Category Archives: Florida

Issue 378 – Extravagant Love

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

Issue 378     Oct. 9 , 2018    An Occasional Blog     Bradenton, FL

Extravagant Love

Do you ever get excited about getting to share something wonderful you’ve discovered? Sure you do. If we have found a restaurant where the food is good almost beyond description . . . and those who wait on us are fast, friendly and efficient . . . and the price is unquestionably reasonable, . . . well, we can hardly sit still until we can share that fantastic news with any and everybody we meet. Right. You betcha.

That’s what this section of this particular blog is all about. Here’s a little info about some really challenging and inspiring and motivational books I have read over the last year or so. I have posted their respective covers and a few introductory pages so you can get a taste of this absolutely delicious mental food for thought. Yep, friends, this is really, really good stuff and I present it for you consideration.

WARNING AND DISCLAIMER:  Buying and reading these books may be hazardous to your sacred cows and prejudices.

At least that has been my personal experience, and I’m still thinking about how . . . as these authors share . . . I can be more open and and receptive to ideas and people which force me to think outside my comfortable box (hey, it’s comfortable here in my box with my big-screen TV, newspaper, cup of coffee and a cookie or two). They each challenge us to be more impromptu and proactive in our lives, to follow the Spirit into new relationships with other Believers and non-Believers alike, and to not always have to have a master plan executed before taking a step into the unknown.

Happy reading, my friends.

Oh, one other thing. On the pages which follow you’ll occasionally see some marks. Those are mine. I confess to being a natural-born scribbler of stuff on the margins of books I read. Just thought I’d let you know so you won’t be too distracted by them.

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 -- A1 front cover

Bob Goff is one of God’s living, breathing and doing disciples. He is sort of an Energizer Bunny on steroids. When you read about his gift for living spontaneously, you cannot help thinking maybe you’re tied up in a big knot by your lifestyle, your church traditions, and your prejudices and stereotypes about what how restrictive the Christian life is. 

Well, ol’ Bob might just say to you, “Okay, enough moaning the blues and living in a spiritual straight-jacket. C’mon, let’s look around and do love on somebody. And let’s do it now, not when it is more convenient. Now, not after you’ve Googled a research paper on the subject. Now, not after your elders have met and voted on it. Now, . . . as in right this instant.”

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 -- A2 first-half of back cover

Yes, that is a copywriter’s best PR effort to capture in an easy-to-swallow capsule the essence of Bob Goff the man and Bob Goff the message. The PR guy got it right, but he was trying to squeeze a Goliath-sized, hair-legged Geni into a way-too-small bottle. Even after you read the entire book, the first word from your lips will probably be the same as it was from mine: “Wow!”

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 -- A3 second-half of back cover

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 -- A4 foreword, p. vii

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 -- A5 foreword by Donald Miller, p viii

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 -- A5 foreword by Donald Miller, p ix

And here is one of the first lawyers you’ve ever met . . . that you’ll like . . . and keep on liking. Ultimately, you’re really glad this guy is on our side (i.e., the Lord’s side) and using his enthusiasm to spread sunshine. He is “the unsinkable Molly Brown” in a tee shirt, worn jeans and a pair of deck shoes. Bob is a first-class “pusher,” a pusher of extravagant love.

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 A6 , p. xi

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 A7 ,Introduction - p. xiii

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 A7 , Introduction - p. -xii

Goff, Bob - LOVE DOES -- 2012 A8 , p. xiv - 1

Okay, folks, my advice is for you to call your closest Christian bookstore and see whether they have this book by Bob Goff in stock and, if they do, hop in your Little Red Wagon and boogie on down to get your own copy. Or order it online. But don’t wait. Do it now. And then get a few extra copies to give as birthday or  Christmas gifts. Yep, neighbors, this book really is that good. It is a giant sparkplug between the covers of a book.

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - A1 front cover

Now, friends, THE OPEN CHURCH is a book that will challenge your traditions and what you think you know about the church of Jesus Christ. It didn’t start off as complicated and compartmentalized and formalized as it is today. Somebody said, “status quo” is Latin for “we are stuck in a rut and cannot get out.” But the good news this book has is “Hey, we don’t have to keep doing things the same way.”

My experience has been that everyone I have met has the same two areas of expertise:  religion and politics. I swear on a stack of National Geographics that every person I know must have earned advanced degrees in both Politics and in  Theology degree. Or at least they act like they do.

Hey, I can say that because I include myself in that bunch of opinionated yahoos who can talk long, hard and loud on any topic at all related to religion or politics. I don’t know why that is. It just is.

However, now is the time to suspend our collective world-class intellect and listen to this challenging lesson from the late James H. Rutz. He tells us how we got in this sophisticated mess that Christianity is in right now. Understanding that evolutionary digression from First Century Christianity can help us muster enough courage to toss overboard a lot of the unnecessary baggage we have accumulated. So read on, friends.

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - A2 back cover

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 01

 

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 02

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 03

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 04

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 05

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 08

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 09

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 10

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 11

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 178

Rutz, James H - THE OPEN CHURCH - p 179

Whew, Billy Bob, that gives you a lot to digest, doesn’t it? There may be some real discomfort in what Rutz said, enough for a king-sized episode of heartburn. That may be just what many of us needed to jar us out of our comfort zone. I hope so.

And there’s more . . . . 

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - A1 Front cover of the book

MCKNIG~2

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - p 09

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - p 10

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - p 11

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - p 12

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - p 13

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - p 14

McKnight, Scot - A FELLOWSHIP OF DIFFERENTS - p 15

Tossed salad

The church is like a tossed salad. Hmmm. I wish I had thought of that. It is so simple to understand and it is right on target, theologically. Any group (i.e., congregation) of Christians is bound to be different from others elsewhere, just as any one disciple in a given church is different in many ways from most other members. 

Yet, despite . . . or maybe because of . . . those differences our loving God desires and expects the members of his extended family to love each other, cooperate with each other, and get along with each other as well as any family can do. It ain’t easy, Virginia, but it is what we are to be and to do.

 

Some Personal Notes

 

** Barbara McCormick 

Barbara Marie Taylor McCormick, 78, lately of Kerrville, Texas, passed away on Sept. 6, 2018, in her home. She was surrounded by her loving husband and children. Barbara was born in Uvalde, Texas, to Robert and Marie Taylor on February 6, 1940. She married Claude Ellis McCormick (affectionately referred to as “Junior”) on Dec. 18, 1958.

McCormick, Barbara Marie Taylor - died 9-6-2018

Barbara spent most of her childhood in Del Rio, where she was the mascot for the high school for four years. Her family moved to Snyder in 1954 for her father’s job at J.C. Penny, and she graduated from Snyder High in 1958. She left Snyder for Abilene Christian College that summer to start classes.

While in Abilene, she met the love of her life, and they were married before year’s end. They left Abilene that winter to return to Snyder where Junior worked at the family business. While in Snyder, Barbara and Junior welcomed three children – Jeanne Marie, Cindy Leigh, and Charlie Taylor. She was a stay-at-home mother who committed herself to raising three Godly children and giving them her full support and care. She also opened her home to two exchange students that became like family to the McCormicks – Inge from Austria and Patricia from Ecuador.

Barbara loved Snyder (Texas) and was very involved throughout the community. She was a regular volunteer and project leader at East Side Church of Christ, where she served faithfully in both women’s Bible study and youth group Bible classes. She relished the opportunity to work with church members on a church cookbook, which her granddaughters use to this day. Barbara was also an instrumental part of the India Mission Fund that East Side still supports and went several times to India to visit with Brother and Sister Medidi to oversee and participate in the work there.

She was Snyder’s Republican delegate traveling to state and national conventions. Barbara served several terms on the Texas Historical Foundation board and was active with Women for Abilene Christian University.

Barbara was probably best known for her enthusiasm for photography. Her vastly impressive skills were called on frequently throughout her life, as she documented a wide array of events. Her images were regularly published in the local paper. But more than that, her generosity and kindness were conveyed through her pictures. For every image she took, she made several copies and mailed them to each person pictured or anyone who would appreciate having the image, along with a beautiful card and heart-felt letter. Her pictures have been mailed across nations and over decades and remain treasured keepsakes for those who received them.

Barbara was a world-traveler and shared her love of exploring new places with friends and family alike. No one who loved Barbara missed Texas! in Palo Duro Canyon, and everyone had fun walking San Antonio’s River Walk with her. But her travels extended far beyond the lone-star state and included four of the seven continents. Barbara never met a stranger and could somehow make a connection between everyone she encountered and her hometown of Snyder.

Her love of life was undeniable and unapologetic. She had room in her heart for everyone, and her memory and love will long live on.  Barbara is preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Marie Taylor. Barbara will be lovingly remembered by her husband of 59+ years, Junior McCormick; her children, Jeanne Ketchersid (Tim), Cindy Schroeder, and Charlie McCormick (Cayce); her grandchildren, Timothy Ketchersid, Heather Davila (Jason), Courtney Ketchersid, Madison Schroeder, Garrett Schroeder, Hannah Schroeder, Emma McCormick, and Adelaide McCormick; and her great-grandchildren, Thaddeus, Judah and Delia Marie Davila. Memorial services were held Sept. 15, 2018, at East Side Church of Christ in Snyder, Texas.

NOTE:  Peggy and I went to church with Junior and Barbara for nearly six years during our stay in Snyder, Texas. They were a friendly and hospitable couple who, like Jesus himself, went about doing good. They were part of a prominent and wealthy family in Snyder, but never let that be a handicap to them.

**  Sheriff Keith Collier

Keith Thomas Collier, 85, of Snyder, died Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018 at his residence in Snyder. Funeral services were held Aug. 10th at 37th Street Church of Christ with Brady Collier and Will Collier officiating. 

Keith Thomas Collier was born on Sept. 30, 1932 in Hawley, Texas to Thomas Mirt and Heddy “Lollar” Collier. He married Janice Hughes on March 2, 1951 in Fluvanna. Mr. Collier was in law enforcement for 36 years; 32 of those years he served as sheriff. He was president of the sheriff’s association, was the recipient of the Tom Tellepson Award and the Bill Decker Award, director of the Texas Association of Counties and president of West Central Texas Law Enforcement.

Locally, he was a Gold Coater for the Snyder Chamber of Commerce, director of the Noah Project, member of the Snyder Lions Club and served on the Scurry County Hospital District board of directors. He was also a member of 37th Street Church of Christ and belonged to several RV groups.

He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, Kenneth Collier, one son, Joe Collier, one grandson, Tucker Collier, and one great-granddaughter, Paityn Collier.  Survivors include his wife, Janice Collier of Snyder; two daughters, Keitha Brown and her husband, James, and Tracy Lewis and her husband, Randy, all of Snyder; two sons, Tim Collier and his wife, Connie, and Dwain Collier and his wife, Sheila, all of Snyder.

NOTE:  I spent a lot of time in the Scurry County Jail, where Keith held forth as the Sheriff of the County. No, I wasn’t incarcerated. I was usually there on official business in my capacity as Director of the Scurry County Mental Health Center, interviewing and assisting prisoners as needed. Keith and I were both members of the large Lions Club in Snyder (some 75 in actual attendance at each weekly luncheon), and for which I served as Vice President one year and President the next year. He was highly respected.

** Dr. Anthony (“Tony”) Ash 

Ash, Tony - died at age 86 in 2018NOTE: I first met Dr Tony Ash in about 1969 when he spoke at a “Restoration Discussions” event when Roy Young and I hosted in Oklahoma City. Then, in about 1977 when I preached for the independent Christian Church in Stroud, Okla., he stayed in our home while he was in town to give a marriage and family seminar at our church. A very friendly guy, and a Biblical scholar. 

Anthony Lee (“Tony”) Ash was born Oct. 29, 1931 in Lincoln, Neb. He earned an A.A. degree from Florida Christian College (Temple Terrace, FL) in 1954. He married Barbara Bailey in 1955. He earned his M.A. in Old Testament from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, TX in 1959. In 1966 he earned his Ph.D. in Church History from the University of Southern California. He was a Bible professor at ACU for over 40 years, during which he preached (usually part-time) for five different congregations in Abilene. He was a recognized authority on the life of Christian author C.S. Lewis. He and Barbara had been married 62 years when he died on Dec. 6, 2017. 

** Gary Freeman

Gary Freeman died in Springfield, Oregon on July 30, 2017 at the age of 84. He was born in Gallatin, Tenn., on Aug. 21, 1932. He earned his B.A. in Bible (with a major in Greek) and his M.A. in English from the University of Connecticut. He spent many years as a minister for churches in Connecticut, Ohio and California. The last job of his career was as an English professor, a writer and film critic at Orange Coast College. That was from 1970 until he retired in 1990.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Gary, but he was one of my favorite writers back in the 1960’s and later. For years he wrote a bi-weekly column in our denomination’s news magazine, one which was way outside the box of conservatism. His comedic timing was right on. For example, in one column he mentioned how he had been applying for openings for jobs preaching and having a tough time getting responses. He said one day he hit on an idea which got him a lot of responses. He said he replaced his name on the applications with the name of Dr. Batsell Barrett Baxter. Now to laugh at that insider joke, you have to know Dr. Baxter (a former professor of mine, by the way) at that time was our church’s answer to Billy Graham. Baxter was head of the Bible Department at Lipscomb University in Nashville; he preached for one of the largest congregation in Nashville; and he was the radio and TV speaker for a nationally syndicated radio and TV show called “The Herald of Truth.” That joke was funny to me, then, and it still is today.

However, Gary may have reached his biggest audiences with the two books he wrote: Are You Going to Church More but Enjoying it Less? and a best-seller titled, A Funny Thing Happened to Me On the Way to Heaven. That last book was about all the funny things that happened in the 1950s and 1960s at conservative Christian Colleges across the country. Heck, I just found and bought a really used copy and plan to give it another read after several decades. He was a funny guy, and a brave one, too.

He started the Preface to his book the same way he ended the book:  with witty sarcasm: “There’s not a word of truth in the following story. I don’t just mean that the story is fiction, which is obvious enough. I mean that it isn’t based on anything. The religious attitudes portrayed herein are preposterous. They’re completely unlike any I’ve ever seen. There are no churches like this one, no people like Dr. Thorndike and Allbright and Charles Francis Duncan, no schools like Sinai Christian College. The very idea that innocent people can get crushed in ecclesiastical machinery, or that there is any tension between idealism and institutionalism, is too fantastic to require refutation. Readers who think they see dim parallels somewhere should be locked up.”

As I recall, there were quite a few “Defenders of the Faith” who thought Freeman should be locked up. Or worse. And they were not being witty.

** Billie (Wesley) Silvey

Billie Silvey was a Christian writer, editor and activist who died just before her 75th birthday on Sept. 20, 2017. Born in Sacramento, Calif. on Sept. 21, 1942, she graduated from high school at . . . sit down for this, . . . Happy, Texas. If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’. She married Frank Silvey and graduated in 1967 from Pepperdine University with her B.A. in English and journalism. Besides her impressive writing and editing jobs, she was one of the first women in our church to hold the title “Minister.” She was Outreach Minister for the Culver Palms Church of Christ in the Los Angeles area where she specialized in urban evangelism. Never got to meet this talented and dedicated disciple of Christ, but I hope to one day “over yonder” (as my maternal grandparents often said). In many ways she walked . . . and spoke out in places and ways men never ventured.

** Edward William Fudge

Fudge, Edward - photo - 2013 - 2Ed Fudge was “the son of a preacher man,” as an old classic Southern rock says. He was born July 13, 1944 in Lester, Alabama. He graduated from Florida College, then earned both a B.A. and his M.A. degrees in Greek from Abilene Christian University. In 1988 he earned a law degree from the University of Houston. He lived in Houston and practiced law there until he died at age 73 on Nov. 25, 2017.

I cannot testify as to his eloquence as a speaker, other than to say he was in demand. He did impress me as a wonderful writer who could write with grace, empathy for the human condition, and remarkable insights on many subjects.

Fudge, Edward -- The Fire That Consumes -3rd editionHe stirred up the fires in hell . . . and in many a preacher’s study . . . by his hugely popular book on the topic of . . . yep, . . . hell. What it is, what it ain’t, and so forth. He caught more than he share of . . . , well, flack for challenging the traditional views of hade. In 2012 a movie company produced a first-class documentary about how he struggled to understand what the Bible says about hell and how many people were as mad as . . . , uh, the dickens at him for his conclusions. Edward, I’ve sure got some big questions for you when I get to join you . . . a long way from hell.

 

** George W. Bailey

1969-021 Preachers with Mayfair ties - OKC--011969-023 note from George W Bailey - preacherGeorge W. Bailey born in Ola, Texas on April 3, 1922. He graduated from high school in Kaufman, Texas. He attended Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn.), Southwestern Oklahoma State University, the University of New Mexico and Abilene (TX) Christian University. Though he never received a degree, George was an intelligent man who was largely self-educated. 

