Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mow, Mow, Mow My Yard
Lately, when I mow my yard, I have several friends that like to join me. Oh, they don’t actually mow, they come to visit. The first is a bothersome fly. It buzzes at my ears, then at my face. Swatting it away doesn’t seem to do any good, because within minutes, it’s back again, circling my head. It worries me that it is looking for a vacation home in my mouth or nose. That is something that I really don’t want to happen.
I thought my next mowing friends have abandoned me. In the early months, I sorely missed them. They are a family of barn swallows. Hearing my mower beginning to lop off the tops of the grass in my yard, they swoop from their nesting area to catch the insects that my mowing chases from the lawn. Gracefully they swoop, gathering the bugs to feed themselves and their family. I keep hoping that they will catch and eat the fly that bugs me, but no such luck yet. Do barn swallows swallow flies?
A much larger visitor came through my yard yesterday. The back part of my property is very moist. Either a cow or a horse meandered across that area and left about 3 inch impressions in the wet ground. It happens about once a year and it takes me several sessions of mowing to repair the divots.
Today I mowed my elderly neighbors’ lawn as well. I hate to see my lawn neat and theirs wild and untended. As I started to mow, their grandson came to visit them and began to cut the hard to reach areas with a push mower. I was glad to see him. I am like the cowboys of the old west. “If it can’t be done from the saddle, I don’t like to do it.” Now I’m not as daring or as romantic as a cowboy, but sitting in the saddle is more my style.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Birth of a Notion
As I was thinking of what to write, two thoughts for the title and the direction for the subject were battling in my mind. The first title I thought to name it was “The Birth of a Nation” and I planned to share stories surrounding the birth of my three children. The initial thought was spurred by my post of our visit to Niagara Falls and the trip home. My wife Cindy became nauseated as we drove home. Later as she tried to sleep, the images of electric poles sped past her like a picket fence and the nausea persisted. This was our introduction into pregnancy with our first daughter. After that, I developed a craving for greasy hamburgers at each of the following pregnancies. With the last craving of a hamburger for our third child, Cindy said, “No need for me to go to the doctor. I’m pregnant” and she was.
The second idea that fits the chosen title of this piece was to introduce how an idea, phrase, or incident can set off a spark of creativity which eventually becomes a story, a book, or a poem. Many times I copy down a single thought and it stays on the paper for quite awhile. It was something I wanted to keep, but the words to finish it wasn’t there yet, but it was the germ of a plot, a partial line of a poem, or sometimes it would find its way into a waste basket, rejected because I’d already written something similar or it wasn’t as good as my initial thought.
In my computer room, there are reams of paper with finished manuscripts, partially written stories, and finished poems or Haiku that haven’t been entered into the computer. The stacks pile up, because of laziness on my part. I see the task and because I never took typing, I avoid it. I am a two and at best a three fingered typist.
I did start to clean out some of the clutter surrounding me and I found a check as payment for a book I sold. It was tucked in a Christmas card. The postmark was from November 2016. My bank was kind enough to cash it. I do hope my cousin Barb won’t be too mad that I took so long to redeem it. As you can see, even check that hasn’t been cashed can be an interesting notion to write about.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sentimental Sorting
Last evening, I was hot and decided to start the Herculean task of cleaning out my computer and general clutter room. Bins of photographs cover the floor of one closet. Some are old photos passed down through the generations. Some are newer photos from trips my mother-in-law Retha Morrison took on trips with friends. There are some pictures and negatives that my daughter Amanda Yoder took when she was in the photography business. School portraits of the kids, my wife, and me are tucked in bins for safe keeping. There are portraits of the family, chronicling our family and the styles through the years.
Some black and white photographs are from World War II era of men wearing uniforms, women in “stylish” outfits strolling down the street, and kids in clothes that haven’t changed all that much, wearing t shirts and jeans.
Christmas cards, birthday cards, thank you cards, and of course post cards were stuck in candy boxes, card boxes, and bins, just waiting for me to sort through. I never know whether to keep or toss, especially when the person that sent it is no longer alive. There is one thing for sure. I’ll never get another card from them. As I sorted through the cards, I found a check from November 2016. I’m rich, that is if the check is still good.
I gathered some newspaper clippings, photos with no names, etc. together and I plan to donate them to a local historical society. They have little meaning to me and will enhance the archives of the area. I still have my papers to sort, but the dust and concern has given me a headache. They can wait for another day.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Youthful Summer Days
I’m sure that we all can remember those days of summer after school was out and the freedom to go outside to run and play or to ride a bike and swim. It was a time of enjoyment that wasn’t limited because the sun was hot or the air still, sultry, and humid. Socks and shoes were optional. Tincture of merthiolate or merchorochrome was applied to scrapes and cuts after being washed with soap. Shirts were only an afterthought and sunscreen was unheard of back then. Mom would dab on apple cider vinegar to cool the sunburned skin when we chose not to wear a shirt.
Rainy days provided mud and puddles to play in and would often earn Mom’s anger when we brought the outside indoors. We had play clothes which were actually good clothes that were getting too small or were near being worn out.
As kids, summer seemed to stretch on forever. Endless days of sunshine slowly flowed by until the days of school and being imprisoned inside approached. The educational walls used up so much of the day. It often allowed little respite because of the tasks assigned by the teacher. It was called homework. The only reprieve came when Mom called for supper or the weekdays finally yielded to the weekend and a short window of escape arrived. Softballs and bats were exchanged for footballs. The fields that were once makeshift baseball diamonds become the football gridirons.
Autumn turns to winter and the footballs are stored. Heavy coats, boots, mittens, and scarves are resurrected. Sometimes larger sizes are purchased, necessary because our size has grown from the year before. Sleds, toboggans, skates, and skis are dragged from basements, sheds, and garages, dusted, and put into use. Ice, snow, and blustery wind do little to deter the escape from the confines of the house. Snow days become a temporary pardon from the weekday work farm of school.
Now, those days fly by all too quickly and we complain about the heat or the cold. Ah, to have the heart of a kid again.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Each day we make hundreds of choices from simple ones where we decide what clothing to wear to getting married. We make choices because of the weather or because of the chores we plan to tackle for the day. We wouldn’t select a suit and tie to repair the car, to garden, or to mow the lawn and we wouldn’t go outside to shovel snow in a bathing suit and sandals, but we have the option to wear what we want, even if they are bad choices.
