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Tuesday, November 24, 2015


     I happened to be wearing my spiffy red Teva sneakers when the self-checkout at the wholesale club failed in its duty, and I had to summon aid. The young man who righted its wrongs said, "I like your shoes." I glanced at his feet: bright blue low-top canvas lace-ups. "Thanks," I said. "Yours too!" 

     Soon thereafter, my daughter told how one of her high school students told her she was too old-- too old!-- to appear in her pink Converse high-tops. Somehow that boy survived to faux pas another day, but when I heard the story, I resolved that I would have Converse sneakers, and I would have them in blue. It took some searching. My feet are narrow, and the "unisex" sneakers are way too wide for me. Finally, there they were online, a style cut for women, blue as a grade-school Crayola. I ordered one of the last two pairs in captivity. 
     I love them, and it's been fun to see how many other women love them too (along with the red ones and the green ones and the coral ones.) As I loitered in a medical office hallway, waiting for the hubs, three women in office garb hustled past. The leader looked at my blue-clad feet and exclaimed, "Cute!" Doctors and nurses often admire my sneaker wardrobe, and I tell them the student story. They all make the same face over the punk kid. 
     I gave up heels long ago, not because I'm tall, but because the darn things are agony on stilts. When young friends totter in on spikes (heels, not soccer shoes), I cringe. They feel terribly chic, I suppose, but to me, they are sprained ankles looking for a place to happen. Still, I'm not quite ready for Enna Jetticks, sensible shoes in sensible colors. My relatively sensible flats are sparkly gold, or red and orange with silvery spikes on the back (Really. Would I lie to you?) I shall fight this old age thing and its concomitant prejudices with my gold elephant ornaments, my purple laces, my Celtic-knot embroidered cowboy boots, and, yes, my Converse sneakers. You can bury me in them, and I'll sprint happily into Heaven. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Somebody's Got to Do It

     Thump, bump, skitter, it was for sure a squirrel cage match in the attic above the master bedroom. A day or so later, a nasty odor pervaded the bedroom and foyer. Next day, still there. Look on Angie's List for critter wrangler. Find Gregg Granger, Wildlife Ranger. Is that an irresistible name, or what? It must be intoned in your best radio-announcer voice. It took a bit of phone tag to bring him to the house, but there he was on the doorstep in his serious boots and serious beard. He had quoted a tidy sum for a service call, but we thought about what it would take for one of us to crawl through the attic looking for dead things. Short of impending death by plague for the grandchildren, just about nothing would get me up there, so we took a deep breath-- not too deep-- and gave him the OK.
     "Where did you smell it?" he asked. And "Do you smell it now?" We were into about the fourth day since the first whiff, and now... just as when you take the car to the mechanic and the noise stops... we couldn't smell a thing. 
     He climbed into the attic anyway, through that little portal in the garage. He donned and turned on a headlamp, and as his boots disappeared into the darkness, I thought, "Well, his website does say he's a former Army Ranger. He's probably crawled into worse places than this." Eventually he tapped on the front door with "good news, better news and best news." A. There was no corpse in the attic. Not a single body anywhere, and no smell. B. There were no openings through which rodents might invade. And C. He had found an air conduit separated from its vent and reattached it. Looks like we've been air-conditioning the attic all summer. 
     His theory: the noise had been squirrels on the roof, where there's little space between roof and ceiling, and the smell had come from something small, like a lizard or a snake, which dried up fairly quickly. Thank goodness. And thanks, Ranger Granger. I asked what I owed him for crawling the attic. "Nothing," he said, and handed me his card. "Just speak of me kindly, if you speak of me at all." I thanked him fervently, and here I am, speaking of him kindly and enthusiastically. If you are invaded by squirrels, raccoons, opossums, rats or other vermin short of bears and gators, give him a call. 
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Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Awful Truth

     I used to subscribe to Mother Jones magazine, way long time ago. While they are pretty much a leftist propaganda rag today, they used to do the occasional piece of good investigative journalism, such as an expose' of the supposedly victimless sex trade in NYC. They showed it to be tawdry, exploitative and destructive of humanity. Had to give them points for that one. Later, they did a profile of a Christian couple who were performing some ministry that MJ seemed to approve of (I wish I could remember what). But their headline and teaser lead-ins proclaimed that they had uncovered a terrible secret about the couple's beliefs. After the report on their activities, the writer revealed the astonishing secret: these people believed that human beings were born corrupt. Not innocent, not a blank slate, but actually primed and ready to sin! Gasp!
     At the time, I was a neophyte Christian, but even I knew that this was a basic tenet of Biblical faith which had been accepted for centuries. It goes back to Adam eating the fruit that he was supposed to leave alone. The Westminster Confession of Faith has spelled it out since 1646. See chapter VI: Adam's sin made him corrupt to the bone. His now sinful nature was passed along to his offspring. We're all born with it, and from it springs all the nasty things we do to offend God and harm each other. That's "Original Sin." But to that writer it was an astonishing and terrifying revelation. "How could anyone think such a thing?"
     I see the same sort of freak-out happening as leftist reporters make what they think are damning discoveries about Ben Carson. He has a painting that shows him with Jesus! Jesus has his hand on Ben's shoulder! OMG! He's an egomaniac! He's nuts! He thinks he's God! Well, I'm no longer a neophyte. I'm a well-aged Christian with a fair amount of observation of Christian culture under my sash. I have to admit-- if not lament-- that there's a whole lot of Christian kitsch out there. Anyone for a TestaMint? Nevertheless, even though Dr. Carson's painting is not exactly Rembrandt (You know that Rembrandt drew many scenes from the Bible, don't you?), it has a coherent message. I've seen in a medical office a somewhat similar theme, in which a white-coated doctor pores over a medical text. Jesus stands behind him, pointing at a particular passage. Pretty clear. Jesus guides the physician in figuring out the difficult diagnosis and what to do about it. Same idea in the Carson painting: the surgeon is a servant of God, guided by and approved of by Him. (I've read the assertion that this painting was a gift from a grateful parent. Don't know, but seems likely.) 
     It seems to me that people who know nothing of the Bible or of contemporary Christian culture are encountering isolated bits of information and going gaga over their own misinterpretations. My turn to be appalled that so many are so totally unaware of the Bible and the Christian faith. One fellow tweeted a "question that everyone's afraid to ask: Does Jesus have a picture of Ben Carson in (H)is house?" To which I answer, yes, He probably does. He has Ben Carson's name written on His hand, along with mine and millions of others who received the gift of faith in Him. I hope that clever guy can some day come to know that, however crazy it seems, his name is there too.