It was nice to be able to go out and pick some fresh mustard and kale from the garden for New Year’s day lunch.  Along with some black eyed peas and some left over ham, we had a great lunch and enjoyed having some to share with the neighbors.

DR’s garden has been quite the thing the last few years and we have really enjoyed the fresh veggies and fruits to eat.  This year we had enough muscadine grapes from the vines to make a bunch of jam and preserves and we have been eating on that already.

We had a good run of peaches too and some good cabbages that has already turned into kraut!! Fresh kraut, is that a joy!!! WOW.  We share some of that with the neighbor in trade for fresh eggs from the chickens (the “girls” she calls them!) and I have been enjoying a couple eggs every morning with some bacon, ham or sausage (fresh from the Farmer’s market).  Spoiled, I guess!!!!

Had some homemade biscuits on New Years morning for some ham and jam.  Man that was good.  It has just been cold enough the keep the greens doing well, and we got some broccoli too and some turnips.

Retirement is looking better and better and I am thinking that a few more months will probably have to be it for me.  I love my work, but I have so many other fun things to do, I need the time to stay on that too!!!

Have a great New Year.

“Doc” Elwood

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Well, it’s 2017!  Wow, seems just a little while back I was writing about 2011…the editor just reminded me this was my SIXTH anniversary writing?!!! Could have fooled me.  But it is 2017 and we are off to a new year.  It has been a good year, 2016.  DR in her second year of retirement has enjoyed gardening and canning and baking.  She loves that stuff!! And I love to eat the goodies.

We had a great Christmas this year too (2016) just a few days ago and had DR’s brother and his family over for dinner, but not until New Years eve!  That worked out good though with everyone’s schedule and we had time to sit and visit.  Their kids are really growing up and have girl friends to bring along.  Nice kids.  Good to see some good kids these days!  TJ, the oldest, has taken quite an interest in woodworking and made gifts for everyone.  He’s getting pretty go at the work too.  I enjoyed talking with him and sharing some ideas about wood, etc.  That’s the fun part of being an “older” member of the family.  DR and I are almost like grandparents to them boys.  Neil, the youngest, is into cooking with his girlfriend and they had to head back toward home earlier than the rest to cook for a party.

Anyway, we had a good time.  Family time is good time.

Jitterbug loved all the company and bedded down pretty early, worn out from all the lap sitting and checking out the folks.  His eyesight is just about gone but he doesn’t seem to be too troubled by it and just smells his way around and trusts his ability to remember how to get around in the house.  Sometimes runs into a chair we have moved, etc. but he does really well.  He got a new, warm bed for Christmas and has really enjoyed cuddling up in that on cold nights.

The weather folks are saying we might be getting some snow and ice this coming weekend.  Mostly been wet weather for the month but that is good as we needed the water.  Would love to see some snow for the winter and hope maybe they are right!

I just finished up my “book” I have been trying to write for years and uploaded the last of the copy to the publisher for review TODAY! That was a load off!  Now I can mark that off my list and clean up my desk and writing area from all the books, paper and notes from that process.  It has been a little easier to do since the counseling practice is slowing down, or I guess you would say, I am SLOWING it down.  I hope I can continue to do that for about a year and then pass it on to some of my new associates.  They are younger and can handle the load.  I would like more time to write and work on the trucks and cars and play music!

DR is cooking up some bean soup for dinner and it is smelling good.  I am ready for some of that with a big piece of corn bread, some onion and a cold glass of tea.  Grant is looking forward to that too.  Thomas was here for the weekend but went back to work today so he had to head back home.  He was off on Monday though and will have a short week.

All the folks are well and happy and that’s what I always want for Christmas.  It is nice to be home and well.  We are blessed.

You have a great New Year!!! Happy 2017

“Doc” Elwood  1-3-2017



Posted in Christmas, Marriage, Relationships, Retirement, Writing | Leave a comment

ME-Linear Generation

On a more serious subject, I have been becoming more and more concerned about the younger kids I have been seeing for counseling and therapy.  I realize that I am ‘older’ and was raised during the “baby boomer” years.  I know too, that each generation has talked about the ‘decline’ of the children of the next generation doing crazy or unusual things.  You know, the ‘music’ that seems strange to their parents or the ‘dress code’ that never matches what the parents think it should be and the ‘entertainment’ they want like those video games, that seems so different.

