From the EastWing, Radar Domes, Dew Points, Dog Days and Dog Stars

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

For all those who thought enough of me to inquire as to why I stopped writing stories, I didn’t stop. There were some other things that needed doing and so I done  ‘em all.

WOW!!! Not even the Dog Days of Summer and it’s  heat upon heat. Humidity unlike we’ve seen at the EastWing in a while. Also high Dew Points make for soggy days and soggy nights.  Don’t know if I ever talked about the Dew Point. As everyone knows I’m a “weatherman wannabe” The only thing my weather station out by the road is missing is live radar. The She said if I put a Radar Dome in her front garden, both me and the Dome have to go. So guess I’ll just have to struggle along without the radar.

The dew point is the temperature when the moisture in the air will start to condense on any object cooler that the that temperature. In the warmer times of the year we call that dew. That’s why the grass is wet in the early morning. The grass is cooler than the dew point. The same reason your window fog up in the air conditioned house, it’s the dew point sticking to the windows.

The dew point can be calculated at any time, day or night, year around. I’m not gonna talk about the calculations, ‘cause sure enough someone would accuse me of just trying to show off my math skills. Let’s just say it a little more complex than 5+5=?  In the cold parts of the year the calculation is  the same.

When those numbers encounter something colder, we call it frost. Now if you ever had to scrape you car window, for sure you know about frost. Even if you didn’t think about the Dew Point when you scraped the car window, in a fashion the Dew Point was thinking of you.

Over the years some of the most frequent asked weather questions have been about Dog Days.

When I was a little Hillbilly Boy in Downtown Toto,  I always thought, the dog days  were those summer days so devastatingly hot that even dogs would lie around in the shade, panting. Oh that reminds me, one of these days we’ll talk about why dogs paint, but not today.

Many people today use the phrase to mean something kinda like that like that. But originally, the phrase Dog Days actually had nothing to do with dogs, or even with the lazy days of summer. Instead, it turns out, the dog days refer to the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the heavens.

To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun, in late July. They referred to these days as the hottest time of the year, a period that could bring fever, or even catastrophe. These folks thought the reason it was so hot in July and August was there were two Suns in the sky at the same time, the Sun and Sirius, the Dog Star.

If you go back even as far as the writings of Homer in The Iliad, it’s referring to Sirius as Orion’s dog rising, and it describes the star as being associated with war and disaster.  All throughout Greek and Roman literature, you found these references to the Sun and the Dog Star being in the sky at the same time.

The phrase “dog days” was translated from Latin to English about 500 years ago. Since then, it has taken on new meanings.  Now people come up with other explanations for why they’re called the ‘dog days’ of summer, an example being, “this is when dogs can go crazy,” I heard that one a log with I was a kid. Never seen any dogs go crazy, but kept looking for one during the Dog Days Of Summer.

 This is such a classic example human tendency. When we don’t know the origin of something, we come up with a believable explanation.  Even though  the  meaning of the words  have long been   lost, the Dog Days Of Summer walks among us when the Dog Star shares the sky.

It feels good to write again. 😊

From the EastWing,  Radar Domes, Dew Points, Dog Days and Dog Stars

I Wish You Well,


From the EastWing, Snowing In April, Freezing Just The Same, Bells A Ringing

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

For many of us the Spring of 2018 is arriving on the backs of snails as the world slowly turns green. The last thing in the world anyone wanted to see in the first week of April was snow. It snowed on April 2nd. The last thing anyone wanted to see the second week of April was snow. It snowed April 9th. The last thing anyone wanted to see the third week of April was snow. Sure enough, yeah you got that right, April 15th the green green grass of home was white to start the day.

The second to last thing anyone wanted to see the first week of April was temperatures below freezing. April 2nd early morning at the EastWing read  14° at the weather station. The second to last thing anyone wanted to see the second week in April was below freezing temperatures. April 9th  an early morning  reading  of 20° confirmed my suspicion that the Snails of Spring had not yet arrived in the valley.

But oh what a day makes!   Today it’s sunny and 67°. It’s days like  today  that makes a lot of winter woes seem so far away. And what’s really cool, I’ve already started thinking about what  I’m gonna say about how hot it is. Just joking on that one. If anyone complains to me this upcoming summer about too hot, I’m gonna remind them of the slow walking Springtime and all the whining in April.

The Bells of Springtime are back even if the weather is not as warm as some would like. The little Bells of Springtime find the weather just fine as frog hair so to speak. For those who may not know the Bells of Springtime. These little frogs are one of the most amazing animals in nature. Not only can they freeze their entire body, but they also stop their heart beat for days and weeks at a time!

In the late fall, the little fellers  bury themselves under dead leaves and prepare for  the winter ahead. The frog moves water from the vital internal organs and into open spaces of the body where it freezes. The rest of its body survives by having a natural sugar-based anti-freeze pumped into the cells. Yeah, the little frog can make its own anti-freeze. Pretty good trick for a little frog only about ½ inch long.

The end of winter the little  frog is more dead than alive. But come the Springtime, it takes the frog less than a day to completely defrost, come alive and go looking for the girlfriends who may be out looking for the Bells of Springtime.

That noise you hear just after dark this time of the year, it’s those little boys tuning up to ring the Bells of Springtime.

Like most all God’s creatures, someone gave them a rather long, many times hard to pronounce, scientific name identifying both genus  and species. I do know the genus and species of these little frogs. When I hear the sound after dark, I never think Pseudacris crucifer, I just hear the Bells of Springtime.

For those of us who survived the winter past, YEAH!!! For the Snow Birds who came back from Florida and complained about the cold here in Indiana. DUH! Your choice  to travel, not mine.

Now for one and all looking forward to warmer weather here in the valley, enjoy the Bells of Springtime.

From the EastWing, Snowing In April, Freezing Just The Same, Bells A Ringing

I Wish You Well,


From the EastWing, Changes, Groundhog Trolls, DUDE, The Gospel Of BobbyRay,

Greetings to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.


Such fun changes in the EastWing world since we visited last.  February came and went. March came by. Then also  the “fast time”. But most of all, winter ended early. Yes winter ended early.


Looks like the ole Groundhog blew it this year. You may recall that during our last visit I made reference of a conversation I had with a fellow pumping gas into a 1989 Chevrolet the Friday morning before the Saturday before the Sunday before Valentine’s Day. He indicated that spring was “a coming”   Just around the corner  he said.


When I pointed out that this man may have some insight into weather prognostication skills  not possessed by the Groundhog, the Groundhog Trolls responded in mass. What made my position even more difficult to defend was the very next day the early morning temperature stood at -4° at the EastWing Weather Station. But defend it I did.


In two days the  temperature was mid 40’s. Valentine Day saw shoppers at Pioneer Florist in shirt sleeves. Not yet shorts just shirt sleeve weather. By the next day all snow had gone the way of Frosty in the Sunshine. The fog came by as the snow went away. Fog so thick you could hardly see from here to there. The fog always comes by  as the  snow goes away, yet another sign of springtime. A week later it snowed 3” in 3 hours. The same snow disappeared in less than 24 hours, yet another sign of springtime. Snow and go all in less than one day cycle.


The attack of the Groundhog Trolls  were quick and dirty. When I opened the email that -4° morning  some of the comments were not printable here. For sure were not messages I would have read to my Mama. One of the things that struck me was how many of my EastWing friends continue to get their long range weather forecasting from a rodent in Pennsylvania.


Now we’ve all heard the phrase “A one horse town”. In Pennsylvania there is a one Groundhog town. Still don’t understand how that works with the Groundhog, but a big fan base for sure. Some of my best EastWing friends follow the Groundhog.


Examples of the Groundhog support emails were


groundhogs rule, not u.

Just wait yull be sorry.



It’s EastWing policy not to respond to profanity but this one was too ripe to let pass by, and so my response said:


“Two points to make on your email. One being I am not now, have never  been in the past or expect to be in the future a DUDE. The letters WHF were never intended to be strung together as you have done so. Would you  write that letter combination down and send it to your mother? Just to reiterate, Don’t call me A DUDE. DUDE!  Sometimes responding to those types email can be so much fun. I don’t even know what a dude is.


With the tax filing season in full swing, I’ve gotten emails enquiring about my health  and long term involvement in Robert Howard Company Inc.  Not to worry on both issues. To this day I enjoy what I do for a living as much as when I started this business, a while back.


A few days ago while thinking about where I’ve come from and where I’ve been and fully realizing that I will not pass this way again, the decision was made to try and capture the way I feel about life and my role in this grand experiment, this thing we call living.


And so I wrote the Gospel according to BobbyRay:


I’ve tried to master the art of living by making little distinction between my work and my play, my labor and my leisure, my mind and my body, my information and my recreation, my love and my religion.  I hardly know which is which. I simply pursue my vision of excellence at whatever I do, leaving others to decide whether I’m working or playing. To me I’m always doing both.


From the EastWing, Changes, Groundhog Trolls, DUDE, The Gospel Of BobbyRay,


I Wish You Well,


Talking German, Winter Weather, Blackberry Winter, Talking ‘Bout Lou

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

In my wildest dreams would I have ever guessed the number of German friends at the EastWing. As you recall last week I published a poem in German relating to the German custom of pouring the lead at the start of New Years.

Speaking fluent Hillbilly and a smidgen of proper English, from time to time, I had no idea whether  the poem contained any foul language or not. The reaction of my EastWing friends to the question I posed was amazingly fast. Within a matter of minutes I received email assurances that the poem was family friendly.

By Monday morning my email contained many more assurances attesting to the family friendly contents of the poem. Offers to convert the poem into English were made. Then one friend sent a link that displayed the poem line by line first German then English. I then read the poem for myself. Yes, if Mama was alive today, I’d read the poem to Mama. The ultimate test of the quality of the language, I’d read the poem to my Mama. Mama would have approved.

No matter what the weather someone will complain. With the start of the tax filing season underway, I now see several people a day. It was last week one client wanted to spend their time complaining about what a bad winter we were having. I just listened and nodded. Before the day was done another client could not  get over what a fine  winter  season we were having. I learned a long time ago, in the office, smile and say little, nod and smile as if in agreement. It’s at the EastWing when whatever I have to say gets said.

