Thursday, July 29, 2010

WHO WE ARE: The Sum of the Choices We Make

You want to know someone? Observe the choices they make not the words they say.
The good citizens of Arizona have been assaulted by the federal government when they tried to defend themselves against criminal action coming across their border. Although President Obama has been invited, practically begged, to come down to the border and observe first hand what is taking place. HE STEADFASTLY REFUSES. His words proclaim progress, his action contradicts those words.

A great example of his choices is when he chose to go on THE VIEW and discuss Lindsey Lohan and Snooki with Joy Behar while snubbing the 100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA.

It may be that he was afraid they would play the National Anthem at a flag hoisting. Remember this picture?
True, he would feel out of place where the honored oath is to do one's duty to God and Country. Can you imagine him slouching down with his hands folded in the following picture? This is a picture of a Scout Jamboree in 1937. Scouts have been doing good deeds fpr a hundred years now. Please recall these choices 97 days from now as you prepare to vote. YOUR CHOICE COMES DOWN TO BURYING YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND OR DRAWING A LINE IN THE SAND AND STANDING UP AND BEING COUNTED. Your Country needs your support.

Every contrary statement towards the Obama adminstration is met with the charge of Racial Ranting. Let the record show that this black person, the Honorable J. C. Watts, is one of my personal heros in life.

Yes, I was a scout and a scout leader. I was in the Sea Scouts. My sons were scouts.

God Bless


Recently I blogged about my son Todd and his delightful wife Amy going on another multistate bike ride. HOW ABOUT SOME FOLLOW UP PICTURES?

Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon surveyed a disputed border conflict between British Colonies in Colonial America. It forms a demarcation line among Pennsylvania, Maryland Delaware and West Virginia (then Virginia). Since the Missouri Compromise, if you're into history, the Mason-Dixon Line symbolizes a cultural boundry between the North and the South.

I was born on the "south" side of the Mason-Dixon Line although my family fought on the Union Side in the Civil War. Although I still think of Point Pleasant, West Virginia as my home, I have lived in Northeast Ohio for most of my adult life. "Point" is still "Home". This is the "Point" I left at age 17.

We Pierce's get around, but not all by recumbent bikes, although I did ride across California on a recumbent trike. HERE IS AMY AND TODD ON THE PA AND MD MASON-DIXON LINE. My son Mark is also a long distance biker. No, it is not daughter Kimberly's cup of tea. Uh, can you say air conditioned limo?

The GREAT ALLEGHENY PASSAGE (GAP) is a 150-mile system of biking and hiking trails that connect Cumberland, MD and Pittsburg, PA.

If you are at all familiar with this neck of the woods you know this is an area of mountains. THIS PICTURE SHOWS TODD AND AMY IN THOSE MOUNTAINS.

The kids, yes, they will always be "kids" to Dad, made it a 12 day, car camping trip riding 30 miles or so of the trail each day.

If it ever falls your lot in life to go camping and must choose a camping pardner, choose Todd. His camp craft is beyond belief. Every line is taut as is every inch of canvas. The camp will shed the weather and the insects. Seating will be good and there will be light to read by. In this picture you see the large bins that contain their camping gear. Trust me, if all your gear is in a canoe pack, the camp will be just as efficient.

Too often, after some exciting adventure here or there, I hear people whine "It must be nice. I wish I could do something like that". YOU CAN. As Nike says, JUST DO IT.

God Bless


My eldest son, Mark, has been trying to contact me for days with an unusual request. Julie told him to send me an email. He did and I got it right away. Phone service is bad here at the lake and I still haven't picked up my new cell phone.

My granddaughter, Jillian, is to be married 17 days from now. Mark wanted me to coach he and Jillian in their father-daughter dance. What a delightful thing to do.

I would love to have taught them to dance "The Butterfly Whirl" or maybe "Chase a Pretty Girl Around the World". I couldn't imagine dances that would have been more fun. It was not what they had in mind. Instead, I coached them in dancing to a Nat & Nataly Cole" number they had already selected.

