Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Gatherings

 This has nothing to do with human gatherings or spirits gathering or all animate objects gathering.  If you're hoping to read something about a haunted house of creatures or a field of restless zombies all "Gathering" to assault the world, you have come to the wrong blog.  I have never been able to get into the zombie thing.  Now I like a few of the space creature or ancient sorcerer getting together - assuming the bad ones are eliminated by the end of the adventure.  We move on.


Back in high school I read a book by H. Allen Smith called Lost in the Horse Lattitudes.  I can't say I remember much about it.  Surely I picked it up at the local Hockley County Library after I had finished reading all of their Wizard of Oz books.  There was quite a series of those.  I cannot remember my age - but I enjoyed the book.  I seem to remember it as a glommed together of several short happenings (stories) haphazardly lumped together in to a moderately sized book, easily read.   My spell check doesn't like the word "glommed."   You don't suppose that "glommed" is not a real word, do you?

I enjoyed that book.  Since I can't find it among my junk, I must have found it at the library.  Yes, I would like to reread it someday.  Maybe it is on amazon.  First of all, consider that I have remembered the title and author for over 60 years and tears.  That in itself is remarkable for me.  One story stayed with me all this time, the details of which I have forgotten.  H. Allen Smith wrote about an uncle (may have been a cousin or grandparent) who was a bit strange.  He kept a gallon jar under his bed filled with his toenail clippings.

That haunts me.   

I have trouble getting my toes up high enough to properly clip...much less collect.


Which brings me to Gatherings.   He gathered his toenail clippings in a gallon jar.  I'm sure his heirs were appreciative.   Over the years, I have Gathered things.  Most folks consider my gatherings to be innocuous  (ooooo, ooooo, be jealous of me for using that word).  For many years I would pick up match books and file them away.  For a while I put a wire across the wall and hung them up to display.  Then, one year, as we were considering leaving Ardmore, my family encouraged me to sell them in a yard sale (actually a backyard sale).   $5 - a sizable sum in those days.  My matchbooks went to some poor slob.  I miss those matchbooks.  Some were quite interesting - to me.

Later I started picking up business cards.  I had several.  Then, I received a letter (pre-email times) in which a cousin told me about a dying child who collected business cards, and how much joy he had when more business cards arrived.  This was before I became calloused about "scams."  I thought for a while about it.  I mailed all of my cards to the child - all of my collection - truly just a small box.  Never did I hear back or receive a thank you note.  I was a tad bit bitter.  Too late.  That was in Amarillo.   The kid was somewhere in the Midwest like Ohio or Iowa.  Never could tell those two states apart.

Life went on.  When I moved from Amarillo, I dumped my 10 year collection of Instrumentalist Magazine in a trash bin.  All gone.

Years passed.  Christine (#1 daughter, the eldest) was on the Texas Tech plant judging team.  How about that.  They traveled to Florida for a competition.  We were living in Plano when we saw her next; she brought Florida gifts.   Mine was a Disney key ring.  As a mere offhand remark, I said, "I guess I am collecting key rings now."   That was the "Event."  I now have a few thousand key rings ... maybe hundreds is more accurate (so who's counting?).  

I have almost quit acquiring / buying key rings.  One day I had an Epiphany.  One can't own a copy of every key ring produced in the world.  You can try, but you will fail.  The last one I bought was from Buc-ees in Ennis.  It sets on the kitchen table next to the salt shaker.  Cute little critter.

That reminds me.  We were visiting my mother in Levelland many years back.  I had been given a small music box.  I made the remark, "I would love to own 100,  no 200, music boxes to display on one wall."  I should have paraphrased that remark for you, the reader.  Immediately I caught myself.  What was I thinking?  I backed up and explained to all within hearing range that I only wanted the 200 if I could get them all at one time.  No dribbling in of music boxes.  All 200 at once or none at all.

It was too late.  The idea had already taken root.  I started receiving one or two every "present giving" day.  The collection (or gathering, if you will) had begun.  I get blamed for collecting stuff, but it is not all my fault.   I do not think I have reached 200 music boxes yet.  For the past 12 years, they have been collecting dust on a wall in the garage.  Our house is too small to offer a display option.   I do love music boxes.  Once in my early years with my computer Excel program, I did try to inventory all my key rings and music boxes.  Eventually, that project failed.

Well, folks, I'm gonna sum this up.  I have other collections.   Being a Republican, I thought it would be fun to own a stuffed elephant.  That gathering has grown and grown.  Branching out from stuffed elephants, all sorts of elephants, I have.  I'd betcha that I have a hundred around here somewhere.  

