Thursday, February 28, 2013
Based purely on my own lamentable experience over the last five years, I believe my publisher, Publish America, to be either incredibly inept or genuinely dishonest. In any case, I would be extremely grateful to anyone who can hook me up with a reputable publisher. S. T. Casebeer
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Motoring through Camino, several of the townsfolk waved broadly and someone evidently recognized us and telephoned ahead. By the time we’d descended the grade and cruised up at Smith Flat House, a welcoming committee had assembled, organized, and worked themselves into a frenzied anticipation through nearly an hour of waiting. At our approach, several nostalgia stricken old veterans jumped to attention, removed their old campaign hats, and saluted sharply from the balcony; the community brass band tooted out a tinny but rousing rendition of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”, and a crowd of several dozen onlookers lined the thoroughfare reigning in youngsters and cheering enthusiastically. The streets were adorned, quite coincidently, with all variety of colorful banners, in celebration of the foothill’s annual Bartlett Pear Festival, and the atmosphere was absolutely festive! At our approach, the Daniels boy jumpstarted his brand-new Indian Motorcycle and sped noisily to the front of our rapidly growing motorcade, as a couple of well stoked Stanley Steamers lurched from the shadows and slipped silently in behind. Moments later we convoyed triumphantly into Placerville. Lidge was ahead in the flivver, and I sounded my horn, waving and pointing discreetly by way of indicating my intention to forgo the remainder of the parade route and make an inconspicuous run for home. Lidge returned my wave, acknowledging my intention, and then preceded for lower town, waving at the adoring crowd as though he’d just been elected to a third term, his wild, white mane animated by the wind off the cowl and ablaze in the twilight. My sense of homecoming built to a fever pitch as I motored through upper town, and as I turned off onto Mosquito Road and sped for Reservoir Hill, six weeks of longing and homesickness morphed into inexpressible joy! Reservoir Hill greeted me with a characteristically spectacular sunset, and as I approached the old home place, the little Scotties came running to greet me, and lamplight offered a radiant welcome through steamy windowpanes. As I careened up to the house and stiffly dismounted old Reliable, Mariah stood waiting anxiously on the porch. Her silver hair framed a welcome smile, gray eyes gleamed romantically in the twilight, and a month and a half of desperate longing had severely whetted my appetite for her company! Our eyes met briefly as we arrived at the gate, and as I pressed my chapped lips passionately against her furrowed forehead, we joined simultaneously in a mighty comforting embrace. The long memorable trip had been life altering and inspirational, but it couldn’t match the emotion of coming home. OBIE’S QUEST
Friday, February 22, 2013
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Lidge and the dealer were clearly in cahoots, and once on the lot, they joined forces and began working me over something fierce! The commodity with which Lidge and his enthusiastic accomplice were bound and determined to saddle me, sat spit-shined and serviced in the middle of the showroom floor. Up until now, I’d shunned the automobile age and clung tenaciously to my mules, but today’s sales pitch comes at an opportune time. The majority of my mules are long of tooth, and begging to be put out to pasture! Truth be told, I have to fight back drool every time my buddy fires up his sporty Ford.
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. “Ok,” 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
Saturday, February 16, 2013
“Gen 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
Gen 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” So it appears as though man has had a purpose all along.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
“On a couple of occasions we finagled a ride out to tracks end and back in the cab of the C. P. Huntington. Named for Mr. Hopkins’ fellow shopkeeper and coconspirator, Collis Potter Huntington, the little engine was a workhorse for the Central Pacific. Chugging along through the Sierra’s aboard the cab of the Huntington was reminiscent of riding an iron-wheeled wheelbarrow down a cobblestone street, only more gut wrenching and exhilaratingly perilous! The heat off the boiler and firebox was enough to wilt the feathers off a wooden Indian, and you could fry an egg on any surface of the cab!” “OBIE’S QUEST”
It’s come to my attention that some may take offense at my reference to wooden Indians. The following is my humble response: Despite what some will tell you, far from threatening our unity as a nation, treasuring our heritage, warts, wooden Indians, and all, is what frees us from our past and assures our future. God forbid we diminish our future by denying our past. SC
Friday, February 8, 2013
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
There are increasingly frequent mountain lion sightings here in the Ozarks. Our property is in the middle of the National Forest, adjoining an 8000 acre wildlife management area. We’ve heard the big cats screaming in the night on several occasions, and several winters ago, during a walk along our border with the management area, I discovered where a deer had been run at great speed through the barbed wire fence. The fence was badly damaged and several posts had been completely overturned. Fifty yards further down the hill, on an ice covered pond, I discovered several spots where there were impact fissures in the ice, along with hair and pooled blood from the unfortunate buck. From my pond, there’s a nature trail into the deep woods. I often walk this trail by myself after dark, serenaded by the hair raising chorus of Bard Owls and all variety of things that go bump in the night or scurry unseen into the darkness. I rarely take this walk without recalling the horrifying screams of the big cats, and the disturbing scene of slaughter on the ice, so I always carry a walking stick and Band-Aids. SC
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Eventually a pause in the conversation signaled an opportunity to freshen our coffee. Nehemiah stood, stretched, and gazed briefly into the myriad, brilliant stars. Turning to me, he gestured in an all-encompassing wave across the area to our east, and began a detailed description of our surroundings. His observations were insightful and undoubtedly came of a wealth of firsthand experience. According to Nehemiah, approximately a mile east of our location, beyond a series of granite peaks are the headwaters of Gerle Creek and Loon Lake. Barely a dozen miles beyond that, as the crow flies, occupying an ancient crater, is Bigler Lake, Initially christened Lake Bonpland, and known to Lake Valley’s native inhabitants as Tahoe, which translates as “Big Water” in the Washoe dialect, or “Grasshopper Soup” if you prefer Mr. Twain’s embellishment. Stretching between here and Tahoe is Desolation Valley; a vast expanse of inaccessible canyons, impenetrable vegetation, flawless, jewel like waters, and sheer granite precipices, piercing the wispy cumulous and vying for the stars. OBIE’S QUEST
I began 2013 with my usual resolution: to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. I begin February with the following aspirations: Sanity, Simplicity, and Serenity. These sound simple enough, but, if successful, I’m confident I need only package and market my method, in order to achieve permanent financial security, which, of course, is not a bad goal in itself. SC
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Sis & me, 1955
I was only four, but I remember well the other kids in the ward with me in Kaiser Hospital in Vallejo. I remember incubators, braces, buckets of ice, and being haunted for years by the horrific thought of spending my entire life in an iron lung. I remember missing Mom and Dad and praying like I'd never prayed before, from that moment to this day, for anyone who suffers such a fate. I remember when I first got sick, my folks bundling me up in the old Chevy for the two mile trip to town. I remember Doctor’s Bliss and Elliot and the spinal tap that verified the prognosis. I remember being terrified and held down, and screaming “Daddy, Daddy!” at the top of my lungs, and the sound of a scuffle outside my door as they tried to restrain my father. I remember tugging my cowboy boots on and walking out of that hospital with Mom and Dad. And I remember being very, very thankful. I remember sitting in the bright sunshine back home on Reservoir Hill, and pondering the whole experience over and over. And I remember all through school befriending other boys and girls, who walked funny or talked funny, or for whatever reason, didn’t quite fit in. And it warms my heart to this very day when I see folks accepted for who they are.