Random, Big-Jawed Dreams of Summer..

Published by 9 Comments

A Perilous Passage…

Absence from Social Media explained..
Our Hero Fears His Head Will Swell Larger Than Mt. Wilshire And Burst Ingloriously..
Various Farm Victories and Travails..

I’ve been trying to post on social media (Instagram, MeWe, Twitter) regularly because we have two hugely inexpensive family-fun products to sell these days:  berry-picking and Colonial Faire, but..

On Sunday, I woke up at around five in the morning with a familiar, weird dryness and swelling in my left, inner cheek area.  This particular symptom filled me with dread, because I knew the potential consequences right away.  I had been through this before.  For me, whatever causes this (internet med pages indicate it can have 13-20 different sources), it manifests itself with a slow, powerful swelling of my inner mouth.  By morning house-church services, I could feel my upper lip swelling and dragging, but by late afternoon my lower left jaw was expanding.  I had to beg off on a farm-to-table invite from the Riley cousins, and when Mary returned later that evening, my whole jaw had expanded.  I had become “prognathous,” and I looked something like the actor Ron Perlman, except a little more alarming.  It’s one of those hugely disfiguring conditions that leaves you wanting to remain in the house, so as not to scare children and small animals.

Mary and I share the same distaste for useless urgent care visits, but some online nurses at BlueShield didn’t even need to see a picture of me.  They could hear it over the phone.  “Mr. Riley, if that swelling goes round to the back side and occludes your breathing passages..”

Enough said.  I had actually been thinking that (and denying it) for a few hours.  We trooped off, towards midnight, in the direction of Loma Linda 24 Hour Urgent Care.  Very nice people.  If you know me, I’m no fan of commie-virus masking, but this was one of the few times in the last year I’ve been grateful for a mask.  By the time, the admitting nurse asked why I was there, I simply removed it.

“Oh my!” she said.

The young doctor (they all look like teenagers to me now) concluded that I was having an allergic reaction to my blood pressure medication, even though I’ve been taking that same medication for two decades or more.  “Sometimes,” she said, “allergies can just pop up after years of exposure and this one has a reputation for that.”  Fair enough.  The swelling had started to recede the very moment I walked in the door, but this allowed me to take a Benadryl, which pretty much knocked it out.  By the next morning, second dose, I was back to normal.  As to the actual root cause, I’ve come to believe all of us, doctors included, are up against the human body’s uber-complexity.  Take almost any symptom you have, go over to your favorite online diagnostic tool, and you’ll find that rash you’ve been complaining about has ten or more possible explanations.  Getting to the actual diagnosis is a function of your budget and how much the symptoms really bother you.

The California “Fair Plan”

Anyway, having averted the crisis of my jaw swelling to the size of Wilshire Peak and obscuring the morning sunrise, I went home only to endure a kind of arthritic attack on my left knee.   I could barely hobble across the bedroom floor, and, in this state, worried about legal bills and the expense associated with various repairs we have to make around this place, I received a call from our insurance agent.  “Bad news, I’m afraid,” he began.  “Your California Fair Plan fire insurance — the one California uses effectively to keep private insurers from writing rural area coverage, has gone from $39,000 a year to $67,000 a year.”

Mary overheard the conversation and shook her head.
“Count it all joy!”  I yelled.  “Yippy!  Governor Newsom is trying to put us out of business.  One MORE chance for Jesus Christ to beat back that pagan half-wit!”

All Things Considered

Many of my good friends are leaving California.   On the other hand, quite a few are remaining, and they are getting fighting mad.  The State of California seems determined to encourage crime, discourage home-building and destroy small business.  On the other hand, the County of San Bernardino stands as a kind of older, stronger brother, willing to protect us against the bully on the block.   Nationally, inflation is raging and gas prices are making people budget their travel and leisure dollars more carefully.  On the other hand, field trips and dinner theater are WAY up over last year.  When I have a week of failing knees and elephant man face-swelling, I feel the weight of my 62 years.  On the other hand, the Commie virus has pushed me towards 60 minute cardio work-outs, supplements, and a personal quest for whatever’s left of the “Biblical Caleb” in me.  (Look him up; quite a dude.)

Where We Look To You

We are here in pre-civilized California for as long as you, and the Lord, want us to be, (not in that order).  We have too many signs that people actually NEED this place.  I talked to a delightful couple who live in West LA this last Saturday.  They escaped Soviet Communism and they have twin boys.   We talked about a world of topics, but they said one thing that truly startled me.  “You have to remember that a favorite tool of totalitarians is this:  the more absurd their commands, the more absurd the beliefs they make you embrace, the more they can control you.”   The past few years of social distancing, untested “vaccines,” “drag queen story hours,” “defund the police,” and “apologize for your privilege” came into sharp focus.

