Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sam!

176 years
That's a bunch!

Looking back, our lives whiz by before we know what hit us.  We spend our first thirty years thinking about our future, the second thirty thinking about our past, and our last year’s wondering what the hell we were thinking! 
   The older I get, the more adamant I become in my belief that we should start out old and grow younger every year.  On each successive anniversary of our birth, we could assemble all our friends and family for a truly heartfelt celebration, and joyously remove one candle from our cake.  What could be better than to spend the first fifty years of our life, looking forward to becoming a little boy, and tormenting little girls! 
Obie’s Quest

HANGTOWN TOUGH!


Good Folks!
Reservoir Hill
Old Hangtown

We headed for Hangtown in ‘49,
But never showed till ‘50.
Between us we had nary a dime.
Suffice it to say, we was thrifty!

The Sierra Nevada’s are god-awful high!
And the trail is rugged at best.
Ma took one look and groaned, “Oh my!
We should have stayed home with the rest!”

The crick ain’t iced up like they say.
August heat is quick to thaw it.
It’s just for wadin‘anyway.
If there’s gold, I never saw it!

The housing in Hangtown leaves much to desire.
That’s the case every place we went.
But Ma and me’s tough, there ain’t much we require.
And we had a luxurious tent!

The tent’s mighty cozy, but lacks for room.
The dirt floor had to suffice;
Damp as the dickens and cold as a tomb!
The first year I froze to death twice!

The wood stove was nice if ya sat on the lid.
A bonfire would be better, I’m thinkin’.
When it dropped below thirty, as often it did,
It froze finials right off of the Franklin!

Flatlanders are welcome, despite what you hear.
You won’t hang; I can barely conceive it!
We’ve oodles of gas and we’re known for our beer!
Bring plenty of cash, and please leave it!

If you’ve got a hankerin’ for livin’ on beans
Out west, where it’s generally sunny,
Then check out the gold camps, and by all means.
Visit Hangtown, and bring lots o’ money!

11-30-11
S. T. Casebeer

Chief Red Cloud

Chief Red Cloud
Red Cloud (Lakota: Maȟpíya Lúta), (1822 – December 10, 1909) was a war leader and the head Chief of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux). His reign was from 1868 to 1909. One of the most capable Native American opponents the United States Army faced, he led a successful conflict in 1866–1868 known as Red Cloud's War over control of the Powder River Country in northeastern Wyoming and southern Montana. After the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868), he led his people in the important transition to reservation life. Wikipedia

“History of Stratford New Hampshire” excerpt


Jared Waldo Daniels
The following is taken from the
“History of Stratford New Hampshire 1773 to 1925”,
By Jeannette R. Thompson.  The Rumford Press, Concord, New Hampshire, 1925.
[Pages 362 – 363]

Doctor Jared Waldo Daniels was born in Stratford, June 15th, 1827.  When he was but four he was deprived of a father and left in very humble circumstances.  He left home when young, secured an academic education, studied medicine with his uncle, Dr. B. F. Hatch, in Boston, and graduated from Belleview Medical College, in New York.  He went west in 1855 and was appointed the resident physician at Yellow Medicine Agency.  In 1856 he married Hortense Eugenie Beardsley of New York, taking her to the Agency, where she had the society of two missionary families living within five miles.  She won the hearts of the Indians by her kindness, as she generally accompanied her husband on his visits, carrying such articles of food as they required.  She died in 1870.

In 1862 Dr. Jared was commissioned surgeon in the volunteer forces of Minnesota and served during the war.  At its close he located at Fairbault, Minnesota, but after years of civil practice he was appointed Indian agent to gather the Indians who were driven from their homes at the time of the massacre, and place them on a reservation.  They were Indians he had lived among six years.  He knew them all and they showed their confidence in him by obedience to his wishes so that within three years he had them living in homes of their own making and cultivating fields of their own breaking.