Having a bowl of chili for breakfast is okay, if we don’t mind dealing with heartburn. We can go outside with a tank top on in the blistering sun, if we don’t mind a painful skin damaging sunburn as a result. Running barefoot in gravel we give us cuts and bruising on our feet, but we have the choice of wearing shoes or not.
Even though we have work and often have a schedule to keep, we have the option of when we go to bed and when we awaken or even if we want to keep that job. We can choose to marry or remain single and whether to raise a family or not.  We can choose in which state we want to live, whether to reside in this country or another, or if we want to live in the city or country. Life is a series of options.
The United States is still a land of opportunity, of freedom, and of choices. Many of our freedoms to choose have been endowed by God as inalienable rights which have been echoed by our founding fathers in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Now we must choose whether or not we allow government to whittle away at those rights, e freedoms, and options for choice with laws that try to redefinition of those rights.
I started out on one path about the freedom that we have to choose and wandered down this path, so remember to think about each choice that is made during the day and the possible outcomes before making that selection.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Being Passionate
I was thinking about some of the unusual things that have occurred and some odd people I’ve met as a nurse. This is one of the stories came to mind. During my student internship at an Altoona hospital emergency department, a rather slovenly woman came to be treated for a sore throat. She was obese and her clothing was filthy and stained. She reeked of body odor and old greasy fried food. Definitely she needed a bath. The one thing that made her memorable and stick out in my mind was that her neck was covered in “hickeys.” Those sucker bites or hickeys or bruised marks some people leave while nuzzling, sucking on the neck, kissing, and making love.
The E. R. doctor was from India, if I recall correctly and was unfamiliar with some of the customs in America. He examined her throat and wrote a few prescriptions. After the woman left the area, he came over to us nurses and asked. “What were those marks on her neck? I almost asked her what they were. Did someone hurt her?”
We had to smile at his inquiry. The other nurses seemed tongue-tied as to what to say, so I tried to be as delicate as I could when I explained what they were.  I said, “Sometime in the heights of passion, one of the lovers will suck on the neck of the other, leaving those marks.”
He looked puzzled for a second, started to walk away, then turned back and said, “But who could have heights of passion with her?” So much for me trying to be delicate.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Up and Down and All Around
Maybe because I have slowed down just a bit from my youth or maybe my artist’s eye is capturing more of my surroundings, but I have really been impressed with clouds, sunrises, sunsets, and the intricate, delicate beauty of flowering plants. The rich colors and subtle hues my eye sees doesn’t translate to the camera’s eye. What I see is never as precise when it becomes a photo on my cell phone. I try to capture and share them at times, but wish I could share the intense scene that I see.
My home is located in the mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania with a wide panorama of other tree clad mountains. My Chestnut Ridge Mountains are but hills compared to the Rockies or the Grand Tetons, but remain my home. On three sides I have views of each sunrise, each sunset, and storms as they roll in with the massive thunderheads, interspersed with lightning flashes.
Because I am in a rural area, there is a perfusion of wildflowers and many flowers planted by my wife Cindy. One wildflower that was my wife’s favorite is the daisy. Fresh, plain, and innocent, its white petals form a tight circle around an egg yolk yellow center. The irises and the snowball bush have just bloomed. The blossoms of the apple trees, the black berry, raspberry, and strawberry blossoms all are fading and the fruit is forming.
If I look, there is always something new for me to see. Have I slowed down and now take the time to see or have I gained the wisdom to really look around and interpret what I see.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Cantankerous or Confused
There are times when a person is never sure whether another person is confused or just stubborn and cantankerous. While I was still working as a nurse, I came in contact with an elderly man was frequently admitted for CHF (Chronic heart failure) When at home, he would refuse to follow the doctor’s orders limiting the amount of fluids he would consume. This would cause fluid to build in his circulatory system and he would return with shortness of breath and be readmitted.
After a period of drying out in an intensive care unit, he would be transferred to a medical/surgical unit. Even there, he wouldn’t comply with the fluid restrictions the doctor placed on him. One admission, because had easy access to water, he was on the verge of being transferred back to the ICU. The nurses moved him into a private room and had maintenance shut off the water to the sink, thinking he could only get the fluids that the nurses gave him. Not so, a nurse caught him getting water from the bedpan sprayer and when that was cut off, he dipped water from the commode with his drinking cup.
We finally made him use a potty chair and completely shut off all water to his room. After many changes in his treatment and in spite of himself, he improved to the point we could send him home again.
My grandmother Rebecca Miner could almost fall into the same category. One admission, she became confused and was constantly pulling out her I.V.s, so we applied wrist restraints to maintain the integrity of the I.V.s. A nurse walked in and found her doggedly trying to saw through the restraints with a butter knife she’d purloined from her supper tray.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Beginning to Write
I can remember in kindergarten of my attempts to write. They had thick blue pencils that I could almost rest on my shoulder as I began to print my numbers and letters. They must have thought the pencils were heavy enough, because there were no erasers. Perhaps they knew that in erasing and trying to correct mistakes, I would wear holes in the paper.
Now, let me get to the paper. It was coarse and off colored white, having lines of blue drawn on it to keep my lines straight, as well as knowing the height and depth of these English hieroglyphics. The teachers pressed me to learn to make them just so. This task is difficult for a five year old learning the fine art of writing and the fine motor skills needed with the log of a pencil. The paper was of the lowest quality and frequently I would have to write around chunks of tree bark or large splinters.
That mastered, I was required to learn cursive. Cursive was wonderful. The flow and the beauty of the written word made me ecstatic. It was so less cumbersome and slow than printing block letters. I don’t understand why schools want to eliminate this necessary skill. If I lost the ability to read cursive, how could I read the documents of great men of the past? Anyone could put words on a printed page and say this is what our founding fathers said. They are already twisting the meanings and if I can’t read cursive, I wouldn’t know.
My grandfather’s cursive writing was a true delight to behold, although I must say his writing as a squire and justice of the peace was much more flowery than his writing in his accounting books. I didn’t inherit that elegant skill from him. My writing, especially in high school was much more pinched and small, I was always frugal at least that is what I tell myself.

So, letters became words, words became sentences, sentences became paragraphs, paragraphs became stories, and stories became books.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Eating at My Mind
A few days ago, I made wilted dandelion greens, bacon, onions in gravy made from the fat of the bacon. It was one of the meals that I loved that my mom Sybil Beck made and I really enjoyed. She served it over mashed potatoes, not the box kind that now so often graces out tables. Mom would cook them and believe it or not, my dad, Carl would mash those potatoes until they were velvety smooth with lots of butter. He couldn’t or wouldn’t cook, but he was the mashed potato king. It was rare that I could find the smallest lump.
