milkshake. Mine was mostly past history when I hit the home front.

A short while later we crashed into bed for the night. It seemed that only a few minutes had passed after we had entered our evening’s repose when morning began while I wasn’t looking. Then I was up to break the fast, partaking of food and scripture for the nourishment of both body and soul. Then to the computer and a determination to keep a low profile so that the Spice could sleep in, since she is still recovering from the dental implantation.

The several ringings of the phone changed that whole scenario all around a short while later. Since she was now awake, I got dressed and headed out on a couple of errands. The state of South Carolina offers an additional homestead exemption on property taxes when the homeowner reaches 65, but it must be applied for one year after that date since they bill for the year after the fact. Since I had reached that magical year, this was one of my stops.

The drive over was very relaxing and I took in the sights of the greenery along the way – the light and bright spring green color is a refreshing thing to behold. It is good to be retired because for one thing, if a person plans right, they don’t have to be in a hurry. And for another, they can go on these errands while the poor working people are still at work and the place is not so crowded. After applying, I asked for an approximate amount the taxes would be reduced and she gave an estimate that came out to about 40% - I don’t care who you are, that will put a smile on your face.

My other stop for the day was at my favorite nursery for several items for the yard and garden. I have known the owners for more than 30 years and this is always a pleasant stop – even though it costs money. An hour or so later, after much discussion about some hard to find fruit trees I wanted, I came home with some fertilizer, limestone, tomato plants and some Blue Lake bush bean seed – also some flowers, at the Spice’s request.

Back home and after a bite to eat, I happened to pass by the recliner and allowed it to woo me into its relaxing arms. Although that was the initial intention, the end result was a nap. Arising later and wandering out into the garden area, I decided to “get to the root” of the bramble problem on this last bramble infested bed. After about two hours this was finally finished and it became time to try my new tiller. Its operation was a bit different but easier – if any of them are easy.

Now all that remains is to place the seed and/or plants in the ground and watch them grow in the way God designed – that always amazes me. ec

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


The breaking of the dawn was not heard by me but I know it did happen because it was mostly light when I arose. I had moved from the bed to the recliner about 3:30am because of a cough and not being able to sleep. Fortunately the position of the recliner eased off the cough and the couple of hours sleep were very much welcomed by my body. The fast was then broken and I partook of scripture as well. Then I did some writing and checked my email as is my usual pattern.

A little later in the morning, I trucked down to check the mail and pick up a few items at the grocery. I went to get two items and wound up with three bags full and over 30 dollars spent. This does happen to me quite a bit, especially if I happen to be hungry. Almost back home it suddenly dawned on me that I had forgotten one of the main stops – the pharmacy. Went back and picked up the necessary item for the Spice – the use of which is required on her dental surgery site.

Back home and after a bit of lunch I made my way outside to the garden area to hunt and rip out more brambles. Had a very productive hour or so but still didn’t get through. Had to come in to clean up and go sit with the local gruntmonkeys. GM1 is in the school band and they had a concert that night. She wanted her Mom and Dad to be there and I was glad to help out. They didn’t think the music the three boys would have added to the concert would have been very harmonious.

When I arrived they were still in the full throes of their supper – spaghetti. Shortly YD, SSIL and GM1 left for the concert and after much coaxing and cajoling the boys finally finished all they were going to eat. Then the spaghetti stains were cleaned from the two younger lads but the older was surprised that he even had these supper colors left there. He had to go check for himself and then clean his own mouth – mister independent. GM3 then wanted to watch a VHS video and their viewing equipment was set up for DVD and I didn’t know how to change it over. GM3 made an effort to change it himself but was unsuccessful so we decided to just play games.

I had taken my small portable audio recorder for just such a lapse in the action and we made some recordings of each of them. This kept them occupied for a while and they smiled very big to hear themselves speak back through this instrument. I also had an emergency balloon for further entertainment. After this was blown up, I released it to fly around a few seconds and it so startled GM6 that he had to be reassured a bit. It was then tied off and batted around the room. But then only the older one was getting the action so the game was changed for each one to take a turn while the others sat on the couch.

This lasted until bedtime and we went upstairs, got teeth brushed and a story was read to them – actually a chapter in Tom Sawyer. Then they were prayed with and put down for the night. I went back downstairs and sat on the steps, gazing at the evening sky. The sun had already set but the sky was still light and I watched this sight and communed my appreciation to my Maker. ec

PS – I have been tagged to choose five bloggers whose writings make me think. These are anvilcloud, whatsupdownsouth, momto3cubs, diary of humanity and adannells.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

dental day

The day dawned into what was not to be a pain-free one for the Spice. This was the day that she was to go to the Medical College of Georgia Dental School and get a metal post implanted into her jawbone to thereby enable further work. I’m sure there are more technical terms for that which would sound less painful, but then maybe not. They were going to “put her under” with anesthesia so someone had to come with her, stay the whole time and take her home – that would be me.