Of course, I have several dachshunds - not only the live models - but others to look at. Some are quite nice.    CD's, Recordings, Tapes, VCRs, you get the picture.  I once owned many many band records - 33 rpm.  I put an adv. on ebay and sold them all to some guy back east.   I need to do that with SOME of my other stuff.     Louis L'Amour books, I have them.  The "Wheel of Time" series by Robert Jordan - they are here.  Decks of Cards - ?  of course, I have several.  My list of stuff gathered perhaps shows my age.   Did I mention the piles of postcards?  Some go back to the early 1900s.  They are fun to hold and read.  Innocuous messages scrawled in the early morning hours by people I'll never meet (there I used the word twice in the same bluggy).

I do love stuff.  M&Ms are just fun to have.  Coca-Cola.  Hobbit books - Harry Potter stuff - just plain workman tools ---  I'll stop here with the question:   What do you have gathered among your things.  Are they valuable collections, or are they like mine?  I like them.  Locally nobody wants to share my enthusiasm.  Nothing here to adorn the halls of a true museum.    I could spend hours boring you with a tour of my possessions (Too Late).  I Won't - but I Could.  Time to move on.  Today is my day to check the financial books in preparation for our next month of hibernation.  Then, this afternoon, with true joy in my heart - I mow the leaves in the backyard.

It never ends.

take care,  "TREES,  LEAF  ME  ALONE!!!"

Mtz (#3)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Clean out / up

 Maybe it is the epidemic - or maybe it is my age (does turning 80 make you want to buy a Ferrari?)  Whatever the reason, I have started cleaning out the garage and other storage places.  We rented a small storage space in town and have made 2 moving trips now.

Originally, I planned to buy a big storage shed for our house.  All that stuff would go inside the shed.  Sheds are expensive.  It is impossible to move a shed into our backyard - too many trees and ditches. Years ago when we lived in Ardmore, I bought a shed from Sears and built it myself - a metal shed.  Then, when we left for Amarillo, I tore it down and moved it with us.  It would not fit in our backyard properly.  I had to cut a hole in the roof to go around a tree trunk.   In Pflugerville, I built another shed - wooden with shingles.  That was fun.  I'm probably too old to climb on top of a shed and install shingles now.

So, over the years, I have done nothing.  No shed = just junk in the garage.  Not good.  What I want to do is have a big, ole garage sale -But (there is always a but) living out in the wilderness, me thinks it would be a worthless activity.  Moving will continue.  My goal is to have my car inside the garage by Thanksgiving.  It is good to have a goal.  Never had a basketball goal.  Never knew a ghoul.

The process of renting a storage unit was involved.  The manager had a process - we followed the process - I believe she had memorized the paragraphs recited.  Of course there was a contract.  I could not sign the contract in the office;  one can only sign the contract online.  Yes, Online.  Later at home, I signed the online contract.  Go Figure.  An online signature is considered more valid than signing, in person, in ink, in the office, in front of witnesses.  Go Figure.


A little aside:  I've learned over the years that old people should be near an excellent hospital.  You never know what may happen.  Competent medical care is a positive.  There is probably nothing wrong with our hospital in Corsicana.  I don't know.   I have excellent local doctors.  It is logical that being near a Level III hospital (or whatever they are called) - this has to be a good idea.  So, we are working on our brains to justify moving to better area.  We are 20-25 minutes from our hospital now.  If I get bit by a snake, the nearest anti-venom is in Dallas - that would be a helicopter ride.  Sumpin' to think about.


It took so long to get the unit rented, we decided to eat at CiCi's pizza - a functional pizza place.  It use to be better.  Now, they won't let us get our own salad or pizza.  I find this over-kill.  I've been several places that give you gloves and let you have-at-it.  I prefer to have-at-it.  This young girls behind the counter have no concept about how many cherry tomatoes make a good salad.  It is painful.  the pizza is okay.  Not much variety since the epidemic: in pizza and the salad.  We struggle forth.

I'm sitting there eating my pizza - wait, first - I have this diabetic problem.  I can only eat so much pizza because of the carbs.  I did have my 6 months medical checkup last week.  My A1C is 7.0 right now.  this is an improvement.  Six months ago, I was a 7.6.  I know that most people don't understand the A1C thing.  That's okay.  If you get diabetes, you'll learn.  Back to CiCi's.  I should only eat 3 pieces of pizza.  My wife gets by on only one; and, she is not diabetic.

To make things better, I usually get 2 of each kind that I eat.  Then I scrape off the topping from one onto the other one.  It makes a better piece of pizza; I can tell you.  Years ago, we were traveling from Austin to Houston stopping in the town of Columbia at a CiCi's.  That is where I learned the trick.  There were these 4 BIG boys (teenagers) sitting at a big table.  Beside each was a pile of pizza crust, no toppings.  These guys were getting pizza, eating the toppings, and piling the crust.  I'd guess each had a foot tall pile of crust.  Now, I don't have that kind of nerve.


Sitting there - at the sparse crowd - I noticed that I was the only male in the place that did not have facial hair: mustaches, beards, massive side burns, you name it.  Does make me special?  At least you can admit that I am a minority.

