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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Monday, December 31, 2007

2 Christmas 2007

Still catching up, time wise – Christmas Day began very slowly for me and of late, slow is very much to my liking. Later in the morning when we finally got our act together, we made a trip over to Younger Daughter’s to see the presents of the gruntmonkeys – a necessary trip. We enjoyed very much seeing their excitement – maybe that should read bouncing off the walls. YD lives about 9 miles away, Older Daughter lives 1000 miles away in Texas and since they came for Thanksgiving, we had to enjoy their Christmas by phone and by photos via email.

The Spice and I had driven separately and while she drove back home for some prep for the family meal that evening at our house, I headed in the other direction to share in the gathering of a very good friend and family. This family is as much like my own as it gets without actually being so. The visit was shorter than I would have preferred but I gathered as many smiles as I could and headed back home to give the Spice some aid and comfort concerning the meal of the evening.

Arriving home, I found the prep humming right along but with more to do, so I started humming along with the rest of the hums. Soon others were arriving with their covered dishes and quite a feast was assembled post haste. 19 members of the Spice’s family populated our gathering – including our daughter and her clan. 7 of these are the great-grands of Mema – the Spice’s Mom.

When all were assembled, we read the Christmas story from Luke’s gospel, had prayer together and set upon the victuals – or vittles, depending on your upbringing. There was a steady stream of eating, teasing, laughing and just generally enjoying each other’s presence. We are blessed with a basement “game room” (?) and after the meal, the young ones – and most of the noise – went downstairs to play. We all finally wound down and those with homes elsewhere departed to them.

The whole Christmas season was a wonderful time of family togetherness. And even though it was a very busy time, it was a season for collecting smiles, those precious expressions that stick in the memory for a long time – maybe a lifetime. Before this season I was an unofficial smile collector, but this year I have made the declaration and now am official – and will memory-save even the smallest grin. When my mind sees a face, I want to remember it with a smile attached thereunto.

The time since Christmas has flown by. The Wednesday after was a day of rest except for gathering all the trash and cardboard and hauling it to the landfill. Thursday found the Spice and I back at the back cracker with good results, then on to Sam’s Wholesalers and to pick up the gruntmonkeys to keep while their Mom cleaned up and packed for the beach trip they were taking on Saturday.

Friday flew by and Saturday morning YD’s whole clan took off for Myrtle Beach. Herein lies a wondrous thing though – their condo was for a week and they can only stay four nights because of coming back for school starting again. The Spice and I are the fortunate ones that get to complete the week for them. We will be going down on Wednesday and coming back on Saturday – and as usual, I will fill you in on every detail ad nauseam.

The Spice and I hope you and yours will have the happiest New Year ever. One that is blessed by God and filled with unexplainable joy – that type only comes from Him. ec

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas 2007

Still a bit behind time, this writing is about Christmas 2007. Our Christmas really began on Christmas Eve morning when the local gruntmonkeys and their parents came over for breakfast. After we had a good breaking of the fast together – with grits and all, y’all – we exchanged presents with them. The boys didn’t say anything about what they got and probably didn’t realize the cost – just enjoyed the small stuff they got. But the Spice and I had something for the three boys as a surprise.

After all the obvious presents were opened, we cleaned up the room a bit and sent the boys to the basement in the care of their big sis. The boy’s big present was covered by a quilt in the foyer. SSIL and I maneuvered it through the doorway into the den, installed batteries and covered it back up. We had purchased a battery-powered truck for them in which all three could ride – even had a working radio. The truck was a black Ford F-150 with all the Harley-Davidson decals attached to its surface.

We called the boys back up and when we had their attention we un-quilted the vehicle. Suddenly it was no longer just Christmas, it was New Year’s, July 4th, Thanksgiving and even Groundhog Day all wrapped up together. In mere seconds they were all three ensconced in the wondrous little truck and ready to ride. Since it was a bit hard to maneuver inside, we got it through the front door and off they went, with SSIL walking alongside. They made at least two round trips of MIL’s driveway and several yard excursions before they even thought about being tired of riding in “the truck”.