Bailey was a gifted preacher who spiked his sermons with numerous short witticisms or bits of wisdom. From 1954 to 1972, he was the pulpit minister for the University Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas, the home congregation for scores of highly educated professors at Abilene Christian University and hundreds of college students. He was so loved that the “George W. Bailey Endowed Bible Scholarship” was set up at ACU to honor him. 

George Bailey also preached in more than a hundred nations on six continents. He was the featured speaker for many years on both the “Herald of Truth” nationally syndicated TV and radio programs. He and his late wife had been married for 68 years. He died in Katy, Texas on Nov. 11, 2017 at the age of 95. 

Unity in Christ

Until next time, be a blessing to others and give Jesus the credit.

— Stan

 

AA Fair Use Disclaimer - 2018 - 02 for entire newsletter or blog

 

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Issue 376 – The Florida Scene

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

Issue 376     –     June 20, 2018     –     An Occasional Blog by Stan Paregien Sr.

 

The Florida Scene

2018--06--17 02 Sarasota, FL - Ruth & Dr Brian Smith - Central Ch of Christ - by Stan Paregien - iPad

2018--06--08 01 Bradenton, FL - sunrise over Plantation Grove MHP - by Stan Paregien - Motorola Z2 Play

2018--06--08 02 Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien & light shoes - by Stan Paregien - Motorola Z2 Play

2018--06--08 03 Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien & light shoes - by Stan Paregien - Motorola Z2 Play

2018--06--09 19 Palmetto, FL - signs in thrift store bathroom - by Stan Paregien - Motorola Z2 Play

2018--06--09 20 Palmetto, FL - signs in thrift store bathroom - by Stan Paregien - Motorola Z2 Play

Birds -- pooping on cars -- cartoon

2018--06--18 01 Bradenton, FL - sunrise at Plantation Grove MHP - by Stan Paregien - Moto Z2 Play

2018--06--09 11--A Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien's flowers

2018--06--09 12 Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien's flowers

New Technology, New Headaches

2018--06--11 01 Bradenton, FL - Verizon agent Keith Hardter helping us - by S Paregien

After being with AT&T for 18 years, we switched this month to Verizon. Also gave away our iPhones  and took ownership of our new Motorola Z2 Play. Nicer camera, but nutty organization. High tech product, but we’re low tech seniors and were adrift at sea for a week . . . and still struggling with where to find what.

It wasn’t like back in the “good old days” when we bought our iPhones at an AT&T store. They kindly set up an appointment with the Apple Store for a rep to walk us through those mind-boggling phones. We got down there, with maybe 50 other customers in the store, and a teenie-bopper with a ring in her nose came to help us. “What questions do you have” she said a bit impatiently. I didn’t appreciate her question so I said, “We only have one question how do we use it and every option.” She didn’t know what to do with that. Showed us how to turn it on and off and another thing or two. Then she looked at her watch and said, “Sorry, but your fifteen minutes is up.” “What???” says I, in shock that two seniors switching from flip-phones to iPhones only got 15 minutes of help. But that was it. She was done.

 I have to say the gentleman shown above, Keith Hardter at Verizon’s office at 14th St. & Cortez Road in Bradenton, was very courteous and extremely patient in answering our many, many questions (hey, in the last 6 or 8 years we had at least learned enough to have questions). However, as our beloved President Trump says five times a day, “We’ll just have to wait and see.”  Hmmmmm.

A Girlie Eatery

2018--06--11 02 Bradenton, FL - We ate lunch at the Chicken Salad Chick cafe - by S Paregien

2018--06--11 03 Bradenton, FL - We ate lunch at the Chicken Salad Chick cafe - by S Paregien

The restaurant above, was okay but not exactly my kind of place. Didn’t even list on the menu a chicken-fried steak or a side of mashed potatoes and white gravy. Oh, well. Peggy liked it. It is in the shopping center at 75th Street West and Cortez Road in Bradenton.

Wild Life in Our MHP

2018--06--12 01 Bradenton, FL - wild Florida bird - by S Paregien

Truth in Advertising, Maybe

2018--06--12 03 Bradenton, FL - Anglo American Lawn Services - hmmmm - by S Paregien

The previous owners of our 55+ MHP contracted with this company to mow and trim our lawns, some 270 of them plus the common areas. One day I actually paid attention to the name of the outfit, “Anglo American Lawn Services.” I was a bit taken back. Are they making a statement that they don’t hire Hispanic undocumented workers who are here illegally? Or are they saying something more? I know they have many different races working for them, so I’m curious. Guess I’ll just use my favorite non-dictionary word, “Hmmmm.”

Peggy Sets a Lovely Table

2018--06--13 03 Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien with our Franciscan 'Apple Pattern' dishes - by Stan Paregien Paregien

2018--06--14 02 Bradenton, FL - flags in our cowboy boot - by Peggy Paregien

2018--06--14 03 Palmetto, FL - gathering storm clouds - by Peggy Paregien

Flag Day in Our Community

2018--06--14 20--A Bradenton, FL - Flag Day in Plantation Grove MHP - by S Paregien

2018--06--14 20--B Bradenton, FL - flags in our cowboy boot - by Peggy Paregien

The above is our place, complete with a cowboy boot. My real, honest-to-goodness cowboy boots are in my closet. Can’t wear ’em, except for a short time that doesn’t involve much walking or extending standing. I found out out eight years ago I have an unpleasant condition called “plantar fasciitis” in both feet. Wearing cowboy boots was about the worst thing I could do for my feet that have hurt something awful for many years, but I often did so at cowboy events . . . and paid handsomely for it. I went through weeks of physical therapy and one operation and the end result is . . . drum roll, please . . . I have plantar fasciitis in both feet. Still.

2018--06--14 20--C Bradenton, FL - Flag Day - Plantation Grove MHP - by Stan Paregien

2018--06--14 20--D Bradenton, FL - Flag Day - Plantation Grove MHP - by Stan Paregien

2018--06--14 20--E Bradenton, FL - Flag Day - Plantation Grove MHP - by Stan Paregien

2018--06--14 20--F Bradenton, FL - Flag Day - Plantation Grove MHP - by Stan Paregien

A Stranger in Town

2018--06--14 21 Palmetto, FL - Stan Paregien with 'Corona Man' - by P Paregien

Our MHP Just Sold for Only $21 Million

2018--06--16 10--A Sales of PG MHP and others - BRADENTON HERALD

2018--06--16 10--B Sales of PG MHP and others

The Night Virginia Fell in Love . . . 

With Spanish Food & Mariachis

2018--06--18 10 Bradenton, TX - Peg Paregien, Virginia Corbin at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

2018--06--18 11 Bradenton, TX - Virginia Corbin at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

2018--06--18 12 Bradenton, TX - Tampa Mariachi Band at at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

2018--06--18 13 Bradenton, TX - Tampa Mariachi Band at at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

2018--06--18 17 Bradenton, TX - Tampa Mariachi Band at at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

2018--06--18 19 Bradenton, TX - Tampa Mariachi Band at at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

2018--06--18 20 Bradenton, TX - Virginia Corbin, Tampa Mariachi Band at at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

2018--06--18 21 Bradenton, TX - Virginia Corbin, Tampa Mariachi Band at at Mi Pueblo - by S Paregien

I dunno but Virginia seems to be saying, “Mercy, these guys are awfully good looking.” I doubt she even noticed their tight pants and how they sometimes strutted and shook their booty. Kinda like “Hooters for women,” maybe.

Holmes Beach Respite

2018--06--19 02 Bradenton, FL - Holmes Beach - old geezer - by Peggy Paregien

2018--06--19 03 Bradenton, FL - Holmes Beach - Peggy Paregien - by S Paregien

About 9:00 am on Tuesday, June 19th, I suddenly thought about how we hadn’t been to the beach lately (a week or more). I mentioned that to Peggy and one hour later we were nestled in a quiet corner of Holmes Beach. The water temperature was about 85 and the air temperature that or a little more. It was low tide and we were able to wade out about 50 yards to a sandbar where the water was about waist-high on me. Very relaxing, especially with the love of my life. Another day in Paradise well spent.

2018--06--19 04 Bradenton, FL - Holmes Beach - by S Paregien

2018--06--19 05 Bradenton, FL - old couple on Holmes Beach - by S Paregien

Aging -- Florida -- Dentures CLOSE TO HOME cartoon 2018

2018--06--19 07 Bradenton, FL - 2 young kids on Holmes Beach - by S Paregien

2018--06--19 03 Bradenton, FL - Holmes Beach - beautiful day - by Peggy Paregien

Beach - Florida -- I need to go to the beach

2018--03--15 01 Bradenton, FL - ONE OF LEAST-AFFORDING REGIONS IN FL

2018--03--25 01 Bradenton, FL -- Manatee Population Keeps Growing -- Part 01

2018--03--25 01 Bradenton, FL -- Manatee Population Keeps Growing -- Part 02

2018--03--25 01 Bradenton, FL -- Manatee Population Keeps Growing -- Part 03

. . . And Night Fell, Sorta

2018--06--15 01 Bradenton, FL - 'cotton-candy' sunrise - Plantation Grove MHP - by Stan Paregien

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End.

Issue 375 – Old Friends, Revisited

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

Issue 375     –     June 17, 2018     –     An Occasional Journal

Old Friends, Revisited

Friends -- it takes a long time to grow an old friend

There just ain’t nothin’ quite like old friends.

Oh, sure, new friends are wonderful, too. That’s one reason we moved from Edmond, Oklahoma here to Bradenton, Florida exactly five years ago. Back there we lived in a larger, comfortable house in a very nice neighborhood. We were involved in church activities, and I often performed my original cowboy poetry and stories at Western venues and events from Arkansas to California and from Texas to Montana. We also hosted many music jams and church groups in our home with as many people as we could crowd into our spacious living room. But, still, we could only name a few of our neighbors on our street. And not one ever reciprocated our hospitality by inviting us into their home even for just a cup of coffee. Maybe we should have changed our deodorant more often. I don’t know.

After we both retired, we were thinking of moving to a “nice beaches and warm water” area. We liked the idea of living in a gated 55+ community with a clubhouse, a pool and lots of scheduled activities from which to choose. Our hopes were high that kind of environment would make it easier to make new friends. And I am delighted to say that is exactly what happened. Now as we take our regular two-mile walk around the inside perimeter of our community of some 270 homes, I am amazed at how I can look at so many houses and recite the owners names. We found the situation here encourages mixing with the current residents and getting to know the new ones. Peggy and I are very pleased with our lives down here. We are thankful for the way our little Florida experiment has worked out over the past five years. 

Having said that, I’ll return to my main point: there is really nothing quite like maintaining old friendships. That is no small or easy thing to do, though, is it? Over our 56 years of marriage, and because of our different memberships and activities, some of our closest friends are those we only get to be with for two or three days each year . . . or two . . . or five years or more. Still, it is a joy each time we get together.

Friends in Council Bluffs, Iowa

2018--05--22 002-B -- Area map of Council Bluffs, Iowa2018--05--24 05 Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian Church - by Stan Paregien

For example, Peggy and I moved with our two small kids from Stroud, Oklahoma to Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1975. That was so I could serve as the preaching minister for the Southside Christian Church at 1919 S. 10th Street. During our relatively brief two-year stay, we made many friends. Lots of ’em. We were in and out of each other’s home, playing cards and games and going to the lake and on picnics and shopping trips to nearby Omaha, Nebraska. They were a great group of folks to be around.

Then in 1977, we moved back to Oklahoma where I became the preacher for our “home congregation,” the Stroud Christian Church in Stroud, Oklahoma. During the next three or four years, at least four families from Council Bluffs went off the beaten path to visit us. Slowly, though, we lost track of most of them. Life moved on. Oh, yes, there were a few we corresponded with for several years by letters and an occasional phone call. But it was more difficult to stay in touch, back then. You see, Virginia, there were no such things as “texts,” “emails,” or Skype back in the Dark Ages.

Time and distance took its toll on those friendships. Fast forward to 2018. We were invited to attend the 75th anniversary of the Kearney Church of Christ in Kearney, Nebraska. That’s where Peggy’s father preached from 1945 to 1954, before accepting a pastorate in Ventura, California. To attend this celebration, we would need to fly into Omaha and rent a car. Hmmmm. That got us to thinking. Council Bluffs is just across the Missouri River from Omaha. We wondered whether we should try to see whomever might be left of our old friends — from 41 years ago. We reasoned that many if not most of the people we had know fairly well in Council Bluffs had died. No doubt others had moved away or for whatever reason might have no interest in seeing us. Hmmmm. But . . . just maybe . . . . 

I was able to contact one of our dear friends from that era, Robert J. (“Bob”) Anderson. He and his son, Ron Anderson (who was a close friend with our son, Gene), and another Southsider named Larry Buckles (a current elder in the congregation; and a guy from Fletcher, Oklahoma) took the idea and ran with it. They decided to invite some of the old-timers to a reception for us at the church building on Wednesday, May 23rd at 1:00 pm. We wondered whether anyone would show up. After all, it had been . . . 41 years . . . yep, 41 years since we last set foot in Council Bluffs.

Larry and Bob picked us up at our nearby hotel about 9 am on Wednesday morning. We went by the Southside church building and looked at the improvements they had made. Then we went to the upstairs offices and I got to stand inside my old office for the first time in 41 years. It was occupied by the current preacher, Scott Weber, and we visited with him for quite some time. He is a new friend but with an interesting connection. He laughed as he told me he heard me speak a long time ago. In about 1976, I was invited to speak at a Bible lectureship at Nebraska Christian College in Norfolk, Neb. (Johnny Carson’s hometown, by the way). “I was a student in that audience,” Scott said with a smile. Any, another nice memory to add to my collection. I really liked Scott and I pray he will have a long and productive ministry with that congregation. 

Among those at the 1 pm reception were Bob Anderson, Larry Buckles, Gary and Barb Williams, Leo and Roberta Martin, George and Pam Roush, Jack and Carol Swanger and another couple, Craig and Annette Kruse. It was a wonderful time of hugging each other and sharing a lot of “Remember when . . . ?” moments.

2018--05--23 05--B2 Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Roush - Paregien

2018--05--23 06--B Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Larry Buckles

2018--05--23 07--A Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Roberta Martin

2018--05--23 07--B Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Leo Martin

2018--05--23 08--A Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Jack Swanger & Leo Martin

2018--05--23 09--A Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Gary Williams

2018--05--23 10--A Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Bob Anderson

2018--05--23 10--B Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Craig & Annette Kruse

2018--05--23 11--B Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - group of men

Peggy and I first met George and Pam Rouse in 1975 or so when they were truth seeks, hungering for a closer walk with God. So Peggy and I and possibly some others met with them for prayer and Bible study over a long period of time. One evening Pam said she wanted to accept Christ, so we rejoiced at that and I baptized her. At this reception in 2018, she told me: “You gave me an inscribed copy of your brand new book, The Day Jesus Died. And in your inscription you suggested four things to remember and practice in my walk with the Lord. I have made those ideas part of my spiritual life ever since.” Another new memory for me, a very sweet and precious one.

George, on the other hand, was not ready to follow Pam’s lead. Not at that time. So we kept studying with and praying for him and loving on both of them. At this reception, George reminded us that one night we were all leaving the church building. Peggy was already in our car, but as George walked by she rolled down the window and said, “George, you know you really need to go ahead and accept Jesus as your Lord.” George smiled at her and said, “Peg, you’re kinda pushing me, aren’t you?” To which Peggy replied, “No, it’s not me. It’s the Holy Spirit pushing you, George.” He didn’t know quite what to say to that. But it wasn’t long before he, too, accepted Christ and I baptized him just as the apostles did Believers in the Book of Acts. Pam and George are still serving the Lord, and that is a tremendous encouragement to us.

The next day, on Thursday, May 24th, we spent all of the daylight hours being guided around to beautiful and historic sites in Council Bluffs and Omaha by Bob Anderson and Larry Buckles. The four of us nearly laughed ourselves silly, as we had often done “back in the good ol’ days.” Mid-morning we were joined for coffee by long-time Southsider Jerry Cook and also by Gary and Barb Williams (Gary retired from the CB Police Department some years ago with the rank of Assistant Police Chief).

2018--05--24 38--B Council Bluffs, IA - Gary & Barb Williams - by Stan Paregien

Larry Buckles drove us over to where his son, Travis Buckles, lives with his wife and children. Travis was just a pup when we knew him, a skinny blond-headed pre-teen who played on the church baseball team with our son. Travis has seven children and hasn’t strayed far from Council Bluffs all these years.

2018--05--24 39 Council Bluffs, IA - Stan Paregien, Travis and Larry Buckles - by Peggy Paregien

That evening, Bob Anderson invited us to his home for light refreshments. To our delight, we were joined by his son and daughter-in-law, Ron and Kelli Anderson, and by our mutual friend Aaron Jones. Aaron’s late parents, Harvey and Lilly Jones, were always kind and gracious toward us. And Aaron got the same gene. He actually worked with me as the Associate Minister at Southside for a time. He is a diligent student of the Word and a strong Believer. Aaron now lives at The Center in downtown Council Bluffs, a very nice senior citizen apartment complex built and operated by the city.

