Monday, March 28, 2011

Would You Believe, Casual Friday?

Am I happy?  Why, I’m happy as a bug on the bow of a boat!  Have ya ever watched a grasshopper at the bow of a boat, when the ol’ steamer is churning along at a good clip, the hull is pounding the cobalt blue water into a fine spray, and the shore is sailing by? And that old grasshopper is clinging to the railing for dear life, his little antennae are trailing in the wind, his molars are all catching sunlight, his eyes are glazed over and glistening in grateful satisfaction and the tobacco juice is streaming out the corners of his mouth and collecting in his whiskers and his ears?  Now that’s happy!  Obie’s Quest

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Casebeer Boys

All of us have a thousand wishes: to be thinner, or bigger, or more prosperous, to have a cooler car, more free time, all the newest electronic gadgets, or to date someone really hot. A cancer patient has only one wish: to kick cancer's butt! In honor of all the precious souls who have already succumbed to cancer, or all those who are fighting cancer now, please join the fight. My son very nearly died of cancer; my dad did, and I've already had a number of skin cancers removed myself. Please join the fight against cancer now. Support The American Cancer Society.

My Ol’ Dad

We built a house in ‘82
Of pine and fir and Elmer’s Glue.
And a finer crew I never had;
We built it all, just me and Dad.

I drew the plans the best I could,
Of a country home, all made of wood.
I planned it grand as it could be,
And still be built by Dad and me.

Footings and all we dug by hand.
We laid it out just like I planned,
All the foundation, the floor and the rest,
We’d hammer, and figure, and hammer and rest.

We did all the plumbing and wiring and such.
My blisters had blisters from working so much.
We built all the trusses, till my fingers were numb!
Dad never once cussed when he hammered his thumb.

We both worked together, and when there was doubt,
We got out the books and we figured it out.
We never once fought, disagreed or got mad.
There’s no better crew than my ol’ Dad.

We worked as a team from fall until fall.
We stained all the siding and sheet rocked each wall.
We shingled the roof and we hung every door.
We worked all we could and a little bit more.

We worked in the rain and the cold and the heat.
When Mom brought our lunches, we’d stop and we’d eat.
She’d brag on our job, and we’d brag a bit too!
We were both pretty proud, and I’m sure Mom knew.

Now I live in that house with two kids and a wife.
We have a nice home and a real good life,
And a mighty fine house that we built out of pine,
Just me and my Dad, and we did just fine!

I remember that year that I worked with my Dad.
I remember the work and the fun that we had.
I remember the heat and the rainy weather.
I remember the time that we shared together.

I thank the Lord God for His help from above,
For all of my blessings, a home full of love,
And the very best crew that a guy ever had.
Thanks a lot Lord, for my ol’ Dad.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Granddad Daniels

My Granddad Daniels loved me unconditionally.
Even as a toddler, I could tell.
Even when I did my drawers or pulled the kitty’s tail,
I knew my Granddad Daniels loved me well.

His was the smile I counted on.
His approval trumped any sorrow.
My darkest clouds were silver lined;
I’d see Granddad tomorrow.

His the delight on Christmas night
That gave the season joy,
In my mind his smile outshined
All other gifts and toys.

At holiday dinners or fire lit camps,
His zest for life shone through.
His childlike spirit incited mine;
Because of his faith, mine grew.

In ’69, we’d been away.
We returned to a note on our door.
My Granddad Daniels had passed away.
I’d see his smile no more.

It wasn’t like the God I knew
To treat our family so.
It wasn’t like the life I’d known,
To deliver such a blow.

What in life could bear the price
Of Granddad’s empty chair?
I saw no purpose for my life,
Without my Granddad there.

Life went on, the seasons passed,
New relationships brought new joy,
But none replace the special place
Of my Granddad and his boy.

That was many years ago.
Decades have brought me here.
My Granddad’s pale, white whiskered face
Now greets me from my mirror.

Still today, I miss him,
As I strive to take his place.
I pray that when folks glimpse my smile,
They see my Granddad’s face.

I know you’ve suffered losses too.
You too have searched for grace.  
And I know you have no earthly cause
To accept this strange embrace.

But I’d like to offer Granddad’s gift,
Of unconditional love,
The Gift the Savior brings us
From His Father up above.

We’re called to love each other now,
While the good Lord grants us time.
And I can’t replace the love you’ve lost,
But I humbly offer mine.


