Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 Has Arrived!

Countdown Time!


It is countdown time! In just a short time the big Ball will fall in Times Square. And, in Atlanta the big Peach will fall. And the New Year will be thrust on us.

We will celebrate at a neighborhood party. I always find a seat at the kitchen table near the ribs. We will probably talk and gossip about the neighbors who are not there and at midnight, give each other kisses and hugs and go home and tell Willow about all the ribs she missed.

And thus 2007 will be closed. File it, sort the taxable and deductibles and move on to 2008.

Since last year, the hosts have made friends with a guy with a MS disease or something similar who worked out daily to be in the Special Olympics. The hosts, a camera man, and the guy, and their granddaughter went to Greece a month or so ago to participate in the Special Olympics and I understand that the guy won a medal of some distinction. I think they will have some interesting stories to tell about their experiences there.

On New Years Day we traditionally eat black-eyed peas, greens, hog jowl (which we substitute pork chops), and cornbread. I like my New Years meal a little spicier than Anna, so I will sprinkle Cajun spices, hot sauce, and chopped onions on the food in my plate. I think the greens represent money (look! – I am rubbing my thumb and forefinger together, which represents greed and money). And I forgot what the black-eyed peas and pork represents, hopefully health or at least a more slimy way of getting money and prosperity without so much work.

A lot of football will be played on TV the first day of the year. I doubt if we will hardly notice the football games. We rented a movie, so we will probably watch a movie and maybe rent another one.

Another thing I hope to do is to weigh and start a diet, like I do every first day of the year. It lasts most of the year, then my tummy yearns for something yummy.

I also hope to increase my exercise (again) – ride my bike more and maybe attempt to start running again….maybe… we’ll see.

I hope everybody (both of you) who read my blog have a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

Cheers!

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Wait! There Is More To Learning Than One Thinks


Wait! Change that! What I said I learned in the previous blog, I didn't... or I did, but there is no need of that. Thanks to Judy and Jean*. They have steered me to a new way of knowing I have a new comment without all that endless combing over old posts - simply tell the system to email me when I get a new comment - so, that is what I learned in school today!

*See comments of previous post.

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I Learn Something New Every Day


While Anna was busily writing ‘Thank You’ notes, and I was close by not so busy, but on stand-by, to look up mailing addresses on the computer for her, I thought of something that I may or may not have said on my blog months or even years ago and started looking for the particular item or subject.

By the time I got half way through I forgot what I was looking for because my mind became fascinated with some comments I never saw. I think they were added months after the target posting appeared. Once the posting is pushed off the front page I forget about it – out of sight, out of mind.

I came upon a National Geographic contributor who wanted to talk to me about possibly including what I had to say in an article he was writing… had several more that, if I had known the comments were there, I would have been eager to respond, but now they are cold.

One blog entry had something like 22 comments… and it seemed they all had to do with drugs – a subject not even mentioned in the post itself – unless I unknowingly included a code word… really. Whatever I might have said, it started a chain reaction…. Hmmm.

Another had an interesting debate between two connoisseurs of the ownership Betty/Brandy’s Famous Hotdogs. I wished I had know, I would have thrown in my 2¢.

Well, at least I learned something today. I learned to keep a constant check on my postings, even if they do go back a long time.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

waaah!


Uncle John’s Page-A-Day Calendar tells me today is National Whiner’s Day. Darn! What do I care? Why do I waste my time with such trivia nonsense? I could be doing much more meaningful things… no, I couldn’t either, who am I fooling?… damnations, it is always something!

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Teenage Prophets



This is one of the inside pages of my 1955 Marietta High School yearbook, the Olympian, where school mates sign and make comments.

You will have to click on the picture to make it big enough to read. Notice the comments by Scott Harris and Mike Hicks. They both called me “Chicken Fat”.

Mike grew up to become a Cobb County Policeman and I heard Scott grew up and became an Episcopal Priest.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

John Joseph Abercrombie*



I do not have his birth year but I do have John's father’s which is 1914. Based on the car in the background, the picture was probably taken during the 1940s, probably during WWII, during rationing times. It looks like Joe might have used that big bucket looking bike basket for haul around rationed things. The bucket looks like it may have came from a steel yard.

He is the great grandson of John Rafas Hunter, who was William A. Hunter/Trammell’s grandson.

Joe’s grandmother, Emma Hunter Abercrombie, daughter of John Rafas Hunter, and her husband Andrew Joseph Abercrombie, moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and was a steel working family. I suppose the picture was taken in Birmingham.

