Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Christian County Courthouse

Historic public building in Hopkinsville, KY

The construction of the Christian County courthouse was completed in 1869. The previous courthouse was burned by Confederate General Lyon in 1864 to prevent it from falling into Union hands. (I guess it made sense to him, at the time. He burned seven courthouses in western Kentucky.)

The courthouse originally had a large cupola on the top front, just behind the balcony roof. It was replaced in 1903 with another cupola. (Hopkinsville Nostalgia has a postcard image from 1908 of the second cupola.)

In 1960, the first major alteration was done to the exterior of the building. I believe the cupola was lost at that time. According to Christian County historian William Turner, the alterations from 1960 and onward were architectural disasters. Nonetheless, I think it's an interesting old building.
In the photograph at right, the front door is seen from the inside. The twin staircases lead to the former court chambers on the second floor. (Court sessions are now held in a new building, the Christian County Justice Center.)

The old courtroom is still used for various official meetings and also for driving school for people who have received a speeding ticket. (Hmmm, how would I know about that?!)

Courthouse-1The image at left shows the first floor hallway as you would see it when walking through the front door. The county clerk's office occupies most of this floor. The sign at the end of the hallway points to a section of the county clerk's office that I visit a couple of times each year -- motor vehicle registrations. I may have been in the other county clerk sections two or three times in the last ten years.

My kids have unique memories of feeling excited and nervous in this hallway. When the Hopkinsville High School choirs performed at the Alhambra Theater, just north of the courthouse, the 120 (or so) choir members met in the courthouse hallway. Here, they warmed up, and from here, they processed to the theater when it was their group's turn to perform.

For this post, I chose to use sepia-tinted images because the building looks so old fashioned. You can hardly tell whether these photos were taken in 1940, 1980, or 2008. If you'd like to see the same photos in color, they are linked below:

Christian County Courthouse
Front door, Christian County Courthouse
Main hallway, Christian County Courthouse

Monday, April 28, 2008

First Presbyterian Church in Hopkinsville, KY

Church buildingFirst Presbyterian Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky

First Presbyterian Church is located in Hopkinsville's historic downtown area, just a few blocks east of Main Street on the corner of 9th and Liberty.

A Presbyterian church was built on this site in 1849. It is described as "a large, substantial brick building, with basement offices, etc." (source), and it was used during the Civil War as a Confederate hospital. In 1880, the building in this photograph was erected and put into service, replacing the previous structure.

I've attended a reception in a meeting room at this church, but I haven't yet visited its sanctuary.   I suppose I could visit on any Sunday morning, but I generally go to my own church then!

I always enjoy seeing the cheery red doors when I drive past. If they are meant to spark interest and appear welcoming, I think they achieve their goal.

Related post: Camp Alcorn at Hopkinsville, Kentucky

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Zealous Pessimist

Bad news is good news.

ClothThis evening, at WalMart's $1.00-per-yard fabric sale, I waited a long time to have my fabric cut. Half a dozen Mennonite women were ahead of me, as well as several other ladies.

One lady, about my age, had a shopping cart full of fabric bolts. As we waited, she did a lot of talking. First she talked to the Mennonite ladies. When it was their turn to have their fabric cut, she turned to the rest of us and continued her broadcast:

Taxes are too high, and government services are inadequate. The Great Depression will return soon, and only the elderly are tough enough to survive it. Politicians are crooked, so voting does no good. The neighbors are immoral, dishonest, and lazy. The garden fails every year. The weather will turn dry any day, and we won't have rain until next winter. (Etc.)

As the woman preached on and on, a couple of ladies in the line began to chime in like a Greek chorus. "That's right! It happens every time!" I listened with growing irritation at her pessimistic attitude. I didn't like being in the captive audience. I had a strong desire to argue with her, but I read the information on several packs of sewing needles instead.

Then she made a public service announcement: If anyone needs appliances or electronics, they should shop in Tennessee this weekend. It's a tax-free weekend there. The prices will still be much too high, but it's a good chance to avoid paying the sales tax.

I decided not to let this pass. "Actually, you're supposed to pay Kentucky tax on any tax-free purchases that you use in Kentucky," I said firmly. "There's a place to report it on your Kentucky income tax form."

