Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Special Day

This is a special day for just about everyone, I guess. It's the end of a 2008. For us, it's our 50th wedding anniversary.

As I listen to the song above, it brings to mind different lyrics. Let's see if I can remember them.

O, Cleburne High, our love for you outshines the light of day,
As from your halls with gratitude, we glimpse truth's glorious rays.

The black and gold we shall unfold in glory to the sky,
We'll sing a song, a happy song, our song to Cleburne High.

Here's an anniversary card we recently received from Ella Jane and Jerry:
Anniversary Card from Hatfields

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


If I'd known being a great-grandmother would be so much fun, I'd have done it first!

Okay, in unison: AWWWWW

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jerry does Elvis

And he's never even taken a lesson!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

2008 in 744 words

As written by WDSAs written by Wendell:

Only eleven more days left in 2008, and what a year! We started out as full time RV’ers and ended up living full time in LA (Lower Alabama).

We started 2008 in a campground located on the Ross Barnett Reservoir in the greater Jackson, MS area. Sometime in January we moved to the Plantation RV Park west of Summerdale, AL. We spent a couple of months there exploring what’s known as lower Baldwin County Alabama. During this time we saw a small house, maybe 700 square feet, for sale. Not thinking much about it for a while, but finally called to find out the selling price. The cost was way too much for us. Mae Dean was telling a woman, a Snowbird, about this place and the lady said that there was a mobile home for sale in a small mobile home park (only 31 units) next to the RV park where they were staying that was a fraction of the cost of that little house.

Out of curiosity, more than anything else, the next morning I drove to the mobile home park to see what she had been talking about. What I found was a small two bedroom mobile home with 2 baths and a full kitchen that was completely furnished. The unit had both an attached screen porch and carport. The only thing needed to move in were some towels. To top that, it was at a price that we could afford. Gasoline at that time had almost reached the $4.00 a gallon mark, and was, much to our regret, forcing us off the road. To make my story short, we ended up buying the place.

Now for a little about the area. Alabama has two counties that front the Gulf of Mexico; Mobile County, where the city of Mobile is located, and Baldwin County where we live. Baldwin County is the largest county in the state and one of the 3 largest counties east of the Mississippi River. From top to bottom it’s almost 100 miles long and from west to east about 40 or 50 miles. The county is basically divided into what is know as upper Baldwin and lower Baldwin by Interstate 10. We live in the lower portion some 6 or 7 miles west of Foley, and 7 or 8 miles southeast of Fairhope just off US-98. We are, as the crow flies, 12 to 14 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico and the city of Gulf Shores.

I would think that the tourism is the leading industry in the area, but there is a lot of agriculture too. Wheat, corn, cotton, potatoes, pecans, sod, strawberries, and soy beans are among the things I have seen growing in the area. Most of the tourism dollars are spent in the Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Perdido Key area, but there are a lot of RV parks north of there where the Snowbirds from the upper Midwest spend the winter.

There is no shortage of festivals in the area. Starts with the Strawberry Festival at Loxley in March, then the Sausage Festival at Elberta, the Hot Air Balloon in Foley, another Sausage Festival in Elberta, a Heritage Festival in Foley and the Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores. I’ve left out all of the Mardi Gras parades and the Saint Patrick Day Celebration. Also did not mention what was happening in Fairhope or Daphne. So much for where we live.

For us, 2008 started with two daughters and 3 grand children. Ended with two daughters, three grand children and one great grand daughter! Maggie was born on June 25. Mae Dean and I began the year married for 49 years and will end it on December 31 with our 50th wedding anniversary. The only sad thing that happened was the death of Mae Dean’s mother on December 1st. Mrs. Ellington was 93.

We still have our old motor home and I don’t think that we have all of our traveling out of our system just yet. Maybe we will fire it up and take a couple of trips during the coming year. One would be to North Alabama (Huntsville and Fort Payne area) and maybe the Smoky Mountain National Park area. Another would be the Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC area. We do have a short cruise to Cozumel booked for January 2009.

I hope that all of you have a great Christmas
and a VERY HAPPY 2009!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Special People Visit

Sometimes visiting is more important than taking photos. You will not hear me say this often.

Having said this, let me go on to say, I sure hope someone takes a photo of Sweetmama and Jimmy in their special aprons. Also, I sure would like to have a daytime photo of Sweetmama's garden.

