Fixing Consistency With Butter And Salt

Dear Fans, Friends, Fiends, Foes and Family,

Consistency.  That is the key word that I need to focus on.  I need to produce content here on my blog and while I (think I) have the ingredients all together in one place, just like any other recipe they must be mixed in the right amounts at the right times.  There are some recipes that require you to “fold in” an ingredient, like chocolate chip cookies (Which are, just so you know, an acceptable donation to this author.  Unless they have nuts.  Then you can keep them all to yourself.).  You mix everything up, the dry stuff, like the flour, the baking soda and salt in one bowl.  Beat the sugar and brown sugar and butter (Real butter, please. God created cows, man created margarine.  Yellow vegetable oil is all margarine is and putting it in your cookies is just icky.) and vanilla together, then mix in the eggs one at a time.  Add the flour mixture, then, when everything is the right consistency, the last(best) thing you add are the chocolate chips.  Do not add nuts.  Never add nuts.  Herb is nuts enough, maybe?

Sometimes writing is like chocolate chip cookies, really splendid when they come out hot and gooey from the oven and you kind of burn your tongue on them and cool your mouth with an ice cold glass of (whole) milk.  They are good when they have just slightly cooled, with a nice hot cup of coffee or another cold glass of milk or an ice-cold Coca-Cola.  When they are cooled sufficiently you can store them in a cookie jar if there are any left.  And to keep them from getting hard you put a slice of white bread in the jar along with them.  As I tell the grandkids, “Yummy to da tummy!”

Sometimes writing is like brussels sprouts.  Stinky, icky, nasty little cabbages that I feel confident were created by the devil, but, nonetheless, are much improved with butter and salt.

I also don’t want to have a piece of toast without evenly spread butter.  They mock me because I have to spread the butter evenly onto every inch, every corner, of the toast but I don’t care, I know what’s good.  If for some kind of unknown reason you don’t have bacon or bacon grease you should fry my eggs, over medium, thanks, with butter.  Fried eggs with buttered toast, bacon and a tall, cold glass of milk.  Ooooohhh…Yeah!

Popcorn without enough butter and salt is just styrofoam.

Now, another thing you can do is affect the consistency of a lot of recipes by altering the butter content.  Add more butter, take out some butter, you get different results.  But one thing is certain; you have to have enough butter.

Herb, are you leading up to a point with all this or are you just trying to milk this analogy for all you can?

Okay, okay.  The point is that you can have so many good things with butter.  And you can write so many good things if you sit your butt, er, in the chair with consistency and just write.

Bear Lee There – Again

Dear Fans, Friends, Fiends, Foes, Family and Nature Lovers,

My question for you all today is, where does a 300+ pound bear and her cub go to eat? Anywhere they want to. Including my trash can.

We live in a sort of suburban area called Stratmoor Hills in Colorado Springs, which is not exactly the wilderness or anything, but there are a couple of nice greenbelt type of areas and the water company owns a small strip of land with some trees on it. Reported in the neighborhood at different times have been a mountain lion, bobcats, a lynk and over the last few years in our own backyard we have had a herd of deer, raccoons, a fox, a hawk, bunnies (which some of these guys find quite tasty) and now, apparently, bears.

About 15 minutes ago we had a big old mama bear and her cub in the driveway. I heard a noise like something heavy being moved and went outside. There they were by the trashcan they had just knocked over. I hollered and they ran a little ways into the neighbor’s driveway and turned around and watched me pick up the can and all the stuff. I didn’t stay out there since she just stopped and turned and watched like that. About 20 minutes later they came back and knocked the same can over. I let them be, discretion being the better part of valor. The sow was probably 300 pounds I would guess and the cub was probably 100. I wish I could have gotten a picture but they didn’t want to wait and that was okay with me.

Broken Paradigm

Dear Fans, Friends, Fiends, Foes and Family,

Sometimes things are not always what you think they will be.  I think we all have our little prejudices and preconceived ideas about things.  Here’s one example.

I was on the way to pick up Margaret from work and I pulled up at the stoplight next to a Smart Car.  It was a convertible and the driver’s music was blaring out of it.  Honestly, I didn’t know what I would have thought, but it just struck me as humorous that out of it came Country Western music. And not the modern, electronic, even rap-infused kind but old-fashioned, twangin’ tears-in-my-ears-from-lyin’-on-my-bed-on-my-back-cryin’-over-you kind.

I suppose the next ’67 Chevy Pickup I see will have New Age Classical coming out of it.

