Book to Read:  “A Higher Call”

Book to Read: “A Higher Call”

Years of experience teach us to keep indexes:  usually alphabetical lists of things for future reference.  Telephone and address books; business cards of good plumbers, electricians, carpenters; contact information for people we can call on for help when we truly need it.

Likewise, if you’re an avid reader, you generally know who, among your friends and relatives, to ask for ideas about what to read next. My family has several of these.  A few years ago I discovered that my Uncle David’s taste in books is somewhat similar to my own, so now when we visit (usually by phone, from across the country), I always ask what he’s been reading lately. When I saw him at New Years, this was his answer:  A Higher Call by Adam Makos and Larry Alexander.  A true story, centered around the World War II experiences of two pilots–one American, one German–this book engaged my sympathies , enhanced my education, and held my interest from beginning to end.  It also inspires me to learn more about the era, and about those who lived through it.

If you’d like to see more, here’s the website of the author:   http://www.valorstudios.com/a-higher-call-book.htm

Please note, this is not a sponsored plug; I’m not receiving any compensation if you click the link or buy this book or any others from the site.  Your local library might have it, or numerous other sources.  It’s just a book I appreciated, have already passed to someone else, and felt it worth a mention.

What’s your latest good read?

Pardon Me, Roy . . .

Pardon Me, Roy . . .

My brother D. has a great sense of humor.  Clean stories with a clever twist on words are one of his specialties.  Sometime prior to 1979 (I think) he came home with a story about Roy Rogers, a dead mountain lion, and a mangled pair of western foot apparel.  The punch line was “Pardon me Roy:  Is that the cat that chewed your new boots?” and was sung to the tune of the first lines of  The Chattanooga Choo-Choo.   (OK, so I can hear you groaning from here!)  It’s possible the last word was “shoes”, not “boots”, but you get the idea.  And now the song’s going to be in my head all evening.

What brought this up was a recent phone conversation when I told him about buying the boots in the photo.  The brand name is Double H (no, I’m not getting a commission on this, but I wouldn’t mind . . .), and they’re made in Pennsylvania.  The leather is sturdy, I like the wood-stack heels, the non-skid soles, and the fabric-covered inside seams on the uppers. What I really like a lot is that they’re manufactured right here in the good ol’ USA.

The surprising thing to me was just how many of the boots in the western-wear store I went to were not Made in America.  In fact, the clerk there told me that most of them aren’t.  Many brands have moved production to Mexico to save on costs.  This is understandable.  And after all, Mexico had vaqueros before we ever had buckaroos.  I can handle that.  But when she informed me that many of today’s cowboy boots are made in China?  I’m sorry–no offense to the Chinese, I’m sure they’ve got a lot of nice folks over there–but there’s just something wrong with that picture, at least in my mind.

Just about everyone I know is on a budget, or oughta be.  I am, and thanks to Financial Peace lessons from Dave Ramsey (see www.daveramsey.com), I was able to save enough to buy Double H boots and pay cash.  I’m not trying to preach, here, because there are plenty of imported items in my inventory.  But so many people around us are looking for work these days.  If and when you can, check the labels before you buy.  Look for that USA tag. Let’s keep America on the job!

Genealogy of a House

Genealogy of a House

Ever since I was 15 years old I’ve been deeply interested in genealogy.  I was fortunate to know all of my grandparents, and four of my great-grandparents.  Mother has spent untold hours in research documenting the spreading branches of our family tree, back into the 1600s in some cases.  When we find something in print that tells us the least little detail about what our ancestors may have been like–as opposed to just names and dates on a page–it is a special treat.  Maybe you’ve enjoyed the same type of treasure hunt I’m mentioning here.

But what about real estate?  Now and then as I drive down a country road I see a sign posted by a driveway:  “Missouri Century Farm”.  This tells me that farmstead has been in the same family for at least 100 years.  Wouldn’t that be a neat feeling?!  While that particular honor isn’t possible for me, the concept isn’t unthinkable for my descendants.  Only time will tell, though, and I’ll be watching from elsewhere if and when it ever happens.

Today, however, I was in the county courthouse on a work-related matter, and just out of curiosity, asked the lady in the Recorder’s Office if she knew how I could find out when my home was built.

“What’s your address?” she asked.  I provided it, and she typed it into her computer system.

1917” she told me.  Just like that!

Her records did not show who had built the house, or who owned the land at the time, and she referred me upstairs to the Assessor’s Office.  A very kind gentleman named Frank Higgins helped me there, and showed me his copy of the 1896 Plat Book for our county.  It lists the landowner of my farm that year as Lucy J. Edwards.  There’s no guarantee that she still owned it 19 years later when this house was built, but somehow it felt gratifying to know.  One of the ladies in that office suggested I search the Net for later editions of the plat map, so that will be my next step.  It doesn’t accomplish or change anything . . . but perhaps Lucy Edwards or someone else watching from somewhere is smiling at the knowledge that while they may be gone, their efforts to make this little corner of the world a better place are still being appreciated.  I hope so.

The “comment” link up above next to my name enables you to leave a message regarding a post.  C’mon, tell us about your favorite old house!