Ranch house in Hemet, CA 1952

In the garden on Thursday afternoon, Padron 7000 Maduro (cigar), a glass of water, and the fish darting about the pond. Alan Jackson sings, “Leaning on the everlasting arms. . .”  Some bugs are daring to come near despite the Tiki torches lite, one to my front right, the other just behind and to my right. The breeze is mostly coming from my right. It’s warm today, but not hot. About 82 degrees with a humidity hovering around 64 percent. There are a lot of clouds, but the sun shines on and off, and cuts through the shade of the myrtle tree that shades this corner of the deck. The “real feel” is said to be about 92 degrees. The water I brought down to drink is not cold,and cold sounds good.

From the fridge in the basement I grabbed and opened a can of New Belgium Brewery’s Fat Tire beer that runs 5.2 percent alcohol, which is lower than a lot of the ‘craft’ beers from Georgia. It’s a Belgium-style ale, brewed in Asheville, NC. I’d tasted one a while ago and didn’t care for it. Today it tastes good. So does the Padron. Well, that’s a first—the ash dropped on my leg and the keyboard. Sometimes I ease some of the ash off to avoid a drop. It’s better with cigars to leave ash to drop naturally, as it helps the cigar to burn more evenly, especially the larger “ring gauge” cigars. (ring gauge is a measure of the diameter. This one is nearly an inch.

Coming to the garden, I had some idea of what I’d do, but only vaguely. I brought the notebook computer, though. I prayed aloud Psalm 150, followed by part of Psalm 51, which generally is how I begin. I’ll pray Psalm 145 at some point, perhaps; I usually do. Sometimes I pray other psalms. There’s an informality to the ritual of my garden time. Earlier, while eating some left-over stir fried vegetables and rice, I listened to John Parson speak about Torah, ( and its meaning in light of YeshuaJesus. I’ll consider what John says, too. And at some point I’ll pray for people as they come to mind.

This morning I made a few clothing returns for Barb. On the way I stopped at the Post Office and picked up two more tobacco pipes made by Shalom Pipe Shop in Israel (Estate/vintage pipes from Tim West, purchased on EBay). As I drove, for some reason I thought of how interesting it is that throughout my life I’ve made many returns. Not clothing, though I’ve done a lot of those returns, too. Returns to places I’d once been. From Hemet, CA, where I was born, I traveled with my parents to Fort Benning, GA, in 1952. I have a photograph, a portrait, taken while we where there. I don’t remember the time spent there, though. Too young. But I remember the time I spent there later when I was in my early twenties. I returned for my own Army training experience in the early part of 1970.

From Ft. Banning, prior to shipping out for Korea, my father was posted at a camp near Santa Maria, CA, where the infantry division was staging. I have a photograph of myself taken by my Mom while we visited Pismo Beach, which isn’t far from there. Little then did I know or care that one day I’d take my Jeep on the same beach. Little did I know that I’d live in the Central Coast of California for nearly twenty years. Even in the 1970s while at Camp Roberts, CA, not far from Pismo Beach, did it occur to me that I’d some day come to Atlanta, GA, for a training program with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 1991 prior to heading to Africa with the Peace Corps. It certainly didn’t occur to me that I’d one day live in north Georgia, that I’d come to call it “home.”

One time, in the early 1980s, traveling through the northern California town of Susanville, I stopped at a gas station, looked around, and said, “Huh. This is a place in which I wouldn’t want to live!” The town is on highway 395 that comes up from Reno, NV, and sits just at where the forest begins. It’s not in the forest. It’s not all that pretty, either. At least I didn’t think so at the time. I was on my way to Yreka, CA, and a job with the Klamath National Forest. I’d been on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in the White Mountains of Arizona. I couldn’t wait to leave Arizona, though do cherish the time I spent there.

Two years later, I land back in Susanville. And I learned to really love Susanville and the Lassen.

Returns. Funny thing to think about.

And without the least and courteous warning, the clouds darken, the sun disappears, and the rain begins.

L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

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