Tuesday, December 31, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014

The Nut House, Reservoir Hill

Impressions
 Do not lament a moment past,
A fleeting moment made to share.
Do not feel it lost in passing,
For to be past, it need be there.

And in existing, only seconds,
Its donation subtly paid,
Enriches life and heart and soul,
With vast impressions it has made.

Foolish is the heart that lives one moment,
And its passing grieves,
For in the volume of our lives,
Each page must turn to reveal new leaves.

Each second gives us priceless life;
It also gives us age.
Take care my friend, as chapters end,
Don’t stop to mourn the page.

Read on and on; each second counts;
Each chapter grows more fine,
And often as not, what we fear is lost,
Is ahead just one more line.

STC

HAPPY NEW YEAR
2014

Sunday, December 29, 2013

I continue to search for a publisher for my historical novel, OBIE'S QUEST

Another festive shindig at The Bell Tower
Hangtown, California

This blog contains an introduction to, and the first 18 chapters of, 
Obie's Quest.
If you're on Facebook, there's an easy link to take you there,
or you can go to my website for directions.
stcasebeer@gmail.com
See OBIE'S QUEST on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/obiesquest


Or, 
Use the following link to go directly to 
OBIE'S QUEST

http://shannoncasebeer.blogspot.com/2012/02/
by-shannon-thomas-casebeer-heartfelt.html

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
See ya in Cyberspace

Friday, December 27, 2013

Where are the time machines when you need one?

Placerville, California 
Main Street, circa 1930
This one feels like Placerville.  I can hear the little Ford purring softly from the curb, while the familiar fragrances of fresh donuts, hot pavement, and evergreen shaded ravines wafts down the sidewalk on a gentle summer breeze. Somewhere, ever-present in the back of my mind, is the realization that just a few hours away are the city, the ocean, the Sacramento valley’s metropolitan and horticultural treasures, and, stretching seductively from our beloved Hangtown, historic highway 50 herself, linking the old stage stops like a glistening chain of pearls, and climbing ever upward, toward the Sierras, the majestic summit, and Tahoe’s incomparable shores. Is there any wonder we all call Placerville home?       

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Приветствия и наилучшие пожелания

I’m always intrigued when I check my blog’s statistics on Google and find I’ve received visitors from all around the world. Today’s visitors include, besides the US, page views from Russia and Malaysia, Germany, France, Poland and Estonia. I rarely receive comments on my blog, and despite my repeated encouragement to email me, I seldom hear from anyone. I occasionally test my skills with the dictionary.com translator, but the results can be uncertain at best, and the last thing I want to do is offend anyone. Suffice it to say, I wish you all well, and I continue to be pleased, gratified, and fascinated by your visits.  I’d love to hear from you.  Best Wishes,
Shannon

Blue Bell Coffee Shop & old city clock. Circa 1940 I can almost hear the clanking of utensils and smell the coffee, as the little bell over the door announces my arrival. Pie alamode please!

Placerville, California

A melancholy rendition of “Little Annie Laurie” scratched out hesitantly on a pair of slightly flat fiddles

There below, basking in the last red rays of the rapidly setting sun lay the storied metropolis of Hangtown. A small tormented creek meandered through a series of deep, pine-lined ravines, and clinging tenaciously to each bank, at close intervals and in no apparent order, squatted several dozen shake roofed structures reminiscent of the clapboard shanties that graced the Irish community back home. Smoke boiled and billowed from a forest of stovepipes, and the sound of kindling being chopped, rang at intervals from a series of locations and echoed from the ravine beyond. In addition to the rustic, wooden framed structures were numerous log cabins, and on the periphery of the settlement and lining Main Street on either side, an endless sea of tents glowed hospitably from the lamplight within.  The oak scented smoke of countless campfires hung thick in the motionless evening air, and the entire hollow twinkled in the light of countless lamps and flickering candles.  Laughter and jocularity rose spasmodically from a number of well lit gatherings down below, and a melancholy rendition of “Little Annie Laurie” scratched out hesitantly on a pair of slightly flat fiddles, rose plaintively from a massive canvas covered structure in the center of the scene. This was evidently the heart of downtown. Main Street, lined on each side with false storefronts, dropped in a gentle grade from the east; widening and splitting as it approached a long row of canvas covered shops.  At the east end of this row of shops stood a bell tower as high as any building in town.  Main Street proceeded west, past a number of dimly lit, but well patronized saloons and Center Street led quickly toward a row of barns and stables, which faced the rear of the shops to their south and hung precariously over the banks of scenic Hangtown Creek to the north. It all brings to mind the old poem: “Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home”.  SC

