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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Monday, February 25, 2008


The weather being too wet to work outside, I went down to the shop to spiffy the place up a little. I spied a long bladed trenching shovel with a broken handle – we used to call this a ‘sharp shooter’. I found a handle that had been broken from something else and I set about modifying this handle to fit the shovel blade. Even with the several power tools I have, the best tool I had for the job was a hand planer. It did take a while to taper the wood of the handle to the size that would fit the shovel blade.

This was completed, the handle was tightly seated and a hole was drilled and a screw placed to hold it on. I then abandoned the shop and after several odds and ends, I crashed into bed. The next day was the first one with decent weather since we returned from Texas, so I took my newly handled shovel outside and put it to good use uprooting brambles and weeds from the garden soil.

After an hour or so I tired of this endeavor and went with the Spice and MIL to take her uncle and aunt to lunch – they were visiting for the afternoon from Walterboro, SC. We enjoyed this and when we got back I went back outside and involved myself in some pruning. First was the fig tree on the other end of the garden – a radical pruning of some of the frost-damaged limbs from last year.

Then my attention turned to the muscadine vines down the hill toward the pond. This is very time consuming because all the growth from last year has to be trimmed back to two or three buds on every limb. I have 7 vines and I completed one of those and started on another one. Some of the vine growth can be extreme – 10 to 20 feet long. The light faded to the point that I could barely see what I was cutting and I didn’t want to nick a finger, so I called it an evening.

Next morning was Sunday and even though MIL was staying with us and didn’t feel well enough to go to church, she encouraged us to go and we did so. The sermon was entitled “Do not be deceived” and it so much applies to our world today even though the main example of the message was Sampson – even the most brilliant of us can be deceived in a spiritual sense. We must know, believe and follow the truth to keep from believing and living a lie.

Back up to the worship service – when it started, my mind was cluttered with random thoughts, some not even close to the church building. The choruses had the effect of clearing my mind to think about where I was and why I came there. The songs usually go over and over in my mind for several days. This is a good thing because it keeps me more focused on what is important.

Backing up even further to the Sunday school class and the teacher made a statement from which I drew a mental picture that has stayed with me. The statement was something to the effect of – sometimes we live in the shadow of our misdeeds. In my mental photo, the grace, mercy and forgiveness of God are shining forth like the sun and the person was existing in the shadow or shade of their wrongdoing, not realizing that all they had to do to be rid of it was to step out into the light.

All three of these things involve our choice, we can have God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness if we choose to go to Him and ask. ec

Sunday, February 24, 2008

the days after

The morning after we got back from Texas was tough. I’m not sure whether it was jet lag, general tiredness, the layover in Atlanta or something to do with the altitude and pressurization of the flight. I had an early – for me – doc appointment that morning and I felt like I was in snail gear. Finally getting out the door, I en-trucked myself and headed toward Augusta, GA, since that was where the doc was.

Leaving the doc’s with a prescription and a course of action to embark upon health wise, I went to my next appointed errand place. This place was Lowe’s, my favorite shopping place, if one can call it that – it’s more like my drooling and dreaming place. Being very deliberate, I gathered the items required, with a little help in the finding and went through the automated checker-outer.

The day was cloudy and a bit dreary but I was determined not to let that touch my day. Along about this time, in one parking lot or another, I glanced up and around at the sky, trees and landscape. I decided then and there that even though my body was very uncooperative, I would still have an upbeat attitude. The attitude had been there already, I just concentrated on maximizing it.

My next necessary errand was located at Wally-world and as I walked across the parking lot in a light sprinkle of rain, I slowed my steps, took a deep breath and enjoyed every stride. Inside the place, I concentrated on slow deliberate steps and just enjoyed myself immensely. This was partly the cause of me buying a few extra items that were not on the list. After paying and loading the groceries in the truck, I headed home and all along the way I was constantly scanning the area through which I was traveling. This was not only to watch traffic but also to see anything else God might want to show me.

After unloading the goods, I continued trying to get my body cranked up, without a lot of success. It wasn’t until the evening that I started feeling partly normal, but what is normal except maybe a setting on the dishwasher. I had wanted to start on some outside work that must be done before spring but the weather wasn’t dry enough for that. I did straighten up some in my shop and crashed into bed.

Next morning I was still feeling a bit leftover but got better as the day went along. Shortly after noon YD brought her three small grunts by for our viewing and hugging pleasure. The youngest one had conked out on the way, so she put him down for a nap. I got the electric kid truck out and the two elder GMs did a couple of laps around the house – outside, of course. I think they like me, it’s either that or they put up with my silliness just to see what I will come up with next.

