To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.”  ~Robert Brault

I like grandpas.  There’s just something so appealing to me about them.  The way they tuck in their shirts and wear their pants high on their waist.  The comb tucked inside their shirt pocket.  The magical way they make their thumb disappear. 

If my paternal grandfather (Pop) were alive today, we would be eating cake and ice cream in celebration of  his 112th birthday. He was born on June 29, 1899, and wanted to live during three centuries.  He didn’t make it to Y2K, unfortunately, he was a long shot from it, passing away in 1976, a month before I turned one.

There is only one picture of us together that I’ve ever seen.  We are lying together on a bed.  He’s on his side, and he’s snuggling me in his arms as my cousin stands beside us.

In my life, I’ve felt a little bit cheated not having the opportunity to know him.  From family stories, I know that he was an upstanding fellow, a fiddle player, a poet, and man full of wit.  He wrote poetry, and my grannie told me once he wrote a poem about the local meteorologist who never could get the forecast correct, and sent it to him.  He read it one night during his weather report.

I have an old cookbook given to me by my grannie.   The” receipts” as they called them, are a collection from the pioneers that settled this part of the country and they call for ingredients like oleo and sour milk.  Towards the back, you can learn how to make salve and stink bait, if the notion strikes you. 

Along with a sweet little recipe for a Happy Day that goes like this:

A little dash of water cold, a little leaven of prayer.
A little bit of sunshine gold, dissolved in morning air.
Add to your meal some merriment, add thoughts kith and kin,
And then as a prime ingredient, a plenty of work thrown in.
Flavor it all with essence of love, and a little dash of play;
Then a nice old book and a glance above complete a happy day.

Shouldn’t we all have a daily dose of that?

There among the yellowing pages of this old cookbook, lies a stained, folded piece of paper.

On one side, in a lady’s writing is an unlabeled list of ingredients for something delicious I’m sure.  Butter, sugar, eggs, chopped nuts, dates, flour, soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, unsweet apples.  Almost sounds like a fruit cake doesn’t it?

And then on the other side, in Pop’s old penmanship is a poem:
My kids aint cute as your kids are
To this I will agree
But you dont have to keep rubbin it in
It hurts me cant you see
But heres one thing boy that is right
and youll admit it too
Im smarter by far and hansomer too
Than a silly nut like you

Happy Birthday Pop! 

And what about you?  Was your grandpa your best friend?  Was he mean?  Did he play the banjo?  Was he smart and handsome?  Could he make his thumb disappear?  Or did you, like me,  miss out?




In Memory of my Dad #18—Happy Father’s Day!

Although a week late, here is a delightful Father’s Day tribute written by my late dad. Enjoy!


A fellow that I know recently went home to West Texas and he can’t get over what his children did for him for Father’s Day, although it was Memorial Day.

It began with a surprise invitation.

His children, mostly grown, greeted him with guileful smiles and disclosed what was in store.  Even son No. 1 was there.  He had made an easy 11 hour and 40 minute drive from Houston, pulling a 17 foot Chris craft boat equipped with 120 HP motor.

“Dad, guess what?” said daughter No. 1.  “We’re going on a big outing and it’s all in your honor.”  The man gulped as the boys playfully cuffed him around, bloodying his nose.

“It’s true, Dad, anything you want to do, we’ll do.  Make it a huge Memorial Day/Father’s Day combination, since you’re not going to be here for Father’s Day,” chimed in daughter No. 2.

The young folks used this time to formulate plans, as the man looked around for an escape route that he knew was not there.

It was decided that Dad would get the biggest kick out of going to Lake McClellan, a small buffalo wallow of a lake that becomes a kinghell mess on any given holiday.  And this holiday would be worse than any.

“No use protesting, Dad,” said son No. 1.  “It’s all settled.”

The plan as outlined to this dude, was that he go down to the lake early and reserve a good spot, seeing as how there would be a crowd that you couldn’t fit into the Astrodome there on the morning of the 29th.

“Get a nice shady spot,” said son No. 2.  “Make sure you have a place for your folding chair, it’s your day.  Besides we need a place for a headquarters.”

Food!  What would Dad like most to eat on this day?  It was soon decided that hamburgers and ballpark hot dogs would suffice.  “Dad, are you writing this down?’ said daughter No. 1.  “We’ll need plenty of chili and chopped onions and melt some cheese to pour on just before the tabasco sauce.  You’ll want some fritos to crumble on top of that.  And oh yeah, dad, make sure the wieners are those big fat ones.”  Dessert would be double-stuffed oreos.

