It’s Right to Write, Right?

January 11 – I have so many ideas I would like to write for this blog, but sometimes, or maybe I should say, often, we are so busy getting things done that we absolutely have to get done, that I don’t seem to have the time to do all I would like. Now, does that mean that I need to try harder to remember the details, or is it just because I “can’t get to work” as I always reminded the school kids that they should write as quickly as they could in our daily writing lesson?

180111_WriterAtWorkJust the other day as I was going through some of the myriad boxes of school materials I have up in our attic, I came across a whole notebook of writings that I did while the room was so quiet you could hear the “proverbial pin drop.” After the first half hour given over to Scripture and prayer, and record taking in our one-room church school, all of us settled down in peace and quietness, with not even one word spoken. All of us knew that was the rule, so nobody even tried to do anything but write.

Writing about home and family, school problems, happiness, problems some might be facing. Whatever came to mind made a good topic. Some of those kids would write their deep feelings, sharing what they would never tell any of their schoolmates. Others would just about always write of their favorite part of school, usually story time, various sports, or secrets they trusted me to keep to myself. Unless the student asked if he could share his writing with the others, I would never even think of demanding that he do that. I tried to write pages that would make the kids chuckle or be happy for the school day or have little hidden bits of advice or how to get along in the classroom.

180111_JournalBookWhen the students were first told of the writing lesson, some questioned me, saying, “But I never had to write anything in other English classes. I don’t even have any idea of how to do it,” and with a frown on his face, said, “and I just don’t want to try!” Most of those students agreed completely! “Why do we have to do this in YOUR class? What’s so important about learning to write?”

That was the first reaction of most of the students through the years, and the result was just about the same every year as well. Some, who were not able to come up with even a few sentences in the beginning, were way above grade level at the end. And guess what? They were also asking if they could read their lines to the class! Sometimes the best writers would not volunteer to read, but only if they had written about something very personal. And because of this, I would occasionally choose not to read some of my writings, even if they would smile and say, “Please read yours, too!”

Several months later, as the students were enjoying both the writing and the reading, I came up with the idea of making booklets filled with their compositions. I asked them to choose their special writings and told them of my plan. Each student could choose five or so of their writings to be put into a big book to keep in the school library. Then, we would work together so that each one could have his entire book put together so he could take it home to show his parents and friends and could keep it forever. I can still see the look of wonder, surprise, and happiness on their faces, as this notice sank in, especially when each could keep his own book!

180111_ChrisDaleWriteThrough the years, this lesson has been a favorite, something to be proud of, and something to show his talent. (A little note here. Through the years, as I have kept in touch with former students, who moved to Texas, California, Washington, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee, and maybe others, I have found that those books always come up in our conversation through the telephone, or e-mail.

I’d like to share some of the writing here now, but I would have to climb the pull-down stairs in the garage to get to the attic where so many boxes of memorabilia lie on the floor. Awhile back, when I needed something else from the attic, I came across one of my books, but since I hadn’t thought of writing this blog, I didn’t bother to bring it down the stairs. Too bad! I think you would enjoy the work of those students.

As I think back to those days of long ago, when I first began teaching in Pittsburgh before leaving for Africa, and then elsewhere in Pennsylvania when we came back, I wonder how any of the teachers of that time got along without all of the modern equipment. No computers, no copiers, not much in the way of typewriters, and just about any good equipment that today’s teachers and kids as well take for granted. All of the writings had to be done by hand (and that in CURSIVE I might add!)

180111_HandwritingThese days I don’t even know what many teachers and kids are talking about when I hear them as they never give a thought as to how they will preserve their writing. Surely, not in a handmade book that made my students so proud of their accomplishments. But as the years go by, and today’s kids get into the years of high school, they will find a lot of new items too. But as the tools continue to change, I hope that the writing skills will grow as well, with students saving at least some of their daily thoughts, no matter where they are preserved! – CHRIS

NOTE: All of the pictures for today’s blog are from the internet – I take no credit for them!

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Happy Trails to Us – Part 2


[ Walnuts for squirrels ]

January 4 – Time to finish up our walk blog from yesterday. So what do we see just ahead of us now? Piles and piles of black walnuts or their shells left behind by squirrels as they rummaged through the piles that we had raked together during the season. Normally we keep all we can find, walking to a number of trees in the area, and then shelling them in the winter to eat before the next harvest. Well, this year, for the first time ever, Dale decided that he just didn’t feel like doing the job. (That, of course, was well after the time I had picked up buckets of them and Dale put them out in the barn.)

Normally, every year, we would fill the big sand box with nuts until they dried off and could be put into the barn. But this time, we dumped the sandbox on the burning pile because it was falling apart and couldn’t hold the nuts till they were dry. Time for a decision. Dale said we should dump the ones in the garage and not pick up any more. You can guess the rest!

First of all, we have no walnuts from this year. We raked up all the bushels of nuts around and under the trees and left them for the squirrels to enjoy. So those piles were raked up in seven different places! What a joyous celebration of pay without work as the squirrels cleaned up everything but the debris they left behind as they enjoyed every bit they could scavenge!


[ Bald cypress ]

For the first time in over a month or more, we could check out the wall of the dam. Since the yellowish grass had grown tall and taller before I could mow it, Dale said that we probably should forget the section that I always mowed across the top of the dam. Instead we walked along beside the pond, crossed the creek and continued our walk on the other side. Since I do not enjoy leaving partially mowed areas, I had a hard time passing by that area!

A little farther on was yet another burning pile, full of tree branches that had fallen along with those Dale had cut off the oak trees. Too hard to mow around those trees when there are so many branches that grow so close to each other. It will now be much easier to mow around the bald cypress trees, one on either side of the pond.


[ Big osage orange ]

On the side that bordered our neighbor’s land, we found so many osage oranges that had fallen on the ground,that I had lots of fun bending over, picking up the oranges and tossing them as far away from the area as I could. Usually the oranges are ripped apart and lying all over the place as the squirrels have eaten them. However, this time there were so many fruits lying peacefully on the grass, that my arm got a lot of exercise as I continued on up the path tossing as I passed another bunch of them.

I wondered about these osage oranges when we walked past one of the trees this year. In past years as the squirrels didn’t have any piles of black walnuts to stuff themselves with, many of the fruit were gone except for little bits and pieces left behind. This year is totally different. The big oranges are just lying around all over until the squirrels have finished those walnuts that we had planned for them as a gift! Gift? Oh, yes!


[ Hen of the Woods mushroom ]

More osages all along the way, including one huge one where the big fruits cover the ground, not only under the tree, but several feet away. Just a bit from that tree is the place where we first discovered the Hen of the Woods mushroom, scrunched down around the bottom of the oak. All along in front of us for about thirty feet were deep brown seed pods of the honey locust.

As I mentioned yesterday, the oranges have several common names including bodark, bois d’arc, and bowwood. The osage is wrinkly and bumpy, and I enjoy playing around with them. I read that some people think that the fruit looks as if it might be a human brain! I have never heard of anyone eating those oranges. Even most animals and birds will have nothing to do with the osage because it has such a bitter taste.


[ Clipping rose bushes ]

As we continued our walk, we found big rose bushes that were covered with small white flowers earlier in the summer, but were now nothing but long bare branches. Of course they were still full of heavy thorns that caught my arms when I tried to take a few pictures of them.

Turning the corner farther on, we continued walking and checking out poison ivy, wild gooseberries, ground nuts, wild rose bushes, and sumacs until we came back to the creek to cross over to the last part of the trail. And there, just at the edge of the iris bed in front of us was Cat, just waiting for another walk. Since she had rested all the time we had walked in that area, she was all ready to keep up the pace.


[ Former morning glories ]

So away we went walking to the end of one side where Dale keeps a bird box. Nothing there this time. Then it was off down the side of the road before coming to the location where beautiful blue morning glories had bloomed for so many years. Not this one, though, because we had so much rain just about planting time that we just gave up for this year. Hopefully, it will be different this spring. Who was it that wrote, “Hope springs eternal”? According to my ancient college literature book, it was Dryden! If we had nothing to keep us hopeful during every day, if we were content to just go about the day from sunrise to sunset, doing it all on our own, what sad persons we would be! – CHRIS

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Happy Trails to Us – Part 1

January 4 – Had a good warm bath after finding out that even 25 degrees is pretty cold when I’m used to temps in the 40’s or higher for a long time now. In fact, though most of the country has had various kinds of snowy days, we have had very, very little so far. (Time for me to “knock on wood” as I don’t begrudge the rest of the folks having winter! I can just plain do without it!) Now about eighty years ago, I was sledding just about every winter day, zooming down the snowy hills, and making a quick turn while dragging my feet to slow down before I slid right off into the creek.


[ Cat waiting for us to walk ]

So I’m leaving the idea of snow for now and talking of one of our recent walks on the trails in the woods. After I had those problems with my teeth, I just didn’t feel up to walking and had no desire to do so. A couple weeks later, we decided to see what we could find of interest on the paths. Since Cat can’t stand it to stay inside when we are out walking, she, as usual, gave her famous plaintive begging call, “Please let me go with you! I don’t care about the scenery as I can view that whenever I go out. I just want to tag along with you two friends. I promise I will keep up with you too, because, after all, you have only two legs, but I have four!”

OK, off went the trio to enjoy being out instead of in for a change. I would look back now and then to make sure Cat was still able to keep up. She even had enough energy and determination to leave the path for a bit to do some investigating in the woods. Must have been a lot of different smells as she stopped now and again to investigate before she took off at full speed to stay with us.


[ Osage Oranges ]

So many osage orange trees along the path and down by the creek. I have always been fascinated by their big green hard covered fruits since we moved here. Most people in the state call them “hedge apples”, as so many of the dividing lines between properties are made from trees that grew up along those property lines and at first there were no manufactured fences, just a line of huge osage orange trees. As we walked, we picked up the larger osages and tossed them off to the side. Way back when, maybe eight years ago, I would never have thought of doing that!


[ Our forest path ]

All along the trail we found that a number of trees of various kinds had been blown over, with their trunks still standing while the smaller branches, still covered with leaves had blown over the paths.

We originally owned thirteen acres of trees here, so I was able to keep the place one I could be proud of. Then about five years ago, we bought another section of woods when the owner was planning to sell the five acres that separated our land from hers. She wanted us to have first chance because she knew how much we would enjoy taking good care of that section as well. Besides a creek ran right down along the boundary, and I have always enjoyed creeks and rivers. So with those added acres and more land to mow, along with the fact that we had a bigger garden by then, we just had to let some of the woods go back to nature. We did keep the paths mowed and added a few connecting paths along the way.


[ The big oak ]

Whenever we “walk the woods,” it is a joy to see a huge oak tree right along the way. If I am close enough to take a picture, I have to tilt my head back a long way. If I just walk towards it walking normally along the way, I can see very little of it. One of the neighbors told us that the oak was on some kind of list of good or beautiful trees in the state. I hate to think that one day it might be gone!

Checking out the tree and picking up the fallen branches of others, we gave Cat a chance to catch up as she had been checking out a number of areas. I never could figure out why she didn’t show any desire to stop and go back home for a rest, a drink of water, or a warm blanket.


[ Burning pile in the making ]

We walked past two large “burning piles,” such big ones, as we have carried fallen limbs and dragged others to the area so we can burn up the mess when the rains come for long enough to dampen things a bit. Thinking of what has been happening in California with thousands of acres burned, we are content to have a spot filled with fallen branches and those Dale cut when he trimmed various trees.

As we continued on, we could see how much larger the creek is than when we first moved here. In the beginning the creek was just a narrow stream, but not any longer. I used to climb down from the path above to that stream below, but no longer can I do that either! I would slide down all the way to the bottom before I could stop.

More on this subject later… – CHRIS


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Book Plates. Or is that Books AND Plates?


[ Cartridge from Cartridge World ]

December 28 – Earlier this month we were trying to find a parking place near Cartridge World where we buy new cartridges for our printer. I went in with Dale as he made the purchase, and then as we had some time to kill before our next stop, we decided to take a look at what treasures we might find in the nearby thrift shop. A pretty crowded place with folks going through displays of all kinds of dishes, games, stuffed animals, electronics of all kinds, some a little older than others, Xmas decorations, and clothing.

Since we have so many books, and Dale is right now looking through his many shelves of ones he has collected through the years, I hardly even checked out any in the store. However, since we both love books (if you can love an inanimate object), we just couldn’t turn away from those long bookshelves, filled with so many good ones.


[ Books, anyone? ]

About ten minutes later, I had finally joined with Dale’s idea of NOT taking any more home. As we made our way to the door and were ready to leave, one of the workers called out, “Didn’t you find anything? I know there are many good ones, because I stack those shelves myself!” We assured her that we agreed with her but since we had a couple thousand volumes at home already, maybe we wouldn’t take any more to fill up the spaces in the shelves because there’s no space left!

And so I was a bit surprised a couple of days later when I found a pile of eight books lying on the couch. Where did they come from? Dale had already started his pile of books that he wanted to give to schools or friends or someone else who would appreciate that gift.


[ Poetry favorites ]

Since As I look back on all of the many years of my teaching and the shortage of books in my classroom, I know that I surely would! Even now, I have a very hard time donating my books as they are so special to me. Many of them are not in perfect shape, but I know the reason. They have been read and reread so many times that I am not surprised.

Since both Dale and I enjoy good poetry, we have close to one hundred or more of those. Dale is partial to anything that has to do with nature or gardening. I enjoy those of history and geography. What about fiction? Just one line will tell you. We feel that there are so many good books about real happenings and real people that we don’t have any fiction in the shelves.

As we left the store to go back to our small truck, Dale walked ahead of me so did not see what attracted my attention. We are still amazed at what I found. Right in front of me, off to my left, I noticed a nice car with a license plate that told me the driver or owner was handicapped.

171228_Plate3Well, I often see signs like that, but what caught my attention was the rest of the words. I read DF 97L In the top corner was the month “Sep.” and below on the bottom left was “disabled.” At first I didn’t think much of it, but as I passed on by to the next car parked right next to the first, I found CF 97M on that plate! You probably think that was just a coincidence, but to me it was something that wouldn’t happen in a long time. Why? Because the first car had my husband’s initials, and the second had mine! I hurried back to the truck to get my camera. I wanted proof of what I had seen!

As I was taking a couple photos, a man came out of the store and walked on towards me. When he smiled, I asked, “Want to hear a good story? Check out this license plate. Those initials are the same as my husband’s”. Then I walked over to the second car and said, “Now look! Those are my initials!”

The man smacked his fist into his palm, then said, “Hmm. I found out something that you must have missed. Look at your husband’s plate. See the 97 L? That means that his license plate tells that he bought the car in ’97 and chose the L for the rest of his license. The lady’s was also purchased in 97 but her M follows his L! Now this is an interesting happening. You wouldn’t find two cars like that in most parking lots, but more often in the driveway or in the garage of a man and his wife!” – CHRIS

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Winter Weather. Why?

December 25 – Another chilly morning is here, and in my option, the worst time of year is approaching weatherwise. We’ve had some frosts and in the region even a few snow flakes. I hate to think of snow lying thick on the ground and having to find a way to get rid of it. With this peripheral neuropathy that I have, shoveling snow will be difficult. Let’s see, maybe a snow-blower would help.


[ Geranium and cacti ]

As I have mentioned previously, all of my houseplants have been brought in and are sitting on a long low table in front of our large living-room window. A beautiful pink and rose geranium plant is adding much color, and keeps sending up new buds.

Sad to say, we were surprised a week or so after bringing them in to find one of my cacti lying on the floor, broken in half, with a lot of dirt on the carpet. It was one of my largest cacti, one that flowered every summer and had a lot of baby cacti growing out of the lower stem area. It hadn’t been growing straight up and probably just got unbalanced. So I am saving the larger upper half to re-pot, once the break area has dried up a bit so it won’t be so prone to rot. All the baby cacti will be potted up and given away.

We were given a mandevilla vine this fall, on a wooden trellis in a pot, and there were several blossoms and buds on it. The flowers are a beautiful pink and last for several days. I don’t know if the plant is going to thrive during the winter and already a few leaves have turned yellow and fallen off. Mandevilla comes from South and Central America, and seems to be a fairly new arrival to modern flowerhood, as I don’t see it in any of my older plant catalogs.


[ Apples from Midland ]

On the fruit front, David brought us a box of apples that he says are great for making apple sauce and came from Midlands Adventist Academy where his wife is the custodian and overseer. The academy buys citrus and apples every fall and winter, friends and parents would buy cases of them, and the money would benefit the school. This is the last year they will be doing the apples, but citrus is an every-year event and they sell hundreds of boxes I believe.


[ Cooked pears ready for canning ]

Earlier in November while David was here to help out with some random tasks, we went out and over to our old pear tree in the pasture. It is ancient and mostly hollow but still bears a lot of pears some years and had a good crop this year. Chris had knocked a lot of them down with a long bamboo pile with a four-prong fork attached to one end, but a lot were too high to reach. So, David climbed up into the tree and shook the branches very vigorously and how those pears did fly! We picked up over three large buckets full of them, and Chris canned them when they got a bit softer.


