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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Friday, November 30, 2007

events pa

Friday, November 23rd, dawned and when I arose the Spice and OD had already departed on their part of the shopping for the needy family. They left GM1 and GM2 fast asleep, they were to have gone with them but couldn’t get cranked up in time. Others were to get other items and then bring them all back together – then pass them along through our go-between and still remain anonymous.

FSIL and GM5 were up and about since this young man usually is an early riser – much to his parents’ lack of sleep. This was just a hang out day for me – I don’t think I even left the house. I did watch the young ones for a while when FSIL met someone for lunch.

Saturday arrived all too soon – this was OD and clan’s departure day. We arose early, packed the van with luggage and people and headed toward Atlanta airport shortly after 7am. We dropped GM1 off at her house on the way because GM2 wanted them to be together as long as possible. We were somewhat surprised that the traffic was as light as it was and we supposed that everyone was waiting until Sunday to go back home.

With only one pit stop we made the trip and the drop off point was slammed with autos and people. It took a few minutes to get to the curb to let them out, we said our short good-byes and then waited a while to get out of the jam and headed back to South Carolina. The Spice and I got off at exit 82 and went by Kohl’s to get another of the items that we picked up for OD – this one was for YD.

We then continued our journey back home. The Spice was exhausted from the very busy week and not getting very much sleep, so when she dozed off I just let her sleep and headed in an eastward direction. I woke her when we got off the interstate back in our home area. We went by O’Charlie’s to get a bite to eat since neither of us felt like preparing anything when we got home.

Just as we were leaving, my very good friend called to see if he could bring back the chairs they had borrowed during the aftermath of the passing of his wife. We decided to just go by and get them since we were close. We went by and had a good visit with them, two of his daughters and a granddaughter were in and we laughed and chatted for a while. He and I talked a while and we finally loaded up the chairs and headed for the home front – a couple of very tired puppies.

We stumbled into the house and it was a progression from chair to floor and finally to bed. On Sunday AM, I didn’t want get up, I didn’t feel like going to church, but we did both and were glad we did as usual. We came home and for lunch we munched on any leftover that happened to cross our path. Sunday PM, even though we were still feeling pretty ragged, we went back to church.

Sometimes we go out after PM church but this was not one of those times and we just went home. I fixed some grits for us and had a good little meal with just the two of us. As I went to bed, I had a grateful heart for grits and a good bed – and was glad that God had supplied both. ec

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

events' ma

Then it magically became Thanksgiving Day – even though technically it had arrived before I went to sleep. Many events are scheduled for the day and probably even events within events. For some reason I had trouble sleeping and my morning began way too slow for what I had planned. That was just what it was – but I broke the fast and partook of scripture to crank up various parts of myself.

My next event of the day was to make my “famous” banana pudding – this is made with no artificial or instant ingredients at all – strictly from “scratch”. Made for several years with artificial vanilla flavoring but even this is all changed now – it is only 100% vanilla extract – that’s what the container says. On our cabinet shelf is a bottle of artificial vanilla for lesser dishes but next to that is the 100% stuff for the banana pudding – the real deal.

The next event for me was to take the pudding and another dish out to my older brother’s place for their gathering at noon. I went solo to this since we were to have another gathering at our place at 5pm and the Spice was busy with the prep for that and OD and her clan went to be with FSIL’s family.

An event within an event happened on the way to my bro’s place. Just as I exited from the interstate in Georgia, I noticed two adult hawks circling and flying at each other. Beautiful birds but I wasn’t sure what they were doing. It seemed to me that they were either having a physical dispute over territory or doing some sort of aerial mating dance – not being a hawk, I wasn’t sure.

It was about 20 miles to his place and by the time I arrived most of the crowd were already in attendance. The final tally was 23 including both my bros and their spouses. The rest were mostly either nieces or nephews or great nieces and nephews with their spouses. Grace was said and the feasting began – along with much talking, sharing, catching up on each other and laughing, much laughing. All parts of the gathering were excellent, the kind of get together that lingers for a while after all appetites were sated. We do have some serious cut-ups in the group – I might even be one.

