Category Archives: Senior Citizens

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. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

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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.

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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 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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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“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.

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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 353    –     March 17, 2017

Horsin’ Around in Florida

Retired folks in Florida just don’t have many empty days on their calendars. First of all, there are all those coffee hours, bingo games and shuffleboard games that beckon every week. Then there are all those Yankees who come down from up North to visit “during the season.” And then, if that were not enough to keep one busy, there is a lot of just plain ol’ horsin’ around on my agenda. 

For example, we dearly love all of the beautiful beaches here on the Gulf side of Florida. Some of the best anywhere are from Clearwater to our north and down to Venice on our south. But undoubtedly, the first choice for a broad, pearly white beach and beautiful water the prize goes to Siesta Beach on the west edge of Sarasota. That’s about 20 miles from our house. So . . . hi-ho, hi-ho . . . it’s off to the beach we go. 

2017--02--23 07 Siesta Beach - No 1 in US, No 5 in World

Ralph Iacovacci (“The Italian Stallion,” so named because he liked to put in a quarter and ride those horses outside Walmart) and his wife Eunice told us about a “Night of Nashville Music” program put on by their church. So Peggy and I saddled up and joined the fun.

2017--02--25 01 Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 02 Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 03 Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

Now about that “Best Western Outfit” contest mentioned below in the program, . . . well, shazam . . . I won the doggoned thing. Got a new Dodge Ram pickup truck, too. Hey, I can dream can’t I? The real prize was dinner for two at a local restaurant. That was close enough to satisfy me.

2017--02--25 04 Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 05A Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 05B Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 07 Bradenton, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien

“Hey, babe, ya wanna fool around . . . er, I mean pucker up??”

2017--02--25 06 Bradenton, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien

2017--02--25 08 Bradenton, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien

2017--02--25 09 Bradenton, FL - Stan Paregien's boots and spurs

And next . . . . 

2017--03--02 01 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 03 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 04 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 05 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 06 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 07 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 08 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 09 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 10 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 11 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 13 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 14 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

And then an afternoon spent in Sarasota looking at old (i.e., classic) cars. And we returned that evening for a very good singer (Jimmy Mezz) doing “A Tribute to Music of the 1950’s.” 

2017--03--03 06 Sarasota, FL - P Paregien, G and James Cotton - Classic Cars - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--03 05 Sarasota, FL - James Cotton at Classic Cars - by Stan Paregien

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

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

2017--03--05 03 Palmetto, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien - by G Cotton

2017--03--07 01 Bradenton, FL - James and Glenda Cotton

2017--03--07 02 Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien and Allie - by Stan Paregien

And next, . . . we and our neighbors/friends Michael and Penny Letichevsky went over to Aracadia, Florida (about 1 hour southeast of us) on March 11th to enjoy the 89th Annual Arcadia Rodeo. We all enjoyed the cowboy and cowgirl action. They’re even supposed to have a brand-new arena ready for next year’s event.

2017--03--11 01 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien
2017--03--11 02 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 03 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 04 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 05 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 06 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 07 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

That clown is being just a little too nosey, if you catch my drift. 

2017--03--11 08 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 09 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 10 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 11 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 12 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 12B Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 13 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 14 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 15 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 16A Arcadia, FL - barrel racing - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 16B Arcadia, FL - barrel racing - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 16C Arcadia, FL - barrel racing - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 16D Arcadia, FL - barrel racing - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17A Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17B Arcadia, FL - Michael Letichevsky - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17C Arcadia, FL - Penny Letichevsky - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17D Arcadia, FL - Peggy Paregien - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17D1 Arcadia, FL - Stan Paregien

And here’s the old cowboy himself.

2017--03--11 17E Arcadia, FL - Peggy Paregien - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 19 Arcadia, FL - Clydesdale - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 20 Arcadia, FL - Penny Letichevsky with Clydesdale - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 21 Arcadia, FL - Michael Letichevsky with portapotties - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 22 Arcadia, FL - Michael Letichevsky with portapotties - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 23 Arcadia, FL - bull - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 24 Arcadia, FL - bull - by Stan Paregien

Well, as you can clearly see, we have been doing a lot of horsin’ around here in Florida. So you might just as well come on down and join the fun.

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Issue 349 – Don Betts, A Good Man

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Issue 349  –  February 21, 2017

Don Betts: A Good Man

We were fortunate in meeting Don and Judy Betts the first couple of weeks after we moved to Florida in June of 2013. At the recommendation of Mrs. Richard (Rita) Edwards, whom we met a couple of years before that in our home church in Edmond, Okla., we visited the Central Church of Christ on the east side of Sarasota. And we were met and cheerfully, warmly welcomed by Don and Judy. And they weren’t the only ones. Soon we decided that would be our church home.

Since that time, Don and Judy Betts have been helpful any time we needed information or encouragement. The four of us have been with each other through a variety of health problems and personal ups and downs. We have studied the Bible together, prayed together, worshiped together, eaten many a meal together, gone on day trips together and shared in several music and poetry jams. In addition, at their kind invitation we spent a whole week with them in a condo on a golf course in stunningly beautiful Sedona, Arizona. You get to know people pretty doggoned well when you spend that much time with them. So now we can share the not-so-secret news: Don and Judy Betts are solid citizens, first-class people and dedicated Christians.

2017-02-18-01-bradenton-fl-don-betts-85th-birthday

Last Saturday night, Feb. 18, 2017, we went to a birthday part in Bradenton to help Don celebrate his 85th year on mother earth. Judy worked herself to a nub organizing and executing this wonderful event. I’m guessing that some 50 invited guests showed up for a meal, a piece of his birthday cake, and a program where each person had a chance to say something personal to Don. It was a night of gracious words of encouragement and remembrance. Don read a poem, as did his son Tom Betts, and so did I. Here is mine:

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2017-02-18-08-bradenton-fl-don-betts-pat-and-sybil-hardeman-by-stan-paregien

Dr. Pat Hardeman, Ph.D., is a long-time friend of Don and Judy. He earned a doctorate in philosophy and religion from the University of Illinois. In the 1950s he was much in demand as an evangelist and a debater. He then became a professor of religion and philosophy at Florida Christian College (now Florida College) in the Temple Terrace area of Tampa. At the same time, he was a part-time professor at the University of Tampa. He was also a noted and outspoken leader in the Civil Rights movement throughout the state of Florida. He also preached for a time at what today is the Central Church of Christ in Sarasota. Later, he had a highly successful career as a realtor. He was even selected as the President of the Florida Realtor’s Association.

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2017-02-18-09b-bradenton-fl-t-anderson-s-and-pat-hardeman-by-stan-paregien

2017-02-18-09c-bradenton-fl-bev-and-dave-lane-by-stan-paregien

2017-02-18-09e-bradenton-fl-rod-myers-pat-hardeman-by-stan-paregien

2017-02-18-09f-bradenton-fl-pat-hardeman-by-stan-paregien

2017-02-18-09g-bradenton-fl-sybil-hardeman-by-stan-paregien

2017-02-18-10-bradenton-fl-spencer-and-quentin-waid-by-peg-paregien

And now . . . the “Good Ol’ Days of Yore” . . . 

 

2017-02-18-16-bradenton-fl-longboat-key-fl-george-betts-home-1925-64

Before there was a bridge across Sarasota Bay to Longboat Key (island), George Betts would row his small boat across the bay to the John Ringling Estate in Sarasota to work as their chief horticulturist. He became familiar with not only all of the Ringling Brothers and their families but with the workers and performers who were employed by the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus.

It was there on the far south side of Longboat Key that George and Mary Betts lived as their family grew. Don Betts came along on Feb. 9, 1932. Most of his childhood was spent roaming through the woods and jungles and swamps on Longboat Key. He still enjoys telling about swimming on the Gulf side and seeing a myriad variety of fish in every wave. What kid would not have liked playing “Tarzan” on his own virtual paradise. He and his sibling could play in the dirt road which ran the length of the island without a car passing through for hours at a time. NOTE: Don’t try that today, especially “during the season.” 

During the course of his life, Don worked for several years as a lineman for Florida Light & Power after he came back from his tour of duty with the U.S. Navy. Then he worked as a Game Ranger out at Myakka State Park. He transitioned from that to serving as a policeman way out in Tucson, Arizona. Later, he worked in a bank in Sarasota and then became an independent insurance agent.

Don and Judy have lived in a lovely home on the golf course at Tara Preserve, in Bradenton, Florida for several years now. 

2017-02-18-13-don-betts

2017-02-18-14-bradenton-fl-don-betts

2017-02-18-12-don-betts-as-a-farmer

2017-02-18-11a-don-betts-in-navy

2017-02-18-11b-don-betts-in-the-buff

2017-02-18-15-bradenton-fl-don-and-judy-betts

2017-02-18-17-don-and-judy-betts-in-hawaii

Well, that’s just a tiny bit of the story of our friend Don Betts.

