Monday, October 30, 2006


I was reading my "Short History Of Confucian Philosophy" the other day and I came across the guy who had a dream he was a butterfly. He flew from flower to flower and up into the blue sky and rested in the green cool grass. When he awoke he wondered if he was a man dreaming he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he was a man.

I had a dream the other night. I was running through our woods which appeared as they do at this time of year, the beagle sisters following close behind as the do and I saw a moose or maybe it was an elk come out of the rhododendron. That was it! The dream was me doing what I do normally except for the elk or moose or whatever it was.

I asked Wanda if I was still alive and she assured me I am.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Catching Up On the Groundhog Mountain News

When I was a kid in school we used to get this periodical called "Weekly Reader". So here is my "Weakly Reader".

Last Saturday night the beagle sisters partied all night. After the big birthday celebration they had not had enough. And with all the people visiting the Parkway they had lots of new friends to party with. They didn't come home all night. AND THAT UPSET BIG MOMMY DOG AND BIG DADDY DOG VERY MUCH! It's not that they would get lost as beagles can smell their way home with no problem. Our fear is that someone would dognap these cute little critters. They have tags with name and phone number and when no one called the worries mounted. Not much sleep that night. So Sunday morning bright and early we were in the car and driving the mountain looking for the fugitives. It didn't take us long to locate them down the road and around the corner. So like all wayward children they were grounded, having to spend their next several days in jail or as we call it the garage.

First Wanda came down with the sniffles. Then came the congestion, sore throat, tight chest, and generally all over funky feeling. And then your humble narrator was visited by that same ailment. So we took it easy for several days. I even took a sick day from work, an occasion worthy of note it happens so seldom. I am happy to report we are both back to our usual healthy selves. One benefit is that we have not had cigarettes in almost a week. Maybe we can give them up for good...maybe.

File under interesting observations: In the northern part of this country (sometimes known as "yankeeland") people have fancy coffee totes that say "Starbucks", so ethereal. Down south (sometimes known as "Dixie") people have fancy coffee totes that say "Sheetz", so, well, down homey.

We celebrated our birthdays Saturday last. It started with a to Blue Ridge Tire in Galax for new skids for the Pathfinder, just in time for the approaching foul weather.
A stop to replentist the sunflower seed supply for the bird feeder. Fifty pounds for $13.
Then it was off to Floyd and shopping at Harvest Moon. Our mission was to get some English double cream which we did. As well as a basket full of other goodies.
Then it was off to Oddfellas for lunch where the chef had cut his hand and the owner, Rob was, as we would say in the restaurant business, up to his ass in alligators, trying to get the multitude of customers who had come to the mountains for peak leaf season, fed.
It was a pleasant drive up route 8 to Tuggles Gap and probably the best apple pie on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was, not suprisingly, crowded with the usual contingent of bikers with an additional group of Mini Cooper drivers thrown into the mix. We took the pie home and finished the day on our favorite couch, eating pie, watching "Capote" and thanking God for the many blessings that have been tossed our way. And then the beagle sisters decided to stay out all night!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Lovers Leap

The view from Lovers Leap between Meadows of Dan and Stuart, Virginia at 8:30 AM this morning. My $2.00 digital camera really doesn't do it justice. Santa has promised a new camera for Christmas.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's Our Birthday!!!!

Yesterday was my birthday. But thanks to that loving couple in Sweden, the Lifecruisers, the whole world now knows. Sixty-sixth for those who may be interested in this sort of thing. I had done a post inviting one and all to the party but blogger had a birthday surprise for me also and the card said something about not being connected to blogger and not being saved. So it's too late yesterdays party but since today is the birthday of love of my life, Wanda the celebration goes on!