The MCG Dental School just happens to be in Augusta – for those who didn’t know – about 9 miles away from where we live. We made the drive over, checked in and soon I was in the somewhat unhappy position of waiting spouselessly in the room full of chairs. Of course my chair was a much more to be desired seat than that of the Spice – and my waiting was of slight consequence compared to her plight. A couple of other people were in this same position of waiting but they were more interested in dozing than in conversing.

As usual, when I know there will be some waiting involved, I took several things to keep myself occupied. We have been attending a Bible training class on Sunday evenings at church and I brought my class book to start on my homework. This usually takes me all week to get to and I breezed through it in about an hour – wow, and I didn’t have anyone awake to high five! My next time occupier was one of the several crossword puzzles from the newspaper – I save these until I get time to complete them. This serves to keep the mind sharp and sometimes gives me words to write about.

The first puzzle was about two thirds of the way to completion when the young man (anyone under fifty) nearby roused up and we started chatting. It is amazing how much you can find out about someone in just a few minutes. He was 46, divorced, had two grown children and worked as manager of restocking the Bi-Lo store about a mile away from our house and this is where the bulk of our grocery shopping is done. It happens that he doesn’t come to work until 8pm and that is the reason that I have never seen him before – nonetheless it is a small world.

Had we talked longer, we might have found out that we were kin or at least went to different schools together. But then the friend that he was there to drive home got ready to go and we parted company, but not before I invited him to church. Then a younger lady came in and we chatted a bit. She had one son that was about 13 months old and she was married to one of the dentists in this very building – he was doing a one-year residency before going out on his own. They were going to practice in Canton, Georgia – near Atlanta, where her whole family lived.

They called her back for cleaning and x-rays and I was looking around for my next chatting victim when they came and informed me that the Spice was ready to depart the premises. After receiving instructions and a couple of prescription forms, I headed out to drive the van around to pick her up at the point at which they were to wheel her out. Her pain meds were starting to wear off so we stopped by the pharmacy on the way home to pick up her new pain meds and an antibiotic.

After bringing her home and getting her sacked out, I hung close around to help out for the rest of the day. After a couple of naps and some meds she gradually started to come back to the land of everyday life. She survived the ordeal; life is good and will be better. Having a loving wife is a good thing. Having a loving Savior, Jesus Christ, is even better. ec

Sunday, April 15, 2007

mo hunting

The news seems to have gotten out somehow that the ‘bramble hunter’ was on the prowl in the garden. The little thieves of soil nutrition were harder to find during the latest hunt, they were hiding behind the few remaining stalks of grass and weeds and also in the brown thatch that resulted from the mowing before the hunt started. Do they have their own little newspaper, something like “The Bramble Chronicles”, that tells all the prickly news and sticky situations on Blueberry Hill?

No matter, they did get found and many roots again bit the air whether they wanted to or not. The extermination project did not get completed because the problem was more extensive than it was first thought. I was hoping to be rid of the intruders today and possibly even get the garden tilled. There is one large bed remaining to be cleared and it is the worst of all. Plus the day after today carries a threat of rain and hence a postponement of the bramble hunts. But alas, the end of my energy and the daylight came about the same time, so the hunt was postponed until another day.

During this pause in the action we take time for a word from our sponsor – Gazornenplatz’s floofel snarfer. Are you disappointed with your present snarfer? Is it just not snarfing the way you thought it would? Well, it’s time to step up to our new and improved deluxe floofel snarfer. Other snarfers only have eight sides but our floofel model is laterally octagonal in construction. With other snarfers you can only see the snarfing action, but with the floofel you can actually view it! Just remember if you are right-handed, you will need to get the left-handed model for better snarf viewing. You are not really snarfing if you are not using a Gazornenplatz floofel snarfer. Make the world a better place, go Gazornenplatz! And now we return to our post already in progress.

On another day, during another time and at basically the same place, the hunt began again. This one last bed remaining to be cleared had the dreaded brambles in heartbreaking multiplicity. It reminded me of one of the songs from “The Sound of Music” – ‘The bed was alive with the sight of brambles’ – I guess you had to be there. As the hunter chased down and hacked these maleficent plant entities from the good soil, he couldn’t help but smile, knowing that not only these were being wiped out, but all others that would spring forth from their dastardly roots.

After great results, yet with the bed incomplete in it’s clearing, the hunter once again had to call off the hunt for this day. Another day would have to view its completion and the tilling operation. The hunter shifted back to just being a regular guy and went for an evening walk. Clouds were moving in, promising wet stuff later in the evening, but the temp was just right for this necessary rehab activity.

