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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Thursday, August 30, 2007


The clouds were gathering and the lightning was flashing in the distance – it promised to be a dark and stormy night. My appointed chore for the evening was to baby-sit with three local gruntmonkeys, GM3, GM4 and GM6. YD was going to see her daughter, GM1, play in the band for the first time while at a high school football game.

The two older boys had put their pajamas on in prep for their approaching bedtime and were watching a movie on DVD. They were consuming a snack of cut up peach pieces I had prepared for them as well as some grapes. It was starting to get late, especially for the little one, and I was about to install his pajamas and take him off to his evening’s resting place. He is still in training about dealing with natural functions of the body and in which room these functions should take place. As he sat in my lap, this particular part of my body suddenly got very warm and very wet.

I got him dried off, his pajamas installed – with overnight moisture protection – and carried him off to bed. I will not bore with how I dealt with my moisture problem since I didn’t have spare clothes – suffice it to say that it was not regulation but I was dry. The two older boys finished their movie and went to bed without a lot of protest – somewhat differing from the norm.

It was very quiet evening after that and I worked on a crossword puzzle I had brought with me. YD had called and said the football game was suspended because of the dark and stormy night. Later information told that the game started back after the lightning faded off into the distance. They finally got home shortly after midnight and I took my weary carcass back to Blueberry Hill.

A couple of days later we had a humdinger of a thunder boomer come through with very large drops of rain and while the pond’s water level may have hesitated a little, the rain was not enough to turn things around. The rain did accomplish some things though, it encouraged the cicadas to be more enthusiastic about their singing, it also lowered the temp just a bit but the humidity is still too high to be comfortable, but the best part was that it washed the goose poop off the driveway where I walk.

It doesn’t take a lot of things to make me happy and a poop-free walking place just happens to be one of them. Another thing that makes me happy and gives me a sense of peace is to know that I am much loved by my heavenly father. He loves you too; hopefully you already know that. ec

Monday, August 27, 2007


Here is a bit of news from the Blueberry Hill area. Stump peninsula is still growing slowly and is now even sprouting grass or grassy weeds, so it seems to have the mind to stay there a while. It will definitely stay until rain fills the pond back up. Another development is that two other very small islands have appeared on the other side of this shallow end of the pond.

On a recent walk, a large flock of geese were congregating in the yard and driveway of MIL. As I neared they meandered on back down to the pond in no particular hurry – maybe because they don’t think I can move fast enough to be a threat. This group seems to believe in the idea that the driveway is a bank because they make many deposits on its surface. It has to be all over the part that I walk on – makes me want to “close their account”.

As you may or may not know, the Spice still works at home, doing medical transcription. The old way of doing this was with a transcribing machine; basically a micro-cassette tape player with a foot control pedal and the text was typed out from the tape. Someone of our acquaintance in this same profession was moving out of town and had one of these machines for sale and I now have a new toy. Much of the time my writings come from my small audio recorder and the tape just happens to be the same size that the transcriber plays. It will save batteries in the small recorder since it plugs into a wall outlet and as toys go, the outlay wasn’t super expensive.

On another walk I noticed that a flock of geese – maybe the same poopie group – were either perched on these two tiny new islands on the pond or floating nearby and none were on stump peninsula. Maybe it made a lot of sense in the goose way of thinking – don’t know if the term “silly geese” would apply here or not. Then just a couple of laps later, all the geese were headed for the peninsula. Maybe they were going to boogie down or something – if a goose knows how to boogie.

Another use for my staff would be to defend myself from bats. On another evening stroll in the semi-darkness, I noticed a couple of bats plying the airways, searching with their sonar for a careless flying insect. As I walked along, thinking many thoughts and mentally far away from my physical location, one and then the other flew directly in front of me about two feet off the ground. It startled me back to present reality and made me wonder for a second if they mistook me for a large bug.

I finally broke down and bought some more walking shoes and they feel pretty good. The others didn’t feel bad; it’s just that the whole heel on the left one came completely loose. It was a shame too because I’ve only had them about 12 years – they just don’t make stuff like they used to.

Earthly things will all eventually wear out or break down. God’s love and forgiveness knows no limits, His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures through all generations – that’s comforting to know in a constantly changing and temporary world. ec

Sunday, August 26, 2007


As I held down the comfortable chair in the church office lobby and waited for the time to pass and the appointed hour for our men’s group to meet, I strove desperately to think great and deep and wonderful thoughts. Failing at this, I decided to glance around the room and think about the first thing my eyes happened to input into my consciousness. I saw the word “exit” on the lighted sign just over the door going out – this was the same door that I entered earlier but I didn’t let that confuse me.

