The Search

Of everything
There is so much more than a name
There is so much more than an age
There is so much more than what you see
There is so much more beyond me


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Country Doctor

We had one doctor in town, his name was “Doc. Wallace”. I remember him being old but I have no idea what his age would have been when I was a kid. Regardless he was either really old, or he had some kind of palsy, because his hands shook.

Doc Wallace had a little office on main street, it was nothing fancy, there was a waiting room but I don’t remember there being any kind of a receptionist. He hung a sign on the outside door if he was out, and if he was in, he hung a sign that said “busy” on his treatment room door. Most items he needed for treatment was on shelves in that room, but if he had to order a drug he called our local drugstore which was across the street.

I only remember using him twice. Once was when I came down with the mumps. I woke up with a fever and before long the side of my face was quite swollen. I was kept in bed and he was called at which time he offered to come out to the house because he needed to come that direction to see another patient anyway. He examined me, declared it as mumps and I don’t remember him giving me anything to take but told Mom I should put an ice pack on it, stay in bed and to keep me quiet until the swelling ws gone. I laid in bed for what seemed like a year, but it was probably not over two days. As soon as I decided the swelling had gone down, I was up and at 'em again. Getting yelled at of course by Mom not to overdo.

Not long after that, I felt feverish again and the other side swelled up! Mom didn’t call the doctor this time, but it was back to bed for me. Another year passed……..well, 2 or 3 more days passed and I was up and outside again. I, and my folks thought all was well, I had lived thru the mumps.

A few days later, here they came again, only this time I remember being really sick. Both sides of my neck and on down into my chest was swollen, I hurt badly. Back to bed with another ice pack and Doc Wallace was called again. This time he declared they had gone down on me, and I was to stay in bed and not move for a week, no matter how well I thought I felt!  He told me if I didn’t do what he said I would die. Since I felt like I was going to anyway, I didn’t argue with him.

Another year passed……….and finally, I was allowed up and out.

The only other time I remember seeing Doc Wallace was in his office in town. I had a spot on my upper forehead next to my hair line that kept itching, and then it moved downward towards my eyebrow. Mom figured it was ringworm and we tried “over the counter salves”. They didn’t work, and neither did the home remedies we tried. Then we went to town to have Doc. Wallace look at it. He set me down on a chair in his treatment room and turned around and took a bottle off his shelf. Then he set down right next me and stuck a cotton swab in the bottle. I remember the medicine was deep purple. He said to me, “now you must sit very still, because if get any of this in your eye you will be blinded” He told me not to move, not to even blink. I was scared by then, so I did what I was told.

There he came at me with his shaky hands telling me to sit still! I only remember thinking that you get any of that in my eye, it’s going to be your fault if I go blind, not mine! He smeared some of the medicine on it, then gave it another swab in about 15 minutes and I was sent home. Within a week the spot on my forehead was gone.

There was so much more to all the things old Doc Wallace did for our little community, I remember riding with Mom and Dad several different times when we would need to haul one of the oil field workers who had been injured into town to get them patched up. Eventually he closed his office, and our town never had another doctor. He was a wonderful person and missed by many.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tears in the Red Dirt

Stay with me while I set the “premise” for this story. My granddad and his brother, each married ladies of another family who were sisters! That made all of my Mother’s cousin’s “Double Cousins”.

A couple of her uncles were involved in the Cherokee Strip Run. They did not make the actual run, but rather they were close to the finish line when it was over and they actually traded a shot gun for their first piece of “red dirt”, Oklahoma property!

Oklahoma was a rough, very poor place in those days…..land filled with sage brush, black jack trees, rocks and very little to work with, where they literally scratched out a living. After years of hard, back breaking work, They were both very successful ranchers, as their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren are today.

We visited my Mother’s cousin George and his wife Georgia, as often as possible and I always loved going because it was such a beautiful and wild place. If you’ve never been to Oklahoma, the dirt there is red, different and more special than any other place in the world . Getting dirty in Oklahoma is something that every kid should get to experience! Also, each time I went, I came home with a new “rose rock”. There is a lot to tell about my “rocks”, but I’ll save that for another time.

The 2nd cousins closest to my age were boys and it was such a treat for me to go and learn from them. They also had miles and miles of open land to rome, but they had horses to do it on! In my eyes that made them the luckiest people on earth.

When my Mother & Dad were married in 1935, they went on a honeymoon to Colorado and camped out in a tent. It was during that trip when they met “Henry”. As the story was told me, Henry was an old mountain man, a hermit who lived by himself in a old rickty cabin, deep in the great Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Henry only had one arm but he hunted and fished as well as any pro and never allowed his disability to hamper his expertise.

He and my parents became close friends, and they returned to visit him many times. He presented them with a hand tanned mountain lion pelt which is still in our family.

I remember the night the phone ring and we received word that George had gotten his arm tangled up in a piece of farm machinery and they had to amputate it. It was like the world stopped. This would have been in the mid to late 40’s I believe.

Sometime later after George was released from the hospital and returned home, we went to visit him. I only remember walking thru the house, which was very quiet and solemn, (unlike the other times we had went to visit). We were led to the “back porch” where they had set up a bed for George. I remember my Mom went over and hugged him, and he cried, and said “I don’t know what I’m going to do”. I stood there in the doorway and looked at this man who had always been so strong and active and vibrant, and I think that’s the first time I knew what it was to be sad for someone else. George’s stump was heavily bandaged and he was very weak. I remember I cried too. One look told me he was a broken man.

What I believe was months later, I heard my Mother tell my Dad that she had called and talked to Georgia that day. She told Mom George was healing good, but very depressed and they didn’t know how to get him back to work and involved in things around the ranch again, or what he might be able to do. At that time, my Dad suggested that they put him in touch with Henry. I don’t know how the arrangements were made, but I know Dad was involved in getting George to Henry’s cabin. George spent many weeks with Henry, learning how to use tools, fish and hunt, and work, and live life with one arm. There is so much more to George and Georgia’s life and their family and how it has intertwined with mine through the years, and does to this day. There have been many other tears fall in the red dirt through the years, but the love of God and His strength and the ties we have with each other have always rose to the top. Now another one of my 2nd cousins, George’s daughter is fighting her own battle and I have no doubt that strength has surfaced once again. I am still amazed at how one life in this world, many miles from someone else’s, can eventually touch another’s. How the folks we meet in our lives will at some point make an impression in the lives of someone else we know. Angels appear in the strangest places in the strangest of ways, and the red dirt will always be there but it’s traces are left around the world.


