Home

I’ll tell Girly-girl my goofs. There are many reasons but most aren’t of import now. Sitting on the porch listening to a dog snore while I wait for her to finish bathing, one example and the reason I shared do matter.

Gave her a phone to use last year. That thing gathered much dust until it became useful this year. With the increase in calls it was easy to decide to put it on speed dial and so I did. The number was nothing more than the old home line ported over. So, “Home” was added. My addled brain clicked on something the other day. Her mother was typically home! So, “Home” was my first speed dial 25 years ago! Through all those years it was always there and it was always my first call and and my most important call. I had added it again. Silly Daddy….. She needed another chance to see me both fail and see me smile. She got it.

After the laughter stopped she asked if I had saved it as one of her many endearing nicknames. “No” “Why not?” I smiled as I remembered why then we shared yet another hug and I told her. “We live in a house but this is our home. Home is us together regardless of the seperation or location. Calling either way brings us together so that call is Home.”

This story has a purpose. I kid a lot. To each his own I suppose. I have mentioned her here from time to time but I have been remiss on a point. Watching her rapid development even this week drove it home to me and so I’m taking a mom to share with you. She truly is a wonderful young person, a person who continually impresses me. I am her father but my (admittedly high) standards of conduct are applied to everyone equally. She has earned the respect and praise I give her. In life, she knows this. I should have said it here sooner lest anyone doubt. I’ll never know what I did to deserve her but I’ll always be grateful that I have her in my house and as my Home.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Knot-ical humor

Wouldn’t typically look at a ladies chest but today saw an exception. Chest isn’t something we will discuss but the covering will be covered. Upon seeing it I thought of a certain gathering of mice that watch from the corners of my world. Were it feasible, I would put a stack of them here and let you each get one in your size. Now, I would like to believe it obvious that I most certainly did not take a picture of her chest. That knowledge means that I will describe it to the best of my ability and hope that suffices.

The shirt had name and logo for a marina renting sail boats on it. The back had about a dozen (primarily) nautical/sailing knots pictured and named. The caption across the top read “I can knot wait for the fun to begin!”

Yes, that got a smile out of me and yes, I thought of other applications for that tagline.

 

 

Finally, Part 3

Well, I think we will finish here but life might get in the way or WP might randomly decide to publish at any given moment. Only way to know is to try. If all goes well I will use my earlier observation about the different physique common in prior generations of Americans, how work played into it and attendance at a funeral as the ingredients for the story I came to tell. I will have succeeded if the original title suddenly makes sense. We shall see.

Listened to a lot of younger attendees have an opinion about the heat and humidity at the funeral. Those in their 90’s seemed to fair much better. This was much in line with the crowd of their peers that appeared unphased by an event held on a warm summer day at river’s edge so many years ago. Looking around at the muscular young men I had to wonder if building big biceps and a big gut would have made one popular 70 years ago. The observation reminded me of a conversation earlier in the week about someone going to a weight room. During it I had heard the words of wisdom from an older man who is now well into his 90’s. Sort of ironic but the cumulatively events is genesis for the post.

Liked that guy then and like him now. Twenty posts wouldn’t cover half the stories but a couple will help. Let’s see here….

I worked for him a lot when I was young. Helped with anything and everything. He trusted me to get it done and I made sure to earn that trust. Simply knowing his wife was motivation by itself .

I’d get there to start the evening’s work after school. A lot of it involved hay or cows and there was almost always various equipment involved. Typically he was two hours or so behind me in getting there. I would have everything needed for the day fueled, greased, hooked up, loaded up or whatever needed be done so that we could be ready to go. This all took place only after she was satisfied that I had eaten enough AND I had checked my thermos of homemade lemonade and declared it good. He always got the same and he always made sure she had a hug and his big grin. Then, and only then, we went.

Oftentimes we went out to deliver straw to work sites in the region. He was a construction supervisor and he provided the straw for the new yards. Those days saw me load/fuel two trucks of straw bales. Soon as he was ready we hit the road. Once there we unloaded and headed home. No big deal right? Wrong. Did I mention these were Chevy’s? Yeah…. Wonderful 350s but not much else worth mentioning. The lack of reliability beyond that engine made his trucks oddballs as work trucks and they lived up to their reputation. They were fueled because the gas guage worked, sometimes. The heater fan worked, sometimes. The headlights worked, sometimes. I had never dealt with equipment that functioned that way so it was interesting. We rushed so we could get home while at least one truck had lights. Now begins the fun…

A lot of the roads were gravel back then. These trucks were 2wd long beds with 350s and a “three on the tree”. He flat told me that we were getting caught by daylight because I was too careful with his trucks. For such a calm, gentle, wise man the lessons that followed were unexpected. Remember Uncle Jessie in the Dukes of Hazard? Yep, it was game on! Slow and easy up the road loaded, flat out coming back. Drifting curves at 60mph in a pickup with no lights right at dusk, sure! They wouldn’t have left it gravel if they wanted you to go straight would they? Lights go out? IF the other truck had lights then it took the lead and you go faster. Pavement? Well, the tires back then got squirrely around a hundred. Yep, we started getting back earlier. BUT, turning on the farm road you had better slow down lest you tear up the road.

We had a huge football team in school. That too is another story but for a point. We got up thousands of bales. Spent a lot of moonlit nights getting up hay most of the night. We were often alone doing it. Them big strong fellows were always getting a job helping him. Coach was the one who sent them most of the time. They tickled the gentleman to no end. He assumed that if the bales were under a hundred pounds, or if your fingers slid under the string, that the baler “needed tightening”. These fine specimens turned into the twenty-somethings I saw today BUT, first he had to have his fun.

Lifting weights and such is about repetition. Three sets of six is cute. Matter of fact, I know that 3×6=18. Quaint I suppose. They came out strutting and flexing. The bales were heavier than they looked but they did ok, well, ok for the first 10-15 bales. 15-30 they were slowing. Normally they had cramps around the 75 mark. “Come on guys, we’ve only got 1,500 left!” Most of them walked away by the hundred bale mark and we got up hay at night again.

See, his comment always stuck with me. He called it “weight room muscle” and observed that “weight-ing room” was more fitting because a boy wouldn’t become a man via the path they picked yet they went to prove manhood. Smart guy indeed. By the way, he was three times their age plus some and rail thin. Me? They typically had me by at least a hundred pounds of “muscle”. Yet we got up the bales they couldn’t.

Thought about these things as I looked at those around me and listened the comments. Had a quiet smile as some of those old folks caught my eye and grinned. Know them and they know me and, together, we figured the “weight-ing room” looked about full.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight-ing Room Pt. 2

“Smoke if ya’ got’em!”

Breaktime I suppose. Currently right about 90 outside and 75% humidity. Five and a half hours down and ten to go. They say it will warm up this afternoon but I’ve worked in a lot worse so meh, whatever. Figured this bit of shade was a good time to share another memory. This one started with a picture in the paper and grew as the morning was warming up. Talking with multiple folks well into their 90’s finally brought it to fruition.

The image was of a summer event in the ’40s. The crowd was a mixture of folks taking in a celebration. There were farmers, factory workers and pretty much anyone else the area had to offer all milling about. The photo was taken before the “fat gene” popped up in the population. Of the 150-200 folks that could be made out there was only one exception. In the foreground stood a grandmotherly type that was probably 25 pounds over an “ideal” weight. The rest were at it and most were well under it. The average guy in the picture was close to 6′ and weighed in the 150-160 range. The ladies trended low to mid-5′ and 100-130. Useful observation that tied into later thoughts nicely.

Those folks worked. Hard. They had no A/C which is why they were congregating around a river on a hot summer day. Most of their food came from their property. They had not discovered the junk we currently call food and they had not been blessed with a million luxuries that allowed the idle that has become our normal. Their wiry muscles, tan arms and loose posture bore testament to life before “big-boned” and being “comfortable” with yourself.

(WP just decided to publish what I was typing. Again. Grrr…. looks like this will become multiple parts. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

This is another of those “old” things I have mentioned. The folks I stood with this morning watched as another of their ranks was laid to rest. The preacher said the departed hated folks droning on at funerals. He had told the preacher to keep it short and sweet and the preacher (against his normal grain) promised to honor that. Given that promise, and that it was graveside, he said he was going the short route in the interest of all the older folks standing in the heat.

The preacher did the best he could. He wasn’t more than an hour or so into his “few minutes, no more than ten” when he wound it up. Lot of hurting folks in the crowd. Younger they were, worse they looked. A 96yo lady stood beside a 25yo. The 25yo was dying while the other didn’t bat an eye. But those old folks could have been (and may have been) in that photo couldn’t they. Oddly, despite their age, they were better equipped to handle the day.

Now, need to get going. Shall label this second working Pt. 2 and endeavor to do Pt. 3 later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever?

Ever want to want to watch a group of guys doing something they obviously love?

Ever want to watch a room full of memories being made?

Ever wish to be a fly on the wall so as to enjoy the laughter?

A discovery brought a memory and thought it as good a time as ever to share a smile.

You & Me video

 

 

 

 

Cool off time

Yep, that’s where I’m at. Just sitting here all alone. Poor ol’ wretched me. Decided to ease up a bit for the afternoon. Celebrated the decision by working inside instead. Did some of this and a little of that before I got on to cutting up another pot of June apples. Got them done and going. Know one buddy likes a bit of sugar in his to cut the tang so I added maybe half a spoon. All cooked up so now I wait.

They will have cooled off later on. That’s where the real suffering comes in. Have to shovel them into a bowel to finish cooling while I clean the pot. The miserable part is licking the spoon clean after each scoop. Wouldn’t want to use a dirty spoon now would you? Scoop, dump, lick, repeat…. It will be a rough evening. Had something relevant to share so I swung back by here while they cool.

An interesting comment led me to ask around about June apples. Basically it seems that most farm kids over about 70 remember June apples. I’ve asked a few about fried apples. Each smiles and tells me about grandparents who had this unique apple tree that came in about this time. Each has regaled me with stories of how good those apples were and how the special tree was called a June apple. Hmmmm…, this is fun indeed. It’s nice to watch them smile and think back to their youth. Each has spoken of not having these in decades and wished they has some.

A useful disclosure is that I don’t run around talking about apples all the time. That means that they are surprised to find out that the apples are both available and in season. Plans are often laid immediately to procure some and surprise their grandkids! All of this has added to my knowledge, given me a chance to give someone else a smile and built new memories for another generation. The beauty something so simple helping all involved makes me happy.

Don’t worry, the curmudgeon shall be back soon. Those apples are about cool and licking that spoon clean is enough to make feel all unhappy. Poor, poor me…..

 

 

 

 

 

Past Tense (2.0)

A lot of our action and thought are based on our perception of tense. Seems silly but there is a difference between things you believe that you needed yesterday, things you believe you need today and things you believe you may need tomorrow. The silly now becomes the obvious doesn’t it. Yet this obvious combines with human failings to produce moments where the most recognizable things slip by in plain sight and we miss them.

Came home yesterday with past tense on my mind. Saw a decent fellow earlier and it was, as always, in passing. Can’t really claim to know him beyond recognition on sight. Seeing him always gives me a slight pause. Each time there is a moment in which I mistake him for someone else. That someone else was a good person but he is now past tense. Shame. Oh well, time for lunch.

As I ate, I read. (And this is where life interrupted. Stopped typing to help someone in need. Ten hours later I went to bed with this incomplete. Oh well, it was a good day and today I’m back. So, let’s see if I can finish my thought before the corn cooks or life realizes I’m goofing off!) What I read then made me think again of my chance encounter with said stranger. It was a good read just as the gentleman remembered was a good guy.

The piece was dated. It was a well written op-ed from the Sunday before Memorial Day. The same paper had an article recalling Decoration Day and it’s evolution into our current long weekend of trips, picnics and sales. Basically it was a chance for at least a few to ponder the current condition of blessed ignorance. They have always lived in present tense but were astute enough to ponder past tense. Shame more don’t.

(Ahhhh, for those reading this, if this is the end, please check back later. Good ol’WP decided to publish what was written to point. I will publish again with this addendum then complete my thoughts. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

As I was….(ironic)

There was a time when it was indeed a very somber day. Through numerous large scale conflicts most families had lost quite a few of their kinfolk. The graves were oftentimes on family property. It was a day for cleaning and clearing around the memory of these fallen loved ones. Stories of lives lost were shared and flowers were left behind. Many could recall the fates of loved ones lost going back generations. What started as a day to come together and perform humble, reverent service changed as the world around it grew.

Kids no longer held close to hearth and home. They began to move out of rural areas and into ever growing numbers of subdivisions. It was a good life but those family cemeteries didn’t get to make the move. Without weeds to pull and flowers to lay the stories were lost along with their significance. Before long one became the past and we were living in a very different present. The memory of the price paid for us to get a day off was reduced to a random “Don’t forget…” here and there. Shockingly few even realize that Memorial Day is for the fallen. (Not sure if that is a sign of anything greater than our ever deteriorating public education system however.)

This all crossed over my day from the combination of that twinge of recognition and the article. That fellow reminds me of a good guy I saw die. Nothing particularly unique there as I saw quite a few go. This stands out because his visage is a living reminder. No surprise that I find Memorial Day somber. No interest in parties, pools or a cookout. It is an annual reminder of how lucky I am and how lucky I was. I’m blessed to know the frailty of my freedom and what maintaining that precarious state cost. A part of me sees it as sad that so few understand but another part of me sees the blissful ignorance all around as further proof of a job well done.

Anywho, prattling on about me again and that’s a bad habit. What about you? Did you have a pleasant Memorial Day?