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas, Hangtown

HANGTOWN, CALIFORNIA CIRCA 1900

A CLASSIC TALE OF CHRISTMAS

Like many of you, I enjoy Mr. Dickens’s classic tale of Christmas.  The thought of the ghosts of Christmas past and Christmas future appearing as the bell begins to toll fires my imagination.  Like Old Ebenezer himself, I’m increasingly haunted by apparitions.  We’ve become very smug and complacent in America today, confident in what we perceive as our relatively secure position in the world order, and satisfied that, despite the ugly divide that has been deliberately created among us, we can go on this way indefinitely, content that the growing enmity between us is of no real consequence, beyond stirring our blood and making for some rousing political campaigns.  While that may be possible, there’s another haunting possibility.  There are other ambitious countries in the world today, most notably China, countries who find themselves on the rise and perfectly content to sit quietly by and observe our increasingly evident inability to govern ourselves, until the time arrives when they are able to intervene on our behalf and assume that task themselves. This prospect should make some people very happy.  We’ll no longer need to fight about Social Security, or any of our bothersome social programs.  We’ll have none. Affordable health care won’t be concern.  We’ll have no health care.  Unemployment will be unheard of.  We’ll all be provided fulltime factory jobs that will keep us gainfully employed 24/7.  All our pesky civil liberties will no longer divide us.  Liberty will be only a memory. Even gun ownership will no longer be an issue.  We’ll have no guns. Does it sound more and more to you like a veritable utopia?  I suspect not.  So are these shadows of things that will be, or merely apparitions of things that could be? Of course, that depends on whether we continue behaving like spoiled, irresponsible children, or grow up and realize that there are consequences for bad behavior, and its time to join together and solve our differences rather than exacerbating and exploiting them for political purposes. I’d like to believe we could all get along, if we truly understood the alternative.  I’d like to believe that there’s reason for hope and we still have plenty of time, but the clock is ticking and the bell prepared to toll. SC

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It's a mighty festive time of year for a birthday!


It’s my birthday again already!  I always enjoy my birthdays, but if ya rack up enough of ‘em, they begin to take a toll! Of course, it’s not the birthdays themselves that wear us down, it’s the 12 months of perseverance required to earn one, and the staggering way they tend to pile up!  After 62 years, I’m laboring under a ponderous pile of birthdays! And 62 years provide a cumbersome amount of time for deliberation. 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!  SC

Saturday, December 14, 2013

If you enjoy my blog, check out my website.

www.shannoncasebeer.com

SEASON'S GREETINGS

This is my little cabin in the Ozark Mountains of south central Missouri.  I call it LITTLETHICKET, partly because that seemed appropriate, and partly just because I just love to say Littlethicket.  Try it! It's not yet winter here, but ya can't tell that from the photo!

Our hearts go out to the people of Malaysia, and all those worldwide who face hardship and deprivation as we approach the close of 2013. I wish you health, happiness and hope in the New Year, and peace and brotherhood throughout the years ahead. May God Bless all the children of the world, and give them hope for a bright and prosperous future. Your sympathetic friend, Shannon

Sincere and heartfelt wishes for a happy, healthy 2014
Shannon
stcasebeer@gmail.com

Happy Holidays to all people of good will, everywhere. Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God, and respect the right of others to walk with theirs. And God Bless us every one.

Hold tight to your faith


Through the darkest hour our brightest hope is faith.
Faith burns most brightly
when all other hopes are spent.
SC

The precious, incomparable gift of Christmas


This time of year we hear many disparaging comments about Christmas.  People despair over its commercialism, the financial strain it tends to create for some, and the anxiety and depression it causes in others. We’re told of its origins in pagan tradition, and how Christmas trees and Christmas gifts and all the traditional trappings of Christmas were swiped from various archaic cultures down through the ages. We’re told by wise and learned experts that it can be conclusively determined that Christ wasn’t even born in December.  What are we to think?  I’ll tell you what I think.  I think that for myself and many others, our memories of Christmas past and our hopes for Christmas future may well be the very essence of what makes our lives worth living. For us, the spirit of Christmas and everything that the true meaning of Christmas represents is a fundamental element in our faith, our happiness, our very existence, and everything we treasure in our lives. It’s our memories of Christmas past that strengthen our resolve to keep Christmas vital and alive, and see to it that children for generations to come can experience the joy we knew on those cherished mornings long ago, when we gathered together with precious souls we miss with all our hearts, and shared the precious, incomparable gift of Christmas. SC