Oh well, as the good book says, “Just take them old records off the shelf…”

Daughter’s Diagnosis

Dear Fans, Friends, Fiends, Foes and Family,

Well, the diagnosis is in and it is Lyme Disease.  The good thing is that now we know what we are fighting.  It is something tangible, to fight.  A known enemy.  Another good thing (I use the term “good thing” a bit tongue-in-cheek because this hasn’t been good, but it is all relative to the alternatives) is that it is treatable.  The doctor says that she doesn’t think the disease in the chronic stage that some people deal with, as in the video, but will still require a hard-hitting, long-term regimen of antibiotics, but so far they think this can be taken care of with oral medicine and not require a PICC line or peripherally inserted central catheter. The thing that struck me as slightly humorous about antibiotics, to be genteel about it, is that you need to offset some of their effects with Pro-Biotics.

Earlier in the year my daughter was asked by her doctor to make a list of things that happened to her. She just typed out things as they happened and did not try to make it pretty or correct.  I have her permission to post her raw notes here, to help educate people about what she has been going through. This doesn’t tell of the indignities that she has suffered at the hands of physicians and neurologists who have told her every kind of thing, from she’s working too hard to she needs a boyfriend to basically she is a nut-job, this is just a telling of one week or so.

A couple of additional items not listed below is that since the first of the year her right sided weakness has gotten so bad that she can no longer drive.  She can’t put enough pressure on the brake pedal to make it work and she has been in and out of the hospital a couple of times.  Here are her notes, please, again, remember that these are just raw notes, off-the-cuff and not an example of her usual spelling and writing.

Tab’s Week

Thursday, 01/15/15

Woke up at 9:20, was up to go to the bathroom 3 times. Drank too much tea. Pain is an 8. If it can hurt, it hurt.

I could cry, lost my balance 3 times getting out of bed.  Drank coffee on the couch with my cat. Paid bills.

10:00 weight 139 got dressed. near fall. made my bed, brushed my hair

10:30 took 4 ibu and 2 tyl just want to go back to bed

11:00 coffee & a bar for beakfast. well i cut coupons. lost my balance. pain is now at a 6 still, in pain but dont feel like crying

12:00 drove dad to work. read email. almost fell in the bathroom. my pain is at a 4, i feel achy

12:30 loaded the dish washer, lost balance once

1:30grocery list, more coupons, figured out dinner. lost balance twice. ate hot pocket for lunch.

2:00 took my gabibetion, cleaned off table, back to a 6 pain level

2:45 drove mom to work, waiting for ot @ 4:45

home from ot. i am tired. i dont even know where to rate my pain. dogs got in the trash and all i want to do about it is cry. 6:00 tried to clean up trash, got stuck on the floor had a very hard time geting up. had to pick up a prescription then pick up mom. took ibu and tyl at 5:00. not sure if it’s done anything. i am probably in too much pain to drive.

6:30 picked up my mom and picked up my ID from ashley.

8:20 dropped off prescription. did a little shopping in a wheelchair with mom, picked up meds and drove to get dad. took a tramadol pain leavel 7ish

10:30 got home put away grocerys took my meds took ibu and tyl went to bed

Friday, 01/16/15

woke up at 10:30 due to barking dogs.

11:00 took ibu and tyl. took dad to work. went grocery shopping.

12:30 got home, put away groceries, made chicken nuuggets for lunch. pain is some were bettween a 4&5.

i was half asleep half awake until 1:00am

i was itchy from tramadol got up and took some benadryl.

fell asleep about 2:00 when i got up pain was a 2. got a cup of coffee, took a shower, prayed, got dressed. pain now at a 6

2:00 took gabipention, filled out leap, did mom hair.

3:00 dropped mom off at work, picked up the kids. pain is a 5

4:00 cleaned off the counters read comics

5:30 made dinner, read bible, started to clean off the table. ate dinner, took ibu and tyl at 5. pain at a 6. played on tablet for 20 mins

6:30 picked up mom from work

7:00 took tramadol the ibu annd tyl did nothing. i dont know how to rate this pain, my whole right side hurts so bad i dont want to use it. my head, eye, neck, shoulder, back, arm, hip, leg, it all hurts. tremor started to act up. the rest of my body hurts aslo just not quite so bad. it hurts to lay down. it hurts to sit. it hurts to stand.

8:30 ice hurt, heat did not help. considered going to the ER but they never do anything, especially on a friday night. face is startinng to itch and am extremely thirsty and very sensitive to touch. 9:30 read comics, going to bed, took benadryl.


went to sleep about 11:00 pm. went to the bathroom twice.

5:00am woke up in a lot of pain. took ibu and tyl. read comics, went back to sleep around 6:30.

9:00am woke up but went back to sleep until 10:30.

weight 138.8 had coffee and cinnamon toast crunch for breakfast.

11:00am took ibu and tyl, pain is at a 7. made my bed.

12:00pm finally  got dressed. I sill hurt. all I want to do is lay down. straightened my room.

12:30pm made quesadilla for lunch, laid on my bed and read.