The pond behind our house and the neighbor’s has seen and heard much goose activity of late and just as I started the walk, a flock of 19 of these left the surface of the pond to fly to another surface a few miles to the south of us. Then just as I was finishing up the stroll, I saw that one pair of the geese did not leave and the reason was that they were guarding their young ones – 5 goslings were trailing along behind the Mom goose and the Dad was the rear guard. A few years back some ducks hatched out, but this is the first time I have seen goose hatchlings on this pond.

Continuing to be amazed by God’s creations, I was grateful for the viewing thereof. ec

Thursday, April 12, 2007


(Big Bad Blue Berry Hill Bramble Hunter) The former title that I had claimed, ‘Debrambleer’, had gotten old and lost its punch. Besides it sounded too polite and cavalier (casual; lighthearted) and I felt that the job needed to sound a little more authoritative – hence the name change. But to allow the title to take on the gravitas it deserves, a more definitive definition was needed to describe this evil plant enemy, the bramble. Bramble refers to the thorny plants of the Genus Rubus in the Rose family. Brambles include blackberries, loganberries and other closely related plants.

Many members of this plant family are cultivated and produce very good fruit for human consumption. Some other plants in the bramble family grow wild and are the bane of my garden and blueberry patch. The main troubler is a variety that has a trailing growth pattern – growing along the ground – and if left alone, they will intertwine into a woven thorny mess. Plus they steal the nutrients from the plants that I desire to grow in the places these interlopers put down roots.

It is time to plant our garden, but before this happens, the weeds and tall grasses – mostly in the rye, wheat or oat families – must be mowed to prevent them from winding around and clogging up the tines of the tiller. This has been done but a new problem presented itself in the form of stray brambles hiding in these grasses, just waiting to multiply among the plantings of veggies. These were dug out last year and there are not nearly as many as then, but they must be removed.

Today the bramble hunt began with the hunter and his weapon searching out the sneaky plants that re-grew from small segments of root that was left in the soil last year. The weapon of choice today was a narrow shovel with a long handle and you would remember his name from past missives if I mentioned it, but he chooses to remain anonymous because of the dangerous mission he is on.

The sun was leaning toward the horizon when the hunt began and it only ended when the Spice said it was time to eat – a man has to have priorities. But between those times massive deracination was going on with no mercy shown to these thorny trespassers. It was so hard not to show great glee and even an occasional chuckle when the offender was found and dug up by the roots – deracinated. Many roots bit the air today and their little plant bones and limbs will now die and dry to be oxidized by the flames of the burn pile with other offending and condemned plant forms.

Many of the roots broke off so I know there will be some re-growth, but many grizzled and lumpy roots were found and ripped out – never to offend the gardener/hunter or his fruits and veggies again. There were two small beds and four large ones to clear – and today the two small and one of the large ones were finished. Another large one was about half completed when mealtime occurred. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully these can all be completed and the garden tilled as well.

Some of us may have some pretty thorny situations in our lives, but there is One that can help with the removal thereof so that the garden of our heart can produce proper fruit for the Master. ec

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Monday, April 9th, had several distinctions that made it a bit different from other days. First is the fact that it was my Mom’s birthday, she would be 95 on this day – she passed on Mother’s day in 1997. Second is not a biggie but this was our first day back from Texas and we are trying to recover from being gone for over a week. Third is the fact that we had a hard freeze while we were gone and I need to check out the damage from that – will come back to that later.

My morning was spent recovering inside the house, with some putting away of clothes and ‘stuff’. In the afternoon I ventured down to the post office to pick up the mail. It was a good thing I took a plastic bag with me because I filled it up – plus we had two packages. Then it was over to Bi-Lo for a ‘few’ grocery items – over 50 bucks worth. After that I picked up some takeout for our evening meal and headed home to partake thereof with the Spice.

Shortly before sundown, I meandered somewhat apprehensively outside to assess the damage from the freaky cold snap – the coldest for those days in this area since back in the 1880s. Two nights in a row there was a frost and one of them was in the mid to upper twenties. Starting at the driveway, the leaves of the blueberries were only affected in a minor way, but the berries may be lost. Most of them were dimpled as from freezing but it will be a few days to see if they will fall off.

The small paw paw trees on the other side of the drive are always late to put on leaves and seem to have only minor damage. The blooms that I found earlier on the one of them evidently didn’t get pollinated because they are drying up and falling off. Little or no damage was noted on the Cornelian cherries and the June berries. The small stubborn pecan tree moved from the garden a couple of years ago didn’t have leaves as yet so hopefully it will be OK. The main branches of the small hazelnut trees weren’t affected but the new sprouts at the ground line were all wilted.

The fig trees transplanted during last years dormant season are a different story. They are very sensitive to frost and all sprouts and leaves are dead. If they live, they will grow again from the roots plus the possibility of any figs from them is slim this year. The blueberries on the bedroom end of the house are about like the others and only time will tell whether any berries will be left. Their mulch is getting a little thin, I’m sure they will benefit from another layer of organic matter.