My Prayer

Give me a corner of God’s green earth
Where I can watch each season’s birth,
And hear the March wind’s serenade,
Or cool fall breeze as the pines are swayed;

Someplace where fall in long and fair,
Warm afternoons that I can share,
Cold autumn evenings, crisp and brief,
As early frost on golden leaf;

Where all the blessings God bestows
Are cherished as each season goes,
And all the things we truly love,
Are gifts to us from God above.

Give me a place where nature thrives,
Where God can touch my family’s lives,
Where spirit never hesitates
To love all things that God creates.

And if it be God’s will for me
To raise a Christian family,
As seasons change, from sun to sun,
Lord guide me, that Thy will be done.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


We did lots of camping when I was a kid.
We camped in an old canvas tent.
I remember the sound as it flapped in the wind.
I remember its feel and its scent.

I remember the sound of warm rain on its roof,
And the comfort it offered each night.
I recall how I felt looking out at the stars
By the campfires flickering light;

The feel of my pillow at the end of the day,
When my shoulders were pink from the sun,
My grandmothers’ kiss as she tucked us in bed,
After our prayers were done.

First thing in the morning the fire was lit.
Great Grandma brought graniteware dishes.
Golden brown hotcakes for breakfast of course,
And for super fried tatters and fishes.

Each day we’d go swimming and play in the sand.
My granddad would take us out hiking.
Sis and I watched as he whittled a cane.
And Stick horses were just to our liking.

We’d sit by the fire in the late afternoon.
I’d sit in my grandmothers’ lap.
Dad would go fishing, Mom would read,
And Granddad enjoyed a good nap.

Later on in the evening, when dinner was done,
There was coffee from a graniteware pot,
Delicious marshmallows we roasted on sticks,
And dried figs that my great grandma brought.

I remember the feel of hot sand on bare feet,
And melon seeds stuck to my chin,
The stories of camping trips long, long ago,
And the way that my granddad would grin.

Now we take our kids camping whenever we can.
That’s how all our best weekends are spent.
We retell all the stories that made Granddad grin,
When we camped in that old canvas tent.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Happiness is transient,
Fleeting pleasure many find,
Passing quickly, like lost youth,
Or morning mists.
Joy is everlasting;
Joy soothes a weary mind.
Joy discreetly fills our heart,
Then joy persists.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Great Hoary Bears!

Photo by S. T. Casebeer
Day three found us mean as snakes and hungry as week old wolves!  I awoke first, and then bundled up and peeked out through the shutters.  Despite our predicament, the breathtaking beauty of the mountains once more overcame me.  The magnificent ponderosa pines leaned and swayed precariously, each bow hanging heavy, laden with a mantel of white.  The air was still and silent, with only the occasional pop of an overburdened limb disturbing the quiet as it echoed from the canyon beyond.  The river canyon to the west held a wispy tide of slowly receding fog, and the whole scene shimmered in the radiance of early dawn.  Shaking the coffeepot to ascertain its status, I found the stove cold and the fire spent.  Donning my hat and coat, I headed for the woodshed to retrieve some kindling, and rounding the corner I heard something scurry away.  On closer examination I discovered rodent droppings on the woodpile, and the hatchet handle chewed almost clean in two!  The few remaining logs were far too large for use as kindling, and my best attempt at using the hatchet gently only succeeded in finishing the squirrels’ job!  I gave up disgusted and stomped back in the shack! Lidge woke up as I reentered the shack and even his Irish spirit was insufficient to wipe away his scowl.  He was all sulled up and mad as parliament!  “Holy cow!” I exclaimed, slapping my sides for warmth.  “It’s colder than the hubs o’ hooties out there!”  Lidge backed up to the stove for warmth and found it dead as a doornail.  “I heard some flatlander use that very phrase in town the other day.” He says, “What in tarnation is a hootie hub anyway!”  “I have no clue,” I answered, “But don’t it sound cold though!” Lidge was not impressed!  “Have you gone for kindling yet?” he asked irritably.  “You bet!” I says. “Well where the heck is it?” Lidge demanded impatiently.  “Well, it’s like this,” I says.  “Some cantankerous fairydiddle gnawed the handle out of Griz’s only hatchet.”  “A fairy what’ll?” Lidge enquired indignantly.  “A fairydiddle.” I answered.  Lidge glared at me like I was short wicked and fuelless!  “What the dickens is a fairydiddle?” he demanded.  “A fairydiddle is an exasperating little rodent with outrageous eyes, a stubby flat tail, and furry webbed wings.”  “Yeah right!” Lidge grunted skeptically.  “I’m serious.” I said defensively.  “Furry webbed wings?”  Lidge repeated.  “Yep!”  I said.  “And they fly?’ Lidge repeated disgustedly, and gave me one of them looks that says “Eat worms and die!”  “Well, not wings exactly.” I answered.  “but flaps of skin between their legs that helps ‘em to kind o’ glide through the air like a leaf on a blustery day.”  “Let me get this straight.” Lidge says. “You’re telling me that we ain’t got no fire, and no kindling to start a fire, cause we’re infested with nasty little rodents that have huge eyes, flat tails, furry wings, and that they fly through the air and eat up hand tools!”  “You bet!” I says.  “I had some in my room back at Camp house too!”  Lidge eyed me suspiciously.  “I don’t remember hearing nothin’ about fairrydiddles back home.  Were they pets?” he asked.  “Not really.” I said.  “They were mainly just pests.”  “Well why didn’t ya just get rid of ‘em?” He asked.  “Well,” I says, “they were there afore I was.  I figured that give ‘em some kind of squatters rights.” Lidge looked at me real exasperated with his head cocked over and says, “Did them critters eat up your hatchet handles back home?”  “Nope.” I answered sheepishly,  “They mainly just ate biscuits!” “Biscuits.” Lidge repeated cynically.  “Yep!” I replied.  “Well I’ve not been exposed to such an extravagant excess of excrement, since Granddad’s bull bloated & blew up! Did you give ‘em the biscuits?” he asked.  “Nope.” I answered matter-of-factly.  “Alright, I’ll bite.”  Lidge said defiantly.  “Where’d they get the biscuits?”  I knew my ol’ pard was having a mighty tough time swallerin’ this explanatory tale, but I also knew it for the Lord’s truth, so I just answered right up, “They’d just swoop down two or three at a time and swipe ‘em!”  Lidge grimaced and shook his head wincingly, “And you witnessed this yourself?” he says.  “Well,” I says, “not always.  They most always done it at night, while I was sleepin’.”  “Great hoary bears!” Lidge ejaculated in disgust, and stomped out the door! Obie's Quest