1:30 took tramadol. tried  to get something done but I hurt too much. i get up with doing something in mind and end up leaning against something staring into outer space until I give up and lay back down. I don’t want to knit or crochet, my hands hurt.

7:30 took ibu and tyl

8:00 took tramadol my joints hurt so bad

went to prayer ate chicken taco for dinner

lost my balance 5 times today

I have done nothing today. took Benadryl and melatonin.


how many time is it ok to lose my balance? i lose my balance at very least 3 time a day, some days it’s more then i can count. i can’t pick up something in the middle of the floor, i cant stand back up without losing my balance. i dont do u turns. i dont know if my balance has gotten any better or if i have learned to pay attention to my balance. my parants dont want me to go anywhere by myself because of my balance. the PTY told me that the more i practiced walking the better my balance would get. i dont think that it has.

i have a bad tremor 3 to 4 days a week some times its just my right arm, others it my right leg, sometimes it feels like my whole right side including my head or neck and the past couple weeks my left arm


7:45am dad woke me up to take him to work. i was up 3 times last night. i took ibu and tyl around 3am. it took me a few mins to get out of bed. pain at an 8. had a hard time getting to my clothes so just put on what i could reach. got a cup of coffee took a second cup of coffee and fruit snack while he drove to work. had to go to sams for 2 things

10:30am cleaned off a counter in the kitchen. i have lost my balance too many times to count already today. pain is now at a 4

12:30pm talked on the phone with my fried for 10 mins. talked with mom for half an hour. made lunch. ready for a nap.

2:20pm had a cup of coffee, took mom to her office. not feeling too bad. pain is at a 3.

4:00pm took mom to work. got a flat tire, called my brother-in-law to change it. had to move the tire to get the jack out. was just going to get it in place and needed help up. pain at a 7.

5:50pm went to the yarn store where my friend works. I figured if I had an hour to wait to pickup everyone from work I could be distracted by a friend until I could take some meds. I’m not sure If I can focus enough to drive when I take tramadol but I may have been in too much pain to drive. anyways, picked up the kids at 5:30, then mom, then dad.

6:45pm took tramadol changed my clothes and rode with a friend to variety night at church. really don’t know why I went. tremor in my arm has been going all day, then at the church my leg started. I felt really zoned out and became over-stimulated by the games. got home, took a shower to relax and calm down and am going to play on the computer for awhile.

Daughter’s Disease

Dear Fans, Friends, Fiends, Foes and Family,

One of the things about not keeping up with the blog like I did a few years ago is that I skip sharing a lot of news.  I noticed that when I began the project to upload the archives.  So I guess today is as good of a day as any to rectify that.  Second daughter has been to doctors and neurologists on and off and tested for a lot of things. So far she has been tested for Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and a bunch of other things with similar symptoms and has been told it is all in her head.

Today she will get the results from the doctor about whether she has Lyme Disease or not.  Most of you will recall that I do not like to use too many videos in my blog, but for those of you not familiar with chronic Lyme’s I have attached this documentary from 2009.  It is almost 2 hours long but I watched it and think it’s worth viewing, especially if you haven’t any experience or knowledge of the disease.  I will post about what happens with her test in the next couple of days.

Update on New Job and Blogging

Greetings, Salutations and Hi There to all of my fans, friends, fiends, foes and relatives,

As many of you are aware I have been working at a new job since mid-June. The decision to leave Walmart was probably one of the better ones I have made in my life and I like a lot of the call center things.  The operator job was mindless and boring but then I could read during the time between phone calls. Now that I have moved up to the handling of calls about the insurance policies and can actually help people and not just route their calls it is somewhat more fulfilling.  I like to help people, it is one of the reasons I have always fared well in retail environments and one of the rewarding things about being a claims handler.  I have never really considered myself a “people person” though. I am really not this friendly and outgoing guy but I do play one at work.

Earlier this year I had found out that some people were actually looking at my blog and reading it again and felt encouraged and started writing regularly again, but then when I got the new job, instead of finding more time for writing I found more time taken up by the things that “normal” (even though normal people scare me) people have to do that I had to let go because of my weird retail schedule. This last week I received some more encouragement in what you may think is a strange way, but it came in the form of a person telling me that they couldn’t leave a comment.  This meant not only that someone was reading my stuff, but also that they wanted to say something to me. Whether it was a remark about the article or just a note to say hi or anything, comments are really meaningful to me.

But.  Yes.  I know.  There has to actually be some content first.  During the time when I was really popular I was also really prolific, sometimes writing every day of a week and never less than four days a week. The thing is, I should not be having the tough time that I have been.  Back in May AbbyNormal posted a career quiz she had found.

The results when I took it back then were


The result when I took it yesterday as I was thinking about writing this were:


So in other words, I should be breezing through this blogging thing.

