Summer Heat & Dog Days, Wal-Mart Shoppers, Do Over Or Do Not

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

When it got up to 100° on that 28th day of June, I just knew it was gona be a hot summer, and so it is. Oh what a difference a year makes. Last year there was not a single day when the EastWing grass was brown. This year I’ve had brown grass since late May. What a difference a year makes.

The Dog Days of Summer! Ya gotta love ‘em. It’s the summer time! It’s supposed to be hot, it’s supposed to be humid, it’s supposed to be miserable outside, after all, it’s the summer time. I’m sure those Al Gore, tree hugging, climate change radical *&^%$&^%’s, they’ll be out in force all summer long. ‘Course these folks are screaming ‘bout something all the time anyways. So we’re having the hottest summer in 75 years. Whoop-Te-Du! I’m loving it. They’re always looking for a cause, looking for a reason to get crazy. Always wanting to occupy something, anything they will. Even that 99% – 1% crap, they will. In case those crazies didn’t know, Al Gore, yeah, he’s in that 1% thing. Looking for the green. That’s green as in greenback money of course.

One of the things that makes our country great is we, as a people, don’t place a limit on stupidity, ya can have as much of it as you can handle. And are you ever amazed at how much some people can handle? I sure am. One can you buy stupid at Wal-Mart. Now some may think it’s a gift from God, but I’m not sure ‘bout that. I’m just glad it’s not for sale at Wal-Mart, else Lord help us all. ‘Cause If you’re reading this story, then I’m sure you’ve seen some of the “WAL-MART SHOPPERS” photos out there on the internet. Scary stuff, and if they could buy stupid by the pound with those falling prices. And then it would probably end up being stupid from China, like everything else there at Wal-Mart.

The other day I was asked if I had it to do over, what about my childhood, or about my life, would I want change. WOW! Did that ever make me stop and think. Not because the question was so complex, because it was so truth-seeking. What would I change about my childhood, about my life? A question for the ages. How many would exchange? How many would alter? How many would “do over”? How many would not? How many would re-do? How many would never, would never ever pass this way again? Questions for the ages. Food for thought. And so I thought.

I was born into a family of girls. My most important hope in life is to be born into a family of girls. I was not the oldest, who holds certain authority in a family. I was not the youngest, who holds certain authority. I was the only. A special place in the hearts of all. I would never change my place in my family of girls. I’m the only, in my family of girls, and as such, I’ve always held a certain authority. And loved it every day of my life in my family of girls.

Then I played in the dirt when I was a kid. Played Marbles and Mumbly Peg, Hop Scotch and Red Rover, Tag, Hide & Seek, Dodge Ball and Jacks. Learned about mud puddles, both how to stomp into and make mud pies from. Would not change a single game in the dirt. Did ya ever hear that ya gotta eat a peck of dirt before ya died? I heard that too. I wonder if that’s true. I’ve only ate ‘bout a ½ peck so far. So I’m good to go on that dirt eating part, just in case it’s true. Would I change playing in the dirt? Are you kidding me, of course not. When ya play in the dirt ya love it, ‘cause that’s part of what little boys are made of. That, along with the hammers and nails and puppy dog tails. I used to carry little frogs in my pocket just to scare my baby sister, that’s what little boys are made of, stuff in your pockets.

Just lived in an age when ya played outside all day long. Ya got thirsty and drank from a garden hose attached to an outside faucet. In the summertime, the water had to run for a few minutes ‘cause the water in the hose was too hot to drink, laying there in the sun all day. Finally when the new water cooled off the hose, ya took a drink. I loved drinking from the hose. I still do.

I learned to skip rope. Then two ropes, then dual skip rope (for the non rope skippers of the world, that dual skip rope, it’s when two people skip rope at the same time, skipping two ropes going in different directions, being twirled by people who have mastered the difficult process of twirling two ropes in different directions.) Would I change drinking from a garden hose and skipping rope with my sisters? Both the short answer and the long answer is NO. It’s when ya can skip in and skip out of the ropes and the two ropes never stop, that’s skipping rope. Would I give that up? Shewwww. Nor would you if you’d learned to skip rope.

Pop bottles were currency(2¢) and a glass gallon milk jug made ya rich for a few days(10¢). There was no such thing as trash along the roadside, it was money for the taking. And when we picked up the pop bottles along the way, should we come across a piece of paper, why of course we’d pick that up and take it to the garbage can. ‘Cause we all kept the world clean. That was what you were supposed to do. Would I give up memories of the Pop Bottle Wars of Toto? Never in a lifetime, or two lifetimes for that matter.

Rock & Roll and I were young together. And I had the joy of seeing many of the future stars of Rock & Roll live at Schaffer Lake, in Monticello IN before they made it big on the national “Band Stand”. Chubby Checker, Fats Domino, Fabian, Beach Boys, Deon & The Belmont’s, Richey Valley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper, the last two seen just days before they died in an Iowa plane crash. And to this day, some still say “The Day The Music Died”

And all that list is just right off the top of my head, and I’m sure I missed some. I remember seeing Fats Domino playing a full nonstop 30 minutes of “Blue Berry Hill”. We wouldn’t let him stop, just keep yelling, keep clapping and stomping our feet. I saw, heard, and danced the “Twist” before it was on Band Stand. I was up close on that one, and I’m telling ya that big boy sweats a lot. Would I change that part of my childhood? Only if hell froze over, and I got to see ‘em all over again, live, just one more time.

I sauntered the sidewalks of history during the race riots of Chicago when Martin Luther King Jr. died, and the west side of Chicago lit up like a Roman Candle from the fires set by rioters. I was operating a clinical laboratory on the near north side of Chicago during the time when those riots occurred. It was necessary for me to travel on foot some eight blocks into the riot zone. I had a homebound diabetic patient whom I’d visited every other Monday Morning for over a year to obtain a blood sample for fasting blood sugar analysis at my laboratory. Normally, I rode a cab to the patients home. This time the streets were barricaded by the rioters, as well as blocked off by the Illinois National Guard.

Monday Morning was coming up Just three days away. I was never more frightened in my life. I truly was afraid for my safety. I’d decided not to enter into that den of disaster. After all, this city was on fire. Whole city blocks were being burned in different sections of Chicago. There were parts of the city where the police and fire departments had stopped service. The Illinois National Guard patrolled the Chicago Subway System with dogs trained in riot control. It was a scary time to walk the streets of the big city. Streets filled with people dressed in military uniforms, with dogs at their side, dogs that didn’t wag their tails. Scary times.

On a peaceful, sunny, summer Saturday Afternoon, I shared these fears with my dad while setting under a shade tree, in the swing, there at Toto. Told him that I’d decided not to walk into the riot zone come Monday Morning. He said that’s ok, but if I really had to go, he’d tell me how to go into those jaws of hell and be as safe as in my mamas arms. And then he told me the story.

“All ya gotta to do”, he said, “is get crazy on ‘em”. “Now ya gotta keep in mind there are two forces inside that riot. The National Guard, scared to death for their own safety, and the rioters who are also scared for their safety, but just in a different way, they’re kinda afraid of each other. And both of those sides, well, they’re both scared to death of crazy people, ‘cause everybody’s scared of crazy people, no matter what, everybody’s scared of crazy people. So all you have to do is act really crazy and they’ll both leave ya alone. Not only leave ya alone, they’ll even get away from ya as fast as they can, it ya act crazy enough.”

To this day I’m still surprised that I had the courage to take my dad’s advice and walk into that shadow of the valley of death, that riot zone. Several streets had been closed off, so it was foot traffic only. I walked on the street, then to the sidewalk, back to the street, back to the sidewalk. All the while laughing and waving and singing a song to anyone and everyone I saw. Groups of people standing on the sidewalks split as this crazy white boy came toward ‘em laughing and pointing at ‘em, as if to say let’s me and you be friends.

They didn’t want to be friends with me, they wanted to get out of my way. It was kinda like the parting of the Red Sea. They just got out of my way. Both the rioters and the Illinois National Guard, they just split. Whoever was in front of me, made it a point to get out of my way. It turned out that my dad was so right, nobody wants to be in the path of a crazy person, even when you’re rioting, ya still don’t consider yourself crazy and as such, ya just don’t mess with crazy people. Later when I told my dad about how well that worked out for me, he said “Did I ever give my boy bad advice?” Not once in his lifetime.

But back to the original question, Would I change any part of my life? Now don’t make me get crazy on ya.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From The EastWing, Summer Heat & Dog Days, Wal-Mart Shoppers, Do Over Or Do Not

I Wish You Well,


The God Particle, A new gift From God

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

A little over a year ago I told a story about some friends of mine who visit the EastWing every week and the strange things they do for a living. I continue to talk to these guys ‘bout every week or so, usually on a Thursday Evening. The Thursday before the 4th of July I joined the discussion group while they were talking of an announcement that would make worldwide news on July 4th 2012. These guys were high fiving each other in their chat room. And to think, they’d let me, a little nobody from the EastWing, sit in on the discussion of an announcement of such worldwide magnitude. It made my day, I too high fived ‘em.

Below is what I wrote in May 2011 about these fellers:


Did ye ever hear ‘bout Particle Physics? Most people haven’t heard ‘bout Particle Physics, but it’s just the science of really, really, really little stuff. Stuff so small that people like me and you, well, we can’t even think that little. I’m telling ya, it’s little, really little stuff. It more little than that even.

Now there’s a whole academic and scientific world of Particle Physics Research. I just happen to know a few of these guys and I believe they all just sit around thinking up ways to demonstrate the existence of really little stuff. I found out some time back that there’re a bunch of Particle Physics Researchers who visit the East Wing on Sunday evenings and have been doing so for some time. Small world isn’t it. Pun intended.

We all know ‘bout molecules and atoms and electrons and protons and neutrons and quarks. And how each one of ‘em gets smaller as we name ‘em off. These Particle Physics Guys, they think there’s something even smaller than a quark. And that’s what they’re looking for, that little feller that makes up the quark. The thing that makes up the quark is really the smallest of the small. They’ve already gotta name for that little thing they’re looking for. They’re calling it the “God particle”. They think it’s the original building block of everything, that God particle.

The way these guys told me ‘bout this God Particle, it’s sorta like making something out of Lego’s. Ya start with the smallest piece first and build it bigger. Seems to me, these Particle Physics Guys, these friends of mine, they’re kinda looking for that first Lego so they can build a universe. “Course I’m paraphrasing what these guys told me, ‘cause they didn’t talk ‘bout Lego’s. But I’m sure me and you both can relate better to Lego’s than we can to quarks.

I already knew there’re six types of quarks, and that they’re known as flavors. I don’t know why they’re called flavors, they just are. it not like ya can taste ‘em or anything like that, ‘cause they’re way, way too small to taste. So anyways, they’re named up, down, charm, strange, top, and bottom. Now up and down quarks have the lowest masses of all quarks. The heavier quarks rapidly change into up and down quarks through a process of particle decay. It’s the transformation from a higher mass state to a lower mass state through a process that’s called particle decay.

It’s kinda like if ya put a log on a fire and burn it, and it then becomes ashes. It went from a heaver mass state to a less dense mass state. Wood(charm quarks) to ashes(down quarks). Because of this, up and down quarks are generally stable and the most common in the universe, whereas charm, strange, top, and bottom quarks can only be produced in high energy collisions. Bumping really small stuff together at or near the speed of light. Hence the term “atom smasher”.

It must be important to find this thing smaller than quarks, ‘cause in Switzerland, in the mountains, a 17 mile tunnel has been dug inside the Swiss Alps. It’s a doughnut tunnel, that 17 miles under the mountains. Its purpose is to create a machine that can shoot electrons toward each other in the tunnel and see what happens when they hit. It’s thought that when these particles are accelerated toward the speed of light, when they bump into each other and all the parts break away in the collision, maybe, just maybe, they can detect something they’ve never seen before. A “God particle” on the other side of the doughnut, when they bump.

I think maybe this God particle is kinda like what happens when your fender goes flying sideways if ya should be unfortunate enough to be in an accident inside a 17 mile doughnut tunnel underneath the Swiss Alps when ya hit someone head on going the other way. I’m glad these guys chose “God particle” rather than flying fender. It sure sounds a lot more scientific than flying fender particle.

Now if this sounds like I’m just telling ya stories, I’m not. It’s called the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) and it’s located at the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. We’ve got one of these circles where ya shoot really little bullets toward each other right here in the USA Just outside New York City at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. They do this type research, there at Brookhaven National Laboratory , just outside New York City, ‘cept they don’t have as big a circle. I think their circle’s only ‘bout 12 miles. It’s kinda like dirt track racing, and the Indianapolis 500

I’ve never heard anybody really explain what they’re gona do with it when they find the God Particle, ‘cept look for something even smaller. Guess ya just build a 25 mile doughnut tunnel, squeeze the trigger and hope they bump together on the other side of the doughnut.

Ya know the hardest part ‘bout the atom smashing business is making sure they hit head on, else if they miss by an atom, oh well. Reload the gun and pop off another round, I guess. I don’t think those guns are 6 shooters.

As smart as these guys are when it comes to talking ‘bout particle physics, much all the other stuff in life, they don’ know sic ‘em. Right in the mist of me getting a detailed explanation of particle physics, I blew the guys away when, just out of the clear blue sky, I asked “do any of you fellers know how to milk a cow?” We all fell down laughing. Nobody did, except me.

Two of the four had never even seen a real cow in person, only in pictures. They all knew that milk did come from an animal, and not from a box, or plastic jug. Which is smarter than some. These Particle Physics friends of mine, smart and dumb at the same time. Can’t even milk a cow. I love these guys.


Then on July 4th 2012, these same guys announce to the world that they’ve been able to demonstrate this God Particle. Yep, they bumped ‘em together on the other side of the doughnut and this Holy Grail of things little popped up on their radar, just like they thought it would. I’m joking about the radar, ‘cause I don’t have a clue how these guys measure this God Particle thing, but I’m sure it’s not radar.

Now there’s just one catch to this whole deal, the catch is, The God Particle life cycle is short. Really, really short, in fact, so short that it’s difficult to even comprehend. It’s total life cycle, birth to death, exists only for a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second.

It don’t matter who ya are, that’s a short time slice. Nothing you can think of is that short. Nothing I can think of is that short. We just have to take these guys word for that a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second being right. We just do, ‘cause my stop watch is not that precise, and even NASCAR can’t measure that time at the finish line. And everybody knows that NASCAR has (had) the best timing clock in the whole world.

Now I already told ya that my Particle Physics friends are kinda quare when it comes to many things. Like they don’t even know how to milk a cow, but when it comes to measuring time, well, a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second, and they can measure that, are these guys kinda cool or what? I’m so glad I know these fellers. Guess I can say I’ve got friends in small places.

The God Particle, perhaps it was just time that we, the children of God, receive another little gift from the Father. After all, somebody had to create this little tiny thing my friends call the “God Particle”.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From The EastWing, The God Particle, A new gift From God

I wish you well,


When Mr. Bentley Became My Jail Bird/Dog

Greetings to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

Mr. Bentley, a Staffordshire Terrier, The Pit Bull Pride of The EastWing, was condemned to serve 10 days in solitary confinement for a crime of questionable existence. A vicious Pit Bull attach he never made, a crime he didn’t do. Guilt based on conflicting eye witness reports from the crime scene. Guilt without proof.

It was a Saturday afternoon when a neighbor, who just happens to be related by marriage, came riding along on a bicycle. This same neighbor, who just happens to be related by marriage, had called a short time earlier and asked to speak to the She. I said the She was out working in the yard and was not available to talk on the phone.

The neighbor, who just happens to be related by marriage, asked that I have the She call her when she comes inside. Within a short few minutes of the phone call, the neighbor, who just happens to be related by marriage, comes along the road riding a bicycle. I’m not sure if the bicycle had one of those little baskets on the front handlebars or not, but the rest of the scene sure could have been lifted right out of the movie. Ya remember the movie, where an ole girl is riding a bicycle inside the tornado, and the little Toto Dog is in the basket, yeah, that movie, that’s the one.

Upon seeing the She in the yard, pulls into the yard for a visit with the She. Then along comes Mr. Bentley, and makes some kinda contact with the neighbor, who just happens to be related by marriage. I didn’t see the contact, and as such cannot attest to the viciousness or the savagery of the attack. The She saw the whole episode. As did Mr. Bentley. And so did the neighbor, who just happens to be related by marriage. Somehow I don’t think Mr. Bentley likes that ole girl, who just so happens to be related by marriage.