He established schools, a court of native officers for the trial of criminals, and a native police force for the protection of the frontier and to keep the peace on the reservation.  That was the first Indian police force ever established among the tribes in this country.

After spending nearly three years among these people and seeing them well started on the road to self-support he was sent to North Platte River, near Fort Laramie, to influence Red Cloud and his people, numbering 6,000, to locate on an agency.

This great Sioux had made a treaty but would not avail himself of its advantages, remaining north with the hostile bands. He was the most influential war chief in the Sioux nation.  When he heard that the “medicine man” was in his country he met him at Fort Laramie and was influenced by him to go to where the Indian supplies were and in a few months afterwards to locate his agency on White River.

In the summer of 1872, he took Red Cloud and thirty braves to visit eastern cities.  This gave them a chance to see the power of the government, and that band has been at peace ever since.  On his return from the east he was ordered to take a few influential Indians and join a commission at the headwaters of the Missouri River and to make a treaty with a band of Northern Sioux. 

In 1873 he was appointed Inspector of Indian Agencies.  This required him to visit all agencies west of the Mississippi, both north and south. In 1875 he was one of the commissioners to make treaty for the Black Hills country.  This was consummated in the fall of 1877.  This closed his connection with the government after twenty-two years’ service.” 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"An honest and very good man"


My great great granddad, Jared Waldo Daniels
The following is an excerpt from
Biography Of Minnesota
History of Minnesota
By Judge Charles E. Flandrau
  
Doctor Daniels had formed an acquaintance with nearly all the Indian tribes in the Northwest, and could speak the Sioux language. He had known them intimately in peace and in war, in plenty and in poverty, in time of sorrow and in time of joy.  He had sympathized with their troubles, healed their sick and taken part in their festivities, until he was loved as one of their own people, owing to his just treatment of them under all circumstances.  This was the secret of his success with them.  He could go in safety where no other white man dared, and though he had many narrow escapes, he received no injury, and he never carried arms to protect himself.  His influence was greater among the Indians than that of any other white man, and his life was safe when that of another would be in jeopardy. 

Within a few months after taking charge of the Red Cloud agency, Dr, Daniels was ordered by the Indian Department to take a delegation of Indians to Washington.  In complying he selected Red Cloud- the Great War Chief who had fought the United States troops for three years without being conquered- and twenty-eight of his leading braves.  He took them to the Capitol, New York and Philadelphia, that they might more fully appreciate the power of the government.  When the Milwaukee railroad desired to extend its line through South Dakota the Indians would not permit the surveyors to cross their reservation. Dr. Daniels was employed to get their consent, which they readily granted when he explained to them the benefits to be derived from it. 

From the “PIONEER PRESS” we quote the following:
“Dr. J. W. Daniels, recently in charge of the Indian agency at Lake Traverse, paid a visit to his wards in that region prior to his departure for the Fort Laramie agency, to which he had been appointed.  The second night after his departure for St. Paul, he was overtaken by one of the scouts or messengers, who handed him the following curious certificate of good character, which is an exact copy of the original drawn up in the handwriting of Gabrel Renville: “Dr. J. W. Daniels has been our agent for three winters, and in all his business with us he has always been honest and upright.  We are very much attached to him, and regret very much that he is going to leave us.  We seldom praise a white man; we always have some fault to find with him; but we know that this man is an honest and very good man, and we want the wise men at Washington to know this, and that when we say this, we speak nothing but the truth.  We, the chiefs and head men of the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands of Sioux Indians write this.” 