"Cool"

I received an email from my 20 year old granddaughter today who is away at college as a Sophmore, and I’d like to share (in part) some of what she said. I say “in part”, because after all,, there has to be SOME secrets between girls!
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Hey Granny! I have been pretty busy lately it feels like I never get a break… and if I do I fill it with more busy things. Right now I have an hour break between classes and I’m just killing time in the library. I’m starting to finish the campus requirements and move on to more major specific classes. This semester I have Macroeconomics, Business Law, Statistics (which I hate the most), Accounting, and a Race and Ethnic studies class. Plus I have the class I had to apply to get into called presidents leadership program.

Weekends I have been going to the football games and just trying to relax a little and get caught up for the week. I signed up to be on a co-ed intramural flag football team. Games are on Wednesday nights and so far it has been a lot of fun. Most of the people on my team are from my floor last year so it’s nice to hang out with them all again. So far we are 1-1 so we’re not doing too badly.

I’m trying to get used to this whole grocery shopping thing and trying to cook for myself. It’s hard to cook a half way healthy meal for yourself every night, let alone finding the time to. I have eaten a lot of pasta lately it seems like just because it is so easy.

So I looked at your blog and it is awesome! I was surprised at how much you already have on there. How long have you been doing this for? I’m impressed! I love the colors and the pictures you have on there. I read almost all of it and I have checked back a couple of times to see if there was anything new put on. I really enjoy reading it. We are living in the online age so I think it’s really cool you’re doing this. I will keep checking in to see what new things you add.
Well I’m off to accounting!
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Ok, so here we have two people communicating with 45 years between them. Talk about “cool’!!!    I also have a grandson away at college, and he also emailed the other day – His consisted of two sentences telling me how much he hates the “formal fallacies” he is studying in his English class, and he can’t wait to get a job. Ha! Ah, the difference between the males and females of the world….

My granddaughter is enjoying almost every moment of her college experience and I so envy her. I never went to college and 45 years later I do feel like I missed out on an introduction to life. Instead, I went from parents to husband, and then a child less than a year later, and two more two years later. My education has been “life” and it’s a much harder way to learn.

Macroeconomics? I don’t even know what that is, but I wonder if it has anything to do with feeding a family of five on less money than she spends for a football ticket! Learning about money consisted of making sure you make the house payment first, then if there is anything left over you get to decide what to feed 3 little kids for supper. I’m sure they will teach her about “saving”, and probably something about investing.

Given the status of today’s stock market and financial crisis in America in 2008, I would advise her to find a good fruit jar and use it……. Honest advice to her and the rest of the grandkids, there is so much more than what they teach you in college….. Soak up as much as you can and get that degree, but remember to be practical, believe in yourself first, and trust your instincts… If your professor’s knew “everything” they would all be billionaires living the easy life instead of teaching you in turn for a measly salary.

There will be more on here about my grandkids and things I want to share with them. But for now, I need to send her some recipes…… ☺

To Be A Lady

At some point my Mother decided I should change my “tomboy” ways and be more lady like. I was then hauled off to town and enrolled in dance lessons. You have to understand I had just spent the first 7 or 8 years of my life running around barefoot on the creek, so it was a challenge for me to be thrown in to this new world. The main focus was on “tap”, which I really enjoyed tho I’m sure I drove my parents crazy when I put on my tap shoes to “shuffle and step” my way across the old linoleum floor in our kitchen. The teacher thought I should also be in tumbling class as it would teach me balance or something and “loosen me up”. So, like a good little girl I did what I was told. We had to learn the proper way to do cartwheels, and summersaults, and other strange moves. We had to link up with a partner, then somehow grasp each other’s ankles and arms, and while twisted all together, tumble across the floor.

I couldn’t have been in class very long when it came time for the first recital… My performance debut was to do “the tumble” in pairs across the stage. I had to wear an outfit that had glitter all over it; I remember it being very itchy.

On the day of the much-anticipated recital, the woman who drove us to school and picked us up was waiting outside when school was over. About 5 of us kids climbed in her car for the delivery home. and when we got to Billy’s house she said she needed to go inside and talk to his Mother for just a minute and we were supposed to wait on her. It was Billy’s idea that we all get out and go see his horse while the mothers were inside talking which sounded like a great idea to me. We all jumped out of the car and run over to the corral and before you know it, I was up on the fence and found a way to get on old Chief - bareback of course.

I prodded him around the corral, and was getting along fine, when all of a sudden here came their dog…. he got right under the horse, yipping and yapping. “Chief” got nervous and started bucking. I hung on for dear life as long as I could, but eventually, over I went…… I’m not sure which part of me hit first but it hurt so bad I knew I was going to die. Billy and the other kids run over and jerked me up and started brushing all the tell tail signs of dirt off me. I just remember it hurt so bad, but I also knew if I told anyone I’d get in a lot of trouble. Somehow I got back to the car and in the back seat about the time our driver came out and was ready to take the rest of us home. She was none the wiser to what had transpired while she was inside visiting.

As the last to be dropped off, when I walked in the house Mom could see the scratches and bruises and I told her I fell off the swing at school. At that point I’m sure Mom wondered if the tomboy could ever be hidden enough to let the lady emerge. We had to be to the dance recital in just a couple of hours so there wasn’t much said other than a large sigh and “we’ll just put some makeup over those bruises”. There was no way I was going to tell anyone how bad I was hurting or how it really happened, I just had to figure out a way to tumble across that stage in all my glitter. I still remember the pain when the moment came that I had to get into position. I did it though. And lived through it.

There were other recitals and other dance performances and then our teacher retired and closed her studio and I didn’t have to go back. There were also other attempts at lessening the tomboy image…Mom made me pretty dresses on the sewing machine, I was given piano lessons, when older I joined “rainbow girls”, I had “slumber parties”,  learned how to cross my legs at the ankles, get in and out of a car properly, and, I was taught how to walk and dance in high heels gracefully.

There is still so much more to my efforts  towards becoming a lady, but in all honesty I think I’m still working on it.   I can still out fish a lot of men I know, and though it takes me a little longer I can still shimmy up a tree, and it still feels good to get grease on me now and then..... :)    

Staying in Touch

Grandpa and I went shopping over the weekend and got new cell phones for ourselves. Oh yes, we’ve had cell phones for some time, but they WERE getting old and worn out. That was proven not long ago when one of our grand kids, was truly shocked when she found out we didn’t have camera’s on our phones! Ha! That revelation plus the fact that they would no longer hold a charge and were forever unusable, prompted an upgrade.