In other words, our guests feed us, and strengthen us, in more ways than I can say.  We’re here as long as you need us, because WE NEED YOU.



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This post was written by Jim Riley


  • Bill says:

    I wish California had free and fair elections. My guess is they don’t. I pray the truth comes out one day and changes can be made to return California to a constitutionally sound state. They need Jesus. Glad you’re there making a difference.

  • Frances Gilek says:

    Dear Jim,

    I am so sorry you are going through this and I hope it really is the blood pressure medication so it will be an fairly easy fix. My husband was a forest fire fighter for years in his younger days and he had been stung bit and (as he puts it) “gnawed on” by every bug around. Out on the line you might hit an angry wasp nest or the tree on fire you are trying to cut down also has a bee hive in the branches. So enough said he had been stung a lot. Fast forward 20 years and he is praying for a young man going on a mission trip with us to Cambodia and as he is praying he feels something hurt his hand…not wanting to give the devil one second of this prayer he just continued to pray. He then looked and saw a bee on his finger. He didn’t think much about it and we went home…but we we got home he said how dry his mouth was and how he was having a hard time to get spit in his mouth. His lifeguard daughter told him “get to the hospital just to be safe”. It was only 10 minutes away so we got there quickly. I walked in ahead of him to get in line and when he got to the check out desk I was shocked…his face was all swollen and he looked like a frog. Basically he kind of sounded like a frog since his mouth was also swollen. They took him right in and the nurse asked what he was coming in for and he said “thbuth, thbee, stubby thme”. She asked again, stating she was having a hard time understanding him so he repeated himself and she looked at me (I am a horrible wife because I was having a hard time not to laugh…he just looked and sounded so dang funny!) so I said “He was stung by a bee and is having a hard time getting spit in his mouth” She said “oh my, we need to get you in immediately…this isnt the way he look all the time?” to which he then yelled “Nobuth, itths NOTbuh thebuh way I lookth allth the timebh!!!!” Again, so hard to not laugh…but they got him in and gave him medication straight into his arm for about an hour. He had a severe reaction to a bee sting! Not good for a guy going over seas into jungle areas! We found he could go through a test at Kaiser to find out what the allergies were and it had came up bee-wasp type. He went through a year of therapy and now no longer have to carry around an epi pen every where he goes. BUT…he was fine with stings before but developed an allergy in his older age. Be careful…and I will keep you in prayer that this indeed is the problem and that a new medication (or God making your blood pressure lower…the latter would be best) will no give you the same problem.

  • Frances Gilek says:

    By the way…count me in as one of the “rebels” not caving in and moving out of this state! I am sure that is their plan…to get as many people who would stand against them (the extreme left wing currently controlling California’s purse strings)out of the state so they can controlling the remaining “lemurs”! Well…I am hoping this current situation is making more and more people ready to say “enough is enough” and vote these “wacka-doo’s” out of office! I think it is with a hope and prayer at this point since so many wonderful people opted to leave instead of put up with this garbage! I too was planning to leave…and then my wonderful granddaughter came into my life and there is no way I am leaving her here to fend for herself (she is 18 months old by the way). So her I stay and here I make my stand…I and, if you will take me, I will stand along side you and Rileys Farm and those just fed up with this current “craziness”!

  • Candace says:

    Hi Jim, remember God wants and continues to use you as his faithful humble servant as your in His will and purpose keeping Rileys Farm and your dear family in CA. Countless pray that you will continue to pass this iconic legacy on in your family for generations to come, as it is in His will. You have no idea how much you and your family do for all our children and all ages and stages in life who come here. Bringing us all back time and time again, who need a break from all this insanity in society, even if only for a few precious hours. We all our thankful you have shared your many talents and gifts God has given you with all who come and one of them again, is beautiful serene Rileys Farm! So daily let this be one more reminder to be encouraged and stay the course, remembering that God is using you all in so many powerful ways some known and others not known yet but right here in California! What is also so special about Riley’s Farm, unlike KB farm as it has evolved into just another run of the mill corporate theme park you have a indeed kept Riley’s a historic, iconic and treasured gift to us all not turned it into a theme park but a special place to retreat too! We are all so thankful for you, your family and Rileys farm as you all in return continually feed, strengthen and encourage us, in so many ways for decades. Many were blessed to first come as children and fight the good fight to keep you and Rileys Farm exactly where God wants and intends it be. One of the few blessings and treasured retreats that brings family together not pull them apart. Blessing to you and yoiurs!

  • Bridget Honan says:

    Thank you…Jim and Mary for years of wonderful hospitality and experiences…we need you too!

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