This is another best day of your life. It is, isn't it? Sure. You're Supercalifragilisticexpialidocius,
and if you were any better, you'd be dangerous!
Thought I'd do a follow-up from the intro to the last
Coffee Break regarding Uri Harel's labors in
transforming the Hebrew text of selected Scriptures into music.
Most of you know that I've been a classical guitarist for
more than 40 years (in addition to playing a number of other instruments, of
course), and I'm pleased to say that I've had the opportunity to play
("jam" would be a little more accurate) with the likes of Charlie
Byrd and Christopher Parkening (the latter being a prot of the all-time classical guitar great,
Andres Segovia). Although the music I normally play would not generally
be regarded as "classical" (OK, once in a rare while I do Handel,
Brahms, and a little Beethoven), I thoroughly enjoy listening to really good
Uri Harel (http://www.musicfromgod.com/)
has just released a new CD with more of his mathematically derived music from
the Hebrew letters and words that -- in this case -- were delivered by the
prophet Isaiah. THE FIRST
ISAIAH PROJECT is a compilation of the music from
Isaiah, chapter 2 (four verses), chapter 9 (three verses), chapter 12 (five
verses), and chapter 45 (five verses).
As previously noted, this is the music that is encoded in
the Hebrew text itself. Thus,
when you hear the music, you are literally hearing the Word of God. It isn't articulated as words (although in this
recording, each verse is read in Hebrew as the music begins from that verse),
but it is still hearing the Word as it is transformed into musical
Whereas DAYS OF MAJESTY (Uri's first recording) represents
the sounds of several musicians working together, THE FIRST ISAIAH PROJECT is performed entirely by Susan Grisanti,
a highly accomplished classical guitarist. It's different!
Lounging back in the easy chair in my office, kicking my feet up, closing my
eyes, just meditating on the Word, and listening to these verses from Isaiah's
prophecy done on classical guitar has a powerful effect on the spirit.
Della and I were talking about these two CD's and Uri's
work in converting the Hebrew words and letters to their musical equivalent and
she commented last night that, after hearing this music she believed that the
Holy Spirit must have given Handel, Bach, Beethoven, and many of the so-called
"classical composers" a taste of this very same music hundreds of
years ago because there are occasional recurring themes very like that which
Uri has produced with his musical translation.
Actually, when you think about it, that's not strange at all.
Many of the classical composers stated that the inspiration for their music
came from the Lord Himself. His music ought to
sound like His Word!
Anyway, all that to say, go to Uri's website if you
haven't already, and get yourself copies of these CD's.
You'll be blessed!
Alvin Capener &
Richard H. digging a pit to bury the oil fuel tank. Taking a break in the midst of interior finishing of
Well, I feel something like a broken record when I keep
saying "the best laid plans of mice and men.
Monday's activities again were filled non-stop. Della had to cancel her plans to take her mother to
the hospital in
Back to our Saint Paul story.
If you haven't poured your cup of coffee yet, better get it while the gettin's good! Beat ya to it!
The young school teacher, Richard (pictured above with
shovel in hand), was typical of the young men who made it their business to
come around as often as possible and help out in the various tasks Dad &
Mom had on hand to make things more efficient.
The smile on Richard's face is the smile of a young man overjoyed at coming to
know the Lord Jesus Christ personally. In the
photo, they were digging a pit beside the church in order to bury a 250-gallon
tank for fuel oil for heating both the church and the home.
Fuel oil was brought in by barge, pumped into drums or tanks and then hauled
throughout the community distributing as folks needed (and had pre-ordered).
In our last Coffee Break, I made mention of the rock wall or wainscoting that bordered the lower portion of the church at Saint Paul Island. In the photo to the right above, that rock work is very evident. The photo below (taken by Barbara Krizman of the Anchorage Daily News) shows the church and the home, along with Dad's radio towers and wind generator (more on this in a moment).
