Thursday, February 25, 2010

Is Spring Nearly Around Coward's Corner?

I have seen teasing signs and tidbits of spring in our neck of the woods at Coward's corner!

1. About two weeks ago we saw geese heading NORTH. Are they confused or is spring early? If confused, is it due to global warming? Just a thought, these days every abnormal event is attributed to the global warming phenomenon.

2. A yellow crocus has bloomed and faded. The purple crocus have yet to show their royalty.

3. The spring bulbs are shooting up greenery preceding their color explosion of reds, yellows, whites.

4. Along with the spring bulbs' greenery bursting forth, so are the ignominious thick green spikes, the spring forerunner of the late summer blooming Naked Ladies.

5. The blustering wind is howling as if trying to usher in March, come Monday! If the spring or summer has copious rainfall, mushrooms surprise us, especially this red one, looking like a sugar cookie with red icing!

6. Luckie is shedding her winter coat even though our temperatures are averaging 32 degrees. Friday the housecleaner emptied the Bissell reservoir twice; it was packed with dog hair.

7. My casting arm is itching to move in my awkward casting motion like a phantom shadow boxer. Muscle cramps may be the only reality until spring brings warmer temperatures.

8. I am looking longingly to new spring clothes calling me. Since I've lost a little weight I need a few replacements as my old duds are beginning to slip and slide a bit daringly.

9. My forsythias are about to burst up on the scene in their golden glory.

10. It is nearly time for the redbud trees to paint pastel subdued reddish haze on the hills.

11. My nose, eyes and ears are itching--a sign spring pollen is drifting in from somewhere.

11. Lent and Easter are early this year.

12. We started spring housecleaning early by employing a housecleaner.

13. Soon, the Dogwoods will bloom heralding in Easter with their Legend of the Dogwood; Dogwoods blooming are a sign the crappie are spawning. Yeah, we have a few traditions we claim as Ozark hillbilly indicators of the seasons.

14. Husband is tuning up the riding lawn tractor, another omen of spring. Somehow the steering wheel is broken. He said the tractor had a wreck, no details provided. Not sure if this was a self inflicted wound like runaway tractor, or if a two legged creature was practicing for a tractor rally. We have a local annual lawn tractor competition. It is life in the Ozarks.

15. Above all else the various species of fish are moving to the shallows for the annual ritual of spawning. This is the best time to catch fish in a deep clear water lake!!!

Oops! I just remembered one of the old wives's tales. Thunder in February, frost in April. Among all our unusual abundance of snow, was also thunder, even snow thunder.

Bring it on! Spring!!!

1. Yellow Crocus
2. Purple Crocus
3. Red Toadstool Mushroom
4. Dogwoods
5. Husband on half-sister's tractor [his Sears tractor is about 1/3 that size!]
6. Our fishing boat
(Photos 1,2, 3 &4 made with my 1st old Kodak 2 megapixel camera; 5 & 6 -Nikon D50)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Do! I Need the Secret Service!

December 31, 2010 I will have completed 6 years of service to my small community as alderman on City Council. For the most part it has been business as usual, a few intra-council disagreements, but generally non-combative interactions trying to solve our problems which are common to all small cities.

Imagine my surprise when we arrived at morning worship services to have mail from a citizen in my community, addressed to me in care of my church! We are in the phone book, and our address is readily available at City Hall. My church affiliation probably was obtained from a campaign mass mailing.

The scrawling, nearly illegible envelope was troubling as its return address indicated an highly imaginary title of the sender. The return address took fully 1/3rd of the upper left hand corner of the envelope.

Inside was a rambling diatribe, not necessarily addressed AT me, but there were enough radical words for me to conclude this person is radical, mentally disturbed, perhaps demented.

After regaling about not voting for me, his/her reasoning descended into justification of saving me from unholy liars, STD satatist (may be satanists) troublesome degenerates, postal criminals, greedy crimes inspectors, unholy disgraceful liars, and cops in bosses uniforms. COP is defined as cocaine, opium prostitutes (if I read it correctly).

There are several illegible paragraphs, but it is a continuing diatribe of slanderous names. Best I can tell, he/she claims to be kidnapped by the "Holy Blessed Religious Roman Catholic Holy Sacrament Communion."

The three-holed, lined notebook page is written on both sides in large, scrawling handwriting, with many misspelled, illegible words, incomplete sentences and a few run-on sentences.

The ending, specifically invited my husband and I to correspond with him/her on "valid, unspoken opinions of various subjects."

I have forgotten how to correspond on lined or unlined notebook paper, and I will continue to forget--HA HA. Hope he/she doesn't have e-mail..........

My initial reaction is I don't need the Secret Service or other bodyguard provisions. However, I will be at our police chief's door at 9 a.m. today, Feb. 22 for reassurance. Incidentally, Feb. 22 is our 41st wedding anniversary. What a way to celebrate, but then most of our life has been anything but mundane.

Truthfully, we celebrated with a church couple Saturday night in Harrison AR at the Cadron Creek Catfish House Too. The original Cadron Creek Catfish House is in Bee Branch, AR further south on Highway 65 from this location.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just Once...

