Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Annual Cow Chipping Contest in Chatham, IL

You absolutely have to check this site. I mean it.
Well, it is that time of the year: Chatham Jaycees Annual Sweet Corn and Cow Chipping Festival in Illinois.

Small communities like Chatham are gems. Generations gather to renew friendships and celebrate history.  While there are competitions of all sorts, nothing, but nothing, is as intense and delightful as the Cow Chipping Contest.

The whole process is fairly simple. From their cow pastures, farmers select dried cow pies of the correct size, using a toilet seat as the measuring standard. The pies are then donated to the Jaycees where they are kept in a secure place. I am not kidding.

(There have been some accusations about sabotage; pies have been embedded with pellets or such in the past.  So, security is provided. Yes, it is.) 

Future chippers--not afraid to get their hands dirty

"This event will take place on July 21-23 at the Chatham sports field. Any attendees wishing to participate in the cow chipping throw should attend when the event is announced.  Experience is not necessary. All should understand that participation may result in pungent particulates adhering to hands and clothing."
This is a quote from last year's flyers.

Competition is serious business.
Beaver, OK, where cows outnumber people, 16-1

This is an international sport. Visitors travel to participate in this event.

Related image

 When I was there last year, the Jaycees had an emergency: the farmer who provided cow pies in the past had sold half his herd.  My brother Rev. Don Peck and his son Jeremy (president of the Chatham Jaycees) contacted other locals. They know everyone in the community, and within 15 minutes all was resolved.


Friday, June 28, 2019

All is at Peace

Butterfly on Lavender Flower
Everything lavender

The sun filtered through the garden, breaking through the dense foliage.  The twining squash vines sported hearty zucchini, which  would soon muscle its way through other vegetables.

Growing a variety of edibles is one of the many joys of gardening. (Photo by Joanne Young)
Garden making

Butterflies were dancing over the blooming lavender and dahlias.  Over in the corner, isolated from the serene garden, were two gooseberry bushes.  Brooding and sour, they knew it was only a matter of time before they would be picked and treasured.

But, for now, all is at peace.

The italicized words come from Wednesday Words from Delores some time ago. These  were supplied 5 + years ago, when Delores had started W. Words as a way to encourage writers to expand genres. The goal was to integrate these words with their own style.

Current words can be found on Wednesday at Elephant's Child blog site.

This is a challenge I savor. Brevity, saying much with chosen words (about 65 words above), is powerful in its conciseness. Writing, with those few meaningful words that convey an image, well, that is just plain fun.

Monday, June 24, 2019

There's a Bathroom on the Right

Image result for Bad Moon Writing Creedence Clearwater
I am a visual learner, which means if I see something, I can remember it.  But if I hear something, well, it passes through the brain with a brief stop. Considering that, when I hear some song, the lyrics are saying something while I hear something totally different.  

My first awareness of this happened when we sang "Jesus Saves" in church. I heard "Jesus Shaves". That made perfect sense to an 8 year old.

The whole lyrics thing fascinated me when I actually heard Credence Clearwater Revival**, "Bad Moon Rising." The real lyrics are "There's a bad moon on the rise." But I always heard "There's a bathroom on the right". When someone corrected my error, I thought, well what else am I hearing.

I searched and found some great ones, all reflecting what I felt and heard.

This comes from Huffington Post "13 Commonly Misheard Song Lyrics That Are Way Funnier Than The Real Ones, by Andy McDonald". Here are a few:

1) Jimi Hendrix, "Purple Haze"
Excuse me while I kiss the sky. 
Alternate version Excuse me while I kiss this guy.

2) The Monkees, "I'm a Believer" 
Then I saw her face, now I'm a believer. 
Alternate version Then I saw her face, now I'm going to leave her.

3) Queen, "We Will Rock You" 
Kicking your can all over the place. 
Alternate version Kicking your cat all over the place.

