Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sometime ago both Principled Discovery and LeftCoast
tagged me with naming 7 Things That People
Probably Don't Know About Me. I am woefully behind
on this but here goes...

1. Flies-I am pretty good at killing flies with my
bare hands. It is easy really; you just need
to realize that flies jump up and back when
they are spooked. First, hold your hands apart, as
though you were getting ready to clap, about 10
inches above and slightly behind them. Then,
clap hard. Open your hands up and you've got a
dead fly! This is really a necessary skill when
you have cows and goats in the yard most days. A
lot of flies make their way off the critters and
into the house. It is truly a more foolproof way
to eliminate a fly than a flyswatter is.

2. The number 5-Kent asked me one day which number I
most disliked writing. After considering for a few
moments I said, "The number 5."

"Really?" he asked. "Me too!"

It is hard to keep 5's from looking like S's. They are
just plain messy numbers.

3. Staid-I am, and always have been, rather staid in my
personality, and besides that, I think it is a lovely and
underused word. I'd like to bring it back into fashion.

4. Stayed-I am stayed on the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the
foundation of all life.

5. 500# Pig-I once, in the dim and dark past, helped Kent to
lift a 500# pig into the back of a truck. It is a great
story...but I will sum up. We had been trying to load
these pigs for hours and we had tried everything people
had told us to do. The only thing left on the list of
"Ways to load pigs 101" was to have a person on the left
side and a person on the right side, reach under the porker
and grab wrists and lift quickly. I saw Kent look out of
the corner of his eyes at me in a speculative manner. "Oh
no," I thought, "he can't really be thinking what I'm
thinking he's thinking." He was.

But he modified it. Joel, who was probably 11 at the time,
and I took one side and Kent took the other. Kent yelled,
we grabbed and Billy (age 8) stood behind and pushed with
all his strength. After we got Mr. 500# loaded, Mr. 4 hundred
and something pounder was a breeze!

6. Banana seat-I won a banana seat bike when I was a kid. One
of my favorite things to do was to get going really fast
down the street and then stand up on the seat with my arms
raised straight up in the air and careen through the
neighborhood. It didn't kill me, but I can't imagine why

7. Going to the Philippines-I leave next week for the Philippines
with my sister. I am going as her traveling companion/protector.
She has a lot of work to do there for the Church Planting
Mission she is with and we will be doing a lot of hopping
around and meeting with people. I love the Philippines and
am very excited to go. May God bless the trip and allow it
to be used for His eternal glory! I probably won't have much
access to a computer, but if I can snatch a minute here or there,
I'll try to post some about our time there. I'll just be gone
a little less than two weeks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

From the reading pile:

"Each one looked very much like the other (except for
the color, of course) and some looked even more like
each other than they did like themselves."
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
(I am reading this to Hattie)

"'Miss,' said Jimmy Waites breathlessly, 'Eileen Burton's
knicker elastic's busted, and she won't come out of the
lavatory she says, until you brings a pin!' Miss Gray
put the ring in her bag and hastened away, while I returned
to my room to choose the morning hymn, observing, as I went,
how seldom one can indulge in the inflation of any sort of
emotion without life's little pin-pricks bursting the

'And a very good thing too,' I was moralizing to myself,
'emotions cannot be enjoyed without them becoming dangerous
to one's sense of proportion,' and I was about to develop
this lofty theme, when I caught sight of Ernest, and was
obliged to break off to direct him to wipe his nose."
Village School by Miss Read

"I have a feeling that childhood has been robbed of a great
deal of its joys by taking away its belief in wonderful, mystic
things, in fairies and all their kin. It is not surprising
that when children are grown, they have so little idealism or
imagination nor that so many of them are like the infidel who
asserted that he would not believe anything that he could not
see. It was a good retort the Quaker made, "Friend! Does thee
believe thee has any brains?"
Little House in the Ozarks: The Rediscovered Writings by
Laura Ingalls Wilder

"The most salutary social institution to emerge in the
West during this period between the fall of Rome and the
pontificate of Gregory the Great was Benedictine
monasticism. This institution became the primary, if not
the sole, preserver among the barbarians of the classical
writings of antiquity. Rome employed it as its chief
agency of evangelism and instruction in the Christian faith."
History of Christianity in the Middle Ages
by William Ragsdale Cannon

Monday, September 10, 2007

Telling the story on Sharon and her baby chicks
reminded me of a baby chick story of my own.

One spring we decided to buy chicks. We bought
quite a few probably two dozen or so. If you have
never bought chicks through the mail that is an
experience in itself. They send them to you really
quick and they are all stuffed in this tiny box to
keep them warm.