But I’m not thinking this current generation is quite like any of the others past.  It isn’t about clothes, music, games, foods, or hair styles.  What it seems to be about is a ‘disconnect’ with the real world.  Maybe that’s not clear.  Here’s how a young 15 year-old put it the other day: “My generation doesn’t credit anyone for being where we ARE today.  We just got here ‘on our own’ and we don’t credit any parents, teachers or other adults for that happening.  We are our own HEROES and we got here on our own.  AND we want what we want when we want it and we don’t think much about what others want — we just go for what we want.”  In addition, my young client added, “We live in a fantasy friendship world where we think we have lots of ‘friends’ but in reality, they are just fake names on our cell phone who we text or tweet constantly throughout the day.  We rarely if ever really meet up with them to actually talk or do something together, we only text about it. AND we have very little idea what will happen to us as we get older….we don’t even see us getting older, just staying the same…well maybe someday getting older but that is far, far away.  So, we just don’t waste time thinking about what will happen next year or in five years, just today.”

My young client talked about life being centered around “ME” and that “ME” was the center of the universe.  The things that “ME” wants, “ME” simply goes after and doesn’t worry about what it takes or who it effects. It was certainly a day of food for thought in my world.  And as I thought more about what was said, it seemed more clear to me that some of the other youth with whom I come in contact, express similar thoughts. I recently posed a question to a 19 (soon to be 20) year old client about regarding what they would be doing in 20 years when they reach FORTY years of age.  The answer I got was somewhat surprising:  “That’s TERRIFYING!”  Thinking that was too far distant in the future for this young person, I revised my question to “how about 10 years when you are THIRTY?”  Again, “THAT’s TERRIFYING TOO!!

In other conversations with this younger population, it is becoming more clear to me that something is missing, some connection, that previous generations seemed to possess.  It isn’t about clothes, music or food, but it is about ‘relationships’.  I certainly don’t have this figured out at this point but it seems to be that past generations, while they did have differing relationships with their elders and even with their peers, they DID HAVE RELATIONSHIPS with others. Granted they may not have liked the relationship or felt confined by it but they still had it.  It seems that ‘relationship’ is becoming more and more faded or watered-down and maybe is even non-existent.  Whether past generations liked the connection they had with parents or other adults and even their peers, they DID HAVE IT and it did impact their lives.  They learned from it, how to deal with different opinions, and how to develop lasting and profitable relationships along the way.  Previous generations knew the names of adults around them and modeled some of their behavior after one’s they admired.  Even in cases where the ‘youth’ followed after a music star or sports hero that parents might not have approved, they did at least, follow something.  There appears today to be an “I’m on my own, I got here by myself and I will take myself on wherever and whenever I choose to go without anyone’s help” concept developing.

The problem that seems to go along with this concept, however, is that major life changes are taking place and the adults and parents of this time appear to accept that is just they way it works and eventually all will work out.  Well, from where I sit, it doesn’t seem to be working out.   I continually find young adults in their late 20s  and 30s who are “lost” and have no idea where they are going and what they are going to do when (or if) they get there.  I see this developing even more so in the younger teenage group born since the late 1990s and into 2000s . Their information source is most likely the keyboard on their smartphone and is not connected to a real person with whom they can actually have a conversation.  In addition, they rarely have real conversations with their own peers, merely texting someone (who them may only know as ‘buttercream309’) and doing that on a 24 hour per day, 7 day a week clip.   Their digital communication device never leaves their hand.  Let me point out that this does not include EVERY person born into 21st century but it is a growing number and is becoming more than less.

An interesting perspective of the parents of the 21st Century kids I encountered with a mother recently who scheduled her 14 year-old for counseling and when I asked about the concerns she had for her teenager, Mom replied, “Oh, I’ll just let (him/her) tell you”.  After seeing the youth, I think I have some idea of the problem being faced, but none of it from the mother’s perspective or concerns.  That seems unusual to me.  As a parent, I think I would want my concerns to be known by the doctor, counselor or other helping person.  Maybe that should be a question?

Don’t get me wrong here, I love technology and often use the internet to look up information, send and edit pictures, and communicate with family and friends.  It’s a great tool.  I guess the concern recently is that in this century (since we got internet and cell phones about the turn of this century) our direct, person-to-person relationships have become more distant, less frequent, and more digital than real.