I'm going way out on a limb here, but it's never a mistake to reach out to others.  Would you like to feel better about yourself this Christmas?  Get on your knees, tell God you're sorry and you'll try harder, and then get up and hug somebody, if possible, someone who doesn't deserve a hug. See if that doesn't make you feel better. If you can't find anyone else, hug me. If you can't hug me, at least email me. I'd love to hear from ya.
Merry Christmas

Friday, December 13, 2013

CURIOUS!

My Google statistics and blog tracking indicates that my blog has recently received a considerable number of visits from Malaysia. I'm fascinated and curious.  If you can enlighten me, please do so.  
stcasebeer@gmail.com

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Christmas Request



My little Hangtown snow scene has enjoyed a staggering number of shares and traveled far and wide. With this in mind, it occurs to me; those of you who’ve enjoyed it might be kind enough to offer assistance.  Some of you are familiar with my novel, “Obie’s Quest”, which loosely chronicles the adventures of my ancestors in Hangtown during the gold rush.  While a few copies remain available on the internet, “Obie’s Quest” is now out of print. If anyone can provide me with the name of a reputable publisher who would accept and consider my manuscript, I’d be grateful.  SC

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

LITTLETHICKET 2013

My family hates it when I preach.  I’m not sure why they hate it, and I’m not sure why I do it. I’m clearly not a preacher. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. Would you like to be closer to God this Christmas?  It’s not complicated. The Bible tells us if we would have God’s boundless affection, there’s but one condition: We must love God without restraint and each other without exception. I realize that loving some of us is a tall order, but considering the reward, I suspect it’s worth the effort. And, just between you and me, God doesn’t expect us to be 100% successful.  He just wants us to try. I intend to try harder.  I suggest you do likewise.  SC
NOTE:
While loving everyone, unconditionally, without exception, at first appears daunting if not entirely impossible, that’s not necessarily the case.  We are all products of genetics, our environment, and our life experiences.  As a result, we are each very different.  Despite this obvious fact, we all have one thing in common.  Even in the case of the most seeming vile and depraved among us, that individual was once a vulnerable child.  To one extent or another, the essence of that innocent child remains.  While it’s often difficult to reconcile ourselves to what many people become, or at least appear to have become, with this insight and determination, it’s entirely possible to love who each of us was. We’re required to love the sinner, not the sin. That’s a start.  SC

http://www.shannoncasebeer.com/

Monday, December 9, 2013

CHRISTMAS 2013


This time of year I almost always feel a sense of urgency to pen a Christmas letter that captures like never before the essence of the season.  The written word has been around a long time.  The likelihood of mixing and matching words and creating something entirely new, innovative, and never before composed in the history of the written word, is about as likely as discovering the one true Santa immerging from your hearth on Christmas morning. For most of us, our most enchanting Christmas memories are from our youth.  To fully experience the magic and majesty of Christmas, it’s almost essential to approach it with a childlike faith.  The older we get, the more difficult that becomes.  In order to capture the true essence of Christmas, one must do it with a minimum of words, from the purest and most youthful depths of our heart.  That’s my hope for each and every one of us this season, that the spirit of Christmas can purify, cleanse and relieve us of our years of baggage, apprehension, and animosities, and allow us once more to experience the magical Christmas of our earliest memories, pure, simple, unadulterated, and awash in the warmth, joy, and unconditional fellowship that comes of an innocent heart and a childlike faith. Dear God, help us once more to approach, Christ, Christmas, and each other, with open arms, forgiving hearts, and the incorruptible innocence of our youth. With all appropriate affection, SC  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

