Communion

It might surprise many of you to learn that I help our Pastor with communion on Sundays once in a while. Yesterday was one of those times.

It’s not a difficult task, and I enjoy helping. All I do is hold a tray of pre-filled communion cups and, due to COVID, Pastor passes out the bread with a small set of plastic tongs. A clean, simple process, right? Yes, it is.

When I join Pastor in the altar area she serves me first, then we go to the front of the church and serve the congregants as they file past us.

When that’s done we return to the altar where it’s my turn to serve Pastor. I didn’t even make it past the bread before disaster struck when I picked up a piece of bread for her and those tiny little plastic tongs snapped right in half. As you might suspect, the sanctuary was very silent so when the snapping tongs was quite profound. No one really knew what caused it because I was able to complete the transfer without dropping anything.

I gently put the broken tong parts in my pocket and served Pastor the wine, completing the process. Then, when I put the tray on the altar I loudly clanged the tray lid on the tray. So, I batted 1000, but it was OK. I got the job done and actually didn’t spill, or drop anything. I just made a lot of noise and everyone got to take home a story to share that begins with, “Guess what Jerrie did today…”

Now I need to find replacements before next Sunday. I’m thinking chopsticks.

Peace to you all.

It Must be Thanksgiving!

Considering the state of our world, I submit that all of us have something to be thankful for not only on this special day, but on every day of our lives.

Me?

I’m thankful …

  • … for my family, wherever they may be. Some are near, some are far, but they are all with me in my heart, always.
  • … for all the folks who spend their days on guard protecting us in our hospitals, on the streets, at sea, and in foreign lands. They are all special people.
  • … for those folks who wear masks when it’s necessary for us to venture outside and be in their presence.
  • … that I still have all 6 of my senses, most of the time. There are some who will argue that, sure, I have the normal five, but the 6th, common, isn’t always fully engaged. Sadly, I cannot deny that.
  • … for Norris who keeps our septic system working properly.
  • … for all those people working at Oregon gas stations who fill my tank.
  • … for all the people who stock the shelves in our grocery stores.
  • … for the farmers and ranchers who produce pretty much everything I’m allowed to eat.
  • … for my friends for putting up with me even when I can’t remember their name.
  • … for the bagel lady.
  • … for Amazon Prime so I can shop in my pajamas.
  • … for all the Utility workers who ensure all our appliances work.
  • … for our pets, all of them, even cats. They were, and are, some of my favorite people.

… to mention just a few. For those I failed to mention, please forgive me. I appreciate whatever it is that you do. Honest.

Above all, I’m thankful to God who makes all this possible.

Be safe …

Government Stuff

It’s really hard for me to sit down and write something light and cheerful these days. It starts out OK, then political “stuff” jams my airways, redirecting my brainwaves into political thoughts, an area I’ve arduously avoided in all my posts.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions about what’s going on. I do. I just won’t start throwing opinions around. It’s not productive.

I will, however, share my thoughts about how the government should be managed.

First, I would get rid of Senators and use only Representatives. I mean, what does a Senator actually do that’s different from a Representative? They seem to me to be just one more level of management to hinder improvement. Yes, I understand that Senators deal with international issues while Representatives deal with issues closer to home but why can’t the Reps do both? Most of them are smart people who should be able to figure it all out.

Second, Representative age requirements should be limited to the 18-33 range. That means someone right out of High School can run for office. I feel that’s appropriate because most people at that age already know everything. Giving that a little thought, maybe the beginning age should be 15. They know more then. You may think I’m kidding, but I’m serious. Kids are smarter now days and I think they actually do know more than most of the adults who “run” the country.

Regardless of what age they are when elected, they can only serve until age 33. At that time they are automatically included in a pool of people eligible for the presidency.

All employees of the government must will pay into Social Security..