A thought of wondering came to me about the origin of the word – was this a real word and how did it get to be the standard word above all outgoing doors. I was disappointed that my dictionary only gave the meaning and none of the etymology concerning it. I did know what it meant but discovered from another source that it was Latin and simply meant – he/she leaves. Yet another source just defined it – to go out. It seems that it has a plural form – exeunt – that means ‘they go out’, but is mostly used in stage directions. This would mean on Broadway stages as opposed to the old west.

All the other meanings described various places and events from which one could egress but though I searched much, I could not find exactly when or how this word became the standard – maybe it’s because it was short. While wandering around in the texts concerning this word, I stumbled on the word disambiguation – describing the effort of trying to dispel the confusion about the many things one could exit from. It seems that a person not only can disambiguate something but they can also make it unambiguous.

After clearing the issue up in my mind, I found myself glad that the powers that be didn’t just pick a word out to the air to put over the out-going doors, like rutabaga or something. I have also discovered that tongue-in-cheek stuff puts a strain on the cheek after a while. After a great men’s meeting that was uplifting and spiritually informative, I departed back to the home front.

Later thinking found me searching out the meaning of the word ‘staff’. As suspected, the meaning mostly speaks of a group of people working for and/or supporting a person, group or organization. But the meaning I wanted was also there – a stick, pole, or rod for aid in walking or climbing and for use as a weapon. This brings me to the wild plum branch that I carry in my evening walks.

This was cut while clearing out some unwanted natural growths on our property border and had been allowed to dry. It was smoothed a bit and cut to the length of about 66 inches and is about 1 inch in diameter. I carry it to defend myself from vicious songbirds, outlaw crickets and the occasional maniacal cicada. In spite of my straightening efforts of the staff, it still has a crook in the middle – that sounds vaguely like a political staff to me.

It is now time to exit this writing, God has been good to me and the ones I hold dear – for this I am grateful. ec

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Is ignorance a bad thing? The answer is mostly yes, but not necessarily. If a person is ignorant of being ignorant, can that be bad? Where the bad might come in is when a person knows they are ignorant and knowledge is available to them and yet they choose to remain in ignorance. It seems to me that knowledge would necessitate action and the action required would be to move from the person’s particular state of ignorance toward the available knowledge.

Since a person who is ignorant is lacking in knowledge or training, unlearned, uninformed or unaware, could we not all be considered ignorant in one area or another? What if a well-informed person claims or acts as though they know a particular subject and yet do not – could that be considered double ignorance? Then if they act on what they claim to know and don’t, wouldn’t that go all the way to triple ignorance or just be considered double dumb?

Was it ignorant to make my evening walk in a light rain? Not in the strictest sense because I was informed and aware of the precipitation – possibly bordering dumb though. Was the cicada that screamed its song at me ignorant for being out in the rain? Where else was it going to be? It might be considered ignorant from a human standpoint but between cicadas this one might have been the most learned one out there. The crickets were there too, so wetness loved company in this case.

How then does ignorance relate to apathy and/or indifference – and is there a difference between the two latter words? While apathy carries the same lack of interest or concern, it goes further than indifference in that it shows an absence or suppression of passion, emotion or excitement. Then if an ignorant person was also just indifferent, according to that definition, couldn’t they possibly show passion, emotion or excitement about remaining that way?

Are there some that are not truly apathetic but just appear so because they are lazy? Many times a person appearing to be apathetic will come to life if you approach a subject of their interest – even if it is nothing more than collecting lists of the apathetic people in their lives. Is there such a thing as selective apathy? Could a person be truly apathetic if a single subject excites them? Wouldn’t they be a closet caring person – even if all they cared about was mediocrity?

Wouldn’t the worst part of the truly apathetic – if there were such a thing – be the numbness, coolness, emotionless-ness and total lack of feeling? Do they really track down, trap and kill any emotion that might break into their demeanor? Can these folks ever feel anything again?

