Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Why Do People

Where I live, there is a fairly long, straight stretch of highway. It isn’t a road like Route 119, but a less travelled back road and yet there are those folks who are in a hurry. They think the straightaway is an open invitation to pass other drivers who are maintaining the speed limit. These same people roar past my home with breakneck speeds radios blaring, not knowing what is ahead. Often there is farm machinery coming in the opposite direction, sometimes taking more than half the roadway. Sometimes there are busses picking up or delivering children and animals, wild and domesticated that will cross from side to side. God forbid that a child is chasing a ball or riding a bike.

The other thing that is irritating to me is that some people seem to think country roads like mine are their own, personal trash receptacles, tossing out food containers, paper, cans, and bottles. Those items are not so bad. They are easy to pick up, but the ones who smoke should keep their butts in their vehicles as well as the final remains of their cigarettes. Still toe cigarette leftovers aren’t too bad, but the unregenerate, uncouth idiots that unceremoniously and ignorantly toss out their kids soiled, fecal filled diapers should leave their name and address so I can visit them and crap in their yard. These people have no sense of propriety and should not be allowed to raise children.

Well, I am done with my rant. My yard is clear this morning and I am going back outside to stack my wood. Does anyone want to help? I have extra gloves and will feed you lunch.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Recently there has been extreme heat and drought, storms, tornados, flooding, and wild fires that are ravaging the United States. It seems more tornados are being reported than eve and there are more areas of severe flooding into places where flooding hasn’t been reported before. The extreme heat is causing other territories to become tinder dry for wild fires.
Is it Mother Nature or Global Warming, or can it be the hand of God who is passing judgment on a nation that He once blessed? We say God bless America, but has the time of blessing ended and a time of trials just begun. A nation that once held God in awe, now casually uses the word awesome to describe something as trivial as a pair of sneakers, lipstick, or a new ice cream flavor. The word awesome has lost all of its meaning of fear and reverence.
America as a nation has slowly in small increments turned its back on God. America as a nation was conceived on many of the principles and freedoms found in the Bible, now that nation wants to remove His name from everything. We are becoming an ungrateful people who want to remove even the one day set aside to be thankful for His blessings from the calendar, Thanksgiving Day. The ghosts, ghouls, and goblins of Halloween are swallowing up that day and it is threatening Christmas. More money is being spent to celebrate the dark side of the world. Christmas season, celebrating the birth of the Christ child is being smothered by Santa. Easter, the time we celebrate His death is hiding beneath the fur of the Easter rabbit.
Our days that we celebrate our veterans, alive and dead are being grilled and served to us on buns. Independence Day is falling under the spray of picnics and fireworks. Fights for “rights” are dissolving our freedoms and removing our actual established Constitutional rights of freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, and freedom of religion.
Is this once bastion of freedom and beacon of hope on decline? Has God stopped blessing America and has He started to judge us for our sins?

Friday, June 24, 2016

One Face Among Thousands

Last evening I began a search for one photograph somewhere buried in the thousands of photographs in my home. The reason that there are so many is there were several shutterbugs in the family. My older daughter Amanda worked for a photography company that took children’s school photos, but before that she loved to take pictures of school mates, special events, or scenery. This was intensified when Pastor Norman Johnston would share the United States on their way to church camp. He would plan the trips to share the beauty of the west as they tented most of the way.
My other daughter, Anna liked to take photos, but to a slightly lesser degree. She still contributed many pictures to the massive pile of photos waiting to be explored. My son Andrew liked to travel, but didn’t take as many photos, even though he flew to South Korea to visit with Pastor Norm who had been a missionary there.
When my mother-in-law Retha Morrison died, all of her photos ended up at my home. She was even more well-travelled than my kids; first with her husband Bud before he passed away then with friends, roving the United States and Canada. When she began to take photos, she inspired ISIS cutting off everyone’s heads, but learned to have better aim and she took thousands herself.
Upon my father E. Carl Beck’s death, many of those photos came our way. My sister Kathy has stored most of them at her house. My mother Sybil’s photos of family and his photos of World War II are there. I still haven’t found the one that I am looking for, but have some time yet before I need it. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


I was pleasantly surprised that my son flew here to visit me for Father’s Day from Amarillo, Texas. He came in on Thursday evening and stayed until Monday afternoon. We didn’t do anything exciting, but just a few father/ son things. I am mechanically dyslexic and he isn’t, so he helped me with a few projects that had lingered undone or half-finished, a father learning from his son.
Thursday evening, I picked up Chinese take-out and we relaxed, watching television, eating, and talking. Friday was the work day with him helping to do the lingering chores and he wanted to smoke some meat for the family and went shopping. I went shopping too. I needed milk, eggs, and bread. His surprise visit caught me with an almost empty larder. In the evening, we went to the Father/ Son meal and activities at our church.
Saturday, my daughters, their husbands, and my granddaughter came to spend time with my out-of-state son, Andrew. He smoked the meat on the grill and we went through some of the flotsam and jetsam that had accumulated in my house over the past thirty years. I haven’t quite made hoarder status, but I was well on my way.
Sunday, after church, we made a meal of smoked kielbasa, pork loin, and ribs with coleslaw, potato and macaroni salad, fresh rolls and pie and ice cream for dessert. Sunday evening we went to church again.
Monday, we talked and did very little. It was enough to have him in the house and not just the cat, Willow. I made breakfast and lunch, psyching myself up for the time of his departure. The visit suddenly became bittersweet. Sweet, because he was here, but bitter, because it wasn’t long enough and the time that we spent would only be a memory.

