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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Friday, October 31, 2008


I’m behind times again but I have experienced a most awesome weekend and still want to get it into words. We had another ‘Youth Encounter with the Cross’ – it started at 5:30pm on last Friday evening and continued straight through till 11am on Sunday morning – in time for the AM service.

The young participants – along with their adult leaders – stayed Friday and Saturday nights at the church – this old codger went home both nights and came back next morning. The weekend consisted of training sessions about many confusing issues youth are facing every day. After most of these was a session of prayer with the individuals by their adult prayer leader.

The sessions were a comparative study of the lies of media, hedonism and materialism compared with the truth of the Bible. The sessions were awesome and also the results in the lives of the youth. The focus will now shift to the future discipleship training of the ones that will continue in these truths.

The last session ended in time for all to attend the Sunday AM service. Toward the end of the service I was feeling great spiritually but feeling very rough physically – not sure of the cause but it was either exhaustion or old age – or maybe I had just not totally recovered from my recent illness. I made it home and we had lunch. After lying around all PM, I missed evening church and just went to bed.

I crashed into bed feeling like tepid toad spit – not that I am an authority on amphibian saliva and the ramifications of the different temperatures thereof, that was just the worst thing I could think of at the moment. I awoke Monday morn feeling a bit kicked and walked on in body but better than the night before. After cranking the body in the usual ways, I decided to go outside to stir around a bit.

Not wanting to get into heavy labor, I took up the remaining tomato baskets left from when I pulled up the last of the plants a few days ago. I then de-brambled the tomato bed – the last one with these thorny interlopers showing. After I stirred and burned a few fire ant beds, I drove tree food spikes around some of my trees and bushes – these are hard fertilizer stakes meant for slow release.

Back inside, I felt better for having used the muscles a bit – certainly better than when I got up. At sundown I went for a walk and it served to clear out the remaining cobwebs of whatever was bothering me. The temps have certainly cooled off and I am glad. Whether I’m feeling bad or good, God is still good, all the time. ec

Friday, October 24, 2008


From high atop the vantage point of Thursday evening I look over the edge of the precipice of the ago times and got a glimpse of Tuesday. I remember that I started the day in much the same ways as others in the past. Then I started to peel and cut up the remainder of the pears left in the bucket. This was a good thing since an unpleasant aroma was starting to arise from that container.

During this operation I did find two or three that were totally mush and had to be tossed. Others had spots to cut out but when all was done I had again filled the 6-quart pot and started them cooking. The next event of the day was a visit to my dermatologist for a regular checkup.

She checked the usual suspect areas and then with ray gun in hand; she froze 5 or 6 spots that would require surgery in the future if left untreated. I felt fortunate that only one of them was on my scalp since several spots there will give one such a freeze headache – been there, done that. I came home and I know I stayed busy but I’m not actually sure with what.

Wednesday arrived and I was up and starting my day when the doc’s office called and said they had a cancellation and could I come in earlier. I was only too glad to change the afternoon appointment to the late morning since we had another PM appointment and other errands. This first appointment was to keep check on an ongoing condition and all turned out well – I was glad.

After leaving the office I got stopped by a train for about 10 minutes but things like that don’t seem to effect me much anymore – I’m glad of that too. I stopped on the way home to check our mail and after retrieving it, discovered that my truck wouldn’t start. I had noticed a little bit of weakness in the sound of the starter for a while and put it off till the future – Wednesday was the future.

The Spice brought the van to jump-start the engine and I drove it across the parking lot to the auto parts place. They checked the battery and my suspicions were confirmed – it was bad. I bought one from them and I do like the part of their service when they also install it at no extra charge.

Back home we got a snack to eat and then headed out for our appointment. We would have made it in plenty of time but were delayed twice by the seemingly eternal highway construction around the Augusta area. We did make our appointment exactly on time – I normally like to be early. After this we went over to Sam’s Wholesaler to get stuff for us, MIL and YD – we had to get two carts.

