Monday, November 30, 2009

Another rerun

This was Happy Trails in the CBC Post, July 1998

A person does not have to spend very much time shopping for a horse before coming to the conclusion that what a buyer thinks a word or phrase means and what the seller thinks a word or phrase means mare sometimes two different things entirely.

For example, if an ad in the paper says a horse is “gentle” the buyer might take it to mean that the horse is willing to stand quietly and cooperatively for pretty near anything from grooming and saddling to farrier and vet care. On the other hand, everybody who has a horse to sell has put “gentle” in their ad, so it might not mean anything at all. Or if a horse is advertised as “bombproof,” the buyer thinks it means the horse won’t spook around traffic or when pheasants fly up from nowhere. But what it really means is he’s probably so old he doesn’t have the ‘git’ to run away from anything and anyway, at his age, he’s probably seen everything from the horse drawn milk wagon to space shuttle and you couldn’t scare him if you wanted to.

I ran across this list in Horses USA magazine:

What the ad says What it really means

“Friendly” comes up to you in the pasture,
but you won’t be able to catch him.

“seasoned” tired

“good with kids” doesn’t like adults much,
might have a sore back

“man’s horse” you’ll have to be a weight
lifter to stop this one

“needs experienced rider” bucks, spooks, runs away, rears

“good prospect” the horse may be able to
perform as required in a few years

“broke” green-broke

“green-broke” halter broke

“halter broke” once looked at a halter

“loves trails” hates arenas

“successfully shown” no one was killed at the one
schooling show he was taken to

There’s probably a lot more a person could add, but you get the idea.

I’m thankful that God’s Word does not require any tricky interpretations. It says what it means, plain and simple. When it says, “You shall not commit adultery” Ex 20:15, it means you shall not commit adultery. It doesn’t mean, “You really shouldn’t commit adultery, but go ahead if you really can’t resist.”

And when it says, “You shall not steal” Ex 20:15, it means you shall not steal. It doesn’t mean, “You really shouldn’t steal, but if your broke, go ahead.” What do you suppose it means when it says, “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:9 It means God will supply all your needs so you won’t ever have to steal.

It isn’t all on the negative side. It says in 1 John 1:9 that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

And how can we know that this is all the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Because God can’t lie (Numbers 23:19) and it all came from God (2 Timothy 3:16).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This was Country Roads in the Blair Enterprise February 13, 1992

I know, in this day and age, that it is extremely unpopular to create male-female role models for your kids, but in my family it just sort of happened. Before we knew it, the mom was in charge of certain chores and the dad has his own realm of duties to perform.

For example, the mom (that would be me) in our household does most of the cooking and housework. We never really sat down and designated those duties as “mom’s job,” it just happened. The mom is also in charge of the stern ‘just-wait’ll-I-get-you-home” looks the children earn when they are misbehaving in public.

The mom also has the privileges of going to the bank on payday, going to the grocery store when necessary, and going where ever else is necessary to keep a family functioning. (Or dysfunctioning, if you prefer.)

The dad in our family, among many other things, is in charge of silliness. It’s his responsibility to offer silly answers to silly questions, laugh at bad jokes and make up nicknames for things that happen around the house.

For instance, when our daughter was a colicky infant, her dad started calling her “Tiny-ranasaurus Rex.”

And one morning, she got a little carried away with the sugar on her cereal, and Dad promptly dubbed it Mount Sugar-Man-jaroo. It did look a lot like a sugar volcano had erupted in her cereal bowl.

If he can’t recall the correct name for the latest cartoon craze, he has a tendency to make up one of his own, like Jeenage Nontant Muja Turtles – or something like that. Or if he can’t quite remember the words to a song, he throws in something that has neither rhyme nor reason or anything to do with the original song, but he does have perfect pitch, and he has been known to juggle while he sings.

This often evokes the response, “Dad, can’t you ever be serious?”

I think it will be awhile before the kids truly appreciate their dad’s sense of humor and the fine fashion in which he has handles his responsibilities in creating levity in a world that doesn’t always offer a lot to laugh about, but I’ll bet long after they have grown and moved away from home, whenever they hear the French National Anthem, the words they sing to themselves will be, “I took my fish to church on Su-un-day!”

Monday, November 09, 2009


This one is from the CBC Post (Country Bible Church’s monthly newsletter, which I edited from 1997- 2002) I wrote a column entitled Happy Trails. This one was published in November of 1997 and since my birthday is this Friday, I decided to do this one for you.

While I was growing up, my family had three birthdays to observe in November: my sister’s on the 12th, mine on the 13th and my dad’s on the 14th. Since I am the youngest, everyone has always wondered how I managed to be born on the day between the two existing birthdays instead of on one of them, or during another week entirely, but I’ve never been able to explain it, and it really doesn’t matter, since I had no say in it at the time. But I always did felt special having my birthday right next to Dad’s. I guess I thought it meant I had a head start over the other five of his kids on being his favorite.

I don’t’ remember any huge family celebrations taking place over the course of the three birthdays, but mom always had a flair for Angel food cake, so there was usually at least one of them around.

