Homegrown Tomatoes

Homegrown tomatoes home grown tomatoes
Wha’d life be without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things money can’t buy
That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes

Every year around this time, I go to Spotify and I crank up Guy Clark’s “Homegrown Tomatoes” because it is that time of year boys and girls. Cherokee Purples, Brandywine, Big Boy, Better Boy, Celebrity, Rutgers. Get you cages wired together and cut your stakes because when you get them planted this weekend in a couple of months you will be like a kid in a candy store anticipating that first one. Staring from your back porch, daring those little bastard black birds to come anywhere near that one tomato that for whatever reason seems to ripen days before the other ones. You have your bread already on the saucer and that would be white “loaf bread”. Sunbeam, Merita, Bunny or Bost but it has to be white. Cut the sandwich in half preferably diagonally, it just seems to taste better. You have your salt and pepper shakers on tap but lastly the glue that holds it all together, the straw that stirs the drink, the Gin to my Tonic and that would be Duke’s Mayonnaise. Not Hellmann’s, (Hell man, really?) Not Bama or Kraft or Lord help us, Miracle Whip. Give me that soybean oil, eggswater, distilled and cider vinegarsalt, oleoresin paprika, natural flavorscalcium disodium EDTA added to protect flavor. That is Duke’s Mayonnaise. It has to be Duke’s which by the way this is the only time I say anything positive about anything call Duke.

Ain’t nothin’ in the world that I like better
Than bacon & lettuce & home grown tomatoes
Up in the mornin’ out in the garden
Get you a ripe one don’t get a hard one
Plant ’em in the spring eat ’em in the summer
All winter without ’em’s a culinary bummer
I forget all about the sweatin’ & diggin’
Everytime I go out and pick me a big one

The fruit that is a tomato. Why do we Southern’s love them so. Reason number 1 is the tomato sandwich. I can’t tell you with 100-percent certainty that the tomato sandwich originated in the South or that it’s a purely Southern phenomenon but I think it is a “southern thing” because there is no Duke’s Mayo up north. What I can tell you is that the Southern tomato sandwich, simple as it is, elicits a “Christmas-morning” excitement from most below the Mason-Dixon line (especially that first tomato sandwich each summer). And with one bite, it will do the same for you.

I’ve been out to eat and that’s for sure
But it’s nothin’ a homegrown tomato won’t cure
Put ’em in a salad put ’em in a stew
You can make your very own tomato juice
Eat ’em with eggs eat ’em with gravy
Eat ’em with beans pinto or navy
Put ’em on the side put ’em in the middle
Put a home grown tomato on a hotcake griddle

Another reason we Southerns love tomatoes is Fried Green Tomatoes. We love our tomatoes so much, we can’t even wait for them to ripen before we pick ’em, batter ’em, give them a bath in hot fat and consume them. We were eating them before it became a chick flick. Southerners now make them best (and probably most often). Our region’s finest chefs from NOLA to Asheville to Greenville to Charleston. A second debate surrounds what kind of crust covers a true Southern fried green tomato. Some think the slices in egg wash, then a flour and cornmeal mix. Others opt for a quick dunk in buttermilk and then a dusting of straight cornmeal. Either one is good just don’t use breadcrumbs. Southern Culture here in Greenville has excellent Fried Green Tomatoes.

Example Number 3, Chow Chow. A tangy, spicy condiment made most often from green tomatoes (but sometimes red ones too). They’re combined and pickled with peppers, onion and vinegar resulting in a relish that adds its sweet-hot punch to slow-cooked veggies like collard greens, pinto beans and field peas. They tell me there is evidence that chow chow originated in South Carolina, but a few food scholars tie it to Chinese rail workers in California. I don’t know where Chow Chow was invented but I can tell you the best Chow Chow was made in Indian Land/ Fort Mill SC by my great aunt Alta Howie. She was my grandmother’s sister. She had the “Midas Touch” when it came to Chow Chow. She would make batches filling up Mason jars full of the nectar from the tomato Gods and at Christmas I would find my jars awaiting me. I never did tell her or maybe I did but that was number 1 on my alltime Christmas presents and is to this day.

