Saturday, October 31, 2020

PASSING OF THE WIFE OF MY AGE 75 FIRST COUSIN (published 10-31-2020)

George Ferrell was one of the brothers of my father, Earl Ferrell. Dad and uncle George are both Home now. Uncle George and his wife, aunt Blanche, who is Home also, had three sons. One of their sons, a first cousin, is ahead of me by 15 years.

Sadly, that first cousin’s wife left this world, on Sunday, 10/11/2020. I haven’t seen my first cousin since 2012, in Johnson City, Tennessee. His elder brother and he met me. We had met at the apartment, where their mother, my aunt Blanche, was still living. Aunt Blanche enjoyed seeing two of her sons and me together with her! (She went Home the next year.) He, his elder brother, and I then had lunch together. I’ve talked with my first cousin a few times by phone since then. He lives about a 1.75-hour drive away from us, in Kingsport, Tennessee.

I left a memorial tribute, to my cousin's wife, on the funeral home’s obituary page for her. My wife and I couldn’t attend the visitation and funeral service or the graveside service, since they were both on working days for us.

On Sunday, 10/18/2020, I called my first cousin. We talked about 45 minutes. He has two brothers, who live in the area. The sons of his wife and he are within a few hours drive away. My first cousin is enduring the grief of having lost his wife, whom he loved dearly. I remember how Dad went through the process, after Mom “went to see Jesus,” as she had stated, before her passing.

I will not speculate about the future departures, from this life, of Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and me. The Good Lord knows. It’s better that we don’t know.

Life is a slow transition from birth to death. Well, life is really a blink of an eye on a speck of dust, in the everlasting perspective. Still, the slow transition happens. Life is full of the good, bad, and ugly, with apology to Clint Eastwood. If we take up the Good Lord’s free gift offer, of salvation through his Son, and we live accordingly, the best that we can, then Home awaits us! My first cousin’s wife just beat the rest of us Home.

She must be having a wonderful time at Home. It will be my turn – eventually – but not today, as far as I know.

HOUSE MOUNTAIN #172, on Sunday, 10-18-2020 (published 10-31-2020)

Sunday, 10/18/2020, was better hiking weather than on Sunday, 10/25/2020, when I actually wrote this article. Last Sunday started out wet and cloudy, from the overnight rain. The sun didn’t appear until about 3:30 PM or so. Now, that’s not funny, Lord! The Good Lord has a sense of humor! Over the years, I’ve seen perfectly fine hiking weather during a workweek, with rain on the weekend. I’ve also seen rainy and/or cloudy weather turn to sunshine too late for even a late afternoon hike. That’s not funny, Lord! So, I wrote, instead of hiking.


The weather was mostly sunny and too warm for this time of year, for my liking. I just hiked up the west trail and back down again. (When it’s cooler, I’m itching to hike the full ridge and out the east trail.) The above photograph is looking down from where I’d climbed up. The rock bluff is to the left, in partial view. Climbing up is easy enough.


After some time at the west bluff, I took it easy back down the same direction that I’d hiked up. The above photograph is the opposite view, looking back to the same location, as in the first photograph. They guy in the red shirt is standing about where I’d taken the first image.

My right foot and knee instruct me to be more careful going down. I’m still a “lame mountain goat,” but I can tell that I’m becoming less “lame,” slowly. This 172nd hike also marked my 36th hike on House Mountain, with “bionic” joints. In earlier “bionic” hiking, my right foot encouraged me to limp noticeably after a hike, into the next day at times, before it returned to “normal.” “Normal” had been take a step; ouch; take a step. Then, it became take a step; that’s different; take a step. Now, it's take a step; that’s not much different; take a step.

Hey, Lord, could you speed up the “getting better slowly” part to “instant miracle?” No. You don’t work that way, except very rarely, anymore? Okay. I understand. I’m here a few seconds in life, compared to everlasting life, anyway. I’ll get along well enough, until You call me Home.

On my way down, near the end of the trail, I met an 80-year-old man, Mr. John S., who was hiking up. (I told him about meeting the 78-year-old man, on 10/4/2020.) Mr. John S. lives alone now, not far from us. His wife passed away a few months ago. He is back to hiking again. (He had taken time off from hiking while his wife wasn’t well.) I had not met Mr. John S. on any previous hike, until this one. Mr. John S. is a fine man and brother in Christ. I hope that I see him again. Well, I will at Home, if not here.

After Mr. John S. and I parted, I met a group of younger folks. One young husband and wife were bringing along their four-month-old daughter. The mother was carrying their daughter in one of those satchels on her chest. I enjoyed talking with them and telling them about Mr. John S., who was ahead of them a little, going up.

