rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the category “Stories”

From the Highest of Heavens

Some say we are in the Christmas season, but I say, God is never out of season. People sometimes take Him out of their box in December, put Him back in the box in January and leave Him there until Easter.
This is the reminder… as we celebrate the birth of Christ with family and friends; let us also take the time to reflect on our worship of Him throughout the year.

“From The Highest of Heavens”

“The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all”.  John 3:31
“And the Lord God Almighty said, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are too small to be among the army groups from Judah, from you will come one who will rule Israel for me. He comes from very old times, from days long ago.” Micah 5:2

In the highest of heavens,
Even, the heavens above the heavens,
The Most High sits on the glorious throne of the
Lord God Almighty.
In the beginning and from your splendid throne,
You Were…
Before the equation of time became measurable,
You were God…
Before the flawless design of endless space
You existed…
Before cosmic matter came into being
You were present…
Before God-breathed humanity was fashioned
You were…
Even before nothing …
You were…

And even before all of this, my name…,
MY NAME…! was on your lips,
And my soul… MY SOUL! was on your mind.
Love for me… was in your heart, because,
You Were…

And in that highest of heavens,
at your right hand sat your Son, Jesus,
with the Plan for my soul.
—You whispered my name, He said, “I’ll go!”

Then from that highest of heavens,
Down through the endless space,
in His measured time,
Brushing aside celestial spaces to
save humanity as the True Light…
In flesh…,through a virgin birth, He came…

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth John 1:14

Here in the month of December, we celebrate the physical birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. But today isn’t His birthday, and neither is December the 25th. For we celebrate not the day He came, but that He Came. Some ask, was it real? I say, my friends, yes, His Birth was indeed real. He is real.
Can you imagine God whispering to Jesus, the names of everyone ever created in His image? Even before the world existed?…

God whispered your name…
Then He came…

CHILDREN AND CHRISTMAS

Many years ago, too many to count, I became the father of three wonderful children. Not all at once, you understand, but one by one. The first one, a little red-headed daughter, we named Cheryl. I was a young sailor, far away in Guam when she was born. It would be several months before I met her in person for the first time. She was a delight in the life of her very young parents. Grandparents were so excited.

Two years and four months later, another little girl came into our lives. We named this little bundle, Kimberly. Kim, as she became known, was a delight in the life of her older but still young parents. Experienced in parenthood, or so we thought, we doted on this new baby in our family. Grandparents were excited at the arrival of their second granddaughter.

Thirteen months later, a little boy was born into this growing family. We named Him Charles. Charlie, as he is known only by family, was, as his older siblings were, a delight in our young family. Now we were really parents with a great deal of knowledge of parenting skills. NOT, but, proud of our family unit. Of course, his older sisters were very proud as well. And his grandparents were thrilled at a boy coming into our lives.

That was then, this is now. My children are now grown with children of their own, the girls with grandchildren as well. It is only a matter of time until my son becomes a grandfather, too. As for this great-grandfather, that makes me so very proud.  I am so proud of my children, my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren.

I wish I would have written a book about all these years as they came and went, back when my memory was much more lucid. I could talk about vacations we took back and forth to different states, about bus rides for hours on end, and back to their childhood when clothes flew out a window. We could talk about those teenage years, of wrecked cars, yes, each child experienced that predicament. We could talk about band and baseball, good grades and not so good grades. We could talk about what they THOUGHT they got away with. Probably not those deeds they actually did get away with. We could talk about the cats and the dogs and Christmases past.

God willing, this will be my seventy-eight Christmas on this earth. I write this to say how much I treasure my family, how much I love each and every one of them.  The distance between our families is only in the miles and not in the love we have for each other. We spent many Christmases together and some were even in hard times.  As adults, we do not always get the opportunity to spend every Christmas together in person, but we always have each other in our hearts. The family has grown by leaps and bounds and I feel very gratified by their love. And now my children entertain their children and grandchildren in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.They make their own traditions and customs. That is how it should be.

