Wednesday, December 30, 2009
This is a picture of me writing the first blog on September 21, 2008 while I was on vacation with the family in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Yes, quite Handsome, not to mention Meek, Lowly and Humble, Sweet, Gentle and Kind. UMMM. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, right?
My reason for starting the blog was to communicate with the family for a two month period as I crossed the USA on a Trike.
My son, Mark's, reason for helping me start the blog was to have a record of my life for future generations. Well into my second decade of retirement, writing the blog has become an enjoyable part of my life.
My words of wisdom for my future off spring would be to "STAND STRAIGHT AND TRUE" and to ask "WHO'S GOING TO KEEP YOU COVERED UP AT NIGHT"
The "keep covered" comment was my instructions as the boys headed for a week at scout camp but they have repeated it back to me many times over the years, mimicking my deep voice.
They understood that the meaning was to BE INDEPENDANT, RESPONSIBLE AND TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. All three of my children have wonderfully done just that. The "STRAIGHT AND TRUE" meant to be Upstanding, Honest and Proud. They have been and are, as are their children and their children's children. Keep it going people.
THE REASON FOR THIS PARTICULAR BLOG? From my office to where ever you may be, to say THANK YOU to the many who read this blog. A SPECIAL THANKS to all who took time to read my Profile. And AN EVEN GREATER THANK YOU to all who responded in writing. In all 465 languages, from ABENAKI to ZULU, and all the languages in between, I thank you for following my blog.
I have had feedback from across the country, coast to coast and north to south as well as from overseas. Seven Hundred and Sixty have taken the time to read my profile. Some of my blogs have been copied onto other blog sites. Once one of my blogs was BLOG OF THE DAY by someone or other who measures such things.
Perhaps the highlight of the sixteen months of blogs was to discover two distant cousins. They responded to a mention of my great grandfather, Indovan Pierce, who was also their great great grandfather. Although they live at a distance, I have met one of these cousins and look forward to meeting the other.
WHAT MOTIVATED THIS PARTICULAR BLOG? The following feedback on one of my blogs from my son Mark.
"Dad - I thought you'd like to know something about your blog. If you type "Mark Pierce Mansfield" into google, the first site that comes up is http://www.walsinepierce.com/! No kidding. All the work I've done on the half dozen web sites, all the videos I've created, all the things I've written on line.......and the top link to my name and town isn't even one of my sites. Congratulations to you and your blog on getting great traction and readership! Mark".
Again, THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH. You are each and everyone APPRECIATED.
Are the BIRDS SINGING, THE SUN SHINING AND THE BEES ALL MAKING HONEY in your life? If not, you might try asking yourself WHAT'S NEW, DIFFERENT AND EXCITING, WHY OR WHY NOT.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Young people of today, in my opinion, miss so much that we took for granted. Look at the class of the Mills Brothers. They crooned in four part harmony such songs as "The Old Mill Stream". Compare this group to today's singers dressed in rags screaming words that cannot be understood. Compare sweethearts of yesteryear sharing the song "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" to today's youth listening to rap. How sad!
Somethings haven't changed. I enjoyed the same breakfast that my parents did. Potatoes fried with onions, sausage, eggs over easy fried in butter and sour dough, buttered toast with black berry jam all washed down with strong, black coffee. (No, don't worry about my health--my cholesterol is quite low).
Although I did not have to start a fire in the old black, iron cook stove like my Mom did, I did cook my breakfast in the exact same black iron skillet she used. I like iron and steel skillets. I probably have a dozen or more of them.
Mind you, I like the modern cookware, although I prefer the old iron skillets to the stainless steel. We have every Revere Ware cookware you can think of, I particularly love the stock pots. Surprisingly, none of my married grandchildren wanted these copper clad cookware. They wanted the easy to clean, black, non-stick cookware. I gifted a complete set to each as a wedding present.
My last blog addressed electronic mania of today. But, really, the total outlook has changed. My generation loved to dance. Sixty years out of high school and we still like to dance. Uh, that's dance with one another, not jiggle around as individuals. How special it was to hold your best girl, mind the music as you whirled to "My Happiness". The song expressed wonderful feelings to be shared as a couple held one another moving in rhythm.
Today, for the most part, dancing is something that happens at weddings. Too slow and boring? Try going to square dances twice- a-week as I used to do. Mention square dancing today and people "roll their eyes". There are, however, groups who still square dance but it is now mostly such a perfect exercise as to stop being fun, in my opinion.
