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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Thursday, July 31, 2008


On another day I wandered down to my basement workshop to make some sawdust – that wasn’t the end goal but I did make a lot of that saw by-product. The goal was to build a platform on which to place the clothes dryer in the basement and thus raise it to a more comfortable level. This appliance is a cast-off one as are many pieces of furniture and such in the “lower regions” of our home.

This platform was built entirely out of scrap wood – leftovers from other projects of mine or someone else. One of my oddities is that I have trouble throwing away any wood that might possibly be usable. Only when wood is down to small scraps or is too warped to use does it get cast out and burned in the scrap pile – something left from my upbringing I suppose.

It was built and reinforced enough to possibly hold up a small truck – the norm for my projects. When I was finished I decided to try to raise the dryer up on the 18-inch platform alone just to see if I could do it. The hardest part was to get one corner on top – then I got another and finally the whole thing – fortunately a dryer is not very heavy or I might have strained something.

When I get involved in a project I tend to forget anything else. Along about this time I realized that I had forgotten to have lunch. When I went back upstairs and saw the time, it dawned on me that I had also forgotten to make a banana pudding as well as cut up some tomatoes for a church group cookout and I had started on neither of the jobs and time was running out.

In a short length of time I had constructed a double recipe of banana pudding. Then I sliced up tomatoes from the garden – the final count of slices of this veggie was about 100 – these were to garnish hamburgers. We rushed to get dressed and went out the door only about 10 minutes later than we wanted to be. We were not the last ones to arrive at the appointed site and I was glad.

40 plus were in attendance, we were called to order, grace was said and we started devouring hamburgers, hotdogs, side dishes and desserts. It was a great time of eating, laughing and having the joy of fellowshipping together – the way church folks should do. Next day was Sunday and the service was everything church should be, rejoicing in the love and presence of God.

It is a good thing when a plan comes together, especially when the plan is to worship God in spirit and truth – and that did happen in great abundance. ec

Sunday, July 27, 2008


It was another day and somewhere in our world a group of people or just individuals were engaged in sidesplitting laughter – mirth to the max and there I was with only a sly grin. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll find something hilarious before the day is out, even if it is nothing but myself.

As I was about to be involved in my evening walk, I found a whole congregation of geese down in the front corner of my yard. They were grazing and conversing in goose language and as I walked toward them they started to get a bit fidgety. As I neared, they started to nervously goose step in the direction of the pond – and then in unison they wingedly broke the bonds of gravity.

Their splashdown was on the near side of the pond en masse. On the far shore of the pond was another group of geese that also went to the water as I approached them. I did notice later in the walk that the two groups were still separated, possibly different political factions. I do know that some political factions are just about as silly as these flighted fowls – and maybe just as foul.

As I walk and weave my way along the asphalt driveway so as not to step in goose “deposits”, I ponder the vicissitudes of life and why we at times feel like that “deposit” laden driveway and then like the geese at other times. We live and work in a world filled with all sorts of “deposits”. One of our duties is to be careful that we don’t track these “deposits” back into our homes and family lives.

The only glue – and “deposit” repellant – that can hold our lives and/or families together is love and the only true source of love is God, in fact, He is the personification of love. Know God, know love – no God, no love. ec

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


The sun had gone down, as it usually does at the end of the day. The light was starting to fade, as it usually does when the sun goes down. The cicadas were singing, as they usually do in the summertime and I usually notice them this time of the evening. I was doing my evening walk as I usually once did but have not done regularly in a couple of months because of a physical problem.

This problem, though relatively minor, evidenced itself in enough pain to discourage walking. I will not discuss the possibility of laziness being mixed into the conundrum to a tiny degree. A solution was found in the form of a small foam pad between two toes – and I am walking again. I have missed these times of reflection and discussing things with my heavenly Father.

This morning and early afternoon were spend picking blueberries – I had thought they were almost gone but I picked three containers full and it appears I have several more to go. Then more time was spent bagging these up for the freezer. The total for the day was 7 quarts of berries – this bringing the total to 61 freezer bags full of deliciousness.

It would appear that the cucumbers of the garden are plotting a takeover of the kitchen and they were doing fairly well at that until YD came back from vacation and I gave her a massive amount of them. Along with the gift was the hint that maybe she could make some pickles. She is considering this seriously and at the very least the evil plot of the cucumbers has been foiled – at least temporarily.