As I have promised before, I will do better, just stick with me.  Like I said, I was encouraged by the idea of someone wanting to comment and began to wonder if there were any others who had similar problems commenting but just never thought to let me know. Another thing I am going to do is try to not think about

I have made some changes to the settings and hope that I have made it easier to comment.

That’s it for now, kids, but remember,

The Good Book says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

Why I Put Fair Blows the Wind at Number Three

Dear Louis L’Amour Fans,

I had changed my chronology of the first three books to put Fair Blows the Wind back as the first book to read in the series after I had received an e-mail pointing out that Louis himself had stated that the hulk of the ship that Barnabas takes shelter in is, in fact, the same one that Tatton Chantry had found. Since Louis makes this distinction then I must, of course, follow it in the chronology titled Louis’ Chronolgy.

However, when I very first started reading these novels, not having access to any websites and before The Sackett Companion was written, I placed Fair Blows the Wind as the third book in the series. While it is true that if you follow the dates that stated in the texts you can figure out the timing, there was one incident that stood out to me. In Fair Blows the Wind, in chapter 5, Tatton mentions an old fisherman that gave him some money and clothes and advice to, “Leave the shore and go inland away from it. There be, many accents in England…try to learn a trade…” In chapter 21 of To the Far Blue Mountains a lad stows away on Barnabas’ ship in Ireland and is discovered when they land. The description of the boy is the same as Tatton, with the fine shoulders and the conversation that Barnabas has with him is almost exactly the same. At the end of the chapter the lad says, “My name?”He hesitated. “My first is Tatton. I’ll not be telling the other.”

When I got the idea to make a website with a chronology of the Sackett, Chantry and Talon families I remembered the scene. I had not read all of the first three books I list very closely together and did not think to look up dates, I just figured the scenes were meant to be the same, so I made Fair Blows the Wind number three. Therefore, with all respect to the fine folks that pointed out the error of it, I will be changing my personal chronology and leaving the LL chronology with Fair Blows the Wind first.

The Manitou Springs Adventure

Greetings, Salutations and Hi There to all of my dear fans, friends, fiends, foes and relatives,

Well, we had a nice time celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary. Some years we have gone up to Cripple Creek and stayed at a B&B up there, The Hospitality House, but the last few years the change in altitude and lower oxygen has bothered Margaret so much we had to do something different. The people in Cripple Creek were always swell and we had no other problems. Even though we don’t gamble and don’t believe in it, the plethora (glut, perhaps being the correct word) of casinos up there make dining out cheap, for the most part, including a tasty little breakfast at Bronco Billy’s, The 49¢ breakfast specials with eggs, pancakes, biscuits and gravy.

This year we wanted to do something different, so we decided to go to Manitou Springs. Manitou is a small town with a very distinct flavor and feel. Founded because of 9 natural mineral water springs there which still flow and you can still get a drink from or fill your water bottle with, if you like that sort of thing. It’s okay once in a while for me, but I’m not crazy about it. The most interesting thing about the town is not the water or the history, however. Both of those are very interesting, but, no, the most interesting thing in Manitou is definitely the people. The best word to describe their population is eclectic. In Manitou Springs in a manner of minutes you can meet a genuine Hippie Love-Child from the Sixties, a serious business person, a street musician with a banjo, a pagan, a vegan, and a poet. The characteristic that, it seems to me, anyway, that the majority of inhabitants of Manitou Springs share is an independent spirit.  This is demonstrated in a lot of different ways, one being the resounding defeat of a measure that would have restricted sales of recreational marijuana.

The place we stayed at was The Pikes Peak Inn, The Jacuzzi Suite. It has a built-in hot tub and one of those electric fireplaces in it and a king-size bed.  This room also has the best view in the whole place, overlooking Fountain Creek.  Normally Margaret needs a fan or something to generate some white noise to go to sleep but we were able to open the windows (yes, the windows actually opened) and hear the sound of the creek rushing by.  The staff was splendid, although since we were only staying one night we didn’t have much interaction with them so it’s hard to judge, but they were very nice and very accommodating.  The hotel is located at the beginning of the downtown area.  We drove up and down the main streets, Manitou and Ruxton Avenues to see what places there might be for lunch and scout where we wanted to go shopping later.  Everything is within walking distance of this hotel and easy to get to, otherwise you have to deal with the town’s somewhat peculiar parking requirements.  The town being so small and so popular I suppose they have to have some system to deal with parking or nobody would want to go there.

We decided to go to the Heart of Jerusalem Café for lunch. It was an easy walk from the hotel and at the very beginning of our trek around town. What is the opposite of “mistakenly?”  Serendipitously, maybe?  Well, it was in this case. We serendipitously went to this restaurant and it was a treat.  Margaret had the beef and lamb platter and I had the same in a gyro and it was incredibly delicious.  The falafel was the tastiest thing I can remember having in a long time. The service was very nice as well.  If you want a good, tasty plateful of food for your money, this is absolutely the place to go.  We will probably drive up to Manitou and suffer their parking just so we can eat there again.

The shops are as heterogeneous as the people and it is difficult to describe all of the places and what they have and what they do, but pretty much anything, whether you want organically grown recreational marijuana or authentic western clothes.  The ones that caught our eye and where we will be going back to were Ruxton’s Trading Post which had antiques and other stuff and two very nice old dogs (not the owners, who were also very nice), The Leprechaun shoppe, which has anything Irish or Scottish that you could possibly want with a staff that is pleasant and friendly and willing to help, and the Cotton Club, which had many styles that Margaret fell in love with.  She is not a big shopping person but this store really got her interest and she is planning to go back there as soon as we get a chance. If you know her then you know that this is some kind of special store to get her that interested.

So now that’s two things that we are definitely going to go back and suffer with the parking for.  Well, three, because we will want to go back to Ruxton’s Trading Post and the dogs.  Well, four, because I want to go back to the Leprechaun Shoppe, too.

In the evening we went to the Iron Springs Chateau for dinner and melodrama.  In my experience when places try to do two things at once it turns out they are really good at one or the other, but not so with these guys.  They were good at both.  You have to call ahead and get a reservation and this turned out to be a conversation with a real human being.  Good start.  You have two choices for food, Yankee Pot Roast style roast beef or herb roasted chicken (not to be confused with Herb roasted chicken which would be a disaster).  We both chose the beef.  I was pleasantly surprised at not only the size of the portion but the taste of the food as well.  Everything is pretty much homemade and is served what they call “family style.”  You get the main course on your plate, but the sides come to your table in bowls, so you dish up how much mashed potatoes and gravy, rice pilaf and green beans you want.  Dessert was a cherry cobbler.  The wait-staff, who are also actors in the play, are friendly and attentive and kept our coffee and water topped off the whole time.  As some of you may or may not know about me, I judge places by how they take care of my coffee cup and these guys were top-notch.

We were done eating, and very satisfied, too, well before the play began so we went outside and sat on a bench and talked while listening to the rushing of Ruxton Creek.  We were relaxing and waiting for the theater to open at 7:30.  You go in and are seated by some of the characters, our seats being in the very center of the very front row.  This made Margaret a bit claustrophobic but we came to have fun.  If you have never been to a melodrama, you really should treat yourself because it is a lot of fun.  The “rules” are simple enough, when the villain comes onstage, you boo and hiss loudly.  When the hero comes on, you cheer.  When the heroine comes on you say, “oooooh-aaaah” and when the softhearted vamp comes out you say, “hubba-hubba.”  You also interject “aw” at appropriate moments and other things that might fit.  Since we both were Cub Scout leaders for a long time we understood the importance of putting the participation part into audience participation, so we kind of tried to lead the way.  Especially since we were in the front row. It was especially easy for me to enjoy with my love of puns and characters with names like “Bing Crosley” and “Bachman Turner.”  I really lost it at one point when the villain, Bachman, who plans to take over all the radio stations in the world starting with KOZY, says he will create an empire called “Turner Broadcasting.”  If I had been drinking anything it would have shot out my nose at that point.  Another one was when he tells the vamp, “I’m still fonda you kid.”  There were a lot of other moments, too, of course, but those stuck with me.  These were talented people who could sing and dance as well as act and most importantly, have fun with it.

The melodrama is only the first half of the show, however. During the intermission we were treated to singing by a lounge-style singer who also led a sing-along of some old ragtime melodies, such as Shine On Harvest Moon and Let Me Call You Sweetheart along with others, including Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary. Not only were we celebrating our 35th but another couple were celebrating their 10th. This all segued nicely into a 1980’s style olio.  Not to be confused with 1980’s oleo.  They didn’t serve us 35 year old fake butter, but rather entertained us with a selection of songs from the eighties and timeless old jokes. It was a rather jarring fact to realize that, yes, music from the eighties is qualified as Oldies. Other than the stark realization that I could, in fact, be an oldie myself, I really enjoyed this part a lot.  The cast had been watching me all evening, it being obvious that I am a big ham and a good sport, and so at one point the girls in the cast brought me onstage, sat me in a chair, put Mickey Mouse ears on my head and sang “Oh Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind…” etc, to me.  I was laughing and enjoying myself.  I mean, what’s not to enjoy with three beautiful girls singing to you, right?  Margaret was a good sport about it all which made it that much more fun of course.

The next day we ate some of the hotel’s continental breakfast and started slowly back down the mountain, visiting some Goodwills and ARC Thrift Stores on the way, stopping for lunch at the King Soopers/Starbucks and then back home. One of the things that was kind of my present to her was that I made a “mix” CD of some of our theme songs over the years.  Here is the list of songs:

  • 01 Babe – Styx
  • 02 Happy Together – The Turtles
  • 03 Hitchin` A Ride – Vanity Fare
  • 04 I Got You Babe – Sonny & Cher
  • 05 Make It With You – Bread
  • 06 I Just Called To Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder
  • 07 I Love – Tom T Hall
  • 08 I Only Want to Be with You – Dusty Springfield
  • 09 I Think We`re Alone Now – Tommy James & The Shondells
  • 10 If – Bread
  • 11 When Your Old Wedding Ring Was New – Jimmy Roselli
  • 12 When I’m Sixty Four – Beatles
  • 13 That’s Amore – Dean Martin
  • 14 Something – Beatles
  • 15 It’s So Nice To Be With You – Gallery
  • 16 Still The One – Orleans
  • 17 Longer – Dan Fogelberg

Sorry I didn’t take time to make links to each one, but you can look them up yourself if you’re interested in any of them.

And remember, the Good Book says, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

The Thirty-Five Year Adventure

Greetings, Salutations and Hi There to all of my dear fans, friends, fiends, foes and relatives,

In the humid summer heat of a Wisconsin summer in early July, 1979, a newly-turned-eighteen year old young man was chatting up a sixteen year old young lady while waiting for her friend to return, who never did. It was at the United Pentecostal Church campgrounds in Shawano. This was the first camp of the year, Family Camp and people from all over the state came to Shawano to have old-fashioned camp meeting. None of the girls I had met there seemed very interested in what I had to say. Most of them, including the one I had met initially, this girl’s friend, wanted to talk about themselves and, as often teenage girls are wont to be, were self-absorbed. This one was different; she liked to listen to me, though. During one of the noon breaks as I sat under the shade a tree writing poetry she brought me out a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a glass of milk. She was nice and refreshing; er, the sandwich and glass of milk were so nice and refreshing. Later, she brought me to the tent where her mom and she were staying and I got to meet her mom.

A letter writing campaign began over the weeks between Family Camp and Youth Camp and by this time we both could tell that this was something more than a casual friendship. At Youth Camp we pretty much monopolized each other’s time, sometimes to the aggravation and chagrin of our friends and the worry of our church leaders who thought we might be going too fast. “After all,” one of them told her, “He isn’t really very good-looking and you would have to look at him for the rest of your life.” I was advised that I needed to take some time and think about this, after all, what did I really know about her and her spirit and upbringing? What did she know about his up-and-down and in-and-out church life? Was I aware that she sometimes got a rebellious spirit on her? On and on the questions came. “You know, Herbie, you’re both very young.”

But, when dealing with young people, you can only push so hard and question so much until they are either going to listen to you and take your advice or are going to do the opposite. I know many very nice young people that would sit down and accept your advice and slow things down, but these two, especially me, were not those kind. She was, in fact, basically a nice girl and I was corrupting her. It was pretty obvious I was a bad influence. Well, I really was, but that’s a different topic.

So, we would call long distance, back in those days before cell phones. Using my parents’ phone which had an extra-long cord that reached into my room and by calling after 11 PM and/or on weekends when the rates were cheaper, twenty cents a minute, I still managed to get their phone turned off by running up a four hundred dollar bill. But the time seemed to go by so fast. Then I would have to go down to the pay phone and plug in quarters as the time ticked on. “Your time is about to end, please insert another fifty cents to continue this call.” Standing outside in the rain after midnight was not a big deal, though.

Then we started visiting each other. She would ride the Greyhound for eighteen or more hours (I don’t remember the exact time, but a modern trip from Rockford to Green Bay is 20 hours. Buses didn’t have Wi-Fi back then because it had not been created yet. A computer back then that would do what a basic smart phone does now would have taken up a couple of office blocks, if it were capable of being programmed for the tasks. Pac-Man had just come out and was in a sit-down console the size of a large coffee table.) to come visit. The 200 mile drive to see her was supposed to take about three and a half hours but I could make it in less than three a lot of times, depending on the Smokies and County Mounties, of course.

Eventually we were told that we were going to have to wait. That we couldn’t get married unless we took the classes and waited. Well, we had a better idea. I hitchhiked the 200 miles, picked her up and we left. We were going to hitchhike as far south as possible and as soon as she turned eighteen, we would get married on our own.

I had made an attempt to chronicle the adventures in the poem I am attaching at the end of this entry. I wrote it fifteen years ago on our twentieth anniversary. I had printed it for Margaret on special paper and she still has her copy in a special notebook she made at the time.