[Warning: today's blog is a treatise with spiritual, religious content. If not interested, return another day, for a lighter menu. Thanks for stopping by!]
Some of you write beautiful, heart-felt poetry or prose that touch people deeply. I believe them when their comments include tears of sadness or joy, or deep emotion. Some of you quote ancient writings of philosophers, wiser than any of us.

Certain music and art has the ability to evoke similar emotion at the core of my being. However, despite my love of one gospel song, it has yet to reach the joy, and ecstasy in me of that inspires a great number of Christian believers.

That song is entitled THE KING IS COMING. I have not found a recording in the rendition of what I am trying to say. The words are very moving, so moving I've seen entire audiences sing, weep, march to the music, or fall prostrate on their knees.Another such song is IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL (a personal funeral selection)

Words by William J. Gaither and Gloria Gaither (1,2, and 3),
Charles Millhuff, verse 3 in part.

Music by William J. Gaither

The marketplace is empty,
No more traffic in the streets,
All the builders' tools are silent,No more time to harvest wheat;
Busy housewives cease their labors,
In the courtroom no debate,

Work on earth is all suspended
As the King comes thro' the gate.

O the King is coming,
The King is coming!
I just heard the trumpets sounding,
And now His face I see;
O the King is coming,
The King is coming!
Praise God, He's coming for me!

Happy faces line the hallways;
Those whose lives have been redeemed,
Broken homes that He has mended,
Those from prison He has freed;
Little children and the aged
Hand in hand stand all aglow,
Who were crippled, broken, ruined,
Clad in garments white as snow.

O the King is coming,The King is coming!
I just heard the trumpets sounding,
And now His face I see;
O the King is coming,
The King is coming!
Praise God, He's coming for me!

I can hear the chariots rumble,
I can see the marching throng,
The flurry of God's trumpets
Spells the end of sin and wrong:
Regal robes are now unfolding,
Heaven's grandstand's all in place,
Heaven's choir now assembled,
Start to sing "Amazing Grace!"

O the King is coming,
The King is coming!
I just heard the trumpets sounding,
And now His face I see;
O the King is coming,
The King is coming!
Praise God, He's coming for me!

It is a very personal song, ending with the phrase, Praise God! He's Coming for Me." All the conjecture of the song I can feel, the lump in the throat, the near tears in the eyes and the urgency of excitement, but that final ecstasy, for which I am searching, I expect I will only feel the day He COMES FOR ME.

YouTube music video[many renditions available on YOUTUBE]

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dueling Chairs - Part V: Get Me to the Church on Time

Wonder if those lonely pair of rings will ever find a home?

It is time for, IF, indeed, any wedding can be fun. Grab a second cup of coffee or ?? and find a recliner, because this post is a LOOOONG one. There may be an epilogue, or two, because we did not arrive at our first home (Baltimore) for at least another month after as brief stint in Norfolk.

In Part 1 I compared our motivational types, A and Z. In Part 2 I illustrated the unusual 13-year courtship, the military aspect, my love of single life and finally engagement and a wedding date, Friday, Feb. 21, 1969. In Part 3 the problems LC had in arriving in Texas from Virginia, being basically MIA--a military term for missing in action. In Part 4 'Exasperated' is the best adjective for chasing an apparition all night in downtown Dallas.

If I had not been nearly comatose from previous two days, we might have thought of "shaking a leg" down the aisle as the couple in the YouTube video below.

It might been more appropriate for me in a hospital gown to arrive on a gurney suffering severe exhaustion, chasing down the groom apparition, also dubbed the 'ghostly groom' in Dallas for 2 days, including 400+ mi. in a car with 4 adventurous friends in tow. Life Companion(LC) might stagger down the aisle, 4 sheets to the wind, especially since he was so adept at dancing on the bar. Maybe he should have worn a white ghost sheet, instead of dress blues. Or maybe he could have pushed the gurney!

Now I think of it, that might have been fun, but we would have had to extend his leave to include the funerals of my conservative parents who would have expired before the church ceremony began. My friends, including 4 adventurous traveling companions, and certain family would have hooted and hollered right along with us.

After arriving home from Dallas about noon, Friday [the wedding day that wasn't], we kept a taxing, whirlwind schedule, (1) stopping by the clinic, where I worked, for our obligatory lab work, (2) LC meeting my parents, (3) contacting the wedding party and invited guests with the news flash the 'ghostly' groom had arrived, (4)trekking to the clerk's office for license, etc., all before 6 p.m. Friday.

The clerk could not issue a license without lab results, promised early Saturday a.m. The clinic was open half a day on Saturday. The wedding was at 7 p.m., but we could fudge a tad--not much, but after a whole day late, an hour or two was nothing! The clerk gave us her phone number to call when we had lab results.

We apologized for having her open her office Saturday. Amazingly, she smiled and said she did frequently. We weren't the only crazies in the world-imagine that!

As I remember, Friday was the first time LC met my parents. Mother took charge of eliciting her viewpoint of my better side, and at least one or two comments about her perception of my less desirable traits, which could have been left unsaid. He'd find out soon enough, without any outside help.

