I Can’t Get It Out of My Head

Every once in a while life hands you something you can’t let go of. About a month ago I began singing a tune I heard in a movie. The refrain is simply Amen, amen, amen. The song is from Lilies Of the Field a movie I saw in 1963. Somehow, that refrain comes back to me, and when it does I cannot get it out of my head. This time it was so strong I decided it time to re-watch the film. Last week Peg and I found it at our library and we watched it together. I loved it as much on this viewing as I did fifty-one years ago. I’ll take that hymn to my grave., so much so that this morning I told Peg I would like the hymn sung at my funeral. Her response was classic, “Are you dying now?”

I won’t go into the story, but it is beautiful. The characters are simple but powerful. The message is one of faith in God, and the power of positive thinking.

I couldn’t help but think of how this story put two religions on showcase, and showed how beautiful both were living together in harmony. Compare that to today’s scenario of Christians and Muslims living at odds with each other so much so they can be likened to good versus evil.

Here is a video of the song in its entirety from the last scene.

My Heart Is Down

Sad to say I’m on my way,

Won’t be back for many a day.

My heart is down, my head is turning around

I had to leave a little house in Wrinkle Town.

 

It’s Baaack!

This morning I awoke and peeked out he window at the 2013 Monet Vision. It looked the best it did all year-long. Bathed in white it looked better than the white theme I tried to make this year. For the past twenty years I have commented on the pussy winters we have had, but this year promises to become the winter I know and hate, . . er I mean love. When you live in Illinois you have to love winter or you are not worthy of living here.

This week we experienced the joy of breathing below zero temps and decided that Arizona looks pretty good. Then it snowed three times counting today. The first was a shoveler. That’s a powdery snow fall that is less than two inches deep and it is not worthy of wasting gas in the snow blower, so shovel I did.  The next day, it snowed again. Another powdery one inch not worthy of a blow job. In fact, because I had a doctor appointment early, it didn’t even get a shovel job. This morning when I opened the garage door there was nine inches of powdery snow in front of me: Hear that all you guys who moved to Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida? This was definitely worth a blow job. Except, my blower was not ready. I had it serviced, I had fresh gas, but I removed the blower-chute when I stuffed the machine into the trunk to take it for service. The winters have been so pussy, that I kept gambling on not needing to get it completely functional. It took fifteen minutes to install the chute and three pulls to get it going strong

Lucky for me the Frankfort snowplow had not yet come by to fill the driveway with a block worth of snow moving at forty miles per hour. My trusty Honda, inherited from my son who moved to snow-less Houston, moved right through the powdery stuff. The temp measured 31.4 degrees F at my front porch.

I had about 90% of the driveway completed when I noticed the snow was no longer flying out the chute. Instead, it packed into the chute and didn’t clean very well at all. The temperature was now above 32 degrees and the snow was, as we used to say as kids, “good packing.” That meant it is perfect for making snowballs and snow men.

It took about an hour to finish the drive and the walk in front of my house and the walks in front of the neighbors on each side of me. A few years ago, this would have taken me less than forty minutes and I would have had a great workout. This time, it took much longer and it tired me out completely. That is Nature’s way of telling me that the old bod’ ain’t what it was a few years ago. I guess it is the result of too many glasses of Cabernet and endless hours in front of the computer doing absolutely nothing.

After clearing the front, I tackled the patio to gain access to the bird feeders. There wasn’t a single dove, cardinal, or sparrow in sight. Must be the snow, I thought, until I heard the screeching call of a hawk. He sat in a tree observing the action around the feeders. I reveled at the sound of his call as he obstinately stayed perched and screeching high above me. I was shoveling a path around the post feeder and the hanging feeder at the window when I spotted Grandma Peggy peering out keeping the hawk under surveillance. Now that’s neat, a predator observing his prey while being observed by a constable protecting the prey. The look on Peggy’s face was enough to scare any hawk from the area.

I took some pictures with my phone and declared the 2013 Monet Vision had finally achieved a state of  beauty worthy of talking about. Remember, Churchill said, “never, never, never, never give up.” I’m glad I didn’t because the garden finally looks good.

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2013 Monet Vision in December looking at the waterlessfall

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The Hawk keeps surveilance

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Snow Angel

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2013 Monet Vision in December looking at the bird tower

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Grandma Peggy keeps her eye on the hawk

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Front Drive

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Walkways

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My flag Flies Everyday

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2013 Monet Vision September reference

Working In The Garden

Monet garden in Giverny, Eure, France

Monet garden in Giverny, Eure, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, I have used other people’s work on this blog. My time in the garden takes its toll on me and the result is a lack of energy left to write. My Lions Club work suffers also. Here it is the third day of summer, and I am still planting annuals in the 2013 Monet Vision. Hopefully, the plants will have enough daylight to survive and thrive before the first killing frost.

Spring came late for me because I spent most of it in Arizona. When I finally did arrive home, the temperatures in Illinois were much the same as what I had in February. The temperature reached 100 on the day we left. After spending three months in tee shirts and shorts, I suddenly found myself looking for warmth. Another delay occurred because my sister-in-law suffered a stroke shortly after we returned. We spent a good bit of time visiting with her and were at her bedside when she passed. Before I knew it, June had arrived and established itself before I pulled a single weed, bought flowers and even considered getting into the garden.

All of that stuff is over now, and I attack the Monet Vision daily with vigor, which runs out in a few short hours. So when I read a news articles like a Zombie, and it appeals to me, I re-blog or link with a minimum of personal expression. Hopefully, I select topics that appeal to my followers.