Signed,
Gabrel Renville                                Wieaurpinoufra
Yaeaudupatotanka                            Hokxedanwaxte
Ecauapieka                                       Cantelyapa
Wakanto                                           Akicitanapie
Waxieanmaza

Monday, November 28, 2011

Skye's Dip


Skye, November 2011

As children, we read of “happy endings” and “happily ever after”, and our youthful hearts are full of joy and faith.  As adults, we’ve suffered loss, and that leaves us cynical. Skye was thirteen, old for a Scotty.  We’d raised her from a pup, one of many pups born here on the place, and one of our favorites, always happy and constantly under foot. Early one morning during the week of Thanksgiving, I set out to do my chores. The familiar rattle of the dry dog food hitting their bowls immediately brought Elli and Wallace on the run, ravenous as usual. There was no sign of skye.  I called and searched, expecting to find her napping in the sunshine. She is old after all; still no Skye!  Growing concerned, I called more loudly and began searching with a sense of urgency. Eventually I found her behind the whelping house. Her head was cocked strangely to one side, her pale eyes glazed, and she was struggling to stay on her feet.  She was partially paralyzed on the right side, evidently by a stroke.  Scotties rarely live beyond thirteen. I gently picked her up and carried her back to the house. The next day she was slightly improved.  She still walked with some difficulty, but her eyes were bright and she was able to get around. But we knew in our hearts Skye’s time was growing short. Suffice it to say, over the next several days, old Skye was mighty pampered! Following dinner, my wife frequently goes for a walk and generally several of the Scotties accompany her.  Skye rarely passes our back pond without wading out belly deep and taking a long, refreshing drink.  She’s our only dog who enjoys getting wet. Following Skye’s stroke, I’d remarked to my wife that it was sad to think that old Skye would no longer accompany us on our walks.  The next evening, I was watching the evening news when my cell phone announced I’d just received a photo. It was Skye, belly deep in the pond, enjoying her dip.  Several days later, my wife returned hurriedly from another stroll with the dogs, and announced it was raining and Skye had fallen behind. We expected her to arrive momentarily, and I was to bring her in when I fed the others. Soon after, the sun set, the wind came up, and it began raining harder. And I suddenly realized Skye hadn’t gotten home. Over the next several hours, it rained harder and harder, the temperature dropped below freezing, and my wife and I searched frantically for our dog. Eventually all our flashlight batteries were dead, and we came home soaked and gave up our search for the night. We spent a long, sleepless, guilt filled night, imagining poor Skye, lost, confused, and freezing to death in the rain. It was a long, difficult night. The next day was Sunday.  I searched briefly before leaving for church, and once home, I continued the search, slowly reconciling myself to the inevitable. It was highly unlikely that Skye had survived the night. That evening our son came for a visit, and following dinner, we took advantage of the last thirty minutes of daylight to stretch our legs. As we walked, I watched for the rain soaked remains of Skye. We eventually crossed the pond bank, and as we passed the spot where Skye always enjoyed her dip, I spotted a crumpled, black form, some distance away, across the meadow. I pointed this out to my wife and son and we walked in that direction, prepared for the worst, and already fighting back tears. Approaching the scene, two ears perked up, a tail began wagging frantically, and old Skye struggled to her feet. She’d been waiting for us for twenty-four hours, and she sure seemed glad to see us! We carried her home and warmed her up, and brushed out all her stickers. “Happily ever after” is a tall order, and little dogs don’t live forever, but hold tight to your faith, life’s full of happy endings.
11-28-11
S. T. C.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Yellow Medicine


Surgeon, Jared Waldo Daniels, 1855
An excerpt from the “REMINISCENCES” of Jared Waldo Daniels
Transcribed from the family's copy of the original document
& edited by Dr. Daniels’ great, great grandson,
S. T. Casebeer