This was a very special visit with a very special family. These people make chaos look so good as to be envied, right down to the youngest one, little John Robert, who seemed to be thriving in a family environment just loaded to overflowing with love.

Friday, November 28, 2008


What a surprise. People were creating panorama photographs back in the 1920s. This one is from New Zealand:

1923 panorama
New Plymouth, Breakwater and Harbour · 1923
Photographer: Robert Percy Moore
Panoramic negative · Reference No. PA6-193
Photographic Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand

You can see more of these panoramas on the National Library NZ on The Commons on Flickr. You don't see historical photographs like these every day of the week — very interesting.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fields White for Harvest

Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

John 4:35b (KJV)

Cotton ready for harvesting

This local field is indeed white, and appears to be sitting there expectantly waiting for the cotton picker to come through and gather the cotton. However, one step of the usual harvest operation has not occurred yet on this field of cotton. It hasn't received the treatment required to exfoliate the leaves of the cotton plants.

Do you suppose that is what many people we come across in our daily lives are like? Expectantly waiting for some one to speak to them about their faith. There’s probably more than we can imagine hoping that someone of faith will tell them what they believe and why? The answer seems pretty clear, doesn’t it?

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says …
The harvest is vast, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers out into his harvest.

Luke 10:2 (ISV)

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Wisdom of Hot Chocolate

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 19:14 (NKJV)

Shortly after I put up a blog post including hot chocolate, Penny sent me this:

The Wisdom of Hot Chocolate

Think about it. Why do you suppose the photos of precious children were included in this video? All of us must be like those precious ones to get the point.

Live simply · Love generously · Care deeply · Speak kindly
And enjoy your hot chocolate!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Another Goldilocks Report

A cold front came through, and it's definitely "hot chocolate weather" in Lower Alabama.

We were surprised to see Magnolia Springs and Foley both showing their temp at 24º this morning. I checked on the screened porch, and it was showing around 38º, so I'm really doubting what was reporting. I think it was a typo and was supposed to be 34.

My regular blog readers will immediately know that 24º or 34º is too cold.

Looks like it's time to harvest our one satsuma before it freezes solid through and through. I also decided to bring in the small TV from the screened porch that I'd been watching old recorded VHS tapes on. I'll continue that enjoyable project in the warmth of our bedroom.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lake Harbor Mountaineers

I know a celebrity in person now. Some of my readers may find they do also.

The Lake Harbor Mountaineers band was recently formed in the Greater Jackson (Mississippi) area. Members of this band are Lucille, Bob, Luvell, Chris, Larry (not pictured), and Vick (not pictured).

I'm not their agent, but I'd be happy to put you in touch with them if you'd like to book them for an event.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A phrase that brought a smile :)

Orange Beach city sealWhile eating the best pizza we have had so far in Lower Alabama, we were carrying on a conversation with the pizza baker. In discussing the area of LA, we mentioned that many times we had taken vacations to Orange Beach and were still getting to know other areas near there since we settled in the Magnolia Springs area.

This pizzaria is located in Foley, and apparently the baker had lived here all his life. He said something like, have you heard that Orange Beach is referred to as "a quaint little drunken town with a fishing problem?"

It seems like quite few towns have adopted this phrase, or something like it, as their claim to fame, but it was the first time I had heard it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Who you callin' a hoe?How did I get to be 71 years old without eating a single hoecake? After all those years of camping when we wanted cornbread but thought we didn't have a way to cook it under our circumstances while camping, it was there staring us in the face all the time.
Apparently hoecakes are nothing more than pancakes made with cornmeal instead of flour, and the ones we had today were really good.

The history of this tasty and straight-forward food is so simple, it's a no-brainer.

According to Wikipedia:

Hoecake is a type of thin cornbread made of cornmeal, salt, and water, which is baked on a griddle. It became known as "hoecake" because field hands often cooked it on a shovel or hoe held to an open flame. Hoes designed for cotton fields were large and flat with a hole for the long handle to slide through. The blade would be removed and placed over a fire much like a griddle.

Hoecake is notably the namesake of the cakewalk dance form. During the 19th century, slaveholders would hold dance competitions for their slaves, offering hoecake as a reward to the winner. Then known as the chalk line dance, the form became known as the cakewalk when it rose to prominence with the advent of ragtime music.