Ronnie Anderson spent a lot of time at our house there in Council Bluffs. He only lived a couple of blocks south of us, and he and our son were about the same age and on the church baseball team together, etc. Likewise, our son spent many hours at Bob and Chris Anderson’s house (she passed away, but he still lives in the same house) playing with Ronnie. Ron and Kelli have been active in youth ministry for several years, while working at other full-time jobs. Their son Noah Anderson is now a youth minister in Omaha.

2018--05--24 81 Council Bluffs, IA - Aaron Jones, Stan Paregien & Bob Anderson - by Peggy Paregien

2018--05--24 83--C Council Bluffs, IA - Ron & Kelli Anderson, S Paregien - by Peggy Paregien

As we hugged Ron and Kelli, I mentioned to her I had heard a lot of good things about her and I was so pleased to meet her. She smiled and then sort of shocked me when she said, “Oh, you have met me before. Both my sister and I were baptized into Christ by you.” Yikes. No covering up my senior moment that time. She reminded me she is a granddaughter of the late Wayne and Esther Rutledge (he was an elder back then and she played the organ in church).

When we left Council Bluffs on Friday morning, it was with both joy and sadness in our hearts. Extreme joy from such an uplifting and inspiring reunion with friends from 41 long years ago. And some sadness from knowing we’ll probably not see most of them again in this life. We praise the Lord, though, that there will be an eternity of reunion time when all of the Redeemed reach heaven.

NOTE:  I have posted a large number of “Albums” on different topics on my FLICKR account. You may view lots of photos of our visit to Council Bluffs in the “Iowa” Album on my FLICKR account, found at:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/114140996@N07/albums/72157695908387504

A High School Friend: John Ford

John Ford and I are right about the same age (I think he turns 77 this summer and I do so in October). His first eight years were spent with his parents in Bakersfield, Calif. Then his parents moved to Fillmore (Ventura County), California. That’s where he started 2nd grade. His father was a certified welder, working mainly in the oilfields. His folks (or maybe his grandparents) had migrated to California from Balko, Oklahoma — a tiny community in sparsely populated Beaver County in the panhandle.

I, on the other hand, was born in tiny Wapanucka, Oklahoma (south central Oklahoma, south of Ada and north of Durant). My parents (Harold and Evelyn Paregien), paternal grandparents (Frank and Mattie Paregien), and several uncles and an aunt and maybe an outlaw or two headed for Ventura County in 1942 to take advantage of all the war-time jobs available in the area. Several went to work for the U.S. Navy at Port Hueneme. My dad did that until the war ended, then he went back to farming. This time it was on the Todd Estate about three miles west of Santa Paula, working in the orange orchards. 

We lived for about three years near the Los Angeles County/Ventura County line on Highway 126, about six miles east of Piru, Calif. My dad worked in the orchards of English walnut trees owned by the large and historic Newhall Land & Farming Company (aka “Newhall Ranch”). The company provided an old, wood-framed house (no insulation) for us, located on the south side of the Highway, about 150 yards inside the Los Angeles County line. That was just enough that my sister Roberta and I could not go to the nearby schools in Ventura County (Piru and Fillmore). Instead, we rode the school bus a long way over to Castaic Elementary and me on to William S. Hart High School in Newhall (now Santa Clarita) for junior high. 

We left the Newhall Ranch in the summer of 1955 and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Not since 1942 had my mom been able to live close to her parents, John and Vada Cauthen, who lived maybe four miles west of us. However, the wages were much lower there, so we loaded up another U-Haul trailer and moved back to Ventura County. My dad went to work farming orange trees on the Edwards Ranch, about a mile west of Piru. My mom soon became the Cafeteria Manager at Piru Elementary School. Later, she would be promoted to Cafeteria Manager at San Cayetano Elementary in Fillmore, then to Supervisor of all the school cafeterias in Fillmore and Piru. After a while that position was eliminated and she gracefully returned to her starting place: Piru Elementary, with Glenda Gregory DeJarnette helping her. Glenda also graduated with the Fillmore Class of 1959 and, when my mom retired, she became the manager.

So in September of 1956, I enrolled in the 10th grade at Fillmore. That is when my path crossed that of John Ford. In the spring of 1957, we were both on the Boxing Team under coach Simmons. We were both in the Lettermen Club (the he-man, me Tarzan organization on campus), though John lettered three years in track and I played two years of football, lettering my senior year. We were also in the social . . . and may I dare say, Christian . . . organization called Hi-Y. John played a mean clarinet in the band, while I horsed around in the Choir where the girls far outnumbered the boys and I liked the odds. And, of course, we attended various classes and special events together.

1950G graphic - a blast from our past1957-004--A Fillmore, CA - Boxing Match brochure - March 21, 1957

1957-004--B --Boxers - Stan Paregien

1957-004--C BoxingTourament - FillmoreCA

1957-022--A Boxing Team FillmoreCA - March, 1957

1957-022--B Boxing Team FillmoreCA March, 1957

1957-023--A--BoxingClips1957-023--C--BoxingClips

1957-024zzz-- BoxingCoach EdSimmons

1957-025 Boxing Team Winners

1957-026 FootballTeam-FillmoreCA

1957-001--C Stan Paregien---football - fall of 57

1957-252 Fillmore, CA - Track Team

1958-001--G--Football--FillmoreCA--Fall1958--StanParegien

1958-045--H--1984 article about '58 Football Team by Charles Mozley

1958-109-FUHS-HiY--Stan

1958-128-FUHS-Lettermen

1958-143-FUHS-track

1959-026--K1 Seniors--Large Group - Stan Paregien, John Ford - Fillmore, CA

1959-026--K2--C---Seniors-- John Ford - Fillmore, CA

1959-026--K3--Seniors Fillmore, CA -- Stan Paregien

1959-026--K4--Seniors Fillmore, CA -- John Ford

1959-031 LettermanClub-StanP

1959-031-B Fillmore, CA - Letterman Club - StanParegien, Clint Anderson, John Ford

1959-071 Fillmore, CA -- Officers for the Class of 1959

1959-120--B Hi-Y-Club---FillmoreCA Ferrill Williams, Stan Paregien & John Ford

1959-136--D--TRACK - Fillmore, CA

1959-136--E--TRACK - Fillmore, CA - John Ford

1959-202---FUHS-Band--FillmoreCA

1959-203---FUHS-Band--FillmoreCA

However, . . . John and I never did double-date at the drive-in movie theater in Santa Paula or take our respective dates up in the balcony (passion pit) at the Fillmore Theater; we were not beer drinkin’ buddies; we never backed each other in street rumbles; we never did sleepovers at each other’s houses; we never burned any midnight oil together at any late-night study sessions; we never did go fishing together up Sespe Creek; we never got together and went cat hunting at night, driving by the orange orchards and shining lights down the rows; we never did drag racing together; etc., etc., and so forth. There were just a whole lot of thing we never did together. We were certainly acquainted, but we ran in different circles I guess.

Then came graduation night in June of 1959. And afterward, like those tiny fluffy cottonwood seeds, we scattered with the wind to here, there and everywhere. I would never see most of those classmates again. Ever. That fall I drove my 1955 Ford to Amarillo, Texas to study ministry at a small private school. John Ford, meanwhile, put his track shoes on and tried to outrun the military draft. Yes, Virginia, the government did such a thing back then. Ever hear of Viet Nam? It was coming, and eventually John would go there. But before that he enrolled at nearby Ventura College. He told me he lasted about 13 weeks before seeing he was not college material right then. So he decided he would join the U.S. Marines, but . . . their recruiting office was way up in Santa Barbara or such. “Not to fear,” he thought, and turned around and joined the U.S. Navy because their office was in Ventura.

While in the U.S. Navy, he was trained in electronics. Very sophisticated electronics. He worked in that field the rest of his working career. Somewhere in that process, John married a Fillmore girl from the Class of 1962. They moved to the Washington, D.C. area, where he eventually earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He went to work for the Department of Education in their Information Technology department. He and his first wife had a family, then as things sometimes happen, he and his first wife divorced. Later, he married a native of China named Ying, who had a son by a previous relationship. They are all active in hikings, biking, etc. Ying Ford even competes in the “Iron Woman” world events, the next being in Chattanooga, Tenn., in late September.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch in Piru, . . . I married a foreigner myself, a cutie named Peggy Allen (daughter of W.W. “Woody” & Pauline Allen) from way over yonder in Ventura, Calif. That was on May 31, 1962. We moved to Nashville, Tenn., that August and I entered Lipscomb University. I graduated with my B.A. in Speech Communication in 1965. Next we moved to Albuquerque, N.M. Peggy went to work as a new accounts rep at the Bank of New Mexico and I started work on my master’s at the University of New Mexico. Little did we know, there was something suspect about the water supply there . . . because in a few months she was very much pregnant. 

We received a bouncing baby boy in Las Cruces, New Mexico in September of 1966. And I received my M.A. in Speech Communication from UNM. Upward and onward, as I worked toward my goal of one day teaching speech in some college. In the summer of 1968, we moved to Oklahoma City. I enrolled at the University of Oklahoma. Sixty class hours and one language later, I received . . . nothing. I had run out of both energy and money without completing two more things: (1) one more language requirement; and (2) writing my dissertation. 

So I dropped out of graduate school and took a sales job. Later, I would return to preaching full-time, and then back to sales of one kind or another, mainly. We spent twenty years (1993-2013) living in Edmond, Okla. Peggy spent most of that time working at the Southwest Airlines reservation center in Oklahoma City. After we both retired, we moved here to Florida. We had two children: Stanley Jr. (aka Gene through high school and Stan, afterwards) and Stacy.

We have been married for 56 years and are now grandparents and great-grandparents, thank you very much. When Peggy slipped up and accepted my marriage proposal, some folks said it would be a “slip knot” and it wouldn’t last. Most of those folks are dead, now, and we are still in love. Those doubters just didn’t know what a loving and forgiving person Peggy was and is. That is the plain secret of our longevity. 

Well, neighbors, let’s return to our mini-reunion with John Ford. Somehow, a point lost in my foggy memory, John and I began touching base once in awhile via emails and/or Facebook. Recently he told me he and Ying would be vacationing at Treasure Island Resort on Gulf Avenue in Treasure Island, Florida. That is a small beach community due west of St. Petersburg and about 40 miles north of us. So we exchanged more emails and a couple of phone calls and made a meeting happen. Together, again, after only 59 years. It was really nice meeting Ying and John, as well as John’s son Jeff and his family.

1950B Treasure Island, FL - Ying & John Ford with Stan & Peggy Paregien - by Peggy Paregien

1950A Treasure Island, FL - John Ford and Stan Paregien, classmates in Fillmore, CA in 1959 - by Peggy Paregien

Well, John Ford and I are card-carrying members of that big group of “Fillmore Flashes” (our school’s dorky mascot), only our cards have “Emeritus” on them. And the “Flash” in our “Fillmore Flashes” has dimmed considerably with the passing years. Still, our’s was a very enjoyable reunion and I found out more about John than I ever knew before. John, old buddy, we’ll have to get together just a wee bit more often than every 59 years.

In June of 2018, John and I and the remaining folks of our original 125 classmates in 1959, will celebrate the 60th anniversary of our graduation. John has already told me he cannot make it out to Fillmore for that Alumni Association meeting. I’m still debating the pros and cons of such an event. 

Cartoon-ClassReunion-Shoe

Anyway, here is a copy of the lyrics and guitar chords for Roger Miller’s song, “Old Friends.” I like it a lot, and so I share it with both old friends and new . . . like you.

Old Friends -- song by Roger Miller

True friendship brings sunshine to the shade, and shade to the sunshine.  — Thomas Burke

If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man . . . should keep his friendship in constant repair.  — Samuel Johnson, quoted in Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson (1775)

friend-like-a-bra

A friend is always a friend, and relatives are born to share our troubles. — Proverbs 17:17, Contemporary English Version

A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at least in the presence of a man so real and equal that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (American philosopher) in Friendship

Friends -- Peanuts -- 02 -- Snoopy

The sweet smell of incense can make you feel good, but true friendship is better still. — Proverbs 27:9, Contemporary English Version

My grandfather Wood advised his large family of seven daughters and one son, “When you move to a new place and want to make friends, go to the church, for there you will find the best people.” I agree with him. They may not be perfect people (indeed, who is?), but most of them know that. That’s why they go to church—for help to become better people and to grow in the knowledge and love of God.  – Dale Evans Rogers (1912 to 2001; singer, actress, movie star and author; wife to cowboy movie star Roy Rogers), Time Out, Ladies! (1966), p. 81.

Friends -- make new friends, but keep the old

Don’t desert an old friend of your family or visit your relatives when you are in trouble. A friend nearby is better than relatives far away. — Proverbs 27:10, CEV

 

Friends - until we are old and senile, then we'll be new friends

You are better off to have a friend than to be all alone, because then you will get more enjoyment out of what you earn. If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble. — Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, CEV

friends -- forever

 

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Issue 373 – Six Freebies for You

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The Paregien Journal  —  Issue 373  —  Feb. 24, 2018  —  Published Occasionally

Six Freebies for You

Free--002--round, red button

I have a number of free documents posted on my Google Drive storage account in a public folder.They are all in the popular PDF format, and all you have to do to read them is to go to the link below.

In addition, you may download any or all of them to your own PC’s hard drive . . . or upload them to your own cloud storage. One big advantage of a cloud account – such as Apple – iCloud; Google – Drive; Microsoft Outlook – OneDrive; etc. – is this: then you will be able to access that material through your PC, your tablet, your laptop, your smartphone, and so forth.

Here are the items I’ve posted there so far:

  1. Evelyn Cauthen Paregien Spradling: Her Story  (1922-2011)

Article cover -- 1975 Photo of Evelyn Paregien Spradling

This is my personal tribute to my mother. I completed this 179 page document and released it on the 7th anniversary of her death – Feb. 23, 2011. This is a remarkable story of her growing up in south-central Oklahoma during the Great Depression, the daughter of dirt-poor sharecroppers, getting married and moving to California where life became a whole lot easier and better. I worked hard to let her love, faith and integrity clearly show. 

This essay really amounts to a book, since it is 180 pages long. It contains well over 300 photos and documents, mainly from her total of 30+ years in Oklahoma and 52 years in Ventura County, California. Many of the stories and photos relate, specifically to towns in which we lived: Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru and Newhall (in Los Angeles County).

  1. An Open Letter to Christian Friends  (May 18, 1972)

Book cover -- 02 - Open Letter -- May 18, 1972

This document will be of special interest to who grew up in (or are still in) religious groups which grew out of the “Restoration Movement” which started in the United States in about 1804 and rapidly grew. It was a recognition that followers of Christ by those days had divided into warring factions, and an effort to unite those Believers by using the Bible (not denominational creeds and disciples) as the standard for work and worship.

I wrote this letter to a few dozen friends way back on May 18, 1972 to explain why Peggy and I were changing from one Christian segment to another. Then in 2018 I rediscovered the letter and added an explanatory preface and a list of resources. It may also be of historical interest to those who study . . . or have to deal with . . . divisions within Christianity.

One of the factors in our leaving the group we’d been part of for our whole lives was their theological position regarding the use of instrumental music in worship. They were a’gin it. That is, they favored a cappella (voices only) in worship. There are other churches who advocate the same thing, though maybe not was loudly as we did. But that is only a part of the equation, as you will read.

  1. The Day Jesus Died (eBook in 2013)

1968-001 Cover of The Day Jesus Died

This book was published as a hardback in Austin, Texas in 1970. Back then I was a minister, first with the University Church of Christ in Las Cruces, New Mexico and then with the Mayfair Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was a collection of my sermons and magazine articles. It went out of print, but in 2012 or so I started revising many of the chapters. So, as with the more than a dozen other eBooks of mine, you may find them and buy them by simply Googling “books by Stan Paregien.” This PDF copy, however, is free.

  1. Oklahoma Almanac of Facts & Humor: Part 1

Cover--Part 1 -- Oklahoma Almanac--2013 --- Nigh 1773w x 2400 x 95dpi

Published: May 21, 2013. Category: Nonfiction. Foreword by the Honorable George Nye, former Governor of Oklahoma. This eBook is Part 1 of 2 containing facts about the state of Oklahoma. Part 1 covers Achille to Nowata. It is not your grandpa’s boring history book. The author starts by telling the unique stories of 148 towns, including those which are a county seat in one of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. He includes photos, prominent people and humorous stories. Part 1 covers such towns as Ada, Atoka, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Chandler, Claremore, Clinton, Del City, Durant, Eufaula, Elk City, Erick, Lawton, McAlester, Midwest City, Moore, and Norman.