It’s a classic example of one of the difficulties law enforcement people have in ascertaining the facts of a given situation, is how different people see the same thing and record it differently in their minds. And so it was with the attack of the Bentley. Different people saw different things. Different strokes for different folks.

Bentley did make contact with the neighbor, who just happens to be related by marriage. So the She made Bentley go in the house, ‘cause he was being a bad boy, jumping and scaring the neighbor and all, who just happened to be related by marriage. The She offered to wash off the attack site with peroxide if needed. The offer of First Aid was refused, and was told, “oh there’s nothing there” and the neighborly visit continued for another ½ hour to ¾ hour without any additional conversation of the Bentley matter, or any additional concerns expressed for any alleged wound. The visit finally ended when the She said she had to go inside. There was no bloody glove left at the crime scene, or bloody paw prints, along the walkway.

Upon entering the EastWing, the She told me the whole incident, and made the statement “I just know that she’ll make a big deal out of that with Bentley, ‘cause that’s just the way she is.” I asked the She “ did you see any blood?” The She said there was no blood, that she couldn’t even see any broken skin, and if anything at all, it may have been a little reddish like from a bump.

The transgression along the roadside occurred on a Saturday afternoon about 1:30 or so. The next thing we hear of this incident was the following Tuesday morning, about 8:00 AM, some 3 days later, when the neighbor, who just happens to be a relative by marriage, called the She and informs her that she has just returned from the Pulaski Memorial Hospital where she had received Emergency Room treatment for a dog bite. The neighbor, who just happens to be related by marriage, told the She that the dog bite wound from 3 days prior, had started to bleed and she got concerned that she may have rabies, so she sought medical attention.

It was difficult not to laugh at that point. For one, to think, a wound, much lessen one of questionable existence, would start be bleed after 3 days past its creation is farfetched, if not downright false. I called the neighbor, who just happens to be related, by marriage, she never answers her telephone, just sets and listens to any message being left by the caller. I left the message and told her that I needed to see the wound. And that I also needed to photograph the wound.

She came to my office that same morning shortly after I got to work. Showed me a 4 X 4 bandage, the type you can get at any drugstore. I asked her what medical attention she had received in the ER. Said they cleaned and dressed her wound. Asked her what instructions they had given her. She said they told her to come back to the ER in three or four days and they would check her again and probably release her at that time.

I reminded the neighbor, who just happens to be related by marriage, of my background, and the fact that I had managed hospitals for a living, and was fully aware of the operation of Emergency Rooms in providing acute care, and to the best of my knowledge, I’d never ever heard of an Emergency Room Doc telling a patient to return to the ER for another visit. At that point the neighbor, who just happens to be a relative by marriage, said “oh Bob I’ve got so many irons in the fire today, I just got to run.” A statement made by a woman who does not have a job, and never works, and has more spare time on her hands than a clock maker. And so it was, with those many irons in the fire, she left the office of RHCO INC.

The following day, a lady who had worked for several years with the She at Pioneer Florist in North Judson, stopped by to tell her that she had a message on her answering machine for me from the Starke County Humane Society. The Starke County Humane Society is the organization charged with reporting and handling animal bites. I contacted the Humane Society, seems a dog bite report had been filed against Mr. Bentley. The charge was filed by the neighbor, who just happens to be a relative by marriage. It turns out that she is a multi-filer of dog bite reports.

The Starke County Humane Society is one of the most vital and underfunded public services in the community. Animal control is difficult and unrewarding work, yet so vital to the community wellbeing. It is the type work that I know I could not do. Knowing my limitations into that type work, I’ve forever provided the services of RHCO INC gratis.

Miss Daisy James came from the Starke County Humane Society just a few day ago. Mr. Bentley was also a rescue dog from the Starke County Humane Society just a couple years ago. The Starke County Humane Society services the community well.

The protocol for an animal bite is established by the Indiana State Department of Health. Once reported, ya just follow the steps. And I didn’t expect or want anything short of the process. Just gave ‘em the rabies tag number. And was I ever surprised when it came back expired. I thought it was a 3 year tag, it was a 1 year tag. My son RJ had taken Bentley to the Vet when he first got him from the Humane Society. RJ got a 1 year shot and not a 3 year shot for Bentley. And as such, Mr. Bentley did not have a current rabies tag.

In the absence of a valid rabies tab the animal must be isolated for a minimum period of 10 days. The isolation cannot be at home. It can only be at a licensed Vet Clinic or a recognized Animal Shelter. And so on that same early afternoon, Mr. Bentley turned himself into the authorities at the Starke County Humane Society, to start serving this time in purgatory. He was duly paw printed, then they took the mug shot and lead Mr. Bentley away to solitary confinement, while all the time proclaiming his innocence. But there’s always a bright side on every dark cloud, Mr. Bentley got credit for the 4 days he’d served his time at the EastWing and had not demonstrated any symptoms of rabies in the last 4 days.

It was on the third day of the solitary confinement that I decided to do a little prison ministry. And so I stopped at the Feed Barn in North Judson to pick up some special treats for my jail bird/dog. When I got to the the Humane Society to check on how Bentley was getting along, I found that Mr. Bentley was the hit of the staff at the Humane Society, receiving lots of walks, treats and probably more attention than he gets at home. I told Bentley that I’d pick ‘em up come Tuesday Morning at 8:00 AM, he said forget about it, Tuesday afternoon would be ok, if I couldn’t make it then, sometime Wednesday would be ok too. I thought Mr. B’s starting to like that place.

All animal bite reports filed at the Starke County Humane Society are considered public record and as such, I asked to read the public record. WOW! Daylight and dark. Fact and Fiction. Truth and fantasy fabrication from a dream world that never was. And all the while Mr. Bentley ends up with a criminal record, and at the same time adds to the urban legend of attacking Pit Bulls. Some Pit Bulls that may well have more common sense than neighbors, who just happen.………

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From The EastWing, When Mr. Bentley Became My Jail Bird/Dog

I wish you well,


Talking ‘Bout A Friends Last Need is a thing to heed.

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing,

Did ya ever make a promise that ya just had to keep? It had to be carried out, it just had to be kept, ya don’t even know why it had to be kept, but it just did. And so ya carried it out, carried it out the best ya could. It was about 10 days ago I completed one such commitment I’d made way back in the very early days of 2011. A pledge to a friend of mine to carry out his last request of our friendship. A friend in need.

It was hard to do that last request thing, the last request of a dear friend. It was a two part thing with six months in between parts one and two. It was damn hard to do that thing. Sometimes in life we don’t do things because they’re easy, we do things because they’re the right thing to do. We do such things because even if they’re hard things to do in life, and ya know it gona be hard, but ya still do ‘em, ‘cause they’re the right things to do in life. Then when you’re done, you even more so know it was the right thing to do in life.

This thing I’d agreed to do reminded me of the poem “The Cremation of Sam McGee” when it read “a friends last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail”. A request had been made of me by a friend in deed, and so It was a thing to heed, and I swore I would not fail. On the evening of June 13th 2012, at Grand Central Station, in downtown North Judson IN, I carried out the final half of that last request.

It was not a long term friendship. But was an intense friendship. Ya know how sometimes two people just right off the bat, get along. So it was with me and my friend. We just got along. Right up front, right off the bat, we got along. He was a soldier in WWII way before I was even born, but we got along. And our friendship just proves, ya don’t have to be in the same generation of people to make friends. We proved that point, ‘cause we got along.

I knew my fiend only in the last six years of his life. But that was enough. Ya don’t have to know friends for a lifetime to make lifetime friends. In his case, six years was enough. How much is enough? I don’t have a clue. But what I do know is, six years is, for sure, enough.

We met as a result of me creating Grand Central Station in North Judson IN. He came in one day as a customer, and left that same day as a friend. It was at his suggestion that we devised the “Round Table” at Grand Central Station.

The Round Table at Grand Central Station is simply a group of people who share a common interest in anything and everything worth discussing as a group. Social, political, personal, whatever, while setting at a large Round Table in an atmosphere conducive to pleasant and stimulating conversation. At my friends’ suggestion, it was modeled after the famous Round Table at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City during the 1920’s & 30’s of the last century. That was back in the day for my friend.

We compliment, challenge, dispute, agreed, disagree, argue, ridicule, and so much enjoyed the company of every person who’s ever sat at the Round Table, and there were many. The Round Table has attracted nobodies like me and my friend. Plus local people of influence, along with two different Bishops of the Catholic Church as well as preachers and priests, saints and sinners, plus local, state, and national elected officials who just happened to be going by and stopped at the Round Table to say hello.

Special treatment did not and does not exist at the Round Table, even the Bishops of the Catholic Church, were treated with the same level of respect, ans at times, disrespect, the same as the nobodies like my friend and I. Everyone who’s ever had the courage to pull up a seat at this table immediately becomes family of the Round Table. When ya sat down at the Round Table, ya sat down to a completely different set of rules. The Round Table just makes ya feel at home in the company of friends that are in a special way, family. Friends that will criticize ya in a heartbeat, and love ya in the same breath. The Round Table of Grand Central Station, it’s a suggestion of my friend, it’s such a special time, being at the Round Table.

The last decade of his life had not been kind, in fact, life had been hard. Financial woes had rendered his life miserable. Lack of money does that to ya, makes your life miserable. But the end game of his life was to play out much like a Hollywood script for a movie with a happy ending, riding off into the sunset. And so his life ended.

It ended on a cold, windy, dreary day of winter, as the snow fell on the banks of the Wabash, my friend rode off into immortality, hopefully going in the right direction, but never the less, making new friends along the way and telling ‘em all about his Indiana home on the on the banks of the Wabash, far away. He had spent the last days of his life at the Indiana Veterans’ Home in Lafayette IN. He was never more happy in his lifetime than being where he was when he died. It is that thought that makes me happy.

We talked a lot, me and my friend. We talked of many things, such as “ship and shoes and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings”. He wondered if Lewis Carroll was smoking the stuff in order to write about a walrus and a carpenter eating oysters while they walked along the sea shore. Ya do have to wonder, maybe it was the stuff, the stuff of story tellers. I don’t like oysters, and I don’t smoke. We just talked a lot, me and my friend. We did talk of many things.

One of the things we talked about was his desire to express to the people who had come into this life toward the end game, his appreciation for such friendship. We talked about that a lot, me and my friend.

He was one of the most interesting people I’ve ever known, that friend of mine. A warrior, a cement salesman, a scholar, a college professor, an author, an artist, an art gallery owner, a world traveler, and just before he died he once again had returned to college and was enrolled in a Masters Degree Program at Purdue University. He was just a friend of mine.

We talked by computer much of the time, email was the norm. Sometimes he had a need to talk direct, and so he’d tell me to call him. He had access to local phone service, but long distance was an unusually large price per minute. I convinced him I had unlimited long distance service, and so when he needed to talk by phone he’d email me the message “call me up” and I would. Sometimes I’d call on the telephone and we’d talk for hours on end. He had the time at the Veterans’ Home to talk for hours on end, and so I made the time from the EastWing to talk hours on end. We talked a lot, me and my friend.

He said he had a need, after his death, to express to his care takers at the Veterans’ Home how much he loved and appreciated the care and attention that was afforded both him and his wife in his lifetime, when it was the time he needed it the most, at the end of his life. He asked me to express that need to the employees and volunteers of the Veterans’ Home. I agreed to do so.

Said he had a need, after his death, to express to the Book Club of the North Judson Library how much he had enjoyed the friendship and the company of the Book Club Group. How much his membership into the Book Club of the North Judson Library had meant to him. I agreed to tell ‘em the importance of their friendship to my friend.

My friend died. And at a later date, a memorial service was scheduled at the Indiana Veterans Home there in Lafayette IN. I went to that service with the purpose of fulfilling part of the agreement with my friend. I’d tell ‘em how he felt about ‘em all. When the Military Chaplain asked if anyone else had something to say about my friend, I stood up ‘cause I’d come there with something to say. I told ‘em everything I was supposed to tell ‘em, that bright sunshiny day in early 2012, up there on the high banks of the Wabash River, as the cold north wind mustered up a bone chilling breeze just outside the chapel doors, there at the Indiana Veterans Home.

Now the Book Club was a little more complex situation. He wanted it to take place in the summer time, if he died in the winter. To tell the Book Club in the summer, ‘cause he enjoyed the Book Club so much more in the summer time, as it was just so damn hard to get out in the cold to go to the Book Club, but he did. He got out in the cold and went to the book club meetings.

So I waited till the summer time came by, till ya could feel the warm sunshine on your skin even when the wind blew, till ya knew it was summer once again. And then on the 13th day of June, I told the North Judson Library Book Club the rest of the story. The story of my friend Tom Boldenweck and what he thought about ‘em all, and what he thought about the North Judson Wayne Township Library Book Club. I just told ‘em as Tom and I agreed I’d tell ‘em. Just told ‘em the kinda stuff Tom wanted me to say.

Now a friends last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail. I just told ‘em the way it was meant to be told. And so it was on the evening of June 13th 2012, I presented to the North Judson Wayne Township Library Book Club the final testament of Tom Boldenweck. He loved ‘em all, and it turned out they loved him too.

Precious memories how they linger, how they ever flood my soul. In the stillness of the midnight…..

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, Talking ‘Bout A Friends Last Need is a thing to heed.

I wish you well,


Hummingbirds Come Home, Miss Daisy The Water Dog, Republican Pit Bulls, Sophia And The Sailors

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

WOW! I never knew there were so many hummingbird lovers in the world. Seems I’m not the only one who’s got little spring time friends. And not the only one who awaits the return of such friends when the weather turns to the warm side. Such special little friends of mine, those hummingbirds of summer. And for all those who’ve asked did my hummingbirds come back to the EastWing, they have.

They came back right on time, June 4th about 3:30 in the afternoon was the first time I saw ‘em looking for a meal out there in the south garden of the EastWing. It sure didn’t take me long to serve up the juice, and within 10 minutes dinner was being served to my little Brown Eyed Girls. The Hummingbirds were back in the valley, and life was good. Once again this year, we’re being blessed by their presence in the south garden of the EastWing. I love those little Brown Eyed friends of mine. Those pretty little hummingbirds.

That first day in the garden, she just drank the nectar. On day two the little feller came by and the dance was on. Don’t know if ya’ve ever seen the dance of the humming birds or not. If not, you’ve missed one of the more beautiful rituals in nature. It’s all in the air and it’s all at high speed, it’s at hummingbird speed. They’re both hover craft and jet plane combined into a small package, a little package the size of your thumb, and there’s two of ‘em, hover jets dancing in the air. To bear witness to the dance of the hummingbirds is truly a gift from God.

Four hummingbirds come to eat at the feeder all day long. Every fourth day, it’s a new jug of special hummingbird juice. That sugar and water and red stuff that hummingbirds eat, it’s what I put in the feeder. It’s what keeps ‘em coming back to the EastWing. That and the Maple Tree which affords such shelter for hummingbirds. Pretty little springtime friends of mine.

To me, it seems difficult to comprehend how anyone could observe the dance of the hummingbirds and not believe in God. But guess if ya only heard of such things, and never seen for yourself. Oh well, even Thomas doubted. And we all know how that doubting Thomas turned out.

For those who’ve been asking about the adjustments into the life of the EastWing for Miss Daisy James, thank you for your concern. I’m pleased to say, she’s a pain in the butt for me and the She, for the Gray Lady, Bentley and Sophia, and Spike The Man Cat. Yeah, Miss Daisy James is starting to fit right into the EastWing. If I scold her the least little bit, she runs and jumps on my bed in order to hide from me.

She’s a water dog, Daisy James, goes swimming most every day, sometimes two or three times, most every time she goes out, it’s smack in the middle of the swimming pool, just as far as she can jump. It didn’t take Daisy long to realize that I’d dry her off with towels after swimming when she came into the EastWing. She now thinks I condone swimming in the pool. and as such, I’m thinking this dog is taking advantage of my kind and gentle nature. She comes into the EastWing soaking wet and stays on the one spot of ceramic tile until dried off. Oh well, could be worse, she could shake water all over the house. She does not, just hangs out on the ceramic tile by the door, till the dry towels come her way.

Of late Sophia’s had a field day with both Bentley and Daisy James. First she convinced Bentley the president eats dogs, he said so himself, then when Daisy shows up and she repeats the story ‘bout the president eating dogs, and now Sophia has, what she considers to be, Staffordshire Terriers on the “R” side of the equation. The cat just never stops.