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"A Boy's Friend"

Barely visible in the upper left-hand corner of this cover page, is the inscription: Shannon 1954. At age three, I couldn't read yet, but I leafed through the pages of this little book until it was dog-eared, and I pestered Mom to the point of apoplexy, having her read it to me, over, and over, and over! Within a year, I was diagnosed with polio, and this little book came in mighty handy. The relationship I enjoyed because of this little book offered a hope, a peace, and a contentment I wouldn't have had otherwise. 55 years later, it still does. STC :) 

The Talent Show

The heartwrenching account of,
{Why I don’t do talent shows no more!}

Lidge and I had taken a load of freight over to Virginia City.  The mule th’owed a shoe, so we was runnin’ late and decided to call it a day and spend the night.  The camp had a dandy, little community theatre, and, in hopes of killin’ some time that evening, the folks was throwin’ an impromptu talent show. There was a fifty-dollar prize for first place, so all the miners was filing through doing jigs & flip flops & such, and tellin’ all manner of outrageous, longwinded whoppers that had never failed to bust up Ma & Pa, back home. Lidge insisted that if I was to read a page or two from my journal, they’d be mesmerized.  I did, and they weren’t! So after two or three minutes of dead silence and growing humiliation, I was staring at my feet in mortification, when I noticed that one of my brogans was untied and fixin’ to fall off; so I hoisted my foot up on the lectern to lace up my shoe. Well, folks began to marvel at my flexibility and dexterity, and some fella in the front row asked if I could wrap my leg plum around my neck.  I assured him that I couldn’t, and another ol’ guy bet me ten bucks I was mistaken.  Confident of some easy cash, I hauled off and swung my right leg for my left shoulder with all the determination I could muster.  My loosed brogan flew off, and my big toe became deeply embedded in my left ear, right up to the second knuckle!  Instantly my leg muscles cramped up, in a bunch, and my back went into spasm. Just when I figured things couldn’t get no worse, the frayed cuff of my overalls began tickling my nose, and I went into fits and convulsions of violent sneezing.  This sneezing persisted and grew in intensity, until a particularly virulent sneeze went directly down my pants leg, and proceeded to turn my pockets wrong side out and darn near blow off my underwear!  Reacting quickly, the horrified stage manager immediately dropped the curtain, cracking me on the cranium and knocking me colder than a dogcatcher’s heart!  About 45 minutes later, I come to in the local hoosegow, servin’ a three to six week sentence for vagrancy and indecent exposure. This concluded my stage career. Obie’s Quest

Velvet Black

Photo by S. T. Casebeer
The sun was just a sliver of crimson as we reached the top of the hill.  We were about a quarter mile from the gaggle of ramshackle frame homes, which meander along the ravine and make up the Irish community.  To the west, an impenetrable stand of firs was silhouetted against the lavender dusk, and the sounds of fellowship, fiddles, and Lidge’s concertina, were barely audible from the happy gathering below.  In the distance a whippoorwill called, crickets sang, and the air carried the faint scent of hickory smoke, as the little community lit their stoves against the cool night air. Christoph and Laura paused to admire the sunset, and Mariah and I found a seat on a log at a distance sufficient to afford a degree of privacy.  We admired the pastels as the sun slipped peacefully away, soaked up the serenity, and reflected on the events of the day.  Darkness crept in silently around us and not a word was spoken.  Eventually the silence was broken as Mariah shivered, moved ever so slightly closer, and pulled her sweater snugly around her neck. This was my opportunity.   I slid over close beside her, wrapped my arms around her and waited for her response.  After a moment Mariah reached out hesitantly and awkwardly placed her arm around my waist. My heart raced furiously, and as I listened to her quickened breath, I fought to calm the quickness of my own. 
   Eventually, noting my hopeful gaze, she glanced up apprehensively, licked her lips expectantly, closed her eyes and eagerly puckered up!  This prospect, enticing and long anticipated though it was, had the immediate effect of sucking all the breath from my lungs and simultaneously paralyzing my tongue!  Fighting for wind and desperately struggling to moisten my own mouth, I took my queue and pressed my lips to hers. We held that kiss for the longest time; both unwilling to let that moment end, and as our lips parted, we held on passionately in a long, lingering hug.  For as long as I live I’ll remember that embrace.  Then the twilight faded to velvet black, and our palms caressed as I walked Mariah home. "Obie's Quest" 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Loom Large!

“When life’s obstacles
Loom large,
Loom larger!
But pray first!”

A Godless Pit!

We were still a hundred yards from the Kinney place at the top of the hill, when we rounded a bend and the trail forked.  “This way.” panted Lidge as he took the right fork.  Seconds later the three of us stood humped over and gasping for breath at the door of a ramshackle ol’ outhouse.  At the sound of hurried footsteps close behind, we crowded into the tiny refuge and Lidge bolted the door.  It was pitch black inside, the atmosphere was close and stifling, and the odor was exceedingly unpleasant!  I desperately wanted to hold my breath but we were all breathing too heavily for that.  I stepped up onto the business seat to help ease the crowding, and Lidge braced himself and leaned against the door.
    As I stood up on the bench my head hit a rafter, the heat was oppressive, I was all but smothered in a veil of cobwebs, and an indignant wasp began buzzing threateningly around my ears.  I started to speak to Mariah, but she laid her finger against my lips and said “shhhh!”  Her finger was only against my lips for an instant, but somehow her touch left me warm all over.  As I stood straddling that outhouse seat and crouching to avoid that pesky wasp, my face was just inches from the top of Mariah’s head.  I could feel the warmth from her body and smell her long lustrous hair.   I pretended to loose my balance as an excuse to lay my hand on her shoulder.  She glanced up at me very briefly and then ever so gently she laid her hand on mine.  I held my breath, my pulse quickened, and Ted and the band of ruffians arrived outside the door. There were muffled voices and stifled chuckling, and then in unison they counted “one, two, three,” and leaned heavily into the side of that board and batten john.  Our fragile refuge listed dangerously to starboard, that ornery wasp planted his rapier-like stinger deep into the lobe of my ear, and both my feet, new boots and all, slipped into that big black hole!
   Seconds later Lidge threw open the outhouse door, Ted and the ruffians let out with war whoops as they disappeared down the path, and the blinding light of day rushed in on a sad and sorry spectacle.  That dreadful abyss had engulfed me right up to the armpits, my ribcage was stuck tight as a cork in its’ terrible jaws, and a powerful aroma brought evidence, I was stuck knee-deep in that holes’ contents.  Abandon hope all ye who enter here! The bowels of the beast made a hideous sucking sound as Lidge and Mariah laboriously extricated me from my predicament.  My clenched toes clung desperately to my left boot, and that Godless pit claimed the other! "Obie's Quest"