The late Louis L’Amour, the best-selling Western novelist of his day, often had a character in his book say about another cowboy: “He would do to ride the river with.” In other words, that man could be trusted to ride for the brand and to do what was right. In this case I’ll just say: You are an awful good man, Don Betts. And we are proud to share part of your life.

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Issue 346 – Laughter Therapy

Logo -- The Paregien Journal  -- 2016--05--09  03

Issue 346     —     January 9, 2017

Whenever I am able to laugh in the middle of a problem, it always makes me feel like I can get through the ordeal someway, somehow. Isn’t that the way it is for you?

Laughter is simply a poor person’s psychiatric therapy, and it may even be more therapeutic in many cases than the high-dollar stuff. Hey, in another life (i.e., many years ago), I worked for the Texas Department of Mental Heath as the Director of one of their centers. And I was a full-time preacher for over ten years. So I have seen people in a world of hurt in many contexts. And spirits were always lifted when we were able to laugh together. 

It was the legendary English author Charles Dickens (A CHRISTMAS CAROL) who wrote, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” And the late actress Audrey Hepburn said, “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”

I don’t know if Vladimir Putin, the despotic ruler of Russia, ever laughs. But here is what Russian writer and philosopher Fyodor Dostoyevsky had to say on the subject:  “If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, don’t bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, of seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you will get better results if you just watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he’s a good man.” 

Then there is this rather practical point of view from an apparent religious guru, Swami Satchidonanda, in his book THE YOGA SUTRAS: “We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing?” 

So in this issue I have focused on cartoons and essays that give you a chance to exercise your smiler — i.e., the muscles that cooperate to produce a big ol’ smile when you laugh about something.

So sit back and relax. Take this opportunity to laugh on the inside, and then — what the heck — let it fly. Laugh out loud and enjoy it. 

Let’s get started.

 

 

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Poem 420   Prayer and a Professional Man -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien - 2015--11--10

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Poem 422   Cowboy's Memory Problem, A   -  copyrighted 2015--11--24 by Stan Paregien -- Page 1 of 2

Poem 422   Cowboy's Memory Problem, A   -  copyrighted 2015--11--24 by Stan Paregien -- Page 2 of 2

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In Observation of Tolerance

by Jiggs McDonald

(Mr. McDonald, a broadcaster in the National Hockey League’s Hall of Fame, made these statements before an audience in Toronto, Canada. Sent to me by a friend in Bakersfield, Calif., a town with a high threshold for tolerance. After all, they let Buck Owens & His Buckeroos live there for decades.)

I am truly perplexed that so many of my friends are against another mosque being built in Toronto. I think it should be the goal of every Canadian to be tolerant regardless of their religious beliefs. Thus the mosque should be allowed, in an effort to promote tolerance.

That is why I also propose that two nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque; thereby promoting tolerance from within the mosque. We could call one of the clubs, which would be gay, “The Turban Cowboy,” and the other, a topless bar, would be called “You Mecca Me Hot.”

Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork, and adjacent to that an open-pit barbecue pork restaurant, called “Iraq of Ribs.”

Across the street there could be a lingerie store called “Victoria Keeps Nothing Secret,” with sexy mannequins in the window modeling the goods”, and on the other side a liquor store called “Morehammered.”

All of this would encourage Muslims to demonstrate the tolerance they demand of us.

[Someone else added this footnote: Yes we should promote tolerance, and you can do your part by passing this on. And if you are not laughing or smiling at this point . . . , it is either past your bedtime, . . . or its midnight at the oasis and time to put your camel to bed.]

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Poem 432-- Just Following Instructions   --  copyrighted by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-01-23  -- Page 1 of 2

Poem 432-- Just Following Instructions   --  copyrighted by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-01-23  -- Page 2 of 2

 

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Poem 440   A Solution for Marital Problems  -  by Stan Paregien Sr - Copyrighted April 15, 2016

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Vice-President Pence & President Donald Trump

doing a celebratory dance at their inauguration.

[Aw, relax. I’m a Republican . . . with a sense of humor.]

an-men-laughing

 

See there, now don’t you feel better? I sure do hope so.

Best wishes,

Stan

RESOURCES FOR YOU:

Briar, Jeffrey.  The Laughter Yoga Book: Laugh Yourself to Better Health.

F., ED.  God Grant Me the Laughter: A Treasury of Twelve Step Humor.

Goodheart, Annette.  Laughter Therapy: How to Laugh About Everything in Your Life That Isn’t Really Funny. King, Brian.  The Laughing Cure: Emotional and Physical Healing: A Comedian Reveals Why Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine.

Laughter the Best Medicine: A Laugh-Out-Loud Collection of our Funniest Jokes, Quotes, Stories & Cartoons(Reader’s Digest): Editors of Reader’s Digest

Lloyd, Jessica.  Laugh Your Way to Enlightenment: The Art of Spiritual Laughter

Martin, James.  Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life.

McCloud, Ace.  Laughter Therapy: Discover How to Use Laughter and Humor for Healing, Stress Relief, Improved Health and Increased Emotional Wellbeing.

Peter, Laurence.  The Laughter Prescription. 

Pierce, Chonda.  Laughing in the Dark: A Comedian’s Journey through Depression. 

Trueblood, Elton. The Humor of Christ.

 

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Issue 344 – Adios 2016, Ola 2017

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Issue 344  –   January 3, 2017  –  Bradenton, Florida

Well, folks, we had quite a nice New Year’s Eve Celebration at our 55+ retirement community down here in Paradise. We ended this 31st day of December, 2016 basking in the sunshine of an 82 degree day. And then we gathered in our clubhouse for a catered dinner, followed by a dance. Pretty doggoned nice, we thought.

Peggy and I stuck around the festivities until about 10:00 pm. We home and started watching an old black-and-white movie about 10:30 p.m. The next thing I knew I woke up and the clock above our TV said 12:09. Peggy had fallen asleep, too. So I awoke her to tell her “Happy New Year!” And then we saundered off to bed. The best part of the day was this part, when I thanked God for being able to start another year with the love of my life.

One of the members of our Home Owners Association had asked me to take photos of our folks as they came through the door for the New Year’s Eve Party. So Peggy took down their names as they lined up and I took two shots of each group or individual. All of the 65+ pictures turned out well, except for four or five, and I appologize for that. I can blame those few  photos on my camera, not the camera operator. For, as you will see, the photo which someone else snapped of Peggy and me with my camera was one of those which was a bit off. Well, at least the price was right (i.e., free). 

I have posted below most of the photos that I took that evening. I hope you enjoy them. 

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2016-12-31-38-pam-and-jerry-warner-by-stan-paregien

2016-12-31-39-dotty-wilson-by-stan-paregien

2016-12-31-40-holly-woolums-by-stan-paregien

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That’s about it for now. My best wishes to each and every one of you for a wonderful year of 2017.

— Stan Paregien

 

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Flitting Around the USA

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Issue 341  — October 17, 2016

During the last part of August, my wife Peggy flew to Washington, D.C. She went there to be with her sister, Paula Allen King, who was accompanying her daughter and granddaughter on a trip from Oregon to get the granddaughter enrolled and housed as she was beginning her freshman year at George Washington University. Pretty heady stuff to be living right where some of the most important events in our nation have taken place.

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Peggy Allen Paregien in front of the White House. No, the Obamas did not invite her in for an afternoon tea. Oh, well. 

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Paula Allen King stands with her back toward the White House.

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2016-09-10-a04-birthday-pary

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On Monday, Sept. 12th, Peggy and I kicked around Indianapolis on our own. We started by visiting the Indiana State Capital building. That may sound easy enough, but we were a bit overwhelmed by the very limited street-side parking and the one-way streets and the system (or lack of it) for parking underground near the capital grounds. 

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We decided we’d stop by the Governor’s office for some free coffee and cookies. No such thing. And we found out that Governor Pence must not have gotten our email about us stopping by for a chat, because he ran all the way out of state to hang out with some ol’ billionaire named Frump . . . or Plump . . . or . . . , oh, yeah, Trump. 

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Well, already getting foot-sore, it was upward and onward to the home of President Benjamin Harrison. Heck, he wasn’t home, either. But he had a solid excuse.

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Well, there you have it, neighbors. That concludes the first part of our trip to Indiana. In future issues we’ll show you our brush with General Lew Wallace, the author of BEN HUR. And we’ll visit Springfield, Illinois and Abraham Lincoln’s home and his burial monument.

