It’s A Double Miracle !

Jennifer’s Daniel has a story to tell that will make you believe in miracles. Well, I’m going to tell it, not Daniel. He’s not here so it’s got to be me. It works best for me that way because with him in close proximity there’s always the danger that he’d want me to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. So, since I’m unsupervised I’ll just tell it like I remember.

Daniel is driving a 2003 PT Cruiser GT that has in excess of 170K miles on the speedo. During that time it’s had minor issues that were easily dealt with, making it a good commuter vehicle for him.

His commute includes windy, narrow, Cornelius Pass Road which always has wrecks on it. Missing them all is impossible. If you use that road on a regular basis you will eventually encounter a wreck, or be in a wreck. That’s just the way it works. Yesterday, though he neither encountered a wreck or got in one, he got a pretty good scare once all the possible horrible outcomes had been considered. The rest of the family was spared the bad news until it could be related as good news.

Amidst the teeming stream of vehicles rushing home from Portland to Scappoose and St. Helens, Daniel felt a shudder in the car that quickly became far more than a mere shudder. Fortunately he was able to get to the shoulder and out of harms way. Not knowing what was wrong, and wisely choosing not to attempt to drive it, he called me and I went to see how I could help. My initial feeling was that my AAA card was going to come in handy, and that turned out to be the case.

After calling for a tow we sat, talked, and listened to the radio for three hours before the truck showed up. During that time we were visited with one Oregon State Trooper and one Multnomah County Sheriff Deputy. The Trooper, seeing that we were OK, wished us well and left. The Deputy, however, put out some flares to warn drivers. It was pitch black dark where we were sitting so the flares were a great idea.

When the flares were placed the Deputy was walking back to his vehicle when a car whizzed by, well over the speed limit, with no attempt to move away from the parked vehicles. The Deputy said, “I’ll be right back,” then jumped in his vehicle and chased the guy down. It was a beautiful thing to see. True to his word, he was back in about 15 minutes, made sure we were still OK then went off into the night. Both of us were very happy about the visits from both the Trooper and Deputy.

We had the PT towed to my house so we could take a look to see what we could see before attempting to call the high-priced help. I got to bed around 12:30 am, way past my bed time.

This morning Daniel and I approached the PT with the intention of moving it into the driveway. Our attempt to push it was proving to be very difficult which caused us to look closer for the problem. This revealed to us the true nature of the miracle. The tie rod on the left front wheel broke allowing the left wheel to go its own way. Had this happened when Daniel was going down Cornelius Pass he would have surely left the road and plunged into the canyon because there’s no other place to go. The miracle is that it didn’t break then. It broke after he turned on to Highway 30 for the final phase of the commute.

A trip to the local O’Reilly Car Parts joint provided us with the second miracle when we discovered that the part we needed only cost $14.71. That’s what it cost to get it back on the road. Truly amazing, I’d say.

Other costs were time, effort, and extremely greasy hands. Considering the possibilities, the entire family was vastly relieved and none of us cared about that.

Daniel was safe. That’s what we cared about.

Now I can’t help but think about Jennifer because she drives those same roads on her commute, too. I may make myself crazy with all this unless I have everyone’s assurance that they’ll pray for all the commuters in the world no matter what roads they drive. That should cover all possibilities.


Peeps Stash

Diane went to the pharmacy to get some new vitamins she read about, but they didn’t have any. So, she got Peeps instead. She stocks up during Easter sales, and any other sales that have Peeps, and stores them in a cupboard that only I can reach. When she has a need she must plead with me to get a box down for her. IMG_0362

She doesn’t really plead because she knows I’ll do whatever she asks me of me. Consequently, she always gets her Peeps.

Lydia’s 17! Already? … and other stuff …

Yesterday was Lydia’s 17th birthday. I know that’s true because I distinctly remember celebrating her 16th birthday about this time a year ago. Also, everyone was congratulating her on her 17th birthday making it even more clear to me. Here’s Lydia with her two best buds, Georgie and Ceirra.