If I’s to change this life that I lead
I’d be Johnny tomato seed
Cause I know what this country needs
Homegrown tomatoes in every yard you see
When I die don’t bury me
In a box in a cemetery
Out in the garden would be much better
I could be pushin’ up homegrown tomatoes

Lastly why we southerner’s love tomatoes is Tomato Pie. Yes, you read it A PIE. This is my region’s savory claim to tomato fame, and it is, without a doubt, born and bred down here, baking several of our beloved culinary traditions into one handy-dandy package. Tomatoes picked at their peak are mounded with cheese, garden-fresh herbs and maybe a little crumbled bacon, and then it’s all glued together with mayo inside a homemade crust. Some recipes include hot sauce’s kick, and slivers of Vidalia onion find their way into to versions, too. My sister in law, Linda makes a bad ass pie with jalapenos on hers. Also the Hungry Drover in Travelers Rest SC adds slabs of bacon to theirs which is also excellent. It has Bacon. Duh.

I could go on with tomatoes. I love fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and vinegar or a Caprese Salad with mozzarella and a Balsamic reduction. Doesn’t get any better. I have a lot to be thankful for in my life and a biggy is my grandmother teaching me things as a child that I never forgot even something as simple as growing tomatoes. I am forever grateful.

Boy those Yankee fans sure are nice….Said no one ever.

One of the greatest phrases in the English language to me is, “Pitchers and catchers will be reporting in two weeks.” Number One, it tells me that spring is just around the corner, and it also tells me the Bravos are getting ready for camp and that in a matter of months my heart will be broken like it always has been except that one magical year in 1995 when the Chief Noc a homa led Bravos defeated the Chief Wahoo Indians 4 games to 2 in what now would would surely be dabbed the politically incorrect World Series by the media, that would be met with all sorts of protest. I digress. This gasbagging is not about any of that. Although I have wondered why all the Vikings that are still around don’t protest their name being disrespected and look at Buffalo disrespecting all the Bill’s that are in this country. No outcry. Don’t even get me started on the Twins that stepped on every baseball season and the disrespect they are shown by Minnesota’s politically incorrect nickname. Life is so unfair but hey, it’s all good…….. it’s baseball season.

I have always been a baseball guy. Some of my best memories of my dad was he and I watching the “Baseball Game of the Week.” It was really the Yankee game of the week and that was back when “The Mick” played along with Roger Maris, South Carolina’s own, Bobby Richardson, Tom Tresh and my favorite, Whitey Ford. I wonder what he would have to change his name to if he pitched today? never mind…. I was a Yankee fan in my early years. Thank God that changed. I’m not a big fan of the Yankees now but I am a big fan of being overpaid to underperform. Pretty much the story of my life.

Back in the seventies the Pittsburgh Pirates were the the bomb. They had the first all-minority lineup in MLB history when they took the field on September 1, 1971. In 1977 they came out with uniforms that sparked a uni revolution. Yes boys and girls, buttonless shirts with beltless pants. For the next 20 years that would be the rage in baseball fashion not to mention black, gold, and pinstripes that could be used in all sorts of combinations.