In 1858 this place was an Indian Agency where the Sisseton and Wahpeton received their annuities at such times in the year as the government saw fit to send them to the Agent, regardless of the time specified in the treaty.  It consisted of three log buildings, one for the farmer and a boarding house, one for the blacksmith, and one for the blacksmith shop.  Three buildings were located on the banks of the Yellow Medicine River, about two miles from its junction with the Minnesota.  A horseshoe shaped piece of bottomland surrounded by high bluffs formed the background for this picturesque place.  Ten acres was the extent of the enclosure, which was not quite large enough for the camping ground of Northern Indians.  On the opposite side of the river was located the trading posts which consisted of three log buildings on a plot of land backed by high bluffs covered with timber.
   To this beautiful valley I was introduced by farmer Robertson, on the first day of May, 1855.  It was a beautiful sight at the time as the groves of plumb trees that skirted the timber on either side of the road passing down the bluff, were in full blossom, and the trees just putting on their spring attire. I was taken to the blacksmiths’ house and told that this was to be my quarters.  The house was 12 by 18 feet, log, and as neat and tidy on the inside as woman’s hands could make it. I was to board with the family, which consisted of man and wife with a child about three years of age, and sleep in the attic.  Here I spent most of my time for a year, and I cannot say that any part of the time passed unpleasantly, for Mr. Ford and his good wife were well informed, and had had much experience with the Indians.  Mrs. Ford could speak the Dakota language as well as a native.  This was the only white family at the Agency.  The farmer had a mixed blood for a wife who was educated in Canada.  She was a pleasant woman, and very interesting in giving her reminiscences of life among the Dakotas.  The farmer boarded the men employed, twelve at this time, and his wife, assisted by an Indian woman, did the cooking.  See more at www.shannoncasebeer.com

Friday, November 25, 2011

Literally Alive with Puppies.


My great grandpa, Calvin Casebeer, 1865
I just buried another puppy.  Robin and I have been raising puppies for over twenty years.  We’re not a kennel. We’ve never had more than two breeding females at a time. Still, when you keep two breeding females and each one has a litter of pups each year; over a twenty year period, that’s a bunch of puppies!  With each litter of pups, it’s not uncommon to have one little puppy whose not got the spunk to make it.  That always makes me sad.  They’re just dogs, you may say; get over it! After all these years of watching helpless little puppies draw their last breath in my lap, you’d think it wouldn’t bother me.
   There’s a little scrap of scripture in the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, which talks about animals and heaven.  It rarely surfaces in a sermon. There’s much in the Bible that rarely surfaces in sermons. I’m not a theologian, and I’m not interested in debating whether or not animals go to heaven. In any case, the way I read this scripture, it suggests to me that no one knows whether animals go to heaven.   I find that comforting, especially when I’ve just lost a weeklong struggle to save a little puppy.
   The attached photo is my great granddad, Calvin Casebeer, soon after he concluded his service during the Civil War.  He looks gaunt and traumatized, just as you’d expect him to look following such a horrific experience. Following the war, Calvin spent the rest of his life reaching out to people and sharing The Good News, that Jesus loves us.  Calvin passed away in 1907.  I never got to meet him. I sure wish I had. I believe we need more people in the world like Calvin. I rarely miss the evening news. I frequently find it discouraging. Day after day, I watch people trying to pass off petty, political bickering as Christianity. Petty political bickering is just that!  Christianity is something entirely different. Christianity is about reaching out compassionately to others, and like Calvin, sharing the Good News that Jesus loves us. 
   A short distance from our home is a pond and a little hill overlooking a meadow. As often as possible, I take my morning coffee back to that little overlook, and spend time sharing my doubts and fears with Jesus.  Some people will find this disturbing; some because they have absolutely no belief in a Savior, and others because they feel confident that, if there actually is a Savior, he surely has more important things to do than spend time visiting with an old hillbilly like me. Here’s my response to that: The strength of my faith varies from day to day.  I wish it didn’t, but it does. I believe that’s true of most of us.  On the good days, when my faith is strong, I believe that God, in His infinite wisdom and awesome power, is able to spend time with each and every one of us, just like we’re the only soul on earth.  It lifts my spirit to believe that.  I see no reason not to. I also believe it’s in the best interest of everyone who’s willing, to believe that as well, and to share that Good News with others, and help others believe that Jesus loves them too. I believe that one of these days I’ll hug great grandpa Calvin, and I believe Heaven is literally alive with puppies.
Shannon Thomas Casebeer
11-25-11