Lydia’s party was held at the tea house in St. Helens where we ate tiny little sandwiches with interesting innards (one with curry that tricked me into thinking I was eating egg salad), various flavors of tea (all very good), many kinds of desserts (all good), and great service. Georgie, Lydia’s good friend, who works at the tea house, sat at the table with us to ensure we had the best service. We did, of course.

Georgie in her working uniform. The British flag apron is significant because her Mom, Jacqui, is from England and that’s where Georgie is going to college after graduating this year.


Maryssa, our only niece, has been tearing up the ball park with home runs lately. It all started when Diane and I were present at her game here in Oregon where she hit her first collegiate homer. A monster at the plate, she is.

Cedric will be leaving for boot camp mid April. He’s very excited about getting on with his life and a possible Navy career. We’re excited for him. Until he gets the call telling him when his departure date will be, he’s just hanging out …


Actually, he’s grabbing some rest after helping monitor the task of hiding eggs for the little girls. It is Easter, you know. So, Happy Easter.

The kids, big and little, all had a terrific time hiding the eggs (plastic ones with candy inside) then helping them find them. When that was done, the little girls got to hide eggs for the big kids. It was a great time. Lots of energy. The difference in the eggs is that the big kid eggs had money inside, not candy. Since Cedric is leaving soon for a paying job in the Navy, he gave the money he found to his sister, Lydia. What a guy.

Now, I’ll end with some pictures of all the fun they had, then I’m going to bed.


This is the Blackwood Legacy gospel group from Nashville. They blessed our little church last Wednesday evening with a 2 hour concert that blew our socks off. These guys are terrific. If you ever have the chance to see the in person, do so, by all means. They are (left to right) Paul, Hunter, Rick, and Luke. Amazing artists.


Jennie’s brother, Jeff, enjoying a cup of tea at Lydia’s party. The tea was pretty awesome.IMG_2971

Ceirra, Lydia, and GeorgieIMG_2975

A plate of food before it was rapidly decimatedIMG_2977

The girls, againIMG_3024

Gilligan and JennieIMG_3013


This is, like, the best T-shirt ever for LydiaIMG_2981

More of the food. I must admit that I had my very first jelly and banana sandwich here and it was actually pretty good. Who knew? This is a photo of Diane’s hand headed for the plate to grab something.

Gilligan in full sprint mode looking for eggs



Little kids off to hide eggs for the big kids, Baylee in the leadDSC_4960

This is out of sequence, because I think it’s big kids hiding eggs for little kids.DSC_4957

Just checking to see if you’re still awake. I have no idea who this is, but he, or she, has pretty much hit the limit, I’d say. I suspect getting an MRI, should the need arise, probably won’t happen.


Fall Ball, and Handicap Parking

Greetings on this rainy afternoon from St. Helens, Oregon. We had a gully washer this afternoon that rated right up there with one of the best we’ve ever encountered in our lives. Except for the one in 1976

Thankfully, all that rain happened just about the time we returned home from our second day of a two-day softball tournament in Hillsboro and Beaverton. The St. Helens Varsity team played two games each day. The first game yesterday was at 11:00 am which our girls won 8-5 (I think). The second game was played at 1:30 pm and it rained the entire game so the girls were cold and very wet. The other team all had rain gear so they weren’t bothered as much. That’s as good a reason as any for our girl’s 10-1 loss. It was brutal. Below are Diane (left) and Jennifer (scorekeeper) trying to stay dry. It didn’t work well.


This morning the first game was at 9:00 am so we had to leave home at 8:00 am to get there in time. The weather was a bit better, just sprinkling a bit. That game got off to a good start when our girls rang up two runs in the top of the first inning. Then our opponents came back with 5 of their own before defense kicked in and finished the inning. There was no scoring in the 2nd, and only one by the home team in the 3rd making it 6-2. It stayed that way until the 7th when St. Helens got their bats working again and tied the game at 6-6. Our defense got 2 outs quickly, but the home team battled back and loaded the bases. The game ended when a bad throw to 1st for a sure out was dropped allowing a run to score making it 7-6. Still, it was a good game and fun to watch the girls rally back to tie it up.