Now, with the name Abercrombie I wonder if they are related to the clothing store Abercrombie and Finch? And if so, that means I am related to them, and if that is the case, maybe I can use my connection and get a job modeling for the store. Maybe the big sexy picture of the shirtless man in the store be me. Maybe I can introduce for the spring line - the short and dumpy look.


*In my genealogical research on this family I noticed that some members spelled their names Abercrombie and others Abrecombie. So, for the sake of little pun of me using my connections to get to be a model, I changed their names to suit the occasion.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Who Has Been Shitting In My Yard?


Each morning on our walk, no matter how many times Willow has urinated or dumped, at a certain spot she is going to pee. I don’t know if she has a vow of some kind to always pee at a certain point – a religious thing?

The pee target mark is nothing spectacular. It is on the street, at the end of a driveway, and about 15 feet from the corner of two streets.

This morning as she was squatted in the spot doing her daily homage I remembered Tony H. and his dump spot. We went to Waterman Street Grammar School and walked home everyday.

On the southeast corner of Atlanta and Frasier Streets was the Clay home. The Clay family members were leaders of the area and the world. There is a statue in Glover Park on the Square of Senator Alexander Stephens Clay. His son was Army General Lucius Clay who was responsible for the Berlin Airlift – he was a hometown hero.

One day on the way home from school Tony H. had an urge to take a dump. The trees and trimmed bushes in the Clay front yard provided the privacy he needed. He went behind a bush and relieved his bowels.

He emerged telling that was the first time he had used magnolia leaves (I think) as toilet paper and it was just right.

For the next year or so, I remember Tony taking a dump in the yard a couple of times. I was the lookout, sitting on the rock wall in front of the Clay Home by the sidewalk. If anybody approach I was to holler for Tony to run. Fortunately, neither of us had to run.

I guess I should point out that at that time Tony’s family did not have indoor plumbing. They had an outhouse in the back yard. Maybe that had something to do with all this, I don’t know.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Day at the Races is not PC!



I Tivoed Marx Brothers’ A Day At the Races and watched it over several days as I mostly always do on things I record.

I thought it was very funny… it was a movie of their usual antics and snafu with a total disrespect to authority – my kind of movie.

Sort of what it is about is this young woman inherited a medical sanitarium next to a horse racing park. The facility is in deep financial trouble and the mean on business man wants the bank to close in her the money so he can buy and convert it to something to do with the horse racing park.

Enter rich old dame who came to the sanitarium for treatment for her rare disease. Enter the doctor, who told her she had the rare disease. Actually, it is Groucho and he is a horse doctor, he made up the rare disease bit to take her on a financial ride.

The sweet young lady who inherited the sanitarium gets Groucho to convince the rich old dame to donate a sizable sum to get the place out of the red. He obliges.

I thought what it amount to was the good guys were trying to get a wealthy old woman’s money by cheating and deceit. If the bad guys were do the same we would want their heads on a platter.

It was a very funny movie. I enjoyed it.

HOWEVER! It was not politically correct by. As you know, in the Marx Brothers movies, they usually have at least one outstanding musical scene with a cast of hundreds. This time the musical cast members were blacks. I think they did everything that was stereotypical of what was thought of blacks of that time. The worked hard, dance hard, doing dances like the jitterbug, played their music in heart-felt jazz and blues…. Some even rolled their big eyes around like they were surprised or scared – one guy, I don’t know his name, was known for his big-eye popping scared look.

I think at the beginning of this scene Harpo comes up on the blacks that were in a shantytown backdrop and they were working – cooking, sewing, ironing, sweeping and so on - in its own way that these people were humans, but they were left to do the manual work while white people were off to the race tracks and so on….. it paid them some respect then slapped them in the face by accenting the belief that they had natural rhythm.

It was exactly what Spike Lee was trying to get across in his movie BAMBOOZLED.

At one point, Harpo took out a flute and all the black kids happily followed him and imitating his marching-dancing steps… was this a slapstick version of the Pi Piper?


I also watched recently DUCK SOUP and I didn’t think it was very good… no good story and they seemed to be playing tennis with word play – the only good skit was a mirror image skit. It must have been a contractual obligation thing.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Box Day*



Today in England it is Box Day.

Box Day is the first day after Christmas and the day the upper crust people give gifts to the people that work for them - the working class.

We don't celebrate Box Day in America. It is just too much politically incorrect.



* I have no idea why they call it Box Day.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!


(Thanx to chris B. for taking the blue out of Willow's eyes)

Willow Here!

The old man and the old woman shared their gifts and went to bed and left me here by the computer… heh heh.