After a while the youngest arose and shortly had assumed his favorite position – sitting in my lap in front of the computer. He wanted to see everything available until he had to depart. They departed, leaving the place quieter and much less lively – this caused mixed emotions, as all grandparents know. Shortly after their visit was when I fully realized that I was really back home. God is good!! ec

Friday, February 22, 2008

10 TX 0208

Next morning was 2-20-2008, our day of departure for home. We arose, took in some sustenance and finished the packing that we had started the day before. When I came outside to load the luggage in the van, there was a whole tree full of black birds – their calls sounded something like the squeaking of a rusty gate. Next trip out, they had departed but other wildlife was still to be found.

A large tree next door had a small woodpecker on the end of a dead limb right at the top. Also at the top on another limb was either a pigeon or large dove, the two are closely related – maybe cousins. On another tree was a squirrel doing his acrobatics while gathering what looked like berries on the ends of the branches. In the distance an owl was sending forth its call on the airwaves – the same type I have heard most every night.

OD, GM5 and the Spice and I got in the van and headed for the Houston airport – Hobby – about an hour away. Rain was predicted and we did have some mist on the windshield a couple of times but that was as serious as it got. She dropped us off at the entrance, we quickly said our sad goodbyes and entered this hub of flight. We got our bags checked and received our boarding passes – automated, yet with a little help from the attendant.

We went through security with a minimum of hassle, even though the Spice has to be hand searched each time because of her defibrillator. We had built in some lag time just in case we were delayed, so we had plenty of time to just sit and people watch. The different sizes and shapes of folks, their choices of clothing and unusual manner of personal grooming and adornments amazed us – but this is usually the case.

The plane was on time and we loaded and were soon departing Texas soil. Other than being a bit bumpy at times, the flight was uneventful and we arrived in Atlanta without incident. We knew we had a layover of more than 3 hours, so we located a place to eat and took our time in the consuming. The food was edible but nothing to write home about. We waited about 20 minutes to be seated and when we left the line was still long.

The gate of our departure was a multi-use one for smaller planes and several flights were loading at various times and several were delayed. Our flight happened to be one of the delayed and we felt like we had been in this area all day when we finally got loaded – then we waited some more in the plane. The plane was a turbo-prop commuter type craft – I’ve heard it called a puddle jumper – and although not huge, it did carry about 75 passengers. When we took off, it sounded like a part of the ceiling was going to vibrate loose – it finally quieted down when we got to cruising altitude.

The Spice’s bro and SIL were to pick us up so we called when we touched down and they headed that way. The big mystery then was whether our bags would be present or absent. The conveyer started and within 5 minutes we had all bags and were headed for the door – wow, I like that concept! About that many more minutes found us loading our bags in the Spice’s bro’s vehicle and we were on the last leg of our journey home.

We were even able to see the latter part of the eclipse of the moon on the way home. BIL helped get our bags in and we felt like collapsing in the floor. We found ourselves with grateful hearts to God for the safe trip and a house to come home to – as mentioned in previous writings. ec

PS - We arrived home on Wednesday evening but I had to finish the Texas saga.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

9 TX 0208

The day dawned on our last full day in Texas – 2-19-2008. The day began for me when I awoke, which is the case most every morning. FSIL had gone to work; GM2 was at school and OD left shortly for an appointment. I was up and almost through with my morning beginning stuff when the little one arose, for the second time. The Spice had tricked him into lying back down the first time.

I got his clothes changed, brought him downstairs and got him interested in something so as to finish my morning rituals. He finally decided to have a bite of b’fast and then went back to his playing. OD returned from her appointment and she and the Spice were off for a bit of shopping. GM5 and I held down the fort. Lunchtime came and the little one ate ¾ of a 15oz can of Chef Boyardee mini bites with meatballs – unheated – he doesn’t like it heated. He has eaten a whole can at one sitting – growth spurt?

When the lady folk got back they continued the closet cleaning/rearrangement from yesterday. OD had several odd jobs for me – this was much to my liking. Two of these were to hang stuff on bedroom walls and the other was to adjust an upstairs commode that hangs up occasionally. The stuff was hung on the walls and the commode was fine-tuned so as to not hang up again – hopefully – time will tell.

The day was cloudy and a little chilly – of course chilly in south Texas is different from many places north of there – low 60s in this case. FSIL flew out in the early afternoon on a three-day business trip to Ohio. The highest temp during his trip was predicted to be 23F, plus snow was involved – quite a difference from Texas.

OD left with GM5 in the afternoon on a great adventure, to pick up GM2 from school and take both young ones to the dentist – GM5 for the first time. She told me that the little one did not do very well at first but finally got the hang of it and actually told her when it was over, “That was fun” – at least his version of those words.

When they got home we all loaded up and after running an errand we went to Fuddruckers for the evening meal. It was a good time together as well as decent food. On the way home they were doing nursery rhymes with the little one. The Spice had just recited “Little Boy Blue” to GM5 and asked him “who was under the haystack fast asleep?” She then told him that it was Little Boy Blue and he said “No it’s not, that was baby Jesus!” This was another of those grandparent moments that caused a mixture of hilarity and amazement.

