A Synopsis of “The Textfile”

The story begins with eighteen-year-old Anna Ryan riding home from school on her bicycle. The church she attends forbids its members from driving mechanized vehicles or getting a driver’s license, watching or owning a television set, or using cell phones. She is supposed to go home and get ready for youth service, but instead, stops at a local bar and grill and enters. She sits in a booth and looks around the room. Soon, she notices a young man. He is sitting at the bar sipping on bottles of Budweiser and eating peanuts.

Anna is attracted to him though she can only see him from behind.

To get his attention, she pretends to sneeze.

The young man looks at her and says, ‘God bless you.’

Anna replies, ‘Aww thanks.’

He begins to sip his beer again but then does a double-take. He’s very much attracted to her and begins to stare. She smiles at him and he blushes then looks away.

Anna pretends to sneeze again and the young man says, ‘God save you!

Anna replies ‘Thanks. It must be all the dust from these peanut shells that’s stirring up my allergies.’

He tells her that she has a cute sneeze and then asks to come and sit with her.

She accepts.

The young man remarks that he’d never seen her in this place before and that he comes here every afternoon to kill a few beers.

Anna confesses that it’s her first time there and he says how he hopes it’s not her last. He then tells her his name: Grayson Thomas.

Anna introduces herself as well, to which Grayson said how he didn’t know there were any Ryans in the town of Melody.

Anna explains that her family keeps to themselves and only associates with those at her church, which is a fragmented, mixed-race church with doctrine similar to the UPCI.

With slight irritation, Grayson remarks, ‘Oh, jee whiz, I’ve heard all about them. Your parents would probably beat the hell out of you and press charges on me if they knew we were talking right now.’

Anna explains that they would indeed beat her, but they cannot press charges on him because he’s a legal adult.

Grayson then wants to know what she is doing later that evening. Anna explains that she has youth service. Grayson tries to talk her into hanging out with him instead.

Anna says if her parents would find out they would be livid and beat the daylights out of her.

Grayson then asks her a very piercing question, “Are you happy? Do your parents really make you happy? Does that insane church make you happy?”

There’s a silence, but then Anna replies, ‘No-I am not happy at all. I am miserable. My parents only allow me to go to church and school. They beat me sometimes for a yes or a no. People at school make fun of me because of the way the church forces me to dress.’

Grayson then asks her, ‘Do you think I could make you happy? I definitely think you could make me happy, in my twenty-two years on this earth, I’ve never beheld anyone as beautiful as you!’

Anna says that it would be worth a shot.

They continue talking and getting to know each other better. Anna says how she wants to be a writer, and she does actually write but her parents would be furious if they knew exactly what she wrote, they would destroy every copy and then, of course, beat the daylights out of her.

Grayson suggests that she press charges on them.

Anna says that she would go to hell for not honoring her parents.

Grayson explains that the law is not a guide to save yourself, but rather proof that you cannot save yourself.

Anna says how she likes the way he preaches, and never thought she would hear those words coming out of his mouth because he was drinking beer. She also says how she wants to know him better as well.

Grayson explains that he is a mechanic for the Melody City Dockyard and works the 6 AM to 2 PM weekday shift. He also says how he has a cabin on his mother’s property, where he stays. He finally says that he’s been wanting someone for a long time.

Anna said she would gladly be that someone but she just has to get away from her parents.

Grayson holds Anna’s hands and says, ‘You just let me know if you need any help with that.’

His G-Shock then beeps indicating Four PM.

Anna says how she has to get ready for youth service.

Grayson convinces her to spend time with him instead.

Anna agrees and says she’ll meet him back at the bar and grill around Seven PM.

Grayson drinks several glasses of Wild Cherry Pepsi to help sober him up.

He pulls out his smartphone and searches for the church Anna attends. He finds their web page and learns the doctrines of how they are forbidden from driving, watching television, or owning a cell phone. He also read how church members were forbidden to associate with non-church members.

Anna arrives home and is sternly reminded of youth service, by her parents Sean and Janice Ryan.

After an exchange of words, she goes bathe and imagines the night she will share with Grayson.

Her mother bangs on the bathroom door and tells her that God can see everything she does, especially behind closed doors.

She then got dressed and mounted her bicycle and pretended to go to youth service. Her dad squeezed her arm and said for her not to embarrass him at the service.

She drives secretly back to the bar and grill, runs up into Grayson’s arms, wrapping her legs around him.

Grayson pays off his tab, then they leave the bar. Anna puts her bicycle in the bed of his truck then they ride to his cabin. Grayson lets Anna drive his truck in the fields on his mother’s property as the sun goes down.

He then escorts her out of his truck by the light of his Pelican 1920 penlight.

They then walk into his cabin and dance in the kitchen to music on Pandora for an hour or so.

Afterward, they go on his balcony and Grayson says how he comes here to drink beer or whiskey and contemplate life.

Anna says how she could be inspired to write all kinds of things because it’s so beautiful.

Grayson says how ‘it’s nowhere near as beautiful as you, Anna!’

They then share a kiss and begin to pet each other when Grayson’s G-Shock beeps again, indicating Ten O’Clock.

Anna says how she has to get back home before her parents become livid.

Grayson writes down his house and cell numbers on a piece of paper and says how he knows all about her church and how they forbid cell phones, but to call him whenever she can.

Anna hides the paper in her brassiere, and says, with a distressed giggle, ‘It’s close to my heart, just like where I want you to be.’

Grayson then drives Anna to her parents’ trailer, all too quickly arriving.

Anna says, ‘I know you want to get the door for me and let me out, but it’s not safe here if you’re an outsider.’

Grayson replies, ‘I understand. May I at least give you a good night kiss?’

Passionately, Anna tells him, ‘Of course, Grayson! Just so you know, I’ll take that kiss to bed with me!’

Their lips meet one final time, then Anna takes her bicycle out of the truck bed and goes inside.

Grayson drives back to his cabin, drinks a few shots of Crown Royal put his phone on to charge, then goes to bed.

Anna walks into her parents’ trailer and her dad, with a belt in hand, confronts her about not going to youth service. He tells her the pastor, Brother Darryl, called him and said she didn’t attend.

At first, Anna tries to keep silent, but her dad strikes her with his belt several times.

She then says how she’s eighteen now and it’s none of his business, to which he beats her even more.

Her mother comes out of the bedroom, smacks her across the face, then says, ‘It is our business, the church’s business, and most importantly God’s business and always will be. Now answer us!’

Anna still keeps silent.

Her mother takes a claw hammer from the kitchen drawer and threatens to knock Anna’s teeth out with it.

Anna breaks down and confesses about how she spent the evening with a young man and how’s he’s so much better than the young men at her church. She goes on to say that while they were indeed alone together, he never took advantage of her and she does have feelings for him.

Her mother flings the hammer at her toes, then says how her feelings are sinful energies, brought on by evil forces.

Anna boldly states, ‘No, they feel very right and natural. You and dad have no affection in your relationship, whatsoever. You never kiss, you never touch, you never speak any romantic words to each other. I don’t want to be subjected to such a cold marriage like that and if I marry one of the men at church, that’s exactly what will happen to me.’

Her dad slams her to the ground and says, “You have invited so much sin into your life, you’re driving and dancing, which is absolutely forbidden, and now you’re attacking your me and your mother’s marriage just because you never see us behaving lewdly in front anyone! This is all because you are very rebellious and always have been. I tell you, it is going to stop right now if you know what is good for you!”

He then tells her to go to bed because she has school.

The next morning, Grayson gets up and prepares for work.

Anna too gets ready for school, then rides her bicycle there arriving early.

At around seven-thirty in the morning, Anna goes to the student office and asks Mrs. Barabara McGregor if she could use the phone.

Mrs. Barabara agrees and Anna calls Grayson’s cell number.

Grayson takes a coffee break to talk with her.

Anna tells all that her parents did her last night and Grayson suggests once again that she press charges.

Anna then says God would punish her if she did.

Grayson says how parents aren’t supposed to provoke their children to wrath and they obviously do, because they are trying to keep her from being happy. Grayson then asks if he even makes her happy.

Anna says that he definitely does.

Grayson says that she makes him happy too and that he was lonely before her and uses alcohol to temper the sting of loneliness.

They continue to talk and flirt on the phone until Grayson’s coffee break comes to an end and other students need to use the phone.

Anna goes to a secluded area on the school campus, then fantasizes about Grayson, lapsing into a trance until the bell rings.

Meanwhile, Grayson is assigned two forklifts to repair, with a little assistance from the foreman, Mr. Jed McGregor. He works until Noon, then goes to eat lunch.

At lunch his mom, Kathy Thomas calls him over Skype wondering why he didn’t come to dinner the previous night. Grayson tells her about Anna, then explains her background. Kathy warns him about the people of Anna’s church, Grayson pulls out his Snap-On pocket knife and says, “Wait, let them try something.” Kathy warns that he would go to pen. Grayson states that Anna is worth it. Kathy says she wants to meet Anna, then goes back to work. Grayson finishes his lunch, then clocks back in.

Jed McGregor has him do a tune-up on the dockside truck as the last assignment of the day and comments how he notices Grayson is in a better mood than usual. Grayson tells him too about Anna and the whole situation. Jed says how he and his wife will pray for them. Jed McGregor and Barbara McGregor are married if you haven’t guessed that already.

Grayson does the work on the dockside truck and soon enough has it running. He drives it to the docks and tells the dock foreman how it is fixed.

Grayson then clocks out and heads home suppressing the urge to drink alcohol, since Anna might call him.

Anna is sitting in English, the last class of the day, studying the works of George Gordon Byron. She thinks of how her parents would be furious if they knew about these works, but also thinks of the previous night on the balcony with Grayson. The teacher goes on to talk about Byron’s scandalous life and early death. Anna begins to feel nervous wondering if she will die for what she is told is rebellion. However, she knows her feelings for Grayson are valid and genuine.

Finally, the dismissal bell blares and Anna goes down to the office to call Grayson. Anna asks him to pick her up from school, to which he agrees.

Mrs. Barbara asks Anna if she is serious about whomever she is talking to on the phone. Anna says how she hopes it is. Mrs. Barbara asks, “What’s his name?” Anna says “Grayson Thomas.”

Mrs. Barbara goes on to say how he works under her husband and she’s heard many good things about him except how he’s lonely and not to break his heart. Anna says how she’d never dream about it. Mrs. Barbara asks if Anna is eighteen yet. Anna says she is. Mrs. Barbara goes on to say how that’s good because if she wasn’t Grayson would be in a world of trouble [with the law.] Anna says she’s more worried about what her church members would do. Mrs. Barbara says she and her husband will pray for her and to go wait outside for him.

Anna goes out to the bicycle rack just as Grayson is pulling up in his truck. He parks his truck then gets out and they kiss with passion until the SRO makes them stop. Anna unlocks her bicycle [and puts it in the truck bed], then Grayson opens the door for her and she gets in. Grayson then gets in on the driver’s side and they leave.

As they are driving, Grayson talks Anna into secretly getting a smartphone so they can keep in touch. At first, Anna is reluctant but then realizes he is showing dedication to her and it means a lot to her.

With that, they drive to the Best Buy Mobile store in the mall…

Grayson ends up purchasing Anna a mid-grade Samsung smartphone that is on clearance. Afterward, they eat at a corn dog restaurant, use the bathroom, then Grayson partially takes Anna home, she rides her bicycle the rest of the way.

Anna’s parents confront her about being late, to which she fabricates a partially true alibi that she went to use the bathroom at the mall.

Her parents lecture her about malls being sinful, worldly places but believe her otherwise.

She then goes into her bedroom pretending to study. She barricades the door with several heavy objects, then hides in her closet whilst texting Grayson.

They fall deeper and for each other and end up exchanging those three words via text message.

Anna’s dad barges in but she quickly hides the phone in her underwear and pretends to be sleeping in her closet.

Her dad angrily yells at her and they begin arguing to which he ultimately punches her in the head, knocking her unconscious.

Grayson blows up her inbox, thinking she ghosted him, then drinks a fifth of Crown and passes out in his bed.

Friday morning, Anna comes to, uses the bathroom, and reads all of Grayson’s text messages.

She replies to him, frantically explaining all that happened.

Grayson is hungover, but hears his watch alarm and then sees Anna’s message.

He says how he is glad she still wants him, but her life is in danger and she should come live with him.

Anna agrees.

Grayson explains how he drank until he passed out when he thought she ghosted him, but he will take a personal day to sober up and then prepare his house for her. He promises her that there is no more alcohol in his cabin and that he will quit drinking at least until this situation is resolved.

They further discuss their plans via text.

Grayson calls his boss to take a personal day, then Anna’s mom orders her out of the bathroom.

She packs all of her valuables, her flash drives, and composition books, some hygiene products, and a few changes of clothes in addition to her new phone, then heads to school.

Before the morning bell rings, Anna talks to Grayson on her phone from the girl’s restroom. They further discuss their plans.

Grayson picks Anna up from school at the end of the day.

He takes her to his house and minutes later his mother shows up, stating that she is having issues with leaking oil in her car.

Grayson introduces them to each other, then fixes his mother’s car, the problem was that the oil filter was on loosely.

Afterward, Grayson washes up, then takes Anna out for shopping and dinner.

Whilst shopping for clothes, Anna’s corrupt and overbearing pastor confronts her in the mall.

Grayson stands up to him and he eventually backs down stating how Grayson has won the battle but not the war.

Anna has a panic attack, but Grayson eventually calms her down.

They then go eat out and are waited on by one of Anna’s school friends.

The night turns out very pleasant and they retire to Grayson’s cabin.

That Saturday, Grayson, and Anna decide to hang out in the park and watch boats pass from the bed of his truck.

At some point, a girl from Anna’s class begins to harass them. She makes a sexual advance at Grayson to which he sharply turns her down, then she threatens bodily harm to Anna, to which Grayson retrieves his shotgun from the box in his truck pumps it, points it at her, and scares her away.

They later go to the library, then the grocer to buy the supplies to make dinner, Shepherd’s Pie.

While shopping they see the pastor’s wife in the store purchasing collard greens for the next day’s dinner. Anna gets nervous because the woman carries a gun in her purse and would be crazy enough to shoot Grayson with it. A stocker overhears their conversation and hides them in the warehouse until the pastor’s wife leaves. The stocker is based on another infamous character of mine.

They then go home, prepare dinner, eat, watch movies then fall asleep.

That Sunday, they wake up, then sit outside and watch the sunrise from Grayson’s front porch swing. Afterward, Anna feels the urge to write, then composes a story and reads to Grayson.

Everyone at Anna’s church is angry over her leaving and they form a plan to kidnap her back and harm Grayson for revenge.

After Anna reads to Grayson, his mother calls them over for Sunday Dinner.

Anna ends up helping prepare the dinner and she learns about Grayson’s childhood.

On Monday their plan is carried out. Several longshoremen who attend Anna’s church decide to sabotage the dock crane. Grayson has to go to the top to repair it and one of the longshoremen assists him, but purposely causes him to fall.

Grayson is seriously injured and rushed to the hospital.

Anna is called to the office over threats Grayson made with a gun to a fellow student.

She is suspended from school while the matter is investigated.

Anna tries calling Grayson to pick her up, but his phone goes straight to voicemail.

Her Dad is called. He along with her pastor secure a ride and pick her up from school.

Barbara is watching the whole situation unfold and calls her husband Jed.

Jed and Barbara are talking about these events and realize that foul play is the reason why Grayson fell from the crane. They call the police, who charge the disgruntled longshoreman.

An APB is also put out on the van.

Soon it is located and stopped, Anna’s dad and her pastor are arrested.

Anna is asked to be taken to the hospital, but ironically says she wants to be with her boyfriend. A detective later informs her of all that is going on, then takes a statement from her. She is then taken to the hospital where she meets Grayson’s mother.

They along with the hospital chaplain and an unknown person pray for him around the clock.

For two days Grayson is in a coma, but then he wakes up, with Anna being the first person he sees.

Grayson ends up proposing to her…

Back to “The Textfile”

A Review of The Sony ICF-P26 AM/FM Portable Radio

Just so we’re all clear, I do not own the featured image on this page and I give credit to whomsoever credit is due.

I always enjoyed listening to the radio growing up.

The style of radio that I enjoy most are those that resemble the transistor radios made from the 1950s through the 1980s. There is just something about that style.

By the way, such a style is getting rarer and rarer as time goes by.

I believe it was some time in 2015 when I discovered the Sony ICF-P26 and, fun fact, it was through a MEME I saw on social media.

I finally bought one in March of 2017 and so I have owned one of these radios for almost your years.

That radio by the way is what this piece will be a review thereof.

In reality, I had been wanting to write this review since July of 2018, when I started writing product reviews, but there have been numerous distractions that hindered me from doing so.

In March of 2017, I had a little bit extra money, so I ordered a Sony ICF-P26 on eBay.

It came in a few days later and I began to use it extensively. It even gained a spot for a few years in my EDC backpack.

I was thoroughly impressed by the clear and generous sound, the tuning accuracy, the reception range (especially on AM, but FM as well), and the overall solid feel when handling this radio.

On every trip I took, it was a frequent companion, allowing me to hear local radio stations. One of my rituals is while traveling I wash my face, then shave as soon as I enter the hotel or motel room. For some reason traveling in a car for an extended period, even with the windows up makes my face ultra dirty. I also like to be clean-shaven when going out and about anywhere, so after washing my face, I shave, then apply the Aqua Velva. Usually while shaving in a place besides home, I listen to a local music station. One particular memory I have about carrying out this ritual is being in Texas and hearing Jim Ed Brown sing “Pop a Top” on a local AM station. Music sounds so much richer when played on AM and Jim Ed Brown already had a very rich voice, so it was a very pleasant experience. When not traveling, I used to listen to NPR whilst I was doing my laundry.

I did keep this radio when my ex-wife and I split up the community property and I left her a Sangean DT-200VX because she always liked it and I was trying to make the divorce as painless as possible. She and I are on much better terms now but I am 100% sure that we are not compatible as husband and wife. I just wish I would have realized this before the relationship became too serious. Well, she clearly stated that she wanted to marry me six days after meeting me. At the time, I was thrilled, because I didn’t see the red flags yet.

Speaking of red flags, my one gripe about this radio is that it lacks an AFC circuit. This wasn’t an issue at my previous residences but is very much an issue at my current residence since I am only a few blocks away from an FM transmitter. That station’s signal bleeds all over my FM dial and drowns out almost all other FM stations that would normally be available. So I upgraded (and I use that term loosely) to a cheap, unbranded radio, that has a phase lock loop synthesized oscillator, for most of my portable FM listening. It also gets AM (mediocre) and Weather (quite well, actually), but isn’t as solidly built as my Sony. Although it is as small as an MP3 player and I do have a dedicated pocket for it in my EDC backpack. However, on some nights I will still use this Sony for AM listening, both local and long-distance. If I’m not in my neighborhood and have it with me, I will also use my Sony for FM listening.

A few evenings ago when Winter Storm Uri was wreaking havoc across the country, our local governments and our electric utility companies were advising us to conserve power until 10:00 PM. So, I unplugged all of my grid-powered electronics, set my central heater (which is electric) to 68 Degrees Fahrenheit and I even turned off the lights. To be able to see, I used a highly efficient battery-powered LED lantern. My previous product review was about that very lantern. And for entertainment, I listened to the AM band on my Sony radio. I did some AM DXing until finally, I decided to listen to WSB out of Atlanta. There is a local show on there that I have listened to a time or two prior. It is a good, wholesome, and even Christian show. They were talking about Rush Limbaugh’s passing. I listened until the signal faded out. By that point, it was past Ten O’Clock, so I resumed my “normal” nighttime activities. The AM ferrite bar antenna on this radio isn’t very big, so it’s not the best radio for AM DXing, but, in my location, it will catch most of the clear channel AM stations between The Rockies and Appalachians after dark.

A very wise feature on this radio is that it isn’t turned off or on by the volume potentiometer, but rather a three-position sliding switch “OFF” “AM” “FM.” There is a volume potentiometer and after almost four years of use and three years of carrying in my EDC backpack, it needs to be dusted out. To tune the radio, a knob is connected to a slide rule indicator. For FM listening, there is a telescopic antenna that can be changed out if it is ever damaged. Why can’t all radios be made this way?

There is also a removable nylon lanyard.

Two other features on this radio include a green LED, whose brightness indicates how much battery power is left and a red LED which indicates that the radio is locked on a station’s signal.

For power, it runs on two AA batteries. I always used Alkalines and always had generous run times. I think the run time is rated at 35 or so hours on a set of batteries but I’m not 100% sure.

Currently, I have my Sony radio on a night table in my living room, but if I were to have to travel, especially to evacuate from a hurricane, it will be coming with me.

If anyone is interested in purchasing one of these, they are widely available online and even in some brick-and-mortar establishments.

I give it a 4.85 out of 5 stars and this rating is subjective to where one uses it. Had it been manufactured with an AFC circuit, I would have given it the full 5 stars.

Sony is a reputable brand and they make some fine radios, so why couldn’t they have installed an AFC circuit and made this radio even better?

I’ve mentioned on social media in the past how I wish all FM radios would have an AFC circuit, but terrestrial analog radio is gradually dying out, much to my dismay.

In the event of an emergency remember KISS: Keep it Simple, Stupid! The simpler a communications system is, the less chance there is for failure and typically the cheaper the equipment. Analog terrestrial radio should remain in use, at least as a means of communicating important information to the public, especially in the event of an emergency!

I’ll get either one or another response for this statement and it is:

You’re preaching to the choir (from those who think like me.)

OR

Change is inevitable (from those who don’t realize what I realize.)

Currently, I am thinking of buying a Bluetooth-capable radio very soon so I can pair it with my tablet and Stream online radio stations. The model I am looking at is sold at The Ruble, I mean, The Dollar General and if it is like its predecessor model, then it will have an AFC circuit, which is the other reason for me to consider purchasing it.

So, yes I do embrace new technology, but I also have a prepper mindset, not to mention I hold a General Class Amateur Radio license, and therefore am very much aware of how older simpler technology is more reliable, especially as a means of mass communications.

Well, look at this, I’ve turned a product review into a lecture.

My apologies.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed and maybe even entertained.

I guess this concludes my review of the Sony ICF-P26.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

An Encounter while Shopping-Confessions of an unHappily Married Blogger

I am now drawing disability and not working at all. This has been the case since late September 2011 and it is now late June of 2012.

The management at that God-awful grocer I was working for had drastically cut my hours and even demoted me, so I quit without warning. It wasn’t worth burning the gasoline to come to work and as I’ve stated before the work environment was ultra toxic.

My wife has decided to pursue some higher education. I believe this is fruitless and pointless and just a year later, I will be vindicated in this belief.

So, while my wife attends school, I find things to occupy my time.

Payday is just a few short days away, so I am looking to see what I can purchase at an electronics dealer.

I walk in and am greeted by a very beautiful and sweet young lady. Her body is somewhere between thick and curvy. She has long blonde hair the face of a China doll.

We begin to talk and pretty soon, it is as if we have known each other forever.

While I am twenty-five-and-a-half, I find out that she is twenty-two.

It is quite rare that a young lady shares an interest in electronics like I do, but she certainly does.

I tell her about my other hobbies and she seems impressed.

I don’t think she is truly impressed, I think she has a crush on me, but what do I know.

I do know this: my wife and her family resent all of my hobbies, as I mentioned before.

To tell the truth, I also have a crush on her, but I know how I must needs to honor my marriage, if not for the love of my spouse, then for the love and fear of my God.

We continue talking, about our families and my disability. Even after telling her all this, she still seems very sweet and understanding. I’m catching even more feelings for her, but I force myself to suppress them. Finally, I see a Weather Radio which is on clearance. I remember reading extensively about this particular model and am disappointed to see it being discontinued.

I ask if she can reserve it for me so I can purchase it when I get paid.

She explains how she is not supposed to do such a thing, but will do so anyway because she thinks I am nice.

I then happen to glance at my watch and realize I have other errands to run and how I also need an escape route to keep me from committing adultery, so I bid her farewell, then leave the store.

Days later when I get paid, I drive back to the electronics store, and there she is behind the counter, with her sweet and beautiful self.

I tell her how I’ve come to purchase my weather radio and I thank her for going above and beyond.

She hands it to me, then I pay with my debit card. The transaction is processed, then approved.

She briefly flirts with me. Her voice is so soothing, much unlike my wife’s.

I then leave the store, with my Weather Radio, because I have other business that needs to be tended to and groceries that need to be made.

I don’t think I will ever forget her, though. Quite possibly she could inspire some characters and situations in the stories I create.

She is the kind of person my in-laws would automatically hate because she’s pretty, sweet, and classy.

To have credit with them, one must have either ruined his or her life or be in some other unfortunate situation.

I only have a little credit with them, because of my disability, but they still cannot stand the fact that I like to write and I have other wholesome hobbies.

After all our business is tended to, my wife and I head home. I try out my new Weather Radio and think of the wonderful young lady who sold it to me. My house makes noises per the changes of pressure and temperature. I think a storm is approaching My new Weather Radio confirms this thought.

Back to “Confessions of an unHappily Married Blogger”

Pilot-Confessions of an unHappily Married Blogger

I am twenty-four-going-on-twenty-five and I would like to think of myself as a decent young man.

Heck, I am even a Christian, albeit a backslidden one. Well, maybe not backslidden, but not devout either.

I go to church mostly to make my wife happy and I admit that I am getting well versed in The Bible as a result.

Also, this regular church attendance has kept a lot of my sinful behaviors at bay.

As a bonus studying the Bible and hearing these timeless hymns has increased and enhanced my writing ability

I am not the cheating type, I mean, if I was, I would have done it already, many times over. I won’t lie, though, temptation stalks me at every turn I take.

This is because I am unhappily married. I’ve been married to this woman for a little over a year and her true colors are now boldly showing. She is starting to remind me of a certain coworker whom I abhor. The red flags were always there, but I chose to ignore them and got married anyway mostly due to a mixture of guilt for fornicating with her, but I also loved her, at least at some point I did and yes I am still attracted to her, although now only physically, nothing else. The deep, intimate connection is dead and gone.

It seems that as of lately that my wife is opposed to anything and everything that brings me joy.

I think her family motivates her to act this way towards me.

You see, I have some pretty neat and unique hobbies, whereas, they do nothing but get stoned in their free time.

I refuse to join them in their narcotic escapades and they resent the fact that they cannot drag me down with them.

I think they especially hate my writing hobby because the nature of my content somehow makes them feel bad about themselves.

I will admit that my narrative is in direct conflict with theirs, but I come from a profoundly different background than theirs.

They see me and my family as privileged and since the current political climate of 2011 is all about inciting a race and class war, they see us as the enemy though they won’t admit it.

As per my employment, I handle milk and eggs for a local grocer. The work is easy and I think I have my position down to a science, but the owners and upper-level management turn this place into an ultra toxic cesspool of misery. They treat us poorly and take advantage of the fact that there are no other jobs to be had.

Today, there is a new cashier who has joined the ranks. The first time I saw her, she smiled at me. She’s nineteen, with a beautiful super-sized body, long light brown hair, a flawless porcelain complexion, and did I mention she is bespectacled which makes her even more beautiful? I wanted to smile back, but despite being unhappily married, I do put forth a considerable degree of effort to honor my marriage, so I didn’t smile back. So far, never have I ever regretted being married as much as just now. How I wish I could talk to this girl and get to know her. And not only that, I want to hold her. I want to kiss her. I want to play with her hair and get lost in her embrace. I want to read my stories to her because maybe she will appreciate them, I mean she already physically resembles many of the female characters in the stories I write. There’s so much that I wish I could do with her and share with her but I can’t, at least not with a clear conscience, so maybe I’ll just write about her instead. I know for certain that she will give me plenty of inspiration, maybe even years down the road she will inspire me to write something great.

My work is almost done for the day, I place the last few cartons of eggs in the display cooler, then I throw my empty boxes away and clock out.

I drive home where my wife is sitting on the sofa binge-watching Teen Mom.

It’s Friday, and my money was direct deposited, and we need to pay some bills, namely the water and the electricity.

My wife takes forever to get ready but if I try to tell her to hurry up, she will just curse me lower than a dog.

Finally, she is ready.

We leave to go pay the bills.

I have a little cash left over.

I’m hoping to enjoy it, but my wife says how a family friend’s child is having a birthday party and we need to buy a gift.

Please don’t think I hate giving gifts to children because I don’t. However, I’d like to be able to enjoy my money sometimes.

I also hate spending all my days off at parties, when do I ever get time for myself?

I would love to just sit at my computer and write until my heart is content, but I can’t because I have all these undesired obligations.

Does my wife show me any appreciation for the sacrifices I make?

No. Just a sense of entitlement to the fruit of my sacrifices.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg of why I am unhappily married.

Back to “Confessions of an unHappily Married Blogger”

A Review of the Energizer Weatheready LED Floating Lantern

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page. It is the property of Energizer Holdings, LLC.

I have written a decent amount on how there are American Equivalents of the Eveready Dolphin and the Energizer Weatheready LED Floating Lantern is what triggered my discovery of them. It is also what this piece will be a review thereof.

One day, in April of 2015, I discovered that the battery in my Ford Taurus was dead. I was visiting my grandparents when I made this unfortunate discovery. So, I used my Paw Paw’s car (a Buick Century, which would later become my car) to give myself a jump. Once my Taurus cranked, I took it to Wal Mart to exchange for a new battery, since it was under warranty. Well, long story short, it turns out my starter was bad. I had driven through some flooded streets a few weeks prior and I believe this is what shorted out my starter. There is also a severe problem with the design of the 2007 Ford Taurus that causes oil and possibly other engine fluids to leak on the starter and short it out because it is located in a very unfortunate place. My vehicle was totally disabled by this point and I was parked near the automotive area.

All in all, while waiting for a wrecker to come, I, as usual, had gone to look at the flashlights in Wal*Mart.

There I saw it, an Energizer Weatheready LED floating lantern.

It looked very cool! Some time prior, I had read about the Eveready Dolphin Lanterns that were sold in Australia and New Zealand and this looked like an Americanized version of them

Not only that, after reading the specs, I learned it boasted an output of 150 Lumens with a beam distance of 365 Meters or ~1197.5 Feet and a runtime of 35 hours.

Even though I knew I would be hit with an expensive car repair bill and money would be tight, I knew I just had to have one of these. I mean it was only ~$10, but I was married at the time and on a fixed income.

After I went home, I began to research the new flashlight I saw. I began to learn that other American flashlights had a Dolphin version of them.

I was glued to my computer indefinitely.

So, in a few days, my car was fixed and life was back to normal.

I sold a few hand tools to a friend and was able to get the cash, to which I subsequently made a beeline to Wal Mart and purchased it.

I then went to The Family Dollar and purchased a battery.

A few days later, there was some severe weather that was passing through my area.

Upon learning of a tornado warning issued for our parish, my then-wife now ex-wife and I had to evacuate our second-story apartment with little more than the clothes on our back. I had a Mini Maglite AAA LED flashlight in my pants pocket and my new lantern in my hand. The sky became dark as night, even though it was midmorning.

It subsequently came in handy, many times especially when I was out walking after dark. Remember, this was 2015, so LED flashlight technology wasn’t as advanced as it is now. I think it truly modernized in 2017, but I digress. I used to walk for exercise a lot back then and I think I should start doing this again. I was indeed considerably skinnier in 2015 than I am now.

The lantern had the best of both worlds: A wide spill of generous light and a pinpoint beam that could light up objects more than three football fields away. It was kind to the batteries that powered it, even when using a cheap Carbon Zinc battery. I had once dropped mine of concrete and thus failed to maintain a Christian vocabulary, but it still survived and functioned as if nothing happened to it.

It truly was an awesome flashlight, quite possibly the best plastic flashlight for the money. The given specs are true, unlike with some flashlights whose marketing departments tend to exaggerate things.

Unfortunately, Energizer discontinued it at some point in 2016. I actually purchased another one on clearance to give to my grandparents for their 70th wedding anniversary. After they passed in 2018 and 2019, it was given back to me.

I don’t get Energizer at all, they make some really nice consumer-grade flashlights, but then they are very quick to pull them from the market. However, they also make some junky flashlights but keep those on the market for decades, sometimes. I can think of many flashlights that are no longer made but should be. I have even written at length about this in the past, on forums, on social media, and even on this blog.

If you’re wondering what happened to this lantern, I am writing about, I’m glad to say that I still have it and I still use it, though not as extensively as I once did. My ex-wife and I split up the community property amicably and I kept most of my flashlights. As for the ones I didn’t keep, I instructed her to give them to her nephews. But I did keep this flashlight.

I used it last night when we were instructed by our government officials to conserve electricity for a few hours. So, I put my central heat to 68 degrees, unplugged most of my electronics, and turned off the lights. For entertainment, I did AM DXing on a battery-powered Sony radio, mostly listening to the clear channel powerhouse WSB out of Atlanta. I used that lantern as a light source instead of turning on the electric lights.

It has served me faithfully during the last few hurricanes as well.

All in all, this was one of the better flashlights made by Energizer.

Well, all the American versions of the Eveready Dolphin are made well.

And the Eveready Dolphin is tremendously popular in Australia and New Zealand that I think it even has commercials for it aired during soap operas!

I make it a point when talking to any Aussie to ask him or her about the Eveready Dolphin and they all immediately had something to say, usually positive.

I don’t think any American flashlight has ever had that kind of universal familiarity, by the way, although Maglite comes close but by a very long shot.

What else can I say?

There may now be flashlights that can throw a beam and have efficient battery use that is more compact, but can they float in the event of going overboard?

Probably not.

So even though this flashlight would be considered bulky and awkward by many, it still is a winner and I hope Energizer comes out with another American version of the Eveready Dolphin soon.

That’s all for now.

Thank you for taking the time to read this piece and I sincerely hope that you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

Why I Believe in The Trinity

I’ve been wanting to write this piece for about a week but have sadly been delayed. I feel as if The Lord is moving me to explain why I support the doctrine of The Trinity and more importantly, why The Bible supports it as well.

This has been on my mind for about a year, but as of the past week or so, I feel as if The Lord has put it on my heart to write it down.

There is a handful of Christian denominations that do not uphold this doctrine and while some of them are genuine believers otherwise, they are in error. Some of these denominations are a borderline cult.

There are several verses in the Bible that support the Doctrine on The Trinity and I will quote some of them:

The first event in The Bible that inspired me to start thinking of this is Matthew Chapter 3 Verses 16 through 17:
“16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”
The same event is mentioned in Luke Chapter 3 Verses 21-22
“21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.”
I think this is the clearest of all verses in The Bible that supports the doctrine of The Trinity because all three Persons are present! This is also the verse that God revealed to me when I happened to be thinking about those other non-Trinitarian or Oneness denominations.

Another passage from Scripture that clearly displays the three separate Entities of the Trinity is in John Chapter 14 Verses 16-17:
“16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.”
This is straight from the Mouth of Jesus Christ Himself, upon Whom rests ALL authority! He clearly separated Himself from The Father and The Holy Ghost. I don’t know how these non-Trinitarian or Oneness denominations can support their claim when they read a verse such as this.

The other verse of Scripture that comes straight from the Mouth of Jesus Christ is in Matthew Chapter 28 Verse 19:
“19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
This is the event right before Jesus is taken up into Heaven and we see Him commanding His followers to make disciples of the whole world. He clearly shows the baptismal formula to use and guess what, it is Trinitarian. Now many of the Oneness or non-Trinitarian denominations will argue that at some point in history, the roman catholic church changed it to say this, but it originally said Jesus’ Name. I have an issue with that. The roman catholic church engaged in many more practices that do not line up with Scripture (many times go directly against it, so while they were indeed in charge of preserving The Bible for a time, why didn’t they change all of those other things as well? This is why: If The Bible is God’s Word (and I wholeheartedly believe it is) and Jesus Christ is The Word of God made flesh, neither are therefore able to be corrupted. King David prophesied this in Psalm 16:10: “10 For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.” and the apostle Paul referenced this in Acts Chapter 13 Verse 35: “35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.” No matter what stunts the enemy or our worldly authorities will try to pull God will not allow His word to be corrupted. Jesus Christ clearly stated the true eternity and finality of The Bible in Matthew Chapter 24 Verse 35 when He spoke, “35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” I think it should now be clear on how much God will preserve His Holy Word, namely The Bible.

God prevented the roman catholic church from corrupting His Word so much so, that they began to heavily sanction who would be able to read It. They had William Tyndale burned at the stake for translating The Bible into English. Up until very recently the roman catholic church heavily discouraged its members from reading The Bible. This is because they would much rather keep their adherents in bondage so they will not know the ultimate freedom that Jesus Christ offers. After all, it was Christ Himself who said “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”-John 8:32. The ironic part is that while the roman catholic church is indeed Trinitarian, they are more of a cult than these non-Trinitarian or Oneness denominations ever will be. I could write volumes on this subject alone and one day I might, God willing. I do know that saying this will offend many of my family and friends, but still, the truth must be told.

I’m not sure why the non-Trinitarian or Oneness denominations exist, but I will admit that they are filled with God-fearing, well-meaning adherents and many of them are genuine believers, just somewhat misled.

I also believe that there are a few genuine believers within the roman catholic church, but most of them are lost.

I’ll let God be the judge of this though.

All in all, I hope you, the reader, can understand why I uphold the teaching of The Trinity (I do because The Bible supports it.)

Please pray for me, I am recovering from a terrible stomach virus as I am writing this.

Back to “Matters of Faith”

Garrity Flashlights have Fallen from Grace

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image.

It is the property of Smart Brands International.

I like the old school Garrity image with the sunburst better, but I chose to use their current logo because this piece is about how Garrity has fallen from grace.

I associate their old sunburst logo with their glory days, the likes of which we will probably never see again.

So, for the past few weeks, I have been romanticizing the flashlights that were on the market during the mid-2000s decade.

I had been highly fascinated by flashlights as a child, but then suppressed the interest in my teens years due to fear of harassment by peers for liking them.

In 2005, I realized that flashlights are indeed cool, and no longer did I care if someone was to harass me for liking flashlights. The strange thing is, no one harassed me like they did in grade school simply for liking flashlights and some even joined me in my flashlight hobby.

I guess that is why I am currently romanticizing the flashlights made during the mid-2000’s decade, because it was the time in my life when I finally mustered up the courage to embrace what I love, no matter what anyone else thought.

Also, there were some very nice flashlights on the market at this time.

It was a time of heated battle between the light bulb and the LED. During this particular time, the light bulb was still winning, at least in terms of brightness, throw and color temperature.

Spoiler Alert: Several years later (in about 2012 or so) the LED would ultimately win all of these categories except in terms of being EMP proof.

So lately, I’ve been looking at flashlight company websites that were archived in The Wayback Machine between 2004 and 2007.

This activity has provided me with hours of entertainment and reminiscing.

There are three companies of which I had been extensively looking at archived versions of their websites:

…Maglite…
…Streamlight…
…AND…
…Garrity…

I had known about Garrity and Maglite since about 1998, but wouldn’t learn of Streamlight until October 24, 2004, when I saw their Stinger flashlight being sold at the then newly opened Academy Sports and Outdoors. I wouldn’t own one of their lights until some time in 2009. I actually was tempted to purchase a Streamlight Junior (the Xenon version) in January of 2006 but forewent the purchase and now I could kick myself for not seizing that opportunity. It is now discontinued and extremely rare now. At the moment I currently EDC the LED version of the Streamlight Junior and have done so since January of 2019. Academy used to sell some awesome flashlights in those days, not so much now, but I digress.

In this piece, I will focus on Garrity and how they have fallen from grace probably worse than any other flashlight company out there.
Change my mind!

Maglite has seen its ups and downs but as of now, they are making some fairly nice flashlights.

Likewise, Streamlight has always been awesome and in 2021, they are cooler than ever, though I wish they would bring back some of their vintage models just for old time sake. Plus I didn’t know about Streamlight until I was 17, so I wish they could bring back some of those vintage products just to give their more recent fans a taste of their original glory!

Garrity, on the other hand, used to be such a wonderful company, but now they are pretty pathetic. All of their current and designs look and feel flimsy. Their brightness is only marginal, especially when compared against Eveready/Energizer, their most similar competitor.

From the 1980s until about 2007, though, Garrity was making some pretty nice flashlights and it seemed they had a model for just about every market.

I do remember growing up how a lot of the men in my neighborhood had a Garrity Tuff Lite (the 1990s version.) By the way, the most recent incarnation of the Tuff Lite is pathetic, but the 1980s and 1990s versions of the Tuff Life were probably one of the best consumer flashlights out there. Their Krypton bulbs seemed to cast out such a pure white beam, even when used with simple cheap Carbon Zinc or Carbon Zinc Chloride (don’t let the phrase Heavy Duty fool you) batteries. I was given one for Christmas in 1998 and I still have it though, I need to do some restoration on it. The same quality was with their Rugged Lite series, which was introduced in 1994 but sadly discontinued sometime in 2004. That, by the way, was my favorite flashlight before I discovered tactical flashlights. My favorite version was the yellow 2AA model, which I first bought in June of 1998. I had a 4AA Garrity Touch ‘N’ Lite in my closet as a preteen. When I decided to permanently carry a flashlight on me (May 5, 2005), the model of my choice was a Garrity K009, which was a compact, almost tactical 3AAA LED flashlight that came bundled with a Nylon carrying pouch as well as red and blue lens filters. When I acquired my first job, later on in May of 2005, I EDCed a Garrity A300G. That was a 2AA Aluminum flashlight with a Xenon bulb. It was slightly similar to a Mini Maglite but sold for a few dollars cheaper. It is also probably the closest I will ever get to a Xenon Streamlight Junior! Those who know about the bulbs both of these flashlights take will get my reference…

So, if you, the reader, haven’t figured it out yet, Garrity holds a special place in my heart. Likewise, it breaks my heart to see them market these inferior flashlights that they are producing as of lately

Garrity flashlights were once sold at retailers such as Ride Aid, Wal*Mart, K*Mart, True Value, West Marine, and many truck stops.

Throughout my twenties, I had acquired many Garrity flashlights, mostly as new-old-stock at some of these retailers or on eBay.

In January of 2007, I bought a GTech LED at Wal*Mart whilst pulling an all-nighter and going out on a drive with my then-girlfriend, now ex-wife.

In the Fall of 2007, Garrity was doing remakes of some of their classic products and selling them at The Ruble, I mean, The Dollar General and The Family Dollar. I was able to get some Tuff Lites which were almost identical to the 1990s versions.

In 2011, on two separate occasions, my then-wife, now ex-wife bought me a Garrity G-Tech Floating Lantern on clearance at West Marine. When I left her, in January of 2018, I gave them back to her. Don’t get me wrong, they were built very well and they could sure cast a very sharp beam, but I was feeling a mixture of guilt and pride when I left her, and I didn’t want to keep anything she gave me aside from a pair of work boots.

I will say that while my marriage to this woman was faulty, there were some good times.

I now think that it was brain damage due to complications from her hydrocephalus that altered her personality and made her so mean.

There’s only so much I could take and in my defense, I stood by her for almost eight years after she sustained the brain damage.

Also in 2011, after seeing me post so much about it, a fellow member on CandlepowerForums mailed me a Garrity Mini Rugged Lite, which I have on my desk while I am typing this piece.

In 2013 and 2015, I purchased an iBeam 6 Volt Floating Lantern from Rite Aid. The green lantern from 2013 was NOS but the blue lantern from 2015 was brand new as Garrity had been revived. The former was better than the latter.

In 2016, I purchased an LED Tuff Lite, on eBay, thinking it would be great, but it broke a few days later, with only gentle use.

It was about that time when I realized that while Garrity had been revived, these new products were inferior.

I don’t understand how a company that once made some pretty nice flashlights now makes pee poor flashlights.

Take for example their current product line (and my scathing commentary):

9 LED 3AAA Flashlight: This is just a rebadged mass-produced cheap flashlight that would normally sell for $1 apiece but the price is jacked up a few more dollars because the name Garrity is on it. Don’t tighten the tailcap too much or it will crack!

2AA/2D Value Lite: This design of this flashlight was stolen from a similar flashlight that Energizer made in the early 2000s. Since Garrity or whoever owns them at this point wants to bring back designs from that era, how about using their own instead?

Navigator 2AA LED Flashlight: This is nothing more than a rebadged Duracell Voyager. It’s a fairly decent light but why can’t Garrity be more original like they once were?

Rugged LED Flashlight: This one is an abomination and personal to me! First of all, this is simply a rebadged Duracell Industrial. It will never be as cool as the original Garrity Rugged Lite of the 1990s which was my favorite flashlight as a child! Furthermore, if it is built like the Duracell Industrial, then it will crack all-too-easily. Seriously, why couldn’t Garrity have built it like their Rugged Lite of bygone times and simply fit it with a PR based LED module? Oh, right that would make too much sense and maybe make too many people happy!

Trailblazer LED Flashlight: This may be the only [halfway] decent flashlight in their product line. I cannot complain about the specs, but I wonder exactly how rugged this flashlight is and what grade of Aluminum is used in its construction. Furthermore, why can’t it be anodized with a black finish? Finally, I think the switch boot sticks out a bit too much.

G-Tech 2D LED Flashlight: This looks nothing like the original G-Tech and if my memory serves me correctly this current design was stolen from Rayovac. Just for the record, sorry folks, there is no cool multi-tool hidden inside either!

LED Touch ‘N Lite: A modern twist on a classic. Well, except I think since it has LEDs instead of a KPR bulb the run time of just 16 hours could be significantly improved, but what do I know?

LED Work Light Penlight: A cross between a rebadged Duracell Daylite and a knockoff of one of Streamlight’s penlights? Again, Garrity used to have their own independent and original ideas! Now they feel the need to take from others just to stay relevant? What is even more agonizing is that this excuse for a flashlight puts out a measly 45 Lumens for only 1 hour despite running on 2 AAA batteries. Those poor specs were never acceptable.

60 Lumen Headlamp: Here we have Garrity trying hard but failing to be like Streamlight. I mean it would be a pretty neat light if the design were Garrity’s original work and it was 2006, not 2021!

ibeam100 Headlamp: Looks original, indeed, but flimsy. Probably would only be useful in a corporate or academic setting for a facility director doing close up work. However, it only has one output setting and that is 100 Lumens which would likely be inappropriate for most close-up work.

Tuff MP: A multipurpose (as the MP initials suggest) two in one flashlight. I must say, this actually looks original but is neither cool nor tuff (sic.) It looks just as flimsy as almost anything else Garrity makes these days.

ibeam LED Lantern: This is certainly nothing like their original iBeam lanterns. In fact, this design was stolen from Rayovac. Gosh durnit, Garrity, couldn’t you have retained the original iBeam design and maybe just fitted it with a nice PR LED module?

LED Safety Keylite: I must admit that this looks neat and original, but the good looks don’t compensate for the shoddy performance. It gives off a measly 12 Lumens on a single AAA battery. Maybe, just maybe if it were constructed of metal instead of plastic not only could it be more rugged but a more powerful LED engine could be used. But that would mean making flashlights that are actually nice.

LED LifeLite: The website claims new and improved. I smell bovine droppings! First of all, this light gives off only 53 Lumens despite being driven by the equivalent of 3AA batteries. Secondly, it only runs for 9 hours, then it must be chucked. Not very green at all! Actually, in 2015 whatever company makes flashlights for the Wal*Mart brand Ozark Trail borrowed this idea and managed to improve on it by instead offering it to be run on 3 replaceable AA batteries, but with the otherwise same form factor.

That, my friends, is a list of all the flashlights currently made under the Garrity name.

Please know that while I at times felt pretty smug and even witty in writing these not so nice reviews, that I am heartbroken and tremendously disappointed that a flashlight company that I once loved in my childhood is now, this heartless soul-less conglomerate with cheesy knock-offs.

I don’t know what goes on in these board rooms but whatever the case it is neither wise nor fruitful. Consumers are more informed than ever these days and they now know a sub-par flashlight when they see one. If Garrity would start making flashlights like they did before this proverbial fall from grace and incorporated modern LED technology, then they just might be restored to their former glory. I won’t hold my breath for that though. While I may be respected amongst the flashlight community, these directors in these board rooms don’t give a single durn about what I have to say.

Well because of that, they have lost a once faithful and loyal customer.

Furthermore, those of you who know me well enough know how much I love flashlights and equally know that if I am saying anything ill about a flashlight, I am not taking any pleasure in my words.

I would have liked to elaborate more on this, but maybe I will in the form of fiction quite possibly about a young couple honeymooning in a lakeside cottage and enjoying some alone time by the light of a vintage Garrity lantern on a stormy late afternoon. I could incorporate a Radio Shack Weather Cube and some other cool gadgets as well! Radio Shack is another company I loved that fell from grace by the way.

All in all, this concludes my piece.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed…

Thank you for reading and God bless.

Back to “Articles I have Written”

 

 

 

 

 

My First Love

I was but four years old, the very first time I had fallen in love if one could call it that. This girl had the biggest impact on my life, more than probably anyone else with whom I crossed paths, aside from Jesus Christ.

Only those very close to me know this fact and many others assume, that my first love was a girl two years my junior whom I met in September of 1994 and lived up the street from me. I was with her from ages seven to nine.

The reality is, I met my first love some time early in 1991.

It was while attending a church nursery and/or preschool in the railroad town of Schriever, Louisiana.

This was a very rough time in my life, but this girl was so sweet to me, that I couldn’t help but fall for her, even though I was so young.

The reason why my life was rough at this time is that my brother and sister were infants and my parents didn’t have much time for me. I guess I took this hard because before this I was an only child. The other reason is that someone tied to my family was frequently beating the living daylights out of me. I have since forgiven him for beating me and am only bringing it up in this piece because it contributed to this traumatic part of my childhood. I was also special needs but no one at the time realized it.

I was sent to this church every Monday and Tuesday so I could interact with children around my age. To tell the truth, I hated going there, even though it was the only place I saw her.

She and I were always the first two children to arrive in the morning, so that is how we grew “close.”

There was also something about her, even though she was maybe only a little older than me, that she could tell when I was in distress and always had a way of comforting me.

There was even a time I happened to see the man who was beating me while being driven to that preschool and had my first of many panic attacks as a result.

When I arrived, Kristen saw that I was upset and somehow, she managed to calm me down.

There were numerous other times as well when she comforted me, though the only phrase I ever remember her saying is “Don’t worry.”

I ended up falling for her because of her kind heart, but also I thought she was beautiful.

She had porcelain skin, brown eyes, and light brown hair.

She frequently wore either blue and pink dresses. I don’t think I ever remember seeing her wear pants or shorts, which makes me wonder if she was raised in the United Pentecostal Church International or a fragmented church with similar doctrine. This church, by the way, was not UPCI or a non-denominational/fragmented church. Some of those churches strictly enforce dress codes, especially for women and girls, and also frequently teach their members to be reclusive from society and could be the reason why I have not seen her again.

Then in July of 1991, I would be taken out of the church preschool. Unfortunately, I would attend a far worse place for the next nearly ten years.

I remember the day I left very well. She crawled up to hug me goodbye, but I turned her down for fear of being teased.

That probably hurt her feelings immensely and I still regret it almost 30 years later at the time of writing this.

This was one of the worst mistakes of my life and if I had my life to live over, I would somehow have found a way to stay in touch with her, knowing what I know now.

To my knowledge, I’ve never seen her again.

The one time I think I might have seen her was on Easter Sunday, April 11, 2004, at the Wal-Mart in Thibodaux, Louisiana, but this is strictly speculation.

Since 2001, I’ve been trying to locate her and over the years I have asked hundreds if not thousands of women and girls with her first name if they were indeed her. None of them have ever told me “yes.” Many of them never replied, to begin with. Unfortunately a few have blocked me, for nothing more than asking an honest and harmless question. I feel as if people have become extremely block happy in recent years.

In 2004 and 2005, I went back to that church to look for her and did come across a couple of classmates since then but none of them remember her. Pay close attention to that fact!

Because her first name is Kristen, that means there are numerous methods to spell it and I am nowhere near sure of the exact spelling. This on top of not knowing her middle or last name nor even what year she was born in has made locating her all the more difficult.

This is the first time I am 100% public about this very personal story in my life, previously, I’ve only told people whom I deeply trust and I’ve gotten mixed reactions ranging from them thinking I am delusional to them thinking that she and I are indeed meant to be and to not give up on finding her one day.

While I was going through a divorce, I had renewed efforts in trying to locate her.

My main fear is that with me going public with this personal story, there will be some imposters that show up, which is why I have left out the details of exactly which church in Schriever, Louisiana, I met her at or the names of the teachers and other classmates, all of which I vividly remember.

I’ve come across several other classmates from that preschool and nursery, over the years, but the most shocking thing is none of them remember her at all.

I know some would maybe think that she was an angel that only I or maybe a few others could see.

The only reason why I wonder whether or not she’s an angelic being that only I could see is that I remember the teacher saying her name.

BOMBSHELL: She is the truest reason why I decided to start writing back on April 10, 2003. I used my memories of Kristen for most of my inspiration in my early days of writing.

There had been other women and girls who had inspired me to create characters and there had been some young ladies who reminded me of characters I created.

Unfortunately, I got into a relationship with a young woman which resulted in marriage and then ultimately divorce. The relationship lasted from 2007 to 2018.

Around 2014, I started searching for Kristen again, but to no avail. In that year, I also started writing stories again with her as my inspiration. Several of them are up on my blog.

In the latter parts of 2018, I stopped searching altogether, because I had entered into a very loving and stable relationship with a young lady that looked like a younger yet grown-up version of Kristen. Also, I took the fact that she was born in 1991 as a sign that she was the one. Unfortunately, on December 4/5, 2019, she called it quits on me. I was crushed but am finally starting to heal from it. I had gotten into a few brief relationships since but I always ended them for one reason or another.

A certain part of me wants to find her and find out whatever happened to her. Then my delusional self would either try to get to know her and maybe we could fall in love again or at least find out where she is now and let her know the impact she had on my life because it is a tremendous one, then wish her the best. I’ve also come to terms that she could be deceased and if that is the case, I want to visit her burial site and pay great homage and reverence to her. If she is still alive, romantically available and we meet again and get to know each other, physical features such as her size or facial beauty will not matter to me. Almost everyone who knows me knows that I am only attracted to plus-sized and/or super-sized women with pretty faces, but for her, I would try to pursue her no matter what she looked like. Also, nothing in her past would matter to me either, I would take her for who she is because I would remember how kind to me she was back then. For her, I could relax just about all of my standards. I do realize though that this is just a fantasy and that I need to move on.

Since 2014, I have been mentally creating stories of her and I together again after she helps me make a daring escape from some terrible people that had me captive. Because 2021 is the thirtieth anniversary of her and I meet, I may write down some of these stories. By the way, in my mind, they always took place in the year 2021! Possibly stay tuned. There is only one I wrote and did so in February of 2018.

Just for the record, I no longer think she and I are meant to be. The Lord has been showing me what my future spouse will be like and, she is similar in some ways but younger and nowhere near as maternal (for lack of a better word) towards me, though still very loving and affectionate. Also, with me being the male sex, God expects me to do [most of] the protecting and comforting not the other way around, so this is probably the main reason why he hasn’t allowed me to find her, assuming she is not an angel. At the risk of sounding unpopular, God indeed has established certain gender roles! Don’t shoot the messenger…

That’s all I have, for now, thank you for taking the time to read.

Back to “Personal Reflections”

Pairing a Royal Crown Cola with a Moon Pie

So, over ten years ago, I had discovered a Southern delicacy of pairing a Royal Crown Cola with a Moon Pie.

I drank R. C. Cola now and then in early childhood because my Paternal Grandparents were very frugal and R. C. is indeed the cheapest name brand cola there is. My parents on the other hand, especially my Mom fervently drank Coca-Cola. On and off since the age of nine, I had been a fervent Pepsi drinker, and especially since the age of twenty when I discovered their Wild Cherry version, which still to this day is my favorite soft drink.

I only consumed Moon Pies during Mardi Gras and Saint Patrick’s Day parades when they were thrown from floats to parade watchers. Growing up, we ate Little Debbies, especially the Oatmeal Creme Pie variety, more than anything else.

It was some time in 2009 or early 2010 when I had discovered the pairing of a Moon Pie with an R. C. Cola. I was researching scanners (as in the device used to listen in on two-way radio communications) and was reading about the Radio Shack Patrolman Radio receivers of the 1960s. Yes, the Patrolman line eventually included scanners, but before scanners being invented, the Patrolman radios were tuneable radios that initially covered either the VHF High or VHF Low Band and the AM (Medium Wave) Broadcast Band. These were very popular in the 1960s due to the high degree of civil unrest of the decade and citizens desiring to listen in on law enforcement communications. By the way, these communications were [almost] totally in the clear in those days. There was no encryption and certainly no digital communications. In my research, I discovered a picture of a Radio Shack Patrolman radio in the background and an individually-sized bottle of R. C. Cola with a wrapped Moon Pie in the foreground. That was the first time I had seen this combination.

Now as many of you know, I was born and raised in Southeast Louisiana. And yes I still reside there. Louisiana is certainly part of the South, at least physically, but the culture of Louisiana located below the U. S. Highway 190 corridor (give or take) is quite different from the rest of The South. For example, the white people here are mostly of French Canadian descent (Cajun-I have some in me.) There are also a few people of Parisian French ancestry here (myself included, as my surname suggests, and on both sides of my family.) In the heavily industrialized area between New Orleans and Baton Rouge along the Mississippi River, there is a high concentration of people with German ancestry (it is a lot like The Midwest, actually.) Among others, in the New Orleans area, there are people descended from Irish and Italian immigrants (quite similar to Brooklyn New York.) In rural parts of Louisiana, there are the Islenos, who are of Spanish ancestry (the Canary Islands, to be exact.) So this part of Louisiana is much more culturally diverse than the rest of the mostly Anglo-Saxon South. Therefore, some of the customs and traditions that are common and dear to most of the South are unknown to this part of Louisiana.

In more recent years, I had discovered that I do indeed have some more typical Southern (Anglo Saxon) roots on my Maternal Grandpa’s side. His ancestry comes not only from Germans and Irish people residing in Louisiana but also his ancestry can also be traced back to Mississippi and Alabama. It made perfect sense to me and explains a lot because I act more Southern than those that surround me. For example, I am Protestant as opposed to Catholic, although I was raised Catholic, at least in name only. I’m told that my writing and speech patterns sound more Southern, than Cajun though, my accent is a unique combination of New Orleans Y’at (which sounds similar to Brooklyn) and Cajun (which has a sound all of its own.) I’ve only known one or two other people who sounded like me and they were raised in a similar environment. I was not raised on Country Music, but acquired a taste for it in 2004. However, I think Country Music has had a sharp decline in quality since about 2013. I thoroughly enjoy listening to Redneck comedians and can relate to their humor. I am very Pro Second Amendment (which is indeed common between Cajuns and Rednecks, alike.) I am indeed attracted to plus-sized and super-sized ladies, a trait that is stereotypical of Redneck men, but I’ve since learned that men from all walks of life carry this trait. I frequently listen to scanners, another hobby many times associated with Rednecks. The only sport I will watch is NASCAR. I’m quite proficient at do-it-yourself projects when I need to be. I strive to be polite and mind my manners, which is highly valued in The South, but sadly not always in my part of Louisiana. And if I do it right, I can fry chicken just like Colonel Sanders. Therefore, I tend to associate and espouse more with Southern Culture than extreme South Louisiana Culture.

I think you, the reader, now get my point on how South Louisiana is different from the rest of The South.

The reason why I wrote all of this, was to explain how, despite technically growing up in The South, it wasn’t until adulthood that I discovered the combination of R. C. Cola and Moon Pie and when I did, it was totally by accident. However, I do have some true Southern blood pumping through my veins and I do indeed espouse its culture much better than the culture that surrounds me.

Moon Pies and Royal Crown Cola were both invented in Southern States, Tennesee and Georgia, respectively.

Moon Pies were invented as the result of a Kentucky coal miner suggesting to a Chattanooga bakery salesman upon being asked what kind of snack would he like the company to make. Legend has it, the miner told the salesman for the snack to have two round Graham cookies with marshmallow creme in the middle. He then proceeded to hold his hand up to the sky as if he were cupping the Moon in his hands and then continued that the snack should be “as big as The Moon.” The salesman took the miner’s request to heart and began producing Moon Pies, which were outselling all of their other baked goods. Initially, Moon Pies were plain, but soon afterward they were dipped in Chocolate. In later years they were dipped in other flavors such as Banana, Vanilla, and others.

Royal Crown Cola was ultimately invented over a dispute between a Columbus, Georgia, grocer and a Coca Cola salesman. The grocer thought that Coca Cola ought to give him a discount given the high volume of Coca Cola syrup he purchased from the company. The salesman refused. The grocer refused to ever purchase from Coca Cola again and began to formulate his own cola, ultimately coming up with Royal Crown Cola.

In my personal opinion, Royal Crown tastes better than Coke and almost as good as Pepsi, but due to its more affordable price, I drink R. C. more frequently than Pepsi. I think if R. C. followed Pepsi’s practices and used Cane Sugar in their drink, it would taste indeed as good as Pepsi. Coke typically uses HFCS in their American formula although, this wasn’t always the case. Had Coke continued using Cane Sugar, my Paternal Granpa may have been employed well into his 80s. He was a foreman at a local sugar factory and Coca-Cola was in the process of buying the plant. However, the deal fell through, the factory subsequently shut down and he was forced into retirement at the age of 61. I believe he genuinely wanted to be employed because, after retiring, he continued aggressively raising cattle and produce until the ripe old age of 89. He passed away at the age of 94. My Maternal Grandpa, on the other hand, worked for South Central Bell (now part of AT&T) but died twenty-nine years before I was born at the young age of only 42. He is the one that I inherit my Southern traits from and I am told how I take after him in so many ways. Like me, he was into technology and I wish he would have lived to be an old man so I could have known him and so he could have witnessed all of the great inventions that would come into existence after his death.

…Moving on…

I would drink R. C. Cola sparingly as a child and hadn’t drunk it for years until about the age of 26, when I was purchased some at a convenience store in San Antonio, Texas. Immediately, I recognized that it tasted considerably better than Coke and almost as good as Pepsi. I would drink it from time to time for the next few years.

After a failed marriage, I moved into my own place in May of 2018. My residence is but a few feet from a Dollar General, so I do a considerable deal of shopping there. Dollar General is also a typically Southern entity, though probably not as glamorous. I may give that said retailer some business from my testimony of what can be purchased there and not at other stores (R. C. Cola being an example.) But I also find myself poking fun at The Dollar General, comparing the shopping experience there to that of shopping in the USSR and their satellite states. I even go as far as frequently referring to it as “The Ruble General”, but only in harmless jest.

But I frequently buy my soft drinks at The Dollar General. And R. C. Cola is sold at the rate of 2 Liters for $1.00+tax. There are other quantities at which it is sold there but I don’t immediately recall the price. Coke and Pepsi most of the time are sold there for $1.80+tax unless they are on sale. I’m on a disability pension, so I must needs make my money stretch. I also buy some snacks at The Dollar General. A box of six Miniature Moon Pies can be had for, I think, also $1.00+tax. I would say that is indeed a bargain, considering inflation!

It was some time in 2020, around the time when Coronavirus became an issue that, I finally decided to try a Moon Pie and an R. C. Cola together. I indeed purchased them at my local Dollar General. I instantly enjoyed the combination and have been purchasing them ever since. As of lately, I am even getting my neighbors hooked on them. The way I most prefer consuming them is microwaving a Moon Pie for exactly 6 seconds (my microwave oven is rated a 700 Watts, your time may vary) and then eating it and then washing it down with an ice-cold R. C. Cola.

There are several theories on how Royal Crown Cola became paired with Moon Pies, but the one I’ll accept most is that during the Great Depression they were a cheap but energy-dense source of food and drink. They offered the most calories per unit of currency in a time when money was extremely tight. Not only that, they were very palatable and could hold up most men performing work that was many times physically demanding. An original Moon Pie which was four inches and diameter and a 12 ounce R. C. Cola paired together, sold for a total of one Dime. So it became an instant hit with the working class throughout the South.

But, nowadays, they are popular throughout the South and with more than just the working class.

Now I am indeed disabled. But, even with inflation adjustments, an R. C. Cola paired with a Moon Pie is a cheap thrill that can be afforded to me even though I am on a fixed income. I think of the pictured that I mentioned earlier in this piece and many times I too eat a Moon Pie and drink an R. C. Cola whilst listening to my scanner. This is a frugal way to have a good time. Some of my neighbors have also picked up on this habit.

Before I became totally disabled, I always wanted to have a son so he and I could hang out in the kitchen and listen to our scanners, especially at night. I’m 34 at the time of writing this and have no children, as of yet. God has shown me what my true future spouse will be like and He equally told me to be patient in finding her. If I ever do have children, I’ve always wondered if instead of singing songs they hear on the radio, as most kids do, they will repeat track bulletins and vessel names along with their positions that they hear on my scanners. I would get a kick out of that as would all my friends that also listen to scanners. I’ll have to be careful with the marine traffic, though, especially if I ever have a daughter, because of the foul language sometimes used on those marine channels. Just the other morning, I heard the Mother F word uttered on Channel 13 by an angry boat captain. Such a phrase is completely uncalled for in any circumstance and can get someone killed if he or she utters it to the wrong person. Enough about that, let’s focus on more pleasant things. Maybe one day, God will bless me with children and we will be hanging out in my kitchen listening to scanners, eating Moon Pies, and drinking R. C. Cola.

Because this blog is read worldwide, I’m not sure if you, the reader, have ever heard of combining a Moon Pie with an R. C. Cola much less if these products are available near you. My suggestion is if you live in The States, check out your local Ruble, I mean Dollar General.

If you’re able to purchase these, please do so. I don’t think you will be disappointed! After all, it is a tried and true favorite.

So, I guess this concludes my article on R. C. Cola and Moon Pies.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Articles I have Written”

Rest in Peace Don Michael Ratcliff

Mr. Don Michael Ratcliff, Sr. was born in circa 1946 and passed away on October 23, 2018.

He was a native of Morgan City, Louisiana and a resident of Bourg, Louisiana.

I was not informed of his death on time, in fact, it wasn’t even a year ago that I had found out he had passed away at the time I am writing this.

The only way I was made aware of his passing was by attempting to friend request him on Facebook, but never getting an acceptance. So, I eventually contacted his daughter, Gena Ratcliff Thornhill, who informed me of the sad and troubling news.

She and I subsequently exchanged a few messages about how awesome of a person he was.

Mr. Don proudly served his country in the United States Navy, then afterward worked as a highly-skilled electrician.

In later years, he became the groundskeeper at my high school, Vandebilt Catholic High.

That is how I was able to get to know him.

He and I shared many interests.

We both were into electronics and he even taught me some of the basics about it, such as how the Standing Wave Ratio of antennas feedlines and their connections works. He spoke to me in detail about his mother’s old police scanner, obviously a crystal controlled model. He taught me about the microwave relay dishes mounted on the various communications towers that dot our land. At one point he was into Citizen’s Band Radio using the handle, “D-Rat.” As mentioned before in other posts on this blog, he collected calculators, like me, and always wanted to see what calculator I was carrying for my schoolwork. From his daughter, I learned that he was a Mathematical genius and probably could have taught it at Vandebilt, if he had the credentials (he definitely had the competence.) She also mentioned that he would solve frequently complicated math equations just for fun.

I later worked with him and the rest of the maintenance crew in the Summer of 2005 and he is the one who got me to eat sardines and Vienna sausages on the regular.

He carried an electrician’s knife on his person at all times and his daughter also told me how much he liked that knife.

I also remember him frequently keeping a loaf of Evangeline Maid sliced white bread, a Creole Tomato, and a bottle of yellow mustard in the boiler room. Many times for lunch, in addition to his Brunswick Sardines or Libby’s Vienna Sausage, he would slice that Creole tomato with his electrician’s knife of his and place the slices between two pieces of bread with mustard. Believe it or not, this simple but seemingly strange food combination is actually a delicious treat. I can’t for the life of me remember the brand of mustard he used. He would then use that electrician’s knife for every other task that required it. He is the reason why I carried an electrician’s knife for at least a few years and still have one in my tool satchel.

His style of dress was a tee shirt with a breast pocket, blue jeans, a Timex Easy Reader wristwatch, and a plaid shirt over his tee-shirt during cold weather. In the breast pocket of his tee-shirt was almost always a pack of Doral cigarettes. He also wore a ball cap that advertised one of the electrical supply houses that which he frequented.

We would exchange lots of jokes about various subjects.

One evening in December of 2005, I remember calling him on the phone to ask a question on the electrical specifications of an aftermarket AC adaptor that I planned to purchase for my laptop and he was able to properly advise me. I then ordered the adaptor and it powered my laptop perfectly.

I never knew of his passing until over a year later and I wish Vandebilt’s administration or public relations personnel would have properly informed the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of it. I would have wanted to know so I could attend his memorial, as I truly looked up to him.

What’s done is unfortunately done, though.

All in all, Rest in Peace Mr. Don.

I enjoyed and benefitted from all that you taught me, it was an honor to work with you and it was fun to be around you!