The tomatoes are doing well except several of them came down with some sort of disease. These diseased ones had to be removed from the good soil and discarded on the burn pile. Plus the tomatoes do not look very pretty, thanks to some bug bites and cracks on the stem ends. But as the old folks say, ’they eat mighty good’. At least I am an old folk and I say that.

We have been eating tomato sandwiches for about a month now. A day or so ago I sliced a large tomato into a couple of slices that were about a half-inch thick. The first bread I noticed was some hamburger buns – I took one of these, slathered it down with mayo and placed the slice on the bun. It fit the bun just perfectly and was very delicious. So much produce – so little stomach space.

The squash have been doing well even if I have lost several plants to borers. I have put about a dozen quarts in the freezer. I have also put a few quarts of okra in our cold storage, these plants are just now coming into full production – they are a hot weather veggie.

As you can see, I have been ‘berry’ blessed with things plants produce this year. The blessings have spread into everything that I can think of at the moment – God is good! ec

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


When a man gets up out of a comfortable bed and drinks a cup of beef bouillon soup for breakfast, there’s got to be something wrong with the picture. Tuesday was the day and clear liquids were the diet of the day. The two big-ticket items on my menu were the bouillon and ginger ale. I did try a can of chicken broth and while it was OK, my taste buds seemed to detect the flavor of feathers.

Mucho veggies were picked on Monday so I set about putting some of these in the freezer – to keep my mind occupied. Okra was cut up and brought to a light steam in the oven – then cooled and bagged. Then the squash was cut up, blanched, spread to dry and cool and then they were bagged. There was only one bag of okra but I got 4 quarts out of the squash.

At 4pm it was time to start drinking the “to-go” juice that I mixed up that morning. The regimen was to drink 8 oz of the cleaning out fluid every 15-20 minutes. This was done in the back bedroom that just happens to be very close to a porcelain fixture that we all know and use. Several hours later I was feeling very “washed out”. That room does have a TV, for what that’s worth.

Wednesday began for us at the surreal hour of 5:45am and we got up and headed to the hospital for the colonoscopy. We checked in and went up to the proper department for the “look-see” to be done. I was soon called back to get into the proper attire and to have my vitals checked. An IV with tubing was inserted for the “don’t care” juice to be administered later.

Two of the nurses that took vitals and information and input it into the computer did little to reassure me that all the staff was highly qualified. The thought crossed my mind that these two just started that morning and their first patient didn’t make it. One of them pushed the gurney over to the procedure room and when we started moving I knew we were going to collide with something on the way.

We were almost to the room and I was starting to think I was wrong when we hit the wall – so that’s what those rubber bumpers are for. The doc arrived and these two tried to get the “out like a light” juice to flow a couple of times before it finally went. One moment I was happily chatting with them and the next I was back in the recovery stall with the Spice – having some terrible gas pains.

The report was good, I was glad and we headed back to the home front with only a few scattered memories. There were no diet limitations now and the first thing I checked out was to see if the leftover banana pudding was still good – it was – the whole bowl. I was a man on a mission with a lot of catching up to do. Several leftovers and a fresh salad later, the raging hunger was sated.

Many things in life are not appreciated until they are no longer available to us – this is true for food and also for family relationships. I find it so sad when families feud and don’t realize what they are missing until it’s too late. Relationships are way more important than pride, money or anything money can buy. My relationships with Jesus and with my family are my greatest treasures. ec

Monday, July 14, 2008

other days

Saturday began as a regular day and evolved into a “working outside and mowing till you drop” kind of a day. This particular kind of mowing was with the push mower and it involved mowing what the riding mower couldn’t reach. I wound up mowing a couple of areas that the riding mower could have gotten to simply because this mower was out and running.

Energy was expended, grass was cut down and I came inside to collapse. The collapse was postponed when it became a “cut peaches up for the Spice” day. Then I realized that I had some over-ripe bananas that needed attention. This attention came in the form of changing the day into a “make a banana pudding so the bananas won’t ruin” day.

Changing into my somewhat amateur chef’s hat – metaphorically speaking, whatever that means – I very carefully constructed a masterpiece, at least I thought so and my taste buds later told me so. I left it in the Spice’s care and in the oven to brown the meringue and I went in the den to have my delayed collapse in the floor on an ice pad. This usually involves dozing off and it happened again.

