I Acquired my Love for Hot Peppers from My Grandfather

We are approaching the time to begin planting our summer vegetable gardens. I remember as a young fella spending summers in the dirt with my grandfather. We would plant everything from Asparagus to Zucchini to Hot Peppers.

As a matter of fact, I acquired my love for Hot Peppers from my Grandfather. Every year we had a bumper crop of Cayenne Peppers, which is still my favorite Pepper today. Coming in at 30,000 Scoville units, they’re about as hot as I want to get.

How I came to love the oil that gave Hot Peppers their sting (capsaicin) is a funny but painful story. When but a toddler, during a cookout, I happened to notice a bright red long thing sitting among the food. It looked pretty good to me, so it was an easy matter to grab and insert it into my mouth. The next ten or so minutes were excruciating for a little one such as I. Once the pain subsided, my love affair with “hurts so good” had begun. It seems eating hot peppers releases endorphins in the brain which is why pepper lovers seem a bit masochistic

After us men had toiled for months to produce the crop, my grandmother would work her fingers to the bone canning the summer’s harvest producing numerous jars of vegetables. The one thing I still cannot understand, is why do we put vegetables in jars and then call them canned?

Something to think about while you plan your Pepper crop.

Have a fantastic week, and may God bless!

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Being An Author, Along with Two Dollars, Will Buy Me a Cup of Coffee, Depending on Where I Go

I’ve made mention more than once that I am an author. Well, I came to the conclusion some time ago that being an author, along with two dollars, will buy me a cup of coffee, depending on where I go.

What I’m getting to, and pardon this around your elbow to get to your thumb segue, is no matter your occupation be it a doctor, carpenter, retail worker, or pipe fitter, we are all appreciative of indoor plumbing.

I know we’ve all had the pleasure of using a port-a-potty during outdoor events, and what a sheer delight during the summer at a crowded venue.

Just think, not so many years ago an outhouse was the norm. I’ve never lived in a home without plumbing; however, have been to those who were without. Not optimal conditions to relieve oneself, but folks do with what they have. As a matter of fact, the outhouse came with its share of danger. Case in point: my grandfather was bit in his derriere by a black widow spider, proving that even going to the bathroom can be deadly. FYI, he made a total recovery.

I can’t resist finishing this post with a little slice of heaven I saw as a child. To keep from having to wander into the backyard at night, especially during the winter, a device referred to as a slop-jar would be incorporated. This bucket of (use your imagination) would be emptied each morning.

Please don’t take this as a slight to anyone who grew up without indoor plumbing . . . it’s just the way things were.

Have a wonderful week, may God bless, and thank goodness for innovations that make our lives better.

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What Could Be Better Than Using Your Imagination to Invent a Menagerie of Never Before Seen Creatures?

If you read this blog regularly, you know I’m an author of science fiction and fantasy. One of the most enjoyable aspects of writing in this genre are the varied types of monsters, beasts, beings, and assorted creepy crawlies I have the opportunity to bring to life. What could be better than using your imagination to invent a menagerie of never before seen creatures?

The different attributes each demon entails run the gambit from A to Z. One that comes to mind is hair. Now, when I say the word hair, I can equate this keratin derivative not only to every galactic inhabitant, but also, animals and humans alike on our own planet, Earth. This in turn brings me back to the curly red mess on top of my head. When I was but a young lad in my mid to late teens, I attempted to grow a head-full of long hair. Needless-to-say, I looked like an orangutan that was struck by lightning multiple times.

I kept this hair style through high school, though I cannot understand why. When I look at photos from those days, I’m surprised people weren’t throwing rocks and running away in fear.

It is utterly amazing how our tastes can change from one generation to the next. I was not a, “Wow, get a load of him” . . . I was a, “Hey, look at that!”

Have one fantastic week. May God continually bless you and yours, and let’s do it again next week.

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I Guess Being a Human Being Makes Me a Prime Candidate for the Human Condition

I’ve been writing this blog for quite a few years. No doubt over the course of those years, I have repeated the subject matter more than once. Not to say there is a lack of fodder, just that I am unable to keep up with the hundreds of my previous posts. I guess being a human being makes me a prime candidate for the human condition.

Some of my best entries have been those grounded in the simple everyday happenings we all experience frequently.

I lean towards humor and shy away from the woes of today. One thing I cannot tolerate concerning the press is their long held mantra, “if it bleeds it leads.” This world has its problems, but that type of thinking is too archaic for all the good that thrives around us today.