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Battle of Chickamauga


My Great Granddad, Calvin Casebeer 1865
“The Battle of Chickamauga was about the bloodiest of the war, and the casualties were overwhelming. The 44th Indiana infantry only had three men killed, but 10 men were unaccounted for and 59 were shot up pretty bad. My brother and I were counted with the wounded.  John had been run over by a runaway wagon, and I’d been shot through the leg.  The field hospitals had performed amputations, patchwork, and temporary fixes, until their medical supplies were exhausted, and then they clenched their teeth and proceeded without them.  The traffic of dead and dying soldiers from the Chickamauga to points north and south was slow and steady, and the pitiful laments of the injured rose from the wagons in a low guttural moan that for many was only answered in the thralls of death. By the afternoon of the 20th, John and I were in the back of a wagon on our way to a field hospital. We slept, best we could, shielding our eyes from the glaring sun and our ears from the sounds of agony and despair.  Even in sleep, the scenes of battle repeated in my mind, and my consciousness reeled from the stench of death and war.  War has always been an enigma to me, an irreconcilable amalgamation of glory and Godlessness.  Even now, after my baptism of fire and a near death experience, I view it with a strange mix of abhorrence and wonder.  It’s as though, despite its revulsion and abomination, war has some redeeming quality. I can tell you this about war; if war possesses any redeeming qualities, they’re not apparent out on the battlefield, where gallant young men are killing and being killed.  The redeeming qualities of war are pretty illusive to those who observe its horrid stench first hand. War’s finer facets, in order to be fully appreciated, must be polished, politicized, and refined, by some well bred, manicured, articulate, gentleman back home. Back home the less desirable aspects of war may be overlooked.  One may sip their brandy, smile benevolently, and observe, ‘Ain’t war inspirin’!
   In the case of the Civil War, both sides sought peace.   The north was bound by the patriot’s sense of E PLURIBUS UNUM, and the south was bound by home and hearth and their ancestral way of life.  Few would argue that either was served by war.  Death and destruction may quell revolt, but they rarely result in peace.  Don’t get me wrong.  I realize that freedom requires commitment, commitment requires perseverance, and perseverance requires the will to act.  When freedom and just causes are threatened, honorable men respond.  But surely war is the last resort of those who know its grief.  Surely for reasonable people there’s a better way!  Freedom is every heart’s desire and every just government’s goal, but it’s a mighty illusive concept when you’re at war. Freedom is nearly impossible when ya don’t have peace.” 
   So what, in your opinion Mr. Casebeer, is our best hope for peace?”  “Well sir,” Calvin responded, briefly removing his hat and running a red bandanna over his wispy, white hair, “ol’ Abraham himself summed it up far better than I ever could.” With this Mr. Casebeer reached into his pocket, produced a tattered remnant of President Lincoln’s second Inaugural Address, and read aloud, “With malice toward none; with charity for all: with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have born the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.” With that, Mr. Casebeer smiled warmly; parted by offering the unfailingly compassionate hand of true Christian fellowship, and Mrs. Casebeer assisted him back to the house.  And I collected my papers and came away enlightened.

The preceding excerpt, although historically accurate, is a work of fiction, based on the life of my great granddad, Calvin Casebeer. S. T. Casebeer.  This short story may be read in its entirety under SHORT STORIES, on my website: www.shannoncasebeer.com. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FAITH ALONE


Dad, Mom & me April, '07

Faith alone won’t keep us warm,
Or shelter us from rain.
Through Faith, we see beyond the storm.
We glimpse blue skies again.

Faith doesn’t keep the storms away.
The clouds aren’t really gone.
Through Faith, we smile anyway.
Through Faith, we carry on.

Faith doesn’t promise fairness,
Or excuse how others live.
But Faith can bolster empathy.
Through Faith, we can forgive.

Like love, Faith hopes; Faith can preserve.
The Book says, “God is love.”
Through Faith, we’re spared what we deserve.
Through Faith, we rise above.

Love, like God, is infinite,
Rejoicing in the truth;
Inherent in each one of us;
We know love from our youth.

