Thursday, March 28, 2019

Back to Memphis and the Civil Rights Museum

We  walked the short distance to the Civil Rights Museum from our parking place by the barbecue.  Cliff thought we'd be better spending our time elsewhere, since we knew all about what went on in the days of civil rights marches, integration, and so forth.  "We lived through it," he said. 

Actually, I didn't, personally, because none of that was happening in Kansas City in the 60's, that I knew of.  Schools were already segregated there.  (When Dr. King was shot, though, all hell broke loose in Kansas City.)  It was on the news every single night.  I was horrified at the way people treated others just because of the color of their skin.  I saw lovely, every-hair-in-place ladies spitting on children being escorted into newly integrated schools.  I was living alone in my first apartment on eleventh street in Kansas City at the time.  I watched Walter Cronkite every single night.  I remember wishing I had the nerve to go south and march with those people, like many college students were doing.  However, when those students started being killed, I knew I wouldn't have gone, even if I'd had the resources. 

First of all, I need to tell you that until we moved to Kansas City, I seldom saw anyone of color.  But my parents seemed anything but racist in my book.  They never said anything negative about "colored people" the term polite folks used at the time.  We were still in the small, north Missouri town of Eagleville when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus.  About the only black people I saw in the 40's and '50's were in the movies;  they often played comical-but-lovable parts, acting scared of the dark and so forth, sort of like Buckwheat in the original "Little Rascals".  If they played serious parts, they were usually cast as servants.  Mother and I would go to a movie once in awhile, and I guess there must have been a black baby or toddler in one of them, because the next Christmas... or perhaps my birthday... I wanted a black baby doll.  I thought black babies were cuter than white ones.  I do remember using the "N word" when I asked for that doll, though, so I suppose my parents used the word too.  It was rural Iowa.  Everybody was white there and I certainly didn't realize it was a negative word.  My mom got me the doll, though.

Anyhow, Cliff thought we had nothing new to learn about civil rights.  In a way, he was right.  We've watched a lot of PBS documentaries about those times:  the stories would break your heart.  But Cliff said we made this whole trip because I wanted to, so we went. 

The white wreath shows where Dr. King was shot.  I didn't take this picture, I found it on the Internet.  Only once in the twelve years I've been blogging did someone email me, telling me to remove a picture because it was theirs.  I did so.  

Everywhere we went in Memphis, the lighting hindered me from getting decent pictures.  At least you can make out what this is.  Part of the picture-taking problem is that you can't use flash.  

Here's a little something I'll share:  We stopped to watch a short video about civil rights in a mini-theater inside the museum.  One thing mentioned therein was an experiment done in the 40's where you put two baby dolls in front of black children, a black doll and a white doll.  Then you'd ask questions like, "Which one is the smart doll?" or "Which is the prettiest?"; most of the time, the black child would choose the white doll.  There's a ten-minute video on Youtube HERE showing how it went.  You don't have to watch over a minute of it to see how that went down.  

That's sad, but here's a little thing that happened when it was over:  As we were leaving, a black dad with his little boy beside him stopped at a glass case on the way out that had a black doll and a while doll displayed, side by side.  The man asked his child which doll he liked best.  The kid chose the black doll.  The dad asked another similar question... the boy, about five years old, still chose the black doll.  So at least in that family, there has been some progress.  

The little girl pictured above is that little boy's sister, I believe.  I'm not sure what that book is, but it was something about the video we were watching, I'm sure.  She decided to stand up in front of us all and show us the book, turning a page at a time.  Isn't she a cutie?

Cliff still says it was a waste of time for him, that he didn't learn anything new.  For me, it was a good reminder.  Besides, the world needs this museum for future generations who did NOT live through it.  

I'm glad we went.

Monday, March 25, 2019

A walk with two dogs

Now that winter is over, I'm having a little problem with the dogs when I walk.  

As soon as we get in the pasture I turn Gabe loose.  As long as big boy Apollo is with us, I don't think there is any danger of Gabe getting attacked by eagles, coyotes, or foxes.  But these two partners in crime run so fast out of pure joy at being free, they soon get very thirsty.  If we get near the muddy little pond in back, that's where they drink; and in order to get a drink, they have to walk through the mud at the edge of the pond.  So today I decided to avoid the pond and try to walk the same distance somewhere else on the place.  That would work, right? 