With great reluctance I parted their company shortly after 3pm to head back to the home front to help the Spice put the finishing touches on the evening meal prep – the next event of the day. In route back there were a couple more events, errands to run, the main one was to go by Wally World to pick up some items we happened to run out of during the cooking. It wasn’t crowded at all so I was in and out quickly and headed for home. Could it have been because it was Thanksgiving Day?

Even though it had been several hours since I had eaten, I still was not very hungry when our evening feast began. 27 were in attendance and 11 of these were 14 and under – and 8 of those were 5 and under – six were our gruntmonkeys, three were the niece’s and two belonged a cousin from Florida. You might say that joyous noise was a factor. Fortunately we have a large room in the basement for the enjoyment of the young ones and this kept most of the noise somewhat muffled.

After much eating and laughter, the adults ended the evening with a planning session with many sales papers scattered around. This was for a shopping trip the next day for Christmas gifts to be given to a needy family anonymously – something that we as an extended family have done for the last several years – instead of buying and exchanging gifts with each other.

The day ended with me thankful for family, extended families and the many blessings of God in particular and in general – I can’t imagine my life without faith in God. ec

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

bro of events

Monday, November 19th, arrived without any particular announcement and this was to be a shopping day for OD and FSIL, we kept the small one for them to do so. The other grandparent came for GM2 for a while to take her and her cousin shopping. We made full efforts at keeping GM5 occupied, happy and meeting his needs for the day – at some moments this was easier than others.

Suddenly Tuesday was upon us and the morning of it held the events mornings usually do. In the afternoon FSIL and I broke out the equipment for the “Corn Hole” game and played for a couple of hours. We played three sets of three games each and he only beat me three sets – do the math. In the afternoon we had tostadas with YD and her crew all coming back in to share in the occasion – it was a real hoot and holler – with emphasis on the hollering of the young ones having a good time.

Since OD and crowd were not coming back for Christmas, we decided to give our gifts to each other ahead of time and this caused more hoots and hollers among the young. After YD’s crowd departed, the womenfolk decided to have a girl’s movie night at our house to watch “Pride and Prejudice”. In attendance were two nieces (came over later), OD, the Spice, GM1 and GM2. The men folk bowed out on that one and just kept ourselves occupied at other endeavors – some more worthy than others.

Wednesday the 21st of November was begun by an indescribable morning, made so by the fact that I can’t exactly remember what we did – events probably. In the afternoon our whole family came over to have photos taken by a young lady from our church. This friend of ours has been working in photography for a while and is planning to go pro at the first of the year.

She made photos of the whole clan in outdoor settings. Included were the Spice and I, both daughters and their mates and young ones. Shots were made all around the pond (the mud flats) as well as the neighbor’s pond and the trees surrounding both. These were natural and semi-posed in nature and probably about a hundred in number. She is to put them on a CD for us to choose from.

In the late PM the ladies opted to have a movie night and went to see “Enchanted” – the attendees were OD, the Spice, GM1 and GM2. FSIL, GM5 and I stayed home and did “men stuff” – basically watched old westerns on TV – one was starring Clint Eastwood that we had seen several times – still good. I finally crashed about 12 and they came in shortly after that and roused me up again – even though I tried to feign sleep because I was too weary to be in a sharing session about their movie.

In these wee minutes of early morning Thanksgiving I was thankful to have these loved ones visiting with us – and grateful for the ones that live in the area already. I finally got back to sleep but was amazed by the blessings and joy that God gives to the ones that trust Him. ec

Monday, November 26, 2007

son of events

This last week was so busy that I hardly had time to turn around, much less write anything. This is my effort at catching up on the chronicling of events surrounding that busy time. Saturday morning, November 17th, arrived and we were all up and about later than usual due to the late going to bed hour. I felt like I was in a bit of a fog for quite a while due to the drive to Atlanta and back.

In the afternoon, MIL and BIL came over from across the pond for a visit – or maybe that should be from across the mud flats, since the rains still are not happening. They stayed a while and we later sent out for pizza for everyone. We mostly just talked, hung around and did family stuff, in addition to watching a few football games that just happened to be available on an autumn Saturday afternoon.

Sunday arrived and OD (older daughter) and FSIL (first son-in-law) took their young ones (gruntmonkeys) out to breakfast with FSIL’s parents. The Spice (wife) and I went to AM church services and in spite of being tired we were blessed first by an excellent study in Sunday School (by an excellent teacher) and then by an outstanding worship service and sermon. The kind of service that makes one want to straighten up and fly right – and go out and evangelize the world for Jesus.