One of the reasons we love baseball is the characters it has given us over the years and there is none greater than Dock Freaking Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Why is he heralded as one of the greatest characters in baseball lore you might ask? Here’s why. On June 12, 1970, Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis did something that, by all rights, should be completely impossible: He went and threw a no-hitter despite being high as a kite on lysergic acid diethylamide, otherwise known as LSD. Facing the San Diego Padres in San Diego, Ellis took the mound having dropped acid earlier that day and blanked the Padres walking eight batters and hitting another. It was the first and only no-hitter of Ellis’ career, and almost certainly the lone MLB no-hitter pitched under the influence of LSD. Okay, in life there are certain things that border on impossible. I have seen Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, I watched the Berlin Wall come down, The Masked Singer is still on TV and Keith Richard is still breathing. Impossible you would say. This my friends would be one of those things. I have never been one to shy away from my drug laden past and I can tell you when you see Popeye run across the road with Olive Oyl chasing him with a frying pan or watching 747 jets taking off and landing in your apartment or looking at the mirror and you see Bozo the clown looking back at you the last thing you could do would be throwing a strike much less a no hitter. For Dock Ellis to be able to throw a no hitter while tripping his ass off is one of the greatest feats in all of human history much less baseball history.

This is Don Mossi. I always felt bad for him because this baseball card was voted the ugliest of all time. I don’t know why the card was voted ugliest, it looks like a….. you know…..a card. He was a pretty good pitcher. 101 wins, 80 losses. He wasn’t necessarily a character of the game, he was just known for you know….the baseball card.

Oscar Charles Gamble played baseball for 17 years for 7 different teams. He never made the Hall of Fame, never was a All Star. He hit 30 homers once. Why do I have a picture of him on my gasbagging blog? What makes him so special? Just look. In all his glory, there’s his Afro: fluffed to perfection on either side of his face, though a baseball cap squishes it down, restricting the vertical heights the hairdo was capable of reaching. No player in Major League Baseball history has had a head of hair quite like Gamble’s. This is one of the top baseball card of all time and this is also another reason the Yankees suck. The Yankees even to this day have a policy of no long hair or facial hair on their team. Oscar had signed a deal with Afro Sheen but had to get the give up the deal with the haircut that lost him thousands. I hate the Yankees. Besides the hair, Oscar Charles Gamble is also known for one of the greatest quotes that we still use today. History will back that up. Here is that famous quote. “They don’t think it be like it is, but it do”. Yes, that quote came from none other than Oscar Gamble. Wow. Not only is this this a gasbagging blog but it’s also a learning experience.

I leave you with his, Tommy Lasorda, once the manager of the Dodgers, who also happen to suck. He said that his wife (who was from Greenville SC) told him one day that he loved baseball more than her, to which he replied,” That may be true but I do love you more than football and hockey.” Sorry Rebecca, its baseball season.

If you want to see the animated version of the LSD induced no hitter by Dock Ellis, click on this You Tube video.

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Confessions of an Eagle Brand Addict

My love affair with Borden’s Eagle Brand Condensed Milk started when I was a mere child. My mother used to make some sort of cherry pie with this sweet, milky, creamy, heavenly concoction. She would always give me the lid and I would lick the remaining milk and then go digging in the trash can to see if I could find the can. I did a little historical check on this luscious, gooey gift from God and found out that it came on the United States market in 1856, the brainchild of Gail Borden, a chronic culinary inventor. Mr. Borden began experimenting with sterilized milk after a series of “swill milk” scandals that revealed the true contents of much of the milk then for sale in American cities: chalk powder, molasses and vermin. His process — a combination of vacuum pressure, heat and added sugar — produced a dairy product that is nearly indestructible, with a shelf life of years. Mr. Borden made his fortune supplying condensed milk to the Union Army in the Civil War. It was airlifted into Berlin in the 1940s, and more recently has opened up Asia as a major market for American milk. I thank God for this man.

My road to diabetes started early. I am a abnormal creature because when I was a kid, I would buy a can and a lemon. I would then squeeze the lemon into the milk, stir and freeze it. I know it was a sugary overload but at that age, who cared. Who needed Butterfinger, 5th Avenues or PayDay’s. I was in sugar coma heaven.

