Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!!!

 happy new year photo: Happy New Year!!! 564606607_1155068.gif

Happy New Year 2015 - ABBA





What Are You Doing New Year's Eve- Rod Stewart And Ella Fitzgerald 

 

  Auld Lang Syne - Guy Lombardo Orchestra 


Monday, December 22, 2014

R.I.P. Joe Cocker

John Robert "Joe" Cocker 
  (20 May 1944 – 22 December 2014)
With a Little Help From My Friends

Up Where We Belong

 

You Are So Beautiful to Me


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Annoying Christmas Songs

There are are a lot of classic Christmas songs...both religious and secular that we all love. However, there are a few that would put me on Santa's naughty list if I could have a face to face with their composer. Some become earwigs...I can't get them out of my head once I hear them...some just don't make sense to me. Here are my top...hmmm...or would it be bottom 5?  Feel free to disagree with me or add to the list in the comment section.

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer- Elmo & Patsy

I admit I liked this song the first fifty or so times I heard it. Cute novelty song...It became a victim of overkill...played way too much.




Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt

I never did understand this song. Santa would be on his own naughty list...and she's kind of a gold digger.



Dominick the Donkey - Lou Monte

I like novelty songs. Rudolph, Frosty, Ding a ling the Christmas Bell...but Dominick leaves me scratching my head. I think it's the LaLaLaLaLaLa etc that gets me.



Feliz Navidad - Jose Feliciano

 I remember first hearing this song on the American Bandstand Show. Jose said that he thought it was time for a new Christmas song. He paused and added of course I thought it was time for a new version of the National Anthem too. The song is extremely repetitive...almost as repetitive as the number of times radio stations play it during the holidays.

 

Wonderful Christmas Time - Paul McCartney

Repetitive...Paul doesn't sound like he's having a wonderful Christmas time while he's raking in the royalties to this overplayed confusing song...enough to make me say with Scrooge:
If I could work my will,' said Scrooge indignantly, `every idiot who goes about with "Wonderful Christmas Time" on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!' (Paraphrased and Adapted with apologizes to Charles Dickens)



There you have it. These are the songs that I find most annoying this time of year. They are the ones to bring out the humbug in me.







Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas with Perry Como

Christmas time is here...The older I get the more my mind wanders back to the good old days when Perry Como would have a Christmas special on television. Do you remember his sweaters? Those days are gone...but here are a few of the classics from those shows.

 

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

 


There's No Christmas Like a Home Christmas

 


Oh Holy Night

 

 

The Story Of The First Christmas

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Farmer and the Old Mule

The Farmer and the Old Mule

An old country farmer had a wife who nagged him unmercifully. From morning till night she was always complaining about something. The only time he got any relief was when he was out plowing with his old mule.


One day, when he was out plowing, his wife brought him lunch in the field. He drove the old mule into the shade, sat down on a stump, and began to eat his lunch. Immediately, his wife began nagging him again. Complain, nag, complain, nag - it just went on and on.

All of a sudden, the old mule lashed out with both hind feet, caught her smack in the back of the head. Killed her graveyard dead on the spot.

At the funeral several days later, the minister noticed something rather odd. When a woman mourner would approach the old farmer, he would listen for a minute, then nod his head in agreement; but when a man mourner approached him, he would listen for a minute, then shake his head in disagreement.

This was so consistent, the minister decided to ask the old farmer about it. So after the funeral, the minister spoke to the old farmer, and asked him why he nodded his head and agreed with the women, but always shook his head and disagreed with all the men.

 




The old farmer said,

'Well, the women would come up and say something about how nice my wife looked, or how pretty her dress was, so I'd nod my head in agreement.'

'And what about the men?' the minister asked.

'They wanted to know if the mule was for sale.'

Monday, December 1, 2014

Gentle Thoughts For Today

Gentle Thoughts For Today.
 Birds of a feather flock together and poop on your car. 
 
 
When I'm feeling down, I like to whistle. It makes the neighbor's dog run to the end of his chain and choke himself. 
 
The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat have gotten to be really good friends.
The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.
He who hesitates is probably right.
Did you ever notice: The Roman Numerals for forty (40) are 'XL.'
The sole purpose of a child's middle name is so he can tell when he's really in trouble.
There's always a lot to be thankful for if you take time to look for it. For example I am sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don't hurt. 

 
Did you ever notice:  When you put the 2 words 'The' and 'IRS' together it spells 'Theirs.' 
 
