Ramblings of a retired mind

Well, it has been a while since I did much writing. After the passing of my friend Bubba, (Dr. BJ) things just weren’t quite the same anymore. Sometimes these days, I find myself wandering around as though I am living in history….I told Donna Ruth this morning. She wasn’t sure what that meant and I wasn’t so sure myself. But sometimes it does feel that way….disconneted, might be a word to use.  But writing is back on my ‘bucket list’ for this year and I thought I might as well get on with it.  Being a card-carrying social security recipient along with my Medicaid, has made me think more of that ‘bucket list’ we all joke about at times.

I still have my old cell phone and some of my family make fun of it…. a ‘flip phone’ they call it. Sometimes it gets more attention than I would like and my better days are ones when I ‘forget’ it at home and no one can reach me by calling. Goes to ‘voice mail’ or a text message. By the way, I really don’t like text messaging much. It’s ok for a one time note to someone but some people try to get me to go back and forth for 15-20 minutes or more. Might as well dial my number and say what they want to say or ask and get ‘er done! My phone doesn’t have a keyboard and I have to type using the numbers. Of course, that beeping noise begins to get on people’s nerves after a while or they say, “Dad, why don’t you get you a new phone?”  They think I could type it quicker and it would be better or the beeping would stop so I just turn off the volume and mind my own business.  It works fine for me – actually more than I really want.  So that is low on the list.

I plan to keep this phone until it fails to light up one morning.  I remember days we didn’t have anything close to this kind of technology.  I would head out in the morning on my bike and tell my Mom I was going to some place or ‘just riding around’ and she would say, “Well get home for supper” and I would.  She knew I wouldn’t miss supper or dinner as some people call it.  And all the time I was gone, she couldn’t call me, didn’t know exactly where I was, and trusted I would be OK and make it back for supper.  I always did.

We didn’t have a lot of the ‘convenient’ things of today: computers, internet, iPads, iPods, mp3 players, let alone cell phones.  We didn’t have our own personal cameras (in our cell phone) either.  We just had time and a bike or some friends to join up with and play ball or make up a game.  It was a much simpler time and we all survived, for the most part, except for the war (Vietnam) but that is another story.

SEARS is closing in our little town and that will be odd.  It has been around here since about the time I was born and I can’t imagine not having a Sears store in town.  Blamed it on decreased store sales and increased “on-line purchasing”.  That’s the way it works these days.  A good many of the ‘Mom and Pop” stores have died quietly away.  Antique shops, 5 & dime stores, drug stores with soda shops, bakeries, and my favorite, drive-in restaurants (not drive THROUGH) but ones where you parked and ordered you burger and a curb hop brought it out to your car and you could sit there and eat and enjoy the food and the experience – GONE.  Too bad.  I remember that was how DR and I spent many weekends and date nights – cruising the drive-ins, since back then there were several around.  Of course, we had our favorites.  “Chuck’s” was one of the favorites and they had the best cheeseburgers or at least we thought they were the best.  And we loved to get to “Boscoe’s” and “Beaver’s” as well since they all had something special to go along with the ‘atmosphere’ of parking outside and enjoying the day or night.  Lot’s of good memories with those thoughts.

Life is different now for sure.  It really doesn’t seem like it could be so far removed but I guess it’s ‘history’.   That’s kinda what I’ve been living, lately I guess, ‘history’.  Trying to keep some of it around but most of it keeps slipping away.  Young folks don’t have time or desire for much of that way of life.  Too slow, I guess.  But it was really a less stressful and more friendly time.  I notice how many of the folks I knew back in those days during high school and just after, seem to still be in touch today.  In talking with my sons, that doesn’t seem to be the case.   Only a very few of them ever connect to talk or visit.

Well, it’s raining today.  Has rained all day and may tomorrow too.  That’s good for the earth and we need some rain.  It did warm up some so it isn’t freezing like it could have last week when it was really cold!  Guess I will go check my text messages and voice mail.  Where did I leave that cell phone?  Don’t know what I would do without it!  It’s here somewhere.  Think I may have turned it off.