Very few people do ball room dancing today. When they do you can pick them out of a crowd of dancers. I love to dance and have taught dance classes. I taught Jillian to do the basic box step when she was just a youngster. I would like to think that she gained confidence from this instruction to go on to become a wonderful dancer who has danced professionaly in a number of productions. She was a quick study tonight.

In an hour, or less, they had learned enough, and danced well enough, to stand out in any crowd. I would bet money that they get a spontaneous applause at the wedding.
IN THIS PICTURE YOU WILL BEHOLD WALT MAKING A HARD SELL! I was explaining to Jillian that I wanted to end the dance with a dip and a fast whirl. I would lay her FLAT OUT, ALMOST TO THE FLOOR, as she lifted a leg pointing her toe. I assured her that I have never dropped a partner yet. WELL, THERE IS ALWAYS A FIRST TIME SHE WAS THINKING! Un Huh! She remembered me hobbling in on a cane. She remembered the bad hip, shot knees and that I am almost 80 years of age. I THINK SELF PRESERVATION KICKED IN.

No, I didn't drop her, and I didn't quit with just one try. But that was it. I thought Mary Kay, her mother, who was watching, was going to have a stroke. HA My coaching, however, was a success and Mark and Jillian did it beautifully.
The best dancer I have ever danced with is my wife Julie Ann. She is about as banged up as I am but we will get in at least one slow dance at Jillian's wedding. In this picture we were at a TRULY FANCY DRESS BALL at the Four Seasons in Toronto. We DANCED INDIAN WAR DANCES ALL NIGHT. ALL NIGHT LONG WE REMAINED IN CHARACTER. I remembered the old Irish saying to Dance Like No One's Looking". There were lots of truly EXPENSIVE costumes there but Jewel and I walked off with first prize IN OUR "THRIFT STORE" outfits.

I look forward to the wedding. Of course, I'm obligated to dance with Mary's Mom, the grooms's mother and each of the granddaughters, and daughter-in-laws, and I always try to dance with the "hottest" girl on the floor--that will probably be my grand daughter Christy Anne--or maybe my daughter Kimberly, can't miss her......WOW, am I going to have fun. Can you say IBUPRUFIN? Ummm

God Bless

Monday, July 26, 2010



Ummm! Let's see now. Except for old Gunner, my giant schnauzer, I haven't spoke to anyone today. My TV isn't working, hasn't for days--a cable problem--so don't know any news, no papers or phone calls, SO, what is there for a guy living by his self in a shanty by the lake?

How about some beautiful, new rose buds? Doesn't get much more exciting that that does it? At least no prettier.

What do you do when you've been retired 20 years. Well, you count the days to payday. which happens on the 1st and 3rd of every month. Thanks Firestone! Thanks Prudential! And, last but not least, thanks to all you folks who are still paying social security. Un huh! Four more days. I think I'll make it. HA

What does one see the most of? You'd never guess. Here is a picture. Yep, my bare feet propted up as I read. What a handsome pair of legs, check out that buldging calve. (Is this a good place to insert "Meek, lowly and humble"?
If I raise my eyes, I see the couch and the book case at the other end of the room. On the book case are pictures of my cousins taken in 1931 when I was a few months old, my family, my brother Ray fishing alongside a river, an album of my kids, and all my grand children. Next to me is a picture of my pretty wife.

When the TV is working I watch the news. During the advertisments I look out the window behind the TV and check out the lake. THE CABLE TV HAS BEEN OFF FOR DAYS AND CAME ON AS I WRITE THIS BLOG. HURRAH!!

The lake is on two sides of my lot which backs onto a state park. There is a brushy strip between the park's parking lot and my garden. There is two docks and two boat launches.

I am at the north end of Knox Lake. The lake winds three miles south of me, between the hills, to a large area at the dam.

I fix my own meals in a small but efficient kitchen and get to choose where I want to set. I also get to do the dishes. Un huh! You wouldn't believe the paper plates and bowls I go through. I do drink coffee out of a good cup, thats it. I use plastic ware. The "dishwasher" is a small, green bin.

I also am fully in charge of what's on the menu. Lots of fruit, some veggies from my own garden, sometimes healthy and sometimes just good. Tonight it was a chicken stir fry. Yummy. And, thanks Julie who keeps my fridge stocked. While the kitchen table only seat four and the bar two, we have fed dozens of family and up to 65 friends and family under cover outside and on the deck.