Selection Process

Six months prior to the current president’s 66th birthday, the pool of all Representatives who are 32-years-old, will be thrust into a pool from which the next President will be selected. Those Representatives who do not wish to be considered for the Presidency may opt out and go get another job that is not associated with the government. This is a must because prior to engaging in this new process, all lobbyists will be eliminated. This will ensure all decisions made by those currently serving the people are not influenced in any way by external forces.

I can hear your eyes rolling at that while muttering “yeah, right” quietly to yourself.

Three weeks before the current President’s 66th birthday, all the 33-year-olds who have opted in will gather in the White House Rose Garden, suitably masked, and a drawing will be held.

Consider that the initial Congress will exist of 2 Representatives from each state, and Washington DC, we’ll have 102 employees from which to choose. Of those, only 1/4 will be 33 years old because we will have started this process with employees in these age ranges: 18-21, 22-25, 26-29, 30-33.

Each age group will be comprised of 25.5 Representative. All employees of the group will be given a ticket from a roll of raffle tickets, the matching half of which will be placed into a large bowl.

The Secret Service will take charge of the bowl and transport it to the White House roof and deliver it to the sniper on duty at the time

The Secret Service will take charge of the bowl and transport it to the White House roof and deliver it to the sniper on duty at the time overlooking the Rose Garden.

The sniper will will cover their eyes and draw out a ticket, uncover their eyes and loudly call out the number on the ticket.

The Representative holding that number will be the next President if they yell out “Bingo!” in a timely manner. After the winner makes their way to a position near the current President, the Secret Service agent will throw a hula hoop into the crowd until one is encircled and becomes the next VP. (Note: Only one hula hoop should be required for this process because all Secret Service agents will have received extensive training on how to accurately toss a hula hoop in such a manner as to encircle one person.)

Citizenship

Citizenship requirements for Representatives are minimal. Each state must select their own Representatives and no one really cares how they do it. All candidates in the age-appropriate group must have been living in their state for at least six months and have a current driver’s license. Where they came from doesn’t matter.

Terms of Office

The new President will serve for 33 years or until they die from exhaustion.

Representatives will serve from age 18-33 or until they die from exhaustion.

The only government employee allowed to continue employment will be the President.

There will be no campaigning.

TV Networks will not interrupt evening shows with political updates.

The new President can either retain current cabinet members, or appoint new ones from the Pool of their Peers. Doing this will require that those selected are replaced by the state the represent. This will be done by lottery conducted by the current governor using the same method used to select the President.

Sounds simple, right?

When I get my own planet, that’s the way we’re going to do things.

If you actually read this far I you need to know that all of the foregoing was done shortly after I got up at 5 am. And, after I watched about an hour.5 of Queen on YouTube. I admit this freely because I, too, am quite astounded that I did it. And, I enjoyed it. Freddie Mercury was quite amazing and Adam Lambert still is.

Who knew?

Note: I briefly considered reading this and editing it a little, but hanged my mind. Diane will do that when she reads it. Although I inadvertently committed a potential fashion crime, by wearing brown socks with grey slacks to church on Sunday, I believe she will give me an accurate critique of my efforts.

Wish me luck.

South Beach, Jennie, CT/PET scans

This is Oregon’s South Beach, not Florida’s. It’s a state park on the Oregon Coast. That’s where we are at this moment in time. Watching the VP debate.

About the debate. After watching the presidential debate, no way were we going to miss this one.

The trip north was non-eventful. The entire way the sky looked almost like it was going to rain at any moment. It didn’t, but should have. If it had perhaps I could have scraped the 3-4 millions bugs off the windshield. From the inside of the coach, the windshield looks a lot like modern art. Before leaving tomorrow I’ll see if I can capture it in a photo with the thought of framing it for a prominent spot above our fireplace.

When we first checked in to the South Beach camp ground, we set up in space A-33, the one we selected when originally registering. One of the first things I do when setting up camp is to determine how good our southern view is. That’s important for good satellite TV reception. Gotta have that so we can check the news. And other stuff.