 Aging: Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.
The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.
Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved. 
 
When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of algebra.
 You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.
One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.
Ah, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable. First you forget names, then you forget faces. Then you forget to pull up your zipper.  It's worse when you forget to pull it down.
Long ago when people cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft.  Today, it's called golf. 
 
 Dream like you'll live forever.  Live like you'll die today.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas- Photo Artwork

It's that time of year when most of us start looking for gift ideas for those hard to buy for folks on our Christmas list. Might I make a suggestion....artwork...original photos taken by three of my talented friends. 
The first artist/photographer is Deby Dixon.  Deby is a cyber friend. I met her own Blogstream. I am also a Facebook friend. Deby' work features beautiful nature photos. She specializes in animal shots. I especially love her wolf photos. Here's a sample of her work:

Winter Dreams

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Deby's work is available for purchase through the following link:
http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/deby-dixon.html?tab=artworkgalleries&artworkgalleryid=317091
It may also be viewed at:
http://runningwolfnaturephotographybydebydixon.zenfolio.com/ 

Any post of photos/artwork by me would have to include Ray Finch. We've known each other for forty years. He was a roommate of mine in college days. Ray's work features shots of scenery, wildlife and old buildings. My favorite shots of his are the tumbled down barns in the countryside.
Here is a sample of his work:

Across The Tracks

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View/purchase his photos at:
http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/photosbyray.html?tab=artworkgalleries&artworkgalleryid=81827
My third artistic friend is  Gena Brady. She is one of my co-workers. Gena's work can be described as urban street photography. She might be walking down a street and inspiration strikes her in the shape, size , or color of an object. Her work is an eclectic collection of the unusual.

Here's a sample of her work:


 Her work might be viewed/purchased at:
www.ummwave.com/


 

Friday, November 7, 2014

John Reno Sprague Jr.: A Life Lived Large



Thank you for being here today to share in this service in memory of John Reno Sprague, Jr.  The family would like to thank all of you for coming today. They wanted me to thank you for all the beautiful flowers, memorial gifts, food and phone calls. John loved having his family and friends around him. He would have loved this gathering today. 

 My wife and I don't travel very well together in a car. She tranquilizes me with a soda. When we started over here from St. Louis, she stopped at a 7-11. She went inside while I sat in the car with my thoughts. I was staring at a Red Box. A featured movie was advertised. The movie's tagline was repeated several times. I realized that if any man's life deserved a tagline it would be John Sprague, Jr.. The tagline would consist of two words: "Carpe Diem!" Seize the day! More than any man I know John seized the day...He was larger than life. He lived it to its fullest.

This is the time normally set aside for the reading of the obituary. A beautiful obituary was published online and in the paper. However, mere words in an obituary cannot sum up a life that's lived large. It is demonstrated in the way his life touched each of us. It's demonstrated in the way he is remembered.

The writer of Ecclesiastes states:

3 There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance.
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

                         
I will share my memories of John a little later. Now, it is time for any gathered here today to speak and share the way John touched their lives.




                                            We gather today to say farewell to our departed loved one, John Reno Sprague, Jr. We pause from our normal pursuits to remember his life, honor his memory, and grieve at our loss.John touched each of us here in different ways…husband, father, brother, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle, and friend. Each of us remembers the way he touched our lives. I remember him as brother in law.

 I had a small family growing up. 25 years ago when I married Donna’s sister, Chris, I didn’t know how to be a part of a large family. Suddenly, I was in a family with seven adult siblings with families of their own... and a family that sometimes capitalized the word Fun in the word dysfunctional. While all the family made me welcome, it was John that made me feel accepted and a part of the family.

The first time we met he shook my hand. John gave me some advice: Run away Quickly! You can still escape! After discovering, he was a lawyer and had a great sense of humor I would greet him like this: " Hey, John, it was so cold today I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own pockets." John would laugh and then he'd start firing back with one of the thousand lawyer jokes he knew:

Q: What do you call 25 lawyers skydiving?
A: Skeet



Q: How many lawyers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Three, One to climb the ladder. One to shake it. And one to sue the ladder company.

Q: What are lawyers good for?
A: They make used car salesmen look good.


 Q: How many lawyer jokes are there?
A: Only three. The rest are true stories.

Will Rogers once said “I never met a man I didn’t like”. I’m not sure if John felt the same way…but I do know he never met a stranger. He could talk to anyone about anything. He had that gift. It didn’t matter if the person he was talking to was 3 or 93. John could talk to them on their level without being condescending.

John could talk about politics, TV shows, movies, hunting, and books ranging from mysteries to science fiction to a an eclectic mix of nonfiction. In the 25 years that I've been a part of the family, we attended several funerals or visitations.  Afterwards, We would share dissect the job preachers did…Often we would have fried preacher over our meals. Imagine the pressure I feel knowing he's looking over my shoulder right now.I’m not sure what he’d say about me today.  

I remember his courage and tenacity. Given a bleak diagnosis of cancer by his doctors, he was determined to prove them wrong. If you remember at his 70th birthday party, he announced that he was going to prove the doctors wrong. He was a fighter. He was determined not to go quietly into that good night.

 John’s left us now. In his passing, we are reminded of  life's brevity. Our physical existence is limited. We only have so much time allotted to us. Zorba the Greek said "Living is what you do while waiting to die."  There's an old gospel song that says "This world is not home, I'm just passing through". 
The Bible echoes these sentiments. James states that "life is a vapour that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away." The Psalmist declared "Lord, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am." One commentator states the last part of the verse means how much time I have.

                  When a loved one dies, there are certain responses that are common. The first being we experience an emotional turmoil. A person may feel anger at the doctors for not performing a medical miracle. Anger is sometimes directed at their loved one...why did you leave me?  Anger is often directed at God. Why did you take my loved one? Anger is sometimes turned inward resulting in a state of depression.

Guilt might be felt too. If only I had gotten him to the hospital earlier everything would be alright. We play the shouda...woulda...coulda game in our minds. Some of us might deny the feeling of loss. We are determined not to show our emotions.

All of us feel some degree of fear. We fear death. It is the great equalizer. We rarely say he/she died. Instead, we use euphemisms like passed, gone, lost him,  fell asleep or passed away. All these things may be experienced at the same time...the human condition being like it is. It's normal that we go through a grieving process.

We grieve because we are human beings...wrapped in mortal flesh. As humans we tend to be selfish creatures. Objectively, we know that John is at rest. He is no longer feeling pain. We have faith that he is in the Hands of a loving God. Emotionally though, we don't want to lose someone we love, respect, and cherish. The ones who love him the most will miss him the most. You might ask how will we endure this pain? How will we endure our loss? The answer is simple. Turn to our life's hope...God.

It wasn't in God's plan that man would die. Sin and death came into the world when Adam and Eve fell in Eden. We experience loss but God will be with us. "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." He will support us through our time of bereavement. The Psalmist declared: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

God knows that if the entire weight of our grief fell on us at one time it would crush us. Instead, He holds us close and lets us experience it a little at a time. The poet said it this way:

God broke our years to hours and days,
That hour by hour and day by day,
Just going on a little way,
We might be able all along
To keep quite strong.
Should all the weight of life
Be laid across our shoulders,
And the future rife with woe and struggle
Meet us face to face at just one place
We could not go; our feet would stop.
And so God lays a little on us every day,
And never, I believe, on all the way
With burdens bear so deep
Or pathways lie so steep
But we can go, if by God's power,
We only bear the burden of the hour.

Human hands are poor at drying tears. We wipe them away. Soon another set takes their place. It is only the hand of our Creator that can touch and heal the deep wellsprings of sorrow in our souls.

Last night, I listened to your memories of John. It was evident that he touched many lives. He seized the day and lived his life to the fullest. I listened to the laughter and the tears. Someone suggested that John's message for us today would be the words of his favorite song:
"And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I'll say it clear,
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain.

I've lived a life that's full.
I've traveled each and ev'ry highway;
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Regrets, I've had a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.

I planned each charted course;
Each careful step along the byway,
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.
Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall;
And did it my way.
I've loved, I've laughed and cried.
I've had my fill; my share of losing.
And now, as tears subside,
I find it all so amusing.
To think I did all that;
And may I say - not in a shy way,
"Oh no, oh no not me,
I did it my way"

 To the family, I encourage you to share the stories, the laughter, tears, and cherish the memories. "Bear ye one another's burdens." The pain will ease.

Our loved one is in the presence of a loving God. We can trust Him to do what is right. Remember to ask for His sustaining grace during this time of sorrow. It will be given. John was a long time member and supporter of Alcoholics Anonymous. I can't think of a more fitting way to end this service than by saying these familiar words:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

--Reinhold Niebuhr