Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sunday Funnies

A man is stumbling through the woods, totally drunk, when he comes upon a preacher baptizing people in the river.

He proceeds to walk into the water and subsequently bumps into the preacher. The preacher turns around and is almost overcome by the smell of alcohol, whereupon he asks the drunk, "Are you ready to find Jesus?" The drunk answers, "Yes, I am."

So the preacher grabs him and dunks him in the water. He pulls him up and asks the drunk, "Brother have you found Jesus?"

The drunk replies, "No, I haven't found Jesus."

The preacher shocked at the answer, dunks him into the water again for a little longer.

He again pulls him out of the water and asks again, "Have you found Jesus, my brother?"

The drunk again answers, "No, I haven't found Jesus."

By this time the preacher is at his wits end and dunks the drunk in the water again --- but this time holds him down for about 30 seconds and when he begins kicking his arms and legs he pulls him up.

The preacher again asks the drunk, "For the love of God have you found Jesus?"

The drunk wipes his eyes and catches his breath and says to the Preacher, "Are you sure this is where he fell in?"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I'm Wearing Her Down

When I wanted a small tractor for the north field, Char said no. She claimed it wasn’t an “official” wedding expense.

When I wanted a riding lawn mower, she told me to go get one. While her words were positive, I sensed this might not be one of my wiser purchases – I like our bed.

A few weeks back we were driving and I casually mentioned how many men my age and older were buying motorcycles and growing ponytails. She just looked at me.

About that time, a guy in his early sixties pulled up next to us on a motorcycle. I gave him a little wave. He waved back and smiled. I remarked how happy and friendly they all were. Char told me I wasn’t going to get a motorcycle.

Now, I’ll admit it, I’m not exactly sure how women make these snap decisions. I mean she really didn’t think it all the way through. She didn’t picture me coming home after a long day on the open road, taking off my leather chaps, and smiling as I wiped the bug “juice” from my glasses and teeth.
So, I thought maybe a little visual stimulation might be in order. I located a motorcycle, a really, really, nice Harley and had this picture taken. Yet, even with this as enticement she told me I was not going to get a motorcycle.

She also mentioned I had bike hanging out in the garage. Then while staring at my waistline she mentioned I should ride it more often. She might have a point.

But, all is not lost, there’s still hope. . .

. . . she hasn’t said anything about the ponytail.

Monday, September 24, 2007

It's Here

For the past few weeks, and even today, people have been walking around saying, “Fall is just around the corner.” Well, I have news for them – it’s here.

Last Saturday Char and I took a drive to see the aspen. A sight like this is a sure sign Fall has arrived.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sunday Funnies

I have always enjoyed Rachel’s posts called Sunday Signs, some of them make you laugh, and some of them make you think. However, all of them are good.

That and the fact I received or heard about seven funny religious jokes lately has inspired me to start a Sunday post called Sunday Funnies. Each Sunday I hope to post a joke. By the way if hear of any good ones, suitable for posting, please get them to me.

I realize this idea might bother some people. But, I am convinced if anyone has a sense of humor it is God. So, here is the first of hopefully many Sunday Funnies. It’s only fitting that the first joke came from Rachel.

Which Service?

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer of the church staring up at a large plaque. It was covered with names with small American flags mounted on either side of it.

The seven-year-old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy and said quietly, 'Good morning, Alex.'

'Good morning, Pastor,' he replied, still focused on the plaque.

'Pastor, what is this?' he asked.

The pastor said, 'Well, son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service.'

Soberly, they just stood together, staring at the large plaque.

Finally, little Alex's voice, barely audible and trembling with fear, asked, 'Which service? The 8:30 or the 10:45'?

Thursday, September 20, 2007


A few days ago, I called SORSO (Son of Ralph’s Significant Other). She didn’t sound like her usual chipper self. So, I asked if everything was all right. She told me she was starting to get a cold.

I know there’s a lot of that going around lately, but I wanted to make sure that’s all it was. “So, everything else is okay?” I asked pushing the issue a little.

“Well. . .” she started before a long pause,”. . . I do live with your son.” Then there was the laughter I wanted to hear.

