Hooray for Evolution

Some people consider evolution a dirty word associated with Charles Darwin, about whom they know little. I never met a vocal anti-evolutionist who had read The Origin of Species or a serious account of Darwin’s life. I’m here to defend evolution, because I am evolving, undergoing gradual change. That’s all the word means.

Physically, I’m devolving. Ninety-one years will do that. Mentally and spiritually, I’m  growing and changing day by day, evolving.

The seeds of my evolution sprouted early. “A Kid’s-Eye View of the Bible” (new memoir book) tells about that. I’m slower of step when I walk to the store, but my mind is agile as ever when I hunt out the library. The mind doesn’t age, providing the brain remains sound same with the soul, our forever part. How do mind and soul relate? I’ll bring that up next time I coffee with the Sage of Juniata Street.

My  theology keeps devolving, growing simpler and simpler. I know much less than I used to. Once I had answers to questions not yet asked, and woe to those who disagreed with me. Then, from somewhere, the thought slipped in: What made me so cocksure I was right? The answer disturbed me. I had simply bought my tribe’s beliefs, equating them with Bible truth. One day I dared to sneak out my box and consider to the world beyond. I read books without our popes’ imprimatur (we had several). Fresh encounters jarred me from theological my footings and I found fresh air outside.

I not anchored my soul not in dogma but in Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. I swapped for-sures for what-ifs and rewrote my credo with Mystery heading the list. Utter reliance of the sovereign grace of Creator God comes second. My model: Jesus of Nazareth.  My kingdom assignment: the next person I meet.

But God did not whoosh me to my new life; it evolved over 91 years. And God did not whoosh the universe into its present form. It took shape step by step, following the Creator’s built-in plan. That’s what the Genesis story teaches.

Hooray for evolution, God’s modus operandi.

Old Grandpa Lloyd



Nostalgic Day

Garry Cropp phoned this morning from Lynchburg, Virginia.  We go back 50 years to a camp leaders’ conference in Talladega, Alabama, where I pulled extra duty.

I was heading for the opening session when a panicked leader grabbed me. “Lloyd, our speaker can’t get here. Could you do something?” You can’t say no to a desperate friend, so I came up with a story about a kid named Dave who lived in a small town not far from the big city. He had seven brothers; his old dad’s name was Mr. Jesse.  I proceeded to tell how Dave got his first slingshot and how he busted Mrs. Gilicuddy’s window and how his camp leader, Cap Levi, saved his skin. The story turned out pretty good. Garry, then a young camp leader, sat on the edge of his seat. He bought the cassette and practically memorized the story.

Our paths crossed several times through the years. About 1990 Lake Ellen Camp in Upper Michigan invited me to serve as interim director. Garry Cropp was on the short list for the director  job and got the call.. He led Lake Ellen for 15 years; did a great job. I worked with him parts of several seasons. Gary and his wife Shirlene blessed me.

Our phone conversation sent me to the Lake Ellen website and more remembering. Click on www.lakeellencamp.com; go to About Us and History. You’ll see boys and men at Flag Raising. I bought the old Army squad tent in the background and two more like it for Lake Ellen’s first camp week. Twenty-five years later I returned as interim director. Sensing a need, I founded the Lake Ellen Hunting, Fishing, Camping, & Literary Society to build Fort Brainerd Outpost. The Society triggered Bigfoot and the Michigamme Trolls, a collection of incredulous stories about real people; every word a true word.

Stories include Bigfoot (mystery), The Curse of the Cross-eyed Moose (romance); Evolution and Grandma Hoppola’s Fine Jersey Cow (science); and The Ablution of Tim McGreen (poetry). You have never read a book like it

Camping was my niche in life and writing. By the Campfire’s Rosy Glow, book three in the memoir series, will tell about that. www.lloydsstorytree.com contains segments.

Thanks, Garry, for 50 years of friendship and for a day of nostalgia.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Monstrous Clouds

In Florida the clouds are different. In Ohio the sky can be spectacularly clear, not a cloud anywhere. Not so in Florida, especially this time of year. Evaporation from the Atlantic supplies the moisture for abundant clouds that march westward across the state bringing thunder, lightning, and downpours before drifting out into the Gulf.

The sun heats the ground that heats the air which rises, pushing up huge cumulus clouds towering thousands of feet into the sky. This time of year whole horizons of monstrous clouds approach from the east on their way to the Gulf of Mexico. They look a bit foreboding to me, but no one else seems to notice.


This was the view from the observation deck at the Celery Fields a few days ago. Not many hours later this line passed over us accompanied by heavy rain, lightning, and booming thunder. All the while the sun kept on shining. A few minutes afterward I couldn’t tell that anything happened.

Young Grandpa Keith

Heavenly Days!

This world is not my home/ I’m just a passin’ through. That’s a good country tune but bad theology. This world is my home and will be for the foreseeable future. I like it here.

Some folks sit on the edge of their pews just waiting for Jesus to come. I had a good chat with him this morning. He will be not a whit more real the day he returns than he is this moment.  I love my present world, and plan to hang around a while, inconveniences of geezerhood notwithstanding.

This weekend will wrap up prep for How Do You Know that’s a Tooth?, my final print book. Son Kevin will insert photos, create the PDF, and fire if off to Arrow Printing. I’ve been working on that book all my life. It will close out my memoir series.

This afternoon I’ll meet new friends at a family get-together, librarian Norma’s family. Through the week I’ve enjoyed suppers with her niece Diane from Oklahoma. Sure, heaven will reunite us with old friends, but I take pleasure in earthly friends, and in being a friend.

Yes, the world’s a mess. Always has been; always will be. Getting worse, you say? Tell that to the holocaust victims who lived in German barracks Elsie and I visited. Ebola? Have you checked out the Black Plague? Religious killings? Try the Crusades.

There’s no new evil under the sun, and I’m making some progress easing the pain I cause in my small world.

The October-November issue of Duluth’s premier household magazine will share my world with its 25,000-plus readers. Check out www.thewomantoday.com. Flip through the pages. The next issue will include a Hole News reprint and kind words from publisher Pat Sherman. Pat and the Sage of Juniata Street occasionally allow me to sit in on coffees times.

Whatever heaven turns out to be, it will be better than what we have. Meanwhile, I’ll go on enjoying heavenly days on Earth.

Old Grandpa Lloyd


The Boardwalk not Taken

September is about the off-est of off season months in Florida. It is still very hot. Tourism is at it’s lowest ebb. It is yet a couple of months before snowbirds arrive in meaningful numbers. Bird photographers find the pickings slim. The rookery in Venice is quiet. The only one making a home there right now was a homeless person who found the covered picnic area a shady place to sleep and eat. I saw him there both times I stopped by.

DSC_4950 webThey used to grow celery in a marshy area east of Sarasota. Now it is a wetland preserve. Two boardwalks extend out into the well watered marsh. I took the one I had passed over last year when I visited and found it to be the better choice. this time of year there was little wildlife except for song birds and dragon flies. In the hour I spent on the observation deck with only my camera and walk around lens I was rewarded with one flyby Great Egret and a not often seen Limpkin.

Great Egret Limpkin

Lipmkins are kin to herons but have shorter necks and forage among water plants for snails, their favorite food. After playing peekaboo with me from the reeds for a half hour this one waded into the clear area and posed. Next time I come I’ll bring a longer lens.

Young Grandpa Keith

Solving World Needs

Busy, good days at Woodland Garden. New friends, new pursuits (watercolor workshop), and finishing touches on book six in the memoir series. I’ll post the cover soon and tell you how can get a copy and help distribute my final print book, How Do You Know that’s a Tooth?.

Will you join me in helping a friend probe her future and invest several months in a desperate part of the world? Emily Peterson’s recent visit with a friend in Jordan opened her heart to life-and-death needs in the troubled Middle East. She holds a surgical technology degree.  Jordan swarms with hurting Syrian refugees. Emily is an exceptional young woman, granddaughter to Lois and Roger Green. Roger was one of the best friends I ever had. She will serve under Pioneer International (www.pioneers.org), a worldwide agency. A little from many can lift her load.  Email: emmy450 at yahoo.com.  218-349-0853.

Last Saturday’s four-hour philosophy session with the Sage of Juniata Street at Dunn Bros. Coffee Shop solved most of the world’s problems, if only the world would listen. We’ll hold our next session at Sunshine Café, reopened after a six-month hiatus while Young A recovered from an injury. Northlanders, feel free to join us. Share your wisdom and meet my friends Norma and Clyde. Watch the Hole News for day and time.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

300 Words or Less

Writing is like preaching; it takes a developed ego to do either. Having done some of each, I take claims of humility with a grain of salt from preachers and writers. We profess surprise at any popularity we come by, even as we bask in the pleasure of it.

Preachers and writers say a lot about themselves, a longstanding tradition. Thoreau explains; I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Still, readers and listeners deserve more than self adulation from sermons or Hole News posts.

I tackle the problem by setting a three hundred word limit per Hole News post. My musings begin as 500 or more words of imprecise verbiage. Then I go back and cut out the excess. It is incredible how many words I thought were necessary to make a point or complete a story. I strike whole paragraphs; sometimes half of two and merge the remnants. Then go the adjectives and adverbs. Most are superfluous. My rule is that if it doesn’t matter, strike it. No matter how ruthless I thought I was, I don’t believe I have ever reread any post without finding another modifier to eliminate.

In this I strive to be more precise and take up less of your time. Should it still be all about me, my point vague, or the story frivolous, at least you haven’t wasted more than a minute or so on it. And had I left the 200+ additional words this post originally contained, it is not likely you would have read to this point, the 271st word according to the tally kept by the computer’s counter.

Briefly yours,
Young Grandpa Keith

(Formerly) Sleepless in Sarasota

Old Grandpa Lloyd is not the only one with holes in the night filled with reading or writing. I’ve had the same for years and it is more so as I get older. In my Ohio digs if I am sleepless in bed I switch to my recliner for a couple hours of pleasant reading and snoozing. I then return to my bed until a more appropriate time to get up.

In Sarasota I had no sleep-able alternative to the bed. There is a rocker on the lanai, but this time of year it’s nearly 80 degrees overnight with 100% humidity. No northerner can sleep in that. Other sit-able furniture accommodates people of all sizes but mine. Lacking an alternative I tossed and turned between bathroom trips, sleeping only in snatches, until about 4 AM I when I finally slept an uninterrupted 2 or 3 hours.

On Labor Day La-Z-Boy had a sale (up to 60% off!). I and one other customer attended. A sales force of a dozen vied for my patronage. By denying eye contact I escaped ensnarement and browsed alone for chairs on sale. I settled for one of the cheaper recliners that fit me and also professed to be 40% off. I gave my business to the salesman who had overridden my avoidance technique to offer assistance, added the cost to my credit card, and arranged for the soonest possible delivery. The chair arrived Wednesday, 20 minutes earlier than promised, and now I am no longer sleepless in Sarasota.

Young Grandpa Keith

Sad/Sweet Memorial

On August 24 I reported the stroke that threatened high school sweetheart Barb’s life. She died August 27. We held a sad/sweet farewell at Chris Jensen Health Care September 4. The theme: God Leads His Dear Children Along. The text: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He leadeth me…”

Kevin’s songs and my reflections revolved around that theme, noting the mosaic of providence that enriched Barb’s life and mine for five brief years, touching other lives as well.

God supplies all our needs. The holds even for two antique persons climbing their final hill together. If you think all this geezer talk rather silly, just wait until you get old.

Notes for Northlanders: Young A emailed word that Sunshine Café has reopened. Soon as I can spring the Sage of Juniata Street from his busy schedule, we’ll be there. It’s a fun, down-home eatery. Beware: the lemon merengue pie is addictive. 5719 Grand Ave, Duluth. 218-624-7013

Sunday evening, November 9, 6:30. Emmanuel Baptist, 1505 Eklund Ave., Duluth Heights. Camp Meeting Sing featuring Emmanuel Country Singers and Musicians, including Grandpa Lloyd’s front porch harmonica. Kevin Mattson and his 12-string will lead. We’ll introduce the final book in the Wordshed memoir series: How Do You Know That’s a Tooth?. A signed copy for every family present.  Coffee, punch, and goodies, of course. Invite a friend.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

My new home phone: 218-409-9034. Best contact: 520-309-0178 (cell).

Who Needs Doctors?

Somewhere recently I came across a facsimile edition of Sears catalog from the early 1900’s. It was entertaining to browse. Particularly interesting was the selection of medical and health related items. Trusses for hernias were good sellers judging by how many different ones Sears offered. They sold batteries to wear close to your body. The electrical field radiating from them warded off ailments and cured the ones you had. There were pills, powders, and tonics guaranteed to do the same, none of which had passed muster with the FDA if there was one then.

I smile at of the naivety of my great grandparents. How gullible they were to think some wonder tonic could be as efficacious as claimed. But, give a listen to late night or Sunday morning television and you will discover that, while trusses have mostly given way to surgical repair, wonder tonics and pills abound. Now they are called products or supplements containing the extracts of plants that grow only in a remote part of Borneo where the natives all live to be a hundred and never get sick.

Doctors don’t want me to know about these products because they and their cohorts, the pharmaceutical companies, would go out of business. After all, they have vested interests in me being sick, and by taking supplements I will hardly ever need a doctor or a prescription. The supplement people, of course, have only the purest of motives.

Young Grandpa Keith