Monday, February 19, 2018

Time Stilled Again
A little more than one year ago, I wrote a blog about a clock that hung on my family’s bathroom wall for nearly 25 years, faithfully keeping track of time as we showered for work or for school. When it died, I purchased a replacement clock of the same size, same color, and the same brand. The new addition’s hands managed to orbit its face for one year and twenty-four days before they made their last circle counting the numerals, the motor still pretended it was functioning with click, click, click. But the hands hung down at a permanent 6:35 occasionally giving a feeble twitch.
Today, after church, Sunday school, an afternoon meal, I hurried of to a newly opened dollar store. I decided if a clock was only going to last a year, I’d buy an inexpensive one. The dollar store had several to choose from. One had the look of a miniature grandfather clock with plastic wood grain frame. Another had a black plastic wrought iron design surrounding its face. One clock was designed with ivory plastic and gold gild design. None of them appealed to me. That left only two other clocks from which to choose. Both had the same simple round design. The only difference was their color. Both had a plain white face with black numbers and black hands. The plastic frame of the one face was white and the other was black. Both clocks were slightly larger than the one that died and would be easier for me to read.
My newly remodeled bathroom is mostly white. The walls are called Snowbound. The rugs, shower curtain, and window curtains are either tan, gray, or taupe accent colors. The vanity countertop has double sinks of white marble with veins of gray and threads of brown and rust.
The white trimmed clock would have been nearly invisible on the Snowbound walls. I bought the clock with the black frame. It was only $4.00. As soon as I got home, I stuffed a battery into its backside to start the motor and hung it up. It’s hanging there now merrily clicking away the seconds of my life.
The old clock without its battery is lying eerily silent on the desk beside me awaiting its fate. A year ago when I bought it, I thought my heart would stop beating before it did. Tomorrow, I will carry it to the basement for its autopsy.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Lights, Headache, and High Water
My story started Wednesday morning when I forgot to take my morning medications, finding them late in the afternoon, too late to take them without interfering with my evening medications. I really didn’t feel the effects until I started with a headache just before evening. It was a dull headache that was exacerbated by the change in weather. The headache remained at a low roar all night after taking analgesics and sitting up to sleep.
Thursday morning, I did a few chores around the house, knowing the rest of the day was shot with things to do outside the house. It was necessary to return two light fixtures to Lowe’s. One had a broken shade and the other wouldn’t fit my antiquated ceiling fan. I did find out I could replace the socket and not the whole fixture. I was so glad to have met the helpful lady in charge of lighting.
My next stop was at Gabe’s. I saw the rugs I wanted for my newly remodeled bathroom. While I was there, I managed to pass out several of my business cards to the friendly woman employees. By the way, the rugs look great, but Willow my cat tries to speed run on them and spins them around.
By now, it’s time to stop for a few items I needed at Walmart. Other than the new self-checkout lines, I love shopping there. I always meet old friends and have a great time talking to the clerks and other employees there. Love you Beverly.
Next, I picked up my granddaughter after school. She wanted to get a snack, so it was back to Walmart for pretzels. They car was filled with her singing and restlessness from her day with school as I drove to pick up my daughter after work. Her car is still out of commission. I delivered them home amid a downpour.
I scooted off to my writers meeting at the Mt. Pleasant Public Library my headache was still very active. I managed to get through the meeting with the rain pouring down. The drive home was challenging. Headlights and the light reflecting back from the highway signs seemed to pierce my brain on the especially dark, cloud-covered drive home. Between the Pennsylvania potholes and the standing water pools, it made the drive home slower, longer, and more treacherous, but I made it, thankful for an end to a very trying day.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Fun, Facts, Fiction, Fairytales
Most of us can remember times when we were growing up that we were told things we thought were true until we became older, things that were shared at home or repeated on the playground. What started me thinking about these stories were the small white discolorations on my fingernails. It reminded of what I was told as a child that caused them. I believed the little white marks that grew out naturally in my fingernails were the number of little white lies I’d told. Sometimes I would look at my fingernails and wonder what lies I’d told and when and as a kid, I couldn’t recall if I told a lie or not.
Or how about the tale that people tell about the petals on a daisy? When a girl picks the flower she is to pluck its white petals one by one from its bright yellow center, chanting “He loves me…He loves me not” until the petals are all gone. When the last petal falls, it will reveal whether or not the person you are thinking about really loves her. I supposed that it would work if a guy pulled the petals.
Another repeated tale about a flower is the one about dandelions or buttercups. Someone would pick one of the blooms and place it just below the chin near the neck to see “if you liked butter.” That was a silly little game I was told.
An untruth that my mom, Sybil Beck foisted on us as kids was when she would prepare eggs, putting them in water to make hard cooked eggs for sandwiches. If she hadn’t let them cook long enough and the centers were even slightly runny, she would say that she boiled them too long. The reason she said this was because she fussed as a child when her mom, Rebecca Miner served an underdone egg to her and her mom made up the story.
That reminds me of another misconception my mother had as a child. She thought cows were the mothers and horses were the fathers. She also thought cats were the mothers and dogs were the fathers. In her mind, because men and women looked different, so should the animals. Later, she used to laugh about it saying, “I grew up on a farm and should have known better.”
So many times as children we are told old wives tales. Each family has their own collection that have been passed down from generation to generation. Like coveted recipes, these tales have been shared, laughed at, and loved because they make us more naïve and innocent. They make us human and the human beings that we are.

