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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Sunday, September 30, 2007


A new day presented itself and the mental parts of me had cranked and were running smoothly but the physical parts were sputtering and threatening to quit at any moment – they just wanted to go and sit down. As I wandered into the kitchen, pretty much limping on both feet and maybe a hand, I heard a big ruckus outside. It was a cacophony of crow caws that seemed to have urgency in their tone. I looked out the window to see a whole flock of crows yelling in their own language at a hawk that was perched on the ground.

The raptor seemed to hardly be noticing all the noise they were putting forth because it had something in its clutches but I couldn’t quite make out what it was. These black-feathered flyers were even diving at the bird of prey but at a respectful and cautious distance. My curiosity was raised just a bit, so I went outside with my small gauge shotgun to possibly upset the crows a little more – I don’t care for crows at all, a fact I have mentioned on occasion.

A little advice here, if you ever go outside in the early morning while the dew is still on the garden hose that is lying in loose coils out on the hill beside my garage, be clad in footwear other than slick bottomed flip-flops. As I stepped on the dew-covered coil of hose, my feet went up and northward and the rest of me went down and southward – with the gun in my hand. Nothing happened with the gun but my backside was still feeling the results of the fall a couple of days later.

The muscadines and blueberry bushes screened my approach and the crows didn’t even know to laugh at what happened. As I stepped from behind the cover, the hawk saw me right away and vamoosed but I don’t think the crows ever realized I was close and flew away with the hawk to try and harass it some more. With all the excitement over, I came back in the house to have breakfast.

I later donned more suitable footwear and walked down to see if I could tell what the hawk had caught. I expected to find the remains of a hapless animal of prey that the hawk had been munching on but instead I found a dead crow. None of the crow had been eaten and I concluded that it must be as distasteful to hawks as it is to humans that occasionally have to “eat crow”.

I do like hawks, I probably wouldn’t if I tended chickens but that is not the case. I admire their graceful flights, soaring so effortlessly high above the earth. I know that crows do serve a purpose but it is a more distasteful one to me. Nonetheless I still rejoice and am awed by all of God’s creation, be it animal or plant and am amazed that the God of the universe cares for someone such as me. ec

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

TX 0907 6

September 23rd – Sunday did arrive as it usually does but it was about noon before we finally got out for a walk and the whole crowd went. FSIL had GM5 in his stroller, the Spice went at her own pace and GM2 finally decided to join us as OD and I stepped on out briskly. She kept up with us fairly well for the first mile or so but then we were letting her rest as we went down a cul-de-sac and she would get back with us when we came back out. Near the end we spotted FSIL and GM5 – GM2 decided to go with them as we finished our walk.

Later in the afternoon FSIL and I finished up the last project of the trip – to place a piece of trim at the front edge of the bathtub to replace one that had come loose. The list of jobs for the trip was then complete – it is sort of a thing with me that I enjoy having some projects to do when I go visit with the daughters. The day was a good family day together and GM2 made supper for us that night – pasta – and she did a good job.

Monday morning the 24th came and since this was our day of returning home, we were doing our last minute packing and prep. FSIL went on to work and GM2 sadly went to school – she wanted to stay out and go with us to the airport. We got ready, packed the van and OD, along with GM2, took us to Houston – the airport is about an hour’s drive from their house. We got there in plenty of time – we thought. There was only one person at ticketing and baggage, so it took a while to check the bags and get our boarding passes.

We headed in the general direction of the security check area at a meandering pace since none of us were too eager to part. It finally came time for us to pull ourselves away once again and go through the necessary aggravation. This was a routine check for me but as usual the Spice had to be patted down by a female security guard – this because of her defibrillator. We walked on toward our boarding gate – at the far end of the airport – at a normal pace, even stopping to pick up a snack on the way.

We thought we had plenty of time but by the time we got there, most everyone had boarded but us. We weren’t used to things being on time and even though this was a good thing, we had to take our snacks with us and finish them on board. We took off without incident and even though we had a few drops and bumps while getting up to altitude, everything smoothed out then.

There was a young lady across and up one seat that was having a tough time with the flight to begin with and for a short while I wasn’t sure if she was going to stand up under the ordeal. She seemed to have a large fear of flying and almost totally panicked before the plane ever left its parking spot but with her companion’s reassurance and the encouragement of the flight attendant, she finally settled down.

