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Blue Spider's Coffee House

Truth, Love, Beauty and all things Virtuous

Month

August 2017

Red Clover, Goldenrod and Prairie Mimosa

Man, George could never catch a break. The morning of October 28th, 1855 started out like any other day. George Elisha King, a young 27-year-old father, who had already seen a lot of heartache in his short life, was enjoying a peaceful autumn morning surveying his new homestead along the White River, south of present-day Seattle.

In a short span of time, the star-crossed George had been married twice, divorced once, buried two children and three younger siblings while trekking the Oregon-California Trail to Utah twice. His final trek had begun in Iowa mid-May 1854. George, Mary Susan Kinsley King and their little family arrived in Utah sometime in 1855. But soon after, the restless George bid farewell to his parents and headed off for Fort Hall in hopes of settling down in the northwestern coastal region of Washington Territory. George and Mary arrived in July and quickly purchased land. It appeared things were calming down in George’s life.

George came in from the brisk morning air with an armful of wood, as Mary prepared corn bread and cracked some boiled eggs. George, Mary, five-year old George Alma, and their baby Mary Susan sat down to their breakfast with little George praying over the food. No sooner had they begun to eat when they heard shots fired and a whoopin’ and a hollerin’ outside of their little cabin. Surrounded by White River Native Americans (most likely belonging to the Duwamish tribe), the Kings were trapped. What happened next is unclear, but it didn’t end well for the King family. Mrs. King’s body was found cut open with one breast cut off, and Mr. King was found burned to death. Their two children were kidnapped during the raid.

The youngest child, Mary Susan, was never found, but George Alma King was brought to Fort Steilacoom the following Spring. Reportedly, he had been well cared for by an older Indian named “Spoon Bill” — a nickname he never cared much for. Under the guardianship of family, George Alma returned to life on the east coast, but lived a short life, dying single at the young age of 25 on January 1, 1875 in the New Haven area of Connecticut.

Hell on Earth

 “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven, yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell on earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be cured against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reach the age of reason or those who never will: to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” —C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock.

 Three Gates

If you are tempted to reveal
A tale to you someone has told
About another, make it pass,
Before you speak, three gates of gold.
These narrow gates: First, “Is it true?”
Then, “Is it needful?” In your mind
Give truthful answer. And the next
Is last and narrowest, “Is it kind?”
And if to reach your lips at last
It passes through these gateways three,
Then you may tell the tale, nor fear
What the result of speech may be.
—Arabian Saying

All My Ships Are Out At Sea

I’ve learned over time that one of the worst things you can do as a manager is compare supervising your co-workers to raising kids. They go ape over the comparison, even though, truth be told, there are a lot of similarities.

 

When I made this observation during a recent meeting, Brenda in Accounting was one of those who took offence to the comparison. Not quite understanding where she was coming from, I tried to calm her down by telling her not to worry she’s in good hands because my kids turned out just fine. That seemed to only make the situation worse. After some mediation and a thousand pardons, we did in fact get past the incident and I now know that deep-down inside Brenda’s a good kid.

A Baker’s Dozen

In the year 1655 on December’s last day, a Dutch baker was working late selling New Year’s cookies. As he was about to shut up shop an uncommonly ugly old woman thrust her way in, demanding a dozen of the special cookies bearing an effigy of Saint Nick.

As the baker handed her the bag of cookies, she said crossly: “One more cookie: I said a dozen.” “You have a dozen,” said the baker. “One more cookie said the ugly old woman, “One more than 12 makes a dozen.”

The baker grabbed her by the shoulder and pushed her to the door. “You may go to the Devil for another cookie!” he shouted. “You won’t get it here.”

In the days and months that followed, mysterious bad luck came to the little bakery in Beverwyck. Bread rose to the ceiling or fell flat like a pancake. Cookies and money seem to be snatched up by invisible hands. Even the handsome brick oven collapsed. The stubborn Dutchman began to wonder whether supernatural powers were not at work.

“Holy Saint Nicholas, what shall I do?” As he spoke these words, Saint Nicholas appeared and told the baker that his troubles could be resolved if had the spirit that the holidays demand.  No sooner had the figure of the saint vanished than the uncommonly ugly old woman appeared demanding a dozen cookies. Posthaste, the baker counted 13 cookies, presenting the bag to her with a bow and a “Happy New Year!”

“The spell is broken”, the witch told the baker, “Now swear to me on the likeness of Saint Nicholas that hereafter in Beverwyck and all the patroonship of Van Rensselaer that 13 will make a baker’s dozen. The baker took the oath and from that day on even down to this day when you say a baker’s dozen you mean 13.

Music Picks

  1. Cousin Dupree–Steely Dan
  2. Pines of Rome (Pini Di Romo)—Respighi
  3. If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will)—George Jones
  4. In the Blood—John Mayer
  5. Forearm Shiver—Sam Spence

Everybody Worships

My wife and I took a quick trip to Santa Cruz this past weekend and got a chance to visit the Beach Boardwalk.  As we were walking back from the pier, we noticed a young man, somewhere between 25-30, with dirty dreadlocks making a sand sculpture that spelled out C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I.

We wanted to take a picture but noticed that he had written into the sand sculpture the request that people “ask B4 pic”. The skeptical part of me thought this was a gimmick to get donations.

But we felt like the risk was minimal and so I gave my wife a couple of dollars and she asked if she could take a picture of the sand sculpture and also asked him if he would like to be in picture too.

He told my wife no, but then the little kibitzer went on to tell her that he didn’t want his soul to travel around the world while he was in California. The young man also pointed out that while he is a human, the sculpture was part of the beach and therefore part of the world. It was okay for the sculpture to be shared with the world, but not his soul.  

I have to admit I am a sap for philosophy and spent most of the day trying to figure out whether what he said was profound or half-baked. I finally came to the conclusion, of my own free will, that what he said for the most part was half-baked, EXCEPT for the idea that there is a need to protect your soul. He was onto something with that tidbit of street insight, and I’ll take wisdom from wherever I can get it. 

Doing the Hard Time

Living among and with differences is what makes our world so beautiful. It’s how God intended it to be—spirit and body, pleasure and pain, joy and sadness, life and death. Living with differences is this life. It’s core to God’s plan in helping us to become who He intends us to become. It’s how we live and learn. And we all know that isn’t always easy to do.”

Family Recipes

My favorite meal during timeout as a kid was Barley Gruel. This is the old family recipe:

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 teaspoons barley flour
  • cold water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix barley flour with cold water to form a thin paste. Add to boiling water, and boil fifteen minutes; then add milk, season, reheat, and strain. Put kid in timeout and serve.

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