Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Rose is a Rose

Here is Katherine Rose Durrett.  A rose is a rose..... Katherine has a big secret.   She has found  the Fountain of Youth and she an't sharing it with anybody! 

Varner's Reunion, May the 10th.

Computer Specks

Seven years ago I left my eye doctor.  He is a very nice guy that takes time with you.  While he is in the room with you , you are his complete focus.  Focus?  Get it?  Yuk, yuk.  Today we returned to him.  I'll call him Bruiser because that is what my late friend  Sam nicknamed him years ago. 

Bruiser's nurses gave me several types of tests.  One of the test was a depth perception test..     I was to sit with my hand on a joy-stick and press the button every time I saw a light go on and off.  I have problem with the depth perception test because I may see a light click on and off  but because I am personally  a delayed action kind of person, so I doubt if the test one a good reading if I saw the lights blink on and off or not.  Also doing the test at times test would go "BEEP BEEP! several times  When we were changing eyes the nurse asked me if I heard the beep beep, I said I did.  She asked me did I know why it was beeping.  I said, "It was fussing at me?"  She confirmed, saying my eye was supposed to be focused  on one thing, and when it wandered is when it beeped.  I thought,  "Damn, that was my ADD, so?"

Bruiser and his nurse both asked me what trouble I was having and I said it is hard for me to read the computer.   I have to take off my glasses to read the font on the computer.   Bruiser said I am near sighted and the glasses are set to make me far sighted.  So, either with the glasses on or off it is not adjusted right.  So, he gave me a prescription for computer reading only.   Years ago I  would have said, "Computer  glasses?   Are you bullshitting me?"

Wait!  I am not through talking about my day.  At the Hoboken Cafe' on Whitlock Avenue we sat at the first booth.  I could look out the window onto Whitlock Avenue.  Across the street I saw the retail Goodyear Store.  I felt a shudder go through me.

Maybe twenty to thirty  years ago, an employee  from there killed his wife, one or two of his kids and wounded one that survived - he ran from him.  They lived at apartments on Powder Springs Street across the street from Gramling Street.

I remember when that dominated the news.  I couldn't not imagine  anybody taking their own off-springs and spouses lives, no matter how bad things have become.   You never know what is going on in someone's head.  Terrible.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

24 Days Until the Varner Reunion

Judy Hicks and  husband Steve Tolbert.   I knew Judy's father Dudley Hicks and aunt Regina long  before I knew her.  They owned Hicks' Groceries.  They wisely knew to keep their eyes on us young folks.

Remember, the Varner Reunion will be May the 10th this year.

Balancing Minuses and Pluses of Life


click on to read

In the spring of 1975 Anna was pregnant with our first born son, Rocky. One weekend we went to the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, which is booth after booth of arts and crafts.

There was one display of some kind of the things about the same size and as eggs. Out of each one, was a little carved human baby prying him/her out of the cracked egg. I think each one was home made. Anna really liked a certain one and I was going to buy it for her but the one she wanted was reserved for someone else who already paid for it.

The lady told me she also sold them at Tuxedo Pharmacy in the Buckhead section of Atlanta. And if I came there Monday morning I could buy one there. OK.

While looking at the arts and crafts I noticed a strange woman standing at a distance smiling at us. Why? I thought I would pretend to be looking at some art near where she was standing so I edged myself over to get a closer look at her and she wasn’t there. Then, about five minutes in another section of the festival there she was again, looking at us smiling. Again, I pretended to be studying a good photo shot with my camera and backed up to where she was. Only thing is, again she slipped away.

So much for that. I just thought it was mysterious and strange.

The next Monday morning after I got off work at the Post Office in Atlanta I drove to Tuxedo Pharmacy in Buckhead and they did have the little egg/baby that Anna liked so I purchased one and went home to hide it.  I gave it to her later on Mother’s Day.