Geez! You expect your Mother to be on her daughter' side, but most of our married life, it appeared she favored LC over me in every facet of our life. Or this may have been her strange way of avoiding the "bride clinging to her mother's apron strings, etc." If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know I respected and loved my parents but I was never tied to any apron strings when I had a choice.

Already armed with LC's family's kindly information his Mother favored him above his siblings and anyone else, I was an underdog with both Mothers!

The most humorous event in meeting my parents was Mother's ill-tempered Chihuahua nipped LC on the shin as we entered my parent's house the first time. Mother had 3 Chihuahuas before she switched to poodles.

The nipper was named Sugar Baby, who must have been suffering hypoglycemia and decided LC's shin was the nearest fix at her eye level! LC 's dislike of Chihuahuas stems from this painful encounter.

We spent Friday night in my apartment and early Saturday morning we accomplished the critical license when the lab results came in EARLY! Finally, a good omen!

Then it was to the church building to set up the auditorium. LC, my parents and I began to arrange the furniture, the flower arrangements, and the chairs. Everything was going smoothly for 4 individuals not used to working together.

That is, until the time came to set up the folding chairs. We had about 50 chairs to separate and arrange. First we simply separated and unfolded the chairs.

The fun began. My parents set up one side of 25; LC and I set up the other side with an aisle between them and on each side. When we finished, Mother and LC began to make the rows, more or less aligned on both sides of the center aisle. LC finished his side first and decided to help Mother out.

She had arranged her section with each chair directly behind the chair in front. LC had arranged his section staggered, which he perceived gave each person a better view. In both sections the rows were pretty much aligned with the opposite section.

LC began staggering the chairs in Mother's section. Since he was behind her, she did not notice. When she was through, she noticed the chairs were not as she thought, so she started over, rearranging them her way again.

I thought the chair's finish was wearing down to bare metal from all the shuffling. Of course, this was the most amusing situation of the whole week. I just sat down and watched to see how long this setup would take. Somewhere into the second round LC and Mother met in the middle of a section; fortunately she laughed, glad to know she really wasn't crazy; the chairs were not moving!

Although the dueling chair organizers ceased their duel, I don't remember if the two sections matched, There may have been one section even, one, staggered.

We had 39 guests including the wedding party in attendance, so there was sufficient seating.

Somehow everything fell in place. The cake and other reception items arrived. The trio of singers, composed of my best friend (from the second grade), a mother and daughter, were ready.

When we left the church building, miraculously everything was "go."

All we needed to do was dress, and get back by 7 p.m. with the rings. We managed even, though we all were numb with exhaustion.

We all arrived on time and the guests were early! The guests were a nice cross section of bowling buddies, co-workers, personal, family and church friends.

The wedding party of LC, me, the a Capella Trio, minister and one usher were assembled and we actually began on time!

Music I selected was Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life, *May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You (recessional). The trio selected Richard Wagner's Lohengrin Bridal Chorus (processional) and Whither Thou Goest (Ruth 1:1-16). [Links are words and music.]

LC and I walked down the aisle together, holding hands to Wagner's Lohengrin Bridal Chorus. Lord knows, I wasn't going to let him out of my sight, even at the church building. We both probably felt like crawling down the aisle by this time. However, LC has a very slow gait; we looked like zombies en route to the minister at the altar, but we made it without collapsing in a heap.

The ceremony began with Dad standing up to answer the 'give-away' question, (her Mother and I). He refrained from adding, "Thanks be to God, she finally made it."

We recited traditional vows and exchanged rings, after a short wedding- fairly traditional-sermon. Glad it was brief, my feet were killing me in those heels.

Finally, it was over! Let us at the cake...I was a foodaholic from birth. The reception was small. Of course, there was another glitch-the printer spelled my husband's (LC) name wrong on the napkins. He spells his first name, Shelly, without a second 'e!' After the reception of relief, a friend whisked us away to our apartment. There was no time for a fancy trip to some remote hideaway, unless Baltimore could be considered in that category. I never heard anybody say, "We're going to Baltimore for our honeymoon!"

If Morocco had not been 2.5 years in the future... guess we could have called it a delayed honeymoon, but with the military intervening, it hardly met that criteria. Morocco was one of the most eye-opening, learning experiences for me, transforming my core values into less provincial and more conciliatory of people who are unlike me in every conceivable way.

We had a car to repair, a trip to LC's home where his family and friends waited for more celebration, a wedding shower, and then the military owned us. Plus we had to pack a small U-Haul with my possessions to tow en route.

Enjoy this video from YOU TUBE of the TITLE SONG used as basis for this series of post. I prefer the movie rendition with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews.

As one of my followers commented, this saga would probably only have been one post, if we all had had CELL PHONES which were non-existent in 1969!

Part 5 ends the saga of Get Me to the Church on Time. There May Be An Epilogue or two, about the trip to South Carolina and Baltimore, via Norfolk, VA. Two months after our marriage, LC's Mother died.

*I actually requested this hymn, God Be With You Till We Meet Again [words and music link] as I was leaving all I knew to blindly trust and follow this man to far away places, unknown to me. My world, even though I traveled as a single person, always ended up in Texas, somewhere close to family and friends. Of course in Texas that can be, and usually was, 200 mi. apart! Even now, this hymn is a "grab the Kleenex box" funeral song.

