Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sidewalk Philosophy

I was leaning on my snow shovel to catch a breath when Herkimer strolled up.

"You are too old for that, you know it?"

"Always have been, but so long as snow falls, has to be done."

"Yeah.  Hey, I been thinking."

This is not a good sign.

"Cain resented the favor his brother enjoyed. Since that time, man has been settling his differences with his fellow-man by offing him. The principal difference today is not in the heart condition of the participants, but rather in the efficiency of means and modes.  One of these days we are going to kill everyone.  Ho hum."  A long speech for a man with his attention span.

"Small loss, if you ask me," he concluded.

"And a nice day to you, too, Herk," I said, swinging my shovel back to the task.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


In Luke chapter 10, we hear the young man asking Jesus, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?"

When Jesus threw the question back to him, he knew the correct answer, and said, "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and love thy neighbor as thyself."

But then. Then he asked, "Who is my neighbor?"

Jesus replies with the story of the Good Samaritan and elicits from the young man the response that he who shows mercy is a neighbor.

  • When we love our neighbor, we show that we love God.
  • Jesus sees only one race: the human race.
  • Prejudice is making assumptions based on what you see.
  • Love means moving toward others.  It is not convenient.
  • God has called us to love the unlovable.
  • If you make yourself available, God will use you.
  • Too often we take a political stance when we are called to teach the gospel.
  • Our circle of friends should be expanded to include others, others of different races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, political positions. 
  • Enlarge your circles.
  1. Who are those that you avoid because they are different?
  2. What injustice can you fight against?
  3. How can you enlarge your circles?
Pastor Joe Deckard

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Just a thought

It occurred to me that when it is said of a politician "He/she is pandering to his/her base," that is exactly the case, in the most pejorative sense of the word.  The base have no principles, no compunction, no ambition, and no shame.  Quite likely they are the base to whom the politician is pandering, and the subset of the society he/she hopes to see increased in size.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Prosperity and Security

The bulletin had this announcement to which I could not resist adding a line.  Just for my own amusement, you understand, and that of the spouse.

But then, being the sort of fellow I am, I could not resist putting it out here for you as well.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Mile Farther Down the Road

When I was young I was surprised when I met an old person who seemingly could remember nothing about the day in which he was currently living, but had detailed recall of things that happened seven and eight decades earlier.  Eerily, I was uncomfortable being around them.  I did not understand.

I have lived some decades since then, and now I think I get it.  And now, I guess, people are uncomfortable being around me.  We can't remember today because there is nothing to remember. Nothing is happening.  To the external world, we no longer exist.  But the memories of the past. .Ah, the memories bring life back, if only in the mind.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Happy Birthday, Matilda

Mara Matilda Bitterman, known to all as Tildy, was facing her fortieth birthday.  I got this from Herkimer after the fact.

"Tomorrow you will be forty!" said Herk, perhaps a bit too gleefully.  He has never let her forget that he is a year younger than she is.

"I am fully aware of that, and you will keep it to yourself, if you know what's good for you."

"My lips are sealed, but Teen is bound to let it slip."

"Teen cares for nothing but himself.  Totally oblivious."

So on the morning of her birthday,Tildy is sitting at the kitchen table drinking her coffee, Herk reading the newspaper.  Teen comes into the room, slides a small square box across the table, bends and kisses his mother on the cheek.  "Happy birthday!  Love you, Mom."  And with that, he's out the door, and just in time to catch the school bus.

Tildy, stunned, finally opens the box.  What a lovely set of earrings!  Red tear-drop pendants.  A teardrop of her own trickles down her cheek.

"Yep," says Herk.  "Happy birthday.  I might as well give you this."  And he slides a small, square box across the table to her.  When she opens the box, Tildy gasps.  The garnet ring she admired in the jewelry store last month!  She takes the birthstone ring from the box, slips it on her finger.  Sized perfectly!

Tildy jumps from her chair, throws her arms around Herkimer and gives him a long, deep kiss.

"You are an old clod, but what a wonderful old clod.  I love you so much!  And you still had better not tell anyone it's my birthday."

It's way too late for Herkimer to call off the surprise party he has planned for the evening.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


The lesson is based on the conversion of the Philippian jailer as recorded in Acts 16:25-30.

