Bring Me That Horizon

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Home of Jenny the Pirate

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This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.

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We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.

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 Nice is different than good.

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Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962

  

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Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors

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I am a Blue Star Mother

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Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =

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Represent:

The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were

 

 

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Columbia Cemetery

To read my articles, click HERE! And don't forget to subscribe.

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Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.

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Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson

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REMEMBRANCE

When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks
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 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.

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Keep To The Code

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You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts

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Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
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Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
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    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
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    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
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    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
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    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
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    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
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    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
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    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
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    starring Red Balloon
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    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
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    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
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    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
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    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
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    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
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    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
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    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
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That Dog Is Never Going To Move

~ RIP JAVIER ~

1999-2016

Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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Sunday
Jan302011

Talcum X

Photographed at Eagle Point/Anshai Sfard Cemetery, Rossford, Ohio, January 15, 2011.

Tuesday
Jan252011

Rest in hope

I'm compelled to say a few more things before I lay the subject of my father-in-law's timely passing to rest.

Pun intended.

Please bear with me.

The feeling I've had since we got the call about Grandpa's stroke and the unlikelihood that he would ever recover, has been analogous to a huge splinter being driven into a particularly painful part of my hand.

Or heart.

You know how when you get a wee sliver and it hurts like the dickens and you go ow ow ow? What do you do?

You immediately do whatever is necessary to get it out. This endeavor is usually undertaken with random and varying degrees of actual success.

The biggest part of the splinter -- the part you can see with no trouble if you get into a strong enough light -- comes out pretty easily. Tweeze; pull; lick it once or twice and you're there.

For me, that was the viewing and the funeral. I've told you almost all there is to tell on that subject.

And with patience that would make Job look like a hurry-up homie, you have indulged me.

But often there is a part of the sliver left below the surface and it must work itself out in its own good time.

The affected area will be sore until the offending material is purged and healing begins.

That's what I've been experiencing for the last ten days. 

So a caveat is in order: this post will be long and undoubtedly it will ramble.

You don't have to read it. With a single click you may go your merry way and I wish I were there to keep you company.

But I'm not there; I'm here and I bring you music, poetry, devotion, and deepish thoughts to ponder. If that doesn't keep you, I don't know what else to do.

It's about roses (at least in part), so ... so be it. Ramblin' Rose; get it? Cue Nat King Cole.

I've told you about the abundant beauty of the roses there were for Grandpa, but I need to tell you about one rose in particular.

In order to understand where I'm coming from, you have to know the depth of my feeling about roses.

See, I'm a romantic's romantic. I see romance everywhere; I kid you not my friends. I could see romance in a landfill. 

Or at least I'd see a useful metaphor.

Please don't think I'm bragging about my stunning uniqueness; I'm not.

(I took a survey once which purported to reveal whether a person was simply average or above -- or below --average. The results for me? I am disturbingly and distinctly average. Not exactly a news flash.)

Make no mistake: I know the rose is in some respects a cliche ... a hackneyed symbol of true love and undying passion, of life's joy and pain, of its beauty, bounty, and brevity.

But for me, when it comes to flowers, although I become instantly verklempt at the sight and smell of a gardenia (second only to the rose for pure romance), if there could be only one blossom, for me it would be the reddest rose you can imagine with your heart and mind.

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

I have loved poetry since I was old enough to read. I never approach my shelf full of poetry books, open one -- any one -- and read a few lines, but I begin to tremble. Poetry affects me that way and it always has.

For Christmas in 1975 my mother gave me a slender blue volume of poetry by Georgia poet Daniel Whitehead Hicky (1900-1976). The book contains one hundred of his works. I have not counted but I am sure roses are mentioned in at least one-fourth of the poems and sonnets.

I date my fascination with roses to the receipt of that book. There is just something about the way DWH, in his poem Silence, drops verses such as this: 

Then shall we hear, with ears attuned,

The cool blue turbines of the wind,

The generators of the sea,

Their foam-white rhythms quietly

Drawing the silver of a tide,

Shaping its patterns far and wide;

Where April suddenly breaks and flows,

The scarlet diesels of the rose. 

For the record, anybody who can think up scarlet diesels of the rose has got me for life.