Plus, in tiny Mount Olive, Illinois we’ll visit the “Union Miners Cemetery” and the grave of the beloved (and hated) union labor leader Mother Jones. And we’ll take you with us to the wedding in St. Louis of our grandson Daniel Paregien and his lovely bride, Leah Cromer.Then, we’ll mosey on down to beautiful Lake Lure, North Carolina for a few relaxing days before heading north with my Hillbilly Cousin to far northeast Tennessee . . . where they love barbeque and storytelling. All of that and more in future issues. So y’all come on back real soon, ya hear?

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Some Punny Poems & More

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 339  –  July 25, 2016  –  Stan Paregien, Editor

2015--10--13   2167--N   Sedona, AZ  -   Stan Paregien and Don Betts -  copyrighted by Peg Paregien

Don Betts and I and our much better halves– Judy and Peggy — spent a delightful week together in Sedona, Arizona last year. But the point of this current issue of THE PAREGIEN JOURNAL is to put down persistent rumors and to established beyond a reasonable doubt . . . that Don and I can do something other than sit around and look pretty.

Or not.

Well, we’re going to try, anyway.

Secondarily, we have had thousands of people begging on bended knees for poetry based on puns. 

Or not.

Mostly not. However, I kinda like ’em. Most of my are short and on the funny side. Anyway, kind of like indigestion, I sure feel better getting them out of my system. So I am including several here.

However, we begin with a poem by my dear friend Don Betts. The man is a remarkable writer and poet, especially considering the fact he never tried his hand at it until he was 82. So we lead off with his extremely appropriate poem titled “Conventional Confusion.” It is just in time for the beginning of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and that is what it is all about. And, as with many of Don’s poems, the last few lines jump up and bite you on the butt. You’ll enjoy it.

Or not.

But mostly you’ll enjoy it, I think.

Friends, the pilot has turned the warning light signifying that we are about to take off. It may be a bumpy ride, so please buckle up.

Betts, Don  -  Conventional Confusion  -- July 19, 2016

And then things kinda go down hill from there.

Poem 447   About Those Old Accountants  --  by Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted  June 14, 2016

Poem 448   Old Anesthesiologists  --  by Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted  June 14, 2016

Poem 449   Procrastinators and Death  --  by Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted  June 14, 2016

Betts, Don   --   Home, Sweet Home  -- April 29, 2015

Poem 450   Old Quilters Never Die  --  Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted June 14, 2016

Poem 451   Aging Football Quarterbacks  --  Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted June 14, 2016

Poem 452   Four Sets of Twins  --  Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted June 14, 2016

Poem 460  The Warning Sign -- A Punny Poem - by Stan Paregien 2016--06--28  - pun

Poem 461  Canned at the Cannery  --  A Punny Poem - by Stan Paregien - 2016-06-28  - pun

Betts, Don - Unproblematic Solution - July 16, 2016 - Matt 1 v1-17

Poem 462  Excuse My Confusionality --  by Stan Paregien - 2016-07-2016

Poem 463  The Deer Slayer - A Punny Poem  --  by Stan Paregien - 2016-07-24 - pun

Poem 464  Sausage Links - A Punny Poem - by Stan Paregien - 2016-07-24 - pun

Poem 465  How to Attract Women  - A Punny Poem - by Stan Paregien - 2016-07-24 - pun

Poem 453    A Cure for Chili's Main Problem   --  Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted June 14, 2016Poem 456   What Happened to Customer Service  -   by Stan Paregien Sr - copyrighted 2016-06-16Poem 457   The Legend of Mystery  Mountain -- by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-06-16  -  Page 1 of  6

Poem 457   The Legend of Mystery  Mountain -- by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-06-16  -  Page 2 of  6

Poem 457   The Legend of Mystery  Mountain -- by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-06-16  -  Page 3 of  6

Poem 457   The Legend of Mystery  Mountain -- by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-06-16  -  Page 4 of  6

Poem 457   The Legend of Mystery  Mountain -- by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-06-16  -  Page 5 of  6

Poem 457   The Legend of Mystery  Mountain -- by Stan Paregien Sr - 2016-06-16  -  Page 6 of  6

Some of you know that Peggy and I recently spent ten delightful days in bonnie ol’ Scotland. The photo below shows us standing in front of our hotel in Ayr, Scotland.

Or not.

2016--07--07   03G  Calzean Castle -  S and P Paregien -  by E Sklair

Right, it ain’t our hotel. But we did visit there. And in the near future I hope to have many of our Scotland photos posted online. More about that another time.

Thanks for stopping by the ol’ bunkhouse to visit a spell. Y’all come back soon, ya hear?

— Stan Paregien Sr. (aka, “Cowboy Stan”)

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Issue 333 – Life in Florida, Part 3

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Issue 333  –  May 9, 2016

Life in Florida, Part 3

We had a mixed-bag start to the New Year of 2016 here in Bradenton, Florida. Some good stuff and some, well, challenges. 

Early in February I went back on medicine for high blood pressure. Lisinopril, to be exact. And for the next six weeks I experienced severe headaches most of every day, plus constant fatigue, frequent dizziness and nausea. It was six long weeks of misery.  I didn’t feel like doing much of anything, but I kept thinking that surely this medicine was going to kick in soon and I would get better. Little did I know.

Finally, some medical experts here in our clubhouse (i.e., the gang we have coffee with each Saturday morning) convinced me that I ought to see a cardiologist.

Well, my cardiologist told me he began taking medicine for high blood pressure some 25 years ago. At some point he put himself on Lisinopril, . . . and had symptoms nearly identical with mine. So he immediately took me off the Lisinopril and put me on Benicar. Within a couple of days, I began to feel better as the headaches disappeared and I regained my energy. I still have a bit of dizziness, but I can control most of it by just not standing up quickly from a sitting position. Many of you know what I’m talking about. 

In March Peggy had surgery for a “hammer toe” on her right foot. She was incapacitated for a while, and I was forced at the point of a gun to go on dog patrol morning, noon and night. I’ll have to admit it was a “bonding experience.” That is, I’m even more bonded to my deeply held belief we really don’t need a dog. However, Peggy and Allie still out-vote me on that subject. 

2016--0375   March - Bradenton, FL -    Stan  Paregien and Allie  - by Virginia Corbin

Anyway, Peggy had very little pain for the first couple of weeks after her surgery. Then it started. And she is still experiencing some “needle-like tingling” in that toe. We did make it to the beach a week or so ago, but she was not quite ready to get into the Gulf water. 

Here are a few photos from this winter into spring.

2016--0268   March 17 - Bradenton, FL  -- The Recipe Box Eatery

This restaurant is a couple of miles from our house, to the east. It has a nice variety of items on the menue and the staff seem friendly and welcoming. If you’re in the area, give it a try. They have some breakfast specials which are are pretty good deal.

2016--0269   March 17 - Bradenton, FL  -- staff at Cooper; Family Medical

These are some of the folks at the office of our primary physicians. Peggy’s primary doctor is Dr. Catherine Cooper, while mine is her husband, Dr. Christopher Cooper. We have gone there since Jan. 1, 2014. If you’re looking for a primary physician, they have several from which to choose.

Here are a couple of write-ups which our neighbor, Virginia Corbin, did of some of our favorite folks here in Plantation Grove MHP. 

2016--0271  --  Bradenton, FL  --  Ralph Iacovacci and wife Eunice - by Virginia Corbin

2016--0272    April 1 - Bradenton, FL  -- article about Mike and Donna Damico by Virginia Corbin

2016--0277    Bradenton, FL  -  Peggy Paregien

I failed to mention that we bought that shawl on our trip to Ireland for our 50th anniversary in 2012.
2016--0279--B   March 14  --  Palmetto, FL  - Emerson Point Preserve --

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2016--0288   March 14  --  Palmetto, FL  - Emerson Point Preserve --

A few weeks ago I was on Facebook and telling a friend about the scarcity of events in our area related to cowboy culture — i.e., cowboy poetry, cowboy storytelling, cowboy and Western music, etc. Then, wham bam, a few days later I saw an ad about a cowboy storyteller and poet going to me at the library in Palmetto, Florida. So we took another couple with us and enjoyed his program. Kinda makes me want to crank it up and get back on the ol’ cowboy poetry circuit. Kinda.

2016--0290   March 19  --  Palmetto, FL  - Hank Mattson, cowboy poet

2016--0291   March 19  --  Palmetto, FL  - Hank Mattson, cowboy poet
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2016--0293   March 19  --  Palmetto, FL  - Hank Mattson, cowboy poet

2016--0296--A   March 19  --  Palmetto, FL  - Hank Mattson, cowboy poet

2016--0301   March 20  --  Bradenton,  FL  --  Shirley Overfelt

2016--0302   March 20  --  Bradenton,  FL  --  Holly Woolums - Peggy Paregien

2016--0303   March 20  --  Bradenton,  FL  --  Peggy Paregien and Judy Teeuwen

2016--0304   March 20  --  Bradenton,  FL  --  Peggy Paregien and Mee Yean Chin
2016--0305   March 20  --  Bradenton,  FL  --  Mee Yean Chin and Rick Dorricott

2016--0306  --  Bradenton,  FL  -- Charlotte Richardson

This is Peggy’s sister, a full-time resident of Indianapolis and a seasonal resident in a MHP on south Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. 

2016--0308  --  Bradenton,  FL  -- wild bird feeding

2016--0310  --  Sarasota, FL  --  Marina Jack's  --  Liz Terpstra and Tracy Carson  - by Peggy Paregien

2016--0311  --  Sarasota, FL  --  Marina Jack's  --  Evelyn Sklair  - by Peggy Paregien

2016--0312  --  Sarasota, FL  --  Marina Jack's  --  Jean L'Huillier  - by Peggy Paregien

2016--0319  --  Sarasota, FL  --  Marina Jack's  --  Jean L'Huillier and Peggy Paregien

2016--0325   April 27  --  Obituaries for both the Republican and the Democratic Party  --  politics

What a wierd and wacky political world we have currently in the U.S.A. The Democrats and the Republicans have looked through their entire rosters of bright, new political stars to bring forward as their presidential nominees . . . and, instead , . . . they trot out two old geezers (I can say that because I are one) who are each egotistic, power-hungry bottom-feeders.  Lord, have mercy, is this the best and brightest that America has to offer? It is a sad state of affairs.

Several decades ago, now, I saw the two presidential candidates as totally unacceptable. So I wrote in my choice for a more intelligent, energetic and personable candidate: Mickey Mouse. Hey, I’m serious here. Ol’ Mick just might get my vote, again.

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The marathon travel season is coming nearer and nearer for Peggy and myself. Soon I will be flying to the St. Louis area to witness our son, Stan (aka “Gene”) Paregien Jr., and his lovely and talented wife Becky as they renew their wedding vows on their 30th anniversary. We are exceptionally proud of both their personal and professional lives. They are making a positive difference in the lives of people around them.

That same week my lovely wife, Peggy, is running away from our home. Okay, she is flying not running. A friend invited her to go with her–as her guest–on a ship cruise which lives from Barcelona, Spain and 12 days later ends in Rome. In between they are going to two or three more ports of Spain, then to Gibraltar, and on to Monte Carlo (home of the late Princess Grace), and then to Florence, Italy. 

We take a short breather here at home after she gets back. And then the two of us will fly from here to Toronto and then on to Glascow, Scotland. We will spent 10 days there with a friend who will not only be our host but also our guide to the best things to see and do on the western and central part of Scotland. That will be a really special trip.

Then in the early fall we will both fly north to the St. Louis area for the wedding of our #4 grandchild, Daniel Justin Paregien, and his girlfriend. A couple of days later, we fly from there to Greenville, North Carolina. That’s when my cousin and his wife will meet us and take us up to their time-share at a beautiful resort on Lake Lure.  Take a look at the Town of Lake Lure web site to get an idea of the strikingly lovely mountains and the lake:  http://www.townoflakelure.com/

Add to that a possible week-long trip to either Minnesota or to Wisconsin (two states we have not yet visited) and maybe, just maybe at least a one-week or more visit to Costa Rica, one of the jewels of Central America. We should be back in our little seaside shack in time to welcome back many of our snowbird friends from Yankee Land or even further up, in Canada.

All of that travel is dependent upon whether the Good Lord is willin’ and whether the creeks rise, as folks used to commonly say. Lot of truth in it.

Oh, by the way, if you haven’t already done so . . . , please go to the top right of this page and sign up to receive a free email to simply notify you each time I post an article.

Best wishes to one and all.

— Stan

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Issue 323 – Life in Florida, Part 1

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 323  –  Friday, Feb. 12, 2016

Stan Paregien, Editor

Life in Florida, Part 1

This issue is devoted to showing  a number of photos taken at some of our recent music events. Since moving to Bradenton, Florida in June of 2013, we have hosted maybe 5 or 6 music jams in our home. We maxed out with 19 folks the last time. So we thought about hosting a music jame at our clubhouse in Plantation Grove MHP in Bradenton, Florida.That would allow us to invite a lot more folks and several more musicians. 

As we were exploring that idea, I also decided to add poetry to the mix. You see, there is a long-standing tradition at cowboy festivals across the country of including music, poetry, storytelling and the reading of formal papers on various cowboy subjects. So Peggy and I decided to give it and try here. 

The first time we hosted a “Music & Poetry Show” at our clubhouse we had some 42 folks show up. And several people were prepared to read some poetry for us. It seems to be a welcomed combination, though unusual in this area. So please come enjoy the fun. If you plan an instrument and/or sing, we’d be happy to have you perform. We would particularly like to add a fiddle player, a harmonica player, a dulcimer player, a mandolin play and even a drummer or a steel guitar player. They just seem to be scarce in these parts. And if you want to read poems, each being no more than 4 minutes in length, we’d be happy for you to share with us.

 

2015--11--20   2672    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2674    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2675    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2676    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2678    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2679    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--12--11   2705--A    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam

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2016--0006--A   Jan 15  - Bradenton, FL   PG Music and Poetry Jam - by Stan Paregien2016--0006--B   Jan 15  - Bradenton, FL   PG Music and Poetry Jam - by Stan Paregien2016--0008   Jan 15  Bradenton, FL -- PG Music and Poetry Jam -- by Virginia Corbin

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2016--0009   Jan 15  Bradenton, FL -- PG Music and Poetry Jam -- by Virginia Corbin2016--0010   Jan 15  Bradenton, FL -- PG Music and Poetry Jam -- by Virginia Corbin

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Those who share some poems with us last time included Evelyn Sklair, Virginia Corbin, Joyce Sparks, Don Betts, Judy Teeuwen, Mike Teeuwen, Eunice Iacovacci and Tom White.

So, there you have it. Our “Music & Poetry Shows” are just a lot of casual, home-grown fun. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Each person who reads a poem, plays an instrument and/or sings a song is doing it just out of the pure joy of sharing with our friends and neighbors and other guests. Please note that no one involved with this event receives a payment for services rendered, other than the applause of the audience.

Below you’ll find the flyer for the next show. Won’t you please consider joining us??

Flyer 1 - for 2016--02--19  Music and Poetry Show -- by Stan Paregien

NOTE: Sometimes we have new folks say, “What the heck is finger food?” That just means we’d like to only have things that can be eaten with one’s fingers as we do not sit out knives or forks. We’re looking for non-messy cookies, carrots, crackers, chips, celery sticks, peanuts, and such. Coffee (both regular and decalf) and water are free.

Invite a friend and come on down.

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Issue 321, The Spiritual Life

The Paregien Journal   –  Issue 321  –  February 2, 2016

Stan Paregien, Editor

 

The Spiritual Life

Welcome, friends, to another issue of The Paregien Journal. This blog falls into the “eclectic” category I suppose, reflecting my personal interest in a whole range of topics. And on this occasion I have gathered a collection of diverse essays under the heading of “The Spiritual Life.”

Spiritual life

These materials are worthy of your consideration no matter what the status of your personal spiritual life. You may be an agnostic, an atheist, a Buddist, a Muslem, Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian or a Hindu. The thoughtful person is always aware of his intellectual short-comings and holds firmly onto what he knows now, pending further information or investigation. That is an honest and commendable way to live.

I would simply ask you to take off your critic’s hat as you read these materials. Read as a open-minded searcher for the kind of truths which can make each of us a wiser, happier and better person. Afterward, you may want to meditate for a while on what applications this material has to your own life. And then decide what ethical, moral and theological concepts go beyond probable and good to that which is clearly best for your spiritual life. 

 

No One-Dimensional People

by Edward Fudge

When I was a child, there was a man at the other end of the block whom we kids named “Grouchy Grubbs.” Whether he disliked boys and girls in general or only those who were his neighbors we did not know, but he certainly did not like little Fudges, Dunnavants, Chandlers, Kuykendalls, Chumleys, Rollingses, Curtises or Williamses–the families with children growing up on Chandler Drive. He was a one-dimensional man with a single attribute. He was grouchy. His grouchiness contrasted sharply with the sparkling wit of a young widower named Clinton, to whom we bestowed the nickname “Mr. Candy-man.”