I don’t know if my rendition was not up to my mom’s recipe, but it fell short. One thing I didn’t get the mixture sour enough, but I did make a fair rendition of non-lumpy gravy. My dad would have been ashamed of my mashed potatoes. I checked several the potatoes as they cooked and seemed to be done. They weren’t and there were lumps galore.
Another dish my mom served was a mixture of fried loose sausage, added cooked noodles and sauerkraut. It was served over mashed potatoes. I only make it every once in awhile, because it makes a large batch. I make it if I’m going to a dinner at church where I can have others help to eat it, otherwise, I have to eat it for a week. I don’t do the real mashed potatoes, I use the boxed dehydrated potatoes, I can keep the lumps out of them.
Often Mom would make “Poodlies” as my sister Kathy called them. It consisted of cooked macaroni, melted butter, and home canned tomato juice, heavily salted. It didn’t take long to throw together and because we liked it, she served it for many our lunches at home. Capturing a close flavor with that to Mom’s recipe isn’t hard and I do make it as a trip to the past.

It is a mouthwatering journey, thinking of those flavors and the memories that Mom’s recipes stir up.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Struggle to Reach the Finish Line
It has been a really difficult past few days trying to put the finishing touches on my first full length novel. My other books have been a compilation of short stories with a common theme and common characters. The new one has had to weave many subplots together into a flowing story that holds the reader’s interest throughout. That was the easy part for my fertile imagination.
What has caused the most concern has been the self editing. It was not quite a complete self edit. I have a good friend and fellow writer lending her expertise to this project. She is also the designer of this beautiful cover, front and back. Jan McLaughlin also designed the cover for my last endeavor, Tommy Two Shoes; Partners for Life.
Back to the struggle, yesterday I tried to find where I saved the last rendition after I corrected a few mistakes. I planned on sending it back to Jan for her final eagle-eye review and criticism and I couldn’t find it. I almost panicked. Well, actually I did panic, thinking of all the time and effort lost. Each time I thought I found it, but it was an older copy. I had corrected quite a few problems. Including missed words, one chapter’s misalignment, and having to add a new paragraph to one chapter to keep the page count in order.
I kept thinking that I found it, but hadn’t. Finally, Jan sent the last one back to me and I had to redo much of what I had done. Once she completes her study, it becomes one step closer to being submitted for publication. The writing part is easy. It becomes so much harder to polish it and have it ready for others to read.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Good Gracious Graduation
Yesterday, I attended my youngest granddaughter’s kindergarten graduation at the Rumbaugh Elementary School. It certainly made me feel a bit further along the aging trail. Hannah Yoder was one of our miracle babies. She was born with a shortened and wrapped umbilical cord, either of which could have been fatal. Actually, I consider all of my granddaughters as miracle babies, because the actual event of a birth is such a God created event, how can it be called otherwise.
Back to the graduation, my daughter Anna Prinkey and I rode together to save parking room in the tight lot. We stopped first at a local florist to get a rose and a balloon. I bought the single red rose. Hannah loves the color red and Anna bought the balloon. The florist tied a bag of candy on one end as an anchor to keep the balloon earthbound.
Hannah looked so cute in her “high heels” and new dress. Her parents hadn’t planned on buying a new outfit, but when she tried on the one they thought to use, it was too small. She’d really grown since the last time she wore her dress for Easter.
Hannah was on stage with about 40 fresh-faced boys and girls waiting to share the songs they learned and to entertain the parents and grandparents, each performance drawing appreciative applause from the audience. The only downside was the cafeteria seats at the stage area. They were made for buttocks smaller and younger than mine.
At the end, like a graduation from high school or college, the kids marched across the platform to receive their diploma and to pause there for photos with the teacher. Way to go Hannah.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Driving Miss Daisy
While driving to pick up my granddaughter Hannah Yoder, I noticed that the daisies along the road were blooming. It stirred nostalgic, sad memories of my wife Cindy Morrison Beck. Daisies were her favorite flowers and that was alright with me. I could go outside and collect a vase full to surprise her and brighten her day. It didn’t cause too much energy or money and meant so much to her. A vase filled with daisies did brighten our mobile home, later our house, and always her face. Besides a card and a gift, she always got a bouquet of daisies for her birthday, Mother’s Day, and for our anniversary.
One Mother’s Day she didn’t get a card or the daisies. She complained when I said to the kids, “Go ask Mother” without the “your.” She said it was like calling her old woman, so the next year she was short changed from me. She scolded me saying, “I may not be your mother, but I am Mother to your children” and she was right. I guess she heard other husbands calling their wives “Mother” and didn’t like the connotation.
When Cindy passed away fourteen years ago, we placed baskets of daisies at the head and at the foot of the bier with wide spray of daisies and baby’s breath across the top of the casket. It isn’t a pleasant memory, but the tale I am sharing is about daisies and their special meaning to me.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Illiteracy; the Scourge of Generations
On our way to the Pirates game in PNC Park Saturday, we stopped to eat at a local Popeye’s Restaurant. I was amazed and flabbergasted at the counter staff. The manager seemed to be of Indian or Middle Eastern descent and was a sharp man, on top of everything. He had to be. The two young women behind the counter, pulling the food to be placed in containers to be served, had to be frequently reminded and checked to be sure they were collecting and handing the ordered food to the correct customers.
I didn’t think too much of it at the time He seemed to be accepting of the fact as if it was the normal routine. I would have probably left the restaurant without a second thought, but when I asked for ketchup and honey, the one young girl seemed totally confused as to what to do. She turned to walk away to fetch the requested items. When she returned, she handed over four packets of hot sauce, not any of the requested items. Instead, we asked the manager. He said that they did indeed have the condiments for which we asked and quickly returned with the honey and ketchup.
Back at the table, we were discussing what had just happened and the tight rein the manager that he seemed to have on the serving women. The young women were clean and looked like bright ladies, but we decided that the one woman had to be illiterate. She was unable to read. Not bringing the ketchup, coupled with the constant reminding and checking of the manager to serve the correct food pointed in that direction.
My only thought that in this day and age was why, after the billions of dollars spent to educate the children, is this appalling situation still allowed to exist? It hurts me to think that these minds are being wasted and unable to function in today’s society.
