As a certified country curmudgeon, it's been said that I have an opinion on everything and a story for every occasion. Other folks just say that I'm a windbag. I, on the other hand, consider myself a purveyor of nostalgia, humor and social commentary from the country perspective. I also occasionally link to posts dealing with current events, politics, religion, prepping, history and homesteading. Please be aware that all entries are copyrighted and may not be used without permission.
COMMENTS from anyone are very WELCOME, pro or con, as long as they aren't needlessly disrespectful. Any comments deleted after posting have merely been removed for privacy reasons.
Many names or place names used in stories will be changed to protect the privacy of myself and others.
Suppose that every
day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100...
If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes,
it would go something like this... The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing. The fifth would pay $1. The sixth would pay $3. The seventh would pay $7.. The eighth would pay $12. The ninth would pay $18. The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59. So, that's what they decided to do..
The ten men drank in the bar
every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner
threw them a curve ball. "Since you are all such good customers," he
said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20".
Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the new
first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about
the other six men ? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone
would get his fair share?
They realized that $20 divided
by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the
fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.
So, the bar owner suggested
that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by a higher percentage the
poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using,
and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.
And so the fifth
man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).
Each of the six was
better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But,
once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.
"I only got a
dollar out of the $20 saving," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the
tenth man,"but he got $10!"
right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar too.
It's unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!"
true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back, when I
got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"
minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "we didn't get
anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!"
The nine men
surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the
tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine satdown and had their beers
without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something
important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of
And that, boys and
girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The
people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit
from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and
they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas,
where the atmosphere is somewhat
David R. Kamerschen,
Professor of Economics.
For those who
understand, no explanation is needed.
- No president-elect in history, with the possible exception of Lincoln, has endured such mistreatment by the opposition. The republicans, for all their many sins, would NEVER have behaved in the despicable manner in which the democrats are are behaving. By and large, the republicans are ladies and gentlemen. The democrats, during and after this election, have shown themselves to be as bad a bunch of hell-bound heathens as the muslim they previously put in the White House and his ISIS brothers. (Just for the record, I'm NEITHER a republican or democrat.) -
In “It Can’t Happen Here,” Sinclair Lewis said, “Every
man is a king who has someone to look down upon.” Sadly, ALL of us have been in
that position on occasion; but SOME folks tend to live there. Today, as I was
reading in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “An inland Voyage,” I came across a perfect
example. Stevenson was a Scot, but reading his words, you’d sometimes think that
he claimed to be pure English. For instance, consider the following:
“Independent America is still the cross of my
existence; I cannot think of Farmer George without abhorrence; and I never feel
more warmly toward my own land than when I see the stars and stripes, and
remember what our empire might have been.” Only a couple pages further on, he
uses the term “dastardly Yankee.”
Now, at the time, Stevenson was a wise old agnostic of
28 years. Had he actually known anything about George Washington, he would have
realized that he would do nothing in his entire lifetime that would come even
close to making him the man of Christianity, courage and honor possessed by
Washington. But, ignorance is bliss, as they say, so Stevenson happy spoke
disrespectfully of one of the noblest men of the eighteenth century. After all,
Washington was just a dastardly Yankee. Of course those dastardly Yankees had
already kicked Britain’s backside twice* before Stevenson was born, and would
SAVE Britain’s backside twice within a half century of his death. Perhaps he
never even knew that the colonies didn’t WANT war with Britain, but simply grew
tired of being abused as English citizens.
Another interesting reference was the one to “empire.”
I’ve always said that the purpose of an empire is to conquer every nation
possible so that the conquering nation may rob the others blind. (An example is
India, the richest nation on earth before the Brits conquered it, but the
absolute poorest after they stole everything of value and left.) Furthermore,
the way to become such a power is to be the most evil, cruel, greedy and
dishonorable nation in current existence. If you look at every empire since the
beginning of time, you’ll find that to be true, with maybe some slight
allowance made for the Greeks and the French. Naturally, the greater the
empire, the more evil it is. Not coincidentally, the British Empire was the
largest in history, yet Stevenson apparently thought it was wonderful and that,
indeed, it should have been even greater, except for those dastardly Yankees! –
I have to laugh here, because it was only because he considered it HIS empire
that made it wonderful. Had it belonged to some other nation, I’m sure it would
have been a most immoral state of affairs in his young mind.
