To sachet or not to sachet …

Droid camera photo

One Sunday evening in 1956, there was a TV show I desired to watch but being it was a church night, there was little chance this 12 year old boy would get to see it. I was extra good about getting out of bed and being ready to go to services that morning, paid attention in bible class, sang the hymns extra loud, and didn’t even fart on the hard and resounding pew while the preacher said his sermon. I even put my last personal dime in the collection plate instead of trying to sneak one out of it as was my usual labor. I was hoping my mom would soften and let me stay home to watch the first appearance of Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show. I ate my chicken dinner and smiled and asked for seconds; I was a good boy. Promptly at four-thirty in the afternoon, my mom told me to get ready for church; I was devastated. I began all the whining and pleading tricks I knew, which were many, but she was unrelenting. Finally, a switch was applied to my legs all the while I listened to her say that some day I would appreciate what she was doing. Mom, I am 66 years old now, and I still do not appreciate what you were doing although I do not resent that you thought it was necessary. Anyway, I missed seeing Elvis; there were no VCRs in those days.

I missed a lot of good entertainment shows and many educational TV programs because of my mother’s beliefs; in particular I didn’t get to see the Davy Crockett series of shows on The Wonderful World of Disney, but all my chums did and that hurt worse than me not seeing them; Davy was one of my local and legendary heroes. I also loved good cartoons, and I still do. No Donald Duck animated shorts for me, though. I was God-fearing, but I was more mama-and-her-switch-fearing. My life seemed to me to have become a ‘go to church and go to school’ type of existence. Of course, my plight did have rewards. I always had more toys than did my pals, and more and better clothing, too. I had no older siblings so I didn’t wear worn hand-me-downs. Another thing I had which so many of my peers seemed not to have was a wild imagination. Every hollow stump was a space ship or a submarine. Other boys wanted to play shoot-em up western movies or war movies, but I was living in my sci-fi thoughts, saving Thuvia, the beautiful maiden of Barsoom and fighting space pirates in a far galaxy. My summers were spent mostly alone in the woods and fields, listening to tiny creatures sing their love songs and eavesdropping on trees as they gossiped among them selves.

Another Sunday morning rolled around in another year, 1960 I think it was. I was plenty disillusioned with being forced to do something which I was becoming to not believe in as I was being taught. My mom awakened me at the usual hour to get ready for church, but I decided it was time for me to quit being her little boy and to refuse to go. Physically, I was almost as big as she and the few whippings had become no more than a nuisance. That day, I told her I was not going to church and we were soon having an argument of which I am still ashamed. As she was threatening me with earthly mayhem and ever-lasting hell, I was smart-mouthing back to her and somehow she decided to slap me upside the head as she had done a few times before; it had become her unwritten exclamation point. However, this time she had a sachet cream jar in her hand and when it hit just at the top of my right ear I went to my knees, nearly unconscious and seeing stars. It scared her as much as it did me and there was a bit of blood on my ear to add to her angst. Well, I got my wish and I did not go to church that morning and neither did she, but until the day I turned 18 years old, I never missed or resisted going to church. I know she did not realize she had the sachet jar in her hand and I know she would not purposely have hurt me. In fact, up until her death in 2002, we both still got a big laugh out of the events of that long-past Sunday. I always chidingly blamed her for trying to kill me be cause I was refusing to go and worship a man who had been killed by the people he loved because he was being a rebel, same as I. Anytime I was at her house and she was displeased with something I was saying or doing, she would go the her bedroom, retrieve the very same sachet bottle which she had kept as a reminder, and hold it in front of my face without uttering a word.

Since the day I turned 18 in 1962, I have not been inside a church building except for an occasional wedding, for too many funerals, and to make a random photo. My fall from the foot of Jesus to the dark side of the force was complete.
Have a thoughtful Sunday, my friends.

Published in: on October 31, 2010 at 2:16 pm  Comments (8)  
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The Transformation: Alternate Universe

My fall from life-everlasting on the Streets Paved With Gold to my present mindset of quip writer and beatnik poet was fairly precipitous, and a big part of the descent into perversion is due to science and science-fiction. Around 1955 when I was ten or eleven years old, my mom enlisted me into the Book of the Month Club, Wholesome Boyhood Division. One of my first books was about the hills of bonny Scotland where a boy and his border collie tended sheep on granddad’s farm, and it was a pretty good read. A little later, I ordered and received a tome titled Danny Dunn and the Anti-gravity Paint, at least that is how I remember the name of the book. Anyway, it was about a boy and his pals who lived on Florida’s Atlantic coast in an average American setting. Danny, while fooling with a hurricane or something, discovered a paint which nullified the effects of gravity. From there on, I ordered nothing but science fiction and hard science related books. My mom took notice of her budding Einstein (I thought more of myself as the handsome hero Buck Rogers type) and one day she bought me a sci-fi novel about a young man of the future who had just graduated from space academy on Luna. The cadet was assigned his first solo mission which was merely wrangling a huge thorium asteroid from beyond Mars to a Lunar orbit so the rock could be used to make nuclear devices to fight the powerful and evil empire of commies. Of course, the commies followed him there and there was much danger and brave deeds for our hero. Anyway, that space opera hooked me once and for all, but I cannot think of the name of the book. The main thing was that I was still going to church thrice weekly and living the good life of a semi-spoiled only-child (brat) in a pleasant country setting. In 1957, I journeyed into the seventh grade at a new school—Jonesboro High— which taught grades seven through twelve, and it had a great library where I read any kind of adventure story I could find including historical fiction and outdoor dramas. As I earlier wrote, at age 14 I became a card-carrying disciple of Jesus. If you were alive in the 50’s decade, you well know the Big Event of the era was Sputnik; the commies had beaten the mighty U.S. of A. into space exploration and, of course, I wanted to become a spaceman defender of God, Country, and apple pie. About the same time I noticed a new novel on the library shelf titled Have Space Suit—Will Travel written by a man named Robert Heinlein. It and some woks by Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke all got me to seeing the universe as it really was; extremely ancient and indescribably huge and not as one put together 6,000 years earlier by a supreme being as I was lead to believe for all my life. I got to thinking the big thought: Who is God and where did He come from? However, these new revelations in my receptive mind did not allay my mom’s determination that I should and would go to church on a regular basis. Nay, my friends, her heart was hardened much like Pharaoh’s and her retribution for non-compliance was swift and terrible.