31 years of wedded bliss

Next week, Lord willing, my little sweetheart and I will celebrate 31 years of wedded bliss.  She was my child bride, and I’m her constant pain in the posterior. She rarely responds to my facebook foolishness, but this little poem most always gets a rise out of ‘er.
I washed the dog the other day,
And the Misses pitched a fit!
She claimed her precious kitchen sink
Had hair all over it.
She carried on for most an hour.
You should have heard ‘er howl,
And then she started in again
When she saw her kitchen towel.
Last night I greased the ’41,
Then cleaned ‘er up real neat.
I parked the ol’ truck in the barn
And went to the house to eat.
The Misses marched in blowin’ smoke,
And steaming, sure enough!
She grabbed me by the whiskers,
And led me out real rough!
She marched me to the laundry
And she fixed an icy stare
At my little pile of greasy rags
On her lacy underware.
I picked ‘er a big, ol’ bunch of flowers,
Them purple one that smell,
She hadn’t barely glimpsed ‘em
When she started in to yell.
I didn’t have no vase, of course,
So I used the best I’ve got.
I thought they looked real perty
In my grandma’s chamber pot.
I think the world of that ol’ gal.
And love to make ‘er smile,
And my most devoted efforts
Generally miss that by a mile.
It seems no matter what I do,
There just ain’t no relief.
The more I try and help ‘er out,
The more I cause ‘er grief!
She ain’t unhappy all the time.
Her discontent seems seasonal,
But I think it’s safe to say, sometimes,
The Misses is unreasonable.

I love you sweetheart.  SC ;)

JUST BETWEEN YOU & ME

Comprised of only one ol' man, I'm a mighty small crew, but I have the advantage of being the crew leader; when I say break, we break! We don't clock out for breaks.  I call our system, honor watch.  When the misses isn't on 'er watch, I generally take a break.  ;)
SC

We dined out the other night, and I have a question.  If it has practically no sauce, practically no onions, and only three cashew halves, is it still cashew chicken, or is it just chicken?
SC

Just between you and me, I spend a considerable amount of time on Facebook, hoping for meaningful social interaction and validation, when what I really need is a good psychologist.  Of course, I can afford Facebook, and a good shrink is entirely beyond my means.

SC

Monday, November 11, 2013

A proposition a man could proudly die for

On November 19th, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln attended the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.  As usual, the President economized his words, and the brevity of his address was only surpassed by his eloquence. According to our president, those whose souls had hallowed this ground had given their lives that the nation itself might live.  And he entreated the people to dedicate themselves to the great task before them, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” A government of, by, and for the people, united “under God”, that’s a compelling idea, a people unified by their faith and their mutual pursuit of liberty and justice for all. That’s a proposition that a man could proudly die for.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Derogatory Hogwash

These days we hear an awful lot of derogatory hogwash concerning "The Government".  You know what?  We have the most effective government in the world, and have had for over two hundred years.  If you care about anything, you vote. If you vote, you're part of the government.  if you don't vote, I have to question your sagacity.  SC

Thursday, November 7, 2013

One Irrefutable Passion

Some will fault me for this.  Others will not understand.  So be it. I am a Christian and an American.  If asked to place these two convictions in order of priority, in all honesty, I cannot. I believe in doing justly, loving mercy, walking humbly with my God, and pledging allegiance to the Flag of The United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  For me, the two are largely inseparable.  They are one conviction, one dedication, and one irrefutable passion.   SC

CHRISTMAS SEASON 2013: Peace on earth may actually be attainable

CHRISTMAS 2013: Peace on earth for all mankind, or division and animosity forever? You decide. I know this sounds preachy, but bear with me for a moment. I find this intriguing. In LUKE 12*57 Christ says, “Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right?”  Decide for ourselves what is right? According to Christ, we have choices. The American ideals of liberty and justice for all, are all about having rights, making choices, and deciding for ourselves what is right, just as Christ suggests. There are laws of course, but in a democratic government, of, by, and for the people, we the people make the laws, and just laws recognize, respect and protect our rights to decide for ourselves what is right, just as long as we don’t infringe on the rights of others.
Peace on earth is a mighty limited commodity in our world today.  Many are disinclined to accept the choices of others. We can choose peace on earth, or we can choose hatred and endless disagreement. Until we accept that we are each different, and that our perceptions, attitudes, principles, understanding, values and  traditions are as varied as the stars in the sky, peace will remain elusive.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Among the bible’s incomprehensible mysteries, Christ has provided one very simple solution. JOHN 13*34 says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.I realize that many find this very sentiment sickeningly sweet and distasteful. Following Christ’s principles are not popular when they require empathy and humility, but, according to the bible,  If we can follow one simple commandment, and love each other unconditionally, as Christ loves us, accepting our differences and respecting the choices of others, peace on earth may actually be attainable. We have a choice.  We can wield Christ’s message of mercy and compassion like a battleaxe, imposing our narrow, uncompromising positions on others, or we can chose to follow Christ and do as Christ commands, loving each other unconditionally, doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God. It’s been over two thousand years.  Perhaps this will be the Christmas Season when mankind chooses love and embraces peace. SC