*I believe that to be due solely to the grace of
God, who apparently desired our nation to come into existence. Nothing else
would explain some of the strange turns and twists of “fate” that allowed our
..."Lee. Mc." at Parkersburg, West Virginia, sent this card to my granddad, working at Giffithsville, WV. This would have been about a year before Granddad and Grandma got married,but I have no idea if this card is from a male or female. As with most historic sites in Parkersburg, this building was torn down to make a parking lot.
The missus hadn’t even gone outside of the house
yesterday. I only went out to let the dog drain and dump and to check the mail.
Today, she’d “had all she could stands and she couldn’t stands no more,” so we
went out a while, got some gas we couldn’t afford and then proceeded to burn
some of it. One place she wanted to go was the Kmart on the far side of town.
She used to frequent the place with her deceased first husband (with whom I’ve
been VERY unfavorably compared for nigh onto 34 years). She often had me take her
there when we first married; old habits die hard I guess. We gradually shifted
to Walmart, though and rarely went to Kmart anymore, especially that store, as it
just wasn’t in our loop of normal travel.
As I dropped her off at the door today, she remarked
that she used to take her mother there often. There were tears in her eyes as
she said it. Despite her mother using her as a personal slave when she was a
kid, she somehow managed to have a fairly close relationship with her. Her Mom
has been gone for several years now, though.
A video on Facebook of a silly woman on ice wearing
platform shoes reminded me of something I saw long ago at our local mall. All
the old men were sitting on their benches, waiting for their wives, when a
young woman in shoes like those in the video, a short, tight, low-cut dress
dress, big handbag and made up like a billboard for Sherwin-Williams came
strutting, swinging and swaying out of a store. As she strutted up the mall,
though, she fell OFF of her shoes and went to the floor. She got back upright with
some effort and no obvious broken bones (can't say about her nails or her
pride) and walked off with a little less swing and sway. You could hear every
old man in seeing distance of the exhibition trying to restrain their chuckles.
Mom's friend, Tekla Jo, sent her this card in April of that year, so the photo would actually have been from the year before, or earlier. Most of you will be more familiar with the view across the creek:
The first photo is looking downstream on the New River from the park overlook at "lover's leap." The second is looking upstream from the same location. I've been there many times. Hank William's song, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," was written after a sleepless night in the area and hearing the old steam train blowing its whistle as it traveled the gorge. Also, there was a union cannon at this location during the Uncivil War, to keep Confederates from using the river.
This photo is of a young lady named Grace Boone (left) and my paternal grandmother, taken at Red Hill United Brethren Church near Parkersburg, West Virginia. The church looks very different these days. You'll notice that there was a lot of movement in the background. When they lived on a hill across Worthington Creek, my great aunt (grandma's sister) said that you could see lanterns glowing in the darkness as people walked cross-country through their neighbor's farms to attend evening service.
- ☘（1）Let’s say it’s 8.15pm and you’re going home (alone of course) after an unusually hard day on the job.
☘（2）You’re really tired, upset and frustrated.
☘（3）Suddenly you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to drag out into your arm and up in to your jaw. You are only about five km from the hospital nearest your home.
☘（4）Unfortunately you don’t know if you’ll be able to make it that far.
☘（5）You have been trained in CPR, but the guy that taught the course did not tell you how to perform it on yourself.
☘（6）HOW TO SURVIVE A HEART ATTACK WHEN ALONE? Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack without help, the person whose heart is beating improperly and who begins to feel faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness.
☘（7）However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest.
A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let-up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again.
☘（8）Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a hospital.
☘（9）Tell as many other people as possible about this. It could save their lives!!
☘（10）A cardiologist says If everyone who gets this mail kindly sends it to 10 people, you can bet that we’ll save at least one life.
☘（11）Rather than sending jokes, please..contribute by forwarding this mail which can save a person’s life….
☘（12）If this message comes around you ……more than once…..please don’t get irritated……U need to be happy that you have many friends who care about you & being reminded of how to tackle….Heart attacks….AGAIN…
My wife and I both grew up without running water in our
country homes. There was always natural gas and electric in ours, though,
despite our main heat being a wood stove. Her neighborhood, however, never got electric
until she was about twelve years old, and didn’t get gas until she was in her
late teens. City water didn’t come through until she returned to that property
in the early 1970’s. You’d think, then, that she would handle power outages
with patience and calmness. Not so. Apparently, she always slept in the dark
until her first husband died. Afterward, she always had to have some lights on
at night, and still does to this day. Interestingly enough, she’s
unintentionally taught the Mighty Dachshund to be likewise.