As many of you know, every Wednesday Evening I write a letter to the troops in Afghanistan. It’s different from anything I’ve ever said on Sunday Nights. A different language, a different crowd, a different world. Should I make a mistake and send you the Wednesday Evening letter, you’d be appalled. If on FaceBook, you’d unfriend me in a heartbeat. A different language, a different crowd, a different world. Young men and women that protect my freedom to live in the EastWing without fear of what I say or do. I point his out for a specific reason. Last week I received a most disturbing email from Afghanistan. It simply said “BobbyRay can you tell me why in the F*#@ we’re still here in this God forsaken place when our “Commander??? In Chief???????” has given up the fight?

Shewwww. I don’t have an answer to this email. I just don’t. I don’t know why we put young men and women in harm’s way and then announce when we will withdraw from combat and still leave ‘em there. The answer to the email wasn’t an easy thing. Sophia, setting on the back of my seat and reading the screen in front of me, recognized my struggles with trying compose a response, and volunteered her thoughts on the question from Afghanistan.

And ya can just imagine what the cat had to say. Sophia just said what Sophia had to say to the troops in response to the question, in the vernacular the troops could understand. Unabashed, the cat spoke to the young soldiers in their own language, using their terms, not mine. It was reminiscent of the opening sense from the movie “Patton” as Sophia walked back and forth across the computer table, ever gaining strength and momentum as well as volume. It was hard to keep up with the pace of which she spoke, but I think I got the jest of what she had to say to the troops.

She told ‘em what the F*&^ she thought of the current administration’s Afghanistan Policy and the abandonment of those still left in harm’s way in that God forsaken, arid part of the &^%$#@% world, in that piece of *(&^%$#@ crap called Afghanistan. She told the troops how she thought the %^$#(*& White House was leaking security information in order to make the@#$#%^& president look like a tuff guy, a (&*^%$# John Wayne, or General Patton kinda guy, but was in reality looking more like the $%^&*@^ Dumbo kinda guy he really is for being unable to handle the#@$%*&$ job of commander in chief, and for not knowing what the *@&% he was supposed to do to get the job done in the first f*^&%$% place.

Sophia told ‘em how, back in the day, when she operated the Cat House, there on the South Side of Chicago, and those convention goers who all came from the National Association of Community Organizers Convention, going on up there in downtown Chicago, there at McCormick Place, how they all came to the Cat House on the south side, how she was almost sure the president came to the Cat House, but how she can’t say for sure, if he came or not, ‘cause all those@&^%*&# community organizers look alike to Calico Cats.

Are you familiar with the old saying “Curse Like a Sailor”? I didn’t even know Sophia could swim, much lessen do the sailor talk. She can, like a Sailor. And not only can that cat talk the talk, she can walk the walk, ‘course we’ve all know for a long time, about that Sophia walk. Damn Republican Cat.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, Hummingbirds Come Home, Miss Daisy The Water Dog, Republican Pit Bulls, Sophia And The Sailors

I wish you well,


Cats, Email Concerns For Sophia, Sophia & Wisconsin, Looking At The Sun & Going Blind, Me & Ed & The Stargazing We Used To Do

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

Ya ever notice how cats just don’t seem to give a damn about most things people hold dear? And then sometimes your cat gives ya the impression they don’t even like you very much either, and then in the next minute wants all the attention you have to give to the whole world? Cats whata ya gona do!

Now for those who choose to spend their lives without cats being involved, you don’t know what I’m talking about, those who’ve chosen to invite cats into your lives, ya know. You just gotta be around cats to know what I’m talking ‘bout.

Cats are truly independent minded animals and as such, we as people find ‘em fascinating creatures to be around. I Hang out with cats, got more cats than babies. Four babies,(I count my pretty daughter-in-law, Jaimie as one of my babies) so that’s how I get four, and 14 cats. ‘Course not all those cats live in the EastWing. At RHCO Inc. we have Miss Kitty and Little Brother, the Black & Whites of the office. In the EastWing we have Spike The Man Cat, and of course, Sophia. In addition to my 4 inside cats I have 10 cats who live outside the EastWing. They live in Kitty City just outside the north glass wall of the EastWing.

One of the really neat things about what I do in the EastWing is, there’s always someone who’ll have an opinion about what I say, or maybe more importantly, about what I don’t say. The case in point being, last week I got an unusually long email admonishing me for not writing about Sophia, The Republican Cat. For not making people aware that Sophia was doing well, after the sudden death of the Pup Baby. The email writer was fearful that Sophia could possibly be losing some of her self esteem by not being mentioned from the EastWing here of late. The lady also expressed concern on how all this would play out on Sophia’s long term mental health.

She offered to take Sophia off my hands if I no longer wanted her in the EastWing. Noting that I’d lost one dog and gotten another and hadn’t really spent any time alone with just me and Sophia, she felt obligated to offer Sophia a kind, warm home for the rest of her life. A Place where she would be pampered and loved, a place where Sophia would not have to compete with dogs for attention.

Just in case someone else had concerns for Sophia’s well being, let me assure you she’s well and sassy as ever. The main reason Sophia’s not been making the news from the EastWing of late is she’s not been in the EastWing too much since the Indiana Primary Election. She’s been on the campaign trail with the CCCOA.

Sophia, as the National Spokes Cat for the CCCOA (Conservative Calico Cats of America) has been kept rather busy this primary season. In fact Sophia, just yesterday, got home from the Wisconsin election of last Tuesday. When asked why it took three days to get home from Wisconsin. Sophia smiled at me and said, “ Party Time with the Badgers”

By the time Sophia got home from the Wisconsin Campaign, she was one tired little Calico. But when Sophia walked into the EastWing, ya didn’t have to ask who won in Wisconsin. You could just tell by the cat walk, just by the cat walk, you could tell she got ‘er done. I’m telling ya, that cat walks with swagger, no matter how tired, she does that walk, and a smile that could melt the heart of a community organizer.

Sophia said she’d been into every Cathouse in Wisconsin, from Kenosha to Superior and from Lancaster to Sturgeon Bay and everything in between. For those in the know, that pretty much covers the State of Wisconsin. But said her proudest accomplishment was not visiting all the Cathouses in Wisconsin, but delivering the Conservative Calico Cat Vote to Governor Walker.

While the Tea Party claimed 91% voting for the Governor, Sophia claimed 100% +1 voting for Governor Walker. It turns out that Wisconsin has a same day register to vote law. So Sophia registered to vote on Tuesday morning, voted Tuesday afternoon, then came home Saturday. Said she’s already up there, so might just as well vote. And they let her vote up there in Wisconsin. Told me she used the Barbara’s address in New Franken as her WI home address. Damn Republican Cat.

Did ya by chance see the spectacle of Venus passing by the sun the other day? As a amateur star gazer, I’m always worried when the national news starts putting out stories about things that have to do with the sun. It’s one thing to tell everyone to go outside and look at an eclipse of the moon. It’s another thing all together to talk about events involving the sun.

Too many people have been blinded for life by looking directly into the sun. Even a few seconds will be the last few seconds of sight you will remember for the rest of your life. So when I asked did you see Venus pass by the sun, I for sure was hopping you were reading this and not having it read to you. ‘Cause if someone is reading to ya, my message is too late. The message is simple. Never look upon the surface of the sun.

It can be done, that looking at the sun stuff. And yes I can look at the sun. Through the telescope even. when brother Ed got me the telescope, he also made sure I had the equipment so I’d not go blind by doing something dumb like looking at the sun. I’ve got the sun filters necessary to look into the sun.

So a few days ago, when the time was right, I set up the telescope, put the special sun filter in place, and watched as Venus seemed to march across the face of the sun. It was a long trip because Venus is little and the sun is big. It took the better part of a day. I seldom stargaze in the day time. On rare occasions you can look at the moon in the daylight, but seldom anything else. Venus crossing the path of the sun from my prospective was truly one on those “once in a life time events”. The next time such an occurrence will come back around is in the year 2117. I’m not sure if I’ll be around, and if I am, I’ll probably be busy.

Didn’t stargaze much at all last winter. Don’t know why, just didn’t have the desire to set up the telescope and put forth the effort to get ‘er done. It’s different when ya stargaze alone.Brother Ed and I had worked out such a really neat system of stargazing, and now, doing all the stargazing by myself, it’s just not so much fun anymore.

When Ed and I stargazed, I’d set up my telescope either in the front gardens or on the north deck, or the west gardens, it really didn’t matter, cause the sky’s too big to be picky, ya just looked at whatever part ya wanted to start and so ya started. Using two laptop computers on my end, we’d stargaze. One laptop controlled my telescope, the other laptop was in webcam contact with Ed in Roswell GA.

When I’d look at something in my telescope, I’d give Ed the coordinates in the sky by way of the second computer. Ed would input such data into the program Google Sky on his computer, and he’d have on his computer, usually a much better picture than I had in my telescope. Ed’s view came from the Hubble Telescope, which was a bit larger than mine. Ed and I had lots of fun when we stargazed. Me in Indiana, Ed in Roswell GA. While looking at the same thing is space. Guess that stargazing by computer was the last fun thing Ed and I shared. It was such a time. Stargazing by yourself in Indiana’s not so much fun anymore. I stargaze less than I used to. Way less than me and Ed used to, that’s for sure.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, Cats, Email Concerns For Sophia, Sophia & Wisconsin, Looking At The Sun & Going Blind, Me & Ed & The Stargazing We Used To Do

I wish you well,


A Pizza Party, A Breakfast Party, Turning Mud Pies Into Pit Bulls, A Party For The 50th .

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

On Memorial Day Weekend we had a 50th year high school class reunion at Grand Central Station. Yeah, that’s me 50 years out of high school. WOW, it don’t seem like more than 47 or so. Oh well, guess time flies when you’re having fun. And yes, we did have fun at that party. We laughed and we hugged, and we hugged some more, as we ran and played thru the memories of 50 years of living past high school. A fun party.

We planned the party as a two day, three event deal, with lots and lots of non structured time to visit with friends. Friday Evening, a Pizza Party, Saturday Morning Breakfast at Richard’s of Toto, Saturday Evening, the Grand Party at Grand Central.

There was no effort to get a head count for the Friday Night Pizza Party. Whoever showed up, showed up and we’d deal with it and do whatever it took to make the party pizza part work. We did, and it did. Lots came to the Pizza Party. As we came for the Pizza Party, we all hugged. We’re truly a class of huggers. And the really neat thing about a 50th year class reunion, we hug ‘em all, boys and girls both. Guess ya could call us a bunch of equal opportunity huggers.

The Pizza Party was a roaring success. Pizza and beer worked in 1962. Pizza and beer worked in 2012. In 1962 there was only one place in North Judson that made Pizza. The Club Tavern, THE BEST PIZZA IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!!. The only choice you had then was how many Pizzas ya wanted to buy, ‘cause they were all made the same. Today too damn many choices of toppings muddy up the Pizza waters. But our Friday Night Pizza Party Ruled.

Saturday Morning when it was time to leave for the Toto Breakfast, both Bentley and Miss Daisy were outside and refusing my suggestion to get their dog ass in the house. I just don’t know what it is about being outside that makes all my dogs go deaf once they cross the threshold. But they do go deaf.

Now me, I’m deaf both inside the house and outside. Without my magic ears, I only see the sound silence as people speak. My dogs on the other hand, no so much so, good hearing inside, deaf dogs outside. Surly they’re not ignoring what I say to ‘em, they’re just having trouble hearing outside ‘cause they’re too good a dog to ignore me.

But there’s another one in my life from whom I do sometimes get the impression of being ignored. Now ya gotta keep in mind Sophia has a PH.D. in Public Ignoring. I tried to convince Sophia that my PH.D. in Hospital Administration was more important than hers. Sophia’s response to that, she ignored me. Sophia has refined her expertise to a level beyond my comprehension before the cat came to the EastWing. She’s so good at ignoring you, Sophia can ignore you and you don’t even know you’re being ignored, as she looks at you with that cat expression of false concern. Damn Republican Cat.

With the Pit Bulls being unable to hear my proposal to come into the house before I went to Toto, I decided to leave ‘em outside, after all, I’m only going to be gone for an hour or two at the most. It was an hour and a half later that I came home and found, much to my surprise, the two Pit Bulls had changed color in 90 minutes. Mr. Bentley, who was a Brindle and White and Miss Daisy James, a Fawn and White, were now both the same color, a new dog color, MUD. DARK MUD. Both Bentley and Miss Daisy James were dark Mud and were they ever happy to see me come home.

Both had been in the swimming pool along with wallowing around in Lake Regina. The only bad part ‘bout their visit to the water parks were they’re not yet open for the season. The swimming pool still has the winter cover in place and lots of really dirty water, dirt, leaves and whatever else happened to find its way to a watery grave on the swimming pool cover. While Lake Regina is mostly mud and cattails. The cattails are now pretty much all flat in the mud.

I’ve never seen more happy Mud Puppies in my life. So much fun on an early Saturday Morning. Just two happy dogs having fun in the water on a hot May Saturday Morning. Of the two happy dogs, one was alive because another had died just 8 days back. Such a happy little Mud Pie, wanting to hug me for sure. We didn’t hug, me and Miss Daisy James, but we didn’t scold either, ‘cause life’s too short to scold a happy little Mud Pie. The clean up was not nearly as much fun as was making the Mud Pies. But it too was a little fun.

By the time the Toto Breakfast was finished that Saturday Morning and the Mud Pies turned back into Pit Bulls, I needed a nap before it was time to go to the final party of the class reunion. By 3 O’clock I was back at Grand Central Station and soon thereafter so was most everybody else. The party was to start at 5:00 PM. We were there by 3:30 and guess what. Yeah, the party started right then and there. No use to sit around for an hour and half waiting for a party to come by.

This is the first 50th Class Reunion held at Grand Central and someone didn’t provide name tags. Part of the fun of the party was trying to figure out who was who. No name tags was a good idea. But I did get s fair amount of criticism Friday Night for the lack of name tags, but that blew over pretty quick. So Saturday Evening I wore a shirt that said “Bob Howard” on the front and a larger “Howard” on the back.

When asked about the shirt, I reminded the inquirer about my announcement just before the Pizza was served Friday night. My announcement simply stated that due to a lack of name tags, we all should wear our name shirts on Saturday Night. Now the way I look at it, one of two things happened there Saturday Night. One being nobody really gives a damn what I say one way or the other. Or two, I’m the only person at the party who has a name shirt. I kinda hope somebody else has a name shirt, but just forgot I told ‘em to wear it.

Now I’m not even gona talk about that forgetting stuff, maybe some other time, but not today. ‘Cause that 50th Class Reunion was the best party ever. From the very start ya could just see that this was gona be a good time. We all hugged and hugged again, and it was just like recess, lunch hour and a pep session all rolled into one, only better.

There’s been a lot of class reunions at Grand Central Station. The Class of “62” has now set the standard for a memorable 50th Class Reunion. And we done it all without name tags, but did have one name shirt.

Stay Safe in Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, A Pizza Party, A Breakfast Party, Turning Mud Pies Into Pit Bulls, A Party For The 50th .

I wish you well,


Birthday, Mothers Day, The Big Five 0 Party, A Time Line For The Pup Baby, 2girldogs-The Gray Lady & Miss Daisy, Miss Daisy & The EastWing Law

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

May 27th Is this a great day or what? Oh sure, it’s a great day. Why is it a great day you may ask? Because It’s my birthday. Now that alone makes it a great day. I don’t’ care who ya are, I’m not gona tell anybody how old I am, but I will say that on May 27th 1944, my Mama sure was happy to have a new baby boy. Now don’t you dare do the math, ‘cause I’m not telling.

A couple weeks ago was Mothers Day, 2012. All my babies came home for dinner, along with my pretty daughter-in-law , Jaimie, they came home for their Mama. They laughed and so enjoyed the company of their mother. At the same time, I so missed my Mama that day, I almost cried. Ya never get too old to miss your Mama, and ya never get too old to cry. So if your Mama is alive, make it a point every time ya can, to tell her how much you love her, and hug her often. ‘Cause there will be a time in your life where ya can’t do that anymore. When that times comes, it’ll be hard. It’ll just be hard.

It was a warm January day when the Pup Baby was born. Johnny was a freshman at Ball State University, and was home for the weekend washing his car when I came home in the early afternoon that Saturday. Johnny said “Hey pal, when did ya get that little pup baby upstairs?” I said “oh she’s been here for about a month or so.” Johnny said “You’d better go look again, that pup baby’s not been here a month.” I came into the house and went up stairs to the girl room.