A side note: while we were waiting to be served, two women were talking. One said that she was to work tomorrow. The other said, “”You have to work on Memorial Day. That’s a holiday.” The first responded, “Yeah, I’m supposed to work, but I’m gonna call off.” So much for work ethics too.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Mustang Sally
Yesterday I ate lunch with several of my co-writers. It was to celebrate the birthday of a lovely lady who is an adventurous soul. She is an octogenarian who has done so much in her life. Active in so many areas, she is a true blessing to be around. Sara Mitchell Martin has won medal after medal in swimming meets, skiing, triathlons, and cycling.
Her adventures of cycling around the world are written down in her journal called “Mustang Sally.” It was a remarkable feat for a woman in that early of a time period. She still competes in senior citizen’s events, winning trophies and medals. Sally pooh-poohs the idea is that she is a great athlete, she says she merely outlasted them.
Our indoor celebration was held at The Olive Garden and we were given a small sectioned off area for our group. This was necessary because Sally is hard of hearing and the other attendees being writers had Limericks, prose, or poetry pieces they we’d written and read out loud to her. Loud is the key word. I am sure others in the restaurant enjoyed our presentations as well.
In the middle of the fete her son called and was checking on her. Through Sally, Tom Martin and I became friends on Facebook. I gave him a shout out on the phone and now in this post.
Sally’s husband Chuck Martin was a noted photographer. He was able to capture on film many famous and not so famous people. One of the events that he prized was taking photographs in the Hill District of Pittsburgh the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. He was the only journalist who captured those citizens as they mourned their loss.
We had a great time with Sally, eating, reading, and watching her open her cards and gifts. I was able to get the book she and Chuck wrote together. It’s called Warpath, a slightly fictionalized history of Chuck’s family at the time of the French and Indian War.
Happiest of birthdays to you Sara “Sally” Martin.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Continued from Monday’s post…

Weekday, Workday, Weekend II
While we spent the rest of the afternoon at the cabin, other wotkers were weed whacking, mowing, making small motor repairs, tearing down the old game tent and erecting the frame of the new white Taj Mahal tent. I lost my ladder to the construction crew and finished staining as high as I could reach by the time the supper bell rang. A time of relaxation, for devotions, and showers were next, not exactly in that order. Some of the guys went in for a swim to cool off. I knew better and only pulled off my shoes and socks to soak my feet in the COLD water. It felt wonderfully refreshing, even with the fish nibbling my toes.
Once my shower was over, I joined several people who were talking and relaxing in the bleachers around the crackling campfire. Bullfrogs harrumphing in the background and the gentle splash if the nearby lake waves filled my ears and the canopy of stars overhead helped me to unwind.
Bedtime and breakfast, then we pulled, tugged, and secured the new white tent to the frame. While we were doing that one of the men in our van claimed a small excavator and began to cover some electrical cable with gravel. Many of the teenagers went back to the tasks of staining and applying polyurethane. It was time for us to pull up stakes and head for home.
There were still some unfinished chores on Mr. Fry’s list, but it would be a lot shorter by the time the other church group left. The camp will be that much closer to hosting the different weeks of youth, the teens, and a week set aside for family groups. There are also special retreats for the young at heart (those people over 55), a women’s retreat, a men’s retreat, and later in the year, a wither retreat for teens at a nearby lodge.
I would like to give a special shout out to Mr. Fry, his wife, and to the other cooks who made the visit tasty, busy but enjoyable.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Weekday, Workday, Weekend
I had a wonderful time working to complete chores at the Servant’s Heart Camp located on the outskirts of Ramey, Pennsylvania. I travelled north with three other men from our church to the Christian summer camp to help it expand and make it ready for the various weeks of summer camp. It’s a small, but growing facility. During the 2 and a half hour drive, I found that our driver and Pastor really likes the cheddar and bacon potato skin chips.
A slow drive through an open field and a curving lane through a wooded area led us to the final approach of the camp across the breast of the dam for the 7 acre lake. It was nearing dusk when we arrived and I was glad to get out and stretch my legs. Mr. Fry was there to greet us. After introductions, he introduced us to the list of chores that needed to be done. Like any good manager, the list was longer than he thought was possible, just in case miracles occurred. Because of my limited ability to lift, I was assigned to stain the posts and porch railings of a cabin still under construction for the next day.
We sat around the obligatory campfire until bedtime. After a long and difficult night of trying to sleep, I sat at the edge of the lake and rested until morning when Mrs. Fry came to the cook shack and start breakfast. I had been struggling to write some Haiku and quickly volunteered to help. I played Mr. Tote and Fetch, then began to crack and scramble eggs. Her assistant arrived and I escaped to sit under the dining tent as others joined.
After we ate, another group of young men and women, most were teenagers, arrived. Mr. Fry passed out chores and work began in earnest. Four young women were assigned to staining the outside of the cabin where I was working and two people were applying polyurethane to the wood sided walls and ceiling of the inside. My thighs were sore from squatting to coat the bottom rails when it was time for lunch break.

To be continued…

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How Quickly Things Change
I was doing some investigation on a developing character and decided to speak with a gentleman who knew something about the subject upon which I was doing research. I was hoping he could shed some light on what to do under certain situations. I can’t say too much about it for two reasons. The first is I am still writing and I never give away the plot before I am finished with the story. It’s not considered plagiarism unless someone should steal the words after I’ve written them. I am still a long way off from figuring out exactly where this story is headed. I have no idea where it will end.
The second reason is the man I spoke to, thought I was speaking about a specific person. He never divulged the person’s name, but by the facts that he was sharing. I knew immediately it was a true-to-life real person. He thought I was talking about this person, when I wasn’t. The more he spoke, the more I was certain I knew the guy of which he was sharing stories. Not the fictional stories that I write, but actual, intimate secrets of the real-life person.
Once I realized that it was something I didn’t want to know and something I shouldn’t know, I backed out of the conversation as quickly as I could. Now, I bear the burden of this secret. I am familiar with HIPPA and medical information being a secret. That was never a problem. I was always assiduous with that knowledge.
But this is different, much different. If I am talking to this “revealed” person, will I react differently when we meet? Will I let the “secret” slip out while speaking to others? How can I unhear what has already been said. I can’t, but I pray that my silence will not cause problems farther along.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Behind Me
Last evening I was invited to speak at the Chestnut Ridge Historical Society located in Stahlstown, Pennsylvania. It is a small group of people dedicated to preserving the heritage and history of the area in documents, maps, and memorabilia. Clothing, photographs, and journals line the various display cases and the walls. All in all, it is a wonderful collection of people and presentations.
