February Photos

Friday, December 31, 2010

Monday, September 30, 2002 - Another Dear One Gone On Before

We spent most of last week trying to get sick kids well and keep well kids from getting sick, and wondering if we were fighting a losing battle.  Caleb was having a lot of trouble with asthma, and stayed home from school all week.  Tuesday, when it seemed his nebulizer, inhalers, and albuterol syrup weren’t doing any good, we got him a prescription for Prednisolone, a type of Prednizone, which started helping after the second dose.  By Thursday, Lydia’s cold was in her chest, she had a fever, and by Friday I thought she either had pneumonia or asthma, one or the other.  We were unable to see the doctor until Saturday morning, so, in the meanwhile, I started giving her Caleb’s albuterol syrup and letting her take a few treatments with his nebulizer machine, which did help.
Thankfully, my diagnosis was wrong on both counts; it was merely a bad cold, something similar to bronchitis.  The doctor gave us a prescription for Bioxin, since Lydia is allergic to Amoxicillin.
Wednesday morning when Victoria got up and tried talking, no sound would come out--no sound whatsoever.  She started to laugh--but could make no noise.  She attempted to clear her throat--and discovered that her throat-clearer didn’t work, either.  So she stood and grinned at me until I gave her a spoonful of cough syrup; and after that she managed to talk, albeit in a decidedly unVictoria-like voice.
Tuesday afternoon, Larry’s cousin, Arthur, died of cancer.  He was only 47 years old.  That’s too young to die.  He’d been sick for five years, and he and his family have had a long, trying siege.
That same day, an almost 2,000-foot tower in western Nebraska fell as a construction crew was preparing to reinforce it so they could put up another, bigger antenna.  Two workers were killed.
One afternoon Victoria was marching through the house, jerking her large stuffed horse along by a leash she had fastened around his neck.  "Come on, you horse you!" she ordered him, giving him a mighty yank.
Of course he came, tumbling wildly.  "He's quite an obedient thing, really," she informed the room at large.
I’ve been cutting out material since last Wednesday.  A week later, I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get done with everything I wanted to cut out and sew.  One day, just about the time I finished a few chores, knowing that the table was all clean, and looking forward to completing my cutting, Hannah and Aaron arrived--material in hand, Hannah expecting to cut it out on our table, which is bigger than hers.  As Hannah didn’t feel well, and I know from much experience that leaning over a table cutting things out while in that state of affairs is not the very best use of one’s air space, if you know what I mean, and if you don’t, I’m not going to tell you, I cut it out for her.  It was a dress of black broadcloth, and she wanted to wear it to the funeral.
Joseph came home early Wednesday afternoon because it was rainy, so we--Joseph, Caleb, Victoria, and I--went to Bomgaar’s in Schuyler (a department store that especially caters to the needs of area farmers and ranchers and their families) so he could get himself some jeans, gloves, and boots.  He also got himself a couple of toys--a springy little four-wheeler and a small pickup.  After he moved upstairs, we’d discovered that he was rather short on room decorations…so that’s the purpose, so he said, for which he was buying the little vehicles.
Hester and Lydia stayed home, supposedly to do homework; but when we returned, there they were outside playing.
Later, Hannah brought over her partially-sewn dress.  Her machine is still not working right, and will not do anything other than straight stitches; so she cannot overlock or hem.  It also refuses to sew nicely through a zipper.  Further, there was a problem with the front pleats where they met in an inverted V at the side.  On the front of the pattern envelope, it says Easy; but, as I told Hannah, that is indeed a matter of opinion.  I have sewn the pattern she used, and, especially the first time I used it, I did not at all believe it was Easy, even when I had sewn a good deal longer than Hannah has.  I fixed the pleats, put in the zipper, hemmed dress and sleeves, and overlocked all the seams.  Hannah then took it back home, where she put gold rickrack on it, sewing it on with a crisscross stitch of heavy black thread, so that it didn’t even look like rickrack, but rather a series of small gold waves.  She’s so clever with things like that!