The zealous pessimist was taken aback. "I've never heard that before," she sputtered.

"What happens when you buy a car in another state and don't pay sales tax on it?" I asked. "When you go to the county clerk's office to license it, don't they collect Kentucky sales tax on it?"

"That's right," one of the chorus ladies chimed in. "It happened to me."

"All internet purchases, catalog purchases, and out-of-state purchases that are tax free must be reported," I proclaimed. "I know some people who were audited, and they had to pay a penalty for not reporting their internet purchases on their Kentucky taxes."

"Who's next?" called one of the clerks. The talkative woman shot forward and lifted a bolt of fabric onto the cutting table. "Nine and a half yards," she told the clerk.

Later, I sat on a stool, looking through the books of sewing patterns. I heard the woman's voice in a nearby aisle. "You might think you're getting a good deal when you shop in Tennessee on their tax-free weekend, but you're not," she said to an unidentified victim . "You still have to pay sales tax if you bring it back to Kentucky. There's a place to report it on your income tax form. You just can't win."

I hadn't realized that I was providing fodder.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Philander Hinckley and the Harleys

A nice drive through the Tennessee hills

On Sunday, Dennis and I drove down to Cedar Grove, Tennessee -- a little unincorporated settlement in Carroll County, Tennessee. All the dogwood and redbud trees are blooming right now. It was a perfect spring day for a drive through the hills.

One of Dennis's great-grandfathers is buried somewhere around Cedar Grove. Sometime this summer, Dennis is planning to camp in the Natchez Trace State Park which is in the same general vicinity. He's going to spend a few days trying to locate the cemetery. He'll go to Huntingdon, the Carroll County seat, and inquire at the library first. Maybe they have a book of names for the cemeteries in the county.

This great grandfather, Philander Hinckley, was a Civil War veteran. He served with a regiment from Wisconsin. During his three year enlistment, he was shot in the leg and he was injured in a fall. Due to chronic diarrhea, he also developed piles. After he passed away, his widow received a pension of 50¢ per month, based on his service.

We know these things and more from the research that a cousin of Dennis's mother did. Dennis and I were particularly surprised to learn that Philander and his second wife Lizzie were married in Hickory County, Missouri. We were married in the same county, nearly 100 years later.

Motorcycles 1As we drove to Cedar Grove and back, we saw hundreds of motorcycles. At a gas station at the south end of Land Between the Lakes, several groups of bikers were taking a break. My son Isaac would have ridiculed the luxe Harley Davidsons the older guys were riding (photo below). He prefers a simpler bike, like the ones the young guys were riding (photo at right).

Motorcycles 2

Monday, April 21, 2008

Another Aftershock

The trembling earth

It's about 12:45 a.m., and we've just felt another aftershock, presumably related to the Wabash Valley earthquake that occurred on April 18th As in the last one that I felt, the floor shook perceptibly, the ceiling fan blades vibrated, and the glass light fixtures rattled.

I hope that all these small tremors are releasing the tensions in the fault. I don't want to experience any earthquakes more major than this.

As I've been typing this, the floor has seemed to move slightly a few more times. I don't know if I'm feeling aftershocks of the aftershock, or if my imagination is just hyperactive.

I'm going to bed now, and I hope for no more disturbances during the night!

UPDATE: This aftershock was magnitude 4.5. It was centered near Mt. Carmel, IL, in the Wabash Valley, according to the USGS Earthquake list and map.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Interesting Article About the Earthquake

Worth reading

The AP has an interesting article about the Wabash Valley earthquake. It seems that scientists know very little about the Wabash fault, but they think it has produced strong earthquakes in the past.

Related post: Wabash Valley Earthquake, April 18, 2008

Old L & N Freight Depot in Hopkinsville, KY

Where the cats hang out

L&N freight depot in Hopkinsville, KY

This is the east side of the old L&N freight depot in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Most recently, a portion of it was used as a video store. As far as I know, the building is now unoccupied.

When the depot was in active use, the docks on the east side of the building (photo above) were used for loading freight that was leaving the depot and for unloading freight that was arriving to be shipped.

L&N freight depot in Hopkinsville, KYThe train stopped beside the freight docks on the opposite side of the building to load and unload. It appears that the docks had big sliding doors that could be closed and locked (photo at right.)

