New Year’s Eve 2010

Snow on tractor- Will Hardwick watermelon patch- Dry Creek, LA Dec. 4, 2009

December 31, 2010

Quote for the day:  “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each year find you a better man.”  -Benjamin Franklin

The end of another year.  They pass by faster and faster.  I’m also so much more thankful for each one of them and the blessings of God.  Thank you, Lord.

Proverb for today: “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  Proverbs 31:30

“A pretty 16 year old girl is an accident of nature, but a beautiful mature woman is a work and gift of God.”  -Bill Thorn.

I’m especially thankful today for my sweet wife, DeDe.

Thoughts from The Old House

Dec. 28, 2010

The Old House Dry Creek, LA built circa 1892 by my great-great grandparents, John and Sarah Wagnon.

I breathe in the aroma of rich lighter pine.  I strike a match and the pine kindling flames into life.

The turpentine sap crackles as it catches.

Soon a fire is going in the double fireplace and the room’s chill begins to retreat.

Old houses like this were often called “weather houses.”  You’d know for sure during the night if the weather turned cold.  There were enough cracks, leaky doors,  and loose window frames to let in the night air.

My house that I happily live in now is on a slab and well-insulated.  Often we don’t know the weather has changed until we touch a foggy window pane.  I’m glad to live in such a house.  I remember the one winter we lived in The Old House.  I was only five but it took me several years to properly thaw out.

While the room warms, I walk to my mom’s for a visit and a fresh cup of Community coffee.  I return to the middle room of the Old House and sit in a rocker that I watched my great grandfather rock in during my childhood.  It fits me well.

Behind me is the old bed.  It has an iron frame and the soft mattress sags in the middle.  If it was a horse, we’d say it was “swaybacked.”

I smile as I test the “divorce-proof” mattress for its nap-readiness.

The old-timers said mattresses and narrow beds like it made it impossible for a couple to not get along.  You could go to bed mad at your spouse, but eventually you’d have to roll toward the center because of the sag as well as the need to stay warm in the drafty old house.

It’s hard to stay mad at someone you’re snuggled up to in bed.

That’s why they called beds like it “divorce-proof.”

Maybe we need to get rid of flat mattresses and king-size beds.

I think of friendship here at The Old House.  Of all the family members who passed through this middle bedroom.  Many whom are now gone.

I hope future members of my family get to enjoy this fireplace, too.

Today is the one year anniversary of my final visit with an old friend,  my lab Ivory. Last year on Dec. 28 is when I took her to the vet.

Ivory's last fire. Dec. 28, 2009

It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life to have her put to sleep.  But it was right thing.

That morning before her final ride to see Dr. White, I brought her for one more visit in this room.  I built a fire like the one I’m enjoying now.  She lay on the floor mat as close to the fire as possible, soaking in its warmth.

I took this photo of my friend.

I still miss her.

I guess I always will.

She was the best dog I’ve ever owned, and I’ve owned plenty of good dogs.

My faithful writing partner Ivory at our Outdoor Office

I get up and stoke the fire.  It flares up and cinders pop out. I carefully kick them back into the fire.

It’s a good day to be at The Old House in Dry Creek.

It’s a good day to be alive.

The joys of a fire... Ouachita Trail Arkansas circa 1998

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