I touched her within a few minutes after she was born, the Pup Baby, still wet. Born inside my house, born to the Gray Lady James, in the girl room. I named her Mustina, and nicknamed her the Pup Baby. She fit inside my left hand, wrist to middle finger, as she laid there with her eyes closed. Eyes that would not be ready to face the cold cruel world for several more days. Then darkness came, and morning followed, the first day.

The first person she saw on day seven was me, as she laid in my hand, still wrist to middle finger, my Pup Baby, Mustina James. She looked upon my face as I held her a my eye level. We became friends the very first time she laid eyes on me, we became friends, me and that Pup Baby James. it was day seven when she saw me first. Day seven in her life cycle that would span 12 years, 139 days, 7 hrs, and 32 minutes. And then for my Pup Baby, it was the end of time.

When you have a pet, be it dog, cat, bird, turtle, chicken or fish, the most you can hope for in your life is that your pet out lives you, so you never have to suffer the pain of losing a dear, precious friend. The Pup Baby, Mustina, did not outlive me. And so I’m paying that price for my longevity. The Pup Baby is gone forever. For more than twelve years I’ve had 2girldogs in my life. There will never ever be another Pup Baby in my lifetime. There will always be 2girldogs.

It turned out that the Starke County Humane Society had reached the end of the time limits on trying to adopt out a young girl dog. A young Pit Bull, full of life and one day away from being euthanized was brought to my attention. It seemed to me that The Pup Baby’s tragic accident might make it possible for a young girl dog, a young girl dog that she’d never met, to able to survive.

With that being said, I’d like to introduce to you Miss Daisy James. A nine month old Girl Pit Bull, fawn and white in color, spaded, up on all her shots and house trained?( well, almost, but don’t tell the She ‘cause we’re working on it) and full of “I’m wanting to love ya as much as I can”. I thought about getting a hound dog, but found out that a Pit Bull’s days were numbered, so what ya gona do. Ya save a life when ya can. The Pup Baby went to heaven, and Miss Daisy James, well, Miss Daisy James, she just gets to keep on living and has been invited to the EastWing.

It was the most easy of easy introductions to the other folks living in the EastWing. The first step was to stake out Miss Daisy James between the EastWing Maples out there in the front gardens, I then took Bentley outside on a leash, walked up to Miss Daisy James. They smelt butts. Bentley liked it a lot. I don’t think Bentley smelt too much girl butt, being neutered and all. They got along right off the bat.

The next step was the introduction of Gray Lady James, the queen of the EastWing, first on a leash, I walked the Gray Lady up to Miss Daisy James. Miss Daisy was totally submissive, laying belly up on the ground, a sign in dog talk to say “kill me if you must”. The Gray Lady smelled her butt then walked away. It was at that point when I knew the introductions were complete and there would be no wars when I took Miss Daisy inside the house. I left Miss Daisy outside for another two hours, just to make sure. I let both Bentley and the Gray Lady outside on their own, un-tethered, they didn’t even approach Miss Daisy on the chain. It was as if they had no attention toward her one way or the other.

When Miss Daisy James and I walked through the downstairs front door, neither Bentley or Gray Lady James even raised an eye. Miss Daisy had been accepted into the family of Howard as an EastWing Dog. I now once again had 2girldogs. Never again a Mama and a baby, but The Gray Lady and Miss Daisy, once again, 2girldogs in the EastWing. Life was good, sad but good, in the EastWing.

I had concerns about Miss Daisy and her reaction to cats, ‘cause I’ve got a few cats in my life also. Before I brought Miss Daisy James home, I took her to my office to see how she would react to the office cats, Miss Kitty and Little Brother. I walked Miss Daisy inside the office on a leash. Miss Kitty took one look and said “oh well”. It was Little Brother who puffed up his hair up to attention and made the statement “I’m a big cat” Miss Daisy didn’t react much to either one of the Office Cats. I then took Miss Daisy across the street to meet the She. The She took one look at Miss Daisy and said I could keep her. The She made my day.

The first night with Miss Daisy James we worked out sleeping assignments. She sleeps with Bentley. But it was the first full day alone inside the house that proved an adventure. I was told at the animal shelter Miss Daisy was fully house trained, and it appeared to be so her first evening in the EastWing. Last potty call was 9:30 PM and all was well for the night.

At 6:00 AM the next morning all Pit Bulls, both 1 and 2 went outside to do both # 1 and #2. They accomplished both in 10 minutes and back to the door. All was well before the first breakfast at the EastWing. It was when I came home at 4:30 in the afternoon, that first day, that first day alone that the situation changed.

The She is in the habit of taking frozen meat and laying it on one of the kitchen counter tops to thaw for supper. That day the She had taken a package of pork steaks to let thaw on the counter top. When I walked into the Westwing, looked around and saw no damage, I thought, good girl, nothing is disturbed. Six steps up to the living room and the story turned to the dark side.

A disemboweled package of pork steak was strewn over a 20’ area in the living room. The white Styrofoam container looked as if it had been run through a heavy duty shredder. The pork steaks were laying in a pile, semi chewed and appeared to have been in the same location for some time. In addition to the pork steaks, the crackers from the dining room table had somehow gotten onto the dining room floor, and had been devoured by unknown forces. I was not even aware that 2 lbs of hamburger had also disappeared from the counter top until the She got home and asked about the hamburger.

A scant 24 hours into being the junior member of the 2girldogs team and Miss Daisy is in trouble with the law. The EastWing Law. And so I’m telling you the story of how I’m ending up here telling you the story of how Miss Daisy James walked into my life. I’m glad she came. A girl Pit Bull, nine months old and full of “I’m wanting to love ya forever!” She’ll learn the rules of the EastWing real soon. ‘Cause she’s a Pit Bull, and they’re smart, really smart dogs. After all, look at Mr. Bentley, 90 lbs of “Lambert the Sheepish Lion”. Good boy, Mr. Bentley, the Pit Bull in charge of homeland security.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From The EastWing, Birthday, Mothers Day, The Big Five 0 Party, A Time Line For The Pup Baby, 2girldogs-The Gray Lady & Miss Daisy, Miss Daisy & The EastWing Law

I wish you well,


From the WKVI Archives

The year was 1977, and despite the extreme lack of moisture which is normally associated with the development of mosquitoes, conditions must have been ideal for the insects because an unusually large mosquito population was evident that spring.

Knox Mayor at the time, Robert Lynch, stated that the city was trying to combat the mosquito problem by spraying certain areas of the city that seemed heavily infested with the insects.

North Judson Town Board member Don Risner said that North Judson had been sprayed a number of times already.

Contacts with several retail establishments in the area show that the purchase of mosquito repellant was also on the increase that year. The manager of Hook’s Drugs in Knox said the store had sold almost as much repellant already in 1977 as it did for the whole season in ’96.

Email Questions, Skunk Sophia, BobbyRay & The Gospel, Potty Mouth Email, Nashville In The Sunshine, Chattanooga & Road Sings, Moon Pies of Chattanooga

From Subject (Thread Messages) Date Size
Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

One of the fun things I get to do from time to time is respond to the email that comes my way, but more importantly, the email that comes to the Damn Republican Cat. Sophia, bless her little heart, has gotten more email than me for years now. I’ve finally resolved to be second fiddle to a Calico Cat. Oh well, at least Sophia’s not a skunk.

Now there are some who feel compelled to email the EastWing on a regular basis that do, in fact, consider Sophia worse than a skunk. When I told Sophia that some consider her worse than a skunk, she just gave me that “Sophia Smile”, that melt you heart kinda smile and said, “Yeah, and look who they voted for in the White House. “ “Hey Bentley, the President said Pit Bulls are delicious!.” Bentley ran and hid, as Sophia laughed. Damn Republican Cat.

With an ever increasing number of people who visit the EastWing, I get repetitive questions from new friends to the EastWing that I feel compelled to answer. Things like Why do you say the She? Now the She is my beautiful wife Regina. We’ve been married since the days of black & white TV and loved every minute of it, me and the She. At least I’ve loved every minute, maybe the She just puts up with me. But the She does smile, when I kiss an angel good morning.

Is the EastWing real or madeup? It’s a real place. The farthest most east room in my house. The EastWing, a glass room to be enjoyed like no other. A playground for BobbyRay.

Do you really have all the dogs and cats that you talk about? Yes and Yes. The Gray Lady James, Mustina James, nicknamed the Pup Baby, Bentley James, the three dogs of the EastWing. Spike the Man Cat is the largest cat at the EastWing. Then there’s Sophia the Calico Conservative Republican Cat, the glue that holds the EastWing in place. Without Sophia, we’re just another pretty house with a sun room, with Sophia, we’re the EastWing. Damn Republican Cat.

You sound like a kid. How old are you? During the time the Military had forces in the sands of Iraq I wrote a weekly story and send to a group of soldiers in Iraq. Now that story goes into Afghanistan. Over the course of time, that number that visited the EastWing on Wednesday Evening grew to several hundred. And much the same as the Sunday Evening visits to the EastWing, these soldiers would, from time to time, send me emails from the desert.

One such email said “BobbyRay, the other day we’re talking about you and the EastWing and nobody knows how old you are. Are you about our age?

The question came from a kid 22 years old, a young man willing to die to protect my freedom to be in my world and tell stories. His question brought tears to the EastWing. But my answer brought a smile. I simply said “about.” How old am I now? “about the same”. I’m about old enough. I firmly believe one is only as old as ya wanta be. I think 20 years old is kinda cool. I think 67 is kinda cool too.

Are you a Christian? You don’t sound like you believe in God. Shewwww. I don’t know how that idea came into play, but I’ll address it never the less. Am I a Christian? Yes. Do I believe in God? Ya can’t be a Christian without believing in God. DUH !! Now here ya gotta keep in mind that I come from a long line of Baptist Preachers. My father came from a family of 7 sons, all Baptist Preachers. My Grand Father came from a family of 7 sons, all Baptist Preachers.

Am I a Christian? Yes, I’ve got the background, I’ve got the faith, I’ve got the heritage. I got the genes, I could preach if I wanted to. I choose not to, ‘cause God didn’t call. But if he does, you bet, I’ll preach the gospel, but for now I’ll just preach the gospel according to BobbyRay. And that gospel according to BobbyRay, it’s a Golden Rule kinda thing. It’ll work for both me and you unless God wants me to preach something different. That being the case, then you’ll hear the message. Am I Christian? Are ‘you kidding me?

WOW ! Did I ever get a response in the email by bringing up the LBJ story about the sheep. Some said I just made it up because I’m a closet republican and want to destroy President Obama by saying bad things like the president said “Pit Bulls are delicious”.

It’s a fact that President Obama did say that Pit Bulls are delicious. Whether he spoke that as an attempt at humor. or spoke that as a statement of fact, is much the same as the old saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. For friends it was humor, for foes, fact. Sounded to me like the President had just had Pit Bull for breakfast. Pit Bull and scrambled eggs. Shewwww.

Had several hundred people agree with me about the dirty words in rap music that we talked about a few weeks ago. Had one email start out as “HAY YOU M*@^#$ Ff&^%*#” I’m not sure if that was Snoop Dogg himself or not, ‘cause when ya start emails with those kinda words, well they just don’t get read here at the EastWing.

Potty Mouth Emails should stay at home. It truly amazes me that some people cannot speak without using such foul words. And to think some people accuse me of writing down from by level of education. Shewwww. I guess some folks can, and some folks can’t, and some folks wish they could. But there is never a place in society for potty mouth language, for ugly words. If ya can’t say it without talking dirty, shame on you. You, you, you, potty mouth you.

Last Wednesday, late afternoon, me and Johnny and Jaimie hit the road for Georgia to visit my sister, Barbara. I drove 350 miles before we slept Wednesday night in Bowling Green KY. Johnny drove all day Thursday as we meandered our way toward Roswell GA. Got lost in Nashville, just for the fun of being lost in Nashville. Got off the interstate, went downtown, gawked a while, then back south bound and down.

About a 100 miles later and after reading two dozen very large billboard signs praising the virtues of “SUGAR’S RIBS BBQ” in downtown Chattanooga TN we decided that’s where we’ll stop and allow me to attend by phone a meeting of the finance committee of the HealthLinc Org. At the appointed time, I connected to HealthLinc, had the finance meeting, and off we went to SUGAR’S RIBS.

Sugar’s Ribs BBQ was / is, hands down, the single worst BBQ I’ve ever encountered in my whole life, It just was. Now before ya jump to the conclusion I’m just bad mouthing the competition, keep in mind we operate a BBQ in Demotte IN, not Chattanooga TN, so we’re not talking competition here. In fact I wish Sugar’s Ribs was located in Demotte IN. That way we’d get even more business, ‘cause Sugar’s Ribs BBQ once tried, then folks would run to Bub’s BBQ.

I’m not gona go into detail on the lack of quality at SUGAR’S RIBS BBQ, but I’ll just share this event I saw play out before my very eyes. Much of the order brought to our table, we did not eat. Why, I don’t know but Johnny asked for and received a “carry out container” and put the pitiful excuse for BBQ in the white Styrofoam, paid ‘em $60 bucks and left the joint.

On the street, in front of the building housing SUGAR’S RIB BBQ , leaned up against the building, sat a feller who appeared the live on the streets of Chattanooga. It looked as if he had all his worldly possessions within arm’s reach. Johnny offered this man the carry out box. He asked where it came from, Johnny told him Sugar’s Ribs. The street person turned Johnny down, said he’d pass. But he tanked Johnny for the offer. In defense of Sugar’s Ribs BBQ, if you happened to be one of those people who likes your BBQ Meat to be about 95% carbon, you’ll like SUGAR’S RIBS BBQ in downtown Chattanooga TN. But it was not a total wipeout, there in Chattanooga ‘cause after all Chattanooga is the home of the original MOON PIE, and yap, we had Moon Pies, fresh ones, right out of the oven. Good stuff, those MOON PIES.

Stay Safe in Afghanistan

From the EastWing, Email Questions, Skunk Sophia, BobbyRay & The Gospel, Potty Mouth Email, Nashville In The Sunshine, Chattanooga & Road Sings, Moon Pies of Chattanooga

I wish you well,


The Orchard & The Frost, An Orange Phoenix, Garbage Along The Way, Indiana & Local Authorities, Beseeching Appreciation Day Donations By County Employees.

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

Remember awhile back I told you about raising my own orange grove and how the She, with all the good intentions in the world, killed ‘em with kindness and Miracle Grow, and how the “stone that was rejected by the builders had become the corner stone” of the orange grove. Well this is an update on the orange grove corner stone.

The single little orange tree was doing so well I decided to try my hand a apple production. Just saved the seeds of an apple that tasted really good, then done a search on how to grow apple trees. Followed the directions, and in what seemed like no time at all, I had six little apple trees looking up at me from the dirt. Pretty little fellers, them apple trees. I almost forgot to tell ya, I planted all those little apple seeds in the same pot as the orange tree.

When the apple trees reached a full six inches into the sky of the EastWing, I transplanted ‘em into individual pots. Each had for the first time in their young lives, their own little home. I was well on my way to an abundant supply of fresh apple pies, just have to wait a little while before the peeling begins.

Then along came the mild weather of February and early March. My little trees grew and grew as they stretched to the sunshine, they loved the sunshine of March as much as I did. It was as if my little trees were tiptoeing to reach the sunshine They were growing at such at rate I had to turn the pots each day to keep ‘em growing upright and not bending to reach for the sunshine. It was when the sunshine of March took the temperature into the 80’s that I decided to move my orchards to the great outdoors. After all it was just a one pot deal.

They laughed and they played, they swayed in the wind, their little leaves turning belly up to feel the warm sunshine, to signal the approach of the rain. Now all the while my majestic orange tree was standing head and shoulders, all eight inches of her, overlooking the Apple Orchard. And then it happened.

In my haste to usher in the onset of summer, I’d forgotten the fickle fate of an Indiana springtime. The cold came by. I had exposed the jewel of the orchard, the Orange Tree, to the elements of Mother Nature in a way she was not prepared to handle. The night time frost of northern Indiana. It was just not in her genomes to handle frost or freezing temperatures. Orange Trees just don’t do that sorta thing well. And my 8” high hope for the orange grove shivered and froze into the early April night as I slept safe and warm inside the EastWing.

Too late to save the leaves, I brought the orange tree back inside the EastWing, while leaving the baby apple trees to suck up to the spring time cold. Sure enough, the orange tree started to shed leaves like there was no tomorrow. I thought there was no hope for the baby orange tree. But much the same as life itself, it’s always darkest before the dawn.

