Friday, July 31, 2015

First Meeting

            We all have tales about our first meeting with loved ones, friends, bosses, or someone who has impacted our lives.  I first met my wife to be at a wedding. It was my first of many firsts. The wedding was for my cousin, Alan Bottomly with his wife Gloria. Their ceremony was the first that I ever attended as an adult and I was in it. I was the best man. It was the first time that I was responsible for the wedding band and that was a cause for concern. There was a heating grate in the floor and I was worried that I’d drop it and watch it disappear into the bowels of the church or that because I stick it on a finger so that I wouldn’t lose it, the ring would get stuck. It was the first time that I was responsible for giving the speech at the reception.

            That blissful occasion was the first time that I laid eyes on my wife-to-be, Cynthia Morrison. She was short, sweet, and her pixie hair cut framed her face. Cindy was one of the attendants; greeting people and having them sign the guest book.

            I normally enjoy teasing and making people smile. As the evening progressed, she was one of the people that I teased. One time she was sitting at the table eating and I kicked her shoe away. I made jokes and most of the time we were laughing together, having a good time. Some of the people at the wedding thought that we were already dating. That came later.

            Her best friend and her friend’s husband arranged for a “blind” date for the two of us as a double date. It was the beginning of our relationship and our years of wedded bliss.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I posted photographs on Face Book yesterday. The photos were of my nieces that often chummed around together, often having a girl’s night out. When they were together, the waitress or other people would ask if they were sisters and that was impossible.
My daughters, Amanda Yoder and Anna Beck were cousins with Jennifer Potosky and Emily Marker form my wife Cindy’s side of the family and Becky Ritenour is a cousin from my side of the family. They are not blood relatives at all, but the similarities in stature and physical appearance cause people to be confused.
These young ladies are bound by friendships that have grown over the years. Sometimes I think this bond is closer than many actual blood connections.

A similar coincidence happened with my mom Sybil Miner Beck and a good friend of hers, Velma Nicholson. They looked so very similar that people would ask if they were sisters. Velma’s real sister looked less like Velma than did my mom. Another incidental happening occurred when Velma and my mom would buy a new dress. They didn’t shop together, but would arrive at church with the same dress. After the first time of “You’re wearing the same dress,” it became humorous, if not pleasant surprises for both of them.

It is said that each person has real life doppelganger somewhere. It just produces a wonderful experience when the “twin” lives so close to you.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Is It Just Me

            Last evening, I noticed the extremely beautiful sunset and I thought about the sky and all of the remarkable colors and hues that have graced the heavens over the past few years. I am not sure if I am taking more notice to the uniqueness of it or whether God is putting on a wonderful display to remind us that He is in control.
            Earlier in the year, I saw clouds that mimicked feather plumes as though an albino bird had fluttered across the blue skies, dropping a few full and down-like pieces of its plumage. I cannot recollect ever seeing clouds like that when I was a child or as I grew into adulthood.
            Recently, sunrises have been extraordinary. Out of the blackness of the night, the sun peers over the horizon brilliant in its flaming glory, torching the sky to life in vibrant colors from red to orange to yellow and every shade in between. The sunlight projects its talent onto any lingering clouds like showing a movie in a theater. Subtle shifts in shape and hue cause the sky to come alive like a panoramic kaleidoscope, constantly moving, directed by the hands of the breezes and time.
            During the daylight hours, the sky might change from the hue of skim milk blue to gray to brilliant cobalt in the matter of hours. Then I must point out the splashes of the clouds themselves. Some seem full and fluffed, while others seem thready, as if smeared on by an artist’s palette knife, scraped and thin.
            So I am back to the sunset that I saw last evening. The sun itself had disappeared behind a low hill, but it couldn’t hide. Its warmth was reflected on low lavender-gray clouds. The orange-red light danced on the full veil of water droplets. The contrast was striking, but the most remarkable thing was that the sun tossed out a bow of flaming light that arched high over its resting place. I’ve seen rainbows, but until last evening, I had never seen an arc of light like that.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Loud and Not Fast

            Last evening I made a run to get gasoline to mow my yard and yes, I did get it finished. My knees feel as though I had just run a marathon wearing lead shoes. As I made my drive home, I saw ahead of me another car. When I saw it, the vehicle was about 12 car lengths ahead of me. I got to about 10 car lengths and thought there was something wrong with my engine. I could hear a low rumble, so I turned off my radio and listened again.
            My car seemed to be pulling okay, but the noise grew louder. By now I was within 5 car lengths. I popped the transmission into neutral to see if that made any difference, it was only louder. The vehicle in front was about 3 car lengths and not moving very fast. It was then I realized that the dark colored sedan was the culprit and not my car at all. It was loud enough that the people inside had to have hearing damage.

            There were two cars that worried me more. One was at my brother-in-law David’s house. We were in his car waiting to pull out onto 711 and a car whisked by, sparks shooting up behind it like a rooster tail. David asked if we should follow him. It was then a cloud of gasoline vapors hit us. I told him “No way, he has to know something’s dragging and with it being his gas tank and the sparks, I don’t want anywhere near him.”