Back at their home, we kicked back and watched American Idol, one of the very few network shows in which I allow myself to get involved. After the program went off we finished up some packing that we had begun that afternoon – all except the last minute items. We had packed as light as possible for the trip, depending on OD’s washing facilities to make up the difference and that worked out very well. This old man ran out of steam and finally crashed into my resting place for the night. The Spice and OD were still up talking into the wee hours.

Separations are sometimes necessary in our world but a day is coming when this will no longer be the case. I’m looking forward to being with loved ones forever but especially being with Christ for eternity – I hope you have made that Jesus choice as well. ec

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

8 TX 0208

Still Sunday, 2-17-2008 – After service and since we had driven separately, we took GM2 with us and OD and FSIL went to get GM5 and came home a little later. FSIL grilled some chicken breasts and we had this with fettuccine alfredo and broccoli on the side – it was yummy! This was GM5’s actual birthday so after the meal he was presented his new push scooter and bicycle. The birthday cake was next and after several tries he finally got his three candles blown out – he was aiming the wrong way.

OD had made the cake and GM2 had helped decorate it – chocolate layers with white icing – plus we had some Breyer’s vanilla ice cream on the side. I wanted more than one slab of cake and large glob of ice cream but I have found out that I am allergic – I break out in fat!

Then it was out to the driveway to try out the little one’s vehicles. He was reluctant about riding since these modes of transportation were new to him but he made a start. They went down the sidewalk for a ways and in typical southern fashion, started talking with some neighbors. This resulted in the lady of that house coming down to get a video to watch and chatting some more while her offspring jumped on the trampoline with the grunts here. The men folks chatted quite a while as well – it’s just something neighbors should do.

Then it was back inside for family stuff and a snack for supper. We watched extreme home makeover together, the one in which the blind, wheel chair bound musician and family got a brand new home. There was also some homework help for GM2 and we finally all headed off to the furniture pieces that facilitate slumber.

2-18-2008 arrived without particular fanfare, although I didn’t realize it until I woke up. Our departure day was rapidly approaching so OD and the Spice got involved in cleaning out and reorganizing an upstairs closet. FSIL was off today and he had some cleanup projects as well. Later in the afternoon he and I made the trip over to Lowe’s to get some replacement parts for their gas grill. They didn’t have the parts but we looked at the new grills and not being much of a griller, I didn’t realize how expensive the new ones were.

We went on over to Home Depot and found the main parts he needed and looked at more grills – they were not cheap either. In both locations I fought off the urge to go to the tool departments and drool on the fascinating implements and devices resting there. We got back and he finished the clean-up and repairs on the grill – one minor part remains to be replaced but it doesn’t interfere in the operations thereof.

We then started another project of trying to place some indirect lighting on top of the kitchen cabinets. They had seen this in a condo in which they had rested once upon a time. We placed the rope light and temporarily plugged it into the AC. After one rearrangement, the desired effect was achieved and we drilled a hole in the cabinet for permanent AC connection – it did look good, plus it showed off the above the cabinet décor.

Talking about light reminds me of the scripture that states: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” May you always choose to have His light in your life. ec

Monday, February 18, 2008

7 TX 0208

This writing is still about Saturday, 2-16-2008. After lunch the small grunt went down for a nap and FSIL went to the garage to assemble a couple of birthday presents for the little one’s BD the next day. He had already finished the small push scooter and I helped somewhat with the bicycle. These were finished and hidden in the garage until his birthday on the morrow. But we had another event for this day – a BD party at McDonald’s.

Later we all loaded up in the van and went the short distance to Clute, Texas, to the McD in that location. We arrived and had to wait a bit for them to clean the party room up, since the last party group was just leaving. The other invitees came in and the kid total was 8 counting GM5 and GM2 – plus the parents, naturally. They were having the party one day early because it is harder to plan a Sunday event.

This location was chosen because the playground was inside and the little ones took much advantage of this before the eating and such started. In fact, when the next stage of the party began, there was difficulty getting the little ones down from the tunnels, towers and slides. All the kids except GM2 were between the ages of 2 and 3, so cuteness was rampant in the group. They were pretty fair at making McD food disappear also.

Next was cake and ice cream and then the presents. The tykes seemed to be glad to get this done and go back to the playground. They were still going strong when the adults got weary and started dragging them away one at a time. We were walking back to the van when in response to his sister’s pointed question GM5 answered “It was a great party indeed”! We grandparents find those sorts of things hilarious.

The afternoon had been rainy but we got loaded up and headed back to their home before the promised heavy stuff arrived. We got back home, ordered pizza and it was delivered before the monsoon hit. It did some very serious raining and the thunder and lightning were loudly and brightly present as well. We did some serious pizza eating and TV watching until we all gradually wound down and headed to our places of nightly repose.