The L&N passenger depot was a little farther down the tracks -- the gray-green building on the right. When the train stopped, passengers could get on and off while the freight was being handled.

A soft heart for cats

On the morning that I took these pictures, I saw ten or so feral cats gathered at the rear of the building. Soon, a man pulled up in a Jeep Cherokee and filled some water and food dishes under the steps (left photo below.) Then I realized that the cats were waiting for him.

The cats and their caretaker reminded me of an article that was in the newspaper a couple of years ago. When I got home, I looked it up. The man whom I saw is surely the man whom the newspaper article was about -- Wallace Henderson, who feeds the feral cats of downtown Hopkinsville in several locations. One of the places the newspaper article mentions is the old L&N freight depot:

Next, from Clay Street, Henderson heads for the old L&N freight station on Ninth Street. The cats slink behind a fence and hurdle across the railroad tracks when he arrives.

Henderson is content to let the cats watch him from a distance. They are too wild to trust him.

"I have not named any of them, but I am concerned if I don't see one that I am used to seeing," he says.

At this spot, the cats eat from a dry spot below a set of metal steps. It looks like rain today, so Henderson pushes the food bowl well beneath the steps.

Quoted from "Feline Feed" by Jennifer P. Brown, Kentucky New Era, December 19, 2006. (Subscription required.)

At the time the article was written, Mr. Henderson said he had been feeding the cats for ten years. If you look closely at the small photo above, at right, you can see one of the cats crossing the railroad tracks after he has had his morning snack.

Feral catsFeral cats

Related post: Hopkinsville's Railroad

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wabash Valley Earthquake, April 18, 2008

Whole lotta shakin' goin' on

An earthquake of 5.2 magnitude occurred at about 4:35 this morning in the Wabash Valley of southeastern Illinois, roughly 40 miles northwest of Evansville, Indiana

I was sound asleep in bed when it happened, but the shaking of the house woke me up. Dennis was up and busy with his morning routine -- doing his exercises, running the washing machine, and getting ready for work.

In my sleepy stupor, I imagined that the washing machine was shaking the whole house during its spin cycle. I thought that the load of clothing must be terribly unbalanced. The shaking quit after a few more seconds, and I went back to sleep immediately.

When I got up this morning, Keely asked me if I had felt the earthquake in the night. She had built it into a dream about a bulldozer hitting the house, causing the walls to shudder. Like me, she didn't realize it was an earthquake when she felt it.

Our experiences were nothing like those of people near the epicenter:

At Mesa Lake, retiree Harvey Manor described the quake as "a deep roar."

"I got out of bed. It was ominous ... a deep roar. I knew it was an earthquake," Manor said. "I thought it might be the big one they've talked about us having.

Source: "Earthquake, aftershocks rattle Tri-State" by Rich Davis and Ryan Reynolds, Evansville Courier & Press, April 18, 2008

At about 10:15 this morning, I felt an aftershock. The floor quivered slightly, the dishes and glass shelves in the china cabinet rattled a little and I noticed that the ceiling fan blades were trembling. The Evansville Courier & Press (article cited above) reports the 10:15 a.m. shock at 4.5 magnitude.

Over a dozen aftershocks have exceeded 3.0 magnitude, but that's the only one I've noticed. It's my day off, and I took a nap after everyone left this morning. Apparently none of the aftershocks were strong enough to wake me up.

Did you feel this earthquake or any of its aftershocks? Please tell us about it in the comments. Also, you can make a report to the U.S. Geological Survey website about this quake.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Potatoes to Feed the World

Versatile potato has great potential

Today on the Scotsman.com, I read an interesting article about potatoes. Reporter Terry Wade writes from Lima, Peru, about a new-found respect for the potato's potential:

Potatoes, which are native to Peru, can be grown at almost any elevation or climate: from the barren, frigid slopes of the Andes to the tropical flatlands of Asia. They require very little water, mature in as little as 50 days and can yield between two and four times more food per hectare than wheat or rice.

"The shocks to the food supply are very real and that means we could potentially be moving into a reality where there is not enough food to feed the world," said Pamela Anderson, director of the International Potato Centre in Lima, a non-profit scientific group.