I do know for sure that the greatest problem in counseling with couples today (married or not) is SOCIAL MEDIA.  Married couples can’t have a meal without texting or emailing others.  I look around restaurants and see people sharing lunch time together but are all texting or otherwise using their cell phones during the meal.  They seem to rarely talk with others.  And the secrecy of the communication with all it’s passwords and fake names is devastating to a marriage or relationship.

Where will this lead?  I certainly don’t know.  But it does pose a MAJOR QUESTION:  Will we as humans eventually be unable to have, not know how to have direct relationships, face-t0-face with others without using digital and social media as our only resource?  What if, one day, we want to do something that requires some personal assistance and we really don’t know anyone personally enough to ask for help?  Probably that won’t happen.

I hope you will give it some thought.  If you have some ideas, I think there is room here to comment.  I would be interested in your thoughts.  Or maybe I’m just a nutty old baby boomer who believes it is a nice idea to have a meaningful lunch talking with friends or dinner with a family sharing memories or accomplishments from their day. And not having to text, tweet, post or answer email during the time.  Could be that it’s just me.  But what if it is NOT?!?






Posted in Childhood, Friendships, Growing Up, Marriage, Mental Health, Parenting, Relationships, Retirement | Leave a comment

Donna Ruth’s Retirement: 2 Years Later

It’s a little hard to believe that two years have passed since DR decided to retire (well semi-retire) and begin working only 8-10 hours a week. Sometimes she works less than that but usually gets about 8 hours in most weeks.  It has been a good transition for her over the two years and she seems to have just enough contact with the “real” job to help her realize that enough and that she really enjoys the days of freedom to do things she really likes:  gardening, canning and freezing, mowing grass and such.

She has had more time to work with the Master Gardener’s group and has been president for the past 18 months.  She’s a great organizer and can always seem to get the job done no matter what it is or what it takes.  Comes out great every time.  Everyone seems to be amazed that it works so well and it seems so easy for her, but I’m used to that since it is what she does well and always has. I can’t imagine her not having a project fail to work out successfully.

Most recently, it was ‘wreath making time’ since the Christmas season is upon us and last Monday she headed off to meet up with the bunch to make holiday wreaths.  On the weekend before, all the blue cedars around the house got a trimming and she had a heaping truck-load of great smelling greenery to take to the meeting.  She wasn’t sure it would be enough, but at the end of the day, she brought back about half the load.  That worked out though and she had some extra to finish decorating around the house and then spreading the rest under some of the evergreens we have to use as mulch.

My ‘retirement’ has gone a little slower but I still have some time off and get to do some of my project list as well.  DR has a couple things on my list as well and I got one finished up in time for the front yard decorating efforts.  She spotted a set of wooden “gift boxes” in a catalogue that could be used in the yard to light up at night and make an outdoor tree look like Christmas.  So, it was time to cut up some old wood pallets (where I used to work we called them ‘skids’) I had been saving and make them into 2, 3 and 4 foot “gift boxes”.  After a little green, red and white paint, they looked pretty much like the picture in the catalogue and it was fun begin able to make them.  DR added some copper flashing ‘bows’ and ‘ribbon’ to the top and sides and with a couple flood lights, our big Blue Atlas up front looked just like it was ready for Christmas too.

It was nice to have the time to do that and I am sure that’s the way DR feels when she can start the day to can or bake or make wreaths and not have to be tied to someone else’s work schedule.  I really recommend retirement and also that people should do that as soon as they can to take advantage of their ability to enjoy the time.  Over the years, I have counseled with a good many potential retirees who are considering WHEN to pull the plug.  Sometimes they think they can work a couple more years and have a better income from their retirement.  Truth is, when we do the math and consider the time they have to enjoy, decreased expenses related to going to work and the fun they have in the meantime, taking off a couple years early is a GREAT DEAL!  Sure the total amount on the monthly check is a few dollars less, but when you start getting the check TWO years earlier, it takes 4-5 years sometimes to make up the difference not counting all the savings in gas, work clothes and lunches.  AND you have to add the ability to sleep in, do what you want and enjoy some time while you are physically able.