We loaded all that up in the van and went to get something to eat. We enjoyed the one-on-one time and the meal also – she and I need to date more – after all, she is my favorite wife. God is good!! ec

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Sunday arrived and it was everything that Sundays should be – encouraging, uplifting, invigorating, challenging, strengthening and informative – and that was just the AM service. The PM meeting was more of the same and made me glad that we went. Of course that’s what church should be like.

To say that my Monday morning started off with a bang wouldn’t exactly be correct but neither did it begin with whimper. Somewhere between those two I got up, fueled up, scriptured up and headed outside to get a few things done. Going through the garage, I picked up my work gloves, handsaw and landscaping axe – Dmitri by name – and we headed out for adventures.

The exploits started on the east end of our property. Limbs were trimmed, scrub trees were uprooted and all these were carried back to the burn pile. After about an hour there, the tools and I headed to the north border to cut back more tree limbs and small trees. These were shading out one end of the muscadines but mostly they were offering a place for the vines to climb and grow.

Every year when the muscadines are pruned, I have to pull vines down out of those trees. While cutting and trimming, I found a wild muscadine vine in the midst of the underbrush. I cut a couple of the vines of this and pulled them down from the trees. One of these was 22 feet long but the rest of the wild vines will have to wait till another day because I tired of the cutting, chopping and pulling.

Going back toward the house I stopped to clean out a flowerbed just to rest. Upon entering the sanctuary of the house, I followed my custom of getting a pillow and crashing on the floor – especially after very vigorous activities. I did so and even dropped off into the arms of Morpheus for a while.

The Spice came back from some errands and while she continued working I whipped us up some late lunch. I broiled up some small steaks, cooked some rice and warmed up a can of black-eyed peas. This was joined by slices of some of the last tomatoes of the season and turned out to be a fairly good meal. I can cook enough to keep someone alive and life is important.

The Spice’s Mom is not doing well so she went to stay with her and I gathered up the trash and took it to the landfill. Then it was on to the grocery for a few items and back home. Still having a little time before sundown, I picked all the green tomatoes of any size and pulled up the last three tomato plants. I forgot to mention that my turnip sprouts are just now breaking the soil – exciting!

Going for my evening walk, I admired the foliage changes that are just starting in this location. I am constantly enthralled and amazed by God and His creation, we only have to really open our eyes and take a little time for this to happen – plus it is relaxing and invigorating at the same time. ec

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


It is still Friday and the bramble war continues – and the prickly ones were losing.

As at other times one could almost hear these soil breathing plants gasping for dirt as I gleefully yanked them from the good soil and tossed them on the withering discard pile of time. As I finished the garden bed I noticed several dead limbs on one of the blueberry bushes. I cut them off, along with a few more on other bushes and discarded the limbs on the bad pile.

Then I noticed that there was an undisturbed fire ant bed close to another bush – I prefer that all of the ant beds on the property are either disturbed or empty. After getting my propane torch, I explained by show and tell why they shouldn’t bed where they were and most did not live through the explanation. They have to have this explained several times before they form other plans.

Notice how one thing just leads to another. I was planning to get the tiller out and break up the last garden bed I weeded but it started raining so I came in and began peeling and cutting up the last bucket of pears. I filled a 6-quart pot and put them on to cook before I crashed in a heap on the floor.

The Spice had wanted to see a movie and she reminded me of this later when I came back to semi-consciousness. I just had time to jump up and get ready and head out the door. We went to see the movie “Fireproof” – a movie that I would highly recommend to any married couple or anyone planning or even thinking about marriage – it was the best movie that I had seen in quite a while.

It was getting late when it was over and we wanted to get a bite to eat so we went by the Waffle House. It was packed out, probably from local football game attendees, so we just came on home and fixed some grits and eggs. A bit late to eat but it was very good.