So, anyway, we hitched from South Beloit, Illinois all the way to Crofton, Kentucky where we were picked up by a Pentecostal preacher, Bro. Hardy and befriended by his daughter, Nancy. Apparently there had been several hitchhikers murdered in the area and he took the chance on picking us up just in case. He called both of our pastors long distance and spoke with them at length and it was decided that we should be married as soon as possible. With that promise he paid the fare on Greyhound and sent us home. A responsible and noble thing to do.

The promise wasn’t kept, however. We kept getting the runaround on when we could get married and where and how and by whom, until we just couldn’t stand it anymore. All of this time her sister could have provided the permission and signed off for us to get the marriage license, but she didn’t want to until toward the end of May when she found out (this is paraphrasing and boiling the whole business down to a nutshell) that if she didn’t sign it we were going to be living in sin and it wouldn’t be worth the fight to try to stop us. So, we were promised that we could be married in her church on Saturday, June 7th, 1980, but just before that was supposed to happen (some invitations had already been sent out) it was decided that we needed to do two things, one, we promise to take the ten weeks of marriage classes and second, we apologize for our bad example in front of the whole church. Well, we felt like we were being wronged since we had already made plans and had expectations and none of these stipulations had been mentioned before now.

Thus it was that, on Thursday morning, June 5th, 1980 we took two of my best buddies, Carter and Mike, for witnesses and walked down to the Shawano County Court House. On the way down Main Street I stopped our little procession and ran into the dime store and got a ring, with matching necklace, for all of $1.65. We stood nervous and giddy before Judge Thomas Grover, who sternly impressed upon us the seriousness of what we were doing. And with Mike next to me and Carter next to Margaret (He will, of course, be forever known as the maid-of-honor at our wedding) and neither of families and no other friends present, we exchanged vows and were married. Carter went off back to work and Mike accompanied us on the mile and a half walk out to the McDonald’s, where Margaret had a Big Mac and I had a Quarter Pounder and we shared some fries and a large Coca-Cola. I don’t remember what Mike had, if anything, but when we left, Mike took the soda cup, turned it upside down, shouted “Mazel Tov!” and smashed it with his foot.

After which Margaret and I hitched a lift into town, to our apartment above the Outfitter store on Main Street, where we began our new adventure. Has it always been perfect and wonderful and awesome? Well, the poor girl did get me as her adventure prize, but you know, most adventures I ever read about, fictional or non-fictional, never went perfectly smooth and exactly how the protagonist thought it would go. That’s what makes it an adventure and the story is still, after all these years, being written.

Here for you further reading pleasure is my first attempt at a long story poem, written fifteen years ago:

The Never Ending History Of Love Part I

Breathless. Panting in that lobby. Still free!
The two teenage children stood holding hands.
Legless drunken slaver thought they were treed,
But they escaped, not giving up their plan
To run away and be married. Their plan.
Thumbs in the air, homemade bag at their side.
They do not care. To freedom they will ride.

Secondhand smoke may have some ill effects.
They think it is possible to be true
As they feel the dizzying effects
Enclosed in a car of True Hawaiian Blue.
But when offered it’s politely refused.
Thumbs in the air, homemade bag at their side.
They do not care. To freedom they will ride.

Slowly freezing to death in Joliet.
Always and again kindness of strangers.
“You can’t stay in this lobby longer yet!”
“They can stay with me!” said the kind stranger.
Gave up her bed. Saving them from danger.
Thumbs in the air, homemade bag at their side.
They do not care. To freedom they will ride.

On Indiana corn it starts to rain.
Soaking wet they ask to use the garage
(The garage being drier than the grain)
And when hubby got home, asked them to lodge
In the living room, not in the garage.
Thumbs in the air, homemade bag at their side.
They do not care. To freedom they will ride.

Kentucky, and again in danger of
Their lives. Hitchhikers here are being killed.
But they only know that they are in love.
Midnight! But the lone van’s divinely willed.
A preacher picks them up and they’re not killed.
Thumbs in the air, homemade bag at their side.
They do not care. To freedom they will ride.

Crofton, Kentucky, where they met Nancy.
Her dad not too preachy, but a preacher.
Bonding instant friendship, tho’ not fancy.
Her dad a good, wise man, a good teacher.
He pays Greyhound. Honest helpful preacher.
Even Greyhound is still the open road.
It’s on the road they will lighten their load.

So back they go to those who oppose them.
Preacher blessed them. Said they belonged married.
He told all that he thought that God chose them.
“Go back and be wed and do not tarry.”
His words, to them, authority carry.
Even Greyhound is still the open road.
It’s on the road they will lighten their load.