When I came out of the semi-coma, the Spice informed me that it was a perfect golden brown and ready for consumption. Extenuating circumstances caused me to eat three helpings right away. These were in the form of diet limitations that excluded any fruits and veggies after midnight on Saturday – for a medical procedure on Wed. This will be the notoriously un-fun colonoscopy.

Several other restricted things as well as another helping of pudding was consumed before the deadline – I’ll have to see if the leftover pudding will last until Wednesday. On Sunday the breakfast was bland but the scripture was refreshing. AM church was great and inspiring but the lunch back at home was again bland, one doesn’t realize how they miss veggies and fruit until they are forbidden.

Sunday PM church was again good and we went out with friends afterwards. The friends and fellowship were great but the food had to be bland again – fruitless and veggie-less. Monday arrived as another forced bland day and I made do with what we had available. Of course even the bland is better than the clear liquid day I’m facing tomorrow – not to mention what happens tomorrow night.

I did get some veggies picked today before the rain, many cukes, squash and tomatoes with a fair bit of okra. The rain started not five minutes after I came inside. Later I went to the grocery – anything to keep my mind off the BLAND. This is not the first of these procedures for me but I still don’t find them to be very much fun. Still in all, God is good and I am so glad. ec

Sunday, July 13, 2008

two days

Thursday was a “go get peaches on a rainy day” day. Our day began in mostly usual ways and doing routine things but we decided in the early pm to head north to get peaches in Johnston, SC. About 8 miles from home the skies opened up and rained all over our peach “parade”. The wipers were doing their best but even when I slowed the car, they were not doing the job very well.

We finally came out of the rain and continued our 30-mile journey to the peach packing facility. In times past we have gleaned the rejects out of the sluice that exits the plant but we went big time that day and just purchased 4 boxes already prepared. It was past lunch so we stopped on the way back and got a bite to eat at a semi-fast food place that we were familiar with along the way.

As we got closer to home the skies got very angry and threatening and finally burst forth in rain that was a cross between a gulley washer and a frog-strangler. Slowing way down we finally made it through the downpour and by the time we pulled into the driveway it was barely sprinkling. We had driven the old Honda for better gas mileage and I managed to unload the fruit without getting soaked.

As the day changed to evening, we got ready and it changed to a “go to church for group meeting” evening. After the meeting we went to our friends house and the evening changed again to an “enjoying conversation with friends” evening. By the time we got home it had changed again to “the wee hours of the next morning” day. We finally got to bed after a very changeable day and evening.

Next morning, Friday, after I wandered sleepily down to the kitchen and looked out the window at the world, I discovered that it had become a “what are all these geese doing in my yard” morning. It’s not that I dislike geese; I just dislike all the poop that they leave everywhere they go. In fact I found myself wondering if there were some good recipes for cooked goose on the Internet.

We were having friends over for supper and the day transformed into a “pick up all the clutter and vacuum” day. We got everything cleaned up, cooked up and ready for out guests. When they arrived the evening became an “enjoying baked spaghetti and salad” evening. We topped off the meal with blueberry cobbler and homemade vanilla ice cream – does it get any better than that?

After supper the evening changed again to an “enjoying conversations with friends and laughing and acting silly” evening. What greater wealth is there than having good friends? It has become a habit of mine to have prayer with our friends before we part company and upon their leaving, we joined hands and prayed together. If we honor God, He will honor us, because He is good. ec

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I could tell yesterday was going to be a good day even before all of it had arrived. This was the day I was to get my stitches out from my skin cancer surgery and that was good. Another good thing was that it had rained some two days in a row and really had the garden perked up. Eating my cereal this morning was a good thing because for years I couldn’t do that because of milk allergies.

Several years ago I found soymilk – Silk by name – and was able to once again chow down on cereal. My laptop has much Bible software and I’m able to do my scripture reading during b’fast – good. When I finish reading and exit the program it stays at that spot and goes right back to that spot when I enter it the next morning – saves having to mark the place each time.

I got out the door and got to the parking deck in plenty of time and got a decent parking spot – that was good. Walking in to the doc’s office I was able to view some beautiful red crepe myrtles in bloom – good again. I signed in and didn’t have to wait very long before being called – good. The stitches were quickly removed and the doc said that the report came back and she had gotten it all – good.

