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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

Saturday, April 30, 2005

By the Littlest Ranger, age 3 days

Mom and I were doing fine in the hospital, just her and me. Then during something called "visiting hours" these two guys showed up. They are big and loud. The one named Daddy took me away from Mommy and held me and kept saying the same strange things over and over: "Soccer, Bicycles.... Soccer, Bicycles... Soccer, Bicycles." Then the one called Grandpa took me away from him and started saying over and over: "Pistol shooting, Sprint Cars... Pistol Shooting, Sprint Cars... Pistol Shooting, Sprint Cars." Who are these guys?

Then they talked about something called "a minor surgical procedure". Later last night it happened.

I don't want to talk about it.

But I DID notice the two big loud people who talked about it managed to be gone when it happened.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Grandpa's Stuff, by Rangerette #1, age 4

Grandpa carries all sorts of things. He lets me see them but I have to say what each one is for. He wears a funny floppy hat called a bush hat. He can roll it up and put it in his pocket. In his hoodies pockets he carries a little black flashlight called a mag-light. It has a long string on it so he can wear it around his neck at night. He says he can light a campfire with it, but I haven't seen him do it. In the other pocket of his hoodie he has a little peice of metal he calls mag-nes-eum. It has a piece in it he can make sparks on. He says it lights fires, too. And more string. He carries lots of string, but he calls it cordage. You can't have too much cordage, he says. Around his neck on a string under his shirt he wears a compass for a necklace. He lets me play with it. In his pants pocket he has a swiss army knife. It does all kinds of things, even pulls out slivers. He's always saying a swiss army knife can fix anything but a broken heart. Of course he has his billfold, besides money he has pictures of grandma and me and his other grand daughters. He calls us his Rangerettes and gives us numbers by how old we are. I'm oldest, so I'm Rangerette #1. Grandpa is silly.

He takes long walks with Bay-Toe-Ven. They come back all wet and muddy. Grandpa and Grandma are here taking care of little sister and me while Mommy is in the hospital having our little brother. He and Daddy argue about the Bible a lot. They call it theology. I can tell when Daddy is right and Grandpa is wrong because Grandpa gets red in the face. Grandma makes us good food but I'll be glad when Mommy comes home.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

A Little Ranger Is Born

On April 28th, at 55 minutes past noon is born Mr. and Mrs. RRR's fifth grandchild, and this time a boy! 6lbs. and 13oz. Grandpa is shopping ebay for camping and float trip gear. A grandson. To carry on the family name. To grow up to love and protect his sisters. To some day be a man of God. But now, God's precious gift. Tiny child and mama doing fine. Prayers are answered. God is good.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

New Ranger Remedies

The RRR in his never ending quest to find alternative treatments less expensive and more effective than "chemical" medicine is doing clinical trials on the following.

1. For Warts... Soak the pad of a bandaid with castor oil ($1.97 for several ounces at Sprawl Mart) and apply over the wart at least twice a day and leave on till next application. Be sure to use bandaids to which the skin is not sensitive.

2. Toe-nail fungus... Dab tea tree oil ($4.97 for two ounces at Sprawl Mart) on the nail, exposed bed, etc. as often as you change shoes, at least twice a day. The most wonderful, exotic "natural medicine" smell there is. Will at the least help cure any odor problems.

If any readers try the above, please comment on ongoing effectiveness on future blogs. As will I and Mrs. RRR.


In A Ranger's House

This weekend it seemed the RRR's job consisted of admitting one hurting (and hurtful) teenager after another. The nights were cold but Monday morning brought the respite of sunshine before the approaching rain. I had tasks to perform in the Big City so when I left the hospital at 0730 I drove down to a city park by the River to hike till stores opened.

Only one other car was in the parking lot, a battered old K-car. The two scruffy types inside must have been very poor. They were rolling their own and must have been unable to even afford that as they were passing the cigarette back and forth. Slim cigarette, too. I hear tobacco has gotten expensive.

I walked along the waters edge on the north bank. Enough chill in the air to make it brisk, enough sun to make it pleasant. Past the border of the park I followed the fishermen's path as it entered the industrial area. I was walking into the vee where the levee cuts close to the river bank. Soon the area narrowed and the willows grew more verdant. The path continued, now just recently pressed down grass. It ended at a tiny clearing with a campsight. An old piece of carpet on the ground sat exactly under two branching limbs that leaned away from the river. It was where I would have set up a camp.

