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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

PRIDE GOETH BEFORE THE FALL HODGEPODGE!


      Good morning to everyone. The Hurricane relief and recovery efforts in the southeast and Puerto Rico continue in full vigor. The wildfires in the northwest and the Golden State continue almost unabated. This has been an awful year for natural disasters to torment our great nation. Please continue your prayers and, where you can, financial and other material assistance. Also, please pray that no further disasters strike our great land.
     The investigation into the shooting incident in Las Vegas continues as well. How much more suffering can we endure? 
     Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and pull up a seat and take a break and enjoy some positive diversion that is the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thank you Joyce for another series of questions.  

1. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your sense of direction? 1=can't find my way out of a paper bag and 10=if I've been somewhere once I can find it blindfolded ten years later.
     I am SWMBO's human GPS. I have been blessed with an innate sense of direction. At the risk of sounding immodest I would rate myself a 10. When was the last time you looked at/used a map you could hold in your hand? (phones don't count!) 
     I used a folded paper map a couple of years ago when I was in an area that had no cellular coverage. We were in Maine. I usually have one as a back up. back east, down south, out west, up north
Choose one of these directional expressions and tell us why you chose it.
     I choose "back east" and by back east I mean the northeast. I choose the northeast because in my humble opinion it is the best part of the country to live. We have no indigenous land dwelling creatures that are poisonous and can kill you. The ocean is a different story. 
     Winter is a challenge but I see it as the price we must pay for the privilege of enjoying the other three spectacular Seasons.

2. Did you do more talking or listening yesterday? Is that typical? Describe your yesterday in one word.
     I did more listening yesterday. Yes, it is typical. One word...SWMBO!

3. Time, money, water-power-resources, opportunity...which one on the list are you most guilty of wasting? What might you do to change that?
     I guess I'm most guilty of wasting time. What I might do to change that is to procrastinate less and focus more on being task oriented and more productive.

4. Did  your family take regular vacations when you were a kid? Tell us something you remember about a family roadtrip from your own childhood.
     My family would often take a road trip to Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada. My dad's brother, Uncle Blackie, lived there. We always had a great time. Uncle Blackie was always fun to be around. He was an avid Canadiens fan. I am an avid Bruins fan. We had many good natured arguments about this storied hockey rivalry. I usually lost those arguments because the Canadiens usually won.

5. If you could grow anything you wanted, what would you grow? Why?
     If I had the proverbial green thumb, I would grow the standard fare of tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, etc. In addition I would grow watermelon, pumpkins and corn.
     I love farm fresh vegetables. I also love fresh corn on the cob with butter and salt, watermelon and pumpkin seeds.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
      Video of the damage caused by the recent wildfires in northern California are heartbreaking to see. Video of the damage inflicted by the recent hurricanes is likewise heartbreaking. I cannot imagine how I would feel if I lost everything I owned in one fell swoop.  My heart goes out to those who have. 
     Once again the American spirit is on display. Many of those who did lose everything and consented to be interviewed have expressed thankfulness that their loved ones are alive and unhurt. They express further a great optimism and determination to rebuild their homes and recover from their losses, no matter how long it may take them.
     So I ask again what I asked in my opening paragraph, to be in prayer for these people who have been affected by the storms and the wildfires. Also, if you are able and so inclined, please help financially as well. After all, it is the American way...it is the Christian way. God bless you and protect you!  



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

PRAYERS FOR LAS VEGAS HODGEPODGE



     Once again evil has reared its ugly head.  This time it was in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our Nation now mourns for the families of those who were murdered .  Again we pray for the swift recovery of those who were wounded.  Once again the nobility of the American citizen was on full display. 
     Once again it is Wednesday which means that it is time for another Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thanks to Joyce Daley, the creator of the Wednesday Hodgepodge, for another set of interesting questions. So without further delay, I give you this week's Hodgepodge.

1.  Have you ever spent time on a farm? Tell us a little bit about it. Have you ever grown your own pumpkin? Been on a hayride? Driven a tractor? Milked a cow?
     I have visited farms from time totem but I never spent time on a farm. I have never grown my own pumpkin, either. There is a competition here in NH to see who can grow the biggest pumpkin. Competing gourds can grow as big a 2,000 pounds plus. Now that's an impressive pumpkin.
     I have been on a hayride several times. I came to appreciate mulled cider from my hayride experiences.
     I have never driven a tractor nor have I ever milked a cow. I'm a country boy but I'm not that country.

2. What's something younger you would like about you now? 
     I think my younger self would like my sense of empathy for others. I am certain that my younger self would like my sense of humor too.

3. What are three things you'd like to do more often? Three things you'd like to do less often?
     This question kind of question begs a couple of follow up questions "If you want to do them more often, then what's stopping you?" and "If you want to do them less often, then what's stopping you?"  
      There are things that I would like to do more often, go to a movie or a play with my beloved SWMBO. I would like to eat out more often, again with my beloved SWMBO. I would also like to get away somewhere that's quiet and secluded to read, pray, meditate and just enjoy the natural beauty around me.
     The things that I would like to do less often is eating those things that are bad for me. I would like to procrastinate less. Finally, I would like to overthink things less.
     I plead the fifth on the follow up questions above.

4. What's on your nachos?
     On my nacho's are the following: French fries, salsa, diced tomatoes, jalapeƱos, onions and of course melted cheese.

5. What's the most random thing in your purse or wallet? Does it need to stay there?
     I guess my Concealed Carry License. Yes, it definitely needs to stay there.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     My heart is broken at the growing division in this country. The bodies were still laying in the concert venue when some politicians, news reporters and others tried to exploit this incident for their own agendas.
     A lawyer for CBS said that she had no sympathy for the victims because they were mostly conservative and presumably gun enthusiasts and therefore deserved what they got.
     Politicians and news talking heads wasted no time in calling for more gun control laws. Lost on these people is the fact that the perpetrator violated several "gun laws" in the execution of this heinous act. I would also like to point out that we have laws prohibiting murder and the possession of controlled drugs. You cannot read a newspaper without reading a story about someone being killed or arrested for drug possession, often with intent to sell. MORE LAWS ARE NOT THE ANSWER! RESTRICTING OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS IS NOT THE ANSWER!

     SWMBO UPDATE: SWMBO spent five days in the hospital. She is home now and doing so much better. Thank God for her doctors and especially her nurses who gave her excellent care. The doctors believe that the problem was caused by her electrolytes going way out of balance. I pray God that there is no repetition of this incident. Thank you all for your prayers and encouraging words.



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

THE FULL MOON AT THE ASYLUM!


     Good morning to all my Wednesday Hodgepodge Peeps. The past two weeks have been disastrous for so many people with Harvey, Irma and Maria passing through and wreaking havoc throughout the south Atlantic islands and southern United States.  We will be rebuilding for many months. Puerto Rico is completely offline. God help us!
     Today is Wednesday which means it's Hump Day and time for another Wednesday Hodgepodge. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, make yourself comfortable and enjoy a few minutes of Hodgepodger introspection.

1. What pets did you have while growing up? Tell us a little something about them.
     I had a goldfish that didn't last two months. I had a little green turtle that suffered the same fate as the goldfish.  SWMBO  brought a cat into our marriage and we had other cats during the early part of out marriage. The most cats we had at one time were sixteen. That's right, sixteen, but that's a story for another time!

2. What is one thing you absolutely must accomplish today?
     I have to drop the Littles off at daycare in the morning and remember to pick them up from daycare in the afternoon.

3. Where were you ten years ago? What were you doing there?
     I was still living where I live tody. I was in the waning years of my law enforcement career. It is hard to believe that I retired six years ago.

4. September 26th is National Dumpling Day. Did you celebrate? Apple dumpling, xiao long bao (steamed Chinese dumpling), chicken and dumplings, pirogi, matzoh balls, or gnocchi...which dumpling on this list would be your dumpling of choice? Have you ever made homemade dumplings of any kind?
     I must confess that I missed that one. I do not have a dumpling of choice nor have I ever made a dumpling.

5. 'There are two kinds of adventurers: those who go truly hoping to find an adventure and those who go secretly hoping they don't.' William Trogdon

So which kind are you?
     I'm the kind of adventurer that prepares for every forseeable event and then strike out taking on whatever comes their way.  I am a "Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you" kind of adventurer.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     For those of you who have been following SWMBO and me on our journey that is cancer there has been a recent bump in the road. 
     SWMBO has been dealing with frequent bouts of nausea and vomiting and other intestinal problems for the past few weeks. The doctors could could not figure out what was causing the problem. It all came to a head last Sunday.
     SWMBO was feeling fine until about mid afternoon. She began feeling nauseous and then began vomiting again. In addition, she developed vision problems. She had trouble moving her fingers and was feeling tingly in both hands and legs. We thought she was having a stroke or at minimum a TIA. So off to the emergency room we go. Enroute to the hospital the symptoms intensified. 
     At the hospital they ran a bunch of tests. Her electrolytes were found to be way out of balance, but there was something more going on.  She was admitted to the hospital and has been there since, while they try to figure it out.
     Good news is that her neurological symptons subsided by Sunday evening but the doctors still don't know what caused them, which means that they do not know how to treat my beloved and her symptoms can recur at any time.
     We would appreciate your continued prayers and I will keep you posted. Have a great week.



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

TRIGGER WARNING: B.W.A. HODGEPODGE!



     Have you been watching what is happening across our beloved Nation? One of our liberties, our freedom of speech, is under attack.  There are those who hold the notion that perceived offensive speech is equal to violence and that it is appropriate to meet such offensive speech with physical violence.  What has happened to the principle..."I may disagree with what you say but I will defend your right to the death to say it."  
     We have no such problems here at the Wednesday Hodgepodge.  It seems to me that opinions are expressed without reservation and are respected by all. Without further delay, here is this weeks hodgepodge.

1. What's something you'd rate a 10/10? Tell us why.
     One of the few things that I enjoy in the winter is on a clear night, looking up at the stars. I never fail to be in awe of the awesome sight of the billions of stars strewn across the black sky. That is something that I rate at a 10/10 in my humble opinion.

2. What job would you be terrible at? What makes you think so?
     I would be terrible at being a groundskeeper. I absolutely hate yard work and have to really motivate myself to get it done here at our (in our own mind) palatial estate.  I also don't have much talent for groundskeeping.
  
3. When did you last take a fall? What's something you're falling for (in a good way) these days?
     Last winter I was walking down our driveway to our mailbox and hit a snow covered icy patch and unceremoniously fell to the ground.  Not only my pride was hurt.  That was the last time that I took a fall.
       I do not have an answer to the second part of this question. We are in the "pumpkin everything" part of the year up here in the Granite State. I like pumpkin pie and perhaps a pumpkin spice coffee once in a while but not to the extent that it proliferates at this time of the year. Although, come to think of it, it is apple picking season. I love a nice juicy Cortland apple with a piece of sharp cheddar cheese. It is one of my favorite snacks at this time of the year.

4. According to the Travel Channel here are some of America's best fall festivals-

National Apple Harvest Festival (near Arendtsville PA, close to Gettysburg), Harvest on the Harbor (Portland Maine), German Village Festival (Columbus Ohio), Wellfleet Oyster Fest (Cape Cod), and Wine and Chile Fiesta (Santa Fe NM)

Have you ever been to any of the festivals listed? Which one appeals to you most? Does your hometown have any sort of fall celebration, and if so will you make it a point to attend?
     I have not ever been to any of the harvest festivals listed above. I'm not really a harvest festival kind of person. I am not opposed to going but they hold little appeal to me.

5. What is your goodbye message to summer?
     Well Summer, until next year. Thank you for enough water to keep our wells full. Thank you for moderate warmth for the most part. SWMBO thanks you for the days of the hot and muggies. I thank you that they were not excessive this year. All in all you have been good to us this year. If you happen to run in to Old Man Winter, please ask him to be kind to us this year and to go easy on the snow fall and to keep the freezing rain to himself. Take care Summer, I look forward to your return.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
     TRIGGER WARNING: B.W.A...Blogger With Attitude! The Bill of Rights gives us the unfettered right to say whatever we want to say.  It especially protects that speech which is deemed to be vile, obscene or offensive.  There is a significant body of  U.S. Supreme Court decisions affirming our right to free expression, particularly unpopular speech.
     On many college campi if you want to express an opinion in public you must do so in a designated "free speech" zone and only in a free speech zone. If a speaker is invited to speak at some colleges at the invitation of a college group and that person happens to hold "offensive" views, demonstrations breaks out and to avoid an unpleasant incident such as violence or outright riots, the speaker gets disinvited.
     These are just two examples of what is transpiring at colleges across the country. Both of these things are an affront to and a violation of our constitutional rights. These things must not be allowed to stand.
     To make matters worse, if a person is going to speak and their views may cause some angst to their hearers, trigger warnings are given and a safe space is provided where students can go to avoid the trauma of hearing challenging views.  This is outrageous!
     Therefore, I for one will continue to be a B.W.A. and I will continue to be as offensive as I want to be. God help us!



Thursday, September 14, 2017

ENOUGH WITH THE HURRICANES ALREADY!


     Good morning to all. I hope your Wednesday is going well. Hurricane Irma is finally dying and becoming less of a threat to life and property. She has done incredible amounts of damage and so far ten people have lost their lives. Now the recovery begins in earnest. An army of electrical workers has descended upon the state of Florida to rebuild and restore their electricity infrastructure. May God bless the people of Florida as they begin to recover and rebuild.
     Not even the fury of a hurricane can stop the Wednesday Hodgepodge. So say a prayer for Florida and don't forget Texas and those impacted by hurricane Harvey. Grab a cup of coffee, tea or other relaxing beverage. Take a comfortable seat and enjoy the Hodgepodge.

1. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.
     I think that this cliche is mostly hyperbole. Pictures are valuable to spark a memory, to freeze time for a moment or to record an event. Like a lot of things pictures can be manipulated via photoshop and other editing software thereby presenting a false narrative. A case on point is the movie "Jurassic Park" where dinosaurs walked the earth and interacted with human actors. 
     However, a single photograph can spark a stream of memories that would easily take a thousand words to adequately describe. 

2. Have you ever driven any part of the Pacific Coast Highway? If so what was your favorite stop? If not, is this sort of trip on your bucket list?
     I cannot say that I have. I did drive along the coast from San Diego to an area located just north of La Jolla. I would like to drive the entire PCH someday. What little I did see was beautiful.

3. How do the changing seasons affect you? As the seasons change do you find yourself looking more forward or backward? Which season-season transition bothers you most? Why do you suppose that is?
     As Summer becomes Fall the cooler temperatures serve as a warning that much colder temperatures and, dare I say it, snow are not too far off. It's time to begin to batten down the hatches and to winterize the house and the cars.
     The season transition that bothers me the most is Fall into Winter. I think it's because Winter is so challenging to navigate, especially as I get older. Winter seems to be the longest season of the year and the cold aggravates the arthritic joints in my knees and hands and makes it painful to move. 

4. It's your birthday and you get to pick the dinner menu. What are we having? Do you ever lie about your age?
     My birthday menu would be a nice Prime Rib cooked medium well done, with gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed mixed vegetables and bread rolls with butter. For dessert we would have Pecan Pie with whipped crime followed by "two fingers" of a nice Scotch Whiskey as we engage in conversation as we digest our meal. 
     I do sometimes misrepresent my age. "Lie" is such an ugly word, accurate... but ugly.

5. What's a life lesson you've learned recently?
     No matter how badly you hurt, you must still move. Pain is Mother Nature's way of telling you that you are still alive. Somedays I am really alive. It also makes you better appreciate God's promise that in Heaven there will be no pain. In my youth when I was essentially pain free, this promise rang hollow, a kind of "that's nice" attitude. Today, by the grace of God, I am a wiser man.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     In previous blog postings I extolled the character of the people of Texas for their response to the devastation left by hurricane Harvey. I suspected at the time that Texans were not unique in this regard. The people in Florida have begun to prove that I was right,  in the wake of hurricane Irma.
     Despite our problems as a nation, Americans continue to prove themselves to be a noble and compassionate people.  I am confident that the people of Florida will recover from this disaster because it is in their DNA to pick themselves up and press on. It will not easy or quick but it will get done.
     Please continue to pray for the people who have been affected by the two hurricanes. If you are able, please make a financial contributions from time to time to a relief/recovery agency throughout what is sure to be a lengthy recovery. It's the American way. 
     Thank you in advance! God bless you and God bless America. Also, ENOUGH WITH THE HURRICANES ALREADY! 




Wednesday, September 6, 2017

BACK TO SCHOOL HODGEPODGE!


     Have you seen where the Summer went? It was here just a minute ago! Here we are the day after Labor Day already. 
     In a lot of places the new school year has commenced. Parents are rejoicing everywhere! I hope that everyone has a productive and wonderful school year. I pray for our teachers and the Herculean task that they have trying to fill the young heads full of mush with valuable information under less than ideal circumstances.
    It is of course Wednesday and therefore it is time for another set of probing questions that is the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thank you Joyce for another fine set of questions. Enjoy!

1. When you think about your future what do you fear most? Hope for the most?
      When I think about the future I fear the continued deterioration of common sense AND common decency. What I hope for the future is that the character and selflessness on display in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana in the wake of hurricane Harvey would become so common place that it is no longer noteworthy when it happens.
    
2. September is National Chicken Month. How often is chicken on the menu at your house? What's a favorite dish made with chicken? What's something you're a 'chicken' about doing or trying?
     We really like chicken at our house. We have chicken, on average, once or twice a week. A favorite chicken dish is Chicken Pot Pie. 
     Something that I am "chicken" about doing or trying is skydiving. I have never seen the positive side of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. In my humble opinion only two things fall out of the sky...bird crap and fools, and Mama didn't raise no fool.

3. What are three things you don't own but wish you did?
     I really do not want for anything. SWMBO and I are fairly content with our lives with one or two exceptions.  So, in no particular order of importance I would like to own (1) a portable ice maker. Our freezer is often too packed with food to use ice cube trays. It would be nice to be able to make our own ice as we need it.  (2) A large weather tight storage shed. We would like a safe and secure place to store summer furniture and other seasonable stuff for the winter. (3) A BluRay DVD player. It seems everything is coming out is on BluRay these days.

4. Would you rather be a jack of all trades or a master of one? Elaborate.  If you answered one, which one?
     I would like to be a jack of all trades. It would be great if I do things for myself that I now have to rely on others for. It would be equally as nice to be able to share these skills with those who might have need of them.

5. Ketchup or mustard? On what?
     I like both, depending upon the food. I use mustard for Ham, Hotdogs and Bologna sandwiches. I like ketchup on meatloaf, roast beef, french fries and onion rings.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     I mentioned in my introductory remarks above that the school year has begun. I am reminded that our founding fathers strongly believed that our citizens ought to be well educated. They believed that all citizens should receive instruction on the U.S. Constitution, how our government is organized and what was the intent of that organizational paradigm. Citizens should understand the limits imposed upon, and the specific powers granted to, the federal government. Citizens should also understand the power of the individual states and individual citizens.
     Another area that needs to be brought back is a course in life skills. These are the skills everyone needs to be able to take care of themselves. Some of the skills needed are basic cooking, basic sewing, laundary, money management, basic housekeeping and manners. 
     I believe that if all students were well educated in these two areas, as well as the basics of Math, Reading, Writing, History, and Geography, and other disciplines, we would not have as many problems in our beloved Nation that we now have. 
     God bless our teachers and their students as the new school year begins.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

HURRICANE HARVEY HODGEPODGE!


     Unless you are living in a cave completely off the grid you are aware of the devastation that has occurred, and is continuing to occur in southeast Texas as a result of hurricane Harvey making landfall. I cannot imagine the concept of rainfall being measured in feet as is the case in Texas. The photographs coming out of Texas are heart breaking. 
     I am happy for the weekly diversion from reality that is the Wednesday Hodgepodge. What I mean to say is that it is good to have something else to focus my attention on for awhile. Join me in prayer for our fellow citizens affected by hurricane Harvey and now...the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. Can you believe we're rolling in to the Labor Day weekend? What's a project you'll labor over this fall?
     I cannot say that I am surprised about the arrival of Labor Day. It happens every year about this time. (Parum pum crash!) All kidding aside, the older I get the more quickly the time seems to pass by. 
     One project that demands my attention as the prospect of winter begins to loom on the horizon is getting caught up on the yard work. It has been difficult to give it the attention that it requires for a variety of reasons, some reasons being legitimate, other reasons not so much. #Ihateyardwork 

2. Tell us about the best perks you ever had in a job?
     One of the best perks of being a police officer was the things that I got to do that most people never get to do. I was assigned to work with the U.S. Secret Service on two occasions. 
     The first time was when then Vice President Dan Quayle came to Litchield NH. I got a peek behind the curtain and see what the Secret Service actually does to prepare for a visit and how they conduct themselves during the visit and during the aftermath of a visit.
     The second time, I was assigned to augment a neighboring police department to help with airport security for a visit by then President George H.W. Bush. On this occasion I got to see some of the toys the Secret Service have in their vehicles that support a presidential visit. I also witnessed the communications set up and the make up of counter sniper teams. 
     At one point during his visit, as the president was leaving I was standing on the tarmac about 25 yards from Air Force One as the president got out of his limousine and boarded the aircraft. It is the closest that I have ever physically been to a U.S. President.
    Both of those details made for a long day but it was a lot of fun.

3. August 31st is National South Carolina Day. Have you ever been to SC? Any desire to go? According to Southern Living, these are the top ten things to do in South Carolina...

Explore Charleston, bike, golf or relax on Hilton Head Island, see the beach and the boardwalk at Myrtle Beach, visit the state museum in the capital city Columbia, observe the wildlife and natural beauty of the Ace Basin, take a walk or hop on a trolley and check out Greenville's charming main street, visit Fort Sumter where the Civil War began, stroll through Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden in Bishopville leaving time to check out The Button Museum, also in Bishopville, see Morgan Island (also known as Monkey Island)-home to nearly 4000 Rhesus monkeys. 

Which is most appealing to you today? If you're a SC native, resident, or frequent visitor what would you add to the list?
     I have never been to the Palmetto State. Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach appeal to me should I ever have the opportunity to visit.

4. Beef, pork, country-style, barbecued, baby back, spare or short...your favorite kind of rib? What's a dish you enjoy that really 'sticks to your ribs'?
     My favorite rib is barbecued pork spare ribs with medium hot bbq sauce. A dish that I really enjoy that sticks to my ribs is homemade, AKA SWMBO's, beef stew. It is simply AWESOME!

5. What's one important skill you think every person should have? Why?
     One important skill that every person should have, and there are several other needed skills besides this one, is the ability to sharpen tools. This includes kitchen knives, hunting knives, chisels, axes, and any other tool that holds an edge. 
     When it comes to getting things properly done, sharp tools are essential. Knowing how to sharpen tools is also a much needed and valuable basic survival skill.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
     In my opening paragraph above I indicated how heart broken I am over the pictures coming out of southeast Texas. Here I'll share my pride in the conduct of many of our fellow Americans in general, and Texans in particular.
     This disaster has required "All Hands on Deck" to deal with the devastation and to save lives. The U.S. military and first responder agencies have conducted themselves in such a way as to reflect great credit upon themselves and their respective agencies, going above and beyond to the strict call of duty in many instances. No surprise there.
     What has reinforced my hope in the American people are the every day Americans who have risked their lives to save their neighbors and fellow Texans. Neighbor helping neighbor is the order of the day. There is no regard given to race or gender or political affiliation or any of those things that so often divide us. 
     Another group of Americans deserving of thanks are those who have come from the far flung corners of America bringing bottled water, food, and other disaster relief supplies to the Lone Star State. 
     Then there's the "Cajun Navy," those private citizens who own small boats who responded to the area and are going from house to house looking for survivors. Several thousand survivors have been rescued to date.
     This proves my thesis that the American people are a noble and compassionate people...period! So, my fellow Americans please pray for all of those who have been affected by hurricane Harvey and if you are able, donate to a relief agency. God bless Texas! God bless America!