Back home, we got into preparation for supper, this for the whole crowd of our offspring and mates with their offspring. This was a combo gathering, for the meal and also for the official celebration of GM4’s 4th birthday – I say official because the actual birthday was 5 days before on the 13th. We enjoyed a great supper of roast, rice and gravy, squash casserole and several other sides.

A little later NWT (niece with twins) and her mate came by with their twin girls and son to help celebrate the birthday. GM4 had two birthday cakes, one from Publix and one that he had won at the local Christian radio station – I think it still had calories though. We sang, he blew out the candles and we all had cake and ice cream. I was unusually conservative in consuming only two pieces.

He opened his presents with exclamations of wondrous amazement and was a very happy camper. We are blessed with a basement containing a large room for young ones to make noise and play in – we sent them in that direction to let off some steam. The event and evening finally wore down and all that were going home did so and the rest crashed for the night.

I am constantly amazed at the blessings God gives us through our families. Sometimes these blessings are rambunctious and loud but blessings and joy nonetheless. Some may feel that kids and grandkids are nothing but heartaches and we may just have to look harder to find the joy but it is there. Families are from God and anything from God is good, even if there are a few heartaches on the way to the blessings and joy. ec

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

mo events

The events of the last week or so have been of the mixed emotions variety. The hospitalization and passing of our very close friend was very traumatic for her family and us as well. While at the hospital I made efforts at cheering the family and after her demise my striving was to comfort – while feeling woefully inadequate at both endeavors. But God is good and he will both comfort and strengthen the family for the coming weeks and months. How does anyone survive without God as a foundation?

Then came last Wednesday and the event of the day was childcare – something at which I have had a bit more experience and am somewhat more proficient. YD and GM1 were going with the high school band for several days to Indiana for a large competition – a yearly event. We received the three young lads about 12 noon and it was none-stop action until their Dad took them home at about 5pm on Friday. It took the both of us to keep them occupied and keep up the household as well.

The main events during their stay involved inside and outside play and hikes. The hiking route would be trekking down to the pond first and walk out on the dry ground that used to be under water. They all had to have sticks since I carry one and these had to be splashed in the water – it was meaningful to them. The next trek was out across the vacant lots to the top of the hill overlooking the highway. Then we stood at the peak and watched the vehicles pass by – with varying degrees of amazement.

After their departure, we had about an hour before our next event started. This event was to travel to the Atlanta airport to pick up OD and her clan – they were to stay with us through Thanksgiving week. The drive was about three hours and we gave ourselves plenty of time in case of highway delays and such. We had enough time to stop in at Kohl’s near Atlanta for the Spice to pick up a gift that OD had been unable to find at her home location in Texas. And still had time to get a bite to eat.

The restaurant just happened to be Chik-fil-A and after the meal you might be able to guess what we obtained to finish off the consuming event – milkshakes, of course. We felt safe during our meal since two policemen came in at the same time and ate. I was impressed at the management of the place, since these two officers only had to sign to eat there.

First son-in-law (FSIL) had been on a business trip in another part of the country and arrived in Atlanta earlier – we were in touch with him by cell phone. OD’s flight had been delayed several minutes so we still had some time to wait when we arrived. We parked, got in touch with FSIL, loaded up his luggage in the van and then waited for the rest of his crew. They arrived safely; we got their bags and headed away from the airport about 11pm.

We arrived home safely, unloaded the stuff and I was in bed and mostly asleep by 2am – a full day and week of events for this old coot. Through them all, God is still good, all the time. ec

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


It was a day in which many events occurred, not unlike other days in which many other events also occurred. None of the events on any of the days in question were alike – this because when something is done it cannot be repeated. Things can be done that are very similar but never exactly the same things. One might even say that this particular day was an event driven day but in truth all days are of that sort. At least I don’t remember a day in my life that had no events at all.

On this special day – they all are – it became time for the lunch event. As best as I recall, the sustenance of that moment was a sandwich and most likely two, since that is the usual number – I dislike lonely sandwiches. A half of a baked chicken possibly could have even joined the sandwiches – but I think I would have definitely recalled this with more clarity if it had actually happened.