However, the mother (who had a MA degree in music education) in charge of music mistook my request for this hymn with several similar titles and selected the one listed in paragraph about music selections above. The message is the same--but just one more glitch in what can go wrong on the way to the altar!!!

PHOTOS - old and faded; I did my best with the photo editing program.
Photographers were friends. No professional wedding photographer - imagine how many bucks I'd been out with all the postponements!

Thanks to my brother & his wife in Brownwood, who retrieved most of these pictures for this post from family musty family albums and boxes.

[Beginning at top]

1. Hers & His Rings finally find their home!
2. County Record - we finally received that elusive license.
3. Church where wedding took place.
4. Bride & Groom leaving Bride's apartment for the church.
5. Finally at the 'alt r' with minister - the minister momentarily had difficulty with the bride's ring. Shelly appears amused. I appear ready to jump in and help him. I wasn't going to lose this elusive ring.
6. The Groom finally has ring on his finger.
7. Finally, the minister says " I present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Shelly Coward!" (recessional with wedding license in hand).
8. Bride & Groom with Bride's parents - reception.

[Some one needs to show me how to put captions or cut lines with my photos. I tried to follow this Blogger help but it did not work for me. I'm using Blogger classic because it has spell check. Last I heard the improved version did not have spell check. Captions in the improved version is easier, I've been told.]

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Earthquake Freak

If the ground moves and chasms open beneath your feet, if walls sway and concrete foundations crack and crumble, if your prized collections jump off the shelving, you may be in the middle of a mild to severe earthquake.

The New Madrid earthquake of 1812 registered 7.2 on the Richter scale and claims to be the the greatest recorded quake in US. The fault, named for a small Missouri boothill town near the Mississippi River, produced 1,874 tremors between 1811 and 1812, The greatest tremor was Feb. 7, 1812 and was felt over 1 million sq. miles from Canada to Boston to New Orleans. Witnesses said the earth and river convulsed and rolled creating new lakes, rivers, valleys and hills. Others claimed the Mississippi River reversed its course for a short time.

Since I've lived in northern Arkansas we have experienced the effects of small tremors. Interestingly, some 'quakes announce themselves with an audible sound similar to a clap of thunder.

The recent cataclysmic Haitian earthquake stirred my memory of a supposed phenomenon: cats, dogs and other animals may predict earthquakes. Several studies have attempted to prove this theory but results are mixed. If a dog is barking at nothing, this does not prove the imminent danger of an earthquake. National Geographic News has an article on this subject,too.

The dogs in my life have never predicted an earthquake but they become increasing agitated and squirrely when the ground or other surfaces beneath them begin to move. My Moroccan German Shepherd tried to recline but kept rising and examining the shaking floor in a somewhat circular movement. The Moroccan 'quake was a mild one.

The tremors in Arkansas were mild; the Shepherds reacted in similar fashion. None barked in the manner described by the animal advocates who claim dogs can predict earthquakes.

Has Luckie endured an earthquake? I don't know. At least two years of her life was spent being abused by a man, sometimes as stray. We rescued her at the Humane Society where she was deposited by a female friend of the abuser. Her words were, 'I am bringing this dog and litter to you, before he beats the living s--t out of her.'

We quickly found out she loves to ride in cars and trucks. She curls up and sleeps quietly with occasional scanning the fleeting landscape for chipmunks. If she is in the front rider's seat she often sits like a person looking out the front window-best best-love-to go-for-a-ride dog we ever had!

But vehicles are one matter; other movement beneath her itsy-bitsy feet freaks her out.

She picked a dilapidated lift chair recliner as her favorite spot when she first entered our home. She quickly learned it was only hers, and all others were off-limits. She does have rare occasional lapses of memory.

She is also allowed to sleep in our adjustable beds.

The chairs and the beds have common features: they move and/or vibrate on demand. One lift recliner and the adjustable beds vibrate. When you activate either movement or vibration she is immediately airborne, retreating to another room or out the doggy door.

The adjustable beds shake the flooring and produce a rather loud noise. The lift recliner is mild vibration and noise.

Why does she flee the moving, and/or vibrating chairs and beds, but loves a ride in a vehicle?

Recently, I've activated the vibration system of my lift recliner in the evening, about her bedtime. She expressed anxiety by pacing, ears laid back tightly, between three rooms and out the doggy door until the timer shut off the vibrator.

When she passed through my room she leaned on the farthest wall from me. Her angst was stronger than ever before.

Cats and dogs can predict earthquakes--fact or fiction?

Is an earthquake imminent?

Is Luckie an earthquake freak?

Or might her spooky behavior be related to her idiopathic epilepsy aura?

1. New Madrid sign (Internet)
2. Luckie and her Lift chair Recliner (an early photo I took of her)
3. Luckie, husband napping in unison (I caught this pose one Sun. afternoon)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Yahoo! Nothing Wet Falling

After what seemed an eternity of days nothing wet is falling from the sky, so I'm outta here for a few errands.