I am so happy I'm able to take my walks again (knock wood).  It takes twice as long as it used to to go the same distance, but my knees are holding up so far.  The dogs, of course, frolic and run.  Once I get back in the pasture to "the point", I feel a wonderful sense of freedom, like everything is in it's proper place.  It reminds me of what Old Lodge Skins said in the movie "Little Big Man" when Jack asked why white people killed women and children.  The old grandfather said, "Because they are strange.  They do not seem to know where the center of the earth is."

I know where the center of the earth is when I'm walking in the woods.

So I took the dogs in a different direction.  The river bottoms are flooded so much now that there is some standing water at the very back of the property at the lowest point on the place.  I stood where I could see glimpses of the water far below, but it wasn't enough.  I've been feeling pretty good lately, even without much sleep.  I felt like I could make it down to the bottom of the canyon and somehow get back up, as long as I took my time.  It's been a long, long time since I've even tried it.  

The hills are so steep I had to hang onto fence posts and trees going down, but I made it.  The dogs ran ahead to the bottom to get a drink.
This is where I landed, on the northwest corner of the property.  Back in 1993, it was deeper, and there were otters swimming around in this spot.  

The dogs ran to the water to drink, and next thing you know, Gabe decided to go for a swim.  I wasn't fast enough to get a picture.  Apollo stayed out of the water, but drank heavily.  Big dogs can drink a lot when they've been exerting themselves.  

You can see the railroad tracks behind our place, and the flooded river bottom on the other side.

Here is a path that leads from west to east back there.  Since I hadn't intended on venturing to the lowlands, I didn't wear my Muck Boots.  I wore my new leather walking shoes instead.  However, I managed to stay out of most of the mud.  There's a spring that runs out of most of the hillside there on the right year around, so it's always a little... or a lot... wet.  See the dogs, way up ahead of me?

The boys and I went south into my favorite canyon where I found a spot to sit while they nosed around.  I think if you were able to ask a dog which he'd rather lose, his vision or his sense of smell, he'd choose to keep his sense of smell.  They love smells, the ranker, the better.  That structure you see up high is one of the grandson's many deer blinds.  Yes, this old woman had to climb back up to that level when we were done in the valley.  I was still feeling pretty good though, and taking my time.  I rested a lot and let the dogs play.

Time to head back, and here's the path.  I rested twice on the way up.  

We walked a couple other paths once we were above the canyon.  

Time for another rest stop.  By this point, even the dogs were a little tired.  And Gabe decided to sniff Apollo's butt just in time for a picture.  

The valley you see below us we call "Marvin's Mushroom Heaven".  Seriously!  Marvin is a former neighbor.  

Apollo wanted to take a nap, but at this point I got him up and we made our way to the house.

Right now I feel no worse for the wear.  I'm so thankful I've figured out a way to go back there and enjoy my walks again.  Slow and easy wins the race.


Next entry, I promise, will be about the Memphis trip.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

It's been an interesting morning

Don't worry, I'll get back to our road trip.  Some things can't wait, so I'll tell you a story that seems sad, and yet...

First of all, I haven't been sleeping well at all lately... about four hours a night, the last four nights.  I go to bed at nine and go straight to sleep, but by one o'clock I'm wide awake.  I blame it partly on the full moon.  I lie in bed another hour trying not to toss and turn, and finally get up.  I don't make coffee yet, because I might feel like going back to bed soon (never happens).  So I've been sort of dragging around, half the time. 

I'm almost to the end of the Ricky Skaggs autobiography "The Kentucky Traveler" I've been reading.  It's taken so long because I get library books that I have to read within a certain time, so I save actual books I own to read when I'm between library books.  In telling his life story, Ricky talks a lot about his first real job as a musician, which was when he and Keith Whitley were teenagers and best friends. They went to work for the Stanley Brothers, bluegrass singers.  I've never gone out of my way to listen to bluegrass, but when Ricky would mention a song they did with the Stanley Brothers, I'd stop reading and tell Alexa to play the song.  I think this bluegrass thing might be growing on me. 