So your all invited.
Lifecruisers have sent a case of Dom (sorry, there's several bottles shy now) and chocolates.
Mr. E come on out of that blueberry patch and, yes, chartreuse flip flops are acceptable.
Betty, come on down to the mountain but leave the cold in Wisssconnnsssonn.
Sean, take the day off, you've done enough work on the fences for a while.
Leslie, some angora underwear would feel mighty good on some of these cool mornings.
Kasia, I've declared a school holiday in Poland today.
Alexander, bagpipes, there's got to be bagpipes!
Three Collie, I know you've got some good steaks in the freezer and let the kids do the milking today.
Benning, it's hot down there in Florida, come on up and join the party in the cool of Groundhog Mountain.
Patty, it's hot in Texas, too.
It would be nice if Fred, the sage of Floyd county, showed up and read a snippet from his most excellent book "Slow Road Home" but he's so busy with the hustle and bustle in the city of Check.
Now, of course everyone else is welcome.
I would like to send a special invite out to Linda, who lives in Maine and doesn't blog. She and I were friends when we were in high school, then lost touch until recently when she tracked me down. Do you know what it's like to hear from a long lost friend with whom one hasn't had contact in fifty years? She has lived a life as have I and now we e-mail and yesterday I received a birthday card from her. Both Wanda and I have been blessed with wonderful and lasting friends over the years. We are so fortunate you all (or as we say in the south, y'all) are included among them. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Groundfog Mountain

Fog and rain on the mountain today.

Small earthquake, 2.2 on the Richter scale, down below in Winston-Salem, the town made famous by the tobacco industry.

Blogger won't let me download the picture I want.

Is it just me or does Condollezza Rice look about 10 years older in the last few days.

Population of USA hits 300 million today.

Time to fix sandwiches for lunch.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Leaves and Visitors

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Autumn has come to the mountains and with it lots of traffic on the Parkway. I mean there were lines of sightseers. People who are not fortunate to live up here come in droves to enjoy the beauty of the changing leaves. They are scheduled to reach their peak next weekend. This weekend the weather more than cooperated staying around 60 degrees (that's farenheit) so picnics and walks were the order of the day. Love of my life commented that there were too many people. Since I grew up in Florida, a tourist destination, I am used to this kind of invasion.

As those of you who have been paying attention know, it's Monday and I have several tidbits of information. The first, which is of passing interest but a nice thing here at Villa MacBeane, is we don't have to be on the job untill 9 AM (that's eastern time). It means we get an extra half hours sleep and a little more time to blog.

Secondly and of more general intrest, there appeared a comment from Buffy. She seems to have grown up in this part of the world and writes about it very well. She now lives in Europe, England, I think. She is an enjoyable read so I've added her to my blogroll.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My Baby Can Sing!

I may have mentioned before that I sing badly. I will be in church singing a hymn praising the Lord when I will hear my darling wife next to me laughing. That's right she laughs at my singing and I don't blame her. I know I can't sing worth a hoot. I am known to "make a joyful noise to the Lord". "Noise" being the operative word. And if it brings some humor into her life I don't mind. I think one of the reasons she married me is because she finds my singing so funny.

Wanda, on the other hand, sings beautifully in a strong alto voice. She let it be known at church (with a little encouragement) she could sing. Now keep in mind our church might be small in numbers but it is large in talent. About a half a dozen of the congregation sing or play semi-professionally. But then we are in the worlds capitol of bluegrass music. Galax held the 72nd annual old fiddlers convention several months ago. The Lonesome River Band is from right down the road in Meadows of Dan and fellow blogger, Leslie, At The Top of Squirrel Spur has a brother Sammy, who plays a mean banjo with that group. There is bluegrass and country music around every curve and folks, we got a lot of curves. Around here if a kid doesn't play some instrument or sing by the time they leave the playpen there's a problem. Anyway needless to say my darling wife, in between chuckling at my singing, felt somewhat intimidated about doing a solo in the face of all this musical talent.

Now love of my life is a master of excuses. She can come up with them faster than people can ask her why. This fellow Jeff, who is one good singer lent her a CD to a song she really likes and she practiced and made excuses. The preacher would add little footnotes in his sermons (while looking at you know who) about people who could sing and didn't and how he was being denied of his blessing. Finally, several Sundays ago after the congregation (really) stomped their feet and chanted Wanda, Wanda, Wanda, I committed her (that didn't sound quite right)... I made her promise to sing the following week. As the pastors wife said, she really doesn't know how good she is, and she doesn't.

So last Sunday she sang, "They Don't Understand", a Sawyer Brown song lent to her by Jeff:

A mother riding on a city bus
And the kids are yelling kicking up a fuss
Everybody's staring not knowing what she's going through.
Someone said, "Don't you even care and do you let them do that everywhere?"
She slowly turned around looked up and stared.

She said, "Please forgive them but they've been up all night.
Their Father struggled but he finally lost his fight.
He went to Heaven in the middle of the night.
So, please forgive my children."
They don't understand.

Everybody's busy with their own situation
Everybody's lost in their own little world.
Bottled up , hurried up.
Trying to make a dream come true.
They don't understand.
Everybody's living like there ain't no tomorrow.
Maybe we should stop and take a little time
Cause you never know what your neighbors going through.
They don't understand.

A man driving on the interstate.
Slowing down traffic making everybody wait.
Everybodys staring not knowing what he's going through.
Someone honked form the passing lane.
Yelled out the window, "I ain't got all day."
The old man looked around and he caught his eye.
He said, "Please forgive me.
You know it's been a long life.
My wife has passed away and my kids don't have the time.
I've been left all alone and it's getting hard to drive.
So, please forgive me, children
They don't understand.

A man hanging on a wooden cross.
Giving everything to save the lost.
Everybody's staring not knowing what He's going through.
Somebody said,"You don't have a prayer.
If you're a king come on down from there."
The man just turned His head, looked up and stared.
He said, "Please forgive them for they have not seen the light.
They'll come to know me when I come back to life.
I go to Heaven to make everything all right,
So, please forgive Your children,
They don't understand.

After church a friend of ours asked her if she would sing at the opening of his new warehouse. She sings once and already she's got a gig! Today a warehouse, tomorrow, who knows what!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I Tried To Run But She Got Me

My good friend, Betty, our favorite Boopchile has seen fit to tag me with this meme. She then was bold enough to call it a birthday present. I really think she's spent too much time in the cold air of Wisssconnnsson and has developed the Cheesehead disease.

First name? David

Were you named after anyone? I was named after my maternal Grandfather. His name was Elmer David. I sure am glad my mother turned the names around.

Your favorite lunchmeat? Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, wonderful spam. Wonderful Spam. (apologies to Monty Python)

Do you have a journal? Yes, it has one entry dated October 3rd 1995.

Your favorite cereal? Is beer a cereal?

Your favorite ice cream flavor? What ever is in the freezer.

Shoe size? Which foot? One 's a 9 EEE and the other is a 10 EE. I really love self service shoe stores. I just wonder what they do with the mis-matched pair I leave behind.

Red or pink? Does it make a difference when my white shirts are washed with a red skirt?

Your least favorite thing about yourself? My earlobes are starting to sag.

What color pants and shoes are you wearing? Black sweat pants and much to my wives disdain, no shoes.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Blue, any shade of blue.

Favorite smell? Autumn

Favorite drink? A really good glass of wine. After all, it was Jesus first miracle.

Hat size? 9 1/4 (I think)

Favorite food? Sushi, Lobster, Prime Rib, Caviar, Steamed Blue Crab... I really don't have a favorite. there's nothing I don't like and a lot I do and a lot I do like a lot.

Summer or winter? It's all good.

Favorite sounds? Silence. If I must pick something it's the surf and lines hitting against an aluminum mast. Disregard that, it's wind in the trees and rain on the roof. Disregard that, it's Wanda telling me she loves me. Don't disregard that.

The furtherest you've been from home? Lincoln, Nebraska

Special talents. I'm a fairly good artist. Singing very badly.

