Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Old Horse

I put my old work truck out to pasture. A sad day for any old thing. 

That old truck used to rear-up when he saw a new, cute F150 prancing down the road. To greet those prissy chicks, the old boy did a wheelie to show his stuff that was packed into his undercarriage. 

The old boy used to rev his power waiting for the red light to give the go-ahead. My pal carried mulch, sand, fertilizer, lime, bricks, cement, blocks, pavers, and gravel. He lugged timbers of all sizes. He was not ashamed to have hauled 12 foot 2x10s that proudly stuck out the back of the old boy. The more weight the better. Often the stuff was held down with a dozen 3/4 inch 4x8 sheets of plywood. The old boy didn’t mind getting his lid scratched transporting 16 foot boards on his roof. He would schlepp, pull, tug, push, drag, and never worry about his factory chrome decorations. Those add-ons were once to entice the buyer and the ladies.  

My friend dragged many-a-loads of brush and sticks to the gully. He dragged trailers, trees and stuck cars. He pulled himself out of ditches like a wild stallion. 

A scratch here and there, a ding or dent didn’t make him sob and pout. He is tough. He didn’t need a garage to protect his sturdy and muscular shape. “Pine sap, rain, ice and snow gives a guy character––window dressing,” the old boy called it. 

Now he’s old. He still has good lungs and torque. Poor thing got pushed aside. A new power horse has entered the family. Much younger, shiny, without dings or scratches. The new stallion is “equipped.” Whatever that means. Auto this, and auto that. It even has a well spoken female hiding somewhere under the hood that occasionally spouts of and leads the gullible driver around like a piglet on a leach.

“My manhood may be dried up,” the old boy says. “I’ll show them. I’ll be hauling firewood, logs and other stuff that the new and prissy thing will frown on doing. I’ll show them. I may be old, but I’m still a horse.”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An Ode To The King

An Ode To The King
Franz X Beisser

Ah, Christmas, the season of sharing––what annual fun,
If we’re not careful, it can get quite overdone.

Giving shirts, more shirts with sales tag wagging.
Fancy ties and dapper hats, all not worth the bragging.

Long-johns, how many does a fellow need?
One in the drawer, and one doing its deed.

Does a guy need a present from the digital world?
For fifty years he was without it––why now be spoiled?

Does a guy need a book on gardening means,
When still in the freezer are last century’s beans?

So what are the best gifts the old guy should get?
Treats––like the pooch for good behavior,––you bet!

A sack full of goodies such the wife cannot stand.
Goodies all aged and packaged in a mystery land.

With labels printed in silver and gold Chinese,
Ingredients and spices added by pious Mongolese.

The goodies must explode with sharpness and flavor,
Only a man with exquisite palate and grit would savor.

Pickled eggs, hot cherry peppers to make the mouth pucker.
Black olives, purple and green, for which I am a sucker.

Herrings, kippered and smoked, in wine sauce sour.
Sardines, spiced and skinned, in bites ready to devour.

I love smoked fishes in olive oil layered two deep,
Or singed in hot sauce, a true memory to keep!

Smoked oysters from the Mekong’s clean waters, the ultimate treat!
Stuffed with pride into shiny new cans, sealed and packaged all neat.

Why not soft and hard cheeses, some born years ago,
Still improving with age as surely you do know!

Brie, how delicate its flavor, on a cracker sprinkled with pepper,
Or layered inside a hot baked potato, oh my, what could be better!

Camembert, its fast growing mold so pungent and white––
Paired with onions on seeded rye, a man’s true delight.

Smoked Edam and Gouda makes great little cubes,
Much superior to anything squeezed from a plastic tube.

Cheeses, bring them on!––Havarti, Fontina and Asiago too.
And don’t forget, the Kaiser of cheeses must make his debut.

The aroma arrives first with it an instant cheer.
I offered to share it, but none dared to come near.

All the other cheeses stood respectful in the wing,
Smiling, bowing to their ruler––Limburger the King!

I have gained eight pounds since last Christmas so fine,
Eating cheeses for breakfast, supper and at snacking time.

For weeks my wife noticed a gathering fragrance in the fridge.
I did not tell her, but knew the King waxed picante and rich.

It was well into January when the King took the stand.
An anointing with pomp was his rightful demand!

My wife, all giddy with joy, went quilting from morning till four.
From the fridge stepped my King, as she closed the front door.

Basking on fine china he blended to room temperature,
Giving a boost to its excellent flavor and aroma for sure.

The knife, the onion, and rye bread were ready for duty.
All waiting to give honor and elevate that aging beauty.

A little Mozart added to lift my heart’s dancing,
The dog aroused from deep sleep came prancing.

It wasn’t the music, the smell the onion was making.
It was the scent of something dead that caused his awaking.

Poo-bear, I said, this heavenly treat is for Papa alone.
I promise you will lick the plate––better than an old bone.

His tail wagged with anticipation as my nostrils flared,
To take a good bite now, was all that I cared.

Discarding the crust, so pungent and ripe, would be a sin.
A nibble of it made my palate explode. Wow––truly a win!

The crunch of the onion supported the creamy inside,
Delivered by the rye bread––with chest-pounding pride.

Each bite built more flavor on top of the last,
I enjoyed every morsel till noon day long passed.

My wife will be home shortly, the aroma still in my nose,
And wafting happily through the house I suppose.

I opened the deck door and a window or two,
Praying for the breeze to freshen the air all new.

The wrapper I buried deep in three zip-tight bags,
Then I noticed the pooch’s boisterous wags.

Come here my little brother in crime,
Lick this plate clean, we don’t have much time.

I scrubbed my hands and finger nails too,
Bent in the sink to rinse my mustache with bubbly shampoo.

The scented candle gently crackled and hissed,
While I sat in the chair waiting by my love to be kissed.

Its been a long day and I did miss my wife,
But the King of all cheeses had added to life.

She bounded through the door all jolly and filled,
Then drew a deep breath for a greeting so fine––WHAT STINKS?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reflections On The New Year


I shared this post one year ago. The photos are taken from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The clouds above and the obscuring fog below led me to reflect what lies ahead and how futile it is to plan and attack the new year with gusto and new resolutions.


It is easy for us to reflect on the year just concluded. It is much harder to reflect on what lies ahead.

To start with, we must agree, there is no guarantee of a tomorrow; not even one next minute. So in that sense, there is no use in any new year resolutions. We quickly come to understand we have no control what comes next. The Almighty, not you or I, directs all things. The old adage "If it's the Lord's will, . . ." becomes the crux of the matter.

What do you see out there in the picture above? Something in the distance? Is that the mountain you plan to conquer this year? You can't even see it all. . . . Look, it is covered with uncertainty.

Not only are you not guaranteed the next step, but you don't know what is lurking in the valley. In your mind you may see your goal clearly, and even the joy of the blue sky beyond, but still, it is not you that will get you there.

That is why from our vantage point, at the beginning of a new year, we must look up. You will notice the clouds above resemble the clouds below. They are there to remind us that God obscures what's ahead, but He can lift the clouds and lift uncertainties.

TRUST, is the key word. After all, what is the purpose of it all? The purpose of this life? –– Like Jesus said: "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, but loose his soul?" . . .  "I have come to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there you may be also." . . .  "Don't worry about tomorrow, for today has enough trouble of its own." . . .  "Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." . . .  "My peace I will give you; not like the world gives . . ."

Those are eternal words for an eternal life, an unclouded day. –– He is "The Way, the Truth, and the Life . . ." He can lift the clouds of greed and selfishness and let you look into the new year with a Hope, a Hope of Glory, far beyond the days ahead.