4) R.E.M. "Losing my Religion" 
That's me in the corner, that's me in the spotlight.  
Alternate version Let's pee in the corner, Let's pee in the spotlight.

5) Bob Dylan, "Blowin' in the Wind"
The answer my friend, is blowin' in the wind." 
Alternate version The ants are my friends, they're blowin' in the wind."

Does that change our enjoyment of the song? Not for me. The lyrics from these artists are always on the strange side, so what makes the difference? Not a single thing.

Got any alternate lyrics of your own?

p.s. Credence Clearwater Revival--my fave then and now.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

A Man after Your Own Heart

One statement was made to me 1997, when my brother Robert died. "Oh, it will hurt less and less as time goes by." It was said with love and with the intention to comfort me.  

I knew that they meant to reassure me, but I always wondered if they knew what he had been through. Robert had continued to drink coffee and smile at the local cafe. He shared jokes with friends. So, they could not see what had been his last months.

Robert had an anaplastic astrocytoma brain tumor, an aggressive incurable tumor. He was diagnosed September, 1995, and died May 1997. People knew this was a 'time was short'. His community knew him well, some prayed for him.

In 1996, one of the times I was visiting, I walked to his house and found daughter Amy washing dishes. She was angry. "Dad's listening to this CD, searching for a song to be played at his funeral."

Robert gave me his characteristic crooked smile, but didn't say anything. This was the song.

Man after Your Own Heart, sung by Gary Chapman

We listened in silence while Amy and I cried silently. Then we listened to one other song. Neither was played, but that's the way it was.

Sometimes He Comes in the Clouds, sung by Steven Curtis Chapman

In truth, I do not think of Robert every single day, but I do think of our family when we were all together with Robert. 

Hurt less? Grief never stops or goes away, but hurt less? I don't know yet.

Sunday, June 16, 2019


June Carter and Johnny Cash
It is June, in fact in a week or so, we'll be looking at July. June...June...June and Johnny Cash.  

Johnny Cash wrote and sang from a deep visceral place. His songs were about sorrow, redemption, moral tribulations. Cash spoke from the heart when he sang songs reflecting struggles of alcohol and drugs. Felons identified with him when he sang in Folsom Prison.

A Man Named Sue? Oh yes. I Walk the Line. Man in Black. Delia. There is almost no end to the list of songs he performed and recorded.

But, I will always enjoy this:

made famous by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.

We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout.
We've been talkin' about Jackson, ever since the fire went out.
I'm goin' to Jackson,
I'm gonna mess around,
I'm goin' to Jackson, 
Look out  Jackson town!

Listen to the YouTube:

But, one of his last songs bites deep. Hurt from Nine Inch Nails. After Johnny Cash sang it, they said that he made it his. No one could sing that song with such depth.

"Hurt" first made famous by Nine Inch Nails

Johnny Cash died from diabetes complications in 2003, only four months after the death of his beloved wife, June Carter Cash.

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Golden Time in 1959

thirtythreeandathird blog
I was 8 years old, life was filled with adventure, learning, and ignorance.  I had NO idea about what my parents faced and what things cost.  

This post is not about anything special or imbued with great meaning. It is simply a reflection of that golden time of the 1950s.

Image may contain: 1 person
Enlarge this by pressing ctrl +

Monday, June 10, 2019

Let Me Grow Old

Young and old hands.
Twenty-five minutes ago I was a relatively fit 37-year-old.

Every visit from her progeny always had the same element:  They huddled and whispered among themselves. Their whispers might have been shouts, since Nancy already knew what bothered them so much.

Mom is so frail!...I didn't know she looked so old...What happened?...Is she okay?...

Well, Nancy knew that answer also: I am older. Every time you fly from across the world, when you walk in the door, when I rise to hug you, your face tells me everything.  When did you change, when did you become an old woman?

Hobbling over to the desk, where an old computer awaited, Nancy groaned in pain. Pushing away stacks of her volumes of writing, Nancy sighed and began typing.

