Sunday, December 2, 2007

Haiti bound

The countdown for our trip to Haiti is drawing near and as usual I'm getting stressed out about whether or not I have remembered everything. I mean I've only done this about 4 times before so you would think I would have it down pat by now. Remember my previous post about getting old....well this is part of what happens to you when that occurs. I know I have all my shots, my passport is in order, the tickets are bought, I have arranged for transportation to the airport.....what am I forgetting?? I never can remember what carry on bag I used on my last trip and if it seemed large enough for everything I needed. If this seems like a minor matter to any of you I would challenge you to plan a 8 day trip and then pack everything you need in a carry on bag. You see the checked baggage that we are allowed is taken up with the items that we take to Haiti for the people there and to support the whole mission effort. For instance my checked baggage consists of 75 pounds of school supplies and the rest is Christmas gifts for the Haitian kids who live on the beach near the compound where we stay. Another thing to consider is that there ain't no 7-11's in Haiti so if you want a pack of square nabs every morning at 10am you better take them with you. My motto goes back to my boy scout days and I'm into "be prepared". So I usually take more than I need just in case. That don't work on this trip. We get one opportunity to wash our clothes on this trip so that means you don't need clean drawers for everyday ...just enough for 4 days. I might be forced to consider thongs just to take up less space. We are not sure exactly what project we will be working on once we get to Haiti but in the past we have been involved in planting trees on the mountainside, building small fishponds, building water cisterns and working on additions to the school buildings. Whatever we do we can surely depend on it being very hot, the mountainsides will be just as steep, some 80 year Haitian grandmother will work your sorry American ass in the dirt .....but in the long run you will feel so good about what you have done that you will leave to come home already thinking about your trip next year. If your church is not into mission work you don't know what you are missing. Don't convince yourself that just because lots of Americans have their hand out with no gratitude in their heart, that it's that way everywhere. There are needy people in this world that will work alongside you everyday and appreciate what you are doing for them....get out there and find them. You'll feel better for your effort......Crookedpaw

Friday, September 28, 2007

How's it feel to get old, you ask?

Old age, I have decided is a gift. Actually I am now, probably for the first time in my life the person I always wanted to be. Not my white beard, soft belly and stooped gait but my persona. Nowadays when I look in the mirror (and see someone who looks like my father) I am not worried about those physical flaws I have acquired.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my good life, my church and my loving family for a flatter belly and more spring in my step. As I have aged I find myself less critical and I like myself more. I cut myself more slack and if I want a third beer in the evening I drink it with pleasure. I buy more stuff on the Internet just because I can. Not high dollar stuff just little cheap gadgets that I rarely use. I mean, after all, I work hard every day why should I not have these little perks for getting old and wrinkled.

When my dog Maggie trots along as I ride my bike around the neighborhood and I stop every few feet and pick up the cigarette butts, that seem to be everywhere, I don't give a rat's ass if this seems like strange behavior to others. It makes me feel better....so they can get over it! If all the preset stations on my truck radio are set to the same Public Radio station that's all right too. It's my truck and my radio and they are old as well.

I clearly have a classic case of "CRS" in its advance stages. I CAN'T REMEMBER SHIT. I've got post-it notes, laptop entries and reminders all over the place and lots of stuff still gets by me. All the people that think this sucks are right...but, they too will get old someday.