The single pear tree had bloomed abundantly and had much small fruit hanging all over – now almost all the fingernail sized fruit has turned brown. Only two or three were noticed that weren’t dead already and it remains to be seen if they will grow. Its blooms were killed last year and had no pears at all. Checking the muscadines, I was somewhat surprised that they were only about 10% affected. They are late to put out shoots and leaves and that may have been their salvation.

The larger hazelnuts on this end were about like the smaller ones and the main blueberry patch also was like the other blueberries, blueberries may be hard to come by this year. If so, it will be the first time this has happened since I have been growing them. The leaves and small figs on the larger trees on this end are dead; hopefully they are big enough to sprout again instead of having to grow back from the ground. The rugosa rose and the thornless blackberries didn’t seem to be damaged.

God is still good – all the time. ec

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

home again

Continuing the journey home on Easter Sunday. The flight seemed so much smoother back to Atlanta since the weather was much better, in fact it felt like we were not moving at all if you didn’t look out the window. The flight out didn’t seem to have any young ones on board, or at least they didn’t make any noise. This was not true for this flight and a few times the vocal renditions were at rather high volume and at the upper end of high-pitched soprano scale. This having somewhat the same effect on me as someone scraping their fingernails across a chalkboard.

GM1 and I were on one side of the aisle and the Spice was on the other and the ones shattering the peace and quiet were seated directly behind her. This family was traveling with their four youngsters and the noise was coming from the 16 month old twins. Don’t remember hearing anything from the 3-year-old, but the 6-year-old did protest once, something to the effect of “Hey, you guys gave me a broken candy bar”. It even seemed to me that only one twin was noisy – loud enough for about four.

The attendants came by with drinks and snacks and the flight was almost uneventful except for being occasionally punctuated by a sharp squeal of some sort of protest from the twin. We came into Atlanta a few minutes ahead of schedule, but this didn’t really help us since we had a two and a half hour layover before our flight into Augusta. We took this opportunity to get a bite to eat, find our gate and then just wait.

While waiting, we shortly found out that our gate of boarding had been changed, so we went to the new gate and waited some more. Waiting for anything is not a favorite with me but I tried to occupy myself by recording our trip on my little recorder and people watching. I chose to just sit while the Spice and GM1 chose to check out some of the shops in the concourse area. I was amused by a Mom spoon feeding her young one across the way and every time she put the spoon to the baby’s mouth, the Mom would open her mouth as well, showing the little one how to do it I guess.

I found myself dreading the flight back to Augusta because I figured it would be the same type prop job as before. But my eyes and hopes brightened considerably when I saw a large jet pull up to our new gate of departure. With so many folks flying out of Augusta on Monday – because of the Master’s golf tournament – they were flying some large aircraft in for this purpose and we got the indirect benefit of it. When we finally boarded, there were only about 75 of us in a craft that would hold 3 or 4 times that many.

This plane was so much quieter than the puddle jumper that we came up on and by the time we got to altitude, it was time to make the descent into Augusta – didn’t even have time to get snacks – bummer! In fact, the whole trip from wheels up to wheels down only took about 30 minutes. This was a good happening and when we got to Augusta another good thing happened – all of our luggage arrived with us – wow, what a concept.

We had called YD to come for us as soon as the plane touched down and we had just got our bags pulled out to the pick-up area when she arrived. We loaded up and headed across the river to South Carolina. It was a very good visit with our dear ones in Texas, but as always it is good to be home – thank the Lord for safety on the trip! ec

Monday, April 09, 2007

Texas trip - 10

Saturday, April 7th, began with a change of weather, it was dark, cloudy and shortly the skies gave forth rain. The weather promised more of the wet stuff but in the middle of the day and early afternoon it didn’t happen. This was to be our last full day in Texas and it became just a relaxed, kicked back day with all outings cancelled because of the precipitation.

We did not come prepared for the drastic change of temperature that has taken place but we have enough to layer and get by for the return trip home. The ladies went out in the afternoon for a short stint of shopping and to pick up some items for the evening meal, leaving the gruntmonkeys with the old guy. It was sort of odd in that it didn’t rain while they were gone but the moment of their return ushered in another shower. I wondered if that was like the phenomenon of rain never falling on the golf course.

They finished the prep for the evening meal and we partook of the nourishment. After cleaning up the kitchen and getting GM5 down for the night, the girls wanted to watch another DVD, “Flicka”. And of course they wanted all to watch it with them. I did make an effort but after much checking my eyelids for holes, I came to a point of consciousness that made it possible to arise, shower and get ready for bed and crashed for the night – I am such a live wire.

Easter Sunday morning came and I finally reached a condition of wakefulness that enabled me to creep into a new day. Going downstairs to start the day with full knowledge that the packing would have to be completed in a short while for the return trip home. I did an intake of sustenance and scripture for strength to make it through the day and then started gathering the odds and ends of our belongings into the cases to get them back home.