Friday, October 18, 2013

UP ON THE HILL

Up on the hill where the pines grow dense
Where the fields are green and the sky immense
 Scatter one day my last remains                                                  
To be drawn in the earth by the gentle rains.
Gladly did I tread this place
With the gentle breeze upon my face,
A faithful dog for company,
And benevolent sun beaming down on me.
Thank the Lord for the time we had
When rest was blessed and toil was glad,
When joyous hearts rejoiced in truth,
And we shared our hopes and dreams and youth.
Look to the heavens bright and blessed;
See me satisfied, caressed;
Know at last I’m free from care,
My dust is here, but my spirit there.

10/18/13
SC


                                                                 

Friday, October 11, 2013

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

During a visit with an acquaintance, I enquired about her political leanings.  I was told that her husband was a staunch conservative and a lifelong Republican. She went on to say that she had been a Democrat when she arrived in Howell County, but soon realized she would be better accepted by the community if she became a Republican. This feat she had evidently accomplished.  I too arrived in the Ozarks as a Democrat, but have never succumbed to the temptations of conversion.  My convictions are not so easily amended.  I’m an American, a Christian, and a Democrat.  My true and irrevocable conviction is to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God, and to vote and do everything else humanly possible to support the right and freedom of others to do likewise.  As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  SC

ter•ror•ism

/ˈtɛrhttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngəˌrɪzhttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngəm/ Show Spelled [ter-uh-riz-uhhttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pnghttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngm] Show IPA
noun
1.
the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
2.
the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
3.
a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.


When extremist factions use terrorist tactics to achieve their purposes, they become terrorists.  They should be recognized as terrorists and treated accordingly. SC

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Back in the ‘70s, when my family and I first reestablished our roots in the Ozark Mountains of south central Missouri, we were almost immediately adopted by members of the local Baptist church.  It was a small church, old and well established in the community, the kind of church you might expect to find in a Norman Rockwell painting.  Its congregation consisted of about fifty god-fearing souls, native Ozarkers for the most part, steeped in the old traditions and steadfast in their faith and their beliefs. The little rock structure was modest and unassuming, boasting few accouterments beyond a well tuned piano and the little tin outhouse in the back.  When we enjoyed dinner on the grounds, it was literally on the ground.  We filled our plates with the sumptuous bounty that the women folk provided in vast variety and abundance, and we sat in the shade on the ground. When I was baptized in 1979, we all drove to the creek and the congregation gathered with song books in hand as Brother Billy praised God and washed my sins away, in the icy waters of a pristine Ozark stream.  The worship music for this and all occasions was chosen from our Heavenly Highway Hymnals, rousing, southern gospel selections, guaranteed to touch hearts, win souls, and praise our God on high. I was a member of this little church for twenty years, until my children insisted on a larger, more modern facility, with a more thriving youth group and contemporary Christian music. Many things have changed since those golden days at Dry Creek Church.  Our country itself has changed.  Mercy, compassion and the grand old fellowship have become complicated, compromised and convoluted by partisanship politics and the grand old party. Traditional southern gospel selections rarely grace the morning worship service, and once welcome visitors are scrutinized or scorned if they appear to lean politically to far left. Some people today are ashamed of the old hymns, the old traditions, the old hospitality, and Christ’s unconditional love. Not me.  Give me the old hymns, dinner on the ground, and the outstretched hands of humble people, welcoming sinners and serving a merciful God. Give me people who serve their God, cherish our flag, and offer their hand unconditionally to any who’ll have it.  SC


Friday, October 4, 2013

A pale and powerless substitute

This little testimony is very likely ill-advised, much too easily misconstrued, and almost certain to offend someone, but I’m going to share it anyway. Throughout my life I’ve heard that everyone has a gift.  I’ve spent most of my life wanting very much to believe that, and desperately hoping to discover what mine is. When I was a boy I received a dandy scar on my hand.  I was helping my dad salvage some old barn lumber when I carelessly tossed a weathered, old two by four and in the process drove a 16 penny nail deep into my hand. As childhood injuries go, this one was not particularly serious, but it left me with a nail scarred hand, which for me, has been an ever-present reminder of the nail scarred hand of my Savior, and the hope, peace and joy His sacrifice makes available to each and every one of us through faith. For me, my insignificant childhood injury is emblematic of my Savior and His unconditional love. At best, my hand is a pale and powerless substitute for the nail scarred hand of Christ, but God has performed remarkable works with less.  If and when God chooses, I’d like to believe He might touch one heart through mine.  In any case, it’s in that spirit and with humble heart that I offer it to any who’ll have it. SC



Thursday, October 3, 2013

REGARDING OUR CURRENT IMPASSE, BLAME THE INFECTED FACTION.