Life is a cycle from birth to death. I saw a baby girl who was early in life. I met a fine man who was later in life. I’m closer in age to Mr. John S. than to the newborn girl. Accepting, at the proper age, the Good Lord’s free gift offer and living accordingly, the best that you can, is life here, and it leads to everlasting life at Home.

LIFE, SUCH AS IT IS, 10/24/2020 ADDENDUM (published 10-31-2020)


I was very excited about defeating modern technology, in last Saturday’s “life, such as it is” article. I'd left out a couple of funny items, about that day.

Here they are finally, a week later, on Halloween -- Saturday, 10/31/2020! This is an addendum to the first article of last Saturday.

COVID-19 Compliant Humor

On 10/24/2020, my barber gave me another fine haircut. I had called him to set the COVID-19 compliant appointment a couple of days before. Do you remember when, as a once free people, in a once great nation, a man could just walk into his barber's shop, to get a haircut? As the years go by, younger folks won’t believe that a man could once walk into a barber shop, for a haircut, with no pre-arranged, COVID-19 compliant appointment.

Afterward, my new ol' truck got another good wash, at the place where they wash by hand mostly. The rain, from the night before, had dried on the roads. The sky looked like rain, but it didn’t rain!

The final point of COVID-19 humor is my visit to the Tractor Supply. I bought the last two 20 x 25 air filters that they had in stock. They had most of the items in stock that I buy for Molly, our ol' puppy. Of course, the masks were on. Yes, mine was on, in the store. After I’d checked out, I stated, to the checkout clerks and several others, waiting to check out, “remember, similar to the Karate Kid movie, ‘mask on; mask off!’” As I walked out, I stated loudly, as I’ve done before, “I am once again a free man in a once free and great nation!” Most of the folks, who where still checking out behind me, laughed! I’m just trying to keep up the COVID-19 compliant humor level, folks!

By the way, do you remember when stores stocked several of the items that you needed to buy? We are getting closer to the way it was in the Soviet Union, where socialist stores where open but nothing was in stock, even if you had a few rubles to spend. Wake up, America! We’re getting closer to what Russia left behind, in 1991.

Family Heritage

I just plain forgot to mention that my youngest brother attained the grand age of 47, on 10/21/2020. It was a workday for him and me. I called him after work. He said that he’s trying to catch up with me. What? Ain’t he 50 yet?

The youngest daughter of his wife and he had attained the age of 11, on 10/14/2020. Yes, her father and she are seven days and a few years apart. She still hasn’t let Mrs. Appalachian Irishman know what she would like us to give her as a birthday present. Who knows? If this new cold virus insanity (i.e., Corona Myopia) doesn’t stop, we may not see her again, until she’s age 20.


Well, that's all, folks. At least I published this addendum!

Remember, “mask on; mask off. We are still a free people, in a once free and great nation!”

Saturday, October 24, 2020

House Mountain Hike #171, on Sunday, 10-4-2020 (published 10-24-2020)

This is the second article that I had written, on Sunday, 10/11/2020. It is published today, as I'd written it, excluding this first paragraph.

My hiking season (in the fall, winter, and spring) did not start in September, due to the “whatevers,” especially in my “bionic” left shoulder, that bothered me, from the 13th through the 21st. That’s an excuse. I know. Forgive me.

My most recent hike, the 170th, on House Mountain, was on 5/10/2020, Mother’s Day. I hiked at Norris Dam State Park, on Saturday, 6/21/2020. That was “Father-in-Law” Day and the birthday of my “ex-favorite-sister-in-law.” It had been over three months, since this mountain man had been in the mountains. It was time!

On the afternoon, of Sunday, 10/4/2020, I hiked “My Mountain” (House Mountain) for the 171st time! It was an enjoyable two hours in the woods. The weather was sunny to mostly cloudy. It was too warm for this time of year. The hike, from the parking lot to the west bluff, took 32 minutes. (I had touched the rock, at the bluff, to check my time.) That was not bad! I’m speeding up. My right foot and right knee are not slowing me down as much. Of course, I could have made even better time, but the branches of a downed tree and a couple of hikers, with whom I conversed briefly, slowed me down.

The above photograph is at the west bluff, looking east. You can see the rock that I touch, to check my time. The spot that looks like a seat is where I've sat often.

This is the west trail on the way down. (I had been up this way already.) The photograph does not capture the angle that my eyes do. I go down a steep, rocky area. I’ve done it many times, before and now with “bionic joints.” In this area, I met a cordial 78-year-old man and his grandson. They were hiking up, as I was hiking down. His daughter, or granddaughter, has a pet care business in my hometown. I’ve seen her advertisements in The Rogersville Review. My youngest brother may have done business with her. That older man inspired me to keep on hiking “My Mountain!” I’m a “spring chicken,” at age 60. I have no excuse!

This photograph is on my way back out. On my way up, earlier, I had to navigate this branch pile. I saw the large tree that had finally fallen. It had stood many decades. I’d seen that tree standing, during many hikes. It fell, but I still stand! Getting across the downed branches had slowed me on my way up. On my way out, I was smarter. I used my “super powers” to “fly” over the branches. (I have a jet pack.) A Boy Scout troop had placed the marker, a few years ago. It notes the quarter mile point, up the one mile west trail. An old marker had indicated that the west trail was 1.1 miles. The mountain did not shrink by a tenth of a mile! It’s a House Mountain hiker joke. You’d have to understand it. Hike with me, and I'll share the rest of the story!

Well, there is my new ol' truck, awaiting my return. The hike, as stated previously, was about two hours. I didn’t go across the ridge this time, since I had started late. My truck had 177277.1 miles on the clock, once I got him back in the “barn” at the house. He's a good truck!

The remnant of the Delta storm had forestalled my hike, on the weekend of October 10th and 11th. I could have hiked, in the muddy and rainy weather, as I have done before, even with “bionic joints.” In my “cowardice,” I decided to write instead. Please forgive me!

LIFE, SUCH AS IT IS: 9-21-2020, Monday, to 10-24-2020, Saturday (published 10-24-2020)


Well, howdy, y’all! “Hit’s” been “ary a while” since I “done writ” here. “Hit’s done been” five weeks, since my article of Sunday, 9/20/2020. How y’all “been a gittin’” along? Okay, I hope.

Well, let’s see here. I’ve been writing more today, on two articles. I've been working on four draft articles, off and on, since 10/11/2020. This article is the first of two that are published today. The theme is “Life, such as it is.” It's a chronological record.

Life, Such As It Was

9/21/2020, Monday: Mrs. Appalachian Irishman still drives, bravely, to and from her vice principal/teacher job every workday. My “ex-favorite-sister-in-law,” the “coward” that she is, still does her teaching from home. The carpooling is still not happening.

Also on 9/21/2020, I worked at home from 8 to 10:30 AM. Then, my dentist set a temporary crown (i.e., corona; study the etymology). Historical note: on 8/10/2020, Monday, while working at home, I had chipped a tooth. My dentist patched it, on Thursday, 8/13/2020, when I worked at home. I thought that I’d have a new crown today. Wrong! My dentist doesn't set a crown on the same day. I paid the full price for the crown. Finally, I got the new crown, on Monday, 10/19/2020.

After having the temporary crown installed, I shopped, for a few items, at “Food Crappy,” with all the mask-wearing fun. After that, my chiropractor adjusted me again. It was an extra adjustment, after the usual monthly adjustment, on Monday, 9/14/2020. I think that he set all my bones in place, finally. I’m still working on the muscle and soft tissue recovery. I’m getting tired of this type of “fun.”

9/22-23/2020, Tuesday and Wednesday: Our recent deck replacement contractor called on Tuesday. I understood, to some degree, why he took so long to reply to me. His father, at age 80, is not doing very well. My contractor had gone to care for his father in Pennsylvania. His sub-contractor came the next day, on Wednesday. He was leaving, just as I was returning home from working at the office (for whatever insane reason). I met him. We talked. He promised. He lied. We still have a few minor details that must be done!

9/28/2020, Monday: In contrast to the previous mediocre service, our fine heating and air conditioning service man and his son-in-law inspected our A/C and heat units, as I had arranged. Jerry Roberts (owner, of Robert’s Heat & Air) knows how to do business! Our A/C and heat units are fine, but it was good to have them checked.

10/3/2020, Saturday: “Microcrap” wanted to update “Winders” to the 2004 version. I let it update. After having fought the desktop computer monitor for days, on Saturday, 10/17/2020, I ordered a new monitor (which arrived on Monday, 10/19/2020). The “Microcrap” technician, by phone, confirmed what I had concluded already. The “Winders” 2004 update had not been the problem. Interestingly, the monitor had started to go bad, after the update.

10/5-6/2020, Monday and Tuesday: Our deck replacement contractor called on Monday, 10/5/2020. I have no problems with him. He had a major problem with one of his sub-contractors. His now fired sub-contractor came, unannounced, on 10/6/2020, to see that he had not done the work, which he had promised to do, on 9/23/2020. I assume that he surprised himself, by seeing that he had not done his promised work. I did not talk with him. He is done. If he comes around here again, he does not represent my contractor, and I will get him off our property. I hope that he takes up the Good Lord’s free gift offer. I have tried to help him toward that end. It’s his choice now.

10/8/2020, Thursday: Mrs. Appalachian Irishman has been exposed to her teaching assistant, who has been exposed to his daughter, who has the COVID-19 virus (i.e., a new cold virus). The daughter of the teaching assistant had a bit of the snots. What shall we do? We do nothing, of course. How many times have I been exposed to someone, who had been exposed to someone, who had a cold? It’s been more times than I could ever count. I have moved on from this Corona Myopia Obsession! I wish that this once great nation could do so. By the way, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman is completely health! Neither one of us has been nor will be tested for this new cold virus.

10/9-11/2020, Friday through Sunday: I hope that the Rogersville Heritage Days weekend, in the rainy weather, was enjoyable, to whomever was there. I hear that Heritage Days isn’t what it used to be. I remember when the occasion was enjoyable. The rain, the “Corona Myopia,” and the festival’s decline did not inspire us to make the trip this year. Will we next year? We’ll see.

10/10/2020, Saturday: I have to toss this one in, for fun! In late September, Nielsen, the radio listening survey folks, had been “hammering” (i.e., calling and never leaving voice mail) our landline, for days, until I grew tired of it. I made the mistake of calling Nielsen back, to see what they wanted. Well, I agreed that Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I would fill out their survey forms, to mail back to them, postage paid. We received the survey forms by mail. We completed their one-week survey forms, about radio stations, to which we had listened. Nielsen, in two postal letters, sent us a total of three crisp, new one-dollar bills! (That’s the way to get rich!) On 10/10/2020, I mailed, postage paid, our improved, computerized survey forms – along with a pithy letter to their “he ain’t from around here” executive. I don’t think Nielsen will ever bother us again.

10/12-16/2020, Monday through Friday: I was supposed to have worked at home on Monday and Tuesday then at the office on Wednesday through Friday. My colleague, with whom I share the same insane home-office rotation, became ill on Monday (a cold, not the “new cold virus”). I, therefore, “enjoyed” working at home Monday then at the office Tuesday through Friday. The insanity needs to stop, or I can always find a work-at-home job, before I retire from this state job.

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman -- still driving alone, bravely, to and from work daily -- had a long weekend. It was her Fall break. She was off on Friday and Monday. The time off work “inspired” her to take up hammer, chisel, and blowtorch, to clean out the kitchen oven. (Recently, I had opened the oven door to hear it growl at me.)

10/19-23/2020, my work week: to make up for last week, I worked at home on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday – but at the office on Wednesday. The rationale, for doing the same job at home or at the office, exists only in the minds of the bureaucrats! I'd rather not drive the 16.4-mile, one-way route to the office and back. I have to drive through the crossroad, where I almost died, on 3/29/2016.

On 10/19/2020, as I've already stated, my dentist installed my new crown, with no extra charge. I told him that, apparently, I need a crown, about every 40 years. He knows that, if he’s still doing dental work, I’ll be back, at age 100, for my next crown. Afterward, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I visited our chiropractor. The appointment had been set for 10/5/2020, but our chiropractor's daughter had come down with the “new cold virus.” She had recovered quickly. Out of “an abundance of caution,” as the media folks turn the phrase, our chiropractor had closed his office for two weeks. Neither his wife nor he was sick. At least, my adjustment was the usual “tune up.” My bones are holding alignment well. I’ve about had it with the Corona Myopia Obsession in this once great nation. Most everyone, with whom I discuss this, agrees. Why can’t the politicians understand?

10/24/2020, Saturday: I should have been born 200 years before I was. I understand modern technology. I don’t like it much. I had wanted a VGA computer to monitor cable. Our desktop computer needed to connect to the new monitor that I had received. My father-in-law bailed me out! Yesterday, I had ordered online a VGA male-to-male cable. Afterward, I had called my father-in-law, since Mrs. Appalachian Irishman had forgotten to ask him, to see if he had an extra cable. He and I had a fine 45-minute conversation. (Mrs. Appalachian Irishman needs to create her own website journal, for her side of family history.) Well, today, my father-in-law called to say that he had an extra cable that I needed! I canceled my online order. The cable works! Once again, with help from my father-in-law, I defeated modern technology! Eventually, the desktop and laptop computers will need upgrades, but not today!


Well, that’s the latest “life, such as it is,” update, from 9/21/2020, Monday, to 10/24/2020 Saturday. Please read on, dear reader!

I have a few more articles to publish. I’m getting there! I’ll also publish today the article, about my 171st hike on House Mountain, on 10/4/2020. I plan to publish two others later, as the Good Lord wills.