Thursday, November 17, 2016

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time." -- Laura Ingalls Wilder

Are you beginning to begin to think about beginning to get some holiday spirit? This is on my mind as we take the time to spend some time together or as they used to say back home, just hanging out and shooting the breeze. (There are a number of thoughts about where that slang term came from but I will let you look it up on your own.) At any rate, we do find ourselves today on this Thursday, November 17, 2016, just one week away from Thanksgiving Day. Technology is advancing all around us every second of every day. We all know that some of these advances can be harmful. Texting while driving. Exposing children to images they should not see. Stalking others. Using messages to bully or tear someone down. Those are but a few. Yet, there are some wonderful uses as well. The ability to keep up with those who need to be monitored via video feeds. To stay in touch with those near and dear in a myriad of different ways. And then we have this one from one of my brother Santas. He gave out early presents to some kids whose dad was deployed overseas and would soon be out of reach at a remote location. Using Skype, dad was able to participate in the proceedings. How great is that? I've seen the same thing done where dad could be there realtime for the birth of a child. How about the methods now available for getting the Gospel out, all over the world, literally? The top of the photo shows dad watching his boys get their presents. Not bad, Santa, not bad at all!

Yours truly, 2009, Santa with training wheels.
This may sound odd but that would not be anything new for me. Sometimes I catch my reflection in a mirror or maybe a window and without thinking, I do a double take. For a split second, I thought I actually saw Santa Claus. While it may be fleeting, it does show the power of an image and the thought it conveys. I know what some of you are thinking. Since I am Santa Claus, then why should I be surprised when I see an image of myself. It's like that relationship status people post, It's Complicated. I don't know of any relationships that are not complicated but that's a story for another day. I'm only two days away from my first big day in 'the chair' and I remain somewhat anxious about it. That's because of my number one helper and sidekick. Due to her weak back, she will not be able to be with me. I always do better when she is with me. Always. That reminds me. She should be using that Three Stooges line while she can, "How long have you had a weak back? Oh, since about a week back." At any rate, please pray for Mrs. Claus' soon recovery and you might throw in one for Santa since he tends to be seeing random sightings of himself these days.

The other day when I drove over to Louisiana, I passed by some very familiar terrain. I saw the dirt road that turned off to go to where some of my grandfather's people lived. We visited there a number of times when I was a kid. Okay. I can remember my first visit there when I was only 8 or 9. After we lost dad we had been transported from a small city to rural Louisiana. However, when you turned on to that particular dirt road you entered another level of what rural meant. I later learned to compare what I saw there with the folks that live back in the hills of Appalachia. Back then, I was mostly in shock. For crying out loud, my distant cousins about my same age were already dipping snuff and cursing with words I literally had never heard before. In the winter time, when you came into the front room where they had a fireplace blazing, the first smell that hit you was the odor of snuff sizzling on the coals. They would look me over, shake their heads, and say out loud, "So this is one of Lena's boys." We hunted with them from time to time. I remember they had lots of dogs. Some of the dogs were used to hunt. Others appeared to mostly lay out in the middle of the road and only move at the last second when a vehicle approached. The kids wanted me to go down to the creek with them. I barely could understand their language. I well remember how glad I was to hear Paw Paw say, "Well, I think we best be getting back." Just thinking about it now, and I'm still ready to get out of there. I shouldn't be too hard on these people. They were, after all, my kin. And, the kids did try to be sociable. They even offered to roll me a cigarette. Lots of memories and lots of roads to turn off on. I'll hit another one of them on another day. Be blessed and thank God for His provisions. Amen. ....More later.

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