Archive for July, 2011


July 27, 2011

I was privileged to serve with the U S Army in Germany with a unforgettable character.  I auditioned for the band when I arrived at my base in Germany.  I was brass section leader in the band and shared a room with  two other GI’s.  One was a fellow trumpet player from San Jose, California named Guy.  The other was a baritone player from Duncan, Oklahoma.  This was my unforgettable character by the name of Dan.

Dan had many stories to tell and as thought about a subject to write about today I remembered this story about “the last chicken.”  Dan was a butcher in civilian life.  Duncan is not a large town so everyone knew everyone.

One Saturday Dan’s meat market was very busy and he was getting pretty low on chicken.  As a matter of fact, he had only one fryer left.  I don’t remember the woman’s name, so I’ll call her Mrs. Smith.  Dan kept his poultry iced down in a “coke” box like the picture above.  This is a Nesbitt’s Orange cooler, but back in those days a “coke” was a Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, Root Beer, Orange drink, etc.  Well, Mrs. Smith told Dan she needed a fryer for Sunday dinner.  He slid one side of the cooler open and retrieved the only chicken he had.  Placing it on the scales, he asked her if this was the size she wanted.  She asked if he had one a little larger.  NO PROBLEM.  Dan put the chicken back in the cooler, slid the lid closed, and slid the other side open.  He shuffled the ice all around like he was selecting another fryer, reached to the other side of the cooler, and retrieved the only chicken he had.  Placing it on the scales, he again asked if this one will be okay.  She informed him that it was just fine, but on second thought she would like to take both fryers he had shown her.

One Chicken

Or Two Chickens

CONFESSION TIME!!!  A red-faced Dan had to admit his deception.  But, small town folks are just like family, so they both had a good laugh.

We must take care in our deceptions.  Sometimes we are successful and sometimes not so successful.  Often we can laugh about them, but many times people are too happy to be deceived.  When we attempt to deceive God, it just won’t work.  We can fool ourselves, but God already knows how many chickens are in the cooler.  Our friends and neighbor may laugh but God takes it a little more serious.  Integrity is our actions when no one is looking.  That’s they way we should be in all things and then we are not worried whether God is looking or not.  Have a blessed day and enjoy your fried chicken this Sunday.





July 26, 2011

I always try to stay neutral on politics when I write a post on this blog.  I don’t know whether that is bad or good.  I do have an opinion on what’s going on in the  political scene today.  I say “political” scene rather than “governmental” scene because to me there is a real difference…in my opinion.

One party is not looking for a candidate for  president, so I can only address the other party.  I am still waiting for just the right candidate to enter the race.  None of the current candidates impress me.  The front-runner lost against the eventual winner who wasn’t a strong candidate himself.  And that’s all I will have to say about that, except the winner is almost as old as me.  I have more direct and indirect business experience than he did.  And, I believe that being president of this nation is similar to being a CEO or business owner.  As a matter of fact, the same holds true for all the candidates so far.  They have a lot of experience being politicians and a few have business experience.


I keep reading in the news that Governor Rick Perry may throw his hat in the  ring in a few weeks and has already gotten permission from his wife.  I asked Pam if I had her permission.  At first she said yes, and then decided it was too big a price to pay for living in Washington.  She did give her permission to run for Governor of Texas if Perry runs for the presidency.  She would be ready to move to Austin tomorrow.

I have tried to think of the qualities I would bring to either office:

What you see is what you get!   After seeing an example of “transparency,” I’m not sure if this is good or bad.

I’ll do what I say.  Honesty and integrity seem to have been lost in recent years.

If I am elected, I will stop campaigning for the next election.  It makes sense to me to do my job “for the people” and not the government and if successful, I won’t need to campaign to be re-elected.

Enforce existing laws and protect the Constitution.  We have an abundance of laws, both good and bad.  We don’t need new laws to replace the laws that are not being enforced.

So, AM I TOO LATE?  If not, should I choose state or federal?  Oh, I forgot.  Pam said no to Washington.  Maybe she can be persuaded otherwise, if a candidate doesn’t show up.

Don’t worry about me being too old.  I consider myself as being only middle-aged, because I intend on being around until age 119.  My plans are to live real fast until I die, and then just taper off.

I know I have many other qualities…to many to list.

My best quality is probably to live for God, family, and  country…and in that exact order.

Let me know:  AM I TOO LATE?


July 22, 2011

Pam’s Birthday Dance

Pam’s real birthday was a couple of days ago (Wednesday) and not the entire month of July.  We do celebrate her birthday a number of times during the month.  This picture was taken at her work place during a birthday party for her.  She works a couple of days each week for a local physical therapist.  Working a couple of days each week gives her a break from being home alone.  The main reason she works is because she loves being around people.