We had to wait a couple of hours between games so we went to Panda Express to get something to eat. I’m not normally a fan of Chinese Fast Food, but this was pretty good stuff. We were in a hurry so Diane wasn’t too concerned about getting between the lines …


The last game, at 1:30 pm this afternoon, was very different. Our girls won it going away 18-1 in five innings. It was pretty awesome and we’re proud of our girls. What made the two victories especially sweet is that all four opponents were 6A teams and St. Helens is 5A. The higher the number, the bigger the school. So, they really stepped it up and should have gained a lot of confidence.


In case you can’t read the scoreboard numbers, the top row for guest is: 6 3 1 8 0. Pretty nice.

Now, about that rain storm in 1976 on Guam … it was in the form of Typhoon Pamela which dropped 33.7 inches of rain on us in three days. The official records report that the winds were only 150 mph sustained, for 18 hours, with no mention of gusts. What we on the island heard was 180 mph sustained, for 18 hours, with gusts to 220 mph. It’s more dramatic using our numbers. We went outside when the eye of the storm passed over us and experienced the eerie calm. Jeff was even wading in the street before the storm returned. We were without power for 9 days. A fun time was had by all.

That’s all I have for today except to note that our dogs, who were all alone for 9 hours today, were extremely happy to see us return.

March Madness has me in it’s grip!

Is anyone tired of college basketball yet?

Not me … as long as Oregon, my first favorite team, keeps winning.

My second favorite team is whoever beats Notre Dame.

My third favorite is Gonzaga.

After watching the boys play for a while I did some channel checking and found a Women’s NCAA playoff. I watch their games quite often and each time each time it kind of saddens me because they don’t get the attention the boys get. They play every bit as hard and make exciting plays, just like the boys, but it’s like the news doesn’t have a lot of time to talk about them.

So, no matter what you see and read, NCAA women are also part of March Madness and worth your time. I was pleased to see that my March 21st, 2016 issue of Sports Illustrated devoted six whole pages to the ladies. I’ve had the magazine for about a week, I think, and found it interesting that today is only the 19th. How clairvoyant they must be.

Today was a beautiful one in our part of Oregon. I should have been golfing but chose, instead, to help my friend Randy install a stair lift in our church so those who can’t do stairs can make it down to the basement for coffee after church. If never had the opportunity to try picking one of those things up, just trust me … they are really heavy. Thankfully, Randy is young and strong so he took the end with the motor.

Getting it installed, and making it work, was a magical feat since neither of us had ever done something like that before. Making it more interesting is ensuring all the little safety switches work. There are a bunch of them and we didn’t have any instructions. I suppose that we probably wouldn’t have looked at them if we did, but it would have been nice to have a book handy, just in case. A couple of minutes before reaching the point where we were going to take the safeties out of the equation, we figured them out.

Now it’s time for bed. There are more BB games tomorrow and I need to be rested so I can artfully change channels just in time to catch the good plays.

Please! Make it stop!

Everywhere I look, or listen, it’s all about politics. I know, it’s that time again, but it’s all so … so … predictable. All the candidates slamming each other because the one speaking has all the answers and they share them so eloquently. Mostly in politician-ese.

Like this …

After Hillary won Ohio today I was listening to the radio, my favorite talk show, and she said like “… we are going to win this and in January I will be sitting in the White House making decisions that will affect a lot of people …”

That’s pretty close to a direct quote but if it isn’t, the meaning is there. By that, I mean it means nothing. Yes, she’s going to make decisions that will affect a lot of people but omitting what even one of those decisions might be about tells a story, don’t you think?

Pretty typical statement using a lot of words to say nothing.

Interesting how Trump slam-dunked Rubio in Florida.

Through all of this I hear a steady dialogue about how the FBI is still considering charges against Hillary regarding her emails and that if she’s elected she might take the oath of office from her jail cell. Interesting visual … hand on Bible, hand in the air reciting “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” In reading that I was struck how every president who’s taken the oath is given an “out” in the part that says “ the best of my Ability, …”.  Guess whenever they make a mistake they can fall back on that and say, “well, I did my best.”

