Fire Dogs ’07: More “Guardians of the hearth?” Friday, Dec 28 2007 

I first blogged the amazing “Fire Dogs” last winter (click here to ping back).  Must be something about dogs and fireplaces.  Anyway, here’s  the holidays ’07 version of the same two creatures before the hearth, this time begging from their beloved Ann.    In this case, they’re not craving the comfort of the fire as much as  they crave  a bite of the cookie Ann holds in her hand.  No doubt they succeeded in  obtaining the donation of a morsel or two, since they remain so persistent in their vigilance, one determined not to be outbegged by the other.   What amazing creatures.

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More Mississippi Christmases Past . . . Monday, Dec 24 2007 

The next day after Daddy posted the sentimental memoir from Clarke College back in 2001, he continued the reminescence, moving a little farther north where he would finish his education at Mississippi State. The following gives a glimpse into the life of a circuit riding preacher in the Deep South during the previous generation. So on to another unedited episode from “Daddy Tales” . . .

Daddy’s Mississippi Country Christmas

Last night I shared with you one of the best Christmas experiences.
As I thought about that this morning I was also reminded of one of the worst
Christmas experiences. This one took place the first Christmas we were
living next to Mt.Pisgah Baptist church in tmtpsgachrch1.jpghat little four room tenant
farmer’s house with four rooms and a fire place for heat.
The house had been vacanrt for several years when I asked the owner
if we might be able to use it when we moved away from Clarke. I was to
graduate from clark in the middle of January and I did not want to
continue in school . Again we did not go home for Christmas because of
shortage of travel money,ut we did spend a few days at the church and had a
couple of work days on the house.
The ladies worked insid the house with Mama. When some of them say the
wide gaping holes in the outside walls they suggestthat they get some of that
extra heavy wall paper to be hide the cracks as well as give the inside of
the house a better appearance.
The men work on the outside with me. There was lots of trash to be
moved and weeds to be cut. also since the only heat foir the house ws the
fireplace they also cut down some trees for firewood.
This was the huse that had no well for water nor toilet for taking
care of those other needs. There was no outhouse but plenty of hiding places
on the edge of the yard. After we moved in I built my first outhouse, it was
a one e=seater.
I received my diploma from Clarke about ten oclock that morning and
two men from Blythe Creek church came down to move us in their large truck.
That was a ninety-five mile trip each way. By lunch time we were on the road
. By night fall our furnituer was unloaded and we spent our first night in
the country.
With that background now I move on to the next Christmas. This was
a big deal for Janice and Buster. Janice was old eto really be interested
in Christmas and Buster was over two years old and he,too was interestred
. The three of us went out into the woods to cut our first Christmas tree.
When we got it home we began trying to decorate the thing,but how do you
decorate a Christmas tree when you have nothing with which to decorate it.?
Well, I don’t remember what we did for decorations but at lest we did have a
Christmas tree over there in one corner of the bedroom and a couple of times
the mailman droped large packages off and the smaller packages within the
larger packages were spread out around that trree and we had a real Christmas
tree. Talk about suspense! This thing Buster is holding over our heads is
nothing compared to the suspense and anxiety in the hearts and lives of two
small children.
The weather was about what you would expect at that time of the
year. It was cold and the fire in that fire place was all we had for the
cold. But we did have a feather bed for our two little ones to sleep in. I
would heat two large stones in the fireplace and a few minutes before we
put Janice and Buster into the bed I would put those hot stones in the bed to
warm it for them . The feathers were so deep in this thing that when Janice
and Buster were lying in the bed all you could see was the covers ,smoothly
spread over the two occupants. They were actually buried in those warmed
feathers.
Christmas morning was somewhat disappointing. Something was
wrong. The excitement that had been building up for the last couple of weeks
and had about climaxed the night before was gone. Mama and I were sluggish.
Janice and Buster were the same. The Christmas tree and all of its packages
did not seem to really exist.
Finally ,as though you were pulling teeth,packages were being
opened. I don’t re,e,ber what SantaClause had left for Janice but Bustr’s
Mawmaw had not forgotten her two year old grandson nd sent him a real
electric train. I put the thing together but there was no enthusiasm.
Actually it was just as if there were no electric train there. I put it all
up. Later in the day I again tried to get some interest in the train and
other things that had been hiding in those packages under the tree but to no
avail. It was a tough Christmas Day the four people,two adults and two
small children, had picked up the bug and it turned what was supposed to be
and exciting happy day,into a day of gloom.
Undoubtedly that was about one of the most disappointing
Christmas’sI hav e ever had.
The moralk of this story is ” Stay away from anyone who has the bug
from now until after January 1.

Christmas at Clarke College Years Ago: Daddy-Tales Tuesday, Dec 18 2007 

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I didn’t write the following: Daddy wrote it in an email message to his family in 2001 before the stroke assaulted his dexterity for the keyboard, causing him to give up the computer. He occasionally posted nostalgic and sentimental reminiscences, like this one, and toward the very end of his posting days, I resolved to save some of them. This was one of his emails that got “rescued.” Even though I don’t star in this particular narrative set in the late 1940’s when Daddy was a student at Clarke College in Newton, MS (a few years before my earthly debut), the story remains a rich memoire. So here it is, a chapter of family lore, preserved as a copy/paste of the original revealing the typo’s and keyboard malfunctions of an octogenarian–a few delightful pages from the past, highly appropriate for the season!

Last night I had just about finished writing another good memory
experience when I was reminded I had an important meeting to attend at the
church.so I lost the writing. Let me try to share it with you again.
I think of this many times during the Christmas season. It was one
of those Christmas experiences a person would like to have repeated many
times ,but unfortunately it does not happen the same way ever again.
This was our first Christmas at Clark Memoral Jr. College. Janice
was just over three years old and Buster was barely dry from birth.
WE hav a very active BSU at Clarke. Mr Farmer was really into it
and gave great leadership and challenge to the students.
In the days right after Thanksgiving, the BSU council challenged
the student body to set a very high goal for our part in the Lottie Moon
Christmas Offering for Foreign Missions. To reach that goal we were asked
to make some sacrifices. We were assked to say to our families at home to
send us the money they would spend on our Christmas gift in place of the
gift and this money would be given to the Mission Offering. We did that
nd gave the money tothe offering,even the money were to use for gifts for
Janice and Buster. Their gifts were not going to be that great because we
did not have much to get gifts with. $ 125 a month does not allow for many
extras.
We did not plan to go home for Christmas because we did not have
the money for the trip and we also had to go up to Mt.Pisgas church on the
weekend.
During the days off of school I along with some of the other students
,had an opportunity to do some work around campus to earn a little extra
change.
In the midst of all that was going on, there was an unusally high
sense of Christmas and the birth of our Savior. There was a quiet peace, and
hap;piness among the students and their families on campus. There was a
lot of sharing what you might have with one of the other fmilies that did not
have much.
In the midst of all that was going on a person could feel Christmas
, it was a feeling such as I have never had since.
The event that really put the icing on the cake for me was the
actions of our next -door -neighbors. They were a couple just a little older
than Mama and me. They had been married for quite a few years but had no
children of their own and theymore or less adopted Janice and Buster. Well
,Christmas morning there was a knock on our door. When we answered it was
our neighbors coming to bring gifts to Janice and Buster. ,Through the
years I have many times in my own mind relived that Christmas morning and
remembering the gift this couple had for Janice,but cannot for the life of me
,remember what they had for Buster. Ofcourse,he was a little baby ,so
naturally his gift was something suitable . But Janice’s gift was ababy doll
about twelve inches tall and when those people came in with those gifts , as
I have said , a feeling came over me that I had never exoperienced before
,nor since. It was what Christmas was all about,love and people thinking of
others and sharing . I cannot remember the names of that couple, but the
memory of the gifts that couple brought to my children will never be
forgotten.
And that ‘s the end of the story

What’s new with the jog: Pipeline Clearings and Puppy Dogs Friday, Dec 14 2007 

soffdog.jpgI looked forward to cold weather for months now so I could take my jog off the beaten path and give my running partner, Sadie the Dog, a chance to behave au naturel on our daily romps. This photo catches Sadie in a candid shot a week or so ago on one of those first cold days, pausing to sense out some sound she heard in the brushy distance.

Dogs need moments like these, free from the leash and the kennel, to be themselves. The three-plus mile cross-country route is good exercise, too (for beast as well as master).

Why do we have to wait for the cold weather to go this route? So we’ll be sure that the Cottonmouths and the Copperheads are fast asleep!

The Prairie Cajun Capital of the World’s Answer to the Grand Canyon? Tuesday, Dec 11 2007 

Richard’s Gully
By David L. Pulling
December 1994

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In the beginning
nature created a slough, a natural morass;
but men with shovels and draglines enlarged upon the idea,
as men do with nature’s ideas,
likely because they wanted to get rid of rain water they didn’t want in their houses,
regrettably not because some aesthetic soul saw a picture of Grand Canyon
and thought a scaled-down mud model would accentuate the flat Cajun prairie;
so they gouged a channel
deep and jagged and ragged
and piled the black excavated silt high to make a levee
shored up with dump-truck chunks of busted concrete and asphalt
left over from unwanted parking lots,
and man said, “Let there be Richard’s Gully.”
And man saw that it was good.
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Thus Richard’s Gully was finished
as the earth was gashed and slashed and piled high
in the interest of improving man’s life on it,
and the job’s been touched up upon ever so often
with more shovels and draglines and industrial-strength herbicide
since nature has an annoying tendency to undo man-made modifications,
as any woman who has touched up gray streaks in her hair will swear with vehemence,
but men and women do these things to alter creation
because they are subduing the earth.

gulley-south.jpgToday Richard’s Gully is sprouting chicken trees and willow wisps
slithering through crevices
in scum-encrusted heaps
of busted concrete and busted asphalt,
and sprouting colorful crops with genus species nomenclatures
like Miller Lite and Pepsi Free and Diet Coke
rising out of sludge-lined banks
like shiny seedlings
in a metallica garden
in a fetid ecosystem
where stagnant, larvae-infested pools
laced with sewery strains
of dish water and urine and decomposed armadillo flesh
nurture festering, feathery tendrils
of green pickled slime
floating in the murky shallows
of a nauseatic sea
teeming with base putrefaction.

Richard’s Gully is a man-made morass,
the polluted brain child of industrious citizens,
and a moldy monument to man’s condition.
No one lingers long
on the shores of Richard’s Gully.

Peace on Earth 2007 Saturday, Dec 8 2007 

Peace on Earth?
By David Pulling
November 2003
(Composed along the levee at Alexandria)
“Oh, hush the noise, ye men of strife / And hear the angels sing!
–Edmund H. Sears

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“Peace on Earth”
shimmering
upside down
in lights’ reflection
on the dark, moon-dappled River.
Lord, we long to hear
the angels sing.
Save us
from
noise
and
men of  strife.
Rather
set peace aright
set our hearts aright
and
tune our ears
to hear
the angels’ sing.

LSU vs. Ohio State: Let the Audacity Begin! Tuesday, Dec 4 2007 

Sunday night was pretty exciting. Even though we had the church Christmas musical starting the same time as the BCS “revelation” show on Fox Sports, the hard core Tiger fans among us showed our uncanny ability to focus on both the musical at hand and the sports show. During a scene break early in the muscial drama, in fact, we met backstage in the choir room where some sage fellow had set up a TV, and we watched the official proclamation of the nigh-miraculous: Ohio State number 1, LSU number 2. With that good news in our hearts, we returned onstage and sang “Glory in the Highest” like angels!

We’re not worried about number 2 at all (as LSU fans, that is). In fact, I’m happier playing Ohio State than I would be playing Georgia or even USC at this point in the season. The whole thing is shaping up to be loads of fun.

Speaking of loads of fun, the pic here shows our Youth Minister Gregtiger-bait.jpg attempting to improve one of our choir member’s “bad choice of wardrobe” (note the Ohio State t-shirt!). She and her husband are Ohio transplants, so we sort of forgive them (for Yankees, they’re really nice folks). I have to admit that if I were transplanted in Ohio these days, I’d be awfully prone to sport my purple and gold.