They also made a big deal over what Santa Clause left me for being a good little doggie…. Shee – it

There is a Christmas fable that animals can talk at midnight – the first hour of Christmas. The old man said he remembers seeing a Christmas story about it on “Mama”, which aired in the ‘50s and was about an immigrant Swedish family around 1900 or so. One of the weekly stories was the Christmas fable that animals (in this case, non-humans) could talk at midnight right after Christmas Eve and their teenage son Hans wanted to stay up and see if they could talk.

The old man looked over at me and saw my big sad questioning eyes wanting to know the outcome of the story – could they talk? He said he didn’t remember, he must have fallen asleep before the ending. Shee – it! Old fart!

The Christmas story is true. I can talk, I just choose not to. I rather play with this keyboard.

Speaking of Christmas and Christmas decorations and all, they, like the fools they are, hung peppermint candy canes all over the Christmas tree. And every now and when they are not looking I grab one and then they catch me and lecture me and close the door to the den where the tree with the canes are. Ass-holes!

The photo of me at the bottom, if you click on it you can see all those delicious sweet candy mint canes hanging on the tree – a few less than a day before… yuk yuk! Also, the picture shows my left eye discolored. No need for an eye doctor. It is what people would call “red-eye” in photography – since I don’t have retinas to reflect, it is what us non color-seeing being call “blue-eye”.

The old man always feeds the critters outside on the day before big holidays and his birthday all the stuff critters like such as Indian corn, sun flower seed, peanuts, cracked corn, and suet blocks. I helped him by entertaining him, running around and around him, like I was an attacking Apache. I know his look when he makes a joke. They may not be funny, but he always has that stupid ironic look on his face when he thinks he made a good wise-crack. He said he bet I thought he was putting out bait for the critters for me. What’s so funny about that? – that is what he was doing.

The Hunters (including me) wish you a Merry Christmas!

Cheers!

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Early Christmas Present of 4.9 Million


Well, maybe not an actual 4.9 million dollars before Christmas but the promise of that amount soon…. Which I suppose is nice Christmas present too – not the kind to carry back for an exchange.

Tami, of Woodstock, Georgia, is the whistle blower that will get the 4.9 million as a reward for turning in Saint Joseph Hospital in Atlanta for jilting the Medicare system out of millions of dollars. When, she as an employee of the hospital, noticed the fraud and complained, they told her not to complain. She did. Good for her!

Saint Joseph Hospital has agreed to pay out as a settlement $26 million.

I think milking the system should carry a harsher penalty and even jail time for those who engineered the fraud because not only are they robbing the present system but are also causing the system to run dry of funds on down the road.

However, I am not sure rewarding whistle blowers such huge amounts is a good idea either. That 4.9 million will also milk the system.

If this continues a new breed of greedy whistle blowers may develop. And people will blow the whistle not because they feel it is their civic duty but because of greed.

The greedy blowing the whistle on the greedy? My my.

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Barbara (1922-1998)



Barbara was born in Massachusetts – Boston, I think. She married Anna’s uncle Paul.

Barbara and Paul did not have children; however, they took over the raising of Barbara’s nephew Neal. And eventually Neal became married and they had a daughter, which Barbara and Paul looked on as their own granddaughter – which in a sense she was.

Barbara and Paul were very social and were active members of the local Elks Club. Paul had been president of the local and Barbara had been president of the women’s auxiliary local sect.

At Anna’s family Christmas get-togethers Barbara always brought oyster dressing that I thought was tasty. I suppose she got it from her New England roots.

They lived on Freyer Drive in Marietta. Freyer Drive has its own distinction. The street had two Marietta mayors live on it. We used to joke that all residences of Freyer Drive, to promote community spirit, were required to put down whatever they were doing and wave as one drives by. More than once people have stopped raking or cutting grass to wave.

She lived three years beyond Paul.

I think the below photo is a good picture of her as a character study. She is the on the left.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Charlie Wilson's War the movie

We went to see the movie Charlie Wilson’s War. The beginning statement said it is true story.

The movie is of Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson, played by Tom Hanks, who was not an outstanding congressman. It seems his only feat was to get re-elected. Then along came a very wealthy female Texan, played by Julie Roberts, who put a bug in his ear about how inhumanely the Russians were treating the people of Afghanistan. The congressman toured the refuge camps and was deeply touched.

The president of Afghanistan asked for U.S. help but Charlie knew the U.S. were nose to nose in the Cold War with Russia – so helping Afghanistan militarily or supplying defense weapons was out of the question.

With the help of the CIA convert department they figured out how they could supply the Afghanistan with weapons. Turn over Russian weapons, that was in a secret stockpile held by another middle east country…. And, in the long run, it was crucial in causing Russia to fold and ending the Cold War.