I can’t begin to describe the choices we had in the store, but thank goodness for a sweet, young clerk who realized our confusion, took pity on us and helped describe what each one did, what might be important to our needs and what wasn’t. Two hours later we walked out of the store with our new cell phones……then home to get them set up.

Every instruction in the 4” thick manual, started with “hit ok, go to menu”. Ok fine! We hit the ok and could NOT find the menu. This literally went on for hours, none of our kids or grandkids were home to help, so we were stuck. Then, only because I believe God took mercy on us, by mistake, Grandpa found the menu……

Now…….we start thru the instruction manual again! First thing we learned how to do and completed (I’m very proud to say) was all the steps needed to set up our “voicemail”. Ok readers, are you setting down? Steady yourselves…..We did not have voice mail on our old phones, and we do not have a message machine on our home phone!. Message machines are at the top of my “pet peeve” list. If I call you and you do not answer, I do not need a recording to tell me you’re not there and to try you later……I will try you again later if I really need to talk to you. I don’t believe anything I have to tell you is so important that I would have to leave you a message about it because if you’re not there, there is nothing you could do about it anyway! I feel the same if you try to call me and I don’t answer. If I had wanted to you to know where I was going and when I might be back, I would have called you before I left! Furthermore, If I am not there when you call there is nothing I can do to help you!

Regardless, we have friends and relatives alike who constantly call our cell phones and leave messages, then the next time they see me they’re all over me for not returning their call! (well, why didn’t you try back later)? I refuse to be tied to a cell phone and in case I walk out of the house and forget to take it with me, I don’t think my world is going to end if I forgot to inform you that I’m not home.

Now, with all of that describing how I feel about voice mail, we did set them up anyway…… (mostly because I think we’re the only ones left in the world who do not have one). What’s so funny is that once we had them running, we both started getting messages that had been left on our phones since 20005! We did have a good time listening to them as it provided two hours of entertainment as we both listened to and deleted each one. It was all really important things like “thank you so much, I really enjoyed my visit, and I’m home now”. Or when we were on vacation with another couple in separate vehicles two years ago, there were several that said “oh aren’t the trees just beautiful”? There were quite a few that I’m surprised I’ve lived this long without hearing, such as “Hi, I just tried to call and you’re not home”. And there were lots of blank hangup’s. How have I lived for years without all that valuable information.

Now that I’ve probably ticked off every friend and relative I have, I’ll probably never have another message on my voicemail, but regardless, I do have one now on my cell phone.

Step two was trying to “download” music for my ringer…… I went into the place they offered to get music. The first place I did not recognize one artist or song on there….. Now really, I’m not THAT old, but whoever heard of Wu tang clag……..????? Finally I found something they called “oldies”, and most of it was what I call “modern music”. Locating “country”, they didn’t show anyone older than Alan Jackson who in my books is a youngster. It was at that point I threw up my hands and decided to use the phone’s built in ringer.

Moving on to “contacts”, the clerk was nice enough to switch my old contacts to the new phone or I’d still be trying to figure out that section! Heaven forbid if anyone ever changes their number.

Then came time to practice with the new built in cameras…… wow! So now I have pictures of grass, the silverware on the table, the tv in my living room, a chair, and the carpet! I haven’t figured out how to get rid of those yet.

Now that I have this new little shiny thing laying here beside me, I hope you’ll call and leave me a message telling me you’ll try back later……. That is, IF I can remember my password and find the right buttons to push.!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Appointment Changed

The back doctor's office called this morning and my appointment has been moved up to Oct. 13th because the dr. has to go to some sort of conference on the 16th.....    Now I will have to face all this 3 days sooner than I thought I would.    Well, I guess the good thing is that I have less time to worry about it, but right now that's not making me any happier.   I think I will go stick my head in the sand for awhile.   I'm not ready to take on any more thoughts about it right at the moment.

Computers

ok - This is all very new to me and I have SO MUCH MORE to learn about computers and setting up blogs.....  If you see some things in different places than they were before, or whatever you might run across,  Please just deal with it and forgive your stupid blogger......   Tarzan is still learning.   There are a lot of features on here I don't understand yet, and I will make mistakes as I go along.    Thanks for your patience......

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Prejudice


One time in grade school, I had to wear black makeup to perform in a play. I suppose I was chosen because I had naturally black hair and could play the part much easier than the other little girl in my grade who’s beautiful blond curls were quite obvious. Our little 2-room schoolhouse did not have a “performing arts” department, let alone a black wig, so they took advantage of who and what was available. I don’t remember the lines I had to memorize, only that I wore a red & white tiny checked dress, and set on the stage on a hay bale, in my black makeup and recited the lines. I remember thinking, even with all the black goop spread on my face, I am still just me, and I my biggest concern was that I didn’t forget my lines when it came time for me to speak.

A few years later, our 4-H leader stopped by one day to talk to my Mom about something, and she had a little black girl about my age with her. The little girl was from a neighboring town, having just moved there and would be joining our 4-H group. She was the first black person I had ever been around. I might have been 6 or 7 at the time. She and I went into the cornfield across the road and played hide and seek in the rows until I cut my finger on a corn stock and had to go home for a bandage. When I asked my Mom later why they called them people “niggers”, she said well I believe it’s because they come from Nigeria and that is just a shortened term that some use. Fine! Question answered, question accepted…. I went outside to play some more.

We had a sign on the highway leading into the city limits that stated our town observed the “sunset” law, and it went on to say that no niggers were allowed within the city limits after sundown. This was actually printed on a sign! Except we did have one black man who lived on the south edge of town, his name was Herchel and some called him Blackie. He lived in an old oil field tank and sold junk. When Blackie went to the café to eat, he was always served in back. Everyone knew Blackie, but for the most part he was left alone, unless someone wanted to buy something he had. That was extent of my introduction to a different race. This would have been in the late 1940’s.

After I was married, I returned to our little Country Church in about 1963 to attend the services with my Mother one Sunday. She would have been in her early 50’s at that time. On that particular day a guest minister was at our Church and he was a black man. I remember enjoying the sermon, and when it was over he walked outside to stand and greet each of the parishioners as they left. I was standing beside my Mother when he stuck his hand out for her to shake it…she hesitated for just a moment, then clasped his hand in hers. She said…”You are the first black person I have ever touched”. He smiled widely and said ……”I am so honored”. Then, she leaned forward put her arm around his shoulder. He in turn patted her on the back and we left.