But when whatever that was consumed became past tense consumption, there was a medium sized hole left in my appetite for something on the sweet side. This was followed by a certain amount of casting about and searching for something of the right size and shape to fit that hole. As I slowly meandered through the pantry, although I don’t think there are differentiated speeds included in the definition of meander, it seemed that I heard a small voice call my name.

Although there was no actual audible perception, it almost seemed so when I espied the small jar of cherry preserves. This was the same voice-like sensation that I felt when this jar of delectableness was collected and purchased. Anyway, I answered the preserves’ “call” by removing the jar lid, and with a spoon and a couple of slices of bread, transformed the sweet tartness into a taste delight. This delightfulness seemed to fit the remaining appetite hole almost exactly – it was a beautiful thing.

When this jar “spoke” to me during the grocery-buying event, it was a wonder that I heard it because so many other items were calling out to me all at the same time. The reason I try not to go into one of these food stores when I am hungry is because I over buy and sometimes these are rather odd items. I am the only one to appreciate some of the items but if I buy it, I will eat it, even if I have to finish it alone. That reminds me that I still have about a third of a jar of sauerkraut in the refrigerator.

Other events of my very busy last week and the continuing thereof this week will be written later. But there are many events in our country and world that seem so cruel and unfair that one wonders if justice and righteousness will ever prevail. It’s then that the words come to me from the chorus of a gospel song: “I’m going where the wicked shall cease from troubling – the weary shall be at rest – all of the saints of the ages – will sit at His feet and be blessed.” ec

Monday, November 12, 2007


For a little over a week now our days have been very busy with hospital visits and then just routine stuff here at home. Our very close friend had been doing warfare with the grim reaper and last Thursday she lost that fight. The funeral home visitation was Sunday night and the funeral was today with interment at a local cemetery.

She left a mate – my best friend – also four offspring and eight grandchildren and all will miss her very much. The Spice and I grieve with the family but not as those who have no hope. We also rejoice with them in the sense that her faith was anchored in a Savior that made a way for us all to have eternal life with Him and we will see her again.

These folks have been like family to us for many years and our duty now is to comfort those remaining and do what we can to help them overcome this loss. If you are a praying person, they need these petitions and the strength and consolation that only comes from our heavenly Father.

I usually don’t write on totally somber themes and will make efforts to be back to my silly self in a few days. ec

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


As I thought and even pondered the many situations and conditions of life, I thought to list the advantages of being bald. Since this is the condition in which I find my own head, I certainly know a lot about the slick circumstances involved.

1-It is always neat. At least my head is most often neat, unless it has stitches or scars or bandages. Another exception would be an old bald hippie that lets the sides grow long and frizzy – something I would call a lunatic fringe.

2-I don’t have to pay for a haircut. The Spice trims the edges for me.

3-I don’t have to buy or keep up with a comb – nothing to use it on.

4-I have no need to buy shampoo, I just use the soap that I use on the rest of myself.

5-I don’t have to be concerned about the wind messing up my hair – unless a tornado came along.

6-The normal bald person wouldn’t have to be concerned about dandruff but such is not the case with me. The dandruff is there, I just don’t have anything to keep it in.

7-If a bald person is a runner or swimmer, they can move faster because their head is more aerodynamic and offers less resistance to the air or water.

8-If a bald person has any growths that need to be removed from their head, these are easy to find because they are in plain view – with hardly any shaving necessary to remove them.

9-I don’t have to worry about being current with a hairstyle, mine is always the same and in style. Many are now imitating the slick style that I have enjoyed for years.

10-If I am having a bad hair day; I’m the only one that knows it – and I’ll never tell – not much.

Speaking of buzzards, I noticed two of them while out and about on an errand. They were circling a local church and it made me wonder if maybe their services had not been a little dead of late. Surely that couldn’t be the case because church should be the most lively and joyous place around and Christians the happiest people. ec

Monday, November 05, 2007


Here we are into November and have not had a frost as yet. A few of the trees are into their change of color but most of them almost seem confused, not knowing whether to change or not. A trip down the interstate roadway revealed several that looked like they just got tired of the indecision and their leaves turned brown and are about to fall off.

There’s a small tree along my walking route that looked different from the others. I didn’t stop during my walks to identify it but when it started changing colors, I knew from the beautiful red hues that it was a variety of maple. Tucked under the canopy of the larger trees, it is a bit scrawny and struggling in its competition for leftover sunlight reaching its shaded position. As I am wont to do, I am pulling for the underdog and am hoping this overgrown sprout makes it to full tree-dom.

A rather large group of geese is back at the pond and I found myself wondering whether the word gaggle has a limit as to the number of individuals that can be in this word’s definition. Is it still considered a gaggle even if several hundred geese are involved? A large congregation could even be called a slew, which is defined as a large number or quantity.

Slew is also the past tense of slay, so a large number of dead geese could definitely be called a slew, especially if they were killed in the past. Of course it is hard to kill something in the past but even if they were killed in the present, the past would come very quickly to them.

I have wondered about the origin of the word gaggle and upon seeing this group and watching them exercise themselves in the pecking order process, I think I have figured out where the word came from. As they posture and try to bluff each other out they make little noises that could be called gaggling. Most of the flock makes these noises and upon hearing this, an observer might have said, “That is nothing but one big gaggle.” The name stuck and they have been called a gaggle since.

No way of proving this theory unless I do major research, which is usually limited to a very few minutes. But it did make sense to me, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it would make sense to anyone else in the known world. Some knowledge that is individually construed may or may not have any relation to the truth. Some might even construe that there is no truth but they would be wrong.

The “Truth” that endures through all generations is that God loves us enough that He made a way for us to be forgiven for any wrong we have ever done. Not only that, He will also be a constant companion that will guide us into all truth and will even help us to live according to it. That is very impressive to me. ec

PS – The etymology of gaggle shows it from the 15th century Middle English word gagyll, from gagelen, meaning to cackle.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

a first

The day was Friday and it was a really different sort of day. It started out with breakfast and scripture but nothing unusual there. Then I had a doc appointment, no big difference, especially of late since it seems to be a regular thing. Then I met a friend for lunch and even though that doesn’t happen a lot, it was nothing out of the ordinary. In the early afternoon was when the different thing happened.

This was something that had never happened to me before – I had to have a mammogram. After being called back, I was slightly amused at the young tech lady administering the procedure because she looked just a bit flummoxed; I’m guessing this was a first for her also. For those of you that have not had this experience, it is not nearly as much fun as some might lead you to believe, but I did live through it and that counts for something.

This was followed by an ultra-sound and after the tests were read I was told that this swelling on one side was probably due to medication I’m taking for other problems. I’m now on some OTC Advil for the swelling and am to check back with my doc in a month. Though it is rare, cancer in this area has happened in males also.

Then I got word from my best friend that his wife had taken a turn for the worse. She had been in ICU in a local hospital for multiple problems and had to be transferred to another hospital to have an emergency operation to relieve pressure on her brain. This was her only chance to survive and even with the surgery the family was given very little hope.

As soon as the Spice returned from taking her Mom to a doc appointment, we loaded up and headed to the hospital. We hung out with the family until the surgery was completed. We have known this family so long and have been so close that they feel like my own family. Mostly all they could tell them was that she would be heavily sedated for 48 hours and they would know more then.

We went home and crashed into bed and when we awoke, behold, a new day appeared. This happens almost every time I go to bed at night. The day began in the usual ways and then I made efforts at cleaning the workbench in the garage. After much effort, I was able to actually see the surface of this work area – this felt really odd. The Spice left to help out with our church’s ministry to the homeless and I started mowing the lawn.

I used the push mower to mow around the difficult areas and then tried to crank up the riding mower. The battery was too weak to start it so I had to finish this task with the walk behind equipment. When the Spice returned, I got cleaned up and we went to my grandnephew’s birthday party. He was four and they really did it up right with a cowboy theme. The kids (including three of my gruntmonkeys) had a great time and the adults just made sure they didn’t hurt themselves and made photos.

The Spice and I then went to get a bite to eat and went back to the hospital to check on our friend. We found conditions about the same and after staying a while we went on to another errand and then back home. By this time us old people were worn and weary. It has been difficult to get to any writing this past week but I know without a doubt that God is still good, all the time. ec