Since God made us, I also believe He can also remake us – in the spiritual but also in every other way. Spiritual ignorance, indifference or even apathy can be changed into something useful in the Kingdom of God. He can give us a passion and excitement about helping others improve their lot in life, especially in this most important spiritual part. But He will not force us to enjoy life; it has to be our choice. ec

Monday, August 20, 2007


What is a wrinkle? The dictionary has several definitions and I would like to speak of three of these. First definition is a small furrow or crease in the skin, especially of the face, as from aging or frowning. A problem or a fault is also called a wrinkle. A wrinkle can also be an innovation or trick, this is sometimes used with ‘new’. I realize that these things are mostly well known to all of you but this hasn’t stopped me in times past from expounding ad nauseam about other things.

Several things in the area of lifestyle choices can cause wrinkles in the skin. These would include sun damage due to overexposure (too much tanning) – exposure to cigarette smoke (1st or 2nd hand) – and rapid weight loss (fad diets). Many of these exposures and events happen when we are young, strong, and “bulletproof” and the bad results come at a later year. Stepping down from his soapbox, the grizzled veteran with many skin cancer removal scars goes on to a slightly lighter part of his post.

The main factor in wrinkle formation is aging and a certain amount of this is unavoidable unless we die young. Over the years, the skin loses its elasticity and just doesn’t spring back to its smooth youthful wrinklelessness. Several things are used to try to get rid of these wrinkles – skin cosmetics, injectables, chemical peels and surgery. Most often, all we get rid of is a large chunk of our cash.

Habitual facial expressions also form characteristic lines or wrinkles. A constant “frowny” face would cause one type of wrinkles. A similar, yet worse, wrinkle pattern would be caused by an attitude of “you mess with me and I will hurt you”. There is the “I don’t have a clue” facial expression, but even that carries a few unwanted wrinkles. The only way I can think of not to have wrinkles at all is to cultivate a blank face but that is hard to do and even harder to maintain.

Then there is my favorite kind of wrinkles – the smile ones. I’m not even sure that smile lines could even be called wrinkles, plus they are the best way to beautify the face.

The definition of wrinkle that means a problem or fault is illustrated in the fact that the water level of the pond continues to drop. The last small island has not only joined “Stump Island” but they have also become a peninsula. As the pond level depreciates with no appreciable precipitation in anticipation, and continues in its evaporation, the fish will soon be approaching expiration.

The last definition of wrinkle in consideration is that it means an innovation or trick. An example of a new wrinkle is found in the 24 Canada geese on the pond – and one male mallard duck. The duck is only about a quarter of the size and weight of the geese. As I was scouting about and checking the water level and such, I noticed a strange thing in the actions of the duck and geese.

The duck would swim with its head laid back on its body in what I assumed was a threatening posture and any goose it swam toward would nervously swim away and the ones nearby would give him a wide berth. My observation of this new wrinkle lasted about 30 minutes and it was the same thing every time. This ornery duck could have been in the martial arts – maybe he was a kung-fu duck. Was this the reason for the goose feathers on the pond that were mentioned in a past missive?

I am glad that most wrinkles don’t hurt, with the exception of the one that I recently surgically altered while shaving. Whatever wrinkles you happen to be facing at the moment, God will help us “iron” these out – if we will allow Him to do so. This will take a bit of time and a good hot iron to get things straight – possibly because we let the wrinkles build up before we ask for help. ec

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Things and/or people around blueberry hill are going through phases at the present time. The weather is in it’s “let’s make this area a desert” phase and using its heat and drought, it is making progress in that direction. The pond is in its island making and consolidation phase – the last two islands are so close to joining that a cricket could wade through the separating water without getting its tutu wet. Plus only a two-foot span of water is keeping the island from becoming a peninsula.

The geese in the pond are in their “spreading feathers all over the water” phase. I have no idea why but small white feathers are spread all about the pond surface. It could be normal molting or they could be having big feather yanking fights, I would prefer to believe molting since I don’t like critters feuding on the property – for whatever reason, the goose down is down on the water surface.

The fig tree (that I prayed for earlier in the year) is in its ripe fig phase. I picked a few and they were very sweet – tasted a bit like ripe - - figs. If I am not forthcoming with my fig-picking phase, the crows will have picked them all because that is the phase they are in. The Rugosa rose is in its rose hip ripening phase. They are very tasty with lots of vitamin C but very small with lots of seeds.

My phase at the moment is one of ripping out. The weeds around the back of the house are a constant annoyance and while they could be mowed down, where is the satisfaction in all that? When I rip them out by the roots, they don’t return – and that is the idea. The process continues.

In the front of the house, the ripping out phase is also in effect since the shrubbery is not looking good at all, with some plants dead and some overgrown – looks very scraggly. The decision is to just rip all of them out and replace them with another type – possibly azaleas. This ripping out is much more labor intensive than the weeds and will take a while longer – plus they are a type of holly and the prickly leaves can be a bit painful. Hopefully I can be finished by the dormant season which is the natural time to plant replacements for them.

Inside the house, I am also in my ripping out phase, with the offending objects being the old carpet and flooring in the master bath – to be replaced with new plywood and ceramic tile. This is also very labor intensive and disruptive to our normal routines. This because we will have to use the guest bathroom during the ripping out and putting back and us oldsters don’t like changes in our routines.

I continue to be in my phase of loving grandkids. I couldn’t help but be amused by GM3 the other day. He has just started K5 and they came by here on the way home from his very first day of learning and he was really upset because the teacher almost took his frog out of the pond. All of the kids have a “pond” with a “frog” in it and if they behave, the frog stays there – if not, the frog departs and everyone knows about it. It seems that he didn’t know when to stop talking or to raise his hand before he started. Evidently he learned because the frog has stayed put since then.

These little ones are such a blessing, whether they know it or not. God is good, all the time. ec

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

stump island

For over a week now the temp has been 100F or above and all my evening walks, except the one aforementioned morning, have been after sundown. These walks have revealed that “stump island” out in the pond is gradually growing larger. Because of the drought, the water level of the pond had slowly dropped and several small islands appeared. As the level receded further, these pieces of land have slowly merged until there are only two left with a small separation of water between them.

From the pond bank, a small peninsula is reaching out to join with the islands as the water continues to get lower and when that happens it will have to become “stump peninsula” – or maybe little Florida. I could have called this small bit of land “goose island”, since this is one of their favorite hang-outs but they are in and out and the stump stays right there, doesn’t get to move, fly or anything – I just felt sorry for it. If the water level continues to drop, the fish will soon have to learn to breathe air.

One afternoon found me finally getting smart by working on the east side of the house while the sun was on the west side – basically I was in the shade. Now if I can get my body cranked up early enough, I can work in the west side shade while the sun is still in the east – but this is doubtful. Much outside work needs to be done but some of it will have to wait until the temp drops a bit.

Inside work is a different story and I can find no particular excuse not to do this. One job that I was in heavy procrastination about was finishing up the carpet at the entrance to the bathroom from the two guest bedrooms. This had been loose since the tile had been installed in the bath. My excuse was that I didn’t have a carpet stapler – mostly used to attach carpet to stairs and such. BIL had one but it was broken. He was able to borrow one from a friend and I became without excuse.

Next problem was that I had some carpet wrinkles near the doorway in each bedroom. This would require a carpet stretcher but I didn’t have one of those either. Speaking of this problem with BIL, who used to run the family’s carpet business, he suggested that I could make one using nails in a board. With my drill press I drilled 6 rows of holes, 7 across, at an angle in a short section of wood. Then I drove the nails in the holes and let the point of the nails protrude about a half of an inch.

This made up the gripper end and I attached a section of 2X4 to that. Another section was attached to that to make the gripper parallel to the floor. This business end was placed near the doorway, the Spice stood on the back of the gripper and I forced and wedged a piece of wood against the opposite wall and the stretching caused the wrinkles to come right out of the carpet. With this still in place, I trimmed and stapled the carpet at the doorway. Then the same thing was done in the other room and both turned out well. Wonder if that would get wrinkles out of a face – probably be slightly painful.

In my possession is a small portable audio recorder and it is evidently a very tough one because it has suffered many bumps and drops and still works. I ‘jot’ down my thoughts and events of the day on this and later write and send them out to you – works much better than depending on my memory. Clint Eastwood once said in an old movie, “A man has got to know his limitations”. Though I have physical and maybe mental limitations, the spiritual ones have been solved by Jesus Christ – if I will only choose to avail myself of His solutions. ec

Monday, August 13, 2007

highlights 2

Then it became Wednesday morning, August 8th, and GM3 had stayed the night with us – this was his last chance before K-5 started. The morning was a slow starter on my part and GM3 watched some videos. The Spice departed for an appointment and it was just us guys hanging out. I gathered the trash to take to the dump, I figured GM3 would like that and it turned out to be much to his liking.

