Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Odds and Ends

This is one of those weeks when I have a lot I would like to do and no time to do it for killing work-related rats. However, tomorrow I'm taking a day to play hooky in San Antonio and leaving the rats to fend for themselves. Maybe they will eat each other up while I'm gone.

Sunday I spent a pleasant two hours exploring in the Elgin Antique Mall. I can poke around in there for a long time, pricing items that I once owned or still do in some cases. A little wooden bird call that I remember was a souvenir from a road trip when we were kids was priced at a whopping $28. I have no idea where ours currently resides. I find it hard to believe that someone might actually come along and pay that price for its twin. I found Christmas ornaments that were identical to some that my grandparents had every year on their tree. I found collectible glasses identical to some that are packed away in the storage unit. I came away with the feeling that I really should get busy and put some things that I'm not emotionally attached to for sale on EBAY and make a little mad money.

I also came away with a 1981 edition of "How to Be Texan", published by Texas Monthly Press. It's a little dated (references to cassette tapes and not one for CDs), but still takes some good shots at those of us who are born, bred and dyed in the wool Texan. I had to chuckle at a couple of the items under "How to Stay Alive in Texas":

Never drive in Houston after 2 p.m.
Never drive in Houston at all. (hear, hear)
Never cross a fence line unless it's yours. (or there's a cemetery within view)
Always say "Howdy" to anyone who says "Howdy" to you. (And always wave if you're waved to.)
Never eat anything thats "a little spicy". (no guts, no glory)
Never get on a horse that someone says is "just a little frisky".
Never go deer hunting with business associates when a deal is being negotiated.
Never say anything about anybody unless asked.
Never tell a Texan his dog is too skinny. (they ain't gonna be tellin' me that, fer sure--my dogs are pushing the envelope of pleasingly plump)

Yesterday the excitement in Bastrop was a lightning storm that blew out the network card in my new PC. Fortunately nothing else seems to have suffered from a close lightning strike that reportedly involved ball lightning. When the folks back home described the glowing ball of fire that flashed just outside the window, I was reminded of my one and only experience with ball lightning. My grandmother Wilcoxen, aunt and I were working in my grandmother's kitchen in Gladewater. Mother was napping in the back of the house and I don't know where the men were. We had the windows open, even though it was raining and there was thunder and lightning all around. With a simultaneous "crack" of thunder, a ball of light shot through the window over the sink and out the window behind the dining table. Fortunately none of us was standing in its path, but brother did it get our attention in a big way. Ball lightning is impressive.

I've been getting scans of great documents from a cousin in Kentucky for my Hodge genealogy and it's putting my summer research sabbatical on shaky ground. But I'm determined to rest that particular hobby until Labor Day. I'm getting that old fever back, though. Knew a rest would do me good on the burn out problem.

And last, but not least, I've been retyping some old sermons of my father's. I remember him hiring me to do some typing when I was in High School and just beginning to type well. I couldn't stand it back then, but I'm enjoying the exercise now. For one thing, I can type a heck of a lot better now, have much more experience with formatting and style, and I'm on a computer instead of the old manual Underwood typewriter. Now that it's something I want to do (to preserve material which is beginning to deteriorate), I am again appreciating that there are some pastors that were/are able to compose thoughtful, informative pieces on the Bible that are worth hearing or reading. From the perspective of my many years of historical research, there's a lot of good historical information to be found in my father's archives.

So between reading, restoring and remembering, I'm keeping out of trouble for now.


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