When I was almost ready to admit that I’d killed my orange tree, the smallest speck of life seemed to appear on the top of an empty stem which used to hold an abundance of life sustaining leaves. I added water and prayer, then, as if the Gods of Orange Trees smiled upon me, within three days, I saw something, so small, so very, very small, but something. The orange tree was coming back to life. An Orange Phoenix emerged from a frozen stem inside the EastWing.

It’ll take a while to catch back up to where we were on that path to freedom of foreign orange juice, but we’ll get there now that the Orange Phoenix has emerged in the EastWing. Bear in mind that success is measured not by your failures in life, rather by the lessons learned from those failures along the way.

I learned a lesson from the exposure of the orange tree to the April Indiana weather. We’ll not walk that path again. The apple trees are just fine and will eventually find their final outside home in the dirt gardens of the EastWing. The Orange Phoenix is now destined to forever remain in the south window in the house of BobbyRay, the EastWing, the same place where she first started life. Pretty little Orange Phoenix Tree.

I don’t know if ya have to have a little boy Orange Tree and a little girl Orange Tree to get baby oranges or not. But we’ll cross that matter when the time comes, for right now I’m just content to look at the baby Orange Phoenix and marvel at the mystery of life itself and how things struggle to survive, even baby orange trees planted in the EastWing, from a seed from an orange from Florida. Life that should not have started in the EastWing in the first place, but once started, it never gave up. The gift of life. A gift only from God, an Orange Tree.

I may even plant some of those apple trees in the south gardens, just to watch them little fellers grow. I love growing trees from seeds. And I haven’t even told ya the story about that little maple tree I just started inside the pot with the Orange Phoenix. But that’s another story for another time. It’s one of those little helicopter things that ya see fly by in the springtime. Yeah, that kinda seed, I’ve got one winding up to take off.

Did ya ever want to just scream at what some people will do? The other day I came home from work, and right there just before I got to the drive way of the EastWing, right there along the south side of 800 South, the part I keep mowed and looking nice before ya get to my house, somebody had thrown out a big, big white plastic bag of garbage. It had broken open and spread 30′ foot mess along the road side on my newly mown grass .

Included in the garbage, along with the many dirty dippers and many other dirty personal female items. I’ll not go into detail, but if I was still in my Forensic Laboratory where I worked years ago, I had enough specimen to identify by DNA, at least one female along with one other person. Not only that crap was in the garbage, it also contained envelopes with the name and address of the owners of the garbage. I called ‘em up told ‘em I had their garbage and suggested they come to 800 South and clean up their mess.

I spoke to a woman on the phone and my suggestion was met with the big “F” word. Yeah, I’m telling ya the big “F” word right up, along with the “MF” word too. Did ya notice I didn’t say I spoke to a lady on the phone? There was no lady on the phone. When she even made reference to a mother during our conversation, I knew it was just not a lady on the phone. I’d reached that conclusion ever before she hung up on me.

After cleaning up the mess along the way, I decided to inquire into what laws were broken by the garbage along the roadside. After all, for many years I’d seen the signs on the state highways saying “$500 fine for littering” I figured it’d be at least $300.00 for littering along 800 South. And so I contacted the Indiana Department of Transportation, ‘cause it was their sign I remembered. Talk about a worthless piece of crap.

The state of Indiana referred me to the “local authorities”. When I asked which local authority I needed to contact, I was told the State of Indiana makes every effort to not be involved in local jurisdiction. Well, the level of help from the State of Indiana was so reassuring and it just made me glad to be called a Hoosier, by knowing the State of Indiana was on full duty and alert, while making every effort to make sure they’re not getting involved in local jurisdiction. Worthless piece of crap.

The “local authorities” told me that garbage along 800 S was a “low priority matter” and as such they had no interest in the name and address of the owner of the garbage along the way. It’s hard to tell who provided the most assistance in this matter, the State of Indiana of the “Local Authorities”.

After all was said and done, the response from the State of Indiana along with the response from the “local authorities”, I guess the response from the woman on the phone was acceptable considering it was up to the “local authorities” and they considered the dastardly deed of garbage dumping on 800 South a “low priority matter”.

Now you must keep in mind, the woman on the phone didn’t make the same reference to the “local authorities” mother in the same manner she referred to me as. Had she done so, maybe that would have changed her position of “low priority matter”. But I’ve never seen the “local authority’s” mother, so I don’t know if it would make a difference of not, maybe not. Ya just don’t know till ya see things.

I’m not too surprised at the response from the “local authorities”, after all, this is a county whereby county employees are actively soliciting donations from the business community in order to have an employee appreciation day party for EMS Employees.

I just can’t help but wonder should I go to the “local authorities” and ask for a donation so I can have a BobbyRay Appreciation Day? They asked me, so why not turn about being fair play. I wonder if the “local authorities” are even aware that their county employees are asking the community for donations to allow for employee appreciation day for EMS? Why not County Highway Employees Appreciation Day being next? After all, they’re the guys who plow the snow. And then the next group would be…….. And if we just kept that up, why, eventually we would even have an appreciation day for the “local authorities”.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, The Orchard & The Frost, An Orange Phoenix, Garbage Along The Way, Indiana & Local Authorities, Beseeching Appreciation Day Donations By County Employees.

I wish you well,


Sophia & Sheep, Democracy, The Peanut Guy, Sophia’s New Word, Time & Tide & Me & The Barbara

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

As we’re rapidly diving into the election campaign season to select the President of the United States, Sophia, the Calico Conservative Republican Cat is cranking up her forces to join the fray. With her side having pretty much determined who’ll face President Obama come November, Sophia’s now heavily involved in plotting a strategy for success according to her point of view.

Besides Sophia’s little set of dirty tricks, like making sure nobody ever forgets that the President likes to eat dogs, and has maybe, just maybe, eaten much worse than dogs, things that he’s just not yet admitted to eating, but he will if Sophia gets her way. Sophia even went as far as telling Mr. Bentley that the president said Pit Bulls are delicious. Now every time Bentley sees a black man, he runs and hides, while Sophia laughs.

It appears Sophia’s taking a call right out of the democrat, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s, playbook of dirty tricks. President Johnson was notorious for dirty politics, in fact, given the weak candidates this year, both the current president, as well as the assumed opposition, President Johnson would probably be able to dispose of both of ‘em on the same day, before breakfast and not even break a sweat. In fact, Johnson is credited with coining the phrase “no sweat”.

President Johnson is famous for telling his political henchmen that “You don’t have to accuse our opponent of F#@$&ing sheep, you simply have to get ‘em to deny it in public.” It turns out that it’s all in how you phrase the question. President Johnson was the acknowledged master of constructing the question. Not everybody knows it, but President Johnson was a former school teacher. I guess school teachers are just tougher in Texas.

Sophia said that she’s abandoning the farm animal approach for a much more sophisticated technique of mind games. Now remember Sophia has in her room, setting on her nightstand, an autographed picture of Herbert Hoover. It was in the presence of “The Hoover” when Sophia came up with the inspiration for attacking her opposition. And how better than the use of language?

Over the years much has been said about Herbert Hoover and his inapt handling of things when he was President of the United States. In fact, President Hoover receives undue criticism for world events beyond his control. President Hoover had an unusual insight into the real world of both life and politics, with an example such as “Economic depression cannot be cured by legislative action or executive pronouncement. Economic wounds must be healed by the action of the cells of the economic body – the producers and consumers themselves.”

It sure sounded like President Hoover didn’t think an economic bailout plan would work. Can’t help but wonder, do ya think it worked? Did it work for you?. That hope and change thing sure did change things. But I’m not too sure about the hope part, but the change…. Shewwww.

Late yesterday afternoon, Sophia asked me could I give her a definition for the word democracy. I thought I could, and so stated “ it’s the free and equal right of every person to participate in a system of government, regularly practiced by electing representatives of the people by the majority of those same people”.

When she asked me to define the word democracy I even remembered the words of President Jimmy Carter when he spoke to the Parliament of India, and said “Democracy is like the experience of life itself – always changing, infinite in its variety, sometimes turbulent and all the more valuable for having been tested for adversity.” I even surprised myself by remembering President Carter’s words, as he had such few things from his presidency worth remembering. But the democracy thing I just remembered that from Jimmy Carter and so I shared it too with Sophia.

She was not impressed. But with that Sophia smile, ya just gotta love it, as she looked at me and said “Jimmy who? Oh, was that the peanut guy?” Uhhh! Sometimes ya just want to say “Damn Republican Cat”, before it’s time to say it.

Sophia then asked if I could define the word “ Ineptocracy” I told her, define it , why, I’ve not ever heard of such a word. The cat said, “I’m glad you asked. Let me tell you about an important point in the upcoming election campaign. It’s Ineptocracy, pronounced as (in-ep-toc’-Ra-cy), it’s a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed in anything, ever, they’re rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.”

The politically savvy Sophia appears to have created a new word to turn loose on her democrat nemesis. It seemed to me that Sophia had returned to the President Johnson technique. Now when I read the definition for Sophia’s new word, that Ineptocracy thing, well, no matter how many times I read it, it still sounds like sheep to me, it even smells like sheep. Ya don’t have to accuse ‘em of it, just get ‘em to deny it in public. The original political tactics of a Democrat President from Texas, LBJ. Damn Republican Cat.

“Time and Tide Waits For No Man” When you’re 18 years old, ya never think of time or tide. Ya do later on. Now I’m in the process of planning a 50th year class reunion at Grand Central Station on Memorial Day Weekend. Yeah, 50 years out of high school.

One of the fun things about telling stories from the EastWing is the fact that several of my classmates from high school visit the EastWing on a regular basis. “Course ya never know how many have put me into their junk mail category. Oh well, things like that happen in life. Guess I’ve been called worse than junk mail from time to time.

And I always thought that stuff was for old people. Well, it turns out it’s not for old people at all, those 50th year reunion parties. They’re for the ones in life who have a mind set of “I’m still 18 in my mind, when I want to be”. So I’m telling the class of 1962 right up, if you went to high school with me and now consider yourself “ too old to party”, then you may not enjoy this 50th year class reunion as much as some.

On the other hand, it you want to go to a two day party, including both a pizza party within the party as well as a sock hop within the party, a sock hop that’s only playing music from 1958 – 1962, and even a breakfast thrown in there somewhere , all the while visiting with friends for life, we’ll all have a fun time at this class reunion that’s for sure. So says the Barbara, ‘cause I’m just the boy, the worker bee, the Barbara does the party.

Stay safe in Afghanistan

From the EastWing, Sophia & Sheep, Democracy, The Peanut Guy, Sophia’s New Word, Time & Tide & Me & The Barbara

I wish you well,


The World Turning Green, Dirty Words In Music=Dirty Music, Common Sense

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

There’re very few things more pleasant than watching the world turn green in the springtime, while the little sounds of the springtime night are beautiful music to my bionic ears. Now I’m not picking on any generation’s music, but those little springtime Peps, well, those little fellers make more music for my ears than a whole bus load of gangster rappers.

Maybe I’m just showing my age, but I could never “rap” my music tastes around that kinda crap. I tried, yes I did try, and could never connect with the sound. Then as technology brought me more hearing and better sounds, I realized “why them fellers are saying words that my Mama would slap my face to this day if I said that in public”. Dirty words=dirty music.

I never said cuss words in the company of my Mama, nor did I ever embrace the potty mouth language of the rap music culture. Am I too old, I don’t think so. I firmly believe the moral fabric of society is not determined, in part, by what one takes from, rather by what one contributes to.

It’s truly a stretch of one’s imagination to believe “music” that describes females in the most degrading, humiliating terms possible, using ghetto slang language, spoken overwhelmingly by those who are most dependent on some level of government for their very existence, that “music” does in fact contribute to society. Then so did Puff The Magic Dragon.

I’ll be proven right or wrong 100 years from now when those folks of the future remember the music of Elvis Presley, Mozart, the Beetles, Bing Crosby, or maybe, just maybe, they’ll remember the Snoop Dogg instead. That dirty talking Snoop Dogg.

I expect that many of those who visit the EastWing have never heard the music of Snoop Dogg. You may have heard the music and not understood or ever seen the written words. May I just suggest that you Google “Snoop Dogg” then take the time to read any, and I repeat any, of the lyrics of the Snoop Dogg music. I’ll bet that you will be shocked into silence to think such words are allowed on the public airways. I thought about printing the lyrics of one of Snoop Dogg raps. But decided this is a family show, so let those dirty words of rap music remain in the lowest bowels of hell, where they belong. Talk about ethnic profiling….WOW! We Hillbillies don’t talk that way. I’m telling ya, we just don’t say things like that, especially about girls.

Another sure sign of spring are those little moths dancing on the wing just outside the south window of the EastWing. By now I’m looking for the first sighting of the hummingbirds coming back to the EastWing, and every time those little moths flutter by, I think it’s the little humming birds back for the season. It’s still too early, but I’m already looking for ‘em. I’m ready to serve ‘em dinner when they’re ready to eat.

Even after to first deadline for income tax filing is passed, the work continues at a rather unexpected pace. And so it was in doing that work I came in contact with one of the most amazing people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in a long time, a long time.

She was 91 years old and damn proud of it. She demonstrated one of the most functional intellects I’ve ever encounter. This ole gal is sharp with a capital S. She made my day, in fact she made my whole week, maybe two weeks or even more, I’m still deciding that matter.

We talked of many things. But the thing that suck most in my mind was her comments about Common Sense. She said “Common Sense died, ya know, sad to say but I believe he died in my lifetime.” I asked her to tell me the story, and so she did. “He was a lot older than me and taught many lessons to me and everyone I grew up with. There was a time when everybody I knew, knew the lessons taught by Common Sense.”

“Knowing when to come in out of the rain. Why the early bird gets the worm. Life isn’t always fair. And maybe, just maybe it was my fault. It was kinda the gospel according to Common Sense. He had other things he preached too, such as don’t spend more than you earn and adults, not children are in charge of things.”

“Common Sense was attacked years ago by forces more concerned with self interest than those of Common Sense. Government regulations controlling everything and anything strayed more and more away from Common Sense. Public education was an early battle ground for Common Sense. A 6 year old was charged with sexual harassment for kissing another 6 year old in his class. Then a teenager was suspended from school for a full week for using mouthwash after lunch. It was considered using drugs on school property.”

“As things went from bad to worse in public education, Common Sense became more and more concerned as parents attacked teachers for doing the job of disciplining their children, a job they themselves had failed to do. The battle was lost in public education when schools had to get parental consent to administration an aspirin, but could not inform the parent when their child had become pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.”

“Common Sense could only watch as churches became multimillion dollar businesses, and some operated by crooks, while criminals received better treatment than victims of their crime. In open court, Common Sense cried, when it was determined that you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home, and that same burglar could in fact sue for assault if you done him harm.”

Common Sense received a death blow when a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She then proceeded to spill some on her lap and, in court, became an instant millionaire.

“Common Sense was proceeded in death, By his parents, Truth and Justice. By this wife, Discretion. By his daughter, Responsibility. And by his son, Reason.”

“Common Sense is survived by six evil cousins,

I Know My Rights! I Want It Now! Someone Else Is To Blame! I’m a Victim!

Pay Me for Doing Nothing! That’s Just Plain Racist”

She said in her 91 years of living, laughing, loving and life, the one thing most sad about it all is the death of Common Sense in her lifetime. Her story gave me chills. Chills from the questions inside my head, Is it true?