To be continued: Punishment by Sachet!

Happy Birthday, Colleen!

May your day be filled with Saturflies, dear hearts.

Published in: on October 29, 2010 at 9:24 pm  Comments (2)  
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Chicken bones

Watauga Point

Chicken and I: A tale of woe and misunderstanding.

When I lived at home in my early to mid teen years, I went to church three times each week. I was no different than many kids growing up in the 1950’s, but I was just a few years ahead of my time in detesting and resisting authority such as was the norm in the next decade. As a teen, I hated school and even more, I hated being forced to go to church. At the age of 14, I was voluntarily baptized by immersion and became a Christian in fact; it was the thing to do and my mom was so proud; she would eventually get over the pride in my Christianity. Within two years, I was sick of the “you have to” portion of my my youth.

The act of going to church is the thing that eventually caused me to rebel against eating chicken. My dad did not have to got to church and I know of only a couple of time when he did so. He always said he would rather sit on a hot rock in hell than attend church services. I was learning. Of course my dad’s cavalier attitude did not go unpunished by my mom; his purgatory was cooking Sunday dinner for she and I while we were singing and praying and making other joyful noises unto the lord.

It was a pretty good arrangement to begin with, but my dad was not known as a creative chef; three Sundays out of four, he prepared fried chicken, chicken gravy, mashed taters, peas, whole-kernel corn, and brown-and-serve rolls. The one Sunday when he did not fry chicken, he made cubed steak with the same side fixings.

I happened to like chicken; I was country born and raised and it was a natural to eat chicken on Sundays at least once each month. The trouble began when I ate chicken nearly every Sunday for years and I eventually came to dislike it. In 1963 when Carolyn and I were dating, a local restaurant had a Thursday special on carry-out chicken and it had been a year or three since I had partaken of the fowl, so I gave it another try. We got our food which was bird, mashed taters, gravy, and a pair of biscuits and took it home to enjoy. Mine was dripping blood when I bit into it! That turned me completely against eating chicken and I did not have another piece until the mid-70s when I tried some of Colonel Sander’s offerings; again chicken, mashed taters, and gravy with a roll; I was not impressed and once more swore off that particular cuisine.

All went well until last winter when Carolyn decided she wanted some quick chicken and went to Wal-Mart deli and bought some pre-fried along with the ubiquitous mashed taters, gravy, and rolls. I will have to admit that is smelled good when she came in the door toting several cartons of instant gratification, and after she coerced me long enough, I agreed to eat a piece of leg and breast. It looked good and smelled great … at first. I took a bite and noticed something in my mouth felt wrong; the damned bird still had pieces of feathers sticking out of it! I am still pouting over the highly unsatisfactory “meal”. Carolyn and JJ ate the same as I, but theirs was fine and I came to the conclusion that chickens do not like me, so now I can only get even by eating their high cholesterol eggs. I never did like chicken gravy and haven’t tried it since I was small. I still love mashed taters, peas, corn, and brown-and-serve rolls, and I savor cubed steak; just no chicken, if you please.


Have a Thursday!

Published in: on October 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm  Comments (6)  

Leaves of brown

My 4th year of shooting the same scene on Buck Mt

There was a male robin in the yard this morning; no lipstick on his beak therefore I suppose he was south bound.
The leaves of the shagbark hickory tree across the street have changed from beautiful golden to brown; all since yesterday. Heavy rains last evening along with exceptionally warm Indian Summer temperatures probably caused the sudden loss of color.
Happy Birthday, JJ!
I am so tired. I get up tired and I go to bed tired but I do not have as much of the soreness which generally accompanies progressing RA. Maybe a couple more shots will get me back to my lovable old self; it takes four to six weeks for the medicine to fully work its magic; I missed three weeks and restarted Friday last.


The above photo has not been edited but it does need work.

Have a Wednesday!

Published in: on October 27, 2010 at 10:52 am  Comments (11)  
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Stormy weather


Storms came through around 8:30 yesterday morning with straight-line winds said to be in the 80mph range (129km/hr). Some homes were completely destroyed, mostly due to falling trees, many businesses were damaged, and electrical power was out over the region; ours was off for 11 hours. Our house is somewhat protected by a small forest of big trees on the western, prevailing wind side, plus the house is partially below the street grade. Even at that, the noise was enough to cause my sphincter muscles to tighten so much that a hat pin could not have been driven between them with a sledge hammer. More huge storms are projected for today.


Keegan is safely in Japan.


I will take a Social Security cut again next year; my Bush/Cheney generated drug insurance premiums are again rising and so is the amount of my co-pay. Where the hell is Obama’s health care reform? Gasoline prices are rising, all our required business insurance and auto insurance rates are increasing as are local taxes. Grocery prices are more than they were this time last year and utility costs have gone up. Medical prices have increased more than anything else, it seems, yet with all this, retirees do not get a cost of living increase, we did not get one this year, and only one percent is projected for 2012. Congress votes itself a fat raise every year.


Have a Tom-Terrific Tuesday, my friends.


Published in: on October 26, 2010 at 11:16 am  Comments (7)  
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