Page 20 of 38 FirstFirst ... 10181920212230 ... LastLast
Results 191 to 200 of 378

Thread: Daily Bread

  1. #191
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Penns Woods
    Posts
    3,046
    The mornings coffee is important. I’m not a conesoir of premium coffee blends. I can remember my parents drinking Maxwell House...”good to the last drop”. And we had some Sanka sitting around getting stale for several years. They never brewed coffee.....it was always instant.

    Today’s blend is one of the cheapest I could find. A medium dark 100% Columbian Arabica bean my local grocery chain sells for $3.99/ 11 oz. can. My vintage Farberware stainless steel percolator puts the Keurig machine to shame with quality. After all it does say “super fast and automatic” on the side. I don’t see the point in spending more on top shelf brands but then again, I don’t drink them to know any better. I do know that after being outside in some sporting pursuit on a cold day or chopping wood in a snow cover lot in January.....any brand of coffee tastes premium.

    What I use to drink coffee out of is probably as important as the coffee itself. My go to mug recently is a sea foam blue Fiesta ware made in West Virginia. A mug has to be simple, fit the hand and hold more than a cup of coffee. And somehow the mug imparts a flavor to the coffee. I can’t tell you how that happens any more than I can explain the magic of Christmas to a child but it seems to me about the same thing.

    I recently purged my cupboard of mugs that I didn’t like. They fit my hand poorly, had a faded out picture of somebody from decades ago, advertised a company I didn’t really care about or worst of all....said “Made in China”. I just picture a bunch of lead leaching into my morning contemplative brew.

    But this morning I felt adventurous. I opted for one of my pure white Pfalzgraff dinner coffee cups. It has a simple pattern to it that reminds me of melting candle wax and the handle is a joy to grip. But what I had in mind was the color contrast that the coffee created sitting patiently in my white mug waiting to be consumed. I believe it is certainly going to be good to the last drop.

    The first real snow accumulation is scheduled to be 9-18 inches starting tonight. It got me to thinking I need to go get some water and stockpile it for an electrical outage. Which reminded me of how proud I was to be self sufficient in the past. I believe self sufficiency and simplicity are members of the same family. However, I was never as self sufficient as I dreamed. And nobody really is. We rely on so many others to provide opportunity to help ourselves. Partnering is something we do almost without thinking and attribute our good fortune to self sufficiency.

    Sure I used to fell, cut, Hull and stack wood for the fireplace but that required a parcel of property often owned by someone else, a chainsaw someone else built, a truck Ford made, a stove made by someone else.....it goes on and on for every act of self sufficiency there seems to be a supporting partner. Even loners like Dick Proenneke of Alaska or the few families that live in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge rely on bush pilots to bring in supplies. Self sufficiency has always been semi-self sufficiency. It is only a matter of degrees.

    Simplicity makes self sufficiency a more reasonable description of your lifestyle. It allows you to rely more on yourself than the other partner. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons we strive to have simpler lifestyles. Perhaps there is always a reason to have a way to continue on without community even though we are so connected. Is the will to survive driving our simplicity? Somehow our instincts know that unchecked consumption and accumulation weighs us down, slows us down and interferes with our very ability to survive. It may simply just decay our quality of living. Or it may cause us to be unhappy with life altogether because we see no satisfaction in all we gather and maintain.

    It’s a pure white coffee mug type of day to match the pure white snow coming down. Time to set up the bird feeders. I think I hear some chickadees talking outside my window.

  2. #192
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1,777
    Beautiful William smith.

  3. #193
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Penns Woods
    Posts
    3,046
    Quote Originally Posted by nswef View Post
    Beautiful William smith.
    Thank you. I learned something today, this is how you spell.....”connoisseur.” As you can tell, I don’t spellcheck much and I definitely don’t proofread. It pretty much is what it is.....sometimes better than others. It’s not meant to win any essay scholarships. My hope is somebody can be inspired to hover over their own reflections if but for just a moment.

