My Photo
Location: DownByTheRiver, Central Iowa, United States

Husband of the world's most wonderful wife, father of the world's four most brilliant children, grandfather to the world's eight most beautiful granddaughters and two handsomest grandsons

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Storms over Iowa, A Storm in Florida

The RRR slept on the futon in front of the fireplace this morning after working another night on the adolescent psych unit. Grandpa RRR just found that the radiation treatments are not his only problem. The blood clots in his legs have returned and he is off to the gastroenterologist due to his anemia and leakage of blood from the bowel. He is about to embark on taking the laxative whose name is the biggest lie in medicine, Go-Lightly. Which is like naming moonshine Mildly Intoxicating. Dad will so be, in his words, "invaded fore and aft". Pray for Grandpa RRR fans. Things are piling up on him.
This afternoon I had the pleasure of a phone call from youngest daughter in Texas. Little Lydia was chattering and cooing in the background. She had scooted over to the couch (she can almost crawl now) and was rescuing Grandpa Bear who was peeking out at her. I got to talk to her and had Mommy touch each toe as I named them.
From Aunt Edna in the Appalachians comes the original and irrefutable names of the toes: Starting from smallest to largest… Icky Pea, Penny Rude, Rudy Whistle, Mary Hassle and Big Tom Bumble Toe. These names predate "This little pig went to market.". They may have been taught to babies on the Mayflower. Such traditions are kept alive back in the "hollers" of Appalachia. When the RRR was an orderly in a university hospital children’s orthopedic unit 30 years ago and had to teach parents to check their children’s toes for capillary refill, he made little posters identifying the toe’s proper names and placed them above each bed.
The ward was considered haunted, by the way. It was the old polio ward and many housekeepers refused to go there at night claiming they could hear the chuffing of the old iron lungs and children crying. The ghosts must have been rangers, as they didn’t bother me at all on the 11-7 shift.
A thunderstorm raged today as I slept. With the modem safely unplugged from the phone line and the windows shut, Bay-Toe-Ven and I slept the deep sleep of good conscience and the happy knowledge that Mrs. RRR would be back to cook lunch. Oh my, ¼ lb. hamburgers on homemade whole wheat bread. String beans from last year’s garden spiced with fresh ground sea salt and pepper and real butter.
And in Florida, a poor lady with a damaged brain writhed in throes of thirst and starvation, dying of dehydration, what mind she has left clouded with IV morphine. (given of course in spite of the fact medical science says "she has no feeling") Her husband, soon to have the money he refused to spend on her care, watched with glee with his mistress and their two bastard children. And the parents weep. God help us.

Monday, March 28, 2005

0 Dark Hundred

It's early morning and the RRR is at the adolescent psych ward back on the 11-7 shift. This is the place most difficult to detach from when dealing with the patients and their problems of mental illness/substance abuse.

Oh dear God, protect my granddaughters, the little Rangerettes scattered across America. May the blood of your Son, Jesus stand between them and the Evil One and his servants, the Pervert, the Pusher, the Misleader and the Insinuator. May their sleep be untroubled and their safety guaranteed.

After a breakfast of sardines I went back to work on the diminutive Metro engine out in the shop. The crankshaft bolt had given me fits. I tried to break it loose earlier by having Mrs. RRR pull against me blocking the crank from turning with the handle of a sledge hammer whilst I leaned on the breaker bar. The 1/2 to 3/8's adapter snapped off clean and she landed on the floor with the sledge on top of her feeling somewhat flattened. I blocked the crank with a large screwdriver handle and used a hand impact tool. That didn't work. Put the 17mm box end on it and beat on it with a single jack. No good.

(Single Jack: a one handed sledge hammer originally used for drilling rock by miners. So called because a single "Cousin Jack" [Cornish or Welsh miner] could drill with it. A large Double Jack took two hands to work thus requiring a second miner to hold the drill, called a "rock star drill" because the end was star shaped. The famed John Henry used a Double Jack in each hand and needed two more miners to hold the drills, so the infamous "steam drill" of the song still replaced three men.)