[ Edible cement! ]

Since our son David and family were coming to visit for Christmas for a few hours, Chris and I spent some time in the kitchen earlier making cement. Making cement in the kitchen, you say? Well, yes, it was edible cement, one of David’s favorite foods that he has loved for a long time. It is made of flour and oatmeal and cornmeal and malt extract and vanilla and cinnamon and raisins, moistened with water and mixed up, formed into balls, then rolled flat with a rolling pin.

My mom came up with this food way back when we lived in Rhodesia, a way to make home-made grape nuts since they weren’t very available in Africa back then. The balls are rolled out flat on the kitchen table with a BIG rolling pin, and then cut into narrow strips and put on metal trays that go into the oven. When they are brown and crisp, they are taken out, allowed to cool, and stashed away in a big metal can for future consumption.


[ Hot chocolate ]

David eats most it (although he does share some of it now and then!) and often carries the can around with him in his car for casual snacking. Originally the strips were ground up like grape nuts but now they just remain strips until chewed up.

While the family was here, Chris fixed up some soup, snacks, strawberries and biscuits, and a (very hot) chocolate drink, which is David’s favorite drink, I think, and he likes to make one for himself every day. It was so hot I couldn’t even hold the glass it was in and had to add cold milk, but Chris and Dave just took wee and cautious sips!

Have a Merry Christmas! – DALE

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Animals, Animals, Dentist, Groceries


[ Pesky squirrel ]

December 17 – Chris has been outside recently trying to scare a couple squirrels away from the bird feeder where they have been enjoying the sunflower seeds we put out for the birds. Those squirrels were very bold, and didn’t even scamper away until she was almost right upon them. One of them climbed into the maple tree, flicking its tail vigorously, and when Chris left, down the squirrel came right away to resume its interrupted meal. Such nerve…


[ Possum by the tail ]

Speaking of wild life, I saw an opossum the other day lying in a box of rags under my work bench, and before it could retreat, I slid a board in between it and the gap where it would escape behind the bench. Possum rushed over and collided with the board and whirled around a bit until its tail stuck out handily. I grabbed it and dragged possum out into the open. Called Chris, and she came with her camera and took a few pictures, and then I carried possum out onto the lawn and released it. Hastily it waddled off towards the barn and that was it. It was a large, fat possum and had obviously been enjoying our hospitality.


[ Possum in the window well ]

Just a few days earlier Chris had found it in the garage where it had been eating apples out of an open cooler, and there again I seized it by the tail and took it out and let it go. This time it ran over to a basement window and jumped down into the window-well and just stayed there until we went away. Late last night I looked out the back door, and there was Possum, eating what was left of the bird food for the day. I could just see its white face in the dark.

As I think I have mentioned before, during our trips to town each week we cover roughly 40-some miles on each trip. In Pleasant Hill we stopped at the weather station with the great white ball on a tower, and got sheets showing the sunset hours for a whole year. This is something that Chris shows on the weekly church bulletins that she makes up for the church congregation.


[ Dentist, anyone?]

Then we were off to Lee’s Summit, to see the oral surgeon that had pulled two of Chris’ teeth. He just needed to see how things were going, and that was it, no charge. From now on she will be going back to her regular dentist in Pleasant Hill, who we hope will solve the problem so she can start chewing her food again. Then we were off to Discover Vision to get her glasses adjusted and make an appointment to see the doctor in a few months and let him decide if she needs new glasses.

A few more miles down the road and we arrived at Cartridge World to get ink cartridges for our printer. We wanted two – they only had one. Since they are quite a few miles from home, that was annoying but one will last for quite a while. I put it into the printer, and hope it won’t act like the one it replaced, which had given us a lot of trouble and had to be shaken up each time after just a little printing.

Close at hand was supermarket Hy-Vee and we dropped in to check what they had but the rather high prices sent us back out and over to Goodwill nearby. Their prices also were too much for us, as we are used to the prices of Price Chopper and the thrift store in Pleasant Hill. So back home we went, and had a very late breakfast/lunch. That was my only meal for the day, but Chris had a little snack late in the evening.

Until next time, good bye and be ready to greet Christmas in a couple of days. – DALE

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The Bridge, Part II

December 13 – Looking back over our blog posts, I just realized I never posted the rest of the dentist story from last month! So, have you been dying to find out what happened when we drove about forty miles to see the special dentist? Well, you’re about to find out!

171213_Solano Office

[ Chris and the dentist’s sign ]

First of all, we got lost in that section of the city. So many avenues, and roads, all mixed up with houses and offices in just one section! Fortunately, when we were driving along, I noticed a young guy walking toward us. I suggested that Dale ask him where we were! Although Dale hates to ask anybody for any kind of help, he agreed. How good to see a broad grin on the young man’s face. Dale explained that we couldn’t find the dentist we wanted, so fortunately the man told him just where to go, as he pointed out a big tooth sculpture and said we would find the name of the dentist with it. Actually we left home very early because we might get lost! We left at NINE to make our ELEVEN o’clock appointment! Well, we did drive forty miles!

In the waiting room were dozens of people waiting to go in for their appointments, more than I had ever before seen, even in hospitals! How those people talked and waved and smiled! I thought they must have a bunch of friends there together, but how could a dozen friends have an appointment on the same day and close to the same time!


[ Aquarium and a fish or two ]

We found two empty chairs right in front of a large aquarium and enjoyed watching the fish chase each other around, and spit out some little white particles they didn’t like. Two goldfishes were swimming all around, with one tiny one following along behind. As Dale said, that one was so little that he was surprised the larger fish didn’t have him for breakfast.

Having to sit in that location for well over an hour, we had to do something to stay awake and not be too bored. Now, just about everyone else was busy, not bored! What were they doing? Talking with friends or family on an iPhone, or whatever they are called. We don’t have anything like that except for the Jitterbug that David bought for us in case we might have a problem away from home and need to reach him. No more phones, as it’s enough for us to write a lot of e-mails and keep busy doing that in the form of letters, not stuff on Facebook, etc.


[ Lady with her cellphone ]

We were treated to a comical situation as we looked across the way where a lady about thirty was using her phone. But, not like the others were! She would take all sorts of positions, sitting on the edge of her chair, lying back in it, holding her arms high in the air while she talked to the other person very loudly! This went on for over an hour until her name was called.

Just beside me there was an empty chair. A smiling young man asked if it would be OK for him to sit there. “Why, sure,” I answered, as I held one of my hands open, “but it will cost you two bucks!” He agreed to the cost, but said he would pay back those two dollars when he was done. A little later when some women came in, they found no seats at all. That polite young guy and another man quickly got up and offered their seats. I don’t see that kind of help and politeness very often these days. The usual feeling, I think is, “What’s in it for me!”

Finally it was time for my appointment, but I wasn’t called until another half hour had passed by! I was met by a lovely young lady, very friendly and professional. By the time she started checking on me, I was really shaking, I guess because I was so worried about what would happen. In came the doctor and talked to me a bit before he did anything. Surely he knew that at that minute I was not a patient all set to receive the treatment!

In the short talk with him, I could tell that he truly loved his job and the people who choose to come for treatments. Not only was he very knowledgeable, but very polite and cheerful as well. I had told the lady at the desk that I didn’t want to be put to sleep, just fixed up so I wouldn’t feel the pain. That’s part of my reputation, I guess! I want to learn more about everything I see and do and it’s pretty hard to do that if I’m asleep!


[ Glass faces on the office wall ]

The first tooth came out quickly with no bother, but what a time the dentist had with the one that was giving the trouble! The doctor propped my mouth open with a plastic gadget so my tongue wouldn’t get in the way. Guess the tongue is like me and wants to know what’s going on. That was not the first time that a dental assistant had to hold that tongue down as it was getting in the way!

Finally that bothersome tooth popped out and the dentist began mopping up the blood and then put a cloth over the area where he had pulled the two teeth. Guess those teeth didn’t want to part company with me after living together for ninety years! The dentist’s parting words? “I’ll see you next Monday, and we’ll check what you want to have done in a couple months!”

Since we had several items to buy, we stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home. Also had to get two prescriptions at Price Chopper where we have so many friends who also shop there. Since my cheek was swollen because of all of the packing done by the dentist, some of the folks wanted to know what had happened to me! Most of their comments were words like, “You mean YOU can’t talk very much? How could that be?”

Back home with no meal till suppertime because we had left too early for breakfast and were back home just about in time for the plumber to arrive. Oh, well, who ate anything anyway? Not me, unless you would count a glass of tomato juice drunken with a straw as the total meal! Good for Dale. He enjoyed so many items he could hardly put them on his tray! However, with all of his driving and talking and picking up my two prescriptions, he really earned that food! It wasn’t his fault that I chose not to eat! – CHRIS





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Pearl Harbor Day

161216_PearlHarbor 3December 7 – Here we are again, with another day to remind me of those very sad days back in December of 1941, when we were asked to “Remember Pearl Harbor,” and what happened there. How could we ever forget? I hope you readers don’t mind, but I have chosen to put out on the blog a copy of what I wrote about Pearl Harbor last year. Surely we, who lived through that Day of Infamy, will always remember.