  4. #194
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    beyond the pale
    Posts
    2,536
    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    My hope is somebody can be inspired to hover over their own reflections if but for just a moment.
    You've definitely done that.
    And it's funny about the coffee cups - that is one of my few Christmas traditions. I swap out the regular plain white Corelle coffee cups with some big bright red mugs to use between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. Definitely adds to the enjoyment and the reflective moments.

  5. #195
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,909
    Have to haul out the Christmas mugs today. I had forgotten I had them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lainey View Post
    You've definitely done that.
    And it's funny about the coffee cups - that is one of my few Christmas traditions. I swap out the regular plain white Corelle coffee cups with some big bright red mugs to use between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. Definitely adds to the enjoyment and the reflective moments.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  6. #196
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Penns Woods
    Posts
    3,046
    There has been a flood of retirements and officers who have transferred out and that have left your station short handed. The transfers come about because officers are trying to work their way back nearer their home or they might be angling for a station that has less of a workload.

    It’s not like the department had little prior warning but the cogs of the government wheels turn slowly and so replacements will trickle in if they come at all. It has something to do with a computer algorithm that decides how much manpower each station gets by how much paperwork is submitted on cases and incidents that get rated as requiring a larger investment of man hours. The supervisors are constantly reviewing paperwork and incident management files to see where points can be stacked up to advantage the algorithm in the hopes that eventually the station compliment will rise. This affects your ability to be efficient, bogs you down in repetitive reporting and generally pisses you off.

    Today, this is in the back of your mind as you leave roll call, grab a key to a patrol car, lug all your equipment out and perform an inspection on the car. Your department doesn’t issue cars or asisign them one or two officers. You are in and out of different vehicles constantly. You get to know which ones are uncomfortable, perform sluggishly or have deficiencies that might compromise your safety. So it’s a good idea to arrive early for work and confiscate the keys to a good car. When you turn the key and see the gas gas gauge is less than half full, it’s a poor start to the day. Everybody expects the prior operator to top off their tanks before parking the vehicle but a few officers are notorious for terminating duty with an empty gas tank.

    There are times when an incident is “waiting for you” when you get to work. If you have arrived early you are expected and morally obligated to expedite getting suited up and out the door. Over the course of a career this amounts to literally hundreds of hours of donated time that you aren’t being paid for. So you drive out of the parking lot and head for the nearest gas station hoping not to be dispatched to an incident before topping off.

    Because of this manpower shortage the county has literally been divided in two and half of it has been assigned to you. You are responsible for 500 square miles of territory including all the highways and byways. What this means is that you have to handle anything that happens on your own with no backup for all intents and purposes. And you have to do it efficiently with as little interruption to availability as possible. When your counterpart is tied up on something, you are quite literally “it” for the entire county. If you do call for backup, it will take at least 30 minutes for a responder to get where you are and it could take longer. Basically, you are a one man show.

    There are some part time police officers here and there but they don’t get paid enough to care all that much. Your radio doesn’t interface with them and you have little contact. The Sherriffs Department is simply an arm of the courts and they are not part of the law enforcement equation. So as you pull out of the gas station and your radio squawks the patrol number, there is more than a little annoyance in your voice when you answer back.

    Apparently a domestic dispute has occurred in which a woman has been beaten by her boyfriend. It happened in her car as she was driving. An ambulance is being sent to the last known location of the car. The boyfriend is intoxicated and still on scene. The distance......25 miles. You silently curse the boyfriend.....Well, maybe you outright pound the dashboard and curse yourself. Had the boyfriend waited just a half mile more, he would have been in another county and someone else’s problem.

    You race toward the scene reviewing the proper responses to domestic violence. Chances are great that you will have to take the boyfriend into custody if there is any evidence of an assault. Drunks are infamous for wanting to fight. Should it come to that, decisiveness will be an asset. But you’ll have to keep your eye on the victim. She just as well could attack you also.

    You arrive on scene and view a paramedic rendering first aid to a woman. But the boyfriend is nowhere in sight. It’s not at all clear the condition of the girlfriend as you exit your patrol car. One of the first responders yells, “He just ran down the railroad tracks!” and points in a southerly direction. You make a decision that will set the tone for the entire pursuit. You grab a Remington 870 shotgun loaded with three rounds of buckshot followed by two rounds of rifled slugs. In the open woods and rural countryside it could give you an advantage but it’s weight will slow you down. Judging from the age of the victim you assume the boyfriend is not a spring chicken.