The hoecake is also known as the johnny-cake, the Shawnee cake, the ash cake, and the no cake.

Wendell has recently become interested in hoecakes and printed off a recipe. When I asked him where the recipe came from, I learned it was from the Homesick Texan blog. I understand this blogger lives in New York. Now that I've read some of her blog, I really recommend it to you, particularly From Hoecakes To Hope.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

I do like the song, but I'm thinking (2-8-2016) that this might be a preferred video on it:

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Angel Ride Charity Event for Motorcyclists

During this morning's visit to Heritage Harbor Days celebration in Foley, we learned about the Angel Ride, which was traveling along Highway 98 through Magnolia Springs later in the afternoon. We arrived in time to see them and snap a few photos as they drove by.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Art of God

Carla called me early this morning and told me to look at the Perdido Key Beach Cam. When I saw it, I exclaimed, "Wow!"

6:38 am
Perdido Key BeachCam

The cam kept giving off "Wow images" every time I checked it again a few minutes later.

6:48 am
Perdido Key BeachCam

6:58 am
Perdido Key BeachCam

7:38 am
Perdido Key BeachCam

My friend Mary had already commented on how good the images were recently.

The situation that has created this is a cool snap in the weather that included moving all the clouds out.

I don't know how long the skies here will be blue and cloudless, but you might want to check it and see what I mean. For current images, visit the Perdido Key BeachCam.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Look what we have to look forward to, and they only cost us fifteen bucks total from the local Wal-Mart.

Red Lion amaryllis

Minerva amaryllis Apple Blossom amaryllis

Smitty continues to be an enigma to me. He has really turned to gardening and such since we moved to Alabama. First he built the wooden planter and continues to be drawn to garden centers to look at what he might want to try his hand at planting. The amaryllis bulbs are his latest venture. We'll keep you posted as they progress.

Planting Details
Planting details
Growing Instructions
Growing instructions

Little did any of us know during those three or so years we lived in Meridian that this company was a driving force there. We only learned it after purchasing the amaryllis bulbs.

Van Zyverden, Inc. — a really *blooming* company

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mystery of the Beanie Babies and the Dream

Beanie Babies

I awoke early this morning from another weird dream that had the same theme as at least one other dream I have had recently.

I was a new, probably temporary, employee at a large building that had many small businesses housed in it. I did not know the purpose of the business I was working for and did not have anything to do. One person who seemed to be in authority was a nice lady that just floated here and there with no apparent purpose that I could fathom.

I was interested in being busy and looking productive. When I noticed her stooping down from time to time to pick up little pieces of trash off the floor, I decided that was something I could do that would also be productive.

As we went out the back entrance to this large building, there was a beautiful scene that I wanted to take a photo of, but didn’t. It seemed like what I was looking at was a natural development at first, but then the lady said something to the effect that “they” had just done all of that and just left it that way. It was only then that I realized it was the leftover results of excavating probably by heavy equipment for some kind of new development.

About that time I woke up and started mulling over some things in my mind like the stoopid blog post I had spent time on yesterday that was really going to say something about me to anyone who might, by chance read it. Do you know what it was going to say?

What would you think is going on with an adult who spends time writing a blog post about Beanie Babies (children’s toys) on a pillow?

Couple that post with the dream, and it says to me –

“You’re lost as a goose!”

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cotton Castles

America's CastlesI hadn't particularly intended to continue what I started after last week's Chapultepec Palace post, but I felt compelled to share yesterday's episode on the castles that cotton built. It sparked my interest because three of the four castles are located in areas where hurricanes have hit in recent years.

First, a brief history of cotton itself. If you like, turn on Sousa’s King Cotton March for background music as you read.

Perhaps you've heard the expression King Cotton like I had. The Story of Cotton was quite an eye-opener to me. Little did I know that cotton history goes back at least 7,000 years and that by 1500 cotton was known generally throughout the world.

Cotton has endured as an agricultural crop that has consistently produced income for cotton farmers, and has undergone many changes as technology has changed all crops in the way they are planted, grown and harvested.

High Cotton!We had noticed crops in South Baldwin County and how important agriculture continues to be where the land is fertile and mostly flat, with plenty of rainfall and a long growing season. This seems to mean everything grows bigger and better than what we had been accustomed to.