But far from stopping his plundering of my heart there, the unapologetically emotional and outrageously sentient DWH writes in his sonnet The Last Hour: 

We are no stronger than the roses are

In that last hour when the hands of Time

Measuring the blood's slow rhythms pause, and chime;

We who are brave and strong, who wear the scar

Of battles that have wrung our wits apart,

We who have breathed as pauper and as king,

Laughing at life and holding each golden thing

More precious than the beating of our heart;

With knowledge like a rudder in the brain

Only in that last hour are we wise,

Weighing each waning breath with pleading eyes,

Knowing the blood's last battle all in vain.

It will not vary under any star:

We are no stronger than the roses are. 

I could go on but for the sake of time and bandwidth and the patience of whomever is still reading, I rest my case and herewith move along.

And so the roses on Grandpa's casket and the roses around the room touched me instantly and their poignant radiance lit a path for me through hard, heart-wrenching hours.

As with all creation, the roses glorified God and were in a way His manifest presence in the process. Or I should say, one of many manifestations of His presence, of which we were acutely aware and for which we were so grateful.

The roses in their nodding silence and knowing dignity were a blood-red balm.

Crimson petals against black coats and white snow lent a sweet brooding quality to the raw ache of loss.

On the morning after the funeral, TG got up very early and left with our daughter and son-in-law and the grandchildren. He drove them home to North Carolina because our son-in-law, a pastor, needed the day of travel to study for his Sunday sermons.

Audrey, Erica, Andrew, and I stayed with Grandma and my sister-in-law, Ruthie, for one more day, to lend moral support.

Around mid-morning someone looked out of a kitchen window on the side of the house that affords a view of the vacant corner lot owned by my in-laws.

(That half-acre has been the scene of many ballgames and much gardening and wood-cutting and shade-tree-sitting over the 54 years since TG's parents built -- and have lived in -- the house that occupies the adjacent lot.)

And the window-gazer-outer spotted something very fiery red against the deep snow-white expanse.

It was a single rose stuck in the snow beside the stump of a tree Grandpa cut down years ago. A rose marking practically the geographic center of the plot of ground where Stanley Weber was and walked and worked away a lifetime.

I went outside to investigate. What were obviously a grown man's footprints led from the edge of the driveway, down a little knoll and through a deep drift out to the tree stump and the rose.

We began to wonder who had put the rose there, since it hadn't been any one of us. We'd gotten home late the night before after the funeral and a meal at the home of TG's brother and his wife.

Somebody said it must've been Justin, the youngest son of TG's sister, Ruth. Justin was very close to his Grandpa because he spent more time with him than the other grands had an opportunity to do, at least in recent years.

Putting the rose in the snow was exactly the type of thing we could all imagine Justin having done.

But Justin hadn't been at Grandma and Grandpa's house the night before.

I put in a call to TG on his cellie. He was by then a little south of Cincinnati.

"Did you put your rose in the snow out by the tree stump?" I asked.

"Yes I did," he answered.

I was momentarily speechless. Don't worry! I recover quickly at such times. 

"Why?" I wondered aloud, because to me it seemed like a distinctly un-TG-like thing to do. Not because he's cold or uncaring -- au contraire, mon ami -- but because he doesn't usually go in for the overtly sentimental gesture. 

He told me that as he was getting ready to leave early that morning, his eye fell on the rose he'd been given from Grandpa's casket spray. It was still in our car, where he'd left it the night before.

"I knew it wouldn't make it home intact, so I stood there wondering what to do, and then I decided to put it out by the tree stump," he explained.

 

Well shut my mouth.

I told everyone there in the house that TG had been the one to put the rose by the stump and they couldn't believe it either. Much head-shaking ensued. 

If actions can speak volumes (and they can), then words can be gifts (and they often are). Words written and read, words sung and sent.

Consider: 

This morning I received a phone call from my son, Andrew. He is a senior at The Crown College in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he is studying youth ministry. He sings beautifully and so on occasion he is asked to bring the special music in church, chapel, and other services. 

Because all of the services of this great church are live-streamed, Andrew always lets us know when he has been asked to sing so that if we are able, we can watch and hear him.

Today was such a day.

Pastor Clarence Sexton introduced my son by saying that he had personally asked Andrew to change the song he planned to sing. Turns out his intention had been to sing I Stand Redeemed ... a fine song. But what he actually sang was an old hymn I urged him to learn a few years ago, because I like it so well. 