And the things people say. The person complaining about the bad winter asked if I knew about Blackberry Winter.  I was hesitant to say you came to the right place, so I just said yes I knew about Blackberry Winter. Wonder of wonders the one complaining about the current winter had no knowledge of Blackberry Winter. And so I said, “Blackberry Winter is simply a cold snap when the Blackberries are in bloom. This usually occurs during the first half of May. An interesting fact in the lifecycle of the Blackberry plant, if Blackberry Winter does not occur, there will be no Blackberries that year.”

Blackberries are my favorite of all berries. Have always loved to pick Blackberries. As a little hillbilly boy  I picked Blackberries with Lou on mountain side on  South Fork during the summer time.

My grandmother was a vain ole girl. She hated getting old, loved being forever young at heart. Lou  shared my smiles. She had upwards of several dozen grandchildren. They all called her Grandma. I called her Lou. No one ever knew why I called her Lou when everyone else called her Grandma. But I did. I suspect Lou told me to.

Lou and I, we just got along. To this very day I still miss Lou.

From The EastWing, Talking German, Winter Weather, Blackberry Winter, Talking ‘Bout Lou

I Wish You Well,


Little Ice Balls, Buying Gas On A Card, Weather Prognostication At The Pump.

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

“She’s a coming,, yep she’s a coming right around the corner” said the man pumping the gas.

The north wind  was blowing cold and hard as I stepped into the early morning wind walking toward Mr. Lincoln, my ride to work. Snow was in  the air.

It was not the big white puffy snowflakes  on TV. Unlike the pretty snow on Winter Love Stories seen on the Hallmark Channel, it’s not that kind of snow. It’s  1/2 the size of BB’s, little snowflakes rolled into ice balls. These little Ice Balls sting my face as I walk into the North Wind. A cold dreary winter day ahead.

On the way to the office I decide it is  time to get some gas. As I pull up to the gas pump the thought crosses my mind. Gas tank never wait for good weather to call attention to themselves. When  it’s time, it’s time. The weather be damned.

As I pull up to get gas, another car pulls up on the other side of the pump. The other driver gets  out at almost the very same time as I. He too fumbles with this wallet getting a credit card ready to purchase. He too inserts his credit card.  It then dawns on me. We’re not in the  swimming pool doing the same thing. But we are doing Synchronized Gas Pumping.

As I stand holding the nozzle watching  the rolling numbers converting my credit into gas in the tank, he says “You ready for spring?” I say “Everybody is ready for spring, including me”.

“She’s a coming,, yep she’s a coming right around the corner”  the man pumping gas into the tank of a 1997 Chevrolet says without looking my w ay.

I don’t answer back. I don’t know how to answer back, I don’t know what to say. One can’t disagree with a statement like that. What if, what just if,  this is the man who determines when spring comes to North Judson. Now that’s not so farfetched when you consider a ways to the east of us there’s a state  out there that uses  a groundhog to let ‘em know them when spring is coming.

Maybe this man pumping gas into the 1997 Chevrolet even knows Punxsutawney Phil. After all, they appear to be in the same business of weather prognostication. Far be it from me to challenge such experts in that line of work.  Plus he even knows the gender of Spring. We all know the gender of Mother Nature. Only he knows the gender of Spring. For sure would not want to cross this guy, just in case, just in case.  So I remain quite as I watch the rolling numbers inside the window of the gas pump.

I look toward the other side of the pump. He’s gone. It’s as if he was never there. But he was, ‘cause he asked me if I was ready.  When the pump automatically kicks off  and Mr. Lincoln is once again  ready for another 400 miles of road running, I replace the gas cap lid and pull away from the pump feeling a little more happy for the upcoming day at the office. After all, early this morning I’ve learned something not everybody knows.

“She’s a coming,, yep she’s a coming right around the corner” so said the man pumping gas into the tank of that 1997 Chevrolet.

From the EastWing, Little Ice Balls, Buying Gas On A Card, Weather Prognostication At The Pump.

I Wish You Well,


A Vapor In Time, New Year’s Things, Half A Yankee Doodle Dandy

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing this New Years Eve.

 It happens every year ‘bout this time. We start to reminisce this and that and having such a good time talking ‘bout things that were, and things that never were, and  things that should have been for the year that’s slip sliding away.

All the while year 2017 is quietly descending on to the back roads of our reminiscences. There she will  set while slowing  turning into a mist of memories. When completely vaporized, the  winds of time will blow away the haze and just that fast 2017  is gone forever, freeing up space on the back roads for more  ever incoming memory bits and pieces  worth holding on to for a while.

 Bits and pieces  of 2017  will hang around in the minds of some of us forever. Maybe a day, maybe a special week. Maybe a sad memory. Maybe a happy memory. But only bits and pieces of 2017 are destined to remain forever.  Now for anyone thinking  I’m way off base on this bits and pieces thing, do you remember anything at all about October 19, 1979? No, well I don’t either. Now see, that’s what I’m talking about. Yet someone somewhere  held onto a small piece of October 19, 1979.

 Of all the holidays in the year, New Years seems to be the one with the most bizarre associations. Throwing things, saying things, doing things,  kissing things, eating things, and this list could go on and on.

 Now I’m not even gonna talk about New Year’s Resolutions today, ‘cause that’s a whole different story.

 When you ring in the new year at the stroke of midnight, you may find yourself singing that famous New Year’s anthem, Auld Lang Syne, written by Robert Burns back in the 1700’s.  Even though we sing it, not many of us really know the lyrics or what they mean. The words auld lang syne translate, literally, to “for old times’ sake,” and the tune is about remembering friends from the past, and not letting them be forgotten.

 Despite its current  association with New Year’s Eve, Auld Lang Syne was a song that had nothing to do with New Year’s Eve or any other holiday for that matter.  It was Guy Lombardo who popularized the song when his band played it between programming during a live radio broadcast in New York  City.  The band played Auld Lang Syne right at the stroke of midnight, and an American Tradition was born right there at Radio City in 1929.

 Not surprising, there are many, many different food things associated with the New Year. Some are a little too bizarre for me. Some I’ve eaten. Some I’ve not, and some, as the Italians say  “FORGETABOUTIT”

 In Italy, eating chiacchiere (a fried pastry) guarantees a sweet year. In Spain, and many Latin countries, eating 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve. One for each stroke of midnight is said to bring luck throughout the coming year.  According to a Pennsylvania “Dutch” (German) tradition, eating pork and sauerkraut brings good luck in the New Year. German folklore says that eating herring at the stroke of midnight will bring luck for the next year. Eating pickled herring as the first bite of food of the New Year brings good luck to those of Polish descent.

 Here in the South  it’s believed that eating black-eyed peas, ham hocks, and collard greens or cabbage on New Year’s Day will attract a financial windfall.  Eating anything that forms a circle such as donuts or even Cherros  leads to good fortune in the coming year.

 With so many folks having many different foods to eat to start the New Year, you’d think that would end the story of food for New Years. It don’t stop there. There are also foods you  SHOULD NOT eat on New Year’s.

 In order to prevent bad luck, you should not eat lobster and chicken. Since lobsters can move backwards, eating them on New Year’s may cause setbacks. Now for the chickens, the idea is similar as they can scratch backwards. Also don’t eat other things that fly, else your good luck could fly away. So guess both turkeys  and Hummingbirds are both out for New Years meals

 While many of these traditions are based on mere superstition, the idea that what we do on the first day of the New Year affects our entire year remains popular in the minds of many people.

 Here at the EastWing we’ve had our New Year’s Day activity clearly identified for many years now. It’s a Birthday Party. Johnny’s Birthday Party. We’ve had Johnny’s Birthday Party as long as we’ve had Johnny.

 And like all good traditions,  once in place, forever look forward. A little side light on Johnny. He was born on New Year’s Day and married on the 4th of July. I think that makes Johnny  half a Yankee Doodle Dandy.

 My friends who remember James Cagney, they’ll know.

 From The EastWing,  A Vapor In Time, New Year’s Things, Half A Yankee Doodle Dandy

 I Wish You Well,


Sears Santa & CONAD/ NORAD & Radar racking

Greetings to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing this Christmas Eve.
While setting at the EastWing Computer watching the snow turn this holiday into a White Christmas this early Christmas Eve Morning, my thoughts roamed throughout history and the different types of weather Santa has had to deal with from time to time. From the thickest of thick fog in 1939 when Rudolph The Red Nosed Rain Deer saved the day, to the massive snow storms of 1966 and 1969. The tornadoes of 2002 also added to the risk Sana endures every the sleigh takes to the cold December Air.
But do you know how Sears saved Christmas many years ago? It’s one of those things that never made the national news so not too many people know. Let me tell you the story.
It’s November 30, 1955, and the Cold War is raging on. The U.S. has stockpiled almost 2,500 atomic bombs while the Soviets has only a couple 200 or so. But that is more than an ample amount to wipe out the United States.
With the Soviet Union less than 2,000 miles away, the military has formed the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) to provide a timely defense system against intercontinental ballistic missiles fired by the Soviets over the North Pole and Canada that could strike the United States. CONAD’s command post is in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Colonel Harry W. Shoup directs its Combat Operations Center. He reports directly to four-star general Earle Partridge, who in turn reports directly to President Eisenhower.
The United States holds the advantage not only in atomic ballistic missiles, but also in department stores. Chain stores such as J.C. Penney, Montgomery Ward, Macy’s, and Sears are showcasing good ol’ American capitalism throughout the land. For almost thirty years, retired Brigadier General Robert Wood has been both president and chairman of the largest retail chain at that time, Sears, Roebuck and Co. There are more than 700 of Sears Stores across the United States as part of an economic strategy by General Wood
These stores enables Sears to provide the country with a protective blanket of goods that soon will be shipped to all corners of the nation by means of Eisenhower’s National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. The construction of the greatest road building effort in the history of the nation is just now getting underway.
And so it is on the night of November 30 that Colonel Shoup sits at his desk overseeing his minions manning the consoles inside a 15,000-square foot fortified concrete blockhouse at an Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Cheyenne Mountain Project was still many years in the future.
Atop his desk sits an ordinary black telephone with an unlisted number and an ominous red phone that connects him to General Partridge via a dedicated line encased in lead to protect it from an atomic blast. Opposite the consoles stands a massive 22’ long by 30’ high Plexiglas map of North America and the polar regions on which spotters write coordinates of ships and aircraft that are not immediately identified (kinda like the “big board” in the Dr. Strangelove movie).
On this same day, the Sears store in Colorado Springs placed an advertisement in the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph newspaper that read: Hey, Kiddies! Call me direct on my Merry Xmas telephone. Just dial ME 2-6681. Kiddies be sure and dial the correct number.
And sure enough a little feller attempting to dial Santa number reversed two digits and the Mountain States Telephone Company connected him not to Sears’s North Pole in Colorado Springs, but to the desk telephone of Colonel Shoup, inside CONAD’s fortified blockhouse.
When the boy timidly asked if the gruff-voiced Shoup was Santa at the North Pole, the brash colonel replied, “There may be a guy named Santa Claus at the North Pole, but he’s not the one I worry about coming from that direction,” and clanked down the telephone receiver.
The wayward call this evening should have been the end of the matter, except that a few days before Christmas, one of Shoup’s staff drew Santa and his sleigh on the big board. Aware of CONAD’s unpopularity with much of the taxpaying public for seemingly being in a perpetual state of war. Shoup, with General Partridge’s approval, instructed his public-relations officer, Colonel Barney Oldfield, to contact the nation’s wire services with a story: “Santa Claus Friday was assured safe passage into the United States by the Continental Air Defense Combat Operations Center which began plotting his journey from the North Pole early Friday morning. . . . CONAD will continue to track and guard Santa and his sleigh on his trip to and from the U.S. against possible attack from those who do not believe in Christmas.” The story was enthusiastically received throughout the nation and its readers fully expected CONAD to repeat the Santa story the following year, which it did.
So, that’s how the “NORAD Tracks Santa” program began, Cold War-style. Over sixty years later, NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command that replaced CONAD in 1958) still operates the Santa tracker with the help of more than 1,250 U.S. and Canadian military personnel who respond to many thousands of calls and emails each Christmas Eve. Despite criticism from some over the military being involved with Santa, the program has become one of the most successful military public relations campaigns ever, and has been copied by Google and almost every local TV station with Doppler radar, providing joy and anticipation to the “little people” of the world every Christmas Eve.
And it was all started by Sears.
As my very dear friend Paul Harvey used to say “And now you know the rest of the story.”
From The EastWing, Sears Santa & CONAD/ NORAD & Radar racking
Also from the EastWing we wish “A Most Merry Christmas To You And Those You Hold Dear”.
I Wish You Well,

