Tears, Tragedy and Genealogy

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My sister just sent me a piece of family history that boggles the mind.

My uncle Jim was an engineer who help build the first atomic bombs dropped in Japan. Shortly after the war, he went to Japan and met a Swedish born Japanese woman and brought her back to the states to marry her.

She became pregnant, but the animosity of the US Government was still high, and because of her Japanese heritage, refused both her citizenship and marriage license. She returned to Japan where her daughter was born. But my family had no idea of her fate, and scoured internment camps and wrote many letters to authorities in both Japan and the US.

But it was a tragic series of events that followed. The mother died, and the daughter was raised in the slums by her nanny.

Here is the AP story of that tragedy. I am trying to contact my niece now …

An identity lost in post-war Japan took 67 years to reclaim

In New Mexico, they even had a Mary Ann Vaughn Day …


My slice of the pie

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EdwardsDesserts.com user submitted the following:

First Name: Russell
Last Name: Armor
Address 1:
Address 2:
City: *****
State: TX
Zip: *****
Email Address: rustyarmor@gmail.com
Comments: I have ever loved your lemon meringue and key lime pies, but now they are a rare treat for me. So a special occasion arose and I picked up a small box of lemon meringue for me and the missus. It was excellent, as usual, but I noticed that the pies are much smaller than they used to be. That was a disappointment, looking at that tiny slice of pie sitting forlornly in a sea of pie plate. I think I would have rather paid more and received a nice full sized slice of pie.

Please follow up within 24 hours
This entire email message (including all forwards and replies) and any attachments are for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain proprietary, confidential, trade secret, work-product, attorney-client or privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited and may be a violation of law. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.




To: rustyarmor@gmail.com
Subject: RE: Edwards Online Customers



Thanks for reaching out to us to let us know that you had a concern with our Edwards Lemon Meringue Pie Slices. We apologize and have sent this information to our Quality Assurance Teams.

We will also be sending you a letter with a discount coupon. You should receive it within the next 2 to 3 weeks.

Let us know if we can assist with anything else.  If you would like to reach us by phone we are available Monday – Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm CT at 800-544-6855.



Consumer Affairs



Thank you for your prompt reply.  I am sure that the Quality Assurance Team will decide to bake their pies in bigger pie plates now.  Alas, I think that your coupons will only purchase another tiny slice to sit once again forlornly in the center of my dessert plate. But I suppose that is the sacrifice we have to make in this new era of less for more. Perhaps in the meantime, Quality Assurance can put the tiny slices in bigger boxes, maybe sitting on an inexpensive paper doily or something to give the illusion of size.  I don’t suppose they will need reminding to PhotoShop® the pie onto a smaller plate so that it looks a bit larger on the box.


Once again, thank you for your time and patience


Rusty Armor
Belton, TX


The Life of all Flesh is in the Blood

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As told by the light of the cooking fire . . .

Then man became a lump of clay encased animal skin rather than the light that formerly covered him.  He no longer tended a garden, but rather plowed and planted in the hardscrabble outside the gates, and the breath of the divine no longer enlivened him. His life was now in blood, and when his blood was spilled, his life drained back into the ground from which he was formed.

Instead of tending the plants the Divine had sown, he now sowed seeds from an alien and barren world. Whereas the Divine watered with a mist that sprang from the ground, man laboriously watered his garden with water drawn from meager rivers and deep wells. The Divine once fed man from a fertile garden, but now man began to kill and eat the very animals he once named and ruled over.

Man never forgot the garden, however, and strove over the æons to reenter Paradise, but the way was shut. Fierce beings guarded the gates with powers far beyond the abilities of man, and the way to the gates was forgotten in the ages that followed.

But the Divine never forgot man. A gate guarded by a narrow and precipitous path leading man back to the Divine and eternal life was built in the wilderness. If a man followed the path he would be admitted into a new heaven, and a new earth. Man would shed the skin of an animal, and be once again covered with brilliance of the Divine. The breath of the Divine would replace the blood spilled on the ground and revive him.

But many will reject the path, preferring to build a path of their own choosing. They will shake their fists at the Divine and those who are on the path leading to his gate, and they will try to kill them. Their end is their world, and when they die, their blood will be returned to the ground to await a final day when they shall be called before the Divine to retell their misdeeds.

The First Day and Brunch

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101914_1729_Somedays1.jpgSunday dawned early as Mr. Bladder rudely interrupted my peaceful slumber at the break of dawn.  The first day of the week, or The Lord’s Day by some traditions.  But for me, every morning begins the same with a staggering walk down the corridor to my studio with a coffee cup in my hand if Snookums has made the coffee, or empty handed if she hasn’t. It won’t be long before she delivers a warm cup to me in those circumstances.

It is an odd morning in that the Celtic station I often listen to is playing Christmas carols.  I like them though I have a bit of a problem with much of the theology surrounding the season.  But some of the most worshipful music ever written was composed around the celebration of Christmas. The morning music is a sop to Kippur da Budgie.  I much prefer absolute silence in the mornings, but parakeets need noise or they grow depressed.

Weekends have become my time to be the family chef, apart from dinner on Saturday evening.  We try to have a one pot meal on Friday evening that is rewarmed on Saturday to sort of keep with the tradition of resting on that day.  So, part of the mornings musings need to focus on brunch.  Waffles have become de rigueur, with the type of waffle being the variable.  Today I think it will be blueberry Belgian waffles with whipped cream.  Perhaps some orange sections if I am up to peeling them, or perhaps not.  If not, probably some V8 juice.

I am finally caught up on the mowing, hopefully for the year.  But with all the moisture and warmth, that is not a given.  I have mowed as late as Thanksgiving in the past in mild years.  I am hoping to get some field rye sowed before it gets too cold so that there will be greenery in early spring.  Field rye is inexpensive, about $20 a bag from the Co-Op, and one bag covers the field nicely. The rye burns off early enough to let the bermudagrass thrive during the hot summers and provides a nice change from a dark green to a light green as the year unfolds.

So, onward to brunch preps …

Good morning!


Arise, thou slacker

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“Thou shalt write each and every day. The great, and the mundane, thou shalt write of it”

101914_1729_Somedays1.jpgI missed a day of journaling, and didn’t have a valid excuse to skip a day. Playing with my virtual choo-choo’s is not a valid excuse.  They are a reward for obedience, not an excuse for disobedience.  However, these are my rules, not God’s, so I choose the punishments and rewards.  So, what is a suitable punishment for slacking?  I will have to think on that some.

It is a gorgeous view out the window.  I opted to write on the studio PC this morning rather than the laptop because the keyboard is more familiar.  But the water barrel waterfall is gurgling in the deep shade of the pecan and acacia tree, backlit by the yellow sun on green grass. It is almost a springtime view.  But without the birdcalls, it is a bit creepy.

Tic, the latest canine addition to the family, is slowly overcoming his skittishness, and loves waking me in the mornings.  But the rule is to wait until my eyes are open before jumping on my bed.  He doesn’t understand the fullness of that rule, however, and a mere fluttering of the eyelids is proof enough to him that I am awake, and he can roll on me and bite me in pure celebration of the gift of a new day.

I haven’t gone through the newsfeeds yet this morning.  The incessant drumbeat of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and crazed killers is numbing my compassion.  I can only observe a tiny amount of evil before I am overwhelmed by it and I become stoic, no longer reacting to the horror.  I know when I finish this I will go check out the latest comments on the comments that were commented on. Not only are we informed of evil, we are tossed into its foul waters via video clips and the wailing of grief stricken survivors.

So, this little moment of banality is a blessing to me.  I shall slowly sip two full cups of coffee and finish this before peeking into the maelstrom.  I can hardly wait.

Perhaps I’ll punish my slacking by performing one extra chore today.  It isn’t like we ever have all the chores done.  The job jar overfloweth.  Perhaps I should start cleaning out the old pickup truck to get it ready to sell.  There goes the last vestige of my virility.  A man without a pickup is a just a yankee occupying a house.  But life does go on, and one must turn loose of the torch or become consumed by it.  This latest killer of many sort of took the glamor away of going out in a blaze of glory.

But then, there is the ever urgent need to mow.  Perhaps instead of sorting, cleaning and putting away tools, I’ll mow the west side.  Maybe.

It will all get sorted out when the coffee pot is empty.  Maybe.

Good morning!


Preparation Day

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“Thou shalt write each and every day. The great, and the mundane, thou shalt write of it”

Friday 9-29-2017


Another damp but mild morning in my adopted home.  Moderate breezes shake the mists of rain from the leaves and eaves of our modest homestead.

Tonight is Kol Nidre.  An interesting opening night ceremony ushering in Rosh HaShannah, or Yom Truah.  Kol Nidre is not found in the Biblical and has been surrounded by a lot of controversy.  Essentially one asks God to release them from careless personal vows that they made the previous years which cannot be kept.  Some anti-Semites have used it in the past to say that it means that any agreements with a Jew will not be kept.  But factually, this rite does not absolve the Jew from legal contracts and public vows.

I don’t observe the rite formally, but the night is a time of personal introspection, a review of the year gone by, and if amends need to be made, to make them.  I am not a big fan of symbolic gestures, a so I don’t offer selichote, a general request to pardon my boorishness.  At this time of life I am not going to change. But if a particular offense rises to my consciousness, I will contact the offended party and attempt to set the offense right.

As with most observances, this one starts at sundown, so other than reminding myself that this evening is a time of reflection, the day continues on normally.

In retirement, there isn’t usually much of note of interest to others.  So the days are separated by the weather, Shabbats and holy days.  And these seem to come by with ever increasing tempo.  It is a bit unsettling.  I have accomplished so little in the time I was allotted.

But I shrug my shoulders, take another sip of coffee, and think that tomorrow is another day.

Good morning!



Yes, the coffee is still good

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Well, I finally got a laptop that will allow me to compose my blog entries while I am out on the stoop. I think I got a good one this time. Everything computer/internet has gone on beyond my paygrade, and I am fine with that if everything works.

A new cellphone, a new tablet, a new laptop and a new PC are in my stable of electronic gadgets, and I suspect that it is going to be a rather steep learning curve. I already have had several glitches and lockups to keep the frustration levels up. I seem to need at least one current frustration going on just to keep me from turning into a cauliflower.

I have been going through a minor crisis of faith lately. Not so much of one of unbelief as one of needing to return to foundational principles. I used to feel that my role in life was one of an apologist, having an answer for every objection to faith. But that has gone by the wayside as I have moved away from the need to save souls. A person’s faith, or lack of, holds no interest for me anymore.

We are getting one final blast of heat and humidity here. It seems that the weather must make up for the week long cool that hurricane Harvey laid upon us. The fields need mowing and the house needs to have the algae pressure washed off the walls. The old pickup needs the once over before selling it off. Unfinished projects litter the yard, yet I write.

Selling off the pickup is another milestone for me. My days of toting really heavy stuff has ended. I can barely haul the groceries up the sidewalk. Down here, a man without a pickup truck is a pathetic weakling. So be it. I strutted proudly in strength and youth, and now it is time to shuffle in debilitated humility.

So, I sit on my stoop in the humid morning with Annie-Annie, the black stray. Even she is beginning to show some gray in the muzzle.  The water fountain babbles, and some field birds are chattering in the distant pasture. I was never a jock, nor a spectator of team games, so new found morals of morally bankrupt jocks gets added to the fatuous glitterati list of people who think I should care about their opinions.

I think a skunk kitty has taken up residence under my house. Jenna, my huge something-or-the-other stray got a tiny amount of eau-de-polecat overspray the other night, and every so often I catch a little ‘poof’ of its perfume. I sure do hope it wanders off. Trapping and relocating them is no delight. I might wish I still had the pickup.

So, I sit and sip the ever-perfect coffee and write my coffee post on my new second-hand Toshiba laptop. I think it and I are going to be fast friends.

Good morning!