Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

This is Bob and Suzanne Kelly's new grandson, Charlie. We all want to say Happy New Year!

End of the Year

Last day of the year.

I didn't get to the movie. Too busy on the computer. I did go down to Des Moines and went to the Market Cafe for lunch. They do have great burgerss & fries but I could only eat half of them. Then I went to the Consistory building for the New Year's Eve Happy Hour. I had a great time. There are pictures on the Consistory Blog.

I got home around 5:30 and am ready to snuggle in for the night. I got a note from my sister and it brought tears to my eyes.

Catch a great big hug.
You know the only man who has been there for me through all the days of my life is you and I don't think I have ever told you that I realize this and APPRECIATE YOU. Your love is a gift.
That makes up for all of the crap I have taken from anyone else this year. In 1952 God gave me the gift of a little sister and she has brought much to my life. Over the years I have learned to love her the way God loves us. No matter what we do He/She loves us. We are required to do nothing but be ourselves.

At a time when others seem to have abandoned me or are vilifying me I got the above on an e-mail. It justifies everything I have ever done. Mom and Ginny (and later Jonathan) and I had a special relationship. I miss our mother but I know that she is still alive as long as she is in our hearts. We may have problems from time to time but every once in awhile we let each other know how much we mean to each other and that is what family is all about. That is all I need. I wish for everyone a very special and Happy New Year. YOU ARE LOVED! Big Hugs, j

New Poem


A Tribute to Bailey

As the first (last) post of the year, I am going to tell you about Mr. BIG. Actually when he was a little guy I was holding and playing with him and I thought that he looked like Gizmo from the movie
The Gremlins.

I came up with the idea to name him Bailey's Irish Gizmo. In other words the Initials would spell out BIG but I would call him Bailey. I then got a little freaked out. I had not thought of my friend Bob Bailey for years (except at New Years - more later) and certainly was not thinking about him when I got Bailey. I just wanted a Yorkie. Then I remembered Bob owned the first Yorkie that I had ever seen or played with. I had always had mixed breed dogs or beagles or Shelties but never a Yorkie. What a strange thing that I had gotten a Yorkie and then named him after Bob Bailey. The name stuck and I have had fun with Bailey for about 14 years.

I think that his playing with the soccer ball is the most fun. He loves it when I get the ball out and he will push it and then I throw (roll) it away and he goes and pushes it back. You can see it is bigger than he is. He also has to have something in his mouth when he does it. One time it was a coke can and once he had a stuffed banana that looked like a cigar.

He is obsessive about his toys and will worry them to death. Eventually he carries most of them outside and then we find them and bring them in. I throw them in the washer and he sits and watches while they wash and dry and then will worry them just as if they were a new toy. Max does not do this with the toys but once in awhile he will get playful and the boys will play together with them.

If I have company Bailey insists on being the center of attention. He loves to take his ball from one person to another and then have each person throw it for him. It doesn't matter which ball he has big or little, he seldom picks it up in his mouth and carries it back but will put a stuffed toy in his mouth and then bat the ball with his fore legs (no he doesn't use the back legs just the front legs) and roll in back to the next person.

Most of the time Bailey will spend his time laying up against my leg on the foot rest of my recliner. He is either there or under the davenport (sofa) with his butt sticking out. He follows me around and he sleeps with me. (I have steps up at the foot of the bed so he can get up there.) Lately I noticed that he is having more difficulty jumping up on the recliner so I have to make sure it isn't too high for him although when I come home from being gone he forgets his trouble and has no difficulty jumping up on either the chair or the sofa to greet me.

I found out that when I am gone he will jump through the cat door that Ginny had put on her old room (Now Max and Jon's room) and spend time in there with Max. No, I did not install a Yorkie cam. I just caught him coming out one day when he had not heard me drive back in. Max has to spend time in there when I leave because otherwise he will find things to chew and I have come home to find more ball point pens in a mess on the floor than I care to recount. Not that I worry about the pens but I don't think the vet bill would be a good thing if he ingested them.