Talking about Turkeys, Four Aces I’ve known, Dr Gill & The Research Paper & the A-

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

 By this time  next week most everyone I know may well be fed up with turkey. Like many things in life, too much of a good thing just don’t work out well. And so it’s  the same with turkey. But did you know, that turkey in Hebrew means “Big Bird” Well most folks don’t know that  but it does. At least one version of the word does. ‘Course most folks I know don’t even speak Hebrew anymore. But when I was a kid in Kentucky, some people here in Indiana thought we spoke Hebrew, or something other than English. Mountain talk, gotta love it.  In fact, The King’s English. The Old English.  Look into it, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.

Not everybody agrees how the word turkey came about, but one conjecture is that Christopher Columbus coined the word turkey based on his interpreter when some birds were making a sound of “tuka, turka” and his interpreter took that sound to be “tukki”, which in Hebrew is big bird.

 I’ve got only one major problem with that deal, Christopher Columbus was Italian, and I live with Italians. The Beautiful She is stone cold Italian.  These people talk with their hands, why the hell do they need an interpreter, ‘cause everybody knows sign language, especially when spoken by Italians.

Another useless bit of turkey information is the fact that Ben Franklin wanted to make the turkey the national bird, as it was the true original native of America.  In fact Ole Ben called the turkey “a more respectable bird”.  ‘Course you gotta remember that Ben also knew ‘bout wild hemp. And with that thought in mind, maybe the turkey did seem to be a more respectable bird.

I read somewhere that the average person in the United States eats 15 pounds of turkey per year.  Now I don’t know ‘bout you, but somebody’s eating my part, ‘cause I’m not coming close to keeping up my end of the eating turkey average person in the United States. One, maybe two pounds per year tops for me.  That means somewhere, somebody in these United States is eating 28 – 29 pounds of turkey, theirs and mine.

Turkeys were almost extent in the 1930’s then some do-gooder decided to take on the cause to save the turkey. Oh well, it worked.  Now there’re more turkeys than do-gooders.  Now days some people even thing do-gooders are turkeys. To prove the point of the turkeys rise from near extinction  all you need do is come to the EastWing.  At least once a day, most every day turkeys come to the EastWing Gardens.

The store bought turkeys get really big, some as much as 50 pounds, but I’ve never seen one that size.  Now the kinda turkeys we eat for Thanksgiving can’t fly, the wild kind that come to the East Wing can, not too good, but just like the Wright Brothers, they can get off the ground for ‘bout the same distance.

One more little thing ‘bout turkeys and I’ll swear to get off turkeys here pretty soon, it’s that little thing hanging down from the turkey’s chest, that little wobbly thing,  is the turkey’s beard and is made up of keratin bristles. Keratin is the same stuff as the horn of a rhino.  Now I’m not saying that rhinos and turkey are cousins, but I’m just saying the wobbly thing on turkeys and the rhino horn are made of the same type material. And you think politics make strange bedfellows, how ‘bout turkeys and rhinos.

Setting in the East Wing on November the 5th  and  watching my weather station as the temperature took a nose dive from 60’s toward the low thirties by the next morning, I thought ‘bout an old friend that’d made an impression on my life many years ago.

Think I mentioned ‘bout a chemistry professor I knew who knew a guy that figured out a system to measure the heat in peppers.  Well what I didn’t tell you was that chemistry professor of mine, Dr. Gill, even though I didn’t know it at the time would turn out to be one of four teachers I would later in life point to and say “they made me what I am today”  I’ve never tried to put three in rank order. I just call ‘em the Four Aces in my deck of life. One was a grade school teacher, one a high school teacher, one a college professor, and a Baptist Preacher who just so happened to also be my father was #1, those Four Aces.

Dr. Gill was well known for assigning off the wall homework that had nothing to do with organic chemistry.  One day Dr. Gill walked by my laboratory  station and said “Mr. Howard tonight write a paper on your choice of any laboratory instrument.” I hated when he done that to me , and he did that to me often.

Now this was back in the day where research meant going to the library and reading books, yes reading books, real books. There was no such thing as Google Search. PC’s were not there. In fact the only computers I  had available then were made of wood. Interestingly enough they were  hexagon shaped bodies , a graphite operating system, with a manual delete on the top of the computer. And the delete button could be replaced if need be.

This early computer didn’t even have an output screen, you had to use paper in place of the screen, yes it even cut out the printer and computed directly onto paper. Such a marvelous device, I remember ‘em well. I’ll never forget mine was yellow and black, had a number 2  stamped on one side, up toward the delete button. I’m not sure if that was the serial number or model number, but it had number 2 up there toward the top. And it was with the old manual computer that  I started  out to complete my homework assignment from Dr. Gill to do a paper on a laboratory instrument.

It was a cold day as I walked toward the library with snow blowing in my face.  I was walking into the face of winter, without a clue as to how to even start this project. I wondered how cold it was as I got close to the library and right there saw a large thermometer displaying my needed information.

The little angel on my right shoulder whispered into my right ear, “ you know how a thermometer works? Then research it and write it up”. The little devil on my left shoulder whispered “that’s stupid,  you gonna believe that angel? Dr. Gill will throw you completely out of the lab if you write something that dumb”.   As the little angel reached behind my head and socked the little devil on his right ear, and said “shut up little devil, it’s a good idea and you know it”. The deal was done. Thermometer research was underway within minutes.

Now most everybody knows how to read ‘em but not everybody know why they work.  It was that why part that I wanted to put to paper for the Dr. Gill’s assignment. They’re everywhere, inside, outside, cooking, cooling, home heating, home cooling in cars, planes and trains, in the water and even on the moon.

Turns out we want to know the temperature of ‘bout everything, sometimes ‘cause it’s necessary to know and sometimes ‘cause we’re just nosey people.

These things we call thermometers were invented way back in the very early 1700’s by a fellow named Fahrenheit, in Germany. The most basic form of thermometer is the glass bulb thermometer, This type of thermometer is a long glass tube filled with liquid that rises and falls as the temperature changes.  The first thermometer used alcohol in the bulb ’cause alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water.  All thermometers in common use provide their reference to water as the unit of measure.

A few years later still looking for a better mouse trap, so to speak, the alcohol was replaced with mercury based on the fact that mercury has a much lower freezing and boiling point than alcohol.  Mercury bulb thermometers continue to be the most used liquid in glass bulb thermometers some 400 years later.

Now glass bulb thermometers work ‘cause liquids, such as alcohol, or mercury, expand slightly when the temperature rises. When the liquid is trapped in a narrow tube, it has nowhere to go but up. With this expansion happening at a predictable rate, Fahrenheit was able to create a scale to determine what the air temperature would be when the liquid reached any given point on the tube.  And just like that you knew when water turned to ice, it’s 32°.

Oh, and by the way, the little angel on my shoulder was right, Dr. Gill approved of my research paper on a laboratory instrument. My grade, A-  Dr. Gill gave nobody an A, ever, just didn’t, ever give anybody an A. I got lots of A-, but never an A from  Dr. Gill.

From the EastWing, Talking about Turkeys, Four Aces I’ve known, Dr Gill & The Research Paper & the A-

I Wish You Well,


THAT AUTIUM DAY, Death Spiral Of The Leaves, Watching The Frost, Slow Time Going To School

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

During the Autium time of the year it happens every time. Well after the EastWing has once  again been  set ablaze by the living Technicolor magic world of beautiful earth tone hues, it happens. As sure as evening comes and morning follows, it happens every year.

I’m talking about that one special day. The single  day we can always look back to and say “Yep, that was the day that ended Indian summer for this year. That day is always gonna happen.

If it’s not yet raining to start that day, it soon will be. If it’s not yet windy to start that day, it soon will be. If  the temperature is not going down, it soon will be. It’s that day when the changes come by.

This  year that day was November 5, 2017. Before daylight it was already warm, windy, wet and wild. A sure sign of things to come. The temperature started the day off at  61° 12:01 AM, closed the day out with a 30° swing by the end of the day at 11:59 PM, 31°. That was the day.

