15 Oct

Time Can Capture And Place A Person In Its Holding Cell

Ed, my neighbor next door, was held captive by too much time last week. He kept waiting to combine, but the time never came. His time passed, as if, he was stuck in a slough spinning his tires. My neighbor said that he doesn’t like that time keeps passing, without our house selling. Apparently, he wanted to celebrate its sale at his Thanksgiving dinner but couldn’t. Ed claimed that, he could be fully thankful when he hadn’t completed his harvest yet, and his next door neighbor hadn’t moved. He told me that the time my house has been up for sale has been proof that God doesn’t answer prayer. He said that every time he looks at the real estate sign, he whispers, “Take him away, Lord; we can spare him!”

I didn’t want to discourage Ed’s praying with the truth that,” A day is like a thousand years with the Lord, and a thousand years are like a day.” Time is measured in days of twenty-four hours, but not all days are equal in length. Some days, do not have enough hours for what we want to get done, and other days drag on for an eternity. Few of us are content every day because the circumstances of our days can vary greatly. Time may seem pleasant if we have plenty and desperate if we are hungry with no hope of food to eat. It is easier to pass a day in good health than to struggle through a long day in pain. In West Africa, every day may be unending with dread of who will come down sick next, and suffer and die of the Ebola virus. Time passes and life can change for both good and evil, a sticky blend of sweet and sour.


1 Oct

Slowpoke Farmers Are Scarce When There Is Combining To Get Done

Ed, my neighbor next door, has been moving at tornado speed to get his combining done. At harvest time, he claims farmers do the speeding bullet thing because no one can afford to be a slowpoke. It is the time of year when things need to move as fast as possible. Which I understand, but I warned Ed that accidents tend to happen when folks are rushing, or they are extremely tired. A steady and a safe pace is the best policy even at harvest time. My neighbor ignored my warning. I felt like I was talking to a runner in a race who has no intention of slowing down till he reaches the finish line.

There are those situations when we feel there is no controlling our time. We act because we are convinced it is now or never.


24 Sep

If Company Is Coming, There Are Lots More Jobs To Get Done

Ed, my neighbor next door, was focused on his harvesting last week and out of sight at his farm. All he could see was his need to get his harvesting done. My neighbor was, ‘combine,’ deep in his work. Isn’t it interesting, that jobs can appear like magic at certain times? Strange but if company is coming things appear that need picking up or tidying up all of a sudden. Some folks are so organized and tidy that their houses are like show homes twenty-four hours a day. Then there are folks who live on two levels. Level one is normal and relaxed and comfortable. Level two is high alert because guests are coming, and things have to look better than normal. “We have to get ready – company is coming,” is a war cry to which many of us have rallied.

Even those who love to have people visit them do not want company to come any day and time that suits their fancy. Guests are welcome most when the host is prepared and ready for them. When we put our house up for sale, we knew we were going from level one to level two. My wife left last week to travel with our daughter for three weeks, and I have to keep things looking better than normal by myself. It seems that I can be messy enough for several people. I’m beginning to understand why people hire a cleaning lady or a janitorial service. There is a level three that I’m facing, and that is called panic level. If the real estate agent calls and says that he wants to bring people through our house, can I be ready in time to move our house from relaxed to company presentable? It keeps me sweating just thinking about it. With just me at home just now, I have no one I can blame if the house looks worse than normal. It is a humbling situation when there is no one to blame but yourself.


24 Sep

Good News May Not Be Nearly As Good As It First Seemed

Ed, my neighbor next door, was so preoccupied with his harvest last week that he missed, a real estate for sale sign that went up in our front yard. When he saw it after several days, he grew a smile from ear to ear. He rushed over to ask me when we were moving. His smile began to fade when I said that, it depends on when our house sells. His smile dried up altogether when I said that sometimes it takes months, even a year or two to sell a house. He did get a slight grin when I assured him we would move for sure when the house sells. He lost his grin when I said we could be here a year or two if our house sells slowly.

“Don’t ask too much for it, and it will sell fast,” my neighbor told me. I told him I had to get what we consider enough for it or we won’t sell it. Ed felt that was only going to complicate things, and it would not lead to a quick sale. “The price has to be right just as it is on the television show,” I informed Ed. I explained that when you want to sell your house you cannot get as much for it as you would like. When you want to buy a house, it will be more than you want to pay. My neighbor said that the price is seldom right for grain and that it would be better for me to take less for my house so I could move.     

Yard Sale

17 Sep

September Is Too Late For Any Yard Sale Success

Ed, my neighbor next door, has been getting cranked up for harvesting and bubbling over with impatience about anything and everything. “You should know better than to hold a yard sale in September,” he told me last week. According to my neighbor, September yard sales are a bust, and not only will no one come out but people won’t even take stuff away if it is free. All I could say was that Ed could be right, and he, of course, assured me that he was, and I would learn the hard way. Weather dictates the willingness of yard sale shoppers to come out. I told Ed that those holding September yard sales need to pray and hope.

“Prayer and hope are just as valuable as spit against a tornado,” my neighbor informed me. “Common sense needs to replace prayer, and good planning is better than hope. People cannot expect prayer and hope to make up for poor planning and dumb decisions,” Ed said.


9 Sep

The Smallest Detail Can Derail the Greatest Home Project

Ed, my neighbor next door, saw that both my wife and I were stressed last week. We were white and grim with resolve to complete three, long-overdue, basement projects. Measure twice cut once should guarantee success but is never foolproof for me. We had a small wall to frame and cover with drywall. There was also an opened-mouth, large closet that needed filling with doors, and a considerable amount of quarter-round trim that needed to be added to finish the floors in a couple of rooms. Ed knows I love to garden, cut lawn and trim hedges, but that I approach home renovations with all the enthusiasm of a prisoner on death row. Hand eye co-ordination has always been pretty poor for me and cutting things straightly, a failing grade.

A regular handyman would have had all our three jobs done in a day or two. I had a feeling it could takes us a couple of years, but I didn’t say so, as my wife was already taking Tylenol after the first hour. My neighbor believes some of us folks are pretty useless at carpentry, and I think he is right in my case. It is hard for Ed to have patience towards those who lack building skills when he finds it easy to construct things. What is a labor of love for one person is a labor of distress for another person. Some folks seem to be good at everything while, others are relieved to be average at anything. Ed could tell when we finished our projects last week because we went from white in stress to normal again. I happily dug a row of potatoes with no stress at all. Overdue projects humble a person because a small detail like measuring exactly correct can derail hopes of ever getting the work done.