Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree...

I had to accompany Rena to Lowe's to purchase the annual Christmas tree Friday evening. Now, the problem with that is that every tree on the property must be examined before the purchase is made. Fortunately, this time she was only looking for a specific variety - a Frasier Fir. That meant that we only had to go through several hundred rather than the whole lot. I had the indignity of having to stand the trees up while she went to the other side of the store to look at the tree that I was holding.

The first choice looked great to me, and I told her so, but that did not put an end to the process. So, I put it back and went on to the next and then the next and...well, you get the idea. The most embarrassing part was when she was halfway across the store examining her choices. Inevitably, she would shout, "Now, turn it to the side so I can see it from a different angle." After obediently doing so, she would point in the general direction of my derriere and say, "That's definitely the bad side!" Then she said, "Now, twirl around." If half the customers in Lowe's had not heard her comments I would not have felt so bad.

Finally, after most of the evening was over, she made her selection. Of course, it was the original one we had started with. Actually, that made me think. She started with me over 28 years ago, and she still has the original one. I guess one long evening at Lowe's isn't all that bad.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Mouse in the House

This entry was originally published last Thanksgiving. It is factual for the most part. Maybe Belle dreaming about a prince is a little exaggerated.

'Twas the night before Thanksgiving
When all through our house
The only thing heard
Was the squeak of a mouse
Belle had reclined
On the couch by a chair
In hopes that a fair prince
Would notice her there
When out in the kitchen
There arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed
To see what was the matter
Dudley had charged
From out of Al's bed
His ears at alert
On his magnificent head
To the cabinet he ran
Where the cereal boxes were
And waited by the door
For the adventure to occur
The mouse had no clue
Of the danger in the air
While Belle stood nearby
Way up on a chair
I opened the door
Dudley crept in real close
His eyes were quite focused
Alert was his nose
The mouse must have thought
He was safe as could be
The next thing that happened
Surprised even me
The dog took a leap
By a Raisin Bran box
And his jaws snapped shut
Like those of a fox
He backed from the cabinet
His mouth full of mouse
And walked with great pride
Through part of our house
The rodent then dropped
On our nice kitchen floor
While Belle was threatening
To go through the door
Then Belle came down
And stayed at our house
She said, "Thank you, Dudley
For killing the mouse"
LJL 2007

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tilly and Me, Inc

The little one climbed the last few steps to the top of the staircase. The air was pure, the sky perfectly blue. As the child stepped onto level ground, a shadow was cast across the staircase. A voice was heard, booming out across the garden that was directly in front of the stairs.
"Welcome, little one, I have been watching you on your journey. You are going to love it here. Come, I'll show you around. My name is Jeremiah, and I have been here a long time. You and I are going to be friends."
The child smiled sweetly up at Jeremiah, but no words would come.The little one turned to see the staircase and saw beside it another set of steps, coming from a slightly different direction, but allowing those who were climbing them to come into a large park-like setting next to the garden. At the top of this set of steps was a chair. Jeremiah looked down at the child and sensing the question, he spoke.
"Child, this is my chair. I spend much of my time sitting here, greeting little ones who have climbed this special staircase. It's a little different than the one you climbed, but you'll understand about that some other time. Come, let's go see the garden where you will play."
They turned and walked to the garden where there was a swing, a sandbox and beautiful autumn-colored flowers growing in abundance. The child was in awe of the beauty and quickly learned the purpose of the swings and sand. For a long time the child played alone. However, when some time had passed, sounds came from the park across the hedge from the garden. Curiosity drew the little one to the hedge, on the other side of which were little children running and playing all over the grass. Suddenly, a face popped up directly in the child's view. Startled, the child nearly ran away, but a voice said, "Hi. You are new here. What is your name?"
When no answer came, the voice said, "That's OK, it's not unusual that you don't know. I'm now officially naming you Kelly! You and I are gonna be great friends. My name is Tilly, and this is where I live."
The little one spoke for the first time in a sweet, angelic voice, "Kelly? That's my name? Thank you. It sounds so beautiful. Where are all these kids from?"
It was then that Jeremiah appeared. He said, "Little ones, from my chair I have watched millions of children climb the special staircase that you saw. A long, long time ago in a land far away, I was known as the weeping one. Since I had so much experience, when I arrived they put me in charge here. Every day, I sit in my chair and weep over the little ones who aren't wanted. They arrive here, and I do what I can to welcome them."
Tilly turned to Kelly. "You came up the other stairway. That means you are different than many of us. You were wanted. But, now that you are here, we're all alike. Do you understand?"
After playing together with Tilly for a long time, Kelly began thinking of a plan to help Jeremiah with his job. Kelly spoke to Tilly about it, and when Tilly enthusiastically agreed, they went to Jeremiah. They whispered to him Kelly's plan. A wide grin came over his face, and he agreed to help them with their enterprise. Later that day, at the top of the staircase, a tent was erected by Tilly, Kelly and Jeremiah. A sign proudly proclaimed the name of their company. Printed in bold letters by Jeremiah, it read, "TILLY and ME, INC."
Kelly and Tilly are very busy little ones these days. They are special assistants to Jeremiah, and they personally present hand-made gifts to every new little one that arrives. You may already know what they give to the new arrivals. Each one now receives a hug and a little eighteen-inch square quilt with stair steps on them and the words, "From Tilly and me." Each of them are a specific design and color and have the initials RJB in the lower right corner. Kelly doesn't know where the idea came from, but you do.