The beautiful leaves having put forth all the color they could muster this Autium, met their fate at the mercy of the winds of change. Long since having shut down their little chlorophyll factories, the leaves hung their arms  waiting for the right factors to come into play to make their decent to their final resting place on earth. There to be consumed by nature, or maybe raked and burned. Maybe, just maybe to be blown by the wind to the neighbor’s yard. One way or the other their time in the sunshine of summer had passed. Their time to die had  now come. The life cycle of the leaf would be complete.

That last little connection to the branch was just waiting for the right time. That day provided the factors coming together to make it all happen. The rain made the leaf heavy. The rain made the connection to the branch soft and pliable. The wind provided the force necessary to make the snap. And just like that the leaves of an EastWing Maple  started to freefall. In the  rain and wind, they fell until by the end of the day 99% of the pretty maple leaves lay on the grass.

Of the two front garden maple trees, one sheds its leaves pretty much all in one day. The other tree holds onto its leaves well into late November, or even early December. That tree is still retaining about 90% of its leaves as of right now. Its time is yet to come.

14 snowflakes were in the air last Friday Morning as I looked out into the early morning sky. Being an early riser, one gets to see things that are reserved for such times of the day. Although I don’t consider the 14 snowflakes the first snow of the season, it’s a hint of things to come.

One of the more interesting things I’ve observed of late while gawking into the early, early hours of a new day, I watched it frost. Yes I watched frost develop in real time. In order for frost to form on anything, the surface temperature of the object must be below the dew point and the air temperature at or near 32°. That’s when ice crystals will form on the surface and we call it frost. Many  time frost will occur right at or just before daylight.

An interesting thing about early morning temperature is there’s a slight drop in degrees just minutes after sunrise. In the summertime it’s not even a blink. In colder weather a 3° change is much more pronounced.

Have you adjusted back to slow time again?  I hate when this time change comes along. I like the fast time of summer. Wish it stayed year round.  Oh well, like so many things in life, we put up with  crap ‘cause we’re too lazy to make a real effort to change things. Slow time serves no purpose at all in our current society.

The most compelling argument for the time change is the danger of kids getting on the bus early in the morning. Two things come to mind when I hear that put forth. One is have you ever heard of an accident involving kids getting on the school bus early  in the morning? Ever? Me neither. And number two. How about starting school and hour later in the morning? DUH!

Several research papers have supported starting school as late as 9:00 AM  in place of 7:20 AM is some places. Seems to me that would address the “concern” of kids getting on the bus in the dark. The research into school starting times indicate that kids tend to do better in school when they start at a later time in the morning.

I propose the starting time for school is for the convenience of the adults involved, not for  the best interest of the students. Sad to say that, but can anyone prove me wrong?

From the EastWing, THAT AUTIUM DAY, Death Spiral Of The Leaves, Watching The Frost, Slow Time Going To School

I Wish You Well,


And the Winner Is, Trick or Treating with the Toto Volunteers

Greetings to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.


And so today the memories of Halloweens past rushed from the back roads of my memory into the overcast skies of a crisp beautiful Autumn Day as Halloween  2017 comes lurking from the shadows with thoughts of Halloween High Jinks, Ghosts and Goblins, Dark Nights and life among my Band of Brothers. We were The Toto Volunteers.


I first told this story some seven or eight years ago. And today it screamed to be retold once again. Memories how they  linger. I was once asked how long does it take to write a story. My standard answer is the bad ones days if not weeks. The good ones, just a few minutes. As I recall this story of Halloween in Downtown Toto took about 45 minutes start to finish.


The biggest holiday, hands down, in Downtown Toto when I was a kid was Halloween.  Now you had the other important stuff like Easter, 4th of July, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day. But none of these holidays came close to Halloween.


It was the time of independence from family, the time to test your courage,  to face your fears of the nighttime  knowing things were out there and not knowing who what or where. A time to be both horrified and happy in the same heartbeat.  A time to scare little sisters. A time to step into the shadow of the valley and fear evil.  A time to march, to prowl the darkness in the company of the band of brothers, the Toto Volunteers.


The Halloween Bounty seemed unlimited, so much so that we, the Toto Volunteers,  never made any attempt to control its access.  We could have, we chose not to. Toto could have become the model Trick or Treat Community for the National Standard of Trick  or Treat, had we choose to make it so. We could have, we chose not to.


The reason for such actions on the part of the Volunteers is as valid today as when the  Council deliberated on that very issue.  There was a fraction within the ranks who wanted to do to Halloween what we had been so successful in our summer campaign.  Just the summer past, we had collected more pop bottles then most of the army thought existed in the world.  We’d won the Pop Bottle Wars of Toto.


The issue of the Halloween Candy was brought to the  War Council not by inexperienced people with no knowledge of war, but from people seasoned by fire on the front lines of the Pop Bottle Wars.  People who were even  as old as 11 and one even held the rank of sergeant.


Now in the Toto Volunteers we had a little different ranking system than the regular army.  Ours was more simple.  I got to be the General, there were two sergeants, and everybody else got to be a private.  That way we didn’t have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out who was in charge. Besides, we didn’t have different uniforms so it was a lot easier to just remember a few to salute, otherwise everybody would be saluting each other all day long for nothing.


The Halloween Options as they would become know to the Volunteers were quite simple, two different options. The first option being the Toto Volunteers go Trick or Treating the night before the real Halloween and then go again the next night, that way everybody gets twice as much stuff.  The second option would be for the Volunteers to just charge everybody Trick or Treating in Toto, and not a member of the Volunteers, a nickel. It was just two weeks till Halloween and the council wanted to make a decision right there, but I told ‘em the decision  was too important, it’d have to wait for a while. I had to think this one out.


One of the things I learned by being the General of the Toto Volunteers was when I didn’t know what to do, I could always ask my dad. “Cause he was a Preacher, and he’d never tell my something to do that was not in the Bible, ‘cause he read the bible a lot more than I did.  I’d act like I was just a little kid asking a dumb question, not like the general  seeking consultation on an issue of possible war. When I talked to my dad about such important matters we usually done our man to boy talks on the porch swing, even in late October man to boy talks worked better in the swing.


As we sat swinging I said “Did you ever go trick or treating?” My dad said “Yep” “Did you ever go trick or treating the day before Halloween?” My dad said “Nope” I said “why not?” My dad said “Did you ever have a birthday party a day before your birthday? Could you have the 4th of July Picnic the day before? What would happen to Christmas if you didn’t have the 25th of December, not the 24th but the 25th?” I was starting to see my dad’s point of view on this issue of trick or treating one day early as we swung together on the front porch in the crisp autumn air just nine days before Halloween.


I said “You think a person could make somebody pay to go trick or treating”  My dad said “Not in Toto, cause everybody that tricks or treats in Toto don’t have any money to start with, and besides who would be dumb enough to even try to get somebody to pay to go trick or treating?” I didn’t say nothing. One of the good things about talking with my dad in that swing was he didn’t make me say anything if I didn’t want to, and right then I didn’t want to.


So there is was.  You can’t go the night before ‘cause that’s dumb,  and nobody’s got any money and if you even ask someone to pay that’s  dumb too.  My dad imparted a great deal of wisdom from the confines of that swing.  He made my job of being the general a lot easier on more than one occasion.


Well, I had my answers now I only had to deal with the Toto Volunteers. I spent most of that night trying to figure out a way to get the War Council on my side. I knew what I had to do but wanted the them to tell me, not me tell them.  Somewhere in the darkness,  about the time today turned into tomorrow and became yesterday I finally figured a way to present my views to the Council.  The next day I called an after school meeting of the War Council of the Toto Volunteers.  We met on my front porch.


Now one of the downside products of victory on the battle field is the overwhelming desire to repeat the same feat over and over again.  I was not about to let that happen to the Toto Volunteers.  As soon as everybody was present I presented my plan.  The plan was simple.  I couldn’t choose which one I liked best so we would do ‘em both.


But for the trick or treat the night before Halloween we’d all have to have get our moms to sign a letter saying we could go out after dark just in case someone wanted to know why we were there at their house a night early for trick or treat, so we could tell ‘em our moms said we could come trick or treating early. Also everyone had to ask their mom if she thought it would be ok to charge people for trick or treating in Toto.


I had printed out a letter to give every member.  Because I ran the mimeograph machine at California Township School I ran off copies of the letter.  I had printed it on a stencil and it looked really professional.  As the volunteers read the letter, you could still smell the mimeograph ink, it was the blue kind.  I could tell by their looks that they were gonna have a hard time getting their mom to sign that letter.  I know I sure wouldn’t ask my mom to sign that letter.


One kid said “my mom will  kill me if she sees this letter, I’m not gonna take it home”.   He brought his letter back and reached it to me saying “let’s just go regular trick or treating”.  Some of the others thought we could still do both options.  My faith was in the letter.


The next morning at the bus stop not a single volunteer who took the letter home wanted to talk about it.  One guy said “I might not even want to go trick or treating this year, I don’t know if I do or not. I’ll just have to wait till Halloween an see”.  The plan was working. Two days later the War Council of the Toto Volunteers made a decision to do regular trick or treating in Toto and to make sure nobody would ever do anything except regular trick or treating in Toto forever in the future.


We, the Toto Volunteers, took a solemn  oath to forever protect the unbridled right to trick or treat in Toto Indiana on Halloween without interference from anybody forever and ever.  That right to trick or treat in Toto has been protected to this day.


And then came the politicians, regulating trick or treat hours. I think it was a republican thing first, probably too damn tight to buy candy for little kids.  Then the democrats jumped on the band wagon, probably with a bribe of some sort from the republicans.  A pox on both their houses, to even think you can regulate Halloween.


I hear is some smart ass in Washington will propose to make Halloween a federal holiday and place on the last Monday in October, in order to bring it in line with the other fake Monday Federal Holidays. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone  tries to move Halloween to the day after Easter.  Easter Monday doesn’t have a good sound to it, but one less work day for the democrats.


Now towns announce the time to go trick or treating. Trick or treating at 3:00PM is like kissing your sister at high noon in a public park, it’s just not that much fun.  The question that comes to mind is what you gonna do if some little monster tricks or treats before or after the set deadlines?


Now if you shoot ‘em all you get the guilty. The next thing you know it’s a  Halloween Czar.


From the  East Wing, And the Winner Is,  Trick or Treating with the Toto Volunteers

I wish you well,


Talking ‘Bout Measures, Old English, Tom & George Rock Paper Scissors & Metric, Beer & Gas By The Liter, The Lone Republic The Lab Days, Not Gonna Do It.