Wanting this to be a very public announcement of how much I love my family, I post this enthusiastically and say;

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY CHILDREN. I LOVE YOU

AND MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY READERS

Christmas wasn’t going to be like all our Christmases before

For seventy-eight years, I have been celebrating Christmas. At my age, don’t expect me to remember all of them, but one I especially remember is Christmas, 1948. I was nine years old and we were living in tough times, not that I knew anything about that. It was said that Santa Claus was not likely to visit our house that year. Because of the divorce of my adoptive parents and the illness of my grandfather, my mother and I lived with my grandparents.
My grandfather, Papa, was suffering with cancer and many believed would not live until Christmas. My mother told me he had a disease that was infectious. That was to keep me from bothering him. I wasn’t allowed to go in his room; but I did stand at the door and talk to him. I remember Papa smiling at me between his coughing and wheezing. I always thought he would get well. Once, during that Christmas time, I sneaked into his bedroom, even though it was off-limits to me, and I told him Merry Christmas. He motioned for me to lean over closely, so I could hear him better. He told me that better times were coming, both for him and for me. I wasn’t sure what he meant, after all, I was only nine.

Now, in hindsight, I know that Christmas 1948 was a memorable one for me. I’m sure you have an unforgettable Christmas in your memory. Christmases are supposed to be a joyous time, a time for family to come together and share the joys, to celebrate the birth of Christ, and to remember the good things. Sometimes it doesn’t quite turn out that way, but then again…

You See… I Remember…

My folks didn’t want to celebrate Christmas… in nineteen forty-eight.
We had no money and my grandpa Papa, was so sick… he didn’t even know the date.
My Granny Mama wasn’t feeling well…, seems like Christmas might have to wait.
And if old Santa even came at all…, he’d probably show up late.

No…, Christmas wasn’t going to be like all our Christmases before.

No one much wanted … to decorate that year
Wasn’t going be like Christmas… wasn’t much Christmas cheer.
Then my Mama set about… to proudly trim a little tree
Thankful for the neighbor who cut and gave it to us free.

Mama wrapped her little tree… with gold and silver rope.
placed her special angel on the top!… she said, “to give us hope”,
like the angel from the Bible announcing Jesus’ birth
telling all the shepherds of Good News that’s come to earth.

I remember helping Mama… decorate our little Christmas tree.
And I remember especially…, all those joys it brought to me.
It had loads of shiny lights… that glimmered all around.
And Papa’s homemade ornaments… that almost touched the ground.

Our decorated Christmas tree… stood in its usual place.
Over by the window…‘cause we didn’t have much space
We had no chimney in our home… that Santa could come down
So I hung my cotton stocking by the door… just in case he came around.

But Christmas wasn’t going to be like all our Christmases before

I remember Mama… made her breakfast Mac and cheese
It was her specialty… we all were very pleased
I remember Papa peeking out his bedroom door
And saying maybe… Maybe Christmas might be like before

But, No, this Christmas wasn’t meant to be… like all our Christmases before

I remember Mickey Mouse… and the watch I got that year
And my cotton stocking… packed with Christmas cheer,
crammed with apples and oranges and walnuts and stuff
And good hard ribbon candy, plenty sticky… sure enough.

It must have been old Santa… who left those gifts for me,
‘cause no one had no money… and stuff like that’s not free.
But sometimes… like at Christmas… miracles do take place
And seems like miracles always put a smile on a little boy’s face.

But Christmas ‘forty-eight wasn’t like all our Christmases before.

So many years have passed since that Christmas ‘forty eight
But Miracles still happen…and that’s cause to celebrate
I remember Mama… telling… the wonder of Jesus’ birth
And Papa listening closely, his last few days on earth.

Ahhh.. Christmas ‘Forty-Eight…it came and went so quick
And Papa kept us laughing just like he wasn’t sick
Then February nineteen forty-nine, his cancer staked its claim
Christmases… ever after… would never be the same.

No…, Christmas wasn’t going to be like all our Christmases before.