Retirement is a good thing I think.  As early as you possibly can manage to do it too, I think.  Getting by on less money (if it actually works that way which doesn’t always happen) is possible and the TIME is priceless. DR has been a working example of that and I am so happy she was able to work out a plan to have the past two years more under her control.  Mine has worked that way too for the most part and we have had some good times eating breakfast without a rush, having that second (or third) cup of coffee on the porch, and taking a ‘break’ during the day when you felt like you needed a break!  Not a bad way to make working all those years work for you a little.

I know it has been good for me and I am pretty sure DR has loved the reduced commitment and more freedom as well.  Well, I guess it’s about time to think about what I might want to do today.  But maybe DR and I will have that second cup of coffee and warm our feet by the fire a little more.  It has turned pretty cold now here and porch-sitting is a little out of the question at this point.  But that fireplace sure feels good and the coffee’s great and so is the ‘company’.  Think I’ll just sit and work on my ‘list’ for today, or tomorrow or sometime.

Y’all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  It won’t be long as Grant and Thomas keep reminding us.  I think that’s a hint that it might soon be time for some gifts.  But the REAL GIFT is TIME with the folks I love and sharing memories we’ve already made.  Attitude of Gratitude.  Important to remember at this time of year. We’re Blessed.



Posted in Bucket List, Christmas, Garden, Marriage, Mental Health, Relationships, Retirement | Leave a comment


Thanksgiving.  The Attitude of Gratitude.  And we had plenty for which to be grateful again this year.  Donna Ruth loves this time of year – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.  She loves the decorating and co0king and all the family-time that is a part of the season.  Thanksgiving was certainly no exception.  DR prepared for several days to get together all the right things for ‘the meal’ we would have on Thanksgiving Day.  It was her ‘turn’ to have the family at our house and she was busy as a bee getting it all arranged.

Of course, I had to tidy up some of my ‘stuff’ too so there would be a place to eat and room to sit.  Sometimes I am a little bit too loosely organized with my music and projects and the big dining room table is such a good place to work! But I managed to clear up the vast majority of the instruments and other stuff, at least for a few days, to make room for the celebration.  I wasn’t unhappy to do that for sure, so don’t get me wrong.  The benefit was well worth the effort!

Donna Ruth’s younger brother, Glen and his wife, Lyn and oldest son T.J. would be coming for the late afternoon/evening meal.  T.J. had to work late at  his job so we moved to a ‘dinner time’ plan.  He has certainly grown into a responsible and creative young man.  Besides being a dedicated employee at his work, he has developed a love for WOOD and woodworking which couldn’t have pleased me more.  I have always loved working with wood and it is so nice to see a young guy appreciate the grain, age and character of a piece of wood.  He made a really cool cutting board for us last Christmas that is definitely a work of art.  Speaking of art, he is pretty good at that too.  AND he plays bass, so what else could I ask for in a nephew!  Just keep supplying some wood now and then for presents at birthday and Christmas.  Makes it easy to ‘shop’ for him!

Their younger son, Neil couldn’t be with us and we missed having him there but we will plan to have some time around Christmas to catch up with him.  He’s also become quite the ‘music man’ of the group and sings like a bird, well not exactly, but you know what I mean.  Nice to have some family in my life like that too. Being an only child can be lonely at times but not around DR’s family, thank goodness.  Another little spot of gratitude.

Glen was born about the time Donna Ruth and I first met in the early 1960’s and since we have been together ever since, he is like the real brother I never had.  I couldn’t have picked a better brother anyway if I had been given the chance.  Time around Glen has always been fun time and while he has certainly grown to be a responsible person and great Dad for his sons, he has always kept his sense of humor and loves having a good time.  He can break away from computer technology to go fishing and camping any day!  And there’s never a dull moment when he’s around. And that is nice.  He is such an important person to our son, Grant who credits him with his love for wrestling.  And they did get to go to some good wrestling matches over the years.  I remember one time we picked them up from an event and they had shouted so much, neither one could do much more than a whisper.  It was an oddly quiet ride back home that night!

Glen and Lyn met back in college days as I remember.  Seems like a long time ago and yet only yesterday.  Funny how that works.  I do remember times when they were in college and came to visit.  And several of us had red hair back then!  Now, some of us don’t have much hair at all or what we have is gray!  But that’s just patina!  Lyn has always been quite the healthcare giver person.  She fit right into the family with DR’s Mom being a nurse too.  It has been a good time all these years, this being the 54th time we have carved a turkey together.  Well, let see, Lyn hasn’t been here that many times, but who’s counting! She has been there enough that I can’t remember much when she wasn’t.