I awoke on Sunday, 2-17-2008, facing the cold, hard facts that another day had started without me being aware. I slowly got my internal engines cranked and went downstairs to get a proper amount of sustenance and scripture. The Texas crew was up and almost ready for church since they were both teaching Sunday school classes and had to go early. We were coming later for the morning worship service and had a little more time to spiffy up and get dressed. We did so and drove to church in their other vehicle.

After a little difficulty, we located them in the church and seated ourselves beside them. This weekend was their special Discipleship Now gathering for the young people and they were seated in the center of the auditorium dressed in red t-shirts. They spent the weekend learning the Word and how to live it out in their everyday lives. The young man that had been their worship leader also led the worship part of the service this day and he was very good at what he did. He was proficient as a singer, guitar player and also on the piano.

Then the youth pastor challenged the youth and all in attendance to basically answer the question, how does the Bible relate to my every day life? He gave what the answers should be according to scripture as well as many other thoughtful points to consider. Christ is such a central part of my life that I wonder how those without Him even get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other. ec

Sunday, February 17, 2008

6 TX 0208

When I went to bed the night before, I was relatively sure that 2-15-2008 would happen and sure enough, when I woke up there it was in all its partly cloudiness. FSIL took the day off from work and took OD to Houston to just have a day together. They were going to do some shopping (GM5’s birthday is the 17th), then go out for supper and catch a movie. That was at our insistence since we didn’t mind at all watching the two young ones.

GM5 is normally an early riser and was already up and about when I drug out of the sack. OD returned shortly from car pooling her group to school and a little while later they were off to the big city – about an hour north of here. Then it was just the little grunt and the Spice and I to hold down the fort until GM2 got back from school. He had already eaten and was watching “Little Bear” so I had a few moments of quietness in which to eat and read the scripture. My usual is usually cereal, wetted down with ‘Silk’, and a cup of yogurt – usually.

Either the Spice or I kept him occupied until his nap time – he doesn’t like the ‘nap’ word – or action – any better than the SC gruntmonkeys. We relaxed ourselves until he arose an hour or so later. GM2 came in from school just a short while later and our plan for the evening was set in motion. OD and FSIL had left us the van for transportation, so we loaded up and by special request, went over to Chik-fil-A for our evening meal.

We were soon ensconced at a table in that establishment enjoying some chicken related food products. Everything was going smoothly when I noticed GM5 looking out the window and waving. I glanced and didn’t see anyone in the gathering darkness and I asked him who he was waving at. His very innocent reply was, “At the flag – it’s waving at me”. It took me a while to regain my composure and once again I marveled at the very simplistic logic of the young. He laughed along with me, though he was not exactly sure why.

We headed back to their home front and just hung out until time for the little one’s bed time. GM2 gets to stay up later since she doesn’t have school on Saturday – she did have a basketball game next morning but that was not as early as school. GM2 later showed us how to operate their “Wii” game and even got the Spice to try out the bowling, baseball and tennis – I didn’t feel up to the challenge, so I just watched.

The weather had looked threatening all evening and we did get a strong shower later on. We finally went to bed, knowing that OD and FSIL would still be a while on their day and evening out. Saturday (2-16-2008) arrived in a very ominous fashion with dark skies promising much rain. We all got b’fast and headed to the gym at the church school for the basketball game. Much energy was expended in running and dribbling of the ball by the young ladies but not enough scoring was done by GM2’s team and they lost the contest.

They seemed to take the loss in stride, enjoy the event and then went to get their refreshments and team awards. It might be good if we adults took our disappointments less seriously, enjoy what we can and go on with the most important parts of our lives, the relationships. Of course the most important one of these is the one we can have with Jesus Christ. He loves us but it’s our choice whether or not we have a real relationship with Him. ec

Thursday, February 14, 2008

5 TX 0208

2-13-2008 dawned and passed in such a quick manner that I was caught by surprise and with my memory down. I do remember getting up, eating breakfast, reading scripture and doing family stuff – mostly looking for and gathering smiles for my memory collection. For lunch I remember a sun butter and raspberry jam sandwich. Sun butter is made from sunflower seeds and is for those of us whose system doesn’t tolerate peanut butter.

I remember going for a walk with OD in the neighborhood – our usual walking place. I have been struck with the fact that there are so many Texas car tags out here and hardly any back in South Carolina – odd. A good thing in this area is the fact that all the dogs are behind fences, on leashes or their human is nearby. This bodes well for healthy, unbitten ankles, a fact that makes me and my ankles very glad.

This neighborhood is about 15 years old and I have noticed that many of the houses have pecan trees in their yards that are much older than that. This leads me to believe that these trees are native to the area and possibly where certain varieties of pecans originated. We walk almost the same route each time and I am starting to associate different trees with certain houses – some of these are absolutely covered with Spanish moss.

Supper consisted of pork tenderloin with green beans and potatoes. We then watched American Idol, the emotional and tear jerking one that cut the whole crowd down to 24 finalists. I would have hated to have been a judge on this one, I’m too soft hearted. Even Simon seemed to be a little softer this year than before.