Monday, February 12, 2018

It’s difficult for me to understand how people can be confused after seeing the world around them and say there is no Creator. It all came into being by coincidence or happenstance. Looking up at the multitude of stars and the untold number of planets should give a feeling of the great power that set them all into place, not an explosion. Even if there was a bang of a beginning, where did the enormous mass of matter develop and from what? Who created the delicate balance that causes the stars, moons and planets to dance the intricate ballet eon after eon? Evolutionists say the Earth and everything on it evolved over millions of years, but how can that be when every race and culture of mankind has the flood story which wiped everything living thing from existence, save those in the ark? And if evolutionists are correct and mankind evolved from apes, why isn’t it happening more frequently than the single leap of genes?
When we look around and see the majesty of the mountains or the splendor of the canyons: their depths and heights, their varied shapes and hues, how can we deny the skill of an artist’s hand? We see waterfalls thundering from great heights or spreading to unbelievable widths and yet we are still amazed by hearing the trickle of the tiniest flow.
Our beaches, can be narrow, rocky, or are wide expanses of sand in varied colors of black pumice, red coral, or soft yellows or whites. We have springs that pump out sweet  clear water, springs that belch boiling, sulfur smelling water, and some that shoot a tower of water high into the air. The world is crisscrossed with rivers, long ones, short ones, gentle ones and raging ones, who has set tyhem into motion. Who has set the routine of the seasons? Who allowed the ice and snow to give way to the budding of trees and the stirring of life in a dead looking seed?
Can we be more surprised to see the blinding flash of lightning, or feel the earth beneath our feet trembling from the roar of thunder or feel the power of the oncoming storm? Who created the whirlwind and separated it from the gentle breeze? How can we see the miracle of birth and not be convinced that there is a Creator to it all and not by happenstance?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Seeking Dad Among the Dead
Now that I am older, I wish I had listened more closely to the things that my parents said about themselves and their parents and had remembered them. So much history and wisdom was lost in my youth. I don’t believe that I ever learned how my grandparents met, fell in love, and became building blocks in my life. It is like the mortar that cements those thoughts is missing. How much more complete that wall would have been.
I didn’t ask those kind of questions as a child because it wasn’t proper> I didn’t ask how my parents met either, but I know my dad, Edson Carl Beck bought an Indian motorcycle on his return from serving in the Army during WW II. He was stationed in Australia, the Philippines, and visited Hiroshima. My mom Sybil June Miner worked at Resh’s Red & White store in Indian Head, Pennsylvania. One day as she walked home, a guy on a motorcycle sped by, grabbed the sleeve of her coat, tore it, and sped off. She blamed my dad and he vehemently denied it. They didn’t say much else about the dating.
Mom did share some of the places that they lived and some of the antics of newlyweds, but the meat of those stories have faded and become woefully thin. A water battle at the honeymoon cottage and the shrieking that worried the neighbors, a tug of war under a bed, and a night sleeping in the bathtub seem almost too nondescript to share without the details. Details that made my mom laugh and my dad smile.
Although my wife-to-be, Cynthia Louise Morrison lived less than 5 miles from my home, we met at a wedding. It was the first wedding I’d ever attended and was the best man for my cousin Alan Bottomly. She was an usherette and greeter. At the reception, I was my abnormal self and teased her, even hiding her shoes. Guests thought we were already dating, but no. It took one of her friends arranging a blind date to start the ball rolling. Although my wedding antics said otherwise, I was quite shy and that is hard to believe even now.