Hannah told me she’d made herself a jumper, last week, I think, of brushed black cotton, a shiny fabric.  When it was done, she tried it on and then asked Bobby, “Do I look like I’m wearing a garbage bag?”
        Aaron likes to play with Hannah’s walkie-talkie.  However, when the battery is running low, it periodically makes a loud staticky noise, which frightens Aaron and makes his eyes get big.  He immediately runs for Hannah, holding the gadget out for her to take.  Well, a couple of days ago he picked it up--and inadvertently put his finger on the button that makes it ring.  To make matters worse, he had accidentally turned the volume all the way up.
Rrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiinnnggg--nnnnggg--nnnnggg--nnnnggg!!! said the walkie-talkie.
Poor little Aaron jumped out of his hide, gasped, flung that walkie-talkie into the garbage with all his might and main, and then fled for dear life.
         Thursday morning, a little before nine o’clock, I heard on the scanner that three Hispanic men had robbed the U.S. Bank in Norfolk.  They’d escaped in a stolen white Subaru--and it had a Star Navigator on it.  Smart, eh?
And then the dispatcher came back on and announced, “There are five reported 10-65s.”
That meant five deaths--four bank employees and one customer.  Throughout the day, I listened to the radio…  They caught the men in a stolen pickup around noon, in O’Neill.  Shortly thereafter, the FBI located the Subaru in a farmer’s pond, still giving off its navigator signals, which is how they found it.  A fourth man was discovered walking down a sidewalk in Norfolk; he’d been the one to case the bank minutes before the holdup.
All that shooting and fleeing took place in only forty seconds--and they didn’t even come away with any money for their efforts. 
Later in the day, a police officer from Norfolk shot and killed himself some distance out of town--because he’d some time earlier made a mistake that allowed one of the murderers to go free after being picked up with a hidden weapon.  The officer had run the weapon number through his computer, but neglected to learn that it was stolen, because he’d accidentally transposed a couple of the numbers.  So the man walked.  And the officer disposed of himself because of it.  What a senseless, selfish, godless thing to do.  That officer had six children!  Isn’t that terrible?  He only added misery to misery.
There was a gentle rain part of the day.  Victoria thinks it’s great sport to go off to school holding an umbrella over her head.  Away she trots down the sidewalk to kindergarten, long curls bobbing, or ponytail swinging.
That morning, I finished the last thing I planned to cut out, bringing the number (including the dress I cut out for Hannah) up to 42 things.  Once done with that, I started taking all those sliding piles of material off the couch and loveseat and putting them back into my fabric closet, trying to do so with some assemblage of order.  It sho’ ’nuff takes longer to put everything back neatly and tidily than it did to drag it all out, helter-skelter!
After Larry came home that evening, we went to the funeral home.  Dorcas and Teddy had gone before us, but the five younger children stayed home, as several of them were not feeling well.  Then we returned home, I curled the girls hair, and Larry went to the grocery store.
Friday morning, I prepared the food for the reception after the funeral.  I first made three carrot cakes with cream cheese frosting--and Larry had gotten something I’d never seen before:  Betty Crocker mixes that contain everything you need--including a disposable pan and the frosting.  All you have to add is 2/3 cup of water; the oil and eggs are already in there.  I tell you, that’s the lazy cook’s delight!
While the cakes were baking, I made two loaves of sandwiches--sliced turkey, mozzarella cheese, and lettuce.  Hester took them to the church for me at noon.  By then, Lydia was quite sick, and I stayed home with her.
The rest of the afternoon was spent putting material away--and it actually got all done.
We went to the doctor Saturday morning.  After listening to Lydia’s lungs, the doctor thought perhaps she had asthma--and she was wheezing.  But after looking at her throat and learning that she had a fever of 100°, he decided that it wasn’t asthma, thank goodness.  He gave her a prescription for bioxin; she is allergic to Amoxicillin.
After we got home, I started sewing Hester’s black jumper with the small charcoal flowers printed on it.  It is almost done.  Now if we can just find her a nice white blouse amongst all of Hannah and Dorcas’ hand-me-downs!  I know we have one.  Somewhere.