Copyrighted in 1923 by James Allen Crutchfield and again in 1977 by Majesty Music, the song is Zion's Hill.

There waits for me a glad tomorrow,
Where gates of pearl swing open wide,
And when I've passed this vale of sorrow, 
I'll dwell upon the other side.

Someday beyond the reach of mortal ken,
Someday, God only knows just where and when
The wheels of mortal life shall all stand still
And I shall go to dwell on Zion's hill.

Someday I'll hear the angels singing,
Beyond the shadows of the tomb;
And all the bells of heaven ringing,
While saints are singing, "Home, sweet home."

Someday my labors will be ended,
And all my wand'rings will be o'er,
And all earth's broken ties be mended, 
And I shall sigh and weep no more.

Someday the dark clouds will be rifted,
And all the night of gloom be past;
And all life's burdens will be lifted,
The day of rest shall dawn at last.

Someday beyond the reach of mortal ken,
Someday, God only knows just where and when
The wheels of mortal life shall all stand still
And I shall go to dwell on Zion's hill.

Andrew struggled with tears on the verse that begins Someday my labors will be ended ... but by God's grace he kept it on the rails and it didn't become a distraction.

Of course, sitting alone in my home office in Columbia, watching and listening to my beloved son, I lost all vestiges of composure.

It was wonderful.

In case you'd like to hear the beautiful haunting melody of this old hymn of the faith ... cue Don Jones.

No less inspiring (albeit in a different way) was the phone call I received late Monday evening from our daughter Audrey.

"Did you get the poem I sent you?" she wanted to know.

I told her I hadn't seen it yet.

"I sent you a poem!" she said, sending me flying to my computer. These are the words my daughter wanted me to read ... words with which I was already familiar, written many decades ago by one of my favorite poets:

:-:--:-:--:-:--:-:--:-:

AS I WALKED OUT ONE EVENING

by W.H. Auden

:-:--:-:--:-:--:-:--:-:

As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
'Love has no ending.

'I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,

'I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

'The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.'

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
'O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

'In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

'In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

'Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver's brilliant bow.

'O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you've missed.

'The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

'Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
And Jill goes down on her back.

'O look, look in the mirror
O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.

'O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.'

It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.

 :-:--:-:--:-:--:-:--:-:

In my entire life I've never known a better example of actions speaking louder than words in a positive way, than my father-in-law. He was a near-ideal blend of pragmatism and the childlike wonder that makes a true pragmatist bearable.

Like me, he was a romantic dreamer; he hid it well but he couldn't fool me. 

Takes one to know one.

Stanley was no one-hit wonder; in leading a simple but consistent life, he led a significant life.

Like most people, he was in constant peril of his greatest strength becoming his greatest weakness. But his strengths were so important, you were willing to overlook the weaknesses.

May the same be said of you and of me.

His appeal was that of the comfortable old-shoe variety, but he had a certain brand of corn-fed elegance uniquely his own. He was a good-looking man even into his 80s, tall and trim, an imposing figure.

We've laughed a lot (through tears, and vice versa) in recent days, recalling his many quaint (and sometimes maddening) peccadilloes. He once painted an automobile a color my nephews, who often painted houses with him, jokingly call "inner-city blue." And he painted that car with an ordinary paintbrush. True story.

As long as there was an endless supply of duct tape, you knew that no matter what broke or attempted to disintegrate, if Grandpa was around it would hold together another day.

If his Depression-era sensibilities mystified and sometimes even annoyed me, I was smart enough to know that both I and my children often reaped the benefits of that particular point of view. 

I told my children while they took one long last look casket-side on the night of the viewing: There lies a bona fide card-carrying member of what has been aptly named The Greatest Generation.

By remaining steadfast and down to earth, he kept us all grounded but very much on our toes. Even so, for all his unmistakable gravitas he was never guilty of taking himself too seriously.

His excellent taste in women (make that one woman, for he loved only one) gave me a beautiful husband and, as a result, four lovely children. For that and for them, I am forever in his debt.