Then 2-14-2008 arrived – Valentine’s Day – the day that lovers express their affection for each other with cards, flowers, candy or other items. Besides that fact, it was a regular day in which we did regular things in regular ways at regular times. Shortly after lunch we went for our walk, I’m not sure how far we walk having not measured our route but we walk at a fast pace for about 35 minutes. The Spice took GM5 via stroller – back home we took him across the street from their house to be amazed by a stirred up fire ant bed – he was.

We started cooking our supper of spaghetti to have it ready to coincide it with GM2’s hurried schedule of getting home from school, doing homework, eating supper and still getting to basketball practice on time – we made it with a little time to spare. I went with OD so she would have someone to talk to. We dropped GM2 off and went over to the grocery for a couple of necessary items of which we had a depleted supply.

The Spice had given me a comical Valentine’s card earlier and I had not had a chance to get out anywhere to pick up something for her. I used this quick shopping opportunity to get her a little stuffed bear dressed in a white sweater with two reds hearts thereon. We went back to watch the last part of basketball practice and then to take GM2 back home. We had not had time to have dessert due to the time crunch before we left, so we had our apple dumplings when we got back – absolutely yummy!

I presented the little bear to the Spice and she was pleased – that is a condition in which I like to keep her. My hope is that many tokens of affection flowed your way today and that you had a happy Valentine’s Day. The real personification of love is God and whether we realize it or not, He loves us very much. I hope you know that already or that you find it out very soon because that is the most important real truth in our unreal world. ec

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

4 TX 0208

Monday finished up with a supper of oriental burgers, a favorite dish of the Spice. It is a curious mixture of American and Asian cuisine that is delightful – we also had a salad to go along with it. After supper, with most of us watching “Deal or no deal”, a humdinger of a storm came through the area. The storm was accompanied by much thunder and lightning and the rain was hitting the windows so hard that it almost sounded like hail.

The wet turbulence lasted the better part of an hour but finally settled down into a slow rain. Before long we all wound down, called it a day and headed to bed. Tuesday arrived almost too soon and being deep into honesty, I drug my frame from its resting place with great effort and slightly wilted joy and started 02-12-2008. After breakfast and scripture, the joy freshened up right well.

This date just happens to be OD’s birthday and she has reached the traumatic age of 40 – a fact that is hard for her – or me – to believe. It seems only a few months ago that I escorted her down the aisle to join FSIL in wedlock. Before that it was the backward blur of college, high school, grammar school, childhood and infancy. It doesn’t seem possible that I once held this dynamic woman, wife and mother in my arms as our firstborn.

We cranked up the day in the usual ways and just did usual stuff until shortly after noon. We then decided to go for our walk a bit early since we were going to have a special supper for OD’s birthday. OD and I are the fast walkers, so we stepped on out and the Spice pushed GM5 along in his stroller. We walk in and out of several cul-de-sacs in the neighborhood and during the trip we crossed paths with them a couple of times and the little one seemed to be having a great time – the Spice was enduring the strenuous ordeal very well.

When we got back, the little one and I had to go look for bugs – his request. We did manage to find a pill bug (aka – roly poly, wood louse or sow bug) and a few ants and this seemed to satisfy him. A little later he came up with a real classic. My laptop is on the corner of the dining table – mostly out of the way – and plugged in near there. The 3-yr-old was playing in that area and his Mom told him to get out before he tripped on the cord. OD told him, “If you break Pop-pop’s computer, he will break your hiney”! He thought about it just a minute and said, “If he tears up my hiney, I won’t be able to poo poo any more” – that logic made sense to me too.

The evening meal was a good one; we had steak and shrimp cooked on the grill by FSIL. Add twice baked potatoes and asparagus also cooked on the grill and it was a supper to remember. Strawberry shortcake from a neighbor was for dessert and that was yummy too. After the meal, the birthday lady got to open her presents from her hubby and the little ones. All the gifts were hits and we made photos of all the usual suspects.

Our time here seems to be flying by and is almost half over but we are just enjoying being together. The days and years of our lives advance whether we want to or not – or whether we enjoy them or not – I choose to enjoy all that I can and endure the rest until I can get back to the enjoying. God gives joy – of we want it – we can choose to make it a part of our lives or just wallow in the ‘woe is me’ attitude. This is not being over simplistic, just stating the facts of God’s available joy and enjoyment of life that we can have if we choose. ec

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

3 TX 0208

Coming into a state of wakefulness, I realized from the lighted windows that it had magically become Monday – 2-11-2008. I was a bit weary last evening and slept in a little. FSIL had gone to work, GM2 was at school, OD had gone grocery shopping and the Spice and I were here with GM5 and it seemed to be a good day. The temp in this area is somewhat like central Florida and several degrees warmer than back in South Carolina – and also considerably wetter, in precipitation and humidity.