Love dispels all questions.
Compassion trumps all doubt.
Love can’t dismiss all sorrows,
But love helps ease them out.
  
Some question Faith and Deity,
Denying God above,
Disdaining forces they can’t see,
But no one questions love.

11-23-11
STC

Cool, Green & Shady

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Satisfying Life

The Old Casebeer Place
 Autumn 2011

That old Adirondack is one of my favorite work stations. These days, I do my best work in my head. I spend a good deal of time in my head, and occasionally a moment out. I'm coming up fast on my 60th birthday. That's a bunch of birthdays!  Assuming, just for a moment, that I've gleaned some bit of wisdom from those 60 years, I’ll share a few thoughts on living a satisfying life. First of all, set aside a bright, roomy section of your mind and fill it with all your best memories.  Visit it often and never enter without first removing your shoes.  Keep it immaculate and it will serve you well. Share it with your Deity, whatever you perceive him to be.

   Sharpen your awareness of the natural wonders that surround us, and encourage it’s appreciation in others. Be cognizant of life’s cycles, appreciating each new season in turn, while realizing fully that despite our best efforts, time is resolute, and with time, each season will pass. Embrace each new season with hope and optimism, while retaining all that’s best of seasons past.

   Do not be drawn into meaningless, futile, debilitating debates with loud, obnoxious people. Just consider the source and when possible avoid their venting. Their noise is a noxious vapor, and repulsed silence is often the appropriate response. I have good news.  Your loudmouth neighbor, your loudmouth in-law, and the loudmouth in your Sunday school class, all have one thing in common; they don’t know squat!  They’re just noisy!  Relax and ignore them, and don’t encourage their clamor.  Be mindful of your example to others; it’s your most effective testimony.  Value truth and consider the cost of deceit.  

   Cherish and reverently exercise your right to vote and keep this country free!  Many people have given their lives in order to secure the freedoms you enjoy today.  Honor their sacrifice.  Honor our veterans and all those who choose a life of service. Honor individuality, revere tolerance and exhort all those who lift up the cause of freedom. Confront ignorance, and be diligent in the advancement of knowledge.  Ignorance and intolerance are almost inseparable, and despite what some will tell you, neither one is a virtue. Positive outcomes are never achieved through negative actions. Respond to others, as you’d have them respond to you. 

   Be open to affection but wary of unwholesome pleasures. And do not be deceived. Deceit is ephemeral; lies and indiscretions will eventually come to light. Every action has a consequence.  When considering any action, before proceeding, think the scenario through to its logical conclusion.  You can never undo a thoughtless deed, and carelessly sewn seeds produce a ponderous harvest!

   Anything that you are unable to do in good conscience and moderation, do not do!  Eat nutritiously and judiciously, consistently burning more calories than you consume, until you’ve achieved your ideal weight, and you will be healthier, more industrious, more prosperous, more popular, profoundly gratified, and gut wrenchingly contented.  It’s what all the ages have striven for.

   In all things, promote liberty for all, and justice tempered with mercy.  In this country, everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Celebrate ethnicity; take pride in your heritage, but value the traditions of others.  Our country’s greatest strength is diversity; honor diversity and keep America strong. While I am generally conservative in my own actions, I am passionately liberal in defense of the choices of others. Personal choices, that’s what freedom is. Remember always that you are as good as any and better than none. Be just, merciful, humble, and be happy.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Before Proceeding,

Photo by S. T. Casebeer


Best Sprinkle Some Bread Crumbs!
And I'd avoid nibbling at any gingerbread house,
we're I you!

Got Leftovers?

Photo by S. T. Casebeer
Good place for a picnic!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'd Rather Have Jesus

Photo by S. T. Casebeer
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands, 
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand.

Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway,
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.


George Beverly Shea

"When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder"

Photo by S. T. Casebeer
When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound
And time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair:
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

James M. Black

Friday, November 18, 2011

Summer Was Perennial, & I Was a Barefoot Kid.