This morning I really wasn't in the mood to read, and told Alexa to shuffle the Stanley brothers.  I closed my eyes, and hoped sleep would find me.  One song came up that told a couple of favorite Bible stories I learned as a child, and I replayed a few times, thinking later I would write down the words and see if I could sing it.  I even shared the song on Facebook.  

First of all, here's the song:

Old Job, every rose in his garden had faded,
Every flower in his life had withered away.
Then he said, "I know my Redeemer liveth
And the roses for Job, they all bloomed again.

     The roses will bloom again, some morning,
     No matter how long the winter has been.
     When you see the rose of sharon in the beautiful garden,
     It's gonna come springtime again.

It was dark for Jacob when they brought him that coat,
And it seemed to him that Joseph was dead.
But things looked brighter when he saw the wagons coming
And the roses for Jacob had all bloomed again.

 When Cliff got up, I made his coffee and told him the dogs and I were going to go for a walk in the pasture.  I've learned if you feel sluggish, sometimes it helps to do something physical.  I put the camera in my pocket just in case I wanted to take pictures, and a handkerchief... because any time it's below 50, my nose runs.  The dogs had a great time.  At one point, they were both out of sight and didn't come when I called, so I got on the ground and started yelping like a hurt puppy.  That works every time, and they came bounding toward me.  I got up and we went on our way.  I noticed the river bottom covered completely by the flood and dug in every one of my six pockets (crazy coat), but my camera was gone.  My cell phone was there, so I did take the pictures.  I wasn't too worried about the camera because I was pretty sure where it was... somewhere around the spot where I sat down and yelped.  I knew I could just have Cliff take me back in the four-wheeler later before the rains start. Turns out I was right about where the camera was.

Cliff was waiting for a friend to call so he could go and borrow a trailer.  He got the call and went outside to leave, but came back in directly.  "I've got some devastating news," he said.  I paused, almost afraid to ask, but then said, "What is it?"

"The deep freeze in the garage has stopped working; the light's on, but all the meat is thawed."

"Is it still cold?  If it is, we can still re-freeze it."

Alas, juices were flowing out of packages; I held a package and sniffed:  it wasn't rotten, but it was beyond saving.  Both of us were speechless.  

"Well," I said, "if we can scoot the freezer over in front of the door, you could lift it up with the tractor and take it all down to the ditch."

"I'll call Arick (the grandson) to help," Cliff said.  I reminded him that the grandson was helping a friend move, so he isn't home.  "But I'll help," I told him.  "We were eating too much meat anyway."  (That's all I could think of to say.)

But as we were getting the job done, in my mind I heard my mother saying, as she did when things went wrong, "Well, it isn't a human life."

And then I thought about old Job and old Jacob, spoken of in the song, and I think I even smiled a little.  

We got that deep freeze loaded on the forks of the tractor easily, and Cliff drove it down in the pasture.  When he came back we didn't have much to say, but we hugged.

Cliff went on to pick up the trailer.  I thought of Job saying, "I know my Redeemer liveth", and remembered something else Job said later that wasn't in the song:  "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." 

I don't say a lot of spiritual things, and I'm not a model Christian.  But I know that my Redeemer lives, and though He slay me, I will trust Him to the bitter end.  Just like a friend I met a few years, Christine.  She had terminal cancer, surgeries went wrong, she died a miserable death.  But to the bitter end, she begged everybody to "know Jesus".  Boy, I miss that lady.


Why me?  Well, why not me?  Bad things happen to us all.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The first of two days in Memphis

First of all, I happened to notice that in the last entry I said we left home Monday.  We actually left Sunday morning.  Can you get jet lag from riding in a car?  Anyhow, I corrected that mistake.

I had some things I really wanted to see, things I hoped we'd both enjoy.  I wanted to do the Memphis City tour, the Mississippi River sightseeing cruise.  Both of these have guides telling you details about the area.  I didn't know whether we'd stay two days or three yet.  We only had the VRBO place for two days, but it isn't peak season yet.  I'm sure we could have gotten a motel room to stay a third night.

