Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Drinking your way to health

Saying for the Day: A good swig a day keeps the doctor away.

There were a lot of people in my family that had alcohol problems including my step grandfather Tom who lost a leg. So I decided when I was very young that it made no sense for me to drink. It was not a religious decision but a practical one.
I was in a bar at a wedding reception and a man offered me a drink. I politely declined. He became belligerent and asked if I was too religious to drink. I said no. I’m too intelligent.
Now I discover I may really have been dumb.
A study by some university has concluded that people who drink in moderation but every day have a 51% better chance of not having a heart attack then those who don’t drink at all.
By not drinking I have increased the chances of my having a fatal heart attack.
Well at least I haven’t wrecked a car, got in a bar fight, kicked over a Christmas tree, or made a complete idiot of myself at a party. Since my relatives who drank didn’t seem capable of not drinking to excess I guess its okay to take my chances with the heart attack.

News From Pigeon Falls– The Mayor called an emergency meeting of the town council today. It has to be about the request of the Bishop about the millage. In any case it looks like some kind of real problem is developing. Nobody seems to have any real information. Even Nancy hasn’t been able to find out what the meeting was about. According to the Mayor it wasn’t a meeting at all they just got together for coffee and to talk about the up coming Pigeon Days celebration. Since no business of any kind was conducted the open meetings act doesn’t apply. Mayor South is willing to tell what kind of coffee they had if you want to know.
Another day and another dead pigeon. This one seems to have been hit with a stick of some kind. People are becoming upset about this and want it stopped. Some of the old timers are afraid that killing pigeons will bring bad luck upon the town. At the moment, however, it doesn’t seem to have made a dent in the pigeon population.
No white rabbit sightings today.
Our Chicago person had his groceries left on his porch and the money for them was in an envelope in the mail box. He didn’t come out until the boy left. This is really weird. What is he hiding from?
Nancy says that somebody heard Pastor Marvel hollering at the Bishop in the office at Last Lutheran Church. It seems Marvel is upset about the Bishop’s quick entry into local politics. Marvel denies there was any hollering. They may have been speaking a little loud but there was no hollering.

A beautiful day. My wife went to Tops. I spent the day building a trestle which I finished. Betty planted some more flowers . Then she varnished the trestle. I started another one. We are on schedule so that we should be able to lay track when the boys come. I had a visitor come and look at the layout and he really enjoyed it. He said he'll be back with his wife when the trains are running. My sister Dawn called and said that my sister Chris wants to know if I am moving to Green Bay. Chris also dropped a comment to this blog with the same question. I finished the June web site for the church and will post it tomorrow. I need a breathing treatment.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

From atheist to Pastor-Step 1

Saying for the Day: How can there be a God when babies die?

We reach into the archive box and come up with my baptismal certificate. This is not where I was going to start this journey but it’s the right place.
Before my brother died. Before I became an atheist. My parents brought me to the font at Bethel Lutheran Church and God touched me and made me his own. It is here that my faith journey begins.
My parents taught me to pray “Now I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Then I asked God’s blessing on a whole bunch of relatives.
Not much of a prayer but it was a prayer.
When I was six they sent me every Sunday to the Methodist Sunday school. It was earlier than the Lutheran and my dad wanted to go rabbit hunting. While I was in Sunday School they visited with my dad’s relatives who lived in the old family home across the street from the Methodist Church.
During this time in my life I believed there was a God. He was loving. He wanted everybody to be nice to everybody. He expected you to live by his rules. No stealing, no lying, no hurting anybody. He wanted you to do what your parents wanted you to do. I tried as hard as a little kid can to keep the rules.
Once when my dog ran away I asked God to bring him back and promised God I would be really, really good. The dog came back and I forgot the promise.
All was fine until I was nine years old and my little brother Robert died. God left him die. I prayed and God paid no attention. I thought “ What kind of God lets little babies die.” People were of no help. They said things like God needed another angel. What kind of God takes babies away from wonderful people like my mother to make them into angels. I decided that God was either horrible or he didn’t exist. Since I was of a very scientific bent I finally decided he didn’t exist. I was now a nine year old atheist.

News from Pigeon Falls– Non of our pigeon Falls people ended up getting hurt yesterday. Oh, there was some sunburn, a few scraped knees, one white rabbit sighting, and a few have hangovers today. But on the whole the town came through well.
They found another dead pigeon this one looks like it might have been poisoned. Who in the world is trying to get rid of the town’s namesake? What’s a little pigeon poop (okay a lot of pigeon poop) in a town that owes so much to the bird. Just think of all the sweaters with the pigeon logo on them we’ve sold. The story itself hasn’t hurt our tourist industry. We may yet have to call in the state police to put an end to this.
Well the good Bishop shook them all up today. He went to the town hall and asked the Mayor to show him where the council has the right under the town charter of constitution to levee a 1/4 mill property tax. The Mayor ( a good politician) said she was busy at that time but come back on Thursday and she would show him. She then called her husband Tom , who is the unofficial town attorney. They met in the back room of city hall for over an hour and when they came out they didn’t look happy. They are lucky we don’t have a radio station or television station to zero in on this so they have a little breathing room.
Eino says he is pretty sure he knows the secret of the white rabbit, The problem he says is it hasn’t broken any laws so he can’t get a warrant to have a particular house searched. Even if the rabbit had broken a law he has no evidence that this house has anything to do with it. I don’t think a judge would give him a warrant any way since he is not a police officer nor does he have any official capacity. This I do know though when Eino sets his mind to something he doesn’t quit until its done. If I was the white rabbit I would look out for Eino.
The noon train brought the guy from Chicago. He rented a car from Eino and went right out to the house. He didn’t look like a gangster. I understand he called the grocery store ( we only have one) and arranged to have groceries delivered. Talk over at Nancy’s is that if he was a normal good guy he would be spending some time in town instead of hiding in the house. ( But he just got here-Those ladies really get on my nerves).

Betty went to the dentist this morning. Then she planted flowers and made little changes to the outside layout. I started work on the next trestle. We need at least three more trestles to run track to the far end of the layout. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Comment !Please!!

Saying for the Day: Choosing to not leave a comment on a blog is like refusing to give a thirsty man a glass of water.

Bloggers need comments. Bloggers thirst for comments.

They will do anything for comments.

They run contests.

They get tattoos and post pictures of the process..

They die their hair purple. (Or threaten to)

They pour out their souls.

They tell things about themselves they never told before.

Some even lie.

Just to get a comment.

I stand above all that. I won’t do those things for a comment.

Instead I will grovel, beg, plead. Give me a comment. I am on my knees begging (I may never be able to get up).

I want, I need, I have to have a comment. Please! Please!

News from Pigeon Falls– Memorial day is an important day in Pigeon Falls.
As usual there was a procession from the pigeon statue out to the cemetery .
The CCHS (County Consolidated High School) band lead the procession, followed by the veterans ( Even one from World War II), then boy scouts and girl scouts, and finally anybody who wanted to walk along.
This year the procession was added too by several bikers who came to honor the veterans. It gave you goose bumps.
At the cemetery the prayers were done by Retired Bishop Thadeus Westemen (first time we had a bishop). In general people thought he was not as good as Pastor Marvel but a little better than Father Pete. (And you thought that it was the prayer that was important).
The band played three numbers and two members collapsed while they were standing waiting for the next time to play. ( It was 90 degrees) .
A big shot from the Veteran’s Hospital gave a speech about what we owe our veterans which was very well received.
Then they closed by placing wreaths on the memorials in honor of the veterans of each war since World War 1. After that people went and visited the graves of their loved ones.
Tommy’s sister Lois and some other seniors had a combined graduation party out at the Pigeon Falls Park. It was held in the Liar’s Club building. ( She couldn’t hold it at home since she lives above a funeral parlor and there was a body being shown.) Right in the middle of the party the white rabbit was seen across the lake. Lois ( a track star) took off after it. She came back looking kind of weird and said she couldn’t catch it.
Memorial day is also the start of the flower planting season in Pigeon Falls. People figure that there will be no more frost (they have been wrong) and so feel safe to put the flowers out. Mrs. Marvel has a great garden every year but this year she is going all out. Pastor Marvel was complaining to his secretary , Elaine, that his wife is buying high priced sterile, nutrient enriched soil for the garden. He said that good old dirts was good enough for his mother and her mother before her. Pastor Marvel said that if she keeps buying soil they will end up dirt poor. Elaine did not laugh.
One last bit of Pigeon Falls news. They found another dead pigeon. This one was hit with a rock. Its a good job the guy from Chicago hasn't shown up yet or they'd blame him. Last year at this time evrything was being blamed on the Bubbster who never did show up.

Tomorrow I go to the archive box and start a series on my journey from atheist to pastor. A picture of the pigeon statue can be seen at Pete's Blog-Linna's Minute just ignore the text. Betty and I got the layout up to the place it was last fall. Everything is now out and we are ready to start on the next section. Betty planted more flowers. My sister called and said it was 99 degrees at her camp today. Pat called and wants to change the days the boys are coming. He said June 13 but we don't think that can be right. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Don't let the deer get you.

Saying for the Day: One should only hunt in season.