So, Thomas, Grant, DR and I all enjoyed a great day with Glen, Lyn and T.J. and of course, Jitterbug, who was working diligently to keep all the crumbs and morsels picked up from the ‘accidental’ drops that came his way. While I carved the turkeys, he stood close by for support and encouragement!   It was a big day for him too.  We found him in his bed sound asleep pretty early.  So many people for lap sitting, petting and holding it was just overwhelming!  Even Jitterbug was grateful.

There were TWO turkeys, one baked and one smoked (both great too!), homemade stuffing (tasted like my Mom’s always did), sweet potato casserole (like DR and Glen’ Mom used to make every year), smashed potatoes too-da-la (as our kids call them, but that’s a whole new story), cranberry sauce (cut on the little ‘rings’ just like Glen like to do it as a kid), broccoli casserole, fresh-frozen green beans from our garden (and boy were they good!), gravy, tolls, homemade pickles and snacks (like we needed snacks!), deviled eggs, and plenty of sweet tea and lemonade (mixed the way I like it).  What a meal.   Glen, besides being good with computer stuff, has become known as the PIE MAN and brought his versions of pumpkin and pecan pie.  Oh well, there went the diet!  Speaking of the ‘brother I never had, Glen has always been in my life and couldn’t be much better than a real brother.  He made a special pecan pie for me with a pecan flower on a stem.  I took a picture it was so cool.  He is a great guy and sometimes I forget he isn’t my biological brother but he IS my real brother!  No matter how you want to figure that.  I pushed him in a stroller and put together bicycles and other toys at Christmas just like he was family.  No difference.

I spoke some about ‘gratitude’ before as the most important attitude we could possess.  Well, today was clearly an example of that concept.  What more could one hope for than to have good family who could laugh and love together for a celebration of Thanksgiving.  It was a good day.  It has been a good year. All of us are well and happy.  That’s where gratitude comes around.  Something money can’t buy.  Something some people don’t have.  And something some have never known.  But in our little family, GRATITUDE is a big word that can scarcely satisfy the meaning of what it is like to be in this place, at this time, in this life. I am truly blessed and so is this family.  That’s nice to be able to say.

We all went to bed GRATEFUL and satisfied that we were loved and have been loved for a long time.   You can’t buy that either.  It just IS or IS NOT and in our case, IT IS!  And I am grateful. I hope you had a HAPPY THANKSGIVING.  I know we did and are looking forward to more good times in a few weeks for CHRISTMAS.  That reminds me, it’s time to break out the trees and Christmas decorations.  Have to get busy on those wooden gift boxes DR wants for the front yard.  GRATEFUL!





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Well, sure enough, we reached the big 5-0 at least from a high school graduation perspective.  FIFTY years, seems like a long time but things around Routh are pretty much the same.  The folks looks pretty much the same.  And the big town of Routh is pretty much the same.  Our old school building became a technical school branch for computer instruction. Cool I guess.  It served us pretty well for 12 years since most of us started together in the first grade and graduated twelve years later.  We did have a few friends move away but we always counted them as part of our class.  Our do have our old gymnasium to meet in for big events and the ball field gets used by local elementary and other ball teams.  My DAD was Chairman of the local school board when the gym was built.  He died shortly after that but he would really be proud that it was still standing and had worked out so well for that many (over 60) years.  I was glad it didn’t get damaged much when the Big Muddy flooded a couple years ago.  They only had to replace a few floor boards and repaint but it looks like it always did for the most part.

For the celebration, we invited everyone we could think of who had ever been in our class and got together a pretty good group. Well, to us, over 50-60 is a good group since we only have about 40 in out class!  Several came from out of town.  Some came from nearby and others travelled a good bit.  But we had fun.  It seemed pretty much like we had always been together.  Many of us continue to stay in touch regularly and even get together for lunches and events during the year for no particular reason than FRIENDSHIP.  But some live too far away to be home often.  We did have several teachers there as well.  It was a little difficult to tell the teachers from the students…we thought that was odd.  But eventually, doing the math, we figured they were only a few years older than us anyway.  We always THOUGHT they were older but really, there was less than ten years separating us and them.  In those days, a college graduate could teach with a four-year college degree, well today too, I guess, but none of them had more advanced degrees.