After I got the coach all set up it was apparent right away that we didn’t have a good southern view. Neither did we have access to broadcast channels. So, I went cruising around the park looking for a better spot. I found that E-31 was far better and went back to the Park Ranger and he switched our sites.

We broke camp and moved. Everything works great.

I can hear your heads twirling about how what I’m describing has anything to do with camping in any way shape or form. Camping is setting up a tent, stoking a wood fire, cooking with the fire or on a tiny little gas stove. You bundle up when it’s cold, and you sleep on the ground. We used to do that.

Then we got old and camping took on a new look for us. Sleeping on the ground became difficult and extremely undesireable. So, we don’t do that any more.

NOTE: I just opened my laptop and found this as a draft from October 7th so it’s a bit out of date. Instead of wracking my tiny brain for more information related to South Beach I’m going to skip ahead a bit and share where we are this moment in time – Deschutes River State Park near The Dalles, Oregon. That’s almost as far away from South Beach as we can get. Actually, that’s not even close to true because the further east we go on I-84 the further we get from South Beach. But, that’s a bit irrelevant for this narrative.

This trip we connected with our Winnebago Group once again. Diane made the arrangements for us to meet up with the group at the Troutdale Outlet mall so we could travel together east on I-84 to the park. Normally, when we rendezvous like this, we are the last to arrive, but this time we beat Terry & Carolann and Cliff & Susie by a mile. Les and Sophie were already at the camp ground so I guess you could say they beat us all. Which they did.

Since we arrived first, we got our lawn chairs out and sat in the sun, yes it was sunny, waiting for the others to arrive. It took them a while but that was to be expected since they live about 3 miles from Troutdale.

We establised another first by leading the group on the trip to the camp ground. What fun I had leading the pack. We mossed along at a sedate 60 mph the entire way.

Once we got to the campground, and connected to the utilities, I investigated the best view of the southern sky. I’ve mentioned before, maybe earlier in this narrative, that seeing the southern sky is imperative for a successful camping experience because that’s where the satellites live that we need to ‘see’ with our Dish antenna. Thankfully, the antenna finds the satellites all by itself. Nifty.

I reset the Dish received a few times with the antenna in various locations with no success. Then I decided to put it on the RV roof, always my last choice, to see what it could find. Turns out it was perfect even though the window to the sky was small through some very tall trees. I was amazed. Diane was very happy.

We set up on Thursday and prepared ourselves to silently celebrate our daughter’s, Jennifer’s, 45th birthday on Friday. Wow! Our baby is 45! But, she still looks like she’s 20-something. Knowing we weren’t going to be home, like almost every October 23rd for many years, we celebrated her birthday with dinner and a small party at Jen’s house last Wednesday. It was a nice, quiet visit. Always good. In attendance was Jen, Daniel, Lydia, Justin, Diane and me. I haven’t mentioned Justin before. He’s Lydia’s new boyfriend. Actually, they’ve known each other since they were wee children and went to school together. They were friends then until Justin called Lydia a “dumb blonde”, or something like that. Because of that she shunned him for the last 8 years or so. Now Lydia acknowledges that he is her boyfriend. It’s a good thing.

The next morning, we left town.

Now it’s time for some historical information to set the stage for Friday afternoon.

Diane was informed about spots in her lungs that concerned her doctor last February. The fact that the doctor knew about them was due to a serendipitous abdominal CT scan that was mistakenly done on her chest. One spot, behind her heart, was of primary concern so another CT scan was scheduled for April so they could see if anything changed. It didn’t, so another CT was scheduled for six months out, in October. That test, done on October 12th, showed changes. Not good news so a PET scan was scheduled for October 20th. Knowing that PET scans are a primary avenue for discovering cancer in one’s body was intimidating, but it had to be done.

That was just a few days ago. Yesterday, Friday, Jennie’s birthday, she got a call from her oncologist but it went right to voice mail so she didn’t get to talk with the doctor directly. The message she left relieved a lot of tension for both Diane and me. She said the PET scan didn’t reveal any bright spots, meaning there was no cancer. Then Diane was able to access the PET diagnosis which was pretty much all good news. Amazing. Her oncologist said there are things that need to be worked on, but the worst case wasn’t in the picture.