Blaming our entire government or our entire congress for our current impasse is like blaming a mirror for reflecting an ugly, oozing infection on an otherwise inoffensive countenance. Along with the majority of reasonable Americans, congress reflects and represents a faction of our voting electorate whose views are understandably offensive to most lucid and informed individuals and currently threaten the well-being of all. Do not blame our government for reflecting this impasse.  Blame the infected faction.  SC  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A mighty harmonious season!

It’s a melodious season here in the Ozarks.  It’s that time of year when, anytime you find yourself outdoors with both hands occupied, you’re immediately treated to a band of mosquitoes humming harmoniously in your ears, and gnats enjoying a hoedown in your eyes and up your nose.  While it’s a sensation which is conducive to spirited and colorful language, it’s pretty unlikely you’ll achieve anything productive.  SC 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rain Rain, What The Hey! This Ain't Your Granddad's August!






We do not generally employ a rain gauge here at Dry Creek.  Suffice it to say, my wheelbarrow has now run over.  During periods of extravagant rainfall, a number of tributaries form in the hills surrounding our little sanctuary, and join forces before enjoying a rambunctious rush down the middle of our meadow.  Had I been so inclined this morning, I could have gotten out the canoe and gone for a rousing float across the half mile stretch of our hayfield, but it would have only lasted a moment. 
Wet!  Wetter!  Wettest!  My sympathies go out to all those who are suffering from too much rain.  Here on Reservoir Hill, we are a bit waterlogged, but otherwise unscathed.  The only casualties here have been this year’s hatchling fish.  They line up at the gushing spillway, a site to which they are unaccustomed, evidently mistaking it for a water ride at a theme park, and sadly oblivious to the fact that their fun and frolic comes to an abrupt halt at the bottom of the hill, where their joyride is suddenly replaced by a buffet table quickly improvised by the ecstatic neighborhood crows. SC
 
 
 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Head over heels in love!


As luck would have it, the featured carriage today is a brand new 1913 Ford Touring car.  Unbeknownst to this salesman and my buddy, is the fact that I’d already fallen in love with this very model when it was featured in a newspaper article the previous month.  Henry Ford himself had recently presented this particular model to his good friend, Naturalist and poet, John Burroughs.  Mr. Burroughs and I being of a similar vintage, and sharing a common interest in the environment, I’d already entertained visions of reclining proudly behind the wheel of this very machine. The salesman encouraged me to climb aboard and take the long, lean jitney for a spin, and Mr. Kinney was all prepared to add his own encouragement, but it wasn’t necessary.  I didn’t need to be asked twice!  Quickly climbing into the driver seat, I donned my goggles as Lidge climbed up alongside. Being unfamiliar with the mechanics of the three peddled craft, I gingerly took the wheel and turned to Mr. Kinney for assistance.  “Okay,” Lidge instructed, “The spark is the lever on the left of the steering column.  Retard the spark by pushing it clear up, and give her a little gas by pulling the lever on the right, down about four notches.  The floor pedal on the left is the two speed clutch, the one on the right is the brake, and the one in the middle is reverse.”  With that the salesman gave the crank a couple of good swift spins, and the little machine sputtered briefly and then purred like a kitten.  That’s all it took and I was head over heels in love! It took a little doing to get the hang of that two speed clutch, and my first few attempts at finding reverse resulted in a couple o’ nose imprints on the windshield, but soon we were cruising through town, grinning widely, and waving at the admiring crowd as though we were royalty! OBIE”S QUEST

Thursday, July 25, 2013

GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN!


