Today’s Market

Today’s Market

“May I help you, ma’am?”

“Yes, please, I am looking for avocadoes.”

“Would you like Californian, Mexican, or Peruvian?”

“I want the Mexican ones. Aren’t they the ones with the rough, dark skin?”

“Shhh, they’ll hear you.”

“Who?”

“The avocadoes. We don’t describe them that way.”

“Why not?”

“They’re very sensitive.”

“I only said that to distinguish them from the Californians. Their skin is lighter and thinner, and I don’t like their flavor.”

“Ma’am, please, I am asking you nicely, just describe them according to their country of origin, not their appearance. A very rude man came in the other day asking about a Peruvian and actually said aloud that he preferred them because the farther south they grew, the darker and rougher they were! Can you imagine? I had to jump between him and the entire produce section! I am just now recovering from that trauma, and now this. I don’t know how much more I can take!”

“Okay, just tell me about the ones from Mexico. How were they transported?”

“In a truck, ma’am, but we don’t speak of that.”

“Of course. What was I thinking?”

“Here they are. I just want to remind you how fortunate we are to have these. If not for these delightful denizens of the country just to the south of us, we might not have enough to fill all the bins of all the markets in this country.”

“Are we still talking about avocadoes?”

“Of course, ma’am. Let’s select the best-looking … I mean … that is, the ones most suitable … oh wait, I mean ‘the best fit’ … yes, that’s right … the best fit for the job, and get you on your way.”

“Wait a minute. I’m not finished. Where’s the baby spinach?”

“Right here. It’s directly in front of you. We are now marketing it as ‘mini-spinach.’ I don’t think I have to explain which agency requested that change as a result of plummeting public perception.”

“Seriously? You people are nuts!”

“Ma’am! This is your last warning! I WILL have you ejected if you continue being disruptive. Your language borders on hate speech, and your intolerant attitude is completely incorrect for Today’s Market!”

“Okay, I apologize. I just need one more thing: southern pecans.”

“Sorry, but we don’t have them. The South no longer sends us their nuts, not that we care. We didn’t really want them here anyway, to be honest, especially the hard-shell ones. Now we are only importing Brazil nuts. Do you want some of those?”

“No!”

“Why not?”

“I HATE Brazil nuts!”

“SECURITY!”

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Hippocrats

Just an old “dropping” that struck me as somewhat timely . . .

Churchyard Chick Goes Free Range

You don’t know me.  My name is Ellie . . . Ellie Sapp . . . a friend of C. C.’s.  We met one day on the road; she zigged when she should have zagged and we literally bumped into each other.  We discovered we had a lot in common and have done a bit of traveling together.  She just calls me “E”.  You can too.  What’s that you say?  Where is C.C.?  I was getting to that.  She asked me to let you know that she is okay . . . lucky to be alive after her near-death experience . . . and “recooperating” (her spelling) at A Place of Quiet Rest Home for the Severely Traumatized.  I will try to relate to you as accurately as possible what she has been through.

Traveling alone one day last week, she came upon a large white building with lots of steps and columns…

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What If Road

I just received news that a friend is facing an illness, and I just felt like sharing this post again and asking that whoever reads it please send up a prayer for faith and strength for her in the days to come, along with a prayer for a positive outcome. Thank you and God bless you!

Churchyard Chick Goes Free Range

I took a wrong turn yesterday and ended up on What If Road.

In spite of the fact that I had made this exact same mistake before, I found myself lost again.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten my GPS, so I was on my own.  That’s never good.

My Driving Instructor has repeatedly encouraged me to travel only on the main road because He knows my sense of direction is so bad.  East and west, north and south — those are meaningless to me.  Sometimes I can discern direction by looking toward the Sun, but if it happens to be a cloudy day, I’m done for.

What makes it worse is that sometimes the highway signs have been turned sideways by pranksters or knocked completely over by vandals.  And sometimes the route numbers are so similar that it’s confusing.  My favorite is the one that claims to be north when it is…

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“Ladies, Start Your Lexuses!”

 Lexus of a Certain AgeLexus Still a LexusOne day last week we pulled into a parking space beside a white car.  Not to be racist . . . that’s just the only way I know to identify cars — by their color.  It was an old car . . . not to discriminate against the geriatric crowd . . . but, well, it WAS . . . shall we say “of a certain age” or “elderly” or “senior”?  What is appropriate currently?  At any rate, it was past its prime, and its “glory days” were a fond but distant memory.

I noticed that it had some battle scars and a damaged headlight.  But it was still running, as evidenced by the fact that it had left the house that morning.  It could still go places.  I had to glance at the interior.  The leather was worn and mottled, as leather tends to get with age.  But at least it was genuine!

Since I am unfamiliar with most makes of vehicles, I had to seek out its nametag.  And there it was, displayed proudly on the back:  Lexus!  Okay, no wonder it was still running.  It was quality.  This car may have been missing a body part or two, and its paint may have been faded, but hey . . . a Lexus is still a Lexus!

So, there you go.  No matter how scarred the body is, regardless of how worn the upholstery is, you are still going strong.  Why?  You are quality!  Wear your name with pride.  It is who you are.

Lovely Lady, be happy today, whatever your model.  You are a Lexus!

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Full Circle

stained glass window     Three years ago today Churchyard Chick began her zig-zag journey, not knowing where it would take her.  Because she often leaves the coop without a map, she sometimes becomes hopelessly lost on side roads and pig paths.  However, she learns valuable lessons that way.  What I shall call the first leg of her journey has been no exception.

Hurt and disillusioned by Sunday Smiles morphing into Monday Madness in the place she called her church, she ran away and hid for many moons.  She delighted in calling herself “free range.”  She spent many hours in worship and prayer and study on her own.  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).  Feeling very close to Him, she felt secure in her faith.

However, with the approach of Ash Wednesday, she began to feel the need to attend a place of worship once more.  She needed to gather with other believers on that day.   And thus began the search for a place of true worship.

To make a long story very short, she discovered that she did not quite fit in anywhere.  She was too conservative for the liberals and too liberal for the conservatives.  No doctrine seemed to have a place for the likes of her.  What to do?

One Sunday she and her husband attended a Lutheran church where they were asked three times whether they were confirmed Lutherans and informed, albeit very politely, that they would not be allowed to receive communion.  By this time, it didn’t even ruffle her feathers.  That was just their way.  It was on this day that she had an epiphany of sorts.

As the confirmed members of that group were receiving the elements, she thought about how God must be viewing the world-wide scene below.  So many different factions, so many different rules, so many different ways of worshiping.  But the core beliefs we all have in common.  What must He be thinking?  She had to smile.  Not to presume to know His mind, but could he be touched that at least we were all trying to show Him we cared and wanted to honor Him in our feeble, bungling ways?

As much as she spouted off about being “free range” and criticized “the church” for what it has become, there were certain times that she needed the anchor of corporate worship.  Eventually, she realized that the denomination from whence she came was probably the best fit for her after all.

Just as she had reached that conclusion, her husband accepted a position at another church, and so her days of wandering came to an end (in the physical sense).  That did not preclude her from continuing to go free range in her thoughts.  It still seemed like a viable option for those who were so inclined.

But then, she became a grandmother.  And in a flash, everything changed.  Suddenly, she wanted the promise that comes with infant baptism.  She wanted her grandson to have the nurture and, yes, love, that Sunday School teachers bring.  She longed for him to be surrounded by believers in Jesus Christ, even though flawed.  She wanted him to have a “church home.”

Suddenly she felt like a hypocrite with all this free range stuff.  Then she realized she had come full circle.  She had been hurt, and she had run away.  (How many others have done the same?)   Tradition had become an ugly word (even though we treasure other time-honored traditions in our families).   And, as always, she still had more questions than answers.  But she knew it was time to go home.   Even so, she would go home changed.  She could not deny the lessons she had learned in her zig-zag journey.  She had learned not to “worship” church or place so much emphasis on religion or tradition or ministers or rituals.  She would be careful to worship and trust Christ alone.  In this, she would always be free.

“The Church” is the Body of Christ, his followers, true believers.  They can be found in every denomination.  “Going to church” is indeed a misnomer.  Church is not a building or a service or a meeting.  Indeed, being the church is more important than being in church.

Today is my birthday; I am three years older and, hopefully, wiser, for my journey thus far.  And now, I just need to be careful not to walk around in that same circle!  There is more territory to explore.   Ever zigging . . . always zagging . . . the journey continues . . .

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Paula Deen Axed

Poor C.C.  I am beginning to think one of those C’s must stand for “clueless.”  You’ll understand when I tell you what happened.

I couldn’t wait to tell her the good news about Paula Deen’s firing from the Food Network.  She has never been a fan (i.e. “chicken fried chicken” and “chicken fried” . . . well, a lot of stuff . . . you get my drift).  Plus, she thinks her accent is “put-on.”  So, I just knew she would be thrilled to hear the news.

Sure enough, when I caught up with her this morning and told her about it, at first I saw a hint of a smile forming around that beak of hers.  Mostly, I could tell from her eyes that she was thinking, “Good enough for her!”

But then, she stopped in her tracks, turned around, and I could almost see those tiny wheels turning in that tiny head.  I have seen that look before, and it means trouble.  Questions!  I tried to go on around her, but it was too late.  I was caught!

First, of course, she wanted to know why Deen had gotten the axe.  No stranger to insulting terms herself (i.e. “chicken” in reference to ‘fraidy cats, “hen-pecked,” etc.), I was certain she would be satisfied with the answer.

The first thing she said was, “Oh, yes, that was wrong of her.  The N-word is very offensive.”

Thinking I was home free, I relaxed a bit.  But then, she stopped again (in the middle of the road she was trying to cross).  Something had dawned on her, so she started up again with questions.  One of her flaws is that she tries to make everything equate.  She told me this long tale about how, one night, she came across a crowd of people (I finally determined it was an audience) falling all over each other laughing at a guy (she described a black comedian) standing up in front using the N-word every other breath.  She kept trying to get me to explain how the same people can find the same exact word so funny AND so disrespectful.

I tried to explain context and situational right and wrong to her until I was blue in the face.  It was no use.  She just kept shaking her head in wonder that a word that has always made HER cringe, no matter who used it, could be a cause for hilarity to the very ones it denigrates in one setting and a cause for dismissal in another.  Her head is so thick.

She walked away muttering something about people getting the log out of their own eyes or something.  I don’t know what she was talking about.

Poor C. C.  She just doesn’t get it.

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Belle E. Phatt Refuses to Move

“Lance Wright here, folks, on the scene at the courthouse, where Ms. Belle E. Phatt is making her case for remaining on the property that she claims is rightfully hers.  Here she comes now . . . Ms. Phatt, could I get a statement?”

“All I have to say is, I done been here for over thirty years.  I got rights.  An’ I ain’t goin’ nowhere!  That pushy ol’ broad, Sixtie Three, she has got some nerve tryin’ to get rid of me.  Who does she think she is, anyway?”

“And she’s out of here . . . she’s headed over to where her friends are waiting.  What an animated conversation!  She’s making a “Z” in the air and telling them, ‘Oh no she di-uhnt!’  That must be in reference to a recent confrontation with Sixtie Three.  Oh my, I’m at a loss for words.  Let me see if I can find someone who can give us some background on this volatile situation.  Oh, I see my colleague, Ree Porter, who has been following this case closely.  Ree, can you give us some insight into these proceedings?”

“Sure, Lance, Sixtie Three (the president-elect of the Baby Boomer Property Owners Association) has brought a civil suit in which she claims that Belle E. Phatt’s lot is unsightly and poses a health threat to the neighborhood.  From time to time, the association has succeeded in reducing the size of her site by re-drawing the boundary lines.  In fact, she once agreed to decrease her boundary lines from the north, east and west, but never from the south.  But now, they want her gone altogether.  They want to evict her.  They maintain that she doesn’t pull her weight, and she contributes nothing to enhance the subdivision.  The judge is looking into it.  It seems that Belle E. Phatt maintains something like ‘squatter’s rights’ to a percentage of the property where she has resided since 1978.”

“Ree, what are Sixtie Three’s chances of getting her evicted?”

“Well, Lance, I’m told they are not very good despite the best efforts of her attorney, Will Power.  He has uncovered several facts that have forced her to agree to re-drawing her boundary lines, such as a prior ruling that Belle E. Phatt’s boundary lines should not exceed half the length of the subdivision, which does seem generous.  Although she has complied with that, the POA remains dissatisfied.  Their complaint reads, ‘She pays no dues or fees; she just sits there, smug, as if she owned the place.’  And one neighbor testified, ‘She just sits there, suckin’ up the goodies, while growing fatter every day.’ ”

“But Ree, doesn’t she in fact have ownership rights?”

“Yes, apparently she has been ‘grandmothered-in,’ as it were, even though she pays nothing and is a drain on everyone’s resources.  She has dug in and refuses to budge, no matter what!”

“Thanks, Ree, for that valuable insight.  Oh, here come those friends of Ms. Phatt.  Let’s see if they are willing to comment on camera.  Excuse me, could I get your names?”

“Certainly.  I am Ms. Arms, and this is my girlfriend, Ms. Chin.  And our commentary on the case is this:  We done won our cases.  She, and by ‘she’ I mean that pushy ol’ Sixtie Three, knows there ain’t nothin’ she can do to get rid of US.  I put a lot of sweat equity into my place, and Ms. Chin here, she just took gradual ownership; it just comes naturally if you hang around long enough.  That’s why she’s pickin’ on poor ol’ Ms. Phatt.  She knows she has to make one last-ditch effort to preserve her precious boundary lines in that middle area of the subdivision!  We ain’t violated no rules or committed no crimes.  We just staked our claims and hung on.  We was just smart enough to stand our ground when Sixty arrived on the scene.”

“Well, thanks, er . . . ladies.  I think we have a ruling.  Yes, here’s the decision:  ‘Belle E. Phatt has been granted a temporary restraining order against all those who would attempt to remove her from her domain, including Will Power and his client, Sixtie Three.  Since she has been ‘grandmothered-in,’ she does have the right of ownership.  Therefore, it is suggested that Sixtie Three cease and desist fretting about it while continuing to enforce the current boundary lines and keep a watchful eye for any health hazards on the property.  Any suspicious visitors should be reported to authorities in order to curtail their activities; these include Chol Esterol and Dia Betes, as these can cause serious disturbances that must be dealt with.  The judge suggests that the only thing to do for the time being is to landscape carefully by perhaps constructing a tent-like structure in front so as to camouflage the unsightly area.  Perhaps this will improve the overall appearance of the neighborhood.’  Well, folks, there you have it.  Oh, here comes Sixtie Three now.  Excuse me, what do you think of the judge’s ruling?”

“Well, it is apparent that the judge is sympathetic with our plight, but his hands are tied by this Grandmother clause.  Not to be outdone, we will form a committee to study the situation and determine whether there are any obscure laws or guidelines governing the current situation.  Perhaps we will discover at least one precedent we can use to our advantage in dislodging this unwelcome nuisance.  And rest assured, we will be watching her and the culprits that constantly try to help her expand her territory, those buddies of hers that she has affectionately nicknamed her “Taste Buds.”

“Well, I wish you luck.  Oh, I see Professor Smart, the archaeologist, headed this way.  I don’t think he was ever called as a witness, although he was prepared.  I wonder what he knows about that plot of ground.  Dr. Smart, could you shed some light on that mound that Belle E. Phatt calls home?  How did she get there in the first place, and why did she feel so entitled to settle in this particular spot?”

“Oh, yes, I would be happy to share my research.  No one wanted to hear it, apparently, because I was not ever called on to reveal what I consider to be the piece of evidence on which the entire case hinges.  The mound on which Belle E. Phatt resides is an ancient site of worship.  Her ancestors built it, and she is preserving it.  I actually have in my possession a stone from the area on which there is an inscription of great import.  I was surprised when I ran across it, as I had never seen such a statement before, but there it was, ‘in black and white,’ as they say.  Amazing revelation!”

“Oh?  Please . . . don’t keep us in suspense . . . what does it say?”

“Their god is their belly.”

(Source of inscription on Dr. Smart’s artifact:  Philippians 3:19)

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Will the Real Dad Please Stand Up?

Churchyard Chick Goes Free Range

One day a couple of angels were out walking the Time Line.  (Hey, it’s my blog — just go with it, okay?)  As angels usually do not need to worry about physical exercise, they were just taking a leisurely stroll, keeping their eyes peeled for any treasures they might find along the way.

As they were ambling through the Fifties, they spotted a canister containing film.  Intrigued, they picked it up to take back to The Cloud for viewing later that evening.  Walking a bit further, lo and behold, they saw something shiny in the grass.  You guessed it — a disc from the Twenty-first Century.  Wow!  This was their lucky day!

After ordering pizza, the two decided to rummage through their stash of vintage collectibles in order to find the devices they needed to watch their newly acquired entertainment.  There it was — the box containing that old projector and screen their buddies had told them they would never find a use…

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Churchyard Chick’s Narrow Escape from Pilgrim’s Pride

Early this morning, while gathering her thoughts, Churchyard Chick accidentally wandered onto the slaughtering floor of Pilgrim’s Pride.

Her feathers had become ruffled, and she became confused and disoriented as she tried to walk the path she had chosen for the day.  Having stumbled over some inscribed garden stones dropped by careless travelers, she began to slide backwards on the slope that led to “Pride” (code for the slaughterhouse).

She had been warned many, many times about allowing herself to become a victim of those garden stones on the pathway, the ones inscribed with well-meaning words (that somehow just end up sounding mean).  She had steeled herself with that old saying about others not being able to make you feel inferior without your permission.  (Did that come from Oprah?  She couldn’t remember.)  I guess that was good head knowledge, but it just couldn’t convince the heart.

Once she slid onto the slaughtering floor, she encountered the instruments of Pride that sought to bring her zig-zag journey to a quick end.  First she had to escape one called Self-Importance. Then she barely scooted away from another labeled Vindication.  Her final maneuver was to run as quickly as her little chicken legs would carry her away from the chopping block named Self-Interest.

Fortunately, the chick was able to escape from Pilgrim’s Pride this time, but she has much to learn.  Hopefully, she will continue her journey without tripping on those pesky garden stones inscribed with the words and actions of others.  Perhaps she will focus on the example of the One she claims to be following.

If she watches, the Good Shepherd will show her that the only important thing in life on earth is what is vital to the soul.  Everything else is just stuff we do while we are waiting to fly away.  If she remains focused on his directive to “make disciples”, rather than on her own feathers, maybe they won’t get so ruffled.

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DWTS

Dancing with the Stars.  I do enjoy that show!  I love the glamour, the judges, and the way the pro’s make the celebs look good.   It must have been a Monday or a Tuesday when I had my dream . . .

I was at an event where there was dancing.  A dark-haired, handsome young man approached and asked me to dance.  As he was leading me so effortlessly around the dance floor, I made a remark to which I expected no response.  He surprised me by looking directly at me and saying, “I would like to hear more about that.”

Stunned, I exclaimed, “Really?!  That would be great.”  I felt that he was genuinely interested in my thoughts.

He said yes and continued to lead me around the floor.  I felt light as a feather.  (I recall a time when I was a young teacher and the teachers were the cheerleaders at a pep rally.  The basketball coach, who was very tall and strong, lifted me up to sit on his shoulders as if I were a rag doll.  That’s how light I felt in my dream, in contrast to the heaviness of depression I had been experiencing the last few days.)  My “dream” dance partner and I moved as a unit, even though I was actually following every step under his firm, expert guidance and control.  He was making me look good.

When I woke up, I recalled the dream vividly, and it made me smile.  Later that day, “something” told me:  That was the Holy Spirit.  Well, that was startling, yet it made sense to me.  “So,” I thought, “maybe that’s what it means to be ‘led by the spirit’.”

Not following behind, trying to keep up or step in his footsteps, but “following” as in dancing, as a unit, in sync, having his attention and interest, being willingly guided and controlled, feeling light as a feather.  Gliding smoothly.  Yielding myself to his lead.

That was a few weeks ago, and since then, that image has come to mind on several occasions and encouraged me.  It has prompted me to think, “Let him lead.”  In a new and different way.  Not trudging along behind, but in his arms.  “Abiding.”  That makes me smile, lighten up, and relax a bit.

God uses “teachable moments”, doesn’t he?  He reaches us where we are and uses our interests to give us new insights.  Obviously, this analogy would not work for everyone.  But it works for me.

DWTS has taken on a new meaning:  Dancing with the Spirit!

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