As I learned later, there was so much more to learn about people of different color’s and races than what we see on the outside. I still have a hard time understanding the horrendous treatment we put the black race through… Slavery was one thing, but beyond that? Only a short period of time ago we wouldn’t let a particular person live in a town? We wouldn’t let one eat out front in the café? Today there are those who will still not recognize their individuality, their talents, their intelligence, their contributions to society, and their love… I do not understand.

I experienced prejudice myself, being raised as “oil field trash” in the small farming community in which we lived. Oil field supply stores were not allowed to build within the city limits…. As the oil field boom hit our town and many workers moved there to drill and operate the wells, they built “camps” around the town to provide housing for the families. A small town of less than maybe 1,000 people with dirt streets refused to let the outside world in. It was a number of years before my parents, and other members of the oil field community were allowed to write checks at the grocery store. The “oil field trash” label preceded them and it took many years before they were given any trust. We lived in a camp during my first year of life, then moved to the hill when I was 2 years old.

I started school when I was 4 years old, a country school where all of the farm kids went. The first week of school, a little farm girl who lived about 5 miles from us, said to me at recess, “my Dad says you’re just oil field trash and I’m not supposed to play with you. Needless to say, it made me very mad so I hit her. We were fighting on the ground when the teacher came out to break it up. I had to take a note home saying that I had gotten in trouble, and then I had to tell my folks about it and I had torn my dress. When Daddy got home, Mom told him about it. He took me by the hand and said come outside with me. He led me around the yard and said I want you to see how many things we have here that uses oil or runs on gas. He took me to the garage and showed me the car and his work pickup, he took me in the wash house and showed me the washing machine, he showed me tools, the water well, and he pointed to the farmer’s tractor and said “how long do you think he could plow his fields without oil”. We went back in the house and he pointed out Mom’s sewing machine, our gas fridge, the old heating stove, and it went on and on. Then, Mommy made me set down at the table and make out a list and told me that I had to take it to school the next day. She called the teacher that night and requested that I be given time to give a speech and ask if that could be my punishment for fighting. I barely remember standing in front of the class and telling them what my Daddy had taught me and all of the things that use oil. This was how my parents handled prejudice. There is so much more to this story… And so much more than what we see on the outside of anything, or anyone…

Survival of the “Fittest”

I am now the proud owner of a new outfit to wear to my class reunion.

The day went much like I knew it would and wrote about in “the challenge”. I decided on the walking shoes because my back was hurting anyway and I knew if I wore shoes with no support, I’d never make it.

The first store we went in, we hit 5 minutes after they opened, evidently the clerk’s were not awake yet because all the time we were in there, only one spoke to us. Her statement was “are you looking for something in particular”? She then walked away before I had a chance to answer.

This was a huge store but we took off on our own in search of something that would call our attention to it. The first section we walked thru was for teenager’s….everything there was “spandex”. Spandex does not work well when placed over sagging bulges so we kept walking, and walking and walking. Nothing was jumping out at me crying to be tried on, so I finally located the first and only clerk we’d seen. I ask where one might find some ladies semi casual clothes appropriate for a banquet. She told us they were all the way over on the other side of the store, behind the coat department, beside the sportswear, so off we go again. Finally, we seen a sign that said “ladies suits” and we knew we were getting close. There before us on the wall, hung several nice pants suits. I seen one I liked, it was on a rack sticking out of the wall about 6 feet off the floor. Now by this time my back was already starting to whine, and all I really wanted to do was set down, however; being the trooper I am, I reached to find my size. With one little jerk, I did get the jacket in my hands while consequently the slacks fell to the floor. The price tag is usually the first thing I look at, and this one read $385. I hung it back on another rack, we found our way to the front of the store and out the door, walked (what felt like) another thousand miles across the parking lot to the car and pondered our next move….

Our next stop, a smiling clerk, about my age, greeted us at the door, explained where everything was, gave us her name, said to look around and call her if we wanted to try something on or if she could help in any way. It was a much smaller store and after we had looked for a few minutes she approached us again and ask if we were having any luck. At that point, she became my best friend, and when I told her what I needed she started scooping up hangers full of things for me try on. I will spare you all the ugly details, and there is so much more to it, but two hours later I left there with a reasonably priced, comfortable, sharp looking, outfit that fit nicely and one which I like and will wear a lot. Furthermore, it makes me look just like I did in 1961. (Well, in my eyes anyway). I can’t say it was painless, but it was productive.

My daughter and I then went out for a nice lunch,…… ah, it felt so good to set down.

Pineapple Cookies

Frank & Elsie lived right up the road from us. When I say “right up the road”, I mean that it was a narrow, oiled path, just nearly wide enough for two vehicles to pass if both kept their outer wheels in the ditch. It was a “lease road”, carved thru the middle of the section to provide access to the wells that were producing in that field and covered with oil to keep the dust down and make it able to travel on when it was muddy.  You didn’t want to drive on it when it had just been freshly oiled, but after the work trucks had used it for a few days, it was passable. It also had a cattle guard, which could cause problems for a little girl on her bike. Inevitably, if the rider was not watching, the front tire would turn sideways and fall between the joints of pipe that formed it. Believe me, I took a lot of spills on that cattle guard and always felt like the hardest part of the journey was behind me when it was crossed.

Frank & Elsie were transferred to our area from “oil city” PA when the company they worked for moved their drilling and production operations to our town. They also lived in a little lease house, one mile north of us, but they had an outdoor shower!  It was a large “cistern” tank that set next to the house with a shower house under it. It had no top, so it seemed like you were outdoors when you used it.  It was a wonderful place to scrub the dirt off me when I went to visit and before I returned home after one of those bike trips.

Elsie was like a surrogate grandmother. She and my Mother were very good friends. Since Elsie was older and had been married to an oil field worker much longer and had grown children, she was always there when Mom needed some advice or just someone to talk to. She told me once that she would have been a millionaire if she could have saved all the oil she had washed out of Frank’s clothes. Frank was a dear, kind gentleman and was always there when my Dad could not be, to fix a bicycle tire, teach me a new card game, or haul me home when I was too tired to ride back. Though Frank was known to drink a little too much, he was nevertheless a “happy drunk” and someone I loved very much.  My Dad was called often to take Frank home from the pool hall when he had been there a little too long.

