Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So that's who she is?!!

I just had the pleasure of reading a good friend of mine's first novel .... really its a historical fiction about Job's wife. I've posted a review on Amazon.com as I promised him I would. I truly believe everyone who reads it will gain a newer and broader perspective and appreciation for this little known woman..

Job’s wife often gets little grace or mercy when she advises
Job to curse God and die. We give little thought to how she might
have been struggling in her faith having just lost her ten children
and all their worldly possessions. Note to those who read the story
of Job in scripture, no where does Job ridicule his wife for her advice; he understands what we fail to realize and Don has so eloquently pointed out to us. In this biography of Job’s
wife Don challenges us to separate fact from fiction because the
possibilities he presents could very well have happened. Another
reason I’ve enjoyed this book so much is that Don has kept Job’s wife out of the limelight in a way that parallel’s scripture portrayal
of her. No one will be disappointed reading this book, and those
who aren’t already aware of who she is will come to her place in the story of Job a lot better equipped to understand the story.
Thanks Don for challenging and comforting us from just a couple verses of scripture ………. I’m eagerly awaiting the little
known character you next chose to introduce us to.

AREY,Don. "Job's Wife: Wife of Noble Character, Woman of Flawed Faith" Postmodern
Publishing. 2011 ISBN: 9780983963417

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Anatomists .... a brief review

I have often heard how body snatching in the early days of medical exploration was frowned upon but heads turned the other way when it happened, as long as nothing outrageous took place. This novel is very good at explaining those times when something unusual about the body snatching took place, and the extreme radical conflicts of a greatly distressed public vs the medical establishment accused of robbing the dead. Today this all seems like a macabre story except when from time to time we hear modern day stories of funeral homes that take shortcuts and often rob the dead of dignity and possessions. Good read, not too deep into the particulars, but just enough to remind us of a bygone era ............ maybe in some weird way reflecting the present day conflict of cell marketing?!
MCDONALD, Hal. 'The Anatomists' HarperCollins Publishers. 2008
ISBN-13: 978073949484-4

Happy Thanksgiving and GOOD Friday

The good wife and I got to spend Thanksgiving with Mom, and had a good time. Thanksgiving morning we wanted to get breakfast but even McD's was closed; so the good wife had a 'brilliant' idea. Outside of town there is a Holiday Inn Express, and sure enough they let us eat off their breakfast bar for only $5 a person. It was an okay breakfast and I changed our luncheon reservations for 1PM. Later we visited Grandma B. and stayed with her for almost an hour; Grandma is always a hoot to visit with and rare is the trip to Ohio when I don't stop by to see her.

After visiting with Grandma we made a trip to Dollar General on our way to Thanksgiving Lunch. Now the Wabash Cannonball Railroad restaurant in the Ramada Inn isn't that notable, and it seems ever year we vow not to go back there, but inevitably we return. Since this could well be Mom's last Thanksgiving at home, the good wife and I seriously discussed fixing a meal, and taking it to moms but in the end convenience and time won out. The Wabash Cannonball restaurant has a lot of railroad memorabilia on the walls, and since Grandpa B. retired from the Wabash it brings back memories; we asked Grandma if we wanted to go and she didn't, we sorta figured that but wanted her to know she is always invited to go with us. I think it did her good to be at least be invited. Along the theme of the Wabash railroad there seems to be a resurgence of activities in the hometown about the railroad. There is a new building next to the County Historical Museum at the County Fairgrounds that looks like a small 'depot' and they are beginning to accumulate railroad stuff. I though about contributing my grandpa's conductor hat and articles, but realizing the hassle of what it meant for Grandma to give those things to me instead of one of my aunts and uncles - I'm going to keep them. There was a big promotion with a train ride, etc. earlier this fall; and our town was a major stopping point between St.Louis and Detroit, with a big roundhouse and depot. Later that afternoon the good wife would walk with mom over the railroad tracks and I would regale her again with how I used to walk that viaduct when the old iron bridge was there every morning on the way to school ..... I'm quite sure she doesn't give a 'hoot!'