We arrived in Atlanta without incident and had a decent amount of time to get to our connecting flight to Augusta. We arrived at our gate to find a large crowd – it seems that two planes were using this same gate and the other flight was delayed. They finally boarded them about 45 minutes late. Because of that, our flight was delayed about 30 minutes but we finally boarded and as we sat waiting for our flight to leave we looked out and saw the folks on the other flight deplaning because of “maintenance issues”.

Our plane was a small jet – not the usual “puddle jumper” turbo-prop – and we came smoothly on in to Augusta. We deplaned, went to baggage claim and much to our surprise, our bags were there in about 5 minutes – what a concept!! Our daughter was waiting, so we loaded up and headed to our home in South Carolina, grateful to God for the safe trip and for a home to go back to. ec

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

TX 0907 5

During our Texas trip I was able to walk every day from Monday the 17th through the Sunday before we left. OD joined me every day except one and these were enjoyable walks since we were able to chat about most everything and about nothing stuff as well – chatting is good.

The equipment for the “Corn Bag Toss” game had been completed and FSIL had put one coat of paint on the boards earlier in the week. The surface of the board was still a bit rough so I sanded both of them before FSIL came home on Friday and he applied another coat of paint on them then. OD had finished sewing the corn bags together – four red and four black – and not only that, she had embroidered the University of Georgia’s “G” on all of them, since that is their favorite football team. These items were styling and profiling to say the least.

The bags are made of “duck” cloth and each was filled with about a pound of feed corn. Even though this game has similarities to the game of horseshoes, its thrown “missiles” are not nearly so damaging if they accidentally hit someone during play. OD had enough material to make me a set of the corn bags as well – for the game I intend to make when I return home.

Saturday morning arrived and this is usually the day FSIL does his yard work. He was almost through with this when he decided to set up the corn toss game in the front yard. We did some practice throws for a while and then decided to play a “real game”. The winning score is 21 and this seemed to take us forever – we found out later that we weren’t scoring exactly the right way and that would have made the game faster. Nevertheless FSIL did beat me and it was so hot that we decided that would be the first and last game of the day.

He finished up the yard work by the time the main football games came on and came inside to enjoy them. We watched the University of South Carolina play LSU and although we didn’t approve of the outcome, the real game for both of us was the University of Georgia against Alabama. The ladies had been out for some shopping and picked us up some Calzone for supper on the way back. The place that makes it, as well as pizzas and other items, is not fancy but the food is good. That night was no exception – it was great.

The football game was a hard fought one with Georgia missing a chance to win right at the end of regulation play but it ended tied. But it still turned out to our satisfaction because Georgia won in the first overtime. I do pull for Georgia and was glad they won, but the elation and gladness of FSIL was almost without bounds – but he did bound several times around in the den anyway.

God’s wisdom is shown in His setting forth of families and if all members follow the way God meant for it to be, the possibility of happiness is a good one. God is good – He invented families. ec

Friday, September 21, 2007

TX 0907 4

All too soon it became Friday, September 21st, with only a couple more full days to enjoy with OD and family. On our morning walk I asked OD to retell the couple of adventures that actually happened to her neighbor and good friend. She did and I laughed through most of the walk but until then I hadn’t realized the two incidents happened on the same day. I would be remiss if I did not include this day in my post.

This could be entitled “A day in the life of NuNu” - this is the official name given to her by GM5. The “day” happened back in the summer when NuNu was ready to leave to take her two offspring to a water park. Her son, Mimal (GM5’s original name for him) is 9 years old and was tossing the house keys in the air, playing catch with them. The last toss found the keys going up but not coming back down.

It happened that the keys lodged up in a tree and although they were fairly sure which tree, they weren’t even close to being sure which branch because they were out of sight in the leaves.. NuNu told Mimal to climb the tree to and start shaking branches. He shook all the smaller ones but told her he couldn’t shake the larger one because it was too big. NuNu told him to SHAKE THE LIMB and went to get a ladder.

It was about this time that Mimal heard the keys jingle and finally espied them and after more shaking of branches, they finally got them down and restarted their interrupted day. I’m guessing that Mimal may never throw anything, anywhere, ever again – mind you just a guess. He might have been a great baseball pitcher some day, but probably not now.

