Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Pie In the Sky

I like happy songs, happy stories, happy life. When I wake up in a funk or if the day seems to go from bad to worse, I try to think good, cheerful thoughts. Happy thoughts! Sometimes I imagine a fun surprise. Yes, I might even dream about someone bringing me a piece of pie.

There's nothing wrong with dreaming, right?

Some people think that believing in God is just a dream - a nice, but made-up, story. Heaven is just "pie in the sky" - something that is pleasant to contemplate but is very unlikely to be realized. Even if God and his heaven should all turn out to be a hoax, life is better when it's lived according to the Golden Rule(s) we find in the Bible.

Love your neighbor as yourself. Loving yourself (taking care of YOU) is a good thing! Do you ever treat yourself to a trip to the spa or that new book you've been wanting to read? Maybe, if you're like me, you love yourself with a bag of M&Ms or a pizza pie. You're worth it!

What if you were as lenient with others as you are with yourself? You’d think and say nice things about the people you meet. You’d help them when they need help and encourage them when they’re sad. You’d want them to have the best seat in the house. If they ever disappointed you, you’d know it wasn’t on purpose and you’d forgive them immediately.

Go the extra mile. Your neighbor comes to borrow a cup of sugar and you give her the whole bag. A friend asks if you could pick up his son from school. You not only pick up his son, you stop and buy him a milkshake on the way home. When you go out to eat, you treat the staff with kindness and leave a good tip. Your mother asks if you could come help her get the Christmas tree from the basement, and you stay to help her decorate the whole house.

Don’t kill, cheat, steal, or tell lies. Life would be a whole lot rosier if everyone followed these simple instructions.

Sing songs and make melody in your heart. Don’t commit adultery. Honor and respect your mother and father.

After a lifetime of trying to follow the good advice found in the Bible, you die. There’s no heaven, no hell. But what a life you lived! A good life! No doubt about it: I’ll take the pie in the sky.

If you actually know me, you know that I don't think God is a myth or a dream. He's the "real deal," and I won't be surprised if he serves pie when I get there.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

[Another] True Story

I posted this story on my Facebook Author page yesterday. For those of you not on Facebook, I'm posting it here for your reading pleasure.

I got out later than usual to feed “my” kitties in the big shed last night (nearing 8:00) and saw that Pat hadn’t been out yet. I moseyed on up to the house to see if everything was okay. Pat and Edith were sitting at the table—Pat, looking a little ragged, sipping on a cup of something, and Edith snapping beans. Pat had overworked herself in the sun all day, mowing and picking beans and who-knows-what all, but said she thought she could get out "pretty soon." I got a knife and helped Edith with the beans and then told Pat I would feed “her” kitties and tell Weldon that he’d have to care for the calves by himself. She needed to stay inside and rest. She acquiesced.

Pat asked me to let Annabelle (mama of the “ring-around-the-Rosie” kitties) out of the cage for a while and then put her back in with the babies before bedtime. On my way to the house, I stopped to tell Weldon he was on his own for the evening, and I set Annabelle free as I passed by the barn. At home, I got a bottle of Gatorade and some yogurt and took it to Pat. Then I went to feed cats and kitties at the milk barn and in the big hay barn.
The ring-around-the-Rosie kitties. I just had to name the white one Rosie!

An hour later, I got a flashlight, turned on some yard lights, and went to find Annabelle. Ahhh, there’s a gray cat. I felt her belly. She didn’t feel much like a mother nursing five babies. What if this isn’t the right cat? I know there’s another gray cat about the same size, but this was the only one in sight. I picked her up and put her near the cage. She sniffed a bit and then looked at me, so I pushed her in. She carefully circled around the babies and settled in. She wouldn’t lie down with them if she wasn’t the mother, right? Right? Weldon was still in the milk parlor, so I asked him. He said he knows what the mother looks like, so he’d check in on them before he came home.

An hour later (yes, it was about 10:00 now), Weldon came in. “Did you check on the mama cat and babies?” No, he forgot. Oh well. It’ll be alright, right? Right?

And now it’s Friday morning. I fed “my” cats and had to go to the milk barn to get some milk. As long as I was passing by the big barn, I thought I'd let Annabelle out. She hopped out, but the five babies were spread across the floor of the cage and little Rosie was lying on her back. (It’s not a very big cage, so they weren’t separated by much, but they weren’t cuddled in a nice little kitty cat pile, either.) There was no movement. Oh, my gosh! They’re dead. I looked again, my heart pounding. Not the slightest bit of movement.

I hurried to the milk parlor. "Weldon, I think the five kittens are dead!" "Dead? All of them?" "Yes. They didn’t move. They’re not snuggled up. I don’t think they’re breathing. I must have got the wrong mama!" He immediately went with me to the barn. None of them were moving. Weldon put his hand in, and gently touched and petted them all. "They’re fine." "Fine? Really?" "Yes, they're fine."

Heart attack averted. Barely.

A few minutes later I confessed the whole story to Pat. She said she has had the same kind of experience, but she learned that the babies just spread out if it gets too stuffy and warm for them. I’m pretty sure she was just trying to make me feel better … and it worked. Kind of.
This is, indeed, Annabelle.

The End. Of one more farm story.

Monday, August 07, 2017


Weldon has been farming his whole life. He's a farmer like his father and grandfather before him. I've been here for almost 13 years, but I'm not a farmer. When I helped with the milking chores, I liked to call myself a farm-assist. Sounds pretty important, doesn't it? I still assist when Weldon comes to the house and asks if I can help him for a few minutes. That happened a couple days ago, when he had to go up into the silo to make some adjustments.
This silo is 50 feet tall, not counting the rounded top. Weldon and a friend had cut and chopped the early corn and blown it up there. Well, they didn't blow it up there ... a machine did it. You can see a video of silage being blown into the silo here (scroll down almost to the end):

The cows were super excited to see what was going on.

Now, were was I? Ah, yes. Helping Weldon at the silo. This "crank thing" (below) raises and lowers the auger that's inside the silo. I don't have the strength to turn the crank, so the handle is replaced by a drill that can get the job done. Weldon is in the silo and I run the drill to raise or lower the auger per his directions. That's not a very good description, but if you want to understand it better, come for a visit and I'm sure Weldon will tell and show you all about it.
When I was done and Weldon was safely back on the ground, I decided to stroll toward the back of the barn and the pasture area. A calf had gotten out of the fence and was feeling footloose and fancy free - until he saw me. He scampered as fast as his little legs would carry him right back to his mama's side.
The early corn is in the silo, so I asked Weldon when the "later" corn would be ready. In September, of course. I should have remembered that, because on the morning of our wedding (September 25), Weldon was chopping corn! The late corn won't be late ... it will be right on time. And we're finally getting some rain to make it happy and healthy.