On our way back to town from the restaurant we stopped at a Palmida store so the good wife and mom could look for a Christmas tree skirt, and who should I see there, my uncle's son. NOw I haven't seen T in close to thirty years at least and that was a treasured moment for me, it was good to see him again, since he had moved back from Arizona and lives only about 8 miles from town ... its sure seems that when circumstances turn again us, a good majority of people go back to their roots. A few minutes later in the same store I saw another older cousin D.[my fathers nephew] and his wife Donna. They were getting final things for the good thanksgiving supper they would be having with their son and daughter and families. I sure do miss those 'big' family reunions with aunts/uncles and cousins!!

Well I went home to watch the Lions football game. I haven't watched an entire NFL football game all year; and getting home about the end of the first half, the game was so boring I feel asleep and didn't wake up until it was almost over, and figured I didn't miss a thing, with the lions fumbling all over the place. That was during the same time the good wife and mom went for a long walk, then they came back and got the front porch, etc. decorated with Christmas stuff. Oh, I forgot to mention that Thanksgiving morning we had decorated Mom's old artificial tree in the living room for her ... the good wife always does a superb job and Mom profusely thanked her. Finally I said 'hey, what am I? a chopped Santa, how about a little compliment this way?' at which my good wife looked like I must be crazy and my mom mumbled out something that I took for a compliment! Well, its been a good day, met two cousins, one from each side of the family, visited with Gramma B., slept through a Lions football game, sort helped with Christmas tree, and was beginning to feel a little bloated. So I watched TV with the good wife the rest of the evening, with Mom retiring early cause she didn't feel that perky. I've noted, with help from the good wife, that when Mom feels tired, she won't admit it, so she says she doesn't feel just that perky ... its happened three times now. For some reason she can't simply say she's tired and go to sleep. Mom had always been a workaholic and not slept much and I think to admit she's tired would be a stain on that reputation; so we just let her drop off to sleep.

GOOD [I prefer that over Black] Friday came and Mom/I got up and went to our favorite breakfast restaurant, Spoke's, to eat. The good wife said to just let her sleep in and enjoy the meal together - and we did. By now both the waitresses there know us and what we want so we just order our 'regular' and sit and visit. While there I noticed my cousin Johnny S. and his wife were there already, and said hi to them; and then sitting at another table with a group of retirees from Powers & Sons
[a company in my hometown] was another, younger cousin Danny. Danny is a 'higher up' at the company, and for the last two family reunions he hasn't been at our gatherings so its a real treat to talk with him. I told mom after we left I felt like even though we hadn't all been together I'd really had the joy of meeting a lot
of family. I told our waitress about seeing my two cousins in the restaurant and she
said she knew that both well and that it was really neat having three cousins eating
there on a regular basis. Maybe when I retire we'll have a big family breakfast there! Wouldn't that be a 'hoot!' [Can't get that train noise out of my head] It was really turning out to be a GOOD friday. The good wife went shopping at a little store in my hometown [about the only one still open] and bought quite a bit of stuff; she loves that store, and every week when I go to see Mom she tells me what she needs. They have a lot of homemade/packaged candies, cheeses, foodstuffs she enjoys ............ and discounted Starbucks coffee, that both the good wife and my son really like. Well, its getting time to head home, and so we make a quick stop by to visit Gram for just a few minutes and it off to the turnpike! One last note: before we get home we have to stop for supper at Red Lobster. Man, they have really raised their prices, but I've never had a bad meal there, especially since I usually always get the stuff flounder, boiled scallops and shrimp scampi, and the good wife get her usual pick three [two orders of clam strips and chicken tenders]. Well, that's all for now, journal.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dentures and more................

I'm home in Ohio with mom for a couple days. Last night we were out eating, and had finished our meal, when my mother took her partial out of her pocket and began bobbing it up and own in her ice water ........... stunned I asked, 'what in the world are you doing?'[five years ago my mom would not be caught doing that] 'well, she said, there's no one close by so I'm rinsing my teeth!!

