Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Honey of a Job
I’ve been managing with only using my upstairs to limit the water going into my septic tank. It became filled when my downstairs commode had a steady leak causing my water bill to soar to nearly triple. For several weeks, I have been using the water saver commode in my newly remodeled upstairs bathroom and avoiding the downstairs toilet. It’s been more wear and tear on my knees, but it was necessary if I wanted to the necessary room.
During this time, I have been searching for the concrete septic tank buried in my backyard and the removable trap door to gain access to have it cleaned. A friend volunteered to open an area where I thought it might be, but to my chagrin, it was the wrong spot and the backhoe only managed to break the exit sewage pipe to the tank.
After repairing it, I continued the quest for the “prize.” By following the now repaired pipe, I spaded a trail toward the elusive goal. The actual tank and my ultimate target was about three feet away. Only one yard from where I directed the friend break ground and eventually break my sewer pipe.
My spading was delayed because the tank and door was under the pile of dirt that was removed by the backhoe and my earlier shoveling. My dig to the tank’s opening was delayed while I returned the dirt to its original position. Much of it was clay/soil mixture that was heavy under normal circumstances, but with the rains it was clumping and very backbreaking work. With the hole filled, I quickly spaded downward to the tank top and door.
I placed a call to one of the local honeydippers to have the tank emptied. Honeydipper is a term for the men who used to hand shovel the waste products from outhouses and who hauled it away. As I grew up, the honeydipper was the butt of many stories and jokes.
I am hoping to solve the septic problem on Thursday. I have an appointment with a honeydipper. I’m just thankful that they come to me and not the other way around.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Learning the Alphabet
Saturday, I was asked to be docent at the Chestnut Ridge Historical Society and since my day was unclaimed, I agreed. I would have probably been there anyway. No one else had signed up and rather than to have the facility closed if anyone should show up, I decided I could open it up. Although I don’t know all of the ins and outs I am learning and often able to direst people with questions to the correct information.
I have been trying to close up the loose ends with sorting, filing, alphabetizing, and rearranging thing into a better type of arrangement in an attempt o make things easier to store and find. The task that was left undone was to sort and alphabetize the cards that the funeral homes give out to those who visit and pay last respects. There were about eight boxes of semi-sorted announcements. I say semi-sorted because someone had started until the system broke down and the pamphlets were just shoved in, in no order. Names with W were in with G’s and so forth.
Using the first and second letter of the last names, I began the task of labeling and placing them into piles in order. Once the cards with the same first 2 were in stacks, they were placed in their file boxes for easier access.
In four hours I managed to get names from A to Mc sorted and stored. In the checking of names, I was saddened by the number of people I was related to and to those who were friends. Some older from fellow church members, one in particular my dad would pick her up so she could attend church with us. She had no other way.
Other very familiar names came and went in a seemingly endless parade. So many cards passed through my fingers. It reminded me of my own mortality and that a person’s entire life could be reduced to a few faded lines in a folded note.
The other thing I got from wading into this gigantic task is allergies. Whether it was because of the dust or the inks, I’m not sure, but after I came home, I began to sneeze and my nose became so  congested. I now whistle when I breathe, but at least…I’m still breathing.

Friday, June 15, 2018


Wood I
It’s that time of the year again. I just bought my first of several loads of wood to stockpile for the cold (Br-r-r) winter months. Believe it or not, I have grown more intelligent over the thirty years I have lived in my house and raised my family. When I first began using wood to help warm the house, I thought the pile of uncut wood was ugly. It detracted from the beauty of my home. I placed the wood pile at the back of the one acre lot. What I didn’t understand was that the spot that I’d chosen wasn’t the best place. Between the woodpile and the house, several drifts of snow would form during the winter storms, making the task of hauling wood to the back porch a formidable task. I tried a wheelbarrow, then a toboggan, but it got to the point a light bulb finally went on in my head, “You can make this a lot easier.”
So, I moved the delivery point to the now empty garden plot. The harvest was all in and it seemed like a good idea. Cutting and stacking was closer to the house and partially hidden by several oak trees. Again I was worried about the looks of the pile. The snow drifted there too, but it was just about ten feet closer to the house, thinking there would be less distance to drag the firewood. Not so. It was just as difficult.
The very next year I decided to put the pile on the other side of the house, near the bushes and tree line there. It was about another fifteen feet closer. By now, I was hauling wood into the basement. I had a new wood burner and I put it in the cellar to limit cleaning up from the dirt from the bark and ashes. The wind and snow didn’t care. There were still drifts, smaller but there were more.
For the last six years or so, I have the wood delivered right outside my basement door. Who cares if it looks unsightly? I’m older and tire more easily, and hopefully it shows I am smarter by choosing a place close to the door.
Well, the first load is here and slowly I will stack it on my pallets to continue to age until it is needed to warm my home on the cold windy days of winter.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Friends
All through life we make friends. Some have become very close while others have drifted away. Many are gone due to accidents and death while others have fallen away.  Many have been acquaintances that have become close friends, while other friendships have eased back to be only acquaintances.
I’ve been thinking a lot about friends because of several incidents that seem to come together at once. The first was the death of a long time friend and Pastor, Norman Lee Johnston. We shared the same birth month and traveled together on the church camping trips out west as well as a missionary trip to Newfoundland and Labrador. He allowed my son Andrew Beck and several of our church’s youth to accompany him on a return trip to South Korea where he started churches years ago.
The second thought that became interwoven with these thoughts was my blocking of a long time friend on Facebook. His extremely Leftist political views and his stand on the faith and biblical ideas finally sealed it. He wasn’t able to share my views and I wasn’t able to share his without arguments. Those differences caused dismay and interrupted my walk with God. Since then, I still pray for him and his sickly mother, but it isn’t this constant back and forth of emotions and there is more peace in my life.
The third incident happened last evening. I got a call from a writer friend who has many health problems of her own. She wasn’t able to find her cat in her apartment. One bedroom, one bath, living room, and a kitchenette, but with her health issues she couldn’t get behind the sofa, behind a cabinet, or under her bed. She was upset because her cat wouldn’t come to her when she called for nearly a day and she was sure he was dead. I arrived and looked behind the sofa, under chairs, and behind the hutch, no cat.
Now this cat is famous and has a book out. His sales for his one book outsells all of my books put together. My search continued into the bathroom, then into the bedroom. No cat and I sat on the edge of my friend’s bed, thinking her cat ran away. I glanced under her desk and there he was, staring back at me. My friend called to him and he stayed there, staring at us both. I reached under, grabbed the scruff of his neck, and hauled him out, placing him in my friend’s arms. The vet placed him on new medications. My friend started them the day before. I believe the cat was hiding so he wouldn’t have to take the medicine. I was a being good friend, although the cat may not believe it.

