Thursday, November 30, 2006
Big Boy Buck--Part 1
In bow-hunting season this year I decided I'd move my tree stand 'cause it seems Big Boy Buck (B3 for short) is moving over on the west side of the forest near the creek that runs into the lake (well, eventually). I decided to put it in a tree next to the little clearing, figuring old B3 would slip up one these days this season. I get the stand outta the old tree, no problem. Haul it over with my truck that Leslie keeps threatening to send a picture of to "Pimp my truck," whatever in tarnation that is. Get it to the new tree and everything's good. I get it all secure cause I don't wanna be fallin' outta no tree when B3 walks by. I climb up it and notice there's a few branches need to be cut so I can take my shot.
By the time I get all this done, its time to go back to the house and get showered and put my descenter on. By the way, if' your dog ever gets sprayed by a skunk or rolls in dead critter and brings the sweet smell home to ya, use your descenting shampoo. I'm tellin' ya, they oughtta market the stuff that way. Anyways, I get all good and unstinky and head back out to my stand. Well, normally when the deer come in, they come in biggest boy down to the pipsqueak of the bunch, but not always. Sometimes the little guys like to run ahead. So I'm sittin' there and this little button buck comes walking under my stand. I'm gettin all excited now cause maybe B3 is still coming. I pull my arrow out and line'er up and wait. And wait. And wait. Nope. No luck. B3 is nowhere to be found.
While I was doin' all that waitin', there's this danged limb I didn't cut down far enough pokin' me in the ribs. I was lucky B3 didn't come by cause I'm pretty sure I woulda missed him with that limb cuttin' into my side. So, since he wasn't making an appearance, I decided to trim up the limb. Figured I wasn't gonna waste my time huntin the little guys.
I'm making nine kinds of noise and carrying on without concern sawing and whatnot. I tied all my stuff and dropped them on the line down to the ground and I climbed down. That's when I heard it. The cracking of a dead branch on the ground. And wouldn'tcha know my bow's still tied up. If I try to unhook it, it'll make a loud metallic ting and that'll sure 'nough scare away whatever's cracking those branches. So I reach to my side and get my knife and I cut the rope around my bow. I look around to see if I can catch a glimpse of him. I'm hoping it's B3.
I reach for my bow and as I'm about to grab it, I look up and there he is. Big Boy Buck and he's bigger than I thought he was. Danged if he ain't a seven-pointer. Who ever gets to see somethin' like that? I guess I musta been making too much noise in his neck of the wood and he was comin' to investigate. And he found me.
Tune in for Part 2 tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Love at First Sight
This world just isn't safe. Not for kids. Not for adults. Not for men. Not for women--especially women living alone.
All you have to do is turn on the television to know it's not. Predators, stalkers, scam artists, rapists--all these and worse roam the streets free, not to mention those trouble-making teenagers who need some good, old-fashioned discipline. Not that such people live here in Kanner Lake, mind you, but even we get the occasional stray from the cities.
It doesn't bother me much. I have my husband, for better or worse. But Angie ... she rattles around that big, old house on Third Street, and while her son's return should help, she's still living alone. She needs a good steady man. Or if not a steady man, at least a good, strong dog. Look at what happened this summer! But no, she still refuses to listen to reason.
So this week I took matters into my hands and drove over to the animal shelter in Coeur d'Alene.
My goodness! What a lot of dogs. Big dogs, little dogs. Old dogs, young dogs. Plain, spotted, shorthaired, longhaired. But do you think I could find a suitable dog for Angie?
Those hyper, little dogs would likely give Angie a broken hip. The big, impressive dogs wouldn't fit in Angie's yard. The puppies were cute, but wouldn't protect anyone from anything. The old dogs couldn't.
Dobermans and German Shepherds were too vicious. Huskies were too fluffy. Dalmatians--they'd probably freeze in an Idaho winter.
Then I saw her in the corner. A beautiful, black-and-white dog with the biggest brown eyes. A three-year-old Australian shepherd/border collie mix, I was told. Gentle, calm, and loving, but loyal and protective to a fault.
Not too big, not too small. Not too fluffy, not too shorthaired. Not too old, not too young. A perfect fit. I chose the dog on the spot and drove straight Angie's.
After leading the dog up the walk, I rang the doorbell, handed Angie the leash when she answered, and left immediately. But although I didn't stay, I could tell it was love at first sight. Angie, for once, didn't have a thing to say.
-- Bev Trexel
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Christmas Season is Here!
Jared here, saying Merry Christmas everybody! It isn't too early to start saying that, is it? If it is, I don't care. One of the best things about writing on this blog is that I don't have to be as politically correct as I do when putting the newspaper together. Here I don't have to do that "inoffensive" Happy Holiday thing.
I know Bailey certainly doesn't mind a mention of Jesus. She's already got a big old nativity scene set up in the front window of Java Joint--Mary, Joseph, shepherds, even angels flying over the whole thing suspended from the ceiling. She's got all the cute little animals in there too. Can you believe Wilbur keeps suggesting she scatter coffee beans in there to simulate manure? He says it would lend accuracy. Every time I go in there, he's lobbying for coffee bean manure, asking innocent tourists things like, "You ever seen a barn without poop?"
Anyway, I think it looks great, Bailey. And I love having somewhere to go where Christmas is still about the nativity. Even the songs Bailey has playing are the good old carols. None of that "Santa Baby" stuff they're always blasting at the supermarket and the mall.
It's hard to be a newspaper man this time of year. Part of me wishes I could take the whole month off and whisk all my friends and family to a cabin in the mountains somewhere, so we could celebrate peacefully and simply without having to see the news. It makes me sad--people shooting and trampling each other to get the newest version of the Playstation. Other people putting themselves deep into debt buying things they don't need. Some suffering the loneliness of a holiday spent without family. Some spending it in Iraq.
But then I remember that Jesus knew how sad and wicked the world was, and He came into it on purpose. He didn't need a mountain cabin to hide in. He could have just stayed in heaven. But He didn't. He came--into the darkness, into the world full of greed and violence and loneliness, into a manure-filled stable.