Many years ago I was granted a Concealed Weapons Permit and I usually have some "heat" close by. I don't do this to intimidate folks....nobody knows it but me. But when I am armed you cannot deal with me by force, you must use reason and try to persuade me, because I have the means to negate your force. It puts me on an equal footing with any badass that comes along. I keep it in the same pocket with my nitro pills...you can't tell which will work the best in a dire situation.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You tend to care less what others think. I don't question myself much anymore and I've earned the right to be wrong on occasion. I also am convinced that Coldbeer is proof positive that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

So....as you can see I'm pretty big on OLD. It has set me free and I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever but while I'm here I refuse to worry about what could have been or what might be. Some days I may even drink four Coldbeers. (FYI--In the eastern North Carolina cold beer is one word, and considered a proper noun.)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Peace Presbyterian Oak

I've been promising to tell the story of the "Peace Presbyterian Oak" so here goes. My church, Peace Presbyterian in Winterville, N.C. bought a tract of land early in 2006 to build a new church on. We were being forced into a move from our old location due to the widening of a major thoroughfare around Greenville, N.C. and the continuing commercialization of the area. It was a difficult move for many of our members but in the long run sound decisions were made and we began construction on a new facility about a year ago. The property we bought came with an old turn of the century farm homestead complete with out buildings and it even had an old milk pit out under one of the sheds to store milk and other perishables in the cool of the underground. There was a huge old 2 story farm house and an adjoining pack house and numerous shelters. Nestled in amongst all these buildings was a giant oak tree that seemed to tower over the entire collection of buildings. Only after we had purchased the property did we begin to realize the enormity of this tree. It seemed in very good health, with a girth of 20 feet, a height about 85-90 feet and a canopy that covered a diameter of 125 feet or more. After the demolition or moving of all the old buildings you could really see the oak in all its splendor. I think that was when some of us really began to develop a relationship with the tree. Maybe I should say that I developed a relationship with the tree since I don't want to accuse others of having any of my strange afflictions. The more I looked at it the more magnificent it became and the more attachment it had to me. We researched the tree through local sources and the Internet and learned that it was a "Swamp Chestnut Oak", also known as a" basket oak" or "cow oak". Seems it was the oak of choice for wood to make baskets from and also that cattle had a particular attraction to its acorns. Local experts tell us the tree is around 100 years old and was the tree of choice around farm homesteads in eastern North Carolina around the turn of the century. The tree sits just 100 feet from Old Tar Road that connects Greenville and Winterville, N.C. Our new church is positioned in such a way that as you ride by on Old Tar Road and look in our direction you see both the "Peace Oak" and the new and magnificent "Peace Presbyterian Church". It is indeed an impressive site to behold. We have cleaned out under the canopy of the tree and gone to great pains to make sure the tree was not damaged during the land clearing of the property and construction of the church. It is doubtful that grass will grow very well under the tree in that it provides total shade to the area for probably 9 months of the year. We are uncertain at this point as to just how we will develop the ground under and around the tree and are seeking advice on how best to make sure we don't jeopardize it's root system in any way. One project we have decided on is that we want to take some steps to recognise the tree and communicate to others the attachment it has to our church and its members. So....one evening a couple months ago, well after beer o'clock I set down at this keyboard and pecked out some comments about the tree and we have had them forever emblazoned in a slab of bronze. I have mounted this bronze plaque on another hefty slab of black granite. It will be mounted on a solid steel cutout of a Celtic cross that stands three feet high and is set in a bed of concrete. I have gone to great length and expense to make this entire structure from "eternal materials" in hopes that it will live as long as the Peace Oak already has. It is meant to convey the solidity and strength of our church, its members and obviously the tree. Leading from the edge of our front parking area will be a narrow stone path flanked by Lirope that leads out some 60 feet to a point underneath the canopy of the tree. It will end there, where nestled in a bed of Hosta and other shady plants this plaque will be mounted and a small bench will be at hand so that one can pause and get at one with themselves, the good Lord and the Peace Oak. Photos of the Peace Oak will soon be a featured on our church website, feel free to have a look at http://www.peacepresbyterian.org/.

Create a symbol of nature....plant a tree.