Well this morning we she visited gram in the nursing home, I told on mom, and gram just sat there with this amazed look on her face and shook her head. Last night while reading the local newspaper there was a 1936 picture of the Canning Factory that used to be in our town, so I was showing Gram because I knew she used to work there. Gram informed me that she made the highest wages in the cannery because she was the quickest packer. It also seems there was a co-worker who took out her dentures on day, placed them in a can and set it to the side ............you've already guessed, haven't you?? [be honest]. Yep, the worker inadvertantly filled the denture can with tomatoes and passed it down the line...by the time her mistake was discovered there was no way they could ever find the can. Imagine, opening a can of tomatoes and someone's partial staring back at you, ... what a first bite!!
Such is life.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I loved this movie, and plan to purchase the dvd when it becomes available. It ranks right up with Field of Dreams, and The Notebook in my estimation. Its the story about a father [Martin Sheen] who takes the sacred pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela where supposedly St.James is buried. The route is called Camino - the way. I'm not going into details because you can easily find those, and other endorsements on the website. Let me say that this movie was spiritually, and relationally, inspiring to say the least. It was not only about the journey of a father, with his sons ashes but also about a group of three other people who for their own reasons make the pilgrimage together. A woman from a failed relationship in which she had aborted her baby; a dutchman walking the route hoping to lose weight so his wife will regain the love she once had for him; and a writer suffering writer's block. How each of them handle their personal dilemna while traveling the Way has lessons for all of us.

I like Martin Sheen as an actor. His role in 'West Wing' was one of my favorites. I even purchased a book about the whole story of West Wing. Rarely did I agree with most of the opinions taken on both the program and Martin Sheen, but I admired his acting....there is something about it that takes you to a place past the issues; I feel his passion in whatever scene he is playing .. and this movie about a father and son relationship is no exception. The many interviews that both Martin and his son, the director of this movie, share are deeply personal. For those looking for blood, violence, raw language and sex, this movie will be complete bore; but for those looking for something lasting they will not go away empty! Some religious leaders like Rick Warren and the Archbishop of New York have recommended it. Go and see, but definitely not alone; its a movie that cries for its viewers to be with a
companion, friend or foe.

Caught him [or her?]...... and Seven Deer.

Wow, what a morning this is turning out to be. The first thing I did in getting into the office early this morning, before the sun had announced its eventual appearance was to check a mouse trap on my work desk ........... the red flag was up, I had caught Rudolph. Now Rudolph is the 10th great grandson of Ralph the field mouse I caught last year in my office. Ralph's crime was not that he was a field mouse, I basically like field mice, I think they are cute, [remember I have a family history with them]and aside from their untidy habit of leaving evidences of their presence, they are okay. Ralph just insisted on making public his appearances rather than staying in the background, so drastic measures had to be taken. Early Sunday as I was meditating at my desk Rudolph and I became acquainted. He appeared on my desk, and sat looking at me, he didn't even have the courtesy of replying to me when I inquired about his health, that was his first mistake .... then he procceeded to decorate my work space with his leftovers; so I had to make the decision to take the same drastic measures that had proven so successful with his forefather. My office secretary finds great amusement in how I chose to name these visitors of ours, especially since we don't know whether they are male or female; but you know my parents always forbid me to hit a female, so I guess it just eases my conscience to believe all field mice that must be dispatched are males, though its the females that keep having babies. I guess its six of one and half-dozen of the other.

Then I went home to take my good wife to work. She wasn't quite ready, which is normal so I decided to sit in front of the picture window. It was one of those beautiful mornings where the fog is so thick you can barely make out the landscape. The closer the obstacles the darker they were, then as you looked further in the distance the objects were lighter .......... I don't know how God does it, but He
is the Master Painter! While sitting there 7 deer, and that's not pastoral exaggeration, each one would be a fine kill, ran across the front yard, and across the roads into the woods - what a great sight, reminding you of an adult deer marathon! About that time my good wife calls out from making the finishing touches
on hair, 'did you hear that shot?' Then it dawned on me, this was the first day of deer season, and for the first time since 2000 I did not have a hunting license. I
guess its a combination of things that keeps me from hunting; [1]last year I got a license and didn't go hunting once [2] my growing senility can't take the waiting and cold like it used to [3] I'm not altogether that excited about field dressing a deer and would probably make a mess of it, put probably the biggest reason is 'just to doggone lazy. ...... I would certainly be willing to accept any 'backstraps' anyone wanted to give me though!