Dad said with the expensive drugs he was taking since his last stroke, and the small bit of progress he was making in his diet, maybe he shouldn’t.  But they stopped him right there.  “Make sure those are all beef franks, Dad.  If you can’t treat yourself on your own day, you’re going to ruin this for the rest of us.”

Dad apologized and said forget about him.  He would just have a small snack and then go on to the lake.  So Dad went to the lake early that morning, and purchased large quantities of food which he managed to unload in about six trips from the car to the headquarters table—all the while feeling very honored.

At about dark the children arrived, honking their horns and yelling ceremoniously and began unloading surprises—tape decks, loudspeakers, the neighbors’ kids and enough Black Sabbath and Pearl Jam to keep a Memorial Day concert going all night.

Next morning, everybody slept late in honor of Dad, who was allowed to fix breakfast for the whole company.  While clearing away the breakfast dishes, the young folks left to launch the boat.

“You just stay here and take it easy, Dad,” yelled No. 1 from the boat.  “We’ll feel out the water conditions.”  The feeling out was completed at noon.  All the kids returned famished from their feeling out.  While Dad cleared away the noon dishes, his children napped, tired out from honoring Dad so hard.

Then everyone went down and got into the boat, except for Dad.  “Give us a big push and then jump on.  Dad gave a mighty shove and then with a great leap landed knees first on the bow of the boat.  The boat never moved one inch from the bank.  The crunching sound practically made everyone sick as Dad rolled around there on the shores of Lake McClellan, bleeding profusely from both knees.

They were still yelling for him to get medical attention as they headed out to open water for an afternoon of water skiing.

“Dad, as soon as you can walk, have someone look at those knees.” 
“Dad, it doesn’t matter how you load my car, just be careful of those Pearl Jam tapes.”
“Dad, take it easy, and have a wonderful Father’s Day.”
But by then they were out of earshot, having done all that they could do.

They found him there in the late afternoon sun, both knees bandaged brightly, the blood just seeping through the bandages.  He was in a folding chair, head thrown back, sleeping in the thin sunlight.  He heard their voices as in a dream.

“Look at him.  He’s all worn out from all the fun.”
“Somebody get those flies away from his mouth.”
“I can’t wait until next year; it’s a lot of trouble, but Dad’s worth it.”


Tonight I was Master of the Remote Control— a title I don’t especially covet. 

I don’t like Television for many reasons that I won’t go into, but tonight for an unknown reason, I decided to turn on the T.V.

I started with The Singing Bee which made my heart happy.  I am a World-Class-Lyric-Maker-Upper, so anytime I knew the words to the missing lyrics, I was hooping and hollering right here in my living room.  Then I turned to an episode of 20/20.  It was all about the Internet and the terrible, horrible people in this world who prey on victims, steal identities, falsely accuse and exploit others, and who truly have evil in their hearts.  I thought of my little blog and all the good people who read and comment.  Call me naive and stupid, but I still believe there is more good out there than bad.  I ended my TV watching experience of the night with the 10 o’clock news and the disheartening forecast of severe drought and 109 degree high temperatures, plus extreme wind.  When it was over I was thoroughly depressed, cognizant of why I do not watch TV, and scarfed down 2 waffles just to feel better about the world and my place in it.

I needed an uplifting story. Something that would give me hope, and prove that good wins over evil, and that there is something to look forward to in this world.  I thought of googling “uplifting stories” and choosing a touching one, but then a story I’d read before popped into my mind.  One of my most favorite stories of all time.  I copied it from a website written for children called childrenchapel.org.  It’s the story of a great man named Elijah and a contest.  It speaks to me on so many levels.

The drought conditions were continuing to get worse. There was hardly any water to be found ANYWHERE. The creeks had dried up LONG ago, and the rivers had become patchy mud puddles. Food was scarce for people and for animals. In fact, many of the animals had already DIED because of the shortage of grass.

King Ahab was beginning to worry about his OWN herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. He called Obadiah, one of his servants, to his side.

“Obadiah,” he said, “something must be done before all the animals die. We must find grass and water. You go in one direction and I’ll go the other. There must be grass somewhere.”

So King Ahab and Obadiah set off in different directions, in search of fresh grass and water.

Footprints walking from left to right across the screen

While Obadiah was looking here and there, trying to find mud puddles and grass, he saw a man walking toward him. “I wonder who that could be,” he thought to himself. As the man came closer, Obadiah recognized him. “Why, that’s Elijah!” he exclaimed out loud and ran to meet him.