A day later, Tuesday morning I was driving on my way home from work and I was going through a busy intersection , going under the green light and WHAM!!! A pickup truck rammed my car in the side at full force. It ran the red light part of the same traffic lifht. It knocked the car out of the intersection and onto the edge of a McDonald’s parking lot. The car, a Gremlin, was turned over on its side.

I did not have my seat belt on. The driver’s side of the car was caved in. If I had my seat belt on, I would have been crushed, but luckily the force knocked me on the other side of the car.

The man that hit me also didn’t have his seatbelt on. He went through the window which was the caused of his death a few hours later.

There is an argument here for and against seatbelts in the same wreck.

I remember being in a strange awkward position on the shotgun side of the car, turned over, glass over me, blood oozing out of glass cuts that showered me, and Bob Dylan’s “Blood On The Track” was playing on the car radio.

I found out later the man who went through the windshield lived nearby. He was an aged man, about 65. He was driving to his drugstore to get a prescription refilled. It is believed he fell unconscious while driving, so probably never knew about the accident.

With “Blood On the Track” playing I was pinned down but managed to pull a cigarette out of my breast pocket and light it. What I didn’t know, gasoline was pouring out of thecar onto the ground.

People were gathered around and I heard sirens getting louder. Before I had a chance to take over two good inhales on my cigarette a paramedic reached in and grabbed the cigarette out of mouth.

As they got me out of the crushed vehicle and loaded me onto a stretcher I got a lecture on smoking near an overturned car. I also received a lecture on smoking period – “Smoking can kill you.” one said as they loaded me into the ambulance.

We went to the hospital. Somehow I told somebody to call Anna at work. She and a couple of co-workers arrived shortly after I arrived.

I was x-rayed and looked over and the glass picked out of my hair. Aside from a few scrapes that was solved with bandages the doctors declared I could go home. I had a painful headace. There was some kind of mix-up about transportation, I forgot the details.

When Anna came to the hospital she was too nervous to drive, so a co-worker carried her. Then she had to get back to work and for some reason which I don’t remember I could not be released for about one or two hours.

We called Marie, my mother-in-law to come and pick me up and carry me home.

They wheeled me in a wheelchair to a waiting room and told me to wait for my mother-in-law there. They said that is where she would drive up to, under that drive through awning. OK.

I was sitting there. An older lady was also sitting in a wheelchair near me. Over, behind a round pillar was a tall lanky teenager with long hair, sitting, looking bored.

The older lady asked me was I waiting on someone. I said, “Yes, I am, somebody is suppose to come and pick me up.” She hollered over to the teenage boy, I forgot how she called him, but she said something to get his attention, then once he looked up she said, “Is this the person you are waiting for?”

I said, “No, no. I am waiting for my mother-in-law, it will take her a while, she is coming from north Cobb, between Woodstock and Kennesaw.”

The teenager got and stretched and walked over to be attentive to our conversation because he probably wasn’t sure it concerned him or not.

The older lady went on to explain why she got the boy’s attention was that she didn’t know I was waiting on a female and she was thinking I might be waiting on him, but because of the big pillar hiding us from each other we might not have know we were in the same room.”

That made sense to me. I have seen many comedy of errors that the right hand did not know what the left hand was doing.

The tall teenager walked behind her then folded his arms, like one might do to imitate a bird and started to pretend to peck the top of  her head. It reminded me of a big bird standing over her pecking her on the top of her head.. I don’t remember if Big Bird was known yet or not, but if so, that is what he looked like. Why was he doing this? Acting crazy behind that old lady’s back. Was he on drugs?

I don’t know why he did it, but it got me trying to swallow my giggles. I was probably high on some sort of pain medicine.

I took off from work ten days or so. I had a pounding headache. The other man’s insurance company gave us book value for my Gremlin and paid me a small amount for my pain and suffering and reimbursed monetarily what sick leave I used.

Still happy with American cars, we bought an orange Pacer that looked something like a big pumpkin.