Monday, June 11, 2018


Back to the Old Country
Friday evening, the men of the Mt. Zion Community Church emptied the cargo from a large enclosed trailer. It had made its way from Milford, Ohio. Milford is just east of Cincinnati. Such a small town, I thought I’d help you locate it without searching for it on a map or in an Atlas. A church there has set up a missionary outreach program to provide Scripture in different languages to missionaries and churches who request it. Inside the trailer were boxes and bundles of John and Romans that had to be separated, folded, assembled, then stapled. Staplers and the trimmer were placed in the gymnasium, waiting for the morning when our church members would gather to join the different sections and ready them for distribution.
Saturday morning at 8:30, a bit earlier for those who couldn’t wait we began to fold the colorful cover sheets which were passed to another table. While we were doing this, one group was placing one part inside the other in correct order. The Gospel was carried to the table with the folded covers and workers there tucked the printed word inside. Those compiled pages were carried to the staplers and secured in a booklet form. Then off to the trimmer to be cut and placed into boxes ready for shipping. Each table kept the young couriers busy moving products from one station to the next.
Our task was a little greater this time assembling. The books of John and Romans were printed in Croat and English, so the finished product was thicker and slightly harder to tear apart and assemble. The people in Croatia are eager to learn English and the English was an incentive for them to accept the Scripture. The group in Croatia will pass out the booklets we assembled. An invitation will be given to attend a rally in the month of September. Those who come to the assembly for the preaching of God’s word will receive a Croat Bible.
After 4 hours of constant movement, we were able to correlate 6,591 copies to add to the Scripture that was assembled by other churches. Because we have Seedline in several times per year, we complete about 20,000 copies yearly.

Friday, June 8, 2018

With D Day just past, and Independence Day drawing near, I wrote this to share.
Fireworks fill the night sky
Explode to oohs and ahs.
Fiery trails of blood red
Thrilling kids, Mas, and Pas.
Celebrate freedom’s road
It’s Independence Day
Liberty’s seeds were sowed
It must not slip away.
Air fills with marching bands
Shrill fife, loud drums and pipes
On sands of foreign lands
Above flies Stars and Stripes.
Flintlock or tomahawk
Bayonet or Enfield
Silence dictator’s knock
Lest freedom be defiled.
Bullets zip, cannons roar
Earth becomes bloody fen
At home or foreign shore
Survivors became men.
Mile markers of headstones
Charting mile after mile
Peace gained by flesh and bones
And bodies in deep piles.
Hard fought, hard won, Independence Day..

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


Legs
Many years ago, when I worked at Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania, 3 incidents made an impression on my mind about legs. The first tale occurred when I was working night shift on a med/surg floor. A female patient who hated men was a diabetic and would feign swooning because of her problems. She would also be incontinent and need her linens changed. She was rather large and one night the other nurses asked me to help. When she heard my voice, she stiffened and asked, “Is there a man in my room?” When the nurses tried to explain that I was a nurse and was only trying to help, she shouted “I don’t care if he’s Jesus Christ. Get him out of my room,” her eyes remained tightly closed. Sometime later she had one leg removed and was readmitted to have the other leg removed, telling the nurses she already named the first Pete, now she was here for “repeat.” I told the nurse the story of me being in the room, then I said “As much as she hates men, she should have said, I named the first Kate and the second duplicate.”
The second memory happened within the first month of transfer into the emergency department. A man who was helping a friend was run over by a caterpillar nearly severing both of his legs at the thighs. The EMT’s did a wonderful job finding ice in the middle of nowhere to pack his legs, but the damage was so severe, that the surgeon finished amputating the thin bands of tissue remaining and dropped them into trash bags that I held.
The third storey is more amusing. One of the ward clerks in the emergency room was gathering information for a new patient’s chart while he was sitting in front of her on a wheelchair. He crossed his legs and to the ward clerk’s surprise, the leg fell off and landed at her feet. She jumped from her chair, began to dance in circles. The man said, “Don’t fuss honey. It happens all the time.” The old man had a loose fitting prosthetic leg.