This brings me to my last observation.  The TV was on - no sound - but on.  Nobody in CiCi's was watching TV.  The only one I could see was a football game. It had to be a rerun.  What college plays football at noon on a Monday?  I could read the teams:  Western Carolina was playing Liberty.  I mean nothing bad when I say that I don't know anything about these two colleges.  That should be no surprise.

I know there is a Western Michigan and  North Texas State - so forth.  Western Carolina bothered me. We have North Carolina and South Carolina.  There is no state named West Carolina.  Is Western Carolina found in North or South Carolina?  Shouldn't it be named Western South Carolina or  Western North Carolina?  Presumptuous to just be called Western Carolina - it seems to me.

Question:  is there a Western Dakota College?  How about a Western South Dakota State?  Or a Northern South Dakota State?  Southern North Dakota State University?  Can you see the possibilities here?  Lots of questions.  South Dakota Western University.  I love this.  If I truly wanted to know, I look it up.  Some questions don't need to be answered - just asked.

over and out

be nice


Friday, November 13, 2020

Friday the 13th - some church stuff

 I can't let this day pass without at least mentioning that it is Friday, the 13th.  Most times, Friday the 13th comes on a different day than a Friday.  For instance, Friday the 13th comes on a Sunday during December this year.  It is just good to know.  Now you know.

The news is on TV now.  I have given up watching the news.  What can the news possibly do to make my life any better?  It is all depressing.  I've heard that it is good to be informed.  At 80 yrs, why?  I do drop in on the weather man now and then.  Knowing if a tornado is descending upon your head - now, that might be somewhat valuable.  Rarely do we have to watch out for the blizzards or hurricanes around here.  Tornadoes, well, sure.  

The news in Dallas starts at 4:00 and goes till 6:30.  Two and a half hours of the same stuff in repetition  This will make me seem what of a psycho, but I don't trust the news to be accurate.  They lie.  They try to be sensational.  It is all depressing.   My AOL website has a news system.  They are so pro-democrat that nothing they say makes true sense.  I do have a theory.  They are prejudiced in order to get people to argue about the news on their website.  Somehow, they make money off the number of people who argue.  Worthless.  Depressing.  Not for me.

Moving on to a happier note:  Today I mowed my leaves for a third time.  We have so many leaves in the backyard that I consider it unsafe for my short legged dachshunds.  Snakes have not gone away from the neighborhood yet.  Not cold enough.  Snakes could be hidden under any gathering of leaves.  

Pause:  Gathering of Leaves.  I like that expression.  It would be a great title of a book if you could somehow associate leaves with people or children or band members.  Shall we work on it?

Back to the mowing.  I set the mower on a level 3 - cover the outlet hole - and mow.  The leaves are destroyed by the machine.  Nothing is left but tiny leaf bits which begin to mush away with the first watering.  I looked up in my trees.  This will not be the last of my mowing.  You'd hope that the mower could be stashed in hiding come November.  Not in Texas.  Snow in the mountains - grass in central Texas.

It is now 5:37.   NBC news is on the TV - in the other room.   Don't care.  Not gonna do that.

Our local 1st Methodist church has a nice young preacher guy - Stephen Bell.  He announced that he is moving to Shreveport.  This is probably good for him since that area is where he was raised.  Stephen was a great choice for this church when he came here about 5 ?? years ago.  The church was in a turmoil over preachers.  Their long time preacher had been moved up to DFW "over-night" somewhere and another guy sent here.

The locals were mad.  It was done in haste.  The new guy was not liked by several influential people.  I had been appointed to the staff relations committee that previous year and was in the thick of it.  I could write quite a lot about that stupid time.  I believe the church bigwig people laid for the guy to run him off.   Now, that was Christian of them?   I thought his sermons were excellent - he had the soul of a teacher.   And, he taught in his sermons.  Long story short:  New guy left in the middle of the season (run off) and was replaced by a temp who had previously retired - The temp was a good con man and preacher - that is - he knew how to smultz the irrational people.  I really liked the new temp guy.   Talented.

 After an appropriate amount of time, Stephen was moved here.   It was a good move.  The church settled down. He is/was good at working with people and the community.  Money started rolling back in; people returned to church.  Certain positive changes were made.  I do hope his replacement is well received.  I am off that committee.  Don't want back on.  "Rather" watch NBC news.  And life in Corsicana moves forward.

Wish that I had a funny story to leave you with.  (bad English, but factual).    Maybe next time I will discuss the books that I have just finished reading.  I think that I like Miss Marple.

Time for supper.  Leftovers, my favorite.


Wednesday, November 4, 2020


 I was going to write an essay tonight.  But, I don't feel like it.

Today I turn 80.   My down feeling is not because of the age.

bless you.