Left the area with several errands to run and the fact that I can afford a little gas is also a good thing. The day was overcast and moderate in temp and we were supposed to get more rain, this would be a slight miracle around here – it’s been so dry – and I’m in favor of miracles too – those are good.

Being allergic to regular toothpaste – particularly the fluoride ones – I found toothpaste at the health food store that does a good job and this is good – one of my errands was to pick up some of this. Next was to go by Publix to pick up some of the barbecue sauce to which YD had introduced me and it is somewhere in the neighborhood of wonderful – and it is also good.

Another good thing that I just realized was that since I am retired, I take more time to enjoy my surroundings, particularly those colorful ones of God’s creation. During some of these observations I have to hold on to my socks because the beauty thereof will almost knock them off. Whole rows of crepe myrtles were in bloom and some mimosas with their pink powder puffs were showing off.

As each errand item was checked off it got warmer and more humid, if that was possible but hot humid weather was better than no weather at all. I had driven the Honda because it got better gas mileage – this was good – but the AC was inoperative and this was not quite so good. One might say that there is good and bad in everything, I just choose to pick out the good.

The one good thing above all is that God is good, His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations. ec

Sunday, July 06, 2008


As I stood in the shade of our largest fig tree, briefly resting from the rigors of blueberry picking, I thought of many things. Many of these thoughts were cast aside for the lack of interest but there remained two – briars and brambles. I’m not sure which of the two is the most invasive and harmful to the good plants – but I do know that I don’t like either in my garden or blueberry patch.

The brambles are irritating because there are so many of them and hard to get rid of because if a single small piece of root remains in the ground, a new plant will grow. The only good thing I have found about them is since they are in the blackberry family and do produce small berries, they have caused many smiles on the faces of the local gruntmonkeys as they ate the found delights.

The briars, while not as numerous, produce much more length of vine (and longer thorns) and the roots are much deeper and harder to finally get rid of. It is hard to find anything good about them. Some folks make pipes out of the knot of the briarroot, if they are of a smoking persuasion. The only other good thing I have heard had to do with an old southern tradition.

Years ago an older friend of mine was telling me how much trouble he was having getting rid of briars that would grow around his front door and all up on the porch. After chopping these out several times he finally found and dug out the large root of the plant. It was only afterwards that he found out it was a southern tradition to have a briar to grow up on ones porch to have some greenery.

He was a bit outdone at himself for not knowing this so he went to the woods – he was a logger by profession – to find another briar and replant it at the edge of his front porch – he lived in a rural area. Traditions are strange things at times. What brought this whole subject up was the several briars growing in one of the blueberry bushes at the end of the row.

I had to do some briar trimming to even pick the berries. I made a mental promise that once the berries are harvested; mister briar is going to have to see if his roots can breathe air. The problem with this particular endeavor is that briarroots go so deep that the digging can be very unsettling to the roots of the blueberry bush – I will have to be very careful.

I’m of the opinion that these briars are direct descendants of the thorns that troubled Adam when he got booted out of the Garden of Eden. In spite of all this I got more berries picked, bagged and put in the freezer – the total now stands at 49 quarts of blueberries. Blueberries are a blessing from a good God. ec

Saturday, July 05, 2008

July 4

It was a July 4th like no other since this day had never been before and in which I had not previously lived. The Spice and I had unwisely stayed up late – or perhaps I should say early – and as a consequence arose late. I sprang out of bed – more like slowly sliding out from a position that I was familiar with – prone – into a position that I wasn’t sure I was ready for – standing.

I left the Spice sleeping until she was good and ready to get up. Being the low maintenance husband that I am, I set about taking my familiar and usual morning nourishments – those of physical and spiritual natures. Then I went on the web and checked the weather and found that it was going to be hot – no surprise – with a chance of pm rain – shock.

Not that I really believed about the rain – they have told tales like that before – but it did at least give some hope. In the early pm I left the cool house and went into the hot berry patch to pick some more blueberries to store up for the winter – or for any other time that a blueberry notion happened to strike me. Most of the main crop has been harvested so I was doing ‘hard time’ picking.

It had been binging on my brain that we ought to have something special for supper just because it was the 4th and that sustenance ought to at least vaguely resemble barbeque. I’m not much into pork so when the Spice said that chicken breasts were on sale at BI-LO I knew it was a go. She picked up the chicken parts while I was putting the finishing touches on exhaustion in the berry patch.

