Special Things, Thank you Jesus, Out of Iraq, Indian Summer, Looking Dumb In The EastWing, If They Only Had A Clue

Greeting to all and welcome net friends to the EastWing.

Did ya ever stop and think of those special little things in life that only you and God know about?

Things you just never share, never talk about with anybody, just never even gave it a single thought other than the instance in which it occurs in your life. Yeah, those kinda little things, that’s what I’m talking ‘bout . The things that make our lives different from all the other creatures on Earth. The things we truly never stop and think about, just take ‘em and keep going on going with life. One of the things that sets us apart from Gods other creatures, is we can remember stuff like that.

One such thing occurred to me several nights ago. The first day of the new month was not yet three hours old when I woke up for the first time ever in October 2011. The air had turned cold, chill was in the room, the west bedroom window was open to the night wind.

As I sat on the side of the bed and my feet touched the floor, that really brought home the chill of the October Night. The bedroom floor is oak. In fact all floors in my house are either oak, maple, or ceramic. I’ve always loved wood floors, and have ‘em everywhere except the bathrooms and the kitchen. Those floors are black and white ceramic, and the WestWing is the Maple Gym Floor with the Blue Jay painted in the circle. They’re all chilly to bare, sleepy, toes sometimes late at night, especially in the fall and winter time of the year. But I so love wood floors. I have ‘em, lots.

It was after a quick snack in the kitchen and when I laid back down in my bed that it happened. As I laid down on my bed, and brought the blankets over me, the warmth of my little self made cocoon engulfed me as if I’d never left the comfort zone. The chill of the ceramic floor, the chill of the oak wood, the chill of the night, they all melted away, just melted away into the darkness. Blissful peace wrapped her arms around me in the warmth of my own bed, in my little safe and secure spot in the world, in my little self-made cocoon, inside the warm bed.

I think I said thank you Jesus for having a place to lay my head in such comfort. If not, I should have, for all too many people on this Earth don’t have such luxury in life as a safe, warm place to sleep. Free from harm, free from freer, free from hunger. If I didn’t, it’s never too late to say “Thank You Jesus”, and so I now say.

As of October 10, 2011 the last solders who visit the EastWing have left Iraq. It’s with a grateful heart that all those who visit the EastWing are out of harm’s way in Iraq. As some of you may remember quite some time ago, there was a time when the EastWing had no visitors stationed in Iraq.

It was with a touch of melancholy as I read the messages from the desert. Many soldiers expressed their opinion that the decision to leave Iraq was a major military mistake made by a commander in chief who “don’t have a clue what the hell’s going on”, and that Iran would move in and occupy Iraq within a matter of weeks if not days, and we’d just stand by and allow it to happen. We’ll see.

A 23 year old soldier from Texas said to me “BobbyRay, I’ve had two birthdays in the sand and would welcome three more if that’s what it takes to defend our freedom. Now they’ve pulled the rug out and said we won. Hell, we haven’t even tied, ‘cause they tied our hands on how to fight from the first day the new commander in chief too over, he changed the rules of engagement. Now we have to get approval from higher ups to wipe our a– . You can’t win if you can’t shoot, and we can’t shoot, just almost, we take incoming fire and then ask for more decisions if we can shoot back or not. It’s crazy. I’m glad I’m going home. This is no longer a war, it’s a joke. ”

Can’t help but wonder if lack of military experience by a President of the United States is beneficial or detrimental to doing the job of being President of the United States. Just can’t help but wonder ‘bout stuff like that. Can’t help but wonder if that “change we can believe in” and voted for is getting thin or what? Just can’t help but wonder ‘bout stuff like that. Did we get the change we voted for?

In any event, all of the soldiers I know in Iraq are now safe and sound back in the ole US of A. I’m glad, I’m just glad that those I know, not really know, but seem to know by their visits to the EastWing, every Sunday Evening and Wednesday Evenings, are safe from the dangers of war in the desert of Iraq. All the while we still hold in our prayers those still in harm’s way in Afghanistan.

Indian Summer. I love Indian Summer. This year I called it right on the nose. When we experienced a killing frost on the 2nd day of October, I just knew, I just knew that this was the start of Indian Summer, and gona last a while.

So sure of this start of Indian Summer, I posted it on FaceBook while the frost was still on the ground, even before I looked at the long range forecast of the weather. There are some things in life ya just go with the flow. A major frost on the 2nd day of October, go with the flow. Indian Summer always comes after a major frost, and so it did this year.

Had it not, I for sure would’ve looked dumb in the eyes of the beholder. But oh well, I’ve looked dumb in the eyes of the beholder before, so it’s no big deal. What I’m saying is I’ve been beheld by many and, I’m sure, found to be unworthy by some. That in itself is no reason to not be optimistic. Everyone’s heard the expression “when life deals you lemons, make lemonade”. That’s a bunch of carp. Make Lemon Pie. You got something to sink your teeth into. That’s what I’m talking ‘bout. Lemonade sucks compared to lemon Pie. And life goes on.

Sophia brought to my attention and interesting email she received from one of her many contacts in her radical world of politics. It dealt with the past 17 presidents and the percentage of their cabinet members who have work experience in the private sector. By private sector, its having jobs not supported by tax payer dollars. Sophia’s email called that it “working for a living”.

Of the last 17 presidents the average number of appointed cabinet positions which have come from the private sector has been 52%. In the Obama Administration, the appointed cabinet positions which have come from the private sector is 08.00%.

With partially no members of the current administration having any real business experience, it not suppressing that solutions to resolve the economic woes of the country have not been forth coming. These folks have never had to deal with solutions to problems, only develop regulations to control matters. With 92% of the top administrative people working their whole lives on some form of government payroll, they’ve never had to worry about where the money for their next paycheck was coming from. The money comes from me and you, and all the rest of the taxpayers, that have one of those jobs called “working for a living”.

I don’t even know where Sophia gets all this crap, but she swears by it. Damn Republican Cat.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From The EastWing, Special Things, Thank you Jesus, Out of Iraq, Indian Summer, Looking Dumb In The EastWing, If They Only Had A Clue

I wish you well,


Starting Stuff, Pup Baby & Colored Cats, Basic Training, Opossum Huntin’, Rambo of The EastWing

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

Ever notice how there’s the “official” start of the seasons, and how we have our own “unofficial” start of stuff. Most everybody knows that summer starts on Memorial Day, and ends on Labor Day, Fall starts the next day, and winter starts on December 1st. Course we all don’t use the very same “unofficial” days so that’s why we have to have the regular calendar so we all can agree on a few things in this world. Lord knows we seem to have such few things to agree on now days, and getting even fewer as time goes on. Why even my dogs and cats are having difficulty agreeing on things in the EastWing.

It was just the other day that Sophia The Republican Cat and The Pup Baby got into such a terrible spat. One that bordered on violence, physical violence, mind you, between dogs and cats . It was so close, I had to step in and end it all. Seems Sophia, freshly back from her summer sabbatical, had accused The Pup Baby of being a part of the social problem of entitlement benefits from the federal government along with the ever growing difficulties in providing such benefits, and no effort on the part of the recipients of these federal benefits to make any endeavor to better themselves in the future.

It was when I heard “ YOU, YOU, YOU, YOU, BIRDDOG YOU!!” that I knew I had a problem in the EastWing. The cat had run out of exploitatives to express her anger, and the cat has a good command of exploitatives in the language. Sophia can cuss with the best of ‘em.

In fact, Sophia can cuss in four languages and six different dialects. Don’t remember if I told you or not ‘bout Sophia being first runner up in the 2010 International Cat Cussing Contest, held in, of all places, Mozambique. Sophia was the first runner up in the Cat Cussing Contest due solely to the fact of that a large African Lion laid out the big F Bomb in Portuguese, Berber, Igbo, Swahili, and Hausa. Sophia could on get the F Bomb in Igbo, but she done good in Swahili, so good in fact, it earned her first runner up. Now if for any reason that African Lion can’t serve, Sophia then takes over. Not too bad for a little Calico Cat who was taught to cuss by LeRoy Brown, on the south side of Chicago.

With her knives exposed, the cat hit the ceiling in the EastWing, that height was 14’ the last time I measured. As she landed, I grabbed Sophia by the back of the neck and picked her just inches off the floor. Gently swinging her side to side I stimulated the release of hormones within her body, these hormone that keep baby cats calm while they’re moved about by their mother from the time of birth. All God’s creatures have this hormone, it’s good for life. When dealing with wild cats, it’s a good thing to know ‘bout. As I gently swung Sophia mere inches off the floor, she put the knives away. The hormones kicked in, and Pup Baby was speared the wrath of Sophia.

Sophia once again became a rational cat and able to talk without showing the knives, she told me that The Pup Baby, Mustina, had played the race card and called her “C” word. I didn’t know ‘bout the “C” word. So I asked what the hell she’s talking ‘bout . Sophia said that Mustina had called her a Colored Cat.

As I looked at my beautiful Sophia, my Calico Cat, my Calico Girl, I said “Sophia, you’re yellow, orange, red, brown, black, gray and white. You’re a colored cat”. Sophia screamed “RACE CARD!” As she once again hit the ceiling in the EastWing, at 14’ the last time I measured. On her way down, I again grabbed Sophia by the back of the neck and gently swung her a few inches off the floor until the hormones flowed, and she again retracted the claws.

“What do you expect Mustina to call you except a colored cat?” I said. Sophia said “Mustina can call me a Multi-Colored Female Feline”. It was at that point where I showed Sophia my knives. I said, “Sophia you, like all God’s creatures, have a choice in this life, you can continue be my inside girl cat, and live with the 2girldogs and Spike The Man Cat, or you can become one of my outside cats. Keep in mind, inside I have two cats, you and Spike, the Man Cat. Outside I have a pride of 14, and you will become the 15th member in my outside pride of cats.” There was silence for several very, very long seconds, as Sophia pondered her fate, then said “what colors did you say I was again?”

It was the smile that ended the war, the Calico Cat Smile. Nothing can compare to the smile of a Calico Cat. It melts your heart. It turns rain into rainbows, snow into snow angels and darkness into sunshine. It’s a special gift from God, reserved only for Calico Cats, that smile. The Pup Baby, Mustina, saw the smile also, and gently wagged her tail in acceptance of the apology from the colored cat.

A Sea of Tranquility washed over the EastWing. The Calico Cat Smiled, Mustina accepted the apology and I saw the sunshine. Damn Republican Cat!

There’s a thief in this town Mister! The rascal’s been identified and his days are numbered, or maybe I should say his nights are numbered. A big fat opossum comes at night and eats the outside cat food. I know when he’s out there by the barking of the 2girldogs. The problem was I had no way to defend the home front from an attack of the opossums. My son Johnny came to the rescue and remedied that situation.

After receiving supervised training on the firing range (Me and Johnny shot cans behind the house), and classroom training in firearms safety, (Johnny said, “don’t point this gun at yourself, else you’ll shoot your eye out), I’m now armed with a flat black 22 caliber semi automatic action handgun, equipped with laser technology, and two 10 round clips. A war machine. A death star for opossums.

Best I can figure out, this 22 caliber handgun, equipped with laser technology, this semi automatic weapon of close in destruction, it’s kinda like a gun for dummies. Even after all my extensive firearms training, seems it all comes down to just one fact. With this gun, you point that little red dot where you want the bullet to go. You pull the trigger, and that little red dot, well, it’s replaced by the bullet. End of Opossum Wars. Wherever you point that little red dot, so goes the bullet.

As I sit in the darkness every night, fully capable of defending the EastWing, the home front, from any sneak opossum attack, the battle plan is simple, when opossums appear on the north deck, I follow the recipe :

1. Take gun from the holster

2. Open north EastWing glass door (Important step here DO NOT SHOOT THRU GLASS DOOR)

3. Push button to turn on the laser

4. Pull hammer of the gun all the way back

5. Point little red dot on head of opossum

6. Push safety to off position

7. Slowly squeeze trigger

8. Tomorrow’s Supper: Opossum Stew

I love being Rambo of the EastWing.

Stay safe in Iraq and Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, Starting Stuff, Pup Baby & Colored Cats, Basic Training, Opossum Huntin’, Rambo of The EastWing

I wish you well,


October, Birthstones, Horses and Bill Clinton, Microsoft , Mumbletypeg, Muslims and Chickens and Tyson Foods.

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

October. One of two transition months, much the same as April is a transition month. Real moves from one season to the other occur in transition months. It’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between spring and summer, between summer and fall.

You have to keep in mind that you’re not going to see any official stuff about transitions months if you do a “Google Search” on transition months, I just made up the term myself, ‘cause I needed a point of reference to illustrate how drastic the weather changers are in the months of October and April. So Transitional Months just seem to fit, and besides it sounded kinda cool. Pun intended.

October locks down a change when it comes to fall, much the same way April locks down the change from the cold to the warm. It always frost, come October. Today, while October was still not two days old, the frost came by, not a little, a lot.

The temperature always hits 70° F come April. Two events I always look forward to with much anticipation every single year. I know it’s gona happen, but still look forward, every year. Both frost and 70° F indicate change in seasons.

It’s always an event to look forward to, that first frost of October and that first 70° day of April. Has been forever for me, and I guess it always will be so. I think it’s just part of being a hillbilly in northern Indiana. Oh well, could be worse things in life. Don’t know ‘bout you, but I don’t mind being a hillbilly in northern Indiana, especially after I learned to read. It’s kinda like looking under the microscope for the first time and finding the fine focus on the microscope. It opens up a whole new world. You see the magic of the microscopic world.

From time to time I get an email that’s so off the wall, I just gotta say something ‘bout it, and this one ranks right up there with the Lollipop Kids. The email said “Are you for, or against birthstones?” what the hell !!! That’s like saying “do you believe in sunshine.”. Uh, yeah.

Now I’m not in charge of sunshine and I’m for sure nobody died and left me in charge of birthstones. I don’t even care ‘bout birthstones. They’re all rocks, those birthstones. Some are pretty, some are not, but all are birthstones just the same. I don’t even know who first associated those rocks with their corresponding months, or for that matter, don’t even care to know. Am I for or against birthstones? Shew…. I believe in sunshine. I don’t even know a lot ‘bout birthstones, other than they’re rocks of a different color.

Speaking of rocks of a different color, when was the first time ya heard the phrase, “a horse of a different color”? I was asked that question too in an email, a while back. Now that one I did know about. I think the term came along as a result of questioning whether a horse was in fact the one described on its original records of birth.

When registered blood lines of horses are reproduced, the baby horse birth record is assembled to include such things as Mama, Papa, birthday, sex, color and name. Ya gotta keep in mind that, from time to time, there has been some known attempts at “fudging” the records in the horse business. When a horse was presented for sale and it didn’t match up to the original information in the birth records, it was said to be a horse of a different color. And no, it did not come from the movie “The Wizard of Oz”. Although that was a pretty cool horse of a different color.

Similar objects and different objects. It’s kind like ya could say that Presidents Regan and Bush were very similar, but Bill Clinton was horse of a different color. And so he was.

Horseradish Cheese. Ever had any of that stuff? Now we’re kinda slow here in the EastWing, not too up to date on the newest stuff, but just the other day someone brought it by. WOW! Is that ever good. Been eating it on damn near everything. Kicked up cheese burgers on the grill. Kicked up cheese and crackers. Kicked cheese and mouth. It’s just that good.

If ya haven’t tried it, then ya should at least try it once. Keep in mind, this is not an official endorsement of the product from the EastWing, but even Sophia The Republican Cat likes the Horseradish Cheese. Sophia’s picky, extraordinarily picky, like most republicans are. Damn Republican Cat.

In response to so many emails asking to see Sophia The Republican Cat, I’ve posted a series of photos on FaceBook of Sophia. I’ve not included photos with the EastWing letters due to the fact that not everybody in the world has that high speed internet connection to handle photos. Sophia’s pictures are on FaceBook. Search “BobbyRay” and you’ll find the photos of Sophia the Republican Cat on my page under photos.

Being involved with computer technology since the mid 70’s, to this day I find it fascinating that as people, be they young or old, when they become aware of the computer, have an instance concept of “expertise” in the field. In reality, it’s one of those things where they don’t even know that they don’t know, and that in its self is kinda cool , ‘cause ya don’t have to know that ya don’t know, to do.

It’s sorta like ya don’t have to know how to dissemble and reassemble an internal combustion engine to know how to drive a car. So ya drive. Wanta learn a little history ‘bout personal computers, do a Google search on “graphical user interface”. You’ll be surprised, it was not Microsoft, but Apple who first brought this concept to the marketplace. It was not Microsoft, but Apple who first created a “mouse”. But Microsoft sold their idea to IBM and the rest is history. Computers, who would have ever thought “mouse” would mean anything other than cat food. Shew…..

Did ya ever play mumblepeg? Oh sure, it’s a little hillbilly boy game using pocketknives. Now Mumbletypeg involves tossing a pocketknife into the ground in a progressively more difficult competition usually limited to two players. If the knife tossed by a player does not stick in the bare ground, the player loses his turn. Beyond these basics, the rules varied greatly according to wherever you happen to live and I happened to live at Tip Top when we played mumblepeg, at the schoolyard up there on the mountain.

At Tip Top, we threw the knife at the other persons foot and made ‘em stretch that foot out to where the knife stuck in the dirt. The one who fell over first lost. Then ya had to pull the peg. The peg was a 3-4 inch stick which was driven into the ground till ‘bout ½ inch stuck out. The loser had to pull the peg out of the ground using only his teeth. Here I say “his” ‘cause I never played Mumbletypeg with a girl. At the Tiptop Elementary School System (two rooms, two pot belly stoves, two potties outside) it was against the law for girls to play Mumbletypeg with boys. Don’t know why, it just was.

I think today, Mumbletypeg is a violation of some kinda federal regulation put in place by the republicans. Which just goes to show ya how stupid much of the federal regulations really are. When little hillbilly boys can’t play with pocketknives and throw open knives at little feet without the Federal Government getting involved, give me a break! Stupid is as stupid does. And so the Republicans have even more reason to talk bad ’bout us. We play Mumbletypeg. Stupid is as stupid does. Mumbletypeg, a game of which we’re protected from by our own Federal Government. Some may say God save the Queen. I just say Damn Republican Cats.

Did ya happen to hear ‘bout Tyson Foods eliminating Labor Day as a paid holiday? Yeah, they did. They just replaced it with the last day of Ramadan. Seems they didn’t want to offend their Muslim employees. What the Hell is going on here? Want to take over these United States? Just do it one chicken at a time? Tyson Foods, just chicken packers, not policy makers, just chicken packers. When they dropped Labor Day, truly an American Holiday, they dropped me as a Tyson Chicken customer. No Labor Day at Tyson Foods, no Tyson Chickens in the EastWing.

It matters not that Tyson Foods is the largest chicken processer in the country. I’ll buy live chickens, ring their neck and let me and the She pick the feathers before I’ll buy Tyson Chickens. Actually, the way we buy chicken is 60 lb boxes, frozen solid. When we buy food for parties at Grand Central Station, we buy big amounts. 60 lb boxes of frozen chicken, 40 pound chunks of beef ready for roasting. Tyson don’t sell the kinda of chicken I buy for Grand Central Station. Good thing, else we’d have to ring the neck of a whole lot of chickens to get 60 lbs of cleaned chickens, but we would, me and the She. Just can’t believe they don’t have a Labor Day Holiday at Tyson Foods.