Happy New Year to all.  Get your ‘bucket list’ out and add a few things for the year.  Then get started.  They tell me it’s no good to just have a list…you have to ‘work it’.

Elwood “Doc” Jackson

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The PHONE CALL

“Call me up sometime”, she would say….most every day, even if I had just called and we were getting ready to say ‘Good-bye’.  “You made my day”, she would say….every time I called and it did seem to make her day.  Her life was built around making sure I was OK and then, later on, making sure her grandsons were OK and we (me and Donna Ruth) were OK as well.  She spent her time making sure others (mostly family and friends) but others too, were OK.  She was the world’s best at sending birthday and occasion cards to people who deserved them and were on the list…sympathy cards as well…and thank you cards.  I remember the year at her birthday (and actually years after) we bought her a whole pile of different cards with envelopes and stamps and pens so that she would never have to run out and get a card to send.  I remember that a local drug store was going out of business and selling all their cards in ‘grab bags’ for a few dollars a bag (can’t remember exactly) but I remember going through the table piled high with cards and getting several dozen bags that I could tell had some different cards inside.  She said it was one of the best gifts she had ever gotten.  We continued to replenish the stash from year to year when we found cards that might work for various situations and from other ‘sales’.  She loved to make life ‘OK’ and ‘better’ for others.  It made her feel better to make others feel better.  I understand that so much now as I play music for the nursing home on Sunday mornings and make trips to Kentucky with Yates.  Doing for others, is doing for yourself.  And that was all she ever wanted in return….just call me up, any day, any time, I’d love to hear from you, you made my day, just a call to check and see that she was ‘OK’.  Oh I wish that I could call my Mom, just one more time today.

Elwood ‘Doc’ Jackson
3-8-2013

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Happy Birthday MOM! 2012

Well, it’s that time again, August 30, that day we celebrated for so many years as your ‘day’…just like Granny told you it was all your life.  Then we found out when you retired from the mill and you had to have a ‘real’ birth certificate to prove your age, the date was August 31!  Well, that was fun and we did celebrate both days from then on.  We would do both days again if you were here.  You’d be 95 this year. 

I was thinking just this week how much you would love to be out here on the farm with me and DR.  She is such a gardener these days and boy did we have some tomatoes and okra this year…and squash too.  You would have loved some of that good cooking.  DR did lots of canning and freezing for this winter so we will all eat well.  I know  you remember us breaking out some good veggies and making homemade soup and you’d make the cornbread…with buttermilk.  DR does it that way now, just the way she learned from you. 

You would love to see my car I just finished up this summer.  Did this one in colors you like: aquamarine and sandalwood.  That’s what you would call it…a teal blue and saddle tan.  But I think you would like it.  We almost have Thomas’ van ready too and that little convertible he wanted.  Just like in the old days when I was young and you were hauling me around to get parts,  TJ and I went to a junk yard last weekend for some things we needed for the convertible. 

It’s been a hard week.  We lost a dear friend…a friend of your’s too, I guess  you already know, Dr. B.  A bunch of us got together and played music for the ‘celebration’ they called it.  That’s what he wanted and probably what I want as well.  Everyone said it made the sad part of the day easier to handle.  And I think it did too. 

Well, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Mom – today and tomorrow.  We would sure grill a good steak again if you were around and eat out on the back porch looking up at the mountains.  That was always something you loved, seeing the mountains.  We sure have some beautiful sunsets these days and the mountains are just as wonderful as ever. 

Hope you get to have a good celebration with Dad and maybe cook some ‘yellow-eyed beans’ and cornbread.  He loved that…and some coconut cream pie or prune cake.  Grant often mentions how much he loved those coconut pies and wishes you were around to make one.  Me too, they sure were good.  If you should see Dr. B picking music sometime, tell him we miss him and hope the music is always in tune and the strings never break.

It has been cooler here but it is time for that and DR has the kale and turnip greens planted and coming up.  Peppers have been good too this year and Thomas has enjoyed that and the pickled okra!

Well, thanks again for all the love and support.  You did a great job being a Mom and taking over for Dad when he died.  I could not have had any better.