We stayed up late and as a result I arose late on Saturday morn – the Spice didn’t arise at all in the morning. She had arranged events so that she could sleep as late as she wanted. I started off the day with sustenance of physical and spiritual natures – then by the time I had checked the news and weather, it was time for the football game to start. That would be the UGA game of course.

It was on past 1pm when I started to get concerned about the Spice – she said she was OK and promptly went back to sleep. She was up by the conclusion of the game – Georgia did win – I was glad. The temp had moderated so I went out for a walk a little earlier than usual. Back inside I went downstairs to exercise – this in an effort to keep this old body in decent shape as long as possible.

Then I hung on the inversion table for a while to decompress the spine – seems to be very important to my backbones. We ate, got ready and left to take the Spice to a baby shower and to make it a multi-purpose trip, I went to the grocery after I dropped her off. I went back to pick her up and they were not finished, so I spent some time in the side room with the guys.

It had been a good day even though I didn’t get much done – I did get to spend time with the Spice and that’s a good thing. After all, the two of us are one in the eyes of God and I am glad about that. ec

Monday, October 20, 2008


Thursday dawned as a different sort of day inasmuch as the Spice and I arose somewhat earlier than usual. Let me define ‘earlier than usual’ as any time before 10am. The reason for the time was that the Spice and I were to go to sit with our niece’s twin girls for her to go on a field trip with her son. Our nephew is in law enforcement and our niece obviously is mostly in childcare.

Shortly after our arrival NWT – niece with twins – departed with GN – great nephew – for the field trip. The Spice helped one twin and I the other and we were soon finished with their breakfast. They look so much alike that I don’t even strain my brain to try to tell one from the other, plus the fact that they have changed in growth and facial features almost every time I see them.

We kept them entertained and kept the TV on Fox News, the only source that I really trust – oops – I gave myself away there. I must have mentioned it before; we are so conservative that we even sit on the right side of the church. I did get a fair amount of exercise following them upstairs and down and all around the house. They just want to pick up and play with anything and everything.

They just recently turned two and are very active – but as long as they were happy, we were happy. NWT returned shortly before lunch and we departed. We went by Kroger to get a rotisserie chicken and some other items for our late lunch – the late part seems to be the norm for us. We went home and cooked what needed to be cooked and warmed up what needed that and had a very good meal.

We got ready later and both went to our small group meetings at church – hers is at 7pm and mine is at 8:30, so we go together and one waits on the other before or afterwards. These meetings are not only uplifting spiritually but build bonds between fellow Christians as we encourage each other.

When Friday morning arrived, I started my day in the usual ways, with most of these ways were mixed in with slow. Then it was outside for another bramble war on the last bed that had not been de-brambled. The brambles were joined in their obnoxiousness by several kinds of weeds and grass that were aiding and abetting in their plot to spread their offspring all through the garden.

It was a fight to the finish – not for me but for them and more than once a bramble took a swipe at me with its thorn filled branches. I was ever so grateful when I was able to pull these annoying brambles up with ALL their roots intact – because I knew I wouldn’t have to fight their offspring on another day. An attitude of gratitude not only does good to the one that shows it but to all they meet.

Gratitude reigns with me because God is good and I am glad. ec

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Wednesday morning arrived a little later than usual – at least for me – but I finally managed to drag out and start my day in the usual ways. It was about noon when I went outside and my intentions were to crank the tiller and till up at least one garden bed and plant turnip greens therein.

When I got the tiller out, it did not seem to get the idea that it was supposed to crank when I pulled on the start rope. After enough pulls to start wearing on the arm a bit, I decided that I had best go beneath the surface to see what was wrong. I took off and checked the air cleaner, then took out the spark plug and they were both OK and I was getting spark – this told me that it was not getting gas.

When a machine runs on gas and it does not get gas, deductive reasoning tells me that it won’t run and that was exactly what it was doing – not running. After taking the gas hose loose, I blew out the carburetor, put it all back together and it cranked on the first pull of the rope – possibly had a bit of congealed fuel. It was one happy gardener that putt-putted out and tilled up the garden bed.