I’ll add her to my prayer list

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Stocking Up

For the past few weeks, when you walk outside in the morning you can tell Fall is here. The temperatures have cooled to where you want a light jacket or vest.

Realizing winter is just around the corner I decided to start stocking up. A couple weeks ago, I canned peaches. This past weekend due to an abundance of tomatoes in the garden, I decided to make salsa.

I peeled, seeded, and chopped all the tomatoes, peppers, and onions. It took several hours. But I was thinking how good it will taste when snow blankets the ground.

When the salsa was almost ready to be canned, I took the bowl to Char to show her how I had invested a few hours of my life. She looked at me and said, “You know we have a food processor, right?”

Food processor? Taking out a spoonful of salsa, I questioned if a food processor could get uniformed size pieces. Food processor? Sure, it’s fast and saves a little time but - where’s the love?

All that work and we ended up with six small pints. We opened one last night. Honestly, it has just a little too much vinegar. But even a little extra vinegar can’t mask the love.

Maybe next time I’ll humor Char and try the food processor.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It'll All Work Out

On occasion, I get in a philosophical mood. It usually happens when I am driving and alone in the car. One of two things happens to my philosophical discoveries. They are turned into a joke because I believe in the power of humor or I just keep them to myself. Rarely, do I share them to better mankind or save the world. I know that is selfish and in an attempt to change I will share a philosophy I am starting to believe.

This week we had a going away luncheon for a lady who helped me a lot over the past couple of years. She is a year older than DOR (Daughter of Ralph) and was married around the same time. At her luncheon, she announced what their plans were. They will be moving to a small community in eastern Colorado and hope to buy a farm. They have jobs at the grain elevator but don’t have a place to live. Then she stared at me, smiled, and said, “It’ll all work out”. It was almost as if she knew I had to hear those words.

It’ll all work out. I have heard that a lot this year. First, SOR (Son of Ralph) moved to the Midwest. He didn’t know much about that part of the country, he didn’t know where he would be living, and he didn't know many people out there. But, he said, “It’ll all work out.” And it has.

When DOR and SILOR (Son in Law of Ralph) returned from their honeymoon, they loaded up the car, and headed back to Chicago. They had no apartment but they assured us, “It’ll all work out.” It did. Now it’s fun listening to them as they establish their home.

Shortly after that, SORSO (Son of Ralph’s Significant Other) stopped by. She too was leaving and uttered the words, “It’ll all work out.” As near as I can tell, it has worked out remarkably well.

Then there’s me. I’m a planner, I like having all the pieces in place. This is the extreme opposite of the ‘it’ll all work out’ philosophy. But it started me thinking - I wonder if sometimes we miss a part of the journey because we are too busy trying to making all the pieces line up?

Well, I had better stop here. A few more sentences and I’m likely to tell Char, “Pack a bag and get in the van. I have no idea where we are going but – it’ll all work out”.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Life Should be This Simple

I was in the front yard when I heard a familiar voice, “Hey, Ralph, you going to be home for a couple of minutes?” I looked up and saw my nine-year-old friend Geno. “Sure. C’mon over,” I yelled back.

Geno ran into his house and within seconds was back outside with a handful of papers. When he got to our house, our little chat went like this.

Geno: Hi Ralph, I’m doing another fundraiser for school.

With that statement, Geno gave me the catalog. A few years back Geno and I agreed neither one of us like long-winded sale pitches.

Ralph (looking through the catalog): So, Geno, do you get anything for doing this?
Geno: Well, if I sell fourteen things I can get what I real want.
Ralph: What do you really want?
Geno: The magic pen.
Ralph: How many things have you sold?
Geno (after counting the items on his sales sheet): So far, I've sold eleven.
Ralph: So what is a magic pen?

With great enthusiasm, Geno started telling me about the magic pen and all it could do. I bet you didn’t know it can write secret messages and everything. I’ll admit it – when he got done explaining the magic pen I wanted one too.

Over the years, these fundraisers have supplied me with “much needed” items for the kitchen and my van. I took the order sheet and wrote down the items I wanted.

Geno: Ralph! You ordered three items!
Ralph: Yeah, so?
Geno: That’s all I needed to get the magic pen!
Ralph: You are kidding! That’s amazing! I want to see that magic pen when you get it.