Just a side note, one Christmas when our family celebrated together, I bought some cotton stockings like my Granny Mama used to wear, and I fixed each grandchild a stocking with the same fruits and nuts and stuff I got when I was a child. They thought it was funny… I smiled at the memory.
You see… I Remember… Christmas ‘forty-eight…

I’m pretty sure I know what my Papa meant when he said better times are coming.

Thank you for allowing me to share some of my thoughts with you.
From me and all my family,
I hope you have a very miraculously, and memorable Christmas.

 

RIP, DEAR PRADA

Yesterday was Father’s Day. It turned out to be an eventful day around our house. I received the customary phone calls and the usual assortment of Father’s Day cards. And I am so grateful for my children and grandchildren. So, thanks to all my family and especially to my “Rancherette” wife.    However, there was a moment of sadness yesterday. If you are a pet lover as we are, then perhaps you may understand. We have many animals around our home. Chickens, geese, dogs, and they all seem to cohabitate with each other, within certain parameters of course. We love each and every one of them. So it is with that certain sadness we grieve a bit over the loss of one.

Prada, a beloved standard poodle, lost her bout with cancer. She was two weeks shy of her 10th birthday. She was an exceptionally sweet dog with a like disposition. In all of her days, I never heard her bark. She never growled. If there was ever a dog that smiled, she was the one. She was shy, yet playful in her own way. Never a cross word with any other dog. She was small for her breed and never had puppies.  She loved peppermints as do all of our dogs. However, she was terrific at “helping” to unwrap the mint. When we let the dogs run from their kennels in the afternoon she would hang around in order to get an “extra”.  It was almost like a game with her. I’ll miss that.

I do not know God’s plan for animals. He certainly must have enough love for each. It is with a certainty that dogs bring about a sense of belonging in the world. They serve a purpose. In my life I have had many dogs and a few cats. I have loved each and every one and each has brought joy to my life in one form or fashion. The remaining dogs in our kennels must sense a loss in some sort of way. I suppose they grieve a bit as well. So this new day breaks and our lives continue and the days move forward.  This will happen again and again. I will never get used to it. RIP, dear Prada.

WHAT BUGS YOU?

In the wonderful world we live in, I have noticed several different varieties of bugs.In my latest edition of Cosmopolitan magazine, the term “fashion bug” is in Vogue, (pun intended). To be a “fashion bug” one must be up to date with the latest fashions. One could be described as a “Fashionista”. There are certain retail establishments that cater to “Fashionistas” or as I call them, “Fashion bugs”. They may not cure the “bug”; however, it is treatable with “medication”. This rarely attacks men.

fashionista

Another type of “bug” is the “Ladybug”. This is a petite little creature.  But it ain’t no bug. It’s a beetle. For my purposes, I’m calling it a “bug”. Of course, this is not the same kind of bug as a “Fashion bug”, in that there is no condition that needs treatment. I just threw this in for a little variety in my post.

lady-bugs-ladybugs-32773963-1800-1200

There is another “bug” in which you may be familiar. Youngsters of all ages have watched this movie star for generations.  He is the “Cwazy Wabbit”, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd’s arch enemy. The “bug” brought many a laugh from me as I grew up. It was a wonderful time at a Saturday “pitcher” show to watch old westerns and Bugs Bunny cartoons.  Treatment for this “malady” is to sit through the Cartoon Network shows on Saturday morning.

bugs_bunny_by_rhibarb-d4o7cum

This time of year there is always the dreaded “flu bug” floating around. This is a difficult and sometimes dangerous “bug” to say the least and not a bug to mess around with. Get your flu shots.

The FBI and CIA and NSA and who knows what other government agencies use “bugs”. Of course if you’ve nothing to hide then there is nothing to worry about, (Or is there?)

If you travel often, stay in hotels, B & B’s, Hostels, then, you should know about to possibility of the dreaded “bedbug”.  This is not a subject I wish to spend any time writing about.  Just know that it is a “bug”. ‘Nuff” said.