Everybody online told me to be sure to go to the Peabody Hotel and see the ducks either marching in (morning) or marching out (evening).  All sources said to be sure to get there by 10:15, or you wouldn't be able to see them over the crowd.  That's forty-five minutes of waiting in a swanky hotel.  Cliff thought this was the most ridiculous thing he ever heard, but as he said, "We did this trip for you, so OK."

Now, why I thought looking at five ducks being herded inside a hotel would be a big deal, I don't know.  There's nothing special about ducks.  I've raised a few of them.  But I let the hype get to me.  Yes, it's kinda neat, and you don't have to pay for the experience of watching them (you don't see many things that are free in Memphis).  But I had other things I'd rather have done with that time, like the Memphis City tour that started at 9:30.

We left our Memphis "home" around nine.  We found a parking garage.  We asked a man sweeping the sidewalk to point us toward the Peabody, and he actually led us to the nearest corner and pointed it out; directly after that, a homeless man with a blanket around him and some squashed-up cake and broken cookies in a plastic bag and asked if we would buy him a hamburger.  Cliff just handed him a five-dollar bill, and we went on to the hotel  And thus began the hour-and-a-half wait to see some stupid ducks walk down a red carpet to an indoor fountain (Cliff says "I told you so").  I will share the following video so all of you can see it.  The video is actually preferable to seeing it in person.  Click HERE.  

One item of interest on the mezzanine from which we watched the ducks was a piano like I've never seen, especially built for Francis Scott Key.

I couldn't take many pictures of the ducks because of all the lights.  That was also a problem when we were in the house at Graceland; I'm sure a knowledgeable photographer with a good camera could have managed just fine.  

As we walked toward the parking garage to our car, I took the next picture, taken right off Beale Street.

Then we drove to the National Civil Rights Museum.  We were hungry, so we went to the closest restaurant we saw after we parked on the street nearby.  I think it was Central Barbecue, but I looked that up and it sure had great reviews.  I wish I knew for sure, because I'd love to give them a review.  The food was nothing to brag about.  Cliff got Diet Coke, I got Sprite, but guess what?  Our drinks tasted like mold.  That made me wonder if they didn't clean their soda machine; I mentioned that to Cliff, and we both stopped drinking it.  We drank some water when we went to the car.  What kind of fool from the Kansas City area buys barbecue anywhere else?  We do, I guess.   

This is a good stopping place for today's entry, so come back tomorrow and I'll tell you a little about the Civil Rights Museum.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A trip to Memphis

Perhaps my readers will remember my saying I needed a road trip, and deciding Omaha would be a great destination.  If you watch the news, you know all about the flooding and freezing cold, and the snowstorms and rain storms that have occurred in Nebraska ever since I decided to go there.  I realized I needed a different destination, and decided Memphis would be perfect.  When I checked out a few websites, I knew we'd have no problem finding interesting things to see and do there.  Cliff is never actually happy to hear I want to travel, especially to destinations that requires driving almost 500 miles; we won't talk about the August tractor show we'll be attending that's a wee bit further than that.

Here's the deal:  Cliff has never enjoyed driving long distances.  It doesn't help that we've always lived at least 30 miles from anyplace he has been employed, except for long ago when he worked at the butcher shop that was less than five miles from our house; after about fifty-six years of spending forty-five minutes to an hour one way on the road going to work, it didn't take him long to learn to hate it.  It's worse now that he's older, with aches and pains everywhere.  Hours on the road magnifies the pain.  But he loves me, and usually tries to enjoy it as much as he can.  For my part, I try not to push him into very many long trips.  It's all about compromise.

There is flooding in all parts of the country, it seems.  It's time for the spring thaw up north, so it's only going to get worse.  Memphis sits right on the Mississippi River, so we were a little worried about going there, but there wasn't anything on the national news, and didn't say a lot about Memphis, so away we went, deciding to leave Sunday.  