:-:--:-:--:-:--:-:--:-:

ENDINGS

by Daniel Whitehead Hicky

:-:--:-:--:-:--:-:--:-:

Always an ending. Shall I never see

Some glory hidden from the slow sure blade

Beneath whose sharpened edge all things are laid,

All beauty and all love? Can there not be

Some rose that blooms beyond its farthest reach,

A sun that will not leave the bright blue day,

A meadow flower that will not shatter away,

Some wave that is not lost upon the beach?

I fill my eyes with dawn; I drink it deep,

And day is lost to dusk, and dusk to night;

I watch the moon; it blinds me, and I weep

To see it waning like a weary light.

O earth, O sky, O sea! Tell me these lies:

Beauty lives always -- and love never dies!

:-:--:-:--:-:--:-:--:-:

DWH was a brilliant poet and no doubt a wise man, and I adore that poem ... but bless his heart, he got his wires momentarily crossed. Beauty may fade and the flesh surely dies, but never the soul.

And never love. 

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 

Psalms 16:9

Thursday
Jan202011

He had me at Hello Honey

Photo Jennifer Weber 2011In the days between Grandpa's homegoing and the funeral, we Webers practically melted a cellular tower or two or four.

Mercy. Our phones rang incessantly. So much to do and to say and to decide and to plan and to arrange.

One thing that caused considerable angst was the temporary difficulty Grandma had in figuring out where Grandpa might've stashed his Army discharge papers from over sixty years ago.

I'm not really sure I have correct information on the whys and wherefores but suffice it to say, the funeral home folks needed certain paperwork that, for a time at least, didn't seem to want to be found.

TG worked on it for most of a whole day from his remote location down below the Sweet Tea Line, making numerous phone calls and sending copious emails to various agencies and individuals.

In the end Grandma found it, and in plenty of time, and all was well.

In the place where she found it were other papers ... some she'd last seen more than half a century ago, the existence of which she'd all but forgotten. Some, written more recently, she couldn't remember ever having seen at all. Others were very recent and known to her, but not to the rest of us.

So as we sat around early on Friday morning, drinking coffee and getting ourselves organized for the day, someone handed me an envelope. Turns out it contained the last letter Grandpa wrote to Grandma before they were married.

It is dated August 18, 1948 and postmarked August 19, 1948. They became man and wife on August 22, 1948, four days after the letter was written. The envelope bears a built-in three-cent stamp.

Grandma didn't seem to object to our reading it -- maybe she just didn't get the chance -- so I pulled the single sheet of paper from the envelope. 

As I did, TG (he'd already read it) was quick to inform me that the letter wasn't "romantic" or anything. Of course he knew romance was the only thing I was hoping to find; what he doesn't seem to know, even after all this time, are the unexpected places I am prone to discover romance.

But I didn't have time to retort that I'd be the judge of that, because at the first two words on the page (except for the date at top right), my eyes filled with tears.

Hello Honey

TG pointed and maybe even guffawed at my reaction. At any rate, he cackled.

See what I have to put up with?

Maybe there's a simple explanation: when TG calls me "Honey" it's usually not in a good way. Believe me when I tell you, he would never serenade me with that sappy Bobby Goldsboro ballad from the '60s.

It's always "Honey" when he's exasperated with me ... which is often.

"Honey! Honey! Honeeeeeyyyyy," he will say, usually to set me straight or, barring that, at least get me to pipe down. I do tends to rant when I gets me pirate dander up.

When he's happy or tender or appreciative -- or at least not aggravated with me -- it's usually "Baby."

"Awww, baby ..." "Baby have you seen my keys?" "Baby which tie should I wear, this one or this one?" "Hi baybeee!"

(As often as not I am "Precious Girl" or simply "Precious." I like this particular euphemism for the more-to-the-point "Jenny.")

At any rate, you get the idea.

But I shamelessly (and likely tediously) digress.

A thousand pirate apologies.

So I'm voyeuristically devouring a 173-word pre-marital billet-doux from 62-plus years ago while sitting at the kitchen table on the morning of my father-in-law's funeral.

And as it turns out, TG was right: on its surface, the letter wasn't all that "romantic." 

Stanley and Dolly.

As with my father-in-law's life in general, if you wanted to get to the heart of things, you were obliged to read between the lines.