The greatest treat was when Elsie would call and say that she had just baked a fresh batch of pineapple cookies. They were my favorite then, and still are today. There is so much more to Frank & Elsie’s story but following is Elsie’s recipe for that which always provided me with love.  They make everything better!

Pineapple Drop Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 9 oz. can of crushed pineapple
3 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. soda

Blend salt, & lemon juice with shortening, Cream in sugar until fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time, add pineapple & sifted flour & soda. Drop by spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet & sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 deg. for about 12 min. Wash cookie sheet each time and re-grease. Makes 4 doz. Cookies.

Just as an add on, you may want to reduce the over temp. If you use a modern “coated” cookie sheet, and with today’s bake ware it probably would not be necessary to wash and re-grease after each batch.

Today's Challenge

It’s tough being a model…… you know, the beautiful people who have the perfect bodies, the perfect hair do’s, the professional makeup assistants, who dress perfectly…….or at least they would look perfect even in a gunny sack?

Well, today is my day. I am off on a shopping trip with my daughter to search for a new outfit to wear to my 47th high school class reunion.

You must understand that in my mind, everyone else there will not have changed one iota over the past 47 years, especially my husbands old girl friends….. They will be still be the little high school cuties they were in 1961. Of course that is how I expect myself to look.

Today will be like all shopping trips….. Do I wear comfortable walking shoes? If so, that means I’ll have to untie them every time I go into a dressing room to try on yet another garment. If I wear sandals or shoes that are easier to remove, it means putting my back thru spasms as I tromp from store to store. Decision one will be which shoes to wear.

Dressing rooms, God’s little torture chambers for old ladies. They all look alike and all of them hold the same anguish. Full length mirrors are something I normally stay away from, but every dressing room has at least one. The trick is in trying to ignore it as you strip off and pray there are no hidden cameras lurking around.

Once you have removed your clothes, there hangs that outfit you brought with you and thought would be just perfect. The first challenge is to get it off the hanger. By the time all buttons are undone, zippers unzipped and snaps unsnapped, you’re worn out and the sweats have started. Gently you remove it from the hook on the wall and begin the process of putting it on your body. Between the magnetic theft tags which pull everything out of shape, and the numerous little cardboard tags that give information on the size, maker, type of fabric, price, etc….. and which always sticks out in the wrong places and scratches you everywhere) this is no easy task.

Once on, you turn to look in the mirror…. The outfit that you thought would be “just perfect”, does not even come close to fitting. Since my figure would rival that of any well built bulldog, (short, thick in the middle, square, and with a skinny hips & legs) it is not what one would consider easy to fit.   Well, at least you have a place to start and something to work from. Maybe the next size up would drape nicer, maybe a different color would enhance the color of your eyes, maybe a different style would look a little more modern, By now you’re out of breath, the sweat is pouring from your brow (and everywhere else) and the clerk shows up outside the door saying “do you like it, is there anything else I can bring you”? You hurry and start undressing again and by now you’ve reached near death and all you can mutter is…….”Thank you but no, I think I’ll keep looking”. You redress, rush out of that store and on to the next one only to repeat the process. By now your hair looks like you've brushed it with a mixer.   There is so much more to this story and I”ll keep you updated. If I do indeed die in one of the dressing rooms today, I have enjoyed my blog thus far and hope you’ve enjoyed it too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Baby Sitter's

My parents had to leave town for an emergency, there was an illness in our extended family and they had to go immediately. I guess I was too young to go with them, so at the last minute Mom called some friends to watch after me for a couple of days. The folks I stayed with were very good people. They were kind and loving and I felt safe with them…… however; there was a lot more to the story my parents never knew about.    I don’t think I ever told anyone about my exciting night out. We got home safely, in fact I think I fell asleep in the back seat…..I couldn’t have been very old but I’ll never forget it.

Chicken Fights

A darkened, smoky garage
Partly filled with bleachers
Crowded rows of men & women
watching, betting, drinking, yelling
some staggering, most watching
a circle below them.
Two animals trained to kill
each other, so
Let the games begin.
A kissing breath from man to animal.
In the crowd a little girl,
She watched, and knew it was yet
another part of life she didn’t want
To visit again.
She was sad for the chicken that lost
But she also knew it was a part of the game.

"Face on the Bar Room Floor"

For those who are not familiar with this poem, I will post it below, but first let me tell you a story about it. In my youth, we had friends who lived on the edge of town next to the railroad tracks.   Railroad hobo's  stopped off at our friends house quite often. “Ruby” always gave them food. They also had an old shack out beyond the garage that many of them would spend the night in before going on….. They had a favorite one who visited quite often. We were visiting there one evening and suddenly there was a knock on the front door. It was him. Banjo opened the door and called him by name and ask if there was something he needed. The old bum was staggering drunk, and his reply was “yes” I have a story to tell.

At that moment he stumbled into the living room, planted himself right in the middle, and proceeded to recite a very long poem, word for word from memory in a fashion that would make any orator jealous. Not only did he recite the words clearly, he used facial expressions, hand motions, and movements in his body while acting out the scene with the skill and grace of a shakespearian actor.   I set there as a little kid, simply amazed and very impressed. I don’t think I took a breath after the first four lines. When he finished, he ask if they had anything to eat. They fixed him a plate, and Banjo said it was time to go to bed and showed him out the door…… I never forgot that night, and think of the old hobo often.

Years later we traveled to Central City Colorado where the actual face is painted on the bar room floor, located in the historic Teller House hotel. I bought a copy of the original framed poem. That particular evening many years before then, spent with an old drunk was my first introduction to poetry and possibly why I love it so much today. I know there was so much more to the man who brought me to it. I wish I knew the rest of his story…..


The "Face on the Bar Room Floor"

Twas a balmy summer evening,
And a goodly crowd was there,
That well night filled Joes' barroom
At the corner of the square,
As songs and witty stories,
Came through the open door,
A vagabond crept slowly in
And posed upon the floor.


“Where did it come from?” someone said,
“The wind has blown it in.”
“What does it want?” another cried,
“Some whiskey, rum or gin?”
Here Toby, sic’ em,
If your stomach is equal to the work,
I wouldn't touch him with a fork,
He's filthy as a Turk.


This badinage the poor wretch took with stoical good grace.
In face, he smiled as though he thought,
He had struck the proper place.
Come boys, I know there’s kindly hearts,
Among so good a crowd,
To be in such good company,
Would make a deacon proud.


