2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper-monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Santa Tracker’s Unexpected Phone Call



The story is all over the net.  I simply wanted to express my a) appreciation for this story, and b) desire to see this story passed on through the generations.  One man made a choice to think beyond himself, beyond his world, and to respond with a prolific, uncommon, creative, action.  Here is an oversimplified glimpse of the Santa Tracker, with hopes that you will check out one of the two links below.

NORAD http://galleryhip.com/norad-santa-tracker-logo.html

NORAD is the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD, inside Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado Springs, CO.  One night, in 1955, a call came in on a red phone at NORAD, a number known only by two people: a four-star general in the Pentagon, and the U.S. Air Force colonel who had that red phone on his desk.  The caller was a child, who asked “Is this Santa Claus?”   

How the U.S. Air Force colonel responded is … quite profound.  So, here are two links to choose from:

  1. Written version … http://www.npr.org/2014/12/19/371647099/norads-santa-tracker-began-with-a-typo-and-a-good-sport
  2. Audio version … http://storycorps.org/listen/terri-van-keuren-rick-shoup-and-pamela-farrell/

Imagination, pending on the substance, can be a wonderful, and redemptive, element of the human soul. 



Wood, Rain, Wisdom (?)

Reflecting, remembering, recalling, recapturing certain stories from the places I see in the rear view mirror … there is a “domino affect” that happens from time to time. 

‘Chilly up here, the other side of the trees.  Almost cold.  It is cold, but not really cold, as in winter, as in the 30’s or below.  It’s cold mainly at night, early mornings.  On Tuesday, I lunged out of bed, headed for the coffee maker.  I  added my wool hat to my morning attire (Levis, flannel shirt / long-sleeved polo, Crocs).  My better half / my bride …  requested that I build a fire in the stove.  I was embarrassed that I didn’t have any dry wood.  During summer I remove  firewood from its place in the garage, due to incoming / ongoing / mind-boggling projects requiring space in the garage.  It has rained continuously.  I am not complaining, we can always use rain; although our gravel-dirt roads are taking a beating.  And that … is why I don’t have any dry firewood.  Yeaaah,: I should have my wood covered with a tarp.  So, the “domino affect”.  This scenario with the wood reminded me of a brief stint at Central Missouri State University, in Warrensburg (MO.), not far from the Ozarks.  I was sitting in a class taught by an older gentleman, Mr. Purdle: coke-bottle glasses, short-sleeve cotton shirts topped off with a tie, raspy voice, a kind soul, exuding invaluable life experience / humility / humor / wisdom, a story-telling master in the midst of his professorship.  One story comes up now, a story about Ozark humor and Ozark thinking.  Here it is with my slight paraphrase:

One weekend, my friend and I drove over to his grandparents’ home, to spend the weekend.  First night, it rained hard enough to remind us of how one fella built an ark, once before we were born.  There were at least three leaks in the roof.  My friend’s granddad had some five-gallon metal buckets placed underneath the leaks.  I asked the older man why he never fixed the leaks.  He said “Well, when its raining it is too slick to get up there, to fix those leaks.”  So I asked him why he didn’t fix the leaks when it wasn’t raining.  Old man’s response was “When it’s not raining, it’s not leaking.”

Do you see the connection?  I didn’t see a problem about not having any dry firewood, unless / until it was raining.  And when it was raining, I didn’t want to go out and get any wood.  Now, since my mind went from the Rocky Mountains to the Ozarks, specifically a class with Mr. Purdle, his stories about the Ozark people, as a result I was captured by another memory about a large two-day gathering of bands and people (just outside of Springfield, MO.) focused on having a festive time.  Families / children were there, but no drugs happening; the law wouldn’t put up with that.  One of the bands, “The Couch Dancers”, played music like the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, while standing couches up on one end and dancing with the couches, which included twirls and the rock-and-roll phenomenon.  I am now more attentive to getting dry wood, either covered by a tarp, or placed in a dry place, to get ahead of the rain.  And the stories?  I am quite devoted to such venues of wisdom and humor.  It is true: the stories must be told, lest we forget what is important.