Suddenly had the thought to put on Kroil penetrating oil. I argued with myself that was dumb as the whole thing runs bathed in oil. But sprayed some on anyway. Put on the wrench, tapped once with the single jack and it spun free and came off with my fingers. I'm beginning to think mechanical work requires being in a constant state of prayer. At last the block is ready to be taken to the machine shop and boiled out and checked, along with the crank, to see if machining is required. Meantime I've ordered the new engine and transmission for the Green Hornet. Of course I had to make Mrs. RRR come out and see what I'd accomplished.

Then supper of the world's best chicken soup made from the left over chicken and vegetables Mrs. RRR made a while back and froze. Devotions and a short nap before coming to work. Missed the call from Malee and Hannah to thank us for the teddy bears, but needed the sleep. I went out and walked Bay before commuting to work.

You know you're a Ranger, if... you look at the position of the Big Dipper and know it's about 10 p.m. and at Orion and know it's about spring.

So now, blogging in spare moments and sipping the special brew from the store in Dallas, French Roast blended with Columbian Supremo. Black medicine.

God Bless Us, every one.

"An Ole Cowpoke Went Ridin' Out.....

Thursday found Mr. and Mrs. RRR on the road to the Lone Star State. The Green Hornet, reshod on the front "feet" with new rubber from Hungry Dutchman Tire Shop, it’s crankcase topped off with Bardahl’s NoSmoke was loaded to the visors. Bay-Toe-Ven’s travel container sat across the back under the hatch and our possessions were crammed in ahead of it and behind the seats. We’ve traveled America in that Geo Metro and know how to pack it. The hummed along as though it didn’t have 200,000 thousand miles.
Mrs. RRR was home by noon and we were off just ahead of a threatened 3" snow. Down from the top of the map to the bottom, past KCMO where youngest son, wife and daughter live, onto the Kansas Turnpike. Past Wichita into the lovely rolling ranch land, supper at a rest stop on the turnpike. The RRR had two cheap burgers and gave the extra buns to Bay. We were half way down. Then $5 bought us off the turnpike and we were back on freeway. Then Norman OK, but forget Oklahoma City, Ranger fans. Not one sign on I35 identifies it! No "Oklahoma City, next eight exits" etc. Nothing. You’re driving into a megapolis and there are signs for various roads and exits but nothing ever tells you what city you’re driving through. On into Texas, through Dallas, the most in-your-face conspicuous consumption in the western world and arrived 13 and a half hours after leaving the homestead at the country singer’s ranch where youngest daughter, her husband and baby are caretakers.
Heidi, Josh, and little Lydia live in a trailer in the back of the compound behind the Big House. Josh commutes to seminary in Dallas and cares for the singer’s ranch animals. Heidi cleans the Big House and tends the exotic birds. The RRR almost had a heart attack when he got out of the Green Hornet and almost stepped on a peacock’s tail. It let out a yelp that sounds, according to Heidi, as a cross between a car horn, a cat, and a baby crying. They and guinea fowls make great watchdogs in the south.
Lydia loved her new teddy bear, which is dressed like the Ranger in a camo military shirt and bush hat. So he became Grandpa Bear and now addresses Lydia in a growly voice offering to take her for tramps in the woods and on river trips when she grows up. Like all the RRR granddaughters, she is lovely and loving and has the happy responsiveness of a totally loved and cherished child who has her mommy at home with her all the time.
Good Friday we worked putting a roof on the kid’s deck. Actually Josh worked and I made occasional helpful suggestions and retreated into the house to nibble the low-carb goodies Heidi had prepared and nap in Josh’s easy chair. We went out for lunch at The Waffle House, a southern institution. They are diners and there is a happy, loud interaction between customers, waitresses and cooks. The food is fantastic. The T-bone for the Ranger was superb and Mrs. RRR said the pecan waffle was the best she’d ever eaten. As we were about to leave a gray haired, tattooed man chugged up on an ancient high-mile Harley. Going bald with what was left of his hair tied in a ponytail. I went out and looked at the back of his ride. A MIA/POW flag, an American Flag, and a bumper sticker that said Friend of Bill W. I went back in and shook a fellow ranger’s hand. A fellow ‘Nam vet, you can always tell. Mrs. RRR says we all look like someone 30 years ago reached through a keyhole and pulled us through by our rears. Don’t know why, but it fits. My fellow ranger had been clean and sober since May 27th, 1988 I have 17 days on him.