  1. Manatee County, Florida: Facts, Folks and Photos

 

Master Cover -- Manatee County, FL -- Stan Paregien 01 1,900 X 2,561 X 600 dpi

This eBook is a combination of one part travel guide for the beaches and other attractions in Manatee County, one part who’s who of today’s leaders and yesterday’s heroes and heroines, one part family photo album, and one part a history book containing over 450 photos and 470 biographical sketches. It is written in a conversational style with touches of wit, wisdom, mystery and spice. There’s all kinds of factual information about our beautiful beaches and our vibrant history. But you’ll want to spent a lot of time in Chapter 3. There you’ll see photos and biographical sketches of hundreds of Manatee County people. Learn why the heck we do things like we do them (Hint: “Because that’s how grandma and grandpa used to do it.”) You’ll meet some of our wonderful pioneer families, a great many solid citizens, plus a lot of folks who work doggoned hard to make this County an even better place to live or to visit.

  1. A List of Stan Paregien’s eBooks

This lists the 16 eBooks by Stan Paregien which are available at various retailers online. Also a brief bio.

Here’s the magic link for any or all of the above:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1AYwU8g8IZo9v4nwXIBnDaXrpqmd6InRI

PLEASE NOTE:  The link above is subject to being changed at any time without notice.

Happy reading, my friends.

— Stan Paregien

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Issue 370 – Christmas Cheer

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The Paregien Journal     –     Issue 370     –     Dec. 4, 2017

Christmas Cheer

Ah, here we are. Another holiday season with both Christmas and New Years Day fast approaching. Amid the din of noisy TV and radio commerials and the ads packing each issue of our newspaper, there is still an opportunity now and then to push the pause button and reflect on what the Christmas season means to me and to our society.

Oh, sure, there are those who see Christmas as just a time for more than a “cup of cheer,” more like a keg of beer and pretzels and tacos. Their anthem is,. “Let’s party! And, oh yeah, Merry Christmas and all that stuff.”

I was reminded recently about how a great many Americans and people in other cultures around the world still pause on Christmas to speak a word of kindness or to actually do a neighborly act for someone as a way of honoring the man Jesus who outgrew that manger in Bethleham and devoted his life to doing good for everyone.

On Saturday, November 17, 2017, we were guests of our son and his wife at whole day walking around Silver Dollar City near Branson, Missouri. People were there for the amusement rides, the Christmas parade, the lights and the vast selection of food items. In addition, though, at about 1:30 pm we joined an overflow crowd (I’d guess about 500 people) who found seats in the beautiful theater there. And then we were all treated to a live play, a really fine production of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.” Like many of you grey-haired or no-haired folks, I have seen several versions of that play. 

However, I must say that this production on that day was the best I’ve ever experienced. The actors were simply superb. The orchestra was magnificent. The sets were like candy for the eyes. And the audience, . . . well, they clapped enthusiastically at the right times and wiped their eyes, as did I, at the quiet and emotional moments. I was so glad I got to experience that production and to do so with family and friends. Despite the fridgid north wind and the occasional rain, I was overjoyed to be there. Again I was reminded that people really do enjoy good stories with good moral values — honesty, loyalty to family and friends, sacrificial love of dedicated mothers and fathers for their children, and that still wonderful bond of community between people of diverse backgrounds.

     *  *  *

On Sunday, Dec. 3rd, we were out kicking around with friends Michael & Penny Letichevsky. Since Peggy and I had outfitted in “Christmas colors,” we all stopped by the Desoto Mall in Bradenton for Penny to take a few photos to try to get one we could insert in a few Christmas cards.

This shot was a great one, by our standards, but it came in 2nd place.

2017--12--03 03B Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

The “1st Place” photo was totally unexpected. Ol’ Santa himself left his station where he was available for photos with kids . . . and sneaked up behind us and got into one of our photos. We love it, because we were blissfully ignorant he was right behind us and getting in on the fun.

2017--12--03 03A Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

Yep, as you can probably tell from the above photo, both Peggy and I have trimmed down considerably over the last four months or so. I feel better now than I have in many years. And prettier, too. Yuk-yuk.

2017--12--03 09 Bradenton, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien - by Penny Letichevsky

And Now, . . . A Word About

Football

Sooners.

Yes, as in the University of Oklahoma Sooners football team. They sport a record of 12 wins and one loss. And on New Years Day they will play the University of Georgia Bulldogs at the one-and-only Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Later that night, the Clemson Tigers will play the Univerity of Alabama Tide. Then the winners of those two games will play for the National Championship.

2017--10--12 Logo for the University of Oklahoma Sooners

Congratulations to the OU football players, to their coaches and to their supporters — “the Sooner Nation.” I am of the humble, unbiased opinion that the Sooners will neuter the Dogs in their semi-finals game and will finally reign as the National Champions.

2017--10--13 Logo for the University of Oklahoma Sooners

After all, we have a not-too-secret weapon in our quarterback, Baker Mayfield, likely the next Heisman Trophy winner as the best football player in America, the world and our universe.

2017--10--10 Baker Mayfield, quarterback at Oklahoma University Sooners

Go Sooners!!

 

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 1 of 3

[Don Betts’ poem, Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale]

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 2 of 3

 

Betts, Don -- Wagging a Yuletide Dogs Tale -- 2017-12-25 Page 3 of 3

Bravo, Mr. Betts. Another amazingly creative and always linguistically challenging poem. Keep up the fine work, my dear friend.

2012--Christmas--tree--Blondie Cartoon--Dagwood trims the new tree--2012--12--16

[“Blondie” cartoon about an ugly Christmas tree and how Dagwood made it uglier.]

Christmas Trees Don’t Have To Be Perfect

To Be Beautiful

 By Curtis K. Shelburne

My earliest Christmas memories are mostly wrapped around our family’s Christmas trees.

 I remember Mom making creamy hot chocolate and my sister stacking the spindle of the old record player with an inch-high pile of vintage vinyl Christmas music by Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and the Norman Luboff Choir.

 Most years the tree had already been bought at (where else?) Amarillo’s Boy Scout Troop 80 Christmas tree lot. I was a member of Troop 80 and thus expected to help sell trees each year. My younger brother was not, but he was a wheeler-dealer sort who liked selling trees and often, as I recall, managed to pawn off more trees than most of the bona fide boy scouts. Jacob (I mean, Jim) always felt Jacob of old settled for far too little when he sold his hungry brother Esau that bowl of stew and only got a birthright for it. Jim would’ve held out for hard cash and then the birthright at the end as a balloon payment.

Christmas Tree-- imperfect trees are okay

[photo of a not-too perfect tree]

We’d lean the tree in the garage for a day or a few on its amputation-site stump in a bucket of water while it waited to be lit and glorified. Anchoring the tree in the stand was a chore. Jim and I would crawl under the scratchy boughs and slide around on our wood floor to turn each screw just the right amount. It was never straight the first time.

Then my 15-years-older sister, the unquestioned head honcho of the process, would ascend to perform the task of highest honor as she put on the lights (bubble lights, snowball lights, and all), a job in later years graciously bequeathed to me.

 Then we would hang the ornaments, a tedious task but nothing like as bad as the final stage in the process: hanging the icicles.

I don’t see those long, thin, silvery strands of foil or plastic, those “icicles,” on trees much anymore. I hope never again to have to put them on one of mine.

1940s Christmas tree - with lots of tinsels

[ photo of a 1940s style Christmas tree with lots of icicles]

According to my sister, they had to be hung with great care, one at a time. Ten million or so came in a box. You’d drag one out of the box and carefully place it over a tree branch. It was essential, my sister assured us, to start at the back near the trunk and make sure the icicle hung straight down on both sides of the branch. Straight down. No clumps. Which is why Jim’s preferred method of grabbing a paw-full of icicles and launching the whole wad in the general direction of the tree was sternly forbidden. No. One at a time. Until you froze there, died there, decayed there, and Christmas never came, and it was spring and you were still hanging icicles. One at a time.

 I don’t know what we thought would happen—apart from sure death—if we didn’t hang the icicles exactly right. Would Santa’s sleigh suddenly crash in flight and the FAA later determine and publish for the whole world full of weeping giftless children to see that the cause was icing—not on the sleigh but improper tree icicling by two Shelburne boys at 125 N. Goliad, Amarillo, Texas, whose wanton and reckless disregard had killed Santa?

I’m sure we never did it “right.” But I remember wandering into the living room as a little lad clad in those great PJs that came complete with feet, lying down almost under the tree, looking up through its branches, and drinking in the beauty.

By God’s grace, Christmas trees don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Neither do lives.

[Copyright 2011 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.]

  * * * * *

an-christmas tree

Christmastree-dog

 * * *

Poem 139 - The Truth About Santa Claus -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien on Feb 1, 1992

[ Stan Paregien’s poem, “The Truth About Santa” ]

Poem 393 -- A Holiday Greeting -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien on Oct 13, 2014

[Stan Paregien’s poem, “A Holliday Greeting” ]

Poem 402 Christmas Time in Florida - by Stan Paregien Nov 14, 2014

[ Stan Paregien’s poem, “Christmas Time in Florida” ]Poem by S Omar Barker - One Snowy Christmas Eve - in THE ROUNDUP for Dec, 1978, page 7
[ S. Omar Barker’s poem, “One Snowy Christmas Eve” ]S Omar Barker, 'The Cowboy's Christmas Prayer'
[ S. Omar Barker’s poem, “A Cowboy’s Christmas Prayer” ]

2017--12--03 06 Bradenton, FL - Be still and know that I am God - Psalm 46 v10

[ “Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 ]

* * *

Honor Roll of Visitors

to The Paregien Journal

http://www.paregienjournal.com

I enjoy writing, as all of you can attest. My first published article was in the student newspaper at the first college I attended, back in the fall of 1961. Since then I have had hundreds of articles appear in scores of different newspapers and magazines. And three hardback books, two paperback books and 15 eBooks later, I haven’t lost that drive to find ideas worthy of sharing with all of you.

There is something singularly satisfying about my little blogs published as the title of THE PAREGIEN JOURNAL at http://www.paregienjournal.com. That satisfaction comes from knowing that on any given day there may be people visiting my site from all over the world. Instantly. Amazing.

I am pleased and thankful that – just since January 1, 2017 — people from 72 nations visited this web page. Heck, I don’t even know where many of them are on a map of the world. But here is that list as of Nov. 10, 2017:

Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong SAR China, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

Thanks to all those who live in other nations and have honored us with a visit to this site. We appreciate it very much. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I’m giving some serious thought to doing a series of profiles next year about each of the nations listed above. I’m start with the first three — Albania, Algeria, Andorra — and see how that goes. If you are from one of those nations  or can put me in touch with a knowledgeable person with first-hand, recent information, I’d appreciate a note to me at:  paregien@gmx.com . Thanks.

an-christmas-fiveCats

A very merry Christmas to each and every one of you. And if you haven’t done so as yet, why not take a small gift or a dish of food to someone who is sick or lonely? You could certainly cheer them up. Then that person would be blessed and so would you, especially if you warmly and graciously offer to pick that person up in your car and spend maybe just an hour driving around looking at all the Christmas lights.

Until next year, Lord willing.

— Stan Paregien

2017--12--03 04 Bradenton, FL - Stan & Peggy Paregien by Penny Letichevsky

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Issue 369 – Trouble in Florida

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The Paregien Journal     –     Issue 369     –     Nov. 10, 2017

Trouble in Florida

Yes, friends, Florida is a wonderful place to live. Its name even conjures up the good life: the Spanish word “florida” means “land of flowers.” And so it is. Plus the land of perpetual sunshine and gentle, warm surf. Ah, yes, the good life. 

Only Hawaii and Florida among the U.S. states have truly tropical climates. That is a tremendous draw for tourists from other states and around the world to visit Florida. Florida is the 3rd most populous state in the Union and is the 8th most densely populated state. As of July 1, 2015, our resident population stood at a whopping 20 million well-suntanned folks and a few sunburned ones. The bean counters say that was nearly an 8% increase just in five years (since the Census of 2010). And newcomers keep pouring in, a fact which keeps the pressure on increasing real estate prices.

Of course, we do have a few wee issues such as (1) we are the lightning capital of the United States; (3) we are usually hit by at least one significant hurricane during the season which runs from June 1 to November 30); and (3) if you include waterspouts (actually tornadic winds over a body of water), then we also are the tornado capital of the United States (no, we don’t get much press because our dinky tornadoes very seldom come close to the F5 monsters in Oklahoma and other southwest and midwest states).

 

Oh, and there is one other increasingly bothersome issue.  We have 1,350 miles of coastline with about half on the Gulf of Mexico to our west and half on the Atlantic Ocean to our east. Way back in pre-historical times, Florida was not just surrounded by water it was mostly underwater. Not so surprisingly, then, today most of Florida is at or very near sea level.

Ah, yes, and there is the really big rub.

Our local yellow sheet, the Bradenton (Florida) Herald, has this bold front-page headline this morning: “Rising seas could cost area $25.4 billion in homes.”

The rub, you see, is climate change and rising sea levels are already causing major problems in many cities in Florida (Miami, Tampa, Anna Maria Island, etc.). And a new study by the folks at Zillow.com (the real estate search engine folks) — based on the data released by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration —  warns that the following 10 cities nationwide will be in a catastrophic world of hurt within 100 years (that means being swamped by an additional 6 feet of water):

  1.  Miami, Florida
  2. New York City, NY
  3. Tampa, FL
  4. Fort Myers, FL
  5. Boston, Mass.
  6. Upper Township, New Jersey
  7.  Salisbury, Maryland
  8. Virginia Beach, Virginia
  9. Bradenton, FL  (yep, right here in Paradise)
  10. Naples, FL

 

Do you see a pattern here? Five of the ten listed cities are in Florida. Yikes.

Florida -- climate change - 'Visit While you Still Can'

More specifically, the study warned that the 15 or so cities and towns from the Bradenton area down to North Port could have more than $25 Billion in damages to our homes by the year 2100. Bradenton and beautiful Siesta Key would each have over 5,000 homes destroyed or heavily damaged.  

Because of that, I just won’t hang around for 100 years. I’m reminded of a joke about a scientist who was lecturing about how some distant planet would hit and destroy Mother Earth in 2,400,000 years. Some redneck in the audience widely raised his hand and asked the professor to repeat the timeline. “Yes, sir. Approximately 2,400,000 years.” And ol’ Bubba said, wiping his brow, “Oh, gee, I’m glad you cleared that up. I thought you said only 2,300,000 years.”

Put it in your “Facts to Remember” file.

Try a Little Kindness

2016--97--11 'Smile and Wave' - Bradenton Herald - Part 1 of 2

2016--97--11 'Smile and Wave' - Bradenton Herald - Part 2 of 2

A Last Word on Hurricane Irma

2017--11--08 House Prices Still Increasing in Manatee and Sarasota Counties

Aging -- Florida -- rooster saying, 'The older we got the less we care'

Amen, Brother!

Share this with your friends who just can’t wait for deer hunting season to start.

Animals - deer - hunting -- CLOSE TO HOME cartoon 2017-11-08

Smile . . . And Be Happy

Bradenton, FL -- 14th Happiest City in USA - 2017-10-25

[Bradenton, Florida named one of America’s happiest cities]

Florida -- we live where you vacation

 

2017--11--08 Waterloo, IL -- Stan Paregien Jr's 1937 Oldsmobile

[photo of Stan Paregien Jr.’s 1937 Oldsmobile in Waterloo, IL on Nov. 8, 2017]

2017--10--02 01 Scott AFB, Belleville, IL - Lt Col Stan Paregien and new recruit

Lt. Col. Stan Paregien Jr. helps induct a law enforcement officer into the Air Force Reserves. Scott AF Base in Belleville, IL.

2017--10--04 01 Peggy Paregien and Allie - Bradenton, FL

Some people and some pets have it rough . . . and some, like Queen Allie, above,

do not. Peggy bought this “doggie stroller” a while back.

2017--10--13 01 Palmetto, FL - Bob and Jean L'Hullier with Peggy & Stan Paregien on Peg's birthday

Stan & Peggy Paregien (right) with neighbors and friends Bob and Jean L’Hullier in Palmetto, Florida at a riverside restaurant in October.

2017--10--28 07 Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien at the Halloween party at Plantation MHP - by Stan Paregien

[Peggy Paregien in photo on Halloween]

One reason why I keep posting items on this account is because I enjoy reading the statistics on who is visiting my blog. Please understand, I don’t really get t-h-a-t many visitors per day. But, boy, I do get a variety. Just in the last two weeks, people from these nations have stopped by:  the United States, Germany, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Philippines, Latvia, Russia, Norway, China, Switzerland and Netherlands.

Pretty neat, huh? Welcome to all of my long-distance readers and . . . I hope . . . friends. Please stop by again, real soon.