Sunday morning, Robert had a very special announcement to read:  it was Teddy and Amy’s wedding invitation.  Robert told us that Teddy had said, a couple of months ago, that the date--October 13th--was coming too quickly.
“Well, Teddy,” Robert reassured him, “that can be taken care of, you know,”  implying that the date could most assuredly be moved back to a later time.
“But Teddy didn’t want it ‘taken care of’,” continued Robert, “and, as he hasn’t complained since, I guess he still doesn’t want it taken care of!”
         The family came for dinner Sunday afternoon--all but Keith and Esther.  We had a roast that Larry seasoned so perfectly he didn't even put ketchup on it, baked potatoes, green bean casserole, fresh peaches that were so scrumptious they tasted like candy (according to Victoria), and buttermilk biscuits.  For dessert, there was spice cake with cream cheese frosting and French vanilla ice cream.
I stayed with Mama tonight.  This time, I took my big scrapbook and a pile of letters, put them into chronological order, and glued them into the book, finishing just as Victoria and Caleb arrived from church.  I sat in one of Mama’s recliners that has rollers (and vibrators and heat, if you want it) that go up and down one’s back.  Ahhhhh…  I wanted to take it home with me.  Do they make desk chairs like that?
After church, Larry, Caleb, Victoria, and I went to Wal-Mart to get a birthday present for Esther, who turned 25 Friday, the 27th.  (Yes, yes; I know I’m late.)  A couple of months ago, I gave her a little wicker chair with a lacy, ruffly stuffed bear in it; but that wasn’t enough.  As I told Esther, that was just a tidbit.
We gave her a cinnamon candle in a fluted-edged ceramic dish like a pie plate; it has three wicks in it.  We also got an oven mitt, a potholder, and a kitchen towel in an apple design on hunter green check--and Esther said it was the exact same pattern as a number of other things in her kitchen.  That was lucky!--I knew she had apples, but didn’t know the exact pattern.
And now, I very definitely hear my sewing machine and all those fresh-cut-out pieces of fabric calling me.  In fact, they’re calling very loudly!!!
So I’d better go see what they want.

Sunday, September 22, 2002 - Fabric Closet Upset

It is a quarter after two in the afternoon, and I am sitting here at my desk typing, surrounded on either side by couch and loveseat, both piled high with fabric of all sorts.  Hester and Lydia have rifled through it, leaving everything in Dire Peril Of Avalanche.
You will learn more about this State of Affairs later.  But, in the meanwhile, I am having a wee bit of trouble concentrating, since, with a slight glance to the side, I can spot pieces of material that I had forgotten I had because they were in the far reaches of the fabric closet and hadn’t seen the light of day for, lo, these many moons.  I immediately begin conjuring up articles of clothing that that particular selection of cloth could make, and start hunting for other pieces of material that might coordinate with the first.
So if my sentences are periodically punctuated with inadvertent, unrelated remarks such as ‘pink Swiss’, ‘cadet chambray’, or ‘lime green houndstooth doubleknit’, you must excuse me; I can’t help it.
A week ago Friday, I took Joseph to the doctor to find out why his wrist keeps hurting.  He injured it a year ago when he was working at an auto body shop and tripped over something and fell.  I didn’t think anything was broken, because it didn’t swell much, and it didn’t discolor much...but through this year, especially the last few weeks, it’s been bothering him enough that I thought we’d made a mistake not having it checked.  Dr. Luckey thought perhaps a small bone in the wrist had been fractured and never healed properly.
He took an X-ray--and discovered no old broken bones, thankfully; it’s tendonitis.  He told Joseph to wear a wrist brace when lifting heavy things or using the same movement continuously.
Monday mornings, our kitchen is always in disarray, because there are usually lots of dishes left from Sunday.  Since the kids were up plenty early before school that morning, they emptied the dishwasher before they headed out, expecting to load it when they came home at noon.  They get an hour for lunch, and, since we are just across the street from the school, there is plenty of time (that is, there should be plenty of time) for them to eat and then load the dishwasher.  Knowing that there were at least two full dishwasher loads of dishes to be done, plus a few sinkloads (is that a word?) of pots and pans, I figured that the poor kids would need some help from their mother, or the task would look so monumental as to slow them to near inertia, and we would get farther and farther behind until we would be left with nothing but paper plates.