The next adventure began after dark that evening when they returned home. NuNu’s daughter, 12-year-old NaNa (again GM5’s name for her), went to feed the two cats of their next door neighbor because they were out of town. She shortly phoned her Mom to come quick, it was an emergency. NuNu and Mimal ran quickly to NaNa’s aid and found her in the kitchen, looking out the window of the back door.

Following her daughter’s gaze out the window, her eyes found a full-grown raccoon in the same area the cat usually eats. All the noise they made failed to scare the ring-tailed critter away, so they finally slipped the cat’s bowl of food out the door. The cat came quickly and started eating, the raccoon also came toward the bowl, the cat hesitated but continued eating. After a warning snarl or two, it looked like they were going to rumble but finally the cat backed off and let the bandit steal its food.

Since her husband was out of town, NuNu and clan continued watching the proceedings from the safety of the kitchen – the final count of wild animals included two possums and one other raccoon that came to join the brazen one. They finally went home but NaNa and Mimal wanted to come back the next night to see the animals and even pop some popcorn. Left unsaid was that they may have wanted to bring other kids and charge them admission. Parts of this last adventure were reported live to OD, and it so happened that FSIL was also out of town – the menfolks were gone when they were needed to face down the wild animals!

Humor is in the eye of the beholder, the ear of the be-hearer and the mind of the be-reader and is a good thing for our health and sanity and the smiles involved improve our looks. God is good to have invented laughter and I believe I should take part in it as much as possible. ec

Thursday, September 20, 2007

TX 0907 3

Somehow through the passage of the joyous minutiae of time with loved ones, Tuesday passed and it became Wednesday – this because Wednesdays always follow Tuesdays – not my rule, that’s just how it is. Tuesday was filled with relaxation, exercise (a very hot walk), minor odd jobs, installing things on walls and interacting with loved ones – large and small. Wednesday was the same except different and with more interfacing with a certain little one because the ladies went shopping.

The reverie GM5 and I were having together was interrupted when OD called to say that her neighbor’s doorknob came off of her front door and her husband was out of town. The little one and I walked the short distance down to see if we could help and discovered an unfamiliar knob type. I bumbled around with it until I found out what made it work and finally got it all back together again. It still needs a screw installed to more firmly secure the latch to the door but her husband will take care of that when he returns.

Grunt monkey 5 and I wandered back down the sidewalk to his home and continued with the minutiae and interpersonal interplay. While the word minutiae carries the meaning of small or unimportant details, these are the things that make up the whole of GM5’s daily world. In his detailed world, this young one wants things the way he wants them and no other way, with minute instructions concerning each. From my vantage point, it seems to me that many become adults that never grow out of that way of life.

OD and I were to walk when she got back from shopping but due to massive conflicts in her scheduling I just did a solo walk. Because of a breeze it was a good walking day even though this was normally the hotter part of the day. This is a well planned neighborhood with small, well-cared for yards and large houses. Most of the yards have trees, some of which I recognize and some I do not. I was a bit surprised to see Spanish Moss in the area, some of the trees were covered from top to bottom.

We had a good supper shortly after my return and I was the last one at the table, savoring the last few bites of my dessert, when I noticed a pair of longing, even pleading, eyes looking up at me. It was Bogie, the older of the family’s two dachshunds, just hoping that I would drop something for him to clean up. Then I glanced under the table and there was the other one, Jasmine, her eyes alight with this same hope that seems to spring eternal in the mind and heart of a dog. But alas, their hopes did not come to fruition.

Our hopes and dreams will not come to full fruition either if they are not firmly planted on the Rock, Christ Jesus, who is our only hope to attain or to be anything that is good. ec

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

TX 0907 2

Monday, September 17th, again found us in Texas and half of the household in which we are visiting went back to their normal activities – FSIL to work and GM2 to school. OD and the Spice had some projects going on of a cleaning and/or redecorating nature. GM5 had his own projects going and whether they were of the eating or playing type, some cleaning up was usually required when he was through.

The temp out here is about the same as in South Carolina except maybe a little more humid – if that is possible. Despite the heat, OD and I did go for a walk about 11am. The reason for that is if you go at night, you will likely not have any blood by the time you return to the house – mosquitos are the main wildlife in this area and they go in swarms. We just did a time walk, a little over 30 minutes since I have no way to mark off the distance and came back sweaty but invigorated.