Just after I returned to work I put my motorcycle up for sale. I had a Honda CL350. It was the type of motorcycle that was good for road or off-the-road. A man came and was really impressed with the Honda and complemented me for taking a such good care of it. I was asking $600.00. He didn’t try to talk me down. He wrote out a check and told me would I please wait until Friday to cash it until Friday, and if I didn’t mind he would predate the check for Friday. No problem, I told him.

The check bounced. I went to his house and the house was empty. He and his family moved. I went to the Post Office and paid a fee for them to look up the man’s forwarding address and he did not turn in one. He and his family just skipped out. I went to the local school and talked to the kid’s teachers and she said the boy told his classmates they were moving to some town in Oklahoma.

I went to the County D.A. office and talked to an assistant about how would I go about pressing charges against the man for giving me a rubber check and riding off in the sunset.

The assistant D.A. is now a prominent lawyer and also owns two barbecue places in town – his barbecue is the North Carolina type, delicious! He told me that when I accepted the predated check from him I was accepting his credit, with risks that come with such. The act of accepting his credit made it a “non-criminal matter”. Credit problems is a civil matter.

I tell these two incidences of bad things happening to me because I wonder if it was something the gods worked out, a kind of “give and take” or maybe a Karma, of a plus causing a negative to back down? Or put it this way, I suffered a bit, to prevent anything negative happening during the birth of my son. He was born healthy and wise.

And, if you recall the smiling dame at the Dogwood Arts Festival…. Was she someone dealing out the cards of life?

It is just a thought.

But if that was the case, what did the guy that went through the windshield get?


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

26 Days Until the Varners Reunion - Free!

That is right, The Varner Reunion admission is Free this year.  I know one person who won't like that.  She is an excellent  slipper-inner and will not want all that talent go to waste.

This a picture of James "Roughhouse" Camp at the 2009 Varner Reunion.  "Roughhouse" was his football nickname in high school.  He was so rough and built like a house he always left a wake of people moaning and groaning and that was just down the hallway.

My Reality Blog, part 1

Reality TV shows really draws large audiences, that is a fact.  A real reality show I think would be very boring.  Reality is not dancing around  exploding firecrackers and dodging roman cannons.   Real life is a day to day drudgery of watching our money and watching TV and your neighbors. 

Anyway, statistics show that reality programs shows  are crowd getters.  So here is my first attempt to jump on the bandwagon:
Last Wednesday when I was placing our garbage can at the street for pickup the neighbor pulled up beside me in her car and rolled down her window.  She asked me what time does the garbage normally pickup.

I told her usually before 8 A.M.

She thanked me and pulled into her driveway.

I saw by her drive were two garbage cans with garbage over flowing  onto the ground.  It looked normal for them.  I remembered that she did not use the same garbage service as we did,.  But maybe she changed services I thought.  I also thought  several times she changed her garbage service, either because they would not pick up her unorganized messed piled all over or she didn't pay the bill.

In a short time I heard the roar of a big motor and the whining of hydraulics.   A garbage truck was out front.  I ran to the window and I saw a man moving our garbage can back to the edge of the yard, hopped on the back of the truck and they drove on.
The neighbor's garbage was still there, hanging out of cans and on the ground.  At least it appeared they were all in bags.  I think it took them a while to conform to putting their garbage in bags.
I thought she thought signed up with the garbage company I use or she was considering it.

The next morning I noticed all her garbage was gone and the cans were still standing there.  Who took it I do not know.

I wonder why she asked me about the time of our garbage sercice?

So, that was my first fast paced, energized reality blog.  I hope your heart  withstood the excitement. .

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tuba Skinny, Fresh Out of the Oven!

How more fresh could this this Tuba Skinny music be?  It was performed this past weekend at the French Market Stage, in the French Quarters.  We have Joe Stewart to thank for this.  