S. T. Casebeer 11-18-11

I remember sitting by a crackling fire, high in the Sierra Nevada’s, and listening to the ill-tempered Jerseys filing past, with their cowbells clanking and their babies bawling, and the old bull curling his lip and looking for work. I remember standing on the rough plank sidewalk, outside the Ivy House, inhaling the aroma of grilled ribs sizzling, over Manzanita coals, and watching the massive freight wagons lumber by, with their oxen lowing, their hames bells jingling, and the iron-clad rims of hickory spoked wheels smashing the gravel to dust, beneath their cumbersome tonnage of crocks of butter and barrels of fragrant cheese. I remember believing that my whole life would be a long and wondrous adventure.  And it was. 
   Standing here on top of the hill, with the setting sun casting a warm glow on the canyon’s crimson foliage, inevitably brings to mind those golden autumns of long, long ago.  Closing my eyes with the soft warmth of sunset on my face and the murmur of the crick in the distance, my memory reflects a shimmering image of overnight outings long ago, when summer was perennial and I was a barefoot kid.  I remember the goose bumps and satisfying shivers as Grandma prepared me for bed, and washed my summer-hardened feet from the rocky banks of a brisk, babbling brook.  
   I recall my Granddad’s twinkling eyes and his pleasant, raspy chuckle, as I hugged his neck and he rubbed his whiskery chin against my face.  Here on the hill where I raised my family, I revisit my time of parenthood, and recall priceless memories of my own mom and dad, ages ago when life seemed simple, and childlike faith assured tomorrows joys. Treasure your memories, keep them fresh, and never take them for granted.  Even our memories can fade with the harsh glare of time. Obie’s Quest, by S. T. Casebeer

"The Unclouded Day"

 Photo by S. T. Casebeer

O they tell me that He smiles on His children there,
And His smile drives their sorrows all away;
And they tell me that no tears ever come again
In that lovely land of unclouded day.

O the land of cloudless day,
O the land of an unclouded sky,
O they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise,
O they tell me of an unclouded day.

Josiah K. Alwood

Thursday, November 17, 2011

23rd Psalm

Photo by S. T. Casebeer
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadith me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadith me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil;
My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My First Christmas


Christmas Day 2002

My first Christmas was back in 1951.  Try as I might, I can’t remember much about it, partly because that was 60 years ago, and partly because I was just a week old!  That Christmas was one of the last Christmas’s where the whole family met at the home of my great Grandma Daniels, on Reservoir Hill.  My Great Grandma, Meda Eliza Camp Daniels had been born, not far from Placerville, just off Mosquito road, back in 1869. Her mom and dad had arrived in Placerville back in the 1850s, an entire century before I arrived on the scene.  They were pretty well established in the community. Great Grandpa Daniels had been a well respected Justice of The Peace in Placerville. His ancestors had arrived in Massachusetts Bay, back in Colonial times, and had served during the Revolutionary War.  I’ve always been mighty proud of my American heritage.  The Christmas Day festivities of 1951 were well attended.  On hand for the occasion were my parents, my mom’s parents, my great grandma Daniels, her brother Albert, my great grandma’s children, and their families, aunts and uncles galore, and cousins by the dozens! It was the kind of Christmas  you read about in books, a Christmas day of Biblical proportions!  It was happy, festive, traditional and unsurpassed!  You’d be hard pressed to replicate it today. Of course, we can’t.  With very few exceptions, those precious souls have long ago crossed the veil. To me, it’s noteworthy that I have the distinction of being a link between my faded memories of those long passed souls, and generations of their descendants they’ve never met. I sure wish that wasn’t the case.  Great Grandma would be mighty proud, and my Granddad Daniels would surely bust his buttons! I have absolutely no doubt that my son would take to granddad, like a little pig takes to the mud! And my daughter would be the apple of everyone’s eye! What I wouldn’t give to be there for that!  Well, it’s Christmas time again, and I can’t help but hope that one day all those precious souls will meet. That is, after all, what Christmas is all about: an incomparable reunion of the faithful and the Blessed! What a day of rejoicing that will be!
S. T. Casebeer
11-15-11

