Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Sheltered Life?...

 I sometimes feel like I've led a pretty sheltered life. It just seems as if there's plenty of things I've never seen or done. Not really big adventure type things like go on safari or travel around the world but things that are just ordinary by a lot of people's standards. A lot of people's. I've never flown on a plane. I've never seen the desert. I've never ridden a horse and I've never owned a Harley. But I guess I don't know if sheltered is actually the word that I'm looking for. After all, I grew up gallivanting around the countryside, exploring caves, rivers, forests and spent many a summer skinny dipping  in the the quarry ( forbidden territory by the way ). Me and Jimmie ran the streets for quite a few years usually sneaking out after dark to do so. We actually snuck all the way to St. Louis when we were fifteen and hitch hiked back from Rolla ( 100+ miles ) when the water pump blew on his '57 Chevy. I've snuck off to the movies and snuck into the drive-in ( in the trunk, of course ). Geez, now that I look back I did a lot of sneaking. Well... it wasn't really as bad as it sounds. A lot of my earlier adult years were filled with road trips just to go somewhere and I guess I probably found myself in more "situations" - good and bad - than I care to expand upon. So yeah, sheltered isn't really the word I'm looking for
 There's still plenty of time to do these things if I actually feel the need and it's not as if I've scratched them off of my list. But I guess if I never get around to them that'll be ok too. Because now that I look back I think I had my share of adventures. And really, I think that maybe I've still got a one or two left in me...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Has Risen!

 And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Legend of the Dogwood Tree...

Two thousand years ago, few trees in the Middle East were big enough to construct anything. However, one tree was valued above the others for its thick trunk and fine, strong wood. When the Romans came to rule over Jerusalem, their government used this same timber to build the crosses for executing criminals. A group of workers were assigned to gather wood for the crosses. Before long, every Roman official knew the best wood came from these gatherers of execution wood, so those workers became popular.
One day, the wood gatherers received a special request. An officer of the Roman court came and said, "The King of Jews is to be put to death. Deliver an extra-large cross made from your finest wood." So, a fresh tree was cut from the forest of the trees with thick trunks and fine, strong wood. An extra-tall (and extra-heavy) cross was quickly made and delivered.           
Three days after the death of Jesus of Nazereth, the chief wood gatherer got alarming news. "All of our finest trees are withering!" the messenger whispered. The wood gatherer hurried to the forest and saw that it was true.
Several years later, the chief wood gatherer heard that, every spring, many people visited the old forest that had once made his job so easy. Despite his advancing years, he set out to discover why. He saw the remains of forest, now like a salty bottoms, with only a few trees still standing tall, bare, lifeless and rotting.
But what was this? As he drew closer, his feeble eyes could make out the people walking among thousands of beautiful, flowering bushes. Seeing one of his own workers there, the old man said, "No one could ever make a cross out of this twisted wood. Our finest tree has gone to the dogs!" He noticed the beautiful white flowers, each blossom looking as if it had been burned from the touch of a miniature cross.
As told to Ben Baston by his grandmother, Louise Brown.

There Is A Legend

At the time of Crucifixion the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the cross. To be used thus for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus nailed upon it, sensed this.
In His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering Jesus said to the tree:
" Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross--two long and two short petals. And in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember."          The pink dogwood is said to be blushing
for shame because of the cruel purpose
  which it served in the Crucifixion.
The weeping dogwood further symbolized the sorrow.
The red dogwood, called the Cherokee, bears
the color to remind us of the blood shed by our Savior
 Of course I didn't write this. Sometimes as I'm looking for inspiration I'll look up information on my subject. As I read this I figured to inject my post with various pieces of the legend as it's written here but the more I read the more I knew that I couldn't leave out a single word. So here it is I hope you enjoy it for what it is - a legend and nothing more. There is no biblical truth to it but it is a nice story.
 I found it here at . Go there if you like. You'll find lots and lots of "inspirational stories and poems". I'm looking forward to going back...                                                                                   

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Little Bit of Non Conformity...