Did ya ever do that, kill your own chickens? My Mama used to do it all the time. It was a bad job, I used to help her pick the feathers. It smelled, ya had to dunk ‘em in really hot water before ya picked the feathers out. Not a good job, but I’d do it again before I’d buy Tyson Foods Chickens. It’s such a bad job, maybe I’d be like “A MAJOR CHICKEN PACKER” and get some illegal aliens to do it for me, but I’d give ‘em Labor Day off as a PAID HOLIDAY. Just thinking ‘bout picking chickens.

Stay safe in Iraq and Afghanistan.

From The EastWing, October, Birthstones, Horses and Bill Clinton, Microsoft , Mumbletypeg, Muslims and Chickens and Tyson Foods.

I wish you well,


Sneezing, Snotty Noses, Being Normal, Green Monsters of Autumn

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

Tis the season to be sneezing. Are you a single sneezer or multi sneezer? Me, well, I’m a multi sneezer. In fact, not only a multi sneezer, but also an odd number sneezer. Three, five, seven every time seems to be the pattern when I sneeze. Then every once in a while, the whole world changes.

The mega tsunami of sneezing comes along. The dreaded nine – eleven sneezes are upon me and there’s nothing to do except go along with the sneezes. It’s much like the feeling I had several years ago when Mr. Lincoln sled into the ditch one old winter evening on a icy patch of hwy 10 just east of North Judson while going 15 mph. I realized some 10 seconds prior to the ditch, I’m a passenger, not the driver. I had no control of my destiny from that point on. I was just along for the ride. And so it is with the mega sneeze, the dreaded nine – eleven, ya just go along with the sneeze.

Now when ya get something inside your nose that don’t belong up there, or maybe your nose just thinks it doesn’t belong up there, either way, you’re gona sneeze. I’m telling ya, it’s not a matter of choice at this point. When your nose says lets sneeze, it’s a done deal, ya sneeze.

Lots and lots of things can make ya sneeze, viral infections, a cold bug , a little piece of pollen, animal hair, perfume, cold air, smoke , dirt and pretty much anything else that’ll tickle the inside of your nose. A sneeze first starts when a chemical called histamine is released by special cells in your nose, telling your body that something is there that shouldn’t be there. Then this histamine stimulates nerve endings in your nose. Now histamine can be released from different places in your body, but for the sneezing part it’s from inside your nose. In the presence of histamine, a message gets sent to the brain causing a reflex reaction that results in a sneeze. At this point, you’re like me sliding on the ice, you’re not in control, it’s just going along with the sneeze.

Why of course your brain has to get involved in order to sneeze, ‘cause sneezing is way more than a just nose job. Even though some may think they’ve seen noses big enough to handle the sneezing by themselves based strictly on the size of the nose. No matter the size of the nose, it’s still a brain thing.

That histamine stuff, it’s one of the main chemicals used by the body to ward off the “bad guys” no matter what or who the bad guys are. Ya know how it is when ya get a mosquito bite or a bee sting, and all ya wanta do is scratch. Well that scratching part is the chemical histamine kicking in and doing its job. The scratching part is the body’s way of trying to remove the bad guys from the skin surface, and so ya scratch, sometimes till ya bleed. Histamine, it’s that effective, it’ll make ya scratch to the blood.

It’s kinda cool to think that our bodies are in fact a very complex chemical factory. Our bodies produce chemicals all day long that we need to survive. We do chemistry inside our bodies that we don’t even think about, yet it’s vital for our survival. Histamine is just one of the examples of body chemistry that “come to the surface” so to speak. Oh believe me, we do chemistry inside our bodies, stuff that I’m not even gona talk about, ’cause it might make ya sick at your stomach if I laid out the details, but without ‘em we’d be in a world of hurt that’s for sure. Histamine, it wards off the “bad guys” on our skin and inside our nose.

A sneeze manages to be so strong by closing the vocal cords and building-up pressure inside the chest. This causes that weird feeling just before a sneeze when you know you are just about to, and usually end up with a really stupid expression on your face. It’s that sliding on ice part, I’s telling ya ‘bout. The air in your chest is under lots of pressure so when the vocal cords are opened, it rushes out really fast and just like how the air in a balloon gushes out if you let go of your mouth after blowing it up, this results in anything unwanted hopefully being shot out of your nose at high speed!

Some people think that if your eyes were to stay open during sneezing, you’d blow your eyes right out of your head. Good thing that we can’t sneeze with our eyes open, so we don’t have to test that theory. Can you imagine they’d be eye balls all over the place. Shew…….

It’s interesting to note the similarity of our bodies and the building we live in when it comes to air handling. All buildings, be it personal homes or commercial buildings, have an air handling system constructed into the building itself. This system consist of a method to move the air from one place to another place, to heat or cool as needed based on the outside weather conditions. To even filter the air from undesirable contents, be they partials or aroma.

Our bodies are much the same in concept, a method to move the air from one place to another, both in and out (breathing). A heating system or cooling system based on need. The reason for the size and shape of our nose is to aid in heating or cooling the outside air. Do ya know that our nose even has the ability to make adjustments to the humidity of the air going into our lungs? The reason why people in different parts of the world have different shape noses has to do with cooling of the air before it get to the lungs. Now that’s kinda cool. Pun intended.

When it comes to the filtering part of our built in system we tend to be on the weak side. We don’t filter air too well. That’s the one side where mechanical equipment has surpassed the human body. We just don’t filter the air good. The mechanical air filtration systems can even remove bad smells. Bad smells, well our noses just suck ‘em up.

And so we sneeze. We’ve got different things that assist us in our inability to filter out bad stuff in the air we take in, sneezing is just one. Another is when out body creates a substance to encapsulate any foreign matter that gets in our internal duct work. It’s our body’s efforts to filter, but we just call it a “snotty nose”. Then we blow it out, and the assistance to filtration has been obtained. The nose knows when it’s a time to have a snotty nose.

Seems I read somewheres that one in four people have some degree of mental instability. Got to thinking ‘bout that the other day and came up with, what I think, is a way for you to determine who that one in four really is. All ya gotta do is think of three friends, now if they all seem completely normal to ya, well, BINGO! Guess what? You’re the one! Once I figured out that formula, I’ve always kept at least one crazy friend, sometimes two, just for backup. But I’m not talking ‘bout you.

Did ya notice summer fell into autumn? Friday, September 23rd @ 6:05 AM, the official start of fall. Now before ya know it, enormous green monster machines rolling across the landscape, ingesting fields of corn and soybeans, with an endless appetite for the harvest of fall. Green Grain Eaters of Summer Production, John Deere’s. Colored leaves, brown grass, frost on pumpkins, Halloween, Trick or Treat, and fall’s in full swing. I love the fall, with my lighting bugs still in those little jars being held by the little boy and girl sitting out there by the flagpole. Looking out the south EastWing window, right before the lawn turns into asphalt, out there by the mailbox along the road.

Stay safe in Iraq and Afghanistan.

From The EastWing With, Sneezing, Snotty Noses, Being Normal, Green Monsters of Autumn

I wish you well,


Ya Get More From A Chevy, Blackjack Gum, ‘Oly-oly-oxen-free’, The Last One Picked, They Double Dog Dared Ya And Ya Got The Light Saber

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

“You get more to be proud of in a Chevy” Now’s that an advertising catch line or what??? General Motors said that ‘bout their 1957 model. It worked, boy did it ever work. That 1957 Chevy was one of the most successful automobiles ever produced. To this day, it’s one of the most sought after antiques in the market place. The “57” Chevy, in the minds of many, the dream car.

And to think the She had a 1957 Chevy, but did the She keep it, Noooooo! Traded it in for a Ford Falcon. A Ford Falcon, a 57 Chevy for a Ford Falcon. Shew……. Talk ‘bout getting on the wrong side of the rope. But I still love her, the She, and her little Ford Falcon of days gone by. But it would have been nice if the She had kept the 57 Chevy.

Just the other day a friend of mine sent me an email of “do you remember theses” type things, and ya know what, I remembered ‘em. It was things like pop machines that dispensed glass bottles… Coffee shops with Table Side Jukeboxes… Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum… I hated that Blackjack gum.

Do You Remember a time when important decisions were made by going… “eeny-meeny-miney-moe”? When mistakes were corrected by simply saying, ‘Do It Over!’? When race issue’ meant nothing more than arguing about who ran the fastest? Not about the color of skin. When nobody even noticed the color of skin, just who ran the fastest.

Back in the day, when I used to be a little hillbilly boy in Weeksbury KY, my very best friend in the whole world was a little feller named Tommy Tucker, and I loved him so. Tommy Tucker was black but I didn’t even know he was black till years later when I’d moved away and left Tommy Tucker behind, and found out there were black people in this world. It was when somebody then noticed the color of skin. Then Tommy Tucker died a hero in Vietnam. Tommy Tucker, such a special friend of mine.

Now if ya remember when ‘oly-oly-oxen-free’ made perfect sense, then we’re talking quality time back in the day. I don’t know where that phrase came from, but I think it’s tied to the “kick the can” game, a German game for kids, and we all know those German games for kids. Oh sure. Those German folks, they had a lot of different kid programs, back in the day. Being hillbilly, we just kinda had to make ours up as we went along.

Then there’s the Worst Embarrassment in the world for being picked last on a team. I was never good enough to be the one selecting team members. I was always relegated to the pool of prospects for the choosing. On more than one occasion I was the last selection. It’s both mortifying and awkward. But that experience taught me how it feels to be looked at under a microscope.

An interesting side note here is, due to the type work I would do in my future years, I have now been both the lookee and the looker when it comes to the microscope. I prefer to look rather than being looked at.

To this day I wonder if those microscopic things I identified in the course of my daily work, years ago, knew I was looking at ‘em. And if they did, did they wish they could look at me under their microscope? Wonder if they’d acid stain me like I acid stained their little butts?

If you’ve never seen the microscopic world, and have a chance to do so, look at it. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “there’s a whole new world out there” and it’s a world worth seeing, little, but well worth seeing.

Now I must say, it does build character, being under the microscope . It makes ya more determined to excel in other areas of life. Things like education then become more important in one’s life when you’re selected last to play on the “Red Rover, Red Rover Send Somebody Over” Team, or even “Ring Round the Roses, Pocket Full of Poses”. I never got picked first, back in the day. And so I learned to read. I learned to write. I learned to tell stories. I learned to pain pictures in peoples mind, using words in place of paint. Pictures ya can see with your eyes closed.

Done things where ya didn’t need to have a team to do it right. Built myself a telescope and looked into the heavens all by myself. Looking into the universe is not a team sport. And so I looked at the same stars seen first by Galileo. To this very day, Galileo and I stargaze together, just in a different time.

Back in the day, War was a card game. Oh how I wish it still was a card game. The Middle East has once again demonstrated the cost of freedom from tyranny. Freedom has always been paid in blood, be it American blood or that of other peoples, freedom has always been paid in blood. Libya is no different than any other country in the world. There’s a big difference between freedom and democracy. We tend to think democracy and freedom are one in the same. It’s not.

Freedom’ not to worry ‘bout being killed today, freedom not to worry ‘bout my food being available today, freedom from the government wanting to introduce into my life rules and regulations which will control all aspects of my interactions with my species, freedom just another word for nothing else to loose, but it’s free.

Don’t ya just wish that taking drugs meant orange flavored chewable aspirin in place regular aspirin rather than what it means today? I sure do. It’d make a better world if drugs weren’t a major player in how we feel and think. I just wish it still meant orange flavored chewable aspirin.

I Double-Dog-Dare-Ya. I love Double-Dog-Dare-ya! When men were men and boys were boys and when ya got a Double-Dog-Dare-Ya, ya just stepped up to the plate and took the Double-Dog-Dare-Ya like a boy who knew the value of such things in life and how ya had to stand up for the things that were right in the first place, ‘cause it was truth, justice, and the American Way!

Then ya just stood with all the pride in your whole being when you’d faced the Double-Dog-Dare-Ya, and walked away with your head held high. They Double Dog Dared ‘ya, and ya won! Such a feeling when ya won a Double-Dog-Dare-Ya. It made life worth living when ya were 11 years old. It was as if ya had evaporated into the dark side, then came into view carrying a Light Saber. ‘Cause you were then in charge of everything happy in downtown Toto in 1955.

And that all happened just two years before Chevrolet said “You get more to be proud of in a Chevy”.

Stay safe in Iraq and Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, Ya Get More From A Chevy, Blackjack Gum, ‘Oly-oly-oxen-free’, The Last One Picked, They Double Dog Dared Ya And Ya Got The Light Saber.

I wish you well,


9-11, WWII And Facts Of Live, Moses, Me and Johnny In Georgia, Class of 1961, Cleaning Up the EastWing.

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

Ten years of 9-11. Nothing I can say will ever provide relief from the pain and suffering this nation has endured. Sometimes the pain of history never goes away until all those alive when the history was made, dies. The pain of Pearl Harbor still burns. The pain of WWI not so much. The pain of The Spanish American War even less. The pain of the Civil War is hardly smoldering, barely warm but not forgotten, remembered only in the south.

The pain of the American Revelation is cold and dead within the people. We still talk ‘bout Washington crossing the Delaware, but we don’t feel the pain, we don’t feel the cold. We only see the picture. But we don’t give a damn, ‘cause we don’t feel the pain. Ya can’t feel the cold when ya see the picture. We have no one available to step forward and tell us, “I remember the pain, I remember the cold”.

Time and death turns pain of anguish into pages of history books and then along comes some idiot who want to challenge those pages of history. Asking questions such as “are you sure that is historical fact?” Or even “I don’t believe that happened”.

At the end of WWII General Eisenhower demanded that all the atrocities in the death camps of Germany be photographed and filmed to the extent possible with the technology of the day. ‘Cause he feared that in some future generations they would challenge the brutal facts that millions of Jews in Europe had been killed.

Even with such documented records, Europe is currently engaged in those discussions. England is currently rewriting their history books to remove all reference to the systematic extermination of millions of European Jews. Not wanting to offend Muslims within the English population, they’ve maybe started down a long slippery slope. Should England cease to exist in the future, it will be due, much in part, to such decisions to rewrite history. England’s old, but not too old to die.

Sometimes crap just gets too deep to stand in. Facts are facts. It’s not a matter of fact or fiction, the record speaks for it’s self. Ya’ve seen the film, ya’ve seen the still photographs. Those people died. The people were gassed and cremated in mass. Not fiction, fact. Then along comes an idiot in Iran and says he doesn’t believe the holocaust ever occurred, and the world news media gives this dumbo wide coverage and it adds credence to his statements.

The wisdom of the General who insisted that the movies be made, the photographs be taken, the civilians be forced to observe the carnage, that all possible records be made of what happened here. Not for the record to end WWII, ‘cause the war had ended. But for the future of civilization. It was the hope of the General that if sufficient records existed, such things would not occur again. Ike gave it his best shot at preserving the record. It’s still too early to tell if the General’s efforts paid off. I hope it worked, it’s still too early to tell.

In some respects, the real big loser in WWII was not the Axis Powers but all of Europe, along with England. If ya stop and think about it, The lives lost in WWII in all of Europe and in England have pretty much been replaced by people of a nomadic decent. Such people have yet to demonstrate a significant contribution to society in the last 2000 years.

When ya look at the contributions made to civilization by the race of people exterminated in the death camps of Europe, it truly amazing. When ya look at the contributions made by the nomadic people who replaced those bodies in Europe, it’s truly amazing. But the amazing thing ‘bout the replacements, it’s the lack of contributions to society, by and large, those contributions just don’t exist from those of a nomadic heritage..

Now don’t get crazy on me here and think I’ve gone off the deep end. I’m just telling ya, nomadic peoples have yet to add major contributions to civilization. They just have not. Doubt my words, check the records. It you’re reading this, you’ve got a computer. So do the Google research and you’ll see what I mean.

The middle east has exploded in 2010 and 2011 for much the same reasons that oppressed people everywhere will sometime rise up and throw off the shackles of dictatorship, no matter how harsh.

Actually I think Moses started this type uprising back in the day, when he stood before the King of Egypt and said “Let My People Go” and the king said “ Ya, right”. Slaves were hard to come by back in the day. It was not like they were gona turn everybody loose just ‘cause Moses said “Let My People Go”.

They had to have plagues and stuff like that to really get the Kings attention and even after that, the Pharaoh changed his mind and sent his army to chase Moses and the children into the dessert. It was at the Red Sea, there at the Red Sea, where Pharos’s Army got drowned, oh children don’t ya know. God works in mysterious ways. In the days of Moses as well as in the days of BobbyRay even when sprouting orange seeds in paper towels, God works in mysterious ways.

Me and Johnny just came back from Roswell GA. Friday night late we came back. Left on Tuesday, got home late Friday Night. The She had a 50 year class reunion last evening. The event was held at Grand Central Station, right there in beautiful downtown North Judson, by the Street Clock.

An event filled with both carp and memories. Ya can go back to your child hood home, ya can’t go back to your high school senior year.. Keep precious memories precious. Never try to reproduce precious memories. When ya try, they don’t linger.

To make sure the She had all the time in the world to spend with her class mates, me and Angela along with Johnny and Jaimie decided to do all the serving of the event at Grand Central Station for the 50th year party of the Class of 1961. That meant Johnny and I had to get back home from Georgia early, and so we did.

We damn near had to bar the She from the Grand Central Kitchen, ‘cause the She wanted to do the serving of the food on the buffet line, resupply of the buffet, bussing the tables, washing the dishes, breaking down the buffet line.

It’s hard to make the She become a part of a party. But we did. I’m forever grateful for my babies to have pulled this thing off for the She. It was her time to party, and even when the She didn’t want to party, we hung tuff, and made her party. Me and my babies made sure the She didn’t do the work of Grand Central to make this party a success. It was a success. But it was hard to keep the She out of the process!

Almost forgot to tell ya, I fried the chicken. Yeah, I’m telling ya, all 100 pieces of chicken, I fried ‘em all. I think me and that KFC Guy must be related, ‘cause we both know how to fry chicken. I think we spell our names the same, that’s Sanders with an H. I started frying chicken at 5:00 and the last batch was out at 7:00. The party planners wanted to be able to eat at 7:00. They ate at 7:00. Me and my babies, we do parties right.

The She now takes Thursdays off. My daughter–in-law, Jaimie, has been working on Thursdays in place of Regina at Pioneer Florist. It’s time the She takes time off from work. Me and the She, we have to think ‘bout the future and how we exit the “work every day for the rest of our lives”. We’ll work it out somehow, me and the She. It’s been such at trip.

I contracted out some yard work at the EastWing, things I didn’t have the “get up and go” to it get ‘er done. It was on both the west side of the house as well as the north side of the house deck and the west side of the pool deck of the EastWing. Weeding down to the dirt, everything goes..