Much of what I record in my BlogSpot stories is to capture some of these moments before they disappear and are forgotten. I don’t want my children seeking information of their mom or dad among the dead.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Task at Hand
The men who remodeled my bathroom have gone. Their work was great however I am left with the finishing touches. I need to hang the bathroom curtains before the neighbors complain to the police and they tried to contain the dust but with the furnace running, it distributed dust in the other rooms.
Yesterday, I began early spring cleaning. The first room I tackled was my bedroom. It had been awhile since I gave it a thorough dusting, sorted through items I tossed onto the dressers, and vacuumed the bedroom carpet. The cleaning extended to the small hallway and stairs to the first floor.
I’m not a hoarder yet, but each bureau in my bedroom holds a collection of whatnots: a jar of buttons, a jar of seashells, and several wooden jewelry boxes holding more receipts than actual jewelry.  On top the television are my antique, glass measuring cups. Each and every item had to be wiped clean of dust before returning them to their place of honor.
I plan to clean my living room or the family room today. The living room should be the easiest. I removed the clutter before the new carpet was laid. I want to sort everything I removed before it goes back onto shelves. Those items are still in the family room. I’m forcing myself to go through them all to determine their usefulness or their sentimental value. I’ve always called it my early depression room, holding items from my parents or Cindy’s parents. There are hand tools, oil lamps, glassware, pottery, old photographs displayed. A rack of DVD’s, an old trunk, a carriage seat, and I must not forget the grandchildren’s toys stored there. The other room I hesitate to clean is my computer room. Handwritten manuscripts sit in piles until I can string put them into books. The Tommy Two Shoes series are my first 4 books about a retired Pittsburgh homicide detective who solves mysteries. Each chapter is a different mystery making it easier for the fanatic to get their fill and for those who don’t like to read an entire book to see “who-done-it.” The fifth book is about Rahab the harlot from Jericho and how she met and married a Jewish enemy to be in the line of King David and Jesus.
The latest book “Addie,” features local places like Confluence, Ohiopyle, and Mt. Pleasant. Addie is a woman who was raised without love. She takes in an orphan only to have him snatched away. Faced with her mixed emotions, she must find a way to deal with them. Set in the 1940’s, the plot has a series of surprises as well as a surprise ending.

Friday, February 2, 2018

She Walks Among the Stars

Aroma of small sachets or scent of perfume
Ignite fires that have lain smoldering over years
A bright gleam then flicker soft like candle flames
Past doors flash open in tantalizing display. 

She walks among the stars her feet clad in beauty
On heavenly paths meeting those gone on before
No longer earthbound she is free from any pain
Corridors of gold lined with gems beyond compare. 

Still she walks the deepest recesses of my mind
On memories’ pathways other loved ones have trod
Bound to me by the threads of love drawn close to me
Dim hallways of the past made bright by thoughts of you. 

Three children and grandchildren because walk she lived
Divining their own paths thoughts of her on their minds
One day they will be rejoined beyond starry skies
Love’s circle will be complete on far golden shore. 

Valentine’s Day celebrates the meaning of love
Valentine’s Day is more than sweets, flowers and such
Heartfelt memories linger still and rise when stirred
The past comes to life down the corridors of time.