Pam’s birthday dance  is not just for birthdaysThat’s just my name for it on Wednesday because it was her birthday.  When they have a birthday party at her office, she always does “the dance” regardless of whose birthday it is.  The young ladies, and men, at work just watch with the jaw agape.  I don’t know whether it is in shock, envy, or they think she may be a little crazy.  But, she is a free spirit and it brings her happiness…so, it if feels good:  Do it!  You will notice in the picture that she had been given a birthday cone hat.

She also does “the dance” if a Longhorn baseball player hits a home run.  She didn’t get to dance for home runs as much this year.  The ‘Horns only hit 19 compared to 81 in the 2010 season.  Much more dancing going on last year.  She will also dance after a win.  Then, of course, she just dances because she feels like it.  That’s fine with me, but a normally choose to not dance with her.  I am a little more reserved.  But speaking of dancing.  I do love to dance with her to music.  We used to dance a lot and if the band could play it, we could dance it…or give it a good try.  We love to waltz and were known locally as the “Waltz King and Queen.”  I usually waltzed more than Pam, because fortunately for me, most men don’t or can’t waltz, so that leaves me with their wives or girl friends.  But, somebody always has to do it.  I take no credit for my dancing abilities…she taught me and is responsible for the “dancing monster.”

Birthday Dinner at Seafood Restaurant

There is no abundance of seafood restaurants in Jasper, so we normally travel to Beaumont, Lufkin, or Houston.  Wednesday, her birthday, we went on an adventure to Lufkin.  We enjoyed a meal together and requested one of the wait staff to take a picture.   (Isn’t she a beautiful lady?)  I am really lucky man to have the family I was blessed with.

Pam, Lyndsey, and I will get together this coming Saturday to have a delayed birthday celebration and for certain a little “shopping” time for the girls.  When I get tired of following them around, I will escape to Barnes & Noble for a little reading and napping.  I have been unable to give Pam her present because it was in Austin when we delayed of party.  And, I can’t tell what the present is because she will find out if she reads this post.

When your plans in life don’t go according to your wishes, just as our last Saturday birthday celebration, it is no time to feel defeated.  You may feel as if you have been knocked to the ground, but that’s the time to get up and Praise the Lord Anyway.  I firmly believe there is a blessing in all circumstances.  It may not be apparent immediately, so you need to seek it out.   Look close…the blessing is there.  In our case last week, we still had a great time together and visited with an old friend.  Today, I can look back and say:  “God, You are so good to me!” 


July 21, 2011

What a mess.  My woodworking shop. (above)

Pam’s cabinet project – raised panel doors on bottom to be added (Poplar)

Dry Sink (Pine)

Small Bowl (Mesquite)

Small Weed Vases (Cedar & Oak)

 Small Bowl (Sycamore Burl)

Small Bowl (Cedar)

Small (Walnut)

TV Armoire (Pine)

Sometimes when I go to my shop to work on a project I wonder how anything could be created in a mess like the pictures above.  A few months ago the shop looked much different.  The sawdust was vacuumed off the floor, all the lumber was stacked on the shelves, all the tools were in their proper place, and the dust from sanding did not cover everything.  After I finish Pam’s project, I will consider doing a major cleanup…MAYBE.  Of course, I do know what happens to “good intentions.”

I am not sure whether my shop can be described as a workplace of a “creative genius” or a messy slob.  Whatever!!!  I do know that out of that mess came projects that brought happiness to many people.  Of course, I am not a “creative genius.”  If that were the case, each project created would be perfect.  They most definitely are not.  Only the creator know where all the flaws are…and that’s my secret.

I have been a little neglectful about postings on my blog, so I decided to take a few pictures while I was home for lunch and do a little catching up.

As I read or watch the news I see such a mess around the world.  My shop compared to the world seems pretty organized.  There seems to be no good news being printed or broadcast.  The only thing that sells advertising, etc. is bad news.  It is enough to turn my head to negative thinking, wondering what will happen next.  Not wanting to always be looking for what is wrong in this world, I have been searching every news item to determine the hidden “good” that is overlooked.  To my surprise, it really helps rid me of negativity.  I know in my heart that there is some good in all things and all people.  My goal is to find that each day.

One thing about my “messy” shop…I know where everything is.  If I think about this world and the people in it today, I know that God knows where everything is and where all people are.  He is still in control.  I can remember back when my life was a worse mess that my shop.  When I allowed it, God created a new man of me.  I am not perfect, just like my projects are not perfect.  But, my Creator knows where all the  flaws are and it’s okay with Him.  I am an unfinished project, but He is  working on my daily.  He adds a little here and trims a little there.  It is sometimes painful, but when He finishes, I hope I here Him say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant!”