“Elijah! Elijah! Is that really YOU?” he asked excitedly.

“Yes, I am Elijah, and I want you to do me a big favor.”

“What is it, sir?” Obadiah asked politely.

“I want you to go tell King Ahab that I am here and want to see him,” Elijah explained.

Obadiah instantly became fearful. This was NOT something he wanted to do. “How can you even think of asking me to do such a thing?” Obadiah asked with astonishment. “Don’t you know that King Ahab HATES you? Don’t you know that the King is blaming YOU because there has not been any rain for all these years? Besides that, the King has been looking for you. Every time he thinks he knows where you are, you leave and no one can find you. If I tell him you are here, then you will leave again; he will want to kill YOU and ME. I’m sorry, Elijah. I just cannot do it!”

Elijah looked at Obadiah and patiently explained, “It will be fine, Obadiah. I promise you that I will be here. I promise you that I WILL see the King. Now please, just go and tell him I wish to speak to him.”

Footprints walking from left to right across the screen

“YOU! YOU! YOU are the one that is causing trouble for Israel!” King Ahab shouted in anger. “YOU are the reason we have had no rain!”

King Ahab speaking with Elijah “No, King,” Elijah replied. “YOU are the cause for all this trouble. You have turned away from Jehovah, the one true God. You are worshipping the false god, Baal. You have caused the people of Israel to sin by worshipping idols. YOU have brought all this trouble to Israel.”

Elijah continued his speech. “I want you to gather 450 prophets of Baal, and 400 prophets of of Ashtoreth, and have them meet me at Mount Carmel.”

King Ahab did as Elijah said and gathered the prophets. A large crowd of people gathered also to see what was going to happen.

Elijah stood before the crowd. “How long are you going to try to worship Baal and Jehovah? You cannot serve more than one god. If Baal is God, worship him! If Jehovah is God, worship Him! You MUST make a decision. You must choose one or the other.”

Then Elijah said, “We are going to have a contest to see who is the REAL God.” He told them to bring enough wood to build two altars – one for Jehovah, and one for Baal. He told them to bring animals for the sacrifice – one for Jehovah and one for Baal.


The 450 prophets of Baal built their altar. They prepared the animal for the sacrifice. Then they started praying: “O Baal, hear us! O Baal, hear us!” From morning until noon they kept up the shouting.

Elijah was taunting and making fun of them: “What’s wrong? Can’t your god HEAR you? Has he taken a trip? Why isn’t he answering you? Perhaps he is talking to someone else. Maybe you should scream LOUDER.”

Midday had passed, and now it was getting late into the evening, and the prophets of Baal were still shouting and screaming at the top of their voices. Baal still was not listening.

Elijah told the people who were looking on to gather around him. He took 12 stones for his altar, used the wood that was brought, and prepared the animal for the sacrifice. Then he did a very strange thing indeed!

He told the people to bring him four barrels of water. It sounded pretty strange to them, but they DID bring the water. He poured the water on the altar and on the sacrifice.

Barrels filled with water

He told them to bring him four more barrels of water. “What’s wrong with this guy? Doesn’t he know there is a shortage of water?” they were mumbling among themselves. But they obediently brought the water. He poured the water on the altar and on the sacrifice.

That wasn’t enough for Elijah. He told them to bring him FOUR MORE barrels of water. “How much water is he going to waste?” someone whispered. Again they did as they were told and brought the water. He poured that water on the altar and on the sacrifice. The sacrifice was soaked with water. Water was running off the wood, onto the stones, and onto the ground. He dug a ditch around the altar and filled it with water also.

Then he began to pray a simple prayer:

“Lord God, let the people know that You are the true God of Israel and I am your servant. Let them know that I have done these things because You told me to do them. Hear me, O Lord, so these people will know that You are the Lord God, and they will serve You again.”

Fire from heaven falls on the altar and consumes the sacrifice

SUDDENLY, fire came down from heaven! It burned up the sacrifice! It burned up the WOOD! It burned up the STONES! It even licked up all the water that was in the ditch around the altar!

When the people saw it, they dropped to the ground in fear and cried out, “The Lord, He is the God; THE LORD, HE IS THE GOD!”

Then Elijah turned to King Ahab and said, “Get up! Eat and drink! There will be an abundance of rain!”