I also got an email from Don this morning. He's an old online classmate from when I was getting my Master's Degree a couple years ago. He's gotten remarried and happier than ever, and has written a book. YOu can find it on Amazon.com, its 'JOb's Wife,' I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I get an original signed copy and will be more than happy to promote it for him in a review. My book, which is more like a journal, is also available on Amazon.com; but there are so many grammatical errors and the good wife doesn't like some of the pictures, I'm not going to tell you the title, and since you don't know my name that route is blocked also. Maybe in three months after the rewrite I'll share more.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mother & Son - authors

This is a novel, in a series of novels, written by Mother and Son, that live in Delaware and North Carolina respectively. How they do this, I'll never know; but they've authored together at least 13 novels - go figure, and write under the name of Charles Todd. This novel is really unique ......I never suspected such an ending. Its also a novel that pays homage to the unspoken warriors of the Great War. [WWI] Those nurses who sought to care for the wounded, maimed and dying soldiers. Its a novel about how one nurse determines to carry a soldiers mysterious message home to his family after his death, and her almost death, as their hospital ship is sunk by a German mine. I have not heard much about the nurses who ministered alongside the soldiers of WWI, but after reading this book my appreciation and curiosity about these
brave woman has certainly grown. I would say in many ways this is about human integrity, determination and bravery despite all odds. A very good read. ENJOY

Three Wives and more..................

Christian Ehresman, a distant ancestor, married three sisters. With the first sister he had five children in Germany, then they immigrated and settled in Butler County, Ohio where his first wife died. Then he married her younger sister and they had five children. They moved from Ohio to Deer Creek Illinois where Anna died. Then Christian married their younger daughter Fannie. He had eleven children with her, some of which died in infancy ............ altogether he had 18 children that lived to adulthood. Family lore has it that on the wedding day to his first wife he held her infant sister Fanny in his arms!!! This family info gets better and better.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pumpkins & Field Mice

A couple weekends ago mom came to stay with us for a few days, which literally turned into two nights and not quite two whole days ......... which for mom is a long vacation away from home. While she was here I thought I would take her for a field trip out to the pumpkin patch that our grandkids love to visit while in town near halloween time. They were only going to be open two more days, so mom and I decided to stop by before we picked up the good wife from work. I pulled the car up to the pumpkin store and went inside to buy some hot cider and the sugar donuts we'd come for .... only mom wasn't coming into the shop. I asked the man who came to help me if there was an elderly lady in the car outside, 'yah, he said but she's crawling over something?' I went outside and sure enough there was mom crawling over the console in the front set to get out on the driver's side; I had left my door open! What in the world are you doing? I asked. Somewhat disgusted she replied, 'this is the second today you have not unlocked my door!!' Since mom didn't ride in my car very often, and I forgot she didn't know how to unlock her door ........ she was locked in, but was also just as determined to get a sugar donut! [Mom, craves sugar cookies and sugar donuts]
Picture it if you can, an 81 yr. old woman climbing over the front console, with her one leg hiked up in the air over the steering wheel .......... not bad for 81!
Later the good wife laughed so hard, and so did mom, that I think there were a few wet undies!!

MICE .....................Field Mice
This morning at our usual breakfast niche, over eggs, sausage, home fries and biscuits and gravy, mom and I were discussing her childhood. Somehow we had gotten on the subject of when her dad was employed only part time by the railroad and mom,
her parents and her next oldest sister lived on a tomato farm. Grandpa/grandma farmed about 10-12 acres of tomatoes, selling them in town to a middle man who sold them to Campbells factory about 45 minutes away. Mom said 'you're not going to believe this, but when mom was out gathering tomatoes she would place a blanket in the yard where she could see us, and my sister and I would play. From time to time grandma would find baby field mice [which were a'plenty in the fields] and bring them to the girls to play with. Mom said she and her sister played with these baby mice like they were dolls. ..................well, you're right mom, I don't believe you. After breakfast and a few errands we ended up at the nursing home to see grandma - 97 yrs. old and a sharp mind - so I asked Gram ......... and sure enough mom had been absolutely right, Gram had brought them baby field mice to play with!!
Try getting away with that one today.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Some 'BRIEF' book summary's

BARTOK, Mira. "The Memory Palace"
I have been wanting for some time to read this book, probably because of my background in psychology. My office manager Kay bought it for me, and I told her she could have it for the Library she's director of when I finished. But now that I've read it I'm a bit selfish about giving it up.
Its the real life story of two young ladies who grow up in a home where dad runs away while they are very young. MOm has constant bouts with mentally dropping in and out of life, and abusing the children. Finally both girls move away from home, change their names and attempt to conceal where they life so she can't find them. Yet at the same time they battle with not being with her. It's an engaging story in the sense that it shows us how family situations are not always easily solved, and even the most sincere attempts to help go astray. It does get a little tedious, but nonetheless it's amazing how a social worker finally tracks down the girls and lets them know that their homeless mother is in the hospital facing her last days ....... and then how they come together, and what results changes both their lives. ENJOY