He had not had lunch, so after taking the trash, I asked him where he wanted to go and it was a toss-up between McDonald’s and Burger King. BK finally won out so we went there and got a kid’s meal, mostly for the toy inside – I eat very little fast food myself – tasteless to me. YD called while we were there and needed some milk and OJ – after the meal we dropped by Publix for those items. GM3 headed straight for the cart that looks somewhat like a racecar. We then “raced” around the store for our purchases – the young one enjoyed every moment of this.

The main event for Thursday, August 9th, was when YD brought the boys over for their naptime so she could register GM1 for school. They finally went down after a bit of coaxing and quiet ruled the day for a while. Then one at a time the two younger got up and joined me at my computer. They enjoy watching the funny videos folks have sent me. The day was a good one with gruntmonkeys woven through the fabric of its events. YD later took GM3 for registration and orientation of K5.

Friday, August 10th, dawned as most days usually do and it started a bit earlier than usual for the Spice inasmuch as she was taking MIL on some appointments. My chore for the day was to go to Johnston, SC to get some peaches. The Spice departed and a while later I started out on the 40 minute trip to the peach packing ‘shed’ to retrieve some of the delightfully tasty fruit.

In times past we have gathered quantities of bruised or marred fruit from the leftover sluice but today I just didn’t feel up to all that, so I bought 3 half-bushel boxes already packed. The whole trip took about an hour and a half and the results were great. My younger brother called and he was in town for a visit to the VA hospital in Augusta – he is a Vietnam vet. He came by after his doc visit and took me to lunch over at the barbecue place just a few miles down the road.

Lunch was good but the chatting was better – catching each other up on our latest stuff. I don’t see my siblings nearly enough, they are scattered all over the south. When we got back home, I sent him off with a bag of tomatoes from my garden and he bought one of the boxes of peaches from my trip.

The biggie of the day on Saturday, August 11th, happened in the afternoon and it was the cleaning out and reattaching of the rain gutters on the front of the house. They had come loose in a couple of places and the shingle residue had collected in the low spots. With a hand spade and bucket I cleaned the most of this out. Then it was reattached and the final cleaning was done with water from the hose – I was proud of the results, even if I did wear myself almost totally out.

Sometimes it seems that the older I get, the faster time goes – nonetheless God is still good, all the time. ec

Sunday, August 12, 2007


It seems that I have so much stuff to write about this past week that I am going to have to hit the highlights. August 5th – Sunday PM – I had caught a nap in the afternoon and the Spice and I went to PM church. The message was a pre-recorded one from a week or so back that was given at our denomination’s state camp meeting. We had a short song service and started right into the message. It was an amazing sermon that was very timely and meaningful for all the people of our world and the constant trauma they are going through right now. It was also a bit uncomfortable in that it was telling us Christians that we are not getting the job done that God wants us to do.

Monday, August 6th, arrived and I decided to do things a bit different. Putting on the old walking shoes, I did my walk in the morning. This was a brave adventure indeed because it seems that my body does not desire to do mornings or anything connected with them. It was that I just wanted to try to walk then because it was going to be so hot later. The 2-mile walk went much slower than normal with muscles rebelling and even cramping up all the way because they didn’t want to walk to start with. They let me know that this was unacceptable and should not be attempted again.

At the first turnaround, there was a whole flock of geese up on the hill behind MIL’s house, happily grazing away. It looked a bit humorous to me because every head turned my way as I approached. They were moving around but I counted 19 in the group. I survived the walk and determined to not let the fact that I was out of yogurt ruin my day. I just fixed myself some toast and jam and managed with that. During that I read my scriptures for the day, then checked the weather and news.

Then it was over to purchase some lawn mower parts, back to Wal-Mart for other items and then to the home front for further instructions from the Spice. A short while later the Spice and I went over to YD’s for a multi-purpose visit. I was to be there for when the boys woke from their naps and to also install towel bars, a TP holder and several other wall mountings, all of which were taken down for a redo of their bath. YD and the Spice went on a mission to get different bath lights.

Just as I was finishing up with this phase of the installations, the two older boys came in to make sure I was doing it right. I had just got them downstairs and settled myself in a chair when the ladies came in with the light fixtures. So it was back upstairs to install the two lights. We shortly departed to pick up a couple of food items and headed back home for the consumption thereof.

