Lost in translation

Looks! Looky!

soulgifts - Telling Tales

TRH (The Retired Husband) bought a new tool on-line a few weeks ago. It arrived the other day – a Pyrography machine.

As with all good tools, there is a set of enclosed safety and operational instructions. They are usually in several languages.

These instructions are in two. Chinese and English. However, given that our main language these days is English, that is our go to default. And we cannot read Chinese hyroglyphics. Our bad 😦

Here is the English version (note: my photo quality is equivalent to that of the translation) :

1 Pyrography machine switch. when used to turn on the switch, when not in use, please turn off the switch, to avoid danger.

Oh, oh ! Warning bells are starting to ring.

2. Thermostat. regulating pyrography pen point temperature and normal temperature regulation in the light gray areas, the red area is high temperature zone…

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Crazy Charlsie Part 8

Charley had complained of vague abdominal pain for about three days before she awoke to excruciating right-sided belly  pain on her sixteenth birthday.  She refused to allow Charles examine her, so he asked a surgical colleague to see her.  Dr. Farmer did a quick exam of her belly and felt Charles’s diagnosis was spot on.  Scheduling his daughter for immediate surgery, Charles was concerned, but not unduly alarmed as he waited.  He expected to see her back in recovery in about an hour.  The surgeon looked grave when he sought Charles right after takng her into surgery.

“Is she okay?  Had the appendix ruptured?”  he asked.

“She’s fine but it’s not her appendix.   I haven’t started surgery yet,  but there’s something we need to talk about.  Let’s go to a private area.”  They moved into Charley’s assigned room.  Sit down, Charles.  It wasn’t appendicitis.    I saw  no reason to do a pelvic exam prior to surgery, but when Charley was moved to the table, some  abnormalities were noted. Charley has ambiguous genitalia, some male, some female.  She has a fully developed vagina with a very large clitoris or a small penis.  When erect, it might be three and a half inches. Her right labia has a partially descended testicle which is likely incarcerated. I have manually rotated it and returned the blood flow for the present, but it is likely the cord will twist again.  That is the cause of her pain and must be explored.  There is no obvious testicle on the left, but there could be one that hasn’t descended.  We need to let her wake up and  inform her before going ahead with surgery in this life-altering situation.”

“Dear God, that’s why she was so secretive.  She doesn’t know, but at birth, she had what I thought was an abnormally large clitoris and I removed it, thinking that would take care of the problem.  She looked like a perfect female in every other way.  What have I done to my child?”  Charles cried out his grief.

Dr. Farmer tried to comfort him.  “I might have done the same thing.  How could you know it would turn out this way?  That fact is, Charley needs to know the situation.  The penile tissue that’s left is healthy, just shorter.  She may choose to live as a man.  She should be awake in a few minutes  and we can talk to her.”

“Oh my God.  This will be the hardest talk I’ve ever had.”


Crazy Charlsie Part 7

Charles was worried about Charley.  Her fifteenth summer, she topped six feet.  Though,  muscular, just like him and his sons, she was full-busted like her mother.  As he sat across her from dinner one evening, he noticed a fine blonde mushtache beginning to show.  Her voice was also deepening to tenor.  Not the only one to notice, the kids at school had started calling her girly-man.

Of course Charley was confused, having no frame of reference for the changes.  Fortunately, she enjoyed a warm friendship with Marzell who often stayed over at the Evan’s house, though she never invited Charley to visit her home.  Marzell clearly enjoyed time with the whole family.  “I can’t stand my stepfather. He just looks at me weird.  Mama married him six months after Daddy died.  He gives me the creeps.  I try to leave Mama alone with her new family as much as I can.  If I around, I have to help with Little Melvin, anyway.  Isn’t that a stupid name?  Melvin doesn’t fit a baby, does it?  I can’t wait till I graduate so I can move back to Dallas with Grandma where all my friends and cousins are.  I don’ know why Mama had to marry Old Melvin.  We were doing fine at Grandma’s.”