July 20, 2011

It’s that very special day of the year again.  Pam’s birthday!  We tried to meet Lyndsey in Bryan/College Station last Saturday to celebrate this event, but things didn’t work out.  The best laid plans sometimes just don’t work out.  But, all is not bad.  Pam and I had our own little adventure and moved our family celebration to next Saturday.  I have learned over the years that something good in all circumstances.  Pam is not at all unhappy to celebrate her birthday on Wednesday, sandwiched in between two Saturdays.  All-in-all, she likes for the celebration to last at least one month.  That is just fine with me.

Pam and I have been married thirty-three years, so we have celebrated her birthday 33+ years.  At first it was easy to select the appropriate gift, but each year it gets a little harder.  In an earlier post (11/23/2010 “Surprise Birthday Party.”), I wrote about the birthday party I planned.  I still believe this was the most surprising party I have ever given her and one I will always remember.  I have often wondered how I could top that party.  I have never come up with anything close.

On her past birthday parties we have been at beaches far and near and in the mountains of Colorado.  All have been great times and are stored away with many other memories.

I any readers have any suggestions for future birthday gifts or surprises, please let me know.  Lyndsey is always available for suggestions.  In fact, because of last Saturday’s birthday celebration being delayed until next Saturday, Pam’s gift is still in Austin.

I know there is a lesson here…there always is in any circumstances or event in our lives.  Maybe you can find a different lesson, but I believe that God is always watching over each of us and I know that His plans and the way He works things out are the best blessing we can receive.  I am always thankful that He is and always be in control of all things.



July 19, 2011

 Rattlesnake Island on Sam Rayburn Lake

A Sunday afternoon drive to Rattlesnake Island

 On the July 4th weekend a young man decided he would drive his pickup truck from the boat ramp at Twin Dikes on Sam Rayburn Lake to Rattlesnake Island.  The water level at the lake is about ten feet below normal so the water is obviously not too deep to take a Sunday afternoon drive to the nearby island.

I assume the island was named Rattlesnake because the snakes swam to the island as the lake was filling with water after the dam was finished.  It is a popular place to picnic and bask in the sun.  This young man, for reasons known only to him, drove to the island.  Those who were already on the island weren’t really appreciative of his efforts and called 911 to have him removed.  So, he decided to cut his visit short and headed for the boat ramp.  The pictures show that he made it through the lake to a mud/sand bar where he sunk into the mud.

The Corps of Engineers was somewhat peeved by the man’s actions and rewarded him with three citations which will probably be expensive.  And, adding to that, the towing company worked for six hours to retrieve the pickup and broke most of the cables and chains in their possession.  I hate to think of the towing bill that was presented to him.  The news on the local radio station said the man was tested for alcohol and their was no evidence he had been drinking.  I don’t know whether he was tested before or after the six-hour recovery operation.  He obviously had some kind of problem and if he had been drinking, he had six hours to sober up if the test was taken at the end of his ordeal.

The good part of this story is that anyone who will decide to drive across the lake to an island has absolutely no business driving on public roads.

I remember a few years ago when there was a drug bust on Rattlesnake Island.  There was a big “pot smoking” party in progress one night.  Law enforcement found out about the part and raided the island.  It was a rather large party and when the arrests were made, there were not enough vehicles to transport the prisoners to jail…guess what?  They brought a number of large cattle trailers to the lake, loaded the prisoners, and away they went to jail.  Again, these people didn’t need to be on the highways.

I don’t know what impression either of these events had on the participants, but I hope it was a real positive one.  Often, God has to let us experience the effect our decisions have on ourselves and others to get our attention.   The decision to drive to the island had an effect on those who were swimming and picnicking.  We may feel we have rights to do certain things, but I was told long ago that my rights end at the tip of other people’s toes.

Have a great summer and remember, NO DRIVING IN THE LAKE IN YOU PICKUP TRUCK!!!


July 18, 2011

Pam, Lyndsey, and I had planned a “Pam’s Birthday” adventure this past weekend.  Now that Lyndsey has moved back to Austin, it is a lot easier for us to be together.  During the time she lived in Kansas City, the distance made it much harder.

We had planned to meet in Bryan/College Station for lunch at Madden’s Gourmet Restaurant at 1 PM and then do a little browsing around that afternoon.  The adventure was very well planned out.  I would stay with them until I became a bore during their shopping and then I would take my Kindle and go to Barnes & Noble bookstore and read and/or take a nap.

Well, things don’t always happened just the way they were planned.  Lyndsey had a “situation.”  Below is a picture of her “situation.”