As I got older, I weaned myself of the can. I wasn’t to crazy about developing diabetes. I needed no rehab just cold turkey with the occasional slip up. Many years ago Rebecca and I were at a restaurant here in Greenville and we split a Caramel Pie for desert. I took one bite and I was like a junkie looking for his next fix. The Eagle had landed on me once again. I went crazy. I asked the waiter for the recipe. He came back and told me that the chef wouldn’t give it to him. I tried blackmail, extortion, payola. I even offered up Rebecca. You name it, I tried it. I was heartbroken. There is a happy ending, however. A friend of mine knew someone at the restaurant and got me the recipe for a small price. Little did I know that condensed milk was caramel in a can or in my case, crack cocaine in a can.

So here I am now, pretty much a reformed Eagle Brand addict. It has been tough, I will admit. Like any addict there are good days and bad. Thank God they came out with Pumpkin Spice Eagle Brand. I have found that is the best defense with my addiction. It is Methadone to a heroin addict. Pumpkin Spice anything is God awful. I do slip up and will make the occasional Caramel Pie on Christmas or sometimes at the soup kitchen they might be preparing a desert with the drug. I’ve been known to confiscate the lid and run off somewhere and lick it clean hoping that I’m not found out and pray that I haven’t started down to that road of perdition.

So there it is. I admit it. I have a problem but I am a overcomer. Just in case you would like to be an addict, here is the recipe.

Caramel Pie

Caramel Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions

  1. In a large pot, place the can of sweetened condensed milk with the label taken off, in the pot and cover with water. Cook on high until water comes to a boil, then turn on medium/high for 4 hours, only adding water to keep the can covered.
  2. Carefully open can and pour into pie shell. Cool pie in refrigerator. When completely cooled, top with frozen whipped topping. Serve.

Times They R A Channgin’

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

So I was watching TV the other day and some commercial featuring Bob Dylan’s iconic “Times They Are A Changin” appeared. I never was a huge Dylan fan when it came to his singing however as a writer there aren’t many better and this song was just one of his many classics. Dylan recorded it in 1963 and released it in January of 1964 during the heydey of Vietnam and also during the Civil Rights movement. I think he even said the reason he wrote it was to create an anthem of change. Less than a month after Dylan recorded the song, President John F Kennedy was  assassinated  in Dallas on November 22, 1963. The next night, Dylan opened a concert with “The Times They Are a-Changin'”; he told biographer Anthony Scaduto “I thought, ‘Wow, how can I open with that song? I’ll get rocks thrown at me.’ But I had to sing it, my whole concert takes off from there. I know I had no understanding of anything. Something had just gone haywire in the country and they were applauding the song. And I couldn’t understand why they were clapping, or why I wrote the song. I couldn’t understand anything. For me, it was just insane.” It became one of many protest songs of the 60’s and 70’s and is a go to protest song even to this day.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin

I’m always amazed when I listen to protest songs from that era and you see we are still protesting the same issues today that we were protesting then, only with a few new twists. Or to put it in song title terms, “The Song Remains The Same”, as Led Zeppelin recorded. The song has remained the same for the last 55 years and will probably remain the same the next 55 years but that is another gasbagging rant for another day. We have our stand-bys like civil rights, cops are still pigs. War will always be protested, Right To Life, Women’s Rights, gun control. Now we protest any and everything. The names may have changed but yes the song is remaining the same. Instead of Nixon, it’s Trump. There is hardly anything we don’t protest these days. At a recent protest of something, President Trump said that the protesting should not allowed. Sorry Donald, nothing is more American than protesting even if they are ridiculous as UC San Diego’s “Free the Nipple”or the time when the California Polytechnic University Students held a “Shit-In” Yes, you read that right. Cal Poly students held a three-day “shit-in” to protest the lack of access to gender neutral bathrooms. Students were encouraged to sign a mock toilet during the protest, on which messages such as “poop equality”. I guess my favorite is when a group of Amherst College students, known as “Amherst Uprising,”  issued demands  to their university, “to address the legacy of oppression on campus.” One target of their demand protest was a group of students who placed posters on the campus to promote free speech. “Amherst Uprising” called for the free speech fans to be disciplined and “be required to attend extensive training for racial and cultural competency.” What all of these campus protests have in common beside most being in California is that they demonstrate just how out-of-touch college students are with how the world works beyond the college bubble. You really have to wonder how today’s coddled undergraduates will adjust to the real world. I have my doubts.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Times truly are-a-changin’. As we get older we will see changes in our life as well. I find myself slowing down. I never have been a ball of fire but I am becoming more of a flicker of fire. Attitudes change. As I was getting older I was finding myself becoming more of a curmudgeon or worse more like the Michael Douglas character, William Foster in “Falling Down”, then 6 years ago I swore off Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, Rush and my life is for the better. Sure I get tore up on occasions when my inner William Foster returns after I see something culturally crazy. Seriously in the grand scheme of things does it really matter? I think Mahatma Gandhi said it beautifully when he said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed”. I try to hit the brakes more as I age. I just spend my time now on the internet doing Buzzfeed quizzes. Plus my wife says I am much easier to be around.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