Before the children got home at noon, I’d done two loads of dishes in the washer, even managing to cram in a few of the pans.  They were rather amazed, upon coming into the kitchen, to discover the dishes done.  A fresh loaf of bread, still warm, was sitting on the table in the bread slicer, and a loaf of banana bread was almost ready to come out of the oven.
“Wowww,” breathed Caleb, staring around the room, “Who helped you?”
Lydia had a dentist appointment at 3:00 that afternoon, and it was a jolly good thing I didn’t get my letter printed before then, or I would probably have been at the post office mailing it right about that time, because I forgot all about going to the dentist.
Lydia had the last two cavities filled; she’s all done now----except soon she will need braces.  She really hates the numb feeling she winds up with after the dentist works on her, and acts rather like she did when she was 2 ½ and I put pretty lace gloves on her for the Easter service.  When I finally got them squiggled onto her, she splayed her fingers, held her hands out in front of her, and stared at them.
Then, “These really hurt me,” she said in a pathetic tone, looking as much like a martyr as any 2½-year-old can ever look.
After the dentist appointment, we made an excursion to Wal-Mart, as Hester and Caleb had money to burn, and it was already lit, and getting closer to their fingertips and hotter by the minute.  Hester bought herself a pretty watch, marcasite with marquise-cut sapphires at either side of the face, and Caleb got a water bottle for his bike.
Hester gave her other, too-small watch to Victoria.  It’s really pretty, still just like new, shiny silver with an iridescent bronze face and tiny diamonds at the sides.  Victoria was terribly pleased.
“This is my first really, really for-good watch!” she exclaimed.
Dorcas made us banana muffins that afternoon; guess we were both in a banana bread attitude that day.
Teddy ate too many nuts--peanuts at work, and pecans in the banana bread I made--and had an allergic reaction.  Not too bad, but bad enough to make him sit up and take notice.
Teddy and Joseph were evidently so enthralled with the new mower that they couldn’t wait any longer than Tuesday to try it out again.  So, even though the lawn was mowed only three days before, they mowed it again.  I declare!--it won’t be long, and we’ll be down to bare earth around this joint.
We had Cheesy Ravioli for supper.  As usual, I forgot to put the cheese sauce on until we’d all had several bites.  But at least I did remember.  Sometimes I’ve forgotten entirely, finding the bowl of sauce on the counter long after supper is over.  And what, pray tell, do you do with cheese sauce when there’s nothing in the house to put it on??
I also made banana cream pie.  Larry helped me stir the filling...and then he went off to the store for the whipped cream while I stuck the pie into the refrigerator for a few minutes.  We ate it while it was still warm, and not quite set up, which suited us just fine.
Victoria has been singing a song she learned in school this week.  In fact, she’s been singing it all evening, every evening, from the time she gets home from school until the time she goes to bed:  “The little donkey sings sweetly in the morning if you do not feed him, nee haw, nee haw, nee haw!!!”
“Victoria,” I said, “Donkeys say hee haw, not nee haw.”
“Oh,” replied she, and repeated, “The little donkey sings sweetly in the morning if you do not feed him, nee I mean hee haw, hee haw, nee I mean hee haw!!!”
“Time to take a bath,” I told Caleb.
He jumped up, whirled around, tripped over the rocking chair’s rocker, and nearly fell.
“Walk gently,” I advised.
“And carry a big Band-Aid,” added Larry.
Teddy then informed me he was all out of clean jeans, and had been obliged to wear some with a hole in them that day.
Well!  Hmmph!  It so happens that, last Saturday morning, just three days earlier, there was not another solitary stitch of clothing to be washed; I’d finished it all.  Or so I thought.  Soooo...  whose fault is it, if Somebody’s dirty clothes crawled out of the hamper when I wasn’t looking and snuck back into Teddy’s room to hide behind the door, behind the closet door, behind the bed, behind the desk, behind the bookcase, behind the nightstand, and behind the dresser?!!