Some months later, without a grudge,
They rebelled, and, trusting in their love
Ran to the courthouse and sought out the judge,
So, with witnesses, and by God above,
Were wed, and pledged their everlasting love.
Their lifelong ride now really just begun.
Both on and off the road. Will it be fun?
Oshkosh. The Pioneer Marina Inn.
One of the greatest places on the road.
A very plush restaurant to sit in,
Fifteen bucks for a burger kind of goads.
“My wife is sick”, he said. They hit the road.
And so along the road to home they walked.
Sometimes the roadside chats were their best talks.

You know, the truth is that they wanted it.
They decided never to let it go.
Thru’ betrayals, lies, and throwing fits,
Instead of weakening, it gave them grit.
And so along the road to home they walk.
Sometimes the roadside chats are their best talks.

They think on twenty years that have gone by.
The story includes some breaking of hearts.
They weep when mentioning Evans Army
Community Hospital for a start.
But with great joy tell of musical heart!
And with joy they can tell of four who’ve come
And filled their lives. No room for tedium!

So have twenty years and four kids slowed them?
Could their love now even measure to half
As much as those two children way back when?
They look at you, then each other, then laugh!
“When you’ve been where we’ve been, you too will laugh.”
They’ve both grown up in ways no one could know,
And hand in hand on their little walks go.

Yes, they still hold hands and make google eyes
And talk in secret codes no one else knows.
And they cannot understand your surprise
That they are shocked how fast twenty years go.
As time flies by their love just grows and grows.
Thumbs may not be in the air anymore,
But they’ll hold hands on that celestial shore.

And so this never ending saga runs.
The more they grow the more they become teens.
They cannot explain it to anyone;
If you’ve been there then you know what it means.
Some years are fat and some are awful lean.
“Thumbs up!” On the road of life they will say.
And it’s still being homemade ev’ry day.

Herb’s Got A New Job

Greetings, Salutations and Hi There to all of my fans, friends, fiends, foes and relatives.

I haven’t exactly given up on the A – Z thing but I needed to break in and give you some news.

I have a new job.  As many of you know or figured out, I quit the big box store after having to deal with certain management types.  The type being the authoritarian, bullying type that is a throwback to the 1950’s, when the boss could get away with saying, “You’re gonna do it and like it because I said so.”  As you know, I try not to disrespect authority, but I really respect leadership.  I cannot respect micro-managers and/or people who think it’s okay to yell at employees in front of a bunch of customers.  So, after I got told off in front of a line full of people and told that, instead of closing and leaving by nine I would have to stay until possibly 10 – 15 minutes later than my shift and if I wanted to be in Money Center, then by god I better do it, I decided that I didn’t want to be in Money Center that bad.  The last time I was treated that way I left Wisconsin and would up in the Army in Colorado.

Well, winding up here, in Colorado Springs, was, I know in my innermost heart-of-hearts, was actually God’s will.  As I got to thinking about the whole situation I had been currently in, sort of an after-action review type of thing, I think God saw how miserable I was, how awful the scheduling was handled and how little money I was bringing in.  One of my issues, though, is that I am generally a loyal person and I don’t just up and change jobs on a whim and a fancy.  He knows that the only way to get me to leave was to let things get bad enough, let me get fed up with the ridiculousness of the situation and finally let me feel disrespected enough that I would not be able to stand it anymore.  Then He let me know that I was worth more than that, that I was a good employee and they just didn’t appreciate me.

Not only did they not appreciate me, but they were actively trying to push me out of Money Center by trumping up non-existent errors and unproved allegations to try to make me doubt myself enough that I would want to quit being in Money Center.  To the casual reader this may sound like the self-aggrandizing excuses of an egotistical person.  People who have worked there for those same people will know that I am not exaggerating the extent of the politics there, the smallness of the minds I was dealing with or the fact that any kind of leadership was replaced by micro-management.  I couldn’t take it any more so I quit.

As I said the other day, and this is why I think God had his hand in all this, if I would have had any of the other management teams that I had there previously or if I would have worked for and with the people I talked to on the day I left, I would probably still be there.  I think God wanted to bless me for tithing to Him and so let things fall out in such a way that I could get a fresh start.

A fresh start with more money and better, predictable hours. So, I am going to go back to a phone job at a desk with a rising company that is partnered up with the Kaiser-Permanente Health Network, answering people’s questions and solving their problems for a dollar more an hour than what I was making after 3 ½ years with the big box store, along with a set, 9 – 5 job schedule on Monday through Friday.  I am really happy with this and the company, a global outsourcing company called Firstsource, is growing and growing.  Imagine, calling a call center and speaking with a person whose accent you can understand with a name you can pronounce right here in the good old U.S. of A.

So, that’s the update on the haps with Herb.  The Haps with Herb.  I really like that.  If I wasn’t so attached to Prudentia Sit, Let Common Sense Prevail, I would change the name of this blog.  Hmmmm…

Well, so long for now, but remember, THE Good Book says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”