One cotton field we noticed this week has already been defoliated in preparation for picking. Yesterday we pulled off on a side road to take photos of how big and beautiful a cotton field is. It had many boles yet to open, but the plants themselves were probably at their peak growth. One photo we took shows Wendell standing among the cotton plants with them up to his chest in height. We have not seen a cotton gin in South Baldwin County, so it is still a mystery as to where the cotton will be taken for processing.

Cotton itself is a story on its own, but one phase of the story has to do with the wealth it brought to cotton planters which paid for the construction of magnificent showplaces as homes. Many of the older homes endure to this day and are available for tours.

The four mansions featured by the America’s Castles tapes are a very small example of the homes cotton built. Three of them are located in areas hit by hurricanes in recent years. The fourth is located too far inland from the Coast to receive the assault of hurricane-force winds.

Built in 1895, the 31-room Moody Mansion was purchased for $20,000 after the hurricane of 1900 damaged it,and the Moody family remained there until 1986. One of its features is an 800 square foot dining room. William Jennings Bryan was among those who visited the mansion, and a foundation was established for its preservation and use.

The Bishop’s Palace, also in Galveston, was first built by Colonel Walter Gresham. Besides cotton, Gresham had other financial interests, including being involved in bringing the Santa Fe Railroad to Galveston. The cost of construction was $250,000, and it took 61 craftsmen three years to carve and assemble the staircase. Colonel Gresham also served in the Texas State Legislature and later became a member of the United States Congress. The residence includes many examples of the works of Mrs. Gresham, a trained and accomplished artist. Later it was sold, and a bishop lived in it, becoming known as The Bishops Palace. The Roman Catholic Diocese maintains this structure, which is available for tours.

Longue Vue House in New Orleans was the home of Edgar and Edith Stern. They began living there in 1942. After Edgar’s death in 1959 at age 73, Edith continued to live there until her death in 1980.

Swan House is the only cotton castle featured on this episode that has not had to endure hurricane force winds since it is located on a 28 acre estate in Atlanta, Georgia. It required two years to build at a cost of half a million in 1928 when the average home cost $2,000 to build. Edward and Emily Inman moved into Swan House in 1931. Edward died in 1949, and Emily continued to live there until her death in 1965. The Atlanta Historical Society purchased the home and maintains it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chapultepec Palace

Chapultepec Castle
Photo Credit: Beyond the Underground

A container of VHS tapes has been uncovered. It includes some of my favorite 1990's A&E TV shows, such as America's Castles and Bob Vila's Guide to Historic Homes. So now when I feel like it, I can be an airchair traveler or tourist. Today I viewed an episode featuring Chapultepec Palace in Mexico City. This is a castle I'll not likely ever visit, so I particularly enjoyed the show. It was full of Mexican history, going back to the Aztecs.

These videos were recorded before I even had a home computer, so surfing the internet for more information is an aspect of viewing I didn't have when I taped them. From what I can tell, A&E is no longer showing America's Castles, but my search uncovered lots of photos on flickr. Along with the program I saw, they gave me a pretty good feeling for what it would have been like to visit Mexico City's grand palace.

Chapultepec Stagecoach · by Luis Alberto Cantu on flickrChapultepec Terrace · by itinerantlondoner on flickrChapultepec Patio Garden · by javierdoren on flickr on flickrChapultepec Stained Glass · by harmonica27 on flickr

Chapultepec Palace postcard · by Savissivik on flickr

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Morning Musings

Why couldn't yesterday have been like this instead of rain, rain, rain?

We were bound and determined to make a visit to the mystery vessel ruins Ike helped uncover near Fort Morgan. We needed a day like this yesterday.

Have you ever noticed how the weather affects your day? I've been aware for a long time that it impacts my mood in a very noticeable way. It's almost like a real cloud is hanging over me and following me around all day.

Today my former boss' youngest daughter, or Daughter No. 3 as he referred to her, is to be married. I hope their weather in Florence, Mississippi, is as beautiful for Kim's wedding day as it appears to be here. Now it is really time for them to have the "empty nest syndrome." They'll probably handle it fine since they have recently become grandparents through another daughter.

Next Saturday is the 25th Annual WellsFest in Jackson, Mississippi. I'm sure praying for good weather for that outdoor event.

Footnote added four days later:
Orley Hood wrote such a good article on WellsFest that I want to include a link to it here.

A leap of faith: Festival, no booze? You bet

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Turtle or Tortoise?

As we arrived home today, we could see something in the road at a distance. At first I thought it was a small dog or cat. As we came closer, I recognized it was a fairly large turtle or tortoise. It moved on out of the road at a slow pace and I caught up with it in a neighbor's carport. I did not want to frighten it but was able to get this photo.

Later I talked with a neighbor about it. He said he had been trying to encourage it to go back to where it came from, a freshly plowed field to the north of us. As I looked more carefully at the photo, it is obvious the reptile had been covered with dirt, and I think I can even see a mark on its shell where a farm implement may have scraped it.

I thought it was wandering about looking for a new home after such treatment, but Smitty reminded me it carried its home around with it. :)

I do wish the turtle well. Do you suppose all that dirt is not healthy? Do you think it needed a bath?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Red Lion

We were speeding through Baton Rouge along I-10 at 70 MPH when my eyes landed on the ugliest hotel I had ever seen.

Photo Credit:

I am now convinced I will have to go back there and get a photo in the daytime for people to understand what I am writing about.

It isn't worth the trip.

Upon further investigation, I am convinced Red Lion Hotel in Baton Rouge provides excellent accomodations, in spite of my initial reaction to the gaudy exterior colors that aren't revealed in this nighttime photo. I totally understand why they chose to show their hotel in this dim light because it conceals the building's bright orange and yellow.

That's all ...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Gustav Evacuation

The TV Weather Channel made us decide to evacuate on Sunday, August 31st, and Smitty apparently chose a really good route because the traffic was surprisingly light on the way to Olive Branch, Mississippi. We could see lots going east in the early part of our trip. At the time we were going west. The east side of Mississippi is by far the best way to travel to Olive Branch. The only heavy traffic we encountered was for a brief time on I-20 in the Meridian area.

We did not choose the best way to return today, and were joined by lots of cars with Louisiana tags returning home, along with lots of utility trucks, all going south on I-55 with us. The good news is we got home safe and sound, and there didn't appear to be any obvious damage to our home in Alabama.

Our hearts went out to those we saw fleeing and returning who were from Louisiana.
A little side comment:

We saw our first Bear Crossing sign in Washington County, Alabama, just above Mobile County. It really surprised us.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stop in Marshall, Texas

Our trip from Alabama to Texas (Arlington) was fairly uneventful. We stopped around 3:30 PM on the first day because we were tired of driving in the rain. Had it been a good weather day, we might have driven all the way to Arlington.

Lunch-To-Go by StarkistAs we neared Marshall, Texas, we had no intentions of getting out in the middle of a downpour to eat in a restaurant, because we had already had a good lunch at Eddie’s BBQ in Alexandria, Louisiana, where we stopped for gas. BUT, upon stopping for at the HIE in Marshall, Texas, we cranked up the laptop and read Carla's Sentimental sandwich blog post for the first time. This made me so hungry for tuna that I asked Smitty to see if he could find any in the convenience store. As luck would have it, Charlie of Starkist had just what I needed.

The Marshall Holiday Inn Express had just been open a month, so we noted a number of upgrades from our experiences in older HIEs.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Some Advice on Aging

Have you ever heard of Jack A. Weil?

He lived to be 107, so he might just know a thing or two.

Jack A. Weil, 107; his Western shirts clothed movie, rock stars

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

Is that what the Olympics are about? No, that’s not the whole story.

I watched two tall U.S. beach volleyball players easily beat two shorter Japanese women. I’m happy for the U.S. team win, but the difference in physical size had to have played a part in the match.

Michael Phelps won the 400-meter individual medley swimming competition against several swimmers who were almost as good as he was. Not only that, he bested his own world record. In his case, it wasn’t just the other competitors he was swimming against, he was trying to swim faster than he had ever done in the event.

What a commitment all the participants at Beijing have made to their sport of choice. It has consumed years of their lives. They have proven something to themselves by doing this. Just making it to the Olympics is an achievement in and of itself.

All any of them can hope for is to do their best. I think they are all doing their best, but someone has to win. The subjective judgment of officials and judges plays a part in some sports more than others, but intangible factors are in the midst of these competitions that we can’t quite put our finger on.

Friday, August 08, 2008


If the date itself had not called it to our attention, Goggle did.

We'll never see it again. Right?
Today the Olympics began in Beijing, China. Such a day would be big and important, regardless of what day they began.
Let the Games begin!
My last glance at the clock before I went nite-nite revealed it was 11:11 PM.

China's 2008 Olympics opening ceremonies were outstanding. I was surprised to learn that the little girl who sang Ode to the Motherland in the opening ceremonies at the Olympics wasn't singing at all. According to Yahoo Sports, the little girls we saw in the red dress who appeared to be singing it was lipsinking. Read all about it at Olympic opening uses girl's voice, not face. Photos of both the singer, 7-year-old Yang Peiyi, and the performer, 9-year-old Lin Miaoke, appear below.

Singer on Left - Performer on Right

Postcript on 08/12/08: One of my favorite photos from the Olympics Opening Ceremonies was that of Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets' star, as the Chinese flag bearer, and 9-year-old Lin Hao, a survivor of the May earthquake in Sichuan province that killed an estimated 70,000 people. It was sad to read today Yao has delivered, now it’s China’s turn.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Special Sentimental Letter

Baylor University freshman beanieI was possibly still wearing this Freshman Slime Beanie at Baylor University when my daddy wrote me a special letter. He wrote me letters fairly often back then because it was unheard of for people to spend much time on long-distance phone calls and there was no such thing as email. I found this letter in some things we hauled to Alabama from storage in Mississippi. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Dear Mae Dean,

It seems just like it was yesterday that I wrote you — but another week has rolled around. Time rolls on. I guess next week will be "dead" week — then exams and another quarter will be unrolled. Such is life. Before one week is finished another begins — then months — then years and then a lifetime. It's a strange thing — but at your age 20 years seems like a tremendous length of time (and it is because it represents all the time that you can remember), but at my age it becomes 45 years, and it does not seem any longer to me than 20 years seems to you. I assume that would also be true of one in his 60's or 80's. Time is such a relative kind of thing — and as you have heard me say before the only time any of us have is the present moment. We cannot look nor cling to the future (today is yesterday's future), nor can we live in the past. I think that is what Jesus meant when he said, "Let the Dead bury the Dead." Thus, we come to another bible quotation that says "let him who is truthful — be truthful still; let him who stole, steal; let him who hungers be hungry still" etc. — which simply means that whatever we are doing now is what we will be doing tomorrow. No — a happy future is not molded out of unhappy todays. In other words "today is the day."

If one is muddling through a misspent day today, there cannot be any assurance at all that tomorrow will not be the same way. BUT, a happy, well-spent day today will almost guarantee a similar day tomorrow.

24 hours later ...

Well at least I have something to write about today. I came home yesterday afternoon and found Mama and Ella both crying, and between sobs I found out you had "ruined your life." I just knew you had run off with the gambling man or had shot and killed your roommate in a drunken rage. You can imagine my relief when I found out you're just up to your annual escapade. Boy, you can pick 'em! Of all the things I would have thought about you doing — that was the last! But that's what keeps life interesting — never a dull moment.

But seriously for a moment, there is one very good and useful lesson that can be gained out of this. You know I was an officer of the law for a number of years, and it was my painful duty to arrest many folks who had done something they shouldn't . In all of those years I never arrested one person who had prepared to be "caught." All of them down to the last man and woman — never thought about the possibility of being apprehended and punished for their wrongdoing. There is an old adage of the underworld that says, "The criminal is the one who gets caught." If there is a common denominator of all crime and wrongdoing , that is it — no one expects to get caught. If they did, they wouldn't do it. So ... you see; if you would remember the rest of your life to say (before you do anything) what if I get caught — what then. It could become a very valuable lesson. Actually, with all seriousness, we nearly always do get caught — if not by person, our own consciousness snares us in its net. The Bible quote "be sure your sins will find you out" is worthy of all consideration.

I neither condemn nor condone — I am realistic enough to know you are kin to your father and mother and have inherited our weakness. If you were perfect — I suspect we would feel awfully uncomfortable with you around. As it is, we look forward to seeing you — our own flesh and blood.

Love, Your Dad

So you're wondering what that was all about, right? My parents had received a letter from the Dean of Women at Baylor telling them I had been caught smoking in my dorm room with two other girls and if this occurred again, I would be expelled. Coeds were not allowed to smoke at Baylor University in those days. PERIOD.

I did not do it again for awhile, and certainly not at Baylor. And you thought "That Good Ole Baylor Line" was about football, didn't you?