I thought it was a good movie. It showed how the political machine works and things were sidestepped.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Time Slips By Before You Know It


Today Anna said something like, "It is hard to believe it is already 12 - 26".

I didn't say a word but suddenly begin searching my mind inside and out. I had no memory of 12 - 25, Christmas Day. I had no idea how the Christmas Dinner went, or our Christmas Eve dinner at my sisters' went.... I did not have a clue. Oh me, I thought, my mind is going.

Then, I looked at the electronic clock in the car dash and it said 12:26.

Whew!

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Hummingbirds of the Mists

I have two and sometimes three hummingbird feeders. Over the past several years I have watched the tiny little nervous birds whir here and whir there.

They seem to have a system. I watched them fly into my yard and take a nip from the feeder closest to the house, then leave and fly west to my next door neighbor’s feeder. Then, fly back to my yard for a good drink from my other feeder, then, fly into the yard of the people behind us and visit their feeder. Then, back to the first feeder in our yard, then to the neighbor’s, then back to our other feeder, then the people behind us, then back to our yard. They stuck to one pattern.

They need to drink the nectar from the feeders often for enough energy to fly to the next feeder…then they need more nectar because they just used up what they had – so, they fly to the next feeder for more nectar, then refuel, so to speak, and fly to the next one… around and around…. That is the only life they know…. Do they fly from nectar feeder after another in order to live or do they live to fly from one feeder after another.

If they just slow down, perch on a limb and rest they wouldn’t need as much nectar.

I wonder if that is why some humans continue to work long after they are eligible to retire…. Only thing, instead of flying they are just trying to keep up with a standard of living they sat for themselves?

It is a vicious cycle, then you die. The hummingbirds have one thing on the non-retiring humans in this aspect – at least they get to stop and smell the roses.

Another Catch 22*



I listened to a special report on NPR the other night on the combat Army forces in Iraq who were injured mentally because of what they went through. Some saw their buddies blown to pieces, others got their arms blown off, and of course even seeing the enemy killed is no picnic either…. It all has a mental cross to bare.

War is Heck. – Linus of Peanuts or Alvin of Lil’ Lulu said that, I forgot which.

The report was of ex-soldiers they interviewed – mental casualties of the war. Not only are they living in hell, but they are getting no help from Uncle Sam. No therapy sessions or anything else.

Here is the loophole. Doing what war mental casualties do is unbecoming a soldier – In almost the same instant they are declared they need professional help and they are misfits, thus they are kicked out of the service with a less-than-honorable discharge. So, medical help to ex-soldiers is only available to those who were discharged honorably.

The Army send the men to war, and if they get “messed up” in the mind they get rid of them and fix it legally so that they don’t have to treat the poor guys or gals.

There were 28,000 Army personnel discharged that way in these times. That is heap of savings for us tax payers.

This reminds me, in a way, of my distant relative-in-law Moses Harshaw of Hancock County, Georgia.

Moses was a ruthless slave owner. When a slave got too old, sickly, or lame to be productive he took them to nearby Lynch Mountain and had them accidentally fall off the steep edge to a certain death. Evidently, he believed when a slave became a liability it was time for the poor slave to go.

At that time, Moses Harshaw was considered the meanest man in Georgia by some.

* If you have not read CATCH 22 by Joseph Heller you might enjoy it – it is about ironies in the Army too.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy First Day of Winter!


Today is the first day of winter.

With global warming, I suppose one might say, “Well, whoopee” with no excitement at all.

The above Currier & Ives winter Christmas Card: cut down the trees, bulldoze the house and barn, and put up about a dozen McMansions with at least 3 For Sale signs (foreclosres) - then it would look more like a modern winter Christmas scene.

Teenagers - You Can't Live With Them and You....

We spent another day mostly doing last minute Christmas shopping.

Overheard at Wal-Mart:

Tall gawky teenage girl following her short mother down an aisle in the grocery department saying, “Why did you tell me not to mention it again, because you mentioned it again yourself by telling me not to mention it again!?!”

___________________________________

A teenage girl talking to some friends: “Last Friday? Remember? that was the day I got fired!” then laughing with a maniacal laughter.

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Speaking of Hunt’s Ice Cream



A few blogs ago I mentioned Hunts Ice Cream of Marietta.

Here is where the Hunts lived. I took this picture about two years ago. It would be impossible for me, or any once else, to take that picture today – the house burned down since then.

It was a hospital in the Civil War. It was one of the houses my father spent the night in looking for ghosts when he was a teenager.