Now one last thing. Why I don't go out on New Year's Eve. In the late sixties when I was teaching in Marion, Iowa I used to go to Iowa City to "play" (Yes I was a party animal and I could tell you stories) - That was where I met Bob Bailey and fell in love with the Yorkie breed of dog. We became friends and one New Year's Eve we were all (a bunch of us) going to meet in Des Moines at a bar (Oh heavens, Jay you went to bars???? Yes I did! And it was a blast!) I kept waiting for them (Bob and his roommate) to come and when they didn't show and I found out that they had been killed by a train on their way home from work it just took all of the pleasure out of New Year's Eve for me. So I don't usually go out that night. I plan to go to Des Moines to see Sweeney Todd this afternoon (I understand it will give me nightmares) then stop at the Scottish Rite for the event and be home and "tucked in" with a good book. Remembering all of the good things and looking forward to 2008.

By the way my friend Psychic Su Walker has put her predictions for 2008 up on her blog.

I hope you have a great day and I will probably post another time later to let you know what I thought of Sweeney Tood.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday Dinner with the Dawsons

I drove to Johnston today to meet Scott, Tracy, Tom and Emily for Sunday dinner at the Texas Roadhouse. I have eaten there once before but I have never seen the waitress dance before. The music got turned way up and they started dancing. It was fun.

I got the picture above by giggling the camera. I kink of like the way it came out. You can see a better picture of Scott below.
It has been amazing to watch Emily (4th grade) and Tom (8th grade) grow and change over the years. They are both good kids with strong values. Besides that they are nice! And that is important. I am not jut saying this because Tracy reads my blog. She knows I mean it.

We have always had a special place for Scott. My mother and sister and I watched him grow up. When he was little he spent a lot of time at our house 

and we have good memories of those times (especially the trip back from Minnesota which involved a piece of chocolate pie. Scott still beings it up although he was probably younger than Emily when it happened. Tracy and I usually discuss education. She has been a teacher for 20 years and we hold a lot of the same opinions about administrators and politicians.

It was my second time to eat at the Texas Road House and I still like it a lot. I highly recommend it. I had the rib eye and the ribs. Excellent meal, excellent company and altogether an excellent day. Hope yours was good also. Hugs, j

Saturday, December 29, 2007

An End and A Beginning

The Roller Coaster is a fit picture to describe my year of 2007. I am not going to be sorry to see it pass.

There are a lot of things that happened this year which were good but there were others that just ripped my soul and it wasn't a good time. I found that there is truth in the statement "False friends are foes. Truth tatters those when understood." I thought someone was going to be a great friend to me and I invested a lot of energy into that person but then I found out that he wasn't really a friend. When I was lied to that was the end of it. I used to think that he wanted to be a friend but I have given up. I only go so far and then I am through. I guess that is the lowest point of the year. It makes me very sad but I have learned from it. But I am not going to dwell on that, nor give them (there are two) "rent in my head" I can move on.

I have filled three large notebooks with posts from Bailey's Buddy. (I printed them out) The other day I went through the postings (I have edited some of them to remove some unpleasant things- wouldn't it be nice if we could really do that.) to review the year. It was fun. The Blog has been a good thing for me. It has given me a creative outlet that I would not have had. I have been read in six of the seven continents. There are about 40 to 50 people or a few more who read it regularly. I actually feel connected to people all over the world because of it and some of them have contacted me and leave comments for me or e-mail me about things. Cathy from Massachusetts is the first one and we both are anxiously awaiting the return of Craig and David to our world.

When I first started writing this Blog I subtitled it "The most Boring Blog on the Internet." I then changed it to "A eclectic mix of the things which make up my life." I had that up for a long time until I discovered the error (duh) and changed it to "An" eclectic mix. I knew better I just don't always see all of my errors. Funny thing, no one mentioned it to me.

Over the year I have used it for tributes, rants, reviews of movies and books. I have also used it as a sort of a diary and as an outlet for my friends to publish their pictures. I put up some "guest" articles on the Blog. I am awaiting the next one on the Common Gavel (Are you listening Tom?)

I think the articles on Leadership are some of the best I have written because they came from a real conviction that something needs to be done. I also think I have written some pretty good articles on Masonry but that is my judgment and may not be yours. I also like some of my rants. It has been a great thing to do and I almost gave up on it (again because of one criticism of my blogging) but I decided that no one had a right to drive me from what I enjoyed and they didn't have to read it if they didn't want to.

