Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cousin Harvey

--Guest post by Jesse Taylor II

My Daddy insisted this story was true. You'll have to make up your own mind about that.

My Cousin Harvey Taylor wasn't as tall as the rest of the family. He topped of at a very skinny 5-foot six. Daddy always said smoking and drinking had stunted his growth. Harv claimed to have smoked his first cigarette when he was only 5 years old. In a tobacco growing country, where "roll your owns" are common and kids will be kids, that may be true. But, one thing is true, by the time he reached 15 years of age he'd developed a healthy taste for alcohol. Boys grew up fast in the coal camps of old Kentucky. Times were hard and the poverty took its toll. When he was 16 years old, "Little Harv" lied about his age and joined the Army. Hard to believe, but it really happened. But, I digress. We're not really here to talk about Harv's younger days. Let's have a word about his hobby...and chief occupation. Namely, that of being a drunk.

Now, just because Harv was a drinker, that didn't mean he was lazy. A great many heavy drinkers are very hard workers. They know that if they quit working then the money for alcohol will disappear. Harv didn't have any trouble holding down a job. Things were very different from what they are, today.

Anyway, as it so happened, Harv's outfit had a three day weekend. This meant Harv had Thursday night, all day Friday and all day Saturday to practice his hobby. He set to the task with gusto, according to reports. When Sunday morning came, Harv woke up in the bar. Actually, he woke up on the countertop of the bar, proper. You might say he had been "over served". As bad as he felt, he knew it was Sunday. He also knew there wasn't any use in trying to call anyone to come pick him up. Them that weren't in church would be in no shape to drive, having spent their time involved in their own hobbies.

Harv claimed he had a ringing in his ears, blurred vision, stomach cramps and a headache. Also, he knew that, if he was going to get back home, he was going to have to walk. His thinking was clear enough to realize that he really didn't want to put up with the noise of passing traffic, should he take the "easy route" by walking along the highway. Unsteady as his legs were, he decided he'd be better off taking the more direct and private route, down along the river. If the birds weren't singing too loud, he thought he might be better able to stand it.

As Harv walked along the river, he heard a sound that, in his impaired condition, sounded for the world like someone shouting for help. Somebody might be drowning. This spurred Harv into action. He took off at a "lope". The route took him over a high embankment and he ran head-long into a big "baptising" service.

Now, Harv was no stranger in the community. Some of those folks recognized him and knew him well. They knew what he'd been up to and could see he wasn't "up to snuff", so to speak. Well, one of the fellows clamped Harv in a good, old fashioned, "hand shake". This involved a few hearty pats on the back and a round of "well-wishings". Its a common occurrence between friends in that part of the country. Also, its not an uncommon trait that good friends can sense a conspiracy when it comes up. The first man passed Harv off to the second man, who passed him off again, and so on and so forth. Next thing Harv knew, he was standing in the river, shaking hands with the preacher. The preacher, being no stranger himself, grabbed Harv and, promptly, dunked him under.

Harv came up spitting and slinging water. The reverend, still holding Harv by the shirt collar, shouted, "Have you found Jesus?"

Harv shouted, "No!!" So, the reverend dunked him under, again.

Harv came up blowing more water and waving his arms around. The reverend shouted, "Have you found Jesus!!?"

Harv shouted, "No!!!" Back under he went.

Harv came up spitting and clutching at the air and the reverend repeated the question, "Have you found Jesus, yet!!!?"

Harv reached out, grabbed the reverend by the shirt, drew him in close and asked, "Reverend...are you right sure this is where he went under!!?"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What Shall We Give?

Let's remember the reason for the season and celebrate the birth of the Christ child. We can give him a real birthday gift by giving of ourselves to others. I pray everyone has a very, merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

City Evangelist, Country Church

--Guest Post by Jesse Taylor II

Back in the Appalachian Mountains of old Kentucky, when I was a boy, the churches were one-room, white, simple little buildings. They weren't anything fancy. Not that the size or construction of the church matters to the Lord, but our churches were simple and small because the people led simple lives and, when it came right down to it, didn't have the money to support the building and maintenance of a large church.

In fact, the day to day maintenance of the church was so simple that one man could take care of it. All that really needed to be done was dusting the pews and window ledges, sweeping the floor, and in winter, building a fire in the little "pot-bellied" stove. The outhouse might need some attention or, if the day was unusually dark or if the service was after dark, the kerosene lamps might need filling and lighting. Usually, this task was taken up by Uncle Jim Gibbons.

Uncle Jim was a simple man who lived alone in the same two-room cabin he'd grown up in. He never married, so he considered his only obligations were to his fellow man and his Lord.

I recall one Sunday morning when the whole community was "all a-buzz" because we were expecting to have a big revival, led by a big city evangelist. As luck would have it, Uncle Jim had been busy with his old mule, that morning. Seems the poor old creature wasn't feeling the best and Uncle Jim had been tending to him to the point where he clean forgot about the time. When he finally realized his mistake, Uncle Jim took off for the church in such a hurry that he didn't have time to grab himself a bite for breakfast.