There are bugs all around us. Day in and day out, bugs everywhere.  There is one “bug” in particular that I have been having a bit of a problem with lately. It usually begins late into the night, somewhere between the hours of 3 and 5 A.M. I awaken to the nocturnal urge of having to go to the bathroom. This happens when one reaches a certain age, (To be determined). That however is not the “bug” I’m talking about.

When I return to the bed and attempt to fall back to sleep, I am deluged with thoughts of what I need to be engaged in on the following morning or other things that take over my mind. The “sleep bug” avoids me and that bugs me.

awake-in-bed

This brings up the subject of the “Napbug”. What is a “Napbug?”  When the “sleep bug” avoids us during the night before, then the “Napbug” attacks. Usually in the middle of the afternoon and especially on a Sunday afternoon. You may try to avoid it however, it is a strong symptom and very difficult to overcome. You may wish to simply give in. I find one of the best ways to “give in” on Sunday afternoon is to warm up reading the morning paper in the afternoon. This puts one in the mood and gently persuades the eyelids to falter. Be sure to put the television on a golf channel. This is unlike a football or baseball game. The crowd does not cheer a lot. They whisper and this helps with the mood. A leather recliner is of upmost importance. The “Rancherette” is probably in her craft room and thus the room is quiet. If the sun is coming in through the blinds, then close them slightly. “Voila”, before you know it, the “Napbug” has completely taken over your body. It is like the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

As I write this, it is not Sunday afternoon, there is no golf match on the tube, the sun is not shining, I do not have a leather recliner only a fabric type and of course the Sunday Morning News is not out yet. But, somehow, the “Napbug” is attacking. I must end this conversation. I have something to do.

shirtless-man-asleep-chair-illustration-depicting-recliner-61805417                 a_man_sleeping_in_his_recliner_snoring_loudly_royalty_free_clipart_picture_110523-050164-966053

Be careful out there, it’s a “buggy” world.

Pete Robertson                                                                                                                                           March 2017

SHARK ATTACK

The old floor-sucking, thunderously noise making, rolling piece of menacing machinery has finally died. Alfie, the resident Airedale, is celebrating. Before it passed from existence, It was interesting to see her peek her nose through her doggie door and remain alert in case that thing made its way in her direction.

We made our way to the local big box store (no name, they refused to pay for the commercial) for our regularly scheduled food replenishment trip. We stumbled into the housewares section on purpose and studied the shelves for a replacement floor-sucking, thunderously noise making, rolling piece of menacing machinery. The “Rancherette” studied the machinery, the ”Rancherwriterpoet” studied the prices. We eventually came to agreement on which one to purchase.

This got me to thinking. I remember when I was a child (a long time ago) when the Kirby salesman came to the house.  He would break out a fancy machine, colorful and all that stuff. He had numerous accessories to go along with this remarkable contraption. He smooth talked my mother all the while putting a piece of carpet on the floor and then dirt on the piece of carpet. He then proceeded to push buttons and this machine came to life. It sucked the life,uuh, dirt from that piece of carpet.  Honestly I was fascinated. We never had any such mechanism at our house. My mother explained to him that we had no carpet in the house, only linoleum floors. The broom worked just fine.No matter, he said, this modern 20th century product would take care of all our cleaning needs.  My mother did not buy the vacuum cleaner. But the exhibition was phenomenal for this ten year old boy.vacuum-sales

Fast forward to our excursion to the big box store (again no name, i.e. refusal to pay)

With the selection made we made our way to the more important part of the store. The food section! The grocery basket was not as full as usual except for the new-fangled vacuum cleaner. I did manage to sneak in some chocolate without the “Rancherette” noticing.

Obviously, the new machine was in desperate need of assembly unlike the vacuum cleaner of old. In that day, the machine came fully assembled. The salesman made sure of that. He even gave a demonstration of how to use the machine. Come to think of it, most every type of machinery, or furniture came fully assembled. But that was then and this is now. I purchased a new riding mower recently and most of it had to be assembled. Of course by me, otherwise it would cost an additional $75. Well, I digress.