I read on somebody’s blog where they hit a deer. It reminded me of a family in the parish.
She was driving home on the road from Amasa when a deer charged out of the woods and ran into the side of her car.
It staggered and then fell down alongside the road.
She called her son on a cell phone to come and look at her car to see if it was safe to drive.

As she was waiting the deer was walking back and forth gathering strength.

As the son was driving in the deer suddenly bolted and ran smack into the side of the son’s car. Again it fell down alongside the road.

When the son got out of his car the deer staggered to its feet and slowly walked into the woods.
I figure it had filled its license and was only allowed two cars during car hunting season.

News from Pigeon Falls-Pastor Marvel introduced Retired Bishop Thadeus Westemen to the congregation at Last Lutheran Church this morning. He said he looked forward to the Bishop being an active part of the congregation. He was also looking forward to the Bishop’s wife ,Anna , becoming part of the ladies group. She is expected Thursday or Friday. That should put an end to the rumors about the Bishop’s wife. Pastor Marvel went on to preach a sermon about the evil of gossip . A number of the ladies squirmed through that one.
The Methodists held their spring picnic today. They marched from the church to the picnic grounds singing old time Methodist hymns. Those Methodists can sing. The Methodist ladies made little hand held pasties ( best pasties in town) and had a feast of a picnic. In the afternoon they played all kinds of games. For such a small church they sure do make their presence known. The big excitement at the picnic was the appearance of the white rabbit. It was standing at the top of Iverson Hill when they saw him. By the time somebody climbed up it was gone. One lady said he looked real cute in his pink sweater. He waved at them and winked.( No throats got slashed). However, Mrs. Trumble, she’s a Methodist, fainted dead away.
They found a dead pigeon this morning.
Somebody shot it in the head with a bb gun. Mayor South is all upset. She can’t believe that anybody in Pigeon Falls would kill a pigeon. Bob, our part time constable rounded up the usual suspect, Tommy the undertaker’s kid. Tommy denied it and since they can’t pinpoint the time of death we don’t know if he has an alibi or not. He has a bb gun but you can’t do ballistics on a bb. Can you imagine the laughing at the state crime lab if we sent them a bb and a gun and asked if it was fired from that gun. Even more laughter when they find out the victim was a pigeon.

It was a quiet day. Betty went and served coffee after the 10:00 service. Then we went and visted Jon Aho to celebrate his daughter's graduation. We also got to see his HO layout which was very nice but not as good as we expected. Betty went back to getting the flower bed ready and we had to make another trip to Iron River for dirt. Well I need a breathing treatment. GBYA

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Another Telephone Game

Saying for the day: Everybody is due a little respect.

I played the telephone game again yesterday. You know, the game where a telemarketer calls and you win if you get him or her to hang up without selling you anything. The game went like this:
I am cleaning up the garage and my wife brings me the phone.
Dr. John– Hello
Telemarketer– Is this John
DJ– Who is this?
TR-John. this is Henry from Houston, Texas
DJ– Are you an old college buddy?
TR-Ah, no.
DJ– One of my relatives?
DJ– Well your not one of my close friends.
DJ– Then how dare you use my first name. Only my friends, buddies, and relatives call me John. Where is your respect.
TR– Um, How do your pronounce LINNA ?(He really said this)
DJ– Betty put that hammer over there. It needs to go with the tools.
TR– Its obvious your busy right now. I’ll let you go.
DJ– What?
TR– Good by. ( hangs up)
I win.

News from Pigeon Falls-They failed to get a jury yesterday and so they will have to try again on Monday. The national press is having a field day with this trial . They are calling it the Fairy Tale trial and the DNR is beginning to look like an evil villain. I am surprised that Lansing hasn’t stepped in and put a stop to the nonsense. For poor Ken it does look like no good deed goes unpunished.
Speaking of Grandma Moris, she and her granddaughter were out in her backyard , yesterday, enjoying the warm weather when they saw the white rabbit. It was over on the edge of the garden. According to Grandma Moris it winked at them, waved, and then hopped away.( No
claws, no fangs). Eino Jupola came out to look for some clues but the afternoon rain washed away any trace. Eino says he’s going to solve this mystery yet. I wonder if tall white rabbits are an endangered species?
The old Hendersot house has finally been sold. You know the one out on camp six road, just beyond the big apple tree, near the railroad crossing. Some guy from Chicago bought it. That has generated its own set of rumors . One of the ladies suggested to Nancy that it was bought by a Chicago gangster who is hiding from the mob. People in Pigeon Falls have such imaginations. At least they have moved on from the Bishop (But if his wife doesn’t show up pretty soon it will start again).
Pigeon Falls has a new problem. Last year at this time they were worried because there were no pigeons for Pigeon Days. Well this year the town has too many pigeons. Its like something out of the 1963 movie “The Birds”. There seem to be pigeons everywhere. Even the pigeon statue is covered with pigeon droppings. What can be done about it in a town where pigeons are almost sacred? You sure can’t shoot them.

Well I worked on June's web page for the Church and Betty worked on getting the flower bed ready. Then we went to church. After church as I sat on my walker seat waiting for her to drive up from the parking lot a group of over 100 bikers rode by on their way to Iron Mountain to honor the veterans. It made me think of Laurie one of our blogging friends. Its the kind of thing she would do. After the bikers were gone we went to Iron River to get some more dirt. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Why Lutherans fail at Evangelism

Saying for the day: If you were really in love with somebody wouldn't you say so?

As a result of my continuing research into Lutheran evangelism I am ready to present ten reasons why Lutherans make lousy evangelists (sharers of the faith)

10. Lutherans tend to be very shy. ( When they are sober and who thinks of God when they are not?)

9. Lutherans believe they pay the Pastor to do that.

8. Most Lutherans didn’t pay attention in confirmation so they don’t know for sure what they believe.

7. Most Lutherans have two or three bibles but don’t read any on a regular basis.

6. Lutherans embarrass easily so they don’t even say grace in restaurants.

5. Lutherans believe you shouldn’t talk politics or religion as it could ruin a good friendship.

4. Almost all Lutherans have had a bad experience with one of those door to door religion pushers.

3. Evangelism takes time and who has time these days?

2. They give money to send missionaries to do that.

1. Lutherans are saved by grace so they don’t have to do anything.

News from Pigeon Falls. Well what I was afraid of yesterday has begun . According to Joanne, from Joanne’s Beauty Shop, the ladies were really buzzing today about the Bishop. They were wondering where his wife is. Ideas run from “She caught him in bed with another lady”.“He killed her and nobody knows it”, “ He was forced to resign because he was caught fooling around.”” She ran off with the milk man”. Boy you get those ladies started and all kinds of nonsense comes out. The good news is that tomorrow they’ll move on to some other poor soul. Unless of course something they said turns out , by accident, to be true. Then
The one who was right will say, smuggly, “ See I told you!!”
White rabbit season is back. It was seen last night by a tourist who was waiting for the late train. According to the tourist, a Mrs. Jusith Openhlper , he was on the ground just beyond the far end of the platform. It winked at her, waved, and hopped off. AS far as she could tell it had neither fangs nor claws. Mrs. Trumble says not to let it fool us . If it get close enough it’ll rip your throat open. She has a terrible imagination.
Well Ken Johnson’s trial begins today. You remember Ken is the woodsman who killed the wolf that was threatening Grandma Moris And her granddaughter ( the one that always wears red hoods). He got the wolf right between the eyes with his axe. The DNR is accusing him of killing an endangered species. If they win there will be no story book ending for this case. It seemed for a while the DNR would just drop the case but I guess they feel that the law is the law. I sure would hate to be on that jury. If they excuse everyone who hates wolves there won’t be much of a jury pool.

For those of you who like school boy humor TC at Twisted Chilli Dot Com has a new post filled with such nonsense. If you want to see some more pictures of this area including her house Lois at Upper Peninsula and beyond has a new post that includes lots of interesting things. If you want to see what the world looks like after a few too many or in the midst of a dandy hallucination then check out the art at Art 166. Betty and I spent the day wiring track and planting flowers. The inside and outside loops on the Pigeon Falls end are now working. so now we can say "Gee it was working yesterday".We had visitors who stoped to look at the layout. They really liked Pigeon Falls.Well I need a breathing treatment

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Grandma's Parrot

Saying for the Day: Don't trust a Parrot to keep a secret.

This is a story about my Grandmother Leda.
Grandmother Leda had a parrot. Now this was not one of those little parakeets that people often buy today. No sir! This was a genuine parrot with a large vocabulary , all in Finnish.
It knew the names of the four Linna children and which name belonged to which child.
It also was rumored to have psychic abilities.

The family lived upstairs of a boarding house and to reach the family entry point, which was the kitchen, one had to go up a long flight of stairs. Now here is where the parrots psychic ability entered in.

The moment one of the children put his or her foot on the bottom stair the parrot would call out the child’s name. From where the parrot sat the steps could not be seen and mostly what you heard was street noise. But one has to admit that even a man with truly sharp hearing would have trouble identifying somebody from the sound of a foot on a step.

Now if this was the entire story it would still be a special parrot but there is one more event. Often an old Finnish lady came to visit Leda. Grandma didn’t like this lady and said some rather mean things about her after she left.