Like others, she says the potato is part of the solution to the hunger caused by higher food prices, a population that is growing by one billion people each decade, climbing costs for fertiliser and diesel, and more cropland being sown for biofuel production.

Source: "How potatoes could save the world" by Terry Wade, at news.scotsman.com

I've often had volunteer potatoes pop up in the garden from potato peelings or from small potatoes that I missed when digging up a crop. The potato's ability to survive and thrive has made me wonder what it is like where potatoes grew wild. In the countryside of Peru, are there places where the wild potatoes grew together so thickly that they choke out other plants?

I grew my best-ever crop of potatoes the year that my Mennonite neighbor brought me a load of straw bedding from his barn. It had a lot of manure mixed with it. I used it to mulch my little potato patch. Truly, it was a very small patch, but I harvested three 5-gallon buckets of nice potatoes.

When we lived in Bolivia, we ate some different sorts of potatoes. One type that I remember particularly was in the soups that we ate in La Paz. It was called chuño. To make chuño, the potatoes were spread outside to freeze overnight. After they thawed the next day, the juice was squished out of them (by walking on them}, and they were left in the sun to dry. This process was repeated every day for a couple of weeks, until the potatoes were completely dehydrated.

I could ramble on and on about potatoes. I could tell a few stories about my Grandpa Sees's potato farm at Gordon, Nebraska. I could even give some potato recipes.

2008 is the International Year of the Potato, so that gives me a good excuse to revisit this topic another day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hopkinsville's Clock Tower

A Hopkinsville icon

Fire station clock

Fire station clock
Hopkinsville's old clock tower is part of the old firehouse building, now the Woody Winfree Fire and Transportation Museum. The clocks have been repaired recently and the tower has been painted. With the evening sun on it, it's a jewel in the skyline.

The brick building in the foreground houses the Christian County Historical Society's and county historian William Turner's offices. It is the old Standard Mill Supply building, and it stands next door to the firehouse and clock tower.

We have quite a few brick buildings in downtown Hopkinsville with old advertisements painted on them. I enjoy them, but that sentiment is not universal. Someone complained recently on the Hoptown Hall forum that the fading painted ads on Hopkinsville's old downtown buildings make the town look tacky.

I took these photos through the car window at the corner of Liberty and 9th as I waited for the stoplight to change. Stoplights often give me the chance to get a picture that I'd never stand in the street to take.

Related post: Hopkinsville's Fire Station and Transportation Museum

Done before the Deadline

We've fought our way through the income tax labyrinth one more time, and the completed forms are in the envelopes and ready to mail. I'm thankful!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Buildings Are Not Forever

Get a picture while you can.

Two red barns in evening lightTwo red barns in evening light

In April, 2007, I wrote a post titled "Two Red Barns on Edwards Mill Road" that included morning and evening photos of a couple of old barns.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to drive down Edwards Mill Road on my way home. I was shocked when I saw that both my red barns had fallen down, sometime during the winter. I don't know if they were bulldozed, or if a bad wind toppled them.

One day this week, I decided to photograph them in their fallen condition. I was too late. The farmer has burned them and bulldozed their remains into a couple of piles. In a year or two, there will be little to suggest that those barns ever existed.

I know they weren't important structures, but I liked them. I'm glad that I have a nice photo of them.

I didn't do so well with another old building. About a year ago, a large farm in our neighborhood was sold at auction. The property included an old white farmhouse with a big front porch. It had stood empty for a number of years.

I had been inside the house a couple of times. It had an old-time floor plan with a large central entrance hall. I'm sure it was well over 100 years old. I had always wondered if the house might be made of logs under the siding.

One night several months ago, I came past that farm on my way home. I noticed the glow long before I knew what was burning. As I came closer, I saw that the old house was on fire. Flames were shooting through the roof. The whole area was illuminated. It was a frightful sight, but it appeared to be a planned burn. The owner was standing by with a bulldozer and a crew of helpers, and the fire department was nowhere in sight.

I wish I had a picture of that old house, but I don't. However, I did happen to find a 1930s photo of a Christian County, KY, house that is similar. Therewith, I must be content.

I hope I've learned my lesson now. This is not the first old building that I should have photographed, but didn't!

Rubble of two burned barnsAll that remains of the two red barns

Wild Cherry Blossoms?

Spring blossoms?

I think that these may be wild cherry blossoms. They grow on a spindly, scrubby tree, about 15-20 feet tall, on a dry hillside in the fence row. The blossoms look very similar to wild plum, but I don't think it's a plum bush/tree because it's so much taller than they usually grow. If the little tree ever has fruit, the birds apparently get it before I notice it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Livestock Brand Laws in Kentucky

The rancher's daughter is not impressed.

Black Angus bull
I drive by this pasture on my way to and from work. Five black bulls and several donkeys have been kept there through the winter.

This bull has been freeze-branded (see image at right), but I am not sure if the brand belongs to its current owner or a former owner. Many farmers here don't bother to brand their cattle.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has a system for brand registration. You decide what you want the brand to look like, file the papers, and pay a small fee. For the next five years, the brand is yours to use on your livestock as proof of ownership, and then you need to re-register it.

Unfortunately, Kentucky doesn't have a system for brand inspection when branded animals are bought or sold. Thus, branding doesn't provide much protection against theft. A cattle rustler can steal branded cattle, transport them elsewhere, and sell them quite easily. Unless the buyer requests a brand release, the seller doesn't have to supply one. ("Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies.")

Here in Kentucky, no brand inspector ever checks the brands of cattle at sale barns. No officer ever pulls over livestock trailers on the highways to ask the hauler for brand-release papers.

In many states, altering a livestock brand is a felony. It's curious that altering a brand in Kentucky is just a misdemeanor. The fine will not be more than $200 and the jail term will not be more than 6 months. Of course, an altered brand is likely to go undetected anyhow, since we don't have brand inspectors.

One thing that provides a little protection from cattle rustlers is that Kentucky farms are small. The population density is high here, compared to major livestock producing states of the Great Plains. There's a better chance that barking dogs or an alert neighbor might warn the farmer if a thief tried to load a trailer with cattle in the night.

My dad, a cattle rancher all his life, always said that brand registration without brand inspection was a law without teeth. I am sure he was right.

(Related fact: Kentucky ranks 8th in the nation in beef production.)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Just Ditch Weeds

Green and blooming

Ditch weeds
I don't know the name of these plants. For this post, I'm calling them "ditch weeds" because they are growing along the ditch. (They are ditch weeds, not "ditch weed" which is a name that's often given to wild hemp.)

Their flowers are underwhelming when inspected closely. But don't they look fresh and pretty, growing in a clump on the banks of the ditch? Even the weeds have their moments of splendor.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Trees Await Their Leaves

Drought still taking a toll

Trees at sunset

I hope all these trees will be getting their leaves soon. When it was terribly dry last summer, many trees lost their leaves and looked dead -- not just in this grove, but across Christian County and even in town. It was impossible to guess if they had been forced into a desperate form of dormancy or if they were dead. We'll find out this spring which ones survived and which ones didn't.

In my yard, I am wondering how many shrubs were mortally wounded. One of the forsythia bushes by the road has been blooming beautifully. Another forsythia nearby appears to be partly dead. It's only blooming on the lower third of its branches. I'm waiting to see if it gets any leaves on the upper branches before doing any pruning.

The full effects of last year's drought are still being revealed. Meanwhile, we've been getting quite a bit of rain. I don't really enjoy the wet days and the mud, but I'm glad that the water table is being restored to a normal level.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Pleasant Spring Afternoon

Not enough time to enjoy it all!


Bradford pearI made a quick trip to Murray one afternoon this week to take a big load of boxes to Keely. She got the lab job in Hopkinsville that she wanted, and she will start on Monday. Meanwhile, she's packing.

It was an absolutely beautiful day and I enjoyed the drive immensely. I was surprised that the redbuds are beginning to bloom already. The Bradford pears are all blooming too, and they are gorgeous. I do understand why people want to plant them, even though they are so vulnerable to weather damage.

When I crossed the bridge at Canton, I noticed that the waterbirds (whatever kind they are) are already nesting on their little platforms in the middle of the lake. Boat and automobile traffic doesn't seem to bother them. Maybe they'd prefer a rotted-out stub of a tree standing in the water, but they willingly accept a man-made substitute.

Backwaters at LBLThis photo (right) was taken about a mile from the Canton bridge, across the road from the Devil's Elbow area, looking northeast. The water level in the lakes is high, due to recent heavy rains, and water has backed into many low areas like this one.

Caldwell County, KY, courthouse At Murray, I snapped a shot of the Caldwell County Courthouse through my car window as I waited at the stoplight. The monument in the corner of the grounds is a memorial to Confederate soldiers. I suppose Murray sent quite a few soldiers to the battle at Fort Donelson.

WildflowersKeely and I did a little shopping after we unloaded the boxes. On the way to the store, we saw a pretty yard where hundreds of little wildflowers are blooming. The little violet at the top of this post was one of them. Some were not violets, but I don't know their name.

I stopped at the Canton landing, east of Lake Barkley, as I was coming home (photo below.) Several people were fishing from the docks and boat ramps. Along the water's edge, ducks were swimming between the tree trunks and bobbing down to grab minnows and bugs.

I had wished I could spend more time in Murray. Then I wanted to spend more time watching the ducks and enjoying the lake and the woods, but I hurried on. As it turned out, if I'd lingered even a minute longer, I might have missed the photo opportunity with the deer. It's interesting how that all worked out.

Lake Barkley at Canton KY

Wil Houchens on YouTube

Gifted young pianist

Recently, I came across some music videos that feature Wil Houchens, a young man who grew up a few miles down the road from us. He's a friend of Isaac, my son, and they graduated from high school together, last year. Wil's about the same age as Isaac -- almost 19.

If your internet connection allows you to view YouTube, I think you'll enjoy the videos he's posted. I believe they were all filmed at Hillcrest Baptist Church, in Hopkinsville.

Wil started taking piano lessons when he was five. I remember one time when the kids came home from Vacation Bible School talking about Wil Houchens. He had played "Great Balls of Fire" on the piano in the church basement.

During high school, Wil was the pianist for the Hopkinsville High School Choir, so I got to hear him play regularly. By the time he was a senior, he had begun study with Austin Peay University's music department and was giving piano lessons himself at the Pennyrile Academy of Fine Arts in Hopkinsville. Now he's completing his first year of college at Austin Peay University in Clarksville, TN.

Wil is also an avid fisherman who likes to compete in tournaments (and he often does very well in them.) You'll notice that his YouTube id is PianistFishermanGuy.

Wil has a lot of natural musical talent but he has also worked tremendously hard to develop his skills. He has poured untold hours of his young life into daily practice. Our community is very proud of him, and we wouldn't be a bit surprised if he's famous someday.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Once Again, The Deer

Another wildlife photography opportunity

Deer at sunset

You may wonder why these deer's eyes are glowing strangely even though they are silhouetted against the sky. That's because I forgot that the flash was on when I grabbed my camera. Its light wasn't strong enough to illuminate the deer's bodies, but their eyes reflected it clearly. The flash did light up some of the ditch grass in the foreground.

Of course the deer left right after I flashed my camera at them, so I didn't get to fiddle with the buttons and try again. I don't do well with spur-of-the-moment one-chance photo opportunities. I consider myself lucky that I got a picture at all.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Life and Love

Little stories of life

As I mentioned recently, my customers at work sometimes share little stories about their lives.

One day, a woman told me about her three grandchildren. She has two grandchildren that are actually her blood, and one more little fellow that she claims as a grandchild. Her son married the little boy's mother. His grandparents in his blood-father's family won't have anything to do with him.

My customer decided even before she met the little boy that she would be a real grandma to him if a marriage came about. At that time, she didn't know that the real grandparents shun the little boy, but when she found out, she became even more determined to be his grandma. She loves him like he's her own. "Their loss is my gain," she told me.

Another grandmotherly lady was in the store recently, shopping for children's gifts and various items for travel. As she checked out, she told me that she will be flying to another state with the man she's dating. They're going to visit his son and family. She hasn't met them before and she's a little nervous.

She is a widow and her man-friend is a widower. She still misses her husband of 40 years. She would never have imagined herself dating again, but she's lonely. She and her man-friend went to high school together, many years ago. They enjoy each other's company. Who would have ever thought it would turn out this way?

Yesterday, as I lay on the sofa in my feverish haze, I thought about writing these two little stories, and I tried to find a common thread to tie them together. The best I could come up with is this: Never reject the opportunity to love.
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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.