Then the seed was taken out of the freezer and I planted a row of turnips about 25 feet long. I always leave my leftover seed in the freezer and when I take it out for planting, the seed concludes that it was just a long winter. I have kept some seeds for several years and they still came up.

I finished hoeing out another bed that I had de-brambled and then took the tiller down to the future storage-building site. The site had parts so hard that it was difficult to level off – several passes of the tiller softened the soil considerably. Going back up to the garden, I got tiller happy and tilled up the bed that I had just hoed out as well as making a couple of passes at the bottom of the beds.

Then I took my shovel back down to the building site and tossed dirt around from the high side to the low side. The site still has to be raked out and fine tuned but that was about the time I ran out of steam, put my tools and tiller up and came in the house. It was also about then that I remembered that I had run right past lunch, which very well explained the lack of energy that overtook me.

Time just flies when a person is having fun and while this may not sound like fun to a lot of folks, it was to me. I ate, rested a while and just as the sun was going down I went for my evening walk, a somewhat tiring and yet invigorating venture. I feel blessed to have a garden, yard and tools to work with – but better still is having the strength and stamina to use them. Yes, God is good, all the time. ec

Friday, October 17, 2008


My neighbors have pear trees and when I checked with them, they said to come get all I wanted since they had already picked all they intended to use. A short while later I had picked two five-gallon buckets full of the fruit. My intention was to cook the pears and put them in the freezer.

On Monday evening I peeled and cut up a large pot of the fruit. I cooked them on low heat with no added sugar or water – tasty to me though maybe not to everyone. It got late and the cooked fruit was too hot to containerize so I took the whole pot to the downstairs fridge to cool for the night.

Tuesday morn somehow appeared via the mystery of time and my awakening was a bit earlier than usual since I was to keep GM6 for YD to go to a doc appointment. I’m not sure I was much awake when the young one arrived – that happened shortly after. Normally his entertainment desires are far ranging but on this day his main want was for a video.

This suited me and I watched along with him, since that is the only way he would stay there. This was to be a day of several more activities, so I enjoyed the quietness while I could. The next event of the day was a luncheon at 11:30am with the seniors from church, so when we got ready and loaded up, we took GM6 back by his home on our way to the restaurant.

A good representation of the group showed and we ate Tex-Mex for lunch. The food was good but the fellowship was better and we enjoyed conversing for quite a while. We finally parted ways and went back into South Carolina toward our home turf. We checked with YD on the way and since it was nearing time to pick up GM3, and GM6 was still napping, we went by to pick him up.

We went to the school and got into car line for him and it was a good thing the Spice was with me because I had not a clue about the workings of their car line. We had a wait of about 45 minutes so we chatted and relaxed until we finally got the signal to come pick him up and take him home.

My next event was to go out to supper with some old friends but having spare time, I containerized the cooked pears and put them in the freezer. I cooked them in a 6-quart container but they cooked down and only rendered 3 quarts for the freezer. The Spice went to her Mom’s and I went to supper with the old guys.

The five old friends finally wound up at a place called Wild Wings out near I-20 and the place was packed out – it seems that Tuesday is double wings night. We ordered and had to wait quite a while for the food, so we just discussed most any world situation we could think of – we didn’t discuss anything that we couldn’t think of – that’s a bit hard to do.

The talk was good and when we finally got the food it was good. When our raging appetites were sated and the talk ran out, we departed to the parking lot. After deciding where we were to meet next month, we went home. I left the place grateful for old friends and memories – God is good. ec

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Monday began in ways similar to many other days, inasmuch as the sun coming up and me starting my personal day in the ways of usualness. After these the day went in a different direction in that I went outside to work, something that I had not done or felt like doing in more than a week. As soon as I exited the house I noticed that nature was in the midst of abhorring a vacuum.

The abhorring was taking place in the garden bed that I had cleaned out a week or so ago and took the form of many tiny shoots of weeds and grass just beginning to spring forth from the soil. I foiled the plot by taking my trusty hoe in hand and ending all the hopes and dreams of the garden invaders. This action is to be followed later this week by tilling the soil and planting turnip greens.