Then I decide it is good to be at the paper, writing and reading the news, painful though it may be. It reminds me to pray more, give more, say Merry Christmas more often, and "God bless you," too. Wherever you are this season, I encourage you to be a light (like Bailey so faithfully is). Go down to the church and help Hank with the Christmas outreaches--the gift baskets for the poor, the carol sings at the nursing homes. Pray for our men and women overseas, visit someone who's lonely.
Okay, about now, Hank must be wondering if I'm trying to steal his job as preacher. I'm not, buddy. Just getting all this stuff off my chest that I can't print in the paper.
So maybe Wilbur has a point. The manure does matter. When we see it, smell its putrid odor, the wonder of Christ's holy presence is all the more amazing. Thank You for coming into such a dark world, Jesus.
Merry Christmas season everyone.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Our Thanksgiving Guest
Angie here. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We sure did and everyone fed the squirrels.
I don't know if I've introduced you to my daughter Melissa's family yet. Well, Melissa, her husband Reggie, and the three most beautiful children in the world, Ethan (8), Kristiana (6), and Eliza (4), arrived early in the day. Frank Jr. wasn't awake yet, but after a cold, wet wash cloth in the face (delivered by his sister), he joined Reggie to discuss football and try to keep the kids out of our way.
It was almost like old times, except my Frank wasn't there. I tried not to let anyone see the tears, but my kids have a sixth sense about my crying. Melissa looked up at me just about the time Frank came in the kitchen for something to eat. I tried to turn away, but I just wasn't quick enough.
Frank broke the silence first. "Mom, you miss Dad, don't you?"
I nodded as I wiped my eyes. The next thing I knew both my kids were hugging me and telling me how much they missed their dad too. It was a special moment.
About 1:00 PM, David and his daughter Darlene came over (I won't mention that this beautiful young woman is still single). They brought a beautiful pumpkin cheesecake (we decided not to have pie this year), a sweet potato casserole that tasted like heaven, and a strawberry-pretzel salad. Her mom never would give me that recipe and I couldn't coax it out of Darlene either. (By the way, single men--Darlene is a gourmet cook)
As we were taking the turkey out of the oven and the door bell rang. I was still in the kitchen but Frank Jr. got the door. A minute later he came in the kitchen and looked a little flustered.
"Mom, I forgot to tell you that I invited someone to dinner."
"A young lady?"
"No, someone I got acquainted with on one of my projects. I ran into him yesterday in Spokane and when I found out he was here on business and had to place to go for Thanksgiving, I invited him over. I’m sorry I forgot to tell you."
"That's all right. What's your friend's name? I'll come out and meet him as soon as I finish making this gravy."
"Please don't get mad. I don't think you like this person."
"How can I dislike someone I've never met?"
Just then Reggie walked in the kitchen and whispered to Melissa, "Aren't you going to come out and meet Milt Waking?"
Darlene said, "Milt Waking? That hot FOX news reporter?!"
I looked at my son and glared in a very un-Thankgivingish way, "Are you trying to tell me that man is in my house?"
"Mom, it's Thanksgiving, and give him a chance, he's really a nice guy."
"Don't you remember what your Aunt Zelma told me about how he harassed that Chelsea Adams lady, in Redwood City?"
"Mom, Aunt Zelma doesn't even know Chelsea Adams."
"No, but her best friend's cousin's sister-in-law is Chelsea's best friend. And what's Milt Waking doing here anyway? Is he trying to get information on Edna San's murder?
"No. He's actually here doing some background on a story about Christian healings. He's in Spokane checking out the Healing Rooms, and then he's going to interview that Christian author who was healed from Lyme Disease and was on the 700 Club. She lives part time in Coeur d'Alene you know."
"Ok, he can stay, but he better not try to pump me for information about the murder, because these lips are sealed."
Five minutes later, after I finished the gravy, I walked out to meet this paragon. I was a little surprised at the scene that met my eyes. Milt and David were playing a game with the kids, while talking with the adults and not missing a play or a word of conversation. The kids, who had no idea who Milt was, were clearly enthralled with him. He obviously wants to try to get into our good graces through the kids, I thought.
Frank Jr. introduced us.
"It’s wonderful to meet you, Mrs. Brendt," Milt said.
"Thank you, Mr. Waking, and welcome to my home. But before we sit down to eat, I want to make one thing clear. The recent events in Kanner Lake and the upcoming trial are off-limits for our conversation tonight. My sister Zelma lives in Redwood City and I know all about you."
"Mom!" Frank Jr. gave me the look his father used to do.
"Mrs. Brendt, I'm not here on business tonight, I'm simply Milt and grateful for the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with your family."
Just then I realized how judgmental I had been, and how I had been rude to my son's guest. I was ready to go crawl under the sink and lock the cabinet door, I felt so bad. Lord, please forgive me and help me undo the unkind words I've spoken, I prayed. Then I looked up at Mr. Waking. "Milt, please forgive me. I've been terribly rude. You are welcome here in my home and we're glad to have you with us for this Thanksgiving. And please, call me Angie."
“\"Mrs. Brendt, I mean Angie, thank you so much. By the way, I brought you these." He stepped over to the table a picked up the most beautiful bouquet of two dozen yellow roses. "I hope you like them."
"Thank you so much, Milt, I love roses! By the way, do you know Eva Longoria?"
He did know Eva, and he passed the Nutty test.
It was a great Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Happy Thanksgiving and Dominoes
Hi! It's Sarah Wray.
As this Thanksgiving is almost upon us, I have to say that being the owner of Simple Pleasures is an enormous blessing for me. My store is a gift from God. It's a beautiful place to visit with old friends when they come in to browse. I've also met plenty of new friends who turn into old friends when they fall in love with Kanner Lake and decide to come back year after year.
I can always find something to do at my store. When I dust shelves and move aside the fancy, carved Dominoes set, I always smile.
I remember lying on the floor as a child, playing Dominoes (using a regular set) with my dad. He taught me so well that he started keeping score. When I started winning on paper, it became a serious weekend competition. He was so proud of me, but told me to never play with adults. They'd never understand why a little girl like me was so good at a game like Dominoes.
One quiet fall evening, some of my parents' friends came over. The women played cards and chatted while the men played Dominoes. I was relegated to my stack of coloring books until bedtime. It's not that I didn't like coloring. I liked it fine. It just irritated me that my dad and I were a team and they were playing without me.