(or...maybe they weren’t put into the hamper in the first place?)
Wednesday morning, I started cutting out clothes--all kinds of clothes, school clothes, church clothes--for Joseph, Hester, Lydia, Caleb, Victoria, and Aaron.  Now, the only place to lay out and cut fabric in this house is the kitchen table--unless I want to use my bed, which I don’t, at least not when I have a great deal of cutting to do, since it isn’t high enough; or unless I want to use the living room floor, which I don’t, since that would inconvenience the household occupants even more than my use of the table does.  Either that, or it wouldn’t inconvenience them, and they would simply walk on the fabric lying on the floor.  In any case, it would certainly inconvenience me, for I would have to crawl around on the floor to get the job done.
So the table it is.
People have been having troubles hunting places to eat ever since.  The littles don’t mind using the little table in the living room, but the bigs not only would mind, but they couldn’t, on account of logistics.  That is, they wouldn’t fit; not only in the little wooden chairs, but also their knees would never slide under the table.  So they find themselves unoccupied corners of the table, empty bits of counter, or they go into the living room and rest their bowls or plates on their kneecaps.  So far, we have had only one bowl turn turtle and empty its contents onto the floor, which, happily, isn’t carpeted.
Wellll...it isn’t as bad as I make it sound.  I do clear the table off for supper.  And I even cleared it off for dinner today.
So far, I’ve cut out 26 things, and I plan to cut out about ten more before I put all the material away and get on with the sewing.  Here is a list of the already-cut-out items and who they are for:

1.      navy w/rust hearts cotton jumper                                            Hester
2.      tan cotton blouse                                                                   Hester
3.      rust satin blouse                                                                    Hester
4.      rust satin blouse                                                                    Victoria
5.      navy satin quilted, down-filled coat                                         Joseph
6.      light brown suit coat                                                              Caleb
7.      light brown pants                                                                  Caleb
8.      brown/blue plaid cotton western shirt                                     Caleb
9.      white shirt w/narrow brown pin stripe                                    Caleb
10.  white shirt w/narrow brown pin stripe                                     Aaron
11.  brown/blue plaid cotton western shirt                                      Aaron
12.  light brown suit coat                                                              Aaron
13.  light brown pants                                                                  Aaron
14.  light brown vest reversible to white w/brown pin stripe            Aaron
15.  blue/red striped cotton jumper                                               Lydia
16.  pleated red/green tartan plaid skirt w/flanged shoulder straps    Lydia
17.  white linen blouse                                                                 Lydia
18.  black on black stripe jacket                                                    Lydia
19.  dress w/bright Indian print corduroy skirt and
bright yellow corduroy bodice                                Victoria
20.        red coat w/navy velvet trim and navy fleece lining               Victoria
21.        double-thick navy fleece mittens                                        Sarah Lynn
22.        blue chambray western shirt w/wild duck-printed trim         Caleb
23.        gray and red knit top                                                        Caleb
24.        denim western jacket w/burgundy fur yokes                       Caleb
25.        strawberry calico and check skirt                                       Hester
26.        strawberry vest                                                                Hester

Good grief!  No wonder I’m a pain in the neck, after all that.
Er, uh, what I meant to say was, no wonder I have a pain in the neck.  And in the big toe.  And various junctures in between.
Wednesday, with the washing machine having been running about eighteen hours each day for the last couple of days, it began sounding like something had gotten itself stuck in the depths of its innards.  First it clunked and clanked; then it screamed like a siren going off; next it roared and groaned, by turns.
And I probably made a grave error by washing three more loads of clothes after the convulsions began.
Larry took a cursory glance at the noisemaker after church that evening; but, fortunately, he hadn’t changed from his white shirt and dress pants, so he didn’t need to actually do anything.
There was a beautiful sunrise Thursday morning...but by the time I was coming back home from taking Joseph to Gehring Ready-Mix, it was fading out.  Maybe someday the sunrise will occur late enough that, after I have taken Joseph to work, there will still be time for me to drive to the nearest scenic location and take a picture.
Teddy advised the viaduct.
Ha!  The viaduct.