Since a good many of us married classmates or someone a year or two younger or older, we actually had about a 5-year reunion with the husbands and wives included.  They were all friends too in our small, rural Blue Ridge mountain school house and most of us were intermingled in classes while we were in school too.  That was nice and since there were so few in each grade, we still had plenty of friends!

We met for dinner and fellowship at the big church fellowship hall (seems appropriate) since it had kitchen to help with the food and stuff.  And, we had a great evening sharing pictures, stories and catching up on each other’s lives. Well eating too!  We had the local printing company make a special football style t-shirt with the number 50 on the back in our school colors and got one for all the members.

A fun time was had by all, at least I think so.  We had lost a couple class members who had passed on and that was sad remembering them. We did share some stories and memories of them and said a prayer.  But, it was a great evening and we hung around late talking and sitting by the rock fire place and finishing off some of the desserts and munchies.  You don’t want that good stuff to go to waste!

It is a little sad to think that kids in school today may never have what we had back in those days with less than 50 students in a graduation class and knowing most of the folks in your whole high school!  It was a good time to grow up.  We didn’t know much about violence, gangs and drugs.  We did get together on Friday nights at the Blue Moon to sit on our cars and eat burgers and fries.  And made our own pizzas from a box, played 45 rpm records and mixed up our own chip dip with sour cream and dry onion soup but it was pretty good.  In fact, it was REALLY good.

The REUNION was good. Routh was good and we were all good.  It was a GOOD time. We should have more GOOD times like that and maybe if other people …. well maybe they would know more about GOOD too. Maybe we should have smaller school, not larger?  Bigger isn’t always better.

Well, Jitterbug has walked back in the study and has that look on his face like it might be time for a ‘walk’.  While it’s still light outside, I think I could stand a little walk myself.  Wonder if there’s a moon out tonight?  Jitterbug, let’s go check.  Y’all have a great week.

Posted in Childhood, Church, Dad, Friendships, Growing Up, Marriage, Relationships, SCHOOL | Leave a comment

ALMOST A YEAR: Gratitude

Well, it’s been almost a year since I accidentally drilled a screw into my right hand and I’ve been working to get back to ‘normal’. Not sure I will ever quite get back to ‘full strength’ but it is nice to be playing guitar, mandolin and bass again. The fiddle bow is a little tricky but I never was that good on fiddle anyway.  And, I’m getting older in the process so I am sure that takes it’s toll in the whole scheme of things.  I can now open a jar of Donna Ruth’s homemade muscadine jam, blackberry preserves or green tomato pickles, so I’m grateful!

I have really been enjoying our Wednesday lunches with the ‘car guys’ at the Blue Moon. We don’t do any pickin’ but we sure trade a lot of ‘licks’ on how to fix cars and on some of the projects we are currently working to complete.  Nice to have some time to talk with the guys.  Seems that gets to be more and more important as the years pass.  But the food is just as good as always.  My favorite is the hamburger steak, but that’s a lot of food for lunch so sometimes I settle for a chuck wagon sandwich or a cheeseburger.   James and Mac like the hotdogs but Donna Ruth says I shouldn’t eat them.  I remember though, when I did have one, it was good!  And the fries are awesome!  And for those things and friends, again, I am grateful.

I’m still doing some counseling too and having lunch IN PERSON with the guys and TALKING with each other reminded me of one of the major issues I see happening with the folks I see as clients.  They don’t TALK WITH or WRITE LETTERS to the people they call ‘friends’ and ‘family’ much these days.  All folks seem to do is text, tweet, twitter and stick their face in that book on the computer…and send emails, and e-cards.  Donna Ruth thinks one day kids will be born with a ‘chip’ in their hand for communicating with others and won’t even need a phone or a voice box!  You know, I had a 10-month old kid in the office recently and he was watching videos on a smart phone…HIS smart phone.  His mom said he love that and could work it pretty well but he wasn’t walking yet.