In due course, all the bags were packed, brought down and placed in the van and we all started for the airport. The day had begun with showers but this started clearing as we got closer to Houston, which is about an hour’s drive from where they reside. There was hardly any traffic but it was about midday on Easter Sunday and most decent folk were in church. We arrived at the parking area, drug our luggage to the check-in area, got it tagged and hoped it would be in Augusta when we got there.

We proceeded on to the security check-in and went through the worst part of the whole trip – the leaving of loved ones. Tearing ourselves away, we went through security with minor inconvenience – even though this time the machinery didn’t like my CPAP machine. It finally passed; we got our shoes back on and went forth to find our gate for boarding. In a short while we were enplaned and airborne, headed for Atlanta, Georgia.

Spiritually we were no closer to God while in the air but somehow it felt like it. ec

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Texas trip - 9

Friday, April 6th, began without my permission and in its usual slow manner – from my viewpoint. GM5 is an early riser, much to the weariness of his Mom and was almost ready for a nap by the time his sister and cousin got up. The plans for the day were that OD was taking GM1 and GM2 to a water park over in the direction of Galveston and the Spice and I were to hang out with GM5. The little one was down for a nap when the girls left for the water park shortly after 10am but this only lasted about an hour or so and he was up and at it again.

We had a bite of lunch later and the little one again went down for nap. We heard from the water park goers and they were having a wonderful time and the place has so impressed OD that she is already planning a revisit a bit later in the year. They were staying for at least another couple of hours of the massive, sliding, splashing wetness.

After GM5 woke up, the Spice and I took him for a stroll in the neighborhood. It is a quiet area with only resident traffic, has a lot of cul-de-sacs and is a good place to walk. Installing GM5 in the stroller, we headed out for my daily 30 minute perambulation. The young one took note of most everything we passed and mentioned all to us – the most impressive thing to him was the airplane passing overhead and he mentioned this several times.

Shortly before finishing our walk we heard from the water park girls and they were on the way back. The plan was to be ready as soon as they got home, then load up and head to Fuddrucker’s for the evening meal. This plan came to fruition a short while later and we arrived at the eatery to join what appeared to be about half the population of the area. This hamburger specialty place has only been open a short time and is very popular.

We waited in queue a bit, ordered our food and were given a pager to alert us when the burgers and such would be ready. We then found a table and prepared our drinks. While waiting, GM1 and GM2 were all excited and were both trying to tell me about all the happenings at the water park – at the same time. Evidently this is quite the ‘place’ – with a wave pool, a ‘lazy river’ float ride and this last part even had some waves on it.

GM5 was enthralled by all the busy and noisy goings-on in the restaurant around him and was soaking it all in. Anything and everything caught his attention until the food arrived, then he was all business. He chowed down on his kid’s plate and shortly nothing was left but a few crumbs. As an afterthought, we ordered milkshakes to finish off the meal. The food was good and we did not leave hungry.

We stopped at a nearby Target to get some milk and a couple of other items and headed back home. We put the young man in bed for the night and the girls put in a DVD – “Flicka” – for all to watch. The old man in the group viewed about half of this but with his coach rapidly turning to a pumpkin, he bid them goodnight and departed for his place of repose for the night. It would have been hard to tell if I was more grateful or thankful for this day that God had made – or maybe it was mostly both. ec

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Texas trip - 8

The saga of the beach trip of April 5th continues. In spite of the wind, the young ones seemed to be having a great time just digging in the sand and playing. GM5 went down to the edge of the water with his Mom and a larger than normal wave came in and caused him to sit down in the water. It not only scared him some but the water had to be cold in that wind. But it didn’t take him long to get over it and he was back digging in the sand and having a good time.

While they were playing, I walked out on the fishing pier to just look around. There had been about 6 or 8 fisher-persons on the end when we drove up but only two were there now. This couple had not caught anything as yet today, said they were just mostly ‘hanging out’ – they had caught an ice chest full two days before. The water looked muddy and the waves angry but they said that is about how it always looks.

One of the sail surfers was up on the taller part of the pier, holding up an instrument to measure the wind speed. I asked him the speed and he replied that it was between 12 and 15 miles an hour. I asked him how good that was with the sport in which they were involved and he said that it was only marginal. The wind did seem to drop off a bit before we left.

During a walk up the beach, I was admiring part of God’s creation in the form of small shore birds – in the plover family, I think. Their tiny feet moved so fast as they ran back and forth, hunting food, that one could hardly see their feet at all. There were also pelicans and a gull that I wasn’t used to seeing on the Atlantic shore. It was a smaller one with a black head and black on the top of the wings, while the underside was white. There was a blackbird sitting on the top of one of the plastic trash bins and seemed to be guarding it.

