Monday, March 31, 2014

Recycle - March 27, 2014

As published in the White River Current - Thursday March 27, 2014

We recycle; have for a long time.  It gets in your blood.  We started when I saw an article about how many trees were required to provide the paper to print a Sunday edition of the New York Times newspaper.  It was several thousand, I believe.  Anyway, it was a very large number of trees.  We began recycling several years ago by saving our newspapers and milk jugs and other plastic and taking them to the center in Mountain Home.  Sometime later one of the elementary school teachers began a local center as a class project and we quickly joined in the effort.  The local center has been active ever since, accepting newspapers, cardboard, magazines, metal cans (tin and aluminum), plastic containers (No. 1 & 2) and clear glass.  Recycling is easy and may even be biblical.  It’s amazing how much less regular trash we have so recycling adds years to the life of our landfills and saves us all money.  Makes sense to me.  Some paper products are disappearing.  Plastic bags have replaced the paper sacks in most stores.  Have you noticed that a number of newspapers and magazines have become smaller and most are available on the internet as an alternative to the printed version.  I used to subscribe to both the Arkansas Gazette and Arkansas Democrat newspapers and continued to subscribe after they merged to form a single publication.  When I was growing up, my family subscribed to several magazines.  Some that I remember are Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post, The Progressive Farmer and the Readers Digest.  Only the Post and the Readers Digest and still around and they have changed a lot over the years.  The Post was famous for the Norman Rockwell paintings that adorned the front cover.  I developed my love of reading by searching out the exciting mystery stories that appeared in every issue.  Quite often if was a Perry Mason mystery by the author,  Erle Stanley Gardner.  I believe I have read all of the Perry Mason stories and many by A .A. Fair, the pen name used by Gardner to highlight characters other than the famous attorney.  Other good mysteries appeared in Cosmopolitan until an Arkansas native, Helen Gurley Brown, became the editor and turned the format of the publication into what it is today, certainly not one that I would recommend for the younger generation.  The Post is still a good family oriented magazine.  The Readers Digest, a much smaller magazine than most, has been around a long time.  Originally it mostly consisted of condensed articles from other magazines.  It did not contain advertising for several years.  Today it seems like at least half of the magazine is ads but I guess they need the revenue to stay in business.  The Digest is also well known for the humor features such as “Life in These United States, All in a Day’s Work, Humor in Uniform” and others.  The following joke was in a recent issue:  “A man walks into a bar and orders a Martinus.  ‘Excuse me’ replied the bartender, ‘did you mean a Martini.’  ‘No’ the man replied, ‘if I had wanted a double, I would have ordered it.’”  OK, I thought it was funny.  Reminded me of the age-old questions about the English language:  If the plural of cactus is “cacti” why isn’t the plural of crocus “croci” or for that matter why aren’t more than one stewardess called stewardi?   I know, borderline humorous.  You can tell I’m struggling today.  Must be a mild case of writer’s block.  A good way to end my second year of rambling.  I’ll begin my third year with the issue week after next.  I’ve had some thoughts and several suggestions about items to ramble about.  I had some complaints about my melancholy article a few weeks ago.  Hey!  It just came out that way.  Sorry!  I’ll do my best to liven it up a little, but I can’t promise anything, but I sincerely appreciate your observations.  Thanks to Ima and others for their calls and comments.  Keeps me going. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Golf - March 13, 2014