Most of our families attended the same church, where for many years Clinton was the primary song leader and also served as church treasurer. He loved children, whom he also loved to tease. Every Sunday when the final “Amen” had been said, Clinton distributed hard candies to all the little tykes found assembled in our midst. This would certainly be a better world, we concluded, if there were no Grouchy Grubbses and if there were many more Clintons.

I do not know what became of Grouchy Grubbs, except in general — as we children grew up, he grew old. One day he retired. Eventually he died, as did his wife. Turns out he had a normal family with normal blessings and normal problems. In fact, he probably was no more grouchy than normal. Mr Candy-man continued passing out the sweets and teasing the children, leading the singing, and counting the offering–a one-man job since our church was so small.

Then one day he was gone, leaving to his motherless only child the pretty new house he had been building for several years, as he got the money. There was only one problem with this picture: the more money Clinton got, the less money the church seemed to have. The elders discovered this problem and confronted Clinton. He agreed to meet with them after the weekend and explain everything. But before the day arrived for that meeting, he used his gun to end it all.

There are no one-dimensional people, just one-dimensional thinking. I am neither all good or all bad, and neither are you, nor is anyone either of us will ever meet. We all have specks of gold mixed with our earthly clay, and problems and weaknesses and sins. We all struggle with burdens, carry loads that weigh us down, cherish aspirations and ambitions and goals.

As we enter the new year 2016, let us resolve to be merciful, to show compassion, to think the best of others, and to be quick to share a word of encouragement or a helping hand. Life is too short to do otherwise. We have God’s forgiveness, his Spirit, his promises, and his Presence. Let us remember who we are and whose we are — and live accordingly. Be blessed–and be a blessing!

[Found in Edward Fudge’s GracEmail newsletter dated Dec. 27, 2015.]

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Two Essays on Mormonism

by Dr. Leroy Garrett

Written in his Soldier On! newsletter in 2006.

 Essay 1: “A Mormon Funeral”

When it comes to Mormons it seems that “I’ve been there and done that.” I have attended the services of all four wards (congregations) that meet in the two chapels in my home town, as they call their churches. I even went through the Mormon temple in Dallas when it first opened, which a “Gentile” could do before it was dedicated. I have studied their history and doctrine, talked to their missionaries, and enjoyed their friendship, including the only two doctors, beloved physicians indeed, that I have had during my 44 years in Denton. Both Mormons!

But I had never been to a Mormon funeral. When the son/grandson of a prominent Denton business family drowned in a river accident in Idaho, I decided to attend his funeral, not only out of respect for the family, but for a new Mormon experience.You might call it an ecumenical urge.

The deceased, a handsome chap who died a few days short of turning 21, was in his second year at Brigham Young University. Already an elder in the church, he was scheduled to begin his two-year mission-ary assignment in December.

There was the usual viewing at the chapel the evening before the funeral, which I did not attend. I was one of the first to arrive for the service, but the chapel, now with extra chairs, was soon filled, upwards of 600. A ward usually has around 300 members. For this funeral there must have been many non-Mormons present. Organ music began some 20 minutes before the service.

Since it was a funeral and not a memorial service, I supposed there would be the casket at front center. There was no casket, and but a select number of standing floral pieces. The casket was still in a side room with the family gathered around it. As in other churches, we stood as the large family filed in to the central area reserved for them. It was then that the casket was rolled in, but it was placed not at front center, but to the right side, rather unobtrusive and of course unopened. The deceased, if he has advanced to priesthood, will usually be buried in white, with a priestly sash around a shoulder.

The president of the stake (a group of wards) presided, while the bishop of the ward (equal to the pastor in a Protestant church) was the conductor. The prayers were led by family members, the eulogy was given by a family friend, a woman; and the message was given by an uncle of the deceased. Another woman, also a family member, sang “O That I Were An Angel,” with piano accompaniment.

The Order of Service had a picture of Jesus on the first page, along with a quotation from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon – a scripture that is also in the Bible. A substantial part of the Book of Mormon is taken from the Bible. The oddity is that while the Book of Mormon was supposedly written hundreds of years before Christ, there are quotations from the King James Version, which was not produced until 1611!

Book of Morman -- Another Testament of Jesus

On the inside cover were two of the deceased’s favorite scriptures, one from the Book of Mormon and one from Doctrine and Covenants. But the Bible was used in other parts of the service. On the back side was a colorful picture of the deceased – a smiling, charming young man.

 Even though both hymns that were sung were uniquely Mormon, the church’s hymnal, published in Salt Lake City, does have many of the great hymns of the church universal, sung by all Christians.

The first hymn could have been sung only by Mormons, and I noticed that those seated near me seemed to know it by heart. The first line reads We have been born, as Nephi of old/ To godly parents who love the Lord. A line from the chorus has We are the army of Helaman/ We have been taught in our youth. Nephi and Helaman are heroes in the Book of Mormon.

The bishop’s presentation was consistent with my understanding of Mormonism with its emphasis on good works. He quoted with emphasis from James – “Show me your faith without your works, and I will by my works show you my faith.” He emphasized obeying the commandments, and the Mormons have thousands. No reference to Paul in Romans, and no reference to grace.

Some Mormon-watchers refer to this as “the Mormon dilemma” – prodded to keep commandments they cannot keep, to be “worthy” when by nature, like all of us, they are unworthy. As Jesus himself tells us: “When you have done all things commanded you, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants’” (Lk. 17:10). Our Lord never promised that our good works would sustain us, but he did say “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor. 12:9).

The Mormons pay a high price for their works-oriented religion. Some insist – with statistics in hand — that this explains why Utah, predominately Mormon, has far more than its share of mental illness, depression, child (sexual) abuse, teenage pregnancy, divorces, suicide (especially teen suicide).

The “Mormon woman” is named as particularly oppressed, with ongoing depression common. She is to be subservient to her husband, both for time and eternity. She is destined to be “eternally pregnant,” bearing children – along with other of his wives – for her god-husband, who will have his own planet to populate. She must also depend on him for her resurrection from the dead. He is to call her from the grave – using the secret name known only to them, given to them when they married for eternity in the temple. If he doesn’t call, she is without hope. Mormon women might find John 5:25 liberating: “The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.”

But the message given by the deceased’s uncle was as Christian as one would hear in any evangelical church. He lifted up Christ as the only Savior and our only hope, and as sufficient for all our needs. No reference to The Prophet, to the Book of Mormon, or to “the restored gospel.” Jesus is the only gospel we need!

I found myself wanting to ask him how he could believe what he said and yet believe that one has to be a Mormon to be a true Christian and belong to the true church. How can one believe in the sufficiency of Christ and yet believe in the essentiality of the unique claims of Mormonism? The Mormons do not believe that The Prophet is Savior, but they do believe that he has to deem them worthy before they can go to heaven. Is that faith in Christ as the only Savior?

Christ-centeredness! It was a good way to end the funeral. But I was left with a question that evangelical Christians are asking, Are Mormons Christians?

In response to a cover story about Mormons in Newsweek, a Protestant minister wrote: “The Mormons are not Christians, they are Mormons.” And a Newsweek editor raised the problem faced by Mit Romney, governor of Massachusetts, who might be a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 2008. But Romney is a Mormon.

The editor reminded his readers that it was evangelical Christians who put the last three Republican Presidents in the White House, and that no Republican can be elected without the evangelical vote. He ventured that the evangelicals would vote for Hillary Clinton before they would vote for a Mormon.

What is the basis of the evangelical complaint against Mormons? It must be serious if they would vote for Hillary, whom they can’t abide, before they would vote for a Mormon, any Mormon, however attractive he might be otherwise. While in this essay I may have already hinted as some of those reasons, in my next I will spell out some of those reasons in detail. And I will let you decide for yourself. I do not propose to be a judge on this issue,  Are Mormons Christians?  but that is the subject of the next essay.

[Published in Dr. Leroy Garrett’s emailed newsletter, Soldier On!, Essay 133 dated July 27, 2006 ]

 

 Essay 2:  “Are Mormons Christians?”

by Dr. Leroy Garrett

I have an uneasiness about this subject. Who am I to say who is or who is not a Christian? The Lord knows those who are his, as Scripture says, not I. But in my last essay I referred to a Newsweek article in which evangelical Christians were described as not believing that Mormons are Christians – a view that may well be held by Christians generally. I promised that in this essay I would explain why they feel this way.

The Mormons certainly see themselves as Christians, and they are understandably offended when accused of not being. But it is such a commonly held view that on Larry King Live,  Larry — who is married to a Mormon — asked the current president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whom he was interviewing, if Mormons were Christians. The authoritative voice of the Mormon church replied – a bit impatiently I detected – “Certainly we are Christians!”