We always kept our chicks in our New Room because
that was the room with a wood furnace in it. We'd
keep them in a tall box with a light bulb in it
to be sure they were warm. They are sensitive little

That year by Easter they were getting pretty big,
but not yet big enough to put out in the chicken coop.

Easter morning we left early. Our usual Easter schedule
begins with breakfast at my parent's church, then we leave
Hattie there for an egg hunt and drive to our church. My
folks drive Hattie over and drop her off during the middle
of our Sunday School. After church we go straight to
my folks for dinner and then after eating we head to the home
of a family in our church where we always have a church egg hunt.
We usually relax there for several hours and then meander home
to get ready for Monday morning.

This particular Easter Sunday, though, Kent was called out
to do some counseling and I dropped back over at my parents
before going home because they had out of town company. Part
of the company were my sister's in-laws. Judy, Becky's MIL,
wanted to see our house. She'd never had the pleasure of being
in it.

So, she and I drove the mile down the gravel and went up on the
porch and opened the door. We stepped inside and then turned
around and walked back out. I said, "Judy, I think you'll have
to see my place another time." She agreed.

The box sides and fallen down and those chicks, all of them,
had gotten out. They had been running around all day, and
they had been depositing little chicken piles all over the
house. It was incredible. Under every bed, under the furniture,
behind everything they could get behind, all over the carpet,
in every single room of the house they left their mark. It
was an amazing mess. One I hope to never face again.

None-the-less I love chickens. They are a lot of fun to have
around. I don't have any right now, but maybe someday soon
we will again...especially if egg prices continue as they
are now.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

From Little House in the Ozarks: The Rediscovered
Writings by Laura Ingalls Wilder:

As New Year after New Year comes, these waves upon
the river of life bear us farther along toward the
ocean of Eternity, either protesting the inevitable
and looking longingly back toward years that are
gone or with calmness and faith facing the future
serene in the knowledge that the power behind life's
currents is strong and good.

And thinking of these things, I have concluded that
whether it is sad to grow old depends on how we face
it, whether we are looking forward with confidence
or backward with regret.

Psalm 119:16
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I realized that I haven't really been giving a
colorful picture lately of life in Mayberry. I
thought maybe a few posts on stories of life
here would give a better perspective. First,
I offer you a story of my friend Sharon. She
and her family moved here from a city in LA some
20 years ago or so.

Sharon has always been a friendly soul and she
has many friends in the community. One particular
friend hales from a town even smaller than Mayberry.
She(the friend) is as hillbilly as you can get. I
can't remember her name (the friend) because I've
never met her, only heard about her from Sharon.
So for the sake of the story I'll call her Miss Billy.

Sharon wanted to raise chickens and she has now for
about 20 years. Towards the beginning of her fowl
career she was hatching out an incubator full of eggs.
(We've done this several times and it is great fun
and a LOT of work.)

As so often happens, this particular batch of eggs had
several chicks who ended up being splay legged. When a
chick has splayed legs they just get worse and worse
and end up hardly being able to walk.

Sharon was devastated. She loved her little fluff balls.
She needed advice. She called Miss Billy. Miss Billy had
been raised around chicks and she was a true blue country
girl, not a transplant as Sharon was. Surely she would
have some words of wisdom.

The conversation went something like this.

"Oh, Miss Billy I have such a problem," said Sharon.

"Tell me all," replies Miss Billy.

"It's my chicks. Some of them aren't doing so well."

"Go on."

With a sob in her voice, Sharon elaborates, "Some of them
are splay legged. What can I do to help them? Please
tell me what to do!."

Miss Billy has the answer. "What to do? Why pitch them
outside in the bushes, that's the only thing to be done
with a splay legged chick."

It was a rude awakening for Sharon. Miss Billy probably
does not know to this day how much she hurt the sensibilities
of my poor friend Sharon.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I'm sorry, but I just have to do one more baseball post.

This one comes straight from the first page of the
Sports section of The Mayberry Times. If you are not
a true baseball aficionado you may want to leave now,
and it will not be held against you.

Anyway, here it is.

There is a picture of two players from the Mayberry Team,
along with one of the opponents. The caption under the
picture reads as follows:

Senior B.J. plays third base for the Mayberrians on
Tuesday, Aug. 28; as Senior C.W. plays right
field during Mayberry's game against Neelyville at the
Mayberry High School Ballpark.

Only in Mayberry.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

You know your daughter has spent too much time watching
Mayberry baseball games when she suddenly takes a
batter's position and says, "Who's this?"