Monday, June 20, 2016


As I drove home from babysitting my granddaughter Hannah I began to have an odor almost like the 5-10-5 fertilizer gardeners use to increase their crop yield and began to think of other smells and aromas that I’ve encountered as I’ve driven along. I discovered what was making the smell later when I got behind slow moving vehicles. The state highway department was spraying for weed control along the roadway. The smell wasn’t all that unpleasant.
Other smells that have recently wafted through my open windows were the sweet smells of blossoming lilacs, mock orange, and fields of clover. Freshly mowed fields of hay and newly mown lawns give off a pleasant smell, but not all of my friends with hay fever will agree. Apple and cherry blossoms share their fragrance with me.
In the fall and winter, I’ve smelled the smoke from wood fires, cherry, oak, and apple wood. The smoke of coal fired furnaces take me back to my childhood days when the coal eating behemoth lurked in the corner of the basement with heat radiating out through its octopus of duct arms.
The smells of manure freshly spread to fertilize fallow fields were a part of my growing up in the country and is still a part of the farming community. It isn’t the most pleasant smell, but for some reason it changes when I enter a barn and the aromas of the molasses, the chop feed, hay, and the animals below mix into not an unpleasant mélange.
There are some lakes and ponds that give off a smell of a musty and sometimes fishy aroma while other pond water has a fresh washed fragrance as crystal water pours in from a stream. Along many roads, pines and hemlocks add a pleasant, pungent fragrance to the air.
Heat increases on the summer days and I can smell the tar seeping up through the cracks and gravel coating on the roads. Diesel fumes belch out of some vehicles in black clouds and I drop back. It is enough that I have phantom smells of exhaust fumes or hot plastic from the bleeds in my brain. Smells are an integral part of living.

Friday, June 17, 2016

When What to My Wandering Eyes Should Appear

Last evening at my writers meeting at the Mt. Pleasant Public Library, I was talking with two of the librarians, waiting for more members to arrive and for the start of the meeting. The area darkened as the clouds lowered and thickened with the approach of a line of thunderstorms. Shortly after that, my cell phone warned of possible flash flooding for the area and the rain came down in torrents. The parking lot became a river and the few people that braved the storm came in drenched with wet heads and soaking feet. Even those who had umbrellas sere rain spattered.
My son who lives in Amarillo, Texas called. He asked his usual question, “What are you doing?” I answered him telling him I was at the library and waiting for the meeting to start. We talked a bit more and said good-bye. Not too long after our conversation, the library door opened. I looked up, thinking it was another writer coming for the meeting, but at first I thought it was just another patron for the library. When I did a second take, it was my son. He flew in from Amarillo to spend the weekend with me for Father’s Day. I hopped up from the stool and gave him a few bear hugs. We talked for awhile, then he went to surprise his sisters with his unannounced visit. I went in for the meeting. As soon as the initial meeting was over, I headed toward home, only stopping for takeout food at a local Chinese restaurant. We ate, talked, and watched the Mets beat the Pirates.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


So much can be said in such a small word. The word carries so little facts, but its impact is left to one’s own experiences. Some are minor inconveniences, like waiting at the checkout counter for the cashier to ring up your purchases. Others can be quite lengthy, as with those who are waiting for a loved one to return from war. The anticipation can make the waiting enjoyable or something that is dreaded.
Waiting for something pleasurable was for me Events such as Christmas morning to arrive, the birth of my children and grandchildren, and the publication of my first book. That those events were to be happy moments didn’t make them come any faster, but I was nervous, in a good sense.
There also periods of waiting that are filled with dread, know the outcome and wishing that it not come true. They were things that were inevitable and I wished would never come, but came anyway. Most of these were times of sitting with the dying. I sat at my grandfather’s side in the hospital, holding his hand. I sat with my kids and my mother-in-law waiting for the death of my wife. I watched as my mother deteriorated from the mind stealing disease of Alzheimer’s disease and seeing her health follow the decline of her brain. My father passed away with me at his side, his labored breathing was a relief when his time on earth ended.
Much can be read into the word waiting. Many times it reflects the most recent occurrence that has happened to me: joy, hope, dread, fear, minor annoyance, or major interruption in my life. I can’t see into the future. I must wait to see what will be my next episode of waiting.