Electricity on the island was an expensive commodity --
not unlike it was in Barrow where we paid .42/KWH. At 42 cents for every
thousand watts of electricity consumed, it was not uncommon to see electric
bills of $600 - $1,000 every month. Dad was in
every way a conservationist. Despite every
effort to conserve power in the most diligent manner, he rarely saw an electric
bill of less than $400. The island had a huge diesel generator which it
used to supply power to the homes, but with the cost of imported fuel and
maintenance to that generator, the community did well to break even with its
costs of operation -- even charging ever-increasing rates for electricity.
In 1978, while I was in Barrow, I came across an
opportunity to purchase wind generators for a fairly reasonable price. An electrician
friend in Barrow was the first one to purchase one of these 3500 watt wind
generators and install it at his home. Despite
a price tag of roughly $12,500 shipped in and installed, the generator paid for
itself the first year -- and Barrow has a fraction of the winds Saint Paul
In a conversation with my father one day on the telephone,
we were talking about his high costs of electricity and I mentioned the savings
my electrician friend was seeing (and his had only been operational for about
three months). Dad seized on the idea
immediately and asked me to get one for him.
About six weeks later, his generator was delivered.
Because the island has wind speeds pretty consistently in
the 17 - 25 knot range, and is almost entirely made up of volcanic material,
the wind carries scoria (volcanic ash and dust particles).
It has the effect of sandpaper on just about everything.
Metal deteriorates rapidly when exposed unless constantly treated with a
highly-resistant paint on a regular basis.
Steel or aluminum towers can disintegrate and topple within three to five years
unless they are constantly treated.
Dad was already experiencing problems with his main radio
tower, and he had used a couple of 60 or 70-foot telephone poles to string his
"inverted vee" antennas because they easily
outlasted the aluminum. He
decided to construct a 50-foot tower for the wind generator out of 2x12 lumber
and laminate it with fiberglass. With a built-in
ladder and easily removable work platform at the top, it made installation of
the wind generator simple, and easy to maintain.
He wired the generator in such a way that when the wind
blew and he wasn't using the entire output of the generator -- which was most
of the time -- it ran the electric meter from the city backward. That first year of operation, the generator not only
paid for itself, his electricity was free; and at the end of the year, he got
back some $400 from the city. They paid him the
going rate for all of the excess electricity he furnished to the city power
It was in the winter of 1976-1977 that I was in the
process of moving back to Alaska (from Long Beach, California) in order to
Dad had been trying his hand at trapping during the
previous two years with some good results. He suggested that if we worked together at it, we
could likely bring in a good season and provide the necessary funds to get
things started. Despite growing up in the
arctic, I'd never trapped before but it sounded like a great way to generate
some startup capital.
I arrived on Saint Paul Island in late August -- a bit
early to begin the fox trapping season, but Dad wanted to expand the size of
the house and add a garage to house the burgeoning motorcycle and three-wheeler
business. That gave us a few weeks to pour a
concrete foundation for the expansion and build the garage.
The house was already "L" shaped, and the garage would fit nicely
squaring the house. My previous assistance in
building with Dad made it a breeze for us to work together since I knew exactly
his building methodologies and techniques and were able to get the garage
built, enclosed, insulated and prepped to house some 30 motorcycles,
three-wheelers and the pickup truck.
By late September, we headed out across the island to
locate the fox dens and begin setting out bait minus traps in order to
establish places where the foxes would feed regularly. A week later we set out approximately 30 traps. Our first trip to check the traps yielded a
dozen foxes or so. We found some additional
places to set traps at the same time -- a process that increased every few days
or so until we had more than 50 traps set out.
So long as there was no snow on the ground, getting the
foxes was a pretty easy task.
About three weeks into the trapping, however, a blizzard hit the island
burying everything in some two feet of snow.
You'd think that would make things more difficult, but the truth is that one
develops a trapper's instinct, and finding the traps turned out to be a whole
lot easier than I imagined.
Catching foxes involved a whole lot more than just taking
them out of the traps and bringing dead foxes home.
Each fox had to be skinned and the pelt treated with corn meal (it sounds
strange, I know, but the corn meal removed the oils and blood from the bait the
foxes had eaten), and then stretched out on a specially made rack to dry. Every day we brought home foxes from the traps
meant our work wasn't done until the fox was skinned, the pelt treated and
allowed to breathe prior to drying on a rack.
The trapping day began around 10:00 in the morning and
generally ended around
Over a period of some six weeks to two months, we tramped
the length and breadth of Saint Paul Island more times than I can count. Most of the time, we
would take either a snow machine with a sled attached or Dad's pickup truck to
haul the bait and bring back the foxes, and the snow machine or pickup (the
choice of vehicle somewhat depended on the prevailing weather conditions) would
be parked at some central location from which we could work.
In mid-January of 1977, we were caught in a blizzard that
could have been deadly for both of us. There
had been a fresh snowstorm the previous night, and the snow was quite dry and powdery. We'd been enjoying our trapping during the
morning and retrieval of foxes from traps. We
were working out on the far northeast end of the island near some cliffs that
rise straight up from the water's edge some 90 - 120 feet when without warning
the winds came up. Naturally, the sea was
frozen over by this time of year, and jagged ice bergs lay at the bottom of the
cliffs. The loose, powdery snow filled the air
creating white-out conditions which totally obscured our vision.
I couldn't see five feet in front of my face.
If I bent over, I could see tracks in the snow banks
leading back towards the snow machine; and I began to retrace my steps. The snow was blowing
so furiously that it soon filled in the old footprints leaving me completely directionless. I called out to Dad, but the wind
prevented him from hearing me. He was calling
me with the same result. We were probably not
more than a hundred feet apart and had no clue where the other was.
I stopped totally still in my tracks knowing that if I got
too far away from the original path I'd taken, going over the cliff was a very
distinct possibility -- or more accurately, a real probability.
I just stood there for a minute and prayed.
"Father, I need direction. Which way do I
The Holy Spirit quickly communicated a change in the way I
was headed, and I just began walking...ummm...trudging
or wading through knee-deep and sometimes thigh-deep snow -- albeit completely
blinded by the white-out.
After about fifteen or twenty minutes of this, I suddenly found myself
about ten feet from the snow machine. The
winds began to subside so I hollered out for Dad.
He'd pretty much done what I'd done, and the Holy Spirit
had likewise led him directly to the snow machine. I saw his form emerge from the diminishing white-out
perhaps twenty or twenty-five feet away. The
entire cliff area -- a major portion of our trapping area -- was still
enveloped in white-out conditions, so we stopped our endeavor for the day and
slowly traveled with the snow machine back towards town.
It wouldn't be the last time we would encounter such
conditions, but we were better prepared the next time it happened.
By the end of the first week of February, the main part of the trapping effort
had ended and the time had come to finish prepping the fox pelts for shipment
to Seattle and sale at the Fur Exchange.
When we began to actually count our furs -- the ones we
shipped off to Seattle, anyway -- we had 208 Arctic Blues, 18 white foxes, and
4 large red fox pelts. The first of the fur
auctions took place in March. When the fur
buyers surveyed our Arctic Blues, the bidding quickly brought the price up, and
those fox furs alone (not counting the whites and reds) brought an average of
more than $50 per pelt. It was the highest
price the Seattle Fur Auction had seen for Arctic Blue foxes in I don't know
how long. After expenses and commissions paid
to the Fur Exchange, we still netted more than $11,000 from the sale of all the
That was the seed money that began
Guess this is where we need to leave it for today. Hopefully, I'll see
you again on Friday.
God NEVER calls His people to do the possible.
"Possible" is only the rational mind's way of dealing with human capabilities. God ALWAYS calls His people to do and
perform the impossible. "Impossible"
only exists in rational thinking.
"Impossible" is ALWAYS "probable" and
"accomplished" when seen through the eyes of faith.
The Blessing of the Lord be upon you.
Sunnyside, Washington 98944
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