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.


Ever heard of a firkin, or a  hogshead, or even a  coomb? Not many have now days. There was a time when those words meant a great deal to people involved in different type of commerce.


They’re units of measure. Old English units of measure. Old, Old English units of measure. Way back Old English. Even before “back in the day” back. I’m talking in the 1400’s here. Yep that’s past back in the day for sure.


The firkin and the hogshead  are liquid measures while the coomb is a dry unit of measure. The firkin equals nine (9) gallons. The hogshead is sixty three (63) gallons. The coomb is four (4) bushels.


With these units of measure not being a part of our normal way of measuring things, you’d think there were would be some relationship between the liquid measure, the firkin and the hogshead. There is none. The closest I could come up with a similar comparison of the two would be the contents of a 55 gallon drum plus 1 firkin minus 1 gallon = 1 hogshead. Like I said they don’t fit well when trying to tie the two together.


I ran across those Old English measures a while back while researching a completely different subject, and though they were worth once again bringing back out to the light of day. To the best of my knowledge, not a whole lot has been written about those things since Al Gore invented the internet. While thinking about the Old English measures that went by the wayside, I remembered another interesting tidbit of the past.


It was by the light of the moon on the 5th of June in 1970 when the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that on July 4th 1976, (two hundred years after the national big bang) the nation would officially switch to the metric system for all measurements, both public and private. Then all hell broke loose.


Thomas Jefferson was charged with creating a system of standardized units of measure. He looked at the metric system. Choose not to go there mainly because Jefferson considered it “Too
French”. Yep, too French. Jefferson wanted something that set the budding nation apart from the rest of the world. George Washing tended to prefer the metric system, but deferred to Jefferson for the final decision.


Just think if Jefferson and Washing had chosen to settle their differences on the metric system by playing “Paper, Rock, Scissors” we could today be buying both our gas and beer in liters. Oh by the way that liter, it’s a quart plus a little bit more. Actually the liter is 1.0567 quarts. Like I said, it’s a quart plus a little bit more.


When I studied Laboratory Technology, one of the first things we learned was the metric system.
A simple system based on the unit 10. A simple explanation is 10 times this equals that. And then just keep going higher. With a little effort it’s easy to understand but the metric system doesn’t fit well with fractions. Like the liter of beer being, 1.0567 quarts, it just don’t make it when it comes to BUDWEISER.


All during the time I operated clinical laboratories, I used the metric system of measures each and every day, all day long. But at home during that time, it was still inches, feet, and yards, pints, quarts and gallons with a few hogsheads thrown in there from time to time. Especially during my beer making days.

We are a dual-measurement country. It’s part of who we are. It’s important to know that we are the only republic on earth that predates the metric system, and that’s one of many a major reasons why we never fully joined the party. There has never been an over powering need to, and so we don’t.

So why is it that we haven’t gone full-on metric? The simple answer is that the overwhelming majority of Americans have never wanted to. Ditching all of our old measures is an extreme act that would require forcing all citizens to change their daily habits and culture. The gains have always seemed too little, and the goal too conformist to suite our taste. At 1.0567 per quart, I don’t see that taste changing soon.


From the EastWing, Talking ‘Bout Measures, Old English,  Tom & George Rock Paper Scissors & Metric, Beer & Gas By The Liter, The Lone Republic The Lab Days, Not Gonna Do It.


I Wish You Well,


Cutting Grass, I Fought The Bee & The Bees Won

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.


It was Thursday last, I cut the EastWing Grass for the final time in 2017. Now for some folks cutting  grass is not a big deal. It was for me. I’ve not cut very much grass this year. My son John has been the primary cutter of the green blades of home this year. All the while the beautiful She has maintained the Flower Gardens of the EastWing.


One gets a different prospective from the seat of the lawn mower. A different point of view so to speak.  I was able to see things in the gardens I’d never seen from the EastWing Windows. Even though the EastWing walls are floor to ceiling glass, the view from the zero turn is much closer to the dirt. And besides, you can’t smell the grass through a window pane.


It was a warm day last Thursday, and many of God’s creatures were in the process of getting ready for colder times to come. The very last of the pretty Monarchs fluttered past my shoulder. Wooly Worms scurried along while the Yellow Jackets were out in mass. I’m a honey bee lover but don’t share the same love and affection for Yellow Jackets. Damn mean little bees


Several years ago, me and the She were cleaning up the  east garden getting ready for winter. I kneeled down and placed my hand on a pile leaves. My left arm up to my elbow was covered with Yellow Jackets within a second. Panic ensued. It was a classic example of when Good Times go Bad.


In that situation no matter how fast you try to remove the Yellow Jackets, you’re gonna get stung. More than once you’re gonna get stung. And so I did, nine bee stings faster than you can say nine bee stings.


Inside I washed the sting sites well with soap and water, applied baking soda and went back to work in the gardens. We finished the outside work for the day and I was surprised that the bee stings had not caused any real issues other than my arm being white from the baking soda. After a few hours, took a  shower  and thought the Yellow Jacket attack was behind me.


I was wrong. At six in the AM the morning after the Yellow Jacket attack, I awoke to a left arm that could easily pass for the Pop Eye Arm. Swollen so large the watch band was cutting into my arm and the ring, Oh Lord,,,,, the ring finger felt like it was going to explode. There was no way the ring was going to come off that finger short of amputation. At that point I plunged my whole hand in ice water and prayed the swelling would go down enough to remove the ring. For the second time that day, I was wrong, and the day was still early.


I called a doctor at home and  explained the bee stings and arm size, with particular emphasis on the finger. He instructed me to be at the local pharmacy an hour earlier than normal opening, and the pharmacist would have medication for me to take right there. The pharmacist was to provide both medication and a  cup of water.


We walked in together that morning, the pharmacist and I. Went straight to the pharmacy, got both the drugs and the water. I didn’t even ask what it was, just took the pills and water and gulped it all down while hoping for some relief from the exploding arm and  especially the exploding finger. After paying for the  drugs and while walking to my car I felt a difference. At first just barely, then noticeable, then “Oh Thank You Jesus”. I was going to live. I could feel it in my arm, I could feel it in my finger. I was not going to be a fatal victim of the Yellow Jacket Attack.


Within 15 minutes of taking the emergency medication at the pharmacy, it was over. It took another 15 minutes before the  ring came off, but the pain has subsided to the point where  I no longer had  to bite the bullet. So the last 15 minutes were doable.


As  I mowed  past the spot of the Yellow Jacket Attack last Thursday afternoon in the warm autumn sunshine, I wondered if those mean little bees remembered me. I sure remembered the Yellow Jackets, that late autumn day out there in the EastWing Garden  when the leaves had all fallen and the world was turning cold as the Yellow Jackets done me dirty.


From the EastWing, Cutting Grass, I Fought The Bee & The Bees Won


I Wish You Well,


Lessons of Life, The End Game

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
This is a story of how a boy and his best friend took separate paths in life, and how they ended up on different sides of the National Anthem. We all know every Tom, Dick & Harry. But this story is about James and Arthur, two boys from the ghetto. The question is which one made it out?
James graduated high school in 2011. His teenage years were a struggle. He grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. In James’s household his mother was the head of the family and worked tirelessly to keep a roof over his head and food on his plate. Academics were a struggle for James and his grades were well below average at best. The only thing that made James stand out was his weighed 225 lbs and the fact that he could run 40 yards in 4.2 seconds while carrying a football.
James’s best friend was just like him in many ways, except he didn’t play football. Instead of going to football practice after school, Arthur went to work at McDonalds for minimum wage. James was recruited by all the big colleges and spent every weekend of his senior year making visits to universities where coaches and boosters tried to convince him their school was best. They laid out the red carpet for James.
Arthur worked double shifts at Mickey D’s. College was not an option for him. On the day James signed with that Big State University, Arthur signed paperwork with his Army recruiter. James went to summer workouts. Arthur went to basic training.
James spent the next four years living in the athletic bubble of college football, eating at the training table. He spent Saturdays on the football field, cheered on by adoring fans. Tutors attended to his every academic need. James attended class when you felt like it, which was seldom if ever. Sure, he worked hard. He lifted weights, ran sprints, studied plays, and soon became one of the top football players in the country.
All the while his best friend, Arthur, was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. During the time James was in college, Arthur deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice. He became a Sergeant and led a squad of 19 year old soldiers who grew up just like he did. Arthur shed his blood in Afghanistan and watched young Americans die, lose limbs, and innocence in the course of defending the USA.
James went to the NFL combine and scored off the charts. He hired an agent and waited for draft day. James was drafted in the first round and his agent immediately went to work, ensuring that he received the most money possible. James signed for $16 million although he had never played a single down of professional football. Arthur, his best friend re-enlisted in the Army for four more years. As a combat tested sergeant, he will be paid $32,000 per year.
James will drive a Ferrari on the streets of South Beach. Arthur will ride in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter with 10 other combat loaded soldiers. James will sleep at the Ritz.
Arthur will dig a hole in the ground and try to sleep. James will “make it rain” in the club. Arthur will pray for rain as the temperature reaches 120 degrees.
On Sunday, James will run into a stadium as tens of thousands of fans cheer and yell his name. For Arthur, there is little difference between Sunday and any other day of the week. There are no adoring fans. There are only people trying to kill him and his soldiers. Every now and then, he and his soldiers leave the front lines and “go to the rear” to rest. He might be lucky enough to catch an NFL game on TV. When the National Anthem plays and James takes a knee, Arthur will jump to his feet and salute the television. While James protest the unfairness of life in the United States, Arthur will give thanks to God that he has the honor of defending his great country.
To the players of the NFL: We are the people who buy your tickets, watch you on TV, and wear your jerseys. We anxiously wait for Sundays so we can cheer for you and marvel at your athleticism. Although we love to watch you play, we care not about your opinions until you offend us. You have the absolute right to express yourselves, but we have the absolute right to boycott you. We have tolerated your drug use and DUIs, your domestic violence, and your vulgar displays of wealth and foul language. We should be ashamed for putting our admiration of your physical skills before what is morally right.
But now you’ve gone too far. You’ve insulted our flag, our country, our soldiers, our police officers, and our veterans. You are living the American dream, yet you disparage our great country. You insult us all.
I am done with NFL football.
From the EastWing, Lessons of Life, The End Game
I Wish You Well,