Dad never wanted any fuss at all made over his birthday, something I have come to understand completely the past few years. I remember a few times when I had somehow gotten come money and did some very careful shopping for just the right birthday present for Dad. He always carried a big red or blue bandanna in the back pocket of his overalls. One year, I noticed some of them were getting frayed and worn looking, so I bought him some nice white ones. He opened the pathetically wrapped package I presented to him and dutifully expressed pleasure in the gift by saying simply, “Hmmmm. Ain't those nice?” He was a man of few words, Dad was.

I’ll never forget the summer of 1969. Dad was driving truck for a frozen food company and I got to ride along with him on a run to Denver. I remember it was very hot and the truck had no air conditioning, so we rode with the windows down. That, and the roar of the truck engine pretty much eliminated any small talk, other than, “How much further?” and “When can we stop and eat?”

One stop that stands out in my mind was at a rest stop along I-80. There was a pond behind the restroom building and Dad and I walked to the water’s edge and saw some carp swimming close to the shore. I threw them a few Cheetos, which they gobbled up and then we both laughed when Dad threw in his cigarette butt, and one of them gobbled it up just as greedily as if it were a Cheeto.

In a tragic turn of events, a few short months after that vacation with Dad, he suffered a massive heart attack and died at the age of 56. I didn’t feel much like having birthdays after that.

In an effort to preserve Dad’s memory, I keep a small collection of his “things.” In addition to a few photos, I have his wallet and a coin purse that he kept in his pocket. And a white handkerchief. But one of my favorite things is a piece of paper that he wrote on. It is a receipt from Oakland Memorial Hospital dated November 18, 1955 and signed by Dr. H. Tibbles that he “received from John E. Gatewood the amount of $98.00 in payment for the delivery and five days of care for his wife and baby daughter. Dad’s signature is on it. Looking at it gives me comfort. I am his daughter, He paid for me. “Paid in full” it says across the bottom of the receipt.

I have another Father who paid for me. Only it cost Him way more than $98.00. He paid my sin debt in full by the blood of His only Son. I am His. And because of that payment, I won’t ever have to die and I’ll someday be reunited with the people I’ve missed so very much since they left this life for a better one.

Now THAT makes me want to throw a birthday party!

Monday, November 02, 2009


Okay, here’s the deal. I wrote a personal column called Country Roads for the Blair Enterprise from 1992-1994 or so. And then I wrote one I called Happy Trails (my attempt to be Spiritually insightful) for our church newsletter from the late 90s through 2001 or so. And then I wrote one called Loose Threads (it was mostly about quilting) for Country Lanes magazine for a couple of years. So since I am having trouble finding time to come up with new stuff for this blog, I am going to start posting reruns from one or the other of the three columns I used to write. This will be my chance to make all the corrections I wish I had made before they hit the news stands, so some of them will be edited for… well… whatever they need to have edited out of them in order to make me look more intelligent.

Here’s one from Country Lanes September 2006:

21st Century technology provides us with endless opportunities to buy gadgets. The one that captured my imagination recently is the communications service that comes with certain makes of new vehicles. According to the radio ads, a calm friendly voice speaks to someone who is on the brink of panic because they have just locked their keys in the car with a couple of toddlers. The tech sends out a signal to the car from some remote location, unlocks the car and the caller bids adieu singing the praises of the company and its representatives.

What we really need to do is get our sewing rooms logged onto this emergency communications network. Then, at the touch of a button, we could get on the line with someone who could send out a satellite signal and locate our add-a-quarter when it goes missing. All the while, this person would be speaking in soothing tones; the conversation might go something like this:
Rep: “You’ve reached the Sewing Room Rescue Network. What can I do for you today?”
Quilter: “You’ve gotta help me! My add-a-quarter is buried on my sewing table and I need to get this project finished by tomorrow!!
Rep: “Okay, ma’am, we’re here to help you. I’m just now sending out a signal and your add-a-quarter should begin to beep any second now so you’ll be able to find it.”
Quilter: “Yes! I hear it now! Oh thank you so much! I’ll name my first grandchild after you!”

The Sewing Room Rescue Network would be absolutely invaluable when it’s time to rethread and set the Serger to a new stitch. That might require its own satellite hookup: they could be kept pretty busy.
Rep: “How can I help you today?”
Quilter: “I’m desperate! U have to get this dress hemmed in time for my daughter’s wedding and I can’t get the Serger set for the blind stitch. I’ve tried rethreading and resetting a dozen times and it’s just not working! Help!”
Rep: Okay, ma’am, try to calm down. I’m locating you in our directory and I see you have the Turbo 4740 Model. What you need to do is hold your tongue out the left side of your lip as you thread the needles. And ONLY use your right foot on the footfeet when you get ready to go. But remember, this routine only works on the first Tuesday of the month, so if you need to hem another dress next week, use ONLY your LEFT foot. Would you like me to stay on the line with you while you try that?”
Quilter: “Yes, would you, please?”
Rep: “I’d be happy to. That’s what we’re here for.”
Quilter: Okay, I’ve got it threaded now…. Stepping on the footfeet…. It works! Oh, thank you! You’re the greatest!”
This Sewing Room Rescue Network could also provide emergency supplies of fabric when you only need one more fat quarter to finish, Or just another half spool of thread when you run out and you only one more row to go.
Wait a minute: you already have a Sewing Room Rescue Network. It’s called your local quilt shop!