It somehow became Tuesday the 7th of August and after cranking up my day in the usual ways, I went out to pick the garden. The tomatoes are still going great, as is the okra, the squash are slowing way down and the cucumbers seem to have quit altogether. After picking I started the sprinkler on the veggies since we are still in drought conditions.

The parts purchased yesterday were then installed on the mower – a spark plug, an air filter and a blade. It cranked up right away and ran like a new one – I did fuss at myself for not thinking of this when I had trouble with it all last year. It was too hot to mow anything except one spot in the shade to check it out. It is always great when a plan comes together. Life plans can also come together quite well if and when we put Jesus in charge of them completely. ec

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sunday games

Sunday, August 5th, came without me knowing whether it arrived on time or not, since I wasn’t awake at first. I cranked up my day in the usual ways; cleaned up as best I could with what I had to do with, gathered some game equipment and headed out the door for church. Some of the teachers were out because of being chaperones for a youth weekend event elsewhere, so several classes were combined and we had a fun games morning planned for all in attendance.

There are not many things that I enjoy more than seeing ‘younguns’ have a good time – and it’s made even better when I’m the cause of that enjoyment. Our class started with a short devotion and then the games began. About 30 or so were present between the ages of around 4 to about 10 and we divided them into two teams to have a little competition. The object of our first game was to bounce ping-pong balls into any of several small plastic margarine tubs (empty ones) set up on desks. Different tubs gave different amounts of points for landing in them. The teams rotated, sending one player at a time and their scores were tallied on the marker board.

When the game was over, only one score separated the two teams, with the eagles coming out on top. Three ladies were helping me out and that sped things along quite well. The next game placed the two teams in two long rows beside each other with each player having a plastic margarine tub (all empty). A pile of orange spray paint can lids – equal amounts – were placed at one end of each line and a plastic clothes hamper at the other. The object was to get all the lids from the pile to the hamper at the other end of the line. This was done by passing the lids from one tub to the other, down the line, one at a time until all were in the hamper.

The dragon’s team won the first round. We ran this game one more time because they enjoyed it so much and this time the eagles won by one lid. Our third and final game was to build a tower out of plastic Gatorade bottles and plywood squares. This was done by placing four bottles on a desk, putting the plywood on top of them, then four more bottles on that, another square and so forth until all are used up. We picked five from each team to compete and see which group could build the tower in the least amount of time and the rest of the team would be cheerleaders.

In an exciting flurry of action the dragon’s team finished their tower, standing on tiptoes in chairs, in one minute and 36 seconds. I then backed everyone away so it wouldn’t fall on them and pulled out one of the bottom bottles – it didn’t fall. I was hoping this would happen to build the suspense but didn’t expect it. Then I pulled out another and the tower fell to squeals of delight.

Then it was the eagle’s turn and they must have been watching for quicker ways to do things because they finished the tower in 50 seconds! I backed them away again and pulled out one of the bottom bottles and wouldn’t you know that it didn’t fall again – it swayed but stayed up. Then I pulled another one out and it fell, with the young ones going nutso again. They then scurried around in great delight helping to gather up the bottles and such for me.

The class was over and they lined up and left smiling at the fun they had at church – I have smiled much myself every time I think about it. I will admit that it was hard to tell who was having the most fun – the kids or me. God is good and doesn’t mind at all for kids to have fun in church – I’m glad. ec

Thursday, August 09, 2007

2007 MS reunion 3

Saturday, August 4th, we arose a while after the sun and had a light breakfast in deference to the much larger reunion meal we would be having at noon. The aunt had fixed several dishes but my only contribution was that I had brought some tomatoes from my garden back home and sliced these up in a container to take with us. About 9am I left to go by my aunt’s brother’s place to get some ice for the reunion from his ice machine. He is getting older now but I have known him as far back as I can remember. He was out in the garage, shelling peas and I stopped and chatted a bit.

From there I went to the Bounds Community center, unlocked all the doors, took in the ice and turned on the air conditioners to cool off the place for our event that was upcoming in a short while. My niece that is now heading up the reunion had been there the evening before, set up the tables and placed decorative tablecloths on the ones that would contain the food.

I returned to the aunt and uncle’s place to pack up the van since we were leaving for home right after the reunion. Once we were loaded and the food placed in the aunt’s trunk, we headed back to the community center. A few folks were already there, having just arrived and we greeted them. The aunt and uncle arrived shortly and I passed the trunk-contained goods from there to the serving table.

The cousin brought a TV with a VCR and I had brought some veggie tale videos for the young ones to watch, so we started that going as well. More and more arrived and for some reason I didn’t count to see the final total of folks attending but it was in the neighborhood of 50 plus. Some of these were cousins of mine to one degree or another, a couple were siblings, some were other relations, several were nephews and nieces and many were of grandnephew and niece status. It was a bit sobering for me to notice that I was only a very few folks away from being the oldest generation present.

These kinfolks are related to me through my paternal grandfather or his siblings and I only get to see most of them at this event once a year. As has happened before, I was asked to call things to order, say grace and get the food consumption started. I would like to think I was asked because of my ‘commanding voice’ but this is just another phrase to describe a big mouth.

The food was great but better than that was getting caught up on events in these folk’s lives since last year. I have come to the conclusion that I have some pretty neat kin and this event just reinforced that conclusion once more. The ‘serious’ food was at the beginning of the long row of tables with the desserts at the end. I enjoyed all the ‘serious’ food very much and would have been better off had I not visited the dessert end of the tables at all, but such was not the case and that more than once.

Gradually folks started winding things up and several wanted photos of the different family groups. These groups were lined up against the wall and ‘shot’ and as it turned out, my oldest sister had the largest group there with her kids, grandkids and such. After most had left, the Spice and I also loaded up and departed with mixed emotions for our South Carolina home.

The trip back seemed less tiring than normal because of the distraction of listening to the rest of the book on CD that we had begun on the way down. We got home late but safe thanks to the protection of God on the journey, a fact that makes me very grateful. ec

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

2007 MS reunion 2

Friday, August 3rd, began without our permission but we arose anyway and had a bit of breakfast with the aunt and uncle. We chatted much with them and later went up the hill to their daughter’s house for a visit. This cousin has health and mobility problems but a while back they got her a motorized chair and this combined with her husband making them a large patio has really enlarged her horizons. She can now get outside, see to the flowers and play with her dog.

We chatted a while on their patio and then went in for a tour of their home. I had been inside before but not since all the rooms had been decorated and such. It is an amazing house with every room looking like it should have been a picture in a magazine. To add to all this, her husband is building an elevator for her to be able to go upstairs – notice that I didn’t say he was having one installed, he is building it himself. He is a highway bridge builder and I don’t know of anything else he can’t build.

After being thoroughly amazed at the house, we went up the road a ways to see where her husband and his business partner are building a sawmill. This is a very large affair that receives logs and saws them into lumber of specific sizes. Their specialty output will be crossties for the railroad and material to make pallets for warehouses. I was wowed by the undertaking and by the size and scope of the building and machinery. They are trying to get it finished up to turn the cash flow around to some inflow instead of all outgoing.

We went from there back over to my older sister’s place to chat with them some more. Then it was back over to the aunt and uncle’s to clean up a bit because they were taking us out for supper. We drove over to Red Bay, Alabama – about 9 miles – to a local steakhouse for our evening repast and had a very good meal together. We went past a couple of local industries on the way, a dog food manufacturing plant and a plant that builds motor homes. I found out later that one of my grandnephews works at that RV plant.

We had a couple of stops to make after our meal and the last one was at the local country cemetery – Mount Zion – where several generations of my relatives are buried, including my Mom and Dad. Our family reunion always coincides with the Decoration Day for this cemetery. We placed flowers on the head stone of my grandparents but didn’t linger because my uncle wasn’t doing very well and we went on back to their home.

We left them there and went back over to the sister’s house to see the other folks that had come in for the reunion. Another nephew had arrived and my younger sister and her husband came in while we were there. We laughed and talked much but finally went back to aunt and uncle’s for the night. I was grateful for the kinfolks, the event that was bringing us together and to the One that loves us no matter where we are. ec

Monday, August 06, 2007

2007 MS reunion

The day of our departure for Mississippi dawned – Thursday, August 2nd – and we weren’t close to being ready to leave. The purpose of the trip was to attend the annual reunion held there. The Spice was up until the wee hours doing necessary bookkeeping for MIL and us, so we decided to scrap the departure time and leave when we got luggage and ourselves together. We left the house with three errands to complete before leaving town and finally got away from the area shortly before noon.

We had traveled about 100 miles when I noticed that the fuel light was in its lighted condition – and I didn’t know how long it had been that way. Since I have no love of walking to a service station, we stopped at about the first place we found. All fuel is ridiculous in price and this place was no exception, being about 30 cents more a gallon than it was back home – but still better than walking.

