Author Archives: wendywelch

Nothing to Fear But…

I did my first pressure canning this weekend. It went well. I cowered in a corner the whole 70 minutes of the rocking and rolling jars inside the canner. I sent husband and dog for a walk. Followed the directions to the letter. And the meat sauce turned out beautifully.

Fear isn’t just a thing to be overcome, though. Fear is in many ways a healthy respect for something that deserves it. Like the pressurized contents of a 20-lb steel container. Or the eroding of democracy. Or a dog whose ears are laid back. There’s a reason we have signs, directions, and intuition. There’s also a reason we are called to a prayerful life.

Knowing the difference between, as a friend put it recently if not too subtly or kindly, “New Testament Jesus and Republican Jesus,” keeps me from being afraid. This whole “Trump’s not gonna leave the White House thing” smacks of selling papers, and irresponsibility. Don’t get me wrong, so does Trump’s entire presidency. Servant leaders are humble shepherds. He’s a wolf, ready to eat his flock and proud of it. We voted him in; we can vote him out because even wolves can’t break democracies. So I’m not afraid of what the papers tell us.

I am afraid of pressure canners, but not when following directions. I am afraid of the future sometimes, but not when listening for Jesus and reading the directions left in the Bible, New Testament especially. Where this penchant for picking things out of Deuteronomy and Exodus at the expense of new commandments came from, I don’t care to speculate. I have more things to pressure can.

My friend in Canada says there is nothing more dangerous than contents under pressure. He could be right, and he could be talking about his Southern border. A lot of my Christian friends seem dangerous right now. So do my atheist friends. The other day someone said “what shall we do with the so-called people who support Trump after the election?” Which is a question straight from the pit of hell. Utopia is not a mere massacre away, kids. We have to live with each other, and the righteous indignation that has some of you sharpening plowshares into swords isn’t gonna help.

A friend asked if I was prepping. She meant the canning, but I thought she meant my constant self-check to see if I was dehumanizing those who don’t think like me. No, and yes. I like canning. I don’t like pressure to say rude things about those who think differently than me, or the subtle creep of how people come to think of that as earning extra God points. Not doing that.

The gift of fear: a healthy respect for that which can truly harm us, versus that which we are told to be afraid of by people with agendas. Think on it.


Filed under Life reflections, Wendy Welch

Cigareets and Whisky – –

Jack’s Wednesday post is on Thursday again – but Wendy will be back in a few days – – –

And wild, wild women – –

I’ve been a cigarette smoker from the age of sixteen and a drinker from a few years later.

I did sometimes switch to a pipe or cigars but always ended back on the ciggies! As for the booze I started on half pint shandies (half beer and half lemonade) and eventually graduated to scotch and coke. It wasn’t about getting drunk, or numb, or anything else. It just was a way of life picked up in Scotland, that I didn’t question much, until the pandemic struck.

As we moved into the Covid 19 lock-down, we began to monitor our consumption of many things, and realized I was smoking at least twenty a day, plus starting to drink about ten thirty each morning!

Time to regroup….

I discovered that the trick is to keep busy. During these socially distant days of no friends dropping by spontaneously, no music evenings for fun. I have been slowing down and taking lots of breaks. That just contributed to the smoking and drinking. So my wild, wild woman noticed and started to rescue me by keeping me busy. That consists of Wendy, three cats, and two chickens. Bruce, the dog, became my sponsor. The two chickens needed a coop, the coop needed to be draft proofed, the vegetables needed watering, the tomatoes needed picking – – –

Then we set targets (Bruce, Wendy, and me): go from twenty to fifteen, then to ten and to five ciggies per day (I’m between fifteen and ten just now). Move the first drink up to two pm, then three pm and aim for five pm (I’m headed toward 4 pm just now). Because my whisky is usually mixed with coke I just drink a coke earlier and it isn’t so hard. (Wendy says she has no plans to wean me off coke at this time.)

Am I an addict? Probably, but the odd thing is that, at seventy-eight years old I’m in reasonably good health. It’s kind of amazing that my liver and lungs still work so it’s probably a good idea to keep them going a bit longer.

Wendy does all our grocery shopping during these strange times, so she steels herself to buy my cigarettes. But she has discovered the delights of gin and tonics over the summer, so the liquor store isn’t quite such a challenge; she never did take to drinking before suppertime—although she did admit to putting liqueur in a cake recently.

This post isn’t intended to confront anyone else but may possibly give some pointers; be mindful of your enjoyments and make sure they are that, not mindless coping mechanisms that really don’t cope with anything. Wendy and I are enjoying sunsets, drinks in hand, and I’m enjoying the autumn meals from of our garden vegetables that I watered all summer long.


Filed under between books, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, VA