The chicken was then boiled, de-boned and broken into small pieces. It was then that we doused all these parts in a sauce that YD had left with us when their crowd went on vacation last Saturday – for two weeks. Now you see why the gruntmonkeys have not been mentioned in the last few writings. Then the pan of pieces that had been completely coated with the sauce – Sweet Baby Ray’s – was put into the oven for the simmering thereof and to slowly become part of the meat.

Also parts of the meal were field peas w/snaps, corn on the cob, sliced homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers and bread slathered in real butter. We had hardly taken thought for the noon meal since we were so late in arising, so we were very hungry and ready to consume this meal. Let me state for the record that all was delicious, especially the chicken pieces with the sauce simmered into them.

I will also state for the record that this particular sauce will be used again in this household – applied to whatever meat that we may prepare – I’m deeply in like with it – love sounded a bit much. It was just the Spice and I and it was very nice. We had rented a DVD and watched this after the meal – it was a very good holiday, meal and movie – and the companionship was excellent. God is good! ec

Friday, July 04, 2008


There is a line that I have heard many times in everyday life and even a few times in the movies – albeit old ones. The line is: “Now wait just a cotton-picking minute!” It seems to me that I heard Jimmy Stewart use it a few times in old movies. It started a thought process in my mind that made me wonder just how a “cotton-picking” minute related to a regular minute.

I was born and raised to the age of 6 on a poor dirt farm in rural northeastern Mississippi and I remember that we mostly raised or grew what we had. And I remember the family raising cotton, not a lot because the farm was only 80 acres. I recall not long before we left the farm that I was starting to do a little “practice” picking of cotton and in another year of two it would have gotten serious.

Perhaps this lack of real cotton-picking experience left me with a defective perception of what a minute was, or possibly changed to, during the picking operation. I have come to believe that a cotton-picking minute was much longer than a regular one. This conclusion occurred to me during a session of picking berries because a berry-picking minute seems much longer than a regular one.

Picking berries is tedious and a bit hard on the back but has the advantage over picking cotton in that one can taste a berry every now and again – just to check for ripeness, of course. Tuesday still found me waiting on UPS to pick up the defective TV to haul back to Dell, so I finished picking the driveway berries and just hung around the house. “Brown” finally showed about 2pm and I was freed at last.

We had a friend couple over for supper on Wednesday so most of the day was spent cleaning up the place to be presentable to company – inside and out – and preparing the eats. We got the place spiffied, the eats ready and just had time for a shower – good thing! Our meal for the evening was tostadas and for dessert was “blueberries in the snow” – made from berries grown on the place.

I consider one of the many joys of life to be conversing with good friends and sharing smiles, it was a very good evening all around. God is good, all the time!! ec

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


On Saturday afternoon the Spice and I attended the wedding of the daughter of some friends at church. It was a beautiful ceremony with one of the highlights being the song sung by the bride’s brother – it sounded absolutely professional. The flower girl supplied comic relief when she entered and spotted her Mema. She exclaimed aloud “There’s Mema” several times until everyone knew who her Mema was – the lady with the very red face.

The reception followed at another location and it was all that a reception should be and after much conversing with friends we finally departed for the home front. Sunday came into being and we attended AM church although neither of us really felt very well. My feelings improved as the afternoon went on – had to do with my surgery site – and the Spice’s went the other way.

By Sunday evening the Spice was a very sick lady and she did all the things that very sick ladies do in the bathroom. She was up and down all night and got very little sleep. It was kind of a helpless feeling for me in that all I could do was supply sympathy and a cold cloth for her forehead. By Monday morn she was feeling a tiny bit better but still had to stay close to the plumbing.

We had bought a TV from Dell on line and it had a defect – they replaced it and we packed up the defective one to be picked up by UPS. Having missed them on Friday I stayed close to the front of the house so as not to miss them again and chose this day to pick the blue berries in the bed down the driveway. My picking container is almost a gallon in size and I filled it four times during the day.

The evening found me bagging up these morsels of delight in quart Ziploc freezer bags. By the time I finally tired of the venture I had brought the total to 38 quarts in the freezer and there are still many more berries to be picked. Even blessings can be a lot of work but I am grateful to the One that made blueberry bushes to produce such delicious bounty. ec

PS – UPS never did show and the Spice is finally over her “ups”.