Uncle Jim didn't drive, so his only way of getting to the church was to walk. He was accomplishing this with great speed that morning. He was going along at such a clip that he almost stepped on a possum. Now, Uncle Jim considered a possum to be some mighty fine eating...as did most folks around the area. Since he hadn't had any breakfast, he knew he'd be mighty hungry by the time church let out. So, never one to pass up a good meal, Uncle Jim found a stick and collected what the Good Lord had provided.

He didn't have time to run it back home, so he took it along, stopping only long enough to "field dress" it when he reached a stream crossing. He rinsed off his pocket knife and his hands and continued along to the church, freshly cleaned possum by his side.

As was mentioned, the church was a one-room, simple building. There weren't any closets...no "nooks or crannies". There wasn't anyplace to put the possum out of sight. The only place Uncle Jim could find was a ledge, just over the door, on the inside of the church. The menfolk used to put their hats on it, but that practice had ceased since someone had donated a double row of fancy, brass coat-hooks, which had been installed along the back wall. Now, there was ample room for everyone to hang their coats and hats and nobody had to strain up to reach the shelf.

So, it was up there, out of sight, that Uncle Jim decided to hide his possum. It seemed like the perfect place. After all, everyone would be in a church pew and would be paying attention to the evangelist, who would be putting on a real show from a little "riser" that ran across the front of the church. Nobody would be facing the back of the church, except for the evangelist and he would be too busy with the sermon to notice a possum tucked back up on that shelf.

The church service got underway. The evangelist was introduced and the "stage" was turned over to him. The preaching soon reached a fevered pitch. This was the old "fire and brimstone" type of preaching. These preachers believed you had to put the fear of God into your congregation. There was much pacing and jumping and stomping and waving of hands, gnashing of teeth and wailing of voices. The evangelist was putting on quite a show. As he paced back and forth, stopping every so often to bounce up and down for effect, he was laying on the gospel thicker and heavier. His voice was rising and falling. He was pounding his fist into his hands as he preached, "Every day of our lives we've got to get down on our knees and thank the Good Lord for the blessings we've received. Every day of our lives we've got to get down on our knees and thank the Good Lord for the food He puts on our table and the clothes He puts on our backs. Every day of our lives we've got to reach out our hands up to heaven, raise our eyes towards the sky and say.....Good God! What a rat!!!"

After that, Uncle Jim was always fond of saying that, "You can't hide what the Good Lord wants revealed." Bless his heart.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Pigmas Carol

Written by the sister of Jean:

Hark! the Herald Piggies squeal, here it comes, our next slop meal!
We each try to get it first, rinds of bacon and liverwurst.
Sour milk and cracked up eggs, bits of veggies and chicken legs.
Jostle the bucket, make it fall, so farmer, too, can wear it all.
Hark! The Herald Piggies squeal, here it comes, our next slop meal!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Christmas Pageant

This story was forwarded to me by a friend. You know, one of those e-mails that makes its way around to everyone's inbox. But I enjoyed this one so much I wanted to share it with you. The author is unknown but if you know who wrote it please let me know and I will be glad to give credit where credit is due for such a delightful story. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and feels the joy of this blessed season!

My husband and I had been happily married (most of the time) for five years but hadn't been blessed with a baby. I decided to do some serious praying and promised God that if he would give us a child, I would be a perfect mother, love it with all my heart and raise it with His word as my guide. I learned never to ask God for anything unless I meant it. As a minister once told me, "If you pray for rain, make sure you carry an umbrella."

God answered my prayers and blessed us with a son. The next year God blessed us with another son. The following year, He blessed us with yet another son. The year after that we were blessed with a daughter. My husband thought we'd been blessed right into poverty. We now had four children, and the oldest was only four years old.

I began reading a few verses of the Bible to the children each day as they lay in their cribs. I was off to a good start. God had entrusted me with four children and I didn't want to disappoint Him.

I tried to be patient the day the children smashed two dozen eggs on the kitchen floor searching for baby chicks. I tried to be understanding when they started a hotel for homeless frogs in the spare bedroom, although it took me nearly two hours to catch all twenty-three frogs. When my daughter poured ketchup all over herself and rolled up in a blanket to see how it felt to be a hot dog, I tried to see the humor rather than the mess. In spite of changing over twenty-five thousand diapers, never eating a hot meal and never sleeping for more than thirty minutes at a time, I still thank God daily for my children.

While I couldn't keep my promise to be a perfect mother (I didn't even come close) I did keep my promise to raise them in the Word of God. I knew I was missing the mark just a little when I told my daughter we were going to church to worship God, and she wanted to bring a bar of soap along to "wash up" Jesus, too. Something was lost in the translation when I explained that God gave us everlasting life, and my son thought it was generous of God to give us his "last wife."

My proudest moment came during the children's Christmas pageant. My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds and my youngest son was a wise man. This was their moment to shine.

My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line, "We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes." But he was nervous and said, "The baby was wrapped in wrinkled clothes." My four-year-old "Mary" said, "That's not 'wrinkled clothes,' silly. That's dirty, rotten clothes." A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing.