The backyard also had a big green layout. We used to play touch ball on the back lawn when we were kids. I don’t think it occurred to us to ask permission. The yard was big and pretty so it probably was opened to the public was our reasoning. No one from the house ever came out and told us to get off their property.

In the early 1900s the house was owned and lived in by the grandparents of Mary Phagan, the little girl Leo Frank was lynched for raping and killing at the pencil factory in Atlanta. Many books have been written on the subject.

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Hill, Hill, & Hill


You know that commercial on TV where someone, a real person, so they say, tell about their wonderful experience with GIECO Insurance and as they tell it, sentence by sentence a professional actor or entertainer will translate it into a more dramatic prose?

Remember? One time Little Richard was the translator and another time “Little Me” from the Austin Powers’ movies was. This past week I noticed The Pips were the professional performers/translators.

The Pips are three Atlanta men who harmonized to back up Gladys Knight at one time. I think I read on a Gladys Knight and The Pips album that Gladys was a cousin to one of The Pips and at a birthday party they started singing and as they say, “The rest is history.”

Each time I think of The Pips I think of one of the trio whose last name is Hill. I don’t remember his first name.

The Hill Pip was married to a lady I worked with at the Atlanta Post Office. Lets call her C. Hill. Then she was a night secretary to the head man at night. I delivered her reports and we got along great – we did a lot of kidding.

She divorced The Pitt Hill but kept her married name. In time she married a supervisor named G. Hill. She didn’t even have to change her last name. I used to kid her about that was the only reason she married G. so she wouldn’t have to change her stationary.

And we called her new husband G. Hill Hill.

I transferred to Marietta and something like two and a half decades later I returned to Atlanta to a retirement seminar given by the Postal Service Human Resources Department. The head of the department got up to speak to tell everybody what the seminar would cover. The speaker was C. Hill Hill.

We had an old fashion hug-reunion, but then it was right back to business – she had her image to maintain.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tuesday Before Christmas - all creatures stirring


I had an appointment with my cardiologist the first thing in the morning. My appointment was a eight. The nurse was breaking in a new nurse or maybe a student nurse. They took all my vitals, left, and the doctor entered. He told me all my blood numbers from the blood lab work the week before looked great. He was all smiles. Then, back home.

Again we spent the day Christmas Shopping.

At one point in time we found ourselves in south Cobb County near a Bavarian meat market. This market is very well known for its quality and people from miles away go to this butcher shop and, well shop for their meats.

Over several years since we discovered it we have been three or four times. Today, since we were in the area, we decided to drop by to get a few meat selections.

The line was very long. It wrapped around the inside of the main room, the wrapped line of people made the shape of a big Q.

The lady in front of us was a talker. She talked and she talked. She talked about her favorite subject: Herself.

In minutes we knew she was a perfectionist, people would kill for her salad with smoke salmon and a salad dressing with a cream cheese base – and people always went back for seconds, which put the other people who brought cover dishes to whatever kind of get togethers to shame.

She was also a world traveler. She told us she traveled all over Ireland – all over it – and would do it again, if she wanted to blow $10,000.

She spoke Dutch with the German guy in the line behind us. She bragged about this and bragged about that. Her husband years ago was just about all the intelligence the military needed someplace near the Berlin Wall… he was carrying on missions even his boss did not have the security clearance to be briefed. Boy, am I glad he was on our side, with such a smart adventurous wife.

She did not shut up. She went on and on.

The line was so long and moving so slow we thought about leaving and maybe come back the next day and she told us we would not see her in that place tomorrow. The line would be horrendous. Later we said, we should have said, “Well Darn! If you aren’t coming tomorrow, then there is no reason for us to come!”

She told us of all the meats she knows how to expertly prepare. That woman is a genius on every thing!

She had a 37 year old son. I told Anna her son was not a doctor or a judge. How did I know? Because she didn’t say he is a doctor or a judge. If he was either, we would have been told that before we knew that she will not order the center cut of pork chops because the center is always the hardest most concentrated meat. Blab blab blab blab blab.

We told her several things we thought might perk her interest or amuse her and she kept on talking about herself as if we haven’t said a word.

She spoke in a manner that we were clinging to all her wise ways, and if were smart we would be writing it all down as she spoke.

She needs a blog and name it, ME.
that way she will get all that insane need to run her mouth constantly. Take it from me, I know.

Another point in time yesterday we found ourselves in Atlanta, near a mosque on 14th Street near the Georgia Tech Campus. About a block or two down the street is a hole in the wall joint called named Bobby and June’s Restaurant. There is a sign up saying their hours is from 7am to 3pm. Another time we pulled in the parking lot at 3:30 and said we would like to eat there sometime. This day it was 2:50. We had ten minutes to get inside.