Because I used to work with the president, Mrs. Gerri Marks, she asked me several months ago to speak at last night’s gathering. Each month, they have someone to visit and speak on a different topic. Since I write to pass my time since I’ve retired from nursing and have four books written, I entered her sights.
I volunteered my time. I’ve noticed that making the promise is easier than to keep than the time I have donated. As the closer the time came to actually giving the speech got shorter, my gastrointestinal tract kept note of the nearing of the date. It wasn’t actually a speech. I only shared the basics of writing and read from past writings of poetry, Haiku, short stories I’d written and excerpts from my four books. The audience was a gathering of young and old. The youngest may have been eight and the oldest in their eighties. They were great listeners. Some of the people I knew from my past, while others, I met for the first time.
One of the younger people is a passionate reader and was just beginning to enter the challenging world of writing. There are so many avenues to pursue. I told him to keep a pad and pencil close. Anytime a thought hit write it down before forgetting it. The actual writing and fleshing out of the idea can come later, but most times the flash of an idea escapes and isn’t captured again.

Thank you again, Chestnut Ridge Historical Society.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Plot Thickens
When I first began writing, I naively thought that devising an interesting idea for a story plot or to be able to see a special view for a poem was all that it took to become an author. That is the inspiration part of being a writer. It is the germ of a thought process that has only just begun. It is followed by hours of perspiration.
Many items begin to come into play. When you write about people, are the things they do and say consistent? Are conversations they have normal and not stinted? If they have an accent or dialect, is it true to their area? When I choose a location, does it reflect the nature and weather of the place? Time of day, time of year, and the time period and period clothing and customs must remain true to form. There must be an agreement of facts. There is always someone who is more of an expert and will find fault if you stray away any minute detail. All of these items still dealing with the plot and how you share it.
After this, a writer must read through the story time after time, looking for errors in punctuations, misspellings, or grammar. Sometimes the author will insert a word that is not actually there. The reader is confused and doesn’t understand what is missing.
The fun is just starting. Most writers have a friend or several friends to read the writings. Really good friends will tear it apart. They will pick out each and every mistake that you’ve made, everything from weak places in the plot or characters to errors in punctuation, typos, and incorrectly spelled words. It’s back to the drawing board, trying to correct anything that was not done well.
I’m not complaining. I love my eagle-eyed friends. I wanted to share what it takes to have a book ready for publication.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Store of Store Stories
Wednesday in my blog, I mentioned the stores Gabriel’s and Gabriel Brothers. Last evening I saw a television advertisement saying that they remodeled and renaming their stores. We locals always shortened the name lovingly called the stores Gabe’s. That is now their new name, emblazoned across their bright blue remodeled store fronts.
Wednesday’s story jogged the memory of my daughter Amanda. She reminded me of another Gabe’s story. My mother-in-law, Retha Morrison was shopping with our family. We had a minivan and ferrying three adults and three children wasn’t a problem. It was a winter day. Retha was wearing slacks and black, just above the ankle winter boots. She found a dress that she liked and tried it on. When she came out of the dressing room and asked, “Well, what do you think?” I immediately responded, “You have chicken legs.”
The pale skin of her thin, full calved legs were intensified as they stuck out from beneath the dark colored dress and rose above the black boots. They did indeed look like chicken legs. When Retha looked in the mirror, she had to agree.

Shopping with kids can be exacerbating. This day at Gabe’s was no different. The kids were hiding in the racks of clothing, doing a slow game of hide and seek. It was the parents’ job to keep track of them so they didn’t get lost or weren’t abducted. A rack of stiff darkly dyed jeans was a perfect place for my son Andrew to disappear. It wasn’t long until he reappeared holding out his fist. He said, “Look what I found.”
Opening his hand, he showed his discovery. He’d found about $1.50 in quarters. They’d been in one of the pockets of a pair of jeans. Their darkened color told us that the coins had been in the pants while they were being dyed. Needless to say, it caused his two sisters to join him in an unsuccessful treasure hunt.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What’s Wrong
My kids love to hear the story that I tell about my wife and their mom Cindy. It happened while Cindy and I were still dating, but let me set the background before I start. Back then, Gabriel’s was an outlet for seconds of clothing, not the collection of stores that it is today. Many of these seconds would likely have been called thirds today. Each item of clothing had to be examined with an eagle’s eye for any flaws. Some were minute like a snag or may be like a dye problem or tear in the cloth. Zippers had to be worked up and down to be sure they functioned properly. There were a number of ways that the item would end up on the shelves or racks of the Gabriel’s store.
This incident occurred one summer afternoon between the time that Gabriel’s store only was two houses in Uniontown, Pennsylvania connected by a covered passageway and a time when they first expanded to be Gabriel Brothers’ chain. Cindy and I had been dating for probably a year and we were sitting on a porch swing at her home at Camp Christian in Mill Run, Pennsylvania. I noticed something and said, “Did you get that blouse at Gabe’s?”
She asked, “Why?”
“The sleeves don’t match.”
She started to look over the blouse trying to see what I’d seen. “The patterns are similar, but different.” I said.
The shape of the designs was about the size of a silver dollar. They had the same colors, in the same spots, and nearly the same pattern. The pale greens, lavenders, corals, and sandy yellows all had the same placement, but one sleeve matched the rest of the blouse with seashells, fish, a sea horse, a sand dollar, and seaweed while the nonconformist sleeve had dragon flies, butterflies, flowers, and grass.
Now let me say that the blouse had been worn for quite some time and no one else noticed. She may have worn it before when we were together, if she had, I didn’t notice the difference until that afternoon. I will finish the story by saying I never saw her wear that blouse again.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Beauty Around Us
Yesterday as I drove to church, I crossed the top of a hill only to see a thick patch of fog crossing the roadway ahead. This is not unusual for the area where I live, but what was unusual is the beauty that the sun, fog, and trees created. The fog’s pale, milky veil covered the newly emerging, wet and shiny, silver clad leaves of the trees. The leaves appeared to almost glow, reflecting back the diffused light of the sun as its rays slipped through curtain of fog. I slowed for an instant, but then the fog shifted, the light changed, and leaves were just wet green leaves.
Coincidences sometimes cause us to slow and to actually wonder if we actually saw something that beautiful. God will share the beauty around us, if we slow down and take the time to look. If we will allow our eyes to register what they see and not be consumed of rushing along, ignoring the feast placed before us.