Check out Joe's blog TALLEY HO! at:


We watched AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY video the other day.  It is about an extended family of two aging sisters, their husbands,  and grown children.  It takes place in Osage County, Oklahoma; prairie county.  The husband of one of the sisters first is missing and they find his body.  Not many kind words are spoken in the movie, there are no love lost, I don't think, between any of them except two that  are secretly having an affair, and even then it in incest.  It was originally a play, now a movie.   As events unfold and people tell what is really on their mind you can understand how it has the makings for a play:  A Tennessee Williams gut-wrenching , let no stone be unturned kind of play.  Depressing story but  good acting, in my opinion.
The movie was directed by John Wells and written by Tracy Letts.

Starring Meryl Street, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Wean McGregor, Margo Martindale, and Sam Shepard. 


Fred Williamson at the Varner's Reunion

At Varner and Bell Reunions pictures you see very few  Afro-Americans.  In our formative years , by law, we lived in a segregated society.  We did not know much about black or "colored" people back then.   Fred Williamsons gave us an education.  He worked at Varners.  He was not humble, he looked you in the eye as an equal when he talked to you.  He was hyper and witty.  I never heard a crossed word about Fred.  He taught us young people that hung around Varners that he was just as  good as we were, or thought we were.

Fred worked at Lockheed forever and when Varner's closed he worked part time at the Junior Varsity in Atlanta, until it closed.

Here is Fred and his lovely wife at the first Varner Reunion April 25, 2009. I don't remember seeing them last year, I hope they make it this year.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

27 More Days Until the Varner Reunion

Has Dottie Golden ever had a frown or a scowl  instead of a big smile on her face?  You can't prove it by me.  Hopefully, she is patting her foot waiting for May the 10th for the Varner Reunion

I remember on a Sunday morning in 1961 in Panama City Dottie and her sister Dianne had to break away from the partying and find a Catholic Church.  That is being devout!

SUNDAY FUNNIES!! Double Feature Today, about ARCHIE Takeoffs!

ARCHIE ANDREWS  has been a lot in the news lately.  It was reported that Archie will die in July.  Then, they said he won't die, his alter ego will die.  I guess we will just have to see.  When I reported it on facebook and this blog some people were upset.   It was like losing an old friend.  It didn't bother me, we would have ran in different cliques in high school.  His was a smiley face group and the group I was in was either getting into trouble or lying ourselves out of trouble.

MAD comic book did a takeoff of ARCHIE and  the ARCHIE  publishers didn't peep a word.   A few years later HELP Magazine did a takeoff on ARCHIE and the ARCHIE  publishers carried HELP to court.  HELP Magazine lost.  They were ordered by the court, as part of the settlement, never to print that story again.
What is  ironic about the order is that the same person, Harvey Kurtzman wrote both stories and Will Elder was the artist for the both stores.   And if you read each story you will see that MAD treated the Archie character mean, very critical.  And the Archie character in HELP Magazine was kind and idealistic.  As Harvey Kurtzman said, PLAYBOY Magazine should have been the one to sue, they were critical of PLAYBOY's pseudo yuppie life style in the HELP version.

Why didn't the Archie people sue MAD?  It probably had something to do with the fathers of the  publisher of ARCHIE and the publisher of MAD were old friends and I think partners in an earlier comic book publishing world.

Here are the two stories, the first is MAD'S take on ARCHIE and second is HELP's  version.   See for yourself.

(click on images so that you can read the balloons and see what is going on).

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Eating Animals

We watched the movie AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY.   Which I will get around reviewing one of these days.    A  conversation in the movie stirred my interest and gave me thing to wonder about:  While eating dinner the teenager girl at the table was asked by her extended family why she didn't meat, was a health thing or a religious thing.  She answered that she did not want to taste death.  She said when an animal is slaughtered for our eating enjoyment a second or so before the moment of death the animal likely knows it is about to die and releases several kinds of chemicals and  adrenalin.   I don't think she said but implied at the moment of death the animal's meat is suddenly marinated.  Adrenalin is a released into an animal to increase its heart rate to relax him and makes it accept  its own certain on coming death.... or that is my take on it.   Which of course can't help your own heart, if it is eating marinated meat that is pumping up your heart and relaxes you.  If you eat meat day after day you are just super marinating yourself for your moment of truth......maybe.