The old man at the door said he was just about to flip the sign from the “open” side to the “closed” side. We were the last customers.

I ordered barbecue which was delicious and spicy. Anna ordered fried chicken which was also delicious, which she said tastes just like Lester Maddox’s Pickrick Restaurant years ago. The small restaurant staff politely waited and watched as we finished up so they could leave. They were very patient.

The walls were very interesting. They had a little of every thing on the walls. On one wall of pictures of pictures of politicians who has eaten there…. One walls were full of giant size coloring books that they were selling for charity, and here and there were strange pictures and things with no sense of wall grouping or anything. Like a horse collar with a mirror built in the center might be next to a picture of a Roy Rogers or some other cowboy hero.

Crowds of people were everywhere – everyplace we drove was a traffic jam and lines and lines of people. I always get irritable when so many people are around me – yesterday was no exception. And going hours without a caffeine fix didn't helped.

Humbug.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gimme That Old Time Religion!


Sunday night we went to a Baptist Church to hear some good old fashion down home Christmas music. It was good. And loud.... and not so much down home.

Things have changed. It was no longer old time music with the old time religion - Electric guitars, moog organs, huge double screens on each side of the room, special lighting effects, and what every church needs, a fog machine.

This church has a large hearing impaired group. I enjoyed watching a man and/or a woman (they alternated) to interpret the songs and translate into sign language and visual pantomime. Once, the choir was singing something like “Joy to the World” or some other joyful song and the interpreter acted out like he was thrown in deepest darkest dungeon of the castle - or maybe he was acting out if he was in the deepest pits of hell - I wonder if he was deaf too and following the wrong page? Another time he did an excellent visual of climbing an invisible rope. I think a white-faced mime would do an excellent job for the deaf for this occasion.

The old fashion Christmas songs I knew as I was growing up seemed here had a bit more rock to them…. The choir members seemed to have a more bounce to the rhythm.

For a while I focused in on a angelic looking woman who looked to be in her mid thirties. She looked so content and intent. She opened her mouth very wide when she sung – She reminded me of Charlotte Church that suddenly jumped to middle age.

A group of teenagers were on the front row (next to the deaf) that were really into the music in a spiritual sense. They stood up and waved their hands with the music. It seemed to me they could be just as spiritual and get credit for being considerate too, if they used the back row- thus not blocking everybody’s view. Oh well.

It is hard to believe this is the same Baptist Church we were married in 40 years and one week ago.*

*Same church yes – but they have got too big for there pants twice since our marriage. Twice they have moved into a new and larger building since we got married, but three times total.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Dickie Thomas

I received a mass-sent email from a high school classmate saying that another one of us has died. Dickie Thomas had several illnesses that he had been fighting for the past several years the letter email said.

I have not seen Dickie since high school but I remember he was a very nice person. During the time I knew him I don’t think he thought any harm on anybody.

I remember once in the ‘50s he bought a red Impala. It looked sharp, well, it was sharp. He one time drove it up to Victoria Landing at Allatoona where the houseboat was docked. I don’t remember the details but for some reason he and some more friends left and were to return shortly.

He parked his red car in front of a slope hill that ran down into the lake.

We were talking and we heard a big SPLASH!! We looked around and there it was sitting on top of the water – for a second. Then it sunk head first. Only the back bumper was still above water.

A wrecker pulled it out and the mishap even made the newspaper, but I don’t remember what happened after that. I hope that was Dickie’s bad luck thing to have happened – and after he got that out of the way, by the law of averages, he was in line for years of good luck.

The bad-news email told me Dickie was one of the coaches that took the East Cobb Little League team and won the Little League World Series in 1983.

Rest in peace.

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And Also Gimme a Handsome Husband!



Happy Birthday Anna!!!!

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday Morning Pulpit



The Joy of Getting.

My sister is a charitable person. She has always belonged to organizations that helped the needy.

This year she has a “want” list of a particular needy child. She is to pick and choose what she wants to get this child so he or she can open it Christmas morning.

At the top of the as top priority the child picked some kind of hand-held electronic gizmo like a Play Station. This item is very expensive and something the benefactor would never consider for herself.

Christmas is a time for giving. But by default it is also a time for getting. For every gift given, somebody has the obligation of receiving – or as the old worn-out joke states, “Somebody has to do it.”