Everything was pulled, dug up and hauled away. I loved it, the She didn’t want everything removed. Too late. Uh Oh. Had to say I’m sorry to the She for pulling everything and going down the dirt. There are some stuff ya just can’t undo besides Humpty Dumpty. Pulling down to the dirt is some of that stuff.

But I gotta say, the work performed by Lee Patterson and his crew in my yard, exceeded my expectations, and I’m hillbilly, so my expectations are high. Thank you Lee Patterson for such a job well done. I recommend you without reservations to all those in need of your services.

It’s such a pleasure to recommend another business without reservations to my EastWing friends. The Services of Lee Patterson Lawn Care is such a business. Thank You Lee.

Stay safe in Iraq and Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, 9-11, WWII And Facts Of Live, Moses, Me and Johnny In Georgia, Class of 1961, Cleaning Up the EastWing.

I Wish You Well,


Freedom from Dependency on Foreign Oranges, Wal-Mart & China, We Got a Convoy, Peanut Farmers & Community Organizers. Department of Emergency Solved Oil Dependency.

Greeting to all and welcome ne friends to the EastWing.

A few weeks ago I’s telling ya ‘bout how in a couple or three decades I’d have a large enough orange grove to supply the family of Howard with all the fresh oranges, be it fruit or juice, we’d ever need for the rest of our lives. Well, ‘bout that statement, much like the Federal Governments estimates on damn near everything it’s ever estimated, they’re mostly wrong. And so it turns out to be the case in my quest to grow oranges in the EastWing.

It seems the She, with all the good intentions in the world, has put a major dent, no, not major dent, a death blow, to my orange grove plan to rid the Howard Family of dependency on foreign oranges, both fruit and juice, within a decade.

I’d done all the research and knew how to grow orange trees from seed. Learned ‘bout two different types of germinating techniques. It being my first venture into orange tree production, I decided to do both techniques at the same time.

One was a dry process. Wash all the pulp from the seed, dry with a paper towel, let dry for two day in the sunshine. Plant ½ inch under the soil. Place the pot in the sunshine inside a clear plastic bag, water and pray. So being hillbilly, I’m good at praying. I considered this process a forgone success. The second technique, I had much less faith, but still wanted to give it a shot at producing an orange tree.

This technique used two the paper towels, but ya didn’t dry, ya just folded two paper towels into ¼, wet ‘um good, then place the seeds inside the middle of the wet paper towels and place the wet paper inside a zip lock plastic bag, and put ‘em anywhere. I was so sure this one wouldn’t work, I didn’t even pray. Whoa yea of little faith.

In a few weeks I’d sported 8 orange seeds in the dirt inside the big plastic bag using the dry technique. They’d grown to a height of 4 inches and had branched into 4 leaves. Only two more inches and the plan was to re-pot into 8 individual pots, pots large enough to allow the growth of a full size tree. I was on my way to an orange grove! Or so it seemed.

And then it happened. I love that term “And then it happened” Are ya old enough to remember a TV show called “Sea Hunt”? Well, if you’re not, it was ‘bout a feller who went around solving crimes the cops couldn’t figure out. And true to its name, the answer seemed to always lay underwater. Hence the name “Sea Hunt”.

So now I’m looking at this guy swimming underwater with breathing tanks on his back, with his voice over describing what’s going on underwater, ‘cause he can’t talk too good down there. Then most ever time a bad guy sneaks from behind him underwater and tries to cut the hose to his air tank. They always fight, and the Sea Hunt Guy somehow always wins.

It was in describing the bad guys sneaking up from behind to cut the air hose that the voice over always said, “and then it happened” . “And then it happened” was kinda like danger music in the movies when ya were a kid. . Ya just knew something really bad was gona happen, and it always did. But ya never got used to the danger music in the movies, or “and then it happened” in Sea Hunt. They both gave ya goose bumps, and made ya shiver. They always made ya jump.

To assist me in the Orange Grove Project, the She decided to add Miracle Grow to the soil. She poured it on heavy. The little orange trees started to die that same day. We’re still trying to figure out why. Now the She puts Miracle Grow on everything and it does work miracles. Just not so with those little orange trees.

The dry and plant technique produced 8 live orange trees in a single pot. The wet paper towel produced only 2 seed sprouts ‘bout ¾ inch long. Little things that appeared hardly alive. Almost yellow in color, they looked more like bean sprouts than orange trees. They were not something that pointed to a bright future in the orange grove business.

When the 8 live little orange trees started to die, I planted the two seed sprouts in a large pot to see if I still was in the orange grove business. God smiled on my efforts to join the Orange Growers Association. I now have a single orange tree, a full 3” high, and just today I see the very early start of that second set of leaves just above the dirt line. A large sign sits beside the clay pot saying “ NO MIRACLE GROW PLEASE!”

My initial calculation of decades before freedom from dependency on foreign oranges, be it fruit or juice , has been adjusted based on available growing plants and estimates of their maturity and production time frames. At this point the best estimate of total freedom of dependency on foreign oranges has been adjusted upward from decades to centuries. One is considered minimum, two is more likely. Three is considered an outside possibility based on the unauthorized use of Miracle Grow on orange trees.

My experiences with orange tree production has brought a whole new meaning to “the stone the builders rejected, has become the corner stone”. I was so sure the wet paper towel wouldn’t work, I didn’t even pray for its success. I, as the builder, rejected, and it’s now is my corner stone. Ya don’t have to look far to see the works of God. Sometimes as close as within the folds of a paper towel, ya find a corner stone the builders rejected.

Freedom from dependency on foreign supply of product. Does that argument sound familiar? Now some’ll say there wouldn’t be a Wal-Mart if there wasn’t a China. But the real dependency on foreign supply, why of course ya know, it’s oil. Oil that lets us all go to Wal-Mart.

In the mid 70’s there was an “oil crisis”. We as a people lined up like lambs to the slaughter to get that last precious drop of gas. “Gas Shortage” drove the national headlines. This gas shortage was before the internet, even before the age of computers, which, incidentally, was right next to the age of Aquarius.

It was a time when ya got your news from “Good Night Chet, Good Night David” or “That’s the way it is”. The nation was consumed with a fear of not having enough oil to run up and down the roads. We would do anything and everything necessary to keep the oil flowing. We just had to do something.

The popular music of the day reflected society’s concern and frustration with an oil crises . A hit song at the time was a tune called “Convoy”, a vocal description of how over the road truckers were conspiring to break the law. Haulers of steel, automobiles, hogs, milk and other durable goods, the truckers formed a convoy. CB Radios came to the forefront of public communication when the FCC changed the rules on who could speak on the public airways. Then made available additional band width for Citizen Band Radio Communications..

Within days the whole world wanted to sound like a feller named Cash McCall and use his language on the CB Radio saying such things as “Ya got a copy?””Break” , “Good Buddy”, “10-4” and “18 wheeler” The CB world had evolved into a convoy. A convoy using poor grammar. But we thought it sounded cool.

As a kid I’d worked hard and saved money for a long time to buy ham radio equipment. I’d learned the code. Now I didn’t have the best “fist” in the world, but I could send the code. I’d progressed upward to point of being able to speak on the airways. Then along comes CB Radio. At first ya had to buy a license, and so I did. Later it was free, but at the start of the CB craze it was supposed to cost ya $25.00. Wasted money, wasted words.

Only one problem, it seemed damn near half the world went to Radio Shack and bought the CB Radio and didn’t bother with the license from the FCC. That was when I stopped being an Ham Radio Operator and became the Thunder Base. My Thunder Base could talk to the south side of the moon, and on some nights, I did. Back in the day, I could reach out and touch somebody, actually, almost everybody when I really wanted to.

The Thunder Base was, in the summer time, the voice of the flat lands, in the winter time, the voice of the cold country, and from time to time, Radio Free Indiana. I remember one Sunday Morning I got a phone call from a friend over by San Pierre telling me to change radio frequencies as I was over talking radio station WKVI at Knox IN. I went slip sliding away, away into the airways of time. The Thunder Base. It was such a big boy toy. That Radio Free Indiana thing, that Thunder Base. I still smile when I think about it. The Thunder Base.

I still have the Thunder Base. No broadcast antenna, just the Thunder Base Radio and its accessories. Ya never know, I might want to talk again someday. Should that time occur, I’ll again rebuild the antenna system, plug in all the components, let everything warm up to operating temperature, press down the transmit key, and simply say “Break”. The folks that talk on the CB Radio, with that one spoken word they’ll know the Thunder Base came back online.

As a nation, out frustration with the oil shortage culminated in congress reflecting our anger. We wanted something done to solve this oil shortage. “And then it happened” The Department of Energy was formed as a result of the oil crisis, and on August 8, 1977 with President Jimmy Carter’s signing of the legislation, The Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977 solved our country’s dependency on foreign oil. Or so it was intended to.

This new federal agency was charged with the responsibility if getting this nation free of foreign oil within one decade. That would have been 1987. Today we’re more dependent on foreign oil than ever before and the department of energy is one of the largest departments within the federal budget. I don’t think they’ve met the goal of freedom from oil within a decade. Jimmy Carter, maybe the worst President ever, but President Obama’s still in the running, it’s neck and neck. Peanut growers and community organizers, Shew….. We can sometimes pick such Lulu’s. Not Slugos, Lulu’s.

For 2010, the Department Of Energy budget request was 39 billion dollars, that’s billion with a B. And ya gotta keep in mind, that’s a budget request only, ’cause the democrat controlled House of Representatives and US Senate chose to not vote on a Federal Budget in 2009 or 2010, just to let all spending move forward as if approved by congress. It was not ever voted upon, just spend the money.

Do ya know the Federal Governments spending increases 8 % every year no matter what? It’s the law of the land in the way they construct a budget. More importantly, when the Washington Politicians talk ‘bout cutting spending, they’re talking ‘bout reducing that 8% increase, not talking ‘bout cutting spending from last year’s amount of money actually spent. That’s the dirty little secret nobody wants to talk about.

When you and I talk ‘bout cutting spending, we’re talking ‘bout cutting spending based on last year’s amount spent. When Washington D.C. talk ‘bout cutting spending, they’re talking ‘bout reducing the increase in spending as if it’s a reduction in cost. In fact it’s still an increase in spending, just not as much as first thought to be. It’s been the same sad song since the 1970’s and we’ve now grown accustom to hearing the music.

The fiscal state of this nation will never improve until this basic matter of budget preparation is addressed in congress.. I hope it’s done so in my lifetime. It may not be. To save this union, it must be. The Department of Emergency is an excellent example of the Federal Government’s inability to solve a public issues.

Few people remember the original purpose of this Federal Department of Emergency. Yet we spend 39+ billion dollars a year on a mission lost. Nobody ever talks about the original purpose of this department of the Federal Government. Ya can’t help but wonder, if it didn’t meet the mission as charged in its creation, why didn’t we get rid of it. The Federal Government has never gotten rid of anything that spends public funds.

The amazing thing ‘bout the way our federal government operates is, if I run the Howard Family Business the same way as the federal government, that same federal government would put my ass in jail in a heartbeat, cheating the system, ya know.

Stay safe in Iraq, Qatar, and Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, Freedom from Dependency on Foreign Oranges, Wal-Mart & China, We Got a Convoy, Peanut Farmers & Community Organizers. Department of Emergency Solved Oil Dependency.

I wish you well,


Lighting Bugs In A Jar, The Pup Baby, Christmas Eve Falling Snow, The Ax Man Said Goodbye.

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

A few weeks ago the She got me a really neat thing for the front EastWing Gardens. A set of statues, little boy and a little girl setting down while holding a little jar and inside the jar are three little lighting bugs. Now what really makes this deal so cool is on the backs of these little people are solar cells.

Yeah, ya got that right, when nighttime comes, the lighting bugs come to life inside the little jars. It’s just soooooo cool. I put ‘em out by the flag pole, right out there by the mailbox along 800 South, On the north side of the road.

So I sit inside the EastWing, at the very, very edge of darkness, looking south, I see the lighting bugs inside the jars. Wow! Just to think I may even be able to see lighting bugs on Christmas Eve if the sun shines a little while during Christmas Eve day. I hope It does enough to charge the solar cells. It will.

That would be really special, seeing lighting bugs and hearing the animal talk at midnight at the very start of Christmas, at the stroke of midnight, the very, very start of Christmas Day. I talk to the animals.

Don’t know if I ever told ya ‘bout the time when Axel Rose walked out of my life on Christmas Eve. Axel Rose was a dog, a beautiful blond Chow Dog. A full blue tongue Chow. A prefect Chow, a special friend of mine. A sophisticated gentleman friend who just so happened to be born a dog, and so he played the hand God dealt him.

When #1 son, RJ, was at Ball State, one time he came home with this dog, said it was a stray who’d come to the fraternity house so he brought it home. Called him Axel Rose, he did. After the rock star. And so he was, a rock star, that dog named Axel Rose.

The most gentle of animals. We called him not Axel Rose, he was the Ax Man. The Ax Man was one of the most dignified animals I’ve ever encountered. House trained to perfection when he walked thru the front door, the Ax Man not once in his time with us had an accident in house.

It turned out that the Ax Man was in fact the father of the Mustina James, the Pup Baby. I remember when we all thought the father of Pup Baby James was the neighbors boxer, and every time that discussion came up, the Ax Man would say “Yah, Yah, he’s the one”

When the Gray Lady James came to us, pregnant with child, which we didn’t even know at the time, but accepted her as was, starved damn near to death, and needing a friend. I was that friend. The baby was born much to our surprise, the Ax Man just smiled. I’ll never forget when I first took Mustina James to the Vet for the first time and I told the vet I thought the father of Mustina was a Boxer, she smiled and said “oh no Bob, the father of this pup is a full blooded Chow, look at those purple spots on Mustina’s little tongue. The Pup Baby had the spots. When I got home and told the Ax Man, he said “Uh Oh”

We lived in harmony for many year, me and the Ax Man, the Gray Lady James, and his Pup Baby, Mustina James. Then it was time to say good bye. It was Christmas Eve, and we’d been at my brother-in-law Tom’s for Christmas Eve Dinner much the same as had been for decades.

On this particular night we came back home in a winter wonder land of falling snow on Christmas Eve. Not a blizzard mind you, just a Norman Rockwell Christmas Eve Picture come to life out there in the snow as we arrived back home. It was 10:00 O’clock and time for the dogs to go out for their nightly duty before going to sleep.

As the rest of the family went up stairs to the EastWing I lingered downstairs to attend the 2girldogs and the Ax Man. The 2girldogs ran outside and into the falling snow as fast as their legs would take ‘em. The Ax Man walked from the house. He didn’t run, he walked. It seemed to be a very deliberate journey into the night.

The outside porch lights were on, as well as the two yard lights. The amount of light even better illuminated the Norman Rockwell Christmas Eve. As I stood in the open door admiring the beautiful snow, the Ax Man walked 10 foot in the snow, stopped, turned and looked me directly in the eye.

Time froze. Snow hung suspended in mid air. Time just plain froze in space. . It was a good 20 seconds that me and The Ax Man, Axel Rose, stared at each other. With a gentle wag of this tail, he turned and with his tail still wagging ever so slightly, the Ax Man walked into the falling snow that Christmas Eve. I watched him disappear into the darkness as snowflakes replaced his image before my eyes.

I never saw the Ax Man again. To this day I have no idea where he died, how he died, or when he died. The only thing I know for sure, the Ax Man knew it was his time to go. And so he went into the darkness. He left the EastWing with the grace and dignity unlike any other creature I’ve ever encountered in my whole life.

It was 10 minutes later that the 2girldogs were ready to come back in for the night. Covered with snow, they came thru the door to the waiting towel. What??? Why of course I dry off the 2girldogs when they’ve been out in the wet weather. I also dry off Sophia and Spike The Man Cat, ‘cept the cats don’t go out in wet weather if they can help it. And they can usually help it.

For the next 90 minutes I went to the front door looking for the Ax Man, and somehow all the while knowing, he’s not coming back. It was the 20 seconds of eye contact that told me the story. I didn’t want to face the music, but I’d seen the video with my own eyes. Axel Rose had walked into the snow.

Now on Christmas Eve in the EastWing, we open presents, we just do, we can’t wait till Christmas Morning. We’ve waited this long in December and when we get to Christmas Eve at ‘bout 11 O’clock or so, that’s close enough. Ripping Paper & having fun! Its Christmas!!! I didn’t tell the family that night ‘bout me and the Ax Man out there in the snow on Christmas Eve. I didn’t want to spoil the family fun. That ripping paper apart, and being family on Christmas Eve as the magic midnight of the start of Christmas approaches.

It’s been in our family so long I don’t even know where it came from, but one of our traditions is the belief that at midnight as Christmas Eve turns to Christmas Day, the animals talk to you. God allows ‘em all to speak and they’ve got a full minute to say anything they want to say. And anytime any animal has something they want to say to a person, that person will hear it, and ya can talk back, no matter where the animal may be, ya can talk to the animals.

It was during that one minute that Alex Rose and I said our final goodbyes. He said it was his time to go, God had told him so. He asked that I care for the Gray Lady James, the one true love of his life, and take care of his only child, his Pup Baby, Mustina James. I promised to do so, all the days of their lives.

As the time ran out on that final minute, the Ax Man said goodbye to me. When the clock was done, I cried. The most gentle of God’s creatures, Alex Rose.

Stay safe in Iraq and Afghanistan.

From The EastWing, Lighting Bugs In A Jar, The Pup Baby, Christmas Eve Falling Snow, The Ax Man Said Goodbye.

I Wish You Well. BobbyRay

Old gods & Weather, Sunshine & Chariots, Zeus & Lighting, Copernicus & Galileo, The Catholic Church & Uh Oh, Seeing the Magic

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

Long before TV Weather people told us ‘bout the weather, people just made up their own reasons why weather things happened the way weather things happened. Being that they had a different God for everything ya could imagine, it only seemed right the reasons for weather changes must’ve been due to the actions of some of those gods.

With the sun being the key to life on Earth, it’s not at all surprising when even the most ancient civilizations’ religious lives included some form of god for the sun. The ancient Greeks were no different than those before ‘em. Their gods ranged from the good guys, the benevolent fellers, the good gods, to the evil, the monsters and mean spirits that controlled the elements, the bad guys that walked on the dark side. I bet they even wore black hats back. Those evil Greek gods in black hats, walking on the dark side. Ya sometimes wonder if they’re not democrats.

The sun god, Helios was a fine-looking feller and had a pretty cool hat too, a brilliant shining crown of fire, upon his head. He drove a chariot pulled by four fiery winged horses, named Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon, and Phlegon. They ran across the sky, from east to west they went, every day, with Helios shining his light upon the people of Earth as he passed ‘em by. Wow! does that sound like our sun to this very day or what????

But the really good story ‘bout Helios was what happened when he got done work for the day. After Helios reached the end of his shift, he dived into the bowl of a golden cup just below the ocean in the western land of the Hesprerides, and was carried back home every night to his golden palace. Now that golden palace was just east of the River Okeanos. It was there in the golden palace where Helios rested and got ready to go back to work first thing in the morning. When Helios awoke, the sun came up tomorrow.

