The Midnight Ride of Hank the Horse

Another Freddy poem from the Bean Home News missing from “The Collected Poems of Freddy the Pig”.

The Midnight Ride of Hank the Horse

“Listen my children while I discourse
Of the midnight ride of Hank the horse.
‘Twas in April, nineteen forty and three.
Robert and Sniffy and Georgie and me,
With Jinx, our leader, to set the course.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Centerb’ro town.
Then some of the folks got an awful shock
When Jinx climbed up on the back fence rail
And let out a terrible piercing wail
That shook the leaves of the maples down.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the awakened townsfolk jumped from bed,
How they fired their skillets and pans and pots
At the voice that came from their garden plots,
A cry of defiance and not of fear
Although the barrage was pretty severe.
And the scrap brought home from that ride of Hank’s
Was received by Mr. Bean with thanks.

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Breathes there a pig with soul so dead

My wife and I are reading a Freddy book entitled Freddy and the Bean Home News This was the book that introduced me to Freddy the Pig and that awful poetry of his. Freddy takes a poem by Sir Walter Scott and rewrites it for the animals. This gem is not included in The Collected Poems of Freddy the Pig

Breathes there a pig with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said:
“This is my own, my native pen?”
Whose heart has ne’er within him burned
As home his trotters he has turned
From wandering in the world of men

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Language School Part 2

I was an ugly child

I was ugly as sin: selfish and manipulative. I could be sweet when things were going my way, but horrible when they weren’t. More and more, I had to deal with others using MY things. My parents went to school and spent less time with Me. My playground equipment in My park was being used by others and My candy at My birthday party was eaten by My guests. To top it off My brother now wanted to play with My toys.

I liked to learn

I craved knowledge and my mom made a book that she used to teach me the alphabet, but more importantly, she taught me Scripture.

A – All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:6

B – But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  Isaiah 53:5

C – Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Ephesians 6:1

D – Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.  James 4:8

E – Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.  Proverbs 20:11

I didn’t like to take naps

During naps time stood still. I called out to my mom “How much longer” and her reply was fifteen minutes. After a very long time I called out again…the answer was still fifteen minutes. When I played time went by fast, but when napping it stood still. I figured that the best way to make naptime go faster was to play instead. When sent to my room to lie down and try to sleep, I would instead play quietly so as to not be discovered. When I got caught playing the rules changed. Although naptimes now were in Mom and Dad’s room, that just meant different toys. There was a jewelry box full of neat things, and a tissue box and a porcelain cat on a velvet pillow.

The Holy Spirit uses the Bible as a tool

The Holy Spirit, however, had a tool now and one day, in the middle of my nap-playtime “children obey your parents” hit me. Sure, “All we like sheep have gone astray” but now I saw the implication that I, like a sheep have gone astray. I became aware of my personal individual sinfulness, and was before God all alone. My prideful stubborn ways had upset God so much that nothing short of the death of Christ could appease Him. “But he was wounded for our transgressions” He died for me. I prayed and told God how I had been wicked and needed Jesus blood for my sins. I needed that death to count for me.

It was the happiest day of my life. It was like starting to live fresh, new. There was a different view of myself and others, and of Christ and God. Wrong became very wrong and right very right. It doesn’t mean I never did wrong again, but it was the beginning of a whole new life.

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Current Book List

My wife and I have been reading the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency books and are currently about half-way through “In the Company of Cheerful Ladies” by Alexander McCall Smith.

In preparing for a class I am getting ready to teach in our Bible Institute, I have been going through our textbook, “Reseña Crítica de una Introducción al Antiguo Testamento” (A survey of Old Testament introduction) by Gleason L. Archer.

I have been studying “Writing Life Stories” by Bill Roorbach to help me improve my writing skills. Some of the posts on this blog are exercises from the book.

I am just finishing “Judas: Los Hechos de los Apostatas” (Jude: the Acts of the Apostates) by S. Maxwell Coder today. We are going through the book of Jude in our Sunday school class.

In “Walking Like Jesus Did”, Larry E. McCall looks at different areas of the life of Christ and how the Christian life should follow Christ’s example.

But Not Forsaken” by Helen Good Brenneman is a fictional account of a Mennonite refugee family fleeing for their faith and freedom in 1940’s Europe.

The development of theological thought throughout the ages has interested me for some time, so “The Story of Christian Theology” by Roger E. Olson started as my theology book for 2010. I purchased the book at our bookstore and started reading it when another theology book came across my path and put this one on hold.

One of the new pastoral staff members of our church recommended and loaned “The Greatness of the Kingdom” by Alva J. McClain. I started reading in the appendix as the title “A Premillennial Philosophy of History” intrigued me.

Today I purchased two more books, although they will probably need to wait until my list clears up a bit. One is entitled “Diagrammatical Analysis” and was written by Lee L. Kantenwein. “Parts of speech are defined and diagrammatically illustrated in English, Greek and Hebrew. [from the back cover]. “The Hermeneutical Spiral” by Grant R. Osborne is the other book I am looking forward to reading.

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Ford in the Field 1

The Model T ford became a ubiquitous piece of machinery in rural America. The farmer had come to rely on horses, mules and oxen, but now a machine that costs a little more than a horse but has twenty times the power is available across the land. This was especially practical across the Midwest. Large tracts of sod had just been broken, and the terrain meant little restriction for the nimble automobile. Model Ts where used for much work around the farm; plowing, lifting grain, sawing logs and hauling harvest, livestock or other goods.

The simplicity of the design and the ubiquity of parts meant it could be the base for tinkerers. My family was involved in the provision of useful model T customizations with the F. M. Goossen automatic end gate vehicle dumping body. The following model is at the Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum.

F.M. Goossen Mfg. Company.
Hillsboro, Kansas
Patent model miniature dumping box for model T Ford Truck 1920.
For nearly a 100 years, when a patent was applied for in Washington D.C. It was necessary to accompany the application with an exact working model of the article on which a patent was desired. If the item was large it was necessary to furnish an exact miniature model. In addition to accompanying patent applications, these miniatures of truck boxes were also used in show rooms at the Ford Garages, Since the truck and the box were always sold as separate items, This miniature making it easier for the salesman to show the customer, from whom he sought order for the full size dumping box. About 90 dump boxes were sold, till Henry Ford quite building model T Fords.
By F.D.Goossen

Another one of the models, owned by a relative:

Model T Pulls A Disc Plow On A Farm In 1915 <- Link no longer works.

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Language School Part 1

Language School Map


The Move

We went to language school in Texas. This is where a new life started. As with any birth there is pain with it, both for the mother and the baby. We had just driven what seemed like forever. The green EZ-Haul truck had elephants on the side (Named Packy and Tailgater?), which was cool. Maybe that is what triggered my imagination about this trip to the “jungle.” Aside from the boringness of a long drive, there was the problem of the monkeys jumping on our truck. Whenever we would drive under trees, I just knew the monkeys were waiting in the branches, eager to drop onto the back of our truck. My dad’s assurance that it was just the padlock banging the back of the truck when we hit a bump did not convince me. It was a relief to finally get there and realize that whatever monkeys had attacked the truck had fallen off before we got to Texas, and our stuff was still intact in the back of the truck.

The swing set

Soon after our arrival my dad built a swing set for me in the park at school. Other kids in the neighborhood sometimes felt they could use my swing set…the nerve! The “my stuff” was beginning to be a problem. MY brother Timmy would want to play with MY toys also and MY parents were gone to school all day. Of course there were other kids on campus and sometimes I got to play with them.

Raining Frogs

The weather was usually hot and sunny. On one occasion it rained and I remember going outside as the rain was slowing down and being amazed at my first (and last) experience of it raining frogs. There were little frogs everywhere. Usually when it rains, it rains water, but this time it was frogs and water. That was a neat storm, I thought. When I mentioned this later to an adult, he smiled and said something about “sometimes it rains cats and dogs.” This made no sense. Cats have claws and could hurt somebody and a dog falling out of the clouds could get hurt hitting the ground. Also, what if there were cats and dogs in a cloud, waiting for it to be their turn to rain and an airplane flew through the cloud…

The Kite

On a breezy day my dad took me to fly my kite. I had a large spool of string on a large wooden dowel and after dad launched it, was able to fly it higher and higher. There were many others flying kites, but mine was one of the highest. Slowly the realization came that I might not be able to bring the kite in, that it might end up tangled in a power line. This was bad. My panic brewed for a while like a storm across the plains, and then suddenly the thunder screams “DAD” When he came out he observed how high it was. I expected him to reel it in for me, but he instructed me to hold on to it, he would be back soon. At the time I felt frustrated that he didn’t just make my problem go away. Now I am very glad for his parenting style. He came back with a hammer, a drill and some nails. He hammered a nail into the end of the dowel, put the nail in the chuck of his drill and brought the kite in.


During this time I started taking an interest in aviation. Airplanes were phenomenal. I got a Fisher Price Family Fun Jet with little people and the luggage. And a red View Master model G with “Airplanes of the World” and “Pan Am’s 747.” Sharing my plane with my brother was a bit of a problem. My parents overheard me saying “Timmy, I love you, but you cannot play with my airplane”


Both my brother and I had tricycles; mine was the bigger one, because I was bigger. I loved being able to ride up and down the sidewalk in front of our house.

The Owl and the Lion

There was an owl that came and perched on the footboard of my bed at night. I was terrified of it. I knew it was waiting for me to fall asleep and attack me. Just the thought of it sitting there, staring at me while I slept was bothersome.

The Lion was also a tormentor of my dreams. I had a plastic toy lion that suffered dismemberment at my dad’s blade as he tried to show me that he destroyed the lion and I did not need to be afraid of it any more.


Concerning dreams, they were usually a pleasant experience in my early childhood. As I lay in bed going to sleep I had a box of dreams in my imagination, I would flip through them, like going through a card file. Each dream card had an illustration on the front, that was what the dream was about. I didn’t know the end. These cards functioned like movie posters, trying to inform me what the dream was about and urging me to select them to dream about.

It usually worked quite well. If I would select the snoopy card I had a peanuts dream. Snoopy and I would pursue the Red Baron. When I selected the cowboy card I was in the Wild West riding my horse, The 707 card made me a commercial pilot flying through the big blue sky on a sleek shiny new jetliner.

There were occasions where my dream would take an unexpected turn. And then one night as I lay in bed selecting a dream I ran across a new card. It was a brownish-maroon card with no illustration. I was curious and paid for my curiosity. What a nightmare! That night I dreamt I was surrounded by a pasty brownish maroonish color, and that was it. Nothing else. Just me and that color. There was no up or down, I was floating in the color, there was nothing else to see, there was no light and no dark, just brown, brown, brown. That was the last time in my childhood I used that technique for falling asleep.

The Cowboy boots

I had a pair of cowboy boots that I loved as a child. I was outgrowing them but did not want to give them up. My parents would tell me I couldn’t keep wearing them, they were bad for my feet, but I couldn’t be a cowboy without cowboy boots. I didn’t have any other pair. My parents would try to throw them away and I would rescue them, until finally they were thrown away cut up. There was no hope for them now. I felt so wronged. The boots belonged to me. How could my parents take over My Things.

The Tank

Not far from our house was every boy’s favorite military vehicle, a tank. This tank was stationary. We couldn’t drive it around, but we could climb on top, and the kid driving would make engine noises with his mouth. Some of the braver children would climb onto the turret of the tank, staying on top was hard enough. It was kind of cylindrical, so if you weren’t in the center it was easy to slip off. It was too large to ride as a horse, but small enough that the pushing and shoving of playmates caused many to fall by the wayside. The fallen child would yell to the driver to stop and wait for him to climb back up. This was not always possible in the middle of a heated battle, and sometimes he was instructed to seek cover and we would come get him latter. When you felt yourself starting to slip, you would try to grab on to the nearest thing handy, a playmate. They were not eager to be pulled off also, so many times figured it was better to give you a shove before you could pull too hard. We had our casualties. A friend broke his arm, and we were told not to get on the tank anymore, although some continued to do so.

Casualties of War



I also had a birthday piñata. We got it in Mexico. I was all excited anticipating this piñata. My parents filled it with candy, and on my birthday they hung it from a tree and let us kids swing at it with a stick while blindfolded. There were two problems though: First, they kept pulling it up just as I was swinging at it. That wasn’t fair. The second problem was that they let somebody else hit the piñata. I didn’t mind if they swung at it, but it was my birthday, and I felt I should get to break it open and I should also get the candy.

The Tank is visible in the right background



Nursery school was a frustrating experience. My parents were studying through language school and I was dropped off at the nursery. There was a routine that I followed that caused my Mom (and my Dad) a lot of grief. It started at night when I was put to bed. I would ask what we were going to do tomorrow. Of course, unless it was a Friday the answer was nursery. Then the crying would start. The next morning I would cry when I was dropped off, and until my mom was out of hearing distance. Then I would play with the other kids. When parents started coming to pick up the children I would start crying again, wishing it was my mom that was picking me up. When my mom showed up I was “still” crying. This made her feel horrible, as if she was making me suffer all morning.

I was a prideful selfish bully. I remember urging another little boy to build a larger tower of wood blocks, intending all along to kick it over when he was done. It pleased me to see the blocks flying. It pleased me to see the nursery workers get all upset, and it pleased me to see the other children cry. I was a horrible child.

Excursis: Tips for parents that drop their children off for childcare

Don’t linger. The sooner you move away from the doors and windows the sooner your child can stop crying. Don’t make him cry longer than he has to. If you need to stick around go to the lobby, the parking lot or a shop next door. Leave your cell phone number and the childcare workers can call you if little Johnny doesn’t settle down, but usually we stop crying once our mothers can’t benefit from our pain.

Be positive. If little Johnny sees this is something you hate to do, he knows he will hate it also. There are many benefits to interacting with other children outside your home, let him do it. Have a positive attitude; help him look forward to it. This is true when you pick him up also. When you see he is crying when you pick him up, you need to be strong and upbeat. I know that is hard after a long workday. This should be a “Yay! We can be together” time not a “I am so sorry I left you so long with those bad people time” Use duck parenting not betta parenting.

Be on time. Try your best to pick him up on time. He feels horrible when his parents are the last ones to show up. All his playmates are leaving and he is still there. Obviously there are situations that cause delays, but don’t delay over “me” time. Don’t delay picking him up so you can get a few more chapters of your book read in quiet or you would rather do your shopping without Johnny tagging along.

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Pig N Ford Races

Today the 86th annual Pig-n-Ford races start at the Tillamook County Fair.

More than 8 decades ago, a couple Oregon farmers were chasing a runaway pig in their model T Fords. They thought it would be a fun event for their county fair so in 1925 the Pig-n-Ford races were born. That year 10 cars raced, and some of those cars, (although with different drivers) are still racing today.

Five cars sit on the starting line. Five twenty pound pigs sit in wooden crates. Five racers stand across the track from the pigs. When the gun sounds the racers sprint across the track to the crates and pick up a pig. Then they run to their car where they must hand crank their “Tin Lizzie” to start her while keeping hold of the pig. Once the car starts, jump aboard and hold onto your pig while you speed around the track. Upon completing a lap you must shut off the engine, place the pig back in the crate and grab another pig, return to your car, start it up again, hop in and make another lap. The first driver to make three laps without losing a pig or a Ford wins the race.

Elongated coin celebrates the Pig-n-Ford races.

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Ford Publicity Stunts

It took more than a good design, good business and a lot of hard work to push the lightweight model T into the top selling car position. It took a bit of showmanship also. Across the country the model T was demonstrated doing feats that wowed and impressed the spectators (soon to be buyers). Two popular shows were the step climbing and the races.

A 1911 Model T climbs the steps of the Tennessee capital

In step climbing a model T was driven up some long flight of steps to the enjoyment of the crowds. Part of the trick was to keep the gas tank full. The position of the gas tank under the seat combined with the absence of a fuel pump meant that the climbing ability of the vehicle was subject to the realm of gravity. You can’t go up an incline where the engine is higher than the gas tank. In the field you could always drive up the hill in reverse.

Another part of the stair climbing trick is to get good traction on the rear drive wheels. The mechanic would stand on the rear of the vehicle adding his weight (which he could shift as needed)

Early on ford was very involved in racing and these races helped him make a name for himself. Ford built lightweight vehicles that could compete with racing  cars of the day. They were smaller and lighter. Henry Ford didn’t feel they needed the heavy ruggedness since the lightweight vehicle wouldn’t be put to as much strain as the heavier one. The transcontinental race of 1909 carried the ford name all across the land.

Two fords in the 1909 transcontinental race

These publicity stunts for Ford were not about competing with other makers, but about generating enthusiasm for the automobile. The bottom line was served, not by being the best auto, but the one everybody wanted.

Fifty boys ride in a model T through the streets of Payne, Ohio in 1912.

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US Federal Census Dates

It is important to use the official census dates when incorporating census information into genealogy records. Each census year is assigned an official date by the census agency. Enumerators are instructed to ask that answers to their questions be “as of” that official date, notwithstanding the actual date a particular enumerator may have visited a particular household, and whether or not that date was recorded on the schedule. Because it is impossible to know if enumerators and attestors adhered to those “as of” instructions, assuming the official date was adhered to assures consistency in genealogy records when calculating event dates from census information.  This is especially important in later censuses, where the age of children may be given in both years and months.

Official Census Dates

1790: 2 Aug 1790
1800: 4 Aug 1800
1810: 6 Aug 1810
1820: 7 Aug 1820
1830: 1 Jun 1830
1840: 1 Jun 1840
1850: 1 Jun 1850
1860: 1 Jun 1860
1870: 1 Jun 1870
1880: 1 Jun 1880
1890: 2 Jun 1890
1900: 1 Jun 1900
1910: 15 Apr 1910
1920: 1 Jan 1920
1930: 1 Apr 1930
1940: 1 Apr 1940

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Of Bettas and Ducks

Baby betta’s are born into a nest of bubbles built by their father. The father guards the nest from danger and protects his young. When betta fry fall out of the nest the male gently gathers them in his mouth and spits them back into the nest. As the fry grow they tend to wander. This makes for a very busy dad. He resolutely returns them to their nest, and they grow more determined to wander. Finally the tension gets to a point where the young fish leave the nest to become independent. They will establish their own territories, build their own nests, and protect their own young.

Ducklings hatch in a nest also, but built of straw, sticks, leaves and down. When they hatch they seek provision and protection from the first being they see. (Normally their mommy) They will follow and imitate their parents. Sometimes they will have a hard time keeping up. The adult duck paces himself and chooses paths that the ducklings can handle, even though they might be stretched. The ducklings learn to walk the walk their parents walk. Someday they will lead ducklings of their own.

My father had a technique he used with us as children. Instead of gripping our hand tightly, he would expect us to hold on to him. He did not need to see us to know where we were or where we were headed. He could feel the slacking or tightening of our little hands. When we got ready to cross a busy street he would say “hang on to daddy” and he taught us to keep hold and keep up. We crossed the street where he crossed, we walked where he walked. It went beyond crossing the street. It was about what has value, what has beauty, about how to protect and how to listen, about how to console grieving believers, how to rebuke those who stray, about loving our wives and loving our God.

Harold, Cornelius, Andrew

In going through some photographs I found one that was very enlightening. It’s a photo of my grandfather with two of his boys. (my dad and my uncle Andrew) What struck me was how they were holding onto their father’s pinkies. My grandpa Cornelius has an eye on them, but doesn’t have them on a leash. They will learn to walk his walk, and will train us to train others also.

That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:

Psalm 78:6

 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:1

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 2:2

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