This suspicion of Mormons takes different forms. Years ago when I was back at Princeton Seminary (Presbyterian) I happened to sit at the alumni banquet with a renowned professor, with whom I had studied decades earlier. He told me he had recently been to Brigham Young University to lecture for the Mormons, and he expressed surprise that they invited him. Thinking it appropriate to say something positive, I mentioned that the Mormons make good neighbors and upstanding citizens. To which he replied, “Yes, if they didn’t have to believe so many crazy things.”

That is the way many Christians see them – they believe and practice a lot of crazy things. But some translate that into They are not Christians, insisting that what is wrong is not just “crazy” but grossly anti-biblical and anti-Christian.

Most Mormons – perhaps the president and prophet himself – might be surprised to learn that no less an authority than Brigham Young insisted that Mormons were not Christians, for they were more than Christians. “We are a special people of God,” he said. That appears to be how they see themselves – their prophet Joseph Smith is the greatest of all prophets; their Scriptures are superior and more reliable than the Bible; and while all other churches are apostate, their church is the only true church.

When critics – some of them ex-elite “Temple Mormons” — accuse Mormons of not being Christians what charges do they make? After considerable reading on this subject, I list here the most significant accusations – which are always documented from Mormon sources.

  1. The Mormon God is not the Christian God.

 This is the severest test for any religion. If it is wrong about God, little else matters. C. S. Lewis observed that there are only two kinds of religions – those which believe in the one, eternal God of the universe, such as the Judeo-Christian faith, and those that believe in many gods, such as Hinduism and paganism.

Mormonism is in the second category in that it teaches that every male Mormon can become a god. Women may become goddesses, but not gods. The essence of Mormonism is to make an infinite number of gods for an infinite universe. Their critics have thus called them “the God Makers.” Already they have made millions of gods, as they see it.

God himself was once a man like the rest of us who proved himself so “worthy” – a key word in Mormonism – that over aeons of self-exaltation he at last became Yahweh God. When the Bible describes God as infinite, eternal, immortal, and immutable it is not describing the Mormon God.

  1. The Mormon Jesus is not the Jesus of Christians.

The Mormon Jesus is not “the Word became flesh.” – or God who became man — but, like God, a man who by being “worthy” became Christ. God, who is polygamous with his many wives, had intercourse with Mary, one of his wives, and Jesus was born. God had other children, one being Lucifer – so Lucifer, who became the prince of devils, and Jesus were brothers. This was in their pre-mortal state.

Moreover, the Mormon Jesus was polygamous while on earth, and he lived to see several of his children. They have Jesus getting married one more time at the wedding in Cana of Galilee.

One will notice that manhood is the doorway to godhood – first a man, then perhaps a god. So with God, so with Jesus. So with all who become gods. This is the rationale for polygamy – all the yet unborn spirits must become human, so they in turn can through good works become gods. And god-making goes on eternally, with the goddesses eternally pregnant. Mormonism potentially has more gods even than Hinduism, whose gods are innumerable.

This is why Mormonism rejects “the fall of man” or original sin. Brigham Young said man fell upwards. The so-called “fall” was a blessing in disguise, Young said, for in it man began to learn how to become a god. Man is basically good, an “embryonic god” in fact.

This is also why Mormonism has little or no doctrine of the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit has apparently never become a man – and so is not God. You can now understand the Mormon adage “As man now is God once was, as God is man may become.” But is it Christian?

 3.  Mormonism is a cult, and so cannot be truly Christian.

If this charge is true and comes to be generally understood, it could have a devastating effect on Mormonism. For the general public – not just the religious — abhors cults. It even fears them.

A cult may be defined as:

(1)  Formed around a charismatic leader who is esteemed as a spokesman for God, who has unquestioned authority over them, demands absolute obedience, and has a hyper ego;

(2)  Having its own ongoing revelations from God, which may take the form of extra-biblical scriptures;

(3)  Having weird and bizarre doctrines and practices, often expressed in secret rituals,

(4)  Seeing itself as a special, superior people of God, it judges others as inferior, apostate, abominable.

 

Mormonism appears to qualify as a cult

 on every point listed above, such as

(numbers below correspond to numbers above):

(1)  Joseph Smith is the unique, charismatic figure of Mormonism, who was no ordinary prophet. He restored the true church of Jesus Christ, apart from which there is no salvation. Even the most devout Christian, biblically baptized, must accept Joseph Smith as a prophet and be baptized into the Mormon church to be saved. The Prophet and The Brethren who are his successors have absolute authority and are not to be questioned. As they themselves put it, “When The Brethren speak, the thinking has already been done.”

(2) The Mormons have at least three “Bibles” of their own — the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. Since they see the Bible as corrupted through the centuries, the Mormon scriptures are superior. Besides, they have twelve apostles, one of whom is president and prophet – successor to Joseph Smith – who receives revelations and speaks for God.

In 1870 – after the Supreme Court ruled against polygamy – the sitting prophet received a revelation that was to end polygamy, though it did not actually condemn the practice, for that would have contradicted their scriptures, which make polygamy “a divine law.” And in 1978 – after 150 years of being racist – the church through its prophet received a revelation that gave equal rights to blacks, even though the Book of Mormon still makes dark skin a curse of God.

(3)  What is more weird and bizarre than what goes on in the scores of Mormon temples around the world? There are secret rituals and oaths (revealed only at pain of death), a secret handshake, and secret under garments with markings like those of the Masons (the Prophet was a Mason).

Couples are “sealed” in marriage to each other for eternity; each receives a secret name, which the man uses to call his wife from the grave. When a wife dies a veil is placed over her face in the coffin, where it is to stay until her husband calls. But he is to have other wives in heaven, all of whom will be eternally bearing children so as to populate their god-husband’s own universe.

But the temples are more for the dead than for the living. They are awesome to the average Mormon. Yet 70% never enter one due to being unworthy, which makes “Temple Mormons” the elite. The dead of all human history may still be saved – multiplied billions of them. Their spirits gather in the temples, begging to be saved. They can still believe “the restored gospel” of Joseph Smith and be baptized, except a living Mormon is actually baptized for each of them.

 But the dead must first be identified and authenticated as having lived, with appropriate data recorded. And so the Mormons are also genealogists with a depository of millions, if not billions, of names in a mountain vault near Salt Lake City. The point is to be baptized for them. Some Mormons have been baptized for hundreds, even  thousands, who may have lived centuries in the past. “A church for the dead,” they are called. They see themselves as the saviors of all humankind, the dead of ages past as well as the living.

 (4)  Salvation is only in the Mormon church, which has all the truth of God, a claim common to all cults.

 While Christians in general base their salvation not on their own worthiness or good works but upon the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, the Mormon church offers salvation only in “the one true church” and by being “worthy” through good works.

That contradicts the great truth of the Christian faith. If one can be saved by his own worthiness, then the sacrifice of Christ was unnecessary. As the Bible puts it –- “Not by any works of righteousness which we have done ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). Man is a sinner before God, not an embryonic god. We were not created to be gods, but to be human beings conformed to the image of Christ, both in this world and in the world to come (Philippians 3:20-21).

In the light of all this it is understandable that many Mormon watchers do not see them as Christians. The fact remains, however, that they often act like Christians, and impressively so.They will point out to you that theirs is virtually the only church with “Jesus Christ” in its name. If you attend their services you will never hear them pray except in the name of Christ. They glorify Christ in praise and song. They acknowledge him as the risen Lord, and do good works in his name.

The issue before us raises a question that I don’t know the answer to – How wrong might one be and still be a Christian?

The church in Corinth had many things amiss, but Paul still saw them as the body of Christ. Admittedly, the line has to be drawn somewhere. We can probably agree that to be a Christian one’s heart has to be right – a heart for Christ. And only God knows the heart.

The answer we seek might be different if we asked about Mormonism itself rather than the individual Mormon – Is Mormonism Christian?

It would be like asking if Calvinism is Christian (Thomas Jefferson said Calvin’s God is a demon) rather than asking if Presbyterians are Christians.

Many Mormons – perhaps most – do not know about the “crazy,” cultish things revealed above. The missionaries do not reveal them in conversion, and The Brethren reveal them to the initiated only gradually. Mormon history is one of lying and deceit. Even Joseph Smith with his plurality of wives (27 according to a Mormon historian’s count; 46 by ex-Mormon Faun Brody’s listing, with some as young as 13) denied he was a polygamist up to his dying day!

You have to give him credit – it is not every man who can keep 46 wives under cover. No pun intended! But it was generally known, and it was one more reason why a mob stormed the jail in Carthage, Mo. in 1844 – where he was held for treason – and murdered him. He was earlier jailed for fraud in reference to deals related to digging for money. And yet he placed himself a close second to Christ himself!