We return home and unload the groceries. While the “Rancherette” puts away the groceries, I remove the vacuum cleaner from the carton with much difficulty. The machine has wheels but only after removal from the carton. This thing weighs a ton. One needs special tools to even open the box. The directions said to read the assembly instructions carefully. The only way you can read them is very carefully. First, you must find the correct language. The instructions are on a folded sheet with four languages. Unfolding the pamphlet is like refolding a map. (Who uses a map anyway?)

Finally I find the assembly instructions in my native language. Once I unfold the map, uuuh, directions, I am told to check all the pieces that are supposed to come with the package. With all the parts scattered across the floor, and needing screwdrivers and who knows what else, I discover I should apply to the local junior college and take a course in vacuum cleaner assembly. It is probably a non-credit course, but I don’t care. I do not plan on making a career of assembling vacuum cleaners.  I don’t think this is as simple as programming an IPhone. If you have reached the age of kindergarten status, then you know how to program an IPhone. Assembling a vacuum cleaner?  College degree!

Eventually, the process is complete.shark-machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thinking I may very well pay extra for assembly next time, except the big box store (still no pay) does not offer that choice.

And now Alfie, poor Alfie, must now turn her attention to a very different floor-sucking, thunderously noise making, rolling piece of menacing machinery. This one glides across the floor, as if swimming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCfWHqrYUqo

Not breaking the water just gliding along, still floor sucking but swimmingly. Alfie must now be very fearful of this Shark. She could wind up being Shark bait. It reminds me of another shark song. I wonder if Bobby Darin had Alfie in mind?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEllHMWkXEU

Do not go in the water!

The Travelin’ Fuzzy Band

I, being the bus driver for the Fuzzy Chicken Band concluded a bus trip this past Sunday with the band in Comanche Texas.  It was a two day gig with four performances.

 As with any trip we take, the bus must be prepared for the journey.  The “Rancherette” and the “Rancherwriterpoet” had packed their bags the night before. We typically wait until the last minute before departure to inform the Fuzzy Chicken Band. They get so antsy and uptight that we go to all lengths to keep them in the dark.  However, they must have suspected something was up. Probably it was the baths and blow dry the day before.

You could hear cackling cries of “road trip, road trip”.  Even the chickens who free range next door got excited. Their enthusiasm created more uproar around the neighborhood. Mind you now, the neighborhood fowl do not travel, except into the dog yard and that usually is not a good thing. Luka, our little rescue Italian Greyhound with a hitch in his get-a-long, can still chase down a free range chicken in record time. If that chicken cannot fly back over the fence, well, chicken nuggets.

All the band members were raring to go, except for Cowboy the Cochin. He was still miffed because I did not get him a new ride as he suggested last trip. He wanted to know, “what’s in it for me?”  “Ho hum, another show, another award”.   Reluctantly He agreed to go if I would program the satellite radio to his Bluetooth. Seems he is a huge fan of the Traveling Wilburys with Tom Petty and George Harrison. He loves “The End of the Line”.  You can listen here if you are so inclined.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwqhdRs4jyA

If you listen closely you can hear Cowboy singing along.

Well it’s alright, riding around in this Ford
Well, it’s alright as long as I’m not being bored.
Well, it’s alright doing the best that I can
Well, it’s alright as long as I’m pleasing my fans

Of course that’s Cowboy’s version. He’s got more but I refused to include any out of respect for my readers and of course, the Traveling Wilburys.

So bags were packed, the bus loaded, the first class quarters readied for the Fuzzy Chicken Band and the traveling music is ready on their Bluetooth.