Give me a drink, that’s what I want,
I'm out of funds you know, when I had cash to treat the gang,
This lad was never slow.
What? You laugh as though you think, This pocket never held a sou,
I once was fixed as well, my boys,
As any of you.
There thanks, that’s braced me nicely.
God Bless you one and all. Next time I pass this good saloon,
I'll make another call.

Give you a song? No, I can't do that,
My singing days are past.
My voice is cracked, my throat's worn out,
And my lungs are going fast.

Aye, give me another whiskey and I'll tell you what to do
I'll tell you a funny story and in fact I’ll promise two.
That I was ever a decent man,
Not one of you would think,
But I was, some four or five years back.

Say, give me another drink.
Fill'er up, Joe, I want to put some life,
Into this old frame.

Such little drinks, to a bum like me
are miserably tame,
Five fingers, that's the scene, and corking and whiskey too,
Well, here's luck boys, and landlord,
My best respects to you.

You’ve treated me pretty kindly,
And I'd like to tell you how,
I came to be this dirty sap, you see before you now.
As I told you once I was a man,
With muscle, frame and health,
But nor a blunder, ought have made considerable wealth.

I was a painter, not one that daubed on bricks or wood,
But an artist, and for my age I was rated pretty good,
I worked hard at my canvas, and bidding fair to rise,
And gradually I saw, the star of fame before my eyes.
I made a picture, perhaps you’ve seen,
It’s called the “Chase of Fame.”
It brought me fifteen hundred pounds,
And added to my name.

It was then I met a woman, now come the funny part;
With eyes that petrified my brain, and sank into my heart
Why don't you laugh its funny, that the vagabond you see,
could ever have a woman and expect her love for me.

But it was so, and for a month or two, hr smiles were freely given,
And when her loving lips touched mine, I thought I was in heaven.

Boys did you ever see a girl, for whom your soul you'd give,
With a form like Venus De Milo, too beautiful to live,
With eyes that would beat the Koh-i-noor,
And a wealth of chestnut hair?
If so, it was she, for boys there never was, another half so fair.


I was working on a portrait,
One afternoon in May,
Of a fair haired boy, a friend of mine,
Who lived across the way,
My Madeline admired him,
And much to my surprise,
She said she'd like to know the lad,
Who had such dreamy eyes.
She didn't take long to find him,
Before the month had flown,
My friend had stolen my darling,
And I was left alone.


And ere a year of misery had passed above my head.
That jewel I treasured so, had tarnished and was dead.
That's why I took to drink boys, Why I never see you smile,
I thought you'd be amused boys, and laughing all the while.

Why, what’s the matter friend? There's a tear-drop in your eye,
Come, laugh like me. It’s only babes and women that should cry.

Say boys, if you give me just another whiskey and I'll be glad,
I'll draw right here the picture, of the face that drove me mad.
Give me that piece of chalk with which you mark the baseball score;
You shall see the lovely Madeline upon the barroom floor.
Another drink and with check in hand, the vagabond began,
To sketch a face that well might buy the soul of any man.
Then, as he placed another lock upon that shapely head,
With a fearful shriek, he leaped and fell across the picture -- dead!

Written by Hugh Antoine D’Arcy in 1887

Guests

With a knock on the door you come into my life,
you brighten my world.
First with a hug and your very presence.
You come laden with many gifts….
Warmth, knowledge, laughter, and conversation
To feed my mind, and so much more.
Let my home become your home.
Let me take care of you, and offer love in return.
Let me fill your body and mind with comfort
Let me forever be grateful that you were here
and to that day you will come again.


I love to entertain; I suppose that comes from my great Aunt Lou, who came from Southern stock, in the New Orleans area. We visited her often when I was young. She regularly set such a beautiful table even for just a simple meal. Everyone always had their own individual salt & pepper wells, and butter pats. When meat on the bone was served she had matching bone trays to circle around the side of each plate.

She used to serve “bums” who would knock on the door asking for something to eat. Though they were not allowed in the main house, they were brought onto the back porch where a nice, but small table was set for them, and a paper sack was made available for them to take the left over’s. She never turned anyone down and always reminded them to eat heartedly as there was so much more, and she wanted them to leave full.

Her kitchen was her domain….. It may have looked dis-organized to a stranger, but she knew where every item of food was, where each utensil or pot & pan & dish was located. I was standing at her side once when she was filling a bowl of mashed potatoes to carry to the table, and she left some in the pan. I ask her why she didn’t add those to the bowl and she said “I wouldn’t want to over fill the bowl as it might appear pretentious to some”. She went on to tell me how many other things could be made from the extra mashed potatoes…. “cakes for supper another night, breads, a topping for baked dish, or warmed up for someone who might need them”.

I cherish the memories of visiting Aunt Lou and Uncle Frank, they made a great contribution to our world during the 100 years they were here until they passed away in the 1950’s.

Apt. II

For all of you who know how hard it was to do, I just made the appointment with the orthopedic surgeon.  October 16th.    The breath just went out of me as I know there will be so much more after that.....  However; I will face it when it comes.   Now for the dirty socks!

Organizing

Items out of place
Priorities skewed
Life jumbled
Time to straighten up
add a smile to my face
Put it all in order
And start the race.


With “the appointment” over with, and a fresh outlook ahead of me, I am on my way. I have errands to run, a house to clean, bills to pay, laundry to do, so much more, and life to live. Now why are the salt & pepper shakers setting on my coffee table, dirty socks on the floor….. You are on your way to your respective locations! A call to an old friend who needs some support, a new appointment to make……..

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pudding

And when I got all settled on my branch and supper was over with, my sweety brought me pudding!    He knew it had been a hard day......    The warm, smooth texture of the pudding coated my wounds, it covered me in a silken gown and gave me comfort.    I needed that.    The evening also brought phone calls from my daughters wanting to know how "the appointment" went, and there was so much more to the day......but the pudding made it a perfect day..........

The Appointment

Thank God the appointment is over…..just getting there is the worst part. Don’t get me wrong, I love my oncologist. He is young, intelligent, compassionate, and understanding, he is what I would want all doctors to be. I call him “doctor cute”.

Ok, so for what happened.... He asked me how I was feeling, I told him “good” as far as the cancer is concerned. I ask that he re-check my neck to see what he thought about the knot and if it had changed any from 3 months ago. He examined me all over and is sure it’s a damaged vein with scar tissue, so I shall dismiss that from my worries. What I most like about him, is his reassurance. I think I get the same lecture every time I go…….”you are tarzan, you are strong, you are doing great, there will be a vine to grab if you need it” I love hearing that over and over again. I NEED to hear that over and over again.

Then I told him about my back problems and ask about a possible upcoming MRI to compare it to the one I had two years ago when I was diagnosed with osteo-arthritis, spinal stenosis, bone spurs, two bulging disc’s and a pinched nerve. Whew! And I wonder why my back aches? Yes, there’s so much more to it, the muscle aches with the fibromyliga, the burning when I walk, the pain that makes me have to stop and limits my activities. It’s a little hard to get on with life when I can not be as active as I’d like.

So dr. cute explained scans to me. He said the problem with them is that each type of scan gives better or worse information and all problems cannot be found with just one type of scan. I didn’t know, but MRI’s do not put out radiation like the ct and pet scans do. He said it would be ok to have the MRI if the back dr. orders it, and he encouraged me to make the appointment with the orthopedic surgeon again. As it turns out, dr. cute set me up for a pet scan in January. I also found out today that I will not have to have another bone marrow biopsy unless symptoms should appear such as a change in my blood counts, new node growth, or other little signs.

And then it was over! He hugged me bye and told me Merry Christmas since it will be next year before I see him again……. I walked outside, took a deep breath, came home and climbed back in my tree. Wow.

Roadblocks

Roadblocks

Normally I trip through life on an every day basis without too much trouble, for about 3 months at a time, then up pops a roadblock. Roadblocks in life are to be expected, we suffer them every day. You know, little things like not being able to find your slippers in the morning, running out of gas on the way to work, being late for an appointment. Needless to say, roadblocks come in all sizes. Loved ones die, financial problems, relationship problems, debilitating illness……those are large roadblocks.

Since I was diagnosed with cancer, I have a checkup with the oncologist every 3 months. My small to medium sized roadblock starts moving into place about 3 days before. The day of the appointment there it stands, and everything stops. I stop. I can’t sleep the night before, I watch the clock, my blood pressure goes sky high, I get snappy with everyone, my muscles tighten up, I delay getting ready, I don’t want to talk to anyone. I actually refuse to go in my mind at least 12 times before I make myself get in the car.

All of this only because I don’t want to hear what he has to say. The poor guy can’t win! I don’t want to hear that I still have cancer and he’s still not doing anything about it, that I’m still not sick and I’m still not well. And I don’t want to hear that it could be active, (which would be a bigger roadblock). To put it simply I hate these appointments!

They remind me…..they bring to surface a problem that I have no control over. Oh and there is so much more……there’s deciding what to wear, there’s the lab work, there’s the pleasantries exchanged with the receptionist, there’s the physical exam, there’s seeing the sadness in the eyes of the other patients whose appointment may not have gone so well, there’s trying to find a place to park! There is nothing in my mind good about those days.

Once the appointment is over, the roadblock is removed and I am ok again. I start to breathe again, I look at the sky again and see the world is still here and there will be so much more ahead of me. I am left with a headache, but I can turn my back on the cancer again and get on with my journey knowing it will be another 3 months before I have to get over the next roadblock

Where I learned

As a kid I lived in the country 5 miles from a small town. The closest neighbor was a half mile away, and then not another neighbor for 3 more miles. Our house set on a hill about 1/8th of a mile from “cow creek”. The creek held thousands of places to explore, and I traveled to many of them. I had a favorite place though……

There was a path thru the tall trees that led to a small sandy beach with a huge rock outcropping. One large rock was the perfect “chair” to climb upon and dream. It was where I could plan and think…… I studied the beaver dams, I designed my tree house, I made lists of what materials I would need to build it. I had battles with Indians, and in my fantasies I rode great stallions and planned my escapes from the invaders. I built hideouts, and caves. I built sand cities with many roads, I caught catfish, and that is where I learned how to tie a hook onto a line. That is where I learned to love nature and listen to the birds……and watch their flight.

As soon as I had learned to tell time, my Mom gave me a watch and I was allowed to go to the creek until the hand reached a certain mark. Sometimes I didn’t get to finish my dream before it was time to return home, and there was so much more to see and do.

There was a swinging bridge that I was not supposed to go near, but I did, and I learned to be really brave when I crossed it the first time. There was so much beauty with the changing of the seasons. Each one brought it’s own personality and I learned to recognize that in others. There were ant piles that hurt if they found their way onto the rocks. There were traces of other humans, but usually I did not see anyone. There were swimming holes and logs to cross. Sometimes I would see a snake, but they never bothered me. That is where I learned to climb a tree and see forever into other worlds. I also built and launched boats that followed the ripples in the creek and traveled beyond my sight. They influenced my curiosity as to where they could have gone. Sometimes I found treasure in the small stones that laid around and then I buried them in little boxes I carried. Then with the anxiety of a child I would dig them up a few days later pretending again that I could use them to buy my Mom a new dress. It was my sanctuary, part of the clay that formed me and it taught me the beauty of being a carefree child, and it taught me to keep dreaming and planning, and searching and experimenting with life.

The Base

In our attempt to reach out
to search for more
we grasp tightly behind us.
so as not to fall.
For that is what we are
The platform from which we grew
Thorns of fear, and weakened spots
but solid and strong by necessity
offering a molded base
from which to renew.


Once again last night as I lay to sleep, my mind drifted back as it has a thousand times to my childhood. How the “me” that I am, was formed and where I had been.

A little 8 year old black haired girl in pigtails tormented by a teacher, unaware that there were bad people in her little world. People of trust who could not be trusted. Her attempts to escape her captor.

Her fear over and over when she was caught…..in a darkened room.
Her knowing wrong but unable to do anything about it.
Her instinct of knowing but not fully knowing how to cope.

When the fear finally overtook her whole life, she finally told, and Daddy went for the gun. She hoped Daddy would kill him, but a neighbor stopped him and the teacher was exposed instead, and then the teacher left her world and nothing more was said or done. The little black haired girl in pigtails learned early lessons she carried with her throughout further growth.

She learned not to trust easily, she learned to sense danger, she learned survival when it was only her to defend her world. She learned fear early, much too early. She learned what protection is and how time and revelation can bring answers. She learned how to escape pain, physical and mental. She learned how mommy’s and daddy’s cry together and fight the outside world together. She learned so much more, but there is so much more the little black haired girl will never know or share with others. In early education she learned much and finally grew beyond what she had learned…..but it remained a part of her and made her stronger and allows her to hold on but have the faith to reach for help.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

my journey

The Greater Mystery
By Chacon
When facing a life-threatening illness, it forces you to start digging deeper. What is offered? Is this a blind, dead-end alley or just a narrowing curve that I can’t see beyond? What goals are easily within my reach? And what ones that would appear far-fetched or beyond my reach are worth pursuing anyway? “Nothing ventured, nothing gained…”
……………………………………..