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From The EastWing, The World Turning Green, Dirty Words In Music=Dirty Music, Common Sense

From the EastWing,

I wish you well,


Changing Schedules, Good Candy-Bad Candy, Eating Dog & Bragging, Short Sleeve Shirts & Hoodies, Cutting Grass, Bull Dozer & Mr. Lincoln

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
Another tax filing season comes to an end. Another reason to thank God for the life live. If ya stop and think about it, if you could pick and choose what time of the year that you would have to work day and night, seven days a week, what would you pick?
Why the winter time of course! Nothing to do outside anyways. Short days, long nights, might just as well work. And so I do. Long into the nighttime of winter. The cold of winter matters not if your job keeps you inside, and mine does.
Then along comes April, the world turns green, everybody wants to go outside and play. I go outside and play. For the rest of the year, after the rush of the tax filing season is completed,  almost all my work can be scheduled around the times I want it to be. My payroll work is predetermined to be Thursday and Friday. the routine accounting work is then scheduled for two nine hour days around the payrolls on Thursdays and Fridays.   
Now are you ready for this? I’m telling ya, for the rest of the year, it’s a 5 day weekend! Is that sweet or what? When ya look at it that way, working 16 hr days in January,  February, March, and half of April, well,  it’s a good trade off for the rest of the year.
90% Cocoa caught my eye at the checkout counter at CVS. It started at  60, 70, 80 and 90% Cocoa. Well beings that I like chocolate I decided to go for the one labeled “LINDT EXCELLENCE 90% COCOA” Unless you are tuff enough to eat cocoa right out of that Hershey’s Cocoa can, the one where the sides are made of paper and the bottom and lid are made of metal, yeah, that can, ya better stick with the 60 or 70% kind. 90% is way  too bitter for me. Oh well live and learn, even about 90% Cocoa.  I thought if 80% is good, 90% will be better, was not  better,  was bitter.   It’s amazing how, in the chocolate candy world, a single letter like e to i  can spell the difference between good and yuk.
Sophia the Conservative Calico Republican Cat has been surprisingly quiet while this republican primary season plays out. That all ended the other day when one of President Obama’s main operatives, David Axelrod, continued to push the issue of Mitt Romney   transporting a dog in a carrier on top of a car. It turns out that President Obama  never transported a dog on top of a car. But he has eaten a dog.
He said so himself, he even described how dog meat tasted. And no, he didn’t make any comparison to chicken. But I bet he wishes he’d never spoken those lines for his book.  Yet at the time, I’m sure, he thought it was a really cool thing to say. Sorta like a  “I ate dog and you didn’t” , kinda thing.  That just goes to show ya, the old saying “If ya eat dog, it’ll come back and bite ya in another life” must be right. Bark, bark, woof, woof, down boy. I wonder what else that guy ate that he didn’t tell us about?  Surly not that……No, no, oh no, surly not that…. But ya gotta wonder…. Some do.
Well the news of the president admitting that he ate dog meat had hardly been reported by 
CNN, when Sophia began tweeting the President’s Chef at the White House, proposing  The Pup Baby, Gray Lady James, and Bentley be the main course for the very next official State Dinner hosted by President Obama.
Sophia suggested  the White House Chef  tell the secret service people to come by and pick up the 2girldogs and Bentley any time at the EastWing. She also suggested a little rest and relaxation for the secret service workers, by visiting the Wooden Nickel in North Judson. Sophia said the Nickel may not be as lively as some of the places visited by the secret service of late, but it’s the wildest we got going at the local level, good pizza at the Wooden Nickel in downtown North Judson.  Sophia has not yet told the 2girldogs or Bentley about her trying to arrange ‘em a trip out of town.  Damn Republican Cat.
Did the weather change last Thursday catch ya by surprise the way it did me? Got up Thursday morning, looked outside into bright sunshine. Checked the temperature and saw it was 65° Now at the EastWing, when it’s 65° at 6:30 in the AM and the wind is from the south, well that’s a short sleeve kinda day for sure. I almost wore short pants but couldn’t find the ones I had in mind.
At noon I started across the street to have lunch with the She.  Well, I damn near froze  just crossing Lane Street.  A 24° drop in temperature and a wind shift from the north made the short sleeve shirt feel out of tune and out of time to say the least.
The Gods of Dumb Dressers for Springtime Weather smiled upon me that cold windy Thursday at noontime. As I shivered in my short sleeve shirt, the She offered me a heavy duty hoodie.   That was one thing I did not decline. The hoodie saved my Thursday. Got home that late Thursday afternoon and kept the hoodie on till bed time. Good thing I got regular PJ’s   else me and that hoodie, well, me and that hoodie, we’d for sure have been rolled into one big nighty night…..
Guess the next time I want to wear short sleeve shirt before May 1st I’ll look at both the temperature and the weather forecast. Now one additional back up has already been put into place, the hoodie has been relocated to the back room of the office of RHCO INC. Hoodies are handy. I didn’t even tell ya, my hoodie has a hand warmer pocket. Why you can put  both hands into the hand warmer pocket and twiddle your  thumbs and nobody would ever know. I tried, they didn’t know.
Yesterday I cut the grass for the first time at the EastWing. Most everybody else has been cutting grass for two weeks, not me. I had a reason, too busy at work. Now that excuse has run its course so I’m relegated to being lawn boy of the EastWing  once again. It don’t pay a lot but the title is kinda cool.
I like cutting grass. It gives me a chance to operate heavy equipment. I always thought it would be fun to run a bull dozer, never had a chance, just thought it would be fun. The largest machine I ever operate is Mr. Lincoln, and he’s kinda easy.
It was a sense right out of “Wild Kingdom” as it played out along the roadside  out there beyond the front gardens of the EastWing, along 800 South. I look up and a baby wood duck is walking down the road. Have no idea where the baby duck came from, it was just out there walking down the road. It’s easy to tell a duck, ‘cause if it walks like… and sounds like…. Even little quacks, and little waddles tell the tail.
The little waddle, that little waddle caught the attention of Spike The Man Cat who just so happened to be outside playing in the new mown grass. The most basic instincts  of The Man Cat came to the forefront. In the jungle, the mighty jungle, a lion walked the front gardens of the EastWing. A man cat.
Stay safe in Afghanistan.
From the EastWing, Changing Schedules, Good Candy-Bad Candy, Eating Dog & Bragging, Short Sleeve Shirts & Hoodies, Cutting Grass, Bull Dozer & Mr. Lincoln, If it walks like a …….and sounds like a ………

Flipping Bugs, Springtime Blooming, Bottled Water, Gadget TV & Green Frying Pans

Greeting to all and welcome to new friends to the EastWing

Flipping Lady Like Bugs into space is playing hockey in the bug world. Every time I flip one of those little fellers into the unknown abyss, I can’t help but wonder if I did the right thing, yet I flip ‘em off , and it brings a whole new meaning to flipping ‘em off.

Did ya ever think you’d see a time when people would pay to drink bottled water? I’m telling ya, paying for drinking bottled water, SHEWWWW. And much of it is coming right out of tap water from whatever source is doing the bottling process. And to make matters worse, much of that bottled water, that bottled water has an expiration date. Can you believe that? Water that expires. Damn, and I always thought water was good forever.

I think that’s part of ObamaCare, putting an expiration on water. Heard the other day that they’re gona limit how much water folks like me, on Medicare, can drink. That way we’ll just dry up and blow away, and that’ll hold down the cost of Medicare. Of course they won’t propose that until after President Obama is reelected. A few days ago you may have heard in the news the president telling the Russians that he’d have more flexibility after the upcoming election. It was that old folks and water limitation he was talking about with the Russians. They may be already using it, and the president just stole the idea and gona blame it on Bush.

An interesting fact about water is the total volume of water on this planet has never changed from the creation of water on the planet up to and including today. The three states of water, solid, liquid and gas, well they’re changing all the time, all over the world, yet the total worldwide volume of water never changes.

A few years ago my company was hired by a company in Rolling Prairie IN, a company engaged in the business of packaging your product. It mattered not what your product was, this company would figure out how to package your product the way you wanted it packaged. They just packaged your stuff, to your specs.

When I got involved with this company, they were in the process of packaging three products, water, shampoo and those little paper packs of sugar. Putting one into the plastic bottle and one into the plastic tube and one into that little paper bag. I’d never encountered automatic assembly line production in my life. WOW! Was I ever impressed. Machines that did everything in the whole world. I’m telling ya, they put the shampoo in the tube. It was like putting the toothpaste into the tube, except it was shampoo. I’d squeezed it out, but had never seen it put in to begin with. I’d opened the little bags of sugar, but never seen ‘em filled. I was impressed. The shampoo goes in from the bottom side, and I bet the toothpaste does too.

The water came to this company by the freight railroad car from the Catskill Mountains, the shampoo by 6 thousand gallon truck loads from I don’t know where, and the sugar, well the sugar came in 1,000 lb bags that had to be picked up by forklifts and hoisted up into position to dump into a vat that filled the machine that filled the little bags. Each one injected into the automatic assembly line process at the proper time. Bottles were filled and tubes were filled and little bags were filled and products were distributed to the end consumer in an amazingly complex assembly process. I stood in awe.

I’d never seen such automation in my life. And I’d been hired to make recommendations to improve the efficiently of this company. Shewwww. But being a hillbilly who could read, and not wanting to act like I didn’t know what I was talking about, I said “Oh sure, I can improve this overall operation”. As I silently prayed “Hail Mary full of grace……” Now my Catholic friends will get that humor, for my non Catholic friends, that Hail Mary part, well, it’s a most basic prayer in the Catholic Faith, I’m asking Mary, the Mother of God, to assist me at my time of need. And Lord knows at that time, I needed the assistance of Mother Mary.

So I went about analyzing this business, this business of packaging your stuff. The automated side of the operation was beyond my ability of improve upon. It was in the non automated part of the business that I looked to find areas weakness. The administrative and management side of the company allowed me to justify my consulting fees. I wrote the report.

I met with the owner, who had financed the business by the use of 38 credit cards, because no one in the money lending business would loan him money for his “hair brain” idea of creating a company to package your stuff. The owner was one of the most intelligent men I’ve ever know. He was a mechanical genius who could design and create a machine to do anything he could envision. All his machines were one of a kind from his mind to his production line, to finished product. Into the bottle or into the tube, or into any other package you wanted, it mattered not. However ya wanted it, he could design a machine to make it happen. Then build the thing himself. Push the button and start the assembly line. It always worked.

I made the initial presentation and recommendations to this owner. He bought my plans for his company in total, and gave me the green light to produce the details of implementation throughout his company. We would meet again in eight weeks and put my plan in place. In the mean time he had been hired by the US State Department to go to Iraq and set up an operation to bottle water for the troops in the desert. Much the same type operation as in Rolling Prairie IN. We were to meet the week after his return from the desert.

A week before his scheduled return from Iraq, this man went missing in the sands of Iraq. He never returned home. His whereabouts have remained completely unknown. The Federal Government, who had contracted his services, has remained silent on this matter to this very day. It was with massive credit card debt, and no income, his wife was forced into bankruptcy and all the while not a single clue as to the whereabouts of the man who bottled water. Such a brilliant mind lost forever. I can’t help but hope that somewhere in the desert sands of Iraq, he’s still bottling water with a “Rube Goldberg” type machine that’s doing all the work. Just cranking it out, bottling water somewhere near an oasis in desert.

Red Bud Trees bloom overnight. Freesia bushes bloom overnight. Tis the springtime for sure. The audio of the springtime night is turned on maximum volume. The Peeps, the bells of springtime are ringing loud. This year, 2012 will be forever remembered as the year that summer started early. Before winter ended, skipped spring all together and went right into summer. I love summer.

Are you a buyer of gadgets? Kitchen gadgets, I mean. Oh sure, I’ve bought ‘em all, or damn near all. The Juicer machine, the bread machine, counter top grill, electric can opener, perfect deviled eggs, hot doggers, and the list goes on and on.

I’m kinda an old school gadget buyer, we’re talking the Chopamatic, here. First introduced before color TV was in vogue. Not only not in vogue, was not yet available. I first used the Chopamatic to chop Spam into sandwich spread. Didn’t know it at the time, but Little Oscar had the same thing in a plastic tube marketed as “Sandwich Spread”. Guess Little Oscar must’ve bought the very first Chopamatic.

It looked so good on TV. They didn’t show ya the cleaning out part. What the hell! Almost impossible to get clean. 98 % stopped using the juicer before 3 times use. The same holds true for the Bread Machine. It looked so good on TV. And so ya bought it. It smelled so good for the first time. But ya just never got into the habit of buying the stuff to make it work, and so ya continue to by the bread in those little plastic bags.

Countertop Grills. Shewwww. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. And the battery can opener, well it just didn’t work out. Now don’t even get me started about those perfect deviled eggs. But I did just a week or so ago buy that 10’’ green frying pan that nothing sticks to and allows you to blow stuff out of the pan with just a little puff of air. And that egg swirls around like magic. I’m sure looking forward to that. I’ll let ya know ‘bout green frying pan.

Stay Safe in Afghanistan.

From The EastWing, Flipping Bugs, Springtime Blooming, Bottled Water, Gadget TV & Green Frying Pans

I wish you well,


The Benefit, Me & Adam Back In The Day, Honey Bees & Bumblebees, Mowing Grass @ $4.00 A Gallon

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

Here at the EastWing, this Easter Day, everything that’s supposed to have blooms, have blooms. Never can I remember such a more beautiful springtime blooming season than this year. Red Bud Trees, Lilacs both purple and white, Crab Apple Trees, Peach, Pears, and the list goes on. Even inside the EastWing spring’s busting out all over. A Christmas Cactus with 26 buds, getting ready to pop, and that’s only one plant, I’ve got two. Such a beautiful Easter Day with all the world in bloom, our special gift from God.

Few things are more gratifying than asking for help and being almost overwhelmed with a response to your request. And so it was with our efforts to assist in the rebuilding of Salyersville KY after the March 2nd Tornado disaster.

When the word went out with the March 18th letter from the EastWing asking for help, things started to happen. Money came from a cousin in Texas. A dear cousin I’ve not seen in years, yet she knew the pain, she just knew the pain of Magoffin County KY. She has a cousin who teaches in the Magoffin County School System. She just knew the pain. She joined the efforts from the EastWing.

Money came from nephews on the east coast, from cousins in Indiana, from friends in California, Alabama, and as far away as Asia and Debi. The reach of the EastWing is wide when the need is great. For everyone who donated in any way to the cause, God remembers stuff like that.

WKVI Radio responded to my plea for help from the March 18th letter from the EastWing by inviting me to go on air and talk about it. Well you know for sure I’m not gona turn down a live radio microphone to promote the cause. So me and Tom Burg, we talked about the need to help those who have suffered so much in Salyersville KY.

We talked about how so many in Starke County have roots in Magoffin County. We talked about how, in the very early days of WKVI Radio Ted Hayes and one of the original investors of WKVI Radio, Almo Smith, who was from Salyersville KY, went to Salyersville. And how Almo, if alive today would be leading the cause to assist the people of Magoffin County. To assist the people to rebuild Salyersville KY. Me and Tom, we talked about how a majority of the listeners of WKVI may very well have roots in those mountains of southeastern KY and as such can connect with our efforts to assist in the rebuilding efforts. We talked about our March 24th efforts to assist in the disaster that destroyed Salyersville.

Talking on the radio is easy and almost as much fun as talking on the keyboard. It’s one of those things that I could get used to talking on the radio real quick. It just like telling stories, without the keyboard.

If there’s one thing ya can say about the people of the south, it’s in times of trouble, we are family. We are one. We take care of each other when we need to, and when we don’t, we don’t. The time has now come to be family, and so we are at this point in time, a single family. Children of the mountains, we are one.

The day came, March 24, 2012. And like we said we’d do, Adam and Pat Craig, and me, well, we held the benefit at Grand Central Station for the disaster relief in Magoffin County KY.

And don’t ya just know, it worked. The house was full. The music was great. The food was stone cold hillbilly. Now when Rosie Insco makes soup beans and cornbread and ya don’t get any, well you’ve missed a lot that day. By the end of the show, those soup beans and cornbread were just precious memories.

With pledges for contributions still to be mailed in by check, by the end of the evening we had a grand total of $ 2,374.00 cash in hand and what appeared to be upwards of 2,000 lbs of durable supplies of all types. Adam worked out the details of the delivery to Salyersville.

Now even before we knew how much money we’d taken in, Adam said if I’d let him take the money, he was pretty sure that he could get almost all of it down there to Salyersville. I told Adam that I’d take care of the money but would let him deliver the toilet paper. Adam, being the true friend of mine that I’ve known since we were little boys, simply gave me that “Adam Craig” smile and said “OK, I can do that”. I don’t’ care who ya are, ya gotta love Adam Craig. I’ve know Adam for almost forever, and the one thing I can say is he’s not changed one bit in all that time. And that’s just one of the reasons I love ‘em to this day. Adam Craig, he’s just a friend of mine.

Seeing so many friends take the time to come out and support the cause is heartwarming. To see a dear friend from Magoffin County walk thru the front door at Grand Central Station, priceless. Thank you Bob Allen, you made my day. And thank you Jesus for smiling upon our meager efforts here in northern Indiana to help those who, but for the grace of God, there goes I.

As spring continues to burst out all over, nowhere is it more apparent than in the front gardens of the EastWing. Everybody knows about the two EastWing Maples in the front gardens. The maple on the east side is in full leaves. While the maple on the west side has yet to produce leaves. Little buds that say “I’m gona have leaves, but not yet”. And it’s the sane process in autumn, the maple on the east side hangs onto its leaves to the very last second, while the west maple sheds leaves with the very first hint of fall.