With about fourteen train tracks glowing bronze and copper in the light of the rising sun.  And an engine or two, maybe with a couple hundred coal cars behind, chugging along, sending up a cloud of black diesel smoke, the scarlet sun filtered through it.  And the four-story courthouse, Columbus’ only skyscraper, shining golden in the background.
Hmmmmm.  Maybe that would make a picture.
Thursday afternoon, Hester and Lydia got nearly all the fabric out of my material closet and piled it on couch and loveseat, only leaving the stuff on the fourth shelf, and the piles that had been at the back of the third shelf, since it was the only place things hadn’t gotten all messed up.  It’s been a long time since I stacked all that fabric in there, and, as I have pulled out piece after piece to sew, it has gradually gotten more and more untidy and disorderly.  It was high time to reorganize.
Larry looked at the washing machine again Thursday night and promptly gave up because, so he said, he couldn’t find the manual.  Now that was a silly thing to say, because we all know that lack of a manual never stops him from doing what he really wants to do.  The fact of the matter is, Larry is quite capable of writing manuals, and writing them even better than the original manual was done.  Any manual.  A manual for anything.
What he really wanted to do, you see, after a long hard day’s work (he usually works at least 13 hours a day), was to plop himself into his recliner and ‘nap’ till bedtime.
Friday, I was still cutting out material, with no end in sight.  The girls are all agog about all the proposed new clothes, and have made themselves each piles of material, along with patterns they’ve chosen, that they wish me to sew for them.
Hannah and Aaron came, and I took a break from cutting fabric to help Aaron pick up scads of beads he’d spilled, which he enjoyed immensely.  What I mean to say is, he enjoyed the picking up, not the spilling.  Come to think of it, maybe he enjoyed the spilling, too.
When they were ready to go, Hannah instructed him, “Say ‘bye’!”
“Say bye,” parroted Aaron, in Hannah’s exact tones.
After Victoria came home from school, I took her for a ride in her bike cart.  Hester’s friend and second cousin Emily came visiting, and they went for a bike ride, Hester riding Dorcas’ new bike.  They pedaled down a county road that has no shoulders, riding in the grass when cars came along.
And they got thorns in their tires--every last tire.  As I came around a corner with Victoria’s carriage in tow, there were Hester and Emily, walking along, pushing their bikes.  They were not quite home when one innertube got caught in the rear brake, and after that the wheel refused to turn.  So Hester carried the back of the bike till she couldn’t lug it any farther, and then she set it down in the grass and drug it the rest of the way home.
Joseph came home a few minutes later, took the wheels off, and then he and I pulled thorn after thorn from the rubber.  There were some I couldn’t get; if we don’t get them out of there, they will destroy the next innertubes we put in.  Aarrgghh!
In the meantime, Lydia made zucchini pecan muffins.  Hester and Emily gladly replenished their empty stomachs.
Friday evening, Larry found the washing machine manual, brought it upstairs, and began looking at it while he ate supper.  I glanced at it, then took a second look.
“That’s the manual for the old Kenmore,” I informed him.
“Well, where’s the one for the Maytag??” asked Larry, sighing in exasperation.
“I haven’t the foggiest idea,” I answered, calmly breaking crackers into my soup.
Now, I think I could probably come up with that manual, if I took a notion to hunt for it.
But I haven’t taken the notion, yet.
Well, Larry went and made another exam of the contraption, actually taking the front off of it before he retired to his chair, telling me that he would have all of Saturday afternoon to work on it.  Anyway, I was getting a whole lot of garments cut out, since I didn’t have to wash any clothes.  One must look on the bright side of things.
Caleb has been having much trouble with asthma for the last three days.  He’s been using the nebulizer often, but it isn’t helping as much as it should.  Friday night he used his inhaler, albuterol syrup, and then the nebulizer, all in the space of about forty-five minutes, and it made his heart race.  Shortly after finishing his treatment on the nebulizer, he came and sat next to me at the table, trying to eat supper, and I thought he seemed hyper and jittery.
“How would you know the difference?” asked Larry, making Caleb splutter and laugh.
Daddy!” he said reproachfully.