We took Gabe-the-Mini-Schnauzer to granddaughter Amber's house Saturday, where he always has a happy time playing with her Shih Tzu and the cats.  He likes visiting there, but he is always happy to see me when we return.  We got home after 10 PM last night, and went to get him this morning (Wednesday).  He came home to a surprise:  a new dog bed from Costco online that he seems to absolutely love.  I bought it for him because I'm always worried he'll get cold at night, and it looks warm and snuggly.

He never would let me cover him with a blanket when he was in his kennel, but he seems to like being covered in this bed.  I think I'll leave him out of the kennel at nights, putting this bed right beside my side of the bed on the floor where I can reach down and pet him occasionally.

So, away we went Sunday morning.  I have to say, fortune smiled on us both going and returning.  The only real traffic tie-up we saw was on the northbound side as we went down there, so it didn't affect us; but it went on for miles.  I'm sure some of those folks sat in that mess for an hour or more.

  Cliff thought the line was probably ten miles long.  A tractor-trailer rig had jackknifed, ending up halfway on the median, and spilled white plastic pipe all over the road.  

I found this on  We stayed on the right side.  It's old, but was very clean.  

Cliff settled down with his computer and a cup of coffee 

and I blue-toothed my keyboard to the iPad.

And that was the first day.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's day (tomorrow)

What a nice day it's been, after all the snow, swampiness, and everything else we've had.  I need to get a "springier" picture up at the top, because I've seen about all the cold and snow I want to for this year. 

We rode on "Big Ollie", Cliff's pride and joy, to be in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Lexington.  We neither one have anything green to wear, but the big green tractor was enough green for anybody.  I've told Cliff he has to celebrate St. Patrick's Day now, because his DNA test revealed he has a good portion of Irish blood in his veins.  We don't have a trailer big enough to haul Ollie, so we usually only take it to places close enough to home that we can ride the tractor to our destination. 

It was a good-sized group to see in St. Patrick's Day parade.  We had only participated once, two or three years ago, and that was a damp, chilly day.  I still needed a coat today, especially on the highway going and coming, because we go so much faster on the highway.  Ollie is pretty speedy, as tractors go. 

This one is taken from the other direction.  That closest one is ours.  One other guy showed up after I took this.

This club member was looking pretty lonely and weary, sitting on those steps.  We found out he had good reason to be tired and a little down.  His 70-year-old wife has congestive heart failure.  The doctors had done everything they could, but really thought she wouldn't make it; her kidneys were not working.  He spent 14 days and nights with her at the hospital, thinking she was dying.  Finally they gave her some lasix, a strong diuretic, and her kidneys began working again.  She's home now.  He said he told her she is not allowed to die until he does!  Cliff is always telling me the same thing, that he has to die first.  Listening to them talk, I realized they have a lot in common. 

 I met this little lady on the sidewalk. 

See the guy with the straw hat-brim on?  Yeah, it's just a brim.  I guess it keeps the sun out of his eyes, and that's all he's worried about. 

Isn't funny how they are all looking on?  That guy in the overalls is trying to do something (I think) to make the tractor run better.  I enjoyed these guys admiring the old John Deere B.

I swear, they were gathered around that old classic for at least 45 minutes.

These folks brought their practically new tractor with a cab so their two grandchildren wouldn't fall off a tractor.  Isn't that little girl a beauty?

I love the old houses in Lexington.  This brick one was built, I believe, in the 1850's.  

25 years or so ago, this was a Chinese place.  We loved the food, although the lady serving us was always wearing slightly-soiled aprons and such.  Then one time my mom was in the Lexington hospital; my sister and her husband came to visit her, and we took them to the Chinese place.  There was a bird, bigger than a sparrow, flying around in there over the table and everything, all the time we were eating.  That did it.  We never went back.  It wasn't long before it closed.

On the left you have Gerald and Monica, my granddaughter.  They are a couple.  The other people are Gerald's family.  When we came around the corner, Gerald was standing up bowing over and over.  He's a hoot, wish I had gotten a picture.  Monica took a picture of us on the tractor.

See the two ladies, each holding a little red-haired baby girl?  Cliff's brother, Phil, is their great-grandfather.  They are such little cuties.