They were fluffed and primped and ready for the big trip and of course the performances. This would be the first time for two performances each day in a two day show. The manager, AKA “The Rancherette” had them at their best. She gets the most from these performers. You should hear her at times. She cajoles them; sweet talks them, bribes them with treats and in general persuades them to listen to her coaching. Notice I said persuades; I’ll leave it at that. But me thinks she could probably coach a hockey team with her sweet demeanor.She  taking notes, I’m staying clear.img_7121

On Saturday, before the judging began, The Fuzzy Chicken Band made the rounds meeting and greeting the other performers. They met new friends, renewed old acquaintances and in general were on their best behavior.  It is really interesting when the band jams with other bands. They make beautiful music together. Especially since they all speak in different dialects and foreign languages. The little Cochin Sisters performed admirably. A couple of newbies made their first appearance and did well. The “Rancherette”  is always on the lookout for new talent for the Fuzzy Chicken Band. Cowgirl did her best in spite of Cowboy’s lack of harmony. I think Cowboy was still not on his game. Sunday brough about two more shows and Cowboy’s attitude was a tad better.

The accommodations for the performers at Comanche Crossroads were excellent. img_7114They were the best the Fuzzy Chicken Band had ever experienced for these poultry shows. The staff, Dwayne and Melody,  are to be commended for their first-rate adherence to perfection.They took very good care of the humans with free donuts, cold drinks and a genuine attention to detail. As the bus driver for the Fuzzy Chicken Band I’m always looking for free food. It is a sure bet the the manager, AKA The Rancherette” will solicit an invitation to the next show in Comanche. The bus driver seconds that motion. Cowboy, not so sure.

Well, the trip home was a quiet one. After four performances this little band was very tired. Cowboy kept his mouth shut, at least low enough where we could not hear his complaints. I’m thinking now that it could be because “Zorba, not the Greek”, did not make this trip. The two of them usually collaborate on a duet at least twice during the trip. The two newbies tried, but they are too young. Yep, that’s it. No duet! Maybe next time, Cowboy.

No rest for the Fuzzy Chicken Band. They have already begun rehearsing for the next show in Beaumont and looking forward to jamming with other bands. Hope they get it together before we travel and not while we are traveling. I’m keeping very quiet about this next trip. Do not want to start any hubbub with the divas or the divo.

The Fuzzy Chicken Band sends HAPPY VALENTINE to all. And especially to the bus driver’s best helpers.

img_7125

COUNTDOWN

There is something about the human race and time that intrigues me. Seemingly, we humans are always counting down for some event to take place in the future. Those awaiting a birth of a child face a countdown to a time that is somewhat difficult to determine, nevertheless, the countdown cannot come soon enough, especially for the one giving birth.

Those facing retirement count down the days until it arrives, then wonder how it happened so fast. The students in school count down until summer. Of course, the teachers are much more in the countdown mode than the students. Those waiting to experience graduation, whether it be middle school, high school or college, all count down until the fateful day. In each case there is a transition from one situation to a different development. The middle school graduate counts down to becoming a teenager, the high school graduate counts down to becoming a university student and the college graduate counts down to employment.

New Year’s Day finds most of America and the world enjoying the countdown until 12 A.M., although many cannot remember it the next morning.

I noticed that those in the know have advanced the doomsday clock to two minutes, thirty seconds until midnight. This is a symbolic clock that sends a message of nuclear oblivion when it reaches midnight. That particular countdown is unnerving to say the least.

This past year 2016, social media light up the airwaves with a countdown until the presidential election. It doesn’t matter for which political side you were rooting, it mattered when it was to take place. And the time arrived. One candidate surpassed the other. Certain individuals threatened to leave the country if a particular candidate won. The other side began the countdown as to exactly when that would happen. As I write this the countdown has to be reset each day for I have seen no exits from these personalities.

Then the countdown began until inauguration day. It arrived. Half the nation is happy and half the nation is not. I’m thinking someone should start a countdown as the when the two halves can come together on a common goal. Naaa, too much to ask. But God is in total control. His countdown is the only one that matters.

Until then I have it on good authority that the baseball season is upon us. As I write this, the countdown until spring training is 16 days, 13 hours, 39 minutes, 34 seconds and counting. http://www.springtrainingcountdown.com/#sthash.BcTqhy1P.dpb

Texas Rangers pitchers and catchers report Wednesday February 15. Opening day for the Texas Rangers is April 3, 2017 at home against the defending American League champions Cleveland Indians. 65 days 2 hours 43 minutes 35 seconds and counting:    https://days.to/until/mlb-season-opening-day

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.”