Until next time,

Stan

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Issue 363 – Fleeing Hurricane Irma, Part 2

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The Paregien Journal   —    Issue 363    —    Sept. 21, 2017

Fleeing Hurricane Irma, Part 2

You will recalled that we evacuated from our manufactured home community in Bradenton, Florida on Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 5th, and ran for the north country.

We spent a delightful two days with my cousin Jerry Paregien and his wife Muriel in their home on a hill in Kingsport, Tenn. That’s when the weather folks began  forecasting heavy rains and high winds for Kingsport about noon on Tuesday, Sept. 12th. So we packed up, again, and headed further north. Do you see a pattern here??

We decided to drive up to Corbin, Kentucky — hometown of two great Americans, Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame and our friend Mike Cook (a leading proponent of Bigfoot theories) of Sarasota. First, though we drove through miles and miles of Tennessee mountains with occasional rain and gusty winds. 

2017--09--12 01 Bean Station, Tenn - senic view and info

2017--09--12 02-A Bean Station, Tenn - senic view and info

2017--09--12 02-B Bean Station, Tenn - senic view and info

2017--09--12 02-C Bean Station, Tenn - senic view and info

Actually, we barely went through the edge of Corbin as we drove 15 miles west to beautiful Cumberland Falls. We spent Tuesday night, Sept. 12th, there at the lodge.

2017--09--12 05 Corbin, KY - Spent night at Cumberland Falls Lodge

2017--09--12 06 Corbin, KY - Spent night at Cumberland Falls Lodge

2017--09--12 07 Corbin, KY - Colonel Sanders and KFC

2017--09--12 08 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls

2017--09--12 09 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls

2017--09--12 10 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls

2017--09--12 11 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls

2017--09--12 12 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - by Stan Paregien

2017--09--12 13 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - by Stan Paregien

2017--09--12 14 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - by Stan Paregien

2017--09--12 15 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls

2017--09--12 16 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls2017--09--12 17 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls2017--09--12 18 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls2017--09--12 19 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - Peggy Paregien2017--09--12 20 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - by Stan Paregien2017--09--12 21 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - by Stan Paregien2017--09--12 22 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - Peg Paregien - by Stan Paregien2017--09--12 23 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - Peg Paregien - by Stan Paregien2017--09--12 24 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - by Stan Paregien2017--09--12 25 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - by Stan Paregien2017--09--12 26 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - Stan & Peg Paregien2017--09--12 26 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 27 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 28 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 29 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 30 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 31 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 32 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 33 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 34 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 35 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 36 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 37 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 38 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 39 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 41 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 42 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 43 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien

2017--09--12 45 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - StanParegien2017--09--12 49 Corbin, KY - Cumberland Falls - Peggy Paregien - by StanParegien

This was our second visit to Cumberland Falls. Our first one was almost 55 years ago, in the late spring of 1963. I was a student minister preaching for my first congregation — the Mars Hill Church of Christ northwest of Bowling Green, Kentucky. I am happy to report that the old church building, surrounded by fields of tobacco, is still being used (the congregation was founded in 1912). Anyway, one Saturday that we took three girls from our congregation with us for a day at Cumberland Falls. We all waded way out toward the middle of the Cumberland River (don’t try that downstream at Nashville) on solid stone. There was a lot more water that year than was flowing this time, but it was still beautiful.

Here are about all the photos we have related to the little rural church in the tobacco field almost due west of Bowling Green, Kentucky (though on the photos I put either southwest or southeast — guess I’m a bit directionally challenged).

1962-061 PeggyParegien-Stan formal--01

This is our formal wedding photo. As I recall, I had Peggy — who had worked for about a year after high school as a cosmotologist in Ventura, Calif. — cut my hair in a burr style, to say money on haircuts. I don’t recall how long that lasted. As I recall, it made me look a lot like one of the guys in the Three Stooges films — so it probably didn’t last long.

1962-093--A--MarsHillCofC-BowlingGreenKY

1962-093--B--MarsHillCofC-BowlingGreenKY

1962-094--A PeggyParegien--girls---BowlingGreenKY

1962-094--B PeggyParegien--girls---BowlingGreenKY

1962-094--C PeggyParegien--girls---BowlingGreenKY

1962-095--A Peggy's Bible Class - BowlingGreenKY

1962-095--B Peggy's Bible Class - BowlingGreenKY

1962-096--Peg'sSSClass-BowlingGreenKY

1962-097 Map-BowlingGreenKY

1963-013 CumberlandFallsKY

1963-014 PegParegien CumberlandFallsKY

1963-016 BowlingGreenKY

1963-017 Sweat-RobertsFamily BowlingGreenKY

On the left, as I recall (and my recaller is badly bent, if not broken), is Mr. Roberts (father, I believe of the legendary Kentuck high school band teacher Joe Van Roberts). Next is Mr. Sweat. And the other man, at the far right, I think is Joe Thompson. I wouldn’t swear to this in any court of law, however.

On Wednesday, Sept. 13th, we had barely left the lodge when it began to rain. And rain and rain.  Hard rain, driving rain. You see, once in a while the weatherman gets it exactly right.

Frankly, I was worn out by the time we got to Lexington. So we checked into a motel and crashed for the afternoon and night. And it continued to rain most of the evening.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of “Fleeing Hurricane Irma.”

— Stan

 

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Issue 362 – Fleeing Hurricane Irma, Part 1

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The Paregien Journal    –    Issue 362    –    September 21, 2017 

When “Hurricane Irma” became more than a run-of-the-mill tropical storm, the weather forecasters began to speak of it in superlatives. “Greatest storm in a hundred years.” “Larger than the state of Texas” (yep, that’s large alright). “Highest wind speed for a hurricane ever recorded.” “Catastrophic water surges followed by giant waves of 30 feet or higher.” “Total and complete destruction possible.”

Kinda makes a non-Floridian nervous.

2017--09--04 Hurricane Irma fast approaching US2017--09--05--A Hurricane Irma fast approaching US2017--09--05--B Hurricane Irma fast approaching US

That’s what happened to Peggy and me. We were going about our business as usual on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 5th. In fact, we were planning on flying out of Tampa on Thursday morning to spend the weekend in Lubbock, Texas. I was scheduled for my 17th year of performing my cowboy poetry and stories at the National Cowboy Symposium at the Civic Center in Lubbock. I hadn’t been in about six years, so I was getting excited about seeing many of my cowboy pals and palettes (yeah, I know, I invented that one).

That did not happen. About noon Peggy came into my study and told me that Governor Scott had just declared a state of emergency in Florida. They were expecting Hurricane Irma to rip through Florida like a chainsaw, leaving death and destruction in her wake.

It didn’t take us long to figure out that by now we had not one chance in heck of flying “standby” anywhere (Peggy worked for Southwest Airlines for some 15 years and earned us free — i.e., standby — flying privileges wherever SWA goes). All flights out of Tampa would be full of paying passengers, no doubt.

Then there was the additional problem of what to do with our dog Bullet. Oh, wait a minute, that was the name of Roy Rogers’ German shepherd. Our little Pomeranian is Allie, and we did not want to leave her behind in harm’s way.

So, with all other options ruled out, we hastily packed a few clothes, our important papers, plus some food and water and such. And, to get a start on what by Wednesday morning would become a marathon snail race, we left in our trusty Kia Sedona van by 3:00 p.m.

We spent Tuesday night at a high-dollar motel in Lake City, Florida, just a few miles south of the Georgia border. There were at least 10 other dogs staying in our doggie motel that night.

On Wednesday, Sept. 6th, we left Lake City, Florida about 8:30 p.m. and joined the heavy traffic headed north to who knows where. Our destination was the home where our long-time friends Darrel and Martha Russell live with their daughter and son-in-law and their boy (Christie, Todd & T.J.). They were all so gracious in putting us up for a couple of nights. We even spent some time perusing a very large antique shop in an old cotton mill in the town of Social Circle, Georgia. Check it out on a map, and you’ll see that the city limits is nearly a perfect circle. Why, I don’t know, even though I asked a few people. Must be a story there.

2017--09--06 Manatee County Preparing for Hurricane Irma - Bradenton Fl Herald

2017--09--07 01--A Social Circle, GA - home of Darrel and Martha Russell - by Peg Paregien

2017--09--07 01--B Social Circle, GA - plaque - Psalm 93 v 04 by Peg Paregien

2017--09--09 Old couple at a shelter in Bradenton, FL - Bradenton Fl Herald

2017--09--09 US Rep Vern Buchanan visits Manatee County on Friday, Sept 8

2017--09--09 What to take to a shelter & what to expect - Bradenton Fl Herald

On Friday, Sept. 8th, the forecasters were saying that this part of Georgia could soon expect heavy rain and high winds . . . followed by widespread power outages. So we decided it was time to mosey on a bit further north. Peggy spent more than an hour on the phone trying to book a motel room in Chattanooga. None was available. Nary a single pad. Little did we know, in addition to the untold hundreds of refugees like us, they were hosting the World Championship “Ironman” and “Ironwomen” contests that weekend. So Peggy finally found us a room about 40 miles further up the road at Cleveland, Tennessee.

We took a long way around Atlanta, to keep from fighting that urban traffic. We saw a few scenic spots, traveling the back two-lane and sometimes four-lane roads of rural Georgia. But mostly we saw stoplights and lots of lumber trucks and innumerable strip retail shops and such.

We finally arrived in Cleveland, Tennessee and checked into our motel. It was located right next to paradise, which is to say, next to a Cracker Barrel restaurant. We were a good little boy and girl, though, and avoided our normal “Southern comfort” foods. I’m about six weeks from my next doctor’s appointment and I am determined to exceed his recommendation for me to shed at least 20 pounds (over a 3 month period).

Soon after we had arrived, Peggy discovered that the little meeting we had with a strip of blown truck tire back near Lake City had not just put a dent in our passenger door . . . but it had knocked the peawadden out of the turn sign assembly on the front, passenger side of our car. It was just dangling by a thread. But, using virtually all of my mechanical skills, I found a bungee cord in my tool box. I flawlessly attached one end to a motor mount inside the engine compartment, stretched it down over our grill and expertly attached it to the assembly. Ah, the satisfaction of a job well done. For a while, anyway.

Saturday, Sept. 9th, dawned with a stunningly beautiful day. We left our dog in her large cage in our motel room, and we retraced our steps back to Chattanooga with a list of several things we wanted to see and do. As we approached the downtown area, near the area along the Tennessee River, we noticed how athletic all these Chattanooganites looks. Both men and women were slim and muscled up, with fancy athletic shoes, colorful athletic shorts and shirts, and even with athletic looking bicycles — some with tires no wider than my thumb.

Duh. Then we found out the city was hosting the World Championship “Ironman” and “Ironwomen” contests that weekend. Hundreds of certified athletes and thousands of fans and families crowded the area we had to pass through. There were barricades everywhere so the public could not cross a street during a bycicyle race (not a good idea) or a foot race. We also got to see these way-too-fit folks swimming across the Tennessee River, when they all no doubt had perfectly good swmming pools back at their motels.

Well, here is where the plot thickens. As we were trying to get through this mass of athletic folks, Peggy missed seeing a step down off a curb and hurt her left foot. Not her ankle, the side of her foot. She was in considerable pain, but managed to hobble on down to the river — through three or four of those barriers — to where we bought tickets for the luncheon cruise aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat.

Since her foot was hurting and we were boxed in by the sports activities, we sat at that location for about an hour. Finally, we loaded onto the Riverboat. They had a big and private birthday party going on upstairs, but on the main deck there were probably only about 15 of us. But, off we went. It was a nice little river tour, with a guide giving some history of what we saw.

2017--09--09 05 Chattanooga, TN - World Championship Ironman and Ironwoman contest

2017--09--09 15 Chatanooga, TN - Southern Belle Riverboat Cruise on the Tenn River

2017--09--09 18 Chatanooga, TN - Southern Belle Riverboat Cruise on the Tenn River - by Peg Paregien

2017--09--09 19 Chatanooga, TN - Southern Belle Riverboat Cruise on the Tenn River - by Peg Paregien

2017--09--09 20 Chatanooga, TN - Southern Belle Riverboat Cruise on the Tenn River - by Peg Paregien

About two hours later, we discovered as we prepared to leave that Peggy’s foot was so swollen and sore that she absolutely could not walk. We informed the boat’s staff of what had happened and our predicament. There was no way she could climb the steep hill up to where all the events were going on. Nor could she manuever through the crowds, nor could she get far enough for me to bring our car close enough to pick her up.

After about 45 minutes of waiting for help, one of the uniformed boat staff — perhaps a captain himself — took a personal interest in our dilemma. He finally agreed to procure a golf cart and give both of us a ride to the streets up above. So this man named Daniel, dressed in a sharp uniform which perhaps passed for an official of some kind, weaved the cart through the barricades and up past the crowd. He even drove about three city blocks, on the public streets, to get to a corner parking spot about two blocks from our car. So, showing my own athleticism (I hate that word and other “ism’s” just like it), I sucked in my stomach and sorta jogged a lot of the way — even up hill — to get our car. I drove down and “Captain Daniel” helped Peggy into the car while I waved the impatient drivers around us. Bless you, Daniel, you were wonderful.

So we high-tailed it out of Chattanooga as fast as the numerous areas under construction and the heavy load of traffic would allow. I managed to get Peggy from the car to our motel room, then I skedaddled a couple of miles down the road to a CVS because they had a practical nurse on duty there. Right. Except, . . . that she had gone to supper right before I arrived. So I bought about $70 of home remedies and hurried back to the motel and put some ice on Peggy’s foot. That seemed to help, but all other activities were out.

We we were “forced” to sit in the room and eat the Sonic burgers I had picked up on the way back from CVS, . . . while we watched our University of Oklahoma “Sooners” (ranked Number 7 at the time) gave #2 ranked Ohio State “Buckeyes” a spanking they won’t soon forget.

In between plays and during the commercials, we watched the weather bulletins. And Hurricane Irma was shifting further west, away from Miami and headed directly toward Tampa (and us at Bradenton). Yikes. And to make matters even more interesting, they had warnings of heavy rain and high winds there in Cleveland, Tenn.

2017--09--09 05 Hurricane Irma - Bradenton, FL Herald -- Page 1 of 2

2017--09--09 06 Hurricane Irma - Bradenton, FL Herald -- Page 2 of 2

So . . . we phoned my cousin/brother Jerry Paregien and his wife Muriel in Kingsport, Tennessee (in the northeast corner near Bristol Speedway) and pleaded on bended knees for them to put up a couple of refugees. Now, the Paregien family — our Paregien grandparents (Frank and Mattie) as well as Jerry’s mom and dad and my own mom and dad — know all about being refugees in a foreign country. They all left poverty-stricken Oklahoma in 1942 and moved to Ventura County, California in hopes of getting work in the war industry. And they did exactly that, and their lives and those of their descendants changed dramatically. They all went to work for the U.S. Navy at Port Hueneme (near Oxnard).

Anyway, Jerry and Muriel graciously agreed to take us in as long as we wanted or needed to stay. So we again loaded up Allie and our stuff, leaving Cleveland about 8:00 am on Sunday morning, Sept. 10th. We passed Knoxville and about the time we were to turn north, off of I-40, we saw a sign saying that Sevierville was just 15 miles on east. So we decided to take a quick tour. We stopped at a really beautiful Visitor’s Center and got a bunch of brochures.

That’s when one of the employees walked over the ladies who were helping me and told them their manager had called and said they would shut down at noon Monday because the National Park Service was shutting down the area parks because of dire predictions of heavy rain, high winds and probably trees falling and power losses.

That sure explained why we had seen a mob of cars and RVs headed out of Sevierville as we were headed into town. Now my momma didn’t raise no dummies, so I changed our plans and got right back on the road to Kingsport.

2017--09--10 08 Kingsport, Tenn - sunset - by Stan Paregien

2017--09--10 09 Kingsport, Tenn - sunset - by Stan Paregien

We spent a delightful time with Jerry and Muriel in their hillbilly home. Well, okay, it is beautiful and spacious home on a hill, not a cramped log cabin by any means. We spent Sunday night and Monday night there. On Monday I took our car down to a nearby mechanic and he was able to stabilize the turn signal assembly . . . by putting a second bungee cord on it. Naw, not really. He was able to snap it back together for a temporary fix, as it is cracked and some “teeth” are missing.

However, the weather folks were now forecasting those same heavy rains and high winds for Kingsport about noon on Tuesday. So we packed up, again, and headed further north. Do you see a pattern here??

Well, friends, we’ll continue the story of our evacuation from Florida in our next issue.

Thanks for stopping by.

— Stan Paregien

 

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Issue 358 – Catching Up

The Paregien Journal    –   A Periodic Publication    –    Issue 358   –   July 29, 2017

Catching Up

In my last post, some 16 days ago, I mentioned that I hoped to get on a more regular posting schedule. My intent was to published each and Thursday. Obviously, that didn’t happen and I don’t expect it to happen in the future. 

You see, friends, shortly after that I saw my doctor for my regular 6-month check-up. I was shocked out of my Justin boots by his diagnosis. Full-blown diabetes and a low-functioning thyroid. He told me to change my diet and to lose at least 20 pounds in the next three months. Then I might make it without going on a diabetic routine of meds. He did put me on a pill for the low-thyroid functioning problem. I have noticed that for the last three months or more I just did not have much energy. Low-thyroid will do that. So I started this med and it has knocked me for a loop: a headache for several hours each and every day; frequent nausea; inability to sleep from early morning to 11 pm or so (I had loved my afternoon naps); and no decreasing of my fatigue. After two weeks, those three of those four side-effects have faded. I’m still waiting for it to give me more energy.

Anyway, now you know . . . the rest of the story.  I have sub-titled this blog as “A Periodic Publication.” And that’s about the best I can do for the foreseeable future. Thanks for your understanding. 

A Birthday Bash

We’re having another birthday party for a local celebrity here in Bradenton, Florida. It will happen on Saturday, July 20th. He is a very popular guy and lots of folks come from far and near to take photos of him. That “him” is none other than ol’ Snooty, who was born on July 21, 1948, back when Harry (“Give ‘Em Hell”) Truman was sitting in the White House as President of the U.S.A. He’s not as old as I am, of course, but he is now ancient compared to his peers.

Okay, I’ll tell you . . . the rest of the story. Snooty is a manatee who has lived in a manatee-sized pool in the South Florida Museum for a long, long time. He was born in the Miami Aquarium down south, but packed up his bags and more here at the age of one. The manatees who live wild along Florida’s shores are odd-looking creatures. In the wild, they seldom if ever live beyond their 20’s. Fast-moving boats kill or badly injure many of these gentle giants each year. 

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Oh, did you know that Bradenton is a city in “Manatee” County? Yep, and the first community was called Manatee but was swallowed up by a faster growing upstart. And our town sits on the south bank of “Manatee” River.” There are lots of those Manatee around, though I have yet to see one in the wild.

Anyway, happy birthday to you Snooty. 

UPDATE:

Unbelievably, Snooty the Manatee died one day after his 69th birthday party. That was on Sunday, July 23, 2017. Officials reported that somehow an access panel door to his pool or aquarium had somehow been knocked loose. The huge, gentle creature was able to go underwater and swim into the small enclosure. When he did not have room to turn around and reach air, again, he drowned. It is quite a tragedy for our community. And those who literally grew up seeing and enjoying Snooty a few times each year were especially saddened.

*****

I am certainly sad to learn that Arizona’s Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with a very aggressive kind of brain tumor called glioblastoma. I have great respect for Senator McCain, though I think he should have retired a few years ago. He spent five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and he was severely tortured — physically and psychologically — by the Communists during that time. In my book he is a true American hero and a fine gentleman. We hope and pray for his recovery.

*****

I see in “Today’s Birthdays” for July 20th that novelist Cormac McCarthy is now 84. His first novel, The Orchard Keeper, was published in 1965. You probably know him for his 2005 novel, No Country for Old Men, which was adapted into an award-winning film by Joel and Ethan Coen. The movie starred Tommy Lee Jones and one of the supporting cast was a gent we have met a few times at cowboy events, actor Barry Corbin. In 2006, his novel The Road, won a Pulitzer Prize for Literature. And also in 2006 he finished writing a play, “The Sunset Limited.” That was made into an HBO film starring  Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones (directed by Jones).

In the birthdays for July 29th I see the name of none other than Leonard Leroy “Buddy” Lee, born on this date in 1933 and celebrating his 84th year on Mother Earth. Okay, you probably know him better by his stage name, “Robert Fuller.” In 1952, barely out of his teens, he moved to Hollywood to try his luck at acting. He also attended actor Richard Boone’s acting school and started to get small parts.  In 1959, Fuller wanted to do Westerns and came in 2nd to Michael Landon for the role of “Little Joe” Cartwright of the Bonanza TV show.  But he kept auditioning and won a co-starring role of Jess Harper on the TV Western, Laramie. It ran from 1959 to 1963, and Fuller made lots of money and lots of contacts in the movie industry.

Fuller, Robert - on TV show Laramie -- 2

Fuller appeared in numerous TV Westerns and movies after that. However, his next really successful and lucrative deal was a non-Western. Actor (remember “Dragnet”) and director Jack Webb pestered him until Fuller accepted a co-starring role in NBC’s “Emergency!,” a modern, fast-paced TV medical drama. He got the role of Dr. Kelly Brackett, Chief of Emergency Medicine at the fictitious Rampart General Hospital. And his co-star was the lovely, talented pop singer and actress Julie London, who was the ex-wife of director Jack Webb. She was Nurse Dixie McCall. That show ran for five years, from 1972 to 1977. Long retired, Robert Fuller lives in north Texas. 

2017--07--17 04 Stan Paregien Jr's new toy -- Jurassic Park jeep

2017--07--17 03 Stan Paregien Jr's new toy -- Jurassic Park jeep

This is the latest piece of business equipment (i.e., toy) purchased and painted and decaled by our son, Stan Paregien Jr. Are you ready for this? He also has an honest-to-Batman “batmobile” with a fake jet exhaust, a fully decorated “General Lee” as seen on Dukes of Hazard” TV show, an authentic DeLorean car with all of the “Back to the Future” gizmos inside and out a little VW all decked out as a Disney studio “love bug” with the number 53 on it. Yep. He is actually making a little money along the way by being paid by folks who want him to bring one of ’em to their corporate event, party, TV commercial and/or movie set. Not bad work if you can get it.

Well, folks, it is now 8:10 in the evening and I’ve been at this way too long. I had hoped to include more, but . . . I am plum tuckered out.

See ya next time.

— Stan

 

 

 

 

Issue 357 – We Enjoy Our Visitors

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The Paregien Journal   –   Issue 357   –   July 13, 2017

We Really Enjoy Our Visitors

During our marriage of 55+ years, Peggy and I have lived in several states and cities. I can safely say that none of them, except for our current home in Florida, has been known as a “tourist destination city.”  The region from Tampa, down through Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Sarasota, and Venice contains beautiful cities, beaches, museums and scores of other attractions. So hundreds of thousands of visitors flock here from all over the United States, Canada and Europe–especially during “the season” (November through April). 

Naturally, that old capitalism rule of “supply and demand” kicks in, with hotels raising their rates and still running at or near capacity, and restaurants hike their prices and still have waiting lines (even at . . . or maybe especially at . . . the “Early Bird Special” time of 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.). And then there is the additional traffic, . . . but don’t get me started on that.

So we are fortunate and happy to have a few more friends and relatives who come to visit us for a day several days. We are always glad host them and get caught up on their lives and the lives of our mutual friends. And we try to guide them to the best attractions in the area.

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Martha and Darrell Russell are very special friends of ours and have been for many years. We all met when Peggy and Martha each worked in the Southwest Airlines Reservation Center north of the airport in Oklahoma City. For several years, Peggy and Martha shared rides back and forth to work from our respective homes about 25 miles from the airport (in Edmond, Okla.). Then when we decided to move to Florida in June of 2013, these two generous souls volunteered to make the trip with us. In fact, Darrell had driven business-sized trucks for years and he accepted the role of chief driver of our rental truck. Martha and Peggy drove our van. 

Then a couple of years later they retired, sold their house, bought a Recreational Vehicle and started roaming all over the U.S. Then their daughter and son-in-law got transferred to Jupiter (over on Florida’s east coast; also where the aging movie star Burt Reynolds still lives) and they started living with there when not RV-ing. And just a few weeks ago, the whole crew moved to new digs up in Social Circle, Georgia. Google that town and scroll out and look at how the town is platted — in a doggone circle. Pretty strange.

Anyway, I think you catch my drift that we very much appreciate and love these two wonderful folks.

And, speaking of wonderful folks, . . . that leads us to James and Glenda Cotton of Edmond, Okla. 

2017--03--05 01A Palmetto, FL - James and Glenda Cotton - by S Paregien

We first met James and Glenda Cotton (of Marshall, Okla.) in a congregation in Oklahoma City where we were all attending. Since then, they have moved from her family farm to just on the far north side of Oklahoma City. We all four laugh all the time about how we were mismatched somewhere back in time, as Peggy and James share a great passion for searching for seashells and tinkering with stuff while Glenda and I are happy to watch the sunsets and read books. Last year Peggy and I rode with them from Edmond all the way through Texas and New Mexico up to Westcliffe, Colorado . . . to a friend’s cabin . . . and then took the long way home. Quite an adventure. And quite fantastic friends.

2017--03--26 02 Brian, Ruth, Muriel, Peg - Venice, FL - by Stan Paregien

Two of our newer retired friends who live in Venice are Dr. Brian and Ruth Smith, R.N. Before they were married, they each independently went to separate medical missions in Africa. A series of twists and turns took place, finally causing them to meet and to get married. They spent the last 20 years of their careers working in McAllen, Texas, moving to Venice in late 2015 or so for his health.

The photo above shows them with my cousin/brother Jerry Paregien (blue shirt) and his wife Muriel and with Peggy.  Both Jerry and I grew up a few miles apart in the wilds of Ventura County (just north of Malibu, etc.). He graduated (as did Peggy) from Ventura High School, while I graduated from Fillmore High School.  I had one sister, Roberta (“Berta”), but nary a single brother. Jerry has certainly filled that slot for me over the years, so I love him as my substitute physical brother and as my brother in Christ. It just doesn’t get much closer than that. 

Muriel and Peggy just seemed to hit it off from the first time they met. For one thing, they are both “P.K.’s.” Now those of you insiders in church circles know what that means. Each of them was a “preacher’s kid.” Muriel’s father, Dale Knowles, preached for ultra-conservative independent Christian Churches (and her brother, Victor Knowles, is a preacher and the long-time editor of ONE BODY, a magazine advocating Christian unity).  Peggy’s father, W.W. (“Woody”) Allen, preached for ultra-conservative Churches of Christ, mainly in Nebraska and in Ventura, Calif. But Muriel and Peggy share so many other interests that their relationship is very similar to that which Jerry and I have. 

2017--06--01 02 - Woody, Lisa, Ella King - Bradenton, FL - by Stan Paregien

Woody King is a son of Paula King and the late Bill King, making him a nephew to Peggy and to me. Woody’s parents farmed in Arizona and Texas, then moved to California and soon to Oklahoma’s oil patch(s), and in his adult life out to Portland, Oregon. Lisa’s parents live in Sarasota and it was Woody and Lisa’s wedding on beautiful Siesta Beach — attended by Peggy — that was a major influence in our moving to Florida. They have the one daughter, cute and smart little Ella. They work together as independent entrepreneurs.

Hey, here is a “blast from the past.”  This photo of Woody and others was taken at our little 10-acre “farm” northwest of Stroud, Okla., in 1981. I added the captions, of course.

1981--048--B---Woody-Gene-Evelyn-Chester-Jeff---StroudOK

That is my mom and step-father in back, and Woody’s younger brother Jeff at right.

2017--06--15 12 - Sarasota, FL - luncheon cruises - by Stan Paregien

Luncheon cruise on Sarasota Bay in mid-June, 2017

This photo is of Stan and Peggy Paregien with their one and only daughter, Mrs. John (Stacy Evelyn Paregien) Magness. Stacy (cook in a nursing home) and John (foreman for a company in the oil field service business) and their adult daughter Christal live in tiny Snook, Texas just west of Bryan/College Station (think “Texas A&M”).  They have lived in Texas all of their married lives. This was Stacy’s first trip to Florida. We hope someday, since her husband John refuses to fly at all, to hog-tie him and load him on a plane and get him here, too. Stacy, by the way, is our greatly loved “chosen child,” as we adopted her in Oklahoma when she was two years old. Their older child, Dylan, works with his father and lives in College Station with his girlfriend. Their first baby is a beautiful girl named Presleigh.

That is Stacy’s picture on the left, at about the same age as Presleigh.

The note in my newspaper for July 7th’s “Birthdays” included the one and only . . . Doc Sevrinsen. Okay, if you’re under 40 years of age you have probably never heard of him. But ol’ Doc, whose real name was Carl, turned 90 this year. He was the band leader during most of the years that Johnny Carson hosted “The Tonight Show” on TV. At one time he owned a horse ranch in Purcell, Oklahoma (which likes to call itself “The Quarter Horse Capital of the World”). He lives up in Webbed Foot Country (i.e., Oregon), and he still performs once in a while. He was especially noted for his wacky stage outfits and for his kinda “wacked out” stage persona, which I don’t know was for real or just an act. He was different, though.

Severinsen, Doc -- about 2016 -- trumpet player and band leader on NBC

Oh, and on July 7, 1954, that nobody truck driver from Tupelo, Mississippi actually conned some D.J. at WHBQ in Memphis to play his first record, “That’s All Right,” for the very first time. And the song was a heck of a lot more than “All Right.” Neither Sun Records nor the world of music would be the same for very long after that. I remember that this “rock ‘n roller” (or hillbilly rocker) in about 1955, when I was a student at Roosevelt Junior High School in Tulsa, came to town for a show. The place was mobbed. And the newspaper the next day on their front page had a photo of two or three of my female classmates trying to climb into Elvis Presley’s dressing room from a window on the outside wall. Ah, yes, the good ol’ days.

Presley, Elvis -- with his guitar in about 1955 - it is a 1955 Martin D-28 guitar

We had been giving some serious thought and discussion about flying to Japan to see that nation and to spent some time with our daughter-in-law Becky Paregien’s brother and sister-in-law, Mike and Tomoko McClain in the Hitachi coastal area north-east of Tokyo. . . .  . . Then, one of our Rwandan friends invited us to his wedding in September there in Rwanda, Africa. So we (mainly Peggy) shifted gears and started researching that trip, instead. The Rwanda trip was just too cost-prohibitive. So we (mainly Peggy) turned our attention back to that possible trip to Japan. After visiting with a travel agent, we decided the possible Japan trip was impossible for us. And for the same reasons:  $$$$$

So we have regrouped and are thinking of going two places instead of one: Paris and Rome.

Doesn’t that sound just wonderful?

Well, don’t get too excited. We’re talking (mostly joking) about driving to both Paris, Tennessee and Rome, Georgia. It would give us some bragging rights, if we just left off the state names. Then on second thought, . . . naw. Back to the drawing board.

Hey, we have a heck of a lot of fun with all of the folks here in our 55+ gated MHP, including such folks as long-time resident Pat Goeller. Read the sign on her shirt.

 

2017--04--11 01 Bradenton, FL - Pat Goeller - by S Paregien

Well, friends and neighbors, that’s it for this time. Thanks for stopping by and “Y’all come, ya hear?”

— Stan Paregien

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Issue 356 – Joy of Aging & Other Lies

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The Paregien Journal  –  www.paregien.com  –  Issue 356  –  July 6, 2017

The Joy of Aging & Other Lies

Okay, buckeroos and buckerettes, make sure your butt is firmly planted on your saddle and your boots are in your stirrups, and your age-spotted hands and arthritic fingers have a firm grip on your horse’s reins. We are about to take a ride down memory lane.

Only this won’t be your Grandma’s memory lane about all the veggies she and Grandpa used to gather from their big garden out back and how she “canned ’em” (i.e., pressure cooked them and put  them in quart jars) and stacked in the basement to be enjoyed some cold day in January. It is not about Grandpa’s musings about how unusually large the fish were that he used to catch in just a few hours at the lake. Nope, none of that stuff.

This little essay is about the here and now, about what a short time it took we old geezers to get from wherever we neaked through high school to the place far away where we live and how things have changed 360 degrees from then to right now. 

So I’ll say like they do on cable TV just before reporting on some awful story, “A fair warning. The content of this next report might be upsetting to some.” Yeah, right. Like to 99.9 percent of people with at least half-way functioning brain matter.

Let’s start with this little book:

1,003 Great Things About Getting Older

Birnbach, Lisa et al - 1,003 Great Things About Getting Older -- 1997 by MJF Books -- front cover

My wife Peggy, otherwise known as the World’s Greatest Optimist (aka “sweet thing”) gave me this little book a while back. I thought it was a joke book. You know, it says “1,003 Great Things About Getting Older” but you open it up and the pages are blank. Sorta like that one “Everything Your Daddy Told You About Women But You Forgot.” But, no, this one actually has pages filled with stuff.

Lisa Birnbach, Ann Hodgman, Patricia Mars and David Owen had their fingers in the pie when it came to compiling these gems of politically correct wisdom. So here are a few sayings to help you get through your first cup of coffee. My comments are in the brackets.

**** It doesn’t take so long for summer to come again. [Not a good thing here in Florida — SP]

****  You’ve paid off your student loans [unless you’re a doctor or a lawyer — SP]

****  You receive mail every day, even if it’s only catalogs and bills. [Yeah, and most of the catalogs are from nursing homes and hearing aide companies. — SP]

****  Your arthritis makes you less likely to lose your wedding ring. [Wrong. I lost mine while frolicking at the beach. “Flrolicking” at my age means wading knee-deep in the water when it is still cool (70’s) to avoid shock to the part of my anatomy which actually probably needss shock treatment — SP]

****  All moral issues are conveniently black and white. [Right. Except those which are not — SP]

****  Weekends suddenly have meaning. [Hey, weekends slip in and out like a thief in the night. I stopped wearing a wristwatch when I retired. Now that we’ve been retired in Florida for four years, I’m also gonna give up my calendar — SP]

****  Dental implants let you eat corn on the cob, again. [Thanks, but I was robbed by my last two dentists. So I’ll just sip soup through a straw. — SP]

****  By age 74, refilling the bird feeder is a good morning’s work. [That or changing a flat bicycle tire. — SP]

****  By age 88 you can still identify half the people in your photo albums. [Ah, ha. Got you there. I have converted most all of our photos to digital images, complete with the names and locations of the subjects. That is what has kept me out of the pool halls most of my life. And most of ’em — well over 13,000 — are stored not only on my computer but also online on my FLICKR account which has 1 Terrabyte of storage — SP]

****  By age 100, all your enemies are dead.

****  A  little sex goes a long way. [Darn it, speak up. Your little grandson Rex does what? — SP]

****  People get out of your way when you drive down the street. [Only the smart ones. — SP]

Men Will Understand This One

All Too Well

 

Medical - prostate_exam_ 04sign_100dpi

My cousin Jerry R. Paregien is my favorite patriot-in-exile from California. He and his wife have lived about 20 years now on a mountain outside of Kingsport, Tennessee. From their back balcony, they can look across a wide valley and see the beautiful Clinch Mountains of Virginia on the horizon to the north.

Like Steve Martin, Jerry is a wild and crazy guy. Though he is showing early signs of  . . .  eh, . . . dement- . . . eh, . . .  Alzhei . . . something or other, Why, that Prune Picker still remembers every joke he ever heard and delivers each punch like with vim and vigor. Actually, I don’t know whether he remembers any of those “farmer’s daughter and the salesman” jokes from our teenage years, but if he does he ain’t admitting to it.

Boys, now what I’m about to tell you is the gospel truth. ‘Cause I heard it directly from my ‘Cuz. And pert near everything he tells me is resonably precise. 

Medical - prostate exam -- 03 - doctor smiling

Jerry told me that a couple of years or so ago, his appointment with his doctor for his annual physical rolled around. When they called his name from the cattle corral (waiting room), one of their nurses took him aside and took his weight and vital signs (yes, he still has some). And she escorted him to the Great Waiting Room down the hall where he twittled his thumbs for 15 or 20 minutes.

Finally, the doctor came in and they exchanged pleasantries. The doc checked his chart and his medications and declared him not-exactly-brain-dead. Said he seemed to be in mite near perfect condition for an old man with not long to live on Mother Earth. 

Then the doc began to stammer and stutter and finally got out these dreaded few words that send a chill up the spine of any red-blooded American male. He said, “Well, Jerry, stand up, turn around  and drop your pants and BVD’s to your knees. Time for me to check where the sun don’t shine.”

Medical -- prostate exam -- DR - 'I don't enjoy them either'

Jerry turned his head around, as much as his arthritis would allow, and looked his doc in the face and said in his professional, deadpan comedian way: “Well, Dr. Jones, I should darn well hope you’re going to check my prostate. I didn’t wash my butt today, like this, for just anybody.”

When the doctor finally quit laughing, and after visiting that Dark Domain, he said to my ‘Cus: “Jerry, for years now I have kept a log of funny things that my clients say to me. You will be pleased to know that your comments will go down in history.”

Medical - prostate exam -- 02 - using a baseball glove

NOTE: The above cartoon is especially for my two old friends, Bob L’Huillier (Bradenton, FL) and Victor Knowles (Joplin, MO), who are devoted baseball fans. 

Carter, Jimmy -- The Virtues of Aging -- 1998 - NY Ballentine Publishing - page 01 - front coverCarter, Jimmy -- The Virtues of Aging -- 1998 - NY Ballentine Publishing - page 02 - back cover

Now surely all of you, well maybe not you young ‘un’s under 50 or so, remember ol’ Jimmy Carter, long-time peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia. He was born there on Oct. 1, 1924.

Now my Grandpa Paregien was a “yellow-dog” Democrat until his dying breath. Somehow I went down the Republican path. But I came through the wringer of the Hippie Years and the Anti-Vietnam War Years. So I did my own thing and I castigated my first vote for a Democrat when I voted for Jimmy Carter. I mean, gee whiz, after all the duds we’d had before, I felt we just couldn’t go wrong voting for a certified man of the soil, a tried and true peanut farmer. After all, a distant relative of mine — Johnny Walters of Wapanucka, Oklahoma–was “Peanut Farmer of the Year” one time in Johnston County.

Well, I’d admit I was wrong about that premise and have made two or maybe three fair-to-middlin’ mistakes since then. But how the heck was I to know that he was also an expert on atomic submarines and other useless stuff like that. Ignorance is often bliss, and I was in la-la-land that day I voted for Mr. Carter.

Shootfire, ol’ Jimmy was a sure ’nuff nice guy. He even taught a Sunday morning Bible class almost everywhere in the world he happened to be, and still teaches his “Adults 101” Bible Class today in Plains (they call it 101 because that’s about the average age of the class members). But even nice guys don’t necessarily make good presidents. Of course, comparing him to Donald J. Trump today I have to say that ol’ peanut farmer looks better and better.

Do you remember Jimmy Carter’s dear, free-spirited momma? Lillian Gordy Carter often shot from her lip, saying just whatever she wanted to say whether it was approved by the Southern Baptist Convention or by the Geneva Convention either one. She was a corker to be sure. And then there was Jimmy’s junior brother, good ol’ Bubba — no, wait a minute, it was Billy. Billy Carter, whose only claim to fame was getting his name on some beer cans — “Billy Beer.” They didn’t serve it in finer restaurants back then, but you might have been able to get one out in Luckenbach, Texas.

But I digress, as I’m prone to do.

Here are some of President Carter’s words of wisdom about the virtues of growing old. He is still a Card-Carrying Baptist so I hope the Lord will excuse him for stretching-the-blanket a bit” (as the old-time cowboys used to refer to any cowpoke who stretched the truth). Keep in mind this remarks are from his 1998 book, noted above.

“Even before leaving the White House, Rosalynn and I received a notice from the American Association of Retired Persons that we were qualified for membership, but we considered ourselves too young to face the stigma of senior citizenship. However, once back in Plains [Georgia, population 700 — SP] the point was to be driven home most firmly and clearly.

“We live 120 miles south of Atlanta and habitually drive back and forth toThe Carter Center and to Emory University, where I am a professor. One morning we left our house quite early and stopped to eat breakfast in Thomaston, Georgia, about halfway to Atlanta. There were four of us in the car, and we all ordered about the same thing. But when the waitress brought my bill, I noticed that it was less than the others. Perhaps seeking credit for being an honest customer, I called her back and began to tell her that she had made a mistake. An older farmer, dressed in overalls, was sitting at a nearby table and apparently overheard my conversation. He looked over at us and called out in a loud voice, ‘Your bill ain’t no mistake, Mr. President. Before eight o’clock they give free coffee to senior citizens.’

“A wave of laught began at our table, and it still resonated through the restaurant as I paid my bill and hurried back to the car. For several weeks afterward, every time we approached Thomaston I knew that someone would say, ‘Why don’t we stop here for breakfast? There’s free coffee for some of us!'” (pp. ix-x).

When Jimmy Carter was voted out of the Presidency, he and his wife found that their “Blind Trust Fund” had been badly managed and their home and farm in Plains were deeply in debt, too.  And then they faced another issue, as he tells it:

“There were other reasons as well why moving from Washington back to our home in Plains was not a pleasant experience. It was not easy to forget about the past, overcome our fear of the future, and concentrate on the present. In this small and tranquil place, it was naturual for us to assume–kike other retirees–that our productive lives were about over. Like many other involuntary retirees, we had to overcome our distress and make the best of the situation.

“When one of our friends pointed out that more than a third of American men in my age troup were retired, and that we could expect to live until we were eighty years old, I had one disturbing reaction: What was I going to do with the next twenty-five yeears?” ( pp. 2-3)

“. . . as we entered our seventies there was another potential threat to our happiness: the forced realization that both of us fit almost any definition of ‘old age.’ I guess it is unpleasant for any of us to face our inevitale gray or thinning hair and the tendency for our waistline to spread, especially when advancing years correspond to a reduced income. This brings a challenging but inevitable transition in our lives — from what we have been to a new type of existence as ‘senior citizens.'” (p. 8)

“So then, when are we old? The corrrect answer is that each of us is old when we think we are — when we accept an attitude of dormancy, dependence on others, a substantial limitation on our physical and mental activity, and restrictions on the number of other people with whom we interact. As I know from experience, this is not tied very closely to how many years we’ve lived.” ( p. 11)

“Driving on the interstate highway in Atlanta to go to The Carter Center, for several months we regularly passed a large billboard advertising country music. The sign said, ‘My wife ran off with my best friend, and I miss him.’ This doesn’t apply to us [i.e., he and Rosalynn]. We seem to be bound together with ever-increasing bonds as we’ve grown older and need each other more. When we are apart for just a day or so, I have the same hollow feeling of loneliness and unassuaged desire as when I was away at sea for a week or more during the first years of our marriage.” ( p. 39)

We’ll share more from this book in a future issue of THE PAREGIEN JOURNAL.

****

Well, here it is — another 4th of July. 

I’m sitting here looking at the “celebrity” birthdays for July 4th and, shazam, I do know more than a couple. Those include . . .  Eva Marie Saint (actress, 93), . . .  Gina Lollobrigida, atress, 90; as an early teen . . . or maybe a pre-teen, I fell in love with that beautiful lady on the flying trapeze in the movie starring she and Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster, a for-real former circus trapeze star) . . . Neil Simon (90, playwright) . . . and that’s as “young” as I can recognize on the list. Of course, that doggone lists includes somebody named Malia Obama, age 19. Oh, wait a minute, I remember. Nah, never mind.

Then there was this historical oddity under “Today In History,” where on July 4, 1826 — exactly 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was adopted — two of our nation’s former presidents died, that being John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

Finally, on July 4, Charles Kuralt died in New York at the age of 62. You remember Charles Kuralt, don’t you? He was the CBS reporter who, with only his TV camerman/soundman as a companion, traveled the backroads of the United States. He was born Sept. 10, 1934 and died on July 4, 1997.

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“On the Road” was one of the most popular TV programs–actually, filler spots in the CBS news–that CBS had at the time. He always seemed so doggoned friendly, with a lot of homegrown wisdom, and he could sniff out a seemingly insignificant story and make it a masterpiece. Here are a few of his quotes:

The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.

 Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.
The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.

 

I recall, in particular, one time he and his cameraman were rolling down a back road in Tennessee or Kentucky . . . and Charles notes a bunch of clothes hanging out back of an old farm house (very few of those new-fangled “clothes dryers” out in the country). So he stopped and visited with the lady and her family and wound up with a very informative and enjoyable six minutes of film. He never won a Pulitzer Prize, but he was one heck of a fine reporter. We still miss you, Mr. Kuralt.

*****

Wise Words for the Young and the Old

From a Member of the Royal Family

 

Be generous: Invest in acts of charity.

Charity yields high returns.

 Don’t hoard your goods; spread them around.

Be a blessing to others. This could be your last night.

 

When the clouds are full of water, it rains.

When the wind blows down a tree, it lies where it falls.

Don’t sit there watching the wind. Do your own work.

Don’t stare at the clouds. Get on with your life.

 

Just as you’ll never understand  the mystery of life

forming in pregnant woman,

So you’ll never understand the mystery at work

in all that God does.

 

Go to work in the morning

and stick to it until evening without watching the clock.

You never know from moment to moment

how your work will turn out in the end.

Beauty in a sunny day - Ecclesiastes 11  

 Oh, how sweet the light of day,

And how wonderful to live in the sunshine!

Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted.

Take delight in each light-filled hour,

Remembering that there will also be many dark days

And that most of what comes your way is smoke.

 

 

You who are young, make the most of your youth..

Relish your youthful vigor.

Follow the impulses of your heart.

If something looks good to you, pursue it.

But know also that not just anything goes;

You have to answer to God for every last bit of it.

 

Live footloose and fancy-free  —

You won’t be young forever.

Youth lasts about as long as smoke.

 

Honor and enjoy your Creator while you’re still young,

Before the years take their toll and your vigor wanes,

Before your vision dims and the world blurs

And the winter years keep you close to the fire.

 

In old age, your body no longer serves you so well.

Muscles slacken, grip weakens, joints stiffen.

The shades are pulled down on the world.

You can’t come and go at will. Things grind to a halt.

The hum of the household fades away.

You are wakened now by bird-song.

 

 Aging -- Man - very old with white hair and beard -- 05-A copyrighted by Antonio Silvas

 

Hikes to the mountains are a thing of the past.

Even a stroll down the road has its terrors.

Your hair turns apple-blossom white,

Adorning a fragile and impotent matchstick body.

Yes, you’re well on your way to eternal rest,

While your friends make plans for your funeral.

 

Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over.

Life as we know it, precious and beautiful, ends.

The body is put back in the same ground it came from.

The spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.

 

It’s all smoke, nothing but smoke.

The Quester says that everything’s smoke.

 

Besides being wise himself, the Quester also taught others

knowledge. He weighed, examined, and arranged many

proverbs. The Quester did his best to find the right words

and write the plain truth.

 

The words of the wise prod us to live well.

They’re like nails hammered home, holding life together.

They are given by God, the one Shepherd.

 

But regarding anything behind this, dear friend, go easy.

There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant

study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else.

The last and final word is this:

 Fear God.

Do what he tells you.

 

And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything

that we do out into the open and judge it according

to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or evil.

 Solomon -- a painting from the internet

                         Painting of Solomon

 

Ecclesiastes 11:1 to 12:14 ( The Message) by King

Solomon (aka “The Quester”).  He was a son of King David

of Israel and was appointed King himself at the age of 12.

He only lived 52 years, from 848 B.C. to 796 B.C.). His

major accomplishment was in completing the Jewish

Temple in Jerusalem. Well, that and finding out how to

keep his 300 wives and 700 concubines happy.

 

— See ya the next time. I’m trying to get back into the groove of posting every Thursday. Well, that’s my goal, anyway. — Stan

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Issue 355 – What Does July 4th Mean?

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paregienjournal.com     –     Issue 355     –     June 29, 2017

Well, home owners in Manatee County are doing quite well, thank you. In May of 2017, the median sales price for an existing single-family home stood at $299,000. Folks, that was a 53 percent increase from the end of 2012. Of course, don’t forget there was a big-time real estate “bust” here from 2008 until early 2012. 

****

There was a fine little story in our local paper this morning. Reporter James A. Jones, Jr., did a little feature on a former Manatee County school educator named Bill O’Brien. Bill spends a lot of his time bowling these days, just as he has for the last 76 years. Hey, if I’m lyin’ I’m dyin’. Okay, technically like everyone else, I’m dying bit by bit. But I’m not lyin’. 

You see, Bill O’Brien is now 93 years old. He was first the principal of Prine Elementary, then of Pine View Elementary and then of Parrish Elementary School. A pretty darned good athlete himself in college, after World War II (he was wounded), 31 years ago he started presenting to Manatee County’s top cross country runners each year the “Bill O’Brien Trophy” and he is still doing it. Plus, he set up three endowed scholarship funds to help a few students each year. Bill is a pretty solid citizen, and I’d like to meet him one of these days.

****

Across the Manatee River in Palmetto, several remaining members of the Lincoln Memorial High School – Class of 1967 – met for their 50th reunion. What is really unusual about these people is they were about the last class to graduate from LMHS — an all-black school. There were 131 seniors in their class, but 42 have died. 

****

It has been quite a spell, but at 9:30 a.m. on  Thursday, June 22nd, I met friends Romolo (aka “Rom,” “Ron,” and “Youse guy”) Colella and Don (“The Poetry Machine”) Betts for a late breakfast at Leon’s House of Omelets in the shopping center just west of I-75 and on the south side of Highway 70 (53rd Avenue). We had some coffee and came up with solutions for most of the problems in the United States. Then after breakfast, we developed plans for solving Europe’s difficulties. Next time we’ll work on the energy crisis, I guess. Just routine stuff for old geezers. So if any of you want to join us, give me a call to make sure we’ll be there next time and not at our respective doctor appointments. Ah, yes, the “Golden Years of Life.” Between the three of us, we might have an ounce of gold and everybody is after it. Even if they have to pull it from our teeth.

****

Many may not be aware of the fact that the home headquarters and training center for Goodwill Industries is only a mile or so east of our hacienda. Those folks certainly do a lot of good for many disabled people, with training and jobs and such. Still, because the CEO at Goodwill makes a lot more money than the CEOs of any other similar charities, we prefer to make donations to the Salvation Army. And there are a couple of other Goodwill policies which bug me. They are skilled marketers, of course, taking donated items and marking them up as far as the market will allow. And around here they have donation centers about as common as McDonald’s.

In Manatee County and next-door Sarasota County they have established four stand-alone stores specializing in music and books, and these are very well-organized. But, simultaneously, they have junked the book departments in their regular stores. Once they, too, had books well-organized by topics. No more. In our regular stores, they are heaped together and making it a headache to wade through the mess. Oh, and one other thing I’ve noticed (which other thrift stores have started doing) is that on men’s shirts, for example, they still place price tags and sizes on the individual shirts . . . but then they throw them on the shirt racks with no size organization at all. I don’t get it, don’t like it and won’t shop at the regular stores for clothes or books. Very poor customer service, but easier for them, I guess. 

****

Our daughter, Mrs. John (Stacy) Magness, flew in from Houston on June 13th and left on June 20th. So we got to spend a lot of quality time with her. Of course, we had to work around those pesky afternoon thunderstorms and downpours virtually every day she was here. Still got to take her to both Manatee Beach (our preferred swimmin’ hole, with life guards and a cafe with mmmm, mmmm good pancakes each morning) and to Siesta Beach. Oh, and on her first afternoon, we took her to Clearwater Beach up in nearby Clearwater, Florida. So she got to see Florida’s most award-winning beaches. 

2017--06--13 03 - Clearwater, FL - Peggy and Stacy at CLEARWATER BEACH - by Stan Paregien2017--06--14 03 - Bradenton, FL - MANATEE BEACH -Stacy P Magness by Stan Paregien2017--06--14 08B - Bradenton, FL - MANATEE BEACH - by Stan Paregien2017--06--14 10A - Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien - by Stan Paregien

2017--06--14 10B - Bradenton, FL - Stan Paregien - by Stacy Magness

2017--06--14 11 - Bradenton, FL - Stacy P Magness - by Stan Paregien

2017--06--15 12 - Sarasota, FL - luncheon cruises - by Stan Paregien

We took a very nice luncheon cruise around Sarasota Bay one day. We got to see a couple of dolphin, plus many of the multi-million dollar mansions fronting the bay. 

2017--06--17 02 - Sarasota, FL - - Stacy P Magness

2017--06--17 04 - Sarasota, FL - - Ringling - panorama by S Magness

2017--06--17 07 - Sarasota, FL - - Ringling - Stacy Magness - by Peg Paregien

Peggy took Stacy down to the fabulous Ringling Mansion, Circus Museum and Art Museum in nearby Sarasota on June 17th. They spent the entire day there and had a great time. 

****

Surely this is not a sign of my memory failing or my advancing years, but . . . in the “Birthdays On This Date” section of our local rag for June 23rd I saw where Clarence Thomas– you know — a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Yep, I recognized him . . . but the long list of “younger” musicians, writers, singers, and actors meant nothing to me. Hmmm.

Rogers, Will and Wiley Post -- one of last photos before deaths on Aug 15, 1935

Will Rogers (top, left) & pilot Wiley Post

And in the longer “Today in History” column I only paid much attention to this note: “In 1931, aviators Wiley Post and Harold Gatty took off from New York on a round-the-world flight that lasted eight days and 15 hours.” Now Wiley Post, who had a wild hair or two as a teenager in Oklahoma, lost an eye when injured on an oil drilling rig in Oklahoma. So he used the insurance settlement to pay for flying lessons and with the rest he bought his very first airplane.

I read a fine biography of Post a few years back,and the author pointed out all of his successes in flying and in inventing high-altitude equipment for pilots. Because of his many ’round-the-world flights and publicity, it is true that when he and his close friend–movie and stage star Will Rogers–died in Alaska in a plane crash (flown by Post) on August 15, 1935, it was Wiley Post who was far better known outside of the United States. I have been to Rogers’ beautiful grave site and museum in Claremore, Oklahoma as well as to Post’s well-marked burial place in far north central Oklahoma City. Each man was exceptional in his own field of expertise.

****

“Paregien’s Bed & Breakfast & More” will be back in operation soon. We are expecting two of our Rwandan friends to visit us in early to mid-August. Then our son and his wife (Stan Jr. & Becky) and their son and his wife (Daniel and Leah) will be with us, from the St. Louis area, from about August 24th to Sept. 4th. We’re polishing up the horseshoe equipment and the shuffleboard stuff to keep them from getting bored here in Paradise.

****

Peggy and I watched another old movie the other night (the only kind our grandkids swear we watch, but there are a few things they don’t know). Anyway this U.S. Cavalry vs. Indians movie was titled “The Oregon Passage.” It was actually filmed in a forest over not far from Bend, Oregon. It was in color and starred a good-lookin’ dude named John Erickson, whom I had never seen before so I guess he went back to being a lifeguard or selling used cars. I noticed as they rolled the credits that the film script was actually based on a Western novel by someone we knew: Gordon D. Shirreffs.

I first met Gordon D. Shirreffs in about 1984, as I recall, at the annual convention of the members of the Western Writers of America. It was held that summer in Branson, Missouri and hosted by Jory Sherman and his wife, Charlotte. The first person I met as I entered the hotel lobby was one of my writing heroes, from the really old crowd, Thomas (“Tommy”) Thompson. He and I really hit it off, especially after we found out we had each known Harry Leichler (?), the grocer and honorary mayor of the little town of Piru, Calif., where I lived with my family my last three years of high school.

Anyway, over the next few years, we would get to visit with Gordon Shirreffs and his wife Alice, who were residents of Granada Hills, Calif. at the time. At least one day of each convention was taken up with a bus trip excursion somewhere not far away. Those were always great times to visit with big-league writing pros Like Tommy, Gordon and Jory, as well as other would-be-Louis-L’Amour like myself.  

Well, the host of Turner Classic Movies that night wrapped up the showing of the rather forgettable film with a funny story about Gordon Shirreffs. In 1957 he had written a Western novel titled “Rio Bravo.” John Wayne didn’t care much for the actual book, but he loved the title and wanted it for his next movie. So he and/or his Batjack production company paid Gordon some darned good money for the book, with the agreement that Gordon could sell the actual story to anybody else but not the title. So John Wayne got the title he wanted and Gordon got the money he wanted, . . . not once but twice, as the second buyer turned it into “The Oregon Passage.” And he would laugh as he told that true story and add, “That was by far the most money I ever earned for just selling two words (“Rio Bravo”). 

Gordon Shirreffs had been born in Chicago, Ill., on Jan. 15, 1914. His mother was a recent immigrant from Scotland, and he himself sometimes played in bagpipe bands in southern California. During his lifetime he wrote some 79 novels, much in the solid historical style of Louis L’Amour, and hundreds of short stores and a bunch of stories for comic book companies. He was still living in Granada Hills when he died on Feb. 9, 1996 at the age of 82.

2016--03--17 Food -- Florida -- The Recipe Box Eatery

Above is the business card for a really nice, fairly small “mom and pop” restaurant just north of the McDonald’s near 53rd Avenue East (Highway 70) and 33rd St. East. Give ’em a try.

We ran out of TV trays for everyone at our house the other night, but luckily we had a spare out in the shed. I think this guy is saying, “Very nice!” or something like that.

Senior Citizen TV Tray

 

A Crumbled Dream

by Gene Shelburne

Amarillo, Texas

Campbell, Alexander -- liknesses -- 04 at age 65

 

Does the name Alexander Campbell mean anything to you? If you grew up in any kind of Church of Christ or Christian Church, you need to know about him. He was the founder of our American denomination.

Let me confess that, although I did grow up in such a church, I knew little about the man until I was invited to join a host of church leaders at his home in Bethany, West Virginia—way back in 1966— to mark the one hundredth anniversary of Mr. Campbell’s death.

 During that memorable week I learned that Alexander Campbell did more than found churches. In the college he built, he educated the sons of U.S. presidents. Few people noticed when Campbell boosted American wool trade by importing new breeds of sheep. Nor were many folks impressed when he was elected to West Virginia’s legislature. But his star was slowly rising.

Even founding hundreds of congregations across our young, growing country didn’t catapult Campbell to fame. He became a household name after debating—while befriending—the famous atheist Robert Owen. At his prime, this school-founding, sheep-raising, church-planting country parson was invited to address the combined houses of the U.S. Congress. In many ways he had become the Billy Graham of his day.

During that 1966 gathering in Bethany, however, we also focused on the Civil War years right before Campbell’s death. The halls of Bethany College were quiet—almost deserted—while that brutal war was raging not far away. Most of the students were on the battle lines. Campbell’s heart was broken. His own family was split, with favorite nephews wearing uniforms both blue and gray. Still worse, from his view, Christian brothers from churches he had planted and nurtured now were slaughtering each other.

Civil War -- up-close fighting between Union and Rebel troops -- 02

The young nation that Campbell had mistaken for the eve of Christ’s thousand-year reign had morphed into a hell on earth. Campbell’s dream had become a nightmare.

As Will Durant would later write: “From barbarism to civilization requires a century; from civilization to barbarism needs but a day.” Campbell saw barbarism in his final days, and it made him mourn.

With July 4th just ahead, I rehearse this sad but true story to remind us that the peace and freedom and prosperity we cherish can dissolve over night into blood and hate and tears. It did once. It can again.

Logo for Gene Shelburne - 2017

July4th--05 Flag with 4th of July

Do your children and/or grandchildren understand this day?

Best wishes until next time,

Stan

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Issue 354: Manatee County, Florida

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The Paregien Journal     –     Issue 354     –     June 9, 2017

Manatee County, Florida:

Facts, Fun and Photos

Sometimes when Peggy and I have been on vacation or an extending trip, I will jokingly say to our neighbors when we return: “Where the heck have you been?” Usually, they are kinda taken back by the question and mentally calculate they haven’t been anywhere and then reply, “Me? Where the heck have you been?”

Fair question, since I have not posted here since . . . gulp, . . . March 17th. 

Actually, we have done a fair amount of traveling. That includes a 9-day trip to beautiful Costa Rica. And I have had a health issue or two that just flat made me feeling like doing nuttin’. So I did. And then there were countless hours that I spent wrapping up my most recent book. I really became a hermit in my man cave here at our house in order to get it done before our trip to Costa Rica. More about that project next time. All in all, the last three months have just been busy, busy, busy. And, darn, I’m supposed to be retired. I have resolved to take my foot off of the gas pedal and slow down some.

Okay, let me share with you the good news about my new eBook:

Manatee County, Florida:

Facts, Folks and Photos

 

Master Cover -- Manatee County, FL -- Stan Paregien 01 1,900 X 2,561 X 600 dpi

Hey, is that an attractive book cover or what? I really like it a bunch. Of course, I designed the basic layout, the print, etc., and the photo you see is one  I took at sunset at our nearby Coquina Beach west of Bradenton. Pardon my “fatherly” pride at my newest “baby” but ain’t she just plum purty?

As Elvis always said at the end of a song, “Thank you. Thank you very much.”

Here is the official synopsis of this eBook:

“It is an intriguing combination of one part travel guide for the beaches and other attractions in Manatee County, one part who’s who of today’s leaders and yesterday’s heroes and heroines, one part family photo album, and one part a history book containing over 450 photos and 470 biographical sketches. It is written in a conversational style with touches of wit, wisdom, mystery and spice.  

“Chapter 1, “Manatee County Facts,”  is a quick chronological look at the main events which have happened in Manatee County since ol’ Juan Ponce de Leon set foot here in Paradise in 1513. There’ve been a heck of a lot of other footprints left in the sands of Manatee County since then, and this book notes many of them.

Chapter 2, “Manatee County Cities & Communities,” presents facts and information about Manatee County’s larger cities and the smaller communities as well. All of ’em are fine places, so Stan gives you the inside scoop behind the usual road signs and flashing neon lights. Real people live here and most all of them love it, except maybe for a few diehard sourpusses. You’ll find helpful lists of things you may need to find.

“Chapter 3, “Manatee County Folks,” is where you’ll want to spent a bunch of your time. There you’ll see photos and biographical sketches of hundreds of Manatee County people. Learn why the heck we do things like we do them (Hint: “Because that’s how grandma and grandpa used to do it.”) You’ll meet some of our wonderful pioneer families, a great many solid citizens, plus a lot of folks who work doggoned hard to make this County an even better place to live or to visit.

Chapter 4, “Manatee County Photo Gallery,” is a large and varied photo collection which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, a bounce in your step and reduction of your acid reflux problem. Well, heck, two out of three hits is darned good in baseball. You’ll get a kick out of the these photos — new ones, old ones, funny ones, sad ones and all in between. 

“Chapter 5, “About the Author,”  contains Stan Paregien’s bio, plus a list of his more than a dozen other eBooks available online through your favorite retailer. 

“The last part, Chapter 6, is titled “Resources.” It contains an extended list of books and articles you can read, videos you can watch and websites you can visit to learn even more about Manatee County.”

Manatee County, Florida: Facts, Folks & Photos is available for downloading to your iPhone, iPad, your Mac or PC laptops or desktop computers and more. This large, photo-filled eBook retails for $9.99.

This book of mine really started back in 2011 or so when my wife Peggy and I were considering moving away from the all-too frequent tornados, ice storms and constant winds in our native state of Oklahoma. We began investigating retirement communities from Arizona to Florida. Most Oklahoma retirees in our income bracket elect to move to south Texas, southern Arizona or to New Mexico. But there were other options as well.
We bought travel books, studied scores of web sites and talked with friends and neighbors. We asked for and received countless colorful brochures from specific states and cities, along with buckets of brochures from realtors and Chamber of Commerce representatives. The more information we received, the more we leaned toward somewhere near the beaches of sunny Florida. So we began a large number of visits to this land of palm trees, beautiful beaches and tropical vegetation populated with many hundreds of 55+ retirement communities for active folks like us.
We would fly into Tampa, rent a car and stay in our niece’s unoccupied seasonal home just to the west in Largo. We used that as our base while we spent a week or so each time researching the pluses and minuses of various towns and retirement villages within them. We concentrated on the west coast of Florida, from Clearwater down to Venice. It was a challenge, to say the least, to find the kind of housing we really liked and to winnow that number down to a much smaller number we could realistically afford. After all that, we still had a staggering variety of choices.
Early in 2013, we made our choice. We found a comfortable, fully furnished manufactured home in a 55+ community of some 267 residences. There was a nice clubhouse and kitchen, a library, a work-out room, an inviting swimming pool and hot tub, the ever-popular shuffle board courts, horseshoe pits and more. Several friendly, welcoming residents eagerly told us about what life was really like there. So in June of 2013, we moved to Bradenton—the County Seat of historic and beautiful Manatee County. Our new adventure had begun.

Today — four years later — the adventure continues each day. Sometimes we get so busy in the golden years of our retirement that we have to hit the reset button, chill out and just bask in the sunshine and inhale the aromas of the year-around flowers and revisit the tropic-like Gulf waters and pristine white beaches.

I planned this book with these ideas in mind: (1) It should be written in a lively, easy-to-read style; (2) It should be an invaluable reference tool for full-time residents of Manatee County; (3) It should be an interesting and useful book for people visiting Florida—and particularly, Manatee County—for the first time; and (4) it should honestly point out the good, the bad and the ugly of Manatee County.

Mission accomplished.

Well, okay, that’s the firm opinion of one not-so-unbiased person. Me.
Critics are likely to say of this book either, “You sure put way too much stuff in there” or “You sure left out a lot of stuff that should have been in there.” My response to both criticisms is this: Yep, that’s right. I put in a lot and I left out a lot. The book is much larger than I intended at the start. And I never even dreamed I would end up with 450 photos and 470 biographical sketches. That’s a bunch, but I have double that material left untouched in the wings. So . . .

Personally, I have never read anything that even comes close to my book in terms of readability, comprehensiveness or usefulness. I’m pleased with it and eager to share it with others. And I hope you will be so doggoned pleased with your copy that you will buy others as Christmas or birthday gifts, or for friends or relatives who are thinking about moving or visiting here.

Hey, you may even want to send one to such a person “up north” when we’re sunbathing in 80 degree weather and up there they have snow a foot deep and the temperature is dipping toward zero. That should get their attention.

Also, just this week five more  of my eBooks were added to Amazon.com’s lineup of eBooks. Those five books are my two Western novels, a book of my general poetry, and two fun story books each containing 15 of my cowboy stories which I performed for years “from hither to yon” from California to Arkansas and from Texas to Montana. Those 20 some years were quite an interesting ride.