I peeked Ed; I actually stuck my head out and looked around the bend. Wow! You’re right! There’s light, there’s hope, there’s acceptance, there’s power, there’s options, and there is life! There are possibilities out there! It looks like a very complicated road though…a bit scary.

I’m anxious to leave this dark alley behind me, I’m ready to tell it goodbye and I don’t want to look back. I’ve been here for the better part of year now, and it’s closing in on me. It was ok for a while, I needed its security, but now I’m ready to move on.

As with all moving things, I know I’ll have to stop and fuel up along the way. Energy does not come cheaply, and so many take it for granted. I pray I will have enough to get around the first curve.

There are ditches on each side of the road, the weeds grow up to the edge of it but I think that will help me stay in the middle in case I wobble to one side. There are lots of curves, it is narrow, and some bumps, and it’s rough in places, but maybe if I go really slow and take my time…..

There’s also guide posts and signs, almost like a map and some of them shows arrows which should help guide me…….

There are a couple of “caution” lights, and right at the beginning there is a “stop” light, but it has a button on it where I can change it to green when I’m ready. There are also some fence posts along part of it, so if I start limping I can use them like a crutch.

I see where there are forks in the road taking off in different directions. I think I’ve already taken a few of those so I won’t bother with those particular ones again. I went to “Self Pity” once and didn’t like it at all… I also took that route down to “Fear” and knew immediately I wanted the hell out of there. It actually took many months to leave, I had to wait until some new roads were constructed and then they seemed to go every which way, it was very confusing for a long time, but I was finally able to find my way out. The place called “Needy” was the worst; it was full of stale matter that had been sloughed off by others. I got my fill of that quickly.

I also see a few hitchhikers along the road…others, no doubt who are also going “somewhere”, but not sure of their destination. Maybe I could give them a lift. Sometimes it’s better to travel with a group. Many of the more brave journeymen have gotten a lot further than I have, and they’ve had some really bad experiences, but they’re still going! If I get stuck it’s good to know there are some “tow” services around that will pull me out and get me on the road again.

Some of the places these roads lead to I was at once, but I haven’t traveled to in a long time so I’m anxious to revisit them. Being in “Control” again will be exciting. It’s full of power and the structures I built while there are awesome, and I can choose which streets to build on again!

I will stop now and then to take a look at “Option”. I hadn’t visited there for a long time, I keep forgetting about it! It’s such a huge place, and silly me, I see now where it’s grown even larger. Many of it’s street signs are blurry, but if really look close I should be able to sort them out. They keep tearing down the old barriers and putting up new ones with self lifting gates. I hope I can find the strength to raise a few of them and venture in and out….

“Accept” is a very comfortable little area, not especially pretty, but very cozy, it’s a good place to rest for a while and reevaluate my route…. It has all one way streets though, and they all lead out of town….. which means you have to keep going.

I just don’t know about “Hope”….it pops up in the most unexpected places and then disappears again. The directions to its center are not clear yet so I will keep searching for it.

“Life” is my favorite, and I can’t wait to get there again. I remember there are people laughing there, they are carefree and happy and they seem to have a purpose. They can come and go at their own pace; they stay involved in all of the activities in town. There’s no red lights or stop signs in that place.

Have you seen what they’ve done to “Vine” street? I am amazed. The population there used to be so small, but it has grown beyond my wildest imagination… almost around every corner there is something to grab onto.

I already know my first stop, I’ll get there on the 15th. I’ll get a check up, and I’m pretty sure he will direct me to the rear trunk mechanic. Both will probably yell at me to get better traveling shoes, (though I’d much rather go bare foot). You see, it takes awhile to get all my stuff together and pack it properly. I’ve postponed this trip many times because I couldn’t get the route organized….. Finding the map was the hardest thing, it was hard to see in the darkness of the alley and there were a lot of obstacles in my way. I also have a good pick and shovel, I’m sure I’ll need to stop and dig along the way but I think I’m up to it. After all, clearing those passages is part of it, right?

Well, I must go now and get started on this journey……There is so much more to do and time is slipping away from me. I have thought about this a lot, I took a deep breath, and now have my map in front of me. I have charted my course and barring any bad turns or detours in the road, I will get there……
It’s just a matter of taking that first step, everybody move out of the way…… (but stay close by in case I need you, ok?)
Here I go………….. Lets see, how far is it to “life”?

Black Gold


"Raw, tired and torn
I see and understand
The tools of his trade
A pair of greasy hands".    

As the upcoming election for President of the United States quickly approaches, there is an issue I beg our candidates to come to the middle on......that of our energy problems.   McCain preaches "drill, drill, drill", and Obama preaches that drilling will no good.  Each of them on the extreme, opposing ends of the spectrum.   In reality, both are correct, both are wrong.

We only have around 4 to 5 percent of the world's oil supply to begin with.  It doesn't matter if we drill til we drop, that will not solve the problems for future generations.   On the other hand, we can not turn our back on the very industry that has, for over 150 years provided us with our basic requirements of life.

Where is the APPRECIATION for an industry that has allowed us to develop and live the lifestyle to which we are so accustomed and have grown dependent on?   Can we not stop for a moment to say THANK YOU to those who have given their lives so that we can stay warm when the temperatures drop in the winter?  Can we not say thank you for the convenience of getting in our car and driving to work or play?

We must acknowledge the years of effort and trillions of dollars the energy companies have put into the technology and development that has brought us cleaner and more efficient methods of the drilling and production of the precious black gold.

Having been raised in the oil and natural gas industry, I know the men and women and their families who work in it are just like you and I...  Good, hard working individuals who put in many long hours and back breakiing physical labor learned through years of training and sweat, in order to make a living and to make all of our lives more comfortable.   Take time to look around your home at the many things you take for granted that is made from or uses oil.    Thousands of lives have been lost through the growth of this industry.   I beg you the next time to walk across the room to turn on the heat, or look at the tires on your car, or drive to town, you will give thought to those who made it possible.

As with everything, there is so much more to this situation than what you see or hear or think.  Please ask your candidate to move a little to the middle for the benefit of all of us now and in the future.