Saturday, October 30, 2010


I am so ashamed. I admit it. I feel I should make restitution, somehow. My only defense is that I never knew, not until just now.

I am married to a Flaming Poo Warrior. Former juvenile delinquent, to be more precise.

Before becoming a Christian, Jack did many things he shouldn't have. The usual drinking, some drugs, reckless driving, unsavory women...and now adding to the list flaming poo.

Apparently what you do, not that I would EVER KNOW, is put some dung, the fresher the better, and place it carefully in a paper bag. Light the bag on fire, and once it's good and blazing, set it on the person's doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run away. The poor person opens the door, sees the fire, and immediately attempts to stomp it out.

What horror! What cruelty! What wickedness! What a lot like what my own grandpa did!

Grandpa was not always the fine, upstanding missionary gentleman that he is now. He was a boy once, and a very naughty one at that. When a member of the community annoyed him, he would find creative ways of getting even. And grouchy old Mrs. Fernandes really, really annoyed him.

Enlisting the aid of Emmy, his best friend and frequent partner in crime, Grandpa scouted around for the best possible horse apples he could find, and slipped them into a paper bag. (Note for any city children: horse apples are not really apples at all. You didn't think cow pies were edible, did you?)

He and Emmy went up the steps onto Mrs. Fernandes' porch and knocked on the screen door. The elderly woman shuffled over to see who it was, and eyed the two suspiciously. Butter wasn't melting in their mouths. "What do you want?" she finally snapped.

Smarmy doesn't begin to describe it. "Here you go," Grandpa oozed, smiling winningly, "Here are some nice, fresh cookies my mom baked just for you."

Suspicion melting into smiles, she took the bag. "Oh, tell your mudder tanks, tell your mudder tanks," she beamed, and shuffled away. Chortling, Grandpa and Emmy ran around the corner and peeked back, watching for the explosion. It was not long in coming.

Violently, the screen door banged open and crashed into the wall. The bag of "cookies" flew through the air so fast and so far it turned heads at SETI, propelled by a slipper-clad but very spry foot. The language would have humbled a sailor.

Not many minutes had gone by before a complaint was registered with Pop, Grandpa's dad. Sternly he called Grandpa in to account for his actions. By the end of the vivid description, Pop "oh ho ho ho'ed" with the rest of them. And if he then "oh ho ho'ed" all the way to the woodshed, it was surely a well-deserved lickin'.

Mrs. Fernandes has been gone for many, many years, but the memory of her and the athletic prowess of her right foot still lives on. I'm sure she would be flattered.

Suddenly eyeing all paper bags askance,
Noni Beth

Charles Spurgeon, Eat Your Heart Out

Jack preached today. I always look forward to his sermons, because they're so down-to-earth and informal. He takes the same casual teaching style that served him so well teaching peace officers and other security personnel. It was great material, too, about the second temptation of the devil tries even yet to substitute his own easy, feel-good religion in place of surrender to God.

After the first couple of minutes, I was thinking that this was not going to be his most rousing sermon ever. It wasn't bad, don't get me wrong, but it lacked his usual flair. He was reading more than talking, and didn't look up as much as usual, either. Still, it was good enough that I didn't realize what was going on until he said...

"I'm sorry, I was trying to make it - I'm almost through - but I'm not feeling so good. I'd better sit down."

It turned out that he had started feeling dizzy early on, (probably as a result of the ibuprofen he had taken, since he had a VERY GOOD breakfast), and every time he looked up at the congregation, he got dizzier. And dizzier. And dizzier.

Fortunately, he had had me go over his material with him a couple times, so I finished the last little bit up for him just fine. At potluck, I teased him, "Since the preacher is supposed to bless the food, you go ahead and start the prayer, and I'll finish it for you."

Until the next adventure,
Noni Beth

Friday, October 22, 2010

Of Lying Flat and Flatulence

Mom made it up here on October 6 with Grandpa, after setting some kind of world record for bad trips. They had stops in Denver and Someplace, WY (no, that's not really the name - I can't remember which city it was), and it didn't take long for the mechanical difficulties to surface. It took a half hour to fix whatever was wrong, and an additional half hour for the engine to cool before they were allowed to start up and continue on their way. Arrival time moves from midnight, Central Time, to 1 am.

In Someplace, WY, a woman deplaned and neglected to replane. The pilots of the little commuter plan found out 45 minutes toward Williston that she was missing, and turned around to get her. The woman's brother had been in a terrible accident, and they weren't sure if he would live, so she was trying to get there to see him while he was alive. I don't know how much you know about Williston, ND, but a center of interstate air travel it is not. There would have been no more flights till the next afternoon at least, which is why those wonderful folks turned around and got her in a stunning act of kindness seldom seen.

New ETA for Mom: 2:30 am.

Upon arriving in Williston, there were more hurdles to surmount. First, a dreadful spill in the airport that took another half hour to clean up (boy, Mom really likes those half hour increments, doesn't she?), then when they finally got everything gathered and out to the car, the battery was dead and wouldn't start. Another half hour.

To say it was nippy would be an understatement. Mom had to throw herself on the nice lady's mercy to take Grandpa back inside the airport before he froze to his wheelchair, and they did finally get going. It must have been a bit disconcerting to leave the airport around 4am, and then get home an hour 4am.

It's been WONDERFUL having her out here, and if she missed fall, she at least made it for a couple weeks of pre-winter.

The same day Mom left Cali, Jack and I started our EMT class. Out here they have a volunteer ambulance service, though you do get paid when you have to actually work. So every Tuesday and Thursday nights, we've been going to class to get our certifications back.

Tuesday night this week was where we got to drag each other around with blankets, and last night was backboard practice, right after the test. Jack said he was trying to get kicked out by flunking, but he's going to have to work much harder to fail with test scores like that. He missed two nights and I didn't miss any, but I only got 2 more points than he did. One for each night, I guess.

Here I must digress for a brief fashion complaint. Nowadays, it's just about to impossible to find anything but pants too low, and shirts too high. Hip-huggers are poor choices health-wise, too, being linked to all sorts of girl-trouble for those who wear them. They have influenced styles enough that all waistlines have dropped somewhat, and you're doing good if you can find a pretty shirt that comes down far enough to meet said waistlines...if you stand or sit straight, and hold very, very still.

I had even brought a t-shirt with me in case we did something strenuous, but was caught off guard when the teacher turned to me first. "Ok Noni, you can be our victim."

It was backboard night, so I laid in a supine (face-up) position, ever-so-delicately arranging my shirt and pants so the edges would approximately line up. And held very, very still.

Suddenly, my wardrobe was no longer chief of my worries. There is just no dainty way to put this. Sometimes, especially at the end of the day, I become methaneically challenged. When I lie down to sleep, or as it turns out, just lie down, any backlog of effluvium makes its way rapidly to the exit and knocks sharply.

So there I was, on the floor of the classroom, with the entire class gathered around me, as my shirt and sphincter made simultaneous attempts to slide out of position. No spinal patient has ever stayed more still, making every effort to assist in keeping the proper body alignment.

As they rolled me back and forth, my dumb shirt leaped back to the forefront. The nice lady at my midsection kept trying to pull it down for me, but it just wouldn't stay. Finally, I tried to tuck it into my pants, keeping my spine straight all the while. In my enthusiasm, I also mistakenly tucked the shirt into my unmentionables, tossing any last shred of modesty to the wind.

At long last, shirt properly tucked only into my pants, I could once again give my full attention to holding still. A quick lift, the odd sensation of floating, and they lowered me carefully onto the gurney. Almost there, a few more straps fastened, then unfastened. Whew! That was close! Time to sneak away for a moment of ahem privacy.

"Ok Noni, you can help with the next victim." Great. Just kneel down, bend over, and strain every muscle in your body. Guaranteed to go wonderfully.

Coming soon to an ambulance near you,
Noni Beth