Patty’s Return to the Supermarket

Stop & Shop, union seek 'extended first responder' designation - Connecticut Post

My wife has COPD, which puts her in a very high-risk group for the Chinese Communist coronavirus. Consequently, it’s been six months since she’d been inside anywhere but our own apartment. That’s a long time to be cooped up, and it was getting to her.

So yesterday I urged her to shop with me today. “You need a change,” I said. “You need to see the interior of some place other than just this apartment. So come to the store with me. Wear your mask under your nose, so you can breathe, and your face shield, and come into the store and push a cart around–even if only for a few minutes. You can put all your stuff in my cart for checkout, so you won’t have to stand in line. It’ll do you good! After all, all those clerks have been there every day since March and none of them have gotten sick.”

And for once I was right. “I enjoyed that!” she admitted. “The other night I dreamed I went shopping again: that tells you how much I’ve missed it. I’m so glad I did this, and I’ll do it again on Monday!” Yeah, I think it pumped her up.

Getting back to normal life ought to be at the top of America’s to-do list.

‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save’

This is the U.S. Navy’s official hymn, Eternal Father, Strong to Save. Whenever I hear it I think of my father, Jersey-born and bred, who’d never been farther away from home than Pennsylvania: fresh out of high school in the midst of World War II, straight to the recruiting officer, and on to California, the Pacific, and the Philippines. And him all of 18 years old. It’s very hard to imagine. Such wars ought not to be; but that’s the fallen world: we didn’t get into our troubles by obeying God’s word.

Memory Lane: Moving the Piano

Moving A Piano High Resolution Stock Photography and Images - Alamy

When I was in my late teens, my family acquired Aunt Florence’s piano, which meant my father had to rent a U-Haul trailer. He also hired me and two of my friends, Ronnie and Gary, to tote the piano. Ronnie in particular was a very strong young man, and I was a pretty good specimen, myself. Move a piano? Piece of cake!

So there’s the piano, and the three Young Turks flex their muscles, grip the piano mightily… and nothing happens. Grunt, groan, grit teeth. Who nailed the piano to the floor? Now we’re sweating. Freakin’ thing won’t budge.

Finally my father and Uncle Jimmy gently motioned us out of the way, picked up the piano like it was a picnic basket, and put it in the trailer. Oh, the mortification of it all. Who would’ve ever thought healthy grown men would be stronger than self-enamored 17-year-olds? Like, just because you can carry a tune doesn’t mean you can carry the piano.

Ah, well, live and learn.

‘You Are My Sunshine’ (Joshua & Jeremy)

Let’s see if I can sing this without starting to cry. “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey…” Nope. No can do.

When I was a very little boy with fantods in the night, my father would get up and pick me up, and sing this song to me. How well I remember that. “You’ll never know dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.” And he meant every word of it. That’s why it moves me so.

Anyway, here are our own Swanson brothers, Joshua and Jeremy, with their rendition of the songs. Nice work, guys! Got me all sappy. But that’s OK.

Sanity Break: Butterflies

Ugh, the nooze! Pandemic. Politics. Riots. I’m supposed to be covering it, but feh. And double-fesh.

Here, instead, is some of God’s stuff: assorted butterflies filmed in slow motion, courtesy of the Houston Butterfly Museum. It reminds me of my grandpa’s butterfly bush, which attracted colorful customers from all around. I used to watch it by the hour.

The works of God’s hands are everywhere for us to see: a sure sign that God is nigh.

The Lord is with us. Every day.

Will We Have Our Anniversary Dinner?

We ordered the crabcakes and they haven’t been delivered. We’re about to go out on another safari in search of filet mignon. Yeah, these are luxury items–but that’s the whole point, isn’t it? You only get one wedding anniversary per year (provided you’ve had only one wedding). You want to celebrate!

But for our anniversary, the gremlins always gather, always try to mess it up. For No. 40 the supermarket had No Lobsters instead of the two I had supposedly reserved two days before. I found that out at 5 p.m. I don’t go to that store anymore.

So we will go all around the county in a little while to see if we can scare up the ingredients for our dinner. Thanks to what liberals gigglingly call The New Normal (tee-hee!), you wouldn’t believe the shortages. Yesterday it was skim milk, rubbing alcohol, latex gloves… and lettuce. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find a decent head of lettuce.

With our without our dinner, this is a blessed day for us and we invite you all to share in our joy.

Every good thing is God’s gift.

P.S.–The crabcakes just got here. Huzzah!

It’s Our Anniversary!

See the source image

Patty and I have only been married 43 years, but 45 was the closest I could come in an illustration. We’re going to celebrate with crab cakes and filet mignon.

But first we’ve got to find a way through the labyrinth which our local government has created by blocking most of the streets in our neighborhood. This is so work crews can dig holes in the street and then fill them in. Somehow it seems… emblematic.

So now it’s an expedition to the store, and Heaven only knows when I’ll be back.

Memory Lane: Summer Sundays

Kids Play Badminton Image & Photo (Free Trial) | Bigstock

Today is exactly the kind of summer Sunday that my family would have enjoyed by getting together for a backyard barbecue. Hamburgers, hot dogs, beer for the gents, and lots and lots of good talk–what else is a screened-in back porch for?

And if we went to Uncle Ferdie’s house, or to Aunt Florence’s, each place came equipped with cousins to play with and a backyard badminton set. Suddenly I really miss that! I love that “ponk” sound the racket makes when you bop the birdie.

I wish our cyber-family could get together for a day like that. Horseshoes, too. That’s another summer sound I miss, the clang of horseshoes hitting the stake. Or maybe we could all go over to Grandpa’s house and set up our lawn chairs under the catalpa tree.

Betcha anything they’ve got horseshoes and badminton in Heaven.

Why Our Marriage Works

Clockwise (1986) - IMDb

We want to go easy on the nooze this weekend, because, heck, it’s all bad, a major chunk of it is lies, and our spirits need a rest. So we will watch a movie this afternoon.

But which movie? Patty couldn’t find a horror movie that appealed to us, so she got to thinking, “Maybe a comedy.” I heard her say that and got to thinking about comedies we know we would enjoy.

Just as I was thinking, “How about Clockwise, with John Cleese? That’ll give us some laughs,” she said, “How about Clockwise?”

“Holy moly, I was just about to say that!” I answered. “You took the words right out of my mouth. Well, we have to watch it now!”

This happens with us again and again, even to the point of both of us saying the same thing at once, as if we’d rehearsed it. We are both convinced that this is a sign of a good marriage. I mean, out of the thousands of comedies we might have mentioned, we both call for this one movie? How cool is that?

Please feel free to join us! It’s a really funny movie, available for rental on

‘Memory Lane: At Home with Mommy and the Ironing’ (2017)

See the source image

This little post engendered a wonderful chat. I think most of us must have fond memories like this.

Memory Lane: At Home with Mommy and the Ironing

I would like to mention the sitting-room closet, which held a certain fascination for me. Here the explorer would find my mother’s bowling shoes–truly mystifying!–and her tennis racket, although I don’t remember her ever playing tennis until much, much later in life. The carpet-sweeper was also in there. Do we still have carpet-sweepers?

Ah, the smell of ironing! And the black-and-white TV. And kneeling on the couch by the window, watching the snow come down…