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 1991

I wanted to share a message of faith for the Holidays.  It’s been a difficult year and I wanted to offer hope.  As I struggled to come up with something appropriate, someone found and commented on my post from last Christmas. It touched my heart and I share it with you now:

I have a quick story for you. My dad passed away in November. He had cancer and was in bed at home and assisted by hospice care during his last few weeks. I spent most of his last week at his bedside in their sun room, and was holding his hand when he drew and released his final breath. It was extremely traumatic. Last night was the first time since then that I dreamed about Dad. I dreamed he and Mom and I had a good visit on their sofa. It was good to see him again, looking healthy and happy. This morning I took Mom to town to get her hair cut and do some shopping. She said, “Shannon, I had the best dream! I heard a commotion outside, and when I went to the window, the whole yard was full of angels. I went to the sun room to look out the other window, and your dad was there. We hugged, and then we all sat on the couch and had the best visit. Your dad looked so happy and healthy!"    We'd both shared the same dream about my Dad last night.

My wish for you this Christmas Season is that you too might be visited by angels, touched by God, and filled with Faith and Love.  Your Friend, Shannon  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Do Yourself a Favor


People Are Hurting
It’s me again.  I know; I’ve been pretty wordy lately.  I apologize.  I mean well. As another year winds down, I’d dearly love to say or do something useful and constructive. For a stove-up, poverty-stricken, half senile senior citizen, that’s a tall order.  Here’s my proposition. I believe this one suggestion has the potential to make this Christmas season a little brighter for everyone. It’s not a new concept. Like me, it’s old and simple. I’ve looked around some, and I’ve made an observation; every single soul in the world is hurting.  I know I’m hurting.  I suspect you’re hurting.  Rich men, poor men, beggar men and thieves are all hurting. I’m not asking you to invest a dime of your money or a minute of your time. Just take a second to contemplate the fact that everyone hurts.  Not to be pessimistic, but I can guarantee you, if you know one single solitary individual who isn’t hurting now, their time of hurting is coming. Here’s my suggestion, with that in mind, during the next few months, cut people a little slack. I’m not asking you to love everyone, but make a conscious effort not to hate them.  It’s already a mighty hard world. Do yourself a favor and try not to make it worse. For the next few months, when someone says something stupid, smile and keep your mouth shut, show a little compassion, and realize they’re unhappy and they hurt.
11-14-11
STC

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11


I went for a walk today.  11-11-11 is supposedly a lucky day. I thought I’d try my luck. It was a relatively cool, blustery day, but the sunshine was inviting and I had plenty of time.  During my wanderings around our 30 acre Ozark wood, I inadvertently came upon an old worksite.  Several years ago, a little garden variety twister came rip-snorting through the property and uprooted several big oaks.  Soon after, fully intending to make short work of the cleanup, I spent several hours with my chainsaw, before the novelty of the project wore off and I called it a day.  Long story short, I never made it back.  As I happened upon the site today, it looks much as it did when I left it several years ago.  The limb piles have become home to briar patches and bird roosts, and the trunks that were cut neatly into 18 inch logs have become well established into the landscape while waiting to be split. Surveying the scene it occurred to me, “I” would never be back.  During the few years that have passed since “I” temporarily postponed the completion of this project, the middle-aged me has vanished without a trace. During those few short years, my kids have grown and moved away; my dad is gone, and next month I’ll be 60. I’m not sure what became of “me”, and I’m not sure there’s much purpose for what’s left. I spent 60 years trying to make something of myself, and now there’s no demand for the finished product. I don’t share this little missive purely for sympathy.  It’s just an observation, and a heads up for those of you in your fifties. Make good use of who you are. One day you’ll wake and find you’re someone else. 
11-11-11
STC