Songwriters: ALBERT VON TILZER, JACK NORWORTH

This countdown works for me. What countdown are you working on?

Federal Holidays

Today is January 2, 2017. Considering that yesterday was Sunday, January 1st, 2017 and New Year’s Day, I decided that if the Federal government can take the holiday on Monday, I will too. After all, I mostly do what my government says to do, especially when it comes to holidays. I observe every single one. That’s my right. I drive the speed limit, use my turn signals, (that’s a novelty), pay my taxes, (reluctantly), do not text and drive, nor do I miss a Dallas Cowboy game. I voted, (cried over my choices, but still voted) paid my mortgage on time, bought stuff on line, attempted to clean out the garage, but failed miserably, and helped “the Rancherette” with her chickens. The government did not tell me to do that. I volunteered.
As for Federal holidays, there are officially ten in the year 2017. I plan on taking every one of them. If the holiday falls on a Saturday, then it is observed on Friday. If it falls on Sunday, it is observed on Monday. Rest assured, I will observe them. I also noticed that certain holidays have been shifted to a Monday in order for observance of a three day weekend. Eight of the ten holidays for 2017 actually fall on a Monday or Friday. That accounts for twenty-four days (three day weekend x 8) of the year that can be non-productive. I plan on being non-productive for at least, oh say, twenty? And these do not even account for snow days or early dismissals. Living in Texas, we probably won’t be able to use any snow days or early dismissals from our government job. The school kids will dream, though.
I did not have black eyed peas and greens yesterday. I have tried it for, lo and behold, many years and the so-called good luck and prosperity that comes with this tradition has never materialized yet. So I skipped the southern delicacy. I settled for Mexican food. That type of food never gives me any good luck or prosperity either, but sometimes it does give me heartburn, especially the re-fried beans. Had the Barbeque joint been open, I would have opted for some good smoked BBQ brisket. There is nothing like a brisket dinner with beans, potato salad and Jalapeno peppers. Well, maybe a little heartburn. Sadly, no good luck and prosperity with these foods either.
I read that George Washington’s favorite food was Cherry pie. Martin Luther King’s favorite was pecan pie (That’s Puhcon pie, not Peecan pie) and July 4th is famous for baseball, hot dogs and Apple pie.(And of course, Chevrolet). Notice that these are also federal holidays.
Looks like pie makes my list of good foods. I am in favor of eating good food. Being from Texas, we have a very interesting assortment of good foods. Southern Fried Chicken is one of my favorites, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, another and cornbread. (Leave out the sugar, please) The list is endless and I like them all. I suppose my favorite is BBQ, so I am choosing to make one New Year’s resolution this year; I resolve to eat more BBQ, to heck with the heartburn. I think I can keep this one.
I hope you resolve to experience this New Year in good health and an abundance of happiness. I hope it will be an enjoyable one for you and your family. 2016 was a heck of a year. It certainly had its ups and downs around our backyard. But we experienced it and are moving on to 2017. I hope you do as well.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, FOLKS.

Is It Christmas Yet?

Ever have that feeling about not wanting to get up in the morning? One day this past week, it was my desire to stay in bed a little longer than usual. But we have animals to take care of and they usually do not want to stay in bed. The dogs in the kennels do not seem to mind the cold or that it finally warmed up.  And the chickens could care less. They are ready no matter what. The humans, not so much! So out of the warm bed I arise. I stumble to the kitchen, turn the switch on for the coffee pot, (the “Rancherette” is sweet enough to prepare the ingredients the night before), put on my long johns and make ready to placate the aforementioned animals.  I do insist on having a steaming cup of coffee before I brave the elements.

Having a touch of the “I don’t wanna’s” this morning, I slowly began to move around. I am feeling the effects of a cold I contracted from a recent chicken show we attended in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  Then, the “Rancherette” comes bouncing from the bedroom full of vim and vigor. She wonders, “How are you feeling?” I mumble “OK”. Probably, not too convincingly I might add.