As published in the White River Current - Thursday March 13, 2014

March is birthday month.  Four of the five OFC members, two spouses and two deceased members have March birthdays.  The birthday of a family member is either on the 4th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 20th, or the 26th (hope I didn’t miss anyone).  You’ll have to guess which date is mine in case you want to go shopping.  I’ll give you a hint.  It’s also the first day of spring, next Thursday.  “What a wondrous time is spring when all the trees are budding, the birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming” wrote the hymn writer, Kurt Kaiser.   Spring is a favorite season for many folks.  It’s all about the new life that pops up around us.  You know, the seasons have been compared to the progression of our lives, starting with birth (spring), continuing through young adult (summer), middle age (fall) and  ultimately ending with winter.  Of course, it may not always work out exactly like that, but you get the point, which brings us to the topic of this week’s discussion which is ….GOLF.  I always thought I would be good at this sport, but I have never swung a wood over a tee, chipped with an iron onto a green from a bad lie in a challenging rough, never coaxed a putt with a putter and a prayer and never once had  the opportunity to appreciate the ambiance, atmosphere and A/C of the nineteenth hole.  However, I ran across an e-mail article that I would like to share with you.  It also illustrates the seasons of life.  The title that the writer gave was “And Then It Is Winter” and is adapted from a lengthier article entitled “The Back Nine”.  Here is my edited version of the article:  “You know time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years.  It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate.  Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went.  I know that I lived them all.  I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.  But, here it is – the ‘back nine’ of my life and it catches me by surprise.  How did I get here so fast?  Where did the years go and where did my youth go?  I remember vividly seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that ‘I was only on the first hole’ and the ‘back nine’ was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine what I would be like.  But, here it is…my friends are retired and getting grey.  They move slower and I see an older person now.  Some are in better and some in worse shape than I am, but, I see the great change.  Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant…but like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d become.  Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore…it’s mandatory because if I don’t on my own free will, I just fall asleep where I sit!  And so, now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!  But, at least I know, that though I’m on the ‘back nine’, and I’m not sure how long it will last, this I know for sure, that when it’s over on this earth…it’s over.  A new adventure will begin!  Yes, I have regrets.  There are things I wish I hadn’t done…things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done.  It’s all in a lifetime.  So, if you’re not on the ‘back nine’ yet…let me remind you that it will be here faster than you can imagine.  So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly!  Don’t put things off too long!  Life goes by quickly.  So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether you’re on the ‘back nine’ or not!  You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life…so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember, and hope that they appreciate and love you for it.  Life is a gift to you.  The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after.  Make it a fantastic one and live it well.  Have a great day!”   Starting a new series next time.  Bye for now.  CU in 2 weeks.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hard Times No. 6 - February 27, 2014

As published in the White River Current - Thursday February 27, 2014 Two very talented ladies, Susan and Linda, both have columns that appear in the Current on alternate weeks with the “Ramblings” and “Musing” Columns. I hope that all you readers are enjoying these well-written bits of information as much as I. In her column, Nature Journal, Linda keeps us informed on the best times to plant and to go fishing and about the different stages of the moon and planetary revolutions and many other useful and interesting facts. For instance, in the issue that appeared last week, her brief essay on the demise of the habitat and the decline of the Monarch butterfly has me all stirred up wanting to start planting milkweed. I’m serious. I’m looking for seed catalogs now. Pass some on to me if you have any extras. Susan has been writing the “Not So Long Ago” column for a long time. Her writings are, for the most part, about area historical events that occurred several decades ago such as the building of the Norfork dam, with an occasional aside, such as last week’s article concerning a letter she had received from a former resident. Don’t take me wrong; she tied the letter in with other information about the dam and also about the city and former Norfork residents. I do this a lot and people say that I am rambling, but I wouldn’t go quite that far with Susan, whose writings I thoroughly enjoy. I was, however, amused when she promised to end her essay on Norfork dam with her next issue. Following Susan’s example, today I am ending my series on Life in the Rock House on Red Lane. In case you aren’t a local, Red Lane is a Calico Rock city street that received its name from the color of the loamy soil that provided the roadbed of what was once a deep-rutted wagon trail. As previously noted, I lived with my family in the Rock House during my “formative years” from age five until age twelve, during depression years and war years, in the “good old days” but also “hard times” years. The Hudson boys, Charles and Dean, were great buddies and we were together a lot. They used to fight a lot about whose time it was to draw water from their deep well. In order to bring peace, I would volunteer to draw the water. I didn’t realize until years later that I had been duped, that the fighting was a put-on to get me to do their chores for them. I guess I was an easy mark, still am. We also discovered that we could go all the way around their house without touching the ground. We did this by working our way along tree limbs, across the chicken house and barn until we completed the circle, then we would go around again. The first night that I spent away from home was at the Hudson house with Charles and Dean. I recall the skillet of fried potatoes that their mom had prepared for the family and guest. The potatoes were piled into the pan to about two inches above the rim and a lid was laid on the top. Sometime after supper three tired youngsters retired to the pallet on the front porch where they laughed and talked for a while before settling down for a night’s sleep. After it got quiet, all at once I started missing my mom and dad. I finally gave up and went inside to find Mrs. Bessie. She was just finishing washing up the supper dishes. After she determined that I wanted to go home, she went over to the wall telephone, gave the crank four turns, gave my dad the news and he drove up the hill to pick me up. I got a lot of kidding about that incident. Just one experience that I had while growing up. While I still have a little space left for this week’s offering, I want to note that this issue marks a milestone in Reed’s Ramblings; it is No. 50. I can’t imagine that I have held on for almost two years in what was intended to be a one-time shot. I realize that many of you readers are out in the dark about some of the people that I write about. Just use your imagination. I know the end is coming before long, but I still have a few things to say. Thanks for all your generous comments. They keep me going. Bye for now.