Polar Vortex 2019

Not to be confused with Polar Vortices from preceding years.  This one means business.  More significant because it’s here, right now.  The other ones are past history.

Polar Vortex 2019, pushing all Super Bowl LIII hype aside.  Chill factors of 50 below zero expected in Minnesota.  Serious cold, that requires precautions be taken.

Swimming pools are currently filled to capacity in Australia.  It is mid-summer in the Southern Hemisphere.  They are having a heat wave with daytime temperatures of one-hundred degrees.

Which do I prefer?  Something between these two extremes.  I don’t do well in either extreme.  I worked outside in the Upper Midwest for almost 30 years.  Not accustomed to these conditions anymore.




The Pit and the Pandemonium

It has been foggy the last two early mornings. Going for regular morning walks has been hazardous. Seeing my way down the road isn’t a problem, but rather, being seen by motorists. I carry a rechargeable flashlight.

Another issue that’s close to my heart, is office fund-raising. It’s nothing new. When I grew up in the fifties and sixties, there were garden seeds, turtles candies, and other fund-raisers. All to raise money for school or church.

In my opinion, there’s more fund-raising now. Schools are in more of a budget crunch. When we had school-age kids it was tit-for-tat. You buy my kid’s stuff, and I’ll buy your kid’s stuff.

As retired empty-nesters, it became too much of a burden. Over a year’s time, it was a considerable amount of money. We stopped donating, unless it was for a close friends or relatives.

Do you think office fund-raising is unfair? Should it be stopped? Could it be done differently? Have you been solicited at local businesses? I sometimes shop in a different nearby state, and have no connection whatsoever, with their local schools.

The Greater Good

It was the car’s first oil change and checkup. A cold front came through–rare for September. Skies were deceptively blue and beautiful.

Sterile customer waiting rooms typically had libations, pastries, and uncomfortable chairs. It was rare, for me anyway, to strike up conversations, while waiting. Today was different.

Ben, a personable young man, was a rock-climbing instructor. His family was stationed at the nearby, Navy base.

Donna, was an assistant pastor at a local church. Her responsibilities involved church education and outreach.

The thrust of our conversations revealed commonality–we’d all belonged to organizations–church or military, past or present.  Sometimes, bonds formed were greater, than family ties.

Through our collective experiences, we’d learned to get along with others of different backgrounds; because we were part of something greater than ourselves.

“What was it like experiencing a hurricane?” Ben asked.  “It was hectic. Frightening–even.  Evacuations were tense, unpleasant,” I answered.

Gasoline prices spiked the past week, and were still climbing.  Hotels in Northwest Florida were filling with hurricane evacuees.  Bottled water was scarce in local stores.

“Why were hurricanes named after bad people?” Donna asked.  “Ivan, the hurricane, was terrible–like its namesake.”

The name Irma, would forever have bad connotations–just like Katrina.

“If there was ever a hurricane Adolph, we resolved to leave immediately–no questions asked.”



The Most Wonderful Time Of Year–Not

September is my birth month. It’s also the most active time for tropical weather.

The past few years have been relatively quiet around my little part of the Gulf Coast. Memories of past hurricanes Ivan and Katrina still haunt.

My storm panels wait, at the ready, in case we need to board up and evacuate. I don’t wish ill of anyone, but if nasty storm Irma heads this direction, I’m bugging out.

Where Is West Point?

Morning fog curtain has yet to lift–revealing the final tragic scene of a three-state manhunt.  If you drive a late-model Kia, chances are it was manufactured at the nearby assembly plant.

A West Point, GA motel is where fugitive, Billy Boyette and his girlfriend’s murderous, seven-day crime spree came to an end.  But not before the lives of four women ended at his hands.

Two of the victims were murdered, just for their cars.  One victim from a nearby town, murdered, while working in her front lawn.  I’m sure the victims would have gladly traded car keys for their lives.  They weren’t given the chance.

Were it not for observant locals, Boyette could still be on the run.  The white Chevy Cobalt, stolen from the fourth victim parked outside the motel, gave him away.  Boyette vowed to not be taken alive.

The standoff lasted most of the day, Tuesday during fierce thunderstorms and rain.   Investigators are still on the scene.  Boyette was his own judge and jury; took his own life as law enforcement threatened to break down the motel room door.

Monday, the rumors flew.  Where were the two fugitives hiding?  Nobody felt safe.  His girlfriend–I’ll not mention her name, because her part in this murderous crime spree will have to be proven in court.  Boyette’s gone, his cold-hearted actions deserve no sympathy.

The Fire Down Below

The house was on fire!  Dang it–it was the third time.

Flames shot from a floor register in the utility room.  Heat and smoke were unbearable.

Where was the fire extinguisher?  “Honey–where’s the fire extinguisher?”

“It’s right on the wall–where it has always been.”  This was no time for joking.

“I can’t help you right now,” She answered.  “Maggie bit someone while I was walking her.”  Why had she been walking Maggie?  I was the one that always walked the dogs.

No time to talk.  I snatched the extinguisher from the wall bracket; pulled the pin with one swift motion.  Real firefighters would have been envious.

“Ouch! Why did you hit me?”  Asked my wife.  “I’m sorry.  I had a bad dream–something about the house catching fire, Maggie, the dog, and fire extinguishers. When I pulled the pin, my arm connected with your knee.”  I hoped she believed me–it was the truth.