I have explored my feelings, shared my joys and friendships, my accomplishments, my philosophy of education and my politics. There are some things I have not and will not share because, frankly they are none of your business.

I do three other blogs. One is where I publish my poetry. I lay claim to being the "trite poet laureate of Ames. There are one or two poems that I think are pretty good and one that was written during my "down" period that seems to be read a lot when people visit the Poetry Blog.

I also do one for the Des Moines Consistory and the Christian Science Church. The Consistory Blog is a sort of a diary and picture blog of what happens at the Consistory. I also try to attend most of the events and take pictures of the events and put them up. I like that because it makes me feel more of a part of the Consistory. Since no one ever asked me to participate in degree work or anything else down there I have been relatively inactive. This gives me something to do and I enjoy it.

I have to tell you that this was also the year that I made the decision to leave the Christian Science Church. About 4 years ago I developed diabetes. It was my own fault. I had not paid any attention to what I was eating or drinking for years. I drank orange juice and regular coke. No diet stuff for me. I got an infection in my leg and wound up in the hospital. When I went in I had a 600 blood sugar. I damn near died. I am still taking medication for this disease and I felt it would be hypocritical to claim to be a member of a Church which relies on Spiritual healing if I was using material medicine. No one from my local church told me I should leave but as long as I was taking pills I felt I needed to withdraw. I now tell people that I am "Spiritual" when asked what my religion is. Again it really isn't any one's business but I still believe in a lot of the philosophy of the Science church. I love the Eusebius prayer on the left side of the blog and I try to live by it. I fall way short, but I try.

I find that the Masonic Fraternity has become my real family. The emotional and spiritual support I get from the fraternity cannot be measured nor can a value be put on it. I have great friends in the Ames Lodge and a few good friends in the Des Moines Lodge also and they have proven the true meaning of brotherhood to me. My (Ames) Lodge is one of the best (if not the best) lodges in the state and I love being a part of it. With gas prices being what they are I am not going to be attending the Des Moines Lodge as often as I did this past year and the problems I am currently having make it painful for me to attend there. I have decided to pay my dues but do not know if I will continue after this next year. I mean why go where you don't seem to be wanted.

The real highlight of the year was the Jerry Marsengill dinner and working on that and helping. It made this the most meaningful Christmas I have ever spent. I did not go to my relatives for Christmas and I did not hear from any of them over the holidays. So I guess that I will make a new family. Last year they all went out of state for Christmas. This year I had spent around $300 on Christmas presents for them and then was told about 10 days before Christmas that we weren't exchanging gifts this year. I thought about giving them anyway but decided I would wait and see. Since it has become obvious that I am persona non gratis I will find elsewhere for the gifts to go. I would rather give than receive (although I was looking forward to a promised birthday present that was never received)

There have been a lot of positive things in my life this year. I miss my sister (who moved to Missouri) but we keep in touch and she reads my Blog. I know that she is where she wants to be. I do think that part of my emotional problems this year was trying to find someone to replace her presence in my life. I have gotten over that need. I have had a lot to do as Secretary of my Lodge and I enjoy that (although I am looking forward to a year from September when Jeremy takes over)

I have lost about 75 pounds. I was told by the doctor to lose weight and so I did. I feel better and I know that it is better for me. Perhaps I shall make my goal of another 75 to 100 pounds. although right now I am not working very hard on it. I bought an exercise bike and right now the only exercise I am getting from it is writing the checks to make the monthly payments. I will do better next year. Promise.

I am so grateful for so many things. I am not going to list them all but Jon, Ginny Bailey, Max, Cassie, Maryjane, good friends and brothers, the ability to stay active and involved with many things.

I am looking forward to a lot of things in 2008. I especially am excited about going to San Diego in June. As always I am looking forward to new Brothers joining the Lodge. I am excited about the revitalized York Rite and all of the Companions who have joined with us. It will be exciting to watch as the offers start rolling in for Jon to attend Graduate School and while I will miss him I know that he has his journey to make and I wish him well on it.

I am really looking forward to the election being over in November (Go Democrats!) and to the end of the endless - My name is __________and I approved this ad. I am hoping for continued good health and the end of winter. I will make no predictions or resolutions for the new year. I am going to lay back in the water and allow it to support me and hopefully, I will float to the surface.