Let me insert here that I am not a member of the elite force of the U.S.Army known as the Rangers. I refer to the generic term, meaning one who knows the woods and has been there and done that. Most River Rats are rangers, for instance, but not all rangers are River Rats.
So ride long and free brother ranger, may you find the happiness on the road I’ve found with Mrs. RRR and our family.
We went on into Dallas shopping. Dallas is NOT Texas. Dallas is Hollywood in a ten gallon hat. Back in the sticks at the ranch is Texas. We cooked brats on the grill and talked and talked and wondered at the miracle of babies. That night there was a thunderstorm. Perhaps my readers don’t know the joy of sleeping under the roar of rain on a tin roof. Heaven. Comfort music.
Saturday was gloomy and drizzly most of the time. Josh came in from the chores saying a predator had gotten in the barn and killed the setting hen. The area has a problem with cougars, one chewed the leg of one of the peacocks and would have paid with his life had the country singer’s husband been able to lay hand to a gun in time. The peacock is perfectly miserable now, its foot swollen and it limps about honk hroncking pitifully. We went back to Dallas and checked out the new KIA’s which mysteriously increased in price from $7000 on TV the night before to over $10,000. And we went to Mrs. RRR’s favorite health food stores and bought bulk oatmeal and flaxseed and fresh ground gourmet coffee for me.
Heidi cooked Mahi Mahi for supper. It is a tropical fish that she and Josh learned to love the year they spent teaching school in Saipan. It was absolutely delicious. On top of that, Josh made us whole wheat cinnamon raison bread which was superb also. We watched the DVD Minority Report. A great yarn, it was fun trying to guess when the 5’2" Tom Cruise was standing on a box to make him look as tall as everyone else. By the time that was over, the rain had stopped and Josh took us for a walk around the ranch. Mrs RRR, of course, walked up to the strange donkeys from the wrong side and walked around behind them and they snuggled up to her and didn’t kick her. Then we saw the country singer’s horse, looks to me like a thoroughbred, but what I know about horses would make a very short blog. It let Mrs. RRR walk up to it and pat it’s nose and stoke it’s face and nuzzled her. When I got within 20 feet it snorted, whirled away, and trotted off. She once wanted to adopt a circus elephant, but that’s another story.
That evening Josh and Heidi went off on their first date alone since Lydia was born last September while we baby sat. The phone rang and it was the Country Singer home from her latest gig. She said she wanted to meet us. So the lady who has been the guest of two presidents in the White House and has entertained foreign dignitaries came over and knocked on the door of the trailer and came in and cooed over Lydia and was as friendly as any other rural southerner. And that my friends, is the TRUE Texas.
Easter morning we were up and on the road by 0600 and turned the trip around backwards. We celebrated Easter by Mrs. RRR reading from the Bible and our other devotional books as we went along. Ran low on fuel and stopped at the same gas stations, ate our half-way meal at the same rest stop and would have arrived early except we drove through Kansas City and called hoping to visit Israel, youngest son and fellow river rat, and his wife and daughter, but we missed them both times we called. About an hour short of home I could stand the freeway no more and got off on a backroad and drove home more slowly absorbing the sunset and then listened to Michigan win a place in the Final Four.
Grandpa RRR, my father was 79 on Easter Sunday so we called him and sang Happy Birthday. He is undergoing radiation treatments for prostate cancer and needs all the cheering up he can get. We called Heather, the eldest daughter college professor to wish her a happy Easter. Also her twin brother Shane, the seminary student in Kentucky got our best wishes. His daughters had also received teddy bears for Easter, but they were already asleep. At last Mrs. RRR and I snuggled up on the futon in front of the fireplace.
God Bless us, every one.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Boys And Their Toys

It’s 0600 dear readers (6 a.m. to non-rangers) and the RRR has Mrs. off to keep obsessive compulsive lap swimmers safe from themselves at the indoor pool. She left pleased with the surprise gift from LL Bean, a large canvas carry bag with powder blue pipping and her name embroidered on it in script. She noticed and envied another lady’s at a conference in Chicago and for once the RRR actually observed and remembered.
But friends, let me tell you about last night, Sheriff’s Office training. I should first let you know that there is no such thing as a Sheriff’s department. A sheriff is an elected official, thus it is a the Sheriff’s OFFICE. A police chief is an appointed bureaucrat who heads a department, thus it is a Police DEPARTMENT.
There was a page sent out last week for any reservist interested in special training. Only the hard corps volunteered. There were eight of us who went in the prisoner transport van and a squad car on an hour long jaunt to the training site. First time I’d ridden in the back where the prisoners usually ride. No longer will I dismiss the complaints about lack of legroom as criminal whining. It’s cramped back there.
So eight middle aged volunteer cops, most of us over 50 were escorted into a laser simulator training room. One at a time we were given a .45 to carry that shot a beam of light when fired instead of bullets. We faced a 10’ by 10’ screen and were read a scenario by the narrator, then had to react properly to the situations. And they changed in detail. One time the bad guy breaking into the govt. warehouse with a crowbar throws it down when confronted, the next time he attacks and you have a split second to react. It was like walking about in a giant video game. Except there were real actors photographed for this, not computer animation. The main thing I learned, was don’t underestimate chubby old cops, especially gun hobbyists. Nobody missed. Nobody. The company who owned the training area is a big govt. contractor and they let us play with the toys our troops over in the sand pile get to use. I hadn’t held a real M-16 in my arms for years and the improvements have been exponential since I jumped out of a Huey carrying one 35 years ago. Little boxy rear sight about inch and a half square, look through it and there’s a red dot out on the target, touch the trigger and two or three bullets go into the spot. I remember a night early in 1971… never mind.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Normal Day In Bedlam

Monday The RRR struggled to his feet with the alarm and began the painful stretching to try to overcome the heel pain that has been plaguing him. With Mrs. RRR’s input it was decided to wear the Dr. Scholls’ tennis shoes with the new gel insoles from Wally World and also rub with the sample analgesic cream Biofreeze from the chiropractor. The foot immediately felt better. I was able to walk from the parking lot into the county hospital almost without limping.
False dawn was well underway and the birds working on singing when I walked Bay-Toe-Ven before beginning the drive. On the way in to the Big City the sun rose straight behind the car, glowing through the haze and cloud cover and turning the whole sky red.
How do I describe a shift on an acute psych floor in a county hospital? Bedlam is too easy. (Bedlam from the cockney pronunciation of Bethlehem, the first psychiatric hospital in England and describing the sound and atmosphere there.) The RRR had six patients. A meth addict, a heroin addict, a grossly obese schizo-affective, an unmedicated paranoid schizophrenic, a fairly well medicated one, and a "depressed" schizo-affective who had feigned a suicide attempt in order to get attention and a vacation from his group home. The latter was discharged back to the streets and a new elderly behavior disorder admitted. There were crisis’ requiring medical intervention, and physical intervention. There was teaching and confrontation. Frustration, anger, tears, and mounds of paperwork. Frenzied rushes to the pharmacy, negotiations with pharmacists, physicians, outpatient clinics, the local methadone clinic, and irate visitors. There were escorts of patients to clinics accompanied by the police. In all… an average day. But the heel pain was greatly decreased.
Then two thermoses of Colombian Supremo at QT to share with Mrs. RRR and the trip home.
I repeat… an average day. A wonderful tuna salad sandwich on the world’s best homemade bread. Large curd cottage cheese – you can’t get too much large curd cottage cheese, devotions and the puttering about that makes a household, sleeping on the futon in front of the fireplace.
God bless us, every one.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Feeling Like A Heel

Today the RRR awakened in intense pain. The chronic heel pain that’s gotten worse over the last month has become acute. Something has to be done. But first things first, Mrs. RRR and I got ready to go to Sunday morning chapel. The night had dipped well below freezing and Sam, the Outside dog, was fast asleep curled up in the yard, covered with frost. Sam, who wandered up to the cabin footsore 10 years or more ago, is either a husky or an alien dog from another planet. I tend toward the latter rather than the former. When he’s displeased with you, his eyes suddenly turn red like a robot’s and you have the feeling only the lack of opposable thumbs stands between you and being choked to death.
I made coffee before going out to feed the livestock, them being Sam and the mice at the three bait stations.
There are several grades of coffee made by the RRR.
House coffee, as today. 3 heaping tablespoons of Arabica or French Roast in the French Press which is then filled with boiling water, allowed to steep 5 minutes and squooshed. Better than Starbucks.
Warm weather woods coffee. A battered tin can with a coat hanger bail is filled 2/3 of cool water, a heaping handful of ground Colombian Supremo is tossed in, it’s hung over the fire till the water foams up, is set aside. A splash of cool water settles the grounds and it’s sipped from a chipped enamelware cup. Kit Carson would feel at home at your fire.
Cold weather/on the river coffee. As in #2, but the coffee is poured over Swiss Miss instant cocoa. A treat much too good for a king.
Camping in the snow coffee. Worth a whole blog which it will be another time.
So, with that to sip and also a heady cup of black tea we were ready to go to the chapel. Elder James spoke on the crucifixion. As you may know, plymouth brethren do not use professional preachers so the men of the assembly take turns preaching. Which is why you will from time to time find the RRR’s sermons here.
After services we stopped at Wally World to try yet another set of insoles "guaranteed" to relieve heel pain. After Mrs. RRR made a fantastic meal of lamb and rice we hiked in the woods to try out the new insoles. NOT a spectacular success. We ordered a set off the internet unconditionally guaranteed, we can only hope. The RRR jumped out of too many perfectly good helicopters wearing too much gear back in his misspent youth.
Unable to hike satisfactorily, we drove around the Big Lake enjoying the equinox (first day of spring to you non-rangers) and finished up with a far too high carbbed burger from an "e pluribus unum" franchise.
But were able to come home to a dessert of the world’s best yogurt made by Mrs. RRR, recipe available on request.
Goodnight gentle readers…

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Sermonator

Follows, should he be smart enough to attach it, the sermon the RRR preached on March 13th. It is part of a continuation of a study in the Book of Genesis. IT IS THE FIRST DRAFT!!!!!! Multiple spelling and grammar errors were corrected in pencil before presentation.