So after my jolt of caffeine, I make my way to the dog kennels. Recently, the morning temps fell down into the upper teens, and with that, their water dishes turn to ice. This was my first clue that winter is approaching. With the dogs fed, ice in their water broken and fully attended to, I turn my attention to appeasing the chickens. Ever try to appease a chicken? Good luck with that. The “Rancherette” usually comes along to save the day. She definitely knows how to appease a chicken. She is in the chicken appeasement business. I’m not sure but I think they understand the “bach,bach,bach” of my voice and I am convinced they really know what the “Rancherette” says. I am pretty sure she understands what they say, too. Me? I don’t think so. Now when it comes to the dogs, I am much more enlightened by their “voices”. I fully understand them. I speak dog, fluently. I practice every day. However, one could possibly acquire some of the characteristics of these fine feathered fowl (maybe osmosis).  For example, I catch myself crowing on occasion. Nothing out of the ordinary, that is until they crow in return. Scary!

For those of you who do not know, the “Rancherette” raises show chickens. Silkies and Bantam Cochins are her favorite breeds.Both breeds are also very funny birds. Most of these birds have names, such as Mick (after Mick Jagger) Bella, Cowboy, Cowgirl, Smoky Bear, Miss Peggy, (she has a peg leg) and so on. Thus one can become attached. (Her name shall remain anonymous).

However, when it comes to our kennel dogs, that’s another story. They are retired show dogs, from the Standard Poodle line, living out their retirement days. Apollo, Ty, Denali, Grendel, Prada, Andora, Stella, and so on. They all have a very extended name, fitting the royalty of the breed, but way to much for this post.Then there is Alfie, a hitchhiking female Airedale. “nuff, said.

.So I am up and “at’em” this morning. This Christmas Eve, Eve! Got all my presents wrapped for the “Rancherette” and placed in a conspicuous space where she cannot miss them and this in turn tempts her a bit. No shaking the packages or X-rays allowed. This is premeditated on my part. Now that the gifting is completed (and a day early, I might add), I turn my attention to checking my social media pages.

I see numerous and varied accounts of people and their activities on social media pages. Hidden among the many postings, I see some with treasured memories of years past. For others it brings sadness and a dread this time of year. Still others delight in the many celebratory events of Christmas.

I see posts from a varied assortment of people, from my friends and others I do not know. First and foremost are the many varied posts from all of the chicken friends on social media. There is a considerable amount of “chicken speak” in these posts. (i.e., the “Rancherette”) I have not yet learned much of that language.

Then others are depicted wrapping Christmas gifts and sharing their experiences. Some are wondering if other family members will make it home for Christmas. Some are showing the results of a toy-drive for kids. There are pictures of children sharing their love through homemade Christmas gifts with nursing home residents. Some use the social media pages to outline their Christmas list. (Personally, I’m not sure this works well, but give them credit for ingenuity) Let me know if it does.

I see posts of young children sitting on the lap of Santa, some crying, some in awe and others readily sounding off their wish list. Obviously, they have all been good, wink, wink!

I see posts describing recipes for Christmas Delights and I admit they all look inviting. These are very interesting.

Then there are still a few who either challenge the presidential election results or laud the outcome. To these very involved people, I say, Merry Christmas to both groups.

The closer it gets to Christmas, the more posts we see about the event. Not all will be about a religious phenomenon and yet it is my opinion that it was never about a secular circumstance. It was and always will be a celebration of the birth of Christ, whether one chooses to believe that or not.

I find it fascinating that our animals depend on us for their survival while many humans do not depend on God for anything. In their own way, these animals say thanks every day, a tail wag here and a “bach,bach, there. Would it not be great if the human race could acknowledge a better understanding of peace and joy on this earth?

I grant you that we live in a free society and thus are completely free to agree or disagree. However, I for one am proud to say I believe the Biblical account of the Christ Child born for the salvation of mankind.

Thus I can say unequivocally,

Merry Christmas.

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