AS published in the White River Current - Thursday November 20, 2014
Last week, old man winter made an early visit to the Ozarks and most of the continental United States. Several low-temperature-for-this-date records were set in several locations. There was a small rush on the milk and bread counters at the grocery stores when the S-word (snow) was mentioned. I do not like cold weather especially when the north wind is blowing through my polyesters as I am scurrying about doing the chores that require me to be out of doors. The only good thing is that it gives us something new to complain about. We can’t complain much about the Summer and early Fall. I do not remember the foliage being more beautiful. I hope that I am not infringing on Megan’s territory (Megan is the official poet of this publication, sort of) when I refer to another of my favorite poems, When the Frost is on the Punkin. This delightful bit of rhyme was penned by Indiana native, James Whitcomb Riley (1853-1916), over one-hundred years ago. In the four stanzas of this poem, Riley describes, in a first-person sort of Hoosier dialect, rural life in the mid-west at about this time of the year, leaving the house, bareheaded, to go out to feed the stock. The author wrote several books and poems, many for children, most in dialect form. One of his best-loved poems was “The Raggedy Man” which inspired the creation of the Raggedy Ann doll. Riley was buried in Indianapolis. Changing the subject, but we were treated to another beautiful sunrise a few days ago. I gave this one a rating of (6). Nice but nothing like the one I mentioned in the last Ramblings which was definitely a (10+). However, the Lord made up for it by providing us with a great sunset the same day. I enjoy the sunsets but I am more emotionally touched with the sunrises. Maybe it’s because it is a new day; the beginning, not the end; the start, not the finish. Better not get too philosophical here. Also referring to the last column, I made a batch of split-pea soup. I gave up trying to prepare my own split peas and used a bag of the dried variety. Turned out “pretty good” but I doubt if I will make it again. Chili, next time. We have had an election since the last issue. As usual, I won some and lost some. I’m too cynical to comment on the outcome, but I’m glad it’s over. Now we get a reprieve for a few months from the political TV ads and phone calls requesting a donation or participation in a poll. I was hoping that the third and fourth class junk mail that clogs my post office box would slow down but I believe it has increased. Every imaginable 501C-3 or 501C-4 organization in the United States is after my hard-earned dollar. Their requests have increased dramatically, many on a monthly basis. Many send an unrequested supply of greeting cards or holiday gift wrap. At last count, I have received twenty 2015 wall calendars. Enclosed in their donation letters have been, on occasion, a nickel, a dime, a quarter, a postage stamp or (on 5 occasions) a dollar bill, all intended to “prime-the-wallet” to get me to respond positively to their requests. Over the last few years, I have accumulated a huge supply of enclosed gifts, mainly note pads and enough return address labels, which, if placed end to end, could possibly reach to the moon and back. Now, my tax accountant will tell you that I do more than my share of contributing to charities. I have to prioritize my giving, as I’m sure you do. I hope I am not coming through as a “scrooge.” With the holiday seasons coming soon, catalogs and advertising flyers are appearing in an increasing number in our mail box. I imagine most of these will decrease after the first of the year. Speaking of holidays, the annual harvest supper will be tomorrow evening. Hope you have purchased your ticket. Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays, is next Thursday. For several years, starting when Steve and Brenda were pre-teens, we spent the holiday with Don and Maxine and their two daughters, Julie and Lisa, alternating from year to year from our home in Calico Rock and their home in Little Rock. The memories of those times are contained in a special compartment in my brain (and heart). I hope all you dear readers have a holiday this year that will make a lasting memory. Happy Thanksgiving!!! (Note: Check out all Riley’s poems on the internet).