Being a good girl and all, I got myself ready for bed early and went back to coloring. My mother and the other ladies still chatted incessantly. My dad and the other men had just finished one game and were starting up another. I ran out of interesting pages to color at about ten minutes before bedtime, so I climbed up on my dad's knee to watch him play.
I wrapped my arm around my dad's big neck and whispered, "I love you" in his ear just loud enough for the other men to hear. Then after a while, I told him more quietly which Domino to place, knowing the other men thought I was still being sugary-sweet.
You know, that night my dad let me stay up an hour after my bedtime.
I don't play Dominoes anymore. Not since I've become too busy with the other details of life. But I'm thinking about buying a game for my grandkids when they come up for Christmas this year. Maybe I should even give Bailey a set to keep in Java Joint. (Might even keep Wilbur out of mischief.)
As for the fancy carved set of Dominoes on the Simple Pleasure shelf--I almost hope I don't sell it.
Happy Thanksgiving, all! Bailey wants me to tell you we'll be taking Thursday and Friday off. Scenes and Beans will be back next Monday.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Saurian Tech--Karn Light Infantry Gear: Armor
Book Update from S-Man: Nothing like exploding Chihuahua-lizard-like-creatures to make things interesting. I'm in the final chapters of Starfire now. And there has been surprise after surprise cropping up. It seems like every time my fingers start typing one of the characters does something I wasn't expecting! But that just makes things even more exciting. Really can't wait until all of you get to experience this story first hand.
Over the next few entries I'm gonna look at the battle-gear worn by the Karnian Light Infantry, the branch of the military that the protagonist, Rathe, is in. The light infantry are fast response shock troops, generally used in hit and fade strikes and harassment behind enemy lines. Not quite special forces, but the next best thing.
Due to the fact that each soldier is responsible for outfitting his own gear, every Light Infantry Saurn will have a slightly different set-up, based on personal preference and role within a Light Infantry Spur (squad). However, there is a basic commonality. For the purposes of this series I'm going to be focusing on Rathe's battle-gear. Starting with the armor.
There are three basic pieces of Light Infantry armor. The battle pack (ketal bor), the chest & belly guard (tathnak), and the gauntlets (ikaryoch).
The battle pack is made of a flexible, but sturdy material and holds all of the essential rations, personal effects and other field equipment necessary for a mission. The pack covers from the shoulders to the base of the tail, held in place by a series of straps that run under the arms and legs, and across the chest, waist and base of the tail. There are also usually two thigh flaps that provide protection for the upper leg and also sport pouches for quick access to (relatively) small items.
Standard battle packs have between 8-12 compartments (in addition to any thigh pouches). Most can only be accessed when the pack is removed, or by a fellow spur-mate. In Rathe's case his pack has 12 compartments, most of which are used for spur rations and extra ammo for their heavy weapons member.
The tathnak is made of a similar material as the battle-pack, but is thicker and much more flexible. It is designed to thwart blades, claws and shrapnel. It is usually at least two to three inches thick, and attaches to the straps of the battle pack, giving a solid layer of protection from the neck to the tail, completely covering the vulnerable underbelly. Early on in Starfire, Rathe's tathnak is put to use in thwarting a vicious kick during a fight, one that would have incapacitated him at the very least.
The final, and in some ways, most crucial bit of armor are the gauntlets. Gauntlets are arm protection that covers the back of the hand and forearm in a solid protective shell. Most gauntlets also have built in magnetic seals that are used in conjunction with Karnian blades as a way to prevent disarming. (I'll talk more about this function during the weapons segment). Some gauntlets also feature expandable shields, but Light Infantry tend to prefer dual wielding or polearms.
But one thing is standard in every soldiers gauntlets (one of them anyway) and that is their Personal Combat Computer. This is a rather simple device, something like you might find in a PDA here on Earth. Basically it stores topographical maps, mission essential data and positioning coordinates using triangulation. It also serves as a communications device between the spur and the chain of command. It can be used within the spur, usually through text. Voice is used, more often, Light Infantry spurs communicate vocally over distances through a complex battle code.
That basically sums up the armor. As you probably noticed, the Light Infantry have very sparse armor, focusing much more on stealth, speed and surprise to avoid any straight up fights. But even when forced into combat, their skill with their weapons makes them deadly adversaries. And that's what we'll look at next time.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Hello from Bailey.
I'm feeling really worn down today. Not that you stopped by here to read about my woes, but sometimes it's nice to share them. John had a bad night, which translates into I had a bad night.
I need to go sneaker shopping, these are getting all worn out from my constant trips back and forth along the counter. The cafe needs a good toothbrush-cranny cleaning job. Maybe I'll get Wilbur to pitch in since he spilled his coffee all over the countertop and floor the other morning. Thank goodness he drinks it black. It also happened to douse him a good one in his lap. Never, ever, have I seen Wilbur move quite that fast. The out-of-towner who entered the shop about that time took one look at Wilbur fanning the front of his pants and busted out laughing. Wilbur wasn't amused, but it shook a chuckle from the depths of my parched soul. Turns out he gal's a writer who has been reading the blog and wanted to meet S-man. You would know that S-man wasn't here. I learned she only lives on the other side of Spokane, and she proceeded to tell me she was a writer with a sci-fi manuscript and she hoped S-man would give it a look. Hm. Not published yet, and he's already sought after by other writers.
Well, I need to get moving. I've lit a new Yankee Candle I indulged in from Simple Pleasures' enormous stock. The scent's a new one called Autumn Leaves. Gotta try it. It's brisk and subtle at the same time, and a good mix with the coffee. Scents always energize me, and this one reminds me that the wonderful holiday season is just around the corner. John is already practicing his solo for the singing Christmas tree.