The last storm left an estimated 10 inches of snow; a lot melted early on, but 5" accumulated on my deck. Husband (H) has cleared us a small walking path and our driveway is clear. Sun's peeping out which gives a warm feeling even though temperature is 21 deg. after a low of 12 deg. No water pipe problems so all is well at Coward's Corner.

Maybe my house cleaner will be able to get here tomorrow, too! I have been a good little employer, doing my best, to at least put away our usual clutter.

The impending snow forecast tomorrow for N AR is only a dusting, but S AR lower tiers of counties will be around 2", which for them is a BIG snow. But then the storm tracking is starting today in lower Texas; projected tracking this AM is along TX Gulf course. That may CHANGE....

So I'm outta here to escape cabin fever. But I've accomplished so much in the last two weeks!!!!!!!!!

See ya later...........

Monday, February 08, 2010

From MIA TO AWOL! ONE FIANCÉ! Part 4: Get Me to the Church on Time.

Part 4 of the continuing saga, Get Me to the Church on Time, will further illustrate the vast chasm Life Companion (LC) and I navigated, and continue to navigate.

Remember in Part 1 I compared our motivational types, A and Z. In Part 2 I illustrated the unusual 13 year courtship, the military aspect, my love of single life and finally engagement and a wedding date, Friday, Feb. 21, 1969 In Part 3 the problems LC had in arriving in Texas from Virginia, being basically MIA-a military term for missing in action.

The possibility this postponed wedding might be the male version of "dear Johnette" raced through my agitated psyche. Somehow I believed there would be a reasonable resolution.

I have a saying based on my religious belief is God's time and my time are not in the same time zone (God has no time unless infinity can be so defined). LC was in a different time zone than mine.Indeed I think he has another time zone altogether different from anyone else. Along with all these times, he was coping with a number of issues complicating his once simple life style of "have orders, pack sea bag and report to ship by any means possible."

Patience was a virtue I had, and still have, in short supply. Day 2 (Thursday) was soon to sorely test me even more than Day 1 (Wednesday) of "getting LC to Texas. "

LC at least now had a flight number. My same passel of adventurous friends decided to meet the plane as it would shorten his travel by bus or air and his weariness (Why did we ever worry about that? We were to be the weary ones!).

Before leaving home, I called Love Field. Oh yes, the flight was on schedule. Again, we made the 200+ round trip to Dallas.

When we arrived at the airport, LC was nowhere to be found. Yes the manifest showed he arrived, but there was no subsequent booking out of Love Field.

We panicked a tad, but figured he headed to the bus station which was in the middle of downtown Dallas. Not knowing the bus schedule, we headed downtown. The Dallas bus station is always bustling with activity. Several bus lines made stops in Dallas. But only a few stopped in my hometown. We patiently took a place in one line after another, but no tickets had been sold to LC, or so they said.

We were really bewildered. He had to be in Dallas SOMEWHERE! We analyzed the schedules and decided he may have chosen to spend the night and leave on a very early morning bus which would put him in my hometown with only an afternoon to get tests, etc., done. It becomes dark around 5 p.m. in February.

By now in downtown Dallas it was dark and so was the temperament of some very weary persons in search of a ghostly groom.

After a few rounds of coffee at the bus station we began another desperate search of this 2-day tour of Dallas, not to mention padding the pockets of Texas petroleum billionaires, and the tourism industry.

We decided to search at every bar, hotel, motel, flop house, and one night stands, asking if he was boarding there. We started with a very nice hotel, the Driscoll, near the bus station and spread out in a wide circumference of the bus station.

We entered places I had never seen, including a variety of bars I did not know existed. There were bars, then there were.....well.. bars.

I feared for our safety as we had two teenage girls with us. They and I saw a cross section of downtown night life in Dallas. I don't even contemplate what I would have said or done, had LC been in some of the night low life places.

Without a question our search for LC gave new meaning to "a night on the town!"
Despite the questionable places we entered with trepidation, we were addressed and treated with courtesy; our questions were answered simply. Of course they may have suspected we might be some kind of undercover law enforcement!

Finally, at 4 a.m. we dragged ourselves into an all night drug store (Yes, in 1969 there were all night drug stores in Dallas most of which were NOT Walgreen's)which had a food counter. More coffee and some food. I don't remember what. We all were numb and weary beyond weary.

We regrouped. There was an early bus out about 7 a.m. We would go meet that bus. No LC and we would head home to ponder my fate which seemed even more firmly planted in spinsterhood.

We found several seats together and promptly began snoozing....except I don't snooze very much short sleep disorder. As buses arrived, the bustle of boarding and deboarding would awaken me.

As daylight arrived, the number of buses arriving and departing increased, more noise and air pollution. As 7 a.m. drew near, I focused myself on the entrances nearest the bus line whose destination was my hometown. I was beginning to sink in deep despair as only 15 minutes remained before departure of the 7 a.m. bus.

I awakened my group with the intention of leaving before the heavy Friday morning commute began. We stood up to stretch our tired bodies, when I again glanced at the entrance to see a familiar man grinning from ear to ear, coming in the door, rested and fresh from an all night SLEEP in the Driscoll Hotel.

At that moment I and my group could have easily murdered a desk clerk who lied to us about a registered guest. However, I suppose there were privacy laws even then. But we were way tired.

We piled in my friends' car and made the trip home in time for us to get blood work drawn and off to the lab. However, there were still small, but important requirements we had to complete before the afternoon ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 22, 1969, George Washington's Birthday.

Stay tuned for Part 5 the Finale to Get Me to the Church on Time.

A poem in my wedding book:

[Author pen names:
Jan Struther, Joyce Anstuther,
Joyce Maxine Graham, Joyce Placzek ]

Dear, if some god (lonely in Paradise
And jealous of my two-fold ecstasy)
Were to demand one half as sacrifice-
My love for you, or else your love for me:
O then I'd choose that you should need me less,
So my own body still for you might crave;
And all your passion, all your tenderness
I'd lose, my own heart's tenderness to save.
I'd sooner hear the ardour in your voice
Grow false and dull, than feel my own lips falter
On old endearments. This should be my choice,
If choice must be, to deck the high god's altar.
For to love, loveless, is a bitter pill:
But to be loved, unloving, bitterer still.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Circle of Friends Award

"A friend loves at all times." Proverbs 17:17

I don't usually post on Sunday but Circle of Friends Award is an easy award offered by Silver on her blog Reflections,to everyone, so feel free to accept from her or me.

Silver has beautiful, soul searching blogs written during her journey of grief. She posts occasionally and it is always worth a read.

Requirements are simple:
List 5 things you love to do.

So here goes my 5 things.
1. Eat....oh woe is me!
2. Photography.
3. Read, blog, communicate via computer.
4. Volunteer or participate with my Circle of Friends!

5. Fish
So have at it anyone who wishes to accept this award!

Blogs I've written which may interest you: GET ME TO THE CHURCH ON TIME

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 (to be posted Monday) and Part 5 (not yet written)

Friday, February 05, 2010

The title of this award is Over The Top.

This was awarded to all who are on Arkansas Patti's [The New Sixty] bloglist or read her blog. If you have not visited her blog, you are missing humorous stories, especially her interactions with pets, and her various occupations.

The deal is: you have to answer the questions with one word and then pass on the award to three other blogs. I managed to use one word, but sure wanted to use a lot of asterisk notes at the end for further explanations. I guess you will have to comment or e-mail if you "really wanna know!"

But a la Arkansas Patti, I generously select all my bloglist or blog readers to participate in this drill it they so desire.

Having willfully broken one rule, maybe the blogger police will leniently issue me only a warning ticket. I'm known for revising the rules to fit my needs.

1. Where is your cell phone? table
2. Your hair? white
3. Your mother? deceased
4. Your father? deceased
5. Your favorite food? pie
6. Your dream last night? none
7. Your favorite drink? coffee
8. Your dream/goal? Heaven
9. What room are you in? den
10. Your hobby? photography
11. Your fear? silence
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Arkansas
13. Where were you last night? home
14. Something you aren’t? glamorous
15. Muffins? pecan
16. Wish list item? condo
17. Where did you grow up? Texas
18. Last thing you did? e-mail
19. What are you wearing? bathrobe
20. Your TV? Vizio
21. Your pet(s)? Luckie
22. Your friends? best
23. Your life? pleasant
24. Your mood? content
25. Missing someone? No
26. Vehicle? Toyota
27. Something you’re not wearing? shoes
28. Your favorite store? Internet
29. Your favorite color? blue
30. When was the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? November
32. Your best friend? Linda
33. One place that I go over and over? church
34. One person who emails me regularly? sister
35. Favorite place to eat? buffets


Have Fun! Hope you finish before the actual Super Bowl game starts. As you probably know "pre-game" starts about noon, or some may have decided it started last Sunday!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

One Fiancé MIA! Part 3: Get Me to the Church on Time

Part 3 of the continuing saga, Get Me to the Church on Time, will further illustrate the vast chasm Life Companion (LC) and I navigated, and continue to navigate. Remember in Part 1 I compared our motivational types, A and Z. In Part 2 I illustrated the unusual 13 year courtship, the military aspect, my love of single life and finally engagement and a wedding date, Friday, Feb. 21, 1969.

LC arranged for leave of sufficient time to arrive in Texas for preliminary requisites like blood tests, marriage licenses and other legalities required prior to the ceremony.

I purchased small silver-plated key chains engraved with the wedding date, Feb.21, 1969, for wedding participants. Since I planned a very simple church wedding, I only had a minister and the trio providing music. Invitations were word of mouth, mostly family and very close friends, although I bought a few generic invitations and mailed them. Thank goodness!!! I had a list of the invitations I chose to mail.

I was no young blushing bride. I wore a nice dress in my favorite color. [Yes I still have it, and NO I cannot get in it!] LC was getting married in what was called Navy dress blues (winter dress uniform), the old style bell bottom trousers. Yes, LC can still wear his original dress blues; in fact, the uniform size is a tad too large.

I purchased two large artificial flower arrangements in aqua and white--the colors of my chosen dress. This turned out to be a wise choice for reasons other than I am allergic to flowers with any scent. Standing at alter sneezing and wheezing did not seem very romantic. Little did I know the time between purchase and use unexpectedly was extended. Live flowers probably would have been wilted.