Marzell was a petite, very feminine girl, a marked contrast to Charley.  She was pursued by Roger, the grease monkey who worked at her stepfather’s filling station.  Though she flirted with him a bit, she refused to go out with him.  His sullen eyes followed her around whenever she had to go to the station.  Over fried chicken that Sunday,  Charley teased her about her sweetheart.  “You ought to marry Roger.  Y’all could raise a tree full of little grease monkeys.”

“I wouldn’t have him on a birthday cake!  You take him.” She snapped back. “I ain’t never gonna marry!”

“Ha!  You say that now!”  Charley laughed.

“I mean it!  I ain’t ever gonna marry.”

“I ain’t never gonna marry, either. I hate boys!” Charley snorted.

Hearing this exchange over dinner that day, Charles felt a little more  unsettled and hoped it was no more than teasing.


Brother Gobel and Lost Love


roseJust days after Daddy’s death, Brother Gobel, a Pentecostal preacher, paid a condolence call to Mother.  A Bantam Rooster of a man, he was bow-legged, bald and not much taller than she,  a stark contrast to the tall, handsome husband she was still mourning.  He drank coffee, prayed with her, as ministers on visits normally do, and took his leave.  Thinking no more of it, Mother was shocked to get a letter from him a few days later.  Even more startling, was the fact that it included an epic poem of love telling of his devotion and hopes for their future together,  followed up with a marriage proposal, and some appropriate Biblical quotations about the role of wives, remarking that he’d always admired what a dutiful wife she had been, waiting on Daddy hand and foot.  Wisely, she pitched the letter in the trash.  Unwisely, she told me about it.  One of my great…

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Y’all got a Snake in Y’all’s Tree

It’s not everyday one hears a dynamic statement like this! Melvin was the ex-husband of Mother’s old friend, Maggie. A good man, he’d gone just a bit “off the rails” and Maggie, had reluctantly left him as a result of his increasingly fantical religious leanings. Mother and Daddy had long been faithful congregants of their church, only missing services if unable to attend. Melvin showed up to visit one day, not long after Daddy died. Mother wasn’t particularly anxious to visit with him but had no concerns about inviting him in for coffee, since the families had been friends for more than twenty years. She served him coffee, dreading what might be on his mind. She was wearing a faded jeans and a cotton shirt with the top button undone. Speaking pleansantly, he asked, “Would you mind buttoning your shirt and rolling down your sleeves?” She did as he asked, as though she’d been caught flaunting herself.

Melvin unfolded a hinged message board. Before starting his talk, he made another request. “Would you please uncross your legs?” She did. Back to the talk; on one side of the board was a crudely painted train, running off the rails in a mountain pass, on the other, a plane ascending toward a cross in the heavens. Melvin explained to Mother, that if she didn’t follow Christ, like the train, she was “off the rails” and headed for hell.

Without thinking she recrossed her legs. He caught her. “Uh! Uh! Uh!” Shamed, she uncrossed them. He continued. “If she followed Christ, she’d do like the plane and “go to Jesus.” She was anxious for this creepy talk to be over and have him on his way. He turned to stare out her front door, speaking in a monotone. “Did y’all know y’all had a snake in y’all’s tree?”

The hair stood up on the back of her neck!

He walked directly to the gun cabinet where Daddy’s loaded guns still stood, took one out, walked to the front door, shot the snake, returned the gun the its slot, and returned to his seat to finish Mother’s religious instruction.

She got her purse, told Melvin she had some business to attend to, instructing him to lock the door on his way out. He never visited again, his duty done.

Sweet Hour of Prayer


imageMaggie married Melvin shortly after her first husband died.  Maybe she should’ve waited longer, but she was exhausted after her long struggle to support Ray through his illness and then Little Ray after he died, so she was glad to have Melvin’s companionship and support, even though he was odd from the start.  Things went well enough for several years, but by the time Melvin reached his late forties, he’d developed religious delusions that made him impossible to live with.