Which brings up another point about slaughtering innocent animals for food:  In slaughterhouses, the slaughter specialists, the ones that actually snuffs the lives out of the poor creatures - have a very high turnover rate.    Their nerves cannot take it very long.  

Now that we are talking about not eating meats for humane reasons, here is something  interesting in history.  One  well known world leader was a vegetarian for humane reasons.  He felt animals are cute cuddly and could not bear eating the lovable creatures of God.  His name, Adolph Hitler.

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28 Days Until the Varner Reunion, May the 10tj

Phyllis Cooper McLean is sister to Dianne Cooper Moss.   That means another Marietta cop connection will be there.  Along with former Marietta Cop Rupert Raines, who always comes, we will have the place surrounded! 

Only 28 days until May the 10th, V-Day.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dahlonega, Georgia

Recycled from an earlier Chicken-fat post:

Up until 1832 it was illegal for white men to come north of the Chattahoochee River in Georgia. A treaty existed to keep white men out that was signed by the representatives of the Creek Indians, Cherokee Indians, and the United States Government.

Then, gold was discovered in Dahlonega by white men. The fact that the white men were there illegally to discover the gold was not even considered, as far as I know.

“There is gold in them’ thar hills” was originated by Georgians talking about Dahlonega. The Treaty to keep white men out was quickly voided. What legal loophole did the government use to allow white men to come in and mine for the gold? Who needs a legality loophole? Gold is gold and Indians were not even Americans.

However, the Indians did sue and carried the case to the Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor. Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson was president then. He made a statement something like, “Supreme Court Chef Justice John Marshall made the decision, now, lets see him enforce it.” In other words, the Indians lost, because gold is gold and greed is greed.

The State of Georgia had a land lottery which several of my ancestors got land in and mined for gold. Another ancestor, Jason H. Hunter, was one of the soldiers in the infamous “Trail of Tears” that marched the Indians, inhumanely, to Oklahoma.

Now, in present time the land of Lumpkin County has been hydraulically stripped, where in many places the land is not good for much except to trap tourists and be nice to the yuppie people who have cabins near by.

I have had friends right after our high school years to make bootleg moonshine trips from Dahlonega to Marietta from time to time. To make a moonshine haul was something of a status symbol. The movie “Thunder Road” impressed us.

My senior year in high school, I think it was probably spring of 1960, a friend found out that their was a certain cliff north of Dahlonega that at the foot of it, many feet down, were a bunch of cars that went off the road. Some of the people there in Lumpkin County, and neighboring Fannin and Union Counties after they got tired of paying car payments would push their cars off that certain cliff and collect the money from the insurance.

Several of us decided that we would go up very early one weekend and with a long rope lower ourselves to the bottom and pick prime parts from the various vehicles and hoist them up via the rope. We planned to be there at the top at daybreak. We preplanned to leave home at midnight.

What we didn’t plan was our social life. I think four of us went on the trip. Two of us went to a party on the spur of the moment and got drunk, just a few hours before our planned time to leave. That was a dumb thing to do.

On the way up we drunk plenty of coffee. North of Dahlonega is a fork in the road. At the fork is a big pile of rocks and boulders. The legend is that an Indian princess was buried there, I think there was also a love story involved, like in every Lover’s Leap place you have been to. If you turn right at the fork you would go over Blood Mountain, by Vogel State Park, and into Blairsville. If you turn left you would go more directly north and head towards Suches, Georgia, and Morganton, Georgia, which is the road we went.

We arrived at the spot much earlier than we had planned. We pulled over and parked. On one side of us was the cliff over looking a valley of blackness but with some speckled lights. On the right, was a mountain. We were on a outward curve of a bend.

Not much to do until it got light, so we sat around in the road and talked and talked about adventures of the past.

One friend named Larry went off on the mountain side and found a several fallen limbs. He loved to build fires of big logs, which he did – in the middle of the road, in a outward bend, which hid by the geography of the road…. Gasp!

We continued to talk about old times, good times, and what all. Then, off in the distance we heard a truck shifting gears on the mountain terrain. We knew it was headed towards us. We tried stomping out the fire, we tried moving the burning logs but couldn’t because they were covered in flames and the truck was getting louder and louder.

Oh shit! Was about our only verbal response.

Around the corner its headlights materialized and his brakes begin to squall. We took off to the side of the road.

In a last minute decision the driver decided to accelerate and plow right through it. KAPOW! Red cinders flew up in the air, and the flaming logs scattered. A couple even went off the cliff. Luckily for us no big fire occurred that got uncontrollable.

We must have been doing something right…. What?

The truck was as big as an 18- wheeler but big, high big. It was white. It looked like the kind that would have cold storage in it. Big and heavy.

He kept on going.

I brought up that when he got someplace he would probably call the law and report us. So, we left.

We went up near the town of Blue Ridge, Ga., and drove back.

I didn’t know it at the time but we rode by my great-great grandfather Elijah Petty’s grave in a family cemetery by the road. And also road by the future property my uncle bought for a weekend cabin…. Which I am going to use for a future blog.

We timed it pretty good and arrived back at the site at daybreak and lowered the rope. Larry went down, then Gene, then me. The other Larry was going to stay up top to raise the rope as we died parts to it.

Half-way down I began to feel woozy. On a dangling rope with many feet straight down I was getting sick. I couldn’t let go. I hung on for dear life and vomited. Which splattered on Gene. He took it good stride and even laughed about it.

Gene had about 2 months to live at that point. He was in a drag race, which he collided head-on with a policeman, a Mr. Hood, who had just left his house for dinner, and apparently forgot to turn on his headlights. He and Gene were killed instantly. Gene was a freshman at Georgia Tech.

We got to the bottom and there were 3 cars. Larry looked around each one and anything of value had already been stripped off.

So, back home.

Dahlonega was just about the only town of any size you would first come to as you went to the north Georgia mountains from Marietta. I remember one time double dating we were getting gas in the middle of town and there was a big sign beside the service station saying, “MAKE PEACE WITH GOD”. Joe, the other male in the car, read the sign aloud and said, “I didn’t know we were at war with Him.”

Before the year 2000 I read in the magazine North Georgia Journal or Georgia Back Roads (the magazine changed names) about a rose farm in Dahlonega. The rose farm was a family business and it told of all their species, varieties, and what all. I don’t have much interest in roses but I had an interest in the family. Their name was Ridley, which is my mother’s mother’s maiden name. I think I figured out what relationship these Ridleys were, but wanted to know more so I went to see them in 2001. When I got there I found out the Ridleys sold their rose operation to a Japanese corporation and they moved to Florida.

Sometime in the past four or five years Anna and I went to the gold museum in Dahlonega which used to be the courthouse, is in the dead center of town, and the downtown street loops one-way around it.

Dahlonega is also the home of the North Georgia Military Academy.

Last fall we went with another couple who live in nearby Cleveland to an outing in Dahlonega. It is now full of antique and gift shops. Tourists were all over the place. Yep, Gold is still in those thar hills.

The reason I just wrote just about everything I can think about Dahlonega is this coming Saturday we are going to an arts and craft festival there – a weekend event called “Bear In-The Tree Fair”. The reason we are going is that they are also having a week end long blue-grass fest there. A friend that our son went to Europe with will be there playing with his new band and we would like to hear him play again.

29 Days To Get Ready for the Varner Reunion

29 Days until the Varner Reunion, which will be May the 10th.  See if you can squeeze into your tight-ass Levis;  practice your cool look; and check to make sure the others members of your clique will be there.

Yesterday we had a picture Danny Hardin, who was a son of aMarietta Policeman, now we have Dianne Cooper Moss who was a daughter of a Marietta Policeman, and again this the first Varner Reunion in 2009.  Time flies doesn't?
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