Sunday, September 23, 2018

Made in America





When I find something I like, I usually stick with it. I'm fairly loyal. When I drink a soda, it's usually Pepsi. When I want salsa, I settle for nothing less than Pace Picante Sauce. The cupboards in my kitchen are Kraft made. I'll never get any other brand. I know what I like, and I support it with my money. Recently the blanket that I've had on my bed for over twenty years started to show signs of it's age. The edges were getting frayed, and there were spots that were looking kind of sparse in the fabric. The original blanket maker was Vellux. It was a velour blanket, and I loved it. Of course I wanted to replace it with another one. Well, I looked around on line, and all I could find were velour blankets made in China. There were assorted complaints about them, everything from smelling like formaldehyde to having them slide off the bed during the night and ending up in a pile on the floor beside the bed. Hmmm.... not good. I decided to check out blankets made in the good ol' USA, and ran across the American Blanket Company, out of Fall River Mass. I checked out the reviews and they seemed favorable. Frankly, the price was a little spendy. I'm normally a $30.00 blanket kind of guy, and the one that interested me the most, the Luster Loft, was ringing in at a whopping $99.00 plus shipping. Now, they do offer $10.00 flat rate shipping in the lower 48. I inquired about getting the $10.00 rate and it was explained to me that Alaska didn't qualify for that rate. It was going to be $55.00 to get it here via the USPS in three days. That alone was enough to make me really wonder if I wanted a good quality blanket that badly. I started thinking about the cost, and then figured what the cost would be if the blanket lasted twenty years. It worked out to less than $8.00 a year. If you spend about a third of your life in bed, $8.00 a year sounds pretty economical. I was still wavering back and forth when I called back and happened to speak to the most delightful young lady on the other end of the phone. She seemed genuinely  happy to speak to me, and when she found out I was from Alaska she convinced me that this was the blanket for this harsh climate. It was apparent that she believed in the products that they sell. Of course the added bonus is that the blankets are made in America, providing Americans with jobs. They're guaranteed for life,so maybe I'll be buried in it.  I ordered it, and three days later it arrived at the Hoonah post office. I had been telling me friend Mark, the post master, about the blanket, so when it arrived, I opened the box, peeled back the plastic covering, and stuck my hand deep in the folds of that wonderful blanket. I invited Mark to do the same, and no doubt we looked like a couple of freaks fondling that incredible softness right in the Hoonah post office. I had ordered the Patriot Blue, a dark, rich, blue color that looks almost snobby it's so luxurious. To say the fabric is soft, is like saying Alaska is big. It doesn't begin to describe the degree of comfort I experience every night now. When I told Mark I wanted to take my blanket home, he reluctantly removed his hands, but had the audacity to ask if he could come feel my blanket when he visits. I told him no, but to offset any hurt feelings, I asked Ari, The Blanket Lady, if she could send some swatches, which she did. Mark now has his own swatch of Luster Loft to comfort him in his quiet times. He wants to order a throw blanket, and he's discussed ordering the chocolate brown in Luster Loft, and already has visions of sitting on his front porch on a winter's evening wrapped in  his wonderfully warm, soft throw blanket drinking a cup of hot chocolate and looking out over Port Frederick. Can a blanket be so good it's sinful? I don't know, but perhaps it's just the opposite. Perhaps its a blessing from above. In any event, I'm delighted that I bit the bullet and purchased this wonderful blanket from a delightful young lady, who works for a great American company. If you're in need of a new blanket, I hope you'll give Ari, the Blanket Lady a call.
The number is 877-750-5331 or email them at www.americanblanketcompany.com
Tell her Tom sent you. And ask about their free blanket give away. I believe it's every Wednesday. Just to be clear, I'm not being compensated in any way for this testimony. I just really, really like my blanket. Sweet dreams!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Choices We Make



Have you ever pondered the direction your life has taken? I suppose all of us would like a second bite at the apple. A chance to go back and correct mistakes we've made. Unfortunately we're not given that opportunity. We can certainly change our behavior and make wise choices from here on out, but we can't erase the past. Yesterday is gone and will never return. I remember a song I heard once, back when the kids were little. I believe it was on Sesame Street. The words were- Yesterday, today and tomorrow, whether they bring pleasure or sorrow, time is something no man can borrow, yesterday, today and tomorrow.- Truer words were never spoken. Anyway, at this juncture of my life, I find myself reflecting on my past, and wondering about my future. I don't want to feel like I wasted the time that God has given me, but that doesn't mean that every day has to be filled with activities either. I truly believe that we need to start every day with the Lord. Spend some time reading your bible and praying. Find out what God has in store for you today. It may be going to the same job you've had for twenty years, but perhaps he'll show you a new way to do it. Perhaps you're retired, and are bored. Maybe He'd like you to volunteer the skills you've developed  helping a disaster victim. It could be that a visit to the local diner is in order, maybe with an old friend you've lost touch with or a neighbor who is down on his luck. I once read a book titled The Blue Bear, by a Juneau author named Lynn Schooler. Lynn had a boat called the Wilderness Swift that he used to take clients out on for trips into the wilds of Southeast Alaska. One client was a famous Japanese photographer who hired Lynn to help him find and photograph a blue bear. Certain black bears have a blue or blue gray coat. Anyway, something happened on the trip that caused a conversation between the two about life and death. The Japanese man stated that when we are born, all of us are given a certain number of calendars. As each year passes, we're left holding one less calendar. We don't know when the stack will run out. As Dr. Stanley has so wisely stated in the above article, it would be disastrous if after we came to the end of our lives we discovered we had been pursuing the wrong things. I hope you'll take some time and reflect on your life. Are you spending time with God? Is He directing you to take a different path? When the last page is turned on your particular calendar, I pray that you will discover that you've chosen wisely and will hear the words, Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Infestation!






 I know that it's been awhile since my last blog post. My apologies, but it's fishing season, and I need to make money, like most of the rest of the world. Couple that with the fact that I'm getting old and tired, and by the time I get home and have supper, it's usually after nine o' clock,  I don't have much energy left to do a blog post. I'm writing one now because it's really foggy this morning and I wanted to do something before I go wet some lines.

In the pictures above you can see that we've been visited by an infestation of hungry caterpillars. These particular ones are called Wooley Bears, at least that's what I've been told. I normally don't have anything against caterpillars. When you see one or two around town, it's kind of a neat thing. However, I guess due to the extended spell of hot, dry weather this summer, we got inundated with the blasted things. I had dozens of them every day on my flowering crab apple tree in the front yard. In the second picture you can see the destruction that they bring. They have an appetite that is unrestricted. They don't stop eating until they've consumed everything, and then they move on to the next green bush.  They only seem to like particular plants, and of course those appear to be the very plants that I have in my yard. Go figure. I've never seen so many caterpillars in my life. Jan and I went out the road last week for a drive and they were crossing the road by the dozens. It was like Wooley Bear New York City. I personally picked probably a hundred or more from my tree and bushes, and yet every day there are more. Where are they all coming from, and why aren't there any birds hanging around feasting on them?  Every winter I spend big bucks making sure my feathered friends don't starve to death. You would think that there would be a little appreciation and they'd come back and start chowing down. What's not to like about a big, juicy, fuzzy caterpillar? Especially if you're a bird. It's like your job to eat them! Ah well, nature out of balance. I need to stop here and get ready to conk some fish so I can make some money so I can sit at the computer all winter and do whatever I do. I hope wherever you are you're pest-free and enjoying the green things that grow around you.  Have a Wooley Bear day!