For those who want to increase your speed we look at 2019. Possibly there will be much to protest. Another Supreme Court Judge? That should get your heart rate pumping. That will be the mother of all protest. Climate change? Better hurry on that one, we don’t have but 12 years. We have more Confederate statues in the South that needs to be protested. Go to Clemson, John C. Calhoun is on the chopping block. Everyone who runs for office now can be protested when they find something in their past from when they were 12. Colin Kaepernick and the NFL are still around and of course anything Trump. So there is a buffet of protesting to choose from. The fields are ripe for protest. There many ways to increase your life’s speed if you choose to but hopefully you will slow your life speed down and look at all the beautiful things that this life has to offer. As for myself, I will sit back and just watch the stupidity and gasbag about all of it. That’s what I do.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.


Arlo, the Monster

I have always had pets of some kind. Mostly dogs but I’ve had cats as well at some point in my life. Alphonso, a black cat, with one good eye and three teeth lived to be 21 years old. They didn’t get much better than Al. Years later my wife Rebecca said there was a pup that wondered to a workmate house and would not leave and wanted to know if anyone was interested in it. I took off to Greenville to see this Golden Retriever mix and took him home with me. Tucker had arrived. Tucker was a bull headed, peanut butter, loving dog who after one week managed to chew through the satellite dish cable that ran to the house. I came home one day and looked outside and Tucker was rolling my gas grill tire in the yard with his nose after he demolished my gas grill. He finally calmed down and we had a normal pet to human existence. A couple of years later at a plant site we were working, I met another future pet. This dog had clearly been abused, teats dagging the ground, very shy but after a week of feeding her I finally gained her trust and gave Tucker a roommate. Tucker meet Belle. If there was ever a angel with paws, it was Belle. We had to put them both down, within 3 months of each other about a year and a half ago after 13 and 15 years respectively and that was truly the hardest thing I had ever been through in my life. They left a paw print in my heart forever. They were family. They were life’s apology to a crappy day. I realized more and more every day that Dogs are your friends and humans are assholes. I have never seen a dog shoot 54 people at a country music concert in Las Vegas so I stand by my statement.

Belle and Tucker

All this changed sometime this past July when a former friend, as he is now called me up and said a dog had wondered up in his yard. He knew that we had talked of getting a dog and said he was really cute and loveable. Rebecca said we should look at him so I took off to Townville a couple of days later to meet who would later become Arlo. Arlo was a scrawny 14 lbs when I took him to the vet to get “things taken care of.” Looking back maybe he never forgave me for taking that trip to the vet. Anyway he definitely had not eaten like he should have. “Poor guy”, I thought. Little did I know that the “Spawn of Satan” had infiltrated my household. Everything was good at first, the vet said he was still a pup, one to two years old. Rebecca was happy. She hadn’t been too crazy about the idea of another dog at first because she was grieving still over Belle and Tucker but especially Tucker who was her favorite but little did I know she was soon to be possessed by Arlo. The love for this mongrel would soon be just a distant memory.