So King Ahab had something to eat and drink, and Elijah took his servant with him to the top of Mount Carmel to pray to God and wait for the rain. “Look toward the sea and tell me if you see rain,” Elijah said to his servant. The servant peered into the distance but didn’t see any rain.

Elijah kept praying.

“Look again,” Elijah told him. He looked again, but still there was no rain.

Elijah continued praying.

He looked six times, and each time there was no rain. Not even a small cloud was in sight.

Elijah prayed one more time

and asked the servant to look again.


This time the servant saw a little cloud way out in the distance over the sea. “Run quickly!” Elijah commanded. “Go tell King Ahab to get his chariot ready and get off the mountain before the rain starts.”

It was just a little while before the sky became dark with clouds.

The wind began to blow.

There was a drop of rain…

…then another.

…then another.

Then there was a great downpour.


Everyone in Israel knew for certain that Jehovah was the REAL God and Baal was just a make believe god.

Footprints walking from left to right across the screen

REMEMBER: Everyone must choose between good and bad. It is impossible to serve God and the devil.


How did this story speak to you? 




A drive down Highway 10 will snake you through beautiful Green Country. Past trees and hills and green galore.  A very different view than the flat, yellow, arid, blowing, dusty pasture grasses that I gaze upon each morning from my kitchen window.

A drive down Highway 10 will snake you past Lover’s Leap, Kooter’s Bar & Grill, and several canoe rentals.

mom, me, and jolea at Peyton's Place---Cabin #1



Until you finally arrive at Cabin #1 where I spent my childhood summers.

Where I learned to dig deep and find the best skipping stones and try to outskip my dad.  I failed.  Every time. 

Where I itched with Poison Sumac every year and walked around pink skinned, not from the sun, but instead from the Calamine Lotion caked on my body.

Where I tasted my first  fear of water when the swift rapids unexpectedly carried me farther than I expected or dared to venture.

This past Memorial Day, I took a nostalgic drive down Highway 10 and found things much the same, yet much different. 

The peacocks who enchanted me with their outspread plumage were no longer swaggering about.

The sliding glass door on Cabin #1 was replaced with a regular fiberglass door and the choice of paint colors no longer made the cabin “rustic”.

The place where we swam was the same, and it was almost peaceful, if not for the annoying college-aged drunks loitering about being much too loud and immodest.

But for a moment, I tuned them out.  I stood on the rocky bank of the Illinois River and closed my eyes.  And I remembered.

Me and my sister Jolea. Circa late 1970's.

 I remembered summers long gone, but not forgotten.  A family in tact before divorce and then death separated.  I remembered a happy childhood.  Loving parents. Carefree moments.  And catching fireflies in a jar.  I said good-bye.

Then I walked to my car and drove home.

In Memory of My Dad #17

Being Santa Claus Isn’t Always Easy, Unless You Believe
by R.L. Briggs

Speaking from past experience, one of the best things that can happen when you are playing Santa Claus is to get those baggy pants off, the whiskers out of your mouth and those phony bootees off your shoes.

Nobody helps.  Everyone else is too busy tearing open Christmas packages, strewing tissue paper and colored wrappings around the Christmas tree.  Santa struggles on unaided.

He wrenches rib muscles, gets charlie horses, he spits angel hair from his beard, sweats and swears, he wrestles himself from the bright red Santa suit like Jacob and the Archangel.  He is accompanied by cries of delight from the recipients of all this Christmas loot who have left him to this fate.

Believe me, I know.

If you think it is any fun to prance around like an overstuffed laundry bag, being JOLLY while giving out with the HO, HO, HO’s, with a mouth full of artificial whiskers in a home-made snow storm breathing in cedar pollen, then you have another think coming.

The thing for you to do is volunteer this Christmas, I can book you solid and write your material for you.

“Have you been a good little girl? Heh, heh, heh.”  What an approach.

And yet when we get right down to it, Santa Claus is the only surviving relic of a time gone by, when we all believed that the better we were, the greater our rewards would be.

Santa Claus never needs to be modernized, Santa Claus needs to be unchanging.  He needs to wear the baggy pants that are always in danger of falling down, he needs the long white beard that is always getting into his mouth, he needs to give out the jolly HO, HO, HO to every fresh faced, smiling child that he holds on his lap.  Of course a bag full of presents goes without saying.

Once in years past I took over for a friend who played Santa every year for a bunch of neighborhood kids and had fallen ill just about the  24th of December.