Friday, August 10, 2007

All right we've had a little dry spell with the blogging of late. Life is so busy right now and the good Lord has blessed us with 2 weeks of brutally hot weather and its about kicking this old goat's ass. We have a cool front moving thru today--high of only 90 degrees. This past week has been spent getting my church moved from its old location of 22 years to a brand new home being finished as we speak. We have a wedding scheduled for tomorrow and services on Sunday and there is still lots of work to be done. The floor in the fellowship hall is not finished and thats putting a kink in lots of things. AC is working most of the time, some lights didn't get wired, landscaping looks sick due to the heat and no rain........but the building is beautiful and inspiring and here to stay. It was so interesting to witness the installation of our huge four part stained glass window in the santuary.

This is a work of art, hand made by one of our deceased members and installed in the old church by some of the men in the congregation. It had become a symbol of ours and our entire new building was built around it being the focal point of the santuary. Those of us that had spent lots of time around the construction site as the church was being built were waiting for the moment that the window was finally installed. Its sits high in the front wall of the church and the workers were perched atop about 70 feet of scaffolding. The process took about an hour per section and as the last quadrant was finally fitted in place an instant change moved thru the air. It was clear that at that moment it ceased being a construction site and became a church. The aura that went through those of us standing there was spooky and left goose bumps on your skin. It was clear that the Big Guy was smiling down on us at the time.

Be sure to tune in soon for the story of the "Peace Presbyterian Oak".

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Well....my life has been sorta crazy lately. New grandson, lots of work and church activities going on and no time to sit and try to add to this blog. As a matter of fact this first sentance was written two days ago. At any rate life goes on and I am still getting limited input from folks with advice on the disaster trailer. I went shoping today at a going out of business sale of an Ace Hardware but they had clearly marked the prices up before the discounts applied and in the long run I could shop cheaper in many other places. We do have a strong lead from the DeWalt tool folks for factory reconditioned tools. This could be a fruitful contact and we are excited about it. Also have finally gotten a professional generator source helping up with our selection of a generator........so all is not lost and we still have faith in our efforts.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Well, yesterday was full of surprises. My son called mid morning with the announcement that he and his wife Susan were at the OB GYN Clinic and that it looked like the delivery would be today rather than 5 weeks from now when everybody expected. Apparently her water broke unexpectly and the doctors felt that the baby was developed enough to introduce him to all his crazy kin in the outside world. So......after much preping and probing my grandson Davis was born about 1:30 on Tuesday, 7/24/07. Now we are all scooting around trying to make sure all is in order when he comes home in a few days. My family tends to hatch hens and this boy is all rooster with gonads the size of walnuts. Way to go Richard!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

What do you do on Saturday mornings??

Saturday morning for me starts like this: Its the third Saturday of the month so that means the Men Of Peace are meeting. Before your imagination gets the best of you let me tell you that this is the mens group from my church, Peace Presbyterian Church. There are about 25 members and we usually can muster about 12-15 for a 8:00 breakfast. For several years the group met in the church fellowship hall and I would cook a big breakfast for everyone. About 6 months ago the local K & W Cafeteria opened at a new location and I promply suggested we give them a try. We haven't been back to the church since.....do you recon` my cooking was really that bad? At any rate we gather for some good fellowship and discusssions about what ever our latest project is. You guessed it - the current project is none other than the Disaster Response Trailer. Money is real tight at my church right now since we are just 3 weeks away from moving into a new church we have been building for the past one and a half years. We are very excited about the new facality and very broke with a morgage that would choke a horse. So its safe to say we have no spare funds for Dick's latest mission project. We have about 40 pounds of Bisquick in the freezer and decided this morning that before we let it spoil we would throw a Pancake Supper Fund Raiser. Proceeds of course will go to the Disaster Response Trailer (are you shocked??). I would be remiss if I did not mention that this whole blog effort was aimed at gleaning information from others who have done this before or just some input from anybody with a good idea.....so spread the work and help us make this happen.....later......Crookedpaw

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Another hot day down east.....what's new.