In the early afternoon GM5 was put down for a nap and OD and the Spice went on a short shopping trip while I stayed with the little one. FSIL and I had started a project on Sunday afternoon of making some game equipment and got most it completed except for the legs required to make the board stand at an angle. The game has several names, one of them is baggo and it involves tossing a sewn bag of corn into, or near, a six inch hole in one of two plywood board frames that are placed 27 feet apart.

This is a game that is growing in popularity and is played a lot by those tailgating at football games. It can be played on pavement, a lawn or even inside a building if it is large enough. FSIL got the rough plans off the web but the legs were not shown clearly. An hour or so of my day was spent in figuring how to make the angle of the legs and how to make them fold down under the game board. My understanding is that this game was started in the mid-west and the most popular name for it is Corn Hole – this because of the corn bags and the hole in the plywood – I felt it necessary to explain that.

Using scrap wood, I figured out a way to place the legs and then waited on FSIL to return home to get his approval on the matter. He did approve and we had the legs cut and ready before supper. After eating we went back out and attached them and everything fit almost perfectly – only a couple of slight adjustments. They are now ready except for a bit of sanding and painting. OD is in the process of sewing the corn bags and we may be able to play a couple of rounds by the weekend.

It did occur to me that I had enough scrap plywood and two by fours to make a couple of these boards for us back in South Carolina – as if I needed another project. We finished up and got inside just before the main herd of bloodsuckers came swarming in. It was a good day of relaxing, communication, exercise, a building project and just a good day all the way around. God is good, even in Texas. ec

Sunday, September 16, 2007

TX 0907

Sunday, September 16th, found the Spice and I in Lake Jackson, Texas visiting with OD and family. This statement doesn’t describe the adventuresome, slightly frustrating and somewhat dangerous way our journey played out. The beginning on Saturday morning seemed normal enough, with sister-in-law coming to take us to the airport. Arriving there, we went to the ticketing and baggage check-in area and this is where things starting going awry.

When we got in line with the folks already there we noticed that there were no ticket agents at the check-in counter. Those folks had been told that someone would be with them in a few minutes – this was about 20 minutes before. About 30 minutes later someone came to tell us that the flight had been canceled and the only explanation was that it was because of “maintenance”. They had been trying without success to get a bus to take us all to Atlanta. When we got to the counter they offered us a taxi ride to Atlanta to catch our original flight out to Houston or a later one if we were late.

We took the voucher for the taxi and went back to the entrance area to find one. Our taxi was a mini-van and we shared it with one other person caught in the same situation. Our driver was originally from Ghana, he was friendly and spoke English well enough but the accent was so heavy that one could hardly understand him over the noise of the open windows – “it takes more gas with the air-conditioning on”. When we got safely and very gratefully to Atlanta, I told someone that we averaged 82.5 miles per hour and this counted two pit stops – this was said for effect but the trip was way too fast for me.

By the time we got checked in and bags checked, we had missed our scheduled flight at 11:06 but they put us on another one at 2:15pm. We then went through the dreaded security check and through a misunderstanding; the Spice went through the large scanner through which folks with a defibrillator should not go. Both the Spice and the checking person were a bit shaken by the mishap but she seemed to be OK and I kept a close eye on her for a while.

We went to find our gate of boarding, then wandered about to get something to eat. The hot dogs we had were edible but it would have been a stretch to say that about the Danish we ate afterward. Our plane was finally ready to board and we did so but our surprises were not over. After taxiing out to the take off point, the plane suddenly stopped with a grinding of brakes that sounded like we had a flat tire. The pilot came on the intercom and stated that he was having trouble cranking the right engine and we would be delayed. Needless to say this caused a bit of concern in the passenger cabin.

The fact that I am writing this indicates that it did crank and we made the trip without further incident. OD and her folks were waiting for us at the airport and shared in our last adventure of the day – finding our baggage. It took the better part of an hour for the last bag to appear and we finally headed for their home. All the circumstances did not disturb my peace of mind because this comes from God and I was grateful to have arrived safely. ec

Thursday, September 13, 2007


After a day filled with a plethora of yard work, mowing and other activities, I went to bed feeling sort of beat up – sore neck, back, heart burn from supper and my sinuses all stopped up – probably grass allergies. It was not a good bedtime scenario. I awoke the next morning with the stomach better, the neck somewhat better but with the allergies and back still not good at all. We were keeping GM6 for YD and I managed the breaking of the fast and scripture reading through his plethora of interruptions.

It has become a regular thing with him that anytime I am eating, he wants me to hold him. I think he likes me but he also wants to join in on whatever consumption I am doing. Finally through with the efforts at cranking up my morning – and the process not working very well – I gave it up and went to the recliner. Here is the point that I go deeper into the word plethora.

The first definition of plethora is an overabundance or excess, but how many is that really? To a long-tailed cat, a roomful of rocking chairs is a plethora – no matter the size of the room. To most anyone, two or three yellow jackets would be excess, maybe even one – this is because this small member of the wasp family is just mean. When it stings it leaves a scent marking that all members of its clan smell and want to come and sting there as well – real togetherness. They are not happy insects and when upset they have only one thing on their mind – to hurt something or somebody.

The word plethora seems to be nonquantifiable and to put a number on it in one situation might not work for the next. But are there words or actions to which plethora would not apply – smiling for example? Can we really have an overabundance of smiling? Can there be a plethora of efforts at striving to make others smile? Possibly this depends on the situation or person – efforts at trying to get someone to smile at their pet gerbil’s funeral might become a plethora in a hurry.

After a snooze, I found that the head had cleared up and the back even felt decent. After a call to the peach packing plant to see if they still had fruit and finding out they did, I left the little one in the Spice’s care and headed to Johnston SC to get some peaches. The one-way trip is almost exactly 30 miles and takes about 40 minutes each way, not a plethora of time if one really enjoys peaches.

On the way up and back I noticed a plethora of political signs – for candidates vying in an area wide election. One of these signs was in the edge of one of a plethora of hay fields on the way back. The grass had grown covering all but the words – elect Jack – but I wasn’t sure of his last name or office he was seeking and I found that very amusing, but as you may or may not know, it doesn’t take a lot to amuse me. I returned home with a plethora of peaches, at least for just the Spice and I.

This brings me to a plethora of serious thought – one or two at most – concerning my own goals and actions, do I spend more time striving to make others happy or trying to be happy myself? Am I more concerned about finding things for me to smile about or causing smiles in others? I have found out that as I strive to make others happy or smile, it causes those things to happen in me as well. God is always faithful, whether I am faithful to Him or not. ec

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


In the not too distant past, the day of the week became Friday, the time of day was on toward evening and the Spice and I had a job to do. The short way to state our job was to say that we were going to pick up GM1 at a high school football game and bring her to our house to spend the night. But it was much more complicated and time consuming than just that. To do the job we attended our first high school football game since YD graduated from high school – approximately 19 years ago.

GM1 is in the marching band and we had to wait until she was through playing to pick her up – at the end of the game. The game was being played at the stadium of the high school from which OD and YD are alums – yet GM1 is a member of the band that was on the visitor’s side. In a quirk of fate, she is attending school at the bitter rival of the school of both daughters. She had ridden to the game with the band on a school bus but had permission to leave with us after the game was over.

We decided to go to the game late so as not to sit for so long and as we neared the school stadium I remembered the one main thing that I didn’t like about attending these games – the traffic and parking problems. We finally found a parking spot on the far side of the school – I’m guessing it was about a quarter of a mile from there to the stadium. As we got to the stadium it was nearing halftime but two long lines were still in queue to buy tickets to get in for the game.

We finally got tickets and got in just at halftime but we still paid full price for the tickets. It did feel very odd to go to the visitor’s side of the stadium at the high school of both daughters. The Spice concluded that she would not pull for either side because of the mixed emotions. We hiked to the far side of the stadium; let GM1 know that we were there and finally found a seat to watch the rest of the game. The contest was a hard fought one but GM1’s school came out winners – 28 to 20.

GM1 was to leave from there to go with us but had forgotten that her clarinet case was on the bus. I walked back with her to get that while the Spice headed the other direction and we met at the car. Then when we were trying to get out of the place, I don’t know if the traffic was pandemonium or simply mass confusion but it took a while. We finally got on the road going in a direction away from our residence but knowing the area, we just went down to the main highway and turned the right way.

The young freshman band member looked as tired as the football players because the director really put them through their paces during the whole game. Usually GM1 will watch a lot of TV before going to bed but she watched a short while and said she was tired and went to bed. The Spice and I looked at each other and wondered if we had picked up the wrong kid at the game. I am not saying that I will never go to another high school football game but rest assured my presence at them will be few and far between and then will only go see someone that is dearly loved participate in the proceedings.

Both football teams were praying that they would win the contest but I really think it boiled down to better coaching and less mistakes that caused the victory. I do feel like God was molding the players and even the band members whether they were on the winning side or not. Hopefully some of them realized this and drew value from it. God is still good, all the time. ec

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


In spite of the date on the calendar, it was a good day for me personally, in spite of the fact that I visited my cardiologist. A few years back they found that I had a leaking heart valve and I have been on a routine 6-month check-up since then. My heart rate and blood pressure had always been good. After my echo and electrocardiogram today he said that I was stable and extended my check-ups to every 9 months and I consider that good news from the doc’s office.

Although it is still hot today – 92 as opposed to 96 yesterday – I noticed that a fair breeze was stirring the leaves and limbs of the trees. This is a good sign that a weather change is on the way. There is a chance of rain tonight and a better one tomorrow with the temp coming down to 86 for a high. Any temp drop from the 90’s is one that I consider a good thing. In the stirring of the wind, the rustle of the leaves and the sighing of the pines needles one could almost hear a small voice say – hang on, the season is changing soon, autumn is coming.

My next appointment of the day was to sit with the two younger of the local gruntmonkeys while YD took GM3 back for a checkup on the ear problems he had experienced a few days back. It was very quiet after they left because the two younger ones were down for a nap. I had taken my tools to try to determine why two of their outside electrical outlets were without voltage and still didn’t come up with a reason. I’m running out of places to check – possibly a broken wire, hopefully not inside the wall. I wasn’t wearing my bummy clothes to get down and dirty with this problem, so the solution had to wait.

As I am wont to do, I worked some crossword puzzles, napped and did some more puzzles with a snack thrown in for good measure. YD and GM3 returned with the news that only slight remnants of the ear infection remained and he was on the mend. I departed from thence, arrived home safely and departed again with the Spice as passenger to go over to the county seat to vote in the local election they are having next week. The reason for this is that we will be in Texas visiting OD and clan during the voting on Tuesday coming.

With mostly positive elements and only a few negatives, the day was a good one. It even clouded up and gave us some rain in the evening for a change. God is good, all the time. ec

Monday, September 10, 2007


Here it is the 10th of September and the heat still clings to our area like a 5-year-old clings to its Mom on the first day of kindergarten. Or like the contents of an uncovered bowl of peas clings to the inside of the microwave after too much time has been put on them. Or like concerns, trepidations or even fears cling to the minds of the parents of a beautiful and nubile young lady out on her first date with a young man of unknown character that is certainly not good enough or deserving of their daughter.

Continuing to taunt us, the oppressive heat clings to us all like a baby gorilla clings desperately to its mother when its older siblings try to rip its arms off. Or like the IRS clings to the hapless taxpayer when they are caught with unauthorized deductions. Or like an application of one-coat latex enamel clings to a section of quarter inch, soft-pine plywood that has been nailed over a doggy door to keep the possums out of the kitchen.

The heat continues to cling like the foul stench of a skunk clings to anyone or anything that dares to get close enough to be sprayed by said animal. Or like a mother clings to her newborn baby whether it is ugly or not. Or like the late season grass and weeds cling to the good soil of my garden now that most of the veggies have cashed in their chips, done their do and just quit producing. OK, enough with the clinging, maybe it would just be enough to say it is still hot here and I wish it was not.

Among all the metaphors I shall mix in a truism or so. There are those in this world that do not eat breakfast but this is an omission that I neither believe in nor practice. This breaking of the fast is just going to happen for me, even though it might be at varying times of the morning or possibly even at the crack of noon. The sustenance consumed can also be rather varied. From the occasional old-fashioned southern breakfast of grits surrounded by animal products and by-products, all the way down to an emergency backup plan of just toast and jam.

One of my long-standing mainstays of the morning has been dry cereal. Of course I do not eat it dry but wet it down with some sort of liquid. After finding out years ago that milk and I do not agree with each other, I spent many years using some sort of fruit juice as a moistening agent. For the last several years now I have used Silk, a milk substitute made from soybeans and it seems to please my taste buds very well. The vanilla was my favorite flavor for a while but I have gone back to the plain.

Occasionally the morning food consists in part or in whole of leftover items from the day before. Sometimes rice has been a part of the meal and on the rare occasion that we have had leftover banana pudding, this has been consumed with great gusto to start the day in a proper fashion. On a recent morning it was something different indeed. I cut up a couple of fresh peaches in small pieces, nuked them in the microwave and mixed them with angel-hair pasta from the day before.

The taste was very interesting to say the least and solved at least three ‘problems’. Being wasteful with leftovers was one, striving to try something new was another and to keep myself from starving was the final one. A greater problem is that many are starving spiritually in our country that was founded on the principles of the scriptures – sad indeed – especially since Jesus made a way for “whosoever” to find forgiveness and spiritual nourishment. ec

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


A particular un-named afternoon found me going to my skin doc to check the site of my latest skin cancer surgery. Gratefully I made it to the doc’s office – no thanks to the hazards of traffic. Once there, I had to wait a while, that could be why it’s called a waiting room. This room of anticipation was about half full of opportunities for character study – which I did for my own entertainment.

Most ears were at least partially inclined toward the main entrance and exit to the “inner sanctum” – the treatment rooms. As some came out and others were called in, I could imagine the mental calculations going on in the room about how much longer they were going to have to wait. As I glanced from face to face, I wondered how many of them were really happy. In the midst of this clandestine reading of faces, I was called back to my destiny.

In the treatment room, I was almost through reading an interesting article in an out-dated magazine when my doc came in. She deemed the scar site OK, but espied another questionable place and decided to do a biopsy on it. While she was at it, I asked her to remove another skin growth that was non-serious but annoying. This was done and she is to let me know later about the biopsy.

On another day and at another time, my morning that had started at about half speed, revved up considerably when I found out that I was needed in the baby-sitting area of life. This was because of a doc appointment for GM3 – he was having some ENT problems. He had had an earache but was better and without fever next morning, so YD sent him to school. I picked him up at noon from kindergarten, took him home and sat with the younger boys while YD took him to the doc.

My charges were already down for a nap, so it was very quiet for a while, with the exception of the termite guy coming by for an inspection. This was all done outside and fortunately I caught him before he rang the doorbell – all was OK in this area and he shortly departed. The later moments found me listening to the gentle whoosh, whoosh of the dishwasher and staring out the windows of the den as I reclined – in a recliner, of all things. I’m not really sure whether I was staring, gazing or just looking out, but it was one of those things and at nothing in particular.

After a while GM4 came down from his nap and broke my solitude into little bitty pieces. Then a little after that YD and GM3 came in with the doc’s report that he had an inner ear infection. Relieved of my sitting duties, I went by Kroger to get some lemon-pepper rotisserie chicken to delight my taste buds – as well as some other items and headed back home.

I found the crows and starlings feasting on my figs and muscadines and fired off a couple of shots from my small shotgun to scare them away. The pellets in these shells are so small that it would have to be point blank range to even hurt one of them – but they are noisy enough to scare. Several years ago I did kill a crow semi-accidentally and felt bad about it – but then I thought about how dastardly crows were to eat other species’ babies and then felt bad about feeling bad about it.

That sounded like false guilt but whether guilt is false or real, God is able to take care of both if we will allow Him to do so. ec

Monday, September 03, 2007


It was early afternoon and after a very busy morning when it occurred to me that I must have arisen an hour or so before I should have. In response to the occurred thought, I went to hold down the recliner for a while. Normally this wasn’t a bad thing but I zonked out into dreamland and woke to realize that I had missed lunch, which I consider very serious. The Spice was working at her transcription so I got up and prepared us some early supper. And although the food was good, I shouldn’t have tried to make up for the lunch I missed – uncomfortable.

From there I straightened up some odds and ends in the basement and on discovering the weather had turned cloudy, I went outside and cleaned the weeds and grass out of the driveway blueberry bed. It came time for my evening walk and although the temp had eased a little, it was still very humid and uncomfortable. Muggy is the word for this humid condition around here and I concluded that it came from the word mug – because it feels like I’ve been mugged after coming in from outside.

On my evening walks, the thought patterns, scattered though they may be, usually have a central theme of something that is on my mind that needs to be considered. One train of thought runs its course and then I go on to something else. On other days the thoughts are more scattered, with one thought snippet after another popping up and being discarded as unworthy of lengthy consideration.