Rain had fallen a couple of days before and this caused the fire ant beds to come to the surface in an abundant, growing and prospering manner. Some moments were taken out of the day to interrupt their plans for taking over the property. This was done with my butane torch – I do not poison because of the chance of this getting into the garden, fruit bearing entities and nut trees.

Without going into graphic details, there are several thousand less ants in at least a dozen hills in various parts of the yard. There is always the danger of receiving the revenge of the ants and this happened several times. After causing havoc in the ant communities, I went on to the main project of the day, that of striving to level off the ground at the future storage building site.

After a couple of hours of this manual labor, not to mention some sweat, it suddenly dawned on me that I was not exactly in good condition for this after being inside for more than a week. I wised up and brought my efforts to a halt for the day after expending the last available calorie. When I came inside I didn’t collapse in the floor but I did lie there for a while to recover.

After some rest and a bite to eat, I went back out to finish some minor things that I had been meaning to do. One of these was to clip and save some dried flower heads for seed for next year – both zinnia and marigolds were gathered. Then I collected the dried okra pods, also for seeds for next year. I also pulled up the zinnia plants as well as a couple of exhausted tomatoes from the small bed.

After also pulling up all the okra stalks, I changed to my walking clothes and went for a much needed walk on my usual track. This was only my second time to walk since we have been back from Texas due to a couple of ailments and it was tiresome but felt very good. One might say that my intentions have been good but the actions didn’t follow – that sounds vaguely political – maybe.

Although not back to my usual self, it is good to feel well enough to do what I did do. I enjoyed God’s creation and critters on the outside and that’s a good thing. ec

Sunday, October 12, 2008


In the process of trying to get caught up chronologically I managed to get two weeks behind in real time. Since that bugs me to be behind time, the abridged version of those two weeks follows.

The project of cleaning out the garden was an ongoing theme for several of the days as was some inside work and babysitting. The big project of the week of was preparing a spot for the erecting of an outbuilding for lawn and garden equipment. This is to be a small building in the neighborhood of 12 feet by 14 feet. The main problem of this was the location that I choose for the construction.

The level part of our back yard is not extremely large and then it drops off to a slope down to the pond. On the brow of this decline was the spot chosen – the area that had contained our firewood stack for about 25 years. It was relatively simple to remove the remaining firewood but the small trees, vines and brambles growing amongst were not so easy and somewhat of a prickly situation.

Add to that the concrete blocks under the firewood, the scrap bricks, various pipes of metal and PVC, several steel cables and even a stack of glass panes. OK, I admit I have difficulty throwing things away. Over the process of a couple of days, all the loose material was moved and I started on the natural growths. This work involved manual labor and a fair amount of sweat.

I fought the dragginess of this old body until about Friday evening (October 3rd) and finally realized something else was going on. Saturday was rough but Sunday was rougher and the Spice had to attend church without me. By Tuesday it was plain to me that my medically repressed natural resistance was not fighting off this sinus/respiratory ailment. Hardheaded? Maybe.

I called first thing Wednesday morn and was able to go in to have the Doc confirm my need for an antibiotic. The visit and confirmation was made in short order, I went by the pharmacy for the meds and even that was quick. The bounce back was not quick but the recovery was started. By Saturday I was able to sit with the three local gruntmonkeys for the parents to be involved in a school function.

Sunday (October 12th) found me well on the mend and we attended AM church services. It is so good not be hacking away and better to be rid of the sinus headaches – which you probably know are not fun. Even though I have lost a week of prep work outside, I’m looking forward to continuing on the morrow. In the midst of whatever, God is good, all the time. ec

Thursday, October 09, 2008


The first few days after returning from Texas were a bit foggy – not the weather but the physical and mental parts that make up the old codger that I am. Everything seemed to be in slow motion and I really felt draggy. Was it jet lag, trip decompression or just a part of being old? It was hard to get anything done, even getting unpacked and back to normal was quite a chore.