Well here I am again, sitting here wondering what to fill this space with. If this was meant to be the on-going saga of the ins and outs of Dick Carney's hectic life then I could ramble on forever. But.......I'm determined to find some souls out there that can contribute some worthwhile advise about my disaster response trailer project. I have two dozen worthy souls ready and able to react on a moments notice and I need to have this response trailer ready to support their efforts. Just yesterday I learned of a Presbtery meeting at a local Presbyterian church. This meant that there were 175 representatives from area churchs all in one building. I hotfooted it over to my church where the trailer is parked and hauled in over to the church with the meeting going on. I parked in a way that to get to the parking lot to leave you had to walk around the trailer. I figured that should spark some response and sure enough it did. Only time will tell if we will benefit in any way from that exposure. My guess is that other groups of churchs will want to mimic our efforts. So.....I gotta get busy and fine tune my game so I can tell the others what to do and what not to do. Spread the word and help me keep some momentum. If you're just curious about some of the mission efforts I believe in search for "A tree grows in Haiti" or on a domestic note try the "Brother Craig Project" for some insight into what cranks my motor. In the meantime....tell somebody about us and help spread the word. We'd `preciate it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

By gawd, I got a nibble.

Good news....had my first positive connection today. I spoke with the Greenville-Pitt County Homebuilders Association. This is the organization that all the local builders are members of. I mean like a whole bunch of contractor types. Now who do you know that needs construction equipment trailers more than a bunch of hairy legged contractors. I mean these guys get physically aroused at the sight of a Rigid brand portable table saw. They have agreed to let me address the members at their next monthly meeting and I might even get a chance to make a plea for some financial help. So...I'm feeling a little pumped up, maybe we can pull this caper off after all. This is no reason for you guys to let up in your efforts. If I don't see some results soon, the next time I'm in Haiti I'll buy me a bag of voodoo and sprinkle it on your scrawny butts. Tighten up!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Suggestions?

Carney ArticleAllright readers.....I'm kinda floundering as I try to figure out how to get this thing off the ground. I really need some educated input from people that have had experience outfitting equipment trailers. The fact that we plan to use this in disaster relief situations doesn't make it any different from the same sort of trailer anyone in the construction business might set up to use at a regular jobsite. Maybe someone can suggest a way I can connect with the building trades and get some ideas from them. I need suggestions and also would appreciate you passing on information on my project to anyone that might help spread the word. This is a worthy cause with a collection of mostly retired guys that have already made 7 trips into the gulf coast to help the folks affected by the storms.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Joint Venture Disaster Relief Effort

Ok readers (an assumption) here is the lead off posting for this blog. As it says it the profile I'm an old fart who has a particular passion for mission related activities. My current effort centers around an attempt to purchase and outfit an equipment trailer to support our construction teams when they are in the field. In the past the tools we needed where scattered between different vehicles and in some cases forgotten and left at home. On my last trip to coastal Louisana I made a vow not to find myself in that position again.

I formed a group from the five local Presbyterian church's and we have purchased a new 7X12', single axle tag along trailer. Its just your basic trailer but does have an extended height feature that we thought would be helpful. It has bi-fold barn type doors in the rear and a small pedestrian door on the front right side. We have fabricated and installed a heavy duty ladder rack with an access ladder on the right rear. Our plans are to install a propane powered generator similar to those in RV's. This will power the air compressor, table and compound miter saws, lights and other power tools.

Since we plan to rely mainly on the Paslode brand cordless nail guns we felt that a generator in the 4500 watt range would be sufficient. We are "first timers" in this effort and would greatly appreciate the input of any of you out there in the blogosphere. If any have ever been part of such a project tell me what worked and what you wished you had done differently. If you just want to know more about what we have done so far, tell me. We're a thick skinned bunch so you ain't gonna hurt our feelings.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The First of Many...

Welcome to the start up of CROOKEDPAW NEWS.

Carney and Gonzales Working

Stay tuned for more details on my many adventures
in disaster relief and mission work.

Carney Article

More to come!