Here in the Ozarks, we’re blessed with all variety of fascinating flora and fauna, among them the seed tick and his kissing cousin the chigger. They’re uncommonly gregarious little creatures, and remarkably affectionate.  At some point during today’s wanderings I evidently became the unwitting host for a gaggle of the amorous little vagabonds,    and the encounter has left me tormented and broke out head to toe with countless hickies, each one demanding my undivided attention and assuring that I will undoubtedly remember today’s encounter with a good deal of passion well into the foreseeable future.  SC

AS IF TO TOUCH THE VERY FACE OF GOD


Some nights we’d lay there in the stillness, with the North Pacific rolling beneath the deck, and the only sound you’d hear would be the rhythmic beating of your own heart. You could almost hear the pulsing of your own blood, as it flowed within the channels of your veins.  It was as though you sensed the waning of your own life, as the minutes and the seconds of existence ran their course and ticked away. 

   On these cloudless nights the stars were bright as campfires in the snow and thick as sparks when you stir a fire at night.  Sometimes the moon had a golden ring, and if the moon were full, the sea glowed with a green translucence as its teaming fathoms rolled beneath our bow. On more than one occasion as we drifted in calm, we’d float along in the midst of resting whales.  You could hear their steady breathing, and once in awhile they’d blow, or a whale would roll and a giant leviathan arm, would reach up into the moonlight just as though it were in prayer, as if to touch the very face of God.  OBIE’S QUEST

Monday, July 15, 2013

WANNA BE HAPPY?


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 ol’ 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!

I've posted the first 18 chapters of Obie's Quest to this blog. Just click the year 2012, then the month February, and then scroll down to the post of February 13th.  Once you've read through chapter 8, simply click OLDER POSTS to read chapters 9 through 18.  Smile and be happy!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Elie & me

Sunrise, sunset; sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly fly the years.
One season following another,
Laden with happiness & tears.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Confidence and a grin


It’s the morning of the big parade.  The thoroughfare is lined with eager onlookers, reigning in youngsters and waving enthusiastically.  All at once one woman leans from the curb, waving frantically and beaming with pride.  Pointing into the marching band, she exclaims jubilantly, “That’s my boy, the only one in step!”  
   Never hold back to stay in  step with others, you're probably not going where they're going anyway.  Just find your own stride and confront the world with confidence and a grin.  SC

Friday, June 7, 2013

Beloved Ancestors?


I wrote a novel a few years back, and dedicated it as follows: “to my beloved ancestors, and the faith and fortitude that drove them to pursue their dreams.” I’ve been criticized by some, for suggesting that I feel actual affection for people I’ve never met.  I assure you that affection is very real.  My dear, departed grandparents shared with me stories and photos of their own grandparents, people who I’ve clearly never met, but for whom, because of those photos, sentiments, and stories, I feel genuine affection. Stranger still, and believe this or not, I feel genuine affection for someone who was scorned by society and crucified, thousands of years ago on a far away shore, someone who I’ve clearly never met. Perhaps it’s that very communion that explains my curious affection and peculiar devotion.    SC

Saturday, May 11, 2013

EXTRAVAGANT AMOUNTS OF POLLEN!


Does anyone out there suffer from seasonal allergies?  When I was just a little fellow, my dad and granddad went in together and purchased a Caterpillar. It was a dandy little farm tractor, a 1929, with a blade and disc, and a spring-tooth harrow, and everything.  And in order to start the thing you had to hand crank it.  When I got older, my granddad had emphysema and lost his breath easily, so I used to turn the crank for him, which made me feel very important indeed.  When they first brought the tractor home, Dad, determined to make good use of his investment, tilled up every square inch of our acreage that was remotely susceptible, and some that wasn’t, and several flower beds too!  And then he seeded and fertilized it exceedingly well, and waited for the spring rains. By mid May, we had a luxurious stand of four foot high grass.  By June, the seed heads were bursting with extravagant amounts of pollen, and having never experienced such a forest of grass on the property before, we kids saw an opportunity for adventure.  We ran like a gaggle of crazed turkeys through that lush forest, turning flip-flops and doo-dads, and creating lavish clouds of yellow pollen that filled the air and clogged our eyes and ears and noses and every orifice of our youthful, naive anatomies with thick, noxious goo. When I could no longer breathe, or see, or enjoy our antics with impunity, I felt my way home to Mother.  And I assumed a fetal position on our couch, and moaned inconsolably, and the membranes of my little eyes turned hemorrhoid blue, and filled with fluid, and they itched like poison ivy on mosquito bites, and eventually lie panting and pulsating on my cheeks, like little Vienna sausages in torment. And I’ve never really enjoyed pollen from that day to this, or frolicking in the high grass, or Vienna sausages either for that matter. SC