A few days later the parrot said, in Finnish, “ Old lady coming” and then said everything Gram had said. About a minute later the downstairs door opened and in came the old lady. The parrot said nothing.
Always after that when the old lady reached the edge of the sidewalk our parrot would announce her so Gram was always ready. Nobody could ever explain how the parrot knew it was the old lady before she got to the door.

News of Pigeon Falls– I met the milk train this morning at 8:00 down at the Pigeon Falls station. Pastor Marvel was there on the platform. He picked up this guy wearing a big heavy looking cross around his neck. I assumed it was the retired Bishop and that Pastor Marvel was taking him out to look at his newly purchased house. Pastors get stuck with the worst of jobs.
According to Nancy his name is Bishop Thadeus Westemen . He’s a retired Lutheran Bishop and very liberal. ( He gets his inspiration from sociology rather than Scripture) He is supposed to be married but there was no wife with him this morning. I guess she’s coming later.( A little room for gossip there.)
Mrs. Trumble is at it again. She swears that she saw the white rabbit behind her house this morning. It had six inch claws that were dripping with blood. Nancy thinks she drank too much rheumatism medicine. ( If nobody else sees it we’ll ignore it) For those of you that weren't with us last year the White Rabbit is one of the unsolved mysteries of Pigeon Falls. There were numerous sightings of a white rabbit that was a little over two feet tall, stood upright, and winked at people. It wore a pink sweater and often carried a little chicken. Mrs Trumble is the only one that saw fangs and claws.
Toivo and Eino’s new garage has a solar paneled roof that on a sunny day provides all the power the garage needs. Just think a little town like Pigeon Falls is right out there on the edge of technology.

It rained off and on today. My sister called and she's going out to camp. When it wasn't raining we got the new garden layed out. Betty changed her mind several times but I think she now knows what she wants. I did some work on the computer and got the first of the track wiring ready to go. Betty and I did the soldering . Nobody in their right mind would ever ask us to solder anything. Betty also planted some flowers. My daughter called and the procedure on her hand seemed to have gine very well. She certainly sounded happy when she called. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Take him to the hospital

Saying for the day: A little snow does not a blizard make.

Honey at House of Honey did a blog about the experience of taking her little girl to the emergency room which reminded me of and experience Betty and I had when our kids were little.

Our son Patrick was almost a year old when he got whatever it was that was going around. We assumed he would shake it off as kids usually do. But the next day his fever began to go up and when it got to 101 we decided to take him to the doctor’s.

This was a thirty mile ride as there was no doctor in Ewen where we were living at the time. The doctor gave him a shot and told us to take him home. This was standard procedure.

When we got him home the fever went to 102 and so we called the doctor. He said give him an aspirin and it should come down. We did . It didn’t. Instead it went to 103. Now we were scared. We called the doctor again and he said we should put him in the hospital but the hospital was full. So he arranged for us to go to a different hospital fifty miles away.

The problem was that we were in the middle of one of the UP’s winter storms. You could hardly see the road. It took us two hours to drive the fifty miles. By the time we reached the hospital Pat’s temperature was 104 .

They gave him an ice bath that brought the temperature down. The antibiotics finally kicked in and by the next day he was ready to come home.

But every time we have a winter storm I remember that trip. I swear God must have kept the car on the road.

News from Pigeon Falls.
Well Pigeon Falls is back. I walked down the newly resurfaced main street with the new wide sidewalks. It looks better than last year.
It even has a handicapped parking place. Of course its in front of the tavern which is a little odd. But I suppose Pigeon Falls has a few handicapped drunks.
The town also has a dentist for the first time. He has his office in the old bank building. It used to be a place to save your money and now it’s a place to save your teeth. I wonder if he keeps the gold caps in the vault?
I stopped by Nancy’s for a cup of coffee and a saffron bun. She’s still charging $.50 a cup for coffee but the saffron bun is now $1.00 . But it does have real butter on it.
Asked Nancy what’s going on in town.
She said it was pretty quiet. Except for the grumbling about the 1/4 mill that the town council assessed to pay for the new street and sidewalk. There is no talk of a voters rebellion , she said, because nobody wants to be on the town council. But that doesn’t keep them from muttering. Nobody likes millage.
The other big news is that some retired Bishop may have bought the old Tieminen place. You know, the big house on the hill just beyond the old Jupola place. The house that everyone thought would be empty forever. She isn’t sure that this is true. She didn’t know what kind of Bishop either. People are excited though since Pigeon Falls has never had a live in Bishop before. ( Pastor Marvel though doesn't seem very excited) Well we might know more tomorrow.

Beautiful day today. Betty went to Tops. I added a new top ten list to the church web page. In the afternoon Betty and I worked on the garage. We found stuff we bought and forgot last winter. It was in bags in the garage. We have the small saw ready now to work on buildings. Put the little fountain out in the pool and its not working. Moved things so we can get to the trains. If it is nice tomorrow we will begin the process of fixing the tracks so the trains run the way they are supposed to. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

An E-mail miracle

Saying for the Day: The question is not “ does God speak” but “do we listen?”.

We dig in the archive box again and find a print out of an E-mail that I received.

When I was well enough to leave the Marquette hospital (where I was expected to die) the only problem was that I was on a ventilator. I had three lung specialists and they had decided I would never get off of the ventilator.

They tried getting me off but every time I was off for more than twenty four hours I would begin to hallucinate as the c02 built up in my blood stream.

So they arranged to send me home with a ventilator. They trained my wife to run it.

We set up in the living room with a hospital bed , an oxygen machine, and a ventilator. There was also a second ventilator in case the first one quit, a huge oxygen tank in case the power went down and a battery backup for the ventilator.

Every night I was connected to the ventilator and had a device to monitor the oxygen in my blood. If it fell to low an alarm would go off.
My wife slept on the couch so she could hear the alarm. During the night phlegm would build up in the breathing tube, the alarm would go off, and she would have to vacuum it out so that I could breath. She has a special machine for that.

If that wasn’t bad enough the tube in my throat had to be replaced every six weeks. This meant going to Marquette and having the doctor pull the tube out and put a new one in. This hurt and there was lots of blood. I hated it.

This was not a good way to live.

So I asked God for a miracle. Despite my three specialists I wanted off the ventilator.

My son said “Why don’t you go to Mayo’s.”
I said “ I have three lung specialists all saying the same thing. Nothing short of a miracle is getting me off the ventilator”.

My daughter visited and said,’ Dad why don’t you go to Mayo’s”
I told her the same thing I told my son. I was waiting for the miracle.

My sister visited and said “ John why don’t you go to Mayo’s?”
I gave her the same answer.

I was waiting for the miracle.

I had a friend who sent me e-mails with funny stories or stories with a moral. Just at that time he sent me this story.

“ There was man caught in a flood. He was stuck on top of his house . He prayed for God to save him. A man came in an row boat and offered to pick him up but he said that he had prayed and God would save him. A lady came by in a canoe and offered to take him to safety but he said God would save him. A guy came in a motorboat and offered him a ride to safety but he again said he was waiting on God. He drowned . In heaven he asked God why he hadn’t saved him and God’s response was Who do you think sent those boats?”

The story hit me and hit me hard. I was that man. I was waiting for God and three times he had sent the answer. So I called my Doctor and arranged to go to Mayo’s. My son and daughter came with me.

At Mayo’s they discovered the reason for the lung problems which my three specialists had missed. They assured me they could get me off the ventilator.

Two visits later they succeeded .
If I hadn’t opened my ears to what God was saying I would still be sitting on the roof waiting for God to save me ( living on the ventilator). God wanted me to be well. God arranged for me to be well. The miracle was that I finally listened.

News from Pigeon Falls
Tomorrow I will begin sharing what is happening in the tiny town of Pigeon Falls. Pigeon Falls is a mystical town that comes out of the fog in the spring into my back yard. It remains there until late fall when it vanishes into the fog again. My grand daughter decided last year that I should share the adventures of the people of Pigeon Falls with others. She often visits the town and helped to write the Pigeon Falls song. She can hardly wait for this years adventures. One might ask if these are real people. Of course they are, as real as my back yard. It is, however, a weird little town with eccentric people. So until tomorrow , when I stop and visit Nancy's Coffee Shop and return to share the latest gossip with you, we will let them rest.

It was beautiful day today. We finished the new garage complete with a solar light and got it out on the layout. Then we took the covers off of the pool and waterfall at the Crippled Creek part of the layout. We cleaned out all the leaves and junk from the winter. Then we put the pump back and filled the pool. Turned it on and it worked . All the little waterfalls look fine. We think there may be some leakage but we will be watching that. Betty has gone to Bible study. I need a breathing treatment.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Comment Jealousy

Saying for the Day: I just want to be first, that's all.

I have a confession to make. I suffer from comment jealousy or at the very least comment irritation .

Its all because I helped my wife set up her own blog so she could leave comments that didn’t have my name on them. I do nice things for her like that. She has jumped right in and is commenting away with real gusto.

So now when I go viewing through my usual blogs , the one’s I have links to, there are her comments. There is her picture. I feel upset.