LJL 11-10-08

This story is written for and dedicated to my kids, Jason and Regi Baker. It was inspired by Regi's blog entry entitled "Quilt Therapy" and by a comment from Janella on that same entry.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Myrtle Beach - Gaither Fest

Rena and I flew to Myrtle Beach last weekend. We enjoyed staying on the beach for two nights at the Sea Dip Hotel and working the Collingsworth table at Gaither Fest. We came back with them on Big Red, enjoying some stunning scenery on I-40 in North Carolina and Tennessee. Here are some pictures.

View from our room at the Sea Dip

From our balcony

Hey, Olivia, this was Bill and Gloria's hotel, next door to ours.

Phillip is always very serious.

Ben Isaacs is so big even his laptop looks tiny.

Olivia and I on stage singing into our $100 bills

Olivia trying to act like it's not freezing.

At Denny's after the concert with Gordon and Kimberly Mote

Sunrise over the Atlantic

A few of the buses - Lynda Randle's bus is on the far right next to Big Red

Ready to roll from Myrtle Beach

A nice picture of I-40 traffic

A bird flying over the hills

Phil praying that the fire will start while aiming the gun at Kim

He's now half a century old.


You can gain a few pounds here in a hurry!
Fortunately, this was taken before we ate.

Back in time

Fortunately, this was taken before we ate.

You know, there is just no caption for this one.

On stage at the Town Center in Shipshewana

Dennis Swanberg as Bill Clinton, "If Ah'd known Sarah Palin in college, Ah'd have been a Republican!"

The Triumphant Quartet
Here are a few pictures from Shipshewana, Indiana. Dani, Mom and I went for the Parade of Pianos, hosted by Dino. The grand pianists were: Josh Singletary, Stewart Vanardo, Jeff Stice, Kim Collingsworth and Dino. Along with them, appearing on stage were: The Collingsworths, Tribute, Dixie Echoes, Triumphant and Dennis Swanberg.
The weather was perfect, and the food at the Blue Gate Restaurant...fabulous. We met Mel Reigsecker, the owner of the restaurant, theater and other enterprises there. He is responsible for bringing the high caliber of talent to their showplaces.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

When We Came Back...

Do I look really silly in this?

Rena and I went to Shipshewana, Indiana, a couple of weeks ago to see the Parade of Pianos hosted by Dino. We were privileged to have Dani along with us. We had a super time and ate some great food. Dudley stayed at his puppysitters and when we came back he had a pumpkin costume on. Here he is with his costume and his OSU hoodie.
I think I will sit here in the sun a little.
Does this outfit make me look fat? Yep, I'm a Buckeye fan.
Got my hood up...bring on the snow.
I hope my friends don't ever see this.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pardon Me While I Turn 50

Sorry I haven't posted for a while. Rena and I were away to Myrtle Beach with the Collingsworth Family at Gaither Fest. While there, I began my second half-century. Nov.2 began at Denny's with a late-night meal. We got to meet Gordon and Kimberly Mote there. He is the pianist for the Gaithers and quite a character. He is very witty. He stood at our table and talked pianos, Gaither-talk and life with us for quite a while. He left, saying that he was going to drive his bus at night to save having to pay his driver. He is blind, as you may know.
Dudley went to his puppysitters while we were away. They have four other dogs, and he loves to go to his Aunt Pam's and stay. He goes there and gets spoiled by Uncle Bill, but he was happy when Mom came after him and brought him home.