A Different Restoration:Cautionary Tale

Don’t neglect the flowers for the weeds. The weeds will flourish just fine in life’s manure

I’m a private person, even people that are close don’t know me completely. Honestly, I can’t claim I know myself. I’ve changed without realization, at times.

I’m opening up in my privacy, this isn’t going to be happy and sunshine. I don’t seek pity either, I hope reading this is warning enough to help others see error and a need to change attitudes. Life is hard enough, there’s no need to make it tougher.

Don’t ignore your health!

Years ago, I was prescribed hypertension and high cholesterol medication. I abandoned taking the medicine. Yes those are prescriptions meant to be taken permanently. Yes I was stupid.  There could be Dire consequences to my action. The worse being death.

I didn’t care though. I wasn’t out to commit suicide, although there had been times. I felt as if I lived a wasted life. I was going through the motions. That was a stupid attitude, considering the amazing climb from a low point in 2014

Before I explain more, I want to share I do have a relationship with the Lord. I’m not a regular attendee to church. What is going on between Jesus and me is our doing. I know I have been blessed in wonderous ways. Did it change my attitude? Obviously not completely. I kept playing Russian roulette, taking my chances.

Don’t neglect your health!

I was battling and self medicating, having no luck defeating my sinus congestion. Friday morning, upon insistence from friends and my employer, I went to urgent care. Maybe I had bronchitis or something of that nature. I couldn’t breath and it took great effort to do the simplest tasks. I was soon to discover another major prominent body organ has determined factor on my lungs, my heart.

The attending staff quickly realized my life was in close jeopardy. I had a option to “phone a friend” or I was going for a ride in an ambulance. Driving myself was not an option. I was going to ER and now!

I chose phoning a friend. As independent as I try to be, I have been blessed with a couple that is super close to me. I didn’t want to ever burden them, but yet here was need. They have been supporting me, not only through this dramatic ordeal, but became my close family. I thank them for that and can never repay them.

I was immediately ushered to am ER room. VIP treatment is nice, but I’ll pass using it to get into emergency. Of course, I could have come by ambulance. Those patients get executive treatment as well

My blood pressure was way to high, as in high score way to high. The numbers I registered where in the 220s high and 180 low number. 120 80 being a normal number. The heart isn’t meant to be a high pressure tool.  I’m lucky the pump didn’t give out!

There have been signs it was ready to give out. Moving blood throughout my body at high speed caused my heart to enlarge to overcome. A big heart isn’t always a good thing. The heart is the major player of the body. The lungs, and kidneys can feel the effect.

My circulation had been failing. My eyesight has been effected. These are all major warning signs. They don’t go away.

Life is short, don’t make it shorter

After a long day in Emergency, I was admitted. It became apparent I wasn’t on a quick mend. I was placed in a CCU, critical care is a step down from intensive. My vitals were constantly monitored and my left arm was continuously squeezed by a blood pressure cuff.

I had an IV and leads on me. One finger was wired up. I looked like a robot with inner workings coming out. I couldn’t do anything, like use the bathroom without assistance. Even though I was down, that was hard for an independent man. My world from Friday night until late Sunday was a bed, a monitor keeping watch over my left shoulder.

Under agreement with my two close friends, now family, we kept my whereabouts on the down low. I didn’t wish to have visitors. I recieved many staff quests however. A team of doctors, several techs, my nurses. I was lucky to have a day and a night nurse that were very nice. They put up with me and maintained professional friendliness.

Kelsie wasn’t real happy I figured out how to unplug the monitor to get in the bathroom. She was a busy lady and I had to go! I’m glad she tolerated that.

My night nurse Izzy came Friday, in the night alarmed I wasn’t breathing well in my sleep. She put me on oxygen. It evidently helped. I slept and wondered why I had a tube connected to my nose the next morning. I thought I had dreamed it. Izzy administered a great relaxing drug the next night. I slept like a rock. I needed the sleep, I had been dealing with insomnia.

I was downgraded on Sunday. I was also moved to a different room. Now I was more ambulatory and had freedom to get out of bed. My BP was more controlled, but needed monitoring. Being downgraded to general status was a step to going home.

I need to make life changes now. I need a better diet and start to exercise. I’m lucky! This story could be different.. My attitude had already changed, I do care. I want to see where my published author writing goes. I’m also more aware of the friends I have and how much they mean to me.

As I wrote earlier, I don’t seek an pity. I was stupid! Thankfully the Good Lord looks out for people like me. I have another chance now. I hope reading this makes a difference and helps someone else get turned around. Don’t go through what I did.

Cowboys, Indians, Romance & Werewolfs

Jack LaFountain’s recently released another western with a monster. The reader/ listener returns to Texas and the Lazy L ranch. This novel is the continuing saga centered around main character Vern Carson.

Werewolves again terrorize the Red River. As the plot unfolds, a scheme of revenge and a neighboring feud becomes apparent.

Vern gains a love interest, but the beautiful widow Polly is more than she seems. Jack has a habit of sharing heartbreak leaving us to wonder if the story will end happily. I won’t spoil the fun, that will just have to be discovered.

Jack does a wonderful job penning the story. I highly recommend it.

The audio book is narrated by Cameron Buckner. He brings the tale to life in a well done “cowboy” fashion.

Cam hosts the YouTube channel Dixie Crytid and What if its True on podcast channels. He has a large following in which I’m part.

Jack’s books can be found on Amazon. Audible and in the catalog at houseofhonorbooks.com

The Beary Hord from Australia

I just finished listening to Bears In The Woods written by Julia Yeoh. The enjoyable plot tells about an ornery band of teddy bears taking a vacation from Australia to Texas.

This book is geared for children, obviously. There is something in the story for everyone, though. Julia describes the scenery of Texas quite well. It’s not hard for the reader~listener to be absorbed in as if they are there.

Julia paints an exciting, fun picture that brings her teddy bears to life. It’s easy to imagine the control chaos, the bears, and friends cause as they travel, camp, shop, and other general fun.

Julia Yeoh’s experience with ghosts, skinwalkers, and others that go bump in the night is well demonstrated. She is well knowledged, from her heritage. There is a link posted below that leads to a YouTube channel. Here are stories Julia shares from her youth.

The author narrator pairing for Bears In The Woods is excellent. Kacey Sophia’s soft English voice brings the audio to life. It’s fitting to hear the bear antics in a gentle British accent.

I have one warning when you enjoy this wonderful tale. Julia does an excellent job of describing meals and other treats consumed. I feel I gained 15 pounds at the completion of the story. I could mentally smell and taste every morsel that is consumed.

Julia already has a second novel released. Her books can be found on Amazon and discovered in the catalog at houseofhonorbooks.com

Welcome to 2023

Well, another year has come and gone. I have to admit 2022 was filled with interesting milestones in my writing journey.

The journey continues. My next novel was submitted in mid-December. My publisher and I came to terms, and I signed my next contract. I wish I could say I made a sale on the first try, but it took two attempts. I’m lucky to have a kind editor who shares his wisdom gently. Once I quelled my ego, I saw his point. Rejection isn’t a terrible thing.

Can’t go Home is the working title of my next book. It will be the continuing saga of my first story. I’ve already got a good start on number three, mainly because it’s trimmed from Can’t Go Home.

New Perspectives has been released in audio form. I placed a link to take you directly to it below. There are some perks to downloading if you’re a first-time Audible customer. My book can be discovered at houseofhonorbooks.com in paperback e-books and audio forms. I recommend browsing the catalog. There’s many great titles.

https://www.audible.com/pd/B0BPN2MCVB/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-332489&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_332489_rh_us

It took a while, but I’ve discovered myself as a writer. I’m more a novelist than a journalist~blogger. This last year, I found my writing dedication tended to be swayed toward writing a book. I’m not giving up reporting. The blog will remain the same erratic way it has always been.

Antique Iron Media will continue to double formate. I’m going to continue to feature my fellow authors of House of Honor. As always, thanks for your support!

International Harvester Christmas

I’m privileged to have a quest writer for this article. Judy Snyder is also an author published by House of Honor. Her book Twisted Tales was released last June and can also be heard via Audible. I introduced Judy in a review of her book in a recent article on this blog. Now she tells of memories from her youth Take it away Judy, the article is yours ~ Rick

Back in the 60’s my dad was a machinist at International Harvester in Melrose Park, IL.  Every year the factory had this big open house/Christmas party for the employees and their families.

It would begin with a tour of this freakishly HUGE facility. I was just a little kid over excited by the idea we were going to see Santa, so this really didn’t make much of an impression on me, except everything seemed BIG, and Dad got to show us the area he worked which smelled of grease and oil. But then we got to the special showing area. To be honest, I don’t know if it was staged especially for us, or if it was always there, but there were all kinds of farming equipment on display, some of which we were permitted to climb and sit on.

Then we were all gathered into a big room that had a platform at the front. At the back of the platform you could see stacks and stacks of toys, with a few pens corralling balls and stuffed animals. In the center stood (gasp!) Santa’s chair! And off to either side were lit Christmas trees. Long buffet tables laden with food and drink lined the back wall, and in between were tables and chairs.

 Santa would arrive astride one of the smaller tractors IH built, waving at everyone. As he mounted the stage, I’m pretty sure our cheering would have rivaled any rock concert in volume – there were hundreds of us there (employment was around 20,000, but I think each sector had its own party).

 Each child, under 12, was given a gift and a filled mesh stocking from Santa when you saw him. These presents were not dime store trinkets. I remember two of the presents that I received distinctly, one was a doll that came with a layette, ‘magic’ bottle (it ’emptied’ when tilted then ‘refilled’ when upright) and a wicker bassinette. The other was a child’s tea set made of real china that even had its own tiny spoons. I also remember my older brothers getting a Spalding basketball and a Wilson football.

The mesh stockings were a real wonderment to me and my siblings. They were the only stockings we ever got – filled with dime store toys and that hard ‘Granny’ candy no respectable kid would eat, but for us they were treasure. Older kids (12 up) got a smaller mesh stocking filled with ‘better’ candies. (Remember candy cigarettes and Mary Janes?) 

During this, raffles were held for the adults. I don’t remember the prizes, except that my mom won a set of pots and pans one year, and my dad scored a set of IH coffee mugs paired with a high-end can of coffee once. IH tried really hard not to leave anyone out. If you left without something, it was your own fault.  I miss those days, of big corporations caring.

Thanks Judy for sharing. Here is a link for those interested in her book. It’s also available on Audible

Purely Speculation

Last summer I added a nice Cub to my collection. The sweet little machine didn’t stay in my possession long though. A former owner realized his mistake, in letting the tractor get away. He managed to negotiate a deal, to get it back. I’m not going to reveal who owns the Cub, to protect his privacy. He doesn’t need tractor sleuths bothering him to prove my speculation wrong.

The tractor did not have a readable identification tag. That was something I would want to remedy, mainly for insurance identification. I like to protect my collection as much as I can. They are a monetary investment.

There was a ID tag on the tractor. Someone had painted over it . Luckily I learned a few tricks to read the old tag, and I know a guy. Doug Edwards, of course is to whom I refer.

To read the tag, it had to be removed. Sometimes its a simple matter of discovering the stamped numbers from the back. The tag is generally paper thin, held on to the casting by rivets.

I removed the tag, soaked it in paint thinner, gently went at it with a wire brush. I was satisfied to discover a number, which I took for a 1974 serial number. I wasn’t completely sure I was correct. I determined through logic. The grill style and paint coloring made the age logical.

If you read my articles you know I’m not the most mechanically apt. I take advantage of specialists friends. I don’t have the stamping tools to press the VIN number on a new tag. Replacements tags are easily purchased though. You can order through Steiner or better yet hook up with your local parts dealer.

The number I discovered was heavily debated. Doug has means of cleaning the old tag better than I could. The old piece of metal was passed around before we all finally agreed what the serial number read. My estimate was challenged. If the number we discovered was correct the tractor was built in 59.

Jessica Basford operates a “red” Cub

That didn’t make sense though! Cubs in 59 were red and didn’t have a square grill. It was time to do more research.

I’m going to stop at this point of my story. During other research, I discovered that records were destroyed to keep them from the competitors. This is sad and annoying for historical research. I would imagine all the manufactures had their secrets.

It’s interesting to note, that paint schemes were altered around the same time periods. Harvester painted their machines red and white about the same year Deere started painting green and yellow. Oliver hid new ideas under the tin work of their recent models. I can list more examples, but its obvious where I’m going with my thoughts.

There are other means of discovering the build date on tractors. Parts used in particular years and what not. Did I do that? No, I was going to, but I don’t have the tractor now. To be honest it REALLY doesn’t matter. Regardless, if I’m right or not, the Cub is a sweet little machine.

Disclaimer and purely speculation on my part. (please chalk this up to an author’s active imagination.)

Could the little tractor actually be a 59? Lets look at some interesting facts. Cubs were introduced in the 40s and built in Louisville KY. I did find out the tractor came out of the factory in other colors besides red. They would be painted to customer specifications. The square grill wasn’t introduced until the late 60’s That’s also the time when they became International Cubs instead of Farmall.

In 1961 Cub Cadet was introduced. The Cub original was built in Louisville. There are a lot of similarities between the small and large tractors. Grill, paint scheme. Early 60’s was the time when the tractor manufactures jumped in the urban market. They all patterned the little tractors to look like field tractors, .

Notice any similarly?

Maybe Harvester was thinking about clientele with estates. Maybe they were thinking about the restyling as early as 59. It may have taken a couple years, of tests before anything came off the assembly line, in mass . Maybe some Cubs rolled off the line with a new look. My research did allude to the possibilities.

I openly admit, I can be proven wrong, but it’s fun to think about. To bad some of the historical records have been lost for our future to know for sure.

Judy Snyder, Discriptive with Pictures and Words

I’ve mentioned Judy Snyder before. She is the artist that created the cover for my novel New Perspectives. The retooling of the Antique Iron Media is also her fantastic handiwork.

Judy’s book Twisted Tales debuted in June. The release was more recent on Audible. I have a time constraint being able to read so had been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to listen.

Twisted Tales is actually a grouping of short stories. Judy patterns after Rod Serling telling the tales reminiscent of TV’s Twilight Zone. Judy has her own flair, making the reader smile, feel sad and scaring them over and over.

The book is narrated by Steven Molony. This is the second book that Steven has performed for House of Honor. His skill brings books to life.

I personally don’t have a favorite story. Each one is great on it’s own rights. I highly recommend purchasing Twisted Tales in any form you prefer. Its available in paperback, E-book through Amazon and its available on Audible.

Links can be found on the publisher’s website at houseofhonorbooks.com

While you’re there take a minute to browse the catalog for other interesting titles to read. The blog Author’s Antics is also linked there. More can be learned about each of the authors in the Publishing House. A new article is released on Friday

Judy is currently participating in a writing contest of sorts. She is working on a novel that has to be completed in the month of November. One of her short stories Michala’s Rise is being expanded into a novel. I’m privileged to have insight on the project, and have complete faith the book will be great.

Judy’s artistic book covers can be enjoyed on a majority of House of Honor titles. I firmly believe the cover she designed for New Perspectives grabs a potential readers attention. Thank you Judy, for your help in its sales.

What’s New! Another Review

 Fire Tales The world has turned away from magic and cast all magical creatures into the netherworld. But there is not peace. The Arianmordun empire has taken control of its enemy country Senlaisre, enslaving its people for centuries. The people of Senlaisre lie in wait, secretly plotting a rebellion, but the rebels want to ensure their victory and send a young man, Ailadwr, to find the sword Maelcethin in the forbidden forest. The sword is known to bring victory to what hand claims it, but Ailadwr knows that there is a price: the opening of hell and the release of all magic.

Cover designed by Judith Snyder

This is a recently released book by fellow House of Honor author Keshia Willi. Keshia hails from Virginia and is a recognized screenwriter

Keshia’s writing style is very classical. The words flow like English poetry. I downloaded the book via Audible for my listening pleasure.

The audio book is well complimented by the choice of narrators. Kacey Sophia brings the story to life with her airy British accent. Listening to the tale is magical.

This was a great change of pace for me. I highly recommend the book.

Jack LaFountain has brought Ed Landry into the third book of the sequel. The book is available on Amazon and Audible. Cameron Buckner narrates.

Cover by Judith Snyder

The bill has come due for Magic Mike’s death and Ed Landry has to pay up—the voodoo queen of New Orleans insists on it. Jazz Ledoux arrives in Oklahoma with the message, get home, Christy’s been kidnapped.

On the road back to Louisiana, Landry falls under the power of a spell that carries him to Lockett in visions. Friends and enemies alike take on new shapes as Landry is forced into a showdown on the bayou. This fight for his life will leave him bloodied.

Another great story by Jack. It was quick. I listened to the book in a day. I realize I had the time being on the road all day.

These two books, and more to be purchased can be discovered, at the website http://www.houseofhonorbooks.com

While you’re there please browse around. Take the time to meet our authors and narrators. There is a blog page to learn insights as to how and why we write. We at House of Honor appreciate your support and hope you enjoy the books available.

Let’s keep the Politics out of Our Passion.

This article may trigger some people, causing offense. If so, this report is based on my observations and I’m sharing my opinion. We all have freedom to agree and disagree. I also realize that this story can be viewed from different aspects.

I’m trying not to be an antique tractor puller. It’s a slippery slope not to, and I have several hands grabbing and pulling me down the hill. This is happy sarcasm by the way. The reason I “avoid” being a puller is my fear I’ll become passionately involved in yet another aspect. As far as tractors go, I’m pretty deeply invested now.

I have become acquainted with several tractor pulling clubs. Three in particular are promoted here on this blog and on Facebook Antique Iron Mafia and Media. I’m a proud supporter of two of them. One of them I personally invest time helping in any way I can. This article IS NOT directed at any of those three organizations. The clubs are administrated well, and I have observed their sense of fair play.

With that being said….

Doug and I traveled to a tractor pull in Green Valley, on Saturday. Three others came with us to watch Doug on the track. Doug had never pulled with this group. He registered in for two weight classes. He actually signed up to compete in lighter classes than he normally competes in.

There was no scale so they had to take Doug’s word that his weight was correct. If there has been scales, Doug would have provided proof. There was also a speed limit. Again Doug agreed to that.

Doug’s Oliver was the first pull of the day. Every participant had two pulls per class. Doug’s first attempt was a full pull. He had a speed warning which he immediately slowed down. The tractor and track conditions were good. Anyone that knew the tractor could tell he wasn’t running full throttle.

Doug won that weight class, he went to put more weight on, and I signed him up to pull in his normal weight class. They gladly accepted the hook fee.

I was watching the competition when the guy that Doug had defeated walked up asking questions about Doug’s Oliver. I’m just a part of the pit crew. The guy complained that Doug’s tractor had been altered and didn’t believe his weight was correct for the class. I shrugged, if we were being called on it, let’s go weigh!

Evidently, he cried to the management. Doug pulled in his next class going the distance to win, but wasn’t determined to be the winner. He also didn’t get the second pull like the other tractors. Two pulls per class, if you recall.

They had decided to disqualify him. He would be allowed to pull in the final weight class, but wasn’t allowed to compete.

After some discussion, Doug was told that he had been disqualified for his hitch and cut tires. Funny, I saw three or four tractors that had the same hitch and tires. We’re they disqualified? All the tractor clubs I’ve been associated with do inspections to determine if the tractor can pull BEFORE the participant registers for the pull.

The truth came out in the wash. They simply didn’t like a stranger coming to compete and take any trophies. They didn’t want any “hot” tractors coming in and showing them up. Doug may have been warned on his speeding, he had addressed it everytime the warning horn blew.

They didn’t have a problem taking the hook fees! To their credit they refunded the one class that Doug didn’t pull in.

We left an hour after the pull had started. If Doug wasn’t allowed to compete, we decided there were better things to do. As far as Doug’s “hot” tractor, this club is lucky that he was the only one to come compete. If anyone else from our nick of the woods had gone, they would have REALLY been put to shame with their little league tractors.

I said before I see the other side of this. I don’t agree it’s right. The group should have done a preliminary inspection of ALL the tractors. They should have also advertised the rules they were going by. Doug wouldn’t have traveled if the tractor didn’t qualify.

My parting remark for the hosting group. I don’t recommend you travel south into our area. We are more competitive and we don’t need you wetting down our track with your tears! We have tractor pulls and don’t give participation trophies. Trophies go to the winners!

This is my opinion. It’s best that I’m not a part of the governing members that manage the pulling clubs. You’re probably welcome to participate locally, the group has sanctioned rules that are abided. They are transparent about the rules and don’t make them up just to suit them.

New Perspectives has been released!

New Perspectives is an underwater adventure in a style reminiscent of Clive Cussler. Author, Rick Shaw is an experienced diver and that comes through in his storytelling. His blending of interdimensional travel, with thrills, danger and an added touch of romance is spiced with a dash of the paranormal. New Perspectives is a wonderfully well told adventure—dive right in! ~ Jack LaFountain

This year has been quite the journey. My Publisher had told me about the amazing feeling when I first held the book in my hands. The other notable milestones had to be signing the contract for the submitted manuscript, the learning experience of editing, Judy Snyder interviewing me to determine the best look for the book cover, and my friend and professional photographer Rebecca Lacy doing the photo shoot for my author picture.

I get a lot of bewildered looks from folks when they learn I’m an author. I can’t blame them, in fact I’m still amazed too!

New Perspectives tells the story of a group of sport divers in the Midwest. While searching for a missing diver, they discover a dimensional rift into another place very similar, but not as technological advanced as home.

The villain of the story is making attempts to steal new technology and advance his realm, maybe to fast, and possibly throwing that world into chaos.

The hero, with the help of a local sheriff and his sister, work to stop the villain from his evil plan. The hero and heroine fall in love, causing him to make a difficult decision.

It’s a story where the good guys aren’t so good and the bad guys aren’t so bad either.  Along the way we discover our hero isn’t exactly who he seems to be.

Bigfoot makes a cameo, making the reader wonder what exactly the portal is capable of.

° Special note for tractor fans ~ tractors play a part in this book.

This book, is just the beginning of a multi series. The next saga is just about complete. Each story will stand alone, so a reader can jump right in and enjoy any of the books….at least that’s my plan.

I have already recieved positive feedback, from a few people. But don’t take my word, or their word, for it. Jump right in and order the book and find out for yourself! If you’re local to me let’s hook up so I can put a signed copy in your hands.

New Perspectives can be found on Amazon and also through links through Facebook on my page Antique Iron Media. More links can be found through my publisher House of Honor http://www.houseofhonorbooks.com

As always I greatly appreciate your support!