Being in the garden gives me time to think and to set goals. My list suddenly becomes almost impossibly long, but I will  take the goals baby step, by baby step and get the important things done. The Monet Vision is at the top of the list, next is blogging, third is work on my novel, and forth is the workshop. Oh, I completely forgot, Peggy fits in there too, and I also have to squeeze in a few moments for physical fitness like walking and bike riding. No, wait, I need to find time to spend with family and friends too. I can’t neglect personal relationships for mundane things like the workshop, blogging, and physical fitness. After all, imbibing Winking Owl with my old fart buddies takes precedence over everything else including Peggy(please don’t rat on me by telling Peggy I said that), and the Monet Vision.

Yesterday, it rained and I watched a Wabbit under the eaves eating bird seed dropped from the feeder. He looked familiar to me, but larger than the last time I saw him. Yes, it is the same Wabbit, it is Aga Bambi, last seen eating Petunias from the 2012 Monet Vision. Not a problem anymore, I’ll call the IRS and ask them to send a FBI drone over to keep the garden under surveillance. If the drones spot any signs of terrorist activity, they can tell me to take positive action.

A Free Peek

Cut-up and stored Boeing B-52s, 309th Aerospac...

Cut-up and stored Boeing B-52s, 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Arizona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Air Force has finally revealed a closely held secret, the Stealth Fighter.  One of the earliest models of the stealth plane is retired to Davis-Monthan Air Base in Tucson, Arizona. It is on display for visitors to the Pima Air and Space Museum to see on tour. Grumpa Joe’s Place is proudly giving you a look at this remarkable aircraft for nada. Enjoy!

A side note on Davis-Monthan air base. This storage facility for surplus aircraft is the only department in our federal government that actually makes money. They sell spare parts by disassembling used aircraft. The parts are used by our own air force and many others throughout the world. An income of over four billion dollars a year is realized from sales to foreign governments.

image001Notice the swept back wings and the mosquito-like appearance. This plane easily avoids detection by radar and the naked eye too. This plane, by the way, is the only transparency in the Obama administration.

Burning Gas-A GPS Gift

English: Another Shot of Kayenta, AZ.

English: Another Shot of Kayenta, AZ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally, at the end of April, I built up enough courage to drive from the Valley of the Sun northward toward  snow and cold. Only I made damned sure there would be no snow and that it would be cool, not cold. The plan took us through the north-east corner of Arizona. There are not many roads in this sector. If you don’t believe me search Google maps for Tuba City, Arizona. Our goal was to visit Arches National Park in Utah. Going home by way of Arches has been on my bucket list since 2004 when I first ventured to Arizona for a long respite in the desert. My reasoning was simple, visiting Arches adds only a few miles more than going directly home. The venture adds another day. In years past, the weather forecast always showed rain and forty degrees. Forty degrees and rain don’t agree with me, so I opted for the fast way home. This time, however, the forecast was seventy degrees and sunny, I went for it.

The atlas is correct, there are very few roads in that sector of Arizona. There are miles and miles of Navaho Indian reservations with some very good two lane highways crossing them. The scenery is very like the Painted Desert, flat open vistas streaked with orange,  rusty red, pink, soft pale green, brown, and all shades between. Although the views could be considered boring, I drove slow ( 65 mph) because I enjoyed soaking up those color striations.

Toward mid-afternoon we stopped in the small town of Kayenta, Arizona. The atlas shows Kayenta in bold black letters indicating that it is a large town, but believe me it is a small place, blink as you pass through and you miss it. We gassed up and enjoyed a pit stop at the Golden Arches. The GPS led us out-of-town and onto U.S. Highway 163. All along, I thought we would take a faster route and turn northward on 191. It didn’t matter, highway 163 was a sound road.

A few miles north we began to see huge monoliths protruding from Mother Earth. I’ve seen these views before, but where? The stately rock formations increased in number as we continued. “Oh my God, we are in Monument Valley,” I said to Peg. I’ve seen pictures of this place many times. I took photos from the car window and stopped at several places to get better views.

Monument Valley Near Kayenta, Arizona

Monument Valley Near Kayenta, Arizona

Further along the road we came upon a Navaho strip mall. In years past, the Indians sold jewelry and pottery along the roadsides at crudely made wooden stands, but these were all vacant. It seems that too many tourists had car crashes pulling on the highway from these primitive sales areas. To eliminate fatalities, the tribal council built a modern strip mall with a very safe entrance to a large parking area to replace the ancient stalls. I bought a dozen souvenir necklaces from Monica and a decorator pot for the house from Charlene. Both of the women were Navaho, and both had hard to pronounce indian names, so they went by their American names.

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View from an old Navaho Road Side Stand

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Navaho Necklaces, Hand Made By Monica

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Monica the jewelry craftsman with Peggy

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Dream Catchers

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Bracelets

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Charlene wraps our pottery buy in bubble wrap.

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Charlene swipes my credit card on a hand-held wireless device thus integrating the ancient art symbology of the pot with modern technology. Her two kids watch TV as she sells her native wares.

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The views of Monument Valley were breathtaking for the rest of the day. Notice the bug splat on the upper right side monument.

Monument Valley was the highlight of this day. The scenery is breathtaking and got me to pondering about how many years it takes to erode a mountain into these rock formations. I learned the answer to that question later at Arches National Park. Had it not been for the GPS, I would have missed seeing this fantastic area of our country.

Racial Justice in America

This post is an addendum to the one titled Justice For All? You Be the Judge. 

In this one I’ve changed the cartoon to represent the reality of what is happening in America today.

1. The government is hiding a serious screw up in the Fast and Furious program , but they will sweep the whole thing under the carpet to protect a black president.

2. George Zimmerman will take it on the chin for being a good citizen. He will go to jail because that is what the blacks think will make Whitey love them and treat them as equals.

Can I have an Amen?

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