There’re all kinds of stories ‘bout Helios and how he sometimes conflated with Apollo. Now if you’re not familiar with the word “conflated” it simply means two combined into one. It’s sorta like two for the price of one at the grocery store. Two things become one. Some think that’s what happened to the democrats and republicans in Washington D.C. Those two becoming one and all.

Apollo was the most popular of all Greek gods. Apollo was kinda like the “Pretty Boy Floyd” of the Greek gods. Sometimes Helios would conflate with Apollo just so he too could do the “Pink Floyd” thing. To this day Pink Floyd has a massive following. The power of Apollo and Helios conflating. Shew…..Pink Floyd.

One time, as described in Homer’s Odyssey, the gods killed off Odysseus’ whole crew after they ate all the cattle that belonged to Helios. Now how cool is that? Ya get to be the sun god, ride a really cool chariot, get to wear a neat hat, and raise cattle as a hobby. Sweet! ‘Course the down side of the job is ya gotta work 7 days a week. The good side is, ya only work days, never nights, or midnights. Good sides and bad sides of everything, even Greek gods.

I remember reading one time ‘bout Zeus, the war god, got so mad that he killed Helios’ son after Helios had let the kid drive the horses one day. Helios was just teaching his boy to drive much like our own fathers taught us to drive cars. But the difference was when the kid lost control of the chariot, he didn’t hit a tree. The chariot turned upside down. Remember that bright hat Helios wore, well, it spilled all out and scorched the Earth. Boy was Zeus ever mad. The kid didn’t have a chance. Zapped by Zeus.

Now Zeus was a really cool god if ya like meanness in your Greek gods. Ole Zeus was the god of war, and he was always looking for a big fight. He’d even settle for a little fight if he had to, like killing Helios boy just to have something to do on a hot, hot summer, dog day afternoon. It was not like the kid turned the chariot over on purpose, but Zeus, nooooo. Give ya an idea of how tuff Zeus was, he carried lighting, yes real live lighting in his hands. It ya look up tuff in the dictionary, ya may find a picture of Zeus holding the lighting. Zeus was tuff stuff.

Today we no longer use those Greek gods, thank God. But there was a time, back in the day so to speak, they had their time in the sunshine of life. It was a time when Helios went to work and the sun came up tomorrow.

We now understand how the sun works and how we ride this big blue marble, this thing called Earth, round and round we go. While the sun, itself, is moving around the Milky Way in such a pattern, that from here on Earth, we get the feeling that the sun is standing still and so are we. It’s kinda hard to realize that the whole Earth is moving through space at an amazing speed of 67,062 miles per hour.

In addition to that forward motion, the Earth is revolving on its axis at one full turn every 24 hrs. When our own little spot on the Earth is pointed directly at the sun, it’s noon, and when our spot is pointed directly away, it’ midnight. It’s the Earth’s rotation that makes the sun come and go, not the winged horses pulling the chariot. But the story of the horses with wings is still kinda cool.

In ancient Greece most everybody believe in a geocentric universe, or an Earth-centered universe. Somewhere round the Third Century BC a Greek astronomer, a feller by the name of, Aristarchus of Samos, proposed that maybe the Earth revolved around the sun. he’s lucky they didn’t lynch ‘em on the spot for having such dirty talk. If ya fast forward some 4500 years or so a feller by the name of Nicolas Copernicus was able to gain some credence for a heliocentric, or Sun-centered, model for the universe.

Nicolas Copernicus was a Renaissance astronomer who just so happened to come along at a time when it seemed the Earth was almost starting over, and for sure starting anew with ideas which just seemed to bubble up from everywhere. The arts and sciences seemed to blossom out of nowhere after a time on Earth that is described as the Dark Ages. People became open to new ideas and ways of thinking. This was after a time when a very large number of the people on Earth had died from disease such as plague. It seemed the Renaissance was a new beginning for life on Earth as we know it.

It was in this period of Renaissance, that along came people such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio and Galileo Galilei, to be known in history simply as Galileo. He made a telescope, looked at the stars and confirmed that the Earth did in fact revolve around the sun.

For his discovery, Galileo was given a choice by the Catholic Church, cut out such crap talk or go to hell. Galileo thought he was right. The Catholic Church promptly kicked his ass out of the “good ole boys club” and many, many, many years later the Catholic Church said ‘bout Galileo, “ Uh Oh” and invited him back into the church. Way too late to matter for Galileo one way or the other. I’ve often wondered ‘bout the Catholic Church’s decision to undo the matter of kicking Galileo out of the church.

There are some things ya just can’t fix once they’re broken. Humpy Dumpy and excommunication are two things that come to mind right up. Like Galileo really cared or not, hundreds of years later if he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

Seems to me it was all up to God and Galileo. I’m sure they worked out the details of the deal, and the Catholic Church, at the time of the deal making, the Catholic Church didn’t have a horse in the race, they’d kicked the guy out. The telescope was right.

And so it is on this very night, as I walk my telescope outside and into the darkness, plug into the laptop computer, push the buttons, and stand mesmerized as my computer takes control of the telescope, it then turns my telescope upward into the heavens and points to the same magic spot first seen by Galileo. I’m looking at his original observation point, way up there in the night sky. His telescope was right. Galileo, a friend of the EastWing. We stargaze together, just a several hundred years apart. I saw what he saw, only better, ‘cause my telescope is bigger. My telescope is also right.

Stay safe in Iraq and Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, Old gods & Weather, Sunshine & Chariots, Zeus & Lighting, Copernicus & Galileo, The Catholic Church & Uh Oh, Seeing the Magic

I Wish You Well,


Too Hot & Too Cold, Plato & Play Dough, Mama’s Celebration of Life, Bagpipes Harps & Violins

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

Dog days of summer, Yeah !!!! Has it ever been hot or what? I love the dog day of summer! They’re about to end for this year, but like all good things summer, they’ll be back come next summertime. How fast we forget the cold, cold air of winter. We’re fickle like that, just a few days of different weather and we start to whine ‘bout what we’re getting weather-wise.

Just part of the reason that makes our country so great is our freedom to complain ‘bout something which we have absolutely no control whatsoever, the weather. So we do, whine and complain. It’s never just right, always too hot, too cold, too mild, too weather. Freedom to bitch ‘bout the weather. So free we don’t even know it’s there.

Should ya have the pleasure to talk to a person who’s lived in an oppressive society, you’ll have a different prospective on complaining ‘bout the weather. I’ve had such conversations, and it’s a sobering experience, to say the least. Survival is more important, food for today is more important. Water for today is more important. Not getting killed today is more important. There are places in the world where people just never think about the weather.

The EastWing’s not one of those places. We’re like you, we too bitch ‘bout the weather. It’s just a small part of what makes our country so great. Freedom to bitch ‘bout the weather. We’re so free, we don’t even know it.

For many of us, freedom just another word, but it’s free. Till it’s gone, then it’s priceless. One of the neat things that comes my way from my rambling of the EastWing is what people tell me by email from all over the world. Much of those conversations deal with the freedom here in the United States. A wish and dream for so many, an unrecognized treasure for so few. Freedom just another word for a precious few. But even for those, it’s still free.

It’s hard to imagine a society where one would be afraid to speak in opposition to an official state policy. No democrats, no republicans, no calico cats, just “this is the way it is”. Why they’d probably kill me the first day, or the second day for sure. Freedom not worth nothing, but it’s free.

Seems I’ve touched a chord when I talked ‘bout the dancing with the greens and the Oracle of Delphi, and them old Greek Fellers who wrote ‘bout stuff that never was, just things that might’ve been, or could be, maybe. I never knew so many people knew ‘bout Play Dough and so few knew ‘bout Plato.

Now Plato is known for making some rather profound statements in his time. Things like “Excess generally causes reaction, and produces a change in the opposite direction, whether it be in the seasons, or in individuals, or in governments”. WOW! Change you can believe in. How’s that change ya voted for working out for ya so far? “Excess generally causes reaction, and produces a change in the opposite direction, whether it be in the seasons, or in individuals, or in governments”. So said Plato, several years back.

Other such saying as “Good people don’t need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws”. Ya gotta keep in mind Plato’s talking ‘bout this kinda stuff thousands of years ago. It’s amazing how much of what Plato said in his time fits so well in our society today. It fits like a glove, not like OJ trying on the glove, just fits like a glove, a good glove fit. Plato and society, have always fit like a glove, for thousands of years.

Sophia wanted to say something bad ‘bout the President and how Plato’s words described the current President to a tee. Sophia also wanted to say she thought Plato was a republican, but I won’t talk to her till she gets off her sabbatical on Labor Day. it’s driving her crazy that I won’t talk to her. Damn Republican Cat!

No I didn’t make that stuff up ‘bout Plato, Apollo and the Oracle of Delphi. I don’t know how I know ‘bout all that stuff, I just do. It’s kinda like you know your own name, don’t ya? Well do ya remember when was the very first day you knew your own name? Of course not. So don’t ask me when was the first day I knew ‘bout the Oracle of Delphi. But if ya still have to have an date, it was July 14th 1959. Will that date work for ya? If so, it’ll work for me. Or maybe it was July 15th, no, I think it was July 14th.

I never knew there were so many fans of “dancing with the greens”. We all know someone who spend an extraordinary amount of time trying to keep their lawn in perfect “showroom” condition. Those folks miss a lot in life. They just do. A slave to a blade of grass, such a sad song. A better choice seems to be just dance with the greens, and maybe even feed a little hummingbird along the way.

A few weeks ago my sisters and I had a celebration of life memorial for my Mama. I didn’t tell ya ‘bout it at the time (July 17th) just in case I couldn’t tell the story right. ‘Cause when your Mama decides to become and angel and leave ya behind, it takes a little while getting used to. Me and my sisters, Sharolette and Barbara, we’ve gotten used to it, a little bit.

We filled the house at Grand Central Station, there in North Judson, that Sunday Afternoon. All Mama’s friends were invited and they all came by. We didn’t cry that Sunday, the crying time had passed. We just hugged, and remembered Mama. It was soooooo good. We just remembered Mama and didn’t cry. Not one tear was shed, but such precious memories, and they did linger.

Johnny set up Mama’s flat screen TV and displayed my Mama in pictures. Angela displayed photographs of her Grandma throughout Grand Central. RJ cooked some food. My sisters, Sharolette and Barbara, decorated the place and me and the She helped here and there. And me, well I made bologna spread sandwiches, it’s kinda a hillbilly thing, them bologna spread sandwiches.

I remember when I was a kid, and somebody died and we went to the wake, that was mostly held at home, back then. Ya brought food when ya went to the wake. My Mama would make bologna spread sandwiches when we went to those wakes. It only seemed right that I make it once again for my Mama. And so I did. It was good bologna spread. Mama would’ve been proud.

A harpist and violinist played the music for Mama’s Celebration Of Life. Such pretty music. Many people who came were not accustom to hearing a harp and violin playing music together. Some were most thrilled to hear live music from the harp for the first time ever.

I told one person, prior to the start of the party, that I had a fiddle player coming by, and they said oh good, I like good Blue Grass music. They didn’t play Blue Grass, that harp and violin. It was pretty music. Some were stunned into silence by the quality of the music at my Mama’s party. They choose to sit close by and simply enjoy a lovely musical concert on a Summer Sunday Afternoon.

One of the things my Mama had instructed me was that she didn’t want any sad songs at her funeral. And so her funeral was conducted the way she had told me to. At the cemetery as we buried my Mama, in the background, the bagpipes played Amazing Grace. Now if ya ever heard the bagpipes, then you’ll know what I mean, and why they played. It was not a sad song, rather Amazing Grace is a song of joy.

Wanta know something really neat about the song “Amazing Grace”? Do a little research into the history of that piece of music and find out where it came from. Nah, I’m not gona tell ya ‘bout it, ‘cause like me brother Ed used to tell me, when I’d ask him something really stupid ‘bout computer stuff. Ed would tell me where to find the answer and say “If you look it up, you’ll remember forever., if I tell ya, it’ll be gone tomorrow. Ed was right. I sure missed not having Ed at my Mama’s party. I miss Ed and Mama, every day.

At the Celebration Of Life Memorial for my Mama, the harpist and the violin played, among other things, in the background, Amazing Grace. Mama would’ve approved of my choices of music. Me and Mama, we just got along.

It truly takes a while to adjust to things like this, but we are adjusting, my little circle of sisters and me, adjusting a little bit every day. It’s like tuning a piano, ya tighten the wires slow. It takes time.

Stay safe in Iraq, and Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, Too Hot & Too Cold, Plato & Play Dough, Mama’s Celebration of Life, Bagpipes Harps & Violins.

I Wish You Well,


Cutting Grass, Temple of Apollo and Prestonsburg, Pythia and Unemployment, Dancing With The Greens.

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

One of the really fun things I do in the summer is cut grass. WOW ! Bet that raised some eyebrows far and wide. Ya gotta remember cutting grass is much like all your other responsibilities and chores in life. Ya want ‘em to be fun, there’re fun. Want ‘em to be a pain in the butt, there’re a pain in the butt.

Grass cutting became fun when I finally gleaned some insight into the whole world of Grass and God and Summertime. I wasn’t born a grass cutter. Far be it from that. I used to hate grass cutting so much I even prayed the grass wouldn’t grow, but it always grew.

Now ya do learn useful mechanical skills cutting grass. How to push and pull mechanized equipment like the reel type mowers. (old school grass cutting machines, those things). Even though the reel type mowers have long since been replaced with gas or electric blade devices, the reel type mower really done a much better job on the grass plant. The reel mower was more like a haircut for the grass. Today’s 25 hp 60’ zero turn machines cutting a swatch across your yard’s more like Hurricane Katrina ripping across the lawn . Ya also learn stuff like the techniques of lever action and application of physics when you’re cutting grass by hand. Action, reaction are easily explained using grass clippers.

Why grass cutting is so educational, I’m surprised somebody’s not incorporated it into a formal program of learning. Oh, I almost forgot, I think it’s been incorporated into a program. The Montessori approach to education introduces grass cutting to fifth graders, but only with hand clippers. The mechanical grass cutting equipment is introduced in the following years and if ya haven’t injured yourself by the 8th grade, ya get a “I’m a #1 Grass Cutter” award. But if ya have, then ya get a “Red Badge of Courage”

When I first started cutting grass here, there was no EastWing, only a new house, a pretty She and me, and sand, lots and lots of sand. Me and the She bought grass seed and fertilizer, that high nitrogen kind, that supposed to make your lawn a “Mean Green Grass Machine” It helped our sand to produce sandburs, weeds and a little grass here and there. We were on our way to a beautiful lawn. NOT!

Yes, there was even a time I prayed that the grass would grow. Then finally realized that praying for grass to go grow is much the same as when I prayed it wouldn’t grow. God just laughs at ya coming and going. Guess that old saying is right “stupid is as stupid prays” Praying won’t grow grass, or stopping grass from growing that’s for sure.

As time went on, our sand and sandburs slowly turned into other green stuff, I finally figured it all out and I’ve been happy cutting grass ever since. Unlike some people, I’ve never had a high desire to have a manicured lawn. Just don’t, have better ways to spend my summertime than worry ‘bout the green part of the EastWing.

After much pondering on the mysteries of the universe, including such things as why grass grew even when I prayed it wouldn’t, and wouldn’t even when I prayed it would. Then it happened. It happened so suddenly, as if delivered by Pythia, herself. The wisdom of God and Grass and Summertime had been delivered to BobbyRay by the Oracle of Delphi. Pythia had brought me the message.

Now if ya don’t happen to know ‘bout Pythia and that Oracle of Delphi stuff, well that’s ok too, ‘cause it’s been a long time since she’s been on the 10 o’clock news. Do ya remember a year or two ago we’re talking ‘bout stuff and I got started talking ‘bout how I’s always fascinated by Greek Gods and that old Greek stuff. And having read a whole bunch of stuff ‘bout ancient Greece. Well Pythia, Pythia’s just part of that gang of old Greek God stuff I’s talking ‘out.

Actually, Pythia was the priestess (a girl preacher, no less) at the Temple of Apollo. This Temple of Apollo just so happened to be in the city of Delphi. It was a church, that Temple of Apollo. Now Pythia was highly renowned and widely acclaimed for her prophecies in regard to the Greek God Apollo. Seems I remember that Apollo was supposed to be a good looking feller, he mighta even been a hillbilly ‘cause as I recall the Temple of Apollo at Delphi is located on the side of Mount Parnassus.

Everybody knows that when you’re in the mountains they all look alike. That Temple of Apollo up there on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. Location wise, that kinda reminds me of Saint Martha Catholic Church in Prestonsburg KY. Up there on the slopes of the mountain. Up there toward Jenny Wiley State Park, way up there in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky. But I don’t think anybody ever heard of the Oracle of Prestonsburg. I never did, that’s for sure.

I jest, using the Oracle of Delphi as a pawn, but keep in mind this was a form of religious belief that endured for over 8,000 years. Four times the length of current Christianity. The Delphic Oracle was established in the 8th century BC and the last recorded response was written in 393 AD . In that year, emperor Theodosius the First, decreed that all pagan temples cease operations. That was when Pythia went to see ‘bout unemployment compensation.

Too bad they didn’t have a stimulus program back then or Pythia could’ve drawn 99 weeks of free money from the Greek Government Unemployment Program. ‘Course back then they were all republicans, and all the cats were Calico, and nobody got unemployment pay.

Back then if ya wanted money, ya worked. Ya didn’t work, ya didn’t get money. Now that’s such a radical idea. I wonder if something like that’d work in today’s society. Nah, don’t think so, too many democrats would oppose such an idea of giving people something for nothing. Like 99 weeks of something for nothing.

During this eight thousand three hundred ninety three (8,393) years, the Delphic Oracle was the most prestigious and authoritative oracle in the Greek world. Now when ya look at the great writers of ancient Greek history, the names of Herodotus, Thucydides, Euripides, Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, Pindar, Aeschylus, Xenophon, Diodorus, Diogenes, Strabo, Pausanias, Plutarch, Livy, Justin, Ovid, Lucan, Julian, and Clement of Alexandria, they all come to the forefront. Everyone of these guys made reference to the Oracle of Delphi in their written words. The Oracle of Delphi was that important to the keepers of history.

Make no mistake ‘bout it, these guys knew they were writing history for the future of the world, they just knew, and what they recorded shows the fact that they knew. What’s truly sad ‘bout these guys writings is to think most of their works were forever lost with the destruction of the great library at Alexandria. But that’s a whole different story.

Now for those not accustom to pronouncing Greek words. Plato and Play Dough are not one in the same.

And so the message that came down to me was that God didn’t want me to grow grass, he just wanted me to take care of what I’d been given. With that thought in mind, life became simple and easy back then. That very first spring after the delivery of the message from the Oracle of Delphi, I went outside in the springtime , felt the sunshine on my skin for the first time that spring, the air was warm, and right there realized, with the change of seasons, God turned my world green and it’s just my job to just take care of the green, and don’t worry ‘bout the grass.