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Forward Stops Here

*Okay not really – but lots of times it does.

Quite some time ago I thought about putting up a blog post about this subject, but then I decided to sleep on it before I ticked off some people.Hey guys, I know that for some of you, email is fairly new. I remember when I began using email, there were all kinds of things I simply didn't know how to do. Yes, I didn't even know what it meant when someone used the phrase "cut and paste".

Anyway, before I tried to compose something about this subject, I Goggled it — and sure enough, Ms. Karen's Blog: B.C.C. already said it for me, although it uses just a mite stronger language than I do on a public Internet forum.

Some who know me pretty well know I'm a hypocrite and a copycat, so I plan to use some of Ms. Karen's excellently worded thoughts.

This is probably going to "hack"(revised) a few people off, but ... someone suggested that I write a blog post about this rather delicate subject. Who am I to turn down such a request? Especially when the topic is so near and dear to my e-mail inbox.

Ok, here goes:

You! With your finger hovering just a mouse-click away from irritating folks like me, do NOT forward that e-mail. Step away from the “send” button and listen up.

Thanks to a plethora of multiply-forwarded e-mails that have come to roost in my inbox, I’m gonna have to air some grief, vent my spleen, and pitch a bit of a hissy fit.

You know who you are...

You’re the ones who get email that says “forward it to ten friends and you’ll get your wish” or “Don’t break this chain or AOL won’t give you money” or “this prayer chain has been going strong, don’t break it.”

Guess what? I break them. All. Of. Them. So if it’s really important to you that the chain does not get broken, don’t send it to me.

Especially those forwarded emails where it takes you five minutes to find the actual message because you have to scroll through half-a-million names and addresses to get to it. Then you get to the message only to discover a) you’ve already seen it a thousand times before, b) it’s a stupid hoax thing that has been luring suckers into it’s claws since Al Gore coded the first website, c) it’s a blankeddy-blank(revised) don’t-break-this-prayer-chain-or-puppies-will-die message. I think I hate those last ones the most.

So, why does this seemingly harmless practice bug me so bad? Well, because the people who are on the same list you’re now on, will forward their copy to another hapless group of people who ALSO will do the same thing. This means, all those e-mail addresses (including yours and mine) are now dangling out there in cyberspace like so much pterodactyl bait, just waiting for the sp*m monsters to snap them up.

If you absolutely, positively, MUST send an e-mail that has already been forwarded to the entire population of North America, Asia, and the Milky Way Galaxy, PLEASE use a wonderful little courtesy feature that comes with your e-mail program called BCC — Blind Carbon Copy.

I’m not talking just plain old CC either, people, I’m talking BCC. Watch what you’re doing, don’t be so careless. You need to poke those eyes out on that sp*m monster. I’ve already had to close down a couple of e-mail addresses due to an out-of-control situation with well-intentioned but oblivious folks who are under the impression that I live my life with my head under my desk and have not seen any of the wonders cyberspace has to offer.

You know the saying, “There’s nothing new under the sun” right? Well, that goes double for the Internet. Been there, done that, had it sent to me a thousand times already.

I know there are folks out there who seem to be a bit new to the internet. For whatever reason they may have, their online experience has been limited or non-existent and there are a few things they’ve not yet learned. Now is a GREAT time to start learning stuff. IMPORTANT stuff.

Normally, I don’t get warped out of shape over little things like this, but this is one thing that really frosts my cookies.

So, if you just can’t stop yourself from sending the e-mail, then do everyone that came before you on that loooong list of forwarded e-mails a huge favor and cut-and-paste then BCC. Yes, both of them. It isn’t complicated, it’s just plain polite.

Let’s get one thing straight, if it arrives in your e-mail inbox, and it went through another thousand just to get there, you can bet anyone connected to the web has already seen it. Do the world a favor and delete it. Please.

E-mail messages can be fun. My preferred e-mails are personal notes, not an over-forwarded missive of gag-me cute crap. No, I don’t always get around to answering my mail, and if you’ve forwarded me a bunch of stuff, chances are good that the filters have simply shipped your latest message into that great trash bin in cyberspace.

So remember, Bill Gates and AOL will NOT send you anything if you forward that piece of crap to ten people. I promise. In fact, NO one will EVER give money to you or anyone else if you forward it to ten people, however those ten people may retaliate and forward their entire trash bin to your inbox. Oh, and there is NO elementary school teacher sending out e-mails to see how far they get. Seriously.

Delete it. Put a sign on your computer that says, THE FORWARD STOPS HERE and keep that delete key busy. The web will thank you for it.

A few of my own ideas on this subject:

  • If you are sending me email by simply hitting the forward buttom and letting them rip, you may not know that the subject starts out with something like FWD. Many times I won't even open emails with this subject. It depends on who sends them.
  • And since these tend to clutter my In box nearly every day – Snopes has an article on Internet Petitions you might want to read.
  • Ms. Karen and I aren't the only people who feel this way. The Soapbox Man is out there in cyberspace trying to give you a clue on the subject. Take what he's saying to heart.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Christian the Lion

This video needs no introduction from me. It tells it all.

Monday, July 21, 2008

without going orange

The new me!I reserve the female right to change my mind just any time. I got tired of the Doris Day photo quickly, and have changed again today. I liked that tiara so much that if I don't uncover it in my souvenirs, I may just go to the Sweet Potato Queens store and buy my very own tiara "because I'm worth it".

Since I stopped coloring my hair years and years ago, I only noticed today that L’Oréal's famous advertising slogan "Because I’m worth it" has recently been replaced by "Because you're worth it". Let's hear it, you girlfriends out there. Don't we know it — we're all worth it!

Perhaps I won't quickly tire of this new ID photo Who knows? I still reserve my female right to change my mind again in the future.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Reptile Porch Visitor

Let me suggest first that you click on the above photos to get just about a life-size view of this visitor. I first saw him on the screen itself inside the screened porch. Already I have seen what I only know as ordinary small lizards inside the screened porch. That's when I did away with my idea of sleeping on the air mattress on the porch to hear the night noises. I would not want visitors to our place to sleep on the porch for the same reason.

The small lizards did not seem to have any trouble finding their way out of the porch again, but this visitor seemed to be unable to find his way out the same way he came in. So after I took the second picture, I felt sorry for him and left one of the outside doors open on the porch to help him out. The next time I checked, quite sometime later, he was nowhere to be seen on the porch.

Since I had never seen a lizard or salamander that looked like this guy, I set about trying to identify him. The identity came to me from Weeks Bay Reserve. This is a male five lined skink, a reptile. The scientific name Eumeses faciatus, is quite common in much of the southeastern US. There are many different kinds of skinks (this one is in the Family Scincidae), several are very common in the Weeks Bay area. It is probably a male by the dull lines...and red under the chin. It is harmless and eats bugs.

So no wonder this guy looks so well fed. Plenty of bugs live around here for him to eat.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

What a Difference the Years Make

I call this my Doris Day photo and referred to it in the Ridin’ The Rails blog post last year, describing why I call it thusly.

While the photo I have been using on this blog as my profile photo is nice, it is way old now. Smitty took it when we celebrated our wedding anniversary at Brunos in Jackson, Mississippi, on New Years Eve many years ago. The tiara was on our table. Since I think it was a favor, I may still have it, but, then again, maybe I don’t. I don’t recall seeing it in all the things we were packing up when we were down-sizing to go into our fulltime RVing. I may have just left it at the restaurant. Who knows?

Anyway, the photo I'm switching to as a profile photo is just nine months old and does look more like me.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Flag Flying for the 4th

Now that we have a flag, we'll be flying it on the 4th of July. We haven't decided whether we'll have it up all the time like some people do or not.

We'll be joining many people for the 4th celebration. It seems like fireworks are pretty universal, and we hope to see some. Last summer's fireworks on the 4th were really special. Can you imagine a fabulous fireworks show while sitting near Devils Tower in Wyoming? We'll that's what we experienced. You can see a post about that at:

The Perpetual Vacationers

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Screened Porch

Aaaahhhhh ...When I saw this screened porch on the second floor of the auditorium building at Weeks Bay Reserve, I might as well confess I was envious of whomever got to use this. I began having dreams of sleeping on an air mattress with the trees all around me and all the night sounds. Wouldn't that be neat?

Wendell and I spent a pleasant morning walking along the boardwalks through two Weeks Bay bogs. It was our first visit to the area since geocaching there last February.
Read all about yesterday's visit to:

Weeks Bay Reserve
The Perpetual Vacationers