We came home to the problem of a dead battery in our main vehicle – the van. As the next day slowly oozed by on the annals of history I managed to take the battery out and to the auto parts place to have it checked, even though I had already tried unsuccessfully to charge it at home. The official check came up with the same diagnosis and I needed to replace the battery.

Further checking found that the battery was purchased at that location and that this all-important source of cranking power was still under a three-year full replacement warranty for a couple more months. It was with great joy and satisfaction that I exited the place of business with the new battery in hand, having paid only the government mandated fee of less than three dollars!

My expertise in the area of motor vehicles is not great but I do have enough smarts to replace the battery and reconnect the electrical leads. Everything worked fine – except the radio. It requires an anti-theft code to make it work. After much searching on both our parts, the Spice finally remembered the numbers and all was back to normal. The number is now written in a prominent place.

Then Friday evening marched onto the pages of time and presented us with the opportunity to witness the wedding of a young couple in our church. After a beautiful tying of the knot, we traveled to another location for the reception. We felt blessed to sit at the table with a couple that we only knew slightly because we were able to get much better acquainted with them.

After dragging out of the house on Saturday AM, I set forth to clean out one of the garden beds with the eventuality in mind of planting some turnip greens for the winter. It occurred to me some time during this operation that I wasn’t feeling very spry. The normal joy of hacking the trespassing grass and weeds from the good ground just wasn’t there but nonetheless their roots all bit the air.

In the PM, I came back in the house to watch some college football – that was about all I felt like doing. Sunday, September 28th, came and although both of us were not feeling well, we attended the AM service and as always we were glad we did. Even when we are not feeling well, God loves us and cares about our well-being, I am grateful for that. ec

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

TX epilogue

Lake Jackson, TX is the town in which OD and family reside and though it is nice enough, it does have some problem areas, at least what I see as such. The first and main thing is that it is just a little bit over a thousand miles away from our home. Then it is hot and humid, just right for the mosquito population to grow and prosper. And prosper they do, with certain seasons worse than others.

As you might have guessed, the time right after hurricane Ike was one of these bad seasons. When one had to go outside, it was necessary for it to be a quick passage because even going to the vehicle was a fight. These flying bloodsuckers seemed to station their entire air force just outside each door, waiting for some unsuspecting, slow moving victim on which they could feed.

If the young ones wanted to go outside to play, they had to be sprayed down with repellant or suffer the consequences for several days. The lay of the land is very flat and one would normally think that it would flood in the heavy rains they get at certain times of the year but such is not the case. The founders of the town thought ahead and put a very good drainage system in place.

Something that was not a problem but was amusing to me was some of the street names. Circle Way, Center Way and Winding Way were not too odd but they also had Parking Way, Any Way, That Way and This Way. This Way was one of the main downtown streets and on one corner of it was a Subway – which could have been on the way to heartburn city.

They even had a Success Street and a Lazy Lane – I surmised that it would have been hard to move to Success Street if one was happy on Lazy Lane. Due to the odd names they have the intersections of That Way and Any Way as well as This Way and That Way. Most other streets not ending in Way were named after some form of flora. They even used Jalapeño, Tangerine, Mango, and Habanero.

Mr. Dow of Dow Chemical was responsible for this plan for street names when he layed out the town in the 1940s and it was formed to preserve as many trees as possible. The primary damage of hurricane Ike was due to Lake Jackson’s love of trees - 95% if the power was taken out by falling limbs and trees. In spite of this only 80 homes were majorly damaged.

The U. S. Census of 2004 gives the population of Lake Jackson as 27,022 – hopefully this did not include some of the large mosquitos that lurk about the area. They have a fair amount of restaurants and shopping areas plus Houston is only an hour away. That still leaves them there and us here but such is life. God was good to them (and us) during the hurricane and for this I am grateful. ec