And so, yesterday evening, when our power went out
during a windstorm, she loudly said “Oh No!” and the dog started whining in the
darkness. Reaching down beside me, I grasped my flashlight, turned it on and
illuminated my wife’s side of the room until she got out one of her battery
powered lanterns. She put another one in the bathroom and a third in the dining-room/
kitchen area, so the whole downstairs was lit to some degree. I guess her logic
is why run down ONE set of batteries, when you can run down THREE sets.
After calling the power company and reporting the outage
on their handy-dandy machine that had great difficulty differentiating between
the word “yes” and the word “no,” I returned to the TV room, thinking we might
just talk and pass the time until we either went to bed, or the power came back
on. I could soon tell that idea wasn’t going to pan out. And so, despite having
already taken her on a drive to combat cabin fever earlier in the day, I
offered to take her and the pooch on another swing through the Great Gaudy Way
(town). Both she and the pooch were ecstatic at the thought. We managed to kill
a couple hours, but the house was still dark on our return, so we went back out
the road to check on the downed lines (as we had when we first left) and they
looked about back to normal. Only 15 minutes after we walked into the house,
the lights came back on. Even today, though, I had to “get them out of the
house” a while.
The missus took a little walk in the mall, so I
managed to use some of the time to dig up three poke roots to put in my “garden.”
I might have dug more, but “the rains came.” Next, the other half wanted to go
to the big craft store a ways down the road, so I took her. I could have dug a
few wild Jerusalem artichoke tubers for my garden there, but the rain remained heavier
than I wanted to endure, so I settled for letting the pooch pee. After one more
stop, we came home.
Yes, my friends, there really IS a place called Pee Wee, West Virginia. It lies on what I believe is called Garfield Road, part of which runs along Right Reedy Creek and between Routes 21 and 14. I used to deliver Red Rose Feed to Sim(m?)'s Store, back in the late 1970's. "Downtown" Pee Wee then consisted of their tiny postage stamp store, and their home across the road. About a mile east, lay the farm where my mom lived with her family a couple years during and just after WW II. Their house is in the right edge of the photo. The little house and garage at left belonged to a fellow named Brooks Minear. The small barn in the middle is his, too. He had a pile of sandstone rocks in his front yard that he'd painted sort an orangish-yellow that he told folks was gold. He WAS supposed to be a trifle odd, but I suspect he enjoyed tweaking his "reputation." I wish I had a better picture of the house Mom lived in, but I believe this is the only one. It was still standing the last time I was through 20 years or so ago, as was their barn across the road, which, obviously, doesn't show in the photo. The place looked rather ill-kept at the time, though.
My wife left the sound up on the TV when she went to work in the kitchen. As a result, I've been subjected to the BS of the speakers in congress comment on Jeff Session. Naturally the republicans are glowing and the democrats are growling. Amazingly, though, the dems can't stop there. They seem very willing to stand there before America and Almighty God and pepper their comments with outright lies. I also heard a black female voice in the background once hollering like a drunken rounder. Even the founders of the democrat party would be ashamed of them.
...this photo from three or four years ago; its fog rising in my neighbor's meadow across the road, taken through my pines and his fence. I just changed backgrounds on my monitor and thought I'd share it again. Sadly, the guy has built a nice moderately-sized metal barn over there, so my view has changed.
- ESPECIALLY if you follow the Bible and not their customs of man. "If you resolve by Divine grace that you will "live godly in Christ Jesus" -- then know that "persecution" must be your portion. And, that persecution will come upon you not from atheists and infidels -- but, from those bearing the name of Christians ... whose worldliness and carnality is rebuked by your spirituality" ~~ A.W. Pink. -
My wife is watching the perverted polygamists again on TV. From My office, I hear that one of the daughters has decided that she's queer, yet she can't forgive her mom for allowing herself to be "catphished." I find it doubly sick that she is a pervert who can't forgive her mom for being victimized by a different TYPE of pervert. Insane.
I found the story of this place in a farm magazine today. It was a farm community settled by freed blacks a decade or so after the Civil War. The National Park Service has their foot in the door there, so I have to wonder how long it will be before they destroy the community, like they do everywhere else they get started. Here's what wiki has to say about the place.
Things have been tight around here lately. I don’t remember having it this close at any time in my life. But still, we have enough. Two months from now, we should be in good shape once again and permanently out of debt (I hope), so things are looking up. Yet, I fret and worry and whine in God’s ear entirely too much.
A couple nights ago, I was concerned once again as I sat on the edge of my bed and said my last prayer of the day. Notice the phrase “said my last prayer.” I guess that probably means that I talk too much and don’t listen enough.
About three in the morning, I awoke lying on my left side. There in the corner of the room was a silhouette of Jesus talking to a child. I sat up to look at the shadowy figure and was amazed at the sight. The verses came to me from the Bible about being as a little child if we want to enter Heaven, and how if even evil men know how to give good gifts to their children, we should expect no less from our Heavenly Father.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a crackpot who sees signs and symbols in every little thing, but I know when I’ve been sent a message. I knew very well that the Lord’s face was made up mostly by my computer monitor and his body was the front of my desk. I also realized that His arm was the shadow cast by my printer and the “child” on whom His hands rested was my black office chair and its shadow. Still, I saw the big picture and knew the meaning of what I’d seen.
This is a true story for those who wonder, and was posted here about four years ago.
I used to go to church with a couple old-maid teachers who didn’t own a TV. They were sisters and were nearing retirement age at the time. They lived together in a nice brick home in the country and visited often with their two brothers who were also teachers. The old gals marched to a different drummer, but they were intelligent and interesting to talk to.
They were raised two counties away and still held ownership of the family farm with their brothers. After school let out each summer, they lived at the family farm putting in hay, mowing pasture, fixing fence and doing a thousand other chores that always need done on a farm. The brothers did their best to do their share, too, but it was a bit more difficult for them, since they had married and had families.
Of course, you can’t work ALL the time, so between family reunions, going to the local church on Wednesdays and some Sundays, and visiting with the neighbors, they also developed a hobby of documenting all the country graveyards in the county, along with their occupants. They especially wanted to document the location of little cemeteries that had been forgotten, or were on the verge of being forgotten. They traveled the winding gravel roads looking for old cemeteries and asked everyone they knew if there were any cemeteries they knew of that were becoming overgrown and forgotten. They then wrote down the words and markings on each gravestone they found, even doing a few paper “rubbings” to better make out weathered lettering. They made this information available to local historic groups, libraries, genealogical groups and the county court house. They learned many interesting things and came across a few surprises along the way, but one will be especially remembered by them.
In one far-flung country burying-ground they came across a sandstone marker with the primitively engraved marking “L.E.G.” There was no date, no name, no symbol or any other marking that indicated just who LEG. might be. The piece of sandstone happened to be fairly close to another marker, but the second marker was a well-done commercial stone that appeared to be a few decades newer than the old one of sandstone. Plus, the newer marker had a surname name that didn’t start with “G,” so they finally decided that there was no connection.
For the next few weeks, when time allowed, they pored over courthouse records, looking for the death, birth or marriage of someone with those mysterious initials. There were surprisingly few names in that county that started with the seventh letter of our alphabet, so they soon ran out of records to check. Then, they started going through the list of names from the cemetery, telephoning anyone who might be related to someone buried there, hoping they might know the identity of LEG. Finally, someone told them that the widow of the man buried beside the sandstone marker was still living, though she was in her nineties and in ill health. Maybe SHE would know who LEG was.
When they knocked on her door a few days later, she was slow in answering. When told of their mission, she at first looked a little shocked; then her face showed amusement and she invited them in with the words, “I think it’s time THAT cat gets outta the bag.” (This was told 30 years ago now.)
“It was nigh 70 years ago,” she said, “when my husband was in the wreck of a narrow-gauge train haulin’ barrels of oil from the next little town up the holler. He laid in bed for a couple weeks, unconscious more often than not. His leg was sorta mangled and had gotten some crude oil in it that the local doctor couldn’t clean clear out. It kept lookin’ worse and worse. My husband “came to” the same day that the doctor said gangrene was settin’ in and that he’d hav’ta take off the leg.
“After the amputation, we studied and studied ‘bout what to do with that leg. It weren’t like it is today when some doctors will kill an unborn child and not think twice. We coulda taken it to the dump, I guess. The doctor said that some schools would take it for science classes. We coulda burned it, too. Then again, we coulda jus’ fed it to the hogs and no-one woulda been the wiser. But, we all thought that God had made that leg and it deserved better treatment than any a’ that. Still, we were private folks and didn’t want no-one knowin’ our business. So, my husband said he wanted it buried in the cemetery ta wait ‘til his buryin’ there. He said that way, when the Lord called the dead, He wouldn’t have to create a new leg for him—just fix the old-un. So, under the dark a’ night, the doctor went to the cemetery and buried that leg deep enough that no critters’d dig it up.
“A few days later, my husband was well enough that he chiseled those letters in a big flat rock that we had layin’ by the well-head ta stand on. He put periots after the letters just to throw people off. The doctor snuck up again one night and set it at the “head” of the “grave” for us. There was questions and rumors goin’ ‘round for a few years, but no-one ever asked us ‘bout it and none of the three of us ever tolt. I heard that some folks finally decided that it was the grave of a child from one of the timber camps ‘round here. The workers never stayed long and a few brought their families with them. Of course after my husband was buried sorta close to it, the neighbor woman three houses up was supposed to have speculated that it was my husband’s “love child” from some secret love-affair. I wasn’t offended; that poor woman never did have a lick a’ sense anyhow!”
My mailing address may be “Tick Ridge,” but I’m
beginning to think that Chinamart may be my real home. If anything ever
happened to the missus, I’d probably never go there again. Unfortunately, the
missus finds the place entertaining, and by getting only SOME of what we need
when we go there, she always has a reason to return in a day or two. I realize
that I’m too poor to take her to dinner, to the movies or even for long rides
anymore, so I don’t say anything to her about it. I think by always buying a
few things, she feels still partly in control of our otherwise time, money and
health-constrained lives. She even has people at the store that she stops and
chats with every time she’s there. And so, we were there again today, except we
hit the one across town this time. We try to alternate since the stores carry
slightly different stuff.
We needed water today so I couldn’t avoid going in,
since it’s getting harder for her to do heavy lifting. After getting the water,
my next stop was at the magazine section. There, I scanned or read some
articles on homesteading and preparedness. I noticed that “National Geographic”
had a feature piece on the so-called “gender revolution” again this month.
There were seven people shown on the cover, one normal male and six mixed
perverts. No normal woman was shown; perhaps they’ve convinced themselves such
women no longer exist. It amazes me just how far the magazine has fallen in my
lifetime. They once were a high-class magazine that documented the fascinating world
around us. Eventually, though, they became just another liberal mouthpiece, so
I quit subscribing LONG ago. This second issue trying to legitimize sexual
perversion (see last month’s, too, at the link) is as low as I’ve yet seen them
slither. See the cover of both issues at this link: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/
I’ve watched at Chinamart the last few times to see
if I could find lighter fluid, but to no avail. Most “associates” have told me
that the store doesn’t carry it, ONE told me it would be up by the register, if
they had it. I was beginning to believe the former. TODAY, though, they had
four cans of Zippo lighter fluid sitting in the camping fuels section, even
though I’ve checked there many times before. Someone must have dropped the
case, since all four cans were dented, but one was barely noticeable, so I got
it. It was the same price that my gas station charges, too. (Incidentally, the
only stations in my area that carry American-produced gasoline are BP’s, so I
usually try to get my gas there.) For those who care, Zippo lighters are still
made right here in the good old US of A, at Bradford, Pennsylvania. They start
at about $15, SO, if you need an honest-to-goodness cigarette lighter, instead
of those Cheap Chinese Bic-style pieces of donkey dung, check out Zippo’s website:
...Ransom Rothwell, working in the Huntington, West Virginia area (possibly with my granddad), sent this card to my yet unmarried grandma at Parkersburg, WV. I don't know if he was wooing her, if if he was just a friend of the family. It would be another year before she and granddad would marry.
We decided last night to go to Chinamart a little
earlier today, so the missus could get a rider. Still, I didn’t hit the hay
until half after midnight. I think it got down to 9°F last night; I know it
sure felt like it when I went out in my skivvies and a pair of rubber “slippers”
at 5 o’clock this morning to let the dog drain. The light breeze made it worse.
I stayed in bed until 10 this morning, figuring there was no need to get up
since there was probably ice on my favorite fishing hole anyway, wherever THAT
is. As soon as I was up and dressed and took the Mighty Dachshund out to dump
and drain, the missus had “lunch” (brunch?) ready, so I ate at 10:15.
I knew it was going to be some Stouffer’s pasta from
a box, but I told my wife I’d never seen spaghetti noodles in lasagna before.
She told me that it WASN’T lasagna, but chicken parmesan. Here I thought that tasteless
cardboard-like stuff in the middle of the spaghetti was a just a supper-thick
layer of lousy cheese. It always amazes me how companies can take actual food
and make it tasteless or plain bad-tasting. This was simply bland; the chicken
had no flavor, the cheese had no flavor and the sauce had no flavor. They also appeared
to have been rationing the oregano. There was so little that they could said it
was French or English as easily as Italian, as there really wasn’t anything to
indicate the nationality of the dish except the noodles.
We got to Chinamart about 11 and the missus DID get
a handicapped cart. I told her that I was going to stay in the truck and read,
but I actually went to the far end of the little town we were in to see if my
gas station still had any lighter fluid. They were sold out. I checked two other
stations on my way back and they said that they never carried it. I did gas up
at the last station, so the wife may eventually wonder how that last batch of
gas is lasting so long. Back at Chinamart, I decided that my bladder was
calling my name, so I went inside. Lo and behold, there was a rider available,
so I grabbed it. After having more to take care of more in the little room of
rest than I’d originally counted on, I finally got on my electric steed and
headed for the magazine rack as fast as the little lopsided wheels would take
me. It sort of reminded me of my horseback years.
After reading a couple magazines, the missus finally
swung by and said she was ready to split that joint, so I went out and started
the truck, so it could warm up for her. It never did get above 19 here today,
but the wind chill made it seem colder. On our way home, I stopped by our only
serious tobacco shop in town and they DID have lighter fluid, but at a cost
that was more than what change I’d allowed for it (50% higher than the gas
station, WHEN they have it) and the missus had any serious money in the truck
outside. I decided to wait a few days and check the station the next time I
fuel up to see if they have any in. Incidentally, Chinamart doesn’t carry it
either. Apparently, the cheap little Chinese Bic-style lighters have replaced
quality lighters and no-one stocks either the lighters or the fluid anymore.
Who’d a thunk? The only reason I want some is because butane lighters aren’t
work a half-a-crap in the cold and I want one to heat keys for frozen locks.
I haven’t been feeling all that rested when I get up
lately, so after putting the new tubing and such on my C-PAP machine in the
middle of the night, I used it for the first time in about three weeks. My
sense of smell seemed to come back after about a week, so maybe I can use it a
few days before the problem returns. I DID feel a little more rested, I
thought, when I woke up an hour later than I was hoping. It’s strange, though,
the funny feeling I get sometimes when I first awake from using it, almost like
I’m half-sick. The feeling always goes away after a while, though.
Today was supposed to be the last “warm” day for a
week at 39 degrees, so after I took the dog out, I’d planned to work outside a
little while. Unfortunately, my wife had fixed lunch while I was sleeping and
had it ready when I came back inside. It was only hotdogs, but she gave me
three of them, piled high with sauce and slaw. I could have gotten by on just
two, but didn’t want to scrape the slaw off the third one to reheat it later,
so I went ahead and ate it. I figured after letting it all settle for an hour
or so, I could STILL get some work in outside. Wouldn’t you know, the missus
decided that we’d better swing by Chinamart and pick up a few things, since
there’s supposed to be snow tonight, and we may not go out for a couple days.
I knew there wouldn’t be any handicapped carts, so I
decided to stay in the truck while she shopped. It occurred to me that I’d
probably have time to slip next door and dig some poke roots to plant in my “garden,”
but since she didn’t have a rider, I reconsidered the idea. I wouldn’t have
been surprised had she worn down quickly and checked out. Eventually, I had to
go drain, so I went inside. Afterwards, I waited by one of the doors to swoop in
on anyone using a rider who was leaving; that’s about the only way to get one. I
finally DID get one, called my wife, met her and gave it to her, then returned
to the truck. She was about ready to check out, she said, but would look a
little longer, since she had a rider. Bad move on my part! I once again
considered digging poke roots, but was afraid she’d be ready to leave and I’d
be a quarter mile away with a shovel in my hand.