Lyndsey’s black Tahoe is the one on the other side of the orange vehicle.  That was her “situation.”

Lyndsey called and told us she would be a little late because a large truck had her blocked in.  I won’t go into a lot of detail, but the truck’s trailer had gotten grounded on the pavement and couldn’t move.  The back of the trailer was stuck and needed to be pulled by a tow truck.  The towing company had been called, but hadn’t arrived, so our birthday celebration for Pam had to be cancelled and rescheduled for next Saturday.

We had arrived at College Station and before the celebration was cancelled, Pam and I had time on our hands.  We headed to Barnes & Nobles and upon arrival, Pam saw a “nails” salon.  Pam decided to get a pedicure while I went to B & N to read.  I read for a little while, Pam sent me a text and said she needed cash, so I went to the nail salon.  I read until she got her pedicure and as we left someone yelled “Pam Burrows.”  We once lived in College Station (33 years ago) so we thought it may be an old friend.  WRONG!  It was four ladies from Jasper and they were on their was to the nail salon.  Small world, right?

The same thing had happened about a month ago.  We had stopped for lunch at Luby’s on the way to a Longhorn baseball game and we saw a couple of people who looked just like friends in Jasper.  After we finished earing, we walked by their table and they didn’t just look like our friends, they were our friends.  Small world, right?  They were with a group of “history buffs” and were visiting the George Bush Library at TAMU.

Pam and I always try to not let unforseen events upset our day, so I told her everything was okay because we were on an “adventure.”  We went to Tony Roma’s for lunch instead of Madden’s and I treated her to her first birthday lunch of ribs.  I say first birthday lunch because I will most likely take her out to eat on Wednesday (her birthday) and then we will have a birthday lunch at Madden’s next Saturday.  She was thrilled that she would be able to celebrate her birthday for at least a week.

We drove around Bryan/College Station and located a couple of places she lived before we married.  The area has grown quite a bit since we lived there, so it took a while to recognize her former residences.  But we were successful and were also able to spend time just doing a little sight-seeing.  We traveled south from College Station and ended up in Cleveland to visit an old friend there.  Surprise!  She had a birthday card and gift for Pam.

So, we just made do with the circumstances and had a great time…we were together to enjoy the blessings of God!  I guess the lesson we learned was that when you plans don’t go exactly the way you wanted, there is still a blessing to be found.  It is much better to look for the good in all circumstances and not be bogged down in a “pity party.”


July 13, 2011

For the past few days I have watched the same news being broadcast on the area TV stations and newspapers.  This news was about the death of a policeman, children being found in the bottom of the swimming pool when parents didn’t know where they were, robberies, and other tragic events.  These were not news items.  They were old news and I began to wonder if any of the news reporters were trying to find any GOOD NEWS to report, or were they satisfied with repeating the same old bad news.

This morning I decided to search for some GOOD NEWS in the media.  It is quite a task to find something positive in the news media.  I did find in the local paper (weekly) an article about a club formed through the 4-H club for the purpose of teaching about archery and firearms and the safety involved.  This was a club for young people.

I also found an article on the web about an accident in New Jersey.  A woman riding a bicycle in the parking lot was hit by a pickup truck and was pinned under the truck.  This was some GOOD NEWS about a bad accident.  The GOOD NEWS was that 10 people lifted the pickup off the woman and saved her life.  She was injured and having a hard time breathing, and would have died if not for the action taken by these caring people.

Many times we can see the GOOD NEWS in bad events…we just have to look past the even itself.

I believe that with all of the negative things happening in this world today, we get accustomed to searching for the news each day to find out all the bad things.  After a while, I find out that it becomes a habit to seek out the negative things of this world.  I find myself thinking “WHAT NOW?”  I look at the economy and it’s bad.  I look at what our elected representatives in local, state, and national government are doing and it’s bad.  I look at the floods, fires, and drought in our nation and it’s bad.  These things put me in such a negative mood that I fail to look for the good things in life.

I was thinking about this while getting ready for work this morning and this song came to my mind:


Shackled by a heavy burden,
‘Neath a load of guilt and shame.
Then the hand of Jesus touched me,
And now I am no longer the same.

He touched me, Oh He touched me,
And oh the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole.

Since I met this blessed Savior,
Since He cleansed and made me whole,
I will never cease to praise Him,
I’ll shout it while eternity rolls.

He touched me, Oh He touched me,
And oh the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened and now I know
He touched me and made me whole

I realized there are really some good things happening in this world today.  God is still in charge!

I have decided to make an effort to search for the good in all people and the events that happened each day.  I know that there is a purpose to all things and when we put our trust in God, all things work together for good to them that love God.

This song reminded me that something really great happened to me many years ago.  He touched me and made me whole.