I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary dropped the doll representing baby Jesus, and it bounced down the aisle crying, "Mama-mama." Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it tightly as the wise men arrived.

My other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, knelt at the manger and announced, "We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur." The congregation dissolved into laughter, and the pageant got a standing ovation.

"I've never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one," laughed the pastor, wiping tears from his eyes. "For the rest of my life, I'll never hear the Christmas story without thinking of gold, common sense and fur."

"My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing," I said as I dug through my purse for an aspirin.

Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master. He had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher. Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer. Had no army, yet kings feared Him. He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world. He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him. He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.

I feel honored to serve such a Leader who loves us.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Don’t-Sue-Me-Santa Clause


Santa Claus, AKA Kris Kringle, AKA Jolly Old St. Nick (hereinafter referred to as “Santa”) acknowledges receipt of Christmas cookies from ______________________ (hereinafter referred to as “Baker”).

Santa acknowledges and understands that no warranty, either express or implied, is made by Baker as to the nutritional content of cookies. This document is offered to duly warn Santa that dangerous conditions, risks, and hazards may result from over consumption of cookies. Santa is hereby informed that cookies may contain trans fats as well as any or all of the following: calories, carbohydrates, sodium (salt), fat, saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, nuts, sugar, caffeine, chocolate “chips” and/or “chunks,” and good cheer. Santa acknowledges that eating way too many cookies may incur risks including, but not limited to, satiation, indigestion, heartburn, laziness, holiday spirit, “food coma,” and “that bloated feeling.”

As consideration for accepting Baker’s cookies, Santa indemnifies Baker from all liability for injury or other harm (including obesity) which may be caused, in whole or in part, by said “too many” cookies. Santa agrees that neither he, nor his agents or personal representatives, will sue Baker for any injury suffered, in whole or in part, as a consequence of ingesting cookies. Santa assumes full responsibility and will indemnify Baker for any damages in the event that he transfers cookies to any third party (including, but not limited to, potential claimants Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph, Mrs. Claus, and various elves).

This indemnification includes an agreement not to haul Baker into court on the basis of:
1. Failure to provide nutrition information and a list of ingredients (the "Grandma’s secret recipe" clause).
2. Failure to caution of the potential for overeating because cookies taste "yummy" and are provided at no cost.
3. Failure to advise that walking, biking, and jogging will shed pounds, but riding around on a reindeer-powered sleigh will not.
4. Failure to warn that Christmas lights, lawn ornaments (plastic reindeer, snowmen, etc.) and other holiday decorations may constitute manipulative marketing to lure Santa into over-consumption.
5. Failure to offer "healthier" cookie alternatives (e.g., tofu bars, carob blobs, or carrot sticks).
6. Failure to affix warning label acknowledging that milk, should it be provided, must not be consumed if Santa is, or could possible be, lactose intolerant.
7. Failure to notify that eating too many cookies may lead to even greater levels of obesity for St. Nick.


Santa__________________________________________ Date__________________

Provided by: The Center for Comsumer Freedom
For more information, visit ConsumerFreedom.com. To schedule an interview, contact Allison Miller at 212-463-7112.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Talon's Finally Here!

After a harrowing week on a horse transport trailer, several delays due to the snow storm, the trailer being stuck in a 3' drift then plowed in by a snow plow, and the trailer unable to get up the 1st big hill on our road, Talon is finally here!

When the transport was stuck on that hill only 4 miles from home, 1/2 the town turned up for the event. A local man plowed a space in a field down hill which allowed the transport trailer to back into the field, out of the road, and to turn around. Then he borrowed someone elses 2 horse trailer and drove Talon the rest of the way, helping me unload him and getting him into his paddock, which was no easy task given it was after dark and in the middle of a nor'easter.

I showed Talon where his hay and water were in the shelter, then removed his halter. He promptly went out of the shelter into the storm and wouldn't let me anywhere near him. I can't say as I blame him after all he'd been through the past week. And there wasn't even another horse to tell his troubles to, only sheep and goats in the next pen looking at him like he was Mr. Loch Ness, and wildly barking LGDs 2 pens over that had never seen a horse before. I know he went back into the shelter after I left but wasn't taking any chances being around this human who had captured him in the great unknown.

This morning, however, was quite a different story. "Yes, I am quite ready for breakfast, thank you." I even got some kisses on the cheek. I had to have Nate come out for pictures because I couldn't get far enough away from him to take a picture of anything besides a close up of his nose. I think he was seriously thinking of eating the camera!

So this morning I am thankful for having nice, warm shelter from the storm, for Talon arriving safe and sound, and for living in a town where folks go out of their way to help a neighbor in need. And, as always, thankful to have a wonderful hubby who indulges my horse habit.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Meet Dexter!

Meet Dexter, an English Shepherd puppy that's a Christmas present for my 11 year old grandson, Austin. Dexter is staying with us until Christmas.

Now meet the lamp that Dexter decided shouldn't be just sitting around on the end table. Dexter 1, lamp zip! Hey, Santa - I could use a new lamp for Christmas!

Please leave a comment. I love hearing from you.