I remember when my MOM, bless her soul, would anxiously await the mail during the Christmas season for Christmas cards she would receive from friends and family.  The cards were quickly opened upon arrival to check for pictures, letters and other surprises inside.  But the cards soon went up on the stair rail (going up stairs) to see and enjoy  for the season.  The stair rail was usually covered from top to bottom and sometimes both sides with cards. And she saved cards from year to year.  She loved to get cards in the mail and to send them to others.  It was a GIFT that went both ways for her. Grateful for sure.

I remember MOM being careful to add any new or changed mailing addresses to her big book addresses and Christmas list.  And I remember how special it was for her to get cards to send each year.  I would help her get all the cards together, put on stamps, seal up the envelopes and put on return address stickers.  “Don’t forget the return address sticker” she would say, partly because she want to make sure they had her address to send a card and partly because the sender’s address was so important to her personally.  As I got older, I remember helping address cards and sign my name to cards as well.  Some of my most fond moments and memories.

It was one of the most important things we did during the Christmas season-sending Christmas Cards. We talked about that at ‘car guys lunch’ this week and how few people send cards these days or even talk with each other.  We vowed to keep having our lunch get-together for just that reason.  And to send real cards this year through the mail to our friends and family.

One of the younger clients I see told me that her generation just didn’t do cards, or letters or even face-to-face talking and she felt that was a problem for their age group.  She also told me ‘they’ (her age mates) had more of a ‘fantasy friendship list’ and that they rarely really “knew” each other.  They only communicated over their phones with text and email and almost never saw each other except at school to talk much, and that was limited by classes.  She also told me that if they needed help from someone, they probably wouldn’t have any idea how to ask for that or even who to call.  It’s all about “ME”, she said of her classmates and how they think only of their own needs and wants.  She also had one really stunning thought, that her ‘group’ didn’t give any credit to others for ‘being here’…not parents, teachers, or family…they were ‘heroes’ on their own and had achieved their current position in life all by themselves.  That really struck me and she was quite sincere.  An old soul in a 15-year old body but she knew what was happening.  Worth thinking about I’d say.  We decided to call her ‘group’ – “ME-linears”.  She thought that fit well.

Makes me want to get out the cards, stamps and return address labels right now!  Donna Ruth suggested we make our own cards this year with a family picture in front of one of the cars, and I jumped to agree with that.  I already had a box of cards I bought with an old pickup truck on the front but her ideas was even better.  MOM would have loved one like that for sure.

Well, next week is THANKSGIVING and we sure have a lot to be thankful for.  Donna Ruth and I often think of how much we are and have been blessed over the years.  So once again, the turkey is bought, and much of the other ‘stuff’ needed to fix the meal.  Her brother and family will come and we will have some great times talking and visiting and that’s good.  It is a blessing to have family and friends.

I certainly hope you have a great THANKSGIVING and CHRISTMAS season and can enjoy some family and friends and talking, visiting and face-to-face contact with each other!  You can CALL up long distance folks on the phone but do TALK and don’t just text or email.  It is the SOUND of your voice that makes the difference and when you can, get together in person to talk, and hug, and laugh with those you hold dear.  We need more of that in our world of today.  Do your part to make it a loving place to be.

I think it’s time for Jitterbug’s walk down to the pasture, and maybe check to see if any dear have been passing through.  Jitterbug doesn’t see as well as he used to but loves to walk and check the air for scents.  I love to go along as a ‘dog-guide’.   The weather is just right for a little time outside to smell the air and kick a few leaves.  Hope you have a great day too.  And remember, if you have an attitude, the greatest of all attitudes to have is the ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE.  God Bless you all.




Posted in Cars and Trucks, Christmas, Friendships, Mom, Thanksgiving | Leave a comment


I couldn’t play my bass, guitar, mandolin, fiddle or piano for almost 8 weeks. Got a serious staff infection in my right hand and it stayed wrapped up in bandages for most of that time. Seems somehow I managed to punch a screw into my right palm working on a deck project and thought it was ok but sure enough, it really wasn’t. My hand got infected on the inside and swelled up as big as 3-4 hands. Pretty scary some of the time. But I prayed a lot and God helped a lot by sending me some good medical helpers and I’m healing day by day. It’s been over 4 months and still getting back my strength. But so thankful and blessed to be back playing music and able to type this story.