Last evening, again I was driving to church for evening services and the sun again played in the clouds. It was impossible to miss. The sunlight glowed a silver-white from the edges of other clouds that surrounded the thin cloud it was hiding behind. I say the cloud was thin, because I could see the ball of sun, looking like a full moon. It was too light and too early to be the moon. Again I slowed, it was too beautiful to rush by without enjoying.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Flower Children
I have mentioned before that my grandmother Rebecca Miner’s favorite flower was the Pansy. She said they reminded her of little boys with dirty faces and a huckster would give her a flat of them every year for buying his leftover produce before he left for home. To keep the produce from spoiling, he gave her a good price and with eight kids she could serve or can it to feed them all.
I don’t know what my grandmother Anna Beck liked. I can’t remember any flowers inside her house, but my aunt Estella’s favorite were the plastic ones. She didn’t like anything that might cause dirt in her home.
My mother-in-law’s porch held baskets of dark pink bleeding hearts and honey suckle trumpets. I was blessed my wife’s favorite flowers were daisies. When I wanted to surprise her, I could pick them out of the fields all summer. Our sister-in-law, Susan Reyes Morrison loved black-eyed Susan.
My daughter Amanda Yoder liked calla lilies and had them in her wedding bouquet. One of her wedding gifts was a large picture of them which hangs in her living room. My other daughter, Anna Prinkey likes sunflowers. She carried them in her wedding bouquet and some strange person bought a commode seat as a gag gift one Christmas. I must apologize to my daughter-in-law Renee, I never asked what your favorite flower is, but with your birthday so near Christmas, I’ll give you a poinsettia or a Christmas cactus.
My aunt Cora Hyatt loved all types of flowers, but what I remember from her gardens were the tall swords of color, gladiolas. I can remember mums in my aunt Ina’s gardens. My mom’s favorites were roses, Many of which she would start from cuttings placed under a quart jar.
I had other aunts, but my brain either never noticed a specific flower or has forgotten and I apologize for that. My favorite, I think it might be the lily of the valley with the dark green leaves and the delicate white bells.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Lawn Mowing Memories
Monday I decided to mow my lawn, dodging the several showers. As I rode my along on my mower cutting the grass, I remembered having my son mow the widow neighbor’s lawn next door. I tried to share the Bible verse about taking care of widows and orphans. She has since passed away and her son lives there now. The rain held off and I did their yard as well. They’re older and have some difficulty mowing for themselves.
My uncle Ted would mow grass in the summer to make a bit of money. Because of a head injury early in life, his mental capacity was that of perhaps a fourth grader. It was one of the things he was able to do to earn some cash. He was odd at times and set in his ways. Ted would only buy a “Lawn Boy” mower and would sometimes walk several miles between customers pushing the mower and carrying his gas can.
My dad loved the color red. His mowers had to be red because red one ran better. He once said, the red ones ran like a son-of-a-gun and we’d often kid him about it. He’d just smile and continued to buy red machines.
My son Andrew wanted a four wheeler because several of his friends had one, but keeping him and his two sisters in a private school wasn’t cheap. My wife Cindy and I decided to buy a riding mower instead. It took too much time to use a push mower to cut our acre of yard. While Andrew was at school, I bought and had delivered a riding mower. I hid it in the back of the house. When he came home from school, I told him we bought a four wheeler and gave him strict rules about riding it around the property only. Handing him the key, we told him that it was parked behind the house. A smile spread across his face and he ran outside. I must say, he hopped on it without complaint, turned the key, and immediately sped off trailing clippings behind him. Thank you Son, it is just one of the many memories I have of you. Look out Daughters; you will have memories shared on my BlogSpot too.

Monday, May 1, 2017

On Friday, Evangelist Thomas Engle asked how many have heard sermons on Hell. Then he said he was going to share thoughts about Paradise or Heaven. Every religion from Islam to Hinduism, to Buddhism, all have a higher plane to which their followers aspire or work toward. Mankind’s hearts and souls are hardwired to seek that place. They instinctively seek a place that is better than the world as it is in their lives.
In Christianity, it is called Heaven and is described in great detail, Revelation 21 as described by the Apostle John. He was given a special insight and a “private tour” so those who accept Christ as Savior will have knowledge of what waits for them beyond the veil of death.
We were fortunate to have the music director Doyle Robertson work with our Church’s choir for special music each night of the services. He and his wife also taught special classes for the younger children while we enjoyed the messages.
Because his schedule allowed, he and his wife stayed through Sunday evening, directing the choir. A special bonus was Doyle shared a message Sunday evening on how to praise God and what types of music was actually worshipping God.
God didn’t accept every sacrifice that was offered. Look at Cain and Abel. God rejected Cain’s gift of grain, because it was not the offering to God demanded. There was also Nadab and Abihu who were the sons of Aaron in the priestly lineage. They chose to offer incense on a “strange” fire and God rejected their offering by consuming them in fire.

Friday, April 28, 2017

True Reporting/ Fake News
The character that Thomas Engle spoke about was Isaiah and his vision of the condition of the land of Israel in his life. Israel was the apple of God’s eye and they chose to rebel against God and against his leading. Isaiah saw that his land had become evil and forsaken the LORD, provoking Him to anger and gone backward. They were a people of putrefying sores without any soundness. Israel had become a desolate country in national crisis.
God began to withhold water and bread from them, stinting in harvest and rain. Isaiah saw that mature, prudent male leadership was on the decline and that children would be princes to rule over them. Children had control over their parents and a person will force his neighbor to take care of him with a lack of responsibility. There was a lack of respect for the elder generation, little respect for authority, and a lack of reverence and respect for God.
Isaiah saw that the leaders’ teachings were causing the people to err and stray from the path. Isaiah said, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” He goes on to describe being wise in one’s own eyes, those who drink strong drink, and they take away righteousness having rotten roots.
Isaiah was seeing his country for what it had become and warning them of the impending wrath of God. What about America today? Are we seeing the same circumstances today? Are our leaders prudent? Are our children taking control of us, shunning the wisdom of the older generation? Are many people still living off their parents or forcing those who work to support their idleness?