Since it was a small wedding. the usual large sanctuary was not chosen but a smaller auditorium in the same church was reserved; and a smaller area for reception which was simply cake and appropriate finger snacks. I had no attendants. LC and I would walk down the aisle together. A trio of long-time female friends provided selected music. A long time respected minister agreed to marry us. Invitations were sent to a select small group of family and friends, about 25 total.

All plans were in place and ready, awaiting arrival of one very important piece of the puzzle--the groom.

LC said he would arrive on Wednesday by air, flying into Dallas Love Field [these were the days before DFW Intl]. Since the single flight into my hometown was iffy, and the bus line route was onerous and tiring, friends and I decided to drive to Dallas and pick him up. This sounded like a firm confirmation to me. I was soon to find out nothing is as it seems when Type A (NitWit1) and Type Z (LC) are involved.

Four persons piled into my black Ford LTD and headed for Love Field, about a 200 mile round trip. His projected arrival time was late afternoon. There was no hope of returning home before dark.

We got home AFTER dark, but NO FIANCÉ! no Groom. He was not on the manifest, passenger list. The courteous personnel checked every possible route and reservation. No air passenger service into Love Field had a record LC even bought a ticket. We waited for several incoming flights which he might have LC. The long, tiring ride home was gloomy. Remember this is NOT the era of cell phones or easy access to communication facilities. Pay phones were the only available means of contact.

Because I was drowsy after a long day's work, I allowed a man in our traveling party to make the long drive home, not knowing he also was tired. After dark, and within four blocks of his home,he dozed off and barely side-swiped a tree and car.

My problems just quadrupled. No Fiancé + a driving ticket + two damaged cars (mainly body repair) + insurance rate immediate increase. We did not find the owner of the street-parked car so a note with my phone number was left on the windshield. The owner called early the next morning and we exchanged insurance information. Thankfully, NO one was injured.

Even though we arrived home after dark, it was still early evening in February. I had several phone numbers where LC might be reached, if he was not en route to Texas. When ships are in port telephone services are available. A man, not LC, answered the phone. My question was if LC was on the way to Texas. The man, somewhat humorously, replied, "No, he missed his flight," and then provided me a phone number of a bar close to the ship where I could reach him. I found nothing humorous about potentially missing your wedding day, whiling away the time in a bar.

Needless to say, the news he was in a bar, missed the plane for wedding, and seemingly saw no reason to inform me did not set well with this TYPE A person. Biting my tongue and gritting my teeth, I called the number. He already had a few drinks which probably was good as he was about to see another side of his fiancée.

He informed me all flights out of the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area were fully booked and he was taking a bus to Atlanta (I think) a giant Delta Air Lines hub which he was sure would have several flights to Dallas. He also assured me he would call me when he knew the exact flight. I'm sure he called COLLECT but I do not remember.

I explained to him blood tests and other legal matters were required of both of us, plus we now would only have Friday to get this accomplished. Normally we could not have completed these prerequisites in this time frame, except I knew the people personally who could speed up the procedures, an advantage to living in a small town, fortuitously being employed in the medical field and family who had lived in the same town over 40 years. My Dad knew the county clerk and other governmental personnel on a personal level.

The next day, Thursday, I set about rescheduling the wedding to Saturday, Feb 22. Again the doubts that this marriage would ever take place, from the ever patient minister, singers, and all invited guests. I could do nothing about the engraved key chain dates. It would become one of many things that went wrong, which provided mirth in the retelling even forty years later. Every wedding seems to have some mishap of plans gone awry, but missing a groom usually is not laughable.

Oh yes! Put in a day's work!

What LC and I did not realize was Feb. 21 was the beginning of George Washington's Birthday weekend, now more commonly known as Presidents' dahya much greater observed holiday on the East Coast, than Texas. I later found this to be true when we lived in Baltimore.

LC called with a flight number. He and I assumed he would fly the tree-chopper once a day flight into my home town. Belatedly I realized the two flights would never connect, thus another day would be lost for blood tests and licenses, even if he took the bus. He did not tell me how he planned to get from Dallas to my hometown.

Remember, I was not learned in military protocol and perks; I was marrying an enlisted man ingrained with 10+ years military service. Lower ranked and lower salaried men took advantage of every perk available to them to save expenses. One perk was flying stand-by on military and civilian airways. Military men received first priority. I'm not sure if the fare was reduced or even free. LC probably assumed I knew these little tidbits. It wasn't the last tidbit of knowledge I was to learn in forty years of marriage, some of which I don't care to discuss.

LC was not learned in the necessity of informing his soon-to-be wife about tiny little things like missing the flight taking him to his wedding date. I assume he did not understand the prerequisites to obtaining a marriage license, or the time required for blood tests results to be known.

Some ministers require a brief counseling session prior to the ceremony; however this minister did not, probably surmising persons in their 30s have hashed out all the little things that make or break a marriage. What a miscalculation! We both might as well have been 18!!!

