Author: Guest

The Rural Life by Verlyn Klinkenborg…an excerpt

   “From solstice till equinox, summer lasts only ninety-one days and six hours, a little longer if you count from Memorial Day till Labor Day. It seems like so much time. But the closer you get, the smaller summer looks, unlike winter, which looks longer and longer the nearer it comes. From a distance ~ from April, say ~ summer looks as capacious as hope. This will be the season we lose weight, eat well, work out, raise a garden, learn to kayak, read Proust, paint the house, drive to Glacier, and so on and so on and so on. This will be the season in which time stretches before us like the recesses of space itself, the season in which leisure swells like a slow tomato, until it’s round and red and ripe.

By the time Memorial Day comes and goes, flashing across the year like a meteor in the night sky, a certain realism creeps in. The universe expands, but not the calendar. Only August remains infinite. June and part of July are already booked solid, and the trouble with that is that once an event is penciled in, it’s already over. The festival tickets you bought in April, when summer still had all its weekends, now haunt you with regret.

The search for uncommitted time grows more and more desperate. The peonies are nearly past, and before long, the golden rod will bloom. The field-crickets are already ticking away the seconds of full summer.

  It’s enough to make a person crazy, that dream of a summer where dawn is as cool as the ocean and the time in which you happen to live, the day and hour itself, overlaps with all of the rest of time. Everyone reaches for fullness in summer, but the fullness that most of us know best belongs to the memory of childhood. What was it that made summer days so long back then and made the future seem so distant? What was the thing we knew or didn’t know?”

This is an excellent book. Each chapter is a month of the year, so you can read a few pages each day and enjoy what he’s doing and thinking about at that time. I think he is an excellent writer and I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys reading brief articles daily. You can purchase his book on Amazon (Hardcover $19.50, Paperback $16, & Kindle $9.50). It makes an excellent gift also…. Tommy

The Dash

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.

He referred to the dates on her tombstone, from the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth. And spoke of the following date with tears.

But, he said, what mattered most of all–was the dash between those years.

For the dash represented all the time she spent alive on Earth.

But now only those that loved her know what that little line was worth.

For it matters not how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash.

What matters is how we lived and loved and how we spent our dash.

So, think about this long and hard, are there things you’d like to change.

For you never know how much time is left, you could be at dash mid-range.

If we could just slow down enough, to consider what’s true and real.

And always try to understand the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more,

And love the people in our lives, like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile.

Remembering that the special dash might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read and your life’s action to rehash.

Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent the dash

… Author Unknown

The Delinquents

We read in the papers

We hear on the air

Of killing and stealing

And crime everywhere.

We sigh and we say

As we notice the trend

“This young generation!

Where will it all end?”

But can we be sure

That it’s their fault alone?

That, maybe most of it

Isn’t really our own?

Too much to spend;

Too much idle time;

Too many movies

Of passion and crime;

Too many books

Not fit to be read;

Too much of evil,

In what they hear said.

Too many children

Encouraged to roam

By too many parents

Who won’t stay at home.

Kids don’t make the movies

They don’t write the books

That paint a gay picture

Of gangsters and crooks.

They don’t make the liquor,

They don’t run the bars,

They don’t make the laws

And they don’t build the cars.

They don’t make the drugs,

That addle the brain;

It’s all done by older folk,

Greedy for gain.

Thus in so many cases

It must be confessed

The label “Delinquent”,

Fits older folk best.

By “The Patriot” (Adelaide, Australia)

World, Take My Son By The Hand

                         …. Author unknown.

My son started school this week. It’s going to be strange and new for a while.

And I wish you would sort of treat him gently. You see, up to now, he’s been King of the Roost. He’s been boss of the backyard. I have always been around to repair his wounds and to soothe his feelings. But now… things are going to be different.

This morning, he’s going to walk down the front steps, wave his hand and start on his great adventure, one that will probably include wars, tragedy, and sorrow.