I get a kick out of exploring the technological advances of our time. For instance: with the multitude of signals traveling through the airways, be it cell phone, television in its many different arrays, radio, garage door openers, and the different appliances that operate on wireless technology, including the internet. How do the transmission waves keep from becoming intertwined? And what if these signals were visible? Kind of a whole new ballgame, don’t you think?

Or just for the purpose of supposing, how did people in the 19th century stand one another in the summertime, wearing woolen clothing?

Just a few interesting tidbits to think about. My aim is to bring a smile to someone’s face. For what can be better than passing on that contagious piece of grace at the beginning of each week.

Make it a great one and may God bless!

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My Last Year of Elementary School was Spent in the Sixth Grade. It was the Worst of Times, It was the Worst of Times.

My last year of elementary school was spent in the sixth grade. It was the worst of times. It was the worst of times. It was the worst of times.

That chapter of my life I wrote in the 1970’s. I adorned myself in the most horrendous fashion, namely striped bell-bottomed pants. My hairstyle was that of an orangutan holding two high tension wires. I was a redhead with hair poking out of my head seventeen ways to Sunday.

The one thing I avoided like the plague (and I consider this the most important even today) was  disco.

It is difficult to understand why I shied away from such classic hits as: Shake Your Booty, Shake Your Groove Thing, Everybody Dance Now, and (who could forget?) Kung Fu Fighting.

That part of my life was certainly a unique time to grow, especially once I passed through the mid-70s and began to drive.

Even though I made it through the worse fashion created, alongside the worst hairstyles a comb dare run through and the most unlistenable music ever written; I wouldn’t take a million dollars for the experience and wouldn’t give you a nickel for another just like it.

Have an uneventful week, may God bless you richly, and please . . . I’m begging ya, if you hear the Bee Gee’s squeaking about someone having a fever and a particular day of the week . . . I believe it was Saturday. . . plug your ears and run!

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As a Young Lad, I Could Not Recall a Time Without a Television in the House.

As a young lad, I could not recall a time without a television in the house. Our first set was on the order of a twenty-five inch Zenith black and white floor model. At that time, only four stations aired: NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS.

 My favorite superhero was the one and only Superman.  On the big screen that sat in the living room, I watched George Reeves fly around Metropolis doing good to all he met. Copying my hero, this translated to me running around the yard with a towel wrapped around my neck and my arms out front pretending to be flying. Though created before my time, through this show I gazed at this amazing flying man in syndication.

Gilligan’s Island was another favorite. With each episode, I just knew they would get off of the island until Gilligan bungled another rescue attempt. It seemed I watched the majority of my favorite programs in syndication; shows like Leave it to Beaver, The Andy Griffith Show, and Hogan’s Heroes, just to name a few. Each season, stations offered new programs to watch in the fall.  If these new series were popular, they ran most of the year and we watched them again as summer reruns. New shows of the same series premiered in the fall, returned as summer reruns, and so the cycle began.

At that time, producers filmed thirty or more episodes every year, for each series; something you don’t see today. In this day and age, reruns are much more prevalent than in years past. As usual, the consumer seems to get less and less for their money, and I find myself watching more and more of the old shows that have morals and, in most cases, a valuable message.

I guess it’s true; the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Have a great week, God bless, and do yourself a favor by watching a sitcom dated pre-1970.

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What Do You Think About Sound? Kind of an Odd Question, Wouldn’t You Say?

What do you think about sound? Kind of an odd question, wouldn’t you say? Of course, there is everyday noise: television, telephone, automobiles, conversation, and the like. What I haven’t made clear when I say the word sound is the type. Now, the type is emitted by what hangs on walls, sits on the floor, covers your ears, and rides around in your ride.

I’m speaking about the world of music and how we as individuals like to interpret the way it enters our outer ear, travels through the pinna, vibrates the eardrum, sets the hammer, anvil, and stirrup into motion to produce the tunes we love to hear.

In my writer’s room, I have seven speakers ranging in size from a set of three-way, two-foot tall Kenway speakers to a small set of (I don’t knows) no more than eight inches tall, that sound as good as the Kenway’s. All of these sound producers adorn my walls, whether setting on a corner shelf or on a flat shelf in the middle of a wall. I can get the back of the house hopping with loud rock-n-roll when I take a notion, or just a nice full sound to enjoy a movie, plus a sound bar to produce light background noise that I find necessary when I write.