Think of receiving a gift as a public service.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Homemade Biltmore Joke


I just made up a Biltmore House joke:

George W. Vanderbilt who had the Biltmore House built and his wife Edith Stuyvesant Dresser had only one child, a daughter named Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt who was born in the Biltmore House and grew up in the house, more or less.

Cornelia married John Francis Amherst Cecil.. They had two sons, who were also born in the Biltmore House.

Once, when the sons were young Cornelia was told them, “When I was your age when I got up to go to school I had to walk one mile, and that was just to get out of the house.”

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Back in Another Time

The other day I thought of Bill Kenny. Bill Kenny writes for the Marietta Journal. Bill Kenny has his eyes on all of Marietta and Cobb County. He knows its history well and all the latest of what is happening behind the scenes. He is on the editorial page with his reports just about every day. He calls himself “This Old Scribner”.

When he was a young reporter my father supervised a raid on what was then the largest still in the history or raiding stills. Bill went along to report. That Young Scribner got intoxicated by the fumes.

He was dating my 5th grade teacher Alberta (?) Shouse. They married right along then, and have been married since.

I went to Waterman Street Grammar School in Marietta. That year in the 5th grade a fellow student named Van pushed me against the fire escape and cut a big gash down the center of my forehead, from my hairline down my forehead to in between my eyes. Until my father could get there to rush me to the hospital Miss Shouse had me use her soft lap for a cushion to keep my head up. I was getting attention from her I only dreamed about…. It was enjoyable, even if it was painful and messy. Luckily, for me she kept an ice pack against my cut.

After it was all over with, with the scar and the stitches scars it looked something like a little railroad track running down my forehead – but most importantly, it looked something like Frankenstein’s Monster’s head. I was sporting something of a status symbol.

Later that same year in class one day Mrs. Shouse asked me if I wanted a pigeon and I said yes. She told me the night before a pigeon almost drowned at her boarding house when it rained so hard, she took the pigeon in and put it in a cardboard box and put holes in it. That afternoon she and I walked together through down town, up Cherokee Street to Forest Avenue to her boarding house.

She opened the box easily and we peeped in. The pigeon looked up at us. We quickly closed the box and I went on my way.

My parents wanted to know where I was going to keep it, I couldn’t keep it inside the house they said.

It just so happened, that the old house we lived in had a bathroom as a room on the back porch. Until we move there that was the only bathroom. My mother had her brother build us an new bathroom in part of the biggest bedroom.

I used the old bathroom as a clubhouse. I said that would be a good place to keep the pigeon. That night, I left it water and bread crumbs.


The next morning before school I slowly opened the door and looked around. I did not see the pigeon. I opened the door and stepped in and closed the door. No pigeons feathers were all over the place. Apparently, a rat or a cat found a way in and had a midnight snack.

A couple of years ago we were in line to vote at the Voter’s Registration Office and Bill game in. He looked very frail. Not as I remembered him. He seemed to appreciate people lined up voting.

Several years before that our son Rocky interviewed the Old Scribner for a project of his Journalism studies at UGA. Rocky said he was looked frail.

I understand Mrs. Shouse/Kenney is not doing too well these days. Time slips up on us all.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Shopping Season is in the Air



The Christmas season officially started yesterday. Now, some claim that the Christmas season, officially started at the end of the Massey Parade Thanksgiving day when Santa came through waving. Locally, some claim that it started when the giant Christmas Tree at Massey’s in Atlanta was lit Thanksgiving night.

Wrong!

Anna got off at 4pm and will not be at work until after New Years day. Christmas started at 4pm yesterday.

To prove the point, last night we went out and did our first serious Christmas shopping this year. And last night was the first a Christmas special on TV knocked out my regular shows I watch. Saturday Night Live had a Christmas special.

One of the places we went in was a Christian bookstore. Believe it or not, in the magazine rack of the Christian bookstore was a magazine called something like The Christian Outdoor Sportsman. On the cover was a guy holding up the head end of a dead deer. The cover said his name and said he was a super sports figure in Milwaukee and also said he bagged his first deer. I think “bagged” is a kinder word than saying “killed”.

It must be ok to kill for the sport of it… What is sport? A fun physical activity. So, is it correct in saying “It is ok to kill something for the fun of it?” And, would be ok if the deer, for the fun of it, killed the hunter before it killed him? Like buck him off the ledge of a cliff or gorge him with antlers?

No, of course not! That would be murder.

Merry Christmas shopping season!

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Welcome to Marietta


This is a scene from Marietta “way back when”. The road has/had many names. Atlanta Road, , Dixie Highway, The 41 Highway, The Old 41, and West Atlanta Street, which is mostly what it is named today and most of my lifetime.