            The other was a car at the hospital I was discharging a patient in a wheelchair. Its windshield crisscrossed with a spider web of cracks. As I got to the exit, a car pulled up. It was for her. When I opened the passenger door, it dropped about 1/2 inch. The seat for the passenger was an upturned apple crate with a burlap sack tossed on it. After helping her inside, I carefully lifter and shut the door. As the car was driving off, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. One of the brake lights fell from the rear fender onto the bumper. It rested there, still glowing red.
            When I relayed the story to my fellow nurses, they asked if I made sure she was wearing her seat belt. I said, “I tied the binder twine as tightly s possible.”
            In the driver’s defense, he spoke with the guards, saying he knew that he shouldn’t have that car on the road, but his wife was so sick.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Aching Ears
            I decided to watch the television series of Tut last evening. The program was interesting, even if it wasn’t completely historically correct. My major concern was it the directing and editing. I almost went crazy and almost stopped watching it, because of the wild swinging of the volume. One moment, when the characters were talking sotto voce and interacting, I had to turn the television almost to the highest volume. The next scene, the chariots blazed across the screen or trumpets began to blare and I would have to drop the volume into almost non-existence.
            It was worse than dealing with a schizophrenic with hormonal disorders. Up and down, constantly, I was unable to thoroughly enjoy the film because of my phrenetic maneuvering of the remote control volume. I don’t know what the director’s name of film, but whoever he is, he should be horsewhipped, drawn and quartered, then his head stuck on the tip of a petard outside of the walls of Thebes. Why would the miserable purveyors of the film cause so much grief to the viewers? It wasn’t shown in a surround-sound theater where you expect to have your eardrums assaulted.
            I don’t know what I would have done many years ago, when remotes were non-existent and having a child to make the changes necessary on the television’s knobs. My children would have been worn out, if Tut had been shown back then.
            My suggestion to the television makers is, “Why can’t you install a chip that allows the customer to set the maximum volume or a mean volume?” It would eliminate the unnecessary ear shattering increased volume associated with commercials. With all of the electronic items, surely the knowledge to produce such a product is out there. I would pay extra to have this “extra” installed in the television set, wouldn’t you?

Monday, July 20, 2015

More and More

When I woke this morning and was being teased by the early morning breeze coming through my bedroom window, I decided, only a few more minutes. I pulled the sheet and light blanket more securely around myself to fend off the cool damp air. I burrowed into the comfort of my bed to extend my sleep time after fluffing my pillows.

But it was not to be. I was about to drop back into the arms of Morpheus when the usual morning serenade of the animals that have slowly over many years been imported into my neighborhood. I was used o the peeper frogs’ high pitched calls at night, but they have been joined by at least one bullfrog. His “Gronk, gronk,” greeted me today. Shortly afterwards, he was joined by the “cock-a-doodle-doo” of a neighbor’s rooster.  So far, the horses that claim the field haven’t started to neigh. They are content to graze on the lush grass.
The dogs from several kennels raised their voices in routine chorus, waiting to be fed.
The major differences today were that the hens ran through the grass clucking and chasing insects and the bleating of a Pygmy goat joined the symphony. The goat wasn’t happy with one or two “Na-a-ah, Na-a-ah,” it continued for neatly fifteen minutes of continual bleating.

I am waiting for one of my neighbors to bring in a more exotic type of animal. Although, I draw the line if I hear an elephant trumpeting or the roar of a lion, I’m moving. Anyone want to buy a house?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Mixed Messages

Today, as I sat to write, I see posts on Facebook about the shooting of Marines by another Muslim. It gave me chills to think that early yesterday morning, before the killings occurred, I posted the postcard that displayed the Marine Hymn. It was a card from WW II. It was bought by my uncle Raymond Dale Miner, who was a Marine. There was no inscription on the rear, so I have to assume that it belonged to him and that he gave it to my grandparents.
God bless all who are in our military, striving to put themselves between enemies and the citizens of the United States. Lord, keep them safe. Put a hedge of protection around them, whether on foreign soil or in America and in her cities. Let the leaders make it easier for them to stop our enemies and support the veterans who once put themselves on the line.

The other thing that I was thinking about was about the menagerie that marched through our linen closet over the many years. Some were claimed by my children; Amanda, Andrew, and Anna. Towels caused the most contention. Colors caused the first confrontations, with purple being the most desired. Once my wife Cindy and I discovered that three children and only one type of towel, caused much consternation, we bought three of the same color or design. At least it gave them all a chance if it turned out to be something that sparked their interest.
Towels designed with Teddy bears and red ribbon collars, now threadbare still claim a resting spot on the shelves. Blue, yellow and red cats graced the plush towels. One cat clad cloth is hanging on the clothesline outside now. It waves in the breeze with all of its furriness shed. I know that there were Barney the Purple Dinosaur wash cloths and I know that there were others linens, plain, colored and patterned. Some were abstract and others were prints. Almost all have been worn to the point that they have been relegated to the rag bag of memories.
A few remain to still hang out as the wash is done and to wave in the thoughts and memories of my family’s memory.