When and where were you born? October 18, 1940 at 2:00 PM. Elkhart Indiana at home in a bed that now belongs to my cousin and I'm still upset that it doesn't belong to me! After all I was born in it, not her.

Stella, The Great Turtle Hunter.

Stella, the smaller of the beagle sisters is a great turtle hunter. There have been several instances of her incessant barking and when investigated the object of her attention was a Box Turtle . The turtle, safely housed in it's shell, regards her with impunity. Today she (we think) brought one home. We found it by the front steps. I just wish she would change her attention to rabbits. They make a better meal than turtle.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Conspiracy Theory?

My wife, Wanda has come up with the theory that the recent e-coli outbreaks are the work of terrorists. She may be right. Who else would come up with poisoning carrot juice and spinach, two staples of the American diet. I, on the other hand, think they are working with McDonald's.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Update On lem

It seems our stray dog, Liam, (also known as Lem) has moved on. He was AWOL Wedneasday when we arrived home from work and was nowhere to be seen Thursday or since. It's funny (peculiar) how beings come into our lives and then as suddenly as they came, go leaving only pleasant memories. We wanted to give the dog to our Baltimore family but they declined to take him. I think the reason he showed up was he wanted to visit the city and when he didn't get too, he moved on. We just hope he's OK.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Amish Thoughts

Had the Amish believed in a formal education I could very well be among the group driving their buggies to bury the innocents killed in Pennsylvania. I am sure that some distant cousins of mine are there. My maternal Grandfather, a minister, left the community for an education. He was descended from the earliest Swiss Mennonites migrating here buying their land from William Penn. One of my ancestors was the first Amish Mennonite bishop in this country.

It is because of that background and growing up in my Grandparents home enjoying my Grandmothers Pennsylvania Dutch cooking and their gentle God fearing ways that I am what I am. I was brought to Christ and the goodness of Gods amazing grace at an early age. For that I am eternally thankful. I have been walking with Jesus all my life. What a blessing.

The attention that has been brought to the ways of the "plain folk" by this tragedy may be a blessing in disguise. The one thing that seems to surprise those of us living in "the world" is the capacity of the Amish to forgive. It is a lesson we would do well to remember. It is a lesson taught by Christ...forgive your enemies, pray for them that harm you, love your neighbor as yourself. In the context of whats happening in the world today it's good advice.

Forgiveness really does nothing for the forgiven but it does do wonders for the forgiver. It releases them from the anguish and pernicious hate they must otherwise bear. This was really brought home to me the day I forgave my ex-wife. Now I know it's difficult to forgive those who fly airplanes into large buildings. And it's difficult to forgive those who do unspeakable crimes against innocent children. The saying goes, to err is human, to forgive Divine and we are all too human. It's a difficult thing, this forgiveness. But then if we remember, vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, it becomes easier because, whether you believe or not, the Lord does have his retribution.

My Grandfather once wrote, this world is no friend to grace and he was absolutely correct. I readily understand why the Amish chose to shut themselves away from the corruption we have become so jaded to in our everyday world. Until something like what recently happened occurs we go about our lives scarcely noticing the evil swirling around us. The forces of evil have become so ingrained in our culture we hardly recognize them but do not doubt for a moment that in our county Satan, our spiritual enemy, is having his way.

From a practical standpoint it can be argued that any nation without a transcendent moral foundation will not be long in this world. And it can be also argued that with out the individual having the same moral authority the nation will lack that foundation. Now certainly I don't expect that non-believers will suddenly discover the joy a walk with Christ brings although that would be a wonderful blessing to them. What I do expect is that we all take a look at our moral foundation. When you get right down to it all great "religions" teach the same positive values.

The Amish have asked only that we pray for them and for the family of the now forgiven murder. They have set up a separate fund for the killers family. They have said that the donations that have flooded in are not necessary but that they are accepted because they are a blessing to the givers. These are principles that should be examined and taken to heart by us all.