I now believe green’s simply God’s choice of color to show us all hope in our future. Stop and think ‘bout it. Green means growing. Growing means the sun’ll come up tomorrow. Your hope and my hope for the future is the sun’ll come up tomorrow.

Upon real close inspection I realized my yard was ½ grass and ½ weeds and ½ those pretty little springtime friends of mine, those pretty little dandelions, and that other ½ , well I just didn’t know for sure what it all was, but it too was green, and my job was not to make ‘em grow, but take care of ‘em. And to keep ‘em all, all those green things, ‘bout the same height. And so I trim the greens and enjoy it immensely. Now I keep ‘em all at the same height, ‘cause that’s my job in the summertime. I don’t have grass, I’ve got greens. I think they’ve even got greens on golf courses.

To me, keeping my greens the same height is kinda like dancing. Some of us can, and some of us can’t, and some of us wish we could dance. ‘Bout ever 10 days or so, me and my greens, we just dance.

Stay safe in Afghanistan and Iraq.

From the EastWing, Cutting Grass, Temple of Apollo and Prestonsburg, Pythia and Unemployment, Dancing With The Greens.

I Wish You Well,


Bub’s BBQ, Grandpa Bob & the State Cop, The Halleck Boys, General Patton, RJ and The Sagamore Of The Wabash

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

‘Bout 30 miles or so west of the EastWing there’s a town called DeMotte. Now DeMotte’s kinda special to us Howards, for a few reasons. One being that’s where #1 son operates part of the family businesses. That business being BUB’S BBQ.

Several days ago Mother Nature displayed the power of the Force right there in DeMotte Indiana. Ya had to see it and ya had to live thru it, to really believe the power of the Force. Massive oak trees snapped like green beans as the Force walked thru DeMotte Indiana on an otherwise typical summer day. The power of the Force was displayed on the Indiana flat lands over there in Jasper County.

RJ started BUB’S BBQ in North Judson back in mid 2010. It just never generated the volume of sales necessary to continue. Knowing that we had a great product, and knowing that RJ had the ability to make it a successful business, we were faced with a decision. Stop or go.

We’re Howards, we never look back, nor do we ever stop, we just reload. We can only go one way and that way’s forward. Maybe I got that from my Grandpa Bob Howard.

When Grandpa Bob, who had learned to drive a car only after he was an old man, met a Kentucky State Police Officer on a gravel road just one lane wide. The road was high upon the mountain side there in Breathitt County, a few miles up Quicksand.

While both cars sat nose to nose, Grandpa Bob got out of this car, walked over the Kentucky State Police Officer and said “son ya gotta back yours up, ‘cause I can’t, and I can only go one way and yours is in my way”. The Kentucky State Cop backed up. Grandpa Bob went forward. As Howards we don’t back up very good.

Bub’s BBQ is working out well for us, over there in DeMotte. Up there on 8th Avenue. That the last cross street on the north side of town. The last cross street of Halleck Avenue. I’m not sure if it’s Halleck Avenue or Halleck Street. Either way, the north south street thru Demount is called Halleck. It’s highway 231 running north thru Demount. Just go to the last cross street (8th Avenue) and turn east, (right, as ya go north) and it’s the first BBQ on the north side of the road.

Wow! When I spoke the word “Halleck” up above, it brought back such fond memories of a couple old friends of mine. Two brothers, born and raised over there in the DeMotte area. Charles and Harold. Such friends of mine.

Now we didn’t go out and play together as little boys, me and them Halleck’s, ‘cause those fellers were a lot older than me. They played in the depression, I played after the war. But we sure became good friends as adults, me and the Brothers Halleck.

Charlie was the political type in the family. Some of ya may remember Charles Halleck. Charlie served in the United States House of Representatives as the Congressman for the 2nd Congressional District from Indiana for many years. In fact, Charlie was the Majority Speaker of the US House of Representatives for a long time. I met Charlie thru his brother Harold.

Not as many people have heard of Harold Halleck as have heard of Charlie Halleck. But lots more have heard of Doc Halleck in Winamac. When I went to work at the Pulaski Memorial Hospital in Winamac Indiana, the senior physician on the medical staff was Dr. Harold Halleck.

He was old, I was young. He took a liking to me, right up. I took a liking to him, right up. I’d not been in that hospital more than a week when he came into my laboratory and said “ since we’re going to be working together, guess ya need to call me Harold, or you can call me doc if ya want to, ‘cause you’re way, way too young for me to call you Mr. Howard. And so it was from that day forward, Harold and Bob, just me and doc.

The more I got to know Harold, the more I loved knowing Harold. I came to that hospital as a lab tech and left as a hospital administrator, all the while my biggest fan and best friend of mine was Harold Halleck, MD. Harold supported me in every move up and every decision I made at that hospital.

Harold served in WWII. He was assigned to the medical team charged with the responsibility of keeping General Dwight Eisenhower alive for the duration of the war. Harold served within arm’s reach of the general thru out the war.

Such stories he told of the difficulties Ike had in figuring out how to keep the generals under his command all shooting in the same direction rather than at each other. Seems the American and British Generals preferred to shoot at each other to gain Ike’s favor, more so than any other direction, but somehow Ike was always able to convince ‘em to shoot the way he wanted.

According to Harold, when one particularly obstinate American Soldier came to have dinner with the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Eisenhower had to resort to the threat of ordering a special surgical procedure be carried out on the soldier which would render him unable to reproduce.

Then General Eisenhower asked the soldier if he understood the significance what he had just said. It was at that point in the conversation that the soldier, got up from the table, stood upright, and at full military attention, saluted, and said in a loud, clear voice “YES SIR, SIR”

Harold said he was glad that General George Patton had responded the way he did, ‘cause he was the Medical Officer on duty that night. And it would’ve been his responsibility to carry out the orders of General Eisenhower.

I laughed and asked Harold if he’d done it. Harold said “when Ike spoke, the course of the war changed. I’m just the doctor on duty that evening. Guess if the MPs held ‘em down……….as Harold smiled and thought ‘bout things that might’ve been, had Patton not said “YES SIR, SIR”.

Another reason I loved Harold so, was that he delivered my first baby boy. One of the good things ‘bout working at a hospital and your wife being pregnant is when ya wake up one morning and she saying I’m having labor pains. Ya just say “I’m going to work anyways, so ya might just as well come along. That day the She came along to work with me.

Dr. Halleck was at the hospital when we got there, me to work and the She to get settled into the having the baby department of the hospital. Now hospitals are like mini families in the since that all employees know everything ‘bout each other. Who’s doing what to who and who’s sleeping where, and all that family type stuff. I’d not yet left the OB Department and every employee in the whole house knew the She had arrived to have the baby.

When I walked onto the medical floor to collect early morning fasting blood samples, not a single person said “good morning Mr. Howard”, ‘Course ya gotta keep in mind nobody ever called me Mr. Howard anyhow, but they didn’t even say good morning Bob, just “how’s Regina?” Told ‘em “don’t know, I left her in OB, it’s her and Harold from here on out, I’ve done my part of the deal”.

It was as if the day was on slow time. Noon came and went and there was very slow progress being reported. Harold came back to the hospital 4 times before noon to check on Regina, each time stopping in the lab to give me an update. He kept saying we’re gona be a while.

Somewhere ‘bout 3:30 or so that afternoon, Dr. Bill Thompson came to me in the lab, and told me that Harold was scheduled to receive the Sagamore of the Wabash Award that evening in Indianapolis. The award to be given by the Indiana Governor, and the dinner was scheduled to start at 6:00 PM.

Now if ya don’t know ‘bout the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, it’s the highest civilian award that can be bestowed upon an Indiana citizen. It’s not given out lightly. It’s reserved for those who have truly made a major impact on the lives of Hoosiers. Harold Halleck qualified in spades for the Sagamore of the Wabash Award

Dr. Bill asked if Regina and I would consider him taking over the delivery so Harold would be able to go to the award dinner in his honor. Now it was not like Dr. Bill was a new doctor to us, Regina had in fact seen Dr. Bill a couple times in the past when Harold was out of town. Both me and the She had all the confidence in the world in Dr. Bill. He too was a friend of ours.

Dr. Bill and I went back to the OB Department and talked it over with the She. The She and I both agreed that we were comfortable with Dr. Bill taking over the delivery. Dr. Bill and I went to talk it over with Harold. We went to his private office and waited our turn to see the doctor.

One of his staff people put into a little exam room and told us the doctor would be with us shortly, like we’d never heard that old song before. Pretty soon Harold came in, took one look and said “ now this is a pair to draw to if I ever saw it in my life. What you boys up to now?” Dr. Bill made the presentation. He proposed he take over the delivery of the baby for Regina so Harold could go to Indianapolis.

I’ll never forget Harold’s straight forward response. He just smiled and said “Bill, every delivery I’ve started, I’ve finished, and the track record’s not gona be broken today. So what else you boys wanta talk ‘bout?” We didn’t really have anything else to talk ‘bout and both realized we’re now just wasting Harold’s time ‘cause he’s gona delivery Regina’s baby no matter what we said. I went back to the laboratory and Dr. Bill went back to his office to finish the remainder of his patient appointments for the day.

Minutes drug by as hours thru out the hospital as me and the whole staff waited for the progress of the She, and so far this day, the progress had been slow. Yet little hospitals, ya gotta love ‘em where everybody knows your name. kinda like “Cheers” in scrubs. Ya laugh or cry as a family, ya feel all the joy, ya feel all the pain. Where everybody knows your name, in scrubs and lab coats.

‘Bout the same time Harold should have been in Indianapolis for his Sagamore of The Wabash Award, things got really busy in OB. Doc had told ‘em to call him when certain benchmarks were met. He was called at 6:00. ‘Bout 10 minutes after Harold arrived at the hospital, Dr. Bill walked into the lab, smiled at me winked and said “think I’ll go see if Harold needs a hand”. Dr. Bill had told the OB Department to call him 10 minutes after they called Harold. The baby arrived at 6:25.

It was 10 minutes to 7 o’clock when Harold walked in the room, smiled and said “everything’s fine, it’s hard to tell who’s the better shape, mama or the baby, and I’m thinking they’re both keepers”.

Then Harold said “Bob I’m gona let Dr. Bill take care of Regina and the baby tonight, ‘cause there’s some people in Indianapolis who’s offered to buy me supper, and all I gotta do is show up and eat, so I’m gona take ‘em up on it”.

So off he went into the late November night to receive his Sagamore of the Wabash Award, all the while knowing the baby delivering record was still intact. A more deserving citizen never existed in Indiana than Harold Halleck.

Harold told me one time he delivered a baby, and way paid 1 and ½ dozen eggs, and thought he got the better of the deal, ‘cause he didn’t have another mouth to feed and times were tuff.

An old school doctor who once told me that he kept his accounts receivable written in sand, just in case the winds need to blow in a different directions when times got hard.

The sands of time treated Harold well, that old school doctor, that friend of mine who damn near operated on General George Patton, who told me “you’re way too young for me to call you Mr. Howard, so guess you’ll just have to call me Harold so I can call ya Bob. A special friend of mine, Harold Halleck, MD.

Them Halleck boys from DeMotte, friends of mine, knowing them was such a time.

Just when I tell ya all my EastWing friends have left the desert, a week later, deployment changes that tune. Guess God didn’t want me to stop praying for those in the sand. We know you’re there Sam.

Stay safe in Iraq and Afghanistan

From the EastWing, Bub’s BBQ, Grandpa Bob & the State Cop, The Halleck Boys, General Patton, RJ and The Sagamore Of The Wabash

I wish you well,


E-mails, Botany Boys & Girlfriends, Tattoos, Google Tiptop, Montessori Schools, High school Sweethearts

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the East Wing.

At the EastWing we’re forever getting comments, questions, derogatory remarks, and complements along with a few flat out rip ya a new one type statements, and all the while accompanied with that praise and glory for the existence of the East Wing and the words flowing forth. Just so nobody thinks I’m not hearing what ya say, or worse yet, don’t have the courage to respond from the EastWing. Did ya really think that part ‘bout courage? Give me a break!

So today it’s time to respond to the most curious of the curious e-mail. The e-mails that even Sophia The Republican Cat said after she read ‘em “What the H—!” I’ll try to put these thoughts on the e-mail in reverse order of receipt, but I may not get ‘em all correct as it’s just from memory and some of the more bazaar tend to stick in your mind more than others. So here goes.

You don’t have to tell me that flowers and butterflies are different species of life forms. I already know that one is plant and one is animal. And yes I know ‘bout different types of life forms on this planet. So sorry ya missed the beautiful parody of flowers being butterflies. I really don’t care if ya have a degree in Botany. Yes I also have educational degrees and much like your degree in Botany, that along with 10 bucks will get us two cups of coffee at Starbucks.

You sound to me like your life is pretty much vanilla . I think ya need a girlfriend. Girlfriends make ya smile. Girlfriends make ya think ‘bout stuff other than things like “life forms on the planet”. Shew…. Girlfriends make ya think more ‘bout boy and girl stuff. Try it, you’ll like it. I did, and I do. Thank God for the She.

Studying Botany means ya learn really big words for stuff like wild grapes, dandelions, skunk cabbage and sour grass. Having a PhD in Botany and working in your field is much the same as a PhD in anthropology. In order to get a job in your chosen field of study, ya gotta wait till somebody dies. Talk ‘bout a saturated job market. And that’s part of the reason I so treasure my PhD in Blackberry Pickin’ That Hospital Administration stuff went away, but the Blackberry Pickin’ stuck for life.

As a matter of fact, I just went today to check on the blackberry crop and sad to say, this year the pickin is slim to none. DAMN! Oh well, just like the Cub Fans “Wait till next year”.

Spike The Man Cat’s not for sale. Not for sale at any price. What have I ever said from the EastWing that would give anybody the impression I’d sell The Man Cat? I have not said a single word Spike is on the market. And as such I gotta tell ya “FORGET ABOUT!”.

Yes Bentley is 18.889 times bigger than Sophia The Republican Cat. Bentley’s big, Sophia’s little. She doesn’t have to be a big cat to carry a big stick. Ya gotta keep in mind Sophia walked with swagger in the land of Lee Roy Brown. There are some things in life where size matters and some things in life where size doesn’t count. Being a Republican Cat is one of those things that doesn’t count, and so she walks, oh how that cat walks. Sophia smiles as she walks and carries that big stick. Damn Republican Cat.

No , I’m not gona get a tattoo even if you’ll do it for free. I don’t know or care if you’re Miami Ink or not, or even Toto Ink for that matter. I’m telling ya, there’ll be no tattooing on BobbyRay. I don’t like needles stuck in my body and I don’t like spiders and snakes either. So it don’t matter how sweet the offer is the answer is still NO! Nothing can be said on done that would change my mind ‘bout getting a tattoo. Another way to put it is, When the She wants us to get a tattoo, I’m with the She. The She don’t do tattoos.

Tiptop is real. I didn’t make up a place called “Tiptop” just to tell a story. If ya please, Google “Tiptop KY” and see what ya get. Ya get Tiptop KY. A real place at a real time of my life. I walked the mountains and waded the creek at Tiptop. I went to school up there on the side of the mountain, and sup-contracted out the building of fires in the stoves at the Tiptop Elementary School.

I was elected the next years president of the student body. My campaign slogan being “vote for me and I’ll give ya a bottle of pop and a candy bar”. I got elected, then moved to Indiana before school started in the fall. Much like many politicians of the day, local, state, and federal, I ran away from my promises. The differences from me and them, I got out of politics, so I guilt lying to the electorate to stay in office. Remember going to fixing time issue here in Starke? A major part of a campaign. Same time, no change, let’s talk ‘bout something else while we’re in Illinois.

Yes I think it’s worthwhile to go to Bear Country USA. Yes I would recommend it as a family vacation spot. Lots of things to see in South Dakota. Not only Bear Country USA, but Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument. They’re all close together up there in South Dakota. A trip worthwhile. A fun part of the country to visit. And I didn’t even tell ya ‘bout Wall’s Drug Store at Wall, South Dakota. But you’ll find out ‘bout that when ya go.

I just gotta ask ya, which do ya thinks’ more important in life, self esteem or the ability to read? Without the ability to read…… Shew…. Think ‘bout it for a while. Try to imagine life without the ability to read. Self esteem tends to go by the wayside when ya can’t read. When ya can’t read ya don’t even know what the hell self esteem is. Dumbing down of society is when we produce high school graduates who can’t read. We do so, right here in Indiana. Then we blame it on preserving self esteem. Shame on us right here in Starke County Indiana. Self esteem aint worth nothing, but it’s free, even if ya can’t read, we gave it to ya.

Montessori schools are not in the main stream of public education. I don’t care what ya say, they’re just not. It don’t matter who ya point to as an example. Ya gotta keep in mind that even a blind hog finds a few acorns.

The Montessori School approach to education is not the main stream of our society. And yes the Montessori system does strive to build self esteem by rewarding the accomplishment of goals. Those goals may be as low as not peeing in your pants for two hours. Bet ya don’t wanta put that award in your high school graduation party trophies on display, do ya?

No, I’m not saying I disapprove of the Montessori approach to education. I’m just saying it’s not the mainstream thought which we educate the masses in our society. If it was, then those charged with the task of public education would embrace the concept. The Montessori concept has not been embraced by those charged with the responsibility of educating the masses. It’s a fringe element approach to education at best.

Yes, I’m telling ya, some of the Montessori Schools I’ve had contact with, they do give awards for some most basic stuff, like staying within the lines when ya color. Think ‘bout it, are ya really proud of that fact as an adult, even if ya got the award when ya first started in the Montessori School. What would ya rather have the staying within the lines award or the winner of the 6th grad spelling bee?

I could never stay within the lines, many hillbillies can’t, didn’t win the spelling bee either. Seems I spell much like I color, not within the lines. I’s once asked why I make up words when I type, my response was, could understand my made up words, the answer was always yes. Then I said, “there ya go”. When a series of letters strung together have meaning to the reader, it’s understandability. Then when ya have understandability, ya got stories from the EastWing. And ya understand what I’m talkin’ ‘bout.

Some of those parents who make the decision to send their children to Montessori School Systems may tend to be the ones in our society who have a little more financial resources than the average, and as such may tend to think themselves as being somewhat more important than the ones they meet on the street. It’s such a misguided view of life. But for the grace of God, there goes I. I think it’s kinda a snob factor thing for some people. Now if ya choose to educate your child in a religious based educational system, that’s a complete different matter. I’m a firm supporter of religious based education even though I did not educate my babies that way. The option was not available to do so. Had it been, me and the She would have crossed that bridge when we got to it. The bridge was not there as we walked the educational process for our babies.

And so some people send their babies to Montessori School Systems and the babies get rewards when they don’t pee their pants in the first grade. Wow! I don’t care what ya say, money can buy anything, even awards for your babies not peeing their pants. I don’t think my babies peed their pants in the first grade anyways. But I didn’t give ‘em a bottle pop and a candy bar.

At the college level there’s no difference in performance, Montessori, or public education. College is the big equalizer of the education system. Ya do or ya don’t at the college level. The rewards are singular at the college level, ya pass or fail. And if ya pee your paints nobody cares.