The destruction of my life would soon begin. A little chew here , a little nip there. Here a chew, there a chew, everywhere a chew, chew. Then a small hole would pop up in a sheet, then a comforter, a blanket. We noticed the holes were getting bigger and more of them and then it happened……Arlo had shown us fully his demolition, knocking down, pulling down, tearing down, levelling, razing (to the ground), felling, dismantling, breaking up, wrecking, ruination, smashing, shattering,  power that he possesses. Example of the evil that is Arlo in the above picture.

Arlo

Well months have passes, hundreds of dollars have been spent. Arlo has pigged out to 33 lbs. I never knew that linen, chew toys, rugs, foam rubber and cardboard were that fattening. He purposely holds his farts in until he gets beside me just to see the horrified look on my face. He has the prostate of a 200 year old. Arlo has found new ways to spread his evil. He now moved on to other things such as my backyard for instance. It now looks like a World War II battlefield in France where mortar shells have bombarded endlessly days on end. How long will this madness go on? Has Arlo come back as a old girlfriend that has died that I am unaware of? Whoever I wronged in the past, I am truly sorry.

I’ll wipe that smirk off……

I find myself fascinated about the uproar that a sixteen year old white kid from Kentucky with a smirk on his face wearing a MAGA hat has caused in this country. A two minute video has turned this country upside down. Networks have gone crazy over this white kid from Kentucky with the smirk on his face wearing a MAGA hat. Twitter has completely lost it’s mind over this white kid from Kentucky with the smirk on his face wearing a MAGA hat. The high school where this white kid from Kentucky with the smirk on his face wearing a MAGA hat attends has received bomb threats, families from Covington Catholic High have received death threats, all because of this white kid from Kentucky with the smirk on his face wearing a MAGA hat. A longer video appears to have shown that things aren’t always what they seem has not calmed the masses. This sixteen year old white kid from Kentucky with the smirk on his face wearing a MAGA is public enemy #1. These are truly perilous times in our country when this can happen.

We know that this is nothing about this kid from Kentucky but this is all about our seventy-two year old school boy in the White House. Truth is if this kid was not wearing a MAGA hat, Nathan Phillips the Native American in the video would have been ignored like we have been ignoring Native Americans for 243 years. This was never a legitimate news story to begin with. This is just one many stupid stories that has infected the media since President Trump was elected.  The worse offense I saw was the “Tomahawk Chop” and I see it every Saturday during Florida State games and the football team was a lot more offensive than the chop. Americans think the media is key to democracy — but many can’t name an objective news source. Personally, I get more out of “Babylon Bee” or “The Onion.”

In a sane world Nick Sandmann or Nathan Phillips would have just been two ships that passed through the night and what happened during those couple of minutes would not have mattered but we don’t live there anymore. Everything, is seen now through their own biases and if you are a pro-life, MAGA-hat-wearing, white male from rural Kentucky in today’s climate……… Screwed. Our social media mob has to come to an end. Social media has also brought out the worst in many of us. We are regularly under informed and we turn into these pundits and commentators that rush to the quickest of snap judgments before the facts are barely known. I have been guilty of that as well but let’s make no mistake this is all about the hatred of Donald Trump. The left got this wrong in my gasbagging opinion. They stuck there hand in a mouse trap and it went off. Nobody wins in this. Left or right. We all lose. More division of our broken down dialogue in our country.

As ridiculous as this story has become and seems to be getting more stupid daily, it may be taking a turn for the even stupider than it is now if at all possible. I read where President Trump may invite the Covington kids (hopefully not wearing their MAGA hats) to the White House. I can only hope that is “Fake News” but this sounds so President Trumpish that more than likely it is real. Lord help us. So I guess I will just sit back , wait on baseball season and watch my Braves and “chop on.”

R U Challenged?

I was on Facebook the other day and saw where there latest gimmick was “Facebook 10 Year Challenge.” It’s then and now picturesPeople are instructed to post their first profile picture alongside their current profile picture, or a picture from 10 years ago alongside their current profile picture. I have several reasons for not participating in this so called challenge. First of all this is a challenge to what. A challenge to not look older the next 10 years as I have this 10 years? I don’t need a reminder to see that. I am reminded of that daily. I am fatter, less hair and what is there is gray and I swear my ears are getting bigger with more bushy eyebrows and nose hair. As of yet nothing growing out of my ears. So it is pretty much to show how hot we were and continue to be or how hot we are now. Secondly, I just don’t trust Facebook. I’m sure that somehow they are using facial recognition technology for some sort of evil.

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What it did do was it found me thinking about the last 10 years of my life. I look at the picture Rebecca took at Hilton Head years ago and see the changes that has taken place since then. I also think about the fish that was missed. So how has your 10 years been? If we were to take a picture of your life from 2009 and then 2019, would your picture remain the same for those 10 years or would it have shown a picture of change as a person.

The late, great Guy Clark wrote a wonderful song, “My Favorite Picture of You” The cover of the album has Clark holding up his favorite picture of his wife, Susanna, just as the song says. The picture was taken after she had returned home one day to find Clark and fellow Texas songwriter, Townes Van Zandt, drunk once again, and she was ready to leave him because of it. She stormed out the front door, which is when the picture was taken. That’s the song in a nutshell, and in it Clark struggles to sort out his emotions about his late wife; what emerges is one of the most honest love songs ever written. She moved out of the house for 4 years while he battled drugs and alcohol but she came back when he quit and stayed together until her death. I would have loved to had seen Guy Clark’s then and now life picture of his last 10 years. You are missed.

What kind of impact have I made on this life. I would hope it has been a positive one. You only have been given one shot at it. Is the world going to better off because of my existence on this planet or am I just here existing. What impact have you made? But Mr. Gasbag what can I do? Here are just a few things.

1. Donate blood. You could help save more than one life with just one donation.

2. Connects with people with organizations with local events that match your interests.

3. Offer your skills: Become a mentor or tutor to someone who would benefit from your experience. 

4. Fill a new or gently used knapsack with toiletry items and give it to a homeless person — or donate directly to a local shelter or soup kitchen.

5. Help someone get active — offer to walk with a friend or sign up for physical activity together. 

6. Give your time and undivided attention to a child. 

7. Drop off “Secret Santa” gifts to an elder care home or hospital — many seniors are alone over the holiday season and don’t have gifts to open. 

8. Volunteer to do yard work or shovel snow at an elderly neighbor’s house. 

9. Spend time with a senior and listen to their stories. 

10. Help your kids organize a can food drive. Daily Bread Ministries will take all the canned food you can raise.

11. Buy gift certificates from your grocery store and donate to a local Food Bank.

12. Offer to babysit for a couple or a single parent who don’t get out often. 

13. Send an encouraging message or handwritten note card to someone going through a difficult time. 

14. Donate cat and dog food to an animal shelter. 

15.  Be an organ donor. 

16. Help end childhood hunger in your own backyard

What will your life picture look like when Facebook has their 20 year challenge? (If they are still around, I have my doubts) Physically there will be changes of course but will you be able to see the positive changes in your Life 20 year challenge. With all the darkness in the world, why not let your light shine. Make a difference.

LIFE IS SO SHORT NONE OF US ARE HERE FOR LONG
IN A PERFECT WORLD WE COULD ALL GET ALONG
STEP OUT OF THE DARKNESS EVERY WOMAN CHILD AND MAN
OPEN YOUR WINDOW LET THE LIGHT OF LOVE SHINE IN
Paul Thorn

Read more: Paul Thorn – Dont Let Nobody Steal Your Joy Lyrics | MetroLyrics