Thursday, March 31, 2011


As told by the cab driver:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I walked to the door and knocked. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'

'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly.

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds.

She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said,

'I'm tired. Let's go now'.

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said.

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.

She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011



1. Don't imagine you can change a man - unless he's in diapers.

2. What do you do if your boyfriend walks out? You shut the door.

3. If they put a man on the moon - they should be able to put them all up there.

4. Go for the younger man. You might as well, they never mature anyway.

5. Men are all the same - they just have different faces, so we can tell them apart.

6. Best way to get a man to do something is to suggest he is too old for it.

7. Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.

8. The children of Israel wandered around the desert for 40 years. Even in Biblical times, men wouldn't ask for directions.

9 If he asks what sort of books you're interested in, tell him check books.

10. Remember a sense of humor does not mean that you tell him jokes, it means that you laugh at his.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Put on your cowboy/girl boots and hat and stomp to the quirky oldies. March 27 is Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day.

Now who can forget those great country music ditties like “Flushed From The Bathroom Of Your Heart” by Johnny Cash? Or “Everytime I Itch I Wind Up Scratching You” by Glen Campbell? Or how about Kenny Chesney’s “Being Drunk’s a Lot Like Loving You and It’s Sending Me Straight to Rehab.”

Is there a spring in your step when you hear “Did I Shave My Legs For This?” from Deana Carter or Cledus T. Judd’s “Did I Shave My Back For This!”

Here are some of the old tunes I found:

Tim McGraw’s “Do You Want Fries With That?”
Kenny Chesney’s “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”
The Dixie Chicks’ “White Trash Wedding”
Tim McGraw again with “Refried Dreams”
Kenny Chesney’s “Someone Else’s Hog”
Marty Stuart's “Too Much Month (At The End of The Money)”


Am I Double Parked by the Curbstone of Your Heart?
Billy Broke My Heart at Walgreens and I Cried All the Way to Sears
Cow Cow Boogie (Moo Moo My Love)
Drop Kick Me Jesus (Through The Goal Posts Of Life.)
I Wish I Were A Woman (So I Could Go Out With A Guy Like Me)
If I Had a Nose Full of Nickels, I'd Sneeze Them All Atchoo!

And my favorite (I had this song on a 45 rpm record):
Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight?

Friday, March 25, 2011


Happy Pecan Day! Not to be confused with National Pecan Day on April 14th. It is such a popular nut, it garnered two holidays.

Pecans are most popular in desserts such as pies, cookies, and candies, but also make an interesting addition to salads, stuffings, chicken or fish coating, and other savory main or side dishes. They are also delicious whole, toasted and spiced, or covered with chocolate.

Even though pecans have a high fat content, they're a good source of potassium, thiamine, zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, niacin, folic acid, iron, and vitamin B6, and also a good source of fiber. The fats are composed of 87% unsaturated fatty acids (62% monosaturated and 25% polyunsaturated).

Here are some facts about Pecans:
Pecans provide nearly 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for zinc.
Texas adopted the pecan tree as its state tree in 1919. Texas Governor James Hogg asked if a pecan tree could be planted at his gravesite when he died.
Albany, Georgia, is the pecan capital of the U.S. It hosts the annual National Pecan Festival, which includes a race, parade, pecan-cooking contest, the crowning of the National Pecan Queen.
There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans.
The U.S. produces about 80 percent of the world’s pecan crop.
Before a shelled pecan is ready to be sold, it must first be cleaned, sized, sterilized, cracked and finally, shelled.
Charlotte, North Carolina, is a place that celebrates Happy Pecan Day with many pecan food varieties.

Try this recipe, if you like rice and mushrooms (like I do):
Cook Time: 25 minutes


1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup melted butter

Cook rice according to package directions then rinse. Season cooked rice with nutmeg. In a well-greased casserole, spoon in a layer of rice, a layer of undiluted mushroom soup, mushrooms, and pecans. Repeat layers, ending with nuts on top. Pour melted butter over all. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350°. Serves 6 to 8.
Bon Appetit!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


March 24th is Happy "chocolate covered raisins" Day. Raisinets have become a very popular candy. I love raisins and I love chocolate. A great combination.

Chocolate-coated (or chocolate-covered) raisins are a popular bulk vending product. They consist, as the name suggests, of raisins coated in a shell of either milk chocolate or dark chocolate. They have a reputation in many countries of being food eaten in movie theaters, and are an item familiar from the concession counter. The supermarket chains also sell them in bags and they were traditionally sold by weight from jars in candy stores.