Hillary Is A Gift That Keeps On Giving, A Book Review, An Electoral College Lesson

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
As most everyone in the whole world knows by now Hillary Clinton wrote a book explaining why she lost the election.
The biggest critic of the Hillary book is not the republicans, it’s her own party, the democrats. I’ve not seen or read a single democrat say anything good about the book titled “What Happened”. In fact any democrat who will even talk about the book is wanting it to just go away.
Of all the books I’ve read in my lifetime, this one stands right there as the single most bizarre collection of false and misrepresentations of events I’ve even encountered. Seems every other page is identifying yet another person and reason why she lost the election.
The Hillary book tour is scheduled to go well into late autumn, crisscrossing the county telling everyone within ear shot of why the world done her dirty. Hillary has an uncanny ability to say one thing and at the same time leave a lasting impression of something different.
An example being, “I was the candidate, I take full, responsibility”. “James Comey cost me the election”. Those blamed include a who’s who of the political process, both republican, democrat and all those in between. Hillary’s latest group to blame for her loss, and I love this one, white people, more specific white women. Yes Hillary blamed white women for her election loss.
This book contains nary a word about her disaster as the Secretary of State during the Obama Administration. Oh, by the way, she has also blamed Obama for her loss. Likewise, there is no discussion as to her involvement with the Clinton Foundation as Secretary of State. And yes she does believe the conversation between her husband, Bill Clinton and the Attorney General, Loretta Lynch only discussed grandchildren and the weather. Guess Bill told her that, and we all know Bill Clinton won’t tell any lies.
I can’t help but wonder if the thought that maybe, just maybe she lost the election simply because people don’t like her, and never wanted her as president has ever crossed her mind. I don’t think so. At every opportunity Hillary reminds one and all, “I won the popular vote”.
Now before someone wants to get on my case about this popular vote thing again, don’t even go there unless you have knowledge of the way the election process was setup during the founding of the nation, many years ago. If you have such knowledge then you know why the process was established the way it was to begin with, and have no problem with the process. If you don’t have such knowledge, then shut the hell up! You don’t know what you are even talking about.
I’ve had an ongoing conversation with a Clinton die hard supporter who is convinced that when a candidate wins the popular vote in of presidential election, they are to be the president even at the expense of violating the Constitution of the United States. I believe the statement was “ After all, the constitution is outdated anyways”. WOW!
Yet another example of what I’ve said for quite some time on the failure of our education system in the nation at this time. This person could never recall ever having any type conversation or reference to the United States Constitution in their education. A high school graduate, who has had a smart phone since the 7th grade .
After much research I’ve finally come up with the perfect example of the importance of, and the reason for the electoral college being the way it is in our country. Enjoy the facts…….
The United States has a total 3,141 counties. In the presidential election Donald Trump won 3,084 counties. Hillary Clinton won 57 counties. In New York State there are 62 counties. Trump won 46, Clinton won 16.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by some 1.5 million in the five counties that compass NYC, that being, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond & Queens. Clinton received two million more votes than Trump. Clinton only one four of these counties. Trump won Richmond. These five counties in New York State alone more than accounted for Clinton winning the popular vote for the entire United States.
These 5 counties embrace 319 square miles. The United States is comprised of 3,797,000 square miles. When you’ve got a nation that encompasses almost 4 million square miles of territory, it would be even more than ludicrous to ever suggest that the vote of those that include a mere 319 square miles should dictate the outcome of a national election.
Yet we still have those who walk among us that can’t see the logic of this set of numbers.
But I bet they have smart phones.
From The EastWing, Hillary Is A Gift That Keeps On Giving, A Book Review, An Electoral College Lesson
I Wish You Well, BobbyRay

From the EastWing, Going 1 and 15, Berkley Now, Berkley Then, Free Counseling, A Battle Remembered

Greetings to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.


My athletic ability has never obtained the skill level of “Highly Renowned, Widely Acclaimed”. In fact if only two words were used to describe these talents, marginal and minimum would come into mind.


But I did play football for two years. Our team compiled a record which still stands to this day. Over two season span we went 1 and 15. Like I said a record that to this day is  still on the books. There’s no doubt that  my athletic  capability played a part in setting that long standing record.


Back then they didn’t hand out  Participation Trophies. You won or lost, then sucked it up and got ready for the next game. But as time went on and our record continued to grow a different kind of public awareness started to come our way. It was called “The Laughing Stock”. When you go 1 and 15 lots of people take notice.


They didn’t  bring in consolers to help a bunch of little  boys cope with such life changing events as 1 and 15 playing football. Nope, those little boys didn’t need consolers, they had Red Rider BB Guns to shoot, marbles to roll, ropes to skip, bikes to ride, wagons to pull and pop  bottles to pickup when the money got tight. And the Lord knows money was always tight.


This Friday past, I saw on the news that the University of California at Berkley spent $600,000.00 in security costs to protect a conservative individual speaking on campus. Berkley of all places, the home of the original free speech movement in this country back in the 1960’s.  The place where you could stand in complete freedom and say anything your little heart desired and no one objected was the University at Berkley. The Mecca of free speech in America has now turned into “My thoughts and words only. You remain silent or I will shut up. WOW!


The same news report also stated that the university would make consolers available for any student traumatized from the activities associated with the conservative speech on campus. This statement truly shows how far our nation has sunk into the depths of socialism in the last seventy five years. We provide consolers to assist in coping  with free speech. Unbelievable,  but true, sad but true.


It was seventy three years ago this coming December when some of America’s finest young men, the same age as those protesting free speech in Berkley and receiving consoling, willingly put their lives in mortal danger and faced the most devastating battle of WWII. Between mid December 1944 and January 25, 1945 The US Army suffered some 89,000 casualties of which over 8,500 young soldiers died in those frozen mud fields of Belgium.  They were repelling the Nazi Forces in what was to become known as The Battle of The Bulge. It was the single most deadliest battle of the whole war, fought by young men half a world away from home.


So now we give consoling to this age group for hearing spoken words for which you disagree. Guess trauma comes in different forms once you get to the University at Berkley.


We’ve become a nation full of  ill educated willing fools ready to follow anyone offering “free stuff”. These are, among others,  the folks who felt “The Bern” in the last general election. An educational system reeking with a socialistic point of view impregnating young minds to a single though mindset is where we’ve gone in the last 75 years. My way on no way is everywhere one cares to look.


Alt-Left,  Black Lives Matter, The Resistance Movement, started by Hillary Clinton, are things that add to the spiraling worm hole we find ourselves in today.


Now if you don’t like what  I say, then I’m called a racist, a white supremacist, a Nazi, or a fascist. When in fact, I may simply have a different point of view.  Such hate viewed daily in everything we see, hear or read. Social Media is both a blessing and a curse. Instant communication worldwide brings all the hate worldwide into our lives as it happens, in living color.


As illustrated again last Friday I became aware of a bomb exploding in the London Subway while the bucket containing the bomb was still burning. Even before the authorities arrived on site, social media had live video of the event.  American smart phones were able to view burn victims before physicians on site touched the patients. Technology at its worst. Blood before the bandages were applied.


As the young men of Berkley seek counseling for being exposed to ear hurting conservative words being spoken on campus, they don’t even know who to think for the service. A suggestion  could be to start with those young men  who willing defended American Freedom those many years ago. Those who died in the frozen mud of Belgium, that winter 1944


Can’t help but wonder how many of the protesters in our society are willing to defend this nation at a time of need. I suspect few, very few if any.


From the EastWing, Going 1 and 15, Berkley Now, Berkley Then, Free Counseling, A Battle Remembered


I Wish You Well,


From The EastWing, Talking ‘Bout The Eclipse

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.


With all the hype during the last couple weeks  about the upcoming eclipse on August 21st  guess I’d better say a few words about that. Being a long time stargazer, I’m not too excited about an eclipse one way or the other.  It’s not the most exciting thing in the sky for me to look at in terms of celestial curiosity.  I see shadows crossing a given point all the time, year after year the same shadow crossing the same point every day, every time. To me the eclipse is about as exciting as watching corn grow. I’ve seen ‘em both and it’s a tie. Now hearing corn grow is a different story, something we need to talk about some day.


Stone Hinge is a good example of the sun being at a given point on a precise moment in time. Also the Egyptian Pyramids are lined in such a way to detect the sun at a precise moment in time. In the Mayan world the sun played a major part of their religion. They too made sure they had devices to ensure the sun came to visit on a regular basis. The world is full of things designed to capture the sunshine or the shadow. An eclipse is nothing more than geometry in motion.


Looking  at the history of eclipses and how people have reacted is truly amazing. Everything from the Dog Star (Sirius) eating the sun, to the end of the world, to the lights going out in Georgia have been blamed on a solar eclipse.


Simply stated, an eclipse  is what happens when the moon slips between the Earth and the sun, blocking out the light from our sun by casting a long shadow onto the Earth. This happens when the orbits of the Earth and moon align with the sun. Depending on your location and where the shadow falls, the moon can block the sun entirely, or just take a partial bite out of the sun’s bright disk.


So how does the relatively tiny moon block out the big sun?  it’s truly a cosmic quirk of geometry.

Many times the sun and the moon appear to be the same size in the sky. The reason is the sun 400 times larger than the moon. The  sun is also 400 times farther away, so when looking at the two they appear to be about the same size.


Even though sun is 400 times larger  than the moon, but our sun is so far away from Earth that the much closer moon can cover it up when seen from our earth-bound perspective. You can replicate this by setting a round object, like a basketball on a post at a distance. Hold up a quarter at arm’s length and step backwards until the coin appears to hide the ball.


Knowing the speed of travel of the Earth, moon and sun and their size orbits, it’s just a matter of calculations to determine the precise time of an eclipse. The line across the Earth where the moon casts a solid shadow, completely blocking the sun, is known as the path of totality. For the Monday  eclipse, that path will cross the continental US from Oregon on the West Coast to South Carolina on the East Coast. The day will turn to twilight for up to two minutes and 40 seconds in these places. If you’re outside this path, you will see a partial eclipse.


Here at the EastWing we’ll not  have a total eclipse. Our partial eclipse will start at 11:56AM and 1:22PM will be the maximum position of the moon covering the sun. 2:45PM will end the eclipse here at the EastWing. Total start to finish time is 2 hr 45 minutes.


One of the more interesting I’ve been asked about the eclipse is how come the eclipse starts on the west coast and travels east? Why doesn’t the eclipse go the same way as the moon around the Earth? You better hold on to your hat for this answer, ‘cause you’re probably gonna be surprised.


The  moon does travel around the Earth from the west to the east!


See there I told you’d be surprised. It has to do with the way the moon travels around the Earth in a counter clockwise path while at the same time the Earth is traveling around the sun in a counter clockwise path. The Earth spins on its own axes in 24 hours while the moon takes 27+ days to make one full orbit around the Earth. All the while the Earth is taking 365 days to make one full orbit around the sun.


So with all this orbiting  going on at different  speeds and different size orbits, it’s kinda like if you’re riding a bus and  see people walking in the same direction, they will almost appear to be walking backwards as you approach them, while in reality all are going in the same direction.


Each night here on Earth we’re catching up with the moon, passing it by, and catching up again the next night. Even thought the moon is really circling the Earth form west to east, it appears to us it’s east to west.


The main thing to remember is you want to look directly at the sun during an eclipse is looking at the sun too long will make you go blind. Yep, I’m not joking, never, never stare directly into the sun. The sunlight it too strong for the human eye to absorb. Much like a light bulb  designed for 120w, if you put 440w into the bulb it will blowup. Don’t look at the sun, ever.


A much better way to watch the eclipse without going blind is watching TV. NASA has cooperated with a group to broadcast live video of the eclipse from 80,000 ft about the planet. These live shots of the eclipse will follow the full course of the event as it travels across the country. The TV broadcasts are expected to last over two hours. I’m  still trying to figure out why one would want to watch the same thing over and over for two hours.


To me it’s kinda like the ole boy who walked into the blacksmith shop and picked up a horseshoe laying the an anvil to cool after coming from the forge. He immediately dropped it. The blacksmith said “Get burnt?” Ole boy said “Nope just don’t take long to look at a horseshoe” And so goes the eclipse.


From The EastWing, Talking ‘Bout The Eclipse


I Wish You Well,



From The EastWing, Home Schooling, Tip Top & Buck Eyes

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing,


During the last six months we’ve heard considerable discussion concerning public education and how the current administration in Washington D.C. is going to destroy public education as we know it. That  position is just a part of the  unending  attack on the Presidency of Donald Trump by the losers of the last national election. People determined to overturn the national election by whatever means necessary.


The current person in charge of the federal office of education has taken lots of criticism for her position on charter schools along with the position on home schooling.  Much of her criticism, I  surmise,  is coming from much darker forces than meets the public eye.  Labor unions who are more concerned in protecting their cash flow than truly educating the youth in our society can be a most intimidating force to deal with. Such union do exist in our nation.

A while back, on national TV, the  president of the Chicago Teachers Union famously made the statement when asked her thoughts on the importance of educating students, said “I’ll speak for them when they pay the union dues”. In addition to being the President of the Chicago Teachers Union, that person was an active class room teacher in the Chicago School System at the time of her remarks. Her  statement speaks volumes to the mindset of some labor unions at all levels of public education today. And they wonder why many kids in Chicago can’t read or write. Duh! Look in the mirror.


Now I don’t think we’ve never talked about it, but I was home schooled for several years when I was a little feller. Most of the time it was my Mama being the teacher, but sometimes my  Dad also gave a few lessons from time to time.


Mama taught me to complete a job once started, “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning the house” she’d say.  Mama taught me how to pray, “You better pray that grass will come out of your good pants” I always prayed.  My Dad taught me about Time Travel, “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!” My Dad taught me basic logic, “Because I said so, that’s why!” Mama taught me advanced logic, “If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me this afternoon.” Mama taught me Reverse Logic, “Don’t go near the water till you learn how to swim”. I never learned to swim.

Mama taught me future planning, “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”  My Dad taught me irony, “Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

Mama taught me about the science of  osmosis, “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”

Mama taught me about contortionism, “Just you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!” My Mama taught me about stamina, “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”

Mama taught me about the weather, “This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.”       Mama taught me about hypocrisy, “If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times, don’t exaggerate!”


My Dad taught me about the circle of life,  “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.

Mama taught me about behavior modification, “Stop acting like your Dad!”

Mama taught me about envy, “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.” Mama taught me about anticipation, “Just wait until we get home.” Mama taught me about receiving, “You’re going to get it from your Dad when you get home!”  Mama taught me medical science, “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.” Mama taught me about ESP, “Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?” My Dad taught me humor, “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.” Mama taught me how to become an adult, “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”  Mama taught me genetics, “You’re just like your Dad.” My Mama taught me about my ancestry  “Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”   My Mama taught me wisdom “When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.  My Dad taught me about justice “One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!”


Yep,  that home schooling and what I learned at the Tip Top Elementary School Corporation  served me well in life. It was there at Tip Top I learned to wait my turn. Stand in line. Raise my hand if I had something to say, or had to go pee. To share what I had with others, even others I didn’t like if they had need. It was there I learned the difference between want and need. At
Tip Top I learned to love life with what you have, not what you want. Then learned to work for what you want.


All of my other schooling  was kinda filling in the years and filling up my head, until that day I walked onto the Campus of The Ohio State University. It felt like “Welcome Home”. It was kinda like the Tip Top Elementary School Corporation only bigger.  I wanted to stay forever there,  but I didn’t. ‘Cause I had other things to do and stories to tell.


From The EastWing, Home Schooling, Tip Top & Buck Eyes


I Wish You Well,


From The EastWing, Looking Out For Summer Scams, Walking In The Sun Shine, Talkin’ ‘Bout The Dark Side

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing,


Whenever the weather heats up so do the scam artist. From time to time we’ve discussed various ways bad people try to get their hands on the friends who visit the EastWing.  Guess it’s time to make a few additional remarks along those lines. The Dog Days of Summer bring not only the heat but also the crooks of darkness.


In the past week alone, I’ve received several calls from clients in a rather high state of panic, telling me they’ve received a  call from IRS demanding they settle their debt by 6:00 PM local time, else the County Sheriff is authorized to arrest them for tax evasion. They can settle this tax debt by credit card, direct debit from their checking account by providing the bank routing numbers and account numbers on the bottom of their check, or postal money order. None of these clients owed a single penny of taxes.


The main  thing to remember about this scam is the simple fact the



Another tip off is that in conversations I’ve had with the IRS, many hundreds over the years, they never refer to their department as the IRS.  It is always Internal Revenue Service.  Guess it’s a  pride thing within the Department of the Treasury. I have never heard an employee one time say IRS.


When people call me about this  the first thing I ask is do you have a phone number? If yes,  the number  is passed along to the FBI Office in Indianapolis. I’ve made that call so much in the last several years, I now know the name of the officer I need to speak to.


The best defense should you receive such a call is simply  tell ‘em NO! and hang up. Now some folks may want to add “ *&^&^%$@##” before the NO word, and that’s ok too.   For many who receive such a call it’s a frightening  experience. These bad people exploit the fear ingrained into society concerning the IRS.


It’s been my experience that honest people have absolutely nothing to fear from the IRS. Now crooks on the other hand, that’s a horse of a different color.


Another scam making the summer loops this time around is your dream trip on the boat. The tour company is offering you a once in a lifetime chance to see the world at a price you can afford. You get to set the price you are willing to pay for a cruise down the River Thames or the River Rhine or the Blue Danube. Your  river, your price. The pitch is, there is unsold space on the boat and the company is willing to discount such fares in order not to have empty space when the boat sails. That whole story is a bunch of crap.


Just like most everything else in life. When it sounds too good to be true….. yep,,, it is. All these crooks want is your credit card numbers or bank information. And they always sound so sincere.


As the use of e-mail became common place so did the efforts to entice you to “CLICK HERE”. A couple days ago I received an e-mail from Teachers Credit Union telling me that my account had been locked for suspicious activity and in order to continue to have access I needed to “CLICK HERE” to reinstate my account.


The only  issue  I have  with this notice is I don’t have an account with Teachers Credit Union. With that being said, I had no problem ignoring the scam. It’s easy to think how people would react that did have an account at Teachers Credit Union.


For  the bad guys it’s a  numbers game. They can buy email lists that contain an untold number of addresses. An example being, just say you  buy 5 million  email addresses and send the same message to everyone on the list.


Now let’s say only ¼ of 1% have accounts at Teachers Credit Union and only half of those who do “click here”. That’s  still 6,250 poor souls about to have a really bad day. Now let’s say the average lose per hacked account is only $60.00. That’s $375,000.00 for a couple hours work.


When you look at the detail of how such a thing can happen it’s kinda scary. And oh yeah, that original purchase of the  5 million emails, that  costs $5000.00 at today’s dark market price.


I’m sure there are some of my friends who will read this and say “they  don’t have my e-mail address ‘cause I don’t give it out.” Rest assured that if you have an e-mail address it’s on a list somewhere. That’s the way you get all that stuff into your mailbox and wonder why it came there begin with.


The best advice to everyone is be suspicious of every encounter you have on the telephone from persons you do not recognize. Never ever give any type financial information to anybody on the telephone unless you started to call to begin with. Never “CLICK HERE” on any e-mail no matter who sent it. If necessary, make telephone contract to be assured of the legitimacy of the e-mail.


A very simple rule is WHEN IN  DOUBT, DON’T!


In my public presentations on the Internet and how it works,  I’ve always said the Internet is a true reflection of society. The good side and the dark side lay equally exposed.  Much like in life YOU, AND ONLY YOU, will choose which side to walk.


From The EastWing, Looking Out For Summer Scams, Walking In The Sun Shine, Talkin’ ‘Bout The Dark Side


I Wish You Well,


From The EastWing, A Little Mountain Church In A Time Of Need

Greetings to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.


This is a story of a little church in the Appalachian Mountains that needs our help.


The decision to dig the coal from inside the mountain was made in early 1921.  The first step was the construction of the railroad.  The workers came even though the road was in the creek bed when the creek  was dry, and foot paths alongside the water’s edge when the waters flowed.  They came by horseback or  mules, walked on foot or came by train.  They came to dig and Load the coal. Migrants as far away as Germany came to work the new mines.


One of the first non mining activities was to construct housing for the workers.   A multi- person boarding house was utilized to accommodate the workers until such time individual houses could be built.  Soon over fifty homes were built on the mountainsides.  Homes that would shelter hundreds of people in what was to become known simply as Tip Top.  A little coal mining camp up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.


A Company Store built in 1926, then  the Post Office,  a two room school  and later the church  made the coal camp community complete.  A doctor came by on a somewhat regular schedule.  Early on it was the Missionaries that provided Sunday School for children before the church was built.


All the while they dug the coal.   Coal that  was not dug out  to operate steam generators  to produce electricity for the flat lands up north  or make steel in Gary Indiana. It was coal to power the steam locomotives hauling to market the fruits of the logging industry, the  lumber trains out of Breathitt County  from the other side of the mountain.


Below is a paragraph produced years ago by the Tip Top Church that briefly describes the events which lead to the church being where it is today. Many names will recognized by some. Every name I recognized.


In July 1936, 14 “Believers” formed “The Church of Christ of the United Baptist of the Big Caney Union” First officers were: Emery Case, Moderator, Daniel Tolson, Assistant moderator, Calloway Jackson, clerk, and Anna Rudd assistant clerk. The original “presbytery” including 3 ordained ministers : H. B.  Keith, Emery Case and Orban Rudd. Services were held in the Big Caney School (In Breathitt county across the hill from Tip Top). They joined the Ancient Christian Association. In 1942 Menifee Watson serving as clerk at the time, and his wife Myrtle, donated land (for one dollar) at Tip Top to build a permanent church house. Volunteers from in and around Tip Top, using the coal company saw mill, donated labor and money until the building was completed. In Oct.  1943 regular services moved from Big Caney to the Tip Top school.  In August 1944 the first meeting was held in the new Church.   Chalmer Howard was moderator and Henry Rowe assistant moderator,  Menifee Watson,  clerk,  Judge Watson,  assistant clerk and Sherman Bailey Treasure-man and assistant clerk.  In Oct.  1944, Tip Top replaced Big Caney as the official name of the church.  Henry Rowe became assistant moderator in 1938 and from when he moved away in 1951. Then in 1951, John Clay Watkins was ordained to preach and in 1960 he became moderator.  He held this position longer than all the others combined.   He left the church only when taken in death in January 1996.


What the history of this little mountain  church doesn’t tell is the impact this church has had on the lives of so, so many people.  The founding fathers identified here have produced offspring  that have populated not only the Midwest, but across our whole country and beyond.


Tolson, Rowe, Rudd, and Howard are some of the most recognized surnames in northern Indiana. Right here in Starke County Indiana we have no less than 500 hundred people who can identify with their ancestors being involved with this little church in the mountains, that Tip Top Church.  Now getting to the best part, what we can do to assist the church of our ancestors.


It’s the heating / air  conditioning system that has failed and must be replaced at a cost of $5,000.00 For some of us this may seem rather small in relationship to other things in our lives. To this little church on the hillside,  it’s a Mountain of Debt.  To provide you with some concept of what I mean when I say this “ little church on the hillside”,  let’s paint a picture you can see of the Tip Top Church.


A white building know as the Tip Top Church sits beside a typical little stream of water running from the mountains toward the sea. The stream bed is sometimes dry and sometimes a raging river with the force to move rocks, trees, bridges, mail boxes and anything else in  its path. And so it is that the little creek by the Tip Top Church from time to time demonstrates the true power of God.  It’s a little church house where the sun can only shine thru the east windows. The west side windows set so close to the side of the mountain, the sun can never shine thru the windows to the west. A little jewel set on a mountain side, the Tip Top Church.


Life is hard there in the mountains around Tip Top. The resources many of us enjoy in our lives and, in fact, often take for granted,  are not as readily available to many members of this little church. Yet their faith is as strong as is their  determination to serve God to the best of their ability. True Christians.


So we, as the people whose ancestors founded this little church, I believe, it’s our duty to help in their time of need. No one at the Tip Top Church has ever asked BobbyRay to put forth  any fund raising efforts. They didn’t need to for a simple reason “ IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO”. When you know what’s right you don’t have to be told what to do. You just do it.


From time to time I’ve made reference in my writings  about the  “The Gospel According to BobbyRay”. Now it’s time to put  such words  into action. We may not be able to raise the total funds  needed to replace the mechanical equipment at the Tip Top Church, but I’m saying right here that we’re gonna make an impact. After all, we too are in their family, we’re all the Children of God.


I’m asking that you join me in assisting the Tip Top Church in replacing their Heating / AC system. The Cost is $5,000.00 We don’t have a goal here, we have mission. We can let ‘em know they have Brothers and Sisters all over the country that loves the Little Mountain Church at Tip Top. Together we can do this. And they’ll know we are Christian by our deeds.


Whatever amount you are able to  contribute to this special project is most deeply appreciated. Please  make your check payable to:  TIP TOP CHURCH. Mail your donation to my accounting office and we’ll make sure it gets to where it needs to go. My office will also provide you with the proper documentation of your donation in the event you need such for tax purposes.

My office address is:






From The EastWing, A Little Mountain Church In A Time Of Need


I Wish You Well,


From The EastWing, Remembering The Scary Time

Greetings to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.


Oh the joys of summer. The dog days are here, yep the dog days of summer are upon us.


When I was a kid in downtown Toto, there was an outbreak of Polio one summer. Several kids in the Toto area contacted Polio, some died. Some survived with life changing issues to deal with. One spent the rest of his life in a machine called an Iron Lung. An artificial device to allow the patient to breath. Today such machines are much more refined and called respirators.


Somehow someone connected the dreaded disease Polio with the Dog Days of Summer and going into the water.  We didn’t have a community pool at Downtown Toto. In fact we didn’t have community anything. Just a bunch of little hillbilly boys and our Army of The Toto Volunteers.


Being the General of the Toto Volunteers, I had a rather unique role in the fight to keep Polio from spreading to any more kids. As I said, someone connected Polio with Dog Day and going into the water.


We went into the water a lot. Now I wouldn’t say we were ducks, but some were close. There was one little feller, you’d swear he was a cousin to a fish, the way he could swim. Me, well I never learned to swim. And besides being the General of the Volunteers I had a lot of other things to do besides swim.  Just 1¼ mile east of Toto was a sizable gravel pit. A big hole dug for the gravel, but for us it was thought to be made for the Toto Volunteers swimming pool.


As we marched back west to Toto from the  swimming pool on hot July day, I noticed a car setting in front of our house, that meant company. It was a lady who had come to talk to my Mama, so I just walked on by. After the company left, my Mama said we needed to talk. At that point in my life when Mama said we needed to talk that meant she would talk and I would listen.


And so Mama talked. She asked me did I know about Polio. I did. She asked if I was afraid of catching Polio. I was. In today’s  world with this disease having been almost wiped clear from the whole world it’s hard to imagine the fear this disease swept into the community. A disease of unknown origin, affecting mostly young people. A high death rate. Survivors maimed for life. No treatment, no known cause, for victims no hope. Only those who have lived thru those times can truly know the horror this  disease struck in Downtown Toto those Dog Days of Summer, 1955.


Mama said her friend came to tell her the latest words on what might case Polio in the community. It was two possible things. One was not wearing a tee shirt. Two was going swimming. The Toto Volunteers done both, all day, every day. With Mama’s words being spoken, I saw trouble on the way. She said she would tell my Dad and he’d most likely want to talk to me about what she’d learned today.


My Dad had not been home very long and I overheard my Mama telling him the latest  news  about what may cause Polio. It was right after supper when my Dad said he and I needed to go sit on the front porch. Unlike when my Mama and I talked, when I talked with my Dad, I got to say stuff. After all, he knew I was the General of the Toto Volunteers. He and I had talked about the Toto Volunteers and me being the General during the Pop Bottle Wars.


My Dad asked what I thought we should do with the new information about Polio. I didn’t know what to say. But deep down I already knew the answer was gonna be two things. One, wear a tee shirt every day. Two, no more swimming in the gravel pit. And sure enough my worst fears came to pass.


My Dad said he thought the only way this was going to work was it had to come from me. Being the General of the Toto Volunteers, it had to come as order. Now we’d never had real orders in our army. We didn’t even have uniforms, but with everybody not  wearing a tee shirt, we were kinda dressed alike. Everybody wore britches, no shirt, no shoes. That was our uniform.


My Dad went on to explain that even if this turned out to not be any cause of Polio, we couldn’t take the chance not to do it. Then he laid the big one on me when he said “Now I can’t make you order the Volunteers to wear a tee shirt and not go to the gravel pit, but remember the General always takes  care of his troops, always”.


Sleep was hard that night, Somewhere in the darkness I found the words I had to say to the volunteers. We met every morning in my backyard at 10:00AM. One member of the army had a real watch so he got to be the official time keeper of the army. An so I  addressed the troops.


My speech was a combination of instilling fear of Polio and giving the first real order to the  Volunteers. We all knew the kids with Polio, so the instilling fear part  was easy. We all were living in fear. No kid ever wanted to talk about it but that fear walked daily amongst the Toto Volunteers. The no swimming part was a little more difficult sale. Especially the  kid I thought may be part fish, he didn’t like that one bit. Said he might go swimming by himself.


The reaction to his statement made me proud to be the General of the Toto Volunteers. The First Sergeant  spoke up and said anybody disobeying that no swim order would be court marshaled. I didn’t even know what he was talking about but being the General and all, I for sure was not going to ask what that was. I don’t think the little feller who wanted to go swimming knew what it meant either, but he was afraid to say anything. With that being the order of the day, I dismissed the troops to go home and put on a tee shirt, and return at 01100. I don’t remember where we had learned how to talk army time, but we did and did so whenever possible.


When the army returned we played marbles the rest of the day. For the  rest of the Dog Days that summer we wore our tee shirts every day. No swimming, just lots of game stuff, marbles, skip rope, hop scotch, and after dark we caught lighting bugs squeezed of the  light end and made bracelets and buttons for our tee shirts.


Then in what seemed like a blink of an eye, that summer 1955,  it was over.


Jonas Salk had developed a vaccine to prevent polio. The world danced. Mothers cried with joy. Fathers hugged their babies that had survived the treat. Someone came to Toto and we all lined up to get the “POLIO SHOT” . We had survived . Too late to go swimming in 1955, but we had the shot. A happy army looked forward to next summer.


The first thing the Army of the Toto Volunteers done after getting home from the last day of school for 1956 was pull off our shirts and shoes and go swimming at the gravel pit.


From The EastWing, Remembering The Scary Time


I Wish You Well,