Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com

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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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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
  • Elements Series: Fire
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    RCA
  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    by Tod Benoit
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    by Matthew Rolston
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    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
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    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)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move

~ RIP JAVIER ~

1999-2016

Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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One Word, Luv: Curiosity
Friday
Nov282008

The Economy Of Gratitude

In Long Island, New York, this morning, a 38-year-old Walmart employee was killed as a direct result of being stampeded by eager shoppers when the automatic doors were opened prior to first light. 

An estimated two thousand people -- hundreds of whom began congregating outside as early as nine o'clock Thanksgiving night -- in fact broke the doors as the unlucky key-turner attempted to let everyone in.

Good Samaritans who tried to help the squashed worker were hindered for over seven minutes by out-of-control shoppers who, in their rush to achieve retail nirvana, made it impossible to rescue the dying man.

Several others, including an expectant mother, were sent to hospitals for treatment of injuries suffered in the same tsunami of Walmart investors who couldn't wait patiently for their turn to grab the merchandise.

I was reminded of highways clogged with evacuees fleeing natural disasters such as hurricanes and tidal waves.

Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dangerous place to stand, behind or around the Walmart doors as they are unlocked ... while most people in all time zones across America are still snoring.

In other news at another Walmart, female patrons nearly came to blows when they coveted the same Wii game. There was only one of it and two of them, and clearly that stark reality was more than either could handle. It got ugly; managerial intervention became necessary to minimize the chance that blood would be shed.

Two human beings were killed -- shot! -- at a Toys 'R Us in California today, apparently when separate shopping factions couldn't see eye to eye about who would be allowed to buy what.

Times is hard.

(But we may need to redefine "hard" before it's over.)

Where I live, the helpful folks at J.C. Penney were willing give you an actual wake-up call on your actual telephone so that you wouldn't miss a single minute of shopping at their store today.

The doors opened at four o'clock in the morning.

(Wake me eight thirty-ish ... but not with a call. Do it gently, with lots of fresh, hot coffee. I can shop at Penney's any time.)

In an online news story on the subject of the massive amount of Christmas shopping that would be done this weekend across the nation, I read about a consumer who was scouring a popular retail outlet, buying stuff for her only granddaughter, age three, who always "gets whatever she wants."

(That has to be easy. When my children were age three, they did not know what they wanted. They wanted whatever they got. And they got what I wanted to give them.)

The lucky toddler's uber-benevolent grandmother was also there to pick up "two spare TVs."

Don't want to run short on those!

In Columbia, South Carolina, this afternoon while I and two of my daughters were out doing a wee bit of shopping, the traffic was so severe that I was reminded of highways clogged with evacuees fleeing natural disasters such as hurricanes and tidal waves.

Whoa, y'all.

However much you or I love the gifts we receive on Christmas Day, they cannot love us back. Well, unless we get puppies ... or babies.

A scant two miles from my house, gasoline can be purchased for $1.52 per gallon. I call that a blessing.

About a mile from that gas station, where I did my soupçon of shopping, I had exceptionally delightful experiences. At a huge crafts store I was waited on by a cashier named Tracy. Tracy was so polite and so courteous, so anxious to serve me in an efficient and timely manner, that I thanked her expressly for it. She seemed to like that.

I must have asked eighty-five separate times for numbers to be read to me. Not once did anyone act like it was an imposition.

My last stop was at a store where I wish everyone could shop. You can shop there if you live convenient to the Carolinas or Savannah, Georgia. There's online shopping for everyone else. It's called Hand Picked, and their shelves are dripping with some of the nicest jewelry and accessories you'll find anywhere.

Key phrase: All at very reasonable prices.

And with nice rewards for volume and repeat shoppers. Presided over by just about the most helpful and cheerful staff I can imagine encountering anywhere.

(I had forgotten my reading cheaters at home. The tiny price tags were a blur and I must have asked eighty-five separate times for numbers to be read to me. Not once did anyone act like it was an imposition. A few times I even utilized the eyes of fellow customers.)

I spent a happy sixty minutes or so there, selecting gifts for my daughters. I know their eyes will light up when they see what I picked out, and I know they'll look pretty when wearing it, and feel attractive and feminine and, I hope, loved.

But on Christmas Day I plan to remind myself that if all we had was one another, and not a single gift to open between us all, we'd be among the most fortunate people on earth.

Why?

Because we are Christians ... we are Americans ... we have a large and loving family ... and our level of contentment does not depend upon how much we can spend on ephemera (material joys that last but a day) ... at Christmas or any other time ... at Walmart or anywhere else.

I am so thankful that our happiness does not depend upon the economy.

And gratitude, my friends, is an economy unto itself.

At our Thanksgiving table yesterday, before prayer and digging in, we read the following quote, attributed to a wise woman named Melody Beattie:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

 

Wednesday
Nov262008

This Can't Be Good ... But It Will Be

A holiday-appropriate card from me to you!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Saturday
Nov222008

One Chose Life

At 5:30 this morning I did something almost unheard of for me at such an hour ... on a Saturday or any other day. I got up, took a shower, dressed (warmly), put on makeup, and styled my hair. Just as if I were going somewhere important.

Because I was.

To be specific, I was going to at least one dozen funerals.

Sort of.

At 6:30, just as the slowly rising sun began staining the ultra-clear sky an amazingly delicate translucent blue, and the unleafed black tracery of millions of branches on hundreds of thousands of trees reached up to touch it in the crisp 20-degree air, TG, I, and our 22-year-old daughter Erica made for downtown Columbia.

Our destination? The only remaining abortion clinic operating in the Midlands of South Carolina.

A few arrived unaccompanied by anyone except the baby they had come there to eliminate.

(There used to be five. Four were private and all have closed their doors, the most notable one in 1995 when its owner and resident abortionist, a man once investigated for grinding the body parts of human babies in a common sink disposal, perished in an automobile accident that was his own fault. The building he owned and used for the purpose of murdering at least 30,000 children in an abattoir so egregiously unsanitary that his own employees ultimately alerted the media to the gross filth, now houses the offices of South Carolina Citizens For Life.)

The only such facility that remains in business (and business is brisk) is federally funded (read: taxpayer financed) pro-death juggernaut Planned Parenthood.

When we arrived, Steve and Ed and Anne, plus several other faithful activists whose names I do not know, were already in place on the curb in front of the plain brick building. Large signs, many of them horribly graphic (as they should be), had been strategically placed about so that those entering the Planned Parenthood parking lot could not keep from seeing them unless they either closed their eyes or became very interested in the distant horizon.

Above the entrance to the abortion mill was a huge, appropriately blood-red, canvas sign bearing these words, very large, in white: Blue Cross Blue Shield and Cigna Insurance Plans Now Accepted.

Yes! It's all about the money, honey. No! You say to me, it's all about choice!

Keep telling yourself that, darlin'.

Erica picked a spot for its good visibility and held a sign stating that helpful literature was available for the asking. I proffered pamphlets toward the closed windows of cars turning in at the drive. A sweet lady sat over to the side, obviously praying. Several men, including TG, took turns announcing to those entering the facility that there are many alternatives to abortion, and that we stood ready to help anyone in a crisis pregnancy.

We were ignored. Our fingers, toes, and noses began to freeze. Car after car turned in.

Girls brought to the facility by what appeared to be boyfriends, friends, sisters, fathers, mothers, and perhaps even husbands, were dropped off and sent inside alone where they would purchase, arrange, and endure the deaths of their children.

A few arrived unaccompanied by anyone except the baby they had come there to eliminate. Some were clearly distraught and tearful as they found parking spaces and struggled out into the cold morning air.

As a corollary of today's activity in the plain brick building there will be no lovingly selected tiny white caskets, no burial outfits, no flower sprays, no funeral programs, no cemetery plots, no headstones, no reliquary urns. There will be no need for obituaries, visitations, guest books, sympathy cards, mourners, casseroles, services, elegies, prayers, dirges, pallbearers, hearses, or graveside readings of the 23rd Psalm.

There will be noplace to go where these human beings can be remembered for what their lives might have been if things had been different ... in their parents, in their homes, in their families, in their country.

Imagine with me:

Life will not spool out before them, rich with endless avenues of possibility. They'll never wake, eyes shining, skin radiant as fresh milk, someone's arms outstretched, a loving voice saying that they are brilliant, they are cherished, they are about to have a delicious breakfast, there are plans for a shared day.

Nothing about a sunset or a ballad will ever break their hearts. There will be no tooth fairy, no Easter dress, no Christmas presents, no new puppy, no first bicycle, no swingset, no ice cream, no skates, no basketball, no birthday cake, no straight-A report cards. No purposeful endeavor, no recreation, and no achievement whatsoever.

No need for all that. They're done before they started, mercy scarce on their behalf as steeples in the Sahara.

My tissue was wadded and a bit damp but it was all I had so I used it to dry her tears.

They'll never step into a morning dense with buttery sunlight, bookbag swinging, things to be learned, accomplishment to be experienced. Never know the butterflies of the first day of school, or the joy of the last. Never hear Pomp and Circumstance chiming in the distance and thrill to the realization that it's for them.

Never taste a strawberry or a mustardy hot dog, or hunks of cold watermelon right after a swim, sand in their bathing suit and sun on their face. Never hear the crack of the bat or the roar of the crowd.

Never witness the winking of fireflies in twilight after a good supper and a summer day's worth of play. Never gasp at firecrackers on the fourth. Never hear the whir of cicadas on a hot September breeze, or see a goodness-laden late November family-filled table, or have any goodness or family to be thankful for.  Never hear a Christmas carol suspended in icy December air. Never smell the first woodsmoke of autumn or the first blossom of spring. Never see a snowflake drift from heaven and, with millions of its fellows, whiten dreary earth.

Never love another human being. Never rent a tux or wear bridal satin. Never soak in a hot bath or snuggle between clean sheets or gaze at the interior of a rose. Never embrace their own children, or teach them to ride a bike and read a book and sing and swim and skip and worship and work.

Yes, I thought those things as tears of frustration stung my eyes much as the bitter cold stung my toes. I didn't take time to write them down then, because I knew I'd remember what I wanted to tell you now.

And then I saw her. She walked slowly towards us across the parking lot, small and alone. She was wearing a windsuit but the jacket was open to reveal a thermal top beneath which a strip of nascent baby bump was naked to the cold. Her plentiful auburn hair was restrained in a faux tortoise-shell clip. She had a long reptilian tattoo on the back of her neck, and a smoker's cough.  Her eyes were green-gray and full of pain.

Nine weeks pregnant and desperate, she told us that she was there because the pregnancy is preventing her from working and she is about to be evicted from her house for nonpayment of rent. Her abusive husband has deserted her and her two young sons. She is officially out of options.

But something made her walk across the parking lot to talk with us.

She knew what we would say, and we said it. We talked for a long time. No more cars were turning in; the morning's business was well underway inside the plain brick building.

In the end we talked her off the proverbial ledge, and we prayed and cried with her, and we pooled our resources and put some cash into her hands. Steve and Anne promised to pick her up on Monday and take her to meet Anne's pastor, who they are sure will extend financial benevolence that we hope will get her through the worst.

She agreed to tie a knot and hang on at least that long. My tissue was wadded and a bit damp but it was all I had so I used it to dry her tears. Then TG, Erica, and I took her to IHOP where we relaxed over a hot breakfast. We talked for a long time. When we went our separate ways, she was (however temporarily) smiling through her tears.

Please, if you think of it, pray for her and for the unborn child. Her due date is June 11, 2009. That's a long road, but I think they know the way.

Friday
Nov212008

This Is The Cheeseball, Y'all

I never assembled a cheeseball until Christmas of 1999. That's because, until 1999, I had never tasted a cheeseball that appealed to me. Contributory was the fact that, when I was growing up, we never had anything remotely like cheeseball and crackers on our holiday table.

But when I tasted this recipe nearly a decade ago, at an office party, I made it a point to seek out the lady who had brought it and ply her for the secret of this wonderful appetizer. I kiddingly offered to pay her for it (I still have a copy of our email exchange on the subject, with the precious recipe attached).  She responded that I was "far too kind" and immediately complied with my request.

So thanks once again to my friend Holly Baker, who on that happy and festive day graciously shared with me her family's cherished cheeseball recipe. Now for our family at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, it's just not holiday time without this treat.  Plus my banana-nut bread.

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2 8-ounce packages Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened

10 ounces shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

2 Tablespoons chopped pimento

2 Tablespoons chopped onion

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 dash salt

1 dash Tabasco sauce

Finely chopped pecans (enough to coat two cheeseballs)

I use 6-7 dashes of Tabasco ... yum!

Thoroughly mix all ingredients except pecans and shape into two balls of equal size. Roll cheeseballs in chopped pecans to coat. Wrap in foil or saran and chill thoroughly. Serve with cracker assortment.

TIPS:

I use more than 10 ounces of sharp cheddar ... more like 12 to 16 ounces. Also, shred the cheese from a block. Best not to use pre-shredded.

I don't measure the pimento or onion too precisely ... more is better.

I use 6-7 dashes of Tabasco ... yum!

When you serve this or take it to a party, make sure to have a few copies of the recipe handy! People will ask you for it and you want to be cooperative.

Thursday
Nov132008

Fall In All

NOTE: The following is a piece I wrote last autumn. I hope you like it.

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Tonight I walked two miles in my quiet neighborhood under the bland stare of the full moon. I could not stop looking up. Charged with silver light, gauzy shreds of clouds drifted over the glowing sightless cyclops that has seen it all ... everything there has been to see, since God put it there.

So many falls! So much is falling. Night is falling faster each day, causing sleepy eyelids to fall.  Temperatures are falling; leaves are falling; sleeve lengths are falling.

From the huge oak, the elderly sentinel that stands watch over our house, the acorns are falling so rapidly that I imagine the fat squirrels in the branches are playing a toss game. The acorns hit hard and bounce-roll the length of the roof's pitch, doing a sprightly tap dance in staccato Morse code. Occasionally I can even hear the soft plish as one hits the pool and settles languidly to the bottom, where it will pass the winter in the deep end.

But still, sometimes, tears fall. They fall for bells that cannot be unrung as much as for bells that will never be rung.

November is falling from the calendar and from all time, like the year. The year started and progressed as they all do: with the brittle skittering sunlight piercing the thin air of winter, which softened into the fickle winds and cosseting warmth and gentle color of spring, which deepened into summer's long siege of oven-hotness perfumed with nodding honeysuckle and punctuated with the whirring of ten billion tiny wings.

Now the year is so fragile, so far gone, any moment now and the final snap! of a twig will send it toppling from the world like a plump raindrop sliding off a bird's beak.

As I walked tonight, in the velvety rustle of still-green leaves I imagined I could smell both the loamy deciduous decay of dwindling fall and the cool, delicate verdancy of future springs. Life and death were all around me and I was not afraid of either.

In the near distance I heard a long melancholy bleat torn from the throat of a train, and as I listened to the strident subtext beneath that music, the dakdak-dakdak of iron wheels on iron rails, I imagined that the cars bore the freight of years away into the darkness.

When I hear that sound, if I look closely I can see the sorrows before me as clearly as the sorrows behind me ... so I don't look. But still, sometimes, tears fall. They fall for bells that cannot be unrung as much as for bells that will never be rung. Sorrow squares off against joy in an endless showdown, determination writ large in the tense and eager stance of each.

The moon's indifferent gaze followed me home, its milky light becoming the buttery light pouring from my windows. Grateful for that sight, I closed the door of my happiness against the certainty of fall and all that follows.