Love as always,

Your son

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Never Hurry, Never Worry

Never Hurry, Never Worry, my Father used to say.
As I remember back to then, he lived that every day.
Painted on a flower pot Aunt Doris sent his way.
But these few words reflected how he went about each day.

I miss him very much these days, he died at thirty five.
But I will never loose the words for by them he would strive
To live each day in peace and love and care for fellow man
And in his work to do more things than any three men can.

Never Hurry, Never Worry, words my Father used to say,
As I remember back to then, he lived them every day.

 Elwood “Doc” Jackson

8-1-12

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Bubba and his Mandolin

 Well, the nursing home church has been going pretty well for the last few months.  Hard to believe we have been doing this for over three years now.  I keep telling the folks there I’ve about sung every song I know.  Truth is, I’ve sung about every one twice or three times.  But they don’t seem to care.  They appreciate the ‘old’ songs.  I suppose some of them bring back memories from earlier years or even childhood.

 A week or so back, one of my long time friends joined us to help with some songs and I was glad to have some ‘new material’ and help for a change.   Being a professional counselor in real life you meet a lot of ‘professional’ people along the way.  Most of them are, well, just professionals.  But sometimes you run into one (of the ‘pros’) that’s just different.  My friend is one of those ‘different’ folks.  Sure, he’s got the fancy university degrees and all that paper on the wall, but he’s one of those unique ‘professionals’ that really has heart and soul.  He has spirit and joy and love in him that makes him different from the rest. 

Over the years, we have played some music and he’s taught me a thing or two.  Actually got me to do some writing like this along the way.  He’s a writer of sorts as well and a pretty good mandolin picker.  And that’s what makes the difference I guess.  He’s not all about ‘professional’ things…he’s a REAL person.  Sure, he is a great pro at what he does, all that ‘doctoring’ stuff.  But his kind of ‘doctoring’ is different from most of the people you might call a ‘doctor’.  His spirit and soul shows through the pieces of paper hanging on the wall and that makes a difference for the patients he helps along the way. 

 It was good to have him along to make some music.  Sometimes it’s hard to think of him as a ‘doctor’ when we were all playing.  We all call him different names to get around that:  BJ or Bubba mostly since that seems to fit and make more sense.  It helps him separate from the ‘professional’ thing too I think.  He said sometimes it is hard to ‘hide’ from the professional side and just be a person.  I can sure agree with that!  Folks always wanting ‘free advice’ when you are out with your family trying to eat dinner and enjoy some quiet time.  But we all have to deal with that I guess.  Most times, Bubba said he would just get out of town where not so many people knew him and it was easier to enjoy some quiet time. 

 We’ve had some good times picking and listening to music over the years.  I guess you have to lead two lives to manage that balance.  The balance between ‘professional’ and ‘person’ – that’s a hard one to get for most folks.  But, BJ (Bubba) is good at it and can step right out of one role into the other and be right at home.  Probably, if the truth were really known, the picking and music makes the professional side even more effective and more real.  Not may ‘pros’ ever make it to that level.  It is on up the ladder near the top as far as I am concerned – to be a ‘professional’ AND a person; a caring and human person.  I have sure seen lots of professionals that just couldn’t make that climb.  I guess for them it was easy to hide behind the paper on the wall.  But for Bubba, he will stand behind that mandolin and pick and sing with most anyone who will let him join in.  Sometimes it’s even better if you don’t know each other’s names and if someone asks “Who is that?” we could just say “BJ” or “Bubba” and that was good enough.  It’s when the ‘paper on the wall’ doesn’t count anymore.  That’s what makes him different and really better than most ‘professionals’ we meet along the way.  He’s found a way to mix the two and be REAL.  The folks he’s helped could see that too.  Many of them probably got better just because he was REAL with them, or they certainly got better quicker.  He would always talk a little music or maybe even play a tune for some and you know, honestly, that goes a long way to helping someone heal. 

 Thanks, BJ.  Thanks for all the good times as a professional AND as a person.  Thanks for all the music and the medicine.  And thanks for showing folks that you can mix the two and be a pro and a person in the same body.  It’s the CARING that makes the difference and not many pros ever really figure that out.  You have it figured out and it works good for you.  Too bad more pros can’t see that connection.  Sometimes I think they are really afraid to see the connection.  Afraid it will make them ‘less professional’ and the paper on the wall won’t mean as much.  I guess they think they have to ‘act professional’ to keep up that image.  But we know that’s not really true.  It really makes it all come full circle and makes the paper stand out even more.

