Tag Archives: my family

Memory Lane: Road Construction ‘Cannonballs’

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Hey, remember these things? Actually, you’ve got to be a bit on the old side, to have seen them. They were declared a no-no around 1960, although some municipalities and private contractors kept on using them for some years afterward. But you won’t see them anymore–except as curious artifacts for sale here and there.

Not until yesterday did I learn they were called “road construction smudge pots.” As a boy, seeing them along Route 1 as we rode to Grammie’s house, I thought they must be cannonballs. Because, well, they looked like cannonballs. But that flame at the top–maybe they were bombs. There were bombs that looked like that in Farmer Grey cartoons. (Remember those?) They never went off, though, so I was pretty sure they must be cannonballs.

We are told by certain persons who collect these, nowadays, that you have to wear gloves to handle them because they’re just so terribly filthy. Probably leave a carbon footprint that even John Kerry would be proud of. Once upon a time they used to be set up along road construction areas as guides to help keep drivers on the road. Now they’re just collectibles.

Not that I miss the old cannonballs. But I do miss those visits to Grammie, and that’s what I think of when I see pictures of those things.

Sorry about the Disabled Comments! I forgot to take the extra step of disabling the disability.

‘Our God is an Awesome God’ (and I Need Him!)

Things are not going at all well with my family, lately. And as much as I would like to give you the details–and that’s very much indeed–I am not at liberty to do so. You’ll just have to take my word for it–and pray that the Lord helps us, and soon. I don’t know what to do, and there’s no one to go to… but God Himself and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Meanwhile, all I can do for now is to follow the old advice: pray harder, sing louder. And hope God hears me, and comes to our aid. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer Request: Ray (My Brother-in-Law)

It was only last year he was occasionally posting comments here; but now my brother-in-law is in the hospital with yet another serious medical difficulty (I’m not at liberty to give you the details, because he’s not able to give his consent) and he needs our prayers.

O Lord our God, our God who loves mercy and hears our prayers, please come to the aid of my brother-in-law, Ray, and in Jesus’ name, please heal him. Please, Father, restore him to health: In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Humorous Exchange


So my wife’s new bra was too tight and she wanted to stretch it. She turned to me–without first explaining the situation–and asked, “Would you please wear my bra?”

“Certainly not! I’d look like a pervert.”

“You can wear it backwards.”

“Then I’ll look like a crazy pervert.”

That was a few years ago, but Patty was laughing about it this morning. Ah, memories!


Off to the Vet’s…

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Well, now I’ve got to catch Robbie so I can take her to the vet. Just for a checkup, see how her thyroid numbers are–everything, I expect, should be all right. Then we can come home and Peep can spend the rest of the day hissing at Robbie, hissing at me, and at the furniture. By then it will be raining. Maybe it’ll put the cats to sleep. They haven’t figured out yet how to fight in their sleep.

Memory Lane: Slot Racing

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Hey, remember these–slot racing cars?

It’s my brother Mark’s birthday today, the weather is atrocious, and he and I were on the phone reminiscing about our old slot racing cars. He still has our set, vintage 1964; and after a fashion, it still works.

The cars had little pins underneath that kept them fitted to the slots on the track, and metal brushes to pick up the electricity from those white lines you see in the photo; they’re wires. You couldn’t steer the cars, of course, but you could control how fast they went. And you could lay out the track with enough curves to make speed control a kind of art. Do you slow down for the curve, and maybe let the other guy’s car pull ahead? Or do you go for the gusto, and hope the rubber guard rail keeps your car from winding up on the other side of the room?

The cars were only two inches long, tops, and you could customize them by fitting them with tiny racing slicks or fiddling around with the actuator on the inside: that was the thing that went up and down, moving the gear that spun the wheels. We had the first-generation slot racers, the design of which was so simple, even I could understand it.

It was a very simple pleasure, to be sure, compared to the fancy-schmancy electronic toys kids have today. But sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that you remember.

Aunt Joan’s Out of the Hospital

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This is how Aunt Joan used to travel.

Well, they weren’t pulling my leg yesterday. Aunt Joan is now out of the hospital and back in her own bed at the nursing home. Her condition has stabilized, she’s out of danger: God has heard our prayers.

Joan has long since lost the power of speech, so there’s no way to know what she’s thinking. I like to think she’s reliving her world travels, but of course I don’t know. Maybe she’s already in communion with the saints. There’s so much we can’t know. But if we knew everything, what would we do with our faith?

Unexpected Good News

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Aunt Joan used to have scads of these lovely purple crocuses in her front yard, and sometimes they’d  be in bloom before all the snow melted.

I was preparing this morning’s hymn when the phone rang. It was the social worker at the hospital calling to advise me that my aunt would be returned to the nursing home either later today or tomorrow. Her condition has stabilized and she is out of danger. Again.

Thank you all for your prayers on our behalf: and thank you, Lord, for hearing them.

When the Phone Rings at Midnight

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We would’ve been in bed already, if I could have pried Patty off the computer. But precisely at midnight, the phone rang.

You know what a late-night phone call means. Something terrible has happened. I thought, “This is it, Aunt Joan has died and they’re calling up to tell me.”


And this cheery voice replies, “Hello, Mr. Dooo-gon!”

Now you don’t take that tone when you’re telling someone that one of his loved ones has died, so my dread quickly gave way to confusion. It turned out to be one of the nurses asking my consent for Joan to receive a unit of blood. And that was that.

Well, almost.

I was half-undressed when the phone rang again. “What the devil is it now!” I had to charge back downstairs in the dark, with cats eager to dash across my ankles and kill me. And it was just another nurse with the same request. My consent isn’t official unless at least two nurses hear it. The first nurse forgot that, so they had to call back.

“Is that it? Can I finally go to bed now?”

Yeah, we can go to bed, adrenalin racing through our systems–because those late-night phone calls freak you out. Patty didn’t sleep at all, kept turning on lights, finally gave up trying. I got an hour or so. I find myself a wee bit tuckered-out this morning.

To those cheery nurses, of course, midnight is just normal working hours. They didn’t think twice about calling me… twice. I have found that hardly anybody understands that, after 9 p.m. or so, when the phone rings, it is not good news. It seems people hardly ever die in the middle of the day. And then of course there are those lovely calls from the police, “Your son/wife/pet giraffe has been in an accident…”

Well, anyhow, Joan is still alive, still battling: and still in need of our prayers. I was thinking of playing some basketball today–well, that’s out.

Aunt Joan’s Still With Us

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I got a call from the hospital this morning–not the call I’ve been dreading–asking my consent for another procedure for Aunt Joan, a special IV line to get the antibiotics to where they have to be. Which means she’s still hanging in there, we haven’t lost her yet. It came as a great relief to me. The nursing home also called, just to tell me they’re set up to take her back when she’s ready. More relief–although she’s by no means out of the woods yet, and she still needs our prayers.

My aunts were world travelers way back when, before there were passenger jets and only a very few people did this. Joan went just about everywhere. I wonder now if her travels served to strengthen her constitution. Who knows?

One thing I think I do know, one thing I think I can say with confidence: Prayer works. I’m pretty sure we all know that–I mean, after all, that’s why I take prayer requests and post them here.

Please continue your prayers on our behalf. O Lord our God, thank you for staying with us and for upholding us so far. We know that your will shall be done on earth as it is in Heaven. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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