I grabbed his wrist and looked at the clock.
The first time I checked his pulse, it was close to 140; but it slowed down within a minute to 105.
“We’d better wait longer in between puffs and nebulizer treatments and albuterol syrup!” I recommended.
Goodness!  It’s an inexact science, treating asthma.  Scary, it is.
Victoria has a fever and a sore throat, and she politely gave me a dose of it, too.  Botheration!  We just got over it, three weeks ago.
Saturday evening, Larry finally came home and thought about washing machines and such like.  He’d spent the afternoon working on that pesky trailer, a slightly less necessary piece of equipment than a washer, if you ask me.  (You did ask me, didn’t you?)  But most men seem to be of like opinion, and that is, that things with wheels--any things with wheels--are of infinitely more value, and therefore more worthy of repairing, than bothersome things in houses.
Evidently feeling slightly guilty, said husband marched valiantly down the stairs to have another gander at the washer.  This time, he actually took the pump apart and looked inside it.  After a few other diagnostic maneuvers, he ascertained that the problem was likely with the belt, which was damaged because a UFO (Unidentified Floating Object) got into the pump.  Leaving the poor apparatus in pieces, but putting enough of it back together that I could actually use it, he announced that he would have to wait till Monday to get a belt.
I stayed home with Caleb and Victoria today.  Larry said forty people were missing from church this morning, which is unusual.  Robert and his entire family were sick--and it was Robert’s birthday!  He’s 32.  Two other men took his place for the morning and evening services.  I think sometimes a child comes to school sick, and proceeds to spread germs to every child in the class, who then goes home and spreads it to all the members of their families.  That would explain why we sometimes have such an epidemic, I suppose.
We who stayed home spent part of the day listening to cassettes by J. Harold Smith, that dearly beloved preacher who recently died at the age of 92, having preached all over the world and on hundreds of radio stations for 70 years.  I have one tape where he talks about his little boy, J. Harold, Jr., whom they called Sunny, who died at age 4½ when a neighbor child dropped a lit match into a gasoline can.  The can exploded and Sunny was badly burned.  He died a few days later, after suffering much.  He spent his last days singing his favorite songs--’Jesus Loves Me’, ‘Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam’, etc.  J. Harold Smith says he was just as sunny as his name.  The pictures I’ve seen of him in their paper, ‘The Good Neighbor’, show an adorable child with curly blond hair and big blue eyes, a toddling version of his handsome father.  I never can listen to that story without crying over it; I never can.
One time my sister and her husband, Lura Kay and John, visited a church where J. Harold Smith was preaching, somewhere in Arkansas, I think.  Robert was about two years old at the time, and he had curly blond hair and big blue eyes.  At the end of the service, Rev. Smith greeted the family, then picked up Robert and gave him a big hug.  There were tears in his eyes.
“You look like you could be my own little boy!” the preacher told Robert, making Robert smile.
And Robert did look like him.  He looked a lot like Sunny.  Even now, Robert looks like J. Harold Smith, right down to the squarish jaw and the tall stature.  Funny how things like that happen, with people who aren’t related, isn’t it?
On the other hand, maybe they are related, having a great-great-great-great grandfather in common way back in the 1200s or something.  After all!--it was recently discovered that George Bush, Princess Diana, and Winston Churchill had a common ancestor who lived in 1650 A.D. or so.  Or was it 900 A.D.?  Ah, well... 1500 A.D., give or take a thousand years or so.
Larry is making French toast; I can smell it.  Mmmmmm...
By the way, you should know that bats always turn left when exiting a cave.  So, for cryin’ out loud, when you are entering a cave that you know is occupied by multitudes of bats, and it is time for their daily decampment flight, keep to the right!!!
No, that’s not right.  If the bats turn left, then you, from your position outside the cave, should stay to your left, which will be the bats’ right.
Unless, when they say the bats turn to the left, they are saying that the bats turn to your left, as viewed from the exterior of the cave’s mouth.
Oooooo, how will we ever know???!!!
Well, in the meantime, just in case, I offer the following advice:

French toast is on.  Lemme at ’em.  Gang way!