All three got to drive, with the two older boys doing this very well but the youngest had a bit of trouble. He knew how to make the truck go but was a little weak on the stopping part – plus he didn’t have the steering concept quite mastered. The adult walking with him had to do the steering – to keep it out of the pond. As it got on toward naptime, they packed up and headed back home – leaving the truck, as per their Mom, because they have no traffic-free or level place on which to ride.

A little later in the afternoon of Christmas Eve, we went over to YD’s to have supper with them. In attendance were the six of YD’s clan, MIL, BIL and the Spice and I. We had an excellent meal and cemented even tighter the bonds of family and gruntmonkeyship. My older bro was having a gathering at his place – with some family members that I don’t get to see very often – and later we left YD’s and traveled out there for further family tie cementing.

Older bro’s three offspring were in attendance along with various mates, their offspring and a couple of offspring mates – to say the least, the event was a real hoot. They had finger foods but food wasn’t particularly high on my agenda, since we had just finished a grand meal. Even at that, I did nibble on some odds and ends munchies. The Spice and I were both much expended from the pace of the day and finally parted company with them and headed back home.

I rested that night in much gladness that God invented families and felt blessed indeed that I had been with many of my loved ones that day. ec

Friday, December 28, 2007


The invitation had been given and accepted several weeks before for the Spice and I to spend a couple of nights in a condo at Edisto Beach with older bro and SIL. Due to the illness of MIL, the Spice was unable to go and so I went with them solo to fulfill the commitment made. I have been to several beaches and resort areas and Edisto is not totally unlike these except for the fact that the rampant and invasive commercialism of other places is simply not allowed there.

We left home on December 18th about noon and made the trip in an uneventful manner – about 3 hours. We checked in and got our stuff situated and mostly just relaxed. I had gone to see the doc that very morning and obtained the prescribed meds. I had taken the first pill already but it was not magic and I was very miserable – a fact that I tried tough out – even though I felt like falling apart.

I had started a new exercise program coinciding with the illness; it is called the “cough until your abs ache” program. By the second day of this I could tell that it was really working because all the abdominal muscles were extremely sore. Even though I wanted to take a rest day from the exercises, they were insistent that I continue them on a very regular basis.

Next morning we went over and walked on the beach for a while – this seemed to help the sinuses. The beaches have many more shells than other shores on which I have meandered – would be a little hard on bare feet. I find the winter walks in the sand much more enjoyable, since I’m not supposed to be in the sun anyway. For lunch we stopped by the only grocery store on the island – Piggly Wiggly – and got take-out plates, brought them back to the condo and forthwith consumed the contents.

Early afternoon found me out behind the condos, exploring the shores of the lake or lagoon that was in the inner circle of the buildings. The water was very dark and brought to mind the ancient movie “The Creature from the Black Lagoon”. Espied were several water birds and I supposed there were fish in the water since someone had left a pole on the bank. Another of my suppositions was that this body of water was created or at least enlarged by dredging for more dirt on which to build the condos.

Across the water I noticed a cat that was in the midst of a hunt for some unseen and unsuspecting prey – I find the nature of God’s creatures very fascinating. Further down the bank I startled an egret – and was slightly startled by it. The flora of the area mostly consisted of live oaks and palmetto palms with a few pines and other plants and trees mixed in. The live oaks have much Spanish moss hanging in them – very rustic and “old south” looking.

The sound waves in the area were dominated by the staccato notes played by a pneumatic nail gun, employed in some sort of a construction project that was unseen at the other end of the lake. Aside from the noisy tool, the scene was very serene and peaceful, with the occasional call of a bird or caw of a crow. It would have been much more appreciated had I been in better health.