    You try to radio in your active pursuit on a portable but because you are in an area with no coverage, nobody knows what you are doing except the ambulance personnel. As you reach the railroad tracks, you gaze East and see a man walking hurriedly away carrying a plastic grocery bag. You hustle to close the gap and get within earshot of him. When you have accomplished this you identify yourself and demand he stop. He turns and looks directly at you. As he does he reaches into the grocery bag which hangs decidedly heavy. With his hand in the bag he threatens, “Back off...or Ill do it!” He faints as if he is pulling something out of the bag and then stops.

    Tactically, you are now at a disadvantage. You retreat to the cover of a tree and he resumes his trotting along the railroad tracks. You pursue again. This time you keep the edge of the woods a little handier. As expected, you demand he stop, he reaches in his bag and threatens again. If he pulls something that remotely resembles a gun out, you will be forced to shoot him with the shotgun. That will most certainly result in his death. Yet you don’t even know if the victim is going to the hospital or may have refused treatment by now.

    The shotgun allows you to remain at a safer distance but you have already planned what his next move will be. If he is smart he will exit the railroad tracks and disappear into the thicket where your shotgun will be useless. He does just that.

    Is this simply a drunken fool with a bag of groceries or a madman with a gun roaming around and a risk to others? It’s decision time.

  7. #197
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Penns Woods
    Posts
    3,046
    As he disappears into the brush you briefly consider an out of the box type solution. You could render the shotgun inoperable by simply disassembling it and separating the barrel from the rest of the mechanism. It would take but a minute and still give you time to pursue the suspect with your Glock 37, a special .45 caliber design. It is a very capable sidearm. You could navigate the multiflora rose, redbrush and dogwood thicket with it unholstered and possibly take him into custody. Or you could be ambushed and shot or shot at easily.

    Leaving behind pieces of a dissembled shotgun gives you pause, even if you plug the barrel with mud by ramming it into the ground. Pursuing him without knowing the status of the victim has also been serving up second thoughts. Significant other type victims are well known for changing their minds about pursuing prosecution, reluctant for various reasons to show up in court and testify and frequently cause more paperwork than you can shake a stick at. It is against your personal pride to give up the chase but the final piece to the decision is the knowledge that nobody really has a clue where you are and what your own status is.

    So reluctantly, you take one last look into the last spot where he vanished like an apparition and nod your head with a silent promise to see him on another day, this time with a warrant of arrest in hand and backup. As you make your way back to the scene you switch the safety back on and start to relax. Arriving back at the ambulance your instincts are found to be true. The woman has received treatment for what appears to be a broken nose and what looks like will be one hell of a swollen eye. But she refuses to be transported to the hospital. The paramedics hand her an acknowledgement that refusing treatment may result in complications, that they have advised her to go to the emergency room and ask her to sign a release. She does this and they leave satisfied.

    Now you have a different problem. She is obviously intoxicated. Had she been driving when the incident occurred she would be a DUI but she denies this and states the boyfriend assualted her while he was driving. Even though the car is registered in her name. They were going home from the bar just a mile up the road. She can’t be allowed to drive and she can’t be permitted along the roadway as a public drunk. She knows nobody with a car that would be willing to come pick her up. The last thing you want to do is transport her home by yourself in your patrol car. Some prodding later you find out she has a girlfriend living nearby. Fortunately, she has a phone and actually answers it. The plan now is to take her to the girlfriends house and dump her off. “Dump” . That is what you are doing although you try to remain professional about it.

    Trying to get the information necessary for a full report from an impaired person is frustrating. Realizing your case is going to be built on an alcoholics statement, and rests on her ability or willingness to present herself in court just makes you cringe. You’ve been through this a million times before. Today, she wants him crucified. Today, you do all the paperwork, reporting, drawing up the affidavit of probable cause, travel to a justice and swear out a warrant of arrest, track him down, get him in custody, transport him to a judge and have a preliminary hearing, set bail, transport him to the county jail, obtain a subpoena to serve on the victim and......receive a phone call from her telling you she has had a change of mind. Not only that, she went to the jail this morning and bailed him out.