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Goats Pop the Top


imageThe visiting preacher came home with us for Sunday dinner. He had a just gotten a new car and spent most of Sunday dinner talking about it. His wife had a bad heart and lay down for a nap after lunch. He whispered “She could go anytime.” This did nothing to lighten the mood. It was clear the new car was the only bright spot in his life. It would look nice at her funeral. They were from out of town so we were stuck with them until time for the evening service. The afternoon looked long and hopeless. The kids escaped outdoors as soon as possible. Our house was on the edge of the farm, sitting inside a larger fenced area where Daddy raised hay and grazed cattle, horses, goats.  The driveway was several hundred yards long and fenced separately, enclosing several pecan and fruit trees, and space for…

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Crazy Charlsie Part 6

Marzell was back in ten minutes.  “I don’t guess I can go.  Mom said we didn’t move the fishing poles and tackle box.

“That’s okay,” Charley reassured her.  “We’ve got plenty.  Sometimes we all go.  If Ginny catches us, she’ll have to tag along, so we’ll take an extra for her.  You can dig a few worms while I fetch the gear.  Don’t run off squealing.”

“I’ll be fine.  I eat worms for breakfast!”  Marzell quipped.

Charley ran in just long enough to get some pants on  and yell to Cora.  “Cora,  I’m going fishing.  Tell Ginny to come on down if she wants to.”

“Okay, but don’t be late for supper.  Here’s a couple of apples to hold you over.”

“Better make it three, Cora.  A friend is with me.” Charley told her.  Cora smiled to herself, glad to know Charley had a companion.  It had been a long time.  Ginny burst in the back door, banging her books on the kitchen table.  “Ginny, I ‘m going fishing.  Come on down to the creek if you want to.”

“Okay!” Ginny answered as she grabbed a couple of cookies.

The girls dropped their lines off a five foot embankment into to sandy-bottomed creek.  Small sunfish were tempted by the worms dangling before them, but were too small to get the bait n their mouths.  Occasionally, a nice white perch took interest and was added to the stringer.  Eventually, seven white perch and a catfish hung in the cool water.  “I’d better get home for supper,” Marzell announced, starting to get things together.

“Can you stay for supper?” Charley asked.  “Cora always cooks my fish for me.”

“I’ll have to ask Mother.” Marzell replied.

As soon as they got back to Charley’s, Charley told Cora they had fish to cook.  “I thought you might.” Cora laughed.  I’m just about to put some chicken on to fry.  Bring me them  fish as soon as they cleaned and I’ll fry them up for you.  Marzell, call your mama and ask if it’s okay for you to stay to supper.”

Cora set an extra place for Marzell and set a sizzling platter of fried chicken and fish In front of Charles and the girls.  “Dr. Charles, you can thank the girls for this nice mess of fish.  Charley, you know catfish is my favorite, so I am taking that one home for my supper.  Next time, you’d better catch two if you want one.  You girls don’t forget to clear away and I’ll do the dishes in the morning.”

Charles was delighted Charley had a guest, but was careful not to make much of it.  “I thank you girls for the fish.  I could each fish every night.  Maybe you’d better go every day.”

“I’d a heap rather fish very day than go to school,” Charley answered.

“Me, too!” said Marzell.  “School can be a pain.”



Joke of the Day


Why are you yelling that?

A contractor was speaking with a woman about her job.

In the first room, she said she would like a pale blue.

The contractor wrote this down and went to the window, opened it, and yelled out “green side up!”

In the second room, she told him she would like it painted in a soft yellow.

He wrote this on his pad, walked to the window, opened it, and yelled “green side up!”

The lady was somewhat curious, but she said nothing.

In the third room, she said she would like it painted a warm rose color.

He wrote this down, walked to the window, opened it and yelled “green side up!”

The lady then asked him, “Why do you keep yelling ‘green side up’?”

“I’m sorry,” came the reply. “But I have a crew of blondes laying sod across the street.

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