Though I’m really, really tired of hearing all the rhetoric, from all the candidates, I’m really curious to discover how it all turns out. If Trump wins things will be very interesting.

The Wind Gets Stonger …

The leaders of our country, and those who aspire to lead, are causing the promise of wind storms by local weather people, and I’m pretty sure these same leaders, and wannabes, are in some way responsible for all the terrible weather related events that are tormenting residents of our Mid West. I haven’t figured out how they’re doing it, but I’ll figure it out eventually.

Regarding our wind issues, I think it’s pretty clear that all the hot air being expelled by the politicians have encircled the globe and are assaulting our west coast with a vengeance. I’m not talking just along the coast. Nope. It’s going to be nearly hurricane force winds for half of Oregon and Washington, top to bottom. I’m not worried because, after my little fake tarp garage blew over twice, I dismantled it. When the weather improves to the point where it’s essentially not needed, I’ll reassemble it. Maybe this time I’ll find a way to anchor it to the ground even though there will be no campaigning this time next year. Our big election will be over in November and we’ll have 4 years of blissful silence, and maybe better weather.

Seems like I heard, a long time ago, that in Japan, political candidates are only allowed to campaign and advertise two weeks before their election. Since I wasn’t sure if it’s true, but think it should be for ALL elections everywhere, I looked up ‘stuff’ on the internet about restrictions on Japan’s political campaigns. You can see what I found here. I’m sharing it because I’m not sure what it says. I think it prohibits political activity, except for the right to vote,   while serving. Perhaps someone out there can clarify what it says. I want it to say that politicians in office aren’t allowed to campaign during working hours and I want that to become true for the US, too.

No! Wait! I forgot that I’m descended from royalty and will be running for King as soon as I work out all the kinks. I’m against campaigning during working hours, which isn’t a problem because I don’t have a job. How convenient is that? I can campaign all the time. Now all I need is a campaign fund. I’ve actually already started one with money I’ve been saving for years. It’s a little rabbit bank I keep on my dresser into which I put all the quarters I receive in change for purchases. All the other change goes into an empty 1 liter Dr. Pepper bottle in my closet. The quarters don’t fit is why they are stored in a different place. I think I have may $37.86, or thereabouts. It’s a start. Please DO NOT send me money. I’m going to do this on my own. Just like Donald.

The only obstacles that may prove difficult are my two older brothers. Using current rules of royalty, the older brother, Jim, has first dibs. If he abdicates the throne is open to Jack. Then there’s me. So, one of these days you’re going to be working for either King Jimmie, King Jackie, or King Jerrie. I think all of them sound pretty cool, for king names. Depending on which ever one of us takes the throne, you’ll also have either a Queen Donna, Queen Wynette, or Queen Diane.

I just added that about the prospective queens so you’ll know who’s really in charge.

Gotta go before I get in more trouble.

Before I do that, however, thanks to all of you from around the world who take time out of your day to visit me. I’m always amazed when people do that. Especially those that come back again. Most recently, someone from Brazil has been checking me out many days in a row.

So, hello, there.

Wind Advisory & Politicians

The wind has been blowing pretty hard around here and I can only attribute that to collateral damage from all the hot air from the political debates creating havoc with the atmosphere. Twice now my fake garage, a Costco special temporary shelter, has been upended, turned completely around and unceremoniously deposits upside down next to the motor home.

The first time it blew over was about a week ago. Being feeble, making it right was out of the question so I sent son Jeff a plea for help. He showed up pretty quickly with Marc in tow and they got it back into place very quickly. I was amazed and grateful. Considering that Jeff has shoulder, knee, and ankle issues of his own, and Marc reported that he used to be a circus midget, they did a great job.

Then, the night before last, we had another wind advisory that was fulfilled and it blew away again.


The Motorhome sustained a bit of scratching, but no broken glass. I was happy about that.