I am so happy that my life with Diane isn’t going to be cut short and Diane is so relieved that the doctors have something definitive to deal with. She told me that on the drive home after the PET scan she felt a calm envelope her, a sense of peace. Like a sign that all was going to be alright. So far, it is.

The fact that all this news became available on Jennifer’s birthday seemed to be significant. No doubt in our minds, prayers were answered. For that, we’re thankful.

Life is good.

The Other Day, Then Today

This is a short post to capture what we did on October 3rd. I didn’t do it on the day of because my computer was arguing with me and it wouldn’t let me add photos. So I closed it and put it under a bunch of clothes in a drawer, all alone. Since then it’s been very cooperative.

On the 3rd, we took a trip to Coos Bay to see the sites. Here’s what we saw …

That pretty much sums up our activities for the day.

As I peck on my keyboard, we are taking backroads to the Coos Bay area to, perhaps, do it again. We’ll be passing through Charleston on the way. Sunset Bay State Park, just below Shore Acres, is where we stayed a few years ago so got to like the area a little bit then. We’re going back to renew that romance.

As I twiddle my thumbs, waiting for something significant to happen, I’d like to report, whether or not you’d like me to, that this area, based on the the number of flags we see, Trump supporters are in abundance. Just sayin.

There may be photos added to this at a later date, but for now, I’m frustrated enough that dismantling my laptop seems like a good thing to do.

Later.

Gilligan Nicole Lynn is 13!

Wow! Already, she’s a teenager. Time marches on so fast.

She’s grown into a very mature young lady and we’re very proud of her. Without a doubt, she’s going to be special.

We love you Gillie.

October 5th, 2007
October 12th, 2009
October 5th, 2010
September 9th, 2011
September 18th, 2012
October 12th, 2013
October 5th, 2014
October 3rd, 2015
October 22nd, 2016
October 5th, 2017
October 5th, 2018
October 5th, 2019

OK, that’s only 12 photos. The 13th photo won’t happen until later this week when we get home. Still, I’m amazed that I was able to find those 12.

Happy Birthday Gillie.

Trek to the beach

Truly, it was a trek. For Diane and me, it was an epic trek. It began quite calmly with a short walk around B Loop here in the park, to a very soft sand path that immediately aimed itself uphill. Next to the entry point stood a pole to which was attached a small sign with an arrow point the way. Beneath the arrow the distance was revealed to be 0.75 miles.

So, 3/4 of a mile uphill in soft sand. No problem. It was a challenge for both of us so we marched on. Very slowly.

Here I must report that this park has a portion available for folks who bring their horses and they are allowed to use portions of the sandy path we were trekking. Dodging occasional horse droppings on shared portions of the path caused me to wonder why campers are constantly reminded to clean up after their dogs but nowhere did I see similar reminders for horse owners to do the same. Especially for common use areas.

How is this fair? I suppose it could be a safety issue for the riders who would have to stop, dismount, cleanup, remount, then restart. Maybe OSHA made a decision that exempts horse folks from stooping so low as to pick up their poop. I don’t know, but, I have a solution.

Pretty much every parade I’ve ever attended had horses who marched down the road with all the other displays. Usually, they followed all the bands and marching units, for obvious reasons. Each group of horses is followed by a brave group of people with a shovel and a cart, picking up the droppings as necessary. I don’t think it’s beyond reasonable to provide the same service for horses allowed to traverse paths shared by humans. The pickeruppers could follow along on an off quad, or a small jeep.

Just a suggestion.

Now that I’ve unburdened my troubled sense of fairness, let me just say that Diane and I made the 1.5 mile round trip without incident. Although the temperature was reported at 68 degrees, neither of us believed it and took hoodies for the trip. They were put to good use once we arrived at the beach. The wind was blowing quite hard driving the wind chill factor down to about 9 degrees. That’s probably not true but it was really chilly. Even so, I ventured down that last steep hill to the beach so I could look at the little rocks the water scatters all over. Diane chose to skip that last challenge and found a comfy place to sit by a large sign with 146 on it. These signs, scattered up and down the coast, are used by safety agencies for locating emergencies along the coast. I looked that up so it must be true. Makes sense.

Anyway, while wandering around smartly on the beach, with no one within 2 miles of us, except the wind surfer making his way south. The results of my pebble hunting was about 7 pounds of extra weight for the return trip on that soft sand path home.

The path from the beach goes into those trees, and beyond. Daunting.

We took numerous breaks on the way back to let our hips and knees rest. Now it’s later, we’ve had supper, and sitting for any length of time causes micro seizures of all my crotch muscles. Getting up is difficult and painful. I’m having the same symptoms I get when I drag my golf bag around a 9-hole course. I fail to understand why all my discomfort is centered within the confines of my crotch area. Doesn’t make sense.

Still, it hurts. I will heal, I know, but for now, it hurts.

Please pray for me.

Rocks before the trip.
Rocks after the trip.

Road Trip

I’m doing something different today. Not really different, just something I haven’t done in a long time. Write on the fly. Diane’s driving and I’m connected to the tow car’s wifi which is really handy. Not only does it give me a chance to keep up with the blog, it diverts my attention from what happens on the highway. Sometimes it’s pretty scary with all those cars whizzing by willy nilly.

We’re headed south on Highway 101 with no clear destination in mind. Just going south. We’ve done this before but it’s been a long time so everything we see will be new.

First thing we did was stop by Face Rock State Park in Bandon. We donned our ‘car bibs’ and ate the bologna sandwiches Diane made for lunch. Pretty yummy stuff. Haven’t had bologna for a long time. Diane eats it quite often because it’s one of the sandwiches I can make from memory.

By the way, Ernie, Bandon’s population as of 2018 was 3,130, or thereabouts. Thought you’d like to know that it hasn’t grown much beyond what you remember.

After lunch we returned to the campground we’re in, Bullard’s Beach State Park, B-41,so I could make sure I didn’t leave my iPad and iMac laying on a chair outside. I was supposed to bring it with us so I could fiddle while Diane drove.

Turns out I left it on a table inside so they were safe.

Then, we headed south again and made it all the way to DQ where the siren song of a chocolate malt caused us to stop. Actually, I’m the chocolate malt guy. Diane usually gets the squishy drinks. This time she got a lemon twizzle, or something like that. She likes it.

It’s a beautiful day – 68 and no clouds. That’s really a good temperature for the beach. Hope it’s still that warm when we get there.

We’ve been watching the news every night to find out how karma is treating our president. I have this deep down feeling that it’s a huge hoax so he can magically come out of it and say, “told you so.” Still, not knowing causes us to wish him a speedy recovery. No one needs to suffer without someone caring.

That’s my political statement for the day.

Along our course we’ve passed numerous cranberry bogs. Ocean Spray has a presence in the area and, I understand, buys the products of the private bogs that pepper the area. So, when you eat that stuff at Thanksgiving, you’re eating a little bit of Oregon, in a way.

Not too far down the road is the town of Sixes. I’m curious about that place and need to know the history behind the name. I’ll share it with you because I bet you’re curious, too.

OK, I’ll just tell you what I know, and what I found out on Wikipedia.

Sixes is an unincorporated town that’s so small that, though we were looking, we drove right through it, or by it, without a clue that anything was there. That’s when Wikipedia came into play and that’s what I shared on the link connected to the first word in this paragraph. There’s probably more history available, but I’ll just let you look it up.

In the mean time, Diane took a right off Highway 101 to visit Cape Blanco State Park. This will allow us to check off one more Oregon state park from our list. I have no idea how many we have left to visit, but I think we’ve been to the majority of them.

Cape Blanco is a windy place.

Diane’s hair flying off into the wind. Caught it right at the edge of the cliff.

We got out and walked around a bit then Diane went back to the car because of the cold wind. Temp is 64 but wind chill is around 12, I’m sure. After Diane got in the car, she couldn’t close the door.

Go the lighthouse in the cut out at the top of the sign.
Cape Blanco lighthouse.
Here’s why they need a lighthouse.

After leaving the lighthouse area, we ventured down the gravel road that indicated it had beach access, and, by golly, it did. It was an interesting trip on a very narrow road.

When we reached the bottom, pretty close to the beach, we were the 2nd car. Within 15 minutes there were at least 8 cars parked with ours. That seems to happen a lot when we go places. The places is empty, then the masses follow. It’s like, “Hey, Jerrie & Diane are here! Let’s go, too!”

Cape Blanco is apparently a repository for a majority of lumber that washes up on Oregon beaches. There’s at least one whole forest laying at the high tide mark.

There was another road on the way from the lighthouse to Highway 101, leading to the Hughes farm house. It was built in 1898 by an Irish couple who cleared the land and raised 7 children in this isolated place. Hearty folks.

Diane’s window shopping. No tours today.
It’s windy most of the time at the house. Trees grow like this.

Now we’re on our way into Port Orford when the third historical site is awaiting us; the Port Orford Life Boat Station. We got there and discovered that seeing anything involved walking so we just sat in the parking lot for a bit, turned around, and headed back to the ranch. We were already wind burned and didn’t feel the need to make it worse. Thanks to the internet I was able to get you a link to the pertinent information.

Another reason for heading home is that my laptop is down to 22% and will quickly fall to 0% and I’ll forget everything I was going to write.

Now we’re ‘home’ and we’ve had supper.

Life is good.

Bandon, Oregon

What a nifty place. Major league golf courses, that cost $295 for 18 holes, if you aren’t a resort guest. Since Diane and I are 9-hole golfers, we probably wouldn’t be allowed to play. This price is the same for all of the Bandon golf courses, all of which are professional grade. Really, really nice courses. Absolutely no moles anywhere, so I hear. Oh, and carts aren’t allowed; everyone walks. That’s another reason we won’t play because, for us, half the fun of golfing is riding around in the golf cart.

Instead, we’ll just investigate the back roads around the town and pay a visit to McKays Market once in a while. There are also many excellent seafood restaurants on the wharf along the river just inside the jetties that protect entry to the Coquille River.

Today, Thursday, was beautiful. Yesterday there was forest fire smoke in the air all day, swirling up from California.

After the ride we came back to the camp ground so I could cook lunch, then we watched “Death Wish” with Bruce Willis. When it was over, we wondered why. To ease the pain of that one, we watched “The Bourne Ultimatum” for the second feature.

Diane brought along Movie Candy so we ate some of that while watching. I had Good & Plenty’s, she had Hot Tamales. I opened my box yesterday and Diane put on her “Lets test Jerrie hat” and asked me how many Good & Plenty pieces were in a standard serving. I told her, “25”, which was true because I read the label. Then I dumped some in a bowl so she could count them, and she was totally amazed to discover that I’d dumped out 25 pieces. Actually, I was too. I believe her exact words were, “how did you do that!” My response, I think, was a short explanation about how I’m able to slow the passing of time, relatively to myself, so that everything around me runs in super slow motion which allows me to do that kind of stupid stuff, or something like that. Exactly like The Flash, but different.

Now it’s bedtime. Past, actually. G’night. Maybe I’ll speed-sleep just for fun. Never done that.

I’ll add some random photos now and rely on you to relate them to the narrative.
Big Dog, I think.
Catching some rays in the front yard.
The fishing pier in Bandon where the Coquille River enters the sea.
Almost like Malibu moved to Bandon’s Beach.
No surfers here.
Diane’s Flowy hair. Wind’s from the north.

That’s it, shipmates. Semper fi.