Thursday, April 28, 2005

the scenic route

I'll retire in 107 days. Dorothy and I will have to continue to drive to Tahlequah often for breakfast just to enjoy the view. As the sun rises and lights the hills and valley my senses are seduced. I grew up in southern California and my view of the sky was filtered through a haze of smog. There is no blue like the skies of northeast Oklahoma. I had never seen the shade of green that emerges in the spring on the trees of the Ozarks. There has never been a place for me on this planet, but this? This is home.

quote of the day

Even when I protest the assembly-line production of our food, our songs, our language, and eventually our souls, I know that it was a rare home that baked good bread in the old days. Mother's cooking was with rare exceptions poor, that good unpasteurized milk touched only by flies and bits of manure crawled with bacteria, the healthy old-time life was riddled with aches, sudden death from unknown causes, and that sweet local speech I mourn was the child of illiteracy and ignorance. It is the nature of a man as he grows older, a small bridge in time, to protest against change, particularly change for the better.
John Steinbeck
as quoted in The Sun magazine May 2005

Sunday, April 24, 2005

what I'm reading now

What are you reading?

This is about the subconscious mind's ability to analyze information and form "snap" judgements, sometimes with good results and sometimes with bad. Posted by Hello

quote of the day

There are people whom one loves immediately and forever. Even to know they are alive in the world with one is quite enough.
-- Nancy Spain

Saturday, April 23, 2005

quote of the day

If you're here for four more years or four more weeks, you're here right now. I think when you're somewhere, you ought to be there. It's not about how long you stay in a place, it's about what you do while you're there, and when you go, is that place any better for your having been there?
-- Karen Hall and Jerry Stahl, Northern Exposure, Soapy Sanderson, 1990

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Dorothy and Kelly found me on the route today and took this picture. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

quote of the day

I truly feel that there are as many ways of loving as there are people in the world and as there are days in the life of those people.
-- Mary S. Calderone

Sunday, April 17, 2005

quote of the day

Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

Tao Te Ching

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Homecoming Queen

It's prom time. My two grand daughters recently went to the prom and it made me think of a poem I wrote twenty years ago for my oldest daughter:

Rachel at 15

She's up in the morning
At the crack of dawn,
Searching in her closet
For something to put on.
She grabs a slice of toast
And gulps a glass of juice,
She leaves a trail of papers
And her shoe strings are loose,
As she scurries down the driveway;
can't be late to catch the bus.
She's waving down the driver,
Go to school today she must.
She's our teenage beauty.
She's our Homecoming Queen.
She acts a little crazy,
But she's just an average teen.

She wears her Nike sneakers
And her Levi button-ups.
Her closet's full of clothes
But she never has enough.
She has a new boy friend;
Is it Mike, or John, or Pete?
No need to remember names.
She'll have a new one next week.
Pizza, Coke, Rock'n'Roll
Fast cars and ear rings.
Football games and shopping malls;
These are her favorite things.
She's our teenage beauty.
She's our Homecoming Queen
She acts a little crazy,
But she's just and average teen.

copyright 1985 Wallace Blue
And here's a poem I wrote for my daughter Kelly when she was just 13.

To Kelly
Hey, Kelly, slow down!
You're growing up too fast.
It's hard to believe
How the years have passed.
I have so many pictures
Of you in my mind.
I think of them often as
You leave childhood behind.
When I remember how the wind
Would blow your yellow hair
About your cherubic face
It just seems so unfair
That life takes little girls
And turns them into grads,
Just when it's smoothing the
Rough edges from their dads.
I see myself
When I look at you.
But your free spirit
Will enable you
To soar beyond my dreams
To heights I've never known.
Your flight has begun
Although you're not quite grown.
You are my daughter.
We're bound by flesh and blood.
But as you grow
The memories will flood
My heart and soul.
It's hard not to cry.
But, Kelly, I love you
So fly, little girl, fly!

C. 8-31-84

quote of the day

Everyone should carefully observe which way his heart draws him, and then choose that way with all his strength.
-- Hasidic Saying

change of direction

Have you ever read something that had such an impact on you that your way of thinking and even your way of living changed? And from that point on your life took a different direction? Two writers have had such an effect on me. The first was Henry David Thoreau, author of Walden, and Civil Disobedience. His most memorable quote for me was: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." I live a simple and non-materialistic life mainly because of the influence of his writings. The second was Alan Watts, especially his book The Wisdom of Insecurity. From him I learned that faith is not hanging on to a belief, but simply letting go. I'm always searching for new insights but I've never found teachers like those two I found 35 years ago. Who has been your guru?

Friday, April 15, 2005


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

- Rudyard Kipling
I think it's safe to announce that winter is over. It was a warm 79 degrees today and the dogwoods are blooming. I find myself wondering what the winters are going to be like now that I'll no longer spend them outdoors. For the last twenty six years I've worked at jobs requiring me to be exposed to the elements; the last twenty years as a letter carrier on a mostly walking route. Just think, next winter I can enjoy the snow from the vantage point of my living room window. I can build snowmen with the grandkids and then retreat to a warm house where hot soup and grilled cheese sandwiches will be waiting for us. While the icy winds blow I can watch old movies and sip hot cocoa from a mug. While I lay in a hammock in the shade of a tree this summer I'll be dreaming about next winter.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

what I'm reading now

What are you reading now?

The books I've been reading lately have been far too serious, so as a diversion I'm reading this by Larry McMurtry, the author of "Lonesome Dove" and "Terms of Endearment". What's it about? Think Thelma and Louise at 60. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 11, 2005

quote of the day

"When I was a Boy Scout, we played a game when new Scouts joined the troop. We lined up chairs in a pattern, creating an obstacle course through which the new Scouts, blindfolded, were supposed to maneuver. The Scoutmaster gave them a few moments to study the pattern before our adventure began. But as soon as the victims were blindfolded, the rest of us quietly removed the chairs. I think life is like this game. Perhaps we spend our lives avoiding obstacles we have created for ourselves and in reality exist only in our minds. We're afraid to apply for that job, take violin lessons, learn a foreign language, call an old friend, write our Congressman — whatever it is that we would really like to do but don't because of perceived obstacles. Don't avoid any chairs until you run smack into one. And if you do, at least you'll have a place to sit down."
Pierce Vincent Eckhart

Saturday, April 09, 2005

ten step guide to being handy around the house

1. If you can't find a screwdriver, use a knife. If you break off the tip, it's an improved screwdriver.

2. Try to work alone. An audience is rarely any help.

3. Above all, if what you've done is stupid, but it works, then it isn't stupid.

4. Work in the kitchen whenever you can ... many fine tools are there, its warm and dry, and you are close to the refrigerator.

5. If it's electronic, get a new one ... or consult a twelve-year- old.

6. Stay simple minded: Get a new battery; replace the bulb or fuse; see if the tank is empty; try turning the switch "on" ; or just paintover it.

7. Always take credit for miracles. If you dropped the alarm clock while taking it apart and it suddenly starts working, you have healed it.

8. Regardless of what people say, kicking, pounding, and throwing sometimes DOES help.

9. If something looks level, it is level.

10. If at first you don't succeed, redefine success.

*Thanks to Pastor Tim for this joke!*

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

quote of the day

I bet, after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him "father."
Will Rogers


Last night we got the first big spring thunderstorm of the year. I was in Siloam Springs teaching my ESL class when it hit. On the way home I drove through blinding rain. I couldn't see the center line it was coming down so hard, but I guess those semi truck drivers could see pretty well because they tail gated me until they could find a place to pass. Am I the only one who keeps their sanity while driving in storms? Has no one ever heard of hydroplaning? I pulled over several times to let trucks and cars pass. I expected to see them in a ditch further up the road, but they seem to have made it fine. Then it rained all day today while I delivered the mail. I came home cold and soaked to the skin. There are times when I question the wisdom of retiring in 127 days, but today was not one of those days.