Now, that all bases are covered, I’ll be getting back to work. I left a character hanging in a rather precarious situation, and some of these make-believes can get rather cantankerous.

Have a wonderful week, God bless, and do yourself a favor, crank up a tune every now and then. We all need to blow the butterflies out from time to time.

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Things Seldom Conclude The Way We Originally Planned

It’s fun to glance back and remember, but more interesting to investigate what has happened in our past; for things seldom conclude the way we originally planned.

Case in point: I was a year or so into my first marriage, had just begun a new home, and would soon be blessed with a baby boy. On top of all this, and not yet knowing my wife would be carrying a son, I was on the lookout for an investment.

Referring to the new home, I decided to do the work myself.  Being a carpenter by trade I’d spent years in the housing market and commercial construction, as a tradesman and superintendent. The difference in this project was the end result would produce a log cabin.

When it came to the investment field, I decided to purchase a lot on the Outer Banks. The one thing about land that makes it a good investment is the fact they’re not making any more, so what we have is all we’ve got.

I’ll never forget the words spoken by the real estate agent in North Carolina. “People that purchase land down here really tend to make something of themselves.”

So how did that turn out for me?  I got a divorce, and lost my job. On a lighter note, my child was a delight and I am still proud to be his father, even into young adulthood. As far as the house, I’d have to say, that living in a log cabin is the way to go.

Have a wonderful week, God Bless, and beware the words of a wily land seller, for they may turn and bite!

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Perceiving The Possibility Of A Tangled Mess

I completed my latest novel. After performing rewrites and edits twice, I sent it to my editor. Once she completed doing what editors do, she returned it to me. I perused the manuscript one more time, and then sent it to my publisher, perceiving the possibility of a tangled mess.

My publisher was pleased, but in her great wisdom, she suggested a number of changes that would take the novel a notch above its present level.

I was on board and jumped in with both feet. She said it would be a lot of work, and indeed it was; however, this also included the tedious untangling of stuff.

You could probably relate to this ordeal better if I were to make a comparison.

How about a bird’s nest? Not, the type that an avian constructs and moves into until the kids finally leave and the parents become true empty-nesters . . . (hysterical laughter) . . . but the kind a novice fisherman gets on their first attempt using a bait casting reel. If you’ve been there, nuff said.

What about that fateful day when your spouse announces, “It’s time to decorate the Christmas tree!” And guess what? . . . You’re in charge of the lights!  I’ve often wondered how a single and sometimes multiple strands of lights can transform into a knot just sitting in a box for the better part of a year.

Ever tried to untangle a 50 or 100 foot extension cord that’s been wound around someone’s elbow and between their thumb and forefinger multiple times? I believe I’ve said all that needs to be said . . . oh, and one more thing remotely related to the last few paragraphs but instrumental to the post, a good publisher is worth their weight in gold. For they not only care about book sales, but for the author as well. And, may I say, my publisher is quite a few steps above good!

Have a stellar week, God bless, and as you reach for that ball of twine that fell behind your tool box and began to unravel . . . stop! . . . life’s too short for the aggravation. Buy a new ball.

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Even More Frequently, Words Demand that They be Recognized for Their Unique Contribution to the Written Word

A post or two ago, I wrote about the ins and outs of the letter ‘X’. Certain letters stand out and command special attention. Even more frequently, words demand that they be recognized for their unique contribution to the written word.

Case in point: the multi-purpose word, “take.” At first glance, you see nothing special about this word that would lead you to believe it deserves accolades for anything. Then, you delve deeper into this seemingly ordinary collection of letters and perhaps you’ll begin to see.

“Take,” you say. “Take what?” With those two words you’re on your way. Take a nap, take a break, take a powder, take away, take off, take a bath, take a sample, take a little, take a lot, take a test . . . I believe you get the idea.

How about in the case of travel? Take a vacation, take a hike, take a cab, take a ride, take a train . . . I think I’ve made my point.

Then, once again, if you happen to be of questionable character: Take the money, take the gold, take the silver . . .nuff said.

And, one last time as we highlight the medical field: Take a pill, take your temperature, take an x-ray, take blood, take a cold and so forth and so on.

As you can see, the four letters, “t-a-k-e,” come together, producing an extremely versatile word. So take time, whether you take a minute, or take a second, to take a look at taking a gander at this utilitarian collection of letters that form the word, “take.”

Have a great week, may God bless, and by all means take care!

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