Just some of the crowd.  They have a good turnout at these things, even when the weather isn't the best.  

So there you have it:  Our first tractor activity of the year.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Might be time for a road trip

I've been looking at various places we could go on a little before-spring road trip:  I've sent for information from Omaha, the whole state of Kansas, and Memphis.  Memphis sounds to me like the most interesting.  I want to incorporate some of the tours around the city into our little getaway.  We always learn more on group tours than we do on our own.  Of course, they are pretty pricey, too.  I will need to choose carefully.  

Here's the unique problem Cliff and I have:  Even with all the information to be found online, and even though there's a website for any place of interest you might want to visit, it's still awfully easy for those of us who just fell off the turnip truck into the middle of Memphis or any other metropolitan area to miss a connection... yeah, even in Kansas City; the stories I could tell!  This is why I like pre-arranged bus trips; they are already planned for me.  But the two of us are going to do this, by hook or by crook.  I've been looking at hotels and watching the VRBO website.  I found one really nice little place, very reasonable, with good reviews.  The trouble is, on VRBO, if you need to cancel, most of them will only allow cancellation if you do it months ahead of time.  As I told Cliff, if anything comes up in the few days before our trip so we can't go, we won't be able to get our money back.  He says not to worry about it, the likelihood is we'll stay healthy.  If not, we lose some money.  It wouldn't be the first time.

I want to see Graceland, Sun Studios, and all the other historic spots.  Honestly, it looks like you could spend a week in this town and find plenty to see.

In the world of books:  Believe it or not, I'm getting very close to the end of "Kentucky Traveler", Ricky Skagg's autobiography.  The fact I have an Amazon Echo, Alexa, really enhances any book I read by country music artists:  The author will mention a song I'm not sure I've heard, and I'll stop reading and have Alexa play it.  I'm still working on reading "The Man in Back" by Jimmy Kapps, one of the main session players in Nashville.  

Here's what Jimmy said about the first #1 hit he played on:  "One of the first huge hits I played on was "Easy Lovin'" by Freddie Hart.  I was on that song because of Ray Edenton.  Ray was a member of the A-team.  He'd created the style of rhythm playing that became so popular in Nashville, and he'd get so many calls that he couldn't do it all... so he'd recommend me and another guy named Bobby Thompson to work the sessions.  Ray was very busy.  But he also liked to fish.  One day, he called me and asked if I could play a session with Freddy Hart in place of him, so he could go fishing.  Freddie Hart was making what would probably be his last album for Capitol Records."

Jimmy goes on to say the work he is proudest of is "The Gambler" with Kenny Rogers.  "The coolest thing about "The Gambler", at least for me, is that everyone got to hear me and Ray Edenton before you got to hear Kenny sing anything!  We start off the song.  The acoustic guitar is not like a lead instrument.  When a song leans itself to acoustic, you've really got to come up with something unique that will fit the song.  It's not as easy on an acoustic guitar."  "There we were, on Kenny's biggest record, and the acoustic guitars had four bars of just rhythm and finger pickin'." 

So of course I told Alexa to play The Gambler, so I could hear the acoustic picking he's talking about.  Once Kenny began singing, I told Alexa to stop.  Cliff said, "Hey!!!" as though I'd insulted him by stopping the song.  I explained to him I just wanted to hear the guitar-playing at the beginning.

Before spring actually arrives, I'm liable to be reading whole books to you on my blog, just to have something different to say! Ah well, if our road trip turns out well, that will give me something to talk about.  If it turns out going wrong, it might still make a good story.  

It's gently raining here today, and there will be more of the same tomorrow.  I'm not sure whether we'll do the St. Patrick's Day parade in Lexington Saturday or not.  It's usually too wet, too cold, or both.  I would sort of like to see the Kansas City St. Patrick's Day parade just because Eric Stonestreet, from Modern Family, is the Grand Marshall.  But I don't want to go badly enough to push somebody into take me.  In fact, I imagine if somebody came to my house Sunday and said, "Get ready.  I'm taking you to the parade," I'd realize I really don't want to go at all.  Sometimes it's more fun talking about doing something than it is actually doing it.