One of the ladies had rented a Santa Claus costume that would have fit Doc Holliday, if Holliday would have went for such foolishness as dressing up as an overweight Christmas cherub and spitting out Ho, Ho, HO’s to a gang of neighborhood kids.  The costume was put together with rubber bands, no buttons, no zippers, no fasteners of any kind.

I put the costume on and retreated to a bathroom.  Through the halfway opened door I could hear one of the neighborhood ladies telling the children that the happiest people in the world are the ones that didn’t have anything.  That bothered me because I had a whole bag of presents to give out to the children.

I had began to sweat because I had put the costume on too soon, and I had to wait many minutes while the children sang a few carols.  Outside, a blizzard was blowing, but inside the central heat was going full blast.

The Santa mask didn’t fit, one of the eyeholes kept slipping down so all I could see was the bathroom floor and a view of my pseudo Santa  boots.

When the lady chairperson came to summon me, I was trying to hoist the red trousers to a more respectable altitude, and the wide black patent leather belt had become entangled with the flushing mechanism on the commode.  In the excitement of the moment I grabbed the wrong bag and was about to distribute a bag of dirty laundry instead of the presents.

But, like a true champion, I emerged from the bathroom emitting a series of HO, HO, HO’s and have you been a good little boy/girl, when my own personal Wranglers I was wearing under the Santa suit and which I wore for safety sake, let go and split right down the middle.

When this ordeal was over I retreated to the bathroom and clambered from the costume as best and as fast as I could.  I was remembering back to the time when there was only one Santa Claus.  He wasn’t on every street corner as he is today.  He came to Briggs, Oklahoma and we were all glad to see him.  Young and old alike, it made no difference if sometimes he left more than he did at others.  he was the one and only.

And I don’t remember him bouncing around saying HO, HO, HO.  Maybe that was the time when Christmas came out of the Bible, and we all believed.

The Poor Bastard

In my last post, I shared with you a picture of a snake who was close enough to crawl up my skirt, if he’d taken the notion.  Thank Goodness, he didn’t.


I received a comment from  my dear, sweet Aunt Bert asking if we killed it or am I learning to live with them?I didn’t answer her comment because it’s a complicated answer which involves more explanation than a yes/no can give.
I must begin at the beginning, which is a very good place to begin.

My snake sighting number is at a total of 4, plus one molted (do snakes molt) snake skin. 

When we bought this place, we discovered a snake skin and my wise dad commented “if you found a snake skin, the owner is around there somewhere.”  I didn’t completely ignore him, but I imagined surely the snake had moved on to greener pastures.

The first snake I saw, I killed with no less than 50  whacks of a shovel. 

The second snake I saw, was a tiny little baby snake that got away.

The third snake I saw crawled up my skirt (in my imagination)

And the fourth snake I saw was coiled under a tree hissing and striking at my dog AT THE SAME TIME the other snake was crawling up my skirt. He wasn’t in the mood for a photo shoot.

Seeing a snake will definitely give you the eebie jeebies, but seeing TWO snakes at the same time within 3 feet of one another will give you the triple eebie jeebies.

Each time a snake slithers past, I do a triple-step-bunny-hop, scream like a girl, and get the shivers all at once.  Then I dash in the house to call my beloved, my knight-in-shining-armor, my hero, who inadvertently is 30 miles or more away and lets out an exasperated breath on the other end of the line. 

My husband has me describe the snake in detail and identifies it as a bull snake:  a good, harmless, beneficial, kind and benevolent snake.  The kind I should invite for supper.  The kind I should make the poster child of the J&A Chicken Ranch. 

With the exception of the first one that I hacked to death, I leave them alone, they stay around for at least AN HOUR AND A HALF while I become a PRISONER in my own home, afraid to leave the comfort of my air-conditioned living room, peeking out the curtain every 10 minutes, watching their every move, and eventually they slither away to places unknown to me, and I live in a state of anxiety and trepidation until the next encounter.

Now J-Dub and I have a pretty decent marriage going on, but the snake incidents have just nearly driven us to the divorce attorneys.  And I jest not.

I want the snakes dead.  And He doesn’t.  His argument is they are harmless, they eat rodents which carry nasty diseases, and “people” claim they keep rattlesnakes away as well.  They are good snakes and I should just leave them alone. 

My argument is they give me the eebie jeebies. 
I think my argument wins.

Realizing he is not going to come to my rescue when I see a snake, realizing that I’m going to see more snakes, realizing that 50 whacks with a shovel will only kill a little snake, I asked him to show me how to shoot a gun.  That statement led to a  fight, which led to me leaving the house for a couple of hours until tempers cooled and rational thinking returned.

After a couple of hours away, and a couple ice cream cones consumed, I returned to the Snake Spa, where all snakes come to bask in refreshing coolness and safety of a mostly yellow, but half-green yard.  Come one, come all, enjoy your stay!

As I was driving up, I flicked on the bright lights and observed a dead snake in the road outside the driveway.  I walked into the house and the conversation was as follows:
Me:  Who killed that snake?
J-Dub:  Who do you think killed him? I shot the poor bastard!  I drove him out from under the feed room.  He tried to get away, but I killed the poor bastard anyway!

A couple nights later, we saw a coyote running across the pasture with the poor bastard hanging from his jaws.

And ever since the poor bastard’s been killed, I haven’t seen any of his wives, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, or cousins twice removed.

I since have been given a pistola and 2 bullets of rat shot and I’m not afraid to use it.  Well truthfully, I’m terrified to use it.  Probably more terrified than seeing a snake. So to the next bull snake that slithers into the yard:  I’ll just do a triple-step-bunny-hop, scream like a girl, get the shivers and run to the house.  You enjoy the coolness of the grass for 90 minutes, AND NOT A SECOND MORE, and then be on your way.  Or there’s going to be trouble.  Ya hear?

So Aunt Bert, I hope that answers your question. 

On our anniversary, while we ate our tender steak and tough corn, I told my bull-snake loving husband about a friend on Facebook who has a State of the Marriage Address each year on their anniversary.  They discuss how things are, what needs to be improved, and the overall state of their marriage.  We both agreed that life was going pretty well for us and our marriage was strong.  And then he added “Except I need to be more patient with you adjusting to living in the country.”

 “Motion seconded!  Pass the Corn!”


The Chickens

My life has no D.R.A.M.A.
Thank God.

 I am approximately 18 days into my summer vacation and I am B.O.R.E.D. out of my G.O.U.R.D.
Thank God.
I would much rather be bored than have drama.  Hands down.

My day consists of
wakening, letting out the chickens, and going back to bed. 
Re-awakening,  checking my facebook and email, and having a little Shredded Wheat with my sugar. 
Yes, I eat Shredded Wheat.  And Raisin Bran.  And Grape Nuts.
I’m old, okay.

Occasionally, I’ll walk the drive-way a few times for exercise, catch up on DVR’d Beth Moore episodes, and perhaps kill a snake.  Okay.  Once.  That just happened once.
But it’s not as if it couldn’t happen again.

This sneaky snake was in my yard, with a friend I might add, just the other day.  You have to look closely.  He’s got the camo thing going on.  And ignore the broken flowerpot growing a weed, it’s not really marijuana, it just looks like it.  Just moments before this picture was snapped, I was standing at the tail, right there on the sidewalk, just hanging out.  I nearly peed down both legs.

Back to my day:

I don’t put on make-up or fix my hair.
I dig through laundry piles to find my cleanest, dirty shirt (name that song).
I swat flies and eat popsicle.
Then I lay down again and sleep the afternoon away until my husband’s diesel rouses me and I must scurry about as if I’ve been busy all day long.  Which it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out I haven’t.  With the piles of laundry and popsicle wrappers lying around.

That’s it.  That’s my day, every day, in a nut shell.

The highlight of which is walking to the mailbox every evening and being utterly disappointed that no one has sent me a handwritten letter.  The last letter I received was postmarked 1995.

And since my life is shrouded in a cloud of laziness and patheticism, I have nothing to offer you today (as if I do any other day) than a Chicken Update.

The chickens are 3 months and 2 days old and the ones who survived the box are still surviving.  All fourteen of the little boogers.

None have been carried off in a chicken hawk’s beak or swallowed whole by a serpent.

However, this one just spun her head around, sorry you missed it.

They all still love me very much, but only because I feed them overripe bananas and moldy bread.

Occasionally I get pecked, but it doesn’t hurt and they quit after I give them a  swift kick in the butt.  A swift and gentle kick in the butt.

Risking losing all of your respect right here and now, I must confess, I no longer know which one is Freedom.
I used to identify her by her head markings, then they changed, so I noticed 2 stripes on her tail, then they changed, then I could identify her by a jagged tail feather, then it must’ve fallen out.  She is now unrecognizable, even to her mama.  Please don’t weep. 

They won’t start laying eggs until they are 5-6 months old.  Which will put us around Aug-Sept. 

These two are already looking for the monster that laid this one.

So, how about you and your summer?  What have you done?  Are you bored yet?  What’s your favorite color popsicle? What is today, anyway?

A Note From our Father

This turned my day around today.

A facebook friend, Janet, had it posted.

I felt compelled to share.

In a world of much uncertainty one thing is true, God knows everything about you: everything you have ever done; everything you have ever said; and every thought you have ever had. He is an awesome God! Here is a love letter to you.


My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you (Psalm 139.1)

I know when you sit down and when you rise up (Psalm 139.2)

I am familiar with all your ways (Psalm 139.3)

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered (Matthew 10.29-31)

For you were made in my image (Genesis 1.27)

In me you live and move and have your being (Acts 17.28)

For you are my offspring (Acts 17.28)

I knew you even before you were conceived Jeremiah (1.4-5)

I chose you when I planned creation (Ephesians 1.11-12)

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book (Psalm 139.15-16)

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live (Acts 17.26)

You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139.14)

I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139.13)

And brought you forth on the day you were born (Psalm 71.6)

I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me (John 8.41-44)

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love (1 John 4.16)

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you (1 John 3.1)

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father (1 John 3.1)

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could (Matthew 7.11)

For I am the perfect father (Matthew 5.48)

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand (James 1.17)

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs (Matthew 6.31-33)

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope (Jeremiah 29.11)

Because I love you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31.3)

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore.(Psalms 139.17-18)

And I rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3.17)

I will never stop doing good to you (Jeremiah 32.40)

For you are my treasured possession (Exodus 19.5)

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul Jeremiah (32.41)

And I want to show you great and marvellous things (Jeremiah 33.3)

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me (Deuteronomy 4.29)

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37.4)

For it is I who gave you those desires (Philippians 2.13)

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine (Ephesians 3.20)

For I am your greatest encourager (2 Thessalonians 2.16-17)

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles (2 Corinthians 1.3-4)

When you are broken-hearted, I am close to you (Psalm 34.18)

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart (Isaiah 40.11)

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes (Revelation 21.3-4)

And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth (Revelation 21.3-4)

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus (John 17.23)

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed (John 17.26)

He is the exact representation of my being (Hebrews 1.3)

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you (Romans 8.31)

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins (2 Corinthians 5.18-19)

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled (2 Corinthians 5.18-19)

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you (1 John 4.10)

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love (Romans 8.31-32)

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me (1 John 2.23)

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again (Romans 8.38-39)

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen (Luke 15.7)

I have always been Father, and will always be Father (Ephesians 3.14-15)

My question is “Will you be my child?” (John 1.12-13)

I am waiting for you (Luke 15.11-32)

June 12th

Today, J-Dub and I celebrate 7 years of wedded bliss.

He claims it’s only feels like 30 minutes.

He also informed me a few moments ago that my corn-on-the-cob is always kinda tough.  Evidently I cook it wrong.  According to Google, you should boil the water first, then add the corn, return to a boil, cover, turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes.

Who knew?

I just throw it all in there and let it boil together. 

Today we honored our love by napping the afternoon away.  I did, anyway. 

Soon we will enjoy a tender steak on the grill with tough corn-on-the-cob.  Then watch Cheers reruns until snores fill the living room.  Mine, of course.

Naturally, seven years is not a great accomplishment, we haven’t reached our silver, golden, or even aluminum milestone, but in this day and age, I’d like to think we’re doing okay.  I asked my sweet beloved what advice he would give others for achieving marital bliss.  He answered, “I don’t know what that is.”

But he came up with a few:

1) Laugh alot—-at each other’s expense.
2)  Say “Yes Dear” often.
3) Come to the blinding realization that your twinkies are her twinkies too, so coming home to the last twinkie wrapper crumbled on the counter is just tough nookies.
4)  Realize you can’t win.
5) Never criticize her cooking.  (Oops)

All jokes aside, marriage can be a wonderful union full of rich rewards.  It takes sacrifice and unselfishness.  Giving of yourself to another and enjoying the ride.

And eating the tough corn-on-the-cob.

In Memory of my Dad #16

The laziness of summer causes my days to run together, but then I remembered today is Saturday, which means a story from Bob.

Tear Gas Didn’t Go Over at Sonny’s Soul Kitchen That Night
R.L. Briggs

Though the details on your arrival are a bit fuzzy, the terrain is not all that unfamiliar, so you are not that surprised to find yourself in a place called Sonny’s Soul Kitchen at 3 a.m.