GENESIS 6:8-22
MARCH 13, 2005

Good morning! This morning we shall return to our study of Genesis, the book of beginnings. I’ll remind you again that we are studying it by taking God at his word, assuming that everything in it is literally true. Last time we saw the Early Earth descend into chaos and violence where "every man did what was right in his own eyes". We saw a hurt and aggrieved Heavenly Father turn his back on the way he had dealt with Adam and his progeny and begin the process of developing a new way of dealing with sinful humanity by turning toward his servant, Noah.
Genesis 6:8-22 (Read)
We know that Noah is the chosen one of his generation and the last verse we read is an indication of why, but let’s go back to the first verse of the passage.
Genesis 6:8 (Read)
A new word is introduced into the book at this point. The word we translate as grace. In Hebrew it can mean either "grace" or "favor". This word and idea are so special, I’d like to read Dr. Boise’s comments on it.
"It is true, of course, that Adam and Eve also found grace when they sinned; justice alone would have sent them into outer darkness forever. Seth and Enoch and all the others found grace. But here for the first time grace is explicitly mentioned. Since this is said of a time when the evil of a degenerate race was at its zenith, it indicates that so long as life lasts, regardless of the extent of the evil, there is always opportunity to find God’s grace where alone it can be found, namely, in the work of Jesus Christ in dying for his people’s salvation. Noah many not have known details about that future work of Christ. But he looked forward to the deliverer and ordered his life accordingly."
"Notice that Noah did not earn grace. Noah found grace. He was willing to accept God’s judgment on his sinful and rebellious nature and place his hope in the Savior. It is the same today. We have no claim on God. We have not earned anything but his just wrath and our eventual destruction. But we can find God’s grace in Christ."
Genesis 6:9,10 (Read)
The word "just" is interesting. It means "righteous". On his own, Noah could not be. He, as we are, was of the fallen race of Adam. We know that there is "no man righteous, no not one." We just saw from Dr. Boise how he became righteous. His faith caused him to find grace. How was his faith different that that of other men? Verse 9 states he was "perfect" in his generations. The Hebrew word used here for "perfect" has two meanings. "Upright" and "sincere". His faith was sincere. He truly believed and trusted as opposed to just saying the words. His faith and walk were upright before his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and he was an example to them.
Genesis 6:11-13. (Read)
We see several important points here. What should frighten us most is that God sees the corruption of man as corrupting the earth his lives on. We are not speaking exclusively of environmental corruption such as from pollution, but that sin on the part of earth on which he lives corrupts that place to the point where God wants to destroy it and the wicked humans living on it. We will see that later with Sodom and Gomorrah. God will look on the abomination of their sin and not only destroy the sinners, but turn their once beautiful cities and valleys into the salty stink hole of the Dead Sea. We need to consider this as year after year our nation bloodies its soil with the deaths of a quarter million aborted babies. And as our entertainment industry pours out every increasing filth and violence; God is patient, but his patience has an end.
Also note that all flesh has corrupted itself on the earth. God’s judgement will fall on the animal kingdom as well as the human one as the next century draws to a close.
Now God gives his faithful servant instructions:
Genesis 6:14. (Read)
In our last lesson we said that the ark is a type of the faithful remnant which will be preserved through the Tribulation, but that is not all. I’ll quote Col. Scofield:
"But the type has also a present reference to the position of the believer ‘in Christ’ (Eph. 1), etc. It should be noted that the word translated ‘pitch’ in Gen. 6:14 is the same word translated ‘atonement’ in Lev. 17:11, etc. It is atonement that keeps out the waters of judgment and makes the believer’s position ‘in Christ’ safe and blessed."
Genesis 6:15. (Read)
This is pretty straightforward. As a standard cubit equals 18, the approximate distance from an average man’s elbow to the tip of his fingers, then the ark was to be built 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Imagine a long, slender shoebox half again longer than a foot ball field and as wide as a standard mobile home is long and as tall as the bell tower in the city square and you have the idea.
Genesis 6:16 (Read)
The word "window" means literally "a place of light". MacDonald tells us this means it was an opening for light and ventilation that ran the whole length of the ship on both sides, perhaps under the eaves of a slightly peaked roof or covering. We also see that the mighty barge was to have three decks and the way verse 16 is worded, the door may have been massive also, opening onto all three decks at once.
We are talking a VERY large boat here. We think of how many people such a ship could carry today, but a significant portion of modern ships is taken up with propulsion and steering machinery, lounges and the like. The ark needed none of those. Models built to these proportions placed in the huge wave tanks that hydraulics labs such as the one at the University of Iowa use, show that it pivots naturally into the waves and meets them head-on as they flow past it. So no rudder was needed and no sails. There was no need of a deep, ballasted keel.
Genesis 6:18 (Read)
God’s grace has made an exception for righteous Noah and his family. In the New Testament we read another such story.
Acts 16:25-34. (Read)
In this well-known story, we also see an entire household saved. Paul says in verse 31 to the jailor, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Some of our friends in the Reformed Church would have you believe that salvation, or at least the predestination to it, comes through the parents, that it is inherited. But look at verse 32, after Paul’s promise he and Silas taught both the jailor and his family and possibly servants. Verses 33 and 34 state that they all came to believe. It was not automatic, each had their own faith, but it came about because of the father’s leadership. Today, many of the problems in this nation and world come from the lack of a father’s leadership. The vast majority of the 1000’s of patients we’ve had on the adolescent unit in Des Moines and of those I oversee as a jailer do not have an upright and sincere father in leadership such as this jailer and also Noah had.
So were Noah’s whole family saved simply because HE was faithful? No, but through his witness and by his example, they came to believe also. As Luke would say elsewhere in acts, "as many as were ordained to salvation, believed".
Genesis 6:19-20 (Read)
God is now telling Noah what will happen a century in the future when the great Flood will come. He also lets Noah why it will be done this way. It will become Noah’s responsibility to keep them alive. God established with Adam the responsibility of keeping the garden and thus plant life, now a new responsibility is being added: husbandry. Abel had become a shepherd and was accountable for his sheep, but now taking care of wild species falls on humanity’s shoulders. From this will grow the idea of game management and responsible use of wildlife.
Genesis 6:21. (Read)
Noah has his second big job. It’s not enough he has to build this huge boat on dry land, he has to plan for food for all the animals and for his family for at least a year. If you’ve seen an elephant eat, for instance, you have something of the idea of the task this placed ahead of him.
The actor Bill Cosby has a hilarious comedy sketch about Noah where he portrays the patriarch complaining to God. "Who’s going to feed all these animals, and who’d going to clean up after them"? We know the answer… Noah and his family. The task before him is huge. He will have to invent technology. A forest of gopher wood will have to be felled, transported, sawn and shaped, then cured. Miles of caulking, a small ocean of pitch, it will all have to be prepared. The construction will take a hundred years and all this time they will be surrounded by the most perverted, vile, and violent generation the world has ever known. None of us would have blamed him had he simply seen the task as too much for him and given up. Did he?
Genesis 6:22. (Read)
What a statement this is! What a legacy! Here is his entrance into the Hebrews 11 hall of fame. "By faith Noah…" No job too big, no detail too small. God said it, that settled it, and Noah did it. Period. God wants Noahs today, men and women who look at the task before them and do it. He provides the strength and means but he provides something else too. He provides the walking orders. In C.S. Lewis’ book, The Horse and His Boy, a sniveling court underling is groveling before a wicked king trying to excuse his failures. "If it please your majesty…" he whines.
Then king says, "It pleases me principally to be obeyed!" We don’t have a wicked and capricious God, we have a loving one who cares for his children, but he is pleased principally to be obeyed. It's more important to him than sacrifice.
Am I obeying God today, in everything?

The North Wind Doth Blow

Thursday found the RRR wiggling about under the diminutive 94 Geo Metro. The new engine youngest son and his spouse installed was running smoothly, but with horrible squealing as though the new alternator belt was already soaked with oil as the last one had been. Mrs. RRR held the trouble light and handed tools. The next theory, that the pulleys didn’t line up, was proven wrong with a small carpenter’s square. At long last it appeared the bolts needed all loosed and then everything snugged up square and it ran without a squeak. Still idling too fast, but replacing the EGR system one piece at a time seems to be fixing that. The old one was plugged with goo and oil.
So my very tiny sampling, one, seems to show that the used Japanese low mile engines are a good deal.
Bay-Toe-Ven and I walked the creek down to the Big River and wandered the edge of the woods. Spring is on the verge of bursting forth, only the stinging nettles are showing their fresh green rosettes, scurvy medicine for the rangers.
Friday I shifted task gears and taught Management of Aggressive Behavior all day at the county hospital. My readers with a research bent may wish to visit the University of Oklahoma’s MAB website and see the philosophy that is changing psychiatric care in the U.S.
Today found Mr. and Mrs. RRR off on a road and shopping trip that also involved the RRR’s favorite 12-step meeting and then a meal out. A blizzard covered the northland, but below highway 20 Iowa remained only cold and miserable, but not covered with white.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Back To The Land Of The Day Shift

Good morning readers. The RRR, off 11-7's slept the night snuggled up to Mrs. RRR on the futon in front of the gas fireplace. Now she is off to keep the world safe from arthritis by teaching water exercise to Seasoned Citizens.


By the easy chair: Old Scofield Reference Bible, KJV. Col. Scofield, the ex-confederate calvary officer, ex-alcoholic changed the world in the early 1900's with this book.
Also: The Simple Life by Chas. Wagner, translated from the French. Required reading for the American people by President Teddy Roosevelt.

On the coffee table: An Eye For History, The Paintings of William Henry Jackson. By my good friend Dean Knudson, curator of the museum at the Gettysburg Battlefield.

On the kitchen table: April Fur, Fish, Game magazine. 100 Blessings Every Day by Rabbi Kerry M Olitzky.

By the "throne": Woodcraft by Nessmuk. This old boy was doing ultralight backpacking in the 1800's. His entire kit with canoe weighed 26lbs.!

By the computer for "slow loads": Catseye by Andre Norton

For daily devotions with Mrs. RRR: The Recovery Bible, Choice Gleanings from Gospel Folio Press (plymouth brethren), 24 Hours A Day (Hazelton), and last but not least... nay, almost most... My Utmost for His Highest by Owald Chambers.

The day didn't start out well, fasting blood sugar of 168. Diet controlled diabetics can NOT do this. Too many carbs last night at the BBQ place. Slathered on the sauce, ate 1 1/2 dinner rolls. Came home and had a cup of frozen fruit for dessert. (Stressed is Dessert spelled backwards and vice versa). Discipline is back in force. Pure protien breakfast, eggs, bacon. And coffee. The last of the Columbian Supremo in the thermos. Must make more this morning.

Later gentle readers...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

March 16th, 0620

The RRR lingered over his coffee Tues. morning and left the Big City in time to see the Chiropractor. The ol' doc worked his usual magic and after some good ol' boy talk it was off to the pawn shop.

There, right there in the case was the most beautiful little Smith and Wesson Model 60 I've ever seen. Stainless steel, five shot, and an accurizing job by the S&W custom shop. The RRR is a Reserve Deputy Sheriff and one of a three man team who took 3rd and 4th in the state the last two years in police pistol shooting. The piece handled like a dream, oh the glass smooth action of the Custom Shop. I had visions of the RRR, Jeff, and John's photograph on the cover of The Backup as the number one team in the state. I saw the Off Duty trophy on top of Mrs. RRR's kitchen cupboard. But I acted suave and talked the dealer down by $25.

Book of Genesis: "And the woman saw the fruit was pleasing to the eye, good to taste, and desirable to make one wise and she did eat, and took to the man and he did eat." Lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. So I hopped (with my newly functioning back) into the Green Hornet and buzzed down to where Mrs. RRR was teaching swimming lessons at the indoor pool.

Now there may be those among my male readers who are NOT married to swimming exercise teachers who maintain the figure at 54 of a college girl, the RRR does NOT share your pain. But she would not share the beguilment of the Garden and I did not borrow the money from her for the S&W.... sigh.

So back to the cabin and rolled out the futon in front of the fireplace and slept till Bay-Toe-Ven the dog started whining and beating his tail against the window to let me know that Mrs. RRR was home from work. She made a quick and delicious lunch of left-over Christmas Turkey (you can't have too much left-over turkey) and home raised sweet corn. After we had devotions, then while still daylight we took Bay and walked through the woods and along the river. Redwinged Blackbirds were singing and a myriad of seagulls fished the river. Bay's wild side reasserted itself and he became younger and sleeker and ranged the woods as though he doesn't spend 18 hours out of 24 asleep in the cabin. Back home Mrs. RRR tucked me in and I slept till it was time to go to work.

No one has a better life than Shamgar, the River Rat Ranger. And goodnight.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

MARCH 15th

The RRR pleads middle of the night sleepiness for writing MAY 15th instead of MARCH. I'm certain there's medication for this.

Shamgar, the RRR

March 15th 0330

The RRR's eldest daughter, Heather the English professor insists that Dad start blogging again. So here goes. Orion was low in the western sky tonight as I left for the 50 mile commute to job #1. The little Metro belied its 200,000 miles and ran smoothly with the crankcase almost full of Bardahl's No-Smoke. The tranny still refuses to shift down into 2nd from 3rd without you bump 1st first. Mrs. RRR helped me drain and refill it tonight, but to no avail. And there was a metal filing on the drain plug. Kiss of death. A used Nipponese import transmission in on the docket for the Green Hornet.

Those of you with Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest need to read the March 14th reading. As Heather's twin brother the seminary student says... "A good mystic is hard to find".

The RRR's back and left heel pain are worsened by the Management of Aggressive Behavior class he taught at the county hospital Friday. So this a.m., it's stop at the chiropractor on the way back to the riverview homestead.

Be kind.

If you're reading this thank a teacher. (especially if you're home schooled)

If you're reading it in English, thank a veteran.