The church will never be able to accomplish what the household is called to do.

  • There is something special about the family environment.
  • Whenever something is not right in the home, it affects everything else.
  • The home is the environment for discipling.
  • Worship should be a place where salvation and freedom is expressed and then experienced. 

Salvation and freedom is Someone you take home with you.

  • It is about relationship.
  • Bringing Christ home with you is the answer
Enforcing rules and doctrines is not the answer.  Bring home Christ and He alone.  Jesus is the answer.

  • The relationship with Christ matters.
  • It is Jesus plus nothing. 
Salvation can change the very course of a generation.

  • "I have accepted Jesus."  The truth is, Jesus has accepted us.
  • Everything you do in the faith and family is going to affect the outcome.
  • My faith is not a faith that dies with me; it lives on.
The Church is family.  Step up.  Keep praying and singing!
To change the trajectory of our entire generation, the church must step outside its walls!
The Power:  Every chain can be broken in the name of Jesus!

The jailer asks, "What must I do to be saved?"  The response is, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved and your household."

The jailer believed, and he and his entire household were saved and baptised.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Johnny Blair
Sunday morning

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Bittermans in Review

I am attempting to set up a "Pages" feature in which to store all the Bitterman snippets in one place.  Not working yet.  Meanwhile, here they are if you wish to reread them without searching through three years of stuff.

The Bittermans

Amity in the Home 

"Lose control of the remote, there's going to be a lot of Oxygen, Lifetime, and HGTV coming into the house." --Herk Bitterman

Herk is just a whiner. We know he has another TV in the house.

Another Saturday with Herkimer

"A woman is the only creature known to science who thinks she can change the past by carping about it in the present." --Herk Bitterman

I don't know what it is between Herk and Tildy, and I'm not going to get into it. But he will go on about "stuff."

More Whining

"Any man says he can't read women is seriously vision impaired. The only thing written there are two big letters about the size of the top line on the eye chart:


--Herk Bitterman

Teen Learns Economics from Washington

Herk and Tildy's son, Teen, getting his financial house in order:

Hmmm. Last week I spent $5. I owe Dad 14, but he'll lend me more.
Next week I'll spend the same, except I'm adding 2 for jelly beans and 2
for a new app. Total $9.

Dad says okay; I'll loan you 2 more. But you'll have to cut your spending.

Okay, I say, No problem. I can live without the jelly beans. I'll cut 2.
(I'll spend 7, and look! I cut $2. (9 - 2 = 7).

What? You're saying I spent less last week; how is that a cut?
Shut up, already.

About Herkimer's Past

Herk told me that when he was in high school he took his Dad's current wife, Lyla, to the prom.

"Well," he said, "she wasn't Dad's wife then. She was just Ly. She sat in front of me in social studies class."

Herk's Not a Fan of TV

Herk dropped by last evening. Told me Tildy was watching "The Good Wife." Said he was glad to see her getting into self-improvement programs. 

On the Web

Herk said that he told Tildy that she and her mother should have a website where they could post their best ideas. Said they could call it "Wikiwacky."

Cortisone, Girth, and Exile

It seems that Tildy told Herk that the ambient noise created by the TV being on all the time was causing her to gain weight. Some quasi-scientific mumbo-jumbo about cortisone, yakkety-yak. Herk told her that her knife and fork were causing her to gain weight. So Herkimer is over here in my garage watching me work.

Now, That's Shopping!

Tildy came home from shopping a bit shaken. "I was mugged on Second Avenue," she told Herk. "He took my purse, everything. My phone, my billfold, Mother's meds.
"My, gosh," said Herk. "I'm glad you're okay, but we've got to call the card companies."
"Oh, don't worry, that's not a problem. I maxed both of them out on stuff I ordered at Tiffany's and Saks."

The Bittermans Play Jeopardy

The Jeopardy answer was, "This student of Socrates founded an academy in Athens in 327 B.C."
"Who is Plato?" said Tildy.
"I thought Plato was stuff in cans that kids play with," retorted Herkimer.
"Ha ha," Tildy replied.

Herk was not joking. He is clueless in, oh, so many ways.

Three-day Reprieve

Herk came over and told me he just sent Tildy to a three-day stress management seminar, said, "I feel less stressed already!"


I was in the middle of reassembling an engine and encountering the tiniest bit of frustration with it when Herkimer walked into the garage. He started talking to me, apropos of nothing, as is his wont.

Presently I heard him say, "The key to a happy marriage is the one that starts the car when I need to get away from her for a while."

"I thought your path to happiness," I said, "was the one from your kitchen door to my garage, seeing you are here whenever I am."

"Haha," laughed Herk. "You are a riot, Bob."

Correct, But Wrong

Tildy exclaimed, "I lose another twenty pounds I'll be a hot chick!"

To which Herk replied, "You'll be a smaller old hen, but you'll never be a chick again."

That man just never learns.


Herk just wandered into the garage. I glanced up and noted that he looked pretty dejected.

"What's happening, Herk?" Though I should have known better than to ask.

"I just don't know where I've gone wrong. I try so hard to make that woman happy. She just told me, 'Herkimer, the budget is in a bit of a crunch, so I think you should take a staycation this winter while my sister and I take a Caribbean cruise.'"


Herkimer came in while I was sharpening my axe, sparks flying off the grindstone. I shut it off, and as the motor wound down, Herk said,
I told Tildy I was thinking about new diamond earrings for her birthday, but she has such a sparkling personality that giving her jewelry would be like sending coal to Newcastle. I thought she'd be flattered. There is a difference between "sparkling" and "sparks flying."

First She Says She Will, Then She Won't

"That woman," said Herk, "is gonna be the death of me. Yesterday she liked it, today she doesn't."
"So," said I, "everyone knows it is a woman's prerogative to change her mind."
"Inconsistency your name is woman!" Herk left the garage shaking his head.

I did not tell Herk, but my wife often says, "The only thing I am consistent about is being inconsistent." And that's the truth.

Love My Neighbors

Herk said, "The Mizzus and I have been talking about a much-needed vacation. We agreed we needed to get away from it all. Then I came home from work last night and discovered that she had booked a cruise for the two of us.

"I says to her, 'If we were going to get away from it all, why would we go together?' and then it started..."

"Merry Christmas, Herk," I said. "See you later."

Herk's Neighbors

I thought the Bittermans had their problems. Then at the New Year's Eve party the other night, I overheard my wife tell Tildy, "Bob may not be the most handsome or swiftest guy on earth, but he's mine."

I hope she wasn't complaining.

Herk's Hair and Tildy's Tease

I was stripping the library table which will go behind our couch when it is finished. Herkimer strolled in unbidden, as is his wont.

"Women," he said. "That Tildy, man, I don't know what she wants." I grunted, "Ungh," which gave him all the encouragement he needed to proceed.

"Ever since we've been married, she's been on me about how I dress, about my hair. If I let the hair dry naturally, she says, 'Put some gel in it., then go like this.' So this morning she saw me standing in front of the mirror, putting gel in my hair, running my fingers through it just like she showed me. She looked at me and said, 'You sure are vain, aren't you?' What the heck?!"

Short List

"Tildy's always telling me I don't know how to have fun," Herk whined. "Today, she said the only two things on my bucket list are 'eat' and 'sleep.'"

To Shop or Not to Shop

After they had been in the produce section for many minutes, Herkimer pushed on ahead with the cart. Finally, after selecting some bread, he looked back and Tildy was staring at a carrot display. He ambled back that way, and she said, "Stop running off with my cart!"

Herk said, "All you are doing is strolling past things, staring at the produce."

Tildy, fixed him with "the look" and said, "It's called shopping, Herkimer!"

(Herkimer spent the rest of the morning strolling around the store by himself, looking at stuff. Tildy bought the groceries.)


Herk:  There I've got the toilet seat replaced.

Tildy:  You put a white seat on a cream-colored bowl.

Herk:  Yeah?

Tildy:  That'll have to be changed.

Herk:  You'll get used to it.

Tildy: No.

Herk: Then you'll have to learn to live with it.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Herkimer walked into the garage just as the belt sander wound down.

Herk said, I baked peanut butter cookies last night, cleaned up in the kitchen and everything. Cookies were good, too.