Friday, November 17, 2006
New Food Critic in Town
Leslie here. I might have a future as a food critic. I visited a restaurant in Coeur D'Alene recently with one of my friends, and the chef recognized me from the media coverage this past summer. She thought she'd try some new dishes on me and then had the bright idea that I should write out my thoughts so she could review them later and make any necessary changes. I didn't like the sound of it. What if I insulted her by my reaction to the food? And yet I wasn't sure how to refuse without sounding rude. It didn't help that my friend was all for the idea and encouraged the chef to send us any "culinary experiments." My friends are so helpful. ;)
A five-course meal appeared soon after, and the servers made sure we lacked for nothing. In return, I was honest with my assessment, even if I didn't like a dish. And believe me, I was nervous about that. Turned out it was a good choice. The chef was so impressed that she called Jared a couple of days later to run ads in our paper! She wasn't even offended that I called her Caesar salad "an artist's rendering, with nothing near the genius of the original." (Beautiful description, if I do say so myself. Perhaps a tad overkill when I could have just said "the lettuce wasn't as fresh as I expected and the dressing was a little strong," but I'm a writer and I could be said to have a flair for the dramatic.)
I have an open invitation to stop by that restaurant anytime I'm in Coeur d'Alene, and the chef has promised to visit Java Joint so I can introduce her to the gang there. Who knew a little taste-testing could do so much? And let me tell you something--the desserts at this particular restaurant are so good, I'll be going there every chance I get.
My new motto: "You never know what's going to happen, so go with the flow!"
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Longfellow of the Lake
Howdy, Wilbur here, dictating to Bailey as usual.
So one day last month I'm sitting here on my stool (first one at the counter, mind you) mostly minding my own business, when S-Man walks in with his shirt half untucked and laptop bag slung over his shoulder. "Hey S-Man, when you gonna have that book of yours written?" I ask him.
He looks me over, trying to gauge whether I really care or if I'm just hasslin' him, I'm sure.
"When it's done," he says.
Now I look back at him, me trying to gauge whether that's some kind of writer answer or if he's hasslin' me back. Before I can open my yap, S-Man hands me a sheet of paper. "Take a look at this."
It was a printout for a poetry contest. Some place I never heard of: Dragons, Knights and Angels Magazine.
"What, where's your entry?" I asked.
S-Man grabbed the biggie coffee Bailey started pouring when he walked through the door. "Don't have time to enter, gotta write my book. Thought maybe the Longfellow of the Lake could do something with it."
I don't know how he found out my old nickname, but from the snort Bailey gave from behind the counter I have my suspicions. [Bailey: Honest, wasn't me. Wilbur once told me the only reason he took Trudy to see Dead Poets Society was because he thought it was a murder mystery, so S-Man's comment took me by surprise.]
Still, top prize was $75 and I was running low on fly-tying supplies. So I sat down and started working on a poem. Nothing fancy like a sonnet, I was too rusty for something like that. Something simple. A half hour later I was done. Except it wasn't quite right.
Forty-five minutes later I had it fixed. Almost.
Okay, maybe just a haiku. Five syllables, then seven, then five.
My first six tries were all a syllable long or short. Number seven was fine until Bailey stuck her nose in and pointed out two words that were misspelled, and when I fixed 'em the line ran over the limit. I grabbed the contest sheet and the stack of napkins I'd been scribbling on and went home.
Didn't come back to Java Joint for three days. I still wonder how everyone survived without me. But the poem was done, sent in two days before the deadline. That was at the end of September. The winning poems were announced just before Halloween. Mine wasn't among them. Guess I was rustier than I thought. If anything good has come of this (other than having gone ahead and bought the fly-tying supplies to salve my wounded pride because I didn't win) it's that the old nickname doesn't bother me much anymore, and I remembered what fun poetry can be. Not prissy moon-balloon-June-swoon garbage, but really robust stuff. I'm thinking of asking Bailey to sponsor an open-mike poetry night here at Java Joint.
If I can find the right rhyme for coronary bypass, that is.
[Bailey here. I bent Trudy's arm until she fessed up about Wilbur's nickname. Okay, I went over for tea and wouldn't leave until she told; I'm not a violent woman. Seems Wilbur was quite the romantic once upon a time and wrote poems to court Trudy. Some of his male friends found out and came up with the nickname. (Poor guy; almost feel sorry for him.) Trudy got a little mad at the memory; like it was a good thing those boys weren't in the kitchen with us just then. Then she pulled a worn and yellowed sheet of paper from the lining of her purse and handed it to me.
"This is the second poem Will ever wrote me."
Shall I?, by Wilbur Hucks
Shall I compare thee to a large mouth bass?
No. For though thou art wily and elusive--
Hard to hold and harder to catch--
I have learned that women do not like to be compared to fish in poetry.
Ever since my first attempt, which revolved around a play on the word flounder
(though perhaps it was my misspelling of grouper that left you with the wrong impression).
Nevertheless I love you very much.
And request that you go out on the lake with me this Saturday.
Please respond by Friday evening,
As I will have to dig nightcrawlers in the morning,
And need to know how many to get.
What a smoothie.]
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
What Do Your Belongings Say About You?
Here's Carla talking at you. I have this writer friend who lives down in Arizona. I met Jennifer Cary at a hotel in Denver a few years ago. She was there for a writer's conference and I was town for realtor's workshops. Jennifer had such a charismatic personality. I was quite intrigued. I found out she was a teacher and a published author. Before we both left, we decided to exchange e-mail addresses, and have kept in touch ever since.
After visiting her blog, Abundant Blessings, I realized that some of those writer types, while odd, usually have some interesting things to say. (Take our own S-man, for instance.) Recently Jennifer had a post on her blog about "What our purses say about our personalities." She asked some of her writer friends to display their purses. I thought it was kind of cute. I had no clue who the purses belonged to, so I went back to see the answers this week.
One of the authors Jennifer used in her study was Brandilyn Collins. I’m sure you’ve heard of the sometimes quirky, if not strange local suspense writer from over in Coeur d'Alene. I laughed when I saw the purse she carried and read a comment of one of the bloggers, who guessed that the purse must belong to someone who writes historical fiction. Another person guessed she had to be a romance writer. LOL.
At first I thought, hmm, guess our purses may not say as much about us as Jennifer thought. But then I got to thinking. You know you could carry around a pretty big weapon in a bag that size. And we all know how that Collins woman seems to like killing people off. Maybe Jennifer is onto something. ;)
Since I'm figuring the guys who read this blog won't relate to the whole purse thing, tell me something you own that says something about yourself. Your purse, clothes, car, house, anything that you think captures who you are. For me it's my house. I love it. It's small and charming, painted blue. Very open interior, with one room flowing into another. It's my own little safe haven. An escape from a sometimes harsh world.
Now what about you?
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
The Detchers and Land of Mao
Occasionally one of our overseas friends will invite us (Hank and Janet) to be a part of their mission. Such was the case this summer when we were invited to participate in a Bibles for China outreach. The trek began on a Wednesday when we flew out of Spokane heading for Hong Kong (via San Francisco, Honolulu and Manila). That was one long trip. In Manila we stayed overnight with missionary friends George and Stacy Barlow. We spent hours reminiscing about our lives together in Bible College. We left Manila the next day and finally arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday. Kurt and May Jansen met us and explained the nature of the Bibles for China outreach. We would join a group of eighteen others to carry the scriptures into the mainland.
But first we would eat. Walking downtown Hong Kong was a very strange experience for us--raw skinned chickens, ducks and snakes all over the place. Besides all of that we were just not used to all of the people!
The next day, after church services at the Jansen's home church, we found out about the true nature of our mission. The gals would be separated from the guys for a few days, and we would meet up in the city of Guangzhou. The guys would take a train and the gals would take a van. This way we would be have a better chance of success. Following are our separate stories.
Hank here. Counting me, there were ten guys hauling "loaves." First we loaded up on small Chinese bibles at the church, then packed them into suitcases. Each of us had two to three bags. Man, they were heavy! Our first stop was at the town Fanling. We crossed over several times from Honk Kong to Fanling and staged our "loaves" in a storage facility. Each time we crossed over we had to go through a random checkpoint where our bags would be examined. Both times that I crossed carrying two bags I got through without being checked. Guess the Lord was watching over me. Only one of us got checked, and they just had their "loaves" confiscated.
Our journey to Guangzhou had an amazing start. Seems that we had a few too many bags for the journey and were keeping the train from leaving on time. A few Communist Chinese guards came over and we thought that the jig was up! To our amazement these guards began to help us load our bags on the train. That made for great conversation all of the way to Guangzhou. When we arrived we brought our "loaves" with us as we checked into a hotel. The next day the girls arrived with some great stories. I'll let Janet fill you in on that and finish up our story.
Janet here. We knew something was up when each of us gals was given a loose fitting skirt to wear when we left from the meeting place that first morning. Each of these had many small pockets sewn on the inside of the skirt. Before we left we each filled these pockets up with very small Chinese language New Testaments (baby loaves). Each pocket held two baby loaves and the skirt held 50 in total. They were quite heavy! Ten of us loaded into the van and made our way through the checkpoints and into the Land of Mao. When we arrived at the hotel in Guangzhou we all rejoiced that the van had gotten through all of the checkpoints.
The remainder of the trip was filled with beautiful scenery and delicious Chinese food. We traveled south and crossed the border at Macau on a hydroplane. We flew out of Hong Kong the next day and spent several days traveling home. When we think back we can only rejoice at what we saw the Lord do through our team. We remember the many people we met in the Underground Church and still pray for them. It causes us in this time before Thanksgiving to once again remember the blessings of our great and free nation, and to give thanks for all of our blessings here in Kanner Lake.
Happy Thanksgiving (almost),
Hank and Janet Detcher
Monday, November 13, 2006
The Other Twenty-five Percent
Hello, Bev Trexel with you today. After four months of interruptions, I've finally made it back to my original topic: why I am writing for this blog. Four months. My goodness. I knew I should have never agreed to this. But it is too late now.
As I made very clear in my first post, I hold my friend Angie mostly responsible for my participation in this activity (although what type of friend would write such slanderous things about me as she has might be brought into question). But to be fair, I cannot blame her one hundred percent. Twenty-five of it sits squarely in my husband's lap.
When we were first married, I didn't drink coffee. I could not stand the bitter stuff. But my husband insisted on having a cup of it every morning. So every morning, like any dutiful wife would, I brewed him a cup.
And every morning he would tell me how bad it tasted. "This isn't coffee, Bev. No flavor at all. I might as well be drinking water."
"You'd be better off drinking water," I would remind him.
"Well, that might be, but I still say this isn't coffee. It's only good for warming up hands."
Hopeless, that husband of mine.
Finally I became tired of hearing how bad my coffee was. I decided to learn to drink it myself to prove it wasn't nearly as bad as he said it was. The problem was once I got beyond the bitterness I enjoyed drinking a cup of coffee every morning.
So if my husband hadn't complained, I would never have learned to drink coffee. No taste for coffee, no trips to Java Joint. No trips to Java Joint, no request from Bailey. Therefore, twenty-five percent is truly my husband's fault.
Let's not forget that the rest is Angie's.
Friday, November 10, 2006
A Nutty Thanksgiving
Hey folks, Angie here again. I had forgotten how nice it was to have my boy here as Thanksgiving approaches. I'm so excited; I've already started planning the feast. Boy, oh, boy is it ever going to be a good one. The pressure is on to make it the best ever, if only to make up for last time. I don't think Frank has been home for Thanksgiving for five or six years.
Back then he brought a girl with him from Chicago for a week-long visit. What was her name again? Suzanne, or Sharon, something like that. One of those big city types, with a cell phone hanging from her ear at all hours of the day. She was nice enough, but right away I could see she wasn't "wife" material. She was just too frilly and fancy for my Frank, Jr. How would she be able to keep house and cook with those nails?
Then, on the big day, I confirmed what Frank Jr. should have suspected all along. The girl just wasn't cut out for small town life. While the guys sat around the TV, watching football, we women bustled around the kitchen, discussing gravy methods and new cranberry salad recipes while the turkey baked in the oven. Sharon, or whatever her name was, bless her heart, was doing her best to stay out of the way. The potatoes were bubbling quite nicely, and I cracked a window to let some of the steam out of the room.
I'd been feeding a squirrel whom I'd named "Nutty" all autumn from my kitchen window. His favorite snack was peanuts, and I'd buy them whole in the shell. I loved watching him nibble, holding the peanut in his little front paws and standing up on his back haunches. He'd sit on my windowsill, munching away and watching me work. Naturally, squirrels get hungry on Thanksgiving too, and when he saw all the hubbub he hopped up on the windowsill to get his daily handout.