But typical Mormons do not know these stories. The Mormon church is a good family church with high moral values, as they see it. They go to church – well, half do, half don’t (“Jack Mormons” are what they call their folks who don’t go to church). They work hard to be good Christians. Some of them know what Mormonism teaches, and do not believe it. But where do they go since all other churches are also false? They accept the good and try to ignore the bad.

Sound familiar?

When we ask whether others are Christians, it is just as well to turn the question on ourselves, Are we Christians?

Some of us are probably more Christian than some of our dogmas. That may be where at least some Mormons are.

[Published in Dr. Leroy Garrett’s emailed newsletter, Soldier On!, Essay 134 dated August 4, 2006 ]

Dr. Garrett died in 2015. He was a prolific writer up until a few weeks before his death. You will find many, if not most, of his writings posted at:

http://www.leroygarrett.org/

____________________

Psalm 23 For the Work Place

Author Unknown

Workers

The Lord is my real boss, and I shall not want.
He gives me peace, when chaos is all around me.
He gently reminds me to pray and do all things
without murmuring and complaining.

He reminds me that he is my source and not my job.
He restores my sanity everyday and guides my decisions
that I might honor him in all that I do.

Even though I face absurd amounts of e-mails, system
crashes, unrealistic deadlines, budget cutbacks, gossiping
co-workers, discriminating supervisors and an aging
body that doesn’t cooperate every morning, I still will not
stop—for He is with me! His presence, His peace,
and His power will see me through.

He raises me up, even when they fail to promote me.
He claims me as His own, even when the company
threatens to let me go.
His Faithfulness and love is better than any
bonus check.

His retirement plan beats every 401k there is.
When it’s all said and done, I’ll be working for Him
a whole lot longer and for that, I bless his name.

Spiritual life  --  02

____________________________________________

The Paradox of Dying to Live:

Considering the Intent of Romans 6:7

by Al Maxey*

In his epistle to the Roman brethren, Paul makes a statement that has caused some degree of speculation, the understanding (or misunderstanding) of which has also led to doctrines and dogmas boldly proclaimed and perpetuated by a number of disciples of Christ. That statement is found in Romans 6:7, which reads, “For he that is dead is freed from sin” (KJV).

The question that has arisen in the minds of many is: What is meant by the term “dead” in this passage? We will come back to that, but first we discover from the text that the result of this death is the blessing of being “freed from sin.” The Greek word here translated as “freed” is “dikaioo,” which means “to be acquitted, cleared, freed, vindicated; to be declared just and righteous; to stand approved and accepted.”

The point Paul makes to his brothers and sisters in Christ is that they have been cleared of sin and freed from its power over them. They are now regarded by the Father as just and righteous, and thereby accepted by Him into an intimate relationship with Him. This Greek word in Romans 6:7 is a perfect passive indicative, which means the person stands having been set free, based on a past act, from the power, guilt and consequence of sin.

Dr. A.T. Robertson, in his Word Pictures in the New Testament, makes note of this Greek construction and says this term means “to stand justified; set free from.” That past act, that secures our freedom, is stated in the text to be DEATH. Because one has died, that one is now free. This, in fact, is one of the primary teachings of Paul in this chapter (as well as throughout this epistle).

Notice the following two paragraphs from Reflections #617 (“Reenacting Our Redemptive Reality”):

Look at the context of Romans 6. Read it carefully. What is Paul talking about in this passage? Is he building a theology around baptism in water? Is he declaring this rite to be THE precise point of contact with the blood of Jesus Christ? Is this passage from the pen of Paul, as some claim, about baptism?! Far from it.

Baptism  --  07  baptism by immersion -  beliver's baptism

Indeed, the rite of baptism in water is entirely incidental to his primary message; it is only mentioned in passing. Paul’s point is: “you have been set free from sin” (vs. 18, 22); “we died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (vs. 2). “Our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin — because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (vs. 6-7). “Count yourself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin…” (vs. 11-13). “Sin shall not be your master” (vs. 14).

As those who have been set free in Christ Jesus; as those who are washed in His blood; as those who are cleansed — we are now called to reflect that reality in our daily lives. As recipients of His grace we are to be reflectors of His holiness. Returning to a life of sin should be unthinkable to those who are now set free from it. Thus, in this chapter, Paul twice asks: “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!” (vs. 1-2). “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” (vs. 15).

By virtue of His grace and through our faith, we have received the blessing of being united with Him in the likeness of His death and resurrection (vs. 5). “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (vs. 3). What is the significance of this death? Paul gives us the answer: “The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God” (vs. 10). In our spiritual union with our Savior, we also have died to sin that we might live “in newness of life” — i.e., lives of purity and holiness, reflecting His nature rather than our own.

Paul is reminding the disciples in Rome that their baptism symbolizes this great reality, and they need to be conducting themselves according to the Great Reality they reflected in that rite. In their immersion they validated their faith in our Lord’s death, burial (entombment) and resurrection, and all that His act signifies; now, in their daily lives, they need to continually reflect this reality in a visible manner to the world about them. They are ambassadors of grace, children of God, and they need to behave as such. “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (vs. 4).

Paul is nowhere in this chapter saying that baptism in water SAVES us; nor does he even suggest that we “contact the blood” of the Savior in the baptistery. In our baptism we have publicly committed ourselves, in a visible profession of faith, to living lives “dead to sin” and devoted to righteousness and holiness. Baptism is an act of faith, but it is also, in some ways, a vow. In this act of faith in what He has done for us, we vow, in a very public, visible manner, to die to self and live for Him.

Baptism  --  a covenant -- 01

Don’t we also do the same in the wedding ceremony? A man and woman, in a very public manner, vow to die to self and live for the other! Is that ceremony (or some precise point within it) what unites this man and women in a covenant with one another before their God? Covenant takes place IN THE HEART, and that covenant was entered into before they “walked down the aisle.” Yes, this public profession is important and has a place as a “point of public remembrance,” but it reflects and represents a reality already present within the hearts of this man and woman prior to this ceremony. It is the same with baptism (although this statement will not sit well with the sacramentalists).

Romans 6:7 teaches us that if we are to experience the blessing of being freed from sin and regarded by the Lord as justified, if we are to be accepted by Him into a life affirming relationship, a death must occur. This is not a reference to the death of Jesus (at least not directly, although His death is certainly in the mind of the one dying), nor is it a reference to our physical death. Rather, it is a spiritual death of the old nature so that we might live in newness of life (a life in which we are Spirit filled and led). But, again, we come to the question: What is this death we are to experience, and when does it take place?

Many within my own faith-heritage believe this “death” that frees us from sin occurs at the point of baptism in water. They teach that baptism itself is the precise point of our cleansing and freeing from sin, thus investing it with a sacramental power.

Notice the comments of Dr. Paul E. Kretzmann on this passage from the pen of Paul: “We Christians, by virtue of our Baptism, are dead unto sin and live unto God, because the new life of God is planted into our hearts in Baptism” [Popular Commentary of the Bible: The NT, vol. 2, p. 32]. He goes on: “In Baptism the believer dies with Christ. . . . The new spiritual life which he has received in Baptism. . . . Crucified with Christ in Baptism. . .. By virtue of our Baptism, sin is removed. … Salvation: this our Baptism has worked, effected, in us. Because the old Adam, in Baptism, has been killed. … That is the wonderful blessing and benefit of Baptism” [ibid, p. 31]. The author always uses the upper case “B” in writing this word, for he regards this act as a holy sacrament: i.e., by this act itself one receives salvation, justification, and release from sin. Baptism itself, therefore, according to Dr. Kretzmann’s view, is HOLY, for IT is what effects our union with the Lord.

The apostle Paul, however, is not elevating baptism in water, or any other human act, to the status of a salvific sacrament. Baptism is not the “death” of which Paul speaks, but merely a visible and symbolic representation of that death. If we are to benefit from the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, then we too must die. Although baptism in water is a reenactment of HIS death, burial and resurrection, it is not the death of which Paul speaks in Romans 6:7. Thus, the question remains: What is that death, and when does it take place?

Ephesians 2 v8  --  Salvation by faith  --  01

The teaching of Paul, and of all Scripture, is that we embrace grace by faith! When I finally come to perceive the spiritual significance of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and when I put my complete trust in HIS act on my behalf, by that faith I die to self and lift Him up as Lord and Savior. I do indeed reflect that faith by repentance and confession, and even by a reenactment of HIS act (by being immersed in water), but it was BY FAITH that I died to self so as to live in/for Him. All else merely reflects that inner reality.

Thus, by faith I die with Him, and by faith I receive the benefit of HIS death, burial and resurrection, which is a freeing from the effects of sin. I am free; I am liberated; I am accepted, I am justified. And yes, I will SHOW this reality of salvation by grace through faith every day in countless ways, one of which is the visible reenactment in baptism of HIS redeeming act.