 Music and medicine.  Person and professional.  Counselor and musician. I have felt myself sometimes how difficult it is to make that happen….hard to be both without taking the risk of being ‘real’.  But, if you can ever find ‘real’, kinda like that little rabbit my Mom used to tell me about, you have made it to the top.  That’s when you put away some of the ‘pro’ look and become a little more ‘homey’.  You wear casual clothes and a floppy hat instead of ties and white coats.  You aren’t afraid to be seen with ‘country folks’ picking music and you don’t worry it will hurt your ‘reputation’.  That’s when you are ‘real’ and that’s really all that matters in the long run.  Bubba has been REAL to lots of folks along the way.  And when you’re REAL, no one can ever take that away, just like it says in the little rabbit book.

Hope we can pick some more soon, Bubba.  It’s always fun.  Now how is it that one goes?….  OK in the key of A…. I always like A or D the best……

Elwood “Doc” Jackson   8-20-2012

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Happy Birthday MOM!

For many years we celebrated today, Aug. 30 as your birthday.  Your mother always told you it was the ‘right’ day and so until you retired, we counted on Aug. 30 being THE day!  I remember that, much to your surprise, when you retired from the mill credit union and had to present a copy of your real birth certificate, the date was Aug. 31.  We all had a good laugh and from then on celebrated BOTH days.

Well, happy birthday TODAY and TOMORROW too.  I took a trip over to the junk yard to check on some parts for the cars we are building and found some good things.  I remember so many times when you took me to the junk yard to find parts when I was building my ’55 Chevy and was only 15 years old.  You just trusted that I knew what I needed and I am sure you never knew much about what it was we bought and brought home.   You just did it to support me and to make my car a reality.  It did become a reality and you let me drive off in it, again, assuming I had done what needed to be done with the little help I had from some family and friends to make it run.  I drove that car for many years and will never forget how you helped get it built.  You didn’t know much about cars but you believed in me and that was such a gift.

Thanks again for all that support and you would be pleased to see the cars we’re building now.  I wish you and Dad were here to take a ride in them when we get them finished.  It won’t be long!

Happy Birthday again and again.  Thanks so much for being my Mom and for filling in for Dad after he died.  You were a great one and lifted me up to be where I am today.  It is a beautiful day here and is cooler that it has been.  You would love the breeze and sitting on the deck looking at the mountains.  If you were here, we would put a couple steaks on the grill and eat out tonight.  Oh. how I wish that could happen.

But for now, Happy Birthday will have to do.  I hope you and Dad are getting to celebrate and maybe you got to cook your dinner like you loved to do.  And maybe make a prune cake!

Love, Your Son

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Mom’s are Special

Well, it’s been a while since I sat down to write.  Lots going on in my life I guess and maybe it’s just that I haven’t taken the time to do it.  Anyway, a friend reminded me how important it is to jot some things down from time to time and I decided it was a good time for me to catch back up.

It’s coming up on my Mom’s birthday pretty soon next week.  She would have been 95 this year but we lost her back about 11 years ago.  At the nursing home church today, I did three of her favorite songs.  It seemed that was all that would come out of my songbook so I just went with the flow: “Amazing Grace”, “Angel Band” and “Beulah Land”.  It seemed like she was there with me as a sang and played.  I hope she heard them and I often wish I could have just one more time to sing them to her ‘face to face’.   If there is good music like that in Heaven, I sure hope they have the words to Beulah Land.  That was her real favorite and she often asked to hear it.

Mom’s are really SPECIAL.  At least my Mom was SPECIAL.  She was able to hold our lives together after my Dad died at age 35 and I was only 7.  It had to have been a hard climb for her at times.  But she always made it seem pretty easy and would make it to the top.  She never gave up.  And she took care of herself and me, alone.  Never looked for much help although my Grandfather was her best supporter.  He was mine too.

It has been eleven years since I could sit and talk face to face with Mom but we have had lots of ‘one way’ talks.  I can feel her listening and sometimes can feel a kind of ‘reply’.  I thank God for a Mom like her who never gave up and who never let me down.  Together we made a family and I did my best to help along the way as I grew up.

Mom was a ‘trooper’.  She often said she has to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ and I didn’t know until later what she really meant.  But she always made ends meet.  She saved and used everything she had as long as possible.  If we had mashed potatoes on Sunday, we had potato cakes on Monday.  She always made things come out even.  I think we were probably ‘short’ on money most of the time but Mom never let me know.  We always had what we needed and sometimes, we even had something we ‘wanted’.  I remember it always seemed like a ‘treat’ when Mom would splurge and buy steak for dinner.  She loved to grill out and have a good steak and baked potato.  We didn’t do that often, but when we did, it was an event.

She was always such a good cook and made some of the best homemade rolls and cornbread you would ever put in your mouth.  And she could cook lima beans (one of my favorite things) better than anyone, ever.  She could make anything taste great and I remember her coconut cream pies and jello salads.

Mom’s are SPECIAL.  And I hope you have or had a special one like me.  I was so blessed and AM so blessed to have had her for my Mom.  She was a simple person and liked simple things.  She was happy with being at home and sitting on the porch.  She did love to go to the beach in the summer and walk on the sand with her feet in the ocean.  But she loved being at home.  She love to make quilts too and in her later years, made more than I can count.  I still have many of them and so do our kids.  She made some for other people too.  It was her ‘therapy’ for the arthritis that had swollen her knuckles and hands but she could thread a needle and sew and the more she did, the more she could do.  I helped to cut the fabric and she would sew.  It was another good team effort.  We had a good many ‘team’ things as I grew up and that taught me a lot about life and living.  Sometimes Mom would say, “You have to be the ‘man of the house’ now” something else I didn’t really understand until later.  But I did my best with her help and learned how to mow the grass, wash the car and help with the work around the house.

It was a good life growing up with a SPECIAL Mom.  Happy Birthday MOM.  Thanks for all you did to make my life turn out good and for all the things you taught me so that I could be a man.  You were Mom and Dad for a long time to me and you were the best.  I often think back about how hard it must have been to do what you did and survive.  I am not sure I could have been that strong.  But you were STRONG and you were SPECIAL.

I hope that you are finally with Dad because I know you loved him some much and I hope the view of the mountains is good from there and they are singing “Beulah Land” sometimes.  Oh yes, and I hope there is a good kitchen where you can cook up some of those great things you used to make because I know that was a joy in your life.  I sure do miss the coconut cream pies and homemade rolls but I will never forget the taste.

Happy 95.

Love, Your Son….

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Father’s Day 2011

Well, it’s Father’s Day again.  So far, I have had a wonderful weekend with my wife and two sons.  Great thing being a “Dad”.  One of those priceless gifts we get along the way.  As I enjoy my day, I can’t help but think back to being a kid and my Dad.  He died when I was six.

My Dad was a great man, at least it sure looks that way according to what he was able to do in only 35 years.  When I think about that, it is hard to believe that my own sons are older than that now and at age 35, my Dad was gone.

He loved people and education.  He was Chairman of the School board where we lived then and was a Deacon in the Baptist Church.  He was a businessman and worked at the mill as an accountant and in his own insurance business.  He helped to start a building and loan bank and helped other people start their lives.  He loved to help people in need.

He was a musician and played mandolin, guitar and fiddle.  I have always felt comfortable around those instruments and think people must inherit some of those things too.  I still have all his instruments and they sit around as constant reminders of the man he became.

At the nursing home church today, I dedicated all my music to my Dad.  I picked some of the songs I can barely remember that he loved and played back in the 1940’s.  Songs like, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”, “Sweet Hour of Prayer” and “Peace in the Valley”.  The folks at the nursing home seemed to like them too and many of them could recall the songs themselves, at least for the moment.  I had a time deciding on the songs since Dad love hymns and there were so many. I know he sang and loved to sing them all.

When I was trying to decide, I started playing “Sweet Hour of Prayer” on my guitar and thought that would be a good song, remembering it was a favorite for sure.  I knew I had the words to it in my music folder but couldn’t find it.  Looked several times through the folder and it just wasn’t there.   I decided to put up my guitar and go find the words again so I would have them and as I opened my case, there inside in the case, right on top of a couple pieces of paper were the words for which I was searching.  It was like they were going with me anyway, even if it didn’t think about them or find them.  I guess that song was already ‘picked’.

I have to say a word of ‘thanks’ to my Dad for sharing his talents with me.  I regret that we never got to play any music together but I remember hearing him play and remember him getting together with friends to ‘make music’ and mostly, they played hymns.  He loved music and so do I.  Thanks Dad for all you did in the short time you were around.  Sometimes my memory of that is a blur but then, sometimes, there are moments that are clear as a bell.

I think Dad was with me this morning at ‘church’ and helped me get through those special songs he loved.  He would often say that he wasn’t a great singer but he would sing and say the words of songs.  He would put short breaks into the song and focus on the words, like they really had meaning to him and were as important as the tune of the song.  He emphasized the words and the meaning when he sang.  That’s what I attempted to do this morning.  The folks at the nursing home seemed in a trance.  It was so quiet as I was singing and playing.  Everyone was watching and listening to me and to the words of the song, not just the music.

Their appreciation of the songs was obvious and I was so glad they enjoyed them.  I enjoyed doing them too and felt I had some special help to get them done.

It has been a great Father’s Day and I sure am glad I had a Father like I did, even for such a short time.  His spirit runs through my instrument and his love is in my soul.  Thanks again Dad for everything – then and now.  And “Happy Father’s Day” too.  By the way, MOM became a great ‘Mom AND Dad” as you know I guess.  So I did OK but I sure do wish we could have played a couple of those songs together a few times.   That would have been really special.

Love to all – “Doc” Elwood

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Monday Morning Good News

Well, seems like I have a hard time getting to sit down and write lately.  But here I am, with good news in hand.  We found out at the Saturday hight picking at the Blue Moon, that Trent’s first round of treatment went well and he reported feeling in good hands with the folks over at the big  county hospital.    Seems he has taken up with the head doctor there and thinks she might be an ‘angel’.  We all sure hope that is the case since Trent’s a pretty good mandolin picker and we miss having him at the jams.  So, hang in there Trent and we’ll keep picking a song, or a hymn or maybe pick a prayer or two for you!

Well, the sun is up.  We had a great rain on Sunday for the garden and the okra, peas and cabbage look happy now.  Promises to be a little cooler this week but not much.  Maybe the humidity will be less, I HOPE.  Anyway, had some good times with family visiting from out-of-town this weekend and Donna Ruth made a meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  Hard to beat that unless you add some pintos and cornbread which she did too.  Fresh peppers from the garden made the beans just right although those pickled peppers were quite tasty too.  We had so many peppers last year, we had to think of things to do with them.  Always talked about pickled peppers, so we just made some and they turned out right good.

Thomas and I did a little work on his truck although it was pretty hot and we had to take it is spells and drink lots of lemonade.  The old truck is starting to look pretty good and he’s ready to get it on the road.  So am I!

Have some counseling work to do this week.  But that is good.  I enjoy my clients and think sometimes I do some good, at least I hope so.  I did enjoy standing in for the preacher Sunday at the nursing home and taught a little lesson on a parable I like about a pencil maker.  Anyway, it was nice to be able to fill in and I think we had a good morning.  At least, I did.

By the way, here’s the basic idea of the “pencil parable” just in case you haven’t heard it.  If you are a ‘pencil': 1) everything you do leaves a mark; 2) if you make a mistake, you can correct it (and ask forgiveness too if you want!); 3) the most important thing about you is what’s INSIDE you (wow, that’s heavy!); 4) there will be some painful ‘sharpenings’ in our lifetime but they will only make us better in the end; and 5) to be the best pencil, you have to be willing to let the hand that holds you guide you in what you do.

Think about that some.  Imagine yourself being a pencil.  And hopefully you will make lots of good marks in life, correct your mistakes and ask for forgiveness, learn from painful lessons and for sure, let GOD hold on to you and guide your thinking and doing as you move through life making marks.

Well, that’s about it for today.  Hope all is well with you.  Include our buddy Trent in your prayer requests.  And have a blessed day.  I plan to have one myself.  It’s a good day for a MONDAY!  “Doc Elwood”

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Well, It’s June

This week started off a little odd with the holiday and all. And now, it’s already Wednesday!  But the family was all ‘off’ around here (from work that is) and we had a great time grilling out and spending time with each other.  Of course, I had to make a trip to the Vietnam Vets Memorial web site and visit with my old high school friend, Matt.  Thought a lot about him this weekend.  We had a lot of fun as ‘kids’ in school and high school.  Riding bikes, building model cars and later on working on real cars and going on ‘double dates’.  Matt was a couple years older than me and our girl friends were a couple years younger than me.  (Donna Ruth was there for me!)  I was in the ‘middle’ I guess.  But we all seemed about the same age and had loads of fun playing putt-putt golf and going to the drive-in movies and restaurants.  We all played in the high school band and went to football games to march and play.  It was a simple time back then and we just soaked it in.  And then, Matt went off to Vietnam to ‘drive a tank’.  He drove a school bus in high school.  He loved heavy equipment and bulldozers and wanted to do that for a career.  He never got that chance.  In just a few weeks, he was gone.  That was 1969.  We still stay in touch with Sarah Ann, his girlfriend and wife (got married just before he left for ‘Nam).  She was Donna Ruth’s friend and the fourth member of our double dating times.  Talked a bit with her this weekend too. We all still miss Matt.  He was a good guy.

It was a mixture of joy and sad I guess for the weekend.  But now it is June and we are moving on with life as it was before and is supposed to be I guess.  I did get out this morning early and mow the front pasture before the sun was up too much.  The heat has been really up there for a couple days and will be in the 90’s again today.  Felt more like 100 something yesterday with the humidity.  But anyway, the pasture is mowed and I get a chance to cool down and rest a bit.

Jitterbug is already down for his morning nap after being up early to bark at Donna Ruth watering some of the flowers and plants so they won’t dry up. He wants to be out there with her and play in the water and just can’t stand that she won’t take him along.  He did spot a rabbit during his ‘morning walk’ and was able to get in a good chase but the rabbit won.

All of the weekend celebration with joy and sadness came on the heals of learning that one of our bluegrass pickers, Trent was diagnosed with a brain tumor and cancer.  He’s one of the mandolin pickers and a darn good one too.  It all hit us pickers pretty hard since it came on so suddenly.  Seems like it hit Kip the worst since he is still thinking about Marg and missing her.  But Trent has good spirits and lots of faith that this is going to work out.  He sure has lots of prayers going up for him too with all the bluegrass friends and family he has.  Some of the big treatment starts today and we all have said a prayer that it goes well.  Last night at the Tuesday picking at the Blue Moon we all joined in to say a little prayer for ol’ Trent and picked his favorite tune, “Angel Band”.   Trent says he has a bunch of ‘angels’ watching after him and I hope that’s the case.

This weekend, Thomas and I got in a little work time on the ‘new’ old truck we are building for him.  Lots of fun in those father-son projects.  I built my first car when I was fifteen and we built his first one together when he was fifteen too.  We have always shared an interest in that I guess and we are having a great time with this one now.  We even have a couple more ‘in line’ for future projects when this one is complete.  Some fun times and a good way to stay connected.  At least, old Dad sure loves it!

Well, maybe I’ll break out the old ’36 Chevy and go for a spin or pick some tunes on my mandolin.  Trying to learn “Red Haired Boy”.  Seems right since I used to be one!  Played that tune a lot with the guys but usually I played bass so I didn’t get the mandolin part worked out until now.

Happy summer to all of you out there.  Hope you took some time to remember our Vets and say “Thanks” to them and especially the ones that are still around with us.  And to our service folks today.  It is a hard time right now and I hope we can all get back to PEACE soon.  Stop the fighting and fussing and just enjoy life.  Seems simple but surely isn’t easy to get there.  PEACE and JOY to all.  “Doc Elwood”

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