It was the main highway that went through Marietta. Stay on it going north, as is shown in the picture, and you will end up in Chicago. Turn around and go south and you will find yourself in Miami.

In the picture are two pillows of slate rock welcoming you to the “Gem City of the South”, one on the left and one on the right. By the time I came along the pillow on the left was gone…. Or I don’t remember it, anyway.

As far as it's status of being the main highway of Marietta, it has been replaced the the 4-Lane version of Highway 41, then after that, the I-75.

To the right and out of view is the railway that went through Marietta. To the left was the Hartsfield Store. Mr. Hartsfield was slightly blond and reminded me of the comicbook character boxer Joe Palooka.

Mr. Hartsfield changed directions many times in what his store should carry. One time it was furniture, another time it was appliances, another time it has a “Western Auto” look. His daughter died this year.

Next to him southward was a big white flat building with a parking lot designed for curb service. It was Hunt’s Ice Cream. On the left was an eatery serving hotdogs and hamburgers and old the right was the ice cream making business. Through thick glass you could see all the big churns like machines droning and moaning.

The head car-hop of the curb service was Chuck W. who was about a year older than I. I don’t think his family had much money. He had an old out-of-name car he drove, I think it was a Nash or a Studebaker, I forgot which. Chuck always had a car full of people asking him for a ride, his heart so big he could never say no. And if you were hungry you could go to Hunts Ice Cream and ask for him and he would buy you a hamburger with his tip money.

One time I went with Chuck to help him look for a certain part for his car. The car was no longer made, and even if so, he did not have the money to pay for a new part. I found out the junkyard heads knew him well.

Chuck went to college and didn’t return and was more or less forgotten about. At a high school reunion not long ago somebody said they ran into Chuck someplace, I forgot where at, and he was then president of fairly large company. Good for him, he deserved it.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ike Died.



In July of 1965*, my friends Monty and Johnny, and I went to Atlanta to the Royal Peacock Nightclub. There was a musical group there Monty was worked up about and wanted to see. The name of the group was a husband and wife was “Ike and Tina Turner”.

“Oh yeah!” I heard of them before. They had a song on the top 40 radio music.

The Royal Peacock was a predominantly black nightclub. That night, we were the only white people there. They did not sell alcoholic drinks. They sold set-ups, and ice.

Ike and Tina Turner put on one of the most rocking fast paced rock and roll live shows I have ever seen. Tina and her three female back-up singers, “The Iketts” put on a very good show – all four women were darn right sexy in their sensual movements with the music and all.

And I’m sure to the opposite sex, Ike was also very sexy. He strummed an electric guitar and made the guitar make noises I didn’t know a guitar could make. I remember, what seemed to be trademark that night, was flicking out his long tongue with the whams of the guitar strings. It could almost be rated obscene by the standards of the times then.

Ike died today at age 76.

From celebrity gossip through the years I understand that Ike and Tina divorced and Ike had a drug problem.

I don’t know about that, but he sure could play an electric guitar.

Big Wheel Keep On Rolling….rolling,… rolling….rol…


* I remember in was July 1965 because it was within two weeks after I got out of the Navy from serving my active duty obligation.

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Gravity and Willow


Yesterday evening one of fears materialized. We have a deck which is probably about ten feet high from the edge to bottom step. Since Willow moved in with us and observing that she enjoys a good squirrel chase – well, she just can’t help herself – Mother Nature built a little mechanism that gives her a surge of her hunting instinct every time she sees a squirrel. Acorns fall onto our deck from an oak tree, so the squirrels help themselves to them. I have been afraid that one day she would chase a squirrel right off the deck at its highest point instead of doing the sensible thing and run down the steps.

Yesterday I went out to light the grill to cook our evening meal. Willow went me. There sat a squirrel peacefully nibbling. The squirrel instantly realized the danger it was in and leap off the deck – which is okay for a squirrel – they are little acrobats,

Willow chased right after her, off the edge she went also.

Damn! I thought.

Then I heard Willow hit the bottom – but she landed running, not missing a beat, and almost snagged Nutsy the Squirrel just before he leaped our chain link fence. I expected Willow would have a broken leg but she was in pursuit so intently, who has time to break their leg?

She is fine, you would never know she fell that far – I’m not sure she is even aware she did.

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Aqua-Boy


This picture is of my cousin Anthony, his mother Opal, and that is me on the tricycle. The picture was taken in the ‘40s in Varnell, Georgia. Opal has passed on; Anthony is retired from the local sheriff’s department; see my big foot? Yes, I consider myself a good swimmer.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

40th at the Biltmore - Being There


This was taