What is a "tiehacker"?

"Tiehacker" is a term originating in the Ozark hills of southern Missouri. It referred to a class of people from WAY back in the hills that made a living cutting trees into ties for the railroad. I first heard the term from my wife shortly after we married. I had been working outside all day and was dirty and stinky. She had learned it from her father, and thought it just meant "a bum". Never having heard it before, I looked it up. Although I am not really a bum, I thought it was interesting, and I do have a life-long love affair going with the Ozark hills, so ... there you have it!

Friday, December 26, 2014

I want to feel festive, but it just ain't happenin', ya know?

Well, 2014 is almost over. And I have to say, I'm glad to see it go. It has been a rough year in many ways.

So many losses.

left to right:
cousin, Vern Buske, on New Year's Day
brother-in-law, Dan Green, on April 2
mother-in-law, Mary Hicks, nee Miles, on September 16
cousin, Jerry Cline, on Christmas Eve 
(Also, lost a very dear friend, Donna Westenberger, for whom I do not have a decent photo, to Lou Gehrig's Disease on Dec 16.)

My beloved Debster has had two major surgeries, one in June to replace her left knee, and one just two and a half weeks ago to replace her right knee. She has been laid up for most of the last six months recuperating and rehabbing, and still has a quite a way to go.

I've been battling a bad case of cellulitis, which almost put me in the hospital; only some fast talking, almost begging to tell the truth, with the doctor convinced her to allow me to try home treatment first. My leg is still a mess from that. Probably will be for several more weeks, according to the doctor.

And besides the Debster's knees and my leg, we both have other health problems that just keep nagging at us, some semi-serious, some just annoying.

Our van decided to to blow a head-gasket and crack the block. It had to be junked. The Blazer, with almost 260,000 miles on it, is on it's very last legs. Our only reliable car, at the moment, is the 1992 Oldsmobile that we bought from her mom's estate. Only has 96,000 miles on it, but it is still 22 years old, and won't hold up forever under regular daily use. So we're going to have to break down and buy a much newer vehicle by spring, at the latest.

Had to change employers at the end of October. My old employer lost their contract for the job I was on. I got picked up by the new company that got the contract, but although the hourly rate is the same, I lost a lot of benefits, not to mention some hard-won seniority.

My beloved home town of St. Louis, MO has virtually gone up in flames in the aftermath of the Mike Brown shooting in Ferguson in August; the northern part of the county will not fully recuperate any time soon, if ever.

I'm not even going to get into the state of national politics and events; all that does is make me see various shades of red and want to start throwing things.

For years I have detested the American version of Christmas. A holiday to celebrate the birth of the Christ-child is fantastic. I could get into that. Only Easter is more important, as far as I am concerned. But, in the nation, it is all about consumerism and greed, with a thin veneer of charity and love and cheer. Not about Jesus Christ at all. Even in the best of churches, as they supposedly celebrate "The Reason for the Season", it usually winds up being primarily a showcase for parents and other relatives to ooh! and ahhh! over their children in the "Christmas play". The Child has been forsaken for the sake of the children.

Well, you all will just have to forgive me for this, but, as a well-known personage once said, "Bah! Humbug!"

Happy New Year, everyone. 2015 has to be better than 2014. It couldn't be much worse.

Thanks for taking the time to read. I promise, I'll get back to my normally cheerful self in  a week or so, after the "holiday" season is over.

Ron