Just rambling thoughts about anything that happens to be on my mind and that usually isn't much!
This blog best viewed with IE4 or greater and tongue in cheek

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Debt of Gratitude

A few years ago, a retired preacher from a nearby town was to hold our morning and evening services while our own preacher left for a family gathering on Memorial Day weekend.  The Warden, known for her hospitality, invited this elderly preacher and his wife to dinner and to spend the afternoon with us while awaiting his second service. 

After dinner, he and I moved to the recliners of the living room while his wife and the Warden cleared the table.  Because of the great age difference, we were having somewhat of a difficult time with conversation topics, so I flipped on the History Channel and turned the volume down real low.  I was previously aware that the History Channel was going to air a Memorial Day Special on WWII all afternoon and I had planned on watching it.  I thought perhaps it might also be a conversation starter for us ..... I had no idea just how correct that would be.

As his wife and the Warden joined us, the segment just starting on the History Channel was the landing at Normandy.  I mentioned my admiration for those soldiers who climbed off the LCMs facing insurmountable odds.

"They expected a 70 percent causality rate," was his mater-of-fact reply, "or at least that is what they told us."

"Us?" I repeated as I turned the volume completely down.

"I landed with the second wave at Utah."

He seemed willing to talk so I turned off the TV and listened all afternoon to his first hand account of the invasion of Normandy, the liberation of France and ultimately Europe.  He told of his part in the Battle of the Bulge as a foot soldier under Patton.  With tears forming in his eyes, some of the carnage of two concentration camps in Austria.  The afternoon was over much to soon and my history lesson ended.  As we got up to leave, his wife of well over 50 years stated she had heard more that afternoon of his WWII experience than in all the 50 plus years of their marriage combined. 

"He just never talks about it." she explained. 

I have noticed that too, most veterans know we ... those of us who have never served in that manner .... won't completely understand.

And that is what this short blog is about ... an attempt to thank those "common people" who has kept this nation free ... the school bus driver who fought at Anzio ... the school teacher who as a marine landed on islands in the south Pacific ... the banker who flew spotter planes in Viet Nam ..... the college professor who fought in Korea ... the farmer who as a medic rode helicopters under fire into the rice paddies of Viet Nam to retrieve wounded soldiers ..... the rancher who laughs as he recounts some funny happening in the jungles, then cries when he recalls a buddy's name ... the list goes on from history ... and the list continues to grow with Iraqi Freedom.

Again, I thank you for your service.


Monday, May 19, 2008

If I knew then, what I now know .....

Thirty-six years ago, when we started out,
I had no idea, what marriage was about!
It sounded easy, simply give and take,
Decisions would be fluent, effortless to make.
After all, I was the man of the house,
All she had to do, was listen to her spouse.
But all that thinking was about to falter,
As we exchanged rings there before the altar.
I soon learned, that it takes two,
If you take that pledge and say "I do."
Now take a bed, with his and her side,
Who cares if mine is only a third as wide.
The closet is filled with blouses and skirts,
With barely enough room for a couple of my shirts.
Then I lay down the law and got that look,
I knew for sure, my goose was gonna cook.
So we came to an understanding way back then,
I make the decisions, she says when.
If I had known then, what I now know,
I wouldn't change a thing, I'd let it be so.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Mt 6:28b See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
Mt 6:29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these

When I was a child, my mother taught me to love wildflowers.  She taught me to look closely at the intricate detail God puts in each one.  Some He puts in clusters; others He keeps single; some in radiant color.  So yesterday, with the sun bright and warm, I had to stop along a gravel road and admire God's handiwork.

The prairie was awash in color.
But to really enjoy God's handiwork, one needs to be on his knees. 
A place I, and perhaps others, need to spend more time.