You see, Stanley was not exactly an outstanding communicator. He said a lot but it was usually in a lecturesque or sermonesque fashion rather than in meaningful one-on-one conversation.

He was into soliloquies.

A lot of that had to do with his bad hearing, which only got worse the last 20 years of his life until, even with hearing aids, he could barely hear anything.

(Nevertheless, he told me once that he could always hear my voice. I laughed and laughed.)

My father-in-law's parents, Andrew and Inez Weber, were folks of few words and apparently it rubbed off on their hungry, hardworking progeny. I'm told their lives were about working a farm and getting enough to eat -- surviving, as it were -- and very little else besides rearing six decent children, which they did.

Photo Andrew Weber 2010

There's not been a peep from either of them since the mid '60s.

So Stanley, their son, though charming in many ways, was not what one would think of as a sparkling conversationalist. Far from being the life of any party, instead he tended to be its mostly silent observer.

It wasn't that he didn't enjoy family gatherings down through the years; he did very much enjoy them, but more in a supervisory capacity than that of an active participant (aside from cooking for us, which he liked to do).

I think more than anything, he got a kick out of watching his children and their children and their children have a good time. He derived satisfaction from providing the framework within which we could be relaxed and happy.

His letter to his sweetheart went on to say that he hoped to hear from someone named Betty L. so he'd know what he was to do, and how to get to her place ... undoubtedly to do with the upcoming wedding. He tells his girl that he's taken care of the honeymoon cabins and that he's sorry he can't send the money he owes her yet because his sister and aunt wouldn't pay him.

He says he's been looking over a map and has some ideas.

In the closing paragraph he tells her that he's spent all afternoon working on the car, with the occasional help of Robert.

(Robert was his younger brother, 19 years old in 1948, who would die of leukemia on February 25, 1951, at the age of 21.)

He says he has a "surprize" for her and that he hopes she likes it.

The last paragraph conveys enough poignant longing to forgive the practically businesslike tone of the lines leading up to it:

Honey I hope this is the last letter I have to sign my name to for a long time. And until I see you Goodnite and Sweat Dreams. Love forever, Stan.

(I'm pretty sure he meant "Sweet Dreams" but it looks as though he might've been in a hurry.)

I have no way of knowing how long it was before he had to sign his name to another letter, but I imagine there were a few when you consider that for the first two years of their marriage he was traveling with basketball teams.

Of course I never saw any of those letters, but I did see the opening line of one he wrote to Grandma in the spring of 1989.

I was expecting Andrew ... literally expecting him to arrive any day. My mother-in-law had come to stay with us and help me with the three girls before, during and after my confinement. 

One day we were standing by the sink in my kitchen, opening the mail. Grandma had a letter from Grandpa. She made a little chuckle in her throat upon opening it and beginning to read, causing me to look over at her.

She twinkled at me and, covering most of the page with her hand, allowed me to read the salutation:

Dear Lover

OKAY! Moving right along.

I'd been married ten years and was the mother of four, and I blushed. 

Grandpa was 64 years old at the time. Whatever happened to Hello Honey? I suspect 40 years of happy marriage is what happened. You should be so lucky and so should I.

Vive l'amour, my friends.

Upon examination of a picture I took of the envelope Grandpa addressed to Grandma on that August day in '48, I noticed something interesting.

In the four corners of the small white envelope, with his pen he made half-moon shapes, forming an enclosed space at each corner. Within each space he put some letters or numbers. In the top left he wrote the letter "I." In the bottom left he put "VO." In the top right corner is "LE" and something else I can't make out but which might be a lower case "u."

In the bottom right he put the numbers "04."

I think it's code for I Love You. Four more days.

And who's to argue?

Andrew and Inez C. Weber

Yet another document was found on which Grandpa had bared his soul. This had been written on the fly, on a scrap piece of paper found conveniently at hand. In my estimation it was done within the last ten years, but no one really knows.

To each one of my grandchildren, I Write: You can keep from experiencing My Love for you, but you cannot keep "me" from loving you!

I can only imagine what prompted that confession, or even what it meant to him. All I know is, 13 grandchildren wept when it was read at the funeral.

The last piece of mail Grandpa likely ever wrote on was a small white security envelope.

It was addressed in block letters by a shaky hand to:

InSound Med, Inc c/o MDNET Solutions, 100 Mansell Ct. E., Suite 650, Roswell, GA 30076

In the upper left-hand corner of the envelope he'd written "WWII VET" and he'd added a 44-cent Liberty Bell stamp on the top right.

In it he had placed a gospel tract entitled Eternal Life is a Free Gift.

It seems he had taken to scrutinizing every piece of junk post he received and, rather than simply throw it in the trash, he used the addresses to send some good news back to whomever might be opening the mail.

Grandpa took seriously the Scriptural Great Commission to go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 

Addressing a few envelopes each day wasn't the least he could do; it was the most he could do. He could no longer walk well, hear well, speak well, or even write well.

But to the very end, he did not let that keep him from finding a way to say what was in his heart. Although infirm and in constant pain, he was not deterred from sharing the truth of God's love.

I hope when God the Father and Jesus His Son greeted Grandpa in his eternal home, they said "Hello Honey."

Or words to that effect.

Tuesday
Jan182011

Joy comes in the mourning

It was one of the easiest things we've ever done and one of the hardest things we've ever had to do.

Burying our beloved Dad and Grandpa, that is.

The easy part came in the complete lack of despair, regret, remorse, anger and hopelessness that is sometimes so painfully evident at funerals.

Grandpa was up in years and had not been well. We'd all told him how we felt about him; he knew he was loved and that none of us wanted him to go.

The week between Christmas and New Year's Day, TG and Andrew had gone to see Grandpa in Ohio. They bundled him up one afternoon and took him to Pettisville, to the farm where he was born.

He hadn't the strength to leave the truck, but several relatives and neighbors came to his window to hold his hand and chat with him. It was a happy and life-affirming experience.

Grandma.Six days later he was taken down by the stroke. Four days after that, he passed on.

So, honoring him and memorializing his life was easy and even a joyous process despite the fact that it is always heartbreaking to lose a loved one.

Which led to the hard part: saying goodbye.

At least for now.

We believe and take on faith that Grandpa is in heaven with the Lord, Whom he trusted entirely for his salvation.

Jesus said ... I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. 

John 11:25-26, King James Bible

And so as we gathered last Thursday to pay our respects and receive our guests, our hearts were heavy but not without hope. We grieved and there were tears but there were also plenty of smiles and even a lot of laughter.

One granddaughter (Roxy, left) and two great-granddaughters: Carly (middle) and Jaclyn.

The union of Stanley and Dolly Weber has resulted in forty-three people being added to the family if you count their children, their grandchildren, their great-grandchildren, and all spouses.

Two of my personal favorites are our nephews Justin and Dan.

Grandsons Justin (left) and Dan.

They were good buddies of Grandpa's, too.

TG and his only brother, Ron, are always the handsomest guys in the place. They're very tall.

The sons: Ron (left) and Greg.

Their beautiful and sweet only little sister, Ruth Anne, treasures her beautiful and sweet only grandchild, little Alexis.

Ruthie and Alexis.Great-grandson Collin stationed himself by the outside door. He was a greeter, as it were.

Collin Weber.

Grandpa was surrounded by so many flowers. I loved his red-rose casket spray.

There was a video playing continuously during visitation. It was a tear-jerker. This picture in particular is a family favorite. It's Greg and Ron being embraced by their dad mere moments after they placed first and second in a Rossford High School track event.

Erica and Andrew watched intently.

Grandchildren Erica and Andrew.

Among many other things, Grandpa was a World War II veteran.

Greg and Ron were overjoyed to spend time with Bill Hoerr, the Christian businessman who led them both to Christ in the early '70s.

(l to r) Greg, Bill, Ron.

Grandpa's grandchildren and great-grandchildren paid their respects many times throughout the evening. Considering the gravity of the situation, I was impressed by their poise and absence of dread.

Toward the end of visitation, when all of the friends had gone home, grandson Todd, Ron, and Greg spent a few last moments with Grandpa. Andrew's over there too but you can hardly see him.

The day of the funeral was cold and snowy, but the sweet smiles of the little ones warmed all who met them.

These children are being carefully brought up as per the Biblical model: in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I am so thankful for their Godly parents.

Great-grandchildren (l to r) Travis, Lauryn, and Taylor.

A placard announced that Grandpa's funeral was the event of the day.