Where are mine? I asked.

Tildy told me, Herk continued as though I had said nothing, "They're not as good as mine." What's with that? Didn't stop her from eating four of 'em before she went to bed.

Herk, I said, it's an all around win for Tildy, and you win, too, if you just eat cookies and keep quiet. And agree with her; maybe she'll bake next time!

Herk offered me his recipe. Thanks, I said. You used the one on the Jif jar, didn't you?

Bitterman Update

Herk walked over to the flower plot I was weeding.  I straightened up, not so much to eyeball him while we talked as to give my back some relief.  "Some nice looking flowers," he remarked.  "Thanks," I said.  "The bearded iris would be my favorite flower if only the bloom lasted longer."

"Oh, yes," Herk responded, "beauty fades quickly, doesn't she?"  I knew Herk was not talking about flowers, so I didn't make any comment.  Now, it is well-known that his wife, Tildy, was a real beauty in her youth, and she has the pictures and the clippings to prove that that fact was recognized by the County Fair committee back in nineteen-something-or-other, for she was Queen that year.  Herkimer doesn't realize it sometimes, or perhaps he is simply not as thoughtful as he might be, but Tildy has aged well, and she is, as is sometimes said of a lady of a certain age, "a fine figure of a woman."  What I am saying is, Herkimer is darned lucky, and he doesn't even know how lucky he is.  In all fairness, though, I should say I don't have to live with her, and Tildy does have a way with words.

We chatted a bit about the storms in Kansas and the flax crops in North Dakota, then Herkimer took his leave, and I bent again to the task.

Paint and Palaver

I was weeding along the side of the house.  I had noticed that Herk and Tildy were at their front entryway with paint and brushes.  Projects they attempt to do together seldom turn out well.

As time passed, I could hear some back-and-forth, but I could not make out their conversation.  Until, that is, I heard:
Herk:  *blah blah, something*  Bwahahaha!

Tildy: Just shut up and paint!

Herk:  I wish you had a sense of humor!

Tildy:  I wish you had some sense!

New Season: TV Review

Herk walked down my driveway and watched my puttering with a little project for half-minute, then he said

Didja watch the new show, Blacklist?

I did.

Whatcha think? Pretty cool, huh?

Totally derivative.  The crook-aids-law-enforcement straight from White Collar;  blood and gore from any number of crime programs, just another in the list of shows that hope to see how far they can go, and how soon they can turn your stomach; kick-ass tough girl on the side of good from NCIS, NCIS -LA, SVU, and any number of other programs; spouse with a secret life, well you've seen it all before.  And James Spader played his role with the same arrogance with which he played a lawyer in Boston Legal.  Why not?  Lawyer, crook.

I see no compelling reason whatsoever to put the show on my watch-list.

Herk was already half-way home.

New Years Day at the Bittermans

Tildy told Herkimer that any Christmas goodies left after today would be thrown in the trash.

Then she ate all the chocolate fudge.


Herkimer Bitterman stopped by his dad's house to drop off his rent check.  Dad invited him in, so they were sitting at the kitchen table having coffee.  Herk's stepmother, Lyla, came in, "Hi, Herky! So are you going to our twentieth class reunion on Saturday?"

"Are you?"

"Sure.  I wouldn't miss it for the world."

"Then no," said Herkimer.

Lifetime Renter

Herkimer and Matilda Bitterman have lived next door since they married fifteen years ago.  Herk and Tildy are good neighbors, keep the place up nicely, and don’t bother me unduly.  Herk will borrow a tool now and again, but he always returns the item by and by.  The Bittermans rent the house from Herk’s father.  Now the elder Mr. Bitterman, “Bitty” to his friends, is married to Herk’s high school classmate, Lyla.

Six years ago when Bitty told his son he was going to marry Lyla, Herk said, “Dad! What are you thinking?”  
“That,” replied his father, “is none of your business.”

And that was so.
I once asked Herk why he rented.  Wouldn’t his dad sell him the house, I wondered.

“Here’s the deal.  Dad has the monthly income from the rent.  Part of his retirement package, you see.  If I bought the house, Lyla would go through the money in a week.  Then where’s his income?”

“Your dad could sell it to you on contract.”

“True.  But it would pay out eventually, income stops.”

“But your father is surely going to pass before Lyla does.  Then she’ll get the house, and you will be out of luck.”

“Not at all.  Dad’s will specifically conveys the house to me and Tildy.  Lyla gets the house where they live and the IRA.”  Works for everyone.”

Light Housework

Funny thing, I told Herk.  Housekeeping, I mean.

How so?

When I was a kid, I could seldom get it good enough to please Mama; lot of chores done twice.

Herkimer chuckled.

But I got pretty good at it, and now I am thinking, I said, how much things change.

Herkimer, quizzically, Really?

Yeah, I explicated, for years meeting Mama's standard in my own home was the goal.  You know, perfection.  But as I got older, things changed.  Now I am at a point where "good enough" is good enough.  At the rate I am going, the day will come when "not at all" is good enough.

Herkie laughed.  I was just remembering, he remarked, the early times in my married life.

Do tell, I encouraged.

Well, he said, Tildy and I had been married maybe two, three weeks.  I remarked to her that the house looked like she needed to dust.

Dust? she asked, in all seriousness.  What's "dust"?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Light Housework

Funny thing, I told Herk.  Housekeeping, I mean.

How so?

When I was a kid, I could seldom get it good enough to please Mama; lot of chores done twice.

Herkimer chuckled.

But I got pretty good at it, and now I am thinking, I said, how much things change.

Herkimer, quizzically, Really?

Yeah, I explained, for years meeting Mama's standard in my own home was the goal.  You know, perfection.  But as I got older, things changed.  Now I am at a point where "good enough" is good enough.  At the rate I am going, the day will come when "not at all" is good enough.

Herkie laughed.  I was just remembering, he remarked, the early times in my married life.

Do tell, I encouraged.

Well, he said, Tildy and I had been married maybe two, three weeks.  I remarked to her that the house looked like she needed to dust.

Dust? she asked, in all seriousness.  What's "dust"?

Sunday, January 11, 2015


"Faith is God's work in us that changes us and gives new birth from God."  --Martin Luther

Faith is ongoing.

From Matthew 6, Christ's sermon on the mount, Jesus calls us to a higher standard of faith.  In verse 25 He says, "Therefore," which points back to his assertion that one cannot serve both God and money, "be not anxious for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, nor yet for your body what you will put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than raiment?"
Worry is the end of faith, and the beginning of faith is the end of worry. 
God takes care of all we need.  Perhaps we worry because we want a bit more than we need.
Shift focus.  The big idea is to SEEK his kingdom, his righteousness, in word, thought, and deed daily.
If we seek first his kingdom (Matthew 6:19-21)
What can we take with us to heaven?   People  
#becarefullittlemouthwhatyousay  (James 3:9-12)
What was the nature of the last thing you said? positive or negative, greeting or gossip, praise or complaint
Seek first his kingdom in thought.
#heavenonmymind (Philippians 3:14)
Study, meditate on the Bible.  When we do, God changes our thoughts. (Romans 12:2) What was the nature of the last thoughts you had?  determined or skeptical, happy or sad
Seek first the kingdom of God in deed.
#evangelizethelost (Mark 16:15)
When was the last time you were the hands and feet of Christ?  
 We would practice spiritual discipline when we pray and when we fast.  (Jesus assumed we do these for he said "When you..." not "If you...")

Practical ways to pray.

  • Find a place of solitude (your "prayer closet").
  • Go to that place every time  (A sacred place to meet with Christ).
  • Write your prayers (focus helps eliminate distractions).
Practical ways to fast.
  • Plan ahead (setting a time and a purpose).
  • Start small (beginning with a 40-day fast may not be a good idea.  Start with one meal.)
  • Find a place of solitude.  Pray and meditate.
Seek in little things; all these things shall be added.
All we need to do is ask, seek, knock.  (Matthew 6:33)
 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Pastor Amanda Blair
Sunday morning 


Thursday, January 8, 2015

And so on

Indianapolis tv station, evening announcement:

There will be no trash pickup on Thursday due to the extreme cold weather.

Announcement from Farmer Jones to his livestock:

Sorry, kids.  You will have to fend for yourselves in the morning as it is much too cold for us to get out and pitch hay, fill feeders, break ice on the water tanks, or relieve your bulging udders.  Good luck.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sometimes you have to smile

even when things are miserable.

Nicole, forecasting on the noon news, says, "By midnight it will be six below zero.  By six ay-em, it will be cold.  Eleven below zero.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

#Life: Little Things That Matter

[Apologies before the presentation.  The recorder was so enthralled with the messenger's presentation that the preacher was about a third of the way through his sermon before he realized he wasn't taking notes.]

Clare Booth Luce claimed that anyone's life could be summarized in one sentence.

  • Summarize your life in one sentence. 
  • What is going to be said about you at your funeral?
Jesus said, The thief comes to kill and to destroy; but I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.

The thief is any self-seeking destroyer of truth; anyone who attempts to mislead or destroy the sheep.  The Pharisees, for example, were making it difficult for the people to serve God.

In Christ, we are created alive, in his image;  life overflowing, not just scraping by, thriving in spite of all circumstances.  The overflow will flow into the lives of others!

Satan is after your eternal treasure, he is not after your earthly things, material possessions.
  • Your full life is defined by your heavenly treasures, not by your earthly ones.
The quality of a funeral is defined by the individual's spiritual treasures.
Christ wants us to live a full life!

These three things are what matters when writing one's life sentence:
  1. Faith.  Was the person steadfast in service to God?
  2. Family.  Were there loving relationships, or were they strained or indifferent?
  3. Friends. Was the individual respectful of others?
When writing one's sentence, it is the details that matter. [Here the pastor gave an example as though he were posting on a social media site:  On a date with my wifey. #beautifullady #15yearsmarried #Iwantoholdyourhand #loveyababe #here'sto60moreyears #kidsovernightatgrandma's
  • Your life will be measured by the little things that matter: the details
  • As John Maxwell put it,  We must live life fully, we must live it faithfully, we must live it thoughtfully.
Live life with nothing undone.  Live it 100%, wholeheartedly as to the Lord.

As the choir director and singing coach said, Perfection is in the details.

What do you hope your life sentence will be?

  • Your assignment for this week:  Make a specific time to talk with God about writing your life sentence.  Start with what you would write right now, work toward what you ultimately want it to say.
  • If you've the courage to post it on social media, hashtag it #trinitywesleyan #mylifein1sentence
Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Saturday, January 3, 2015

What Happened to Church?

A few years ago I ran a blog entitled Retrotechnocracy for several months.  I was reading back over some of the stuff there, good stuff.

Anyway, I copied this snippet to pull into 2015, just because it bears repeating.
We did not have microwaves, garbage disposals, or television sets. Okay, okay. Finally when the oldest child was in fifth grade we bought a 19" b & w Zenith on which we could get two channels. We were no longer the only home on the block without this marvel, though we should have remained so. Two things I remember about this time frame. "Sky King" which we thought suitable for the kids after school; and Lorne Green and the Cartwright gang who changed the face of mid-America forever. How so? I hope you are asking.

To this time, most fundamental, evangelical, and even many of the old-line churches had Sunday evening services which typically were held at 7:30. Virtually all churches chose at that time one of two alternatives: move service up to 6 o'clock so everyone could get home in time to visit the Ponderosa; or, eliminate evening service entirely. Over the intervening years, many of those who chose the first alternative, eventually defaulted to the second, and churches all over the Bible belt sit darkened on the evening of the Lord's Day.
© 2010 David W. Lacy

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Pea in a Boxcar

I was thinking about writing some responses to questions about writing.  I was thinking these thoughts in the middle of the night when one would  be  better served by sleeping.  At any rate, the expression "If you had a brain, it would rattle around like a pea in a boxcar" popped into my -pea- brain.

When we kids would make this remark to one another it was well-understood that the comparison was one of volume, i.e., relatively speaking, a brain in your cranium would be microscopic in size.

Then, remember this is in the middle of the night, my pea started processing the physics of a literal pea on the floor of a literal boxcar.  I finally dozed off when I realized that for some of us the car has been on a siding so long and the pea is so desiccated and sere that no amount of jostling, jolting, or starting and stopping the car would any longer elicit any kind of response from the pea.