GOWDA, Shilipi Somaya. "Secret Daughter"
Although this is a novel it is taken from a real life happening. Its how an American couple adopt a baby from India ... and the long journey of how both that American couple, and the parents of the adopted baby have their paths cross. However if you're envisioning a Hollywood ending - forget it!! That's all I'll say about that. But I still wonder how much of this story is the personal journey of the author? Its interesting how the author keeps rotating between the life story of both set of parents, and how strained family situations can strengthen unconsciously.

LIEBERMAN, Joe. "The Gift of Rest"
I've never been a Lieberman fan, that is until I read this book. Joe Lieberman is a practicing orthodox Jew. Throughout the whole book as he wrote about how, in the midst of world crises and his job as a Senator, he kept the Sabbath holy brought me a deep respect for this man and challenged me to keep the Sabbath holy. In this world where we so often compromise so that we can just get along, I'm reminded that God still wants to spend a 'special day with special time' with us; and I'm not doing nearly as good a job at that as Senator Joe. Its so easy to make excuses on why I don't keep the Sabbath holy as I should, and neither does the church, and yet Joe calls us back to more than the practice of the Sabbath, but the Sanctity of it.

What a fun day at home!

Last Thursday afternoon and Friday proved to be great fun! While mom and I were picking up one of her prescriptions at Walmart we ran into my cousin Sonny. Now Sonny was a close relative/friend of my aunt Tom. Yes, I said 'aunt Tom,' that's what everyone in the family and close friends called her 'Tom.' She was definitely a tom-boy. We sat down at the table in a Subway restaurant there and swapped a few family stories. Sonny told me about the time he and aunt Tom were in a garden, I have no idea what they were doing there and he didn't elaborate .... but anyway, my dad was picking up spoiled peaches and throwing them at Sonny and Tom. Sonny got tired of it, and my dad being older and bigger he wasn't going to fight him .........well Tom happened to have her bb gun with her, so Sonny told her, "give me your bb gun," and the next time dad bent down to get a peach Sonny shot him square in the butt. Then Sonny said Tom and I ran for our lives, needless to say 'dad wasn't a happy camper,' but hey it stopped him from throwing rotten salvos of peaches at them. The amazing thing about all this is Sonny says he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a gun even standing inside the barn!! I then shared with Sonny that his mom, my dad's oldest sibbling, had gone on vacation to Maine two years with my family to babysit my sister and I while mom and dad where out hunting for deer and bear in the Maine wilderness - he was surprised, and told me he must have been in the military at that time cause he had never heard the story.

Later Friday morning, we were returning to mom's house from downtown and we went past a home, on mom's street, where some old friends of ours used to live. The oldest daughter, Marcia and I, [she was a year older than me]used to walk over a mile one way to high school. We thought she lived there, but didn't know. Anyway as we're driving past there is a lady getting into a truck in the drive-way so I stopped, got out and went over to talk with her. Come to find out it was Marcia's daughter, she lived there now. I told her who I was and that Marcia and I used to walk to school; that Marcia, her sister Susie, and brother David and Danny went to the same church; and that Marcia's family vacationed with my family once in Maine. She said Marcia and her dad were doing well, and she would let Marcia know I stopped by. Wow! that was cool .............. old friendships updated!!!

Have a great day

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

never, never assume

I don't know how many times I have heard the admonition, 'never, never assume.' I have been asked to officiate at the memorial service of a dear old saint in our church, and this morning, after breakfast decided to stop by the Funeral Home just to get an early copy of the obituary. While perusing it in the Director's office I noticed that the dear old saint was survived by a daughter-in-law whose funeral I had
just officiated at only two weeks ago. Going back to my office, I called the deceased's daughter to verify the facts and sure enough the funeral home had failed to make the correction .................. now not only was the dear saint's daughter distressed at hearing that news, but she had also noted that a charity they wished donations to go to had not been mentioned. Well, I've been reminded again, never assume, and always check early. Now I'm not thinking I would have mentioned the daughter-in-law as still surviving, but sometimes in the midst an event you go on auto-mode ......
Such is life