This sandy area was named Quintana beach. We finally gathered up the young ones, blankets and play stuff and headed to the van. We got all the sand off that we could – GM5 was so grubby that he had to be cleaned off and changed before getting in his car-seat. We got to the home front knowing that we only had a short while before our next event of the evening. The previously prepared baked Ziti was turned on to warm up and all started cleaning up for the next outing – we were going to see the movie “Meet the Robinsons”.

Just as we were finishing up the meal, a neighborhood girl came to sit with GM5 and we shortly headed out for the cinema. When we got there, I got the tickets and headed on in to see the previews, leaving OD and the Spice to get the cokes and popcorn. The girls went with me to also catch the previews. It was a real zany, wacky, fun movie that just happens to be the type that I like and we all enjoyed it.

After the movie, we dropped the Spice and girls at a store and OD brought me home to relieve the baby sitter and then she went back to help them shop. It was a day that the Lord made and I rejoiced and was glad in it. ec

Friday, April 06, 2007

Texas trip - 7

Thursday, April 5th, dawned as bright and sunny as the preceding day was dark and dank. It was a bit cooler and breezier than it had been. The first segment of our adventures today was to go down to the Freeport area and check out the beach for a while. On the way I couldn’t help but notice how much the terrain reminded me of south Florida, particularly how flat the land was and also the canals and drainage areas.

An exception to the similarities would be the skyline with the many chemical plants and refineries that are rife in the area - many processing vertical tank structures clutter the horizon. Also in evidence were the large electrical high line towers that transport the massive amounts of electricity needed in the plants. The Freeport area is a major import/export site for chemical products but also for some fruits, particularly imports of bananas.

The beaches here are not at all like the ones we are familiar with at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina The Gulf coast off the panhandle of Florida has beautiful white sand beaches and the water is so clear that you can see the sharks when they come in for a bite. The sand here is very fine and firmly packed and looks almost like regular dirt. The beach also doesn’t look clean because of all the seaweed that washes up on the shore. It seemed to be rather littered, but since it is a bit early in the season, that may be the reason for that.

This was a drive-on beach and we parked near a fishing pier where several folks were trying to trick the fish into biting. We walked over to an area where vehicles were not allowed and took the kid’s play stuff with us. The temp was not bad but the wind made it seem a bit chilly. The young ones were not complaining and started playing and digging in the sand.

There were even a couple of guys on their surfboard with a sail and they seemed to be having a great time – they did have a partial wet suit on because it was not exactly balmy. One guy even had a huge kite that he used to pull himself with on his surfboard. It was in the form of a large semi-circle with strong ropes and a handle to hold to. This guy was very good at what he did and made several runs down the surf – he would have to get out and walk the kite back up to his starting point and then begin again because of the wind direction.

As the kids were playing, I walked around to check out some of the local beach flora. One that I noticed reminded me of a succulent plant found on the army base where I took basic training. They were all over the place in the sandy soil and back then we just called them ‘ice plants’ because of the pulpy leaves and stems. There were various other plants and grasses but behind the sand of the beach was a low-growing species of cedar that was more of a bush than a tree. It was thriving and looked as though it belonged there.

I’m constantly amazed by the things of God’s creation and this was another time of that. ec

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Texas trip - 6

Wednesday, April 4th, began in a dark and foreboding manner, promising much wet stuff. In spite of this, OD and I went out for a walk, striving to get a bit of exercise. We had only been back inside for a short while when the earlier promises came to fruition and we had a mini-monsoon. It continued to rain to one degree or another most all day. OD had planned an outing with a couple of stops but the wetness put the stoppage on that. We stayed in and watched a DVD she had rented – “Happy Feet” – it was enjoyed by all, young and old.

On a wet and dreary day that would be a good occasion for a nap, the writer sat instead, striving to grasp random words and thoughts and compose them into an order that would make sense to someone else. The problem with that would be, what makes sense to one may not to another and the writer might slowly meander off down a nonsensical path and no one follows. Could this be the road identified as the one less traveled? Or could it be the path that all are on and nobody knows the others are there?

Then how could we make sense of things unless we could sense that others were there on the path of life by our senses? But if the path of which I speak is one of the mind, and we are on another frequency, we may indeed be alone. How would we know though unless we had some form of frequency identification – such as communications? But so many that think they are communicating are not, because their efforts are not understood. Worse still is that they may be misunderstood, because what they sent out in some form of language is not received in the way it was meant to be received – hope that clears all this up.

Anyway, back to Texas, while out to get us some steaks to grill, OD rented another movie – "Eragon". The steaks were grilled, sides prepared and we consumed the evening meal with great relish – this relish was the feeling and not the condiment. After cleaning up and putting down GM5 for the night, the other 5 of us watched this fanciful movie. Seems to be along the lines of “Lord of the Rings” and even though it was fair, it didn’t seem to quite match up. I understand there are supposed to be a couple of sequels to this tale as well.