There is definitely a lack of respect for our heritage, for the Constitution, and a lack of reverence for God. There is a lack of respect for life as well with abortions and murders. Is America in a national crisis? Is America beginning to taste God’s wrath? Will we see the error of our ways before it is too late?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Caleb: A Man That Wholly Followed God
I usually only write a post every other day, but because of Evangelist Thomas Engle’s sharing of biblical characters, I am posting so I don’t shortchange any of the men and the messages about them. Our Wednesday night lesson was on Caleb, one of the original twelve spies sent by Moses to evaluate the promised land of milk and honey. When the spies came back, they reported that it was indeed a fertile land, so fertile that one bunch of grapes was so heavy it took two men to carry it. They also reported that there were walled cities and giants in the land. The ten were focused on the problems they saw and not on the promises God made to them.
They infected the Hebrew children with an attitude of discouragement to the point they wanted to return to Egypt also saying it would have been better if God had allowed them to die in the wilderness. God gave in to their wishes and the rebellious people died in the wilderness from the forty years of wandering. Estimates say there were 600,000 men at that time and only Joshua and Caleb lived to enter the Promised Land.
Caleb took God at his word and wanted to “saddle up’” go in, and take the land. He was focused entirely on the promises of God and not on the problems of the land, the giants and walled cities. In our lives today, focusing on the problems, no matter how large they may seem instead of God’s promises, allow defeat into our lives and not lives of triumph. If we stay focused and seek God, we can gain victory.
Another point brother Engle said, just as in Caleb’s time, when we avoid the conflicts of sin, we pass those problems along to our children and grandchildren. It becomes a battle of morality left for their generation. Sin never lessens. It only grows if not dealt with, only more firmly entrenched..

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

But God Meant It Unto Good
Each night thus far, Evangelist Thomas Engle has shared a different character from the Bible and how their story parallels the present and much of our lives today. Last evening he shared his insight on the man named Joseph. Joseph didn’t come from a perfect family. It was a dysfunctional one. His father Jacob had two wives and children from several. Joseph was one child that Jacob cared for more than the others because he was the child from the woman he loved.
Because he was the apple of Jacob’s love, his brothers hated him to the point they planned to murder him, but instead, sold him to be a slave. Joseph ended up in Egypt as a slave to an important man. This captain prospered and raised Joseph over everything in his house. The wife of the captain falsely accused Joseph of assaulting her and Joseph was thrown into jail.
Even in prison, God didn’t abandon Joseph. God was preparing him for hard times ahead. Prisons then weren’t like today, but were dark, dirty, damp places, but even here, Joseph’s character remained strong and his uprightness remained unchanged.
The Pharaoh heard of Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams and brought him from the jail, eventually placing him over his entire kingdom. A seven year famine followed seven years of plenty. Joseph gathered from the plenty and saved it for the lean times.
Joseph’s brothers came to buy grain, not knowing with whom they were dealing. Joseph could have been vengeful, but he recognized God’s hand in it all. Later in life Joseph said, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, and brought to pass this day to save much people alive.”

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dynamic Dou Plus One
Yesterday Mt. Zion Community Church began its week of revival services. We are blessed to have Doyle Robertson as song leader and choir director and his wife who accompanies on her keyboard. He masterfully prepares our hearts and souls for the messages presented by Evangelist Thomas Engle.
Doyle has a unique way of drawing out a readiness to worship God and stir souls to hear the message. He was a music director for the Bill Rice Camp in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I can remember him from one year our church took our youth there for summer Christian camp week.
Thomas Engle is our speaker for the week and he is a marvelous speaker, bringing new views on Bible characters, sharing and showing that these men were much like you and me. He shared insights of their strengths and weaknesses and their position with God.
Sunday morning, he explained Jacob was a trickster and one who ran from his problems and how Jacob had a personal experience with God in Bethel. He knew the God of Abraham and Isaac, but it took another twenty years of running before his heart was changed and decided to follow God’s leading. It took another confrontation with God to get Jacob’s attention. He wrestled with God until God drew him near, touched him and made Jacob lame, preventing him from running away when problems occurred. Now, God could use him. The message was that many of us know God, but have been doing our own thing and not following God’s will in our lives.
Sunday evening Evangelist Engle shared the story of Job. He was a righteous man, but had a hard heart. It took the trials and troubles to bring Job to the point that he understood God more deeply and that his heart was softened.
There are services throughout the week and next Sunday morning. The Mt. Zion congregation welcomes you every evening at 7 pm. Please come to hear the messages. You are sure you will be challenged and blessed.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Yesterday, I was in charge of the writers meeting in a side room of the Mt. Pleasant Public Library. I was in a hurry and ran off tips for better writing to share with the fellow writers. I snatched them off the printer and left the house. I needed to pick up my Granddaughter Hannah after school and watch her until her mom got off work. As I’m sitting, waiting out a rain storm, I begin to read the print out. Oh, no. It was something I’d read or had shared with me before. I thought it might have been for our group. There was no time to go back, search the internet for another topic.
It stopped storming and I was able to take Hannah home without drowning. Hannah was talking about the storm. One of her classmates tried to explain the thunder as “someone bowling in heaven.” First she asked, what is bowling, then she asked if her grandmother Cindy was bowling in heaven. I had to explain that God made the thunder and that there were no bowling lanes in heaven.
I was fortunate that none of the fellow writers had heard the tips and that was a pleasant surprise. Several of our writers shared their creations. As I read mine, I noticed it needed much more work, too much repetition, my biggest fault.
We were all impressed when a young woman who occasionally attended the meetings shared several very emotional pieces of prose. With deep felt sentiment, she described the trials that she has been having. The entire reading was intense and to a person, the other writers told her the trials had made her a much better writer. The hardship endured had poured through into her writing. I was glad that her writing was so much improved, yet my heart went out to her for her problems. Sometimes an artist doesn’t have to be like Van Gogh and cut off an ear to suffer for art.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Discovering Dad
I spent another Tuesday evening at the Chestnut Ridge Historical Society located in Stahlstown, Pennsylvania across Route 711. The Society is in the Cook Township Community Center. The speaker for the evening was Mr. Bruce Shirey. His talk was more of a slide show, sharing multiple photographs of the Pennsylvania Turnpike from several different time periods and the highway was built. He received the slides when the museum discarded them. There was a question and answer time after the presentation was finished. Many of the people in the audience either recalled the views on the slides or had relatives that collected tolls, surveyed the proposed routes, or held other positions. It was a give and take session where the audience learned much and Mr. Shirey gained new facts about the pay to drive road, Route 76.