Adam Clarke rightly observed, “Does not this simply mean: the man who has received Christ Jesus by faith, and has been, through believing, made a partaker of the Holy Spirit, has had his old man, all his evil propensities, destroyed; so that he is not only justified freely from all sin, but wholly sanctified unto God? The context shows that this is the meaning” [Clarke’s Commentary, Vol. 6, p. 77].

The Greek scholar Dr. Kenneth Wuest concurs, pointing out that the word “dead” in our text “is aorist tense in the Greek text, namely, ‘he who died,’ referring to the historical fact of a believing sinner being identified with Christ in His death on the cross” [Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek NT, Vol. 1, p. 102].

David Lipscomb wrote, “The old man that followed sin was crucified through faith in Jesus” [A Commentary on the NT Epistles, Vol. 1, p. 117]. He then quotes the apostle Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). Earlier in that same chapter, Paul wrote, “We have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ” (Galatians 2:16). In our text (Romans 6:7), Paul indicated that we are freed/justified as a result of a “death.” We died to the old man BY FAITH, and we received His declaration of freedom from sin by our faith in His redemptive act. We evidence that faith in a number of ways, one of which is baptism.

“This annulling of the power of sin is based on a recognized principle: death settles all claims. Our union with Christ in His death, which was designed to deal with sin once for all, means that we are free from the hold of sin. Its mastery is broken” [The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 10, p. 70].

“Death annuls all obligations, breaks all ties, cancels all old scores” [Dr. W. Robertson Nicoll, The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Vol. 2, p. 633].

The ancient Jewish rabbis stated in their writings, “When one is dead he is free from commands.”

We are dead to law; we are dead to legislation; we are dead to command-keeping; we are dead to sin. We are liberated; we are free. By faith we have cast off the old man of our sinful nature, and we are made alive with Christ Jesus. Paul, following his statement in Romans 6:7, spends much of the remainder of the chapter discussing the practical aspects (as seen in daily living) of this death to our old nature resulting in freedom from sin. “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

Does this mean we are now perfect, and that we never sin? Of course not. In the latter part of the very next chapter (Romans 7:14f), Paul details his continuing struggle with sin. We daily stumble in our walk, but we are no longer slaves to sin, but merely victims of sin, with the good news being that we are sinners saved by grace, and in our inner man we have died to sin, even though in our flesh there is still weakness which far too often evidences itself in sinful ways. Yet, thanks be to God, for “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and of death” (Romans 8:1-2). By faith we die; by faith we live! Thank God for His grace!

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 Maxey, Al -- Church of Christ -- date unknown 2

 Al Maxey is the author of several books on religious topics and he has defended his theological views in a number of debates. His “Reflections” newsletter, widely read  . . . and often criticized, is free for the asking. This essay was posted in Issue 676, for Sept. 25, 2015. Al preaches for the Cuba Avenue Church of Christ in Alamogordo, New Mexico and is one of the congregation’s shepherds as well. See his web site for back issues of his writings and for listings of his books and CDs and/or to sign up to receive his free newsletter:    http://www.zianet.com/maxey/

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Bible -- CS Lewis on not using Scriptures as weapons

Knowing So Much
But So Little

by Edward Fudge
Copyrighted Jan. 3, 2016

The second year of high school found me enrolled in a vocational class in commercial printing. A loud, smelly machine called a Linotype made a “line o’ type” from melted lead. The printing “press” inked the type with hard rubber rollers and “pressed” paper sheets against the type like a giant rubber stamp. My first assignment was to clean the rollers with gasoline and a large cloth. I saw what looked like six or eight large ink rollers, scrubbed them with a vengeance, then asked the boss to check my work. A quick look later he turned the big flywheel that moved the rollers, bringing up from somewhere in the depths a second set of rollers badly in need of a good cleaning. I thought I knew what to do and how to do it. Instead, to my embarrassment, I discovered how very, very little I knew.

That is much the way I feel these days, as I seek to retain and regain control over a damaged body and mind that play havoc with moods and emotions, randomly ignore or distort operating orders from the brain, create a variety of pains in both legs and feet, and make up new rules as we go along. Two culprits have joined forces to cause this mischief. First is Parkinson’s Disease (PD), with whom many of you are all too familiar as either caregiver or patient. My diagnosis was 13 years ago but the disease remained largely invisible for another decade until repeated back surgeries stirred it into action. The second culprit is a disease process known as “severe sensory-motor polyneuropathy,” recognizable by physical weakness and disability and by chronic pain.

As stated above, I am rapidly learning how little I know about things I thought I knew. After all, I have been a preacher/teacher for 50+ years and a lawyer for nearly 30. In both professions others looked to me as an “answer-man” concerning things in heaven and on earth respectively. But regardless of the number or the nature of the questions we have answered, I suspect that none of us, when assaulted by misfortune and called to suffer, will ever fully understand the answers to the big questions we all find ourselves asking–questions such as “Why?” and “Why me?”

Yet in this frustrated world groaning for redemption we can improve our perspective and learn to ask instead, “Why not me?” And we can always work on learning how better to wait (Romans 8:18-22). Meanwhile, the best knowledge we can gain is not “book-knowledge” as such, but relational knowledge born of experience in applying biblical principles to life as we encounter it together day by day (Colossians 1:9- 11).

On this subject, the simplest truths are often the most profound, and we can sum them up as faith, hope and love. The most important truth is that God loves us in spite of ourselves, which means we can trust him whatever the present appearances. The final chapter to our story is not yet written, making hope possible, necessary, and very relevant. And when all is said and done, and there is nothing more we can say or do to help, we again confess to God that he is all we have and that we are in his hands to stay. It just might be that the little we do know turns out to be very much indeed.

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* Edward Fudge is a lawyer, a preacher, and an author of several popular religious books. This copyrighted essay was published online on Jan. 3, 2016. You may contact him at his web site and sign up to receive his free GracEmail newsletter: http://edwardfudge.com/

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AA  Fair Use Disclaimer - 01 -- designed on by Stan Paregien Sr on 2016-02-01

End of This Issue

Issue 317 – Family & Friends in 2015

The Paregien Journal   –   Issue 317    –    Dec. 18, 2015

Stan Paregien, Editor

FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN 2015

In the course of a year, a person who travels even a little bit will meet a lot of interesting folks. Some are witting and charming, others are self-centered and obnoxious, while most are somewhere in between.

The fact is, though, that the really important people in our lives are a fairly small number of family members and friends. And it is to those precious few that I dedicate this page.

NOTE: Please know that those who fit into one or both of those categories of “family” and “friends”  are not necessarily in the photos below. I did not have recent photos of many of you, nor did I have space enough to include all. Kind of a nice problem to have, really. 

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Becky & Stan Paregien Jr in Waterloo, Illinois – March, 2015

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0465   2015-03--28   -- Little Gasparilla Island  - Jean Pendergrass - Shirley Cook  -- by Peggy Paregien

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0045   2015--02--12   - Bradenton,  FL - Don Betts' 83rd birthday - by Jim Parker

This is a group of Christian men who meet in Bradenton each Thursday morning for a “show and tell” brunch. The man at left is a visitor, then (clockwise) are Jim Waid, Clay Landes, Mike Cook (sunglasses), Stan Paregien, Don Betts, Mike Sirus and Rom “Hollywood” Colella. 

 

0041   2015--01--31 - Abe Guillermo and Jean Pendergrass, friends since 1953 - he died Feb 10, 2015

Abe was a native of Hawaii. As a 9-year-old boy, he watched from his family’s farm as the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Abe graduated to heaven this year.

Guillermo, Abraham M  -- Memorial Service -- 2015--03--17  Page 1 of 5Guillermo, Abraham M  -- Memorial Service -- 2015--03--17  Page 2 of 5

2015--04--05--A10    Bradenton, FL - Easter Sunrise on the Riverwalk -- Bonnie Hamill and P Paregien by S Paregien2015--04--05--B1 -- Washington, DC -- Major Stan Paregien Jr - USAFR2015--04--22   02   Bradenton, FL -- Al Good turned 90 -- by Virgina Corbin

Geri Mack watches as husband Al Mack cuts the cake on his 90th birthday. Bradenton, FL – 2015 –  Photo by Stan Paregien

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2015--04--18   B05  Sheridan, AR --  Dominic, Jodi, Peg, Bailee -  by Stan Paregien2015--04--21   D-04  Tulsa, Ok - Peg Paregien, Maynard and Sue Hammans - by S Paregien2015--04--22  A01B  Cleveland, OK -- Verdonn and Sharron Blevins2015--04--23  A05  Edmond, OK - Paregiens and Arringtons and Sengs