I tried to nap a little, but all I really
accomplished was to rest my eyes, though even that helped some. I also read a
little in my current “little brown book.” When we finally got home, I was STILL
considering working outside a bit, but the temperature was down to 36 and the
wind was awful. So, I just went into my office and got on the computer. I had
enough comments to answer and new posts to read that it was past time to be
worth taking a nap, so I didn’t go upstairs.
When I was 11, a family moved in next door that had
riding horses. It was only a matter of time before I was allowed to ride with
them on their trail rides, when there was a horse to spare. Not surprisingly,
it was something this ol’ farm boy really enjoyed. So, the spring before I
turned 14, my dad helped me plow up some extra ground by the garden and plant
potatoes, the plan being to use those funds to buy my own horse. Those who’ve
raised potatoes know that there’s some hoeing and cultivating needed to get a
good crop, so I took as good of care of my crop as I could and that fall, I had
sixty bushels of potatoes. I saved back ten bushels for us and managed to sell
the other 50 for $3 a bushel, which was a decent price in those days.
I checked around a little and found that horses
weren’t selling all that high for grade stock, so my $150 got me a
coarse-legged dark bay gelding that stood 15-3* and seemed pretty well trained.
The horse-trader even threw in a saddle for that price. I had to borrow $10 off
Dad to get a headstall, though. The gelding was seven years old and went by the
name of “Dan.” I saw no need to confuse him, so Dan it stayed. He neck-reined
well and minded pretty well in general. As it turned out, he was the perfect
horse for a rider of moderate skill, for he was just ornery enough to keep me
on my toes, but calm enough not to get me hurt. I rode with the neighbors a
little more often after that. I also rode a lot alone.
I couldn’t leave him loose in the pasture, because
he liked to pester the cattle. So during those times of the year when the
cattle were using the barn, I had to keep him in his 14 foot square stall and
take him out and exercise him every evening. In mid-winter, that sometimes
meant riding him after dark, but that was okay. The farm looked different in
the moonlight, and if there was snow falling, my whistling would make an echo
in the back meadow. The deer and the night creatures didn’t spook so easily at
a horse with a big lump on its back as they did with me walking the area.
During the summer, the cattle would be put in the main pasture and Dan had the
run of a one acre paddock by the barn. Still, I had to check his water every
day, if the rain barrel got down a little and he got a can of corn and oats
chop morning and evening.
I put a lot of miles on that horse over the next
seven years and he was a true blue friend. He’d go anywhere that I pointed him,
so I had to be careful. One day, he would have gladly climbed over a Volkswagen
when a smart-alec kid was trying to be funny. I remember sitting atop him at
the brink of a cliff once also, realizing that I didn’t dare make a move that
he’d interpret as “forward,” or we both would be airborne. More than once, he
tried too hard to plow through greenbriers where I shouldn’t have taken him and
he got entangled. At those times, I had to climb off and cut him free with the
penknife in my pocket. Such experiences taught me to be a little more
considerate of my faithful steed.
I rode him a little less when I started dating my
future wife and things began looking a little bit serious. I was 21 at the time
and didn’t think it was responsible to let him grow old and die in my care and
me be out the money. As a result, I spoke to a local horse-trader and he agreed
to trade even for a little 14-2, two-year-old dark bay stallion he had that was
untrained in every way. I figured ol’ Dan would make a good horse for some
teenage girl and the trader would be able to find him a good home. I also
figured that I’d ridden horses long enough that I could train the young horse with
no problem. The trader didn’t show up until after dark, and as I led Dan from
the barn to his trailer, it hit me that I was parting with a loyal friend.
Tears rolled down my cheeks in the darkness and it was tempting to call it off,
but that didn’t seem fair to the trader, considering that he’d loaded up a
horse and brought it to, my home. My guts were in a real twist as the trailer
went over the hill with my old friend in it.
It should have told me something that the guy was willing
to trade even. He apparently thought he could sell Dan easily, I reasoned. It
wasn’t until afterwards that I remembered hearing that the Japanese were paying
big money for horse meat. I imagine the trader at least made an effort to sell
ol’ Dan, but I doubt if he tried very hard. The fact that I’d probably sold my
old friend for slaughter has tormented me ever since. The girl I was dating
only stayed with me for five years of marriage, so I would have had more years
of friendship remaining with ol’ Dan than I did her. If I’d known that at the
time, I’d have kept the horse and dumped the girl. Oh well, hindsight’s 20-20,