I just had an unexpected visitor to the EastWing, a bumblebee. I caught the little feller in a Kleenex , took him outside and wished him well, as he flew from my open hand. That little bumblebee I just turned loose can thank my Grandpa, Harlan Fugate, there on Southfork, for teaching me about honey bees and bumblebees when I was a little boy.

Grandpa Harlan was a bee keeper up there on Southfork, In Breathitt County KY and he always told me to never be afraid of the honey bees or the bumblebees. And if they get trapped inside the house, just catch ‘em easy and turn ‘em loose outside, and they’ll be ok. And so I do to this very day, pick ‘em up and turn ‘em loose. But not the case with the wasp or the hornet. Whenever I see ‘em, we go to war, damn little Sons Of Bees.

Grandpa Harlan used to say “BobbyRay there was never a honeybee that wanted to sting you, ‘cause they only want to get away.” I’ve remembered that always. And as such, I have no fear of honeybees or bumblebees. On more than one occasion, I’ve held a honeybee or bumble in my hand. Grandpa Harlan was right, they didn’t want to sting me, they just wanted to get away. They always seemed to tell me the same message, if ya let me go, then I’ll fly away, and so I’ve set ‘em free. They flew away. I’m not sure if anyone ever looked back over their shoulder or not.

The down side of an early spring is the growing of the green, green grass of home. Yep, not yet the middle of April and the grass is already too high and needs mowing. Now with lawn mower gas at $4.00+ per gallon, trimming the lawn becomes an investment in how much I want to impress the neighbors. Now do you really think that’s a major concern of mine, that impressing the neighbors part? Yep, ya got that one right.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, The Benefit, Me & Adam Back In The Day, Honey Bees & Bumblebees, Mowing Grass @ $4.00 A Gallon

I Wish You Well,


Fightin’ Like Cat & Dogs, Sophia & Swagger, Deadly Mountain Lions, Never Fear Summer, Hating Lady Like Bugs, Looking For The End, The Mercury And Finger Painting With Words And Little Cats Feet

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

“They fight like cats and dogs” I’ve heard that saying most all my life. I can only hope it applies to the whole world in the same manner as my cats and dogs fight. They don’t fight, ever.  Now not everybody visiting the EastWing at any given time is aware of who’s who, in the cast of players  at my EastWing.  So from time to time I gotta re-indentify the players, and bring everybody up to speed on the EastWing cast of characters.

So it’s by weight, from the largest to the smallest, we start with Mr. Bentley James, a Pit Bull, 90 lbs. of boy dog, with a little anti reproductive surgery thrown into the mix,  and a bark that can make your blood run cold. Bentley James, well, Bentley James he’s  in charge of Home Land Security here at the EastWing.

Mustina James, aka, the Pup Baby.  50 lb. of ½ of   a mother / daughter German Short Hair Pointer  Birddog Team. The Gray Lady James, 35 lbs. of the other ½ of that mother/ daughter Birddog Team. The Gray Lady James, and the Pup Baby,  why they’re the 2girldogs in the EastWing.

 Spike The Man Cat, 15 lbs of “I’m a man cat and you’re not.” Sophia the Calico Republican Conservative  Cat, 6 lbs of alley cat from the neighborhood of LeRoy Brown.  Sophia walks with swagger from the Southside of Chicago, and carries her knives with pride. The knives of Sophia, they’re switchblades ya know. Concealed weapons from the Southside. Switchblade knives and a cast that jives….

Now starting from a position of influence, It’s Sophia The Calico Republican Conservative Cat, and everybody else  tied for the second spot.  Only when Sophia gets way, way too crazy, that the true patriarch of the EastWing comes to light. It’s in the darkest times of trouble, that  the wisdom of  the Gray Lady James reigns supreme.  She then brings tranquility back to the EastWing.

At the EastWing, it’s so apparent that God gave a bird dog the wisdom of knowing when to hold ‘em  and when to move ‘em out, and so she does, the Gray Lady James. Even with that being said, there’s few things that can quite compare to when Sophia struts her stuff. And she does, often. Damn Republican Cat.

So it was this year, 2012,  when March came into being as the Killer Mountain Lion of Winter.  Death and destruction walked upon my mountain heritage in eastern Kentucky.   March also ushered in the summer time. Now I don’t care who ya are, when it’s 82° on March 14th, that’s summertime. The unprecedented  warmth of  the March weather has caused many to fear the coming summer.

For me, that’s too dumb to talk about. What the hell! Are you kidding me? Fear the summer. God didn’t put me or you on this earth to fear the summertime. Or any other season for that matter. Enjoy your life forever, and never fear the future, or regret your past.  Nothing is more pleasant than the sunshine of March. Nothing is more pleasant than the sunshine of August. My most precious hope for all your life  is to never fear your summer times.  Here comes summer, oh happy day.

Now one of the little things I can live without this early summer time are these damn little “lady like bugs”. I, like you, hate ‘em to pieces. But oh well, they too have a purpose in life. Our problem is we don’t know their purpose. And so at the EastWing, I use ‘em as hockey pucks and flip ‘em with my index finger to see how far I can make ‘em fly. I’ve often wondered if those little creatures have any type brain, and after I’ve sent ‘em on their way, they think, “what the hell happened?” Maybe they think they just went through a worm hole in time. Ya know about them worm holes in time things? We’ll talk about worm holes someday just for fun. I just know the theory, but never really stepped thru one, yet. But I’m still looking for ‘em/

Ya gotta remember that these little creatures didn’t come to our world by their choice. No, it was the choice of people who thought it was a good idea to bring ‘em here.  It’s kinda like the killer bees coming from Africa. Now we’ve never  really talked too much ‘bout those killer bees, but we might someday.

We did talk about the hornet nation a few years ago. Those little Sons of Bees who stung me so bad and I developed a severe allergic reaction six weeks after the fact, and had such a tuff time recuperating from the stings. But we got even with the Hornet Nation, them little Sons Of Bees. We won the war. We had  God, Gasoline and Matches on our side.  The final score was BobbyRay 2, Hornet Nation 1.  But I got lots of stings  when I lost in that first round to the Hornet Nation. But the battle was 2 out of 3. Gasoline into  round 2,  and  matches were in round 3.  Two out of three. I took the final two. It was in round three that I  brought the heat.

Two weeks to go in the income tax filing season, and yes, I’m now looking forward to the end. It’s such a  love / hate relationship. I love it and I hate it all at the same time. I look forward to the start, every year for over 30 years. I look forward to the end, every year for over 30 years. If that’s not a love / hate relationship, then I don’t know what is. But, oh well, it’s this kinda work that keeps me off the streets and not  out looking for a real job.  This love / hate job of mine also allows me the luxury to set in the EastWing and tell stories. And do I ever love to tell stories. Well yeah!           

Had a conversation a while back with a long time friend of mine who just recently visited the EastWing for the first time. Now we’re talking a long time back friend.  A back to the Downtown Toto time, friend of mine.  I was the same age of his youngest brother and so he was a few years older than me, so we didn’t have a lot in common in 1959 Toto.  But we do have a lot in common  in 2012 North Judson. It’s funny how that age thing works out as ya get older. I almost forgot to tell ya, he’s got the Mercury.
It’s not just any Mercury, but the Mercury from the James Dean Classic Movie “Rebel Without A Cause”

Yep, you read that right, The James Dean Mercury from  “Rebel Without A Cause”, right here in North Judson. Now I’m not name dropping here just to get your attention, but ya just don’t see that many 1949 Mercury’s around anymore. And yes he does go to the James Dean Festival at Fairmont IN  and of course he  takes the Mercury. I’m glad he’s a friend of mine. I never road in the Mercury though.

Said he was surprised to read my stories, and thought that people who work in details like I do,  number crunching kinda stuff, they tend not to be able to be creative in writing. Told him I’m not at all creative in writing, I just tell the story, and the readers fills in the pictures in their mind, my readers are the creative side of the equation. The neat thing ‘bout telling stories with your fingers on the keyboards is ya paint the words and the readers draw the pictures in their mind to match your words, It’s kinda like  finger painting on keyboards.

Computers, ya gotta love ‘em. They let ya finger paint with words. And when ya do, pictures on the back roads of memories emerge thru the fog of time. Now I’m not gona say they come on little cats feet, ‘cause Carl Sandburg, bless his heart, he’s already said that, but it’s kinds cool to think they might, those pictures coming thru the fog, on little cats feet.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, Fightin’ Like Cat & Dogs, Sophia & Swagger, Deadly Mountain Lions, Never Fear Summer, Hating Lady Like Bugs, Looking For The End, The  Mercury  And Finger Painting With Words And  Little Cats Feet

I wish you well.


With Sophia’s E-Mail, The Bells of Springtime, and the Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

One of the neat things about writing, is after a while, when ya tell a story, someone likes and when something ya say strikes a chord in someone’s memory, they’ll let ya know, and when they hate what ya say, they’ll let ya know that too. And that boys and girls is just a little bit of why I love to write.

And so it is with the Peeps of Spring Time, those little tree frogs, the ones who bring the audio side to the Nighttime of Spring. The little Peeps of Springtime. I’ve been asked once again to retell the story of the Peeps, the Bells of Springtime. Now not only do ya get the Peeps of Springtime, ya also, at no extra charge, get the Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork. So now the challenge is to determine fact from fiction. Or is it all fact? Or all fiction? Peeps and Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork, ya just never know, but some of it is. Or is it? Maybe, or maybe not.

You’ll find below this paragraph  the story from a few years back when I first introduced the Bells of Springtime to the EastWing. Enjoy, and for those of you who remember the Bells of Springtime and didn’t like the frog story to begin with, oh well, let me know and the next time we’ll go fishing, instead of gigging. So here goes with the story from about 2006 or 2007, I’m not sure which year, but I’m sure about one thing, it’s the Bells of Springtime. I’m also sure of another thing, I’m truly humbled to be asked to retell one of my stories. Thank you for asking.

 For  all of those who offered to come to the aid of Sophia The Calico Republican Cat, not to worry, I assure you the cat can hold her own, not only with the 2girldogs but the rest of the world, with one paw behind her back.  Sophia is fine, and no, the 2girldogs didn’t get physical with her.  It was a verbal attack only.  The fur didn’t fly, and the cat didn’t die.  Good thing Sophia chose not to get physical with the 2girldogs, else I’d be looking for new 2girldogs.


Last week’s e-mail truly amazed me at the number of people who were honestly concerned for the safety of Sophia The Republican Cat. Good thing I didn’t list an emergency help phone number for Sophia.  The best email came from a feller in Texas, it was only two lines, but it seemed to sum up the sentiments of a large majority of last week’s e-mail, it said:




It could be that one of the things I liked ‘bout that email was it somehow, hauntedly,  reminded me of my 1st year typing class, and I don’t know why, but it  just  did. I taught myself to type when I was in the 6th grade. A neighbor gave me a little portable typewriter, a Royal Typewriter.  Don’t remember where I got the book, but I got hold of a first year typing book and the rest is history.


Taught myself about  “home row” and “CAPS” and stuff like that.  Wonder how many people still know ‘bout manual returns, when the bell rings, and what the hell to  do next?  Needless to say, when I got to high school I took typing I and II. Think I learned to type early ‘cause I had things to say early in life, still do, and so I type. Typing is kinda like talking with your fingers, that typing stuff I learned a while  back in downtown Toto, It still works for me.


A friend came back to visit  last Friday, a dandelion, that pretty little springtime friend of mine.  She always comes back to grow and play in my green, green grass of home. I love dandelions. From the time I was a little boy, every year, every single year,  I take the very first dandelion I see to my Mama. She’s  always glad and surprised that I’ve brought her flowers of springtime.   But just between me and you, I think after a while, I think Mama kinda expects that I’ll  bring them dandelions when the time comes. But Mama’s always happy and glad when I bring her the dandelions.  All Mamas are like that, yeah they are….


I’m so enjoying the sounds of springtime nights this year.  So much so that the other night I decided to go out and visit those little sounds of the darkness. They’re frogs, ya know, those sounds that come to your ears from the darkness, from the springtime nighttime darkness. Those sounds come from little frogs called Spring Peepers.


Little fellers, them Spring Peepers, way smaller than your thumb. But happy little boys indeed. Happy to be alive in the springtime air. Little fellers just out there looking for girlfriends.  All the sounds from all those little boy frogs remind me of sleigh bells ringing.  In fact, these little boys are called the Bells of Springtime. They’re certainly  music to my new ears, these Bells of Springtime. This year, with my new electronic hearing aids, it’s the first time I’ve heard the Bells of Springtime in a long time, a long time, and it’s such pretty music to my new electronic ears.


It’s when the crushing cold of winter starts to yield to warmer times, as it does every year, even when ya think it’ll never end, it always ends. It’s on a cold, cold, clear night, the wind is still, and the frost is heavy. The moon, a bright yellow ball hanging on a black sprinkle blanket of stars,  and the air, the air  so crisp it would snap like a fresh cracker, as a movement starts under the dead leaves of autumn past. Life resurrecting. A Bell of Springtime returning from the dead.


First one eye, then the other, one leg moves, then another.  In a few short minutes  everything is working just the way the little feller left ‘em when he dug deep under the Dead Leaves of Autumn  to freeze  to death for the winter.  A  little boy frog is coming back from a place between heaven and hell, between  death and darkness, the purgatory  of frogs.  A Bell of Springtime is tuning up to ring again.


I almost forgot to tell ya an interesting thing ‘bout not only the Peeps, but of  all frogs.  It’s the way they survive the winter. Now frogs have an ability to make their own kinda anti-freeze. I’m already starting to see some of my emails next week, laughing ‘bout the frog anti-freeze story.  Before ya start laughing, ya better check it out, ‘cause I’m telling ya I know a lot ‘bout frogs, that’s for sure.


‘Cause one time when I was little, my Uncle Hagins, well, my Uncle Hagins took me frog hunting when I was at  Southfork in the summertime.  Now we didn’t go hunting for Peeps or regular frogs, oh no,  we went hunting for the Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork. The Big Boys of the frog world! Frogs the size of dogs.


 Now ya gotta hunt these Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork in the creek bed where it’s dark and almost scary.  At  the place where the air smells like snakes, and the sun never shines, ‘cause the hills are too close together.  The only thing there is,  the water, the smell of snakes, and maybe even the real snakes are there too,  and the Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork, and some times, empty pop bottles.


We went right there, my Uncle Hagins and me. We went to hunt the Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork. And it didn’t take long to find ‘em. We found their trail a long ways before we got to the place where the air smelled like snakes, ‘cause that’s where Uncle Hagins said the Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork lived, where it smelled like snakes.


When Uncle Hagins showed me the Giant Bullfrog Tracks, at first I thought that it was a person’s footprint in the mud, but Uncle Hagins showed me the difference, ‘cause he knew ‘bout Giant Bullfrog Tracks and stuff like that. Uncle Hagins said if we just kept following those tracks it’d lead us right to the Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork.


To tell ya the truth, I was almost scared, but I knew that my Uncle Hagins wouldn’t let anything bad happen to me, ‘cause I was his favorite nephew, and he had a lot of nephews,  so I just walked a little bit closer to him and didn’t tell him ‘bout me being almost scared an all.  ‘Cause when you’re seven years old and out hunting Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork where it’s dark, that’s almost like being a man, so ya can’t say you’re afraid of anything. But I was, almost.


Then Uncle Hagins said “BobbyRay, you smell snakes?” That really, almost, made me scared. I said “yah” Uncle Hagins said “me too” I could hear my heart beat in my ears, but I wasn’t scared, I was just hearing my heart beat in my ears.


Uncle Hagins had in his hand a gig. Now a gig is a long stick with a prong on one end and it’s used to catch fish or frogs, and today we were gigging the Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork.  Well when I thought my chest  was gona break  from my heart beating so fast in my ears, Uncle Hagins throws his gig into the water, runs over and pulls up this Giant Bullfrog of Southfork, stuck right there on the prongs of the gig.  Uncle Hagins takes the Giant Bullfrog of Southfork off the hooks and no sooner than that, he throws again and in less than a minute we have two Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork.  Uncle Hagins gigged two more Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork in just a few more minutes. 


Then he said it’s my turn to gig a Giant Bullfrog of Southfork. Well, the pole of the gig was a lot taller than me, but I was bound and determined that I was gona gig a Giant Bullfrog of Southfork, or die from a snake bite while trying right here in the waters of Southfork.