I hope my children learned the same from me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Seeing the unseen

There's a good uplifting book by Joe Beam about spiritual warfare by the same name as this blog.  Don't confuse this blog with that uplifting book ...... this blog's about getting older and weakening eyes ... and seeing what you thought you seen!!!   If you're over 50 you know what I mean about the eyes ... the print gets a little smaller ... the bifocals a little thicker and you now own 4 or 5 handheld magnifying glasses..... but let me explain the rest. 
The other day, the Warden ask me to mow the yard while she went to do the grocery shopping.   Well while as I was tinkering on the mower, I got a small sliver of steel in my index finger.  Now admitedly we're not talking 911 / EMS emergency here ... but it was so positioned that everything I touched wiggled that little sliver and was kind of like touching a small electrical current.  Now out in the bright sunlight I could barely see it just under the skin and nothing I was doing seemed to remove the barb.  So after fiddling with it for the better part of an hour, I headed to the house to retrieve a needle.
There's two places it's hard to find a needle; in a haystack and in the Wardens sewing box!!  There's everything in the world there except needles!  Clasps, buttons, spools of thread, snaps, safety pins etc.  Finally, giving up on finding a needle, I took one of the safety pins and with a pair of pliers designed me a pointed object!  Back to the front porch and direct sunlight I started trying to pry the irritating barb from under the skin.
Well it seemed all I was getting done was torturing myself by wiggling it because I really couldn't see the protruding end of the sliver good enough to get hold of it.  What I needed was a magnifying glass.  So back in the house I went to get one of those.  Now comes the fun part ... trying to hold the magnifying glass and needle (pointed object in my case) ... in my left hand while working on the right.  I am not ambidextrous
My neighbor Susie had been working in her flower gardens all afternoon while I was fidgeting with my minor yet irritating problem..... and perhaps she had heard a word or two of frustration.  Susie is a very attractive young mother of two and I had been reprimanded a couple times by the Warden for spending a little too much time being neighborly.  But anyway, she called out and inquired as to what I was doing.
I walked across the street, finger extended verifying my minor injury.  I explained how I was having problems getting the sliver out.  Susie took one look (without the magnifying glass) and said she had a needle (she scoffed at my pointed object) and a pair of tweezers.  So I followed her into her living room where she extracted the irritating barb in a matter of seconds.  I thanked her and headed out the door to get started mowing.
Well just as I was coming out the door, the Warden drove by returning from getting groceries.  I followed her into the garage so I could help her unload her groceries.  I was reaching to get the first bag of groceries as she stood arms folded just looking at me, eyes first looking at me then across the street.  So I explained how Susie had helped get the sliver from my finger.
"That took all afternoon?' she asked pointing at the unmowed front yard.
I don't know which is worse .... having to wear bifocals or seeing what you thought you saw.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Now back in biblical times dreams meant something.  Some were like visions of the future.  You remember Joseph's dream provoked so much jealousy that his brothers sold him into slavery.  Then from there his ability at interpreting dreams helped him rise to be second in power only to the Pharaoh.  Then there was Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar.  Daniel was able to interpret his dream and also rose in standing in Babylon.
Sometimes dreams are influenced by things on our minds, things that happened that day or some sort of stress we are undergoing in our lives.  Well I need a modern day Joseph or Daniel to do a little interpreting ..... or maybe a hidden camera to gather evidence!
Now I'll admit, over the years I've done some strange things in my sleep.  Back in the early married days, I was having a tremendous problem with a co-worker.  So bad was the problem that one night I dreamed I caught him by the cuff of the neck and drawed back to give him a pop.  I probably would have popped him good if my new wed had not screamed out in time because it was the cuff of her cotton night shirt I had hold of.
And there was the time a few years later that I dreamed I needed to go check the heifers I had penned that might be calving.  I couldn't find the keys to the pickup in my pocket.   The Warden woke me at the backdoor; clad in boots, hat and underwear; searching in my non-existent pockets for the keys.
Then night before last I dreamed I was eating supper and watching AFV on TV when my glass of tea tipped to fall over the edge of the table.  With my lightening fast reflexes I reached to grab the glass and was awaken with a very audible "ooof!"
As I blinked my eyes trying to get my bearings, I saw the Warden sitting up in bed.   "What was that for?" she demanded.
"What was what for?" I asked still trying to figure out where I was.
"Hitting me in the ribs like that!" she replied.
"I reached out to grab a glass that was falling off the table" I explained.
"What glass!  What table!"  She was a little irritated to say the least.
"In my dream" I continued with my explanation.
"Yeah.  Right!"  She didn't seem to accept my answer.
"Com'on.  You can't blame someone for a dream can you?" I replied to her disbelieving attitude.  With that I rolled over and tried to catch up on my unfinished night's sleep.
Well now the blog should stop here ... but it doesn't.  Last night, my wonderful nights sleep was interrupted when I was slammed in the face by a book.  Before I could realize I was under attack, I was accosted again.  I throwed up my hand and barely deflected a third blow.
"Hey!  What's going on?"  I asked in a not to low voice.
"I dreamed there was a spider on your pillow and I was trying to get it!" she explained.  And before I even questioned her motive she continued, "You can't blame someone for their dreams can you?"  And with that she set the book down on the night table and turned off the light.
My question is .... why was the light on if she was asleep?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Working calves

In times past, several people have encouraged me to write about some of the "characters" I meet on a daily basis.  A week or so ago as I went to coffee on a Saturday morning there were pickups and trailers setting outside with horses loaded.  It was evident that some one was going to work calves.  So I ask if I might come along to take a few pictures.  (I sure didn't want to help!!)  
The crew that was gathering there at morning coffee were 3 area ranchers and sons and I thought that maybe I could get the perfect father/son picture.  The pictures I got were "OK" but the brims of hats and bills on caps prevented the perfect ones.  But I would like to share a few of these with you in this blog.
These first pictures are of JD (whose cattle they were working) and his oldest son.  JD's ranch is just on the south side of Cambridge and is picturesque in it's setting.  His son Russ is the perfect example of my definition of cowboy in a former blog.  Russ chose engineering as a profession and works for a firm in Wichita but is here often working cattle with his dad and other area ranchers.  Russ grew up hanging on the side of a DewEze hay monster as his dad hauled hay all along the Grouse Creek valley.  This was well before the time that child restraints were mandatory in a moving vehicle.  I am sure than in today's world, JD would be arrested for child endangerment.   But anyone who knows Russ, knows he grew up right.
The next pictures are of Neil and his son Jared.  Neil was a young man, perhaps no older than Jared now, when I first came to Cambridge.  At that time his primary ranching duties were as a working cowboy for a cattleman just north of town.  Clay J said of him "he's a good hand", which is a title not easily bestowed upon the young.  But through hard work and desire for the profession, Neil has earned his own right as an area rancher.  Jared follows close in his father's example.  Jared is one of the first names mentioned anytime there is something ready to happen from gathering cattle to building fence.  And this is not because he's Neil's son, it's because Jared is a "good hand".
The next pictures are of Mark and his son Wyatt.  Mark, like myself, is a transplant to this area.  Not long after arriving he married a local girl. Now many of the older area women at the time said "she could've done better" but time, Mark's hard working ethic and sense of humor has won them over.   Wyatt, like his dad, showed the willingness to work where ever needed and was given some time to learn in several areas from "tail-gunner" to chute operator.
Now one thing about being the youngest on the crew, you've got to be ready for advice, whether from grandpa

or jokingly from a fellow cowboy.

And advice from an elder and valued friend should always be a welcomed influence, whether your talking about the cattle industry....

or just advice about dating "girls".

And last but not least, I caught this picture of Mark standing as if he is some gunslinger ready to draw down on an hombre on some dusty street of the old west.  But seeing as how he isn't wearing a pistol, but rather carrying a donut .... we had to title it .. "the fastest donut eater in the west".