There are several kinds of homeless people. The crazy ones who chose the woods rather than the psych wards, the substance addicts who prefer the riverbank drunk to the rescue mission sober, and the rangers. The first two leave garbage and filth. Their spots are litter nests. This was a ranger camp. So how do you tell a ranger camp?

No trash, not a scrap. The spot is hidden from the casual wanderer or officer bent on eliminating "vagrancy". With the tarp gone from the tree limbs, as I found it, the observer would assume a fishing spot. Indeed, a willow wand leaning out over the water a short distance away might have a worn place on the bark where the fish line is tied to provide the occasional free breakfast. A short piece of rope trailing in the water from the base of one of the limbs, a stringer for fish or the restraint for a container serving as a refrigerator. Directly in front of where the lean-to would be, a flat piece of concrete a few inches thick and about a cubit in diameter covers a hole about a foot deep and the same wide. Another smaller chunk a foot away to cover the air vent/chimney to the fire pit. In the pit a coffee can with an aluminum foil cover keeps dry the partially used bits of charcoal bricuet salvaged from the grills scattered about the city park. A faint trail further back in the willows leads to another chuck of concrete over a larger hole used for another purpose. Burdock and "velvet" weed with the leaves torn off show where quick toilet paper was needed when the ranger's supply ran out unexpectedly.

So what does the ranger look like? 6 foot or just under from the height to which twigs are broken off on the way in. Slender, as no limbs or rocks are arranged as seats, no spots on conveniently high limbs where the bark is worn smooth. So thin enough to squat comfortably, both by the fire and over the toilet hole. Arms no more than 36" long based on the distance to the burdock leaves. He doesn't make a living by scavaging cans for the deposit. There is no smell of stale beer or sticky spots of old pop from rinsed and shaken out cans. Not a smoker, no ashes flicked about or pipe dottles and no cigarette butts. Fastidious, he doesn't use the area around his house for a urinal. At worst he uses the river, at best, the toilet hole. He must carry everything in a small pack and take it with him each day.

I like this guy. We would share a fire. Perhaps we have.

Up the levee and off past the warehouse. The gang symbols spray painted on the back wall giving good reason for the ranger to stay hidden and private. Walking till the trail joins with the asphalt one named for the congressman whose pork barrel project it was. Almost immediately that dratted left heel begins to hurt, so I step off onto the grass. Where I was meant to walk anyway. Past the nests of crazy and addicted campers, past the trucking company. To the island that used to be an amusement park and now is a little used picnic area maintained by the Kiwanis. And back using a different trail past the private motor squadron marina and the college rowing scull marina and the public marina where the green hornet waits. An hour stolen. A friend appreciated. A good start to a new day.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

One Perfect Day

To the practicing Jew, a day begins at sundown and runs for 24 hours to the next sundown. For the RRR whose claim it is to be a practicing Christian and who worked night shift last night, the 14th of Nison, the Jewish month of liberation, year 5765 began when the alarm went off at 9:30 p.m. First, the sleepy-eyed stumbling about to dress, gather coffee and other paraphenalia and begin the long commute to the Big City. In the cloudy windy darkness it didn't seem like the perfect day was starting. The CBC was on public radio displaying their usual bizarre priorities that led to last night's blog.

But recorded report from the 3-11 shift was succinct and to the point and the night started well. The perfect shift on psych involves no emergency admissions and 14 Nisan was no exception. There WERE crisis, not the least of which was an emergency rush to the ER at the request of the house supervisor Mark, a gulf war vet and very much a fellow ranger. An angry couple, woman committed as a psych patient to the adult floor against her will, the husband angry and wanting to protect his spouse. A very real threat of violence. But Mark was great. The hospital police were great and the incident passed. A few more issues emerged back on the unit, but the night went quietly.

Then the drive home... Drinking fresh Columbian Supremo coffee and enjoying the sun shining on the new day. I collected my duty weapon and changed into scruffy clothes and Mrs. RRR and I drove to the county firing range for Sheriff's Office weapon's qualification. At first tragedy seemed in the offing. In my rush I'd forgotten to bring last year's duty ammo to qualify with. I was upset, embarrassed, wanted to run home. But one colleague had brought an ammo can of reloads he assured me worked "fine". I have disdain for someone who uses untested ammo, yet I did it. The gun jammed, and jammed, and jammed again. Feed well it might in his Kimber, my 1911 Officer's model could not digest it. And worse, in my upsetness, I'd fired all 7 shots on the wrong target! I was ready to hide under my car till everyone left, and I'd done this in front of Mrs. RRR, the first time she'd ever come to watch!

But things were not as bad as they seemed. The deputy shooting next to me had done so poorly that even my 7 shots in the middle of his target couldn't save his score. So I joined the other officers for the shotgun portion of the shoot. I drew the old Smith and Wesson shotgun. I could NOT load that thing quickly, I fumbled, dropped shells, made a fool of myself, but when finally I stepped to the line at 50 yards, the world turned sweet, the huge slug made a hole dead center on the FBI "Q" target. Could that cranky old S&W shoot! 5 hits and no misses, run forward to the next barrier, 6 more hits. Up to the next one 5 more hits. Not one miss, not one pellet of the 00 buck on the last five out of the kill zone. I carried the perfect target back to the scoring table, thinking... "What if... What if..?"

Lt. Tom pressed an extra box of last year's .45 duty ammo into my hand. This time I didn't shake as I loaded the magazines. Down to the barrier at 25 yards to start the pistol qualification over. Whistle blows, hit the dirt to shoot prone, 1st shot dead center. I can DO this! 6 shots prone, 3 kneeling strong hand, 3 left hand. Remember what the Lt. Said, both thumbs on the side near the barrier. 6 more standing. Still all hits. Holster, take deep breaths, arrange the magazines. Run forward, draw, shoot, Right hand, left hand, still no misses! Over half done, run up again, still no misses. Way up close. Empty gun into target FAST, right hand, left hand, change magazines, slap the magazine home, the slide bangs forward, empty the gun. Stand there staring. 50 holes in the kill zone. A perfect target. Turn around to see if Mrs. RRR is watching. The sun shining twinkling on the trail of empty Chip McCormick magazines leading back to the 25 yard line.

Walking up to Lt. Cox asking him to ask me how I did. Bragging and reminding him and myself that it doesn't work so well when the target isn't paper and it's shooting back. Our eyes meet, the Lt. KNOWS. Eyes meet for a moment older than time. Years ago a madman in a nearby town charged out of his house a gun in each hand firing. The Lt. had given his body armor to the local police chief. But he stood and fired and put his man down. Only one other officer got a shot off that day, a fellow reservist. As I said, he KNOWS.

Mrs. RRR and I drove back to the cabin in a happy daze, the two targets folded up and sitting beside us. She made her special high protein, low carb pancakes, slathered with real butter, garnished with pure maple syrup. I called and left messages with Grandpa Ranger, oldest daughter, and younger brother. Oldest son I got to brag to and youngest son and his darling rangerette and youngest daughter and her's. Happily gave advice to her husband on what pistol to buy for home protection.

As I was falling asleep, Grandpa Ranger called me back. Dear father who taught me to shoot and made me my first .45 from used parts. Who taught the 2003 national champion to shoot whom I bought the Officer's Model from. Talked about his health and mine. Fell asleep at the age of 54 smiling with my father's praise warm in my ears.

H-jane, oldest daughter and ranger reader said on a comment to one of my blogs, "Dad, do you know how beautiful your life is?" I know, H-jane. I know.

There Will Always Be A Canada

With one hour of nationwide radio time in the U.S., this is what the Canadian Broadcasting System spent its resources on Friday night.

1. The three major parties in Canada can't agree on anything. Representatives of each interrupted and shouted down each other and avoided direct questions.

2. A cow named Baby in Wisconsin was prevented from being the "depositor" this year in a Cinco De Mayo fund raising effort where the location of her dropping a cow pie was to determine who won $200 (American) in a raffle called Cow Pie Bingo. She was barred for jumping over the fence at the event in 2003 and going looking for a bull.

3. A student in Canada is raising funds to go be a witness in Rwanda at a tribal hearing about mass murder in 1991. She, of course, didn't actually see the murders because she was a student at a private boarding school when they occurred.

4. President Bush has signed legislation allowing rental movies to be censured for profanity, violence, and sex.

5. A lady who just started keeping bees in England had her hive swarm and leave when a new queen hatched.

6. Scientists in Seattle have successfully tricked mice into hibernating.

On the other side of the planet, coalition forces continue to fight and die to bring freedom to the Iraqi people for the first time in over a thousand years. But Canada has decided to sit this one out. So the news reflects their priorities... Meaningless political debate, cow manure, student travel, American censorship, lost bees, and sleepy mice.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Insight by Mrs. RRR

“Alcoholics and addicts are very needy people. They need huge amounts of praise for any accomplishment no matter how tiny. They need constant reassurances of love no matter how wicked their behavior has been and how little they deserve it. It sounds more like a job for God than for a spouse.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


"Simplicity is a state of mind. It dwells in the main intention of our lives. A man is simple when his chief care is the wish to be what he ought to be, that is, honestly and naturally human. And this is neither so easy nor so impossible as one might think. At bottom, it consists in putting our acts and aspirations in accordance with the law of our being, and consequently with the Eternal Intention which willed that we should be at all. Let a flower be a flower, a swallow a swallow, a rock a rock, and let a man be a man, and not a fox, a hare, a hog, or a bird of prey: this is the sum of the whole matter.

Here we are led to formulate the practical ideal of man. Everywhere in life we see certain quantities of matter and energy associated for certain ends. Substances more or less crude are thus transformed and carried to a higher degree of organization. It is not otherwise with the life of man. The human ideal is to transform life into something more excellent than itself. We may compare existence to raw material. What it is, matters less than what is made of it, as the value of a work or art lies in the flowering of the workman's skill. We bring into the world with us different gifts: one has received gold, another granite, a third marble, most us wood or clay. Our talk is to fashion these substances. Everyone knows that the most precious material may be spoiled, and he knows, too, that out of the least costly an immortal work may be shaped. Art is the realization of a permanent idea in an ephemeral form. True life is the realization of the higher virtues, -- justice, love, truth, liberty, moral power, -- in our daily activities, whatever they may be. And this life is possible in social conditions the most diverse, and with natural gifts the most unequal. It is not fortune or personal advantage, but our turning them to account, that constitues the value of life. Fame adds no more than does length of days: quality is the thing" (emphasis added here by the RRR).

The Simple Life by Charles Wagner.

Those of my readers who have read Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintainence will recognize that it was Phaedrus' misunderstanding of this concept that led him into madness and the destruction of his personality. Phaedrus missed that quality is one attribute of the Creator, not a god in itself.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Ranger Recipe

How to Eat Wood:

"First, collect beech wood, or other woods lacking turpentine (pines and other conifers all have turpentine). Chop the wood into chips, or better yet, shavings. Boil the shaving three or four times, stirring regularly.

Next, dry the wood, and then reduce it to powder, or to as fine particles as possible. Then bake the wood in your oven three or four times, and grind as you would grind corn or wheat.

Wood prepared like this acquires the aroma and flavor of corn, according to the Emigrant's Handbook, 1854. Leaven prepared for corn bread is best to use with this wood flour. A spongy bread results, which is described as 'by no means unpalatable.'

If the wood flour is boiled in water and left to stand, a thick jelly results which can be eaten."

From: In The Footsteps Of Our Ancestors, Guide To Wild Foods, 4th Edition.
By Christopher Nyerges. The RRR has a copy signed by the author, of course.

Monday, April 18, 2005

It Ain't That Pretty At All

So Monday finds the RRR listening to the late Warren Zevon singing "It Ain't That Pretty At All." ("I'm going to take a running start and throw myself against the wall, cause I'd rather feel bad than feel nothing at all.") Ah Warren, the poet laurette of the mercenaries (Jungle Work, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, The Envoy). I went on strike and refused to listen to him after he cut up the midwest on the Tonight show, but he won me back by working a good program and dying sober. OK some of his lyrics are innappropriate, even blasphemous, but what a poet... "In the cool of the evening when the sun goes down, my wife is playing canasta with everyone in town. When it gets to be more than I can take, fire up the Winnebago, drive it in the lake. Down in the basement I got a Craftsman lathe, show it to the children when they misbehave. It's the white man's burden and it weighs a ton, it's the white man's burden... model citizen." Dylan can't touch him.

Friday Mrs. RRR and I went to the VA and I waited patiently till the pheblotomists stopped talking on their cell phones and they stuck me and drew tube after tube after tube of blood. Hep C, diabetes, high blood preassure, cardiac irregularity, prostate trouble, all have their own multiple tests.

(Warren ran out, Stevie Ray Vaughan goes in) More great music from dead caucasians.

Then we went to our favorite chinese restaurant in the Big City. OK, it's a buffet, but they have a pro-ranger attitude. I found one waitress who could speak fairly good English and she went in the back and had the chef cook us up each a special plate full, multiple veggies, 4 kinds of animal flesh, flash fried in a wok in Kung Pao sauce. Take the RRR back to SE Asia, street food, cooked in a charchol fired wok on a push cart. "You want ti-ti Nuc Momn G.I.?" Let me smell it... eyes water, "Ti-ti more Mamasan". Fried rice, pickle sauce, homemade soy sauce, sea salt that was water in the ocean two days before, no wonder the RRR weighs over an eighth of a ton. We shoulda won that war just to save the push carts. But hey, we were winning when I left.

Saturday up early and the long drive to the best 12 step meeting in 4 states. Laugh if you will, but watched the sunrise from false dawn till in your eyes bright. Spent a year as a rural milk delivery man centuries ago. Stopped every morning and drank a cup of coffee watching the sunrise. Can only get over there once a month, but worth the drive and more. Shopping at Sam's Club for Mahi Mahi, you can't have too much Saipanese fish in the freezer. And a plastic mat for in front of the computer desk. Bay Toe Ven got to ride in the back, but last trip for him till fall, it's too hot in the Metro while he's waiting.

But Sunday... oh the RRR's Sunday. Elder James started preaching through the book of John. John the Beloved. John the Mystic. People go to huge mega-churches with entairnment "praise" that would put Ed Sullivan to shame and listen to famous preachers read from computer print outs for 18 minutes. They don't know what they are missing. In tiny chapels, rented rooms and living rooms around the world plymouth brethren assemble and wait on the Lord and accept his invitation to supper, fellowship, then listen to amateurs preach long sermons that often put the pros to shame. Give your money at the megachurch and it helps pay the 5 figure electric bill, give it through Christian Missions in Many Lands, the brethren mission society and two months later a letter comes from Chad or Berundi. "We took your $150 and bought a pickup load of rice and took it to village X where no one had eaten in almost 2 weeks. The brothers in the assembly passed out each cup in Jesus' name. Praise God he made the truck invisible to the terrorists and they didn't destroy or rob it." For me the choice isn't difficult.

Sunday afternoon Mrs. RRR and I ate the chicken that had simmered all morning in the crock pot, then painted a frame for my tin sign that shows my beloved H Farmall and prepared it to go up on the wall. But then out to the Big Lake to walk the trails. The heel pain is gone. Thanks Glen. Two hours on the trail with Mrs. RRR and Bay. Day was, I walked all my trails alone. Now it's a pleasure to share. Thank you God.

But more pleasure was to come. Sunday was Youngest Daughter's birthday and birthdays have always been very important to YD. We called and Mrs. RRR and I and Bay Toe Ven sang "Happy Birthday" with Bay throwing back his head and howling on "you". Then we got to talk to the youngest Rangerette, about 7 months old now I believe. We heard all about life on the Country Singer's estate. She's into Barred Rock chickens now. I fear the mountain lion that prowls the compound may be also, or perhaps the other way around.

And all readers please keep praying for "Jim" and his wife as he sorts out his faith and his recovery.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Frustrated Friday

Friday morning is suddenly reaching out day for the RRR. Multiple things are occurring in the lives of the people he cares about. His good friend (we'll call him Jim) has been struggling with deep problems of depression and self destructive thoughts and a real crisis in is faith. Thankfully he's being released from the hospital this morning. Both he and his wife need the prayers and support of all of us. Grandpa RRR is facing major medical problems as he continues on radiation treatments and now is facing the need for diagnostic tests that would require him to go off medication that is vital for his health.
And I am looking at leaving for blood tests myself in about an hour. The RRR came home from the 'Nam with Hepatitis C as did many of his comrades. I've been on 4 or 5 one year cycles of medication which is basically chemotherapy. Now six months after the last dose, I go in to have blood drawn to see if this time the treatment took. I won't have the results back for a week or more.
Adding to this frustration is dealing with the most lumbering bureaucracy on the planet, the Veterans Administration. Costing the taxpayers double the private cost for care one half as good, it is the real “third rail” of government programs. No legislator dares even criticize it without committing political suicide. Everyone knows what needs to be done but the ponderous weight of veterans organizations prevents it. The whole system needs to be eliminated. Veterans could be given vouchers to take to the health care providers of their choice. It would save us billions of dollars. And the out of work Dr.s and nurses would have to get real jobs, thus eliminating our nurse and Dr. shortage in the U.S. Will it ever happen? Don't hold your breath, dear reader.
I will give you an example. This morning I called the VA to confirm my appointment and see if the labs were fasting. After listening to the required 30 second recording and being allowed to talk to a live operator, I was transferred to the lab. They had no record of me being supposed to show for the labs. I had to call back and get the operator again and asked for my clinic. She transferred me by mistake to the surgery clinic, who then transferred me to the correct clinic, but that clerk had never heard of me either. She paged the clinic nurse who remembered me from my last visit and finally found me in her computer. Someone from the main clinic had discontinued my labs today figuring they could all be drawn when I come in for another appointment for another problem next week. But the Hep C test has to be packed in dry ice and shipped out of state so the results wouldn't be ready by the time of my Hep C clinic visit. The nurse changed them all back on the computer and Mrs. RRR and I will go there this afternoon on faith.
You begin to see why veterans waiting in line for hours at the wrong desk go postal. My favorite was the 'Nam vet who waited in front of a receptionist being ignored for 15”, then went out to his pickup and got his chainsaw and cut the desk in half. You gotta love 'Nam vets.
Mrs. RRR loves this one. Yesterday we went for a walk around the county park and came home to one of her superlative meals. “I am of all men, most fortunate.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Night Madness Daylight Geese

Things the RRR forgot to blog... A call to the Rangerettes Back East, who had been out blowing bubbles in the back yard. The darling grand daughters described the process with great enthusiasm. It took me back into their world momentarily where soap bubbles are magic galaxies of sparkling color and mystery. With great difficulty I restrained myself from telling them they could slip a little powdered sugar into the bubble mix and make the bubbles incredibly long lasting and not nearly so delicate. Momma might not have approved of the sticky mess resulting. An idea I got from W. Ben Hunt, one of the very best rangers of a century ago. He also suggested having a smoker blow a few bubbles for you as he puffed, which creates miniature clouds encased in glimmering soap globes. Also not a good idea for little girls.

On Monday morning the trip home to the cabin dragged on and I stopped below the Big Dam and walked the trails for an hour. The retired caretakers of the small campground had it to themselves and Mrs. Caretaker was standing in front of the playground surrounded by wild geese. The way they were pushing up around her I knew she was committing the possibly illegal, certainly unethical act of feeding them. I suggested to her that she was creating a situation in which the toddlers who would soon be using the playground behind her could easily be attacked by the geese. To a goose, especially a dominant gander, the flashing eyes of a tiny child look like large tasty insects. She angrily informed me that children deserved to be attacked as they tease "her" geese. And then told me that geese had the same right to be here humans do. I told her that I could not disagree more strongly and that should any animal attack a child in my presence whatever the stimuli, that animal would instantly die. Infuriated she stomped to her trailer and informed her husband what kind of an insensitive creature was walking around their campground. I watched as he painfully pushed himself up out of his lawn chair and with stooped shoulders trudged to the trailer as she trotted along beside him her mouth pouring vindictiveness into his long-suffering ears.

He stood in the doorway looking sadly at me as I approached, then at her command slammed the door shut. As I went by the trailer I saw the sign on the front, Proud To Be Retired Army. I thought about going back and knocking on the door and reminding him he must have been a man once. But somehow I think that awareness is constant with him. I always have to wonder, did I once hear his voice on a radio a generation ago? Did he sound calm and reassuring to a scared young man crying out desperately for reinforcements, artillery, airstrikes, or a medivac? What happened to both of us in the intervening years that left him a withered victim and me the one who set her off when I could have just kept my mouth shut?

I went home then and petted the dogs and sipped my coffee and slept at last and when Mrs. RRR came home hugged her and hugged her and hugged her some more. Oh dear God, how could I have been so fortunate and the retired soldier so miserable?

Tonight? well a much different story, admissions pouring in on the shift ahead of us, another on ours. I suspect the great cosmic K-Mart is having a blue light special on suicidal teenagers. Where have we gone wrong that we have created a world where teens see nothing to live for?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Today's Quote

The man who gives himself up entirely to the service of his appetites,
makes them grow and multiply so well that they become stronger than he;
and once their slave,
he loses his moral sense,
loses his energy,
and becomes incapable of discerning and practicing the good.
He has surrendered himself to the inner anarchy of desire,
which in the end gives birth to anarchy.
In the moral life we govern ourselves.
In the immoral life we are governed by our needs and passions;
thus, little by little,
the bases of the moral life shift,
and the law of judgement deviates.

Charles Wagner
The Simple Life


Monday night/Tuesday morning... 0200, night shift on Adolescent Psych in the Big City. Each nurse gets a half hour meal break. The RRR spent his by slipping on his hooded sweatshirt, called a "hoodie" in this brave new millennium, and walking in the rain the perimeter of the hospital campus. For some unknown reason staff are not to leave the "campus" while on break. But the mile and a half circumference is within the letter of the law. Out the cafeteria door this night, down to the bike trail along the river, up past the maintenance shop, around the far sides of the back parking lots, then the perimeter sidewalk, then around the chopper pad, past the main entrance. One of the smokers there hacked and coughed and asked what the heck I was doing. "Walking down the blood sugar, poor man's insulin." Instant acceptance. A person who likes walking in the rain at 0200 watching the lights reflect off the puddles and feeling the rain drops is weird and a little... Scary. A diabetic who fears hyperglycemia... Perfectly normal and understandable. Same -- same keeping the fishing pole out over the side of the boat as RRR and son float down the river, there's a PURPOSE they're here. It's OK.

The hoodie is in the dryer now and I sit here sipping on my organic aloe vera, colloidal silver, and 17 medicinal herb tonic, and contemplate these things.

Lunch is ready. Mrs. RRR made bread tonight as I slept. I woke up to the house warm and yeasty smelling with rain pounding on the roof. Stood by the stove waiting for the coffee to heat up and ate her fresh, hot bread with butter melting into it. Now there's a hamburger patty and a crisp tart apple and a cup of Mrs. RRR's homemade yogurt. I've tasted it already. It has banana slices and strawberry slices in it.

A sudden shriek from down the hall, patient vomiting in wastebasket loudly and dramatically. As on the hypochondriac's tombstone, "I Told You I Was Sick". Perhaps I'll wait on the yogurt.

To answer one question about the sermon from Sunday: the modern English version that suggested Noah's family was 601 years old instead of him was the Berkeley. I actually like it. 1st passage I look at in any new version is Romans 13:1-7. If I like the way it flows, I'll probably be able to tolerate the rest. Though I'm still waiting for one honest enough to translate the Greek "baptizo" (Sp?) "immerse" instead of the cowardly transliteration "baptize". I don't care if King James would have beheaded them when that abomination started, honesty should count for something, look at the misery and foolishness it has cost over the last 500 years.

Sunday night was clear with a storm coming. Took my walk early as tonight. But became desperately tired on the way home. I pulled off at the prairie Center and napped in the parking lot. Awakening, I found the skies had cleared from the rain and walked the two mile trail. As tonight, earthworms made straight lines across the trail, the sun shining through them illustrating their digestive systems. In two miles I only accidentally stepped on one. The Buffs placidly ignored me except for the Alpha bull who snorted once to remind me he was in charge. Call them bisons if you will, to me they're Buffs, a ton or more of rich maroon meat, handy bones, and the world's warmest potential robe, on the hoof. The western writer Zane Grey helped save the last tiny herd that were the ancestors of all now living. His book about it is worth reading.

Good night, fellow rangers everywhere.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Genesis 7, Delivered

Sunday the RRR lived a full life except for lack of sleep. The night shift on the adolescent psych unit went quietly into the night. With a travel mug and two thermoses of Colombian Supremo from QT and thus fortified I commuted home practicing the sermon and read it again to Mrs. RRR as she "put on her face" and we went to the chapel. The services went off well. Breaking of bread is the most important part of a brethren assembly, with the men speaking as led and Christ’s sacrifice brought weekly to remembrance. Then the preaching. It was well received, even the visiting college student who obviously disagreed with my literalist perspective praised the content and presentation.

Then elder Raymond and his wife had us over for a delicious grilled steak. At last home for a couple hours sleep and Mrs. RRR and Bay and I did ranger things, a long walk in the wakening spring woods by the Big Lake. Then home and to sleep, blessed sleep. Sleep is one of God’s greatest gifts to his wayward children.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Springing Forward

Greetings, ranger fans. The RRR must confess you missed a good blog. Last night he provided the angry, definitive response to the death in Florida, and by an accidental mouse click lost it all. Now the rage has cooled, the pope has died also and life will go on. Let me summarize by saying I have a prediction that when the dust has cleared on all this, the culture of death will prevail, the Enemy and his servants will stop denying Terry suffered and the focus will turn to "humanely" putting such people to sleep with lethal injection. But that will come after at least two books and a made-for-TV movie.

Tonight, as last night, the RRR left for work with the universe in order. The Great Bear (big dipper to non-rangers) was straight overhead in the sky at 12 0'clock from Polaris (again for non-rangers, the North Star) with it's tail (handle) pointed due East. Orion rested just South of West down on the horizon. Tonight we jump our clocks an hour ahead. Which can mean squeezing 8 hours of work into 7 hours of pay for the nurses downstairs in ICU and the ED, but obviously not for the ones who have time to blog. Working in psych is much like an airplane pilot whose plane is on autopilot, but must remain behind the controls ready to grab them when something goes wrong. He or she isn't paid for the tasks they accomplish, but for what they don't let happen.

Today (Saturday) Mrs. RRR and I took Bay-Toe-Ven and drove to the Big Lake and hiked, trying out the new, almost pain free left heel, provided by loyal ranger-reader Glen who sent me a brand new pair of New Balance size 14's with special insoles. Thanks Glen, they've made a fantastic difference.

We went to a large Corps of Engineers park and walked first around several campgrounds. The place is almost deserted this early in the season. We saw deer in abundance. The females and yearlings grouping to provide distraction for the bucks who eased through the darker woods at a safe distance. We walked down to our favorite secret cove where nature and the action of the waves have conspired to make a beach scattered with odd shaped stones. Since he was a child the RRR has been intrigued with stones that have holes naturally worn through them. It is perhaps a legacy from his grandfather, the rock hound. None the less, they are unique, rare enough to be interesting, easy enough to find that they have no real financial value. Though who is to say what be done with creative narration on eBay? I found one of the usual small size and unusual shape that will make a nice medallion or "friendship" stone. There were three others, the largest 4'' across, which stacked nicely on each other and will disappear at once when left on the desk at work with a note, "free to a good home". But there was a very special one about an inch and a half across which had two holes through it, side by side. Very rare. That one went to Mrs. RRR as a keepsake. Two people who love each other and find a gift in nature that proclaims it are most fortunate.

We drove back to the cabin as the sun set behind us. Bay got to be "chased" the last quarter mile down the lane by the Scarlet Pimpernel (Mrs. RRR's Geo Metro). We each had a big bowl of organic oatmeal from the shop in Dallas, cooked with raisins and sweetened with stevia and real maple syrup and given a generous dollop of real cream. No one eats as well as the RRR. And to bed to dream of the alarm clock going off an hour later and here I am.

Hope you all remembered to set your clocks ahead or you'll stumble into church late, rubbing your eyes in the morning.

A late note. The three stacked stones have found a home with my co-worker who has at home 2 statuettes of Native Americans for which they will provide atmosphere.