How wonderful it would be if each of us, as we remember those who died on that sad day, would choose to live a life in which everyone around us is special, and we don’t need to fight to prove it. If all in our government, in business, in broadcasting, and in relationships with each other could work together without trying to put someone else down, what a change would there be in our lives.

Here is a copy of the blog, then, just as I wrote it last year.


Last week, I once again remembered that horrific day on December 7, 1941. It was a day when I felt the whole world was changing and that I as just a young teenager did not have any idea how to stop the bad feelings that would lead any nation to take advantage of others who were trying to keep the world on an even keel. Believe it or not, I can remember the news that came across to us via our old Philco radio.

171207_EdAt first, nothing mattered but the fact that big brother Ed was in the Navy, having joined up as soon as he was able to do so. Since his ship was in Iceland at the time, they were soon leaving the area to move on to the Pacific to help to protect our troops following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He served aboard an aircraft carrier for two years. Of course, I was proud to tell the kids in school that my brother was on that ship!

I will never forget the attack, the Day of Infamy. So many of our ships there in the harbor were destroyed, and many of our brothers and friends lost their lives in that bombing. There were 2403 dead, 188 planes destroyed, and eight damaged battleships.

161216_PearlHarbor 1Many memories come to me as I think way back to those days of war. First of all, I can remember where I was when I heard the news on our tall Philco radio that Hitler had invaded Poland on September1, 1939. My folks were relaxing in their hammocks down by the grape arbor near the creek. I had run up the hill to get something they wanted, and while I was getting it ready, I turned on the radio. That’s why I had heard the bad news. As I remember, I ran down the hill faster than I had climbed it. What a shock that news was to my parents!

By the next year I had graduated from high school. A number of classmates were graduated in absentia since they had already enlisted that year. Before that, in our Problems of Democracy class as well as in History of Europe we students would debate as to what our country should do; what our action should be as far as joining with England and France as those nations fought off Hitler and his Axis friends. FDR was hoping that he could convince the powers that be to jump into the conflict, but he was not successful.

161216_PearlHarbor 4Actually, with what happened at Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese, Germany, and Italy jumped into the war in a big way, the president did not have to make the choice; Japan did it for us! Five days after Pearl Harbor, we joined the Allies in their fight against the Axis powers.

Times hadn’t changed much though this side of the Atlantic, because nobody was much interested in going to war. However, as I mentioned earlier, it was that Pearl Harbor day that brought us into the war.

And what happened to FDR? He died in April of 1945 after a long career and having been elected president three times! But even more unusual than that, I remember him for his words, describing that memorable day, “This Day Shall Live in Infamy.” He surely was correct. Who could ever forget the terrible loss of life on that day so long ago?

As I remembered the seventy-fifth anniversary of Pearl Harbor, it came to me that we still need to do our best to keep our precious land free of hatred and “do-it-my way” ideas, giving thanks that we are Americans, and through you, giving people around the world a light to follow. – CHRIS

Let’s remember Pearl Harbor,
As we go to meet the foe;
Let’s remember Pearl Harbor
As we did the Alamo.
We will always remember
How they died for Liberty;
Let’s remember Pearl Harbor
And go on to victory.

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Bridge over Troubled Molars

November 30 – Almost twenty years ago when we still lived in Pennsylvania, I had my first bridge put in, and the dentist did such a good job, that I agreed to have him put in the second, one on the bottom left, and the third on the top left, with a number of teeth involved. Pretty painful that all was, but when it was over with, and I heard the words of the doctor, I was glad!

171130_TenYearsKnow what he told me on my last visit before we moved here to Missouri? He guaranteed that those bridges, all three of them would last for ten years! That was good news because I didn’t want to end up with plates as did my mother, at an early age, nor like my father who had very few teeth but wouldn’t go to a dentist because he was sure that nothing would work out well, if he did. Of course, back in those early days, many grown-ups had probably never even heard of doing much with a tooth brush, let alone visiting the dentists. When people grew “old,” they weren’t even embarrassed if they looked in the mirror and found that they no longer had many of the teeth they had started with in childhood. Nobody else did either!

About three weeks ago, Dale and I went to have our checkup at the dentist’s office. For the last number of years, maybe one in the passing eighteen, we have had nothing fixed or pulled or repaired. Just the poking around with the probe, then a good cleaning, and we are over with the process for another six months.

This year, as the dentist checked all along the top and bottom and gums, she mentioned that it looked as if one of my three-tooth-bridges might be a bit inflamed, and I should put hot water around it from time to time. Well, that didn’t sound like a hard job, and wouldn’t take long.


[ Onion sandwich on rye ]

Unfortunately there was a lot of pain right on in till evening before I went to bed and tossed and turned through the night. I ate nothing but a little soup or yogurt. But when the next day arrived, I felt great, and had a regular meal. (Even an onion sandwich on two really big slices of rye bread). Two bites, and that was it! I could feel that something had given way back on the bridge I had just checked out the day before! Now that was a strange sight for Dale as he saw me pulling out the bridge from the half chewed piece of bread!

Unfortunately, I could not make an appointment to go back to the dentist and explain my sad problem because the dentist wouldn’t be there. Two days later the dentist had X-rays taken by one of the assistants. Nothing could be done in that office, so one of the assistants handed Dale a little package of the X-rays and some things we should do before making an appointment with a specialist who takes care of such problems.


[ Four nights before a repair! ]

Unfortunately, that dentist could not take anyone else until about four days later! I took a pain pill every day, just ONE) put a deep layer of cotton balls in the area so my tongue wouldn’t get too close to the bridge, drank water or light soup with a straw, and really didn’t appreciate having to wait so long for treatment. I wanted that bridge repaired now! More about my appointment tomorrow… – CHRIS


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Just ‘fore Winter, I’m as Busy as Can Be

November 28 – More and more of our yard has now put on it’s winter garb, which I suppose is appropriate as it is almost December. Over the last couple of weeks, I have finished up a similar number of end-of-fall tasks. Some examples:Nov 28 – More and more of our yard has now put on it’s winter garb, which I suppose is appropriate as it is almost December. Over the last couple of weeks, I have finished up a similar number of end-of-fall tasks. Some examples:


[ Calico Limas ]

1) We had a long row of calico lima bean plants growing on our east fence, and most have gone into the freezer. Pickable pods have been fading away, so the lima bean plants have been plucked up and the vines torn down.

These vines start up the vertical strands of the fence, encircling them as they grow, and so I had to unwind them all, one by one. Quite a time-consuming task. Now there is nothing growing in our garden except grass and weeds.


[ Canned pears ]

2) Our pear tree in our north pasture produced lots of pears this year, and dropped quite a few of them as they started to ripen. Chris went out several times a week and gathered all the fallen ones that weren’t rotten, and then peeled, sliced, and cooked them. Someone will be eating a lot of pears!

3) Pulled up the last tomato plants and picked three scrawny tomatoes from it, as well as pulling up the cucumber vines and dragging them off to be disposed of.


[ Chopped-off peony stalks ]

4) In our front yard we have six peony bushes, and as they were looking very shabby with old age, I went out with hand clippers and cut them all down and carted away the stems and old leaves. Now just a quick swipe over the area with a hand mower will make things look a lot neater.

5) A great many black walnuts ended up on the lawn under their tree. Before we could do the last mowings of the year, we had to rake them all up and dispose of them in some way. In our barn we have a lot of buckets of them we gathered some time ago, and I see that they are turning black and white (white with mold and black with old age). The room has a typical black walnut odor. I felt it would be best to take the moldy nuts out and leave them for the squirrels, and gather the fresher ones and save them for a while until the green husks can be removed!


[ Mandevilla ]

6) Our son-in-law’s mother brought over a mandevilla plant last month. She had it blooming on their front porch for months, but now that winter is approaching she didn’t feel up to taking it indoors and babying it, so asked if I would like it.

I accepted the offer, of course, so added more soil and removed surplus vines and leaves. It will share space in front of our big front window along with all my other smaller house plants that have been brought in to avoid freezing.


[ Unsliced / sliced ]

7) While walking across our side yard I came across a puffball, and picked it and took it up to the house. Chris cooked it for supper and I had some on buttered bread. However, I find that I can’t eat a lot of puffball and threw out what I had to leave behind. I like mushrooms and can’t figure out what it is about puffballs that does this.

Yes, the just-before-winter chores are always there to fill up our days! – DALE

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