Some things today are great. I mentioned not having to build a fire in the cook stove. Central heat and indoor plumbing. Yeah! Who misses the old two holer? Transportation in America is wonderful! Like most, my wife and I each have our own vehicle. Communication is almost beyond belief. The availability of food, it is hard to believe people in the world are still starving. Laundry? Mondays were wash days. All day Monday. Back breaking. Prayers for a fair day. Tuesday was for ironing. All day Tuesday. Who misses that? Uh, what's an iron you ask? Education, almost too much. Real roads, not mirey, mud ruts. No, everything is not bad.
Guess I'm just feeling my age this morning. I recall how sweet it was to steal a kiss. No need to 'STEAL" today. The young folk openly "smooze" each other. I'm sure I'd have been shot by the girl's father for doing what the young people do today--and it is not necessarily the guys who are the aggressor. When I was young it was common knowledge that the sweetest watermelon was the one you didn't pay for.....Hmmmm! Yes, stolen kisses were the sweetest, I'm sure.
You know what? I bet my Grandma & Grandpa had the same thoughts about my generation. They probably thought Mom & Dad doing the Charleston was scandalous? Although my Grandma Pierce did lay claim to being the best shodisher in Frazer's Bottom! Yep! FRAZER'S BOTTOM!!!!!
God Bless & Enjoy yourselves today.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Three examples of the best and worst of Christmas giving were evident to me this year and all worth sharing, I think.
One family, a very well-to-do family I might add, has always limited the gifts received by their pre-teen children to only three gifts each. This year the children were given the option of the normal three gifts each or of two gifts each and using the value of the third gift to give to a charity of their choice.
The two children chose to take only two gifts and give the value of their third gift to those less fortunate. The youngest gave to a group that shelters animals. The oldest split his gift between the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, as I understood it.
These children, the youngest girl in particular, desperately wanted a puppy for Christmas. The parents had already decided that if they chose to share, then they would get the children a new puppy, otherwise, it would be just the three gifts. Happy, so happy were the children when they learned that they had a new puppy and of the reasoning behind their receiving this gift.
A major gift from grandparents since these children's births have been contributions to their college funds.
THAT WAS THE BEST.
In another family, an anything but well-to-do family, a precious and precocious three year old received a laptop computer. The reasoning? The child was fasinated by computers and would play with one without interuption for three hours and then react badly when forced to stop to eat or go to bed. Yes, a computer was expensive but what a great way to control a three year old so the gifting grandmother said.
That household was filled with a large number of mostly preteen children who had each received a number of gifts. All received electronic toys. The observation was made by the head-of-the-household about what a "great" idea the electronic toys were. The observation was further made that the kids, who were sharing a crowded room were quiet, peaceful and fully occupied for hours, just staring at the toy and working their thumbs.
College fund? To go to college one must graduate from high school, which one child out of the many has done and she is now well along toward becoming a nurse. She is the exception.
TO MY WAY OF THINKING, THIS WAS THE WORST.
Do I have "STINKING THINKING"? Maybe. It is for certain that my thinking is an out-of-date one with a large, probably a majority, of todays families. I must admit the electronic ability of today's children far exceed that of my generation, or of their parents generation for that matter. My 10-year-old grandson instantly set the time on my Ironman watch that I hadn't used since I had to quit running at age 72 because of a bum knee. He understands the televison controls better than his extremely well educated and computer literate mother.
I am convinced, however, that there should be far more to life than electronics. I also know that life changes. Today, for the first time, there were more electronic books sold than hard print books. People do read but less and less so. Shopping has changed. Discussing Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue", my youngest son bought it on his kindel in less than two minutes. He also bought it for $9.00. I paid $17.00 at Sams Warehouse Club. As impressive as that is, I still prefer my book.
SOMETHING THAT IS OUTSTANDLY GOOD:
My son's small church has as one of their church guides that 10% of all income will be used to help people. Twenty-nine folks from this church distributed $2,000 in gifts to four families that The Salvation Army identified as being in dire need. A volumn of food, toys, clothing, even a table and chairs refinished by one member for a couple who literally did not have a table on which to eat, was bestowed upon these four families. The church folk greeted, sang songs and, as requested, had prayer with those in need.
IS THIS GOOD OR WHAT?
Thursday, December 24, 2009
The reason for crowding this blog into maybe a thirty minute time frame until I must get ready for our churches Christmas Eve service is that I am so excited about it and want to share it with you.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Should you be a speed reader who just "Skims & Scans", BE CERTAIN TO CAREFULLY READ THE ENDING PARAGRAPH. It is a much needed reminder of whats important in life.
SOME HELPFUL HOLIDAY EATING TIPS
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet tables knows nothing of the Christmas Spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY! Go next doors, where they're serving rum balls.2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. AND QUICKLY. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of the year but now. SO DRINK UP! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if your're going to turn into an egnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas.
3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. POUR IT ON. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if the're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. WHY BOTHER? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. LOTS OF IT. Hello?
6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. THIS IS THE TIME FOR LONG NAPS, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pount plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. HAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN BEFORE BECOMING THE CENTER OF ATTENTION. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.
8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apple and one pumpkin. ALWAYS HAVE THREE. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?
9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but AVOID IT AT ALL COSTS. I mean, have some standards!
10 One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. RE-READ TIPS; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of ARRIVING SAFELY IN AN ATTRACTIVE AND WELL PRESERVED BODY, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"
Thank you Cousin Cheryl. What a beautiful sentiment.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I promised Julie that, God willing and the Krick didn't get too high, "next" year I'd do it right for her, the family and friends.
Thanks to having hired a lady to work for us and also assistance from one granddaughter, Julie has the house very festive. This is the "next" year and this is our entertainment schedule:
Dec 19 - Dinner Guests at Walt & Julie's
Dec 25 - Dinner with Julie's family at daughter Jackie's
Dec 26 - The entire, extended Pierce Family at Kimberly's Wine & Cheese Tasting, and maybe a Holiday Dance. Everybody brings something. Julie will take her Taco Dip Salad and I'll make a couple pies. Hopefully Amy will bring her fabulous cookies and Mary Kay her Rum Cake? From Boston to Virginia, from college to medical practices, the northern Pierce's, the southern Pierce's, all will attend this homecoming hosted by Kimberly and Jack for the second year. Can you say TRADITION? I think this may turn out to be a new one. HURRAY!
Dec 31 - New Years Eve dinner and theater with friends followed with late pork & sauer kraut dinner with church friends at the Easton UMC.
Jan 1 - Rose Bowl Party at Steve & Holly's - GO BUCKS!
Jan 2 - Progressive Dinner with 12 member Dining Group - Main Entre at Walt & Julie's this year.
Jan 9 - Dinner with Mark & Kimberly's family at Walt & Julie's
Jan 16 - Dinner with Jackie & Randy at Walt & Julie's
Jan 17th, UH, start losing weight and controlling sugar for my next doctor's appointment.
Although I neglected to take pictures of our first dinner, it was a wonderful success. Our guests were all special. (It could only have been better had the Ludwigs have been there). There were the Wilson's, Don & Sally, a near and dear couple with whom we are socially very active. They sit right behind me in church and Sally makes me behave. Boo!
Delbert and Connie Raschenberg, a couple in their late 80's who are not only dear but also inspirational. Delbert Raschenberg is a life time member of the UMC we attend. He was a true hero in WWII.
And, new friends with whom we became acquainted with in church last year, Ken & Sandy Oscia.
Our guests thoughtfully brought Christmas Gifts which we sincerely appreciate. Sally Wilson and the Oscia's brought boxes of candy.
DON HIT A HOMERUN WITH HIS GIFT TO ME: A bottle of his home made wine. It was in a beautiful bag but the true beauty lay inside.
Inside was a bottle of wine with a lovely, red coloring. I have never had Don's wine before but I have never known Don to do anything that wasn't first class. I bet it will be delicious!
The uniqueness of Don's wine doesn stop with what's inside the bottle. What is on the outside is just as unique!
I mean, could a wine be truly unique if it did not have it's own label? Check out Don's "hand crafted" label, even his own Name: "Lambrusca Cordon Wilzone".
The secret to great wine is, of course, the Vintage. What is the "vintage" of Don's wine? Would you believe "TUESDAY"? How great is that?
A Trade Mark? But, of course! Check out this hand drawn trade mark of a bunch of grapes. Can you say "crayons"? Really, I mean, no fooling! REAL CRAYON ART WORK.
I said the gift was TIMELY. It is just in time for Kimberly's "wine tasting". I have already been notified that some of the family expected "MY" homemade wine. Last year I took a bottle of ten year old Dandilion Wine that had turned to Kerosene, or so it tasted. I didn't make wine this year but Don came to the rescue. YEAH!
After dinner we retired to the living room where Kimberly had come to both sing and lead the group in singing favorite Christmas carols.
Julie and I then gave gifts, as Santa had delivered, to our guests. The gifts were passed out by Kimberly's children, Riley and Rosebud, they were dressed grandly and greatly enjoyed the task. The declaration was made that all the ladies had been GOOD and they each received a loaf of Penara Bread and a jar of Mountain Red Raspberry Jam. Each of the men were informed that they had been BAD as Don received a bundle of switches, Ken a rock and Delbert two lumps of coal.
A grand time was had by all.
May your Christmas likewise be Merry and Bright!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Is it Silver Bells? No, not really. Is it Jingle Bells from passing sleighs? Nope! No sleighs passing on 5th Street NWl. The only bells that are ringing is on the tail of one of these two penguins.
In addition to all the other things that my lovely wife collects, she collects musical Christmas toys.
Does she do this for the grandkids? Un huh, sure! Is it the grandkids who play them the most? No, although the many guests we have constantly play one or another of these cute toys. But, who plays them the very most? Walt & Julie, who else?
Yesterday morning at 5:30AM, half asleep, as I prepared to make coffee, right behind me BIG MOUTH BILLY BASS startled me awake singing that "Christmas Was His Favorite Time of the Year". He is motion activated. He is my favorite. He is on the jelly cupboard by the kitchen door. He probably gets played the most.
Oh, bye-the-bye, he cost me 50 cents at the local thrift store many years ago, like in what one half of the world throws away.
Probably my second favorite is the Snowman at the Piano doing HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS. We have had him forever also.
The most active musical toy of all will actually "dance" right off and fall onto the floor sometimes. I think they do JINGLE BELLS with the dog barking right along wagging his tail and shaking his head in time with the music.
Charley Brown and Woodstock play an ASSORTMENT OF EIGHT SONGS on the piano.
Julie bought two new ones this year. There are others. And, then, there are many, many talking, whirling, thrusting, jumping, lighting up ornaments on the tree.
The STAR TREK ornaments collected over many years from Hallmark were anything but cheap. The adult male children all love these, as do several "Trekee" friends. Quite plainly you can hear Captain Kirk telling Scottie to "Beam me up". The value of these discontinued collector ornamets have appreciated more than our mutual funds. Boo!
Yes, these are the SOUNDS OF CHRISTMAS at the Pierce household. Stop by and treat yourself to some real seasonal music. Y' all come now, Y' hear! We'll tune up the banjo, roll up the rugs, skim off a mud puddle and open up a keg of nails. "Circle up four in the middle of the floor". I mean "let the good times roll!" Whooeee!, Birdie in the cage, six hands round" "Crow hop up and the Birdie hop down".
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Since my earliest years I have lived in ANTICIPATION of three lists of goals; a short term goal, a year or less; an intermediate term goal, the next five years and a life time goal, some time in my life.
The results of this planning has been an exciting life of travel, adventure, fellowship and service to others. This picture is of a camp site on an attempted cross-USA bike trip at age 78. I mean, how exciting is that?
The most cited reason people have for not enjoying my life style is lack of money. "It must be nice" is the comment we hear often after a trip to Ireland or a month at the beach.
The cost of such plans, with 12 or more months of saving, is usually less than the price of a pack of cigarettes a day, something even the poorest seem able to afford. The secret is to plan far enough in advance. All that time creates a wonderful ANTICIPATION.
Julie and I have firm plans for a Med Cruise and a trip to Italy for our 30th Wedding Anniversary in 2011. Want to go along? Just make arrangements for someone to take care of the dog and start saving your pesos. It can be less expensive than you'd expect. Twelve-fifteen months of ANTICIPATION. I can get so excited just thinking about it that I can't sleep! What excitement is keeping you awake at night?
Following my early retirement at age 60 I have tried to fullfill my life time goals. I will never get them all in. Life can be so exciting if we allow ourselves to do whatever we want to do disregarding money or opportunity.
One of the many traits that I have passed along to my children is the ability to set goals, not pie-in-the-sky dreams but something that we would really expect to do. Uh, dreams are okay too!
My eldest child, Mark, was once sent to a goal setting seminar. The exercise was to list all the things they would like to do in their life in five minutes. In a moment or two Mark asked for another sheet of paper. The seminar leader said "turn it over and write on the other side". Mark replied that he had already filled in both sides, he wanted more paper. How do you measure the success in your life? This was a measuring moment for me.
I print out my plans for my upcoming year. One year I asked a niece, Sherry Ann, if she and hers would like to spend a week as our guest in Myrtle Beach next year in October, giving her the date. I followed up by sending her my plans for the upcoming year, which included her visit.
Her now deceased mother, and one of my all time most loved persons, Ruby, said "How does Walt know what he is going to do 10 months from now? I don't know what I'm going to do 10 minutes from now". Ruby's comment was normal. Most people do not know what they will be doing 10 months, or, for that matter, 10 minutes from the present.
My wife, Julie, and I will be involved in seven dinners by the middle of January. Five of those dinners will be at our home. To allow our guests to ANTICIPATE the event in advance, thereby enhancing the experience, we mail the plans for the evening in advance. In times past we have seen plans such as these on our friends fridge long after the event.
"At the Stroke of 6:00, On the Evening of Saturday the 19th of December, In the year of our Lord, Two Thousand Nine" so headed the dinner plans sent to three couples . They will have already received our plans and can now ANTICIPATE the good times in store for them next Saturday evening.
There will be a Welcoming Fellowship with Strawberry Margaritas with Tiger-Tail Shrimp with Sauce. The following menu is printed out: French Onion Soup and an Egg & Pickled Beet Salad followed by an entre of Snow Crab & Baby Back Ribs, a Stuffed Twice Baked Potato and Corn-on-the-Cob. The dessert will be Peach Cobbler, still warm from the oven, with an Ice Cream Topping.
There will be Music from the North Pole, a gifted singer singing Christmas songs, and nothing less than a Santa's Elf, my seven year old granddaughter, Rosebud, passing out gifts "as deserved". Can any one say lumps of coal?
The dinner will end with Sixteen Hands Around The Table, joined hands singing Silent Night led by the special singer and a blessing.
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!
Yesterday I installed a find from a church yard sale. To the people who donated the clock to be sold at the Easton United Methodist yard sale, perhaps the old clock had little value, perhaps it was a painful memory of a lost loved one, I don't know. I do know that at $5.00 I had found a true treasure!
I suspect that this is an eight day clock. It is a REGULATOR by Howard Miller. You can still buy this clock new for a few hundred dollars at The Hartville Kitchen gift shop. Isn't it a beauty?
The clock has a beautiful, mellow chime on the quarter hour, progressing from a four note chime at the quarter hour to a sixteen note chime at the even hour.
Supposedly, the clock will self adjust the chime. Right now it is chiming the quarter hours correctly but it is off five hours on the even hour. I wanted to just shut it down for five hours and restart it. Julie thought we should wait to see if it truly will adjust itself. Uh, yes, we waited.
True, I'm the head of this household but I am constantly reminded that Julie is the neck that controls the head. What can I say. The truth is the truth.
As a person who lives on what one half of the world throws away, I constantly shop sales and thrift stores. Some of our dearest possessions came from those sources.
Bye-the-bye, doesn't this antique clock perfectly fit into our kitchen, which I personally remodeled many years ago. I saw the beams in a new home in Mansfield, came home and built them for our kitchen. Monkey see monkey do!
Every nook and cranny of our kitchen is filled with this or that collectable. Baskets, skillets, railroad lanterns, crockery, and copperware.
The old parlor stove adds to the whole to make our kitchen the most interesting room in our home. It didn't come from a sale but I actually paid full "used" price for it at the Kidron Hardware Store.
It was the 2nd used stove I bought there. It is a working stove. Along with the little, two burner "laundry" stove, I hope to use them both some day on a Shanty Boat. Uh, that's for when I get old and grey, of course.
Then, of course, there is the churn, all done up in Christmas cheer. What would an old fashioned kitchen be without a churn. Yep, bought it used.
How old am I? Well I vividly recall Grandma Elliott churning butter. Up and down, up and down, as she twisted the dasher, get out the wooden paddle and skim off the butter, put it on a plate to drain, save the buttermilk to drink. Of course, everything you bake tastes better with buttermilk, doesn't it? Pancakes made with BLINK milk. Yum Yum!
We already have TWO washboards but we are interested in what else you may be pitching. Yep, you can just by pass the yard sale or thrift store and go directly to the end user. Give me a call. Just junk? Like beauty, its in the eye of the beholder.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
That Navy won, as expected, was an added bonus.
A VICTORY POSE? WHY NOT? We are thankful for, and pray for the safety of, all the troops standing their lonely and dangerous watches and all the sailors on ships patrolling their station around the world.