Those of you (us) that are old enough and those of you that just like to go old school once in a while and catch a 60s or probably even a 70s movie might recognize this place. It's the place where the hero (usually a long haired type that just can't seem to conform to authority in whatever manner the movie finds necessary to make it attractive to the younger audience that it's aimed at) and the beautiful girl (probably a flower child or at least one in the making) finally become well, acquainted.
 Now, I've seen my fair share of such movies... now wait a minute, before you go jumping to conclusions I'm talking about epic films like Easy Rider, Macon County Line, The Getaway (Steve McQueen wasn't really a longhair but he was definitely a non conformist ) and Bonnie and Clyde ( non conformists? really?!). I knew when I decided what this post would be about that I had to be careful what I said! Most of these movies at this point would fade out into glittering sunlight until it was nothing but a blur of pixels and we'd be left with an awesome soundtrack by someone like the Allman Brothers, Ten Years After or maybe if it was a real hippie movie, Jimi Hendrix.
 These were my teen years and I guess that these movies had a bit of a hand in how I looked at life, at least for a period of time. They most assuredly had a hand in shaping my musical tastes, probably the length of my hair, maybe the clothes that I wore, I suppose a little of how I liked to drive and I guess, well I don't know maybe, yeah probably, probably even a little bit of non conformity. I don't know...what ever! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Guarded By Peacocks...

Peacocks always remind me of an old woman that used to live near us when I was growing up. We always thought that the woman was very eccentric to say the least. She lived in what we referred to back then as a mansion. It was ( and still is ) a very large and very ornate home, not really a mansion but a very nice home to say the least. It sits on a couple of acres sectioned off with an iron fence all the way around it. You know the kind - the kind that looks like it's made up of spears.
 The lady that lived there back then had peacocks that roamed the property and whenever one was startled or for whatever reason at whatever hour you would hear that peacock call from blocks away. There were a good amount of trees on the property so that the sound seemed to reverberate before it trailed off and gave it that sort of eerie feeling - especially when young children were out after dark and needing to get home.
 The lady that I speak of, as it turned out, was not necessarily as eccentric a she was more in a state of dementia. She was known to have quite a bit of money to her name but yet she lived mostly in her kitchen so that the oven could be her source of heat. It was cheaper that way. I remember that the house was full of stuff such as newspapers, clothes, boxes and tons of things that I can't clearly remember. We now know that to be what we call hoarding and it's a type of mental illness. She had more cats than what would now be a legal amount. These days the ASPCA would be called in to relieve her of probably, most, if not all of them.
 It's funny how we looked at others problems back then, or should I say, didn't look at them. People were called eccentric, funny, off kilter or just plain old weird but we just left them alone to live out there lives in the manner that they were accustomed to. At least that's how I saw it as a young boy and that's how I remember it now. Maybe there were agencies involved in most cases but I know that there weren't any involved with her. Hell, her own family never came around until after she died and that, of course was only to sell off everything. That's pretty sad... 
 There's no real point to this story, I guess. Only that any time I see or especially hear a peacock I immediately think back to a little old lady that lived in a mansion all by herself with her cats and her stuff and her chair in the kitchen of  her dimly lit home. A home that that was guarded by peacocks. Man, that little old lady sure was eccentric...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Snake Hunts

 When I was growing up I had a fascination with snakes. A lot of boys I knew liked snakes but not the way I liked snakes.I wanted to be a herpetologist. My friend Mark and I had regular snake hunts and we did this with regularity all through spring and summer. Fortunately for us there were ample woods and fields to hunt in and the snake population back then seemed well, bountiful I guess.
 I had built several snake cages and had them all filled shortly after the beginning of Spring each year. We caught the every day variety of garter snake pretty much whenever we wanted just to go find a snake. But some days fortune smiled upon us and I would come home with any of several varieties that unfortunately, I haven't come across in several years. Back then it was no big feat to catch a milk snake (and no- no, they do not milk cows I don't care who's grandpa saw it with his own eyes!), a corn snake (mostly named for the fact that they are often found in the rows of corn hunting field mice), a bull snake, blue racers ( there again, they really don't go any faster than any other similarly sized snake and as far as I know under most circumstances they certainly would not chase you!), a green snake (which are so good at camouflage that they may have been in the vicinity but my snake spotting eyes probably aren't as skilled as they once were) or even a hog-nosed snake. Now a hog-nosed snake is an awesome snake. They do have a little turned up snout thus the hog-nosed part. But they will also spread out their neck similar to what a cobra might do as a form of defense. Which is kind of weird because there are no cobras where hog-nosed snakes live so how did they even know? But when this doesn't work they'll roll over and play dead and quite convincingly I might add. If you doubt that you may look it up.
 So today as I came across this and two other blacksnakes on my walk through the woods I was once again taken back to my youth and the snake hunts. I'm not so sad that the days of the snake hunts are gone but it has been particularly saddening to me throughout the years that the species that were once so plentiful around here have either moved out due to the ever growing population or have just slowly dwindled in numbers so that any sighting would be considered a major event in the world of herpetology.
 Personally, I hope it's just my eyesight...