And you know you've watched too many when you know
immediately who she is imitating.
A blur of orange grabbed me by the hand, while I was
sitting at the computer in the office, and dragged me
out as it said, "Hurry or you'll miss it."

"What? Miss what?"

"Look," said the blur which was quickly focusing into

She pointed out the front door.

And there they were.

Cute as could be.

A family of quail tiptoeing through the front yard.

"Look at the quail, Mommy."

I was.

It was worth the dragging.
Sunday we went a visitin'. Hattie headed first to
G'ma Opal's kitchen, as she so often does. She squealed,
"Sugar cookies!"

G'ma corrected her. "No, peanut butter cookies. I got
the recipe from The Mayberry Times. Laurie, didn't you
see that recipe? They are truly the World's Easiest
Peanut Butter Cookies and they are good!"

Hattie and I had one, and G'ma is right they are yummy.

Then Hattie raided the microwave for cold biscuits. She
turned her nose up to the salmon cakes on the stove.

G'ma and I lost at High Five to Kent and Hattie, but G'ma
won in the two rounds of Polish Poker we played.

So below, straight from The Mayberry Times is the recipe
for The World's Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies.

1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter

Mix together till thick. (Will leave sides of bowl)
Roll into balls. Flatten with fork tines; bake 10
min. at 375 deg. on ungreased pan. Yummy!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

We were driving to a ballgame way down in the boot heel
of Missouri last week. Mayberry is in the Ozark foothills,
which is why we are called hillbillies, but that is
beside the point. We were headed for Steel and as I was
looking at the map I noticed that not too far away was a
town named Hornersville. That struck a chord with me.

"Who was just talking to me about Hornersville?" I asked
Kent. "Don't know," was his reply, "it wasn't me."

Finally I remembered; G'ma Opal had told me a story about
Hornersville just a few days earlier.

About 74 years ago, when my Dad was three and his brother
Billy was a crawling baby, G'ma and her husband, and the
kids, joined with several of Grandpa's family to go pick
cotton in Hornersville.

They were given an 100 acre field to pick. There were 16
people in all, counting the children. They set up a big,
open-sided tent next to the field and they all slept under
the tent. All the adults, except for G'ma Opal, picked
cotton by day. She was the designated cook.

She cooked on a little wood heated stove that they sat
outside the tent. The oven in the stove didn't work, so
everything made had to be cooked on top of the stove.

They didn't have much in the way of money, and they couldn't
get to a store easily so their fare was limited indeed. They
went through 25 pounds of flour every two days, and G'ma said
she peeled and sliced two 2 and 1/2 gallon buckets full of
potatoes daily.

Fried bread and fried potatoes with water gravy were the eatin's.
There was the occasional loaf of bologna that someone would go
pick up at the grocers.

The adults could mostly pick 300 pounds of cotton a day per
person and they were paid 50 cents for every 100 pounds. It
took three weeks to pick the field clean.

It was a hard way to make a living, but they were glad for the

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Life in Mayberry has been busy, but not too busy for
me to notice the incredible moonrise last night, nor
the glittering star studded sky tonight. If I had
to ever actually more into town I would miss my
night sky terrible much.

Four ballgames in one week and especially with three
of them being away games, makes for a lot of driving
time. When you live in small town America you
sometimes have to drive 2 hours to get to a ballgame.
If we had won some of the games 't'would have been more
palatable. Actually I make it sound worse than it is.
I love going to watch my kids play ball; win or lose
it is fun, but I do not deny that it is MORE fun to win.
Oh well, we won all three games the week before.

Billy left for the Big City and the University this
week. He wasn't gone long though. There were only
two days of class and so he found his way back home
for a nice, long, leisurely weekend. He had a rather
interesting experience today. He took some friends
out on the river and then the friends had to leave
early so he was puttering up and down in the boat
by himself. As he was motoring under the bridge,
(those of you familiar with Mayberry will know exactly
where this happened) a man asked him how much he would
charge for a boat ride. The fellow said neither he
nor his children had ever been for a boat ride. So
Bill had them all pile in and gave the man, his wife,
and their four children a ride up and then back down
the river. Of course he didn't charge them anything,
but he did invite them to church.

Today was parade day in Mayberry. It is so fun to
see people you know on nearly every float or in every
group going by. It was a perfectly lovely day and
the parade was one of the best I can remember. Hattie
collected a LOT of candy...enough to nearly fill a
gallon pickle jar that is home to whatever candy she
gets from various events.

When we first sat down I looked across the street and
saw my cousin Stacy and her crew sitting there ready
for the fun.

Hattie and her friend waiting for the parade to start.

In the midst of it.