There were stories of the bridges, the difference of exchanges then and now, and occurrences that happened on the pike. I shared the story of my dad driving hid 12 cylinder Lincoln to Shamokin, Pennsylvania to sell it, but the man said it had a cracked block. My dad was so upset, he told us he had the rear end sliding around the curves and the toll taker said to him, “I’ll just sit on this ticket for a bit or the police will be coming to your door.”
As is my norm, I arrived early and was looking over the displays. Hanging on the wall was a school photo of the students from Longwood School 1935 - 1936. I remembered my dad telling us that he went to school there. I looked closer and what to my surprise, there was someone who looked as though it might be him. The president of the society pulled it from the wall and on the reverse were the names. Yes, it was my father, Edson Carl Beck. He was standing in the back row, third from the right. Our family didn’t have photos of him as a kid. The society was generous and made a copy for me. Thank you all.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Picture This: Easter 1950’
What do I remember of the Easter holiday as I was growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s? Bits and pieces only, if it weren’t for the photographs of me as a chubby, pigeon-toed child, I wouldn’t recall much. Those photos show different members of my family posing in front of our hoe, usually with a different car in the background. My younger sister in a new outfit, white patent leather shoes, lace ruffled socks, a frilly dress, and perhaps a hat. My brother and I would be wearing a new pair of pants, a new shirt, and if it was chilly enough a newer jacket. Dad had dark dress pants, a lighter jacket, and possibly a new tie; his new Easter item was usually parked in the driveway. Mom was a different story. She would shop for a new Easter outfit for a month or so. She always complained that “nothing fit her.” She was smaller across the top and fuller across the bottom, but eventually, she would find something, then buy shoes to match.
Easter sunrise service was a must with breakfast tucked in before regular service and Sunday school. I remember going to my grandparents Miner’s farm. The house was huge with plenty of room for cousins to run and play. I don’t remember what we had to eat, but I’m sure that we did. It was usual to gather there for the holidays for a potluck dinner, each family contributing something.
There would always be an Easter egg hunt, with hiding of real cooked and dyed eggs. This worked well until the older and taller cousins hid one on the top of a cinder block pillar of Grandma’s porch. It fell down inside where it couldn’t be reached and its sulfurous fumes made it difficult and almost impossible to use the porch swing all summer. That ended the wild abandon searches for the hidden treasures.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Crux of Confusion
Today was supposed to be an easy day, writing a little, breakfast, then I was to attend a writers meeting. A friend who usually rides with me, called to cancel. That was okay, because I wanted to do some shopping after the meeting. As I started from home, I heard a rumble and squeaking sound from my Malibu and decided to cancel the run because nobody was depending on me. I was in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania by then and decided to make only one stop at Wal-Mart. As I entered the building, my phone rang, giving off its infamous, “Popeye the Sailorman” ring tone.
It was another writer who talked my friend who cancelled into attending. When I said that I was having car problems, she said, “Oh no, I’ll have to call her back.” I felt bad, but I don’t like to go too far from home with a possible needed car repair.
Groceries bought, I headed for home. I made one other stop. It was at a local farmer’s new enterprise. They are selling dairy products at their small store. The shop also sells antiques. The Whoa Nellie’s is located on the White Bear Rocks Road.
At home and groceries stored away, I checked the computer, remembering I hadn’t posted on my blogspot yet. Glancing on a friend’s profile, I noticed he had a friend with the same name as me, Tom Beck. I sent him a friend request. He accepted and we chatted for a few minutes on Chat heads messenger. He’s a young man from northern Illinois and a student. It’s interesting that an old geezer can make a connection with a younger person so far away; a marvel of modern electronics. He also likes to write and is an American and Western Civilization major. Perhaps he will be a published author and we can compete for readers. Ha ha.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Action Packed
Yesterday was another action packed day. I knew that it was to rain and wanted to get the mowing done early. I didn’t want to take time to fix breakfast and ate a bowl of potato salad I’d made the day before. Wrong move, the heart burn lit my pilot light all morning.
After mowing my yard, I continued to rewrite an old story, trying to make it into an actual novel instead of my usual Tommy Two Shoes books of short stories. After several hours hunched over the keyboard, my shoulders began to ache. The effort of driving the mower over my one acre plot and rewriting the plot of my book, I decided a hot shower before my doctor’s appointment was in order.
At the doctor’s office, the P.A. removed the last stitch from my carpal tunnel surgery, peeled off the scab, and advised using a moist dressing to allow healing from the inside out.
I purposely put aside lunch until now. I needed to spend the time between the doctor’s appointment and a lecture I planned to attend. The lecture was from a man who served as part of the flight crew on several of the presidential jets.
John Haigh is a local man who grew up near Masontown. His escape from the coal towns of western Pennsylvania to serve on Air Force 1 and 2 and his ability to help care for multiple Presidents and their First Ladies was very interesting. He shared the personal stories and words of these influential passengers as they flew many places of the world and in the United States. His slide show photos added much to his presentation.
I would like to thank the Mt. Pleasant Library for inviting the community to hear Mr. Haigh to speak. Thank you to the Mt. Pleasant Fire Department for opening the community room for the event.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Busier I Get 
 Last week was a busy week and I can foresee another one this week. The busy part managed to stay away until Wednesday. I was reviewing and rewriting a story I’d written many years age. I was trying to resurrect it from the dust bins of my mind.
As I sat at my computer reading and making changes on the script, I suddenly remembered I had a luncheon appointment with other retired nurses from Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania. It was 1010 am and it took almost thirty minutes to drive to the restaurant. Lunch was at eleven. After a quick shower, I made it with minutes to spare. I affectionately call them “The Grand Dames of Frick.”
Thursday, I had a writers meeting in Mt. Pleasant Library and of course the usual meal afterwards. We had the weather change, dropping the temperature and about three inches of show. I did a late cleaning of the walks and drive because a diehard Pirate fan conned me into going to the Pirate opening day. Bundled and layered I went to the frigid opener, fortunately, our seats were out of the wind tunnel and tolerable.
Saturday, I met with fellow writers to place our books in “The Twisted Vine” as another outlet for our books. It is a store just outside of Ligonier, Pennsylvania offering a wide variety of things from jewelry to antiques. Once we placed our writings to sale, we went to lunch.
Sunday, I attended church and Sunday school, before eating half of a leftover hoagie, then driving to another writers meeting in Greensburg, Pennsylvania to review a story I am submitting for the new Phantom Detective series. Once that was accomplished, I headed home to eat a bite before goin to Sunday evening church service. Finally, I was able to stay at home and spend a restless night sleeping.