DR and I had planned to play and sing some Christmas music at Church with a couple friends, TC and Bonnie. We all go to the same Church and enjoy getting together to play music and sing sometimes. TC was playing accordion. I was playing guitar and mandolin and Donna Ruth and Bonnie were the singers. Well, we all were singing and it was going to be fun. But I wasn’t sure my hand was going to be ready by Dec. 20 to play mandolin and guitar like we had planned. We were thinking about “Plan B” but sure enough, the week before the Christmas social at the Church, I was moving my fingers and got to play for the first time in a couple months. Had to use my small amp for my instruments since I didn’t have my usual strength but boy was I glad to be able to be there and go along with Plan A!

Didn’t get to finish the deck project yet. It is ok but not complete and I will get back on that this spring. Reminds me to really be careful and make sure to treat even small cuts or wounds seriously since they can really become a BIG problem. Take that as a WARNING!

Anyway, lots of prayers from the Church folks, and some great medical folks, a hand surgeon and home health nurses and DR TOO! They all worked together and pulled me out of a pretty deep hole. Great to have all those support folks around. We would be in a real mess without good friends, good medicine, and good prayers. Thank God the HAND is looking up and working better. It was a close call.

Posted in Christmas, Church, Friendships, MUSIC, Relationships | 1 Comment

Elwood’s Garage in 2015

I guess part of the reason I haven’t been around here writing much lately has to do with me spending a lot of time out in the garage and down at the shop. It seemed to be a good year to get some of my vehicle building projects done and it has worked out pretty well. Mostly trucks this year, I guess but seems like I like trucks and station wagons a lot. Anyway, pretty much got my ’48 GMC panel truck together and running. Tagged and all ready take for a ride. We have to name all the cars and trucks so DR can keep track and we call him “Jimmy”. DR even helps some with the upholstery and interior stuff. She helped on “Jack” too. He’s a ’48 Chevy pick up truck and we cut up some old black denim jeans and made the door panels. Looks good and works good too with the hip and front pockets still working for storage!!! I think of “Jack” as my “Wrangler Edition” build. Still have some work to do on “Elvis”, the ’55 Caddy but he’s beginning to come around too.

Well, it does keep me out of trouble and is a fun hobby. Good for mental health too I think.  My son, Thomas often helps with the work and finding parts. He has been a good one for cleaning and restoring some of the old parts we needed to reuse. He still loves his ’56 Chevy Panel truck we built a couple years ago and we occasionally tweak a thing or two on it as well.

DR’s getting a CAR of her own this year I guess. She named her car “Bonnie” since it is a ’37 Chevy 2-door sedan and looks a little like a car from the “Bonnie and Clyde” era! Anyway, she has picked the colors and we have an engine and transmission ready to drop in so I guess we will have a car to add to the stable this year. Man, I’ve got to get busy!

Posted in Bucket List, Cars and Trucks, Marriage, Mental Health, Relationships | Tagged | Leave a comment

Donna Ruth’s Retirement

It’s been interesting having DR around the house more for the last year or so. She retired (well, semi-retired) in November 2014. Really doesn’t seem that long ago but sure enough it has been almost 15 months now. She’s been working one day a week at her ‘old job’ and that was good for her, not to have to leave ‘cold turkey’. But mostly her boss didn’t want her to go and leave him alone! She had been a good help to him over the years and he was glad she agreed to come around each week to touch base and make sure things were still working the way they should. After all, she had been there 37 years or so and nobody else knew all the history of the place.

It was good too for DR since she has had just ‘enough’ work to do to stay connected and not feel lost herself. Thirty-seven years is a long time to work in one place. And I think she would have felt a little lost just stopping all together. It has been good and she has enjoyed being able to garden, bake, watch some of her favorite TV shows, and ride around on the garden tractor to mow grass when she wanted.

We sure have had some good garden veggies and pretty flowers too since she has had the time to tend to that stuff. Nice too having her around for an extra cup of coffee and some breakfast too. Not having to rush off to work has been nice.

She’s a good’un, that DR. Can’t believe this year will be 48 married years for us and really more if you count courtin’ time. That would push it up to about 54 years….that’s a long time. But I sure would do it over without a thought. Sure there have been some hard times but lots more good times and fun times all along the way. Sharing and caring and working together.

It is nice to have the retirement time to be more ‘together’ that we had working. Lots more chances to do things together and get caught up on our ‘project list’!

Well, it’s been fun. Hope it can last a good long while.

Posted in Growing Up, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment