Monday, January 17, 2011

Surprise Request

It's not unusual for people to hit me up with questions about the book I wrote and published. The questions are fun to answer. Once and awhile, I get a request that surprises me. Last week I was contacted by a school teacher who wanted to help a student attempt to write and publish a story. Easy enough to deal with but here's the deal: The student had been driving a car earlier this fall and was involved in a car wreck. Sadly a sibling was thrown from the car and killed. No surprise that this young person is dealing with a great deal of emotional pain. It was the hope of this teacher that writing about this experience would help her student work through the grief. Wow.

I did my best but felt my efforts were pretty humble compared to those of this special teacher.

Hope, hope, hope things go well and that the pain of loss turns into something a little better.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Signings

Sept. 29th at The Pudgy Pumpkin Patch Store, Red Oak, 10am -2pm
( located on the east side of the square, Red Oak)

Sept. 30th at The Pudgy Pumpkin Patch Store, Red Oak, 4-7pm with Wabash Wine Co.

Oct. 2 at Arts and Crafts Show, Storm Lake St. Mary's School Gym, 8:30am - 3:30pm

Oct. 5 at Barnes and Noble, "Meet the Author Night" 4550 University, DM at 7pm

Oct. 9 at Le Collage, Bridges of Madison County Festival, Winterset, 11am -2pm
(the Le Collage Store is located on the east side of the square, Winterset)

Oct. 10 at Le Collage, Bridges of Madison County Festival, Winterset, 11am -2pm

These are a lot of fun! Stop in if you're in the neighborhood, thanks Bill

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dinner Party

I invited the cows to a dinner party, but they only ate the salad!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Using Health Care to Solve the Energy Crisis

Alright, you all know the drill. You show up at the doctor's office at a specific place and time, not wanting to be late because we all know how important a doctor's time is. You fill out a 99 page questionnaire covering your past, present and future health issues, then you are politely escorted to a small white room and as the nurse closes the door she makes some vague promise about the doctor being "right with you". Then you sit there, the minutes turning into hours waiting for the footsteps, a light tap on the door, some sound, anything to make you believe that someone will come, sometime.

And there isn't much to look at in this small room either. Besides the tube of lubricant, the box of latex gloves and the chart on the wall which shows the entire internal workings of your body(and you stare at that and then wonder how doctors sleep at night, what they dream about etc, but that's another subject).

Here's my idea. If we're going to be there alone for long periods of time, why not give us something constructive to do while we wait? How about equipping each room with exercise bikes that are built to generate electricity while you peddle them? Folks, think of the hundreds of thousands of patients peddling away on the bicycles, generating millions of kilowatts of energy. Surely there would be enough electricity generated to power each entire hospital and one or two convenience stores right down the street. And, as an added bonus, everyone would lose a pound or two in the process. Now, this would just have to drive down the cost of health care!

Oh, but you say, Bill, what about those poor souls whose physical ailments or disabilities prevent them from riding an exercise bike? Hey, how about electrical generating treadmills and wheel chairs? The possibilities are endless. You have to admit that this plan has a better chance of success than the one the government if offering.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Piano Duet

We had the great privilege of visiting Lindsay's home over the weekend along with several other guests. Needless to say, every available sleeping spot was taken and well, I'll get right to it, a few of these folks seemed to be professional "snorers". Not me, mind you(remember this is my blog and I reserve the right to lie whenever I want) and it wasn't annoying, more comical then anything else, but it did remind me of the one time in my life I did have a bit of an awkward moment with snoring.

It was a cold winter day and I'd gotten out real early to cut firewood since we were almost out and at the time that was our sole source of heating. During the process of chainsawing trees, I got a nasty wood chip up in my eye and ended up at the doctor's office later that morning. He managed to remedy the situation but I'd scratched something in my eye so he sent me home with some pain killer, apparently pretty strong stuff.

I remember Mary saying she had to take the kids somewhere and that I was to let someone in the house but that duty quickly was forgotten as the pain killer kicked in and I fell asleep on the couch. Picture me sitting on the couch with my head flopped over the back of it and then picture me snoring so loudly that I actually woke myself up. Woke myself up to hear a strange noise right behind me, a tink, tink, tink sort of a noise. Slowly I turned around and saw a man, a piano tuner, setting on the piano bench not three feet behind the couch. And it wouldn't have been so embarrassing if the man had smiled or kidded me a little, no, he just kept on gently tapping his finger on that keyboard, trying to find some special sound. Could it be that my previous concerto was throwing off his pitch?

Warning, do not believe any replies made about my snoring that may come about as a result of reading this blog, especially those from family members. They are all untrue!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One of Many Wild Cow Stories

One of my daughters was relating a story about a wild cow they were having trouble with and it reminded me of the ultimate "wild cow" we owned one time years ago.

When you are young and poor you are willing to take a chance now and then and I was visiting local sale barns trying to buy "short term" cows to calve one time, then sell both them and their calves the following fall. These cows were usually short toothed, late calvers or had a disposition problem. I spotted one in the Corning sale barn that managed to have all three of these qualities. Bidding on her started at $650 with no takers as she chased everybody out of the sale barn ring. When the bidding got down to $450, I just couldn't help myself and hauled the "she devil" home. Turning her out in our calving pasture at home, I assumed she would quiet down a little bit while mingling with the other cows, thinking to myself this cow was getting better looking all the time, financially.

Well the next morning she wasn't "better looking", she was just plain gone. Fortunately, it had rained that evening and I was able to track her. Three hours later and having traveled over 4 miles I found her standing by herself in somebody else's pasture. Upon closer inspection, she attempted to have me for lunch and that would set the tone for the rest of the day. My poor wife got caught up in the many attempts at catching the cow and running for our lives(which were at that time apparently worth $450.00). Anyway, I eventually discovered that there was one spot the cow loved to chase me through and we set up a portable corral there. We did get her into our trailer where she stayed for a week until she settled down. Later she went on to have a nice calf and we sold the pair in the fall for a good profit. Would I do it again? No!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Only on the Beaman Farm

We left for a short trip with friends last night to pay respects to one who'd passed. We were able to slip away because our son, after work, came home and baled 45 big round bales. And he was able to do it fairly easily given the machinery we now have to work with. Not like the old days and that reminded me of a past haying story.

I'm guessing it was either the summer of '83 or '84. Mary and I were out baling square bales with me loading, Mary driving. We filled up one load and left it parked at the bottom of the long hillside we were baling. Just finishing the second load near the top of the hill, I stepped off and unhooked the rack from the baler as she was still driving the tractor and baler along in preparation of hooking onto the third rack. The loaded rack I unhooked started rolling backwards on its own, but no problem, I just employed by tried and true method of stepping on the tongue until the rack came to a stop. It did not. Then it became a situation of waiting and watching, there was nothing else to do but cuss. The rack started off slowly, picking up speed as it took a winding route down the hill where you may remember, I said we'd parked the first loaded wagon. Traveling a distance of many football fields in this winding arc, the runaway wagon crashed into the only other object in the field, the other loaded hay rack, hitting it hard enough to knock all the bales off the front half of the rack onto the ground. And although, we now had to reload the first rack, there were no injuries sustained from this mishap, well not counting the injuries sustained by Mary as she lay on the ground laughing.