Yeah, me and the She were / are still really high school sweethearts, and I wasn’t joking ‘bout wanting to go tell it on the mountain. The She was the older woman in the relationship. She was sixteen and I was fifteen, but I loved her so. We were too young to fall in love, but we were too young to know. And so we did, and it stuck. It stuck like glue for me and the She.

The love of my life is the She. To this very day, I still love her so. In my eyes, the most beautiful girl in the world is Regina. It’s so much fun loving your high school sweetheart your whole life. It just is, and I’m glad I can / did / do / have / whatever. Me and the She, just high school sweethearts where things worked out.

Love does get ya thru a lot. It did, for me and the She.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, E-mails, Botany Boys & Girlfriends, Tattoos, Google Tiptop, Montessori Schools, High school Sweethearts.

I wish you well.


Diamonds Tadpoles & Butterflies, Blood Sugar & Bullet Holes, No Weather Today, Listen To The Corn

Greetings to all and welcome new friends to the East Wing.

Metamorphism, it’s the process that turns trees to muck, to coal, to diamonds. While metamorphosis turns tadpoles into frogs and worms into butterflies. Tis the season for the change of things. Blooms into apples and blossoms into blackberries. Garden flowers into vegetables and potato blooms into underground treasures. Hummingbird eggs into baby birds. Tis the season for that kinda stuff.

Almost forgot to tell ya, that part ‘bout the trees and the diamonds. Well I left out a couple steps, mainly ‘bout that time and pressure part. Lots and lots of both, really, really lots of both. But the diamonds are worth waiting for, if you’re just setting ‘round not doing anything anyhow.

All the joys of summer brings all the misery of summer. Misquotes, Gnats, Wasps and all the other bugs of summer that we’re so afraid of. Plus Sunburn! Oh my yes, sunburn. Why do we ever expose ourselves to radiation that starts to blister our skin? Don’t know, we just do.

We start to cook, from the outside in. It’s kinda like reverse microwave. It makes us tan on the outside first. We somehow think tan skin is kinda cool. The only thing ya can say for sure is that radiation cooking from the sun will shorten your lifespan, and that’s the name of that tune.

Been having some interesting bouts with controlling the diabetes. From time to time I’m having a rather large swing in the blood sugar readings for no apparent reason other than it just is.

For those who may not know ‘bout diabetes, the normal blood sugar reading is, depending, which doctor ya listen to, 70 – 100 mg/L or 80 – 120 mg/L. Now I’m kinda old school in the since that when I was in the medical laboratory business it was considered normal to be in the 80-120 mg/L range. And so to this day I’m comfortable with those numbers.

My problem is staying within those numbers. A little above, I don’t get too excited. A little below, and I not only don’t get excited, and that’s the problem, I don’t even know where I’m at, and at the same time I just don’t seem to care ‘bout it one way or the other.

It’s the twilight zone of diabetes, where ya just go slip sliding away. It’s the part that kinda scares me, that slip sliding away part. ‘Cause at that point ya can’t help yourself. Ya can only get by with a little help from your friends. And when you’re there, Lord knows ya sure need some help from your friends.

Of the two directions of blood sugar, high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), the one which presents the most direct danger is the hypoglycemia, the low side. Give ya an example of what I mean. When I was first diagnosed as a diabetic last summer while in the hospital, my fasting blood sugar was 665 Mg/L, now remember 80-120 Mg/L is normal. At 665 Mg/L I didn’t feel too bad, just a little thirsty from time to time. A few days ago my blood sugar was 52 Mg/L and I didn’t even know my name.

Had it not been for the She, I could well have died from hypoglycemia and no one would’ve ever known it was hypoglycemia. Just another reason ‘bout me and the She being a team. We go back a ways, me and the She. I got by with a little help from my friend. The She made me eat frozen undiluted orange juice. YUK! The She brought me back into reality with that frozen orange juice stuff.

Having once been in the line of work where we determined why people died, I can say for a fact, we didn’t look for hypoglycemia as a cause too very often. With a known history of diabetes, we kept it in mind, but even then it was low on the list of things to rule out.

When causes other than the normal end stages of living were suspected, we looked for the holes, and when found we found ‘em just followed the trail. When no holes were there, we looked for the entry points of sharp objects. Many times we went home early when those two were addressed.

Ya just followed the hole till ya got to the important stuff inside ya, like your heart or lungs or inside your head and stuff like that. Now when that trail you’re following went thru one of those really important parts inside ya, well, BINGO! We could call it a day, or call it a night, or whatever time of day or night we happened to be working on that case. But hypoglycemia just never crossed your mind when ya found bullet holes or knife marks, just followed the trails and went home.

Just like most every line of work, sometimes ya had to work overtime doing that kinda stuff. Sometimes ya even had to work weekends and holidays too. Seems my jobs have always been like every bodies jobs, the grass is always greener over there. Mine were not always green.

In an email the other day a feller asked why I don’t talk ‘bout weather lore any more. I’ve no excuse ‘cept guess it just never happened to cross my mind while when I happen to rambling along here in the EastWing. But that email did remind me of something and I made it a point to share with ya. In fact I even wrote myself a little note to be sure and not forget.

Do ya ever do that? Forget ‘bout stuff. I hate when that happens. The She says I’m getting worse at forgetting stuff. Told her I can’t remember ever being any better.

Now here’s what that note reminded me to tell ya ‘bout . It’s ‘bout the weather of course. I’m sure everybody knows ‘bout La Niña and El Niño. ‘Bout how they are supposed to influence weather or a global basis. ‘Bout the La Niña being that cold spot, that problem child cold spot out there in the Pacific Ocean. And the El Niño being the occasional warm spot in the Tropical section of the Pacific.

Now that we all know ‘bout La Niña and El Niño, I’m sure hoping that you’re setting down for this one, a new mystery seems to be in the making out there in that wide Pacific Ocean. La Nada Weather. Nothing weather. No Weather!

Oh that’s sweet….. No weather. Just like in the first chapter of Genesis. As you’ll recall, back then we had day and night, with little in between, then evening came and morning followed. The first day. I’m not gona bore ya with the rest of that Genesis weather forecast, but it’s pretty much the same every day. They didn’t have weather radar back then. Didn’t need it either.

La Nada Weather, oh well, guess that’s what we get for letting the Peruvian Fisherman name stuff out in the ocean. I wonder who died and left ‘em boss of naming ocean stuff? ‘Course if you’re way out there in the middle of the Pacific, who’s gona tell ya what ya can and what ya can’t name. Not me, I’m not going out there ‘cause I can’t swim.

Never had a need to learn how to swim. Figured if God wanted me to swim, I’d be made with gills and flippers. I’m not and so I don’t. Even thought I don’t know how to swim, I’ve got a large swimming pool, 16 X 36, My pool doesn’t have a deep end, it’s 4’ all over. The life safety instructions for my pool are simple and easy to remember even in an emergency. “IF YA START TO DROWN—STAND UP” Works every time, at least in my pool.

Did ya ever go out and listen to the corn grow? It’s true, ya can actually hear the corn growing. The night that is the best to hear such a thing, the night of July 4th. So if ya can, walk out tomorrow night, after your fireworks, walk into a corn field, ya don’t have to go far into the corn. Just stand still and do two things. One take a deep breath and breath the cleanest air you’ve ever inhaled in your life. After the deep breath, just stand in silence and hear one of the sounds of God at work.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, Diamonds Tadpoles & Butterflies, Blood Sugar & Bullet Holes, No Weather Today, Listen To The Corn

I Wish you well,


High School Graduation Parties, Montessori Schools & Tying Shoes, One Last Ride With the Posse, Freedom’s just another word.

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the East Wing.

One way to tell you’re getting close to summer’s front door is when ya start getting the high school graduation party invitations. Depending on how many ya know from any year’s graduating class, there’ll be somewhere between a few to none to lots and too many. Yet they come every year. Just after the hummingbirds come home for the summer, so comes the high school graduation party invitations.

Over the years invitations to high school graduation parties, those rights of passage, have evolved from simple word of mouth, to elaborate embossed cards purchased from elaborate embossed card companies, to computer printed handouts, to email, to texting. Yet the message remains much the same, come to my party, and bring me stuff.

The parties too have evolved from where they were when I graduated from high school to a recent one attended. They’ve changed. The She says I’m being too critical, I think that we, as a society, have dumbed ourselves and future generations down to the level where mediocrity is considered reason to rejoice. It’s sad to hear a high school graduate brag “I’ve carried a solid D all the way thru high school”. Had this been my child I’d have had the party in the linen cosset with the lights out. Some parties just never need to see the light of day.

I didn’t send out invitations to my high school graduation party. Didn’t need to ‘cause my Mama just said she’s gona have a party for me and my sisters to celebrate that I’ve graduated from high school. When your Mama says she’s gona have ya a party, then ya don’t need to tell anybody else, your Mama’s gona take of everything. Mama took care of my party.

All my family came to my high school graduation party and two other people, my Uncle Burl King, my Mama’s brother, and an Italian girl from North Judson, Regina Griffo. By the time I graduated from high school, I think my family loved that Italian girl more than I did, but that was impossible, after all I was the one she smiled at in the Gable Theater.

Bologna Spread Sandwiches made my high school graduation party special. Now we ate bologna sandwiches a lot but on special occasions such as high school graduations or when someone died, then my Mama would make Bologna Spread Sandwiches. Bologna and cheese and sweet pickles and mayonnaise and a little bit of pepper and even less of salt, and I think the secret ingredient was lots of Mama Love for her boy that made the Bologna Spread taste so good. We ate potato chips along with those Bologna Spread Sandwiches, drank Pepsi-Cola in bottles, and had vanilla ice-cream on sticks. The vanilla ice-cream was covered with dark chocolate . It was soooooo good. A party for the ages.

No onions in that Bologna Spread. My Mama never used onions in her whole life in any recipe she ever made. Didn’t like onions, didn’t even wanta talk ‘bout stuff with onions in it. My Mama didn’t like onions. And garlic, I don’t think I ever heard my Mama even say that word “garlic” in her whole life, but I’m pretty sure that my Mama didn’t like garlic either. When my Mama didn’t like something she’d let ya know right up. Onion was one of the things she’d let ya know ‘bout.

The high school graduation parties of today are different. They’re scheduled over a longer time to allow everybody to go to ‘em all. Friday Evening, Saturday and Sunday are the days of choice. Never start before 10:00 AM or later than 8:00 PM, while most are 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Many of these parties are held outside the home. Fire stations, banquet halls, town parks, back yards, even parking lots have hosted high school graduation parties in my home town. And they’ve all got food. Some with “finger food” I never quite knew what finger food really is. I don’t like to eat with my fingers. So I’ve always been a little leery of “finger food” all my life. Don’t know why, just am. Maybe just don’t like the term. Finger food sounds ugly to me.

Then some of the parties have food fit for the king. I’ve even attended a high school graduation party that had prime rib served to your choice at the carving station. There’s always tables and places to set and eat at high school graduation parties, some have place settings while others have stacks of paper or plastic plates along with those little white knives and forks where ya help yourself. I hate those little white plastic forks. They break way too often.

If I could tell the world one thing ‘bout parties it would be “spend that extra 5¢ per guest when you’re putting on a high school graduation party and buy a damn good fork. That clear plastic kind that don’t break when ya try to use it in place of that little white knife that won’t even cut butter.

And while I’m at it here giving unsolicited advice , don’t even think ‘bout those thin paper plates, you know what I’m talking ‘bout, those flimsily little white pieces of round paper that someone passes off as plates and ya can buy a gross for .79¢. The kind that ya put one spoon full of anything and you’re in a juggling match to hold anything else. I hate those kinda jokes passed off as plates at parties . I’d rather bring my own plate to the party than have to put up with one of those little joke plates.

One of the real cool things ‘bout writing from the East Wing is ya can just rip into anything and not give a damn ‘bout offending anybody ‘cause ya never said a bad word ‘bout anybody in your whole life. Just random thoughts from the East Wing on a summer evening, just thinking ‘bout knives and forks and paper plates.

The problem with these parties is no matter when it’s scheduled, seems ya have two or three on the same day. Knowing ya still have parties to attend before ya sleep, ya can’t set and eat as much as ya wanta, so ya take little portions of good stuff and hope the little white forks don’t break as ya walk around and say hello while ya eat. I’ve even stuck an extra white fork in my shirt pocket, just in case.

Eventually ya find the graduate somewhere there in the middle of a posse of cohorts . Protocol dictates ya must congratulate the graduate, so ya stick your hand inside the group and say “congratulations, on a job well done” or something truly memorable like “way to go” .

Sometimes ya may encounter a little girl who’s just graduated from high school and ya want to say something like “why in the world are your wearing a blouse that exposes so much of your chest? Have ya found work as a street walker, right out of high school? Or have ya just outgrown your clothes? But ya don’t say those things, those things that should be said at the graduation party. Ya just say instead “good luck in the future”, or some other equally dumb statement to the graduate and move on to the next party. There ya repeat the process. And hope it’s a boy so ya don’t have to look away if the graduate bends over.

Most all high school graduation parties have the same display. Pictures pasted and plastered on poster board. All the way from birth thru those just taken at the graduation ceremony, to some just taken by the i-phone, sent to the wireless printer and pasted up of the previous guest arrival at the party..

For some graduates awards are on display along with the pictures. Depending on what type school the graduate attended, some of the awards may or may not be of importance. If, for example, ya went to a Montessori School, they tend to give out major awards for learning to tie your shoes, and/or not using both sides of the Kleenex, then they’re not too inclined to display those awards at the high school graduation party. But it was a big deal at the time of achievement.

Montessori Schools have never been the main stream of public education. A public education system which dates back all the way to Ben Franklin. The Montessori School concept has never really taken roots in our society, with some 20,000 Montessori Schools across the country, ya can only say it’s a minority approach to education at best. An approach that’s not garnered large public support for its concepts.

Knowing full well somebody’s gona yell and scream ‘bout my words on the Montessori System, Oh well. There were words that needed to be said at the last graduation party I attended. Words that were not spoken, that should have been said. In the EastWing when thoughts occur, words get on computer screens.

There’s always a table for presents. At every high school graduation party there’s a table for presents. The big presents are sometimes on display, those from mom and dad, from aunts and uncles are usually on display too. Some wrapped in nice paper are on the table. Then there’s always the basket. The basket for the cards. The cards that the graduate hopes to hold money. It’ll be the last free money they’ll ever get in life.

It’s the day after the high school graduation party that the graduate then starts to realize that life’s not fair and there no such thing as a free lunch. But while it lasted, while it lasted, that high school graduation party, it guaranteed one last ride with the posse. A time to remember.

As many of you know, I seldom say much ‘bout the Wednesday Letters to the military people in harm’s way. There’s just not much these two worlds have in common. Except for the simple fact that one world totally depends on the other for its continued existence.

Freedom’s just another word till ya find yourself half way ‘round the world, scared near to death, knowing your job is to defend the right of existence for the United States of America. You’re the army of one. Freedom’s no longer just another word. Defending freedom’s now your mission in life. You pray to go home alive. All the while knowing that not everybody that does your job goes home alive.

A few weeks ago email brought news from the desert. Before the end of the day of July 1, 2011 all of the friends of the East Wing will have left the desert sands of Iraq. Coming home.

On that same day, prayers of many Mamas will’ve been answered when the last soldier steps onto that big bird, that C 40 transport plane bringing their babies back. Forever babies in the eyes of Mammas. Soldier Babies.

But until that time arrives, stay safe in Afghanistan and Iraq, now just count the days.

From the East Wing, High School Graduation Parties, Montessori Schools & Tying Shoes, One Last Ride With the Posse, Freedom’s just another word.

I wish you well,


Watching Hummingbirds, White Buffalos, Donkeys and Baby Bears

Greeting to all and welcome my new friends to the East Wing.

She came back again, my little girl hummingbird. Came back right on time. Just a few days before her return, I’d said to the She, “ ’bout time for the hummingbird girl to come back to the valley.” The very next morning Regina saw her first, behind the house, looking into the kitchen window.

I put out the feeder before work that day. Stuck the feeder underneath the front garden maples, right outside the south East Wing Windows.  When I came home that evening, there were four hummingbirds at the feeder. Two girls and two boys.

Those little boys and girls are drinking 40 ounces of nectar a week.  Why I’d bet these little birds are eating their own weight in nectar ever day. that’s Kinda like a 200 lb man eating eight  25 lb watermelons a day, every day. That’s a lot of watermelon eating every day.

When watching the hummingbirds, it’s real easy to tell the boys from the girls. It’s the same in most every species, telling the boys from the girls. Don’t care if you’re watching little birds, little  dogs, little cats,  little goats, little bears, or even little people. Ya can just tell little boys from little girls.  It’s not so much what the little girls do, it’s that little boy stuff that sets ‘em apart.

When ya look real close  at any group of babies ya can see that sugar and spice thing and even easier, ya can for sure see the hammers and nails and puppy dog tails.  One of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever seen when it comes to watching a group of babies of a single species, was when Johnny and I had the pleasure of being entertained by a couple dozen or so baby bears just outside Custer South Dakota on a really hot, humid August afternoon.

Now I’m not too big on going to zoos. I just don’t like to see animals caged up. It bothers me to see anything confined, be it animals or people. God didn’t make creatures to be put into cages, and so I don’t impound those around me. Even those who live with me at the East Wing, Mustina, also known as the Pup Baby, The Gray Lady James, Bentley, Spike and most of all Sophia, The Republican Cat, they all have their freedom to leave every time they go outside the East Wing.  Yet every time they return of their own freewill. I’d have it no other way.

Though I sometimes wonder if Sophia the Republican Cat only comes back to the East Wing  ‘cause it’s such a pain to find somewhere else that’ll give her free access to a computer, the internet, and most of all the email, her precious email.  Wow! Does that cat ever love email. She can’t text, claws, ya know, so she emails. I’m telling ya, that cat gets more email than I do  by a large margin, every week.

It was a typical August afternoon with no wind to move the flags. As Johnny and drove onto the property of a place called Bear Country USA, the temperature inside the SUV read 70° and the outside temperature read 91°. Ya know how when it’s really hot, ya can look down the road and can see wavy  air lines coming right up out of the road. It was doing that when ya looked down the asphalt when we go to Bear Country USA.  It was hot outside.

High School girls were the ticket agents at the front gate of Bear Country USA. They tried their utmost to impress upon us the importance of not getting out of our vehicle while driving thru Bear Country USA. These little girls also stressed the importance of keeping all our body parts inside our vehicle and keeping all windows rolled up at all time.

Right outa the gate, there were signs all over the place warning not to feed wild animals. Now I’m thinking with all these instructions from the little girls, and the don’t feed the wildlife signs everywhere, this may be an interesting trip. And so it was to be, but I didn’t find out how interesting until the very end of the trip.

I’d never been to a drive thru zoo before, it was a different feeling than any other zoo I’d visited. It’s kinda hard to remember you’re inside a zoo when you’re on a one lane road a few miles from the front door.

We saw mountain goats, big mountain goats. Deer and antelope, and guess what, yep they’re playing, right out there in front of God and everybody, that deer and antelope, they’re playing. Of course there were buffalos. There was even a white buffalo. I’d heard ‘bout those such things, didn’t know if they existed or not.

White buffalos are real, ‘cause I saw one in South Dakota.  Kinda felt sorry for that big white buffalo, from my vantage point , inside the SUV, with the windows rolled up, thank you very much, it seemed the rest of the herd shunned the big white feller, or else he have chosen not to associate with what he considered to be just plain buffalo trash.

In any event, the white buffalo stayed apart from the rest of the herd by ‘bout 150’ or so for all the time we watched the herd. They all moved in concert all the while keeping that same 150’ distance, and  so the white buffalo walked alone.  It’s important to always remember, if ya feel ya need to be somebody’s friend, choose a white buffalo, ‘cause they sure need ‘em. They don’t have any in the herd.

As we came over a little hill and rounded a curve to the right the road was full of donkeys, yep donkeys. Little fellers just the right height to look right into the car window at ya.  After all the warnings at the front gate and signs everywhere, a car in front of us had stopped in the middle of the road .

With all the windows down, they were feeding the donkeys. I could only conclude that all the occupants of the car were both deaf and unable to read English. After all, I’m sure the little girls at the front gate told ‘em the same thing they told Johnny and me.  Johnny and me, yeah, we read all the signs ‘bout animal feeding, NOT!

After a few minutes one of the donkeys came back to our car for another snack.  Wanting to obey all rules as were instructed to do so when we entered, I hastily wrote on a note pad “NO DONKEY FOOD ON BOARD” and held the note to my side window. Donkeys must be near sited ‘cause his nose touched the window with my message, he paused just enough time to read the note, and then left. I didn’t know that donkeys could give finger signals with their tails.

It was maybe a mile or so after the donkeys where we encountered the bears. It was at a bear swimming pool. It was  hot that day we first saw the bears and most every one of ‘em were going swimming. Lots of cars were stopped along the road winding round the bear swimming pool.

The bears filled the swimming pool as they walked among the cars as if we weren’t even there.  At the swimming pool, we were the intruders, and it showed. If ya’ve never been shunned in your whole life by anybody, then ya need go watch the bears at the swimming pool, there at Bear Country USA, ‘cause we were shunned by the bears. I’m sure they also shun all those who may come to gawk while they swim.

Sure didn’t see anybody with windows down feeding these animals. A large population of bears, from teenagers to full-size bears of 300 to 800 lbs and one which ya could just tell by the size, were even bigger.  I took that one to be Papa Bear, yes the very same Papa Bear of literary fame. Mama Bear was nearby, as Baby Bear swam in the pond.

It was at the end of the road trip where ya could visit the walk thru zoo.  I almost turned this part down, l ‘cause I didn’t want to see caged animals.  All animals on display were outside with adequate shelter when needed, along with a constant water source and food. The thing that impressed me  most  of all was the space available for each animal to roam.  Large, large spaces to roam free, with food, water and shelter. Life is good for those lucky enough to live in Bear Country USA.  I had the distinct impression life there was much better than in the wild.

And then we saw the baby bears. In an area I figured to be no less than 2 acres, the baby bears ran free. They ran, they chased each other, the wrestled and rolled all over the ground.. The rolled down a little hill, ran back up to the top and rolled down again. They grabbed each other and rolled down the hill as a team.

This was the place where ya could truly tell the baby girls from the baby boys.  The little boys done the “mean boy” stuff” like sneaking up from behind and jumping on someone’s back and both go rolling down the hill. Climbing a tree right behind someone  else, then try to push ‘em out of the top of the tree, “mean boy stuff”, those baby boy bears.

The little girls played in a much more gentle tone.  It was not like they had tea parties, the just tended to stay more as a group, to touch and pat, rather than hit, to walk rather than run. Even as baby bears,  the girls were a little bit smaller, and a little bit prettier, and overall, a little bit more well behaved.

There was one little group of four baby boy bears that seemed intent on making life hard for the baby girls. These little boys would fight each other, run circles ‘round the little girls, sneak up and grab one from behind then run away. Sneak up and push ‘em down, then run away.

Bears have two means of locomotion. They can walk on all four feet, or can stand upright and walk quite well on two feet. Most of the time the baby bears, like their adult parents, walk on all fours. It was when one of the little girl bears was fed up with the shenanigans of one particular little boy bear, that the separation of baby girls and baby boys became obvious.

After three times being pushed to the ground by attacks from behind, the little girl decided to take matters into her own paws. As she picked herself up off the ground, all fours were not the mode. She stood upright, walked over to the group of four little boys, huddled close by. The one little feller who’d made life miserable for this little girl bear, turned toward her as he too stood upright.

She waited until he was fully erect, and then she hit ‘em. Slapped the crap out of that baby boy bear with one mighty swing of an open paw, she hit ‘em hard. He fell backward as if a stunt man from the movies had taken the shot, ‘cept it wasn’t the movies. It was the baby bear world.  It was a little girl bear talking ‘bout the law.

When that little feller got up he never looked toward the girl bear still standing over him. He ran away, not with his friends running behind him, but chasing his friends as they all ran  away.  Ya see, those friends of the little baby boy bear, well they started to run away just as soon as the slap made contact.

There’s no such thing as “come to the aid of your brother bear”  when a little girl  bear walks upright on what almost seemed to me to be a mission from God. If not a mission, then certainly a lesson to be delivered.  Ya don’t tug on Superman’s Cape or push little girl bears to the brink. They’ll slap the crap out of ya.

Sugar and spice and everything nice that’ll slap ya up the side of the head. Hammers and nails and puppy dog tails with a sore head. We seen ‘em both on that hot August afternoon at Bear Country USA, Just outside Custer South Dakota.

Stay safe in Afghanistan and Iraq.

From the East Wing, Watching Hummingbirds, White Buffalos, Donkeys and Baby Bears

I wish you well,


Mighty Mosquitoes, East Wing Boy Toys, Red Oak Floors & Cornerstones, Naysayers & Speakers of Doom, Me & The She & the Gable Theater.

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the East Wing.

Seems  one of the by-products of lots of rain in the spring is an extraordinary crop of mosquitoes. It’s such a springtime this year.  I’ll swear some of the ones buzzing outside the East Wing are the size of small birds. One of these Mighty  Mosquitoes flew up to the East Wing glass, and at first I thought it was my little lady hummingbird coming back to the window to say hello. They do have a similar proboscis, those mosquitoes and hummingbirds. Both built with different purposes in mind. One for blood, one for nectar. Similar in shape, different in size. I think the mosquitoes have to sharpen theirs on a whet stones.

Onetime when I was kid a feller told me that if 1,296,432 mosquitoes stuck their proboscis into ya at the same time, you’d lose all your blood in 5 seconds. That scared me, but you’ll be ok as long as ya don’t come in contact with 1,295,432 mosquitoes all at the same time.  I think there almost that many outside the East Wing. But I don’t go out to count. Everybody knows it’s only the girl mosquitoes that bite ya, so I’m not even gona talk ‘bout that.

In the last few months I’ve had several new friends asking questions ‘bout the East Wing, things like what, when, where, why, and how come, as East Wing questions. So for my long time friends of the East Wing, just bare with me here for a little while as I address some of these matters. ‘Cause you’ve all seen Jessie rob this train before.

It’s simple, the East Wing’s my playground. It holds my stuff, most all my stuff, my computers, my toys, my chickens, my dogs and my cats. Antique Pop Bottles, Flying Nuns, A Pooping Moose, R2D2 as a PEZ Dispenser, A rooster lamp, A trash can from The Ohio State University, Coal Oil Lamps, Dolls that represent members of my Family of Howards, Flamingos, Angels, and a Rooster with a broken wing, A Sign on the wall that says GOD BLESS AMERICA, and another that says PEACE, A picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, A thing I brought home from the Sea, An emergency Flood Light that is supposed to be 10 million candle power, that can produce light enough to read at ¼ mile, we tested that one out, ya can read, two Manatees and one of ‘em is canned. And even a chicken with biddies.

It’s called the East Wing ‘cause it’s a room I built onto the east end of the original house. Don’t know if I told ya that I built the original house. Sure did, that was the first house I’d ever built, that was the last house I’ve ever built. I’ve remodeled 8 times, the East Wing is the last remodeling job.

The East Wing is 26’ x 18’  Three walls are glass with just enough wall space to support the roof. The fourth wall is the east exterior of the original house. On this fourth wall I left the original exterior which is cedar siding. Painted white. Three walls have a 4’ sliding glass door in the center of each wall, while the house wall has a opening where  a regular glass sliding door used to be. The East Wing is hated and cooled by the same system as the rest of the house.

A vaulted 12’ ceiling supports two 48” ceiling fans with 3 bulb  light fixtures. The East Wing floor is somewhat similar in nature to the biblical  reference of “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” The wood purchased for the flooring had been rejected by the builders. It then turned out that for the East Wing, that floor, the wood that’d been rejected well it did become the cornerstone.

It’s oak flooring, Red Oak Flooring, 1” thick, and 1½” wide. I’ve always had a passion for wood floors, just have forever loved wood floors. we’ve got wood floors in every room in my house except the potty and the kitchen. I don’t even like it when the She puts those little rug circles on ‘em, but she’s the She, and so I live with those little rug circles here and there on my pretty hardwood floors.

When the East Wing was being built there was never any question as to the type flooring, only which kinda wood.  Well, somebody told me ‘bout a place in Michigan, Pawpaw Michigan, where someone was selling red oak flooring for $1.00 per sq. ft. I called ‘em up. The feller gives me the dope, tells me he works at a factory that makes oak flooring and they have strict quality control that rejects a fair amount of product due to blemishers such as knotholes, worm holes, bark still on the wood, etc.  Told me to figure my need in sq ft and add 25% and that would allow for the cutting out of all the bad parts, and ya’d end up with a clear oak floor.

And so I calculated the need added 25%, went to Michigan and picked up my floor. The original pattern had already been designed on paper, all that was left was putting the wood in place. The pattern I’d designed was to reflect the outdoor aspects of the East Wing. A 12” diamond in the center of the floor and two 36” sidewalks on the outside, the north and south sides of the East Wing. The  wooden sidewalks to run perpendicular to the diamond pattern of the main floor.

The first 4 pieces of wood put down, I cut out the flaws, after all, I’m gona have a high quality floor here in the East Wing. It was on that 5th piece of wood I picked up that changed the East Wing forever. It was so easy to see why this piece of wood was rejected. It was full of imperfections, I tell ya it was just filled with imperfections.

It was also so filled with such character, it took my breath away. Knowing what this piece of wood, I held in my hand, would look like when it was varnished and finished off, I laid it in place on my new floor, uncut, and forever imperfect. But only in the eyes of people. ‘Cause that little piece of wood, well it’s kinda like those things we talked ‘bout a few weeks ago, and God not making ugly anything and all. Be it butterflies, flowers, people or little strips of wood from Red Oak Trees, God just don’t make ugly stuff. He’s for sure not gona make ugly stuff just for me to put in the East Wing floor, after all, God lives here in the East Wing too.

The remainder of the East Wing flooring went into place as I picked ‘em up.  Not one time in the installation of that floor did I trim out a single “bad” spot. I cut only for angles and to size.  And as such, I now have a floor that is the center piece of the East Wing. The floor has become the cornerstone.

And guess what, the She  puts one of those really big round rugs on my pretty Red Oak Floor.  But she’s the She, and so I live with the round rug of the East Wing, all the while knowing there’s a pretty oak floor cornerstone  under there.

Naysayers and speakers of doom, did ya ever run into ‘em? Boy they sure hunted me out when I decided to build my house. “Ya can’t build a house, ya never built a house before, ya don’t know the first thing ‘bout building a house, ya don’t even know how to start.” And ya know what, those people, such negative talking people, well they were right, I didn’t know how to start, I hadn’t built a house before. But a very important point was overlooked by these naysayers. That fact  being BobbyRay had learned to read. Yah, I’d learned to read years ago, and practiced damn near every day. Yes I built my house by reading every step of the way. I even found a book that taught ya how to drive a nail straight, even upside down, and guess what, it works even upside down.  Good book, that instructional manual on nail driving.

The more folks said it would never be done, the more determined I was to get ‘er done. And so I did.  When me and the She moved into our new house with our beautiful baby girl, only one room contained drywall in the whole place. It’s important to be able to potty in private. I don’t even remember the second room to get drywall. But I do remember the first.

When me and the She moved into our new home, it was a work in progress to say the least.  We lived for a long time in a construction zone.  Love gets ya thru a lot.

Me and the She, we’re classic high school sweet hearts. Boy meets girl, walks together in the hallways, holding hands as often as possible, tells everybody we’re going “steady”. I wanted to go  tell it on the mountain, but the She said we’d just tell it at school instead and that’d be alright. We’re just high school sweet hearts, me and the She.  High School Sweet Hearts that life worked out well for us.

Met her for the first time in the Gable Theater in North Judson. It was a Sunday evening, and she was with a girl friend  whom I had gone to school with at the California Township Grade School. Me, well, I’d walked from Toto to town to go to the show with the Toto boys.  We walked on the New York Central Railroad. It was the closest route to town from Toto.

Don’t remember how I ended up sitting next to the She, I only know that the light reflecting from the movie screen illuminated the face of the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen in my whole life. She smiled at me. And it was at that point I fell madly in love with Regina, destined to become the only She of my life. I was fifteen, and I loved her so.  At that very same minute the She didn’t share my excitement for our new found relationship. In fact, I don’t even think she knew anything about it. But she would in the future, I’d see to that. And so I did. Seems like only yesterday, when me and the She were at the Gable. She smiled at me.

Love gets ya thru a lot.

Stay safe in Afghanistan and Iraq.

From the East Wing,  Mighty Mosquitoes, East Wing Boy Toys, Red Oak Floors & Cornerstones, Naysayers & Speakers of Doom, Me & The She & the Gable Theater.

I wish you well,


Me and Johnny On The Road With The Girls, Butcher Holler and Moon Pies, Tip Top, Cole Reunion, Prestonsburg & Makes Mark in the Mountains

Greetings to all and welcome new friends to the East Wing.

It was  May 27th, was the start of the Memorial Day Weekend,  was my birthday, and me and Johnny,  well, me and Johnny, we’re on the road again. Going back to St. Martha Catholic Church at Prestonsburg KY for the third time since Christmas, and loving ever mile of the way.

Each time we’ve been to St. Martha’s we’ve been blessed to see such special acts of nature that many could overlook completely as being unimportant stuff or even sadder, not even realize what was happing at the moment.

The first time to St. Martha’s for me and Johnny was the Monday before last Christmas.  We saw the snow fall on the mountains, on that first day of winter. We thought it was  a special gift from God to be able to see the splendor  of the mountains covered with the first winter snow.  Seems snow on the mountain is much the same as many things in life. Johnny and I considered seeing the snow a special gift, the locals considered the same snow a major pain in you know where.

I woke up that morning of the first snow of winter for Prestonsburg ‘bout 5 o’clock, turned on the TV to the local weather and was greeted with the news that a major snow emergency was underway outside my hotel window.  Was further advised that all country schools systems had been canceled until further notice, and the County Police had advised not to travel except  in extreme emergency.

Johnny and I’d left home the evening before in a rather strong Indiana snow storm, I feared this blizzard had followed us south and  crept into the Kentucky Mountains under the cover of darkness.  Blizzard’s will do that ya know, sneak up on ya. Fearing the worst possible weather outside, I got up, threw open the curtains with a firm resolve to gaze into the eyes of this Kentucky Blizzard.

Illuminated by the pole lights of the Wal-Mart Parking lot, I could see someone trying to clear snow from the parking lot using a backhoe. My first thought was, “it must be really bad if they gotta use a backhoe.” Then I looked a little closer. From my vantage point, looking down, it just didn’t seem like the snow was that deep. I decided to go outside and face that Kentucky Blizzard up close and personal.

Did ya ever feel that adrenalin rush  when you’ve conquered one of  your worst fears and it’s turned into pleasant memories right before your eyes. The Great Kentucky Blizzard, that first day of winter 2010, it turned into pleasant Christmas  Memories right before my eyes as I realized the snow had stopped falling and looking at Johnny’s Envoy, the accumulated total snowfall was maybe 2” on the high side of the estimate.

I walked over to our SUV, wiped the snow off the windshield with my hand, and went back into the hotel to go wake up Johnny and start our day, after all, we still had to go to St. Martha and unload the stuff we’d brought from Indiana.

Johnny and I ate breakfast pretty much alone that morning of the first day of Winter in Prestonsburg KY. As we sat in the McDonalds, there by the Wal-Mart of the Mountain up there on  the flattened out hill, we drank coffee and ate McBreakfast. The weather conditions prevented the locals from venturing out into the blizzard.  After the  McBreakfast, we delivered our stuff to Saint Martha and then went home as we left the first winter blizzard of Kentucky behind us when we drove northwest toward Lexington and the blue grass part of Kentucky.

Our second delivery to the St. Martha Clothing Bank, it’s called Martha’s Portion, the clothing bank there at St Martha Catholic Church,  back in March, found us in a race to make our delivery and get out of the mountains before the clouds descended  down to the ground.

Mountains fog develops differently.  In Indiana fog seems to develop from the ground up. In the mountains the clouds just come down the hills till they’re stopped by the earth. And if you’re lucky ya can see your hand. And if you’re not, then ya can’t even see enough to pick your nose. Sometimes there’s really thick fog in the mountains.  In fact, the Mountain Parkway has a rumble strip down the center of the road, to allow ya to “feel your way” in the fog, if ya have to.

Now some people may consider those strips in the center of the road to be prayer chains, ‘cause I’m telling ya, there’s been more than one prayer offered up on the Mountain Parkway by those caught in that dense fog, with no place to go, can’t stop, can’t pull off, can’t do much of anything ‘cept  go real slow and pray real fast. Some time rumble strips and prayer chains go hand in hand.

As Johnny and I raced the fog that March afternoon I was both happy and afraid at the same time. We beat the fog, Johnny and me, that March day as the fog came down the mountain side. But sometimes the fog wins, and when it does, if ya can, ya just sit till it goes away, and then ya go home.

Unlike our two other trips to the mountains, this time four’s  company. My daughter, Angela and daughter In-Law, Jaimie are with us as we drive into the Friday Night darkness toward Florence Kentucky. I’m glad my girls are with us.  They’re  having as much fun being here as I’m having fun having ‘em here. We’re family, me and those girls,  and when the Howard Family goes places together, we have fun. We just do.  Before we stop for the night, it’s already tomorrow. We’ll sleep in Florence KY then go into the mountains in the daylight. ‘Cause it more fun to drive into the mountains in the daylight.

Saturday Morning brings two important matters to the forefront, the first being, today, May 28th is Jaimie’s birthday and the second being that today’s the day we delivery to St. Martha.  Our collection efforts on behalf of the clothing bank operated by St. Martha Catholic Church is ongoing, and this delivery is the fruits of our efforts since March.

We don’t know  if it’ll be necessary to deliver again soon or not, it’ll depend on the speed of which we can collect the clothes, and stuff. Lots of people have said “I’ve got lots of stuff to bring ya”.  I sometimes think those words are kinda like the people who always wanted be  cowboys, but just never got around to getting the horse. So when people tell me ‘bout gona bring me lots of stuff, I tell ‘em, “get a horse or get off the pot”.

We got to St. Martha’s right at noon. I’d told Father Bob a week prior that we’d be there ‘round noon or so, It was so.  We all pitched in and unloaded the trailer in no time. Good for us that we had an empty room to put our delivery.  We needed every sq. ft. of the space we had available to put the  stuff we’d brought, we filled it up with Indiana stuff.

We’d made arrangements with Father Bob to park the trailer at St. Martha so we could go off and play in the mountains. We unloaded, unhitched and were off to see the wizard in short order.  The first stop on our grand one day tour of southeastern Kentucky started out going toward Butcher Holler.

If you’ve  never heard of Butcher Holler, well, just go ahead and Google Butcher Holler and take it from there. It’ll work out for ya.

‘Bout half way up Butcher Holler we drove into the parking lot of the Webb Grocery Store and stepped back in time ‘bout 60 years. Soda Pop sold in bottles, Cracker Jacks in boxes and homemade bologna sandwiches are some of the things available at the Webb Grocery Store, up there in Butcher  Holler. But ya just go ahead and Google “Butcher Holler” so ya can get the rest of the Story.

The one thing I enjoyed most at the Webb Grocery was the Moon Pie. Now I’m telling ya, I’ve been eating  Moon Pies from a ways back. I used to eat Moon Pies at Tiptop and continued to do so when I moved to Toto.  Now just ‘cause I got older didn’t mean I stopped eating Moon Pies.

It’s with that level of life experiences in Moon Pie consumption that causes me to consider myself a connoisseur, and as such, believe I’m qualified and  truly boneafied to render opinions  as to the quality of any given Moon Pie.

So I’m pleased to state that the quality of the Webb Grocery Store Moon Pie, up there in Butcher Holler, well exceeds any desert  creation presented by Julia Childs, on Public Television, at the height of her prominence as America’s Queen Television Chief. Too bad the French Chief never tried to make Moon Pies, maybe there’re too hard to make on TV.

They’re just that good. Moon Pies alone are worth the trip to Butcher Holler. But there’s some other stuff to see up there in Butcher Holler when ya go. I’m not gona tell ya ‘bout it so as to not spoil your fun when ya get there. Best buy two or three Moon Pies when ya get to Webb Grocery Store. Wish I’d bought all they had that day. Yap,  they’re that good.

As we left Butcher Holler, our  thoughts turned toward Tip Top and times that used to be up another holler there in Southeastern Kentucky. Tip Top and Butcher Holler are both close and far away, depending on how ya measure the distance, by the crow flying or ‘round the mountain. Since we were not flying with the crows, we’re coming ‘round the mountains. Back to Prestonsburg from Butcher Holler, 15 miles. Over to Salyersville, 23 miles. Then to Tiptop another 25 miles. And before ya know it you’ve traveled a ways round mountain sides and  end up not too far from where ya started. Just up another holler.

They took up the railroad track going to TipTop. Yep, took up the whole railroad, and that’s the only landmark I remembered to tell me where to turn as ya went toward Royalton to get to Tip Top.  Just go down Hwy 7 out of Salyersville and turn right just as soon as the railroad runs parallel with the road.

Johnny drove and I watched for the railroad. As the miles went by I kept looking for that landmark, the railroad parallel to the road. It didn’t come my way. After a while I got to thinking I must have blinked and missed the railroad. Told Johnny I thought we’d gone too far.

Well the kid got all over my case, Johnny said  “well big smart dad, knows how to get to Tip Top, don’t need to put anything into the GPS, ‘cause he knows where to turn.” Humble Pie, I’d missed the turn to Tip Top, what could I say. As we retraced our route, I saw sign saying “Carver Baptist Church” well I knew that church was on the way to Tip Top and so we turned.

Within a very short distance I realized that the railroad had been removed when we encountered a railroad underpass that had been filled in and the overhead railroad had been cut in out. It was at that point I realized the railroad was gone and from there on I knew the way to Tip Top.

A ¼ mile or so in front of us, we crossed the creek and came to a fork in the road. Johnny said “ which way?” to which I responded “Johnny you’ve come to a fork in the road, take it.” As he started to turn right, I said “Tip Top’s up Oakley, better turn left.” Once again I gained control.

And with that left turn we started up Oakley and on the way to Tip Top. Ya come first to Carver. A place in name only.  Nothing identifies Carver other than the sign along the way. Had it not been, ya would’ve never known ya gone thru Carver. Now when you’ve gone thru Carver, the only thing in front of ya’s Tip Top, cause Tip Top’s truly at the end of the road.

It’s all gone, Tip Top. There’s nothing’s left except memories, precious memories, and they do linger. Those memories  and a monument that identifies the names of the families who lived and worked at that coal camp high up in the mountains there in Magoffin County .

As I placed my hand on that granite monument with those names engraved, I touched my childhood. It was alphabetical on the stone. Howard was where it’s supposed to be alphabetical, there on the granite, along with all the rest of ‘em, and I knew ‘em all. There wasn’t a single name on that rock I didn’t know. There was a time when a coal camp in the mountains was my home, but  It’ now  just Tip Top etched in stone.

With our visit to Tip Top completed we struck out toward the Cole Reunion at Salyersville. One of the things I’d hoped to do on this trip was to get to attend the Cole Reunion at Salyersville on the 28th of May. The relationship to the Cole family is by my mother.  My Mama’s sister, Maggie, she  married Silas Cole, and so I’m a cousin to all the Coles of the Cole Reunion. I’s bound and determined to attend the Cole Reunion if I’m gona be in that part of the world on the 28th day of May. And so I was, and so I did.

We arrived late to the Cole Reunion, scheduled for 10 – 5 and we arrive ‘bout 4:15. Most had left, but I was lucky to have Herlis and Madeline still at the party. The only ones I really knew of the total Coles at the party. I walked up, kissed Madeline on the cheek before she knew I’s even there. She turned, and looked,  and smiled at me. Just her smile made my trip worthwhile, and I hadn’t ever hugged Herlis yet. But that was the next item on the agenda. They were glad we came. We were glad we came.They fed us.

We met some of the Cole Family, but not all. We’re just glad to have been able to get to meet the ones we did. Forever cousins with the Coles.

It was back to Prestonsburg and to sleep at the Motel by the Wal-Mart of the Mountain there at Prestonsburg. But not before we ate dinner at the saloon at the foot of the hill. They even had Makers Mark there. That’s one of the pleasures of Makers Mark, quality shows up when ya least expect it. Such as close to Wal-Mart of the Mountain at Prestonsburg, down there at the saloon at the foot of the hill.  Quality Kentucky Bourbon, Makers Mark there in the mountains.

Stay safe in Afghanistan and Iraq.

From the East Wing,  Me and Johnny On The Road With The Girls, Butcher Holler and Moon Pies, Tip Top, Cole Reunion, Prestonsburg & Makes Mark in the Mountains

I wish you well,


When Mother Mary Came To Me, The Baptist Preacher Who Won The War, Mama Cowgirls and Tattoos, Speaking English For The First Time. Still Picking The Blackberries…..

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the East Wing.

“When I find my self in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be, so let it be…… Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”

And now my Son RJ’s newest tattoo reflects “Mother Mary Comes To Me” forever on his left arm. I’m not an expert on tattoos ‘cause I’m always too chicken to get one, but his “Mother Mary” Tattoo is kinda cool. If you’re Catholic, it’s really cool.  And for all those misinformed Baptist who visit the East Wing, no, we Catholic don’t pray to Mary in place of praying to Jesus.

I’ve heard that argument put forth so many times in my life I’m tired of putting it to rest. But once more over the line Sweet Jesus, and it’s one more time for the cause. It’s just one more step along the way. Now being Baplic means I was Baptist prior to being Catholic. I really wasn’t a member of a Baptist Church, but my dad was a Baptist Preacher all my life. So guess that made me Baptist by association.   I heard the argument put forth many, many times.  My dad was the main reason I became interested in the Catholic Church.  It was his unwavering defense of “ Mother Mary Pray for me”, that made me look into the Catholic Church.

Only God fearing Baptist can really understand what I’m ‘bout to say next, so here goes….. Now when I was a kid, after church every Sunday we had a house full of company. Somebody always  went home with the preacher for dinner, lots of people, every Sunday, different people, different  Sundays, but lots of people every Sunday, to eat, to visit, to socialize and to continue the conversations ‘bout God and “living right”.

It was while the women prepared the Sunday meal, that the men, depending on the weather, would sit in the living room or outside in the yard, and discuss religion. Religion according to the belief of the particular Baptist faith ya happened to belong to, and there are many different Baptist beliefs, even to this day. And so the difference of opinions never ended.

On many Sundays someone would eventually get around to pointing out the fact that the Catholics didn’t pray to Jesus, but instead prayed to Mary, and that’s why they’re all going to hell even if they don’t know ‘bout it.

 It was at this point  where my dad, a Baptist Preacher, blew ‘em away, when he said “How many times have ya heard a Baptist Preacher stand up in front of his congregation and the very first words from his mouth are I want ya all to pray for me today  that I might be able to speak the words of God in your presence.” “If I’ve said that once, I’ve said it hundreds of times, I want ya all to pray for me.”

He then continued,  “if I have a choice of who’d pray for me today, I couldn’t ever choose a better person to pray for me than the mother of Jesus. Mother Mary pray for me” And so it was that the Baptist Preacher from Downtown Toto won both the battle and the war of heaven and hell ‘bout Catholics going to where they go and where Catholics go and how they pray. Mother Mary Pray For Me.

It seemed to me that when the men sat out in the yard they tended to yell at each other more over bible stuff. I always had the impression that most of ‘em wanted to be the Chief and very few wanted to be the Indians. ‘Course that was only when they played Cowboys & Indians. Everybody there knew that I’s always gona be the Cowboy.

Ya got a tattoo? Most people don’t, but many people under 35 or so do have tattoos. Tattooing is an interesting part of the culture of the human race. People have done body art as long as there’s been people.  I always thought it’d hurt too much, so I was never brave enough to say start the needle.

Both my sons have tattoos, but me and my daughter Angela, we’re too chicken to allow the needle to make the first stick. I don’t think my daughter-in-law, Jaimie has a tattoo either, but I didn’t ask her. I know Sis don’t, ‘cause Angela’s as scared as me. I guess I just stuck too many needles into too many people in times past. Maybe it’s a Bill Clinton thing, when he said “I feel your pain” I’m afraid I’ll feel the pain.

One time my Mama said the only thing in life she was sorry for was that she’d not be able to vote for Bill Clinton again for President. I said “Mama what did Bill Clinton do for you?” She said “everything”  And everybody knows ya don’t argue with your Mama.

Of all the presidents my Mama voted for in her life, Bill Clinton was her favorite.  Now my Mama voted in every election since she was of 21 years old. She told me “if ya don’t vote, ya can’t criticize , and I might want to criticize from time to time . And so Mama voted, every time.

The last time my Mama voted was last November, I called her up the night before an asked if I needed take her to vote. The answer was of course you do. So we made arrangements that I’d pick her up and take her to vote before I went to my office.

I voted before 7:30 AM and picked up Mama by 8:00. She voted at one of the Baptist Churches north of Toto. When she got to the voting booth it was like old home week. It was like taking your Mama to Cheers, where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad ya came. It’s like that in Toto when ya vote at that little Baptist Church just north of Toto, up there on Range Road.

One of the election workers said “Ruth I need to see your photo ID.” Mama said “Oh shucks, I forgot to bring my purse in with me.” The election worker said “BobbyRay is you mother’s purse in your car?” I said “Yes it is”. She said “That’s close enough”.  So Mama voted. Friendly people there at Toto. Whether ya go vote or go eat at Richards of Toto, they’re always glad ya came, and they always know your name. They always knew my Mama. They’ll remember her forever, my Mama…..

Mama never had a tattoo, but there’s no doubt in my mind, had she lived in a different time and space, then my Mama would’ve had a tattoo, maybe more than one.  If ya saw my Mama’s picture on Facebook riding a horse when she was young and pretty, and ya could just see the cowgirl in her eyes.  Well now everybody knows that all good cowgirls have tattoos, and my Mama was a good cowgirl.

Did ya know the federal government is rolling out a new official language for all documents created for the public? Yeah, it called plain English and I’m not sure if it’ll work or not.

Here’s the reason why: Pursuant to regulations promulgated hereunder and commencing in accordance with a statute signed herein by President Barack Obama, the government shall be precluded from writing the pompous gibberish heretofore evidenced, to the extent practicable. Now that sentence contains 11 new language no-nos.

The President signed the Plain Writing Act last fall after decades of effort by a cadre of passionate grammarians in the civil service to jettison the jargon. It takes full effect in October, when federal agencies must start writing plainly in all new or substantially revised documents produced for the public. The government will still be allowed to write preposterously to itself.

Ahead then, if the law works, is a culture change for an enterprise that turns out reams of confusing benefit forms, tangled rules and foggy pronouncements. Not to mention a Pentagon brownie recipe that went on for 26 pages about “regulations promulgated thereunder,” “flow rates of thermoplastics by extrusion plastometer” and a commandment that ingredients “shall be examined organoleptically.” That just means look at, smell, touch or taste.

Can ya believe 26 pages of regulation for making brownies?  Shewwwww…. I think I can get ‘er done in three lines:

  1. Buy Brownie Mix
  2. Read directions
  3. Follow directions
  4. Eat Brownies.

Oh well, four lines maximum. But the brownies got made and consumed in four lines. Now we have 25 ¾ pages for other government crap to come our way. But looking on the good side, at least we’ve got the brownies done early.

 I can truly believe this complex nonsense, called regulations, ‘cause I used to deal with the Medicare regulations 30 years ago, and it’s only gotten worse,  and so now you know why I quit working in health care administration.  Too damn hard to understand the rules.  And it was much more fun to just go pick Blackberries and eat ‘em. And so I did.

Stay safe in Afghanistan and Iraq.

From the East Wing, When Mother Mary Came To Me, The Baptist Preacher Who Won The War, Mama Cowgirls and Tattoos, Speaking English For The First Time. Still Picking The Blackberries…..

I wish you well                                                                                                                   BobbyRay

With Little Stuff, Lego’s & Quarks, Particle Physics & Milking Cows, The Month of May & The Howards, Never Look Back, The Sun Comes Up Tomorrow.

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the East Wing.

Did ye ever hear ‘bout Particle Physics? If not, don’t feel bad ‘cause most people haven’t heard ‘bout Particle Physics either. 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.

There’s a whole academic and scientific world of Particle Physics Research. I just happen to know a few of those guys and I believe they just sit around thinking up ways to demonstrate the existence of really little stuff.

I found out some time back that there are 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. How each one of ‘em gets smaller as we name ‘em off. These Particle Physics Guys, they think there’s something smaller than a quark. And that’s what they’re looking for, the little fellers that makes up the quark. The thing that makes up the quark is really the smallest of the small. They’ve already got a name for that little thing they’re looking for. Calling it the “God particle”. It’s thought to be the original building block of everything.

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 up. Seems to me, these Particle Physics Guys, 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 did know there are 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, ‘cause they’re way, way too small to taste. So anyway 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 that’s called particle decay.

It’s kinda like if ya put a log in your fireplace 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. It’s 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 if these particles can be accelerated upwards 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”.

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 is only ‘bout 12 miles. It’s kinda like dirt track racing and NASCAR at the Daytona 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, pull 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 squeeze off another round. I don’t think those guns are 6 shooters.

As smart as these guys are when it comes to talking ‘bout particle physics, most all the other stuff in life, they don’ know sic ‘em. In the mist of 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?” 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. Particle Physics friends of mine, smart and dumb at the same time. Much the same as we all are. Smart and dumb at the same time, just ‘bout different stuff.

For all those who in so many different ways expressed symphony to me and my sisters for the passing of my Mama, I can only say your expressions of kind feelings toward me and my family have been a major crutch which we’ve leaned heavily on during this month of May. And we continue to do so.

The month of May has always been a major event for this Family of Howards, lots of birthdays, my Sister Barbara, my dad’s birthday was in May, along with my birthday, but the real big deal for me in the month of May has always been Mothers Day. For the last 30+ years my Mama received a corsage to wear to church on Mothers Day. Owning Pioneer Florist in North Judson for the last 30 years, well, the She just decked my Mama out good for Mothers Day.

I brought my Mama flowers four times a year, the first dandelion, an Easter Lilly, the Mothers Day Corsage, and a Christmas Poinsettia. Have done that since I’s ‘bout 15 years old. Mama kept track of such things, and so when I took her this years Easter Lilly, Mama said this makes 51 years of Easter Lillie’s, I think that’s ‘bout enough. I didn’t think anything ‘bout what she said at the time, but now I think she knew the end was near. And so it was, really, really near. I took Mama the Easter Lilly on Good Friday, a week and a day later my Mama died.

When I became fully aware of the extent of Mama’s medical condition, I had only two prayers. My first prayer was for Mama’s pain to go away. The doctors stopped the pain. My second prayer was for speed. God answered both prayers.

Sometimes I’ve encountered people who beat themselves up for not doing this or that in the past, after someone dies. They spend much of the remainder of their life feeling guilty for not doing this or that. We can’t change the past and so, this or that must forever remain just this or that. One of the neat things ‘bout this Family of Howards, we don’t look back, forever it’s the future.

It’s that needle pulling thread thing, we sit on the tip of that needle that moves thru time, and never look back at the worm hole left by the thread.

Ya don’t beat yourself up for things that might’ve been, but never were. When someone dies, ya just go on into the future knowing that whatever happened in the past, happened is in the past. At this point in life ya have two choices. Look into the future or forever spend the rest of your life being sorry for your actions of the past. Actions which you can never change.

That’s why it’s so important in this life to do it right the first time around, ‘cause ya sure don’t get a second shot, or a second time around. Now one of the things I’ve learned by my Mama’s passing is when you’ve done it right, ya know it, and so it’s easy to find a little peace in sorrow.

It’s a lot more fun looking into the future ‘cause ya can make decision effecting the outcome. And one thing for sure, ya can’t change the past. The only thing ya can do with the past is remember. I sometimes wonder if we’d better off if we weren’t able to remember yesterday.

Just think how different life would be if each day we started out the new day with a blank slate of memory. No to do list from yesterday, no guilt from stuff not done in the past. Only the future in front of ya to start the day, every day. And the only thing ya ever remembered was; the sun comes up tomorrow. Wonder if that’d work?

Stay safe in Iraq and Afghanistan.

From the East Wing, With Little Stuff, Lego’s & Quarks, Particle Physics & Milking Cows, The Month of May & The Howards, Never Look Back, The Sun Comes Up Tomorrow.

Stay safe in Iraq and Afghanistan
I wish you well.