Life is good. I did go fishing today. I had a 12 item "to do list" but no one cares that I only got seven thing done.

ONE MORE THOUGHT. When is the last time you simply sat and watched the moon rise and turn from gold to silver? Tonight the lake was a little rough. Last night it was smooth with a wide, gold, then silver streak across, shore to shore. Often I watch the moon rise from the deck with a glass of red wine, an apple and some yellow cheese. AHH, the good life. This morning there was a midst over the lake and I couldn't enjoy sunrise.

God Bless!

Friday, July 23, 2010

TGIF: Another Weekend A'Comin, Yeah!

It's Friday. It's a hot, dry Friday. I like Fridays because I get company. In years past someone or other would show up, often at supper time. NADA this year.

I enjoy life at the lake but I seldom have anyone to speak to and no one with whom I can have conversation. Julie and Donna, the young lady who works for us, comes down for the weekend. THEY WILL NOT BE COMING THIS WEEKEND. Instead, I'm going home.

The "Out With Friends" dining group has their monthly outing Saturday night. Each couple takes turns choosing where we eat and this month it is Bill and Carla Ludwig's turn. They send out a menu and information but I haven't seen it yet. Julie said it is a pub somewhere in the Portage Lakes. It is really an enjoyable time for all but specially so for me as I haven't seen these good friends since our last outing, except for the Wilson's and the Ludwigs. I saw them a couple weeks ago at a fish fry the Wilson's hosted.

Each weekend when the girls are here is so enjoyable. We keep saying we're going to take out the paddle boat or have some fun doing something. But we just end up working for two days although I almost always fire up the webber grill. My work ethic is pretty healthy right now but my work output is pretty limited.

I enjoy landscaping and have done several major landscape jobs, I've even been paid for some of my work. This year I am just trying to do the lakeside yard. At the most it should be a three week job. I have been at it all summer and am barely started. I work awhile and rest awhile. NO COMPLAINTS! Don't want Maude to accuse me of WHINING again. HAWon't get into the landscape plan here but will mention Julie and Donna working so hard to help me each weekend. (The water which looks like mud in this picture is really clear with a green tint). With their help, I have built a trellis swing at the front of the cement driveway. It is mostly finished. It has a metal tile floor. I've had the tiles for a long time and they have gotten dirty. The girls took them to the lake and washed them. WHAT A PAIR OF TROOPERS!

HEY, YOU SHOULD OF HEARD THE GIRLS SHOUTING AT ME FOR TAKING THEIR PICTUES. No, they weren't saying "Go, Walt, Go". I begged Donna to let me take her picture dipping water. It is the first thing Donna has ever refused to do for me. Something about looking like a SIGHT. Hmmmm

There is a 40' bed of roses and flowers all around the trellis swing. It has been hot and dry and I haul water from the lake in a wheelbarrow. In past years I hauled 20 gallons of water at a time but have cut that back to 15 gallons. I just walk out on the dock, kneel down and dip the water in a five gallon bucket, get up and dump it into the wheel barrow.

If Julie had her way I wouldn't be doing anything. She would keep me "Old and Grey and In the Way" as the song goes. She loves me and wants to keep me safe. I also want to be safe, always have, but I also want to stay on the "cutting edge" of life. Isn't that what life is all about?

She decided that she and Donna would haul the water from the lake. She really struggled with the first load saying she never realized how hard it was. I laughed as I explained that it would be much easier if she had air in the wheel barrow tire. It was completely flat. It has a slow leak and I pump it up with a small air compressor each time I use it.
Going back to her "Tech Engineer" days, she came up with the use of a small water bin and a gallon bucket to actually water the plants once the water is hauled from the lake. In this picture she and Donna are coming up the road from the dock "a toting a heavy load" of clean tiles.

The green bin holds about six gallons of water, half full, and pulls easy, real easy. On Monday I decided I'd just use the little bin and make more trips across the road to the lake. It worked like a charm until I had knelt down, filled the bin and started to stand up. I cannot stand up from being flat on the floor without something with which to hold on. Normally, I would have used the filled five gallon bucket.

I tried and tried. Just couldn't make it. Eventually I got almost upright when my legs just gave away and I started down. Well, now, I've been put on the floor a lot of times, even when there was nothing wrong with my legs. I knew I was going down so I just relaxed and rolled until I ended up flat on my back, still on the dock and not in the water. Then, I did what I should have done to start with, I hung my feet off the dock, into the water, and stood up. If my brother Henry was still alive he would have said "What a Dummy". HA

Fate adding insult to injury, when I filled the green bin and started for home with maybe ten gallons of water I manged to upset if just before I got home. No! I did not kick the bin. I went back to the wheel barrow which works about like a walker for me.

Normally when I take a tumble, which I did last spring on the break wall at Lake Erie, I take the skin off one or both elbows. I did not hurt either elbow this time. In fact, at first, my bad hip felt better after I jarred it. By the next day I was stiff all over. BY NOW IT HAS TOTALLY WORE OFF and I am wiser for the event. Now, I just wade three steps into the lake, wearing my clogs, and dip the water while standing up. Yep, I'm wiseing up.

A wise man, (with the unusual name of Walsine), says "If you want to have fun, go fishing. But if you want to eat, grow a garden". I enjoy fishing but I also love having a garden.

I water my garden every other day if it doesn't rain, and we have had very little of that lately. Although I got it in late due to excess rain and wet ground, it is coming along quite well. Just pole beans, tomatoes, squash, assorted peppers, and giant sunflowers. We've had a few ripe tomatoes and peppers and I'm about ready to fry some green tomatoes. ARE YOU READING THIS JULIE? (She loves fried green tomatoes) I love to hoe in the garden as can be seen in this picture.

Life is good.

May God bless us each and every one.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE! Will we always know the truth? In this case, it appears, I did not. It was the playing of the National Anthem and not the saying of allegiance to the flag.


It was pointed out to me that not everyone at ball games, and such, always honors our National Anthem. THAT IS TRUE. But, this is not "everyone". This is the President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief, our leader.

If Gov. Bill Richardson, then Senator Hillary Clinton and Ruth Harkin understood that the honor was due, what excuse could there be that the President, standing alongside, did not?

What is proper?

(a) Individuals in uniform should give the miltary salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;

(b) Members of the armed forces and veterns who are present but not in uniform may render the miltary salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform and;

(c) All other persons present, uh, that is ALL OTHER PERSONS PRESENT, should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over their heart, and men, not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at their left shoulder, the hand over the heart.

While others present on the platform stood at attention, Obama did not.

The other three on the platform placed their hands over their heart, Obama did not.

NOW THIS IS THE TRUTH! A special thanks to those who pointed it out to me.

Will it set us free? I pray it will! Although obvious disrespect to our country by our national leader may be overlooked by many, I will not be among that number.


God Bless!

Friday, July 16, 2010


It is not necessary to go to the extreme to point out President Obama's short coming. This bill board is certain to draw objections from a broad spectrum of Americans. He is still our president and the office requires respect. Thankfully the error was recognized and the billboard was removed immediately.

A billboard that showed Obama's many failures as an American would be so much more effective, in my opinion. My favorite is this picture that shows him being disrespectful during the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag.

Maybe a picture of him bowing deeply to the Arab King or the Japanese leader after having being rude to the Queen of England.

Let's be smart, people.

Know the truth and speak it freely! The truth will set us free. I have that on very good authority.

God Bless!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

GONE ADVENTURING! Todd & Amy takes on Pa. & Md

During the week of Spring Break, my daughter-in-law, Amy and my son, Todd, rode their bikes across the state of Ohio. Although it was hard on me, I thoroughly enjoying giving them support, including a ride home from Lake Erie to near Cincinnatti. They are at it again!

I just received an email from Amy informing the family they they were taking 12 days to ride the GAP Trail in Penn. and Maryland. They plan to car camp and ride 25-30 miles a day round trip on the bike trail. GOOD FOR THEM!

Inspiring my kids to work hard but to also enjoy life has been one of my greatest accomplishments. I really have no idea how many times we crossed the country together when they were children. We've done the car/motel, fly to destination and also to tow a camping trailer. So many great memories!

I'm so proud of each of them.

Kimberly just returned from a trip to San Diego with her family. It was their summer vacation. They traveled to El Paso, Texas over their spring break.

Each of the kids plan to spend a week at the condo in Myrtle Beach in October. Julie and I will spend three weeks there.


Bye-the-bye, I now have a picture of my grand daughter Bethany's latest book. It is called AMY INSPIRED . It will be in the book stores soon.

Take care and take time to smell the roses!

God Bless!


On Sunday, December 7, 2008 I first wrote this article, quoting Mark Twain. As I listen, momentarily, to President Obama talk about the new finaincial reform bill he is about to sign, I am reminded about liars and figures.

He speaks so smoothly, as he reads the words. One would think that he had personally saved the American people from any financial disaster that might befallo them in the future. What bull! Yet, people believe his words. Good people. My friends and yours.

At a social gathering recently, I saw a perfect example of the point I want to make. I watched, amused, as two friends got red faced, nose to nose, on the cause of the economic problems the country is now going through.

The farmer pointed out the fact that special deals were being cut for the unions that hurt the rest of the nation. The union member, with raised voice, declared that what the unions had they had fought for over the years.

As they pursued their arguments it was clear that neither were well informed of the truth. Two good men but both ignorant of the truth. One had openly voted for and supported Obama and one who freely used the 'N' word.

As I expressed an opinion that, while as a people blacks have not dismostrated their ability to abide by the rules reaping the benefits thereof, some blacks are outstanding individuals. The host, obviously a person who watched the Fox New Channel, spoke of inequities of unions. The host had been a union man all his life.

Years ago I met the union man when he had been out of work for several months. I immediately told him to go to the plant manager of a local firm. I had trained that manager and if my friend told him I had sent him, I knew he would be hired. The union man laughed declaring that he could not afford to work at that company. He was right. He was collecting $20 and hour while idle and the small company paid less for working.

My neighbor is currently unemployed. Like my union friend, my neighbor does any manner of "under-the-table" work. NEITHER OF THESE MEN WILL EVER WORK WHEN THEY CAN BE PAID FOR NOT WORKING.

Not all unemployed are so well paid. I have family who was unemployed who desperately searched for work. When my wife and I were unemployed, benefits were paid for six months. We collected for three months as we traveled around the nation. Then, I went to work as a straight commission salesperson and my wife took a split shift job at McDonalds. Such jobs are available today.


At that time big, black headlines declared that UNEMPLOYMENT RATE EXPLODES! The unemployment rate had gone from 6.5 to 6.7 per cent. YES, 6.7, the average of the previous 50 years. You will not see one comparable head line today as unemployment remains in the 10 percent range. Check the chart below.

Although our great grand children have been put in hock to pay for the waste, all the money that the government has wasted has failed to turn the unemployment picture around. On December 7, 2008 only the results counted - unemployment went up from 6.5 to 6.7 percent. Today the result, 10 percent unemployment, is not to be counted. Today we are only to consider all the jobs that have been saved. Again, what bull!

Good old Mark Twain was right, "Figures don't lie but liars figure".

Please remember this picture of Obama being disrespectful to a pledge of allegance to our flag and plan to vote in a little over a hundred days.

God Bless us each and everyone and God bless the USA.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Maude Blankinship, who will soon celebrate her 80th birthday, asked me to write a brief article of "How We Met" for a book she is putting together, primarily for this great granddaughter. I wrote the article and thought blog readers might find it interesting? Will Maude remember those days as I do? Absolutely not!


How Maude and Walsine Met

In the year of our Lord, 1947, the good Lord looked down from on high and, behold, He saw in Point Pleasant, WV a poor, ignorant youth who was lazy beyond words. He took pity on the youth as at the tender age of 16 he lived alone. He Played football. He boxed. He was too lazy, however, to be a good student.

In His mercy, the good Lord arranged the lives of the Blankinship family so that they would live a year in Point Pleasant. Why would he do that, you may be asking? In His own wise way, He had the very angel who was the answer to this lazy youth's needs. Maude Blankinship.

Maude was a pleasant, robust and friendly blond. She was a good student. With such attributions it was only natural that the lazy youth would gravitate to this saving angel. Walsine and Maude met and became friends.

Maude and Walsine shared their Senior English class. The teacher was an 80 year old spinster named Miss Mary. This lady was tall and thin. Her voice was leaving her. And, she was nearly blind. Her left eye focused up to the left and the right eye focused down to the right. You might not notice the eyes, however, because her glasses were so very thick. Like all of the teachers who knew Walsine lived alone, she was very kind and forgiving to Walsine.

Afternoons were so boring for Walsine in that hot class on the west side of the building with the sun shining in. Walsine, sitting right behind Maude, did his best to enliven the class. While he was a very poor student, he had talents. He could whistle with his mouth closed.

Sitting directly behind Maude, he would enliven the class by whistling a cheerful tune. Miss Mary would begin her search for the guilty person. With the class all atwitter, she would walk right down to Maude and focus her stare on Maude. She would look at me and smile. As I continued to whistle, I'd smile right back at her. She would look back at me and return my smile. Maude would squirm! Eventually Miss Mary would decide it had to be my best buddy, Merald Bauer, and threaten to tell his father, the school janitor.

I didn't always just whistle. Some times I would hum a tune. Same-o-same-o. Back to stare at Maude, then get after Merald. I wasn't particularly talented but I did my best. After class Maude would laugh and take my name in vain.

Miss Mary was a good teacher. She explained the 121st Psalm, which I still use. She also had me memorize poetry. One poem I have used so many times is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Rainy Day".

Miss Mary also required that each student read a book each six weeks, write a book report and, when called upon, get up and read the report to the class.

Maude , my saving angel, always made two copies of her book report. One for Miss Mary and one for Walsine.

I would carefully rewrite Maude's report, word for word, and turn it in. When called upon, I would stand before the class and read Maude's book report. Miss Mary may have had a faltering voice and was nearly blind but she was not stupid. Whe knew what was going on. So did every kid in the class.

Once Maude wrote a report on Clara Barton's "Florence Nightingale, the Angel of the Crimea". When called upon, I stood before the class and gave it by best, loud and with feeling. In her faltering voice Miss Mary said "Walsine, do you like that kind of book"? The class broke out in laughter. With a face as straight as I could manage, I replied with the question "Who wouldn't love Florence Nightingale, she was truly an angel". The class roared. Even Miss Mary smiled. Life was good in Senior English.

Now for Paul Harvey's "the rest of the story".

While I really liked Miss Mary--as I did all my teachers--she was not a favorite of my saving angel. I think it had something to do with Miss Mary staring at her when I entertained the class.

For OUR excellent work on Florence Nightingale, Miss Mary gave Maude a grade of B. Would you believe, She gave me an A Plus?

Maude got her nose out of joint over this. I explained to her time and time again. I don't think she ever believed me. I don't know why, with me being of such a sterling character.

I told Maude that Miss Mary knew there was some hanky panky going on. Recognizing my sterling character, which Maude somehow missed, Miss Mary was confident that Maude was copying my work. Makes perfect sense to me.

Wisdom comes with age. Well, sometimes it does, I think. Maude and I didn't date, although there was a moment of touchy, feelie in the dark, in the back seat of her Mother's station wagon. Maude was a friend. A good friend. She still is.

As a person who traveled widely around the world thoughout my life, it makes me sad to miss Maude's 80th birthday due to a physical problem. I will be 80 in March, the good Lord willing and the krick don't get too high, my wife, Julie and I will be out to visit Maude this winter. We'll celebrate both our birthdays.

I have been so blessed in life. Maude Blankinship Norris is high on my list of blessings.

Well, there you have it. Already Maude has denied the "touchie-feelie" comment claiming that her Mother owned a '39 pointiac. I may have been wrong in this. Maybe it wasn't HER Mother's station wagon. Un Huh!

Oh, bye-the-bye, click on my class picture, enlarging it, check out my left eyebrow. I earned those 5 stitches while helping to beat Ripley 25-0. Go Big Blacks! No face guards on the helmets in 1947!

Think about it. WE REPORT, YOU DECIDE.

God Bless!