Thoughts like – they said it was going to rain and all we got was a little sprinkle – I wonder what time the cicadas quit singing – I think more crickets are chirping tonight than last night – I wonder why the large heron is not on the pond tonight – I wonder if the deer are in the edges of the woods watching as I walk by – the power company came to repair our security light today, I wonder if it is really fixed – I wonder why I don’t see fireflies around here, maybe the bats have eaten them all so as to light up their lives – the moon just came into view, I wonder why it is so orange?

On another day I decided to do something a little different and go outside and mow before the temp got too hot. This was not a good overall plan because the dew on the grass caused the clippings to congregate as a gummy residue under the mower, to harden into a near solid mass. The walk-behind mower was used on the blueberry side of the driveway and behind the house – both areas in which it is difficult to maneuver the lawn tractor. The rest was left for another, hopefully cooler day.

The tearing out of the bathroom floor is mostly complete, spending my time today in close trimming in front of the sink cabinets. The small area around the commode has been left for as long as possible, or we would have to visit the guest bath. Next job is putting screws in the sub-floor for strength and installing plywood on top of that for supporting the soon to be installed tile. The clean-up part of this is somewhat to my dislike but between my trusty dustpan and the vacuum it’s not too rough.

The cleaning up of a life gone astray in a spiritual sense is also a tough proposition; in fact it is impossible without Jesus Christ because even the strongest vacuum will not remove the wrongdoings and guilt from our lives. But with Jesus the cleanup is easy, all we have to do is ask in faith and accept it as done. ec

Sunday, September 02, 2007


The sun came up and I finally arose after lying there a while not wanting to make the effort that arising takes. Shortly our task for the morning came to be – this was one of baby-sitting. YD was to be a chaperone for GM3’s kindergarten class field trip and we were to take care of the two younger boys. Unfortunately I had not finished my breakfast and my meal proceedings were then interrupted many times before completion – I finally finished when the Spice attracted their attention elsewhere.

Their most urgent desire was to “go outside” – needless to say this did not coincide with my urgent desire to hold down the recliner. Although I was still moving a bit slow, we went outside – I even thought I could get a chore or two done at the same time. What I thought I could do was to get a hand spade and dig out some weeds and grass that had invaded the blueberry bed by the driveway. I also got them a hand spade each and this seemed to make them very happy.

As I started digging up some sprigs of grass, I realized this was not going to work because both of them were just digging holes in the yard and getting bored while doing so. I abandoned the chore as a lost cause and changed to taking them on a hike. The vacant lots next-door end at a tall bank overlooking the highway so we walked down there to view the traffic. This adventure seemed to make them happy and we viewed, from different points of view, the cars and trucks that rushed by.

Later we hiked the distance back to the house while I pointed out and commented on various natural items along the way, trees, rocks, etc. We stopped at the aging swing set that is slowly and quietly rusting in the back yard and they rode, swung and slid for a while. They bounced on the trampoline for a bit and it was back to the swing again. I could tell that they wanted a greater adventure so we hiked down to the pond and walked out on ‘stump peninsula’ and did a bit of exploring thereupon.

Where the original island joins the land is a muddy spot that had to be navigated carefully. We all got through the mud without actually falling into it – I was a bit surprised but glad of that. Many bird tracks and things that were once under water were viewed to their delight. This bit of sandy land and the water fascinated them and GM4 wanted to go home and get his bathing suit to come back and go swimming in the pond – I changed the subject and let that idea die quietly.

We walked back to the house and they wanted to go in and tell the Spice all about their adventure and I was in favor of that because it was not exactly cool outside. In a short while the little one wanted to go to my computer and view the video clips I have saved for their viewing pleasure. A new one that someone sent me is “Tico Tico” – it is of a small girl about 4 or 5 years old playing an electronic organ – and doing an outstanding job of it. At one point in her piece, she is playing with one hand and the other arm is up in the air with her hand rotating in time with the music.

A short while later I heard the youngest one banging away on our piano. I glanced in at him and he was banging away with one hand and the other arm was straight up and the hand was rotating just like he had seen the little girl do – absolutely hilarious. Some of our baby-sitting adventures are more delightful than others but all are a joy to me. I just consider these chores as blessings given to me by God and am grateful for them. ec