Alrighty friends.  I think I'm done.  Spring is at hand.  I feel it coming.



Saturday, March 09, 2019

Books (because it's all I've got)

After all, my main hobby this winter has been reading.  So when I have nothing else to write about, that's the subject I grab.  

I read several great books in a row a while back, but of course that can't go on forever.  I've lately started reading some real clunkers, only to return them after a chapter or two.  This is partially due to February being Black History Month.  On the library's home page, various current books by black authors were displayed and recommended.  After reading "The Sun Does Shine", I was ready for more black authors, so I selected a couple of those displayed and soon returned them:  One was "Cherry", and I don't recall the other; it was centered too much on drugs and "hood behavior", with no real solution.  There was a third book that I felt was well-written, but not a subject I wanted to read a whole book about:  "Ali:  A Life".  I suggested it to Cliff, and he's enjoying it.  Also, I practically had to force him, but he finally read "The Sun Does Shine" and admitted that, to his surprise, he liked that one too.  Do you wonder how I could force him to read it?  Well, he hasn't learned how to check books out online (or doesn't want to learn).  He'd rather have me do it for him, so I give him books I'm sure he'll like.  I really ought to see if he's interested in learning how to do it himself, because the Libby app makes it incredibly easy.  But then how would I force him to read a book I know he'll like?  I also forced him to read "Population:  485", which he agreed is a great one when he after he'd finished; it was fun to hear him chuckling occasionally as he read it.  It's a true story, written mostly about volunteer fire department and the things they go through, whether funny, sad, or a little of both.  If I had a way, I'd make every one of my blog friends read some of these great books.  I put "Educated" on hold for Cliff, but it'll be a while before he gets it.  

Let me show you my list of holds, which required two screenshots.  There are ten of them:

Now, here's the problem with holds:  In three weeks, I'm scheduled to have four books at once show up on my Libby shelf.  We'll see how that goes; I have three weeks, once I get a book, to read it.  I may have to return one or two and start them all over on the "hold" list.  Or I might decide at least one of them isn't for me.  As you can see, the last two are obviously holdovers from Black History Month.  I would expect the Frederick Douglas book to be interesting, but I've been wrong before.  

What I'm reading now:
Kentucky Traveler by Ricky Skaggs
The Man in Back (you read it right) by Jimmy Capps
    Both of these are actual books.  Jimmy Capps even signed mine!  I bought Ricky Skaggs' book used, online, so it was a bargain.  

I read a Harlan Coben book, "Long Lost", simply because there were a lot of his available.  This was a Myron Bolitar book.  For some reason I don't relate to Myron the way I do with John Sandford's characters; maybe it's because of Myron's filthy rich friend, Win, who always comes to his aid.  See, I don't like Win; I appreciate how he helps keep Myron alive, but he's a little too hard-core for me, in any way whatsoever a person CAN be hard-core:  rich, horny, dangerous, wise guy.  So while I read these books to pass the time, I have to force myself a little, and I'm always switching from one to another, which is how you can tell I'm bored with what I'm reading.  None of them are great, perhaps, but they'll get me by until something better comes along.  

I'm also reading Carol Burnett's latest autobiography.  There's not much that's new here, but I like Carol, so I don't mind a book that's a little repetitive, when it makes me smile once in awhile.  

In other news, Cliff had a tractor he couldn't fix, the Oliver 550.  He thought it was ready to go.  We took it to a parade in Norborne last year where it performed admiringly for the parade.  However, once we got away from the parade route and the other tractors, Cliff speeded up and we heard the most awful, metallic, eardrum-bursting noise coming from within the guts of that tractor!  You can read about the day it happened HERE.  He's torn it apart several times and still can't figure it out, so yesterday we took it to an Oliver doctor about 100 miles south.  

This is a Google photo of Trenary Implement
Since we had decided to have a sack lunch rather than buy an expensive dinner, I elected to take Gabe along.  We seldom take him anywhere because we are usually going to be shopping or going inside to eat, and I don't want to leave him in the car alone.  Also, he used to get carsick.  For awhile it seems like he puked almost every day, here at home.  Thank goodness he outgrew that.  He was certainly excited when he found out yesterday he could go bye-bye with us.  He does a good job of staying in the back seat while we travel.  I put his bed next to a window and he spends most of his travel time napping, only getting up when we slow down for any reason, or turn corners.  In case you're wondering, I took Gabe a little snack so he could eat when we did, although he watches us eat all the time at home, knowing he won't get any of it.  It just seemed like the thing to do, take him a little dog food... and water, of course.  Water's his drink, his kind doesn't like coffee, booze, or soda.  That last line will only be fully understood by folks who have read the "Chet and Bernie" books.  I'm SO glad there's going to be a new Chet and Bernie book this summer!    

Have you had all the drivel you can stand?  I'm out of here.

Sincerely yours, 

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Begone, Winter!

I'm sure my readers can tell I'm sort of "forcing it" with the scattered entries I've been doing.  Nothing is happening, folks!  Well, except for weather, but who wants to hear about that?  Weather is ALWAYS happening.  

So I told Cliff, "I'm going to the big computer to see if I can come up with something for a blog entry."  And I turned toward the computer room.  Just as I started to sit down at the computer, Cliff starts hollering some story to me from the living room.  Kind, considerate woman that I am, I walked up the hall and peeked around the corner to listen attentively.  I gave some sort of answer to his homily and walked back to the computer.  Unfortunately, the Shakespeare of the tractor world realized he had another thought that needed to be expressed, so before I could get my backside to make contact with the chair, he started talking again.  I can't tell what he's saying from this room, so again I go peek around the corner in rapt attention.  I guess Alzheimer's is setting in here, because I don't remember what either of his lectures was about.  When he seemed to have imparted all the wisdom he wished to, I ever-so-gently told him, "OK.  Now, I'm going to the big computer and make an effort to do a blog entry."

"OK," he said, "I'll shut up."  

Let me say right here how grateful I am that Cliff is a good sport when I tell a story like this.  He's gotten used to me sharing embarrassing pictures of him sleeping with his mouth open, and tells me he no longer has any shame at all.  So he lets me twist and re-arrange one or two of his sentences, just for fun:  But if anybody thinks I'm trying to make my husband look stupid, trust me, that's the last thing I'd want to do.   He didn't just fall off the turnip truck yesterday!

You know what my favorite pass-time is in winter?  Baking!  You know what people shouldn't be doing who are wanting to lose their Christmas pounds?  That's exactly right:  Baking.  But oh, this winter.  It's driving me crazy.  There is relief in sight.  After today the temperatures are going to rise; I noticed in the forecast for next week,  the highs for every day were in the 40's.  It's about time!  Lately I've been making Oatmeal Raisin cookies.  I found a wonderful recipe on  The raisins soak in the beaten eggs and vanilla for an hour before you go ahead and mix up the recipe.  You might want to not go overboard on the flour, because when it's done, it's VERY dry.  But I have several witnesses who will testify that these cookies are great!
  "This is the best Oatmeal Cookie I have ever tasted and is my family's favorite. This is a recipe that I have had for years that a friend of mine gave me."



  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Beat eggs, and stir in raisins and vanilla. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Cream together shortening, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and fluffy. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in raisins and eggs, then stir in oats and walnuts. Roll dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in preheated oven, or until edges are golden. Cool on wire racks.

In other news, our tractor club is always invited to be in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Lexington, but Cliff and I have only done that one time.  The weather seldom cooperates in the middle of March.  We shall see what happens this year.  We will also be doing a memorial drive for a club member who died recently at the age of 90:  We'll meet at the guy's farm, drive the tractors around there, then to his grave at the cemetery.  Then we'll all go eat someplace, because we love to eat.  

There's a fundraiser for House of Hope at Big River Ranch in June.  Lots more activities will be coming up later.  Meanwhile, Cliff and I are planning a trip to Memphis at some point, but we will wait until there's no chance of getting snowed in someplace.

Until next time, dear readers, I am

Sincerely yours,