After the movie, efforts were made at memory processing and recording same, but the hour was late, the writer was tired and his place of repose for the evening was softly calling to him. Prep for this repose was made, back stretching exercises were done and further memory processing was done behind closed eyelids. In spite of the rain, the day was still good and thanks were given to the One who made the day and made the experiences possible. ec

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Texas trip - 5

Tuesday morning came around as it usually does – right after Monday night. We broke the fast, but not together, it was every person for themselves. Today was the day planned to go to the school to have lunch with GM2 – OD, the Spice and GM1 went to keep her company and I stayed with GM5. The trip was a surprise one and she was appropriated pleased.

When the little one got up from his nap, he downed a whole snack cup of Spaghettios and it didn’t take him but a skinny minute to do so. This little one is picking up words and phrases all along, but sometimes he has to have a translator – his Mom usually. His mind is soaking up most anything going on around him – good thing we don’t cuss.

The ladies got back and started to get ready for their big adventure of the evening, to attend an Astros baseball game. Since I still can’t sit for very long, my job was to ‘sit’ with GM5 again. When GM2 got home from school, the ladies got ready and departed for downtown Houston for the event. The season opened on Monday the 2nd. GM5 and I hung around to guard the home front. We partook of our evening meal and did some one-on-one face time together. He was finally ready to conk out shortly after 8pm and I put him down.

They have two dachshunds and one ear has to be kept open for them, lest they get into something they shouldn’t. I was quietly watching TV when I heard a small sound that sounded like something or someone pulling at plastic. I spoke a warning in the direction of the sound and got up to check. There was a plastic bag of trash by the door to be taken out and behind the table Bogey, one of the dogs, was quietly lurking. I knew he was the guilty party and I smiled because he still had a small piece of telltale plastic in his teeth. After being sufficiently scolded, he slunk off to areas of less guilty emotions.

GM1 and GM2 came in from the game all excited for at least a couple of reasons. First, they were chosen as honorary bat girls and got to be in a promotion and were shown on the big screen at the park. Second, they were all excited about one of the ball players, Brad Ausmus, they called him a ‘hunk’. Fortunately for them the weather cooperated, even though the stadium is covered, they could have been very wet going back and forth to the van. It was a good thing that they didn’t go to see the Astros win – because they didn’t.

That’s about like life, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes you really fall on your face and get stepped on, but with Jesus you have a friend to help you get back up and start all over. ec

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Texas trip - 4

The trip to Texas cannot officially be considered a vacation since the definition of that word is: ‘a period of rest from work’ and as a retired person, I don’t really work. I do have hobbies that cause me to sweat at times, but can something that someone enjoys as much as I do gardening and raising fruit and nut bearing plants be considered work?

Anyway, I arose on Monday morning in this state that has been called “a whole nuther country” with the largest task of the morning being to eat breakfast. I did accomplish that with a certain amount of proficiency and then hid some of the Word in my heart, as the scripture says I should do. The weather of the morning was nice, but with some possible thunder boomers a possibility in the afternoon.

GM5 was up and about and when I started prep for breakfast, he wanted to eat again. His desire was for peanut butter, not in a sandwich but just on a spoon – something he has been doing for a while. His final tally was 5 spoons of peanut butter without anything else, except some juice to wash it down. He probably gets weird eating habits from his Pop-pop.

About 5pm Monday we left the home station of visitation and headed out for the adventures of the evening. Several stops were made and errands run before we got to the eating/playing place of our destination. We even drove through the beautiful Lake Jackson downtown area – the tour took all of 30 seconds or so. Our final stop was officially named All-star sports-plex – they serve food and have play/practice areas in the rear of the building.

This establishment is locally famous for its calzone and pizza and they do a booming business in their carry-out sales. Our food goal was the calzone and we thoroughly enjoyed this food product with great gusto. After this enjoyment we went to the rear of the establishment for the young ones to play. The netted in field area was occupied this night by a few practicing soccer and several young ladies practicing fast pitch softball – these two activities were separated by another net.

The main attraction for GM1, GM2, GM5, OD and Spice was in the rear of the building and it was in the form of inflatable play structures. There were three of them, a large slide, an obstacle course and a boxing ring with huge gloves included. The GMs greatly enjoyed the inflatables, joined later by OD and even the Spice. The Spice slid the slide and boxed the girls with the oversized gloves but the highlight of the evening was when she jumped from the top of the obstacle course hill into the padded area below – I only thought I knew this ‘wild’ woman. The older gent did not join in with these physical efforts for obvious reasons.

The memories of the night will be a precious thing, even the Spice’s leap of doom – this last memory will be much happier since she lived through the ordeal. God is good, all the time. ec

Monday, April 02, 2007

Texas trip - 3

When I woke on Saturday morning, March 31st, I thought that this must be what jet lag feels like, even though our flights were fairly short. It was somewhere around 9am and I was thinking that it sure was dark for that time of day – and then the monsoon hit. OD went out to pick up some items for our breakfast, during and between rain showers and we broke the fast for the day. I found myself longing for hot tea but I knew that couldn’t happen, so I found some cocoa mix and had hot chocolate – this somewhat filled the hankering.

Don’t think I mentioned that FSIL was out of town on business for the first part of our time in Texas and the rest of the time, he would be in Augusta to work in the Master’s Golf tournament. This was one main reason that OD wanted us to come, so that she could have some company while he was gone and we were only too glad to comply.

We started making phone calls to find out about the missing luggage and it was revealed that two of the bags finally turned up in Houston and would be sent out to us – they finally got here about 6:30pm on Saturday. After much checking, the other bag was found still sitting in Augusta. They finally sent it this way by another airline and it’s supposed to be delivered sometime tonight. This is not a happy time experience, but I know I will look back at the experience and laugh – someday – maybe.

Because of the rain, we decided to declare the day one in which to goof off and recover from travel and we enjoyed doing just that. We called our doctor in Augusta and got him to phone in a prescription for my only necessary medication to OD’s pharmacy – the others and vitamins will just have to wait. Fortunately, the Spice had her meds for several days in her pocketbook – hers are much more serious than mine. It is for sure that my carry-on bag will have more of the necessary stuff on our next trip – live and learn.

The missing bag finally showed up in Houston and they were supposed to send it out Saturday night even though it would be very late. The Spice sat up late reading and waiting for the wandering bag – about 2am Sunday morning she gave up and sacked out. The bag finally arrived at 6:50am and even at that we were glad to see it again. The meds, vitamins and toilet articles were especially welcome – the socks and underwear as well.

We had some showers overnight and again this morning but it finally cleared somewhat. We had a quiet Sunday morning in house and went out this afternoon to attend GM2’s Bible drill at church. All the kids did well and some got to go on to the state competition – GM2 was one of these and she was thrilled – we were as well. We had oriental burgers for supper and homemade ice cream for dessert.

Since I don’t care much for cakes, OD made me some birthday pies – two sweet potato custards and one blueberry, had some of the latter with the ice cream. We didn’t do the candles and all – pies just don’t seem to be suited for that. Thank the Lord for another birthday – and for birthday pies. ec

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Texas trip - 2

AC pointed out that I missed the date of our departure by a month - it was on March 30th. This is a continuation of the same day. The plane we took from Augusta to Atlanta was a smaller commuter turbo-prop and we were fully loaded with people. While this aircraft seemed to be very air worthy and sturdy, it had a lot of vibration and noise. It seemed to have somewhat the noise level of a riding lawn mower and not much more comfort in the seating therein – but they did give us a small bottle of water and a pack of peanuts.

We got to Atlanta late because of leaving late and I thought we might have trouble being on time for our flight to Houston. My concern was for naught because we went down and caught the “subway” to the proper concourse and even after a visit to the necessary rooms, we had a few minutes to wait before boarding.

This time we were on a jet and our conveyance was so much smoother and quieter, plus I got a cookie AND a pack of peanuts along with the water. We did have some bumpy air as we were getting up to altitude and a couple of times on the flight. The descent into the Houston airport was pretty rough due to a storm front but I’ve been in worse. As soon as we were on the tarmac we were allowed to turn our cell phones back on and we called OD and found out that she, GM2 and GM5 were already in baggage claim waiting for us.

We de-planed and found our way to that area. After happy greetings we stood around waiting for luggage to come down the magic conveyer. We finally got one of the four bags and were the last ones standing around waiting for more. The luggage person came over and informed us that our other three were still in Augusta – in this case, Delta wasn’t ready when we were.

Since the flight from Augusta was fully loaded, they didn’t send some of the luggage because of weight. They didn’t even send them on the next flight, but would send then on the first flight on Saturday and bring them out to us. Being very trusting, with a touch of naïvety, I had put all my meds and vitamins in one of those left behind bags – as well as all toilet articles.

With a large feeling of broken trust, we took our one bag to OD’s van and went to other parts of Houston. Our first place to stop was at P F Chang’s Chinese Bistro, since OD had wanted us to eat there. The food was good as the name was fancy and was enjoyed by all – but we had to bring several boxes of leftovers home. Even an hour later I still wasn’t hungry.

Our next stop was another place that OD had been telling me about – Central Market. This place was a huge fresh market and had more produce than I have ever seen, in volume or in variety. I had never even heard of some of this stuff – they even had tiny Russian banana potatoes and several other types of this veggie that I didn’t know was in existence. We wandered around in amazement for a while and finally departed for her residence.

We had to stop on the way to her home to pick up some toothbrushes for the night and hoped that the bags would be in the next day. Even though our luggage was lost, I knew that God was still good – all the time. ec

PS - Today, April 1st, is my birthday - 66.