The day has turned to night for the second time in a row, a flashing kaleidoscope of color that makes two a.m. become six a.m. somewhere in your sodden mind.  But you are not ready to admit that you have crossed the line, so you order another Cuba Libre and case the joint for the companion that brought you to this place.

Sonny’s Soul Kitchen usually serves good barbecue and pretty decent soul food up until midnight, but it is past that time now.  Instead of the band, a little three-piece combo is cooking to the strains of “Crawlin’ Kingsnake.”  The blues fill the air as the tenor sax overrides the down home beat of the bass guitar.  The raw feeling of pain in the singer’s voice seems to reverberate through you.  You listen intently, lost in a world of your own.

A small wizened man in a too big shirt covered with red parrots comes in with a wash tub and a  piece of baling twine attached to it and a mop handle on the other end and sets up with the band.  He starts to beat out a double bass rhythm keeping excellent time.  “That’s Duhon,” said the bartender.  “Some nights he sits in with the band.”

Yours was one of the few white faces in attendance this morning, everywhere you looked there were black faces from the almost blue-black blend to the straight aquiline noses of the red American Indian.  Smiling, sweaty faces that gave a glimpse of gold whenever they laughed or told one of their many jokes.  The joint was definitely jumping.

The dancing was getting wilder now, none of this two-stepping, fox-trotting business either.  There was a rhythm to the music now, it was getting jerkier, more lust driven.  Short cries and loud shouts accompanied the dancers as they vied for more room, more attention on the dance floor.  I felt a deep driving urge to join in with the dancers, but by now my tongue felt like an iguana had been using it for a chew toy, so I told the bartender “more rum and ice, heavy on the ice.”

I had come in here with Stone.  Stone and I try not to see each other as much as we would like because we bring out the worst in the other.  He plays Jekyll to my Hyde.  Or Neal Cassidy to my Jack Kerouac–it just depends on who you believe.  Stone is the kind of man who would be in a place like this at this hour of the morning.

His mission in life is to have as much fun as possible in as little time as possible.  Stone’s only fear is that they may be having more fun at the place we just left or the place we are heading to.

The impromptu thrill that you felt when he showed up at your place with Lynyrd Skynyrd blasting from the stereo was beginning to wear a little thin.

A platinum blonde is dancing wildly with a neat little black man wearing a bright red shirt that reminded me of Patrice Lumumba.  He is doing an involved dance step while the blonde held her arms akimbo like a hula dancer, an intense look of concentration on her face.  Hbbbbber body jerked back and forth to the conga rhythm, now and then she would spin, her plaid skirt flaring out full around her like a colorful fan.

I raised my glass to them in a silent salute, and decided it was time to join the dancers.  I asked another pale face if she wanted to dance and she looked at me as if I had spiders nesting in my hair.  She turned me down flat and went to dancing with a  spade bearded man.  I stood alone in the middle of the dance floor and thought about the tear gas canister that was hidden under the front seat. 

I  had bought the grenade shaped tear gas bomb in a Army-Navy store in Oklahoma City the week before.  I’d remembered Stone asking me something about Beirut when he saw the small bomb, I’d laughed and told him to expect the unexpected.

The dancing had reached a high in debauchery as I came back inside with the tear gas bomb.  The sax screamed and the drums beat out a harrowing rhythm as the crowd yelled and groaned their delight, I thought the old building would cave in under all the noise and shouting.

I made a pass around the crowded room sounding like a leaky tire as I held the handle down on the bomb.  Fog followed me as I made my way to the front door.  I’d planned on getting back to Stone’s pick-up where I could witness the exodus undisturbed.

I got outside just in time to witness Stone’s tail lights as he made the far corner of the block.  By now people were boiling out of the place, it was every man for himself as the caustic gas began to take hold.

I got whipped like a rented mule that night.  I had no place to run and I felt my nose crunch as the first of several blows caught me right on the button.

My lips felt like two pieces of chopped liver, and I couldn’t see out of one of my eyes.  Somewhere in the melee one of my tennis shoes was ripped from my feet and thrown at my head.

I was never so glad to see anyone as the bartender in my life.  “Big boy, it’s time for you to go,” he said laughing quietly.  I stumbled off down the dirt street telling myself that I’d had a good time no matter what had happened. 

I gave a growling German Shepherd a big right-of-way as the early morning sunlight hit my one good eye like a mother’s wrath.

I heard what sounded like a young voice humming Brahms’ “Lullaby” in the distance.