Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, July 1, 2019


Openers:  Whitey Carver was shivering in spite of the choking Burmese heat.  His meager, scrawny body moved stealthily along the lush, moonlit greenness at the edge of the jungle path.  He felt for his pistol and glanced around nervously.  In two days they would be back in Mandalay -- but this was not a well-traveled trail, and there were head-hunters in the neighborhood.  The tow-headed, dwarfish guide licked dry lips.

-- "Waters of Death" by "Charles Stoddard" (Henry Kuttner) (Thrilling Adventures, September 1941)

Linda:  Today would have been my sister's 76th birthday.  She was taken away much too early by an evil cancer.  (I hate to personify most things but in this case it is fitting.  Cancer is evil.)  Linda was cheerful, kind, generous, empathetic...and she could talk, and talk, and talk.   Once while visiting them, Linda's then-husband and I went to the local store on an errand.  As we entered the store, he turned to me and said quietly, "Play along."  He said to the owner, "I'd like you to me Linda's brother.  He doesn't talk because growing up he never got the chance to with Linda around."  I smiled, offered my hand, and remained silent.  The store owner bought it completely; he knew all too well how much Linda could talk.  I miss her.

July 4th:  One of my most favorite holidays and a big deal in my home town.  On the third of July, local organizations would set up booths on the town common; sorry, no commercial booths allowed -- just food, crafts, games, raffles, and the like.  It seemed like everyone you knew was there.  You may not have seen someone for a whole year, but you would meet them at the fair.  Old friends and new...there was always a lot to talk about.  Every year the town Historical Society would raffle off a handmade quilt and every year we would buy a passel of chances and every year we would not win.  **sigh**  One year Kitty and I were in charge of the booth for the local girls' Fife and Drum Corps, selling popcorn.  We were specifically told that the purpose of the booth was not to make money but to publicize the name of the Corps, so we figured out our margins and priced the popcorn aat 25 cents a bag -- half or a quarter of what other booths were charging -- and became the most popular popcorn booth of that year.  We lost no money and everyone at the fair knew our organization's name.  Goal achieved.  Then more than several of the parents started complaining because we did not make a large profit.  We ignored them. 

Sometimes in the evening the local police band would give a concert.  The following morning, the Unitarian /Church by the Common had a breakfast.   Around 10:00, there would be a well-attended road race from the high school to the Common.  The parade -- one of the largest in the area -- began at 11:00; people would line up chairs along the parade route the day before.  Bands, local groups, a few floats...the parade always seemed to go on forever (in a good way).  By mid-afternoon, the fair had broken down, the Common cleaned, and everybody went off to celebrate the holiday in their own way.  When I was a kid that meant a large family reunion at my grandfather's, my father being one of nine.  My sister, my brother, and I fell in the middle range of all our cousins, age-wise.  And there were a lot of cousins, making the old two-seater in my grandfather's shed a blessing. 

Even later, family get-togethers were the go-to affairs.  My folks would have a cook-out, games on the back lawn, and laid-back relaxation.  There was a lot of laughter.

Is it any wonder that the Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays?

This Week:  President Trump has co-opted the Fourth in Washington, D.C.  Normally the pervue of the city of Washington, Trump has decided -- since he couldn't get the military parade he wanted -- that he would host the event, "addressing" the nation from the Lincoln Monument.  Over many years, D.C. has ironed out many of the kinks of the July Fourth celebration, allowing everything to flow smoothly.  Now Trump and his plans have thrown a monkey wrench into the works, the latest being to move the location of the fireworks -- a logistical nightmare for the city.  I fear this holiday will turn into a big ego-boost for the president, complete with cries of "Lock her up!" and lies about his election "victory" and his accomplishments.  **sigh**

Speaking of Lies:  "We have the cleanest water we ever had, we have the cleanest air we ever had, but I'm not willing to sacrifice the tremendous power of what we've built up over a long period of time and what I've enhanced and revived.

"I'm not sure if I agree with certain countries with what they are doing, they are losing a lot of power.  I am talking about the powering of a plant.

"It doesn't always work with a windmill.  When the wind goes off,  the plant isn't working.  It doesn't always work with solar because solar's not strong enough, and a lot of them don't was to go to wind, which has caused a lot of problems."

That's you-know-who at the G-20.

What a jamook.

Florida Man:  ...tells deputies that the cocaine on his nose was not his (June 10)...wearing a Coke t-shirt, is arrested (drum roll, please) for selling coke (June 7) found mopping (yes, with a mop) tables at Burger King (June 6)...found naked in a chicken coop (June 6)...pours salt in a Walmart to get rid of evil spirits (June 4)...arrested for domestic ketchup battery (June 4)...murders Pinky the flamingo in Busch Gardens and die in "potential karmic retribution" (June 26)...arrested while trying to catch Pokemon (June 20)...buys an "villa" at a state auction only to find that it is a one foot wide piece of land (June 19)...travels 1000 miles to cut off the penis of the man who is dating his ex (June 17)...has rough sex with his girlfriend and leaves a fishhook in her nose (June 17)...

And...Floridabug is a super termite who can chew through concrete and plumbing and spits acid (June 28)...

And...Florida woman dubbed "the roughest looking prostitute in state history" is arrested (June 27)...

And...Florida Man and Republican Governor Ron Desantis signs Republican-sponsored bill that effectively negates an approved ballot question restoring voting rights to ex-felons.  The ballot question was overwhelmingly approved by voters; the new law signed by Desantis will disenfanchise an estimated 100,000 voters -- most of whom are presumed to vote Democratic.  And so it goes.

Today's Poem:
A Nation's Strength

What makes a nation's pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold.  Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid in sinking sand
Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword?  Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their swords to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride?  Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nation's sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can  make
a people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor's sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly...
they build a nation's pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. I just picked up four books this afternoon, Rick. They will be listed in next Monday's post.