I smiled and headed toward the pantry, where I kept my stash of squirrel goodies. I reached my hand into the brown paper bag and pulled out a handful of peanuts and was about to turn around when I heard a blood-curdling screech. I screamed and simultaneously threw the whole handful of peanuts up into the air.
"What?" My heart pounded.
Sharon's hand was clamped over her mouth and she stared at the windowsill, eyes wide in horror. "What was that?"
I laughed. "Silly, that's just the squirrel I've been feeding. He's harmless."
All the other women in the kitchen scrambled to pick up the nuts, doing their best to suppress laughter.
Just then, Frank, Jr. appeared in the kitchen and put his arm around Sharon. "Mom, what have you done now?"
"It was just Nutty, that's all."
He scanned the floor, assessing what must have been twenty or so peanuts tossed all over. Then he took on that parental tone he inherited from his dad. "Mom, this is no time for puns."
"You named that thing?" Sharon's peaked skin had started to show a little bit of color. In fact, she was getting downright red in the face.
Frank gave me another look of disapproval as she stalked out.
I didn't really see what all the hubbub was about. It was my windowsill and my kitchen, for goodness' sake. "What?"
He shook his head and followed her out into the living room. I peeked in a little later and found her snuggled up next to him and looking at the TV, eyes glazed over. Poor thing probably didn't know the difference between a pass and a run.
I knew right then things wouldn't work out between the two of them. A mother can't say these things out loud, of course, but she knows.
For all you future mother-in-laws out there, remember the squirrel test. If things get nutty when a cute little critter shows up on your windowsill, then she's not the girl for your boy. By the way, I have a few squirrels around here you can borrow. Nutty ended up being a female, and her lineage has had tons of babies. It's getting to the point where I can't afford that many peanuts. Thankfully, they started coming around to the back door, because they wouldn't fit on the window anymore. So, if you need a squirrel, let me know. I'm sure we can arrange a way to transport one or two.
Now, I'm off to the grocery store. My list is long: a turkey, olives, evaporated milk (low fat), peanuts ...
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Puppy Tails -- Part 2
Jake back with ya today. As I was saying yesterday, I got to the end of the row, and here's this puppy looking at me with old man's eyes. Looked like he'd lived a lifetime, but his paper said he was only ten weeks old.
Something about the pooch grabbed my heart. Told me he needed a home and mine was as good as any.
I snapped a leash on his collar. Tugged him out and walked him with the other two dogs to the exercise yard. While the other dogs charged around the fence, wild to run, this pup sidled up next to me. He brushed against my jeans then jumped up. He bounded as high as he could and only reached my knees. I scooped him up and rubbed him under the ears. In minutes he snuggled under my chin and stayed there.
Wouldn't ya know, he was in my lap as I headed home. The director said he was a Heinz 57. Probably had a bit o' lab and something else in him.
I stopped at the grocery and bought a bag of food. Pulled into the drive and let him out.
He tripped up the sidewalk and scampered up the porch stairs and into the house. His tongue hung out in a crazy grin. A look my wife did not match. She took one look at the little guy and pointed us out the door.
"No dogs in my clean house, mister." She only calls me mister when she's mad. And she's stuck on remembering my last dog that chewed up all her shoes. ("Pumps," she calls 'em. What a dumb name for shoes.)
Seems she thought we needed a pet like a hole in the head. So the pup's out in the garage tonight. I think a few licks and looks and the wife will be hooked. He's only dug one hole in her flowerbed so far. I don't think she's noticed. Maybe I can sneak him inside next time she's at her ladies Bible Study. Once he's there, she won't have the heart to kick him out. Pumps or no.
Now the pooch needs a name. I'm thinking Duke or Hunter. Won't be long and I can train him to work with me when I'm hunting. Whadya think?
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Puppy Tails -- Part 1
Hi, Jake Tremaine here. I mentioned some time ago that I might go down to the SPCA one of these days to see about getting me a dog. Well, I did.
Let me tell you, it was quite the experience. I've always thought I loved animals. But they make you go through a background check before you can even water them. The agency takes their work quite seriously. Good for them.
Me, I just wanted to pet a pooch or two. Wrestle on the floor and play with 'em a little. There's a little exercise yard for the dogs. Folks who are considering a pet can take the dog out back and see what it's like outside the cages. [Bailey's trying to tell me cage ain't the right word, but as long as it's got fencing on all sides I'll call it a cage no matter the size].
The first day I took two or three dogs out at a time. The regular staff told me which ones could go together so I wouldn't get caught in a dog fight. I threw balls till I thought my arm would fall off.
After I'd had a couple days to recover, I went back. Anything's better than my wife's growing honey-do list. Seems each day she adds three things to it. By the end of the year it'll stretch clear to Washington.
When I got back last week, there were several new faces and some of the dogs I'd worked with had new homes. I went about my business. Grab a leash, unhook a door, coax the dog out, hook him up, and then grab the next little guy. Well, I got to the last group of 'em, which also included the last cage at the end of the row.
I reached his gate and just stared. There's this tiny fur ball sitting right at the door. Looking at me with the biggest eyes. And they were old eyes. As if the little guy had lived a lifetime already.
I guess you could say I was a goner at that point. Now if only I could get the missus to agree with me ...
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
What I Love About Fall
My mom has been organizing again, and she came across a few mementos from my childhood days, some of which she has posted on her refrigerator because they make her smile. Her favourite is the following two-line "essay" from my grade three class with Mrs. Campbell:
What I Love About Fall
I love the colors on the trees, warm clothes, hot chocolate, and baking with Mom. I also love seeing my own breath outdoors, and eating Thanksgiving dinner.
Not much has changed on that list, actually. I'd add stylish boots and accessories (like the cute scarf and glove set I found last November) but the rest still applies: bright red leaves throughout town, mixed with all the green of pines, tamaracks, and fir trees, which don't lose their leaves. Dressing in fancy sweaters; Bailey's perfectly mixed beverages; making cake, cookies and squares in Mom's cozy kitchen; making "smoke rings" in the chilly air; and the wonderful feast that is Thanksgiving with the Brymes family, with turkey, glazed ham, steamed veggies, fluffy mashed potatoes, and at least three varieties of pie.
Oh, and I can't forget my top fall activity: Christmas shopping! I love to start in October and gather ideas each time I go out. And the best place to find those perfect gifts is, of course, our own Sarah's great little Simple Pleasures store. (Only thing is, it'll be hard to shop for Sarah and Paige while they're working!)
What do you like about this season?
Monday, November 06, 2006
Idaho Novelist Stephen Bly
Hello, it's Bailey today. Have you heard about the Idaho novelist Stephen Bly? He lives in Winchester, Idaho and has written 100 books. Now he's doing something really fun. He's so gotten into his newest character that he's caught up in looking for her in real life. Her name's Juanita, the girl of rodeo cowboy Hap Bowman's dreams. (Another of Bly's characters.) They are both in Bly's novel One Step Over the Border.
Bly has listed Juanita's description on the home page of www.OneStepOvertheBorder.com: raven dark hair, dark eyes, has a petite birthmark the shape of a horse's head under her right ear. She lived in sight of the Rio Grande and spent time with 12-year-old Hap Bowman in Central Wyoming during the summer of 1988 and is 31 years old now.
Bly's hoping to see "Have you seen my Juanita?" signs pop up everywhere--on websites and message boards, in waiting rooms and bulletin boards, on car bumpers and T-shirts, at rest stops and stuck to magnetic surfaces. "Maybe we really will find her," Bly says. "If so, she'll be featured on our website for sure." There's even a free “Have You Seen My Juanita?" Search Kit ready to send to those who e-mail cowboy Hap at HapBowman@yahoo.com with their snail mail address.
Apparently Bly is no stranger to getting heavily involved into his characters. In his novel Paperback Writer a distracted detective rides along with his author, serving as alter ego and companion in troubles on the road. "Life imitates art, they say," Bly muses. "I care so much for my characters I find it hard to let them go. But also my desire is for the reader to find their own real life discoveries, to be encouraged in their own struggles, by the vicarious 'entering into' the quests of my fictional characters."
I told S-Man he ought to try some similar marketing campaign when Starfire is published. Although it may be a bit stranger, looking for a dinosaur-like creature.
The story of Hap's search to find his Juanita in One Step Over the Border releases June 2007, by Center Street/Hachette Book Group, USA. I hear that pre-orders are already available through www.blybooks.com and soon will be at www.amazon.com and other online bookstores. We'll all be reading the book at Java Joint. It's great to support another Idaho novelist!-- Bailey
Friday, November 03, 2006
Love That Raspberry Salsa
Hi, it's Sarah Wray. I don't know about you, but my church doesn't always get out at the same time every week. I try to put lunch on the table quickly when we get home so that husband of mine doesn't become a bear, growling over the kitchen bar, waiting and watching with persistent questions. Sometimes he's worse than a four-year-old.
Last Sunday, when our church got out later than usual, Pastor Hank stayed to visit with several people. It didn't seem like he was in a hurry to leave, so I invited him and his wife, Janet, over for lunch. They were happy to come.
Anyway, I tossed some chicken in the oven and made a nice green salad to go with it. But my chicken can get a boring without a little something added to it. Since I will not allow Pastor Hank and his wife to leave my house with the idea that I can't cook, I used the Raspberry Salsa that I brought home from Simple Pleasures' specialty foods section.
That Raspberry Salsa is alive with flavor, and it's such a time-saver. No need to chop vegetables or make a sauce. This little jar made my work quick and easy. Ten minutes before the chicken came out of the oven, I dabbed some salsa on the pieces. Our taste buds started a party, I'll tell you. That sauce really has some zing to it.
We visited about the sermon, which was really good by the way, and we listened to Pastor Hank tell about his plans for a church get-together later on. But I noticed that both my husband and Pastor Hank reached for extra salsa to help them finish the rest of their chicken.
To cool our mouths after lunch, a light dessert seemed to be in order. Fruity Yogurt Salad is perfectly soothing. I knew it would be just the thing. I mix fresh blueberries, red grapes, and chopped strawberries with some banana yogurt and serve chilled. It's that simple!
If Raspberry Salsa is anything like the Latin dance, Fruity Yogurt Salad is like sitting in a rocking chair on the back porch in the cool of the evening.
Pastor Hank and Janet said they enjoyed the visit and the good food. I could tell by the way Janet studied her dessert that she'll be looking for the ingredients at the store the next time she goes for groceries.
I'll bet she comes by Simple Pleasures for some salsa, too.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
That's MY Bumper Sticker
Howdy, Wilbur here. If you've read anything I've said on this blog, you know I'll never be accused of being a Pollyanna or Little Miss Sunshine. I don't come across as one of them Glass-Half-Full people. Some folks 'round here think all I do from sunup to sundown is complain, but they've got me all wrong. Sure, I spout off about this or that, but the truth is, not much really gets my dander up. Here's a little tale about one such occasion.
Back in, oh, musta been the fall of '70 or '71, I'd been out huntin'. Deer season it was, and I'd bagged me a big boy. I'd be lyin' if I said I'd not seen a bigger buck--that one hangin' over Jed Smithson's fireplace for one--but I've never brought home better myself. Back then I was built a little more solid than I am today, but it still took me the better part of four hours to pack that buck back to my pickup. I almost drove off the road a couple times on my way back to town. My eyes kept pullin' up to the rear-view to stare at the trophy rack on that buck. Couldn't take my eyes off it. I decided to pull off the road a spell before I killed myself, so I steered into the lot out at Lakeside. Except this was twenty years before Bud Brankser bought it. Back then it was called Bear's Den Diner.
The Den was as quiet a place back then as it is these days. Run by a fella named Bill. The only other vehicle in the lot was one of them Vee-Dubya vans. Didn't see many like this one in our neck of the woods. Thing was painted bright yellow with a big black peace sign on the side. Had California plates. Big surprise.
Anyway, I go inside, grab a stool at the bar, and order black coffee. Don't worry, Bailey, it didn't compare to your brew. Half the time I hear someone talkin' to Bailey here it sounds more like they're speakin' in tongues than orderin' a cup of coffee. Back in the 70's coffee was just coffee. At some point since then coffee's gone and gotten itself complexified.