The Spice had checked out three books on CD for us to listen to on the trip. The first was a short one by Ravi Zacharias – “The Lamb and the Fuhrer”. It presented a fictionalized account of an after death meeting of Adolf Hitler with Jesus Christ. The Fuhrer was being tried for what he did during his lifetime and many of the ones that Hitler had caused to be killed were there as witnesses against him as well as his own henchmen. It was an interesting read – or listen in this case.

The book took us into Alabama and we stopped at the welcome center to rest a bit and eat some sandwiches we prepared before we left. We found an out of the way table in deep shade and consumed the edibles. We reentered the fray of the traffic on I-20 and continued our journey. We finished that book and started another in the area of Birmingham, Alabama. Leaving the interstate, we continued the trip westward on US 78.

This new book is one by Francine Rivers – “The Priest” – a partially fictionalized version of the life of Aaron, the brother of Moses in the Old Testament. We listened to only one of the five discs and stopped until the return trip because we would not have had time to complete another one – it is amazing how much faster the trip seems to go with something like this to relieve the boredom.

Departing US 78, we got on state road 23 in the small town of Tremont, Mississippi. The road runs almost due north and parallel to the Alabama state line and the old home place is about 10 miles from Tremont. This is a rural area with a fair amount of farming but much of the land is growing trees, planted in neat rows all through the countryside.

We arrived at my Aunt and Uncle’s place about 7:20pm our time – 6:20 down there. It was good to see them yet somewhat sad to note that they are getting older and not as spry as they once were – both being in their eighties. After chatting and greeting a while, we got our luggage in and went over to my sister’s place. My nephew and his daughter from Milwaukee had arrived a few days before.

We had a good visit but were tired and went back to our sleeping place for the next couple of nights. After chatting some more with them, we finally zonked out for the evening, grateful to God that we didn’t become just another highway statistic. TBC ec

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

mo WT

More Walking Thoughts – As I began my evening walk, the sun was just short of going down and still peeping through the tall pines off to our west – where it usually goes down. This was not the peeping that baby chicks would do, but the kind that would allow small rays of sunshine to cast their transparent bodies through the vegetation and upon my field of vision as I perambulate.

This happening spoke to me of many things – not the verbal kind of speaking but that which is mentally perceived. And one thing that I mentally perceived and/or was reminded of was a line from the song that is in the play and/or movie, “Annie” – “the sun’ll come out tomorrow“ and that it was “only a day away”. The tomorrow of which the song spoke was one of hope that the gloomy clouds of bad stuff would have finally gone away.

When thoughts of tomorrow dance through my mental processes, they oft remind me of yesterday. Sometimes it is the yesterday of my immediate past, but more often it is a song brought into the world by the Beatles. The song is “Yesterday” and a line in it – “yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away” – this seemed to say that they didn’t have many troubles yesterday but today was different.

They were at the height of their popularity back then, so any troubles would not likely have been financial in nature but maybe something emotional. But it didn’t even have to be emotional to inspire one of their songs – it could have even been an injured little toe. In that case the writer could have lamenting that yesterday all his toes were fine but today one of them is gravely wounded due to stubbing it on a piece of furniture – that would definitely bring trouble to the present in quick fashion.

This brings to discussion the coordination or lack thereof that is found in our bodies. At times the feet might want to go one way, the mind is thinking about something or somewhere else, the emotions are all atwitter about another thing entirely and the stomach is complaining because it hasn’t been fed. During all these distractions, the feet may not travel the proper path previously thought out and in this digress, strikes a piece of furniture with the very smallest member of the foot.

Then, even though all the parts of the body were otherwise involved and distracted, they immediately come to the aid, comfort and consolation of the injured member – though a very small one – when one member is hurt they all hurt. It would be a great thing if the church body would do that to any injured member, even a small and seeming unimportant one.

You may have noticed that this writing is rambling quite a bit, but if you have read anything else that I have written, this doesn’t surprise you at all. This seems to be a style of mine, if I indeed have a style. The Spice would contest that I don’t know anything about style, especially in the area of clothing. I would oppose that contestation with my protestation that a t-shirt, slacks and sandals are a style – of course this doesn’t suit her, so I usually wear something else.

Way too much thinking during this walk, I’ve got to cut down on that. But I’m grateful to God that I can still think, even if the thoughts are a bit weird. ec