Instead of dragging Jeff away from his tasks, I decided to take care of the problem all by myself in a way that wouldn’t put undue pressure on my overly sensitive rotator cuffs. I just dismantled the entire thing and put it in the garage. Then I covered the mower with one of the blue tarps and anchored it down with everything heavy I could find that used to be covered up by the fake garage. I did this because there’s another high wind warning, so why bother.

The next time I put it up it’s going to be anchored properly. With rebar. Big rebar, driven about 10 feet into the ground on each corner. Might use some cement, too.

Now, how about all the voting that’s going on?

Looks like Donald is going to win the republican battle for the nomination, unless congress decides he’s not allowed to run for some reason. Like, he’s not really a politician, so why should he be allowed to run for President. That, according to some reports I’ve read, should be left to seasoned politicians that know all the tricks of the trade. I just added that last part. No one really said that. But, I think it’s one of those things that goes without saying for folks who have been in politics their entire working life. They’re there because they know all those tricks.

Lord help us all.

WW III & The Apocalypse

This morning Diane took Jennifer, our first daughter, to the Expo Center in Portland to attend the Antiques & Collectibles event. I was given the option of staying home and spending my day unsupervised, free to let my senses sense stuff, and eat whatever I want. Soon after Diane left to get Jennifer, I found myself engrossed in a video about the coming apocalypse, and WWIII.

It was an incredibly long video that started out on a very religious note, quoting the bible and events associated with End Days and I was captivated because it was interesting to see how the authors interpreted the prophecies. I’ve been captivated by long videos of a similar nature, regarding other subjects, but the result I suspected was at the end where I was offered a “program” that would help me and my family survive the end of days for only $39. Not for the quoted street value of $197, or the $500 others might charge, but only $39. Seemed like a pretty good deal.

Then, the guy kept talking, offering to provide a 60 money back guarantee, and support for a full year after purchase, even though he reported that WW III was going to happen before January 2017. Yup. 2017. Perhaps you’ve heard about this offer, too.

Well, that’s when he lost me and I chose to not click the “add to cart” button at the bottom of the screen. I just sat there thinking about all that for a bit and the voice came back letting me know he knew I was still there and began another spiel to try to convince me that I should really take advantage of this special offer.

Now, after the first 45 minutes of listening to this person talk, I was pretty sure it was going to end with a special offer of some sort, so that wasn’t a surprise. What did interest me, however, was the claim that WW III was going to begin with a powerful EMP strike 20 miles above the center of the USA. He reported that President Putin was going to be the delivery boy for this attack that will cripple America by destroying our power grid. No more iPhones, folks.

I closed the message and opened an email from a friend that provided me with quotes from famous people from the past that is more on topic for what’s been going through my brain lately. Without his permission, I’m going to share them here and put WW III and the apocalypse aside for a while. I have until the end of the year to address that subject and need to do some more research before stepping out on that one.

Here are the quotes … they don’t portray anything new. They just have a common theme that, sadly, “we the people” deal with all the time.

If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.
~Jay Leno~

The problem with political jokes is they get elected.
~Henry Cate, VII~

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office

If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these State of the Union speeches, there wouldn’t be any inducement to go to heaven.
~Will Rogers~

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.
~Nikita Khrushchev~

When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it.
~Clarence Darrow~

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.
~John Quinton~

Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.
~Author unknown~

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.
~Oscar Ameringer~

I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them.
~Adlai Stevenson, 1952~

A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.
~ Tex Guinan~

I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
~Charles de Gaulle~

Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.
~Doug Larson~

There ought to be one day — just one — when there is open season on Congressmen.
~Will Rogers~

You may have noticed that one of the quotes above was made by Henry Cate, VII. My older brother, Lyle, once told me that he traced the Cate heritage back to Mary Queen of Scots. Turns out Henry was her father, so guess I’m descended from royalty. Who knew?

Maybe I really should run for King, unless, of course, one of my older brothers wishes to be in charge.

Have a good day.