I think it comes from my childhood. I always wanted to be the first one to tell my family whatever the good news was. It really irritated me when my sister got there first. I wanted to be the one to tell them.

When my first son was born I wanted to be the one to tell everybody but I made the mistake of telling my mother first. She got to all my relatives before I could. That irritated me.

Now I like to tell Betty what ‘s going on in Mimi’s blog or Catch’s blog, or any other blog on the list. When I see her picture I know she has already been there and got the information before me.

It really isn’t fair because she blogs at night and I blog in the morning so she gets a head start.

I hope I can come to grips with these negative thoughts before I say anything. After all she does control my oxygen.

News from Pigeon Falls-As a last bit of introduction here is a repeat of a last year's post.
Mrs.Hilary Henry had here fifth and sixth grade class write three line statements of what they liked or disliked about Pigeon Falls. Here are some of the things they wrote:
Where else can you see a drunken moose on the main street.
All the trains coming and going are fun to watch.
We have the best parade in the country.
I like pigeons and the pigeon statue.
We have our own song, the Pigeon Song, co co co.
There is nothing to do. I hate it.
We might see a white rabbit in a pink sweater.
Walking on the yellow brick road to the mill pond and swimming.
Lots and lots of pasties. We have the best pasty makers.
Pastor Marvel and his funny costumes makes you almost want to go to church.
Family saunas at Jack's Sauna. We are really clean.
Great stories like the pasty eating bear. If I see a bear I'll give him a pasty.
Mrs. Hilary thinks they are pretty good answers. Well I'll keep you informed.

Got a birthday card from my sister Dawn with two Michigan Lottery tickets. Each had nine seperate games. Not a winner in the bunch. B etty and I spent most of the day designing, cutting out, painting, and building the Garage for Pigeon Falls. It was time for Toivo and Eino to have a new building. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A very good life

Saying for the Day: If yours as old as you feel then I'm 102.

Well I’m sixty seven years old today.
Looking back over those years I can tell you they have been pretty wonderful.

I had a great childhood with a wonderful (though not perfect) family.

God gave me a wonderful wife to share most of the years with.

I have three wonderful kids and five wonderful grandkids.

God called me to a church with some of the greatest people you could ever meet.

My walk with Christ has filled my life with joy.

Of course there were a few bumps along the way ( mostly caused by my stubbornness , fear of doctors, and inability to take advice)

But over all I have no complaints.
Life is good.

News from Pigeon Falls
I started yesterday introducing you to some of the people who live in Pigeon Falls. The list continues.
Grandma Moris – Caters all Pigeon Falls weddings (or almost all) and has forever. She makes wonderful little cakes.
Dr. John Fortress– Owner of the M&CL railroad ( Moneypit and Cash Loss) A seldom seen individual except when the train breaks down.
Buddy East– The present Great and Exalted, High and Wonderful, Grand Pigeon . He is head of Pigeonelle Lodge number 1
Liar’s Club 65 piece band– Local band with three members.
Mrs. Wilson McMorison III – A very rich woman with bad driving habits. She is the first one to see the white rabbit.
Geo Maki-Rich farmer and member of the town council.
Mrs. Horacio Trumble– Has seen the white rabbit and swears it’s the very incarnation of evil. She is driving everybody nuts.
Roger Stir– Insurance man and council member. One of the power centers in Pigeon Falls.
Orlanno Cassino – Lawyer and town council member.

This was a wonderful day. My wife got me a cake with a little train on it. My son, his wife, and two of my grand kids came to visit. The son gave me a new keyboard. My daughter called and wrote an extra nice blog about me (All lies of course). I got a great new engine for the outside layout. WE went out to eat at Fob's. What a wonderful day. Even the church called and wished me a happy birthday. Well I still need a breathing treatment.
God Bless You All

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Don't let the bad guys win.

Saying for the day: Don't let the bad guys win.

I am a bit upset.
The museum turned down my offer to give them everything they needed to put in a garden railroad. I offered to buy track, train, transformer and remote control, all new.
I even offered one building to get them started. The offer came to a little over $500.00.

What disturbs me is not that they turned me down.
I can always use the $500.
But the reason they turned me down.

They were afraid that they couldn’t watch it closely enough and somebody would steal it or vandalize it.

This fear caused them to give up something that could have added greatly to the appeal of the museum.
The problem is there may really be some people or a person who delights in stealing or vandalizing public property. We live in that kind of world.

But if we give in to them and don’t do things because they might be there.

They win.

We all lose.
We become prisoners of fear.
The bad guys set the agenda .

I don’t want to live in that kind of world.
I want to live free and take the risks that go with being free.
I am sorry they couldn’t be brave enough to do that.

News from Pigeon Falls: Since very shortly the day to day life of Pigeon Falls will fill this space I want to introduce you to some of the people who live and work there.
Nancy Vanhala-runs a little coffee shop "Coffee with Nancy". You can get a cup of coffee or tea along with a genuine saffron bun or piece of pie. Of course you can also get information on everything that's going on in Pigeon Falls.
Angela South- The Mayor (unpaid) -Threatening to quit or at least not to run again.
Toivo and Eino Jupola- Run the used car place and are the power centers of Pigeon Falls.
Pastor Marvel- Pastor of Last Lutheran Church- Has a reputation for really wild sermons including one where he dressed as Captain Marvel from the comic strip.
Tommy- The undertaker's kid. He is responsible for a good part of the mischief in Pigeon Falls.
Jon Bergall- Local farmer- Great story teller- He always places high in the annual Liar's Club Contest.
The White Rabbit- may or may not exist but has been seen by a good number of people. Supposed to be over two feet tall and wears a pink sweater and purple pants.
Tomorrow we will introduce a few more.
Well we ran the first outside trains today. The good news is that the transformers, remote control, and wiring all wintered well. The bad news is that some sections of track are dead. We don't know why and it will be a slow process to fix the problem. We began designing the new used acr building.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Devil or the Pastor

Saying for the Day: The Devil did it.

The poor devil doesn’t have enough bad press but now he has been accused of taking the form of a Pastor and beating Sherri Lynn Rossi, a pastor’s wife, over the head with a blunt object until she went into a coma.
When the poor woman came out of the coma she accused her husband, Pastor Richard A. Rossi Jr., of beating her.
The husband argued that it must have been Satan pretending to be him in order to ruin his ministry.
The woman then recanted her story saying she agrees it must have been Satan because her husband would never do anything like that.
I don’t believe the devil did it. He doesn’t need to take an active part in that kind of activity since he has enough crazy humans to do it for him.
But let’s just say for a moment he did.
Where does the poor police man go to arrest him?
Where does Satan hang out?
Do you interview his close friends?
If you find him can you keep him in a cell?
Don’t some of the best lawyers work for him?
Do you have to trick him into looking like the Pastor?
How do we know the pastor isn’t dead and Satan has replaced him?
Of what value would fingerprints or DNA be?
Will this lead to a new defense? Not Satan made me do it but Satan did it?
I think the police should just give up and arrest the Pastor because most of the time it‘s the husband. What do you think?

News from Pigeon Falls. The official town song is entitled "Pigeons Return" is always sung at the start of the great Pigeon Festival, and goes as follows:
When the Pigeons return to Pigeon falls- coo coo coo
And we hear them cooing in the wood-coo coo coo
Then the trains will run on time-coo coo coo
Things will be the way they should-coo coo coo
When the Pigeons return to Pigeon Falls-coo coo coo
And we hear them cooing in the wood-coo coo coo
People will be singing in the streets-coo coo coo
And all the crops will grow so good- coo coo coo
When the pigeons return to Pigeon Falls- coo coo coo
Then love again will fill the land- coo coo coo
With pigeons cooing in the wood- coo coo coo
We will all walk hand in hand.- coo coo coo

Betty went to do altar committee at the church. I transfered the blog explosion credits she won to MIMI. I am packing up the jelly beans for Kristi and the last of the prizes from the loser's party will have been taken care of. We worked most of the day on the Pigeon Falls layout. The town is now in place. Some of the people have been added. It looks pretty good. Tomorrow if it doesn't rain we'll try running the train. We want all of this done by the end of May so we can start on the other end of the layout. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Watch out for trains

Saying for the Day: Drinking and walking don't mix.

My grandmother Mabel (my mother’s mother) also took in borders. One of them was a man named Thomas Sparnol. He was from England and worked in the mine. He had a large room upstairs and ate with the family.

When I was a little kid I used to visit Tom. I would go upstairs of Grandma’s and we would listen to the fights together. Tom loved the fights and the Detroit Tigers. I can still close my eyes and hear the Gillete Blue Blade commercial. Visits to Tom were always fun. He gave me a puff on his cigarette and a taste of his beer. He would tell me stories of England.

One of things that fascinated me about Tom was that he had a wooden leg. Well It wasn’t really wooden it was a boot that strapped on over his stump. He also had a very English accent.

It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned how he got that wooden leg. It seems that when he was a young man he liked to hit the taverns in Negaunee. On one of these junkets he got very drunk. On his way back to the boarding house he fell across the railroad track and passed out. When he came to and started to get up he realized a train was coming. He did not move fast enough and the train severed one leg just below the knee.

This would not really be a family story accept that some years after my grandfather died Gram married Tom. She said it was cheaper than trying to heat the upstairs. So Tom became my grandfather, wooden leg and all.

He is also one of the reasons I don’t drink.

Today in Pigeon Falls:…..The Pigeon Falls Story
In the beginning Pigeon Falls was called Potato Grove , since it was the potato crop that sustained the village. It provided both food to eat and food to sell. Farmers from Finland and Sweden had settled here and after moving tons of rocks began growing potatoes. For a few years everything went well.
Then without warning a strange new bug appeared. No one knew where it came from but it attacked the potato plants with a vengeance. Pastor Helve Tillinen said it was God’s vengeance because the farmers were such bad givers and didn’t go to church much. He predicted the end of Potato Grove.
The Pastor at the Methodist Church , Justin Cooper, said God wasn’t like that but urged people to pray for divine intervention.
Just when things were at their darkest a the huge flock of pigeons swooped in and ate all the bugs, every last one of them. The crop was saved and the farmers decided that as a way of thanking the pigeons they would change the town’s name to Pigeon Falls and refrain from eating them.
They also decided to raise money for a big pigeon statue to stand at the edge of town as a constant reminder of what the pigeons had done.. And so we continue to celebrate the start of Pigeon Falls.. This is the official story as it is engraved on the Pigeon Statue on main street

We got some more of Pigeon Falls today. This despite the fact that it was cold and the wind was blowing hard. we added two churches and a toy shop. The wind took the tower off of the firehall and so we had to glue that back.Otherwise it was an ordinary dull day. Tomorrow we will share the offical Pigeon Falls song from last summer. Possibly by this summer I will be able to sing it for you. ( No I don't think I would do that to you). Well I need a breathing treatment.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

We lost Peter

Saying for the Day: God sends a Guardian Angel to watch over children.

My daughter-in-law Lori recently described in her blog a time when my grandson disappeared. It reminded me of a time when her husband, my son, Peter disappeared.

We were living in the new parsonage in Ewen when it happened. I was in the church which was next door to the parsonage when I got a frantic call from Betty. She had lost Peter.

I rushed home. She had been changing Pat’s diaper and Peter was playing in the living room. When she came back he was gone. All the doors to the outside were closed so she assumed he was hiding. But she couldn’t find him.

I joined the search but he just wasn’t there.

I went outside to look. It was raining. He was nowhere to be seen. Now I was in full panic. We lived only one block from the highway. I could see him walking out onto the road and getting hit by a truck. I listened for screaming.

Then a very slow moving car came along. The fellow rolled down his window and asked if we knew who this little kid belonged to. There he was , having a great time. He was dressed in just a diaper.

We thanked the fellow who had found him down by the highway. I always wondered what he thought of parents who left their almost undressed kid wander around in the rain.

We were so glad to see him. But now we had a problem. He could open the front door, a skill we didn’t know he had. We could no longer keep him in by closing and locking it since it unlocked when you turned the inside knob . You couldn’t watch both him and his brother at the same time. We didn’t have access to an alarm system like they have now but we really needed one.

Our solution ? We bought a music box that was attached to the door and played when it was opened. It worked well .

The only problem with it was that it played Ava Maria every time somebody entered the Lutheran parsonage. It was the only one we could find.

10,100 spins without a prize. Starting tomorrow Old Hapless is giving up this space to "News from Pigeon Falls". Pigeon Falls has returned from the mysterious mist into which it vanished last fall. Tomorrow we will share again how Pigeon Falls got its name. This is for those of you who were not with us last year. Friday we will print the official Pigeon Falls song that is used at every Pigeon Falls Day celebration. After that we will begin with the up to date news of the little town where men hunt deer and women let them.

I transfered the blog explosion credits to Annette so that just leaves the jelly beans for Mimi and Kristi. Bettywent to Tops. Then we began putting out Pigeon Falls. We got about half the buildings in place when the rain came. I sure hope the son shines tomorrow. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Miracle Number two-A painful Miracle

Saying for the Day:Tell God what you need but not how to meet that need.

Back to the artifact box and we find a picture of me on skies. This reminds me of miracle number two.
When I left the hospital in Green Bay, after the ear and brain infection, I couldn’t lift one arm higher than the middle of my stomach. They didn’t discover this until after the ear surgery.

No one looked at the arm when they were trying to save my life. But when they did look they guessed that when I had the seizure that it was so violent that it pulled the arm right out of its socket, tore it up, and snapped it back. By the time they discovered it everything had hardened into place.

They sent me to an orthopedic specialist who said the prognosis was very poor. But he gave me instructions for the therapist in Crystal. The problem was that the therapist was incompetent. They fired him soon after my therapy.

When I went back to Green Bay the arm was no better and perhaps a bit worse. The specialist said I may have to learn to live with it in that condition. But he gave my wife instructions for home therapy and said come back in a month. He also gave me permission to go cross country skiing.

All this time I am asking God for a miracle. Now the miracle I had in mind was for God to send some power into the arm and suddenly everything would be fine. I would be praying. The power would come. I would be healed.

But God didn’t seem to be listening. I wanted my miracle.

One nice day Betty and I decided to go skiing . I loved cross country skiing. So we went out to a course that went around a lake . It took about two hours. We were about halfway in when we hit the one and only hill on the course. (That we had to go down)

As I started down I discovered the ear infection had done something else. It had affected my balance center. As I began to fall I put my ski pole down in front of me to try to stop. This was not a smart move. The pole grabbed and since my hand was connected to it it pulled the arm back. I could hear snapping and cracking noises .There was pain beyond which I would have tolerated if I had a choice ( I didn’t).

When Betty got me back on my feet we had a problem. The arm was in terrible pain but we had an hour of skiing to reach the car. There would be no snowmobile or helicopter to rescue me. Pain or no pain I had to ski out.

So I did. One painful length after another. Every time I pushed the pole down pain shot up the arm. It was a horrible hour but we made it.

I went home and took two aspirins and went to bed.

The next morning I made a fantastic discovery. The arm still hurt but it had a full range of motion. It was a miracle. Not the way I wanted it to happen but a miracle.

We went back to the specialist in Green Bay and he was astonished. He even offered to hire my wife as a therapist thinking it was her work.

Of course I knew the real therapist and He works because He loves us, not for money.

1050 spins without a prize. The problem with parties is they end and you have to take down all the decorations. Old Hapless spent the morning getting rid of banners and balloons. Now we need a list of winners from the party games.
The Slot machine number was one and that means
Mimi, Annette, and T.C. won
at a loser's party. If you want the 50 blog explosion credits I need your blog explosion name and I will transfer them. If you want the jelly beans I need your snail mail address. Send your choice and information to
My birthday was May 21 .
So the winner there is Kristi .
Again I need either your blog explosion name or snail mail address sent to
The rest of you I thank you for your comments and at least for the day you joined the losers.

I had a rough time last night as the cough kept me awake . So today I didm't get much done. I even napped a bit. i did transfer TC's credits to him so I only jave three winners left to take care of. Betty got the base painted and if the sun shines we will set up Pigeon Falls tomorrow. We went to the doctor and I don't have pneumonia but he put me on antibiotics to be safe.He also prescribed a cough medicine for tonight and had me increase the number of breathing treatments. Ralph's brother stopped by but the layout isn't up yet. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Big Loser's Party

Saying for the Day: Its not if you win or lose that counts but winning is better.

Welcome to Old Hapless's losers party.

10,000 spins without a prize.
What an accomplishment in the history of losing.

Thank you to that made this day possible with your truly stingy wheel.

Certainly a day worth celebrating.

Here we will have pop and a losers cake. Champagne for our friends.

But we don't want to exclude our blog friends so we have set up two chances for you to join us in losing.

There are four slot machines above, numbered 1 to 4. Pick the right machine and leave the number in the comments and you win 50 blog explosion credits or a bag of jelly beans (your choice).( One entry per blogger)

And if that wasn't special enough guess my birthday (Its in May somewhere between the 10th and the 25th) for 100 blog credits or a two bags of jelly beans (Your choice). (Relatives of Dr. John, his Bishop, and members of United are disqualified)
Relatives of Dr. John and others can answer this question. What was the birth date of Dr. John's brother Robert? (Between Feb 1 and Feb 18 )Same prizes.

No prizes will be awarded beyond the number that will be awarded when that number is determined. In case that number is reached prizes will be awarded based on order of comments received with correct answers. Incorrect answers will not be counted.( Because this is a losers party prizes may be awarded in reverse order or for no good reason at all).

Every effort will be made to be as unfair as possible. All will be treated with equal unfairness (That's fair)
Fine print-all contests require unreadable fine print.Here it is.

Contest subject to the regulation and stupid laws of the State of Michigan, The Federal Government, and any other fascist state that wants to interfere in the daily life of the poor citizens of this country.( winnings may be taxed at their full value, Which isn't much)

Enjoy the party.

It was a perfect day for the loser's party. It was dreary and misty all day. Other than the party and Betty building a fire station for the outside layout little else took place. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

On Choir Directors

Saying for the Day: It is hard to have a good choir without a good choir director.

Because miracle number one opened up the box that contains “ the gift of tongues”. I thought I would share with you a story from my life.
I attended the Holy Spirit Conference in Minneapolis with my wife and children.
It was a sensational conference even though I was not charismatic (i.e. I did not speak in tongues). I learned a great deal.
The highlight of the conference was the evening worship. The singing was out of this world. You could feel the spirit of God moving through the place.
Then suddenly, without warning, they began to sing in tongues. All those people singing in whatever language God gave them and it all blended together into the most beautiful music( I suppose because the Holy Spirit directed it). All I could do was listen and rejoice.
The following Pentecost, the Catholic Charismatics , gathered in Rome to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. The gathering was televised. There on national television they began to sing in tongues.
I said to the family “ It sounds just like Minneapolis”
One of my kids responded “ It should! They have the same choir director”

9950 spins without a prize. Yesterday Old Hapless entered free contests the prizes of which totaled over $50 million dollars. He didn't win a cent. Now that's losing on a grand scale. Aside from the millions there were lesser things like boats , cars, and watches. He didn't win those either. Hapless just doesn't win. Some little old lady with five cats wins a million (really five million). Some unemployed drunk wins 12 million. But old cat less Hapless wins nothing. Perhaps he should take up drinking and get a cat.
Well Uncle Wiggly lovers if Old Hapless doesn't get a cat and trip over it putting him back in the emergency room and away from all computers. We will be back tomorrow with "AS the World Spins".

Another rainy , miserable day. At least it didn't snow. Took Betty out for a Mother's say brunch at The Station. We were the last people so we got it for half price. Betty enjoyed. I started work on tomorrow's loser's party. You of course are invited to lose with us. Peter called and Lori and Bree now have the family cold. Well I need a breathing treatmemt.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A Good Knight

Saying for the day: If you have a good knight protecting you then you can get a good night's sleep.

This is George. He is a brave knight even though he is a bit short.

For years George guarded our house ( when we lived in the parsonage). He kept all the bad people out. We often left the door unlocked and nothing was ever stolen. George was a good knight.

When we moved into our new home we sent poor George to the basement. I know that was no way to treat a faithful servant but he didn’t fit in our new entranceway.

So there poor George sat and sat. He gathered dust. We walked around him.

In one of our lets get rid of junk modes poor George ( the faithful servant) got classified as junk. We were going to list him on freecycle and see if anybody wanted him. We had decided if they didn’t George was going to the dump ( a bad end for a good knight).

I mentioned on this blog that George was going either to a new home or to the dump.

My daughter-in-law Lori (one of the few readers of this blog) thought that was horrible and interceded on George’s behalf.

Now George stands proudly in the entrance way to my son’s home. He is back guarding the family. I am sure he is happy.

Oh, they also took the train that shows behind George, Life is good.

9900 spins without a prize. Every say Old Hapless goes to a website called . There he finds a slot machine with lots of great prizes. There are cameras, ipods, DVD players, and various amounts of cash. He gets fifty free spins on this machine. He has done this for 9900 spins and he hasn't won a single prize. Can you imagine a slot machine in a casino where you pull the lever 9900 times and never get three in a row. It boggles the mind. This is not a very friendly machine. So why does he keep at it? Its like the boy whose job was to shovel manure. Every day he came out of the barn whistling and happy. When asked how he could spend the day shoveling manure and still be happy he said " With all that manure there has to be a horse here somewhere." Hapless is still looking for the horse.
Well Uncle Wiggly lovers if the good old slot machine doesn't give him fifty more spins of manure and thus cause him to be to happy to blog. we will be back tomorrow with another adventure of "As the World Spins"

Another cold rainy day. We got almost nothing done. Went to church and then grocery shopping. The cold medicine I took caused me to be drowsy all day. Betty and I are still coughing. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Friday, May 12, 2006

About me

Saying for the day: Too soon old. Too late smart.

All my life I have suffered from stupidity, stubbornness , and the inability to take advice. They are some of my least endearing characteristics.

I thought of that as I wrote about the ear infection that almost killed me. It is a good example of this part of my nature.

When I was in high school I got my first infection in that ear because I swam in a lake I was told not to. (Just about everybody that swam there that summer ended up with an ear infection). I ignored good advice because I was stupid, stubborn, and hated to do what I was told.

My local doctor sent me to a specialist who became my ear doctor from that point on.
Every other year or so it would flare up and I would go back to the specialist. He would give me an antibiotic and it would clear up.

Before one of those trips I saw my local doctor who was also a member of the congregation. He said if it was his ear he would have it operated on. Of course , because I was stupid, stubborn, and didn’t take advice, I told him I had a specialist. He said that I should get a new one. I didn’t want to be operated on so I ignored him.

How different things would have been if I had listened.

It takes us so long to learn the things we really need to know.

9850 spins without a prize. Old Hapless pictures lady luck like the fairy in the car commercial. She tries to zap Hapless with some luck and gets knocked flat on her back. The luck just bounces right off. How else does one explain all those spins. Somebody must win. It can't be a total scam. All the luck bounces someplace else. But someday the little fairy will find a hole and hit him with a full dose of luck, It could be tomorrow.
Well Uncle Wiggly lovers of the rain doesn't stop and thus allow Pigeon Falls to come out of the fog and sending Hapless on vacation we will be back tomorrow with another adventure of " as the World Spins"

Looked out the window this morning and there was snow. This is May. We were getting ready to plant flowers. We don't need snow.Another very dull day. We did almost nothing except cough. I really hope it warms up tomorrow. I need a breathing treatment.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Way Back When-The Praying Horse

Saying for the Day: If you over feed a horse it will bloat.

My grandfather John, my son’s great grandfather, my grandchildren’s great great grandfather, worked in the mine, had a farm and ran a boarding house.

He had no car but they did have a horse and buggy. The problem was that the horse looked terrible. It was sway backed and very , very thin.

My grandfather took a lot of teasing in the mine because of that horse. So grandpa never rode in the buggy when they went to the farm. That is until they got to the edge of town where no one would see him. He would walk that far not to be associated with the horse. When he came back to the boarding house he would get off at the edge of town and walk in.

He couldn’t sell the horse because grandma loved it and would never part with it. But he complained a lot.

So one day my grandmother and Aunt Ida decided to fatten the horse up. All day they fed it oats. Now if you know anything about horses you know this is the wrong thing to do. If you feed the horse too much or change his feed pattern dramatically it will fill with gas and bloat. This makes the horse very sick and can lead to death.

By the time grandpa came home the horse was showing signs of being ill. When he discovered what they had done he took the horse to the alley to try to walk it off. The horse, however, was to sick to walk and fell down on its knees. At this point my grandfather did what had to be done. He stuck a big needle into the horse’s stomach to let the gas out. This worked and the horse survived.

Now it should have ended there but one of grandpa’s miner friends happened to be going by when it happened. When he went to work the next day they teased him about having a horse so lazy that they saw it in the alley praying not to have to pull the wagon. They did have to admit, however, that it did seem to have gained a little weight.

Poor grandpa . It was months before they found somebody else to torment. The family always remembered the horse that prayed.

9800 spins without a win. In just four more days Old Hapless may reach 10,000 spins without a prize. When he started he assumed by now he would have at least won $5.00. He should start planning the big losers party unless he holds until he reaches 15,000 spins. Well he has four days to decide.
Well Uncle Wiggly lovers if Old Hapless doesn't win a prize tomorrow and thus end this silly section we will be back with another chapter of " As the World Spins"

Betty got some disturbing news this morning. Her sister has a brain tumor. Apparently the prognosis for recovery is good but we would ask our friends to pray for her. We spent part of the day waiting for two people who never came. I hate that. My son, Peter , called and he still has a really bad cold. We swaped symptoms. Betty has gone to the ELCW meeting. I need a nreathing treatment.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Why Cinco de Mayo

Saying for the Day. Whatever happened to VE and VJ days?

It was Cinco de Mayo day last Saturday. I got to wondering why Americans would celebrate a regional Mexican holiday. Don’t we have enough American holidays to celebrate? If not we could bring some back like VE or VJ day.

Then I thought its not the holiday as such but the chance to have fun and touch one’s roots. A chance to be a people in the midst of many people.

Then it came to me that they are not alone.

The American Irish have St. Pat’s day. A chance to celebrate a bit of Irish history , hold parades, and drink green beer. It is a chance for one day to be Irish.

Finns in America felt left out so they made up a Saint of their own. St Urho. Now St. Urho was not a Finnish figure . He was made up by some guy in Minnesota and his day was placed just before St. Pat’s. It gives the Finns two days of drinking. One day of purple beer for St. Urho and one of green Beer for St. Pat’s. Wise people the Finns.

Then there is Guy Fawkes day. That’s a British holiday. It celebrates the fact that Guy Fawkes failed to burn down parliament. It is a great day with street dancing, beer drinking, bonfires, and fireworks. It is celebrated every year in North Carolina.

I am sure there are other ethnic days being celebrated as well. A way to give people a moment to remember and be thankful for the culture that spawned them. Then of course there is the beer drinking, the dancing, the bon fires, and the fireworks. Nothing like a good ethnic celebration.

9750 spins without a prize. Old Hapless lost again. He entered 14 sets of numbers, yesterday, and only got two right in any set. He does not choose numbers well. But then his numbers have to come up sometime , don't they?
Well Uncle Wiggly lovers if it rains again tomorrow thus keeping Pigeon Falls in limbo we will be back tomorrow with another startling adventure of " As the World Spins"

Lois over at Upper Peninsula and Beyond has a new post with lots of good pictures incluing a better picture of my house. Its the one with ugly red SUV in front. I have added a new link to Fridays Child which is a good blog to read.Betty and I got the Pigeon Falls main street coated and out to the layout and we started on the building support structure when it started to rain. At this rate Pigeon Falls may never return. Started planning the next G scale fantasy train which will have cups, saucers, and teapots. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Miracle Number One- a Little Latin

Saying for the day: Our God is a God of surprises.

We go again to the box of artifacts and find a liturgical cross a Christmas gift from one of my children.

It reminds me of a time when God surprised us in an unexpected way, a miracle if you will.

I had a bad ear infection and we drove 90 miles to a specialist with me in such pain that I banged my head on the dashboard trying to get some relief. The doctor gave me an antibiotic and sent me home ( He should have rushed me into surgery). The pain went down somewhat as we drove home.

As I was getting ready for bed I suddenly had a terrific seizure . My heart stopped. My son gave me CPR and it started again. An ambulance was called and they rushed me to the hospital. My good friend Father Gondeck came an anointed me for healing. It did not look good for me.( A Catholic Priest anointing a Lutheran pastor is a miracle in itself.)

My wife was in the waiting room when the doctor came to see her. He asked if I knew Latin.( I didn’t. I never took a course in Latin in my life) He told Betty I was saying something in Latin about God being in control. This was the miracle. I spoke in tongues. Not in some heavenly angelic language. Not in some far off language that nobody knew. But In Latin and there was a doctor there to recognize it.

Betty took this as a sign from God that everything would be okay. She knew that for me to speak in tongues took the direct intervention of God. She was charismatic and spoke in tongues but I made her promise not to tell anybody because Lutherans didn’t do that. She knew that the only way I was going to speak in tongues was to be unconscious at the time. So she was sure that I was in good hands.

They rushed me to Green bay where they discovered that the infection had spread into the brain causing it to swell. The doctor said if the brain didn’t go down on its own he would have to operate. In the meantime the ear specialists decided that the only way to solve the problem was to remove the cause. So on Christmas Eve I went into surgery and had the ear cleaned out and packed with antibiotics.

Healing after that was very rapid. I could feel the hand of God in all of it. The brain went back to normal with no surgery. Shortly I was able to go home.

The entire event strengthened the families faith. But it also said to me that God has a sense of humor. He could have healed me without the Latin. I would still have seen his hand in the process.

But I had scolded God ( are you allowed to do that) for causing my wife to speak in tongues. It caused me problems (now I had a fanatic wife). I told God and Betty it was a gift I did not want and saw no need for. So God in effect said John if I want you to speak in tongues you will. He made sure it was a real language and one I didn’t know. He had some one there who did know. It all came together in a marvelous manner.

One could say that the entire event was a miracle but the center, the mark that it was God’s doing was the speaking in Latin. I have never spoken in tongues since ( Lutherans don’t do that). But I am thankful for that moment.

9700 spins without a prize .It seemed for a minute that Pigeon Falls was returning but then the wind shifted and the fog lifted. So Old Hapless is still here and running out of things to say. If you keep losing and losing that is hardly news. He enters the same contests every day and every day he loses. It is so dull that one has trouble making it seem interesting. poor old Hapless.
Well Uncle Wiggly lovers if Old Hapless doesn't win by mistake and thus lose the incentive to blog we will be back tomorrow with another adventure of " As the world spins."

If your looking for things to say to telemarketers check out the comments on Gary's blog "View from My Garden".
Its been one of those days. We wanted to work outseide and it rained. We both spent the day coughing. The only highlight was the visit from a couple of men who wanted to talk trains. They were from Eagle River amd he has a G scale layout. I hope to see them again on Thursday. Other than that it was just a dull day. I need a breathing treatment.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Comment Conversation

Saying for the Day: Coffee and comments go well together. I always drink cofee while reading yours.

Well it’s “ leave a comment Monday” and I have been out leaving comments. I rather enjoy going to new blogs and thinking of something interesting to say. It is much easier , of course, on the blogs I visit every day. They become like neighbors or family. After a while you feel like you know them and that you have visited with them.

Some time ago I suggested that leaving a comment was like stopping in for a coffee and a little chat. The only thing wrong with that analogy is that we never get to finish the conversation.

Its like visiting, starting a conversation, and then your cell phone rings and you have to leave. The conversation stops in mid air , never to be completed.

The next time you stop in we talk about something else. One day we start a conversation about child raising but the next we are on hot air balloons ( I like hot air balloons) . The following day we talk about fish and the brain. We never finish any of these conversations. But they are still interesting. Perhaps we can put them together. It might look like this.

Visitor : “ I think that raising children is a pain in the neck.
My mother left my kid brother ride in a hot air balloon once. My brother got all the breaks.
My parents made me eat a lot of fish that’s why I’m the smart one in the family. They couldn‘t make my brother eat fish and look how he turned out.”
You have to admit that’s an interesting conversation.
Good commenting.

9650 spins without a prize. Soon very soon Old Hapless will take the summer off and Pigeon Falls will return. One can almost see it coming through the spring fog. So Old Hapless is getting everything ready. He is cleaning up the over used letters. He is working out some way to keep count of the losing spins. It is lots of work getting ready for a vacation.
Well Uncle Wiggly lovers if Pigeon Falls doesn't suddenly appear through the fog and thus get Hapless started on his vacation we will be back tomorrow with another chapter of "As the World Spins"
We went to Iron River this morning to get a new license tab as my birthday is coming up. We also picked up stuff for the congestion we both have. In the afternoon we finished the Pigeon Falls main street except for a last clear coat. We wanted to do that but the weather got cold and ugly. Perhaps, we can get it done tomorrow. Betty went and had her hair done. Now she really looks beautiful. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A quick course on miracles!

Saying for the Day: One man's miracle is another man's coincidence.

Tuesday I am going to start a set on three miracles in my life. Three times that God touched my life in a real , unexpected , way. So today I thought I’d offer a short course in miracles as I see them.

1. Miracles prove nothing. They do not prove God exists. They didn’t prove anything when Jesus did them. Those that didn’t want to believe went right on not believing. They still do. They had eyes to see but did not see.

2. Miracles don’t create faith. Faith itself is a miracle. It is a gift from God. But somebody else’s miracle won’t create faith in an unbeliever. I wish it would but it doesn’t. As my grandfather used to say “If they don’t want to believe then they don’t want to believe. You can’t make them.

3. Miracles require faith to be seen. You have to know God to see his hand working in your life.

4. Miracles can deepen the faith of a believer in whose life they happen. When you know God has acted in your life in a special way you draw closer to Him.

5. Miracles can deepen the faith of believers not directly involved in the miracle. Seeing God acting in the life of somebody you know causes you to grow. Sometimes even hearing about God’s action causes growth.

6. In special cases God can use a miracle to create faith. In other words God can choose to use a miracle to produce faith.

7. Atheists can explain away all miracles and feel smug and superior in the doing. They can not, however, change the mind of the person to whom they happened. They know a miracle when they have one.

With that as a background let me say therefore I am not sharing my miracles to convert anybody. I am sharing them because they are and were a wonderful part of my life caused by a wonderful God. I want you to be able to rejoice with me.

One other thing these are not your run of the mill miracles. ( My wife hates that term)

9600 spins without a prize. Yesterday on one of the online lotteries that he plays Old Hapless got four numbers out of seven. That's the best he has ever done. It didn't win him anything but he only needed to match 3 more numbers and he would have had $2 million. He could be getting closer. One the other hand that may be the best he'll ever do. He'll keep trying.
Well Uncle Wiggly lovers if Pigeon Falls doesn't suddenly appear out of the mist causing this part of the blog to change over night. We will be back tomorrow with "As the World Spins"

If you want to see some good Cinco De Mayo pictures my newest link "Laughable Old Fool' has some great ones on his blog. Well the Pigeon Falls main street is now painted . All we need to add are some parking lines and a handicapped parking place. I also made a card for my son's birthday but even if we mail it tomorrow it won't get to Madison on time. Betty has finished another building for Pigeon Falls. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Don't touch the candy machine!!

Saying for the Day: Dangerous weight is on the rise in kids.

The federal government has discovered fat kids. According to our government almost 20% of our grade school students are obese.

The lawmakers are putting the blame on schools and candy bar machines.

Certainly kids prefer candy bars to the terrible tasting but very healthy food the school serves. So lawmakers want the candy machines gone. Make them eat healthy meals by not giving them a choice.

I'’ve got bad news for the government experts. This will not work. Those kids came to school fat.

These are the kids whose parents had to fork out extra money for car seats for obese babies.

The school didn'’t make them fat.

If you rule out the candy machines and pop machines the kids will bring their own. They have plenty at home.

The capitalists among them might even smuggle in extras and sell them in a new candy black market. Fat kids need their daily fix.

The food industry is fighting back. They say those kids need more exercise. Like that'’s going to happen.

School exercise classes teach fat kids to hate exercise. Sadistic coaches torment them. Mean classmates make fun of them. Believe me it doesn't help.

What we need is nutrition training for parents. Parents need to model both good eating habits and meaningful exercise. If they don't you can't solve the problem of fat kids. A recent study shows that if the parents just got their kid to drink one less can of soda and a candy bar and then took them for an hour walk they would begin to shape up.

So please just leave the candy machines alone.

9550 spins without a prize.Old Hapless loves to watch greed in action. Last night on "Deal or No Deal " there it was. The lady could have taken home $299,000 . All she had to do was say deal. Her husband shouted at her to take the deal. But there was the possibility of getting more. She wanted more. So she pushed on. She ended up with $25,000. Isn't greed wonderful. I wonder if her husband will forgive her. Of course she also got a puppy.
Well Uncle Wiggly lovers if Old Hapless doesn't suddenly overcome his greed and stop spinning the IWON slot machine thus ending this blog entry. we will be back tomorrow with" As the World Spins"
Betty has gone to a conference. I spent the morning updating the church web page. Put in this Sunday's bulletin and a great new top ten list. Lois at Upper Peninsula and Beyond finally put up a picture of our house. It is right across from the hospital in the picture just above the trucks.I made a loaf od Dr. Pepper bread. Betty and I went to church. Jack preached and did a good job as always. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Ten Things I don't Need

Saying for the day: Ten is a wonderful, almost magic, number.

People like to post lists of ten. You know like “Ten things I Love” or “Ten Things I hate” or “Ten People that tick me off”. Until now I have resisted the urge to join the group. But I am finally giving in. This is my list of “Ten Things I own that I Could Do Without”.

10. Three computer printers that I will never use again. There they sit on the shelf glaring at me. They seem to say “Think of all the money you spent on us and now we do nothing.” They all work so I can’t just throw them out.

9. Two computer scanners. These too sit on the shelf and glare at me. They have been replaced by one combination printer-scanner. This works well for me. But again the two old scanners work and I just can’t throw them out.

8. Two old model computer monitors. I offered them to my son who takes almost anything but he refused to take them. Again they both work and I just can’t throw them out. I also can’t move in the computer room with all this junk.

7. 150 plastic trestles for an 027 gauge train. I bought these from E-Bay. We were going to use them with the 027 train but now we bought fastrack and they don’t work. I should try to sell them but someday I might take that pile of old track and make a layout. I could you know.

6. Piles of old track. The old tracks is in G gauge, 027 gauge, HO gauge, and N gauge. It was made before they made the easy type tracks I use now. They sit on shelves in the basement or in boxes on the floor. But someday I might use them. Other wise I have to throw the trestles away.

5.A big ride on train that goes round in circles on a special track. I bought it for my grandkids who have all out grown it. I should sell it or give it a way but one of my kids could still have another kid so I’m holding on to it.

4. Boxes and boxes of pictures. All of these have been scanned into the computer. They aren’t needed anymore. We never look at them. But the computer could crash. I could lose the CD’s I stored them on. I have to hang on to the originals.

3. All the papers from when I worked on my Doctor’s Degree. This includes my thesis and preparatory work for the thesis. I suppose someday my kids can look at it and wonder how I ever got a degree. But they aren’t good for anything ( the papers not the kids).

2. A power grass cutter and seven gas cans . I don’t cut the grass any more. We hire a man to do it. But there the grass cutter sits taking up garage space . We have to walk around it. It is a bother. But someday my legs might feel better and I might want to cut the grass.

1. A pile of VHS tapes. I tried to give them away but nobody wanted them. They are all commercial tapes. They have great stories on them. We will never watch them again but I just can’t take them to the dump.

So here I sit slowly drowning in a sea of things I don’t need and will never use but I just can’t let go of.

9500 spins without a prize. Old Hapless is wondering if its worse to be a lateor early loser. Is it worse to be the Detroit Lions or the Detroit Red Wings. One knew from the start of the season they were going nowhere while the other had great hopes. One couldn't even look at playoffs while the other almost got through the first round. At the end both are out and both have lost. Which hurts more being a Lion fan or a Red Wing?
Well Uncle Wiggly lovers if the Pistons keep winning and thus prevent Detroit from complete humuliation we will be back tomorrow with another chapter of " As the World Spins:.

Betty went and picked up the prescription and Apria comes this afternoon to reset the machine. She also went and got some black paint. Now she is making communion bread for the women's gathering.( Is she an angel or what?) I have come down with a bad cold and the cough is driving me nuts. We went grocery shopping and I got some cough drops. It turned cold so we put off painting the Pigeon Falls street. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Way Back When-Ida's Finger

Saying for the Day: Sometimes the reason we can do something is because we didn't know it couldn't be done.

There are stories that have been passed down in my family of which I am now the custodian. They are stories of the way it was a long time ago. They are stories of the great great grandparents of my grandchildren and the people around them. I am going to share these stories on this blog. Since this may not be of interest to you I will warn you by always posting “Way Back When” in the title. The stories will usually (but not always be posted on Thursdays).
I want to start with a story about my Aunt Ida. The story takes place in 1907 ( well it could be 1906 or 1908). Ida was just a little girl. She lived with her parents, my grandparents, in a big boarding house which my grandmother ran. She was smart and inquisitive.
One day her mother was washing clothes. She used a washer like one in the picture above. It had huge open gears. Somehow little Ida decided to stick her finger into one of those gears while the machine was running. It ripped her finger off just below the knuckle.
Now if she had lived in this age they would have rushed her to the hospital , bringing the finger with her. A micro surgeon would have reattached the finger. They would have shot her full of antibiotics to prevent infection. It would have cost thousands. They would have sued the maker of the washer.
But this was 1907. There were no antibiotics. There was no micro surgeon. People didn’t sue when they did stupid things.
Instead my grandmother picked up the finger and pushed it back on , taping it in place. Then she prayed over it. That was it.
The finger grew back in place. It was in all ways normal but one. She couldn’t bend it.
My grandmother accomplished what now takes a surgeon with a full team to accomplish. She did not have the advantage of anesthesia or antibiotics. The only thing she had going for her was she didn’t know that what she was doing shouldn’t work. So she did it.
Life was like that back then.

9450 spins without a prize. Old Hapless watched "Unanimous" again last night. This is the show that asks can seven people ( they started with nine) put aside their own greed and together give a million and one half dollars to one of them. The longer they take the less money they have to give. It is down now to half a million. After last night Old Hapless thinks the answer to the question is NO they never will get together. He is getting ready to invite all of them to his losers party.
Well Uncle Wiggly lovers as long as the people on "Unanimous" don't get together and give somebody the money thus keeping Old Hapless happy. We will be back tomorrow with another chapter in " As the World Spins'

Wasted the morning because I knew I had to see the doctor at 1:00 ( that always makes me nervous) . The examination went fine. The Dr. said I looked fine on paper ( my tests came back fine). Came hone and Betty and I mixed and poured cement for the layout. Pigeon Falls city street is now ready for painting and placing. I have one of the best doctors in the world. I had a problem with apria over the setting on my BiPap and he took the time to get a hold of the specialist in Marquette and then issue me a letter for Apria. What a great guy. Well I need a breathing treatment.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Organization is Lost

Saying for the Day: You can do it my way or get lost.

The problems Betty is having in her TOPS group caused me to raise this question. “Why do people who belong to helping organizations lose sight of their purpose and get caught up in rules or other things?”
I have seen it happen over and over in all kinds of organizations .It happens in churches, in weight loss groups, in veteran’s organizations, in support groups of one kind of another, and even in youth groups.
The constitution becomes more important than the purpose. Rules and forms take precedent over the needs of members. Budgets and raising money leads to doing things that are contrary to the purpose and even detrimental to the purpose.
How does this happen?
How does a group go from one that deeply cares about people to one that cares more about using the right form, or raising money?
How does a group go from a family with shared responsibility to one where people look for power positions?
When it happens is there any way to get them back on track?
I think that every group needs to gather its members together once or twice a year and ask the question. “why are we here?” “What is our purpose for belonging to this group?” “ How do we meet that purpose?” “What are we doing that prevents us from meeting our purpose?”
It might just be enough to get the group back on track.
Or else join a different group.

9400 spins without a prize. Old Hapless is wondering if there are others out there that are playing the slot machine. If there are he wants to know if you have ever won. Does anybody win at IWON? You would think that 9400 spins he would have at least won the $5.00. Does anybody ever win the small prizes? Are they just for show? When you lose a lot questions like these begin to arise.
Well Uncle Wiggly lovers if Old Hapless doesn't discover all kinds of IWON winners and thus causing him to be to sad to blog. We will be back tomorrow with another chapter of " As the World Spins".

I went and had blood drawn this morning for tomorrow's Dr.'s visit. Betty just went to TOPS and I'll worry till she comes home. Betty came home, much relaxed, having given up her volunteer position as weight recorder. She built a general store with some really creative stuff inside. I worked on the little details for the main street. Well I need a breathing treatment.