    At least you don’t have to transport him to the hearing. It’s pretty routine. Realizing you have a hostile witness who is also an uncooperative victim, everyone agrees to lessen the charge of simple assault to a summary harassment. She goes home happy until the next time he beats her. This time whoever gets to answer the call, she will tell them that there’s no use because nobody does anything to him anyway. It’s a vicious circle and you can’t help but feel you have been victimized too.

    What was in that bag anyway? Nobody will ever know but the suspect did shoot himself with a handgun not too long after she finally did leave him. Sadly but predictably, you could care less.

  8. #198
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Penns Woods
    Posts
    3,046
    I have written at times about my childhood and specifically about my being raised in a rather conservative church. In fact, it was so much a part of my life that I could no more separate myself from it than you could take the salt from the ocean. Fasting has been and is a part of many religions and mine was and is no different. A fast is usually combined with meditation in a heartfelt attempt to seek clarity in ones life. Denying oneself food and relying on only water is an act not only of faith but of hope. Hope that the cloudiness of life’s worries might part if but for a second and the blue skies of illumination might allow enlightenment.

    Often trials and troubles send you much sooner to meditation and fasting. It also reveals your pride and humbles your false sense of self sufficiency. Many times tragic events have us questioning the “whys” in life. It is during these periods, the child in me reflects back to a time of innocence. Back to a time when a simple hymn might settle a worrisome soul or give comfort to a grieving family. And so it comes to all to meet these periods with their own version of fasting and meditation expecting to be healed or renewed or dare I even say redeemed.

    For me this is the song. You can read about its author and the tragic events that led to him writing the words many many years ago. His name is Horacio G Spafford and the title is , “It is Well”.

    I wish you all a very reflective and meditative holiday.

    “It is in the quiet crucible of your personal private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God's greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you've been through.”~Wintley Phipps.

    https://youtu.be/zY5o9mP22V0

  9. #199
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1,777
    Thank you Williamsmith.

  10. #200
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Penns Woods
    Posts
    3,046
    In another thread, there was a little back and forth between Catherine and I (what a big heart she must have) about climate change and more importantly the response humanity owes the environment. I acknowledged that currently I am a climate change agnostic ...meaning not that I don’t think the climate is changing nor that humans are impacting our environment but whether her or my or anybody’s attempts to mitigate these outcomes....really matter. I thought that given the seriousness of the situation it is probably flippant of me to disregard these concerns without actually attempting to research them.

    And realizing that I come from a background steeped in environmental resource management, I turned back the clock by checking the twenty or so books I regularly keep as a struggling minimalist. Knowing that among them sat a very important essay by a man I learned to appreciate as a very young “environmentalist”. I reflected on the lessons my own uncle taught me as the Superintendent of the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia and am a little embarrassed to acknowledge I have strayed from some of that awareness he encouraged me to focus on.

    And so the book was taken down from the shelf and opened to the first page. Published in 1949, everyone with a tiny bit of conservation exposure will immediately recognize the author. The first paragraph I had read over and over countless times but for some reason this last time seemed more profound.......

    ”There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.”

    There is no doubt that I fit in this category also. And then he continues amazingly appropriate for even today to say.....

    ”Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild, and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television, and the chance to find a parquet-flower is a right as inelianable as free speech.”

    Setting the stage, he writes further......

    ”These wild things, I admit, had little human value until mechanization assured us of a good breakfast, and until science disclosed the drama of where they come from and how they live. The whole conflict thus boils down to a question of degree. We of the minority see a law of diminishing returns in progress; our opponents do not.”

    Almost seventy years ago, Aldo Leopold exposed the issue in plain language. Perhaps there is still time for a “shift in values” as he called it. It’s worth the effort to see. Oh, and the book....”A Sand County Almanac and sketches here and there.”

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •