Missed the Wading This Time

We received a whole lot of rainfall this past Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. When I woke to prepare myself for the day, and to go and drive the School Bus morning run I wondered if I would be able to cross our low water bridges below our home. I waited until it was time to go to check it out, and the rain kept pouring down out of the skies.

After I had tended to my devotional reading and prayer, tended my blogs, and took my morning dose of medicine [at least some of it] I got in the car and headed down our washed out driveway to the main road. When I arrived there I could see the water was rolling quite rapidly across the bridge, and was almost whitecapping. I pulled the front of our car into the edge of it, sat there and looked at it, thought about crossing, then I decided not to attempt it. Attempting it was what I did not want to be successful at. Attempts without successful crossing happens to far too many people. One local TV station in Springfield, and one of their Meteorologist has a saying concerning water across roadways, “Turn around, don’t drown”, so that is exactly what I did.

I then, turned around and went to see how the other side looked, and it was worse. I had already called into the Bus Garage and told them I could not get out. The one mechanic at the Garage who is familiar with where I live said, “I was afraid of that”. That is the first time in almost two years we have lived here that I could not get out, when I wanted out. There has been a time or two I could not drive the car back to the house because of high water, but I could cross on foot by wading.

The water from all the rainfall we have been getting has nowhere to go now. The ground is soaked to the point of being like a sponge in some places, and you sink in the ground as you walk across it.

I don’t want anyone to take me wrong in this writing. I am not complaining about all the rain. I actually find it adventurous, and something new. I do feel for those whose homes and lives have been drastically changed because of it. I am sure they find no adventure in any of it. Many of these homes are far above flood stage, and no one ever suspected that they would ever be flooded, but now they have been. We really just never know. I do remember the rainbow.

I am thankful that I MISED THE WADING THIS TIME.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

It Is Spring Again

The past few days here in Southwest MO. has been wet. Wet may not be big enough word for it. It has been downright in the, at least next to the Noahic Flood proportions. That is probably slightly overstating the situation, but I know that is how some of us have felt. Some have even accused me of building an “Ark” and getting ready to float away.

Life sure is interesting at times. One week we are dismissing schools due to snow, ice, and winter storms. The next week we are getting out of school early due to flooding rainfall. Letting out early so as to be sure we get the kids home without buses getting cut off, and such.

Well! Welcome to the second day of Spring 2008. It is great. I have never made any secret to Spring and Summer being my two favorite seasons of the year. It seems that I am especially appreciative of this Spring. Snow, ice and cold just doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t complain about it. It is the days our Lord have given us, and they do have their function and purpose, and they too give glory to their Creator.

Let me tell you about my last two or three days of Winter with Spring affects. Monday night March 17 we received a large amount of rainfall. Tuesday morning when I drove down our driveway toward the road I was wondering about my ability to cross the branch which crosses the road on both sides of our access. When I got to it I saw it deeper than any other time I had crossed; I looked and debated with myself whether it would be the right thing, and safe thing to cross or not, and finally decided I would cross. I did, and made it across in good shape. Upon returning home the branch had risen considerably, with the waters wavy rolling across the crossing. I decided not to cross in the car, but to find a fallen tree across it upstream or something. I walked upstream for awhile until I found a mangled mess of two or three trees which reached across. It was still raining, I crossed, walked to the house, soaked and ready to get my jacket off and my feet dry.

The School called me about noon, and told me they were lining up the buses at 1:15 p.m. to take the students home. The water was still rising. The rain was still falling, and at times in record proportions. As I walked back to the car, I once again crossed the mangled trees, got successfully to the other side, jumped down on the bank, at which time that bank collapsed and the bank and myself went down into the stream up to my knees. I crawled out even wetter than I hoped I would be, went on to the car, and went and drove my kids home.

When I came home that afternoon, the water was higher, and I decided to keep the car on the side it was on and just wade across the low water bridge. I have been around these waters around here for a long time, and I know what it can do so I was very cautious in doing it. I slowly put one foot in front of the other, through the water, got stable in the fast moving water, then would move the other. By the way, it was only about knee deep, but there is a whole lot of power in knee deep water moving with any speed. I made it safely home, took off my wet shoes, socks, and clothes and got comfortable.

The next morning going back to drive the School bus, I did the same thing. It had gone done an inch or two measuring on my knees, but was still a bit swift. I almost lost my balance, but managed to regain it. I sure didn’t want to fall down; I don’t think I could have stopped too quickly. On my return home the stream had receded some more, and I drove the car up to our house. I was glad.

I have had quite the adventure. I like adventure. I am thankful that the Lord is my Caretaker, and that He is still watching over all who are His, and over those who are not His. I am so glad that it is Spring, and that the grass will begin turning green, the easter lillies are blooming, the birds are singing the peepers are peeping. It is so good to know that “The LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet” (Nahum 1:3b).

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Winter’s Cold Ice – Again

It has happened once again. The State of Missouri has been hit with an ice storm again. I think this makes the third one in the past 13 months. In January of 2007 several thousand homes were without power, and for quite some time people were hurting without heat, and the comfort of their homes.

I don’t know of any in my area who have lost power. I must give our Electric Cooperative applause for their maintenance of our electric lines. The Barry Electric Cooperative is very good at keeping the wires cleared of timber and brush. Even that though, sometimes is not enough. This ice can grow quite heavy as it builds up on the lines. These men are ever vigilant to keep the power on and for that I am grateful to them, as should be all their customers. Let me make one thing clear before I continue with this post; I am not an employee of the cooperative, but only a customer, and I guess since it is a Rural Cooperative I am a member as well, who is very proud of these men and women who keep it going.

This is being written on the second day of school cancellation at the Cassville School District. My usual departing time for the morning – to go and drive the school bus – is about 5:15 a.m., and it takes me approximately 30 minutes to get to the bus garage. When I left yesterday morning it was about that same time. There was ice on the car, which I had to break loose from the door, then started the car, took the ice scraper to the windows, then departed. I had gotten nearly half way to Cassville when my wife called my cell phone and told me that my Supervisor had called with his automated call, and informed all drivers there was no school.

I found a place to turn around, and I came back home. The roads were getting “slickery”. That word “slickery” is a word I learned from my four year old grandson. I liked it so I use it here. They were icing, slushy, and driving carefully is required in such conditions. When I found a good place to turn around I came home. Then, it continued to pile up some more.

The temps are not bitterly cold, but it is still Winter, and I am still waiting for Spring to arrive. I have never made it any secret that Spring and Summer are my two favorite seasons of the year. I am, however, very grateful to our God and Creator, for everyday of life and living. It all comes from Him.

A Winter Storm

They said it was coming. Who said it was coming? This Winter storm. When I arose from the bed this morning there was not a flake of snow to be seen, and I found out almost two hours later that there did not appear to be a cloud in the sky. Sometimes I am amazed how accurate the weather people can be in their predictions. I guess it is all that stuff they call technology, sattelite, GPS, and all that.

It has not been bitterly cold. I am thankful for that. I don’t do very well in the cold. Especially when the electric bill comes due, and that is what we heat with. That is our choice. I am also thankful that we have not experienced a major power outage like some other places and people I know. We would be in a world of hurtin’.

When I jumped in the car to go to Cassville School Bus Garage to drive the bus, there was a moon shining down from above with a few stars that I could see. I left about 5:15 a.m. and arrived there at 5:45 a.m. There were three buses already headed out for their morning pickup of the kids. Two more headed out shortly after I arrived. One driver radioed in from one of her farthest points, “Snow is falling and covering the roads. What do you want me to do?” The decision was made to call them in, ie., the five that had already departed. School was called off for the day.

After helping shut down the engines on the other buses, I got back in our car and came home. It is good to have a day off, but I would rather get out earlier at the end of the year. I guess I just needed the day. Thank the Lord. He always knows what is best for us.

The snow is still falling, and if it continues we probably will not be in school on Friday. There are some pretty wicked roads here in Southwest MO. with curves, hills, hollers, and many of the roads here have no shoulders; only ditches. It can be fun navigating at times.

The Autumn of the Year

I just looked in the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY to make sure I was spelling the word “Autumn” correctly. I was, and noticed the definition was, “The season between Summer and Winter.” That is a correct definition.
I must admit Autumn or Fall is not my favorite season of the year. It has its beauties, with the changing of the leaves on the trees, especially here in the State of Missouri; the hills are full of color. It is amazing how our God paints such a beautiful picture even in the picture of aging and dying. Therein lies the reason Autumn is not my favorite time of year. I appears as death and dying. It is not that I fear dying or death, because I know where I am spending eternity, and that is with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
One of the things I don’t like about it is the cold. I like being warm, and even being hot is not as hard to bear. I can cool down much easier and in a more enjoyable fashion, than by trying to get warm. When it turns cold, I am never warm; that is not to say that I am freezing or anything like that. The cold just gets in me, and I am not warm until Spring comes around again.
I am not liking this Fall especially. I went to the doctor yesterday, and my blood pressure was way high, and he grounded me/suspended me from driving the School Bus. It is for an indefinite period. I am hopeing that when I go back to see him on Monday he can renew my health certificate and I can get back to driving. I am appreciative of a Supervisor at the School who is willing to work with me, give me a medical leave, keep my route for me, and get paid while I am off too. I have twenty days of sick leave, so that should be taken care of. One thing the doctor told me was that he was going to get me an appointment with a cardiologist. I don’t know when that will be yet.
If things don’t work out with driving, then, I know the Lord has something greater in mind. This Fall/Autumn is the season of color, and a reminder that life on this earth is not forever. God is in control of life and that is what makes the whole year, and the four seasons so interesting. Life might be a little boring if every day was the same, and every season of the years, as well as the seasons of life.
My wife and I went to the Missouri Baptist Convention the week of October 29-31 at the Tan-Tara Resort on the Lake of the Ozarks. It is a beautiful location, the weather was great, and some events of the Convention were disappointing; but the preaching was great, and the singing was fantastic. God is good.

Back To School

Since my last post School has started and I have driven the bus seven and one half days. I took the morning of August 22 off, because my Dad was supposed to have surgery, actually amputation of his right foot and part of the leg. That has been due to lack of circulation to the foot, due to vein removal for his heart a few years ago.

They ended up not doing the surgery because the anesthesiologist saw a problem in one of the tests concerning his heart, and would not allow it to proceed. He has now been back for more of those tests, passed them, and now the surgery is rescheduled for Monday the 27th. He is supposed to check in at 11 a.m.

I am still driving the same bus that I drove at the end of the last School year. Old Bus 23. The mechanics of the School did some work on her, and she runs much better this year than she has in a long time. She is still a bit sluggish on take off. Her zero to sixty time is probably about 2 minutes. If I ever get her to sixty.

There are not a whole lot of people who can say they drive a vehicle with a price range of eighty thousand dollars. Yellow as a color in automobiles is growing in popularity, but it is usually a slightly different yellow than a School Bus.

The kids on the buses are being kids. Some of them get slightly overly active. Then, something must be done. They do have a problem obeying rules. Rules to remain seated. Rules that are for their safety, and the safety of all on the bus and all who are on the road, at times.

As I was driving down one part of my curvacious road one day I saw a puff of torn papers in my driver’s side mirror fly through the air. I did not see who did it. What could I do. All I did was ask who threw it out. To no surprise, I received no answer. This is a generation of people who are supposed to be so concerned about our environment. I am not so concerned about paper, it will go back from whence it came.

I guess “Litter-bugging” is one of my pet peaves. I cannot stand seeing people throwing trash out the windows of their cars or leaving it where they have brought it; like to a campground, or picnic area. It is ugly on some beautiful highways in the USA as well.

Anyway, School is back in session, and it may be a long School year. I plan on making the most of it and living for my Lord.