The little one and I went downstairs and chowed down on some cereal and I partook of some scripture from my laptop that is along on the trip – this between questions and such from GM5. We finished the cereal and wiped up a spillage or two – not mine but for the little one. I’m not above spilling but this time I didn’t. The young one wanted to go outside and he got his toy truck and ran it all over the screened porch and part of the driveway.

During all this I sat in an outside chair and marveled at his energy and wished that I had just a little more myself. The temp was warm and it was overcast like we may get some rain most any time. As I sat I was also amazed at the amount of birdsong that was to be heard in the area. It was a grand symphony of nature with various species of birds joining in – some near and some far – almost like a concert and I wondered how many other folks actually stopped and listened to the music.

I was most amused when GM5 opened their “people” door to the garage and yelled into the dark chamber, “Is anybody home?” He seems to enjoy hearing his echo bouncing back to him. He played with a couple of his trucks, several balls, jumped on the trampoline a short while, swung on the swing and is constantly looking for something else to play with. OD returned with the groceries and we helped get those inside.

I shortly heard the squeal of the brakes on the trash truck and OD suddenly remembered that the trash was not out to the road. This was done and as the truck neared, the little one and I went out to watch the sanitation workers do their thing. It seems that the little one is fascinated by the truck and workers. When they arrived, he was appropriately amazed and we even waited until they came back by to gather on the other side of the street.

The workers waved and beeped the horn and he was sent further into wonderment. Obviously this wasn’t the first young one to view their actions with great appreciation. I assumed that they knew that it was the young one that was enjoying this and not the senior citizen. The older one was the one enjoying watching the young one enjoying the trash truck and its workers.

The Spice is an organizer and OD wanted her to help organize the pantry. In the midst of this they had a wire bracket/shelf that needed to be hung on the wall and since this sort of thing is in my area of expertise, I mounted the shelf on the wall. The master bath toilet was leaking, to the outside on the floor, which is the only thing worse than it leaking inside down the drain. This required a trip to Lowe’s to get the necessary hardware.

The leak was at the point that the tank connected to the bowl and required new bolts and sealing washers to connect these two major toilet components back together. The necessary actions were completed and true to my great expectations, it did not leak – I do like the concept of repairs that really repair the problem.

Another concept I like is the forgiveness that is offered by God – completely erasing any wrong thing we have ever done – wow! ec

Monday, February 11, 2008

2 TX 0208

I forgot to mention that on Friday evening we had take-home calzone for supper – as good as or better than I have had anywhere. It came from a local place called All Star Sportsplex that serves food in the front and has an enclosed area in back to play various sports indoors. It is a very popular place to eat in or take out. After supper we all watched a movie together – The Game Plan – and it was fair but mainly something to do together. We old people were worn and weary from the journey and we crashed into bed soon after the DVD.

The Saturday arrived that we shall call 2-9-2008, namely because that is what it was. We were in Texas with OD and were up and about a little earlier than my body would have desired because we were going to see GM2 play basketball. She is a 10 yr old and she has played for 3 years now and while not quite a superstar, she does have a fair amount of hustle on the court. They played a very close game and it finally ended in a tie.

The rest of the day was a blur of just family type stuff, GM2 went to a BD party, GM5, FSIL and I hung out and OD and the Spice went shopping for a while. Later, we started supper cooking, FSIL went shopping (OD has a BD coming up), OD and I went for a walk and the Spice stayed with GM6. The birthday party GM2 attended was in the neighborhood and OD and I went by there to get her at the end of our walk.

We all joined back at OD’s for supper – we had a Tex-Mex dish called hamburger rice skillet. It was a bit warm in the spice department but not painfully so and was very good. Things were a bit fuzzy after that because of weariness so I showered and went to bed early – about 11pm – that’s early for me.

Sunday 2-10-2008 became a bright reality and things became a bee hive of activity in efforts to get ready for church. The Spice, OD and GM2 went to Joel Osteen’s church in Houston, FSIL went to their regular church to teach their Sunday School Class and I stayed home and sat with GM5. After FSIL came home, us guys hung around the house and did “man stuff” while the lady folks went shopping in Houston after their church service.

The young one and I did a fair amount of time on their trampoline and of course that experience really had its ups and downs. Then it was all around the yard in various activities and even got my clothes dirty. OD had not returned when time came for my walk, so I had to go solo. It was right around sundown and the temp was excellent for a walk – very energizing and draining all at the same time.

We all come back together for supper and it was a beautiful thing – God really did a good thing when He invented families. I was really starting to feel the effects of the day when I finally got a shower and went to bed. I think it was just too much time on the trampoline – large smile. ec

Saturday, February 09, 2008

TX 0208

The Spice and I had planned for a month or so to go to Texas to see OD and her crowd but it was all in doubt because of the health issues with MIL. We finally bought our plane tickets and hoped for the best. The big travel day was Friday Feb 8, we had packed and YD came by to transport us to the Augusta airport. We were hoping that this trip would not have the inconvenience of the harried and hurried taxi ride of the last trip.