I wish for my friends the very best for this next year - and even for those who have shown that I am not their friend (although I wanted to be) I wish even for you a wonderful year. I hope that you attain your goals. I don't know what they are nor will I ever bother you again but I do wish you and yours the very best.

So I wish you Happy New Year and invite you to join Jiminy and me as we travel through 2008.

God bless. Remember you are loved. Hugs, Let's get started - j

Telephone Calls

They are really getting desperate. Since I got home and started working on the blog post below I have gotten three phone calls. There was one message on my answering maching and about 7 attempts to reach me. I can tell it is them because it says Unknown or OOO on my caller ID. Sometimes it says Hillary or JE for Pres. I don't answer them. I can't caucus and frankly it doesn't matter to me who the Republicrums nominate and I will vote for whichever Democrat is nominated. I have told a couple of them that I don't respond to telephone solicitation. I don't and I won't - Geeze I will be glad when Jan 4 rolls around. j

Super Saturday

David Baker, (our fearless leader), Alex Baker, Dave's son, Doug Petty, Steve Schroder and I worked from 9:30 this morning until about 3:30 this afternoon at the Temple. David is our High Priest, Illustrious Master and Commander and we had discussed the deplorable (love that word) shape that the York Rite paraphernalia (God I love Spell check - how else could I spell paraphernalia?) was in and how ever since we had consolidated with the Boone York Rite we had some duplicates and things had just been stored in a haphazard manner and if we ever wanted to put on a festival we would spend half our time locating the properties.
This is Dave modeling one of the hats we found. I think it belonged to Fred Schneider and he probably used it when he presided as Master of the Lodge. You can see some of the "stuff" that we dragged out to sort. If you look to Davids left (your right) you will see a white box with a notebook on it. That notebook was one I put together about 20 years ago and in it are all the diagrams and property lists for the various degrees for the York Rite. Doug and I went to Target (pronounced Thar gaa) and purchased some plastic boxes that would fit on our shelves. Using my book as a guide we put the various properties into the boxes and labeled them so that when it comes time to do the degree we can pull out the box and the properties for doing the degree should (I say should because there is some duplication from degree to degree) be in the box or in the preceding degree box.

We all had fun looking at the various properties and taking pictures of each other taking pictures.

We found lots of head gear including the feather headed chapeaux which the Knights wear. Many of them were in such sad shape that it was a kindness to toss them. We were actually able to dispose of a lot of things which will never be used.

We chained Doug up and gave him a snake to play with but it didn't bite him. (unfortunately) (Sorry Doug, just teasing - you know I wouldn't want anything to happen to you.)

The Back room was in very bad shape and so we arranged and sorted all of the material which was stored back there. Golly it takes a lot of things to put on these degrees but at least now you can get around and not trip over things. We put all of the Rainbow things together, The White Shrine and of course, our York Rite material It looks pretty good now.

You can see the nice way the boxes fit on our shelves. Everything is in the box for the degree and we should be able to bring them out and have everything on hand as needed for a degree.

All in all I am very proud of us. We worked hard and are getting things together for when we are ready to hold a festival or put on our own degrees again. Read David's take on the day here.

We also found some things that had been lost, stolen or strayed into our area. The Eastern Star has been looking for their extension cord that connects their pedestals to each other so they can be lighted. We have been missing it and were even going to have a new one made. Now we won't have to do that.

Finally here is one last picture. I purchased this sword (originally for another group but that did not work out) and presented it to the Lodge. I think it looks cool hanging by the door and should anyone try to spy on us the Tyler knows how to use it to keep off cowans and eavesdroppers.

All things are now ready to start on a New Year!

I hope your day was as good as mine. Hugs, j-bear

Friday, December 28, 2007

Finally Friday

It has been a long week. But all in all a good one. I enjoyed most of it. But any time you have a holiday on a Tuesday or a Wednesday it seems to mess things up.

I am never sure what day it is on weeks like this. So I am glad it if Friday and am looking forward to next week when I get to start a new calendar.

I think one of these days I will to a retrospection on the year. I was looking through old postings and realized what a roller coaster this year has been. I guess the caption on the poster could read Whoo!! What a YEAR! - More about that later. I am still processing it.

The other day I received an e-mail from a Brother of Nevada Lodge #99 asking me if I would do a Masonic Funeral Service for one of their Brothers (Arthur A. Kleespie). I was honored to be able to do it for him and so tonight Curt Bauer (who is now a member of Arcadia but is a Past Master of the Zearing Lodge) and knew Brother Art came over to the house and we drove to Nevada and had supper at Battles BarBQ and then picked up Brother Bill at the Nevada Lodge and drove to Zearing where the Masonic Funeral Service was to be held. The Friday night visitation was at 7:00 PM and we got there in plenty of time. I did not personally know the brother but his daughter is one of our Eastern Star Sisters and a very nice lady. If she is his daughter he had to have been a wonderful man.

The more I heard about him the more I realized just what a Mason and a man he was. He was raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason about a year and a half before I was born in the Lodge in Zearing.. Eventually their Lodge consolidated with the Nevada Lodge and he finished his years as a Mason in that Lodge. I have a connection with Nevada Lodge. Nicholas Simser (My great grandfather) and Erma Simser (my great aunt) were members of Nevada Lodge and the Eastern Star. That he he belonged to one and she to the other.

The number of Masons (almost 30) who came out to his service was a tribute to him. They told me that he seldom missed a meeting. He had been secretary of the Lodge a Zearing for 23 years. He had been a Mason for 67 years. I deviated from my usual text to pa tribute to this unusual Mason. He was indeed a pillar of Masonry and we extend our sympathy to his family.

It is not an easy thing to preside at a Masonic Funeral Service but I am proud to pay this last tribute to a Brother Mason.

Tomorrow we meet at the Temple to begin the clean-up of the York Rite material and to sort it out. It had needed doing for quite awhile and it should be a fun day (I hope) - Just remember T.G.I.F, (Toes Go In First.) Of course I prefer P.O.E.T.S ( Pi** On Everything Tomorrow's Saturday) - Hugs, j
Randy sent me this. If you want to read it click on it to make it larger. Enjoy. j

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Found these on the Net. Even Polar Bears and puppies like to play.

I think we all need play. I watch Max and Cassie chase each other around the place and it is so much fun. Bailey likes to roll his soccer ball (It is as big as he is)

I was at the Scottish Rite Party and I caught a glimpse of a little kid I used to know jumping down from a box and then climbing back up. It was really neat to watch him play all by himself, exploring his ability to move. At the same party Brian P's son was playing with a gold dollar I had given him. He was tossing it and flipping it and chasing it all around.

We use to play cards but that was more for the socialization than anything else. When was the last time you played just for the fun of playing. Running and jumping and shouting for joy. Express yourself and the joy that you have been given. Have fun! Forget your troubles, Come on Be Happy. Don't ask "Who Let the Dogs Out!" Let them out ourself and PLAY. If life can't be fun it isn't - Life is for fun - Express yourselves. Enjoy. Make a resolution that no matter what - duty can call but you will put play first.

St. John's Day in Winter

Whence came you?

From the Lodge of the Holy Saints John at Jerusalem.

Masonry honors two Saints John. Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist.

It is no coincidence that the feast days of these two Christian Saints fall at or near the Winter and Summer Solstice.

"when Christianity came to the world. Old feasts and festival days were not lightly to be given up, even by those who put their faith upon a Cross. Hence clever men in the early days of Christianity turned the pagan festivals to Christian usage, and the old celebrations of summer and winter solstice became the Sts. Johns' Days of the Middle Ages.
As the slow years passed, those who celebrated thought less and less of what the days really commemorated, and became more and more convinced of their new character. Today, hardly a Freemason gives a thought to the origin of St. John's Day in Winter, or knows his celebration of St. John's Day in midsummer preserves a touch with cavemen ancestors."

No one knows why Freemasonry chose the Holy Saints John and invented the "Lodge of the Holy Saints John at Jerusalem" but perhaps Joseph Fort Newton said it best (as always)

"There is no historical evidence that either of the two Saints of the church were ever members of the Craft. But they were adopted as its patron Saints, after the manner of former times a good manner it is, too and they have remained so in Christian lands. Lodges are dedicated to them, instead of to King Solomon, as formerly.
"So, naturally, there came the idea, or ideal, of a sacred lodge in the Holy City presided over by the Saints John. No such lodge ever existed in fact, and yet it is not a fiction -it is an ideal, and without such ideals our life would be dim and drab. The thought back of the question and answer, then, is that we come from an ideal or Dream Lodge into this actual work-a-day world, where our ideals are to be tested".

Freemasonry is not a Christian organization. Here men of all faiths can meet upon the level as brothers. We do not know just when, or just how, Freemasonry adopted the Saints John. Their days are the Christian adaption of pagan festivals of a time when man, knowing no better, worshipped the sun as the supreme God. Why then choose two Christian Saints as patrons of the craft. It is because of what they represent. As one writer puts it:

"When looking at John the Baptist, one must look at him through an Eastern light. John was a Nazirite from birth, literally set aside for service to God. He let his hair and beard grow wild, because like Sampson, he could not cut his hair, which was forbidden by Mosaic law. His appearance brought to mind, to the people who heard him, the stories of Elijah the prophet who had dressed in similar manner. His clothing was of camel hair, because that was what poor people wore. It was plentiful when the camels shed their coats. It was cheap, warm, and although scratchy, quite waterproof.

John taught "change of character." He pointed fearlessly to the truth, even at the cost of his life. It was better to die for truth than to live a lie, because he knew that the Great Light upon the Altar, the holy scriptures, pointed to a better way, a life with God.

St. John the Evangelist teaches us to subdue our passions, one of the first things every Mason is taught in lodge.

When we follow the Gospels and the Book of Acts in the New Testament, we see a major transformation of young John. He goes from being the hot-tempered young man to one who exhibits peace in his old age. He goes from being intolerant of others, to working with others in sharing his theology of a better way of life."
John the Evangelist taught truth with love. He taught the power of Love in our lives. I can remember when I was younger reading the book of John touched me as no other of the gospels did. There is a powerful faith that comes through when you read it and when he writes in one of his Epistles. "Now are we the sons of God and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but when He shall appear we know that we shall be like Him. And every man that has this hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure." it gave me something to base my faith on and something to strive for. So today is the Feast of St John the Evangelist. Masons all over the world should be having celebrations to honor one of the two patron saints of our Order. If we are not, well then we are missing out on an opportunity.

Read more
and Here

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Kennedy Center Honors

This year, it's Diana Ross receiving the Kennedy Center Honors, along with Steve Martin, Martin Scorsese, Brian Wilson and pianist Leon Fleisher.

I never miss this show if I can help it and once again I am not disappointed. We are so very fortunate in this country to have been blessed with so much wonderful talent and with the ability to be able to see it in our homes and share in these national treasures.

Charlie Wilson's War

I have never been a fan of Tom Hanks. However, his performance as "good-time Charlie" Wilson in the movie Charlie Wilson's war went a long way to changing my mind. I really liked his performance.

The movie was directed by Mike Nichols and I generally like his movies.

Charlie Wilson was a (real) congressman who somehow or another took up the cause of Afghanistan and in a great measure was responsible for getting the Soviets out of that country. You can read a review here.

As I said I have not been a Tom Hanks fan but I had seen previews of this picture at the theater and I wanted to see the film. I was not disappointed,

There was a serious side to the movie but it was also a comedy and I laughed out loud several times during the course of the film. I felt that the weakest character in the film was Julia Roberts. Her character just did not cut it for me. I like her but I felt that she wasn't doing her best. That was too bad because I usually love her. Just not so much this time.

I would recommend seeing this film. Overall it was an enjoyable experience and it shows what one person can accomplish. Besides you just might miss a call from a politician who wants you to attend a fund-raising meeting. I will be so happy when January 4 finally gets here.

Not that I am going to be able to Caucus as we have a stated meeting that night and while the Master may be able to miss the meeting but the secretary shouldn't. Stay warm. Hugs, j


Here is the table top that was ruined by the fire. Brandon is going to take it and fix it for me.

Yesterday when I was taking my annual Christmas Day shower the tube that feeds the water to the hand held broke and started spewing (love that word) water all over everything. I had e-mailed Brandon and told him it was going to break and so on Christmas Day I called him and told him that it had broken. He said that he would be up at 9:00 this morning to put a new one on and sure enough he was here.

You can see by his expression that he is a really nice guy. He came up and fixed it and also took the table that got burned in the fire to refinish the top for me. His son, Dakota (neat name), went to Edwards School but after the time I was there. I met him and really like him. Nice kid.

Brandon has his own construction firm and he made all the modifications to the house so that Ginny could operate in it with her wheelchair. He also built the screened in back porch where we can sit and enjoy the back yard without the bugs. He is a really good guy and I can always count on him. He has done some work for friends also.

Max has to supervise from inside "his" room where he has to go when I have company or someone working here or when I go out to a movie. That is because he likes to steal my pens and chew them up when unsupervised.

Anyway things in the shower are back to normal now so I can take my annual December 26 (Boxing Day) shower and tomorrow I can take my annual December 27th day shower. (You get the picture)

I tried to go to see Charlie Wilson's War last night but it was sold out. Perhaps I will try today. Nothing else on my agenda. Hugs, j

One more thing. Found this. I saw it years ago and loved it then as I do now.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Christmas Memory

Truman Capote wrote a short story entitled A Christmas Memory. It has become a classic. I used to read it to my students each year and it never failed to bring a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye.

Today I made my own Christmas Memory. I have been meaning to go down to help out with this endeavour for several years and I never got around to it. Doug and I were talking about going down at Lodge the other night and we decided to go.

This noble undertaking is fostered and sustained by Central Iowa Masons through monetary contributions and many hours of donated labor.

The Annual Christmas Dinners are dedicated to Jerry Marsengill who started this tradition several years ago. Jerry Marsengill, a noted local Mason and Masonic scholar, died in 1991 and the Masons of Central Iowa plan to continue this Christmas dinner in his honor. The annual dinners aim is to provide the homeless and lonely of Des Moines a traditional Christmas dinner will all the trimmings, turkey, ham, pumpkin pie, etc. Christmas is also provided. However it is not just for the homeless or lonely. Many Masons come to work for while and eat. This is the 23rd year for the dinners.

Jerry was the Grand High Priest just prior to my year and he and I had many conversations. I looked up to him and am proud that he was a friend. (But I have said that before) These dinners are a part of his legacy which live on beyond him and show the true measure of his heart. He did not start them because of any honor or desire to have a dinner named after him. He started them because it was a nice thing to do and deep down Jerry Marsengill was a nice person who wanted to do something for others. I know that he could tell a joke (sometimes a risque one) better than anyone else and that some people did not like him. They did not know him. He was a true Mason in my estimation.

The workers had the place all set up to receive as many people who would walk through the door and they also had things set up to deliver meals to folks who called in. I was a dispatch person and I helped assign the drivers to pick up people or deliver the meals. Doug helped deliver the meals.

They started preparing the food yesterday and had an assembly line set up to serve the meals or prepare the take-out dinners.

Masons come from all over to help. This is Max Butler. His son will be our next Grand Master.

The Media was there. A Young man from the Des Moines Register and KCCI TV. It will be on the news tonight and in the paper tomorrow. (They were there quite a while for about 30 seconds of time on the TV tonight)

Here is the link to the Des Moines Register article about the event.  Click here.

Even "Santa" was there - Taking time off from home invasions and scaring little kiddies while stealing milk and cookies from them.

He actually seemed like a nice person. I may have to revise my opinion of him.

Anyway it was a wonderful experience. One that filled up my heart and I am so glad that I went. I can't wait to go again next year. The driving force behind the dinners and the ones who organize it are pictured below.
If you click on their picture or here you can see the rest of the pictures which I took today. They are also posted on the Consistory Blog.

Anyway it was the best Christmas which I have spent in many a year. I didn't get many gifts (don't need em) but I got good feelings to fill up my heart and for that I will thank my friend and Brother Jerry who started the whole thing. My only regret is that I did not get started sooner. Hugs and Happy Christmas. I hope yours was as fine as mine. j

The "kids" with their Toys

Elegant Max with his lobster.
Bailey obsesses over his new toy. I wonder how long it will take him to destroy it?
Catnip sends Cassie into ecstasy. She goes nuts.