In some countries, they are also known as Raisinets, which is the earliest and one of the most popular brands of the product, currently made by Nestlé. Raisinets were introduced in the United States in 1927 by the Blumenthal Chocolate Company. Nestlé acquired the brand in 1984. A large number of other brands also exists. Even Sunmaid coats their raisins due to the popularity of the item.

Monday, March 21, 2011


He wants to run his own business.
He wants to select his own doctor.
He wants to make his own bargains.
He wants to buy his own insurance.
He wants to select his own reading matter.
He wants to provide for his own old age.
He wants to make his own contracts.
He wants to select his own charities.
He wants to educate his children as he wishes.
He wants to make his own investments.
He wants to select his own friends.
He wants to provide his own recreation.
He wants to compete freely in the market place.
He wants to grow by his own efforts.
He wants to profit from his own errors.
He wants to take part in the competition of ideas.
He wants to be a man of good will.

What kind of a nut is he? He's an American who understands and believes in the Declaration of Independence, that's what kind. Why are so many trying to destroy the kind of life that has made our country the envy of others?

Wall Street is destroying our economic stability. The U.S. House is trying to control the female body and our rights. The Republicans are focused on making back-room deals with their special interests to fund their campaigns and buy votes. Governors are trying to destroy the freedom of unions and their collective bargaining rights that have been around for fifty years. Foreign countries are fighting for their freedom from tyrants, and we are fighting for the rights which we have enjoyed for years; the ones Congress wants to take away from us. The large corporations are getting tax breaks; millionaires and billionaires are getting tax cuts and hoarding their money - instead of creating jobs. Millionaires don't create jobs. The little guy does - small business. But the big corporations are getting all the benefits and the middle class is struggling to survive. Where are the jobs?

The few at the top - the rich - are killing the middle class and the poor and Congress wants to take away all the needed assistance for the poor. Something doesn't seem fair about that. I think something needs to be done at the ballot box during the next election. Someone needs to stand up for the little guy, the poor, and the programs that keep them alive. The rich need to pay more taxes and corporations need to be taxed and get no money benefits from the government anymore. This country was built on the backs of the senior citizens of today, and the corporations and the rich want them to die in poverty. That's just sad. And WRONG! Let's fix this - recall the governors who don't believe in citizens rights; vote out the Congressmen who fill their pockets with corporate money - and bring our freedom and rights back to the people. We earned it. People like the Koch Brothers just inherited it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The person who was to become St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales about AD 385. His given name was Maewyn, and he almost didn't get the job of bishop of Ireland because he lacked the required scholarship.

Far from being a saint, until he was 16, he considered himself a pagan. At that age, he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village. During his captivity, he became closer to God.

He escaped from slavery after six years and went to Gaul where he studied in the monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre for a period of twelve years. During his training he became aware that his calling was to convert the pagans to Christianity.

His wishes were to return to Ireland, to convert the native pagans to Christianity. But his superiors instead appointed St. Palladius. But two years later, Palladius transferred to Scotland. Patrick, having adopted that Christian name earlier, was then appointed as second bishop to Ireland.

Patrick was quite successful at winning converts. And this fact upset the Celtic Druids. Patrick was arrested several times, but escaped each time. He traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion of the Irish country to Christianity.

His mission in Ireland lasted for thirty years. After that time, Patrick retired to County Down. He died on March 17 in AD 461. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick's Day ever since.

One traditional icon of the day is the shamrock. And this stems from a more bona fide Irish tale that tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.

The St. Patrick's Day custom came to America in 1737. That was the first year St. Patrick's Day was publicly celebrated in this country, in Boston.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

MARCH 16th

Freedom of Information Day

When: Always March 16th

Freedom of Information Day celebrates and recognizes a valuable concept in American rights.

March 16th is the birth date of James Madison, the 4th president of the United States of America. James Madison is recognized as the "Father of the Constitution", and the chief author of the "Bill of Rights". Freedom of information and individual rights was very important to James Madison.

Did you Know? The Freedom of Information Act was passed into law in 1966. It opened up a wealth of information to American citizens. James Madison would be very pleased!

Origin of "Freedom of Information Day":
While the word "National" is not included in the title of this day. We have no doubt that this is a national day. It is widely recognized and documented in U.S.Government websites and in other written materials.

Flower of the Day: Black Eyed Susan

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I have been working on my family tree the past couple weeks. I knew my mother had her side of the family genealogy done several years ago. I decided to do more. I started doing some online research and last Friday spent several hours at the library going through resources. I am amazed at how far I was able to "branch out" in a short amount of time.

I went looking for one paper my mother had of my grandmother's family, but instead found a different set of papers for my grandfather's family history. Then searching a different file cabinet drawer, I found an old envelope which was marked with my father's name. I didn't know the envelope existed, because I never cleaned out the files my mother kept - even after six years. She kept so much.

As a result of my searches, I have added 114 people to my family tree, the oldest of which dated back to 1761. My most impressive find was my great-grandfather, and the history of his life and death in Greenfield, Ohio.

My great-grandfather was John Anderson Porter who was born July 26, 1844. His parents moved to Greenfield in 1852 from Cambridge, Ohio. John A. Porter enlisted in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company H, 40th Regiment and fought in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. The story, written by his sister (which I have) stated that the riderless horse returned home that fateful day after John rode to Washington Court House to enlist. He'd sent the horse home. When the letters home stopped coming, the family learned that John was in Andersonville Prison, taken prisoner at the Battle of Chickamauga. Many soldiers died at that prison from smallpox, but John survived. However, he did contract scurvy, which affected him all his later life.

After the war, he was discharged on February 1, 1865 and returned home to marry, and fathered 12 children - all in Greenfield. John A. Porter was baptized in the First Baptist Church of Greenfield, by Pastor S. T. Griswold on February 4, 1873. He joined Gibson Post No. 180 of the Grand Army of the Republic on January 23, 1882.

John A. Porter was first employed at Welshimer's Flour Mill in Greenfield, and later at Wright's Stone Quarry, just west of Greenfield. While working there, four of his children died of diphtheria between October 19-November 18, 1872.

He later worked as a superintendent at Rucker's Stone Quarry in Greenfield for many years, and was employed there until his death October 18, 1889.

I also learned that a few of John's brothers and sisters are buried in the Porter Cemetery Lot in Greenfield. I will be visiting that cemetery for more information very soon. John A. Porter's parents, James and Catherine Porter are also buried in the Greenfield Cemetery, according to my family history papers. I currently have two living cousins in Greenfield, and I surely need to pay them a visit also.

I am learning so much of my heritage and history, just more recently becoming thirsty for knowledge of my genealogy. I will continue my quest for information and adding to my Tree as time goes on. I found it to be a fascinating subject.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Yesterday, I received one of the best gifts that a fan of "The Austrian Oak" could receive. The memento (below) was a complete surprise, but then my son John is like that when it comes to thinking of others.

This past weekend was the 2011 Arnold Fitness Weekend held in Columbus, Ohio. Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California started the Arnold Classic in 1989 based upon his experience and history as a bodybuilder. It brings together approximately 18,000 athletes from around the world to compete in the various events of skill and appearance. News reports indicated that 175,000 visitors attended the three-day event. In addition to the athletic events, there are 700 booths set up to showcase many bodybuilding, sports apparel, equipment, health and fitness products and services.

This year's mens winner was Branch Warren, 36, called the 'Texas Tornado' who won $130,000, a Tony Nowak Original jacket, an Audemars Piquet watch, and a trophy. In 1995, an Ohio native won the competition.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Thal, Austria in 1947, the son of a police chief, and came to the United States to pursue his bodybuilding ambition started at the age of 15, and became a naturalized citizen in 1983. In 1967, at the age of 20, he won the title of Mr. Universe (where he received his above nickname), and competed to win that title three more times. He also competed and won the Mr. Olympia title seven times. In 1970, he became an actor and stared in more than 20 movies. He went into politics during the 2003 recall election for the former California Governor, won that election, and was re-elected for a second term. Since leaving the Governor's office, in January of this year announced his return to making movies and has been reviewing scripts and offers.

There are many security guards and medical personnel who work at the Arnold Classic event each year, and John has worked for and with Arnold for the past six years, thus establishing a friendly relationship. During his busy weekend, Arnold does not have time for personal autograph sessions with fans, however, John was able to get me an original autographed post from the event. The poster is already mounted on my living room wall as one of my new treasures. My special thanks to John for his surprise gift, and to Arnold for autographing it for me.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I am an avid follower of Michael Moore, his movies, books, and speeches. This is one of the best ones I've ever heard. I read the print-out of the speech and just had to share the YouTube video with everyone. This is a MUST see!