Maintenance

Over the last year I’ve been a bit…lax about maintaining my blog.  I rectified that, somewhat, today. It was time to check my side-bar links. I number of the blog sites hadn’t been updated in a year.

One, Frank James’ site, I had kept for nostalgia. I respected Frank greatly and had met him a number of times, the last being at the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis. Frank had a stroke a few months later and passed last year of complications from that stroke. I read his last few entries before deleting his site from the side-bar. It was time to move on.

Like everything, time moves on. I’ve revitalized my ham radio hobby. Reading Roberta’s blog is a joy. I’ve added a boat-anchor to my collection, too, a 1950s Hallicrafters SX-101a receiver. Someday I’ll add a tube- based transmitter and join the folks reviving AM on 3.885MHz.

Maybe, as the election season proceeds, I’ll return here for more posting.

Ehhh…

Rubio takes a beating in the NH debate.

Tomorrow is the day in New Hampshire. The Trumpster is ‘supposed’ to win for the ‘pubs and Hillary for the dems. The establishments of both parties has ordained that result.

It worked for the dems in Iowa even if they had to fudge the books—again. It seems strange to me that the precinct who had a single dem attendee and who voted for the ‘crazy old man,’ went to Hillary. It’s also strange and beyond the realm of probability that Hillary won all six coin tosses in Iowa.

But Iowa is over. Lawyers in New Hampshire have proclaimed all will be legal and aboveboard in New Hampshire. We’ll have to wait and see.

In last Saturday’s pre-election debate, the Trumpster did not fare well. Neither did Rubio. Jeb took on Trump pounding the Trumpster over his support of Eminent Domain. Trump complained he never took anyone’s property. He was right in a way. He took a woman to court in New Jersey in the ’90s to seize her property for a parking lot next to one of his casinos. He lost! It’s true he didn’t take anyone’s property in New Jersey using Eminent Domain but he sure tried.

Rubio took a licking from Christie, too, and rightfully so. When you use the same tactic over and over again, sooner or later you opposition will notice and lay a trap for you. That’s what happened to Rubio. When you watch the video, it’s comical. Rubio stood there like a performer at amateur night at the local comedy house and Christie proceeded to chip large chucks off his stock performance. Polls following the debate have Rubio a number of points lower.

Curz and Carson fared well mainly because they were ignored by the moderators. Neither was given much opportunity to speak—Carson because he is now viewed by the MSM as losing and Cruz because whenever the MSM attack him, they come up the loser looking ridiculous.

I am no prognosticator. I cannot tell you how Cruz and the others will do in New Hampshire. I do expect Cruz to maintain his rising power.

Trump, in my opinion, is losing ground. His vitriol has hurt his campaign efforts. He vilified Cruz running up to Iowa and after. Then, he says Cruz is a nice guy—days after he called Cruz a nasty guy. Trump’s vitriol has recoiled on himself and has hurt Trump more than it does others and some of Trump’s supporters are dropping by the wayside. (Comparing Trump with Obama is another posting…or maybe not. There’s not all that much difference. Both are narcissists whose primary interest is themselves.)

Cruz picked up some Rand Paul supporters, more importantly, some Rand Paul financial supporters. Rand Paul hasn’t endorsed Cruz but many of his former supporters have. That helps Cruz and doesn’t help Trump nor Rubio.

Missouri will have its primary next month, March 15th. The Missouri pubbies will have their Presidential Caucus on April 9th. The GOP chose the caucus to limit, to a certain degree, infiltration by dems and third party followers. They also use the caucus to give the state GOP establishment more control over the process and the result.

The caucus method allowed the establishment to select Romney in 2012. I speculate they will line up behind Rubio, the new establishment darling, this year. It’ll be a tough job. Cruz has a lot of supporters in the western half of Missouri.

If you are a ‘pub, it is important for you to vote in the primary AND to attend the caucus. Check your local GOP central committee for the caucus locations in your county.

Merry Christmas!

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And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed…Luke, 2:1 KJV

‘Tis the season…

One of the original purposes of this blog was to capture events and memories of my family and events of times past. Some were comical, some were tragic, all were examples of life in another time. This is one. I’ve published it before but it bears seeing the light of day…and of the season…again.


 

When my Grandmother lived with us on the farm, Thanksgiving and Christmas was always a big deal. Many of our relatives lived at both ends of the state.

My Aunt Anna May (note: My Aunt Anna May, at age 99,  still with us. [Update: Aunt Anna May passed two months after I originally wrote this a few months shy of her 100th birthday,]) and a bunch of cousins lived near Cairo (rhymes with Aero. Kay-ro is a syrup. K-Eye-ro, another incorrect pronunciation, is a city in Egypt,) Illinois. Mom’s other two siblings, Aunt Clara and Uncle Bill, lived near Chicago along with their batch of kids and cousins. We lived betwixt them with a local batch of cousins and therefore often hosted the gathering of the Clan at the holidays.

In the late 1950s, most of the cakes and pies were hand-made including pie crust. Betty Crocker was expensive and not to be trusted according to Mom and Grandma. A week or so before the guests arrived, Mom and Grandma started making pie dough. They would make it in small batches, enough for a couple of pies and then store it on the porch. The porch was unheated and was used as a large refrigerator during the colder months.

Mom and Grandma collected pie fillings most of the year. When cherries were in season, they canned cherries. When blackberries and raspberries were in season, they canned the berries—along with making a large batch of berry jelly and jam. When apples were in season, they canned, dried apples, and made applesauce and pie filling. When the holidays arrived, they were ready.

About the only things they didn’t can was pumpkins. Mom and Grandma purposely planted late to harvest late. I don’t remember a year that we didn’t have pumpkins or sweet-potatoes for pie filling.

The count-down started with the pie dough. When the dough was ready, Mom began baking pies. When a pie was finished, it’d go out to the porch covered with a cloth. The division of labor was that Mom would make pies, Grandma would make cakes.

Grandma liked sheet cakes. I rarely saw a round, frosted cake unless it was someone’s birthday. Grandma’s cakes were 18″ by 24″. Icing was usually Cream Cheese or Chocolate. Sometimes, when Grandma make a German Chocolate cake, she’d make a brown-sugar/coconut/hickory nut icing. The baking was done right up until it was time stick the turkeys, hams or geese in the oven.

The last item Grandma would make was a apple-cinnamon coffee-cake that was an inherited recipe from her mother. It was common-place that when everyone arrived, we’d have a dozen pies and another dozen cakes ready. That was our contribution. The guests brought stuff as well.

The holiday gathering wasn’t just a single day, it was several. Thanksgiving, for instance, lasted through Sunday. A Christmas gathering lasted through New Years. We weren’t the only relatives in the central part of the state, but we were the gathering place. Come bedtime, the visitors left with some of the local cousins and would gather again the next day at another home and the visiting continued.

It was not unusual for us to have twenty or thirty folks at the house at one time. Our barn was heated for the livestock, so the men and boys—and some girls, gathered there. Dad would turn a blind eye to the cigarettes, cigars and bottles—as long as no one started a fire. Grandma’s jugs of Applejack appeared as well.

The women would gather in one of our side bedrooms where Grandma’s quilt frame was set up. They would sit, talk, quilt and plan future family affairs. A number of weddings were planned in those sessions. Sometimes before the bridegroom was aware of his upcoming fate.

Come Christmas Eve, the women, along with a number of kids, put up the tree and decorations. At 11PM, went went to midnight church services. Our local church was only a quarter-mile up the road from the farm. There were a number of preachers in the Clan and those who didn’t want to drive to a service and were still awake attended a Clan service in the barn. That was the only building able to house everyone at the same time.

On Christmas, the Clan dispersed to their more immediate relatives. Mom, Dad, Grandma, my Aunts and Uncles, my sister Mary Ellen, her husband Dick and their two kids arrived. Sometimes my Aunt Emily and Cousins Richard and Dorothy (Dad’s niece and nephew) would come down from Mt. Vernon, IL for Christmas.

More often than not, Dad, Dick, my Uncles and I would go goose or duck hunting early on Christmas morning. The Big Muddy River was only a few miles away and if we arrived right at dawn, we were likely to find some Canadian Geese or Mallards sitting out of the wind on the river. We rarely spent more than three hours hunting before we’d return home, wet, cold and tired ready for breakfast.

We would have a large breakfast around 9AM and afterwards while Mom and Grandma started on dinner, we’d open presents next to the tree. I remember once that Mom hide a pair of snow tires for Dad’s pickup behind the couch. I really had a hard time believing Dad wasn’t aware of them.
 
Over the years, the Clan has dispersed. Most moving to locations where jobs were available. The elders have passed on and with them the traditions. Cousins have lost touch and few live on the old homesteads.

It was a different time, another era. Some families still maintain the old traditions. They are the fortunate ones.

Check out Benedictus by Hayley Westenra

https://play.google.com/music/m/Te566gjvxxkpul4ffrqvdeibyfm?t=Benedictus_-_Hayley_Westenra

Happy Birthday, USMC

Happy Birthday, US Marines!

The Marine Corps was created on November 10, 1775, in Tun Tavern, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by a resolution of the Continental Congress. In 1834 the marines became part of the Department of the Navy.

The globe and anchor signify worldwide service and sea traditions. The spread eagle represents the nation itself. The motto is clenched in the beak of the bird.

To all you current, inactive and retired Marines,

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Mathew 25-21.

From here to there and home again

A few of you may have wondered what happened to the ‘Court. Most of the rest of you nay have never noticed I hadn’t posted since early in July.

There was a number of reasons. First, I’d become really, really, really hacked at the GOP from the national to the local level. Second, I needed some time off.

Mrs. Crucis and I decided to seek new climes and took off on a two week excursion out West. We traveled to twelve states and six National Parks and National Monuments.

A few close friends knew we were gone. However, we didn’t broadcast to the world we were away from home until after we had returned. I’m amazed how many give no thought to the security of their homes and blab to the world they aren’t home.

Be that as it may, we are back. It’s time to start saving for our next excursion.

Here are a few pics for your enjoyment.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park, UT

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID

I was surprised to note that the last eruption was only 2,000 years ago. That was this morning, geologically speaking.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, MT

Now you know why it’s called Glacier National Park. We also saw some glaciers on mountains in Idaho. By the way, we discovered that the state crop in Idaho is NOT potatoes. It is hay. We saw one, ten-acre potato field but saw hundreds of well-kept and irrigated hay fields.

Mountain goats, Yellowstone National Park

See if you can find them. Mountain goats, Yellowstone National Park, MT