My new buddies

Costa Rica 684

This is Sally, Emily, Judy, and Toni along with me and the wife. I met them last month whilst on vacation in Costa Rica. They are native Texans. They “sure nuff” are, too. it has been a while since I last heard a real Texan accent and these four gals had it down pat! They are what I call, classic Texan women. They had the demeanor and drawl so typical (and endearing) of Texan women, along with just a touch of orneriness that transported me back to Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle where I grew up. I fell in love with all four of them! One is a pawnbroker, one a business manager,  another is a music teacher, and one an antique dealer. ALL of them are, “good ole gals!”

For the short spell I was with them, I was reminded of my days on the Panhandle so many years ago. It has been a long time since I lived there but a big chunk of my heart remains on the prairie and its wonderful memories. These four gals brought all those memories back. I am grateful. Ya’ll take care!

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A sad day

This week will go down in the annals of history as one of the saddest weeks there has ever been. Dear reader, you have heard the news that the company that makes such quintessential American delicacies as Twinkies™, Ding Dongs™, and a myriad array of other such sugary delights has ceased production. I have been in a state of culinary depression since the news came out. What, oh what, will become of our youth who will never know the sugar induced, hyper active, charge of energy from a package of Twinkies gobbled up with an RC Cola™ chaser? Why, under the influence of a bellyful of such delights, a young man can run faster and jump higher than any kid in the neighborhood. Young girls can talk faster (imagine that!), and pester more boys in a shorter time than you could shake a stick at.

Just imagine, if you will, the effect of a family of pre-pubescent boys and girls, loaded up with Ding dongs, on the parents? Think of the joy that had for young people everywhere! My own parents were driven to distraction. It was great fun.

I will tell you that Ding Dings, in all their chocolaty joy, had uses other than eating. I remember when I was a little boy, I “procured” a package of them from Mr. Russell’s store in Amarillo, Texas where I grew up. I was with my Mom but had managed to stuff the Ding Dong in my pants without her noticing. I wanted to walk the four blocks home on the idea that I would eat them along the way. Mom would not let me. I rode home with her and then had to help her unload the car. By the time I managed to get away to a secret place to dine, they had melted in my pants. It had seeped through my underwear and you know how that looked. Course, the fellows saw me and I never heard the end of it.

Yes, dear friend, it is a sad day for Americans everywhe

Shredded dignity

             I suppose all of us at one time or another allow ourselves to let (as we said in the Army) one’s alligator mouth overload one’s paperweight derriere. I am at the age where that does not happen much anymore but there was an occasion not long ago when I was firmly and soundly put in my place. 

            My home of Greenwood, Indiana has a Freedom Festival every summer. It comes round about July 4th or thereabouts. We have a big party with fireworks and all that stuff one usually associates with Independence Day. Part of that party is a miniature fair of sorts. They set up booths in the middle school football field and all manners of folks and business set up shop to promote their wares or themselves. You might find anything from a politician’s booth to a gift shop. It’s a whole bunch of fun and I always enjoy it. 

            This one particular day at the fair was my downfall. I had agreed to help a local politician by working in his booth at the fair. My job wound up “managing” the cornhole game that they set up to get folks to stop. For those of you who are not Hoosiers, cornhole (as I understand it) is an original Hoosier game that got its start most likely on some farm somewhere. The aim is to take a little bag of corn about the size of one’s hand and chuck it into one of three holes what had been made in a piece of propped up plywood. Anyway, it was my job to get folks to stop and play a bit so the fellow running for mayor could maybe talk to them and ask for their vote. 

            I took on the role of one of those carnival barkers. You know the type. Noisy and talking a little bit of smack. Well, I was standing there waiving my little bag of corn when who did I see across the aisle working at the Chamber of Commerce booth? It was Hannah Orme, who works for the Chamber. She’s somewhere in her twenties and a bit of a country girl. I caught her attention and waived by little bag of corn at her. I clucked like a chicken and informed her that she could in no manner beat me at cornhole. It took a couple of clucks until she decided to take my challenge.

            With the quiet grace and ease that comes so naturally to her, she got up from her chair and wandered in my direction. Without so much as a word, she picked up three bags and tossed each one into the top hole of the plywood. Continuing in her silence, she walked back over to her booth and took her seat, leaving me and my utterly destroyed ego standing in the middle of our booth. Turns out Hannah is some sort of a cornhole champion. Great.

 

 

Alligator mouth – paperweight___________

        I suppose all of us at one time or another allow ourselves to let (as we said in the Army) one’s alligator mouth overload one’s paperweight derriere. I am at the age where that does not happen much anymore but there was an occasion not long ago when I was firmly and soundly put in my place.

            My home of Greenwood, Indianahas a Freedom Festival every summer. It comes round about July 4th or thereabouts. We have a big party with fireworks and all that stuff one usually associates with Independence Day. Part of that party is a miniature fair of sorts. They set up booths in the middle school football field and all manners of folks and business set up shop to promote their wares or themselves. You might find anything from a politician’s booth to a gift shop. It’s a whole bunch of fun and I always enjoy it. 

            This one particular day at the fair was my downfall. I had agreed to help a local politician by working in his booth at the fair. My job wound up “managing” the cornhole game that they set up to get folks to stop. For those of you who are not Hoosiers, cornhole (as I understand it) is an original Hoosier game that got its start most likely on some farm somewhere. The aim is to take a little bag of corn about the size of one’s hand and chuck it into one of three holes what had been made in a piece of propped up plywood. Anyway, it was my job to get folks to stop and play a bit so the fellow running for mayor could maybe talk to them and ask for their vote. 

            I took on the role of one of those carnival barkers. You know the type. Noisy and talking a little bit of smack. Well, I was standing there waiving my little bag of corn when who did I see across the aisle working at the Chamber of Commerce booth? It wasHannah Orme, who works for the Chamber. She’s somewhere in her twenties and a bit of a country girl. I caught her attention and waived by little bag of corn at her. I clucked like a chicken and informed her that she could in no manner beat me at cornhole. It took a couple of clucks until she decided to take my challenge. 

            With the quiet grace and ease that comes so naturally to her, she got up from her chair and wandered in my direction. Without so much as a word, she picked up three bags and tossed each one into the top hole of the plywood. Continuing in her silence, she walked back over to her booth and took her seat, leaving me and my utterly destroyed ego standing in the middle of our booth. Turns out Hannah is some sort of a cornhole champion. Serves me right.

Thank you

               It is July 4th and I feel the need to address the issue of our independence. A copy of the document that our founding fathers signed on this day in 1776 hangs on a wall in my house. I can see it from where I sit.  Some years ago, I had the opportunity to see the original. It is a very large document befitting its importance. Without this Declaration of Independence, all the rest of the documents that gave the outline for this Republic could very well have not been written and this country might never have been established.

                Why am I telling you this? I guess it is because my heart is heavy for us as a nation. I speak from opinion only as is my right to do. I feel as though we have lost our way. Demanding the right to act and speak any way we want has become more important than guarding the responsibility of freedom granted to us by a Holy God.  Character assassination has become the rule for those who dare to oppose one’s position.  In short, we are a spoiled society led by leaders who are there to serve the interests of those to whom they are beholden. I do not accuse all leadership of selfish avarice. There are some who act with their God and country’s interest at heart. They are, however, in the minority and their numbers are shrinking. Given all of this, I wonder what kind of country we will be in the future. I fear for my descendants.

                Every once in awhile (and particularly on national patriotic holidays) the country rolls out the red carpet to honor our heroes and thank our veterans. I suppose it is an appropriate thing to do though I have never been to one of those events and I won’t go. I don’t need the attention. Instead, on this 4th of July 2011, I will take a different approach.

                Thank you.

                Thank you to a Holy God who allowed me to be born and raised in this country to parents who taught me patriotism. Thank you to the U.S. Army who gave me the discipline and structure I needed. Thank you for all the years I got to spend in uniform. They were the best years of my life. Thanks again to the Army for assigning Karen Landgraf near me (she too, was a soldier) so I could meet her and marry her.  (There is an old saying, “If the Army wanted you to have a wife, they would’ve issued you one.” Well, they did!) Thank you, Karen, for giving us three spectacular children. You have been the glue to this family. My love for you is without limit.

                Thank you to my children. It is an honor and privilege to be your Dad. You too also have seen the need to serve your country; Jennifer in the Air Force Reserve and John in the Army Reserve.  As I write, James is in boot camp in the Army. At the appropriate time, he too will become a veteran. I am blessed beyond measure. We will be five veterans in the same household.

                So, it is I who should thank you.

                Thank you, America.

Let’s get serious for just a minute

In light of last night’s GOP debate in New Hampshire, the following quote seems fitting:

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” –John Adams, Address to the Military , 1798