To live his life in the world he has to live in will require faith, love, and courage. So, World, I wish you would sort of take him by his young hand and teach him the things he will have to know.

Teach him… but gently if you can. He will have to learn, I know, that not all men are just, that not all men are true. 

Teach him that for every scoundrel, there is a hero… that for every crooked politician, there is a dedicated leader… that for every enemy, there is a friend. Let him learn early that the bullies are the easiest people to lick.

Teach him the wonders of books. Give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and flowers on the green hill.

Teach him it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat. 

Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone else tells him they are wrong.

Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone else is getting on the bandwagon. 

Teach him to listen to all men, but to filter all he hears on a screen of truth and take only the good that comes through.

Teach him to close his ears on a howling mob, and to stand and fight if he’s right. 

Teach him that the word, “American” ends with, “I Can.”

Teach him gently, World, but don’t coddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel.

This is a big order, World, but see what you can do.  He’s such a nice little fellow.

An Early Rising …by Frank Shortt

       As a young teen, I was visiting with a neighbor of our family in Virginia, Mr. Sherman Whited. He was all excited about purchasing a new shotgun, an awfulmatic (automatic) and he had purchased it at the Raven free market (flea market) that weekend. He leaned back on the cane-bottom chair and rolled a cigarette out of Prince Albert and OCB papers, as was his custom after dinner!

        As things go in the Southeastern United States, the conversation suddenly turned to ghost stories. This usually happened when dusk fell and things got deathly quiet! Being very impressionable in those days, I was a glutton for punishment for asking about ghosts as I had to walk home afterwards passing several abandoned mines on the way!

           “What is the most unusual encounter you have had with ghosts, Mr. Whited?” I enquired.
        “I s’pose it’d be the time at Mountain Top Lake over in Russell County that I saw the weirdest thang ah evah seed!.” Sherman had a way of whetting your interest when there was a ghost story to be told!
        “Dad and I wuz fishin’ there one night, night fishin’ was legal in them days, when all of a sudden lights came on in a lil’ cabin acrost the lake. I cried, Dad, do you see that? Them folks air getting’ up mighty early!”
      “Musta been ‘bout one in the mawnin’.”
        “There’s no one livin’ over thar, dad replied. All that’s there is an old dock house for changin’ clothes when a person wants ta swim.”
        “Well, they’re thar just the same,” I replied. Sherman was always straightforward with a reply to anything. 
        “Why, looky thar, thar’s a maid servin’ some men suppah, or was it breakfast?”
         “We could hear the dishes a’rattlin’, the spoons and forks a’clankin’, we could even hear the men talkin’ and a’laughin’.
        “After the meal was served, the men sat back and lit up seegars and the maid served them some coffee or tea as they continued to talk and laugh. I thought, these men shore have got a lot to talk aboot.”
         “As suddenly as the lights had lit up, they suddenly turned off. We halted our fishin’ for the rest of the night and sat around discussin’ the recent happenin’. The fire felt safe and warm just about then and who needed them lil’ ol’ bluegill fish anyhow?”
        “What do you thank ‘twas, dad?” I asked.
        “Well, more’n likely ‘twas some folks that died heah’bouts, and their souls are caught ‘tween earth and paradise. They can’t go forward and can’t come back. They’re like in limbo searchin’ for somethin’!” was dad’s solemn explanation as a minister of the gospel.
        “Anyhow, Sherman continued. At daybreak, we went around the lake to check out what had happened to see if thar wuz any human explanation. All we found was the deserted dock house, with a few mice runnin’ ‘round, with not a live human bein’ in sight. Them haints had disappeared completely without a trace. There was not even a table or dishes in the place or a light of any kind much less any silverware to be seen!”
        I could only sit wide-eyed with wonder and amazement! In fact, cold chills ran all over my skinny frame. Our ghost-telling was cut short after that one! How could I ever top Sherman’s story? I sure longed for someone to walk home with me, but was too proud to ask!
        I believed what Sherman Whited told me as he didn’t have any reason to lie to me. After all, his dad was our pastor!