The airport had been in major reconstruction for more than a year but the major parts of this project were complete. We breezed right through check-in and security and found out that our flight was actually on time and in route to pick us up. Relieved at this but still concerned about whether the plane was a turbo-prop or a jet, I was further relieved to find out that it was a jet – wow, I wasn’t used to nothing going wrong.

Nagging in the back of my mind was the concern as to whether or not our luggage would get there at the same time we did – but I would just have to deal with that when and if it happened. The plane arrived, its passengers deplaned and after a short wait, the passengers for Atlanta boarded. We were shortly in the air and after a brief flight, a pack of crackers and a bottle of water we were landing in the huge Atlanta airport.

We had a 2 hour plus layover but that was OK because that would give us time to get a bite to eat. I usually like to find our next departing gate to make sure it hadn’t been changed before doing anything else. In this case it had, so with this in mind, we went to get some few crumbs of nourishment to sustain us during the wait and coming flight. We settled for fast food since gourmet dining is hard to come by in an airport – even Atlanta.

We got our food and had a good but short conversation with a couple from Lexington, Kentucky, with whom we shared a table in the crowded dining area. We wandered back through the crush of people to our gate of departure and waited for the flight to commence. The Spice read and I did a crossword puzzle – I find the most interesting words doing that. We were soon in the air – diminishing the miles between our loved ones and us.

After 2 plus hours, another pack of crackers, a bottle of water and a couple of airline magazines, we were on the ground in Houston Texas. We phoned OD, who had already arrived in the area, to let her know we had touched down. We deplaned and made our way to the baggage claim with the thought in mind that our luggage might not be there. But this bad theory was disproved in less than 5 minutes when we claimed all three bags. OD shortly met us and we headed to her home located about an hour south of that location.

GM5 had ridden with his Mom to retrieve us and after we got back to their neighborhood, we picked up GM2 from the neighbor who had picked her up from school and arrived at OD’s residence a bit tired but happy. We were grateful to God for the safe trip and to get to see and be with this part of our family again. ec

Thursday, February 07, 2008


I was asked to watch the three youngest local gruntmonkeys (grands) for the afternoon. Let me remind you of these three young lad’s ages – GM3 is 5.7 years old, GM4 is 4.3 and GM6 is 2.9 years. Their first request was that they each wanted a ball to bounce, since the two older had just started basketball. I was able to round up two volleyballs and then a play ball for the youngest.

Shortly the play ball got away from its bouncer and headed for the street. I retrieved it and herded the small crowd down to the back yard to play a modified game of soccer. They seemed to enjoy this for a time and a half time but suddenly their expressed desire was to go down to the pond. GM4 wanted to show GM3 how the water got from the upper pond to the lower pond, since he and GM6 had made that tour just a day or so before while GM3 was making efforts at higher learning in K5.

We made the walk over at the speed of GM6 since he had the shorter legs and GM4 proceeded to give us the guided tour. He told us how the water came down the spillway – this made from sections of 8 inch PVC pipe split and set into the ground in a cascading manner all the way down the hill. It then spills into a catch basin and goes through pipes a short distance and falls into the pond. He apprised us of every detail of the water’s travels and even walked it out all the way down.

I found a cement bench to sit on but they were having no part of just sitting. We walked on over to the bench swing mounted on a couple of poles in MIL’s yard and swung there for at least two or three minutes. They espied a large amount of acorns nearby and through a series of thought patterns and discussions; they decided they wanted to throw acorns into the pond.

I sat on the bank of the pond to be close enough to pull them out if they should suddenly become very wet and just watched them burn energy during their running back and forth to gather and then heave the oak seed into the water. These actions were fine with me as long as I got to sit there a few minutes. They tired of that and we decided to take the trek up to the peak of the hill to watch the traffic. We stirred up a couple of fire ant hills on the way and the swarm of insects amazed them.

Further on we saw some deer tracks and they tried to see where the animals went and were awed by that as well. We continued on up to the brow of the high place and watched the vehicles swiftly buzzing past – more wonderment. Then GM3 decided he had enough of the wandering and wanted to go inside – thought he would never ask, said my tired feet and the rest of the body agreed.

As we went inside for them to get a snack, it dawned on me that I had altogether missed lunch – no wonder I was so tired. After a while the parents came and took the energetic ones back home with them – the old guy sat down for quite a while. It was a wonderful afternoon of watching, entertaining, suggesting and being amazed by these three bundles of energy and imagination.

This made me wonder whether or not I was doing enough to instill good and Godly values into their young lives. But the Holy Spirit will guide me in that as I depend on Him to do so. ec

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


After setting out for my exercise ramble a few evenings ago, something a bit odd happened while I was on my route. It was about sundown and this is normally the time of day when the geese take off from these ponds and fly to another location to spend the night. The geese started their honking conversations and this means that they are about to take to flight. They normally take off in one big group and occasionally in two but this is where the oddness started.