My son Andrew, the youngest biological grandchild (our darling Roxy is younger but she was adopted from Romania) and Angie, the oldest grandchild, sang Jesus Led Me All The Way during Grandpa's funeral.

My favorite verse is the middle one: If God should let me there review / The winding paths of earth I knew / It would be proven clear and true / Jesus led me all the way. Jesus led me all the way / Led me step by step each day / I will tell the saints and angels as I lay my burdens down / Jesus led me all the way.

Grandchildren Andrew and Angie.

I wish you could have heard it. I wish I'd had the presence of mind to video it. Oh well. I was busy crying.

Keeping one's pirate eyeliner in place can be complicated at such a time.

Angie's husband, Steve Hobbins, officiated at the funeral. He is pastor of the Lewis Avenue Baptist Church in Temperance, Michigan.

Here are Steve and Angie with Bill Hoerr and four of their beautiful children. They also have a little son, Steve Junior. They call him J.R.

Back row l to r: Jaclyn Hobbins, Bill Hoerr, Steve Hobbins, Angie Hobbins. Front row l to r: Carly, Lauryn, and Lindy.

Finally it was time to carry Grandpa out. His six grandsons, a nephew, and our son-in-law were the pallbearers.

Borne to the waiting hearse by Johnathan Klempner, Justin Klempner, Dan Weber, David Weber, Todd Weber, Andrew Weber, Jerry Weber, and Joel Bixler.

Mark Wasylyshyn, Sheriff of Wood County, Ohio, is a longtime family friend. He led the cortege to the cemetery but first showed great respect for Grandpa as the casket was loaded into the hearse.

Sheriff Wasylyshyn.

And just like that, Grandpa was ready for his last ride.

It seemed like such a long ride through the snowy countryside to Grandpa's final resting place. Once there, the pallbearers, directed by brothers Mark and Brian from the wonderful Sujkowski Funeral Home of Rossford, waited for the signal.

The awesome Brian.We sat in the mausoleum for what sufficed as a graveside service. It was too bitterly cold to stand around outside.

Grandma received Grandpa's flag.

Brian then distributed the roses from Grandpa's casket spray, one to each family member. I loved this part.

We were, after all, the flowers in Grandpa's garden.

Ron stood to watch everything.

Joel, Stephanie, and Audrey were behind me. Their faces tell the whole story.

My rose.

Outside again, TG and I posed with two of our best friends in all the world: Jess and Kathy Fleming. They drove several hours that morning to attend the funeral.

Photo by Erica Weber.

There was too much ice and snow for the pallbearers to carry Grandpa to his grave, so the workers did it. TG stopped the car as we left so that I could take the pictures. 

It was hard to drive away. Later that night my children struggled with leaving Grandpa alone there. Of course we know he does not feel the cold, but I guess we felt it for him. It was rough.

I'll write more later but until I do, if you'd like to see additional photos, click on the picture of Andrew below.

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

I Thessalonians 4:13-18, King James Bible

Wednesday
Jan122011

White is right

How about a wee update?

TG and I have been in North Carolina since Sunday evening.

We got here just ahead of the snow.

White is right!

Although we didn't get as much as some folks, there was plenty ... with ice and bitter cold as a nice little reminder that's it's January and how.

Several times on Monday, for Javier's sake, I strayed about six inches from the front door.

Bleak ... very bleak.

B&W landscape

Nevertheless, Joel got Stephanie to the hospital where she had a procedure. By mid-afternoon on Monday she was under wraps at home, recuperating.

Allissa was glad for that mama's arms.

Steph and Allissa relax

Melanie, the master organizer, stayed busy nearby.

Melanie organizes ... things

At noon today we plan to sally forth over the mountains (that ought to be interesting), bound for Knoxville.

Erica's heading that way as well, from Atlanta where they were much harder hit weather-wise than we were.

In Tennessee we'll collect Audrey and Andrew.

We need to leave very early tomorrow morning for Toledo. It will take most of the day to get there.

Grandpa's viewing is scheduled for 4-8 p.m. on Thursday. The funeral will take place on Friday at 11 a.m.

TG's doing well but I think the next few days are going to be very difficult. He's in reminisce mode and frequently there are tears.

We appreciate your prayers!