Two time I threw the gig, but it didn’t go far enough.  So Uncle Hagins said that maybe if we both held on at the same time maybe that would work.  Now don’t ya just  know, the very first time me and Uncle Hagins threw that gig together it struck a Giant Bullfrog of Southfork.  We had to throw five or six more times before we got another hit, but finally I got another prize.


With 6 Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork in hand, Uncle Hagins said that he thought that was ‘bout all we could carry home. We started out for home with Uncle Hagins carrying his four Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork and me carrying my two Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork.  That didn’t last long, after ‘bout a hundred yards or so, I had to stop and rest, ‘cause these Giant Bullfrogs were ‘bout to weight me down to the point where I couldn’t go no more.  We rested a little while an started for home again, but same thing, ‘bout a hundred yards or so, I’m wanting to stop and rest from the heavy weight of these Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork.


Uncle Hagins said, the way he figured it, at the rate we were going, we’d get home ‘bout Christmas Time, if we were lucky, so he had to do something different. Uncle Hagins cut down two Willow Trees, one bigger  than the other.  On the bigger one, he cut a notch on each end.  He took the smaller tree and took all the bark of it, and threw the skinned tree away.  Uncle Hagins took the bark strips and tied up three Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork into two bundles, he then hooked these bundles over the ends of the pole with notches. He raised one end of the pole with the Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork and told me to help lift the other as he raised it to his shoulders. And I did, as Uncle Hagins picked up all the six Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork on his shoulders. We didn’t have to stop any more all the way home.


Talk ‘bout being surprised.  Well they sure were surprised to see so many Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork. Uncle Hagins told ever body how good I was at gigging Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork, and how he was just lucky to get two and how I gigged four. I didn’t tell anybody the difference. I just thought maybe Uncle Hagins forgot who got who.


One of the down sides of hunting the Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork, is when ya catch ‘em, ya gotta clean ‘em.  I’m not gona talk much ‘bout that, ‘cause that’s not as much fun as the gigging part.  When ya do the cleaning, it’s kinda like cleaning fish, but ya don’t hear your heart beat in your ears though.


Now the thing that people eat from Bullfrogs are Bullfrog Legs. Now regular Bullfrogs have little Bullfrog Legs smaller than chicken legs.  Not the Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork, these Bullfrog Legs were the size as  big hams, each one weighing maybe 10 pounds apiece.  Since the Bullfrog Legs were so big, Lou said we should smoke ‘em in the Smoke House like Uncle Hagins did the hams when it was time to kill the pigs. Everybody thought that was a good idea.  That night we put the cleaned Giant Bullfrog Legs of Southfork in the coldspring and went to bed. I could hardly sleep, thinking ‘bout me gigging those four Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork just like Uncle Hagins said.


The first thing in the morning me and Uncle Hagins wrapped the Giant Bullfrog Legs in cheese cloth and hung ‘em up on hooks from the top of the ceiling in the Smoke House.  Then Uncle Hagins  build the fires under the Smoke House, he  knew how to do all that stuff, my Uncle Hagins knew how to do a lot of really neat stuff. He was my favorite uncle, and like Uncle Hagins having a lot of nephews, well I had a lot of uncles too, but he still was.


I don’t remember how long they had to stay in the Smoke House, but we left Southfork and went home to Weeksbury, and I started into the first grade at Weeksbury. We didn’t go back to Southfork till Thanksgiving.  Then my Aunt Gladys and my Mama, they  cooked our Thanksgiving Dinner, we didn’t have turkey, and we didn’t have goose, we had two Smoked Giant Bullfrog Legs.  There were ‘bout 15 or 18 people there for dinner, and most everybody took leftover Smoked Giant Bullfrog Leg home for supper.  Big frogs indeed, those Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork.


But getting back to this frog anti-freeze thing. Frogs being cold blooded animals, that is to say their body temperature reflects the air around them. So during the winter, a frog’s body temperature falls and its metabolism drops. Its heart can even stop beating and start again in the future. Too bad we  people can’t do that little trick.  And we think we know magic. ‘Course we can do a lot of things frogs can’t. Frogs can’t do a lot ‘cept jump and stick their tongue out rally far.


Many frogs dig into mud or deep holes to escape killing freeze. Some do practice controlled freezing. They produce excess sugars and  starches to prevent damage to sensitive tissues while the remaining water in their bodies turns to ice. The North American wood frog, that species including the Peeps, live as far north as Alaska. They can survive with 65% of the water in their body frozen solid. I guess ya could take those little fellers, put ‘em on sticks then ya’d  have  Peepsicles.  


Now those Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork, to this very day, don’t ever worry ‘bout freezing in the wintertime, why no, they just build themselves a campfire, sit around and tell stories ‘bout how a little boy used to wade in the waters of Southfork with his Uncle Hagins looking for ‘em in the summertime and all the while  the little boy was almost scared.


Setting on the back of my chair, Sophia read the story as I typed, she laughed so hard she damn near fell off the back of the chair, twice.  Said she never knew frogs got that big. Told her they don’t in Indiana. It’s a Kentucky thing.


Stay Safe in Iraq and Afghanistan.


From the East Wing, With Sophia’s E-Mail, The Bells of Springtime, and the Giant Bullfrogs of Southfork

Some things just never change.

I wish you well,


F3 Winds In Salyersville, Not to Wonder Why, Helping Hands, March 24th, Pup Baby and Arthritis and Doggy Stairs, And Watermelon Wine

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

By now most all of you are aware of the devastating F3 Tornado that plowed thru the mountains of eastern Kentucky. By now most all of you are aware that my roots lay in those very same mountains of eastern Kentucky. By now most all of you can see that I’m setting ya up for somethin’.

 Yap, I’m about to hit ya up for a donation to the cause. The cause is simple, help rebuild an area where a tornado has caused unimaginable damage. As the F3 Tornado screamed thru Salyersville KY, death and destruction road the wind.  More than 15 businesses have been destroyed, along with hundreds of homes. The suffering is great in Magoffin County as is all over the area affected by the tornados of March 2nd  Most tornados stay on the ground for short distances, many less than 2 miles. The Salyersville Tornado touched the ground for 49 miles. From Salyersville all the way into West Virginia. It’s as if the devil, himself, walked through the mountains and left mayhem in his wake.

We as mortal souls can never address the question of why, we can only address the issue of how. How to rebuild, how to assist our fellow man, how to move into the future. And that’s where you and I come into the picture. We both can address the how part of this disaster. And we, together, can address the how part of moving into the future.

If you haven’t seen evidence of this disaster, I suggest you go on FaceBook and do a search for BobbyRay Howard. I’ve posted all the pictures that’s been sent to me from the disaster area of Salyersville KY. As the pictures came into the EastWing, we cried. Me and Sophia The Calico Republican Cat, the 2girldogs, Mr. Bentley, Spike The Man Cat, we all cried, we just sat there  and hugged and we cried as we looked at the power of the dark side.  Salyersville just went away in every new picture that came to us. We looked at annihilation beyond belief, in a place we loved.  To help those poor souls became our mission. And so now we ask you to come along.  Ya don’t have to, but will be glad when ya do. Everybody knows what’s the right thing to do.

Everything is needed. Imagine, if you can, that you lose everything  that you own in this whole world in a matter of seconds. You didn’t have time to decide what to hold on to and what to let go. It just all went away in a heartbeat. Everything you own in this life is gone. If you can imagine that, then you can imagine what the folks at Salyersville need. Everything.

And that’s why I’m asking for your participation in the cause, the cause to rebuild a community that’s near and dear to my heart. The disaster of March 2nd is wide spread, all the way from southern Indiana to Georgia, yet I single out Salyersville KY for a simple reason. The  simple reason being, Lord knows ya can’t help ‘em all, so ya pick the one ya know the best and pray to God that other folks pick the rest. I have, and they have.

The acute needs of this disaster have been met by an outpouring of aid from across the country. In a time of true need, we hillbillies come alive.  At the start of this disaster the single most acute need was water. The Salyersville water supply was destroyed. Bottled water was the single most pressing need at one time. The need for water has been addressed. Clothing need has been addressed, housing needs cannot be addressed from northern Indiana, so we tend not to spend our time on things we can’t impact, rather we consternate on those things of which we can.

The impact we can most make at this point in the recovery process in CASH!  MONEY !!! Now I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying that money talks and BS walks. Well it’s even more true in a disaster. Those in charge of the disaster relief efforts in Salyersville can now do the most good by having the steady supply of cash available to apply it to the acute needs of the people as those needs  are identified.

Your contributions can be made to my non-profit 501(c) 3 Corporation set up years ago to handle just such situations, it’s called  The North Judson Main Street Committee Inc.  Keep in mind any donations to the North Judson Main Street Committee Inc. is a fully deductable tax credit for a public supported  charity. And we all know that charity begins at home.

The mailing address for the Non Profit 501 (c) 3 corporation, The North Judson Main Street Committee Inc. is 219 Lane Street  North Judson IN 46366.  You will receive an acknowledgement  for tax purposes for your donation.  I thank you so much for coming along with me on this rebuilding effort to my little part of the world. I’ll forever keep you informed as to our progress in the future. Salyersville will come back stronger because people like you care, and are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

Next Saturday, March 24th, we’re having a fund raising even at Grand Central Station in North Judson. A music festival, a Christian rock concert. It ya haven’t heard that kinda music, don’t knock it, just come on out and you’ll be surprised. It’s this coming Saturday starting at 3:00 PM. Come ready to be entertained and enjoy the day.

Few things feel better than 70° weather on your skin in early March. It just makes ya glad to be alive. Ya know that the next day might very well bring back the snow and cold, but when its warm, then God’s smiling at ya, it’s the spring time on your skin.

The ravages of time is taking its toll on the Pup Baby, Mustina James, as you long time visitors to the EastWing know, the Pup Baby has had her share of trials and tribulations in this life. First it was the attack of the badger that left her in the hospital for 10 days with three major surgeries thrown in there just to keep her life interesting.

Coming home with an open wound  the size of a small plat on her back. After getting over that, developing a case of heart worm infection. Then surviving the life / death treatment for that disease, and now developing arthritis in her hip joint so severally affected by the badger attack.  The Pup Baby’s medical issues are long and complex.

One of the problems the Pup Baby has is that my home is a house of stairs. Damn near everywhere ya look, it’s up stairs or down stairs. The Pup Baby don’t do stairs well. I’m of the opinion that I need to get the Pup Baby one of those things ya see on TV, those stairs that allows your pet to climb on the couch or the foot of the bed.

They call ‘em doggy stairs or doggy steps or something like that. Either way, the Pup Baby soon may need ‘em ‘cause  she sleeps at the foot of my bed, and when the time comes that the Pup Baby can’t quite jump up on the bed, well, guess I’ll just have to pick her up and put her up there. ‘Cause me and the Pup Baby, well we  go back a ways, me and that little dog, we just go back a ways.

But I guess ya already know that saying  ‘bout old dogs and children and Watermelon Wine……

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, F3 Winds In Salyersville, Not to Wonder Why,  Helping Hands, March 24th, Pup Baby and Arthritis and Doggy Stairs,  And Watermelon Wine

I wish you well,


Mountain Lions of March, Reload in Times of Trouble, Pit Bull Inc, The Learning Curve, A Good Teacher / Student Ratio, Then Wonder Why.

Greeting to all and welcome to new friends to the EastWing.

Seems somewheres I read “March comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb.” Ya remember that? Well what if it comes in like a lamb? Out like a lion?  Shewwww. I hate when that happens. Like a lion in southeastern Kentucky this year.  Death and destruction walked the mountains this March 2nd, 2012. A deadly  Mountain Lion indeed.

Did ya ever wonder why things happen the way they happen? Don’t wonder. It does ya no good to wonder why things happen. It’s good enough to know they do, they just do. Time and time again things just happen, good things and bad things happen in your life and if ya spend time wondering why, well, you’ll never figure it out. So get on with your life.

It matters not if good things or bad things happened in your  past life, the future is the important part of your life, not the past, so wonder not and plan for the future and you’ll be ok down the road.

All too often we spend so much of our time thinking of the past and never having one single second of time to change what has happened back there. It’s like an old Italian saying  brought to my Family of Howard by the beautiful Italian She:  “FORGET ABOUT IT!”.   Just look into your future and you’ll never be disappointed.

We’ve a saying here in the Family of Howard, “We don’t fail, we reload”. Simply put, we’ve never looked back. In times of trouble, it may be hard to not look back, but ya must reload to meet the future, and so we do as a family of Howard, we reload, it’s damn hard to do sometimes, but we reload and go, and so must you.

 It works for us and I’m praying it’ll work for all of you. It’s called hanging tuff. It’s hard, but worth every minute of every day, when ya hang tuff. When ya reload, then you’re good to go. Hanging tuff is good, hard tuff  but good stuff. I’m hoping it’ll really work for you when you need it most, in these times of trouble.

Several people have inquired about the possibility of purchasing homeland security services from Bentley’s “PIT BULL INC” Security Force. Bentley says “adopt a baby PIT, and have your own home grown security force along with a true friend for life.  Bentley also says “Pit Bulls Rule” but he only says that when Spike The Man Cat’s not around.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of  having lunch with a college professor of the English Language, a PhD kinda guy, a special friend of mine, who just so happens to work at Purdue University. Now I know it’s not the Ohio State University, but I don’t hold that against him. I see him about once a year, he comes to have me prepare this income tax returns and stick me for a free lunch.

It was during lunch he asked me in what ten year period of my life did I think I’d learned the most.  We were in the middle of a most fascinating conversation about how the human learning process occurs within our species. Of how babies are liken to dry sponges, absorbing knowledge like a ponge. Just sucking it up to fill every pore.

It was after much thought, maybe ten seconds or so, I concluded it had to be the first ten years of my life. And so it was during those ten years spent in Kentucky that I chose to present my argument in support of the position for the learning decade. Undisputable facts can support any position. A learning decade is just one such example of being supported by undisputable facts. And so I laid it all out for challenge:

A possum is a flat animal that sleeps in the middle of the road.  There are 5,000 types of snakes and 3,500 of them live in Magoffin County Kentucky, and the other 1,500, well, that other 1,500,  they live over there in Breathitt Co. There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 of ‘em live in a five  county section of southeast Kentucky.  If it grows, it’ll stick ya. If it crawls, it’ll bite cha.  Onced and Twiced are both words. Onced means onced and Twiced means twiced.  Jawl-P? Means, did you all go to the bathroom recently? It’s a yes or no question. Fixinto is one word. It means I’m going to do that pretty soon, but just not right now.  There is no such thing as lunch. There is only breakfast, dinner and then there’s supper.  Iced tea is appropriate for all meals and you start drinking it when you’re two, or if you’re tuff, really tuff, when you’re one.   Backwards and forwards means I know everything about you, backwards and forwards.  The word jeet is just a question meaning, ‘Did you eat? Just another yes or no question.  You don’t need a watch, because it doesn’t matter what time it is, you work until you’re done or it’s too dark to see what to do next.  You don’t PUSH buttons, you MASH em.  Ya’ll is singular. All ya’ll is plural. You only need five spices in life: salt, pepper, mustard, Tabasco and ketchup, and mayonnaise is a dessert.  You know what a hissy fit is.   You know that fried catfish is the other white meat.

Well, after hearing my argument for my first ten years, my friend said he wished he’d had an opportunity to also attend the Tip Top Elementary School, ‘cause he missed out on a lot  of that stuff.  Looking back, I’m amazed on how much I had learned by the time I finished the 3rd grade there at the Tip Top Elementary School. It must have been that low student / teacher ratio that made the difference. There were only forty two of us for that one teacher. But she had the paddle, so that made it about 1:1 for her side of the equation.

Not one time in my life did I ever get a paddling at school, not even close. But I had one cousin there at the Tip Top Elementary School, one cousin, bless his heart, he got enough for me, him and three of his brothers.

That was back before “Parent / Teacher Conference” was in vogue.  At that time the classroom teacher was judge, jury and executioner when it came to class room decorum.  Today when a child is disruptive in a class room, the Parent / Teacher Conference kicks in, and now  that forum allows the Mamas and the Pappas an opportunity, in the presence of the child, to dump on the teacher for not doing a good job of teaching their child.

And so now babies kill babies in class rooms with guns brought from home.  Then we stop and wonder why.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, Mountain Lions of March, Reload in Times of Trouble, Pit Bull Inc, The Learning Curve, A Good Teacher / Student Ratio, Then Wonder Why.

I Wish You Well,