We all took another walk on a different section of beach later, fed the seagulls some scrap bread and such and even gathered some seashells – I’m not sure of the reason for this latter activity. The weather was beautiful, not too hot or cold and we departed with a certain amount of regret the next morning back to our homes. I’m always awed by God’s creation and this trip had that same effect on me. God is awesome in all He does. ec

Thursday, December 27, 2007

bizy past 2

Continuing with the ancient history of December 11th – my allotted moments were just about right to get to my appointment on time – until I ran into construction on the interstate. I phoned ahead to tell them of my plight and continued the turtle pace of travel – even so I was only about 5 minutes late. My doc did his magic back and neck manipulations followed by a vibration massage on the upper back and neck areas and I headed out the door feeling somewhat better.

Arriving back home, I called to get the lab results on the previous day’s triple needle biopsy on my left breast area. The doc had assured me that it was not malignant, but it was comforting to know that the lab results agreed with his statement. That little procedure also was not nearly as much fun as one might have believed – even at that, the biopsy part wasn’t as painful as the numbing shots. It was a normal overgrowth that happens in a few teen boys and some older men.

It wasn’t very long before I left out again to have supper with some old cronies that I worked with for years. This is a monthly occurrence and takes place in various restaurants and places around town. The night’s adventure in dining happened at a steak house over in Augusta and even though we waited a bit for a table, we were soon enjoying a repast that on my part turned out to be one of the best steaks I have had in a long time – with a baked sweet potato on the side, also excellent.

As per usual, there was much laughter and kidding going on, with the sharing of tales real or imagined. This along with past work adventures of odd natures – people too. After much fun, we finally talked ourselves down and parted company until next month. I had not slept well the night before due to the discomfort of the biopsy, so by the time I walked in the door at home I had about “hit the wall” – and though this is a term used by marathon runners, it seemed to apply to me right then.

Awaking on the 12th with a better night’s sleep, I faced another appointment with gruntmonkeys. YD dropped off GM4 and GM6 at 9am and we delighted in each other’s presence the rest of the morning. At noon we all went to retrieve their older brother from kindergarten and the delighting continued. The delight for GM6 stopped when I had to put him down for a nap – not his favorite thing to do. I put a couple of videos in for the older two and we just hung out until their Mom came for them at 3pm.

The 13th found me with an appointment of a different sort. This was the day for our retired telephone “pioneers” Christmas banquet. This took place in a church’s fellowship hall in Aiken, SC and was a covered dish affair. My contribution was one of my homemade banana puddings, the construction of which began about 9:30am and I took it straight from the oven – and departed for the feast.

Arriving at the appointed place, I found some old friends, some I only knew by name and others that I had yet to meet. To sum it up it was a good time with good folks, good food and many recollections. At the end they drew tickets for door prizes of the five poinsettias that were used for decorations. As it turned out I won the very last one of these – unusual for me.

In life, sometimes we win and most times lose, but with Jesus Christ I have always been a winner due to my acceptance of His gift of forgiveness – of course this gift is for anyone that will believe because God is good, all the time. ec

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

bizy past

During the process of climbing out of the deep dark hole of respiratory ailment it occurred to me that I had not written – nor had I felt like writing – anything in about 2 weeks (except for the Christmas greeting). This illness pounced on my person on or about Thursday December 12th and in typical male macho fashion, I thought that I could fight it off in a couple of days – despite a weakened immune system from another ailment’s medication.

Such was not the case and after toughing it out and dragging my carcass around all the weekend, I went to seek medical help on Tuesday the 18th. Medication was prescribed, taken and is bringing the condition to its demise, much too slowly for my liking but I am grateful nonetheless. But now I am ahead of myself and must go back to describe a very busy week – the one preceding the one which was just before the one in which we find ourselves living and hopefully prospering and doing well.

On the morning of December 11th, it became time in the course of human events to arise before 9am. With much convincing of myself, gritting of teeth and grunts, the arising finally happened – despite the complaining of every muscle fiber of the being. It seems to me there is a discrepancy in my crepitating, almost to the point of being decrepit. Other than that, my day started in its usual ways, with a huge amount of gratitude to have a place to wake up in – and waking up in it.

Heading out the door for a doc appointment, I realized that I had never been to a podiatrist before today. I was referred to him by one of my primary health practitioners for a toenail fungal problem of long standing, the least serious problem I have had visited a doc for all year. Upon examination, he suggested an oral medication now available but I had read that it would interfere with other medication I was taking. He didn’t seem to agree but agreed to topical treatment until I could get the advice of my other doc – the prescriber of the meds in question.

My next appointment was with YD to sit with her two young ones – GM4 and GM6. I went straight from the doc’s office to her house and she left shortly after on her appointment. After supervising their snack time, we departed to pick up GM3 from K5 and take him to speech therapy at a nearby elementary school. The three young lads and I went inside to meet his teacher and the ladies at the desk thought these three were quite the combo package. Seeing him to his teacher, I took the other two back to the van to wait for him – with the DVD player and various snack items to munch on.

After the lesson, we went back to their house and the two younger ones went down for a nap – the dreaded “n” word. They were not happy about the situation at all and suddenly GM6 reappeared back downstairs as though this was what he was supposed to do. I knew he was not alone because I also heard the rapidly departing footsteps of GM4. I put on my gruff voice, put them back in bed and explained the terms of what was expected – it seems they believed me this time and didn’t return.

YD returned just in time for me to leave for my next appointment – the one with my back cracker – but I’ll cover that next time. Despite various ailments, God is still good, all the time. ec

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I have been absent from my writing post of late mostly because of a respiratory ailment but am now on the mend. Just wanted to cast forth a few lines to say that my sincere wish and hope for you all is that you have enjoyed the most joyous Christmas season ever. Though I have received a few material things, the most precious by far is the joy of relationships, whether these are friends or kin.

The grunts (daughters) and gruntmonkeys (grands) in my life could not possibly know the joy they bring to my heart through the interactions I have with them – even the noisy ones. These actions and especially the smiles are stored away in my consciousness to bring forth and cheer a day that is not so happy. But the most precious relationship of all is the one I have with the Christ of Christmas.

This relationship of total forgiveness and acceptance is the foundation on which my life is built and is the reason for the unexplainable joy I find in my life every day. If you are not happy with what you got for Christmas, go to Jesus to find out what Christmas is really all about.

The Spice and I also wish y’all the best New Year possible. ec

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

grits y'all 2

With the “grits” segment having coarsely ground its corny way to somewhat of a mushy conclusion, I will now take up the “y’all” part. After much research and from many sources, it is supposed and generally concluded that this is a contraction of you and all. A small amount of this is taken from sources on the web. Y’all is the best way to address two or more people, it sounds better than youse guys and is more vocally efficient as well. It is a bit like a note of music in a southern conversation.

Let me restate that in most of the south y’all is plural. That is, unless someone is intentionally misusing it for effect. The problem is, lots of folks have intentionally misused it, from the makers of movies and television shows with exaggerated southern characters – most often for ridicule – to the writers of those little books in the souvenir shops with titles like “Advice for Yankees Moving South”. These books would have you believe that y’all is singular, all y’all is plural and all y’all’s is plural possessive. The last two in that sentence actually would be correct in certain usages.

Being born and raised in the south, I was somewhat surprised by the many different American dialects I heard when I joined the army and traveled around the country a bit. I did learn to understand most of these folks and could even be understood by a lot of them. I strived to drop a lot of my southern drawl in my effort to be understood – not exactly a credit to my southern heritage.

The southern drawl is not something one learns in classes or goes to college for but it is more like something that creeps into the brain over the years. I’ve even known some northerners that moved south and actually started to sound like a native – 15 to 20 years later. The southern drawl has been known to drive folks from other parts of the country to distraction – and maybe even to envy.

In my army days I was known to drop into or out of a southern drawl, especially if I thought it would impress a young lady. And if I dropped into one, it would be one so heavy and slow that it would be like pouring molasses outside on a cold day – it gave me more time to think about what to say next. I could drop into a drawl as quick as a curious child could fall into a freshly dug septic tank hole.

This reminds me of the French girl with the southern drawl. The year was about 1961 and I had been sent to a town to the south of Paris on temporary duty to learn about a special piece of equipment and how to maintain it. This was in a fairly small town and there was a laundry close by that most of the local US soldiers used to keep their clothes clean and pressed. I took some clothes in one day and was almost floored that not only did this girl speak English; she spoke it with a southern accent.

It seems that she learned English from her southern boyfriend and it had the effect of making me very homesick. I had already been in that foreign land for about a year without hearing a sweet southern girl drawl to me. Y’all is one of the cornerstones of what is known in some circles as Southern American English. All y’all need Jesus; He died to forgive all y’all’s sins – if you just ask. ec

Monday, December 10, 2007

grits y'all

As most of you know, I am wont to mentally meander through the dictionary that is installed in my computer and upon finding a word new to me – or one not in common usage – I bring it out into the light of the written word to be examined by all. The word glottochronology is the use of lexicostatistics to study the rate of change in vocabulary and the amount of vocabulary two presently distinct but related languages share, using this information to estimate how long ago the languages diverged.

Everyday folks seldom use this word or type of study but it did make me wonder how long ago the words ‘grits’ and ‘y’all’ became southernisms of the American language – notice I didn’t say English, I was corrected on this by a Brit long ago. Northerners and others possibly recognize these words from TV shows depicting alleged dumb southern hicks but they have no idea of the depth of meaning these two words convey. Since I have not written about either of these in a while, it became time.

The first 6 or so years of my life occurred out in the northeastern corner of Mississippi (1941-1947) and as far back as I can remember we always had grits somewhere on the menu. In our world today, if available at all, grits have become a side dish and in some places a very minor one. Back in the day, grits was the main course of many meals – the entrée. On most days we would have eggs, if we could find the hidden nests of the chickens that populated the yard. Easter wasn’t the only occasion for us to hunt eggs. Then when a hog was killed we had the bonus of hog brains and eggs.

On some days it was grits and fatback and occasionally there would be ham and red-eye gravy. Grits was not just a breakfast food; it was for any meal, depending on what else was available. I remember meals of grits and tomato gravy. Back on the farm and even in later years tomatoes were canned for the winter – Mom would take the canned tomatoes, cook them with some flour and maybe grease, add seasoning and along with the grits, you had a meal.

It seems that I have heard grits called cornmeal mush and that would be somewhat close to correct because it is a ground corn product - mostly from white corn, though I have seen and eaten some yellow grits. They are coarser ground than meal and if properly cooked there is a subtle textural ambiance that has to be experienced to be understood and appreciated. If one is raised with and becomes a connoisseur of this noble corn product, its slight graininess and occasional lump is a delight to the tongue and imagination – and is a part of the true southerner’s cultural heritage.

But there is a greater heritage than even this, the one of the true Christian. The genuine believers should be able to trace their words and actions of love back to those of the Son of God – the one that loved enough to give His life in order to forgive and erase the guilt of the wrong things that any of us have ever done. The least we can do for the one that gave His life for us is to live our lives for Him – Jesus Christ. ec

PS – I will get to the ‘y’all’ part next time.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

tagged by anvilcloud

I have been tagged – several days ago – by anvilcloud - - To share 5 facts about myself on this blog, some random, some weird. The following is my effort to do just that – the tag will be somewhat incomplete due to fact #5.

1-I don’t drink coffee, it gives me a headache. It is not the caffeine because for years now – after the coffee ceased to be – I drank hot tea but now I have had to stop the tea because it irritates my throat. It leaves a void in the area of something hot to drink – hot chicken soup just doesn’t cut it for breaking the fast. I have even tried hot chocolate but it has somewhat the same effect as coffee. Even when I eat chocolate, it stops up the sinuses – but I will still dare to do this on occasion.

2-I have strived for several years to achieve an “edible landscape” – this would be a condition in which all bushes or trees on our property produces something that could be eaten – if only by birds. Removing my shrubbery was not specifically for this goal but now that the shrubs are out, I will check with my nursery person to see what it available that might meet that goal. I would even have a blueberry hedge, but they drop their leaves in winter and that would look even worse than the scraggly shrubs they replaced. I may have to settle for producing flowers – like azaleas or camellias.

3-I enjoy cutting down trees and cutting them up – for firewood and such – and digging. I have even put these two together and dug up trees – especially if it was a hardwood that would sprout back. The digging enjoyment has been supplied of late by removing my shrubbery and filling in with dirt. I have several trees that need to be removed but I am just now getting to an energy level to accomplish that. Besides I need to get my gas chainsaw repaired – the two electric ones are too small. This quirk must come from a few leftover pioneer genes lodged somewhere within.

4-I am an amateur electrician – amateur because I have never been paid for this line of work. My first new house to wire is the one in which we presently reside. I also wired two other new houses from scratch, as well as a backyard workshop – one house for MIL, another for nephew and the workshop for SSIL. Other projects include several rewires and repairs on the houses of kin. Electricity has always fascinated me but I am never at ease around it – because it bites.

5-This fifth fact may not come as a surprise to any who read my “plain jane” blog. I do not know how to properly link anything, nor do I know how to post anything – other than words. My goal at present is to learn how to do these things over the holiday time. NWT (niece with twins) works from home with computers most every day and is well versed in such as this and if I can get a short while with her, I can possibly cure some of my un-knowledge – I don’t like the word ignorance.

Personally I enjoy having quirks – there are many more than the ones listed – and I know that my Heavenly Father loves me, no matter how quirky I might be. ec

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


The end of last week found me nearing the completion of parts of the outdoor digging and dirt-moving project. There were only two shrubbery stumps left to remove and three or four more carts of dirt that needed to be placed. The temperature of the week was just right for outside work and I had labored in a T-shirt most of the time, especially later in the day.

I did branch out into another project on Friday in the midst of the ongoing one. This one was fairly short and involved placing more straw in the blueberry bed that is on the side of our driveway. The straw was acquired from our neighbor who has many pine trees on his place. He piles up his excess straw for anyone that needs it and that day I was the one. I had wanted to add the straw for a while but this was the first good opportunity and it was gratifying to get that side project done.

During the holiday week my walking schedule had bit the dust, only walking a couple of times but this last week I have been right on track. My walking distance is 2.8 miles per day and even though I was working in the yard, I still managed to walk – but when I came in afterwards, I crashed. Of course the Spice does her job of scolding me for overdoing things, as I am somewhat wont to do.

My thoughts along those lines would say that the better shape one keeps their body in, the more one can do and the longer one can do it. She does have a point though because I possibly could turn the energy expenditure level down just a bit and not be quite so ‘crashed out’ when I get through.

Come Saturday my back was giving me little tiny fits, so I decided that this was my “stay inside” day. Involved in this was the TV, videos, computer and a comfy chair. One thing I did worthwhile was to go out and gather the dead flower heads to have flower seed for next year. I also gathered the dried okra pods and shucked the seeds from them to save for next year’s veggies.

The second good thing was to go for my walk and as whacked out as my back was, it loosened up by the second lap. Sunday AM the back was back into mini-fits – I made it through Sunday school and almost the entire sermon. I had to depart for the van a little early and recline until the Spice came out – we did not make it back for PM church.

Monday came and the back was somewhat back to normal – in spite of this, I did not venture outside until the PM. We went for our walk early and when I got back, I finished uprooting the last two shrubbery stumps and hauled six loads of dirt – I spread this and placed bricks under the rain gutter to prevent erosion – just in case it ever rains again – that phrase seems to be a common theme.

The only project not completed is the hauling of the dirt from the north boundary – this will be an ongoing thing, I will just have to find another place to put it. Though I paid a bit of a price for overdoing things, it feels so good to be able to work outside. My amazement at this world God created causes me to commune with Him and express my thanks for His works. ec

Monday, December 03, 2007


This last week found me in an ongoing outdoor project of at least three facets. One part was to dig up all the remaining shrubbery and then replace it with a different type over the winter. Part two was a continuing effort of taking out the dirt bank along one part of the northern border of our property. The reason for this is that it is too steep to mow – I’m removing dirt and then making a more gentle slope to make cutting the grass easier. I say continuing effort because I have been at it a year or so.

Interwoven with these two is the fact that I am taking the dirt from the bank and placing it next to the house where I have taken out the shrubbery to gently slope this area and keep rainwater from pooling next to the foundation of the house. This is just in case we ever get any more rain. It has been so long since we’ve had a serious rain that any mention of it by the weatherman seems to be a toying with our emotions. Though we did get a light rain overnight, it was hardly enough to wet the ground.

The problem of this whole project is that my outside work had been curtailed for so long and I attacked it with such pent up energy and ferocity that it drove me into the dirt – a little pun there. I wasn’t good for much at the end of the first day. But even in my near collapsed and energy depleted condition, I did get my necessary rehab walk completed – a little slower than usual. The next day I started later, worked at a saner pace and took more breaks.

The afternoon of this second day found me shoveling dirt into my large two-wheeled cart when YD drove up with the gruntmonkeys. Of course they wanted to help and I managed to get them enough shovels to do this. GM3 had a long-handled one and promptly bonked me on the head with the end to which he wasn’t paying any attention. The thought crossed my mind that they were going to get dirty but the very next thought told me that this is what they were supposed to do.

When I took a load of dirt over to dump it, GM6 followed me over and I rode him back in the cart, he was big stuff. Next load they all followed me over and the whole crew rode back – as they did the next also. I had pulled the cart, so I automatically became the horse and they were the cowboys shooting at the bad guys. After the last load, I rode them all the way around the house and they pretty much ridded the whole place of all bad guys. They seemed to enjoy this for some reason. Too soon they were gone but I think they might remember this and it will probably have to be repeated.

This brings us back to the drought and the condition of the pond – I have described it as mud flats and while it may not be quite that bad, it does remind me of a very large mud puddle. Though I am a bit surprised, we have not had a fish kill as yet – there must be some deeper areas where they are staying – hunkering down until it rains.

I mentioned some several missives back that we had acquired another acre added onto the back of our property and this includes the west bank of the pond and a short ways out into the water. The property stakes are still in place and when one sights down them, there is only one small puddle of water left on our property. If I had some means other than by hand, I would dig out to make the pond deeper on our side – just in case it rains again. Rain or no, God is still good, all the time. ec

Sunday, December 02, 2007


The day dawned as a very different one and even though it had some of the same old looks and characteristics, it had much of the new and unique – probably was meant to be that way. Even though we didn’t get much of a rain the day before, it was enough to make the air smell fresh, like well-scrubbed younguns after a bath. As I set out for my first adventure of the morning, I could still see the moon in the cloudless sky – faint because of the sunlight but distinct nonetheless.

The adventure was to meet friends for breakfast and the route was via the interstate in a section that is seeing much construction – with its delays, lane shifts and such. It is said that it will be an improvement – hopefully so, when completed – if it ever is. Even though it was not particularly early – 9am – my body seemed to think so and had not gone beyond the grunt and groan stages.

I noticed on the way that the meager rain and wind denuded many of the trees along the highway and there was little leaf color left to enjoy – but I enjoyed what was still there. In the road construction sections, the pavement had been ground down in areas for lane shifts and it had a peculiar sound and song as the tires hummed over these areas. It had several notes that I couldn’t make out as a particular tune but it was singing to me anyway. It was unique but would have been hard to dance to.

Had a good breakfast with a couple of my brothers in Christ and a time of much conversation and laughter. It seems to me that we solved several major problems of the world – not that anyone would particularly take our advice but we solved them nonetheless. In fact we had so much fun that when we parted ways I felt almost totally awake as I headed back to the home front.

Back at home, the Spice and I decided to go ahead and do our walk because it had been several days since our busy schedule had allowed it. I did my usual 2.8 miles and she did somewhat less because we had to get showers before we went to our back-cracker appointment, and it takes her a bit longer to get ready. One main reason is that she has hair to fix and I do not.

After our appointment we decided to eat out since we were in the area anyway. Very few folks were there because it was between lunch and supper. Of late, we usually don’t eat but two meals a day, with maybe an added snack. One meal a day would be fine with me – but that meal would last all day and this would result in an altogether different set of problems – weighty ones, I might add.

Even though I consider the words mall and shop four letter words that one should stay away from, the mall was nearby and the Spice had a couple of things she wanted to check on. So after we ate, I took her to this shopping area like a dutiful husband should – besides, there was a new sporting goods store there that I had been wanting to check out. But then what I had greatly feared came upon me when I realized that I had finished my perusal long before she was done.

She finally came out just before dark but she did not come out alone, as one might suspect. She was accompanied by a couple of bags – of what and how much I did not know. Her immediate retort was that it could have been much more. In the midst of the going home traffic, we were blessed to view an absolutely glorious sunset. It was a pinkish peach color reflecting off the clouds with shadings of grey and blue and was a treat for the eyes and soul. It was God’s gift to us and I was grateful. ec

Saturday, December 01, 2007

events cuz

Monday, November 26th, made its way in our lives and it felt a bit odd with just the Spice and I in the house and no guests. I don’t think we had time to feel odd on Sunday, that or we just didn’t feel like feeling odd. The weatherman said that there was a large chance of rain in the early afternoon, so I charged into my day with sustenance of physical and spiritual nature. We were about overrun with trash, so my first challenge was to gather this and take it to the dump before the rain.

This was a multifaceted trip and the first stop was the post office for our mail – the box was crammed full since we had not checked it in several days because of our busy schedule. Then I went on to the ATM since I was flat broke – it had been a long time since I didn’t even have one dollar. At church the night before I had given my last dollar bill – felt bad because that was all I had to give.

Then it was on to the trash dump to get rid of five large bags of household trash and some cardboard for recycling – flattened according to their instructions. Then I made my first trip to the new Wal-Mart super store in Aiken, SC to check it out and pick up some needed items. First impression of the store is that it is absolutely huge – large even – maybe half again as big as the one in North Augusta.

Next thing of notice was that the aisles were wider, at least in the grocery section that I visited. They looked wide enough for at least three carts to pass – this would prevent clogged passageways. As usual they had a massive variety of products to select from. I just wandered down every aisle – spent a bit more than I should have, especially since I wasn’t even hungry – when I usually over buy. Measured the distance to the house on the way back and it is a couple of miles further than the next closest one – 8.4 miles as opposed to 6.5 – but the new one is a straight route, all four lane highway.

After unloading the groceries at home and checking the mail, the Spice found that she had finally received her passport. There was a bit of rejoicing on our parts since (a) now we will be allowed to take our trip and (b) the government admitted that the Spice officially exists. We still have to do the paperwork with the state to get her birth certificate but we don’t have to have that for the trip.

After putting a dent in the leftover household clutter, I trucked out to pick up GM3 from kindergarten since YD was otherwise occupied. GM3 is quite a talker and there was no quietness from the pick up to the drop off at his house – he has a rather large imagination. Then it was back to the house to be there to allow access to the pest control dude to de-bug the place. It was a busy day up to that point – plus we didn’t get as much of the promised rain as I had hoped – but it did wet the ground.

I miss OD (older daughter) and her crew like crazy but it just can’t be helped – maybe one day it will be different. I still feel blessed beyond measure over the holiday with all the family time with daughters, SILs and all the gruntmonkeys. Plus getting to visit with both of my brothers and much other kin out at bro’s place. “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” ec