Geno left excited by the fact he was going to get his magic pen. I went back to what I was doing knowing that another tire gauge, a new set of barbecue basting brushes, and something else (I really don’t remember what) were wise purchases.

Yeah, more things in life should be this simple.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lest We Forget

I wrote this post a few years back. It’s still pertinent today – lest we forget.

Flag 2,172
September 12, 2005. Today I walked amongst 5,000 American flags. Each flag measured three feet by five feet and stood eight feet tall. They will be up for a week. It's called the 2005 Healing Field and was constructed on ten acres near my home. Each flag is labeled with a number and a name of someone who has died in the war against terrorism since September 11, 2001. This includes the victims of September 11th, the first responders, and military people who have died in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is also a place where people from other countries have flags placed in their honor.

September 8, 2001. I had been there for a week and stood many times on my hotel balcony overlooking the city. Far off in the distance I could see the pentagon.Tonight I was invited to join a group of foresters from Hawaii many from an organization called the Outdoor Circle. They were a fun group to be with. Our experiences in the tree world were different but also remarkably similar. As the evening wore on the group thinned out until it was just Christine Snyder and I. The place we met closed and we moved to the lobby of the hotel talking about families, programs, projects, but mainly about trees.

Early the morning of September 9th before heading back to my room, I asked if she had any information on the Outdoor Circle. She assured me she did and she would get it to me before we left the following day.

That morning walking towards the shower I noticed a packet had been slipped under my hotel door. I opened it to discover all kinds of information about the Outdoor Circle and a note from Christine telling me she enjoyed our conversation the night before and was looking forward to staying in touch about tree programs and projects. I showered and headed to the airport. After a week in DC, I was finally heading home.

The flag above is flag 2,172. It has Christine Snyder's name on it. She was aboard flight 93 on September 11, 2001.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fruits of My Labor

Yesterday I canned peaches. They will help get us get through the winter that is looming not far in the horizon.

Today the high is expected to be 62 degrees. The high on Monday in suppose to be in the mid 50’s.

It’s time to kick off Fall. I’m making a pot of lentil barley soup and stuffed green peppers. Fall comfort food.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Four States of. . . CORN

If you read this post, you’ll know that orchards, vineyards, and hay bales fascinate me. But, so do cornfields. When traveling across four states, three of which are known for growing corn, you see plenty of it. So, let’s explore four states of corn.

This is a view of my favorite field. It was taken at Cliff’s when we stopped to visit. I love talking to Cliff about corn and soybeans because I know very little about either one. Cliff always takes the time to answer my amateur (and sometimes stupid) questions. He spends a lot of time explaining farming to me. But, there are always a few jokes, a couple of stories, and a good meal involved

Here is a close up of the corn in the field. It won’t be long until harvest starts. If Cliff has been putting some money away for equipment repairs, I’ll be able to “help” him again this year

This is the first and only time I’ve seen a golf cart close to a cornfield. SOR and SILOR were off looking for one of their golf balls. I keep telling them, “Hit it straight down the fairway, its easier to find.” They both drive the ball further than I do. I like to keep mine in sight and with any luck, in the fairway. This cornfield is actually a research plot for Illinois State University.

This cornfield is located next to a rest area outside of Grinnell. From eastern Nebraska all through Iowa and Illinois, I was amazed at how green everything was.

This field is located outside of Crook off Interstate 76. It’s one of the nicer cornfields in Colorado. Many corn fields are only three to four feet tall and haven't tasseled out. While I don’t know for sure, I assume it’s because irrigation water to many northern Colorado counties has been shut off. No water might explain the poor crops.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Clothes Make the Man

I have always liked this type of shirts, but never wore them – at least until yesterday. The kids hate them. Yesterday is when I decided to come out of the closet (the shirt that is) and be me. I really like this shirt, Char bought it.

I wore it again this morning playing golf. It didn’t help my game, but it didn’t hurt it either. I did notice that I swore less. It might have been because of the shirt or the fact we were playing with a priest and a nun. Okay, that’s not true.

It’s kind of my Ralph gone wild theme.