I am a remarkably blessed man, even though I spend a lot of — or, in fact, way too much —time whining about physical maladies that I really can’t do much about beyond old-fashioned grinning and bearing them. So, throughout the rest of the holiday season, it is my sincerest intention to stay off the pity pot and count a few blessings.
Chief among those blessings are my friends, and I have more of those than anyone else I know, except my pal, Fred Beste, who resides there in scrapple central, better known as Wind Gap, Pa. Indeed, I could probably spend the rest of this column enumerating the close relationships I have with a host of friends that I would not even know if Fred had not first introduced me to them.
For example, had it not been for Fred, I would not know Bob Kennedy who lives in Annapolis, Md. Bob now feels as at home in my place as he does in his own. Loretta thinks Bob hung the moon, and the feeling is mutual. If I didn’t know Bob, I would not have tasted arguably the finest fruit cake on the planet.
Bob prepares said fruitcake around this time of year and sends it to me through the mail. We have a jumbo mail box, necessitated by my host of friends, and one day last week my old Chocolate Lab commenced barking treed. Hershey, like most Labs, is not normally a treeing dog but there he was, both paws upon our mail box post, barking his head off. It was earlier in the day than the mail normally runs so my first thought was that some critter must have found a way to get inside the box and Hershey was concerned about its welfare. I call Hershey my “watch dog” because normally he would watch rabbits and coons destroy my garden without so much as whimpering.
Anyway, I hastily hobbled out to the post and cautiously opened up the box. A shipping container was stuffed inside it so tightly that I had to use both hands, and considerable effort, to extract it, whereupon I found an Annapolis return address. I immediately realized that Hersh had treed Bob’s fruitcake and wanted his fair share. For over a week now, Loretta and I have had slices of fruitcake with our morning coffee and I have shared a few crumbs I would normally have devoured myself with my dog. He is getting up in years and I figure his treeing effort should not go unrewarded.
One day later, I was upstairs and I heard Hershey’s greeting bark simultaneous with a rapping on my front door. I got downstairs and opened the door just in time to see my buddy Grant Robinsons’ pickup rapidly tooling in the distance down Charlie Brown Road. On our front porch table sat three boxes containing, respectively, white sweet potatoes, white turnips and six large heads of cabbage that came from Grant’s fall garden located there on the Druid Plateau in Northern Garrard County. This will be the first time in my life that I have made sour kraut in December.
I realize that I am being exclusive here, but I have yet to send prompt thank you notes to Bob and Grant so I decided to do it publicly. Thank you, guys!
I owe the same to several other folks who I will get to over the next few weeks. Please bear with me. In the meantime, please know that I am especially blessed.