Only two of the critters took off at first, a minute or so later three more grabbed the airways and shortly after that five more took to flight. This was odd enough but after a short time span seven more flapped loose from the bonds of gravity and a short few seconds later two more wingedly climbed into the air. Their actions were so strange that my mind pondered if there might be a deeper meaning.

The thought come to mind that maybe they had a group spat and weren’t speaking enough to each other to co-ordinate flight synchronism. Or maybe the groups just didn’t want to be seen with each other. Then a deeper thought came that these critters might be trying to send a coded message to me, since I was the only one there. I didn’t think that it was a number code, since I was reasonably sure that geese don’t use numbers or count. But were they actually smarter than I thought?

Could the numbers correspond to the alphabet? In that case 2 would correspond to ‘b’ and 3 to ‘c’, 5 would be ‘e’, 7 would be ‘g’ and the last 2 would be ‘b’ again. That would come out to ‘bcegb’ and even with my vast experience with the dictionary and crossword puzzles, I couldn’t come up with a word that I had ever heard before. The only word that even started with ‘bc’ in my dictionary was bche-de-mer, which meant a trepang – a sea cucumber used as food in Asia.

And the remaining ‘egb’ brought up only Egbert, the king of the West Saxons, AD 802-839. Basically we had a live cucumber and a dead king – and very far apart in geography and time. Maybe the word given was a scrambled one. Using this tack and still not coming up with a recognizable word, I went back to the thought process that it was two words. Putting in ‘ceb’, I came up with Cebu, an island in the Philippines – and also, according to Veggietales, another type of cattle.

Then with the remaining ‘bg’ I came up with bGH or bovine growth hormone. Now at least the two words relate to each other. Since my neighbor feeds these geese, maybe they were trying to tell me that the feed was tainted with bGH and they were getting too big to fly. OK, maybe it wasn’t that at all but instead was the goose word for ‘goodbye’ – that or just totally my imagination. In either case, I have possibly wasted several paragraphs – but the important thing was that I enjoyed doing it.

Do you get enough enjoyment or joy out of your day? In my way of thinking, real joy comes through the spiritual part of us from God. The older scriptures tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength – in His presence is fullness of joy – and though weeping lasts for the night, joy comes in the morning. Newer verses tell us that one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy – we can rejoice with joy inexpressible – and that God desires our joy to be full. Now that is the real joy – and it lasts. ec

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

the list

It actually became the day about which I am writing before I went to bed. So after I went to bed, slept and arose, I had been in the “arms of Morpheus” for most of the day. I took nourishment for body and spirit, made a list of things to get and do at various locations, hung around the house in the clutches of miscellany for a while and finally headed out in an effort to bring to completion the items on my list.

First stop was the post office and in our PO box I had a notification to pick up an item from the postal clerk up front – it was too large for the box. Wouldn’t you know that they were closed half of that day and I had arrived during the wrong half – will have to get that another day. Then my route carried me by the ATM for some necessary cash to complete my planned transactions for the afternoon.

The next stop was at my favorite place to shop and though shop is a four-letter word, I consider this place above any cursory or mundane definition of that word or any other standard or crude four-letter sentence segment. This place of business is Lowe’s, a wondrous and fascinating place where one with such convictions as myself can wander about in wonder and time ceases to be important.

Even though my list only contained a couple of items for this location, I still got a shopping cart just in case. I was immediately drawn to one of my two favorite places in the store – the yard and garden tool section. As I eased slowly through the section, I hefted several of the hand tools for weight and balance. I glanced around to see if anyone was watching as I lovingly caressed several of these.

Most all of these implements were in my possession at home, or at least the older version of them, so I finally talked myself out of buying anything and went on to another section. I wandered on through the chainsaw aisle before I could finally break the hold and get on to my task. One list item was picked up and the other was not found to my liking and I determined to look elsewhere for it.

The list items for this location were in cart but I still went by my very favorite section of the store – the tool department. This section was just as fascinating as the outdoor tools, just amplified because there were so many more of them. I walked down almost every aisle – is there such a thing as tool lust? I tried not to drool on too many items before I finally talked myself into leaving.

Going to the automated checkout, I paid for my items and departed the store, looking back over my shoulder somewhat wistfully in the direction of the tools. Next stop was at Wally world for a few necessary things. These super stores are so big that one could get their exercise just by walking from one end to the other. I did walk down a few of the food aisles just to let the grocery side know that I had not forgotten it. Then I paid the piper and headed on home.

It was too late for lunch and early for supper, but I still got a bite to eat and had to call it “lupper”. After this I went out into the garden to spend some vengeance on the weeds and brambles that proliferated during the in between season. This was in prep for the spring garden and just one of the many things that I have yet to complete this dormant season.

Spring will come, whether we are ready for it or not and our world is in God’s control, whether or not people know or admit it. And God is good, all the time. ec