Further, the minister's son played college ball at an Abilene Christian college. He planned to attend the game and still have time to perform our wedding. With all these changes I had to offer him the opportunity to opt out for the wedding, but he still wanted to perform the wedding, probably more so as he was a close friend of my parents.

WILL THIS SAGA EVERY END? HOW, WHEN, and WHERE? I would not have been surprised if enterprising friends had begun taking bets on the likelihood this event would ever take place. One of the women in the musical group asked me what the problem was(?)....not very tactfully, but then she knew me and my family before my parents ever brought me home as an infant.

PHOTOS:[B&W photos I've carried in my purse for 40 years; I think we were approximately the same age]

1. Actually two photos, one overlaying the other: portrait of LC and LC in some Mediterranean country, maybe Sicily

2. A professional photo of myself in my mid-20s.

The following YouTube recording for this blog's episodes[Get Me to the Church on Time}is Judy Garland's performance in 1963: The Judy Garland Show Ep#14 Recorded November 30th 1963; aired December 29th 1963.

As a fan of Garland, I first thought this YouTube recording was made during her declining years, as the singing seemed noticeably off-key, her rhythm out of sync, her dancing(?)or stage movement, jerky and exaggerated. However, when checking the B&W recording info [The Judy Garland Show Ep#14 Recorded November 30th 1963 Aired December 29th 1963] I tempered my somewhat harsh judgment, to 'it is not Judy Garland at her BEST!'

To be continued...
From MIA TO AWOL! ONE FIANCÉ! Part 4: Get Me to the Church on Time.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Imminent Danger!

An article on hacking in the New York Times upset me so much I decided to link to it for my blogger friends to read and heed.

Although about a very technical topic, I believe this article is understandable by all of us as the danger is emphasized, rather than the technical aspects of it.

What alarmed me most about this Chinese hacker was his skill in hacking into personal information including bank accounts and stealing passwords, which he uses or sells.

He accomplishes this by writing his own Trojan Horse code, creating a backdoor into your computer through web pages you unknowingly visit. Then he essentially "owns" your computer.

Least you think I am somehow biased to the Chinese, the article states Russians and Eastern Europe have legions of hackers. It is a equivalent to international sport.

Recently one of my bloggers was paralyzed by some Trojan Horse or virus and her computer has not yet been cleaned.

My personal concern is the financial aspect. Despite all my programs, like anti-spyware and anti-virus programs, regular deletions of cookies and temporary files, we have suffered identity theft twice through a debit/credit card clearing house, and hacking into the Veterans Administration database.

A third time my financial institution recognized an unusual pattern in their clients' accounts and cancelled our debit card, issuing two new ones with different numbers for husband and me, but same checking account.

Previously we had two cards, same account number, same checking account but my name on one card, and husband's name on the other card.

One of the compromised dealers was Barnes and Noble, probably unaware of the Trojan Horse infection at the time I made a small purchase.

I praise this financial institution for finding this pattern and taking action before there was wide-spread damage to their clients.

Further I am going to gradually have different passwords for everything. I hate that as I have a password rated moderately safe, but I use it everywhere allowed.

My financial institution, Medicare, TriCare for Life use a password creation program which does not allow me the luxury of easily remembered passwords. TriCare requires the password be changed every 3 months. I have elected to not have access to TriCare's website, as I still receive paper EOBs.

Yes, I have a written list, but it is not stored on my computer. This list will become longer. My tired brain can only retain and retrieve so much.

Finally, you will note Google is a frequent victim of this hacker. Google and China are having some difficulties, the details of which I am unfamiliar. However, if you use you are using Google. I have a Google e-mail account but it is not my main account.

This hacker targets Microsoft and Google for what is known as "zero days." Microsoft is issuing so many security fixes, I lose count of them! The hacker declined to comment on the meaning and importance of "zero days."

Too bad, I can't afford an Apple product or use Linux operating systems, both of which are singularly immune from most hacker activities. a lot is due to the market popularity of Microsoft and Google.

Is it time to switch to WordPress??? or Linux.??? or save to buy an Apple? Probably not. My problem with Apple and Linux is available software is more limited, but this may also be a plus!!! Decisions, Decisions! There is always something to destroy our fun.

Monday, February 01, 2010


I captured icicles Sunday morning and a few tree branches with frozen fog on them. The frozen fog was not nearly as pretty as a few weeks ago. We are supposed to have fog several times this week with early temperatures below freezing so maybe I'll be able to capture better fog photos.

An early physician's appointment Monday morning may afford a similar opportunity. My little travel Canon camera is already anxiously waiting me in my SUV. It is a very good substitute for my Nikon, which I would not dare leave unattended in any car. Only disadvantage is I have no polarizer for the Canon which is secret to the deep blue skies which I tend to overdo---I love them so.

1. Reflections in Our Front Storm Door Window.
[Not a picture to get excited about unless you see the two captured drops from two icicles. I would have rather it been some other photo, but I've tried for years to capture dripping icicles!]

2. Icicles

3. Icicles

4. "I Quit"

5. Awaiting Spring - Variety of Pest Controls "Cooling" in the Snow

6. Fog Frozen on Trees

[Note ice shards on horizontal branches + trees appear budding with frozen fog on nubs which will be new growth in spring.]