Where was I? Oh, so I'm sittin' there, drinkin' my coffee and I tell Bill about my buck. The fella drivin' the Peace Train out front is sittin' a few stools down from us, and when Bill stepped out to take a look at my buck, the fella slides over to the stool next to me and strikes up a conversation.
I don't think I'd ever talked to a hippy before that day. He was baby faced and had thick, frizzy blonde hair like that Garfunkle fella. Spoke all educated and polite, which I hadn't really expected. He'd dropped outta the University of San Francisco to travel. Live an adventure he said. Didn't have to worry about the draft on account of a bum foot or some such.
Once the pleasantries were out of the way, this fella starts tellin' me how huntin' is wrong, that I'm violatin' nature or some nonsense. I ask him if the deer that died for his buckskin jacket died of old age on a farm in Wisconsin. He asks me if I always treat out of state visitors so hostile. I says usually I just tell 'em "Welcome to Idaho. Now go home." And I made sure to call his hometown "Frisco." I hear folks from San Francisco hate hearin' that. To them it's "The City," like it's the only one on the planet. And they think we're big-headed.
By the time Bill came back in from admirin' my buck, the Frisco Kid is walkin' out the door. Ya know how sometimes you just get a funny sense about somethin'? I got it right then. I knew, knew for certain, that I'd see that fella again.
Well, a couple years later, folks start movin' into Idaho in record numbers. Back then we still had less than a million people callin' Idaho home, and a lot of us liked it that way. A bumper-sticker got real popular 'out then. It read like what I'd told that hippy: WELCOME TO IDAHO. NOW GO HOME. In fact, that sticker got so popular that they did an article in the Idaho Statesman on the fella that came up with it, had his picture in the paper and everything. Yep, that deer-lovin' fella from Frisco moved to Boise and made a small fortune off that run-in with me, he did.
I don't hold a grudge against that fella for gettin' rich off my words. Truth be told, a lot of things I say belong on bumper-stickers. Maybe I ought to make up a few bumper stickers of my own and see about selling 'em. You all got some ideas about any famous sayings of mine I ought to try first?
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Singing Christmas Tree
Janet Detcher with you today.
It's that time again--time for our church choir to begin practicing for our Singing Christmas Tree. That program is my favorite part of the season. We've been doing it for about 15 years now. It has been our 'gift' to the community and has become an expected and anticipated part of Kanner Lake's events. We've often heard that Christmas would not be the same without our annual Singing Christmas Tree. Jared has even given us free advertising every year! (Thanks, Jared!) It brings folks from as far away as Spokane.
We are blessed with some exceptional voices for such a small congregation, and our directors, the Harrises, talented as they are, have always taken us to such a high level of musical presentation it would rival any larger church in the big city. We perform five nights during the season, and it's a packed house every night.
We'll have our usual cast of characters. Hank is always eager to participate and is never caught by stage fright. Larry Cellaway is a fine tenor, and also is a great help to building the sets; and I'm praying that John Truitt is well and able to participate. John has a beautiful singing voice and always moves people to tears with his music.
As is our tradition, I've been looking over music with Dawn Harris, (she and her husband, Skip, are our directors). The other day we got to reminiscing about past years. We got laughing so hard I thought we'd split a gut.
One year, it seemed that whatever could go wrong did go wrong. Ellen Linden, our organist, had practiced diligently for her part. A couple weeks before we were to begin our performances, the organ died. And there didn't seem to be any reviving it without a large outlay of cash. Cash we didn't have lying around.
The choir committed it to prayer, and two days later a gentleman came to visit Hank at the church. He told Hank he felt the Lord wanted him to buy our church a new organ. (He was a member of another congregation in town, mind you!) We were overwhelmed. The new Hammond organ was delivered less than a week later. Ellen was clearly beaming as she beautifully offered her talent for our production.
Another year, flu swept through the ranks just days prior to our first performance. Panic sat in. Soloists were left with less than 100% voices, and Hank even missed a couple of nights of rehearsals due to sickness. Somehow, we all managed to make the very last rehearsal and, weak as everyone was, we knew in our hearts that it was going to be a great year. (It always seems the more the enemy fights you, the better the results of your labor).
John Truitt was singing King Herod's bombastic solo and was the last to get the flu. But, as everyone who knows John will tell you, NOTHING gets that man down! In spite of feeling so crummy, John pulled off a memorable performance as King Herod. The funny thing is, John had changed a few of the words of the song, adding his own personality, without the choir or director having any knowledge of the changes. The choir loved it, though the audience had no idea. It was unforgettable indeed!
One funny side note on that sixth evening's performance: One of the young ladies was wearing a hairpiece. The congregation was already seated, waiting for the program to begin. As "Cheryl" climbed the ladder to take her place with the other altos, she ducked to enter the riser. When she came back up, one of the branches grabbed her hairpiece, and off it came, left dangling as an odd ornament on the tree. She was so shocked she didn't know whether to grab it and run or to ignore it and just take her place. After a painful moment's hesitation, she grabbed it, slapped it back on her head, took a minute to straighten it as best as she could and walked on around to her place on the riser.
There is so much more but I'll have to save that for another day.
Believe me, you just never know what's gonna happen, but one thing's for sure: you don't want to miss the annual New Community Church's Singing Christmas Tree. Like they say, "Christmas would not be the same without it!"
Bailey Truitt ~ Java Joint owner
Leslie Brymes ~ reporter extraordinaire
Carla Radling ~ realtor at your service
Wilbur Hucks ~ ya gotta love him
Jake Tremaine ~ retired logger
Ted Dawson (S-Man) ~ sci-fi writer
Hank Detcher ~ pastor and friend
Janet Detcher ~ keeps Hank in line
Bev Trexel ~ retired teacher
Angie Brendt ~ Bev's best pal
Sarah Wray ~ Simple Pleasures owner
Jared Moore ~ Kanner Lake Times
LEARN MORE ABOUT KANNER LAKE
A Christian Worldview of Fiction
Mary Ann Diorio
Girl's Write Out
Joy in the Litter Box
A Life in Pages
Pieces of Me
Readin N Writin with Patricia
Robin Lee Hatcher's Write Thinking
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