Welfare & Politicians

While expounding on the merits of certain presidential candidates, and politicians in general, it was brought to my attention that I failed to touch on another iffy subject that’s near and dear to many folks in the good old USA. That would be our failed welfare system.

So, here goes ….

Welfare. My dictionary has a variety of definitions for this simple word which I will now list because I’m not sure many people truly understand what it means.

It’s a noun meaning:

  • The good fortune, health, happiness, prosperity, etc., of a person, group, or organization;
  • Financial or other assistance to an individual or family from a city, state, or national government;
  • Informal. a governmental agency that provides funds and aid to people in need, especially those unable to work.

It might be used in a sentence in this manner – “Yes, I have a job, but I need welfare so I can pay for my new car, my TV, my cigarettes, my medical marijuana, etc.”

The more I think about this, the more I think career politicians and welfare recipients have a lot in common. The politicians must survive the election process and welfare recipients must survive the application process. Once they are in the system, it’s hard to remove them. Both of them live off public money for which there is little, or no accountability

It was suggested that welfare recipients should be required to work at least 20 yours a week in order to receive their welfare check. With the increase in minimum wage that $300 a week might put them beyond the limits of welfare, so those rules will certainly have to change.

I believe we should require the same of our politicians – they should work at least 20 hours a week. Year round. Campaigning doesn’t count.

As for both welfare recipients and politicians, the 20/hr/wk job doesn’t need to be a paying one. It could be some form of community service that produces tangible results that can be measured. The committee that determines if the job is good enough must be comprised of 7 people who are currently receiving Social Security, and never have been a politician or a welfare recipient. That’s it. Simple rules. Race, sexual orientation, gender, religious affiliation, and past career knowledge, are not qualifying factors. This will be a volunteer committee from all walks of life.

Welfare recipients and politicians will be able to receive their payments for the same period of time our president is allowed to serve this nation. That means 4 years normally, 8 years maximum. The committee checking on the quality of work will determine if payment is warranted beyond 4 years, or if the politician’s work is worthy enough to extend beyond 4 years.

In any event, the maximum time allowed for either, is 8 years. Then it’s hit bricks and get a real job. Join the military. Be a preacher. Go to college. Do something productive for a change. Or, hey! Perhaps they could just switch positions at the end of their respective terms. That might be interesting.

I’m sure some of you are wondering what kind of heartless lunatic I am to be down on folks who need a lift up. Well, it’s easy, because I’m not aiming at the majority who actually need the help and who eventually work their way off the system and become productive. I’m talking about the minority of those who make welfare a way of life because it’s so easy to get. And keep. Same with politicians. All they have to be is glib, charismatic, bendable, and without morales to meet current requirements. I’ll grant you that some politicians are stellar folks who actually do have a great deal of interest in our welfare (hmmm), but the majority drown them out and make it impossible to accomplish anything while serving as a part of that hugh machine. I believe their interest in our welfare is due to the fact that our continued well-being (a synonym for welfare) is directly related to the benefits (another synonym) they receive while in office. Seems like the most work they do is campaign to get re-elected.

Perhaps our politicians should work in a system like our American Legion, or Lions International clubs. They have a chain of command with positions filled by members who are elected or who volunteer to serve. Once in a position, there is a protocol they follow up the chain until they are in charge. After their term (1 year), they step down so the person behind them can fill the spot. No elections. No two-party rigamarole, just guys and gals doing their jobs.

OK – I made a left turn back there somewhere and need to pull myself out of this. I get passionate about “stuff” and it’s hard for me to keep up with myself when the words start flying all over the place.

Perhaps there’s a tiny bit of sense in there somewhere, or maybe a seed that someone can plant and grow something meaningful. It may even make more sense if I was inclined to go back and edit things a little, but that’s not me. I leave stuff alone once it’s out there.

That’s about all I’ve got so need to quit. Also, Diane will be home soon and I didn’t ask if I could use the computer while she was gone. She’s at “The World Day Of Prayer” with a large group of ladies at the Christian Church. When she left, I asked her to pray for me. She said she would. So, maybe I’m OK with this. We’ll see.