To all my children,

I love you. I have always and will always love you.  

You have to do something for me. You must let me grow old

Do not be surprised that I am no longer 37 years old. That was the age when I was in charge of you and put up with all your angst.

Then, I drove you to school, to piano lessons, wherever you needed. I drove to teach and love someone else's children. Afterwards, I turned on my old Honda Civic, picked you up and we headed  home in silence. You were mad at me, mad at a friend, or just plain mad.

Those were the years I held you in prayer and helped you work through life. You either loved me or hated me, or both. But I was strong, I was 37 years old. In your mind, I was almost immortal.

You packed up boxes of your stuff, tossed them in my old Honda Civic and headed out to your own life. There were still boxes left behind which would stay in our garage until your dad died.

I moved. Into an old people community. You moved, as well. I sent your boxes to GoodWill. You gave me grandchildren, from across the world. 

They grew up as I grew old. Their years which passed were the also my years that passed.

And now, I am old.

So, ask your questions. Ask about those years when I was 37 or 27 or 17.  I have stories to tell, and unless you ask, I can't tell them. If you don't want them, stories stay silent. You are 37, too busy to listen or maybe to care.

Let me grow old. Do not be surprised that I am old. Please, just love me as I head into this last stage of life.

Love, Mom

Nancy pushed save again, and then print, and then send.  

Well. Nancy rose to her feet with a groan. Every joint hurt. She grabbed a bag of towels and took off in her new golf cart. Water aerobics always helped and after a swim, she would sit down with her friends to play bunco. Good friends. 

They were old, too.

Quote About Time Passing Time Passing Quotes Page 1 Quotehd

Thursday, June 6, 2019

What Thomas Saw

A picnic basket from Davio's
Picnicking in Style

Being a mellow type of guy, Thomas found going on a picnic with wife Penny was pure hell. Penny planned the details right down to salt and pepper, while Thomas would have been quite content with Kentucky Fried and extra coleslaw.

So it was then that Thomas stated in a firm voice to Penny, "I will go for a walk now, just to let the air clear and you to prepare the spread." 

Penny just waved him away and Thomas took off at a fast two-step. Free, free at last! Thank God... 

Go, Bob! Go!
When he stopped jogging, Thomas settled down on a grassy hill.  Below, in a field, Thomas recognized one of God's gifts on a dull picnic day.

There, some guy opened a side door and two dogs leaped, really leaped out.  

The Guy took out a tennis ball and boy, oh boy, those dogs jumped and bounced.  Big strong black lab leaped up nearly five feet, no kidding. "Here you go, Bob!" And Bob's muscled hind quarters then propelled him about eight feet ahead as he raced after it.

Meanwhile, a black and white border collie watched The Guy with soulful brown eyes, please oh please...The Guy clicked, "Go getter, Jimbo!" And Jimbo took off like a bullet.

By that time, Thomas saw that Bob had already grabbed the ball with big teeth and was on his way back, tail swishing in the wind. Jimbo paused in his sprint, and trotted back to The Guy. Bob lifted his nose. See, Jimbo. In your face.

The Guy hit the ball and sent it whizzing out. Bob and his hind legs took off with all those muscles hurling him out.  Jimbo trotted out about half-way and crouched down.  Watching Bob's dance of victory, Jimbo's eyes followed him speculatively.

adult black and white border collie running on grass field, Dog, Run, Animal, Race, Fun, Fast
Thomas leaned forward in anticipation, sensing there were politics at play here.

The Guy gave that ball all his youthful training had taught him.  Bob took off, ears flapping.  Jimbo trotted out midway, crouched down, watching Bob. This went on two or three times.

Oh boy, Bob, you're in for it now, Thomas chuckled. 

The Guy hit it again, and Bob took a flying leap, but by this time, Jimbo had the ball and was dancing back before Bob even reached the end of the field. A very confused black lab ran back and Jimbo headed out to rest, again.

The Guy hit the ball, Bob took off and Jimbo came back with the ball. Again and again, Bob gave it all his black lab muscles had, while Jimbo merely danced back.

Thomas counted, Come'on Bob! Get a clue."

At the fourth throw, The Guy hit that ball and Bob merely watched as Jimbo sauntered from his midway post, retrieved the ball, and scampered back. And then another hit, another Jimbo win.  By then, Bob lay down, eyes closed.

The Guy whistled and walked to the car. Both dogs slowly trudged back, with Jimbo jumping up into the car. The Guy gave Bob an extra boost. Off they drove. Defeat and victory.

Thomas smiled and heaved himself up, promptly twisting his ankle.  Well, that's a heck of a thing." 

By the time Thomas hobbled back to Penny's picnic hell, friends had shown up and showered him with sympathy. Penny's eyes sliced and diced him, not saying a word.  

From his perch with his foot elevated and wrapped in ice, Thomas watched from the sides, watching his wife speculatively. She was in her element, the queen of the feast. Thomas was in his, a Jimbo at heart.

P.S. I saw this at a park and was enthralled. I'd have a border collie any time. My dad had one, Cindy, after his children workforce grew up. I swear Dad and Cindy could have handled the livestock by themselves. Smart dogs. Our family had a black/chocolate lab, Buddy. Strong dog, good with our kids.  Whenever he came running at me, I braced.

Rolling down the River

flooding logo.jpg
what can be said?
I grew up between two powerful rivers, the Illinois and Mississippi. Numberous creeks (criks) meandered around towns and farm, all heading to those rivers. Powerful. 

Never underestimate what rivers can do: destroy towns, wipe out fields, wash away forests and trees. We waited every spring for the rain and snowmelt from up north. If all the preparation for such rolling powerful water was adequate, mostly all would be survivable.

But what happens if the levees can't hold back the water? What happens if the flood walls are not quite tall enough? What if. What if.

This year floods have hit many states with horrendous destruction. Here is mine, in Illinois, where my people and towns are.

Image may contain: sky, tree, cloud, outdoor, water and nature
Near Florence, IL  We've eaten at this restaurant. Best grilled bologna sandwiches.

Image may contain: outdoor
Rte. 100 Grafton, IL City has washed away ?? times. FEMA paid many residents to
relocate to higher ground. Some didn't take the offer. Have driven through Grafton
for years when I was growing up.
Image may contain: indoor
Water level is at 34 ft.

The juncture where Illinois River joins the Mississippi River will cause the water level to rise two more feet in the next few days. Grafton won't survive this much. 

Climate change? I don't know. These two rivers have a history of flooding, but not like this. Back in 1993 when I visited, the flood was historic. Now? New records are being set.

Note: The floods that flowing across plains states will prevent planting crops, raising livestock, etc. Expect costs of food and goods to rise.

Monday, June 3, 2019

WE are THEY.

Featured Topic & Download: Anger
Hope for the heart

The world-wide political and humanity situation has become untenable.
Iran---what is the next move? Who will make it? What then?

Syria—just saying that country’s name brings shivers throughout. Just because the name isn't on front page news anymore doesn't mean there are no atrocities. 

Benghazi—will the truth ever be known? An ambassador assassinated while propriety is discussed? Does anyone now even remember something that happened six years ago?

Pedophiles—how can a person who preys on children be allowed to mingle with an unknowing public? How can the Catholic Church know about the pedophile priests and simply relocate them??? Why did it take so long to force the Church to admit responsibility?

Racism and Anti-Semitism--how can any intelligent human being support such hate?  How can such hate be kept below the radar for so long? Does the slaughter of six million people mean nothing to current generations?

THEY should do something about these issues.  THEY cannot allow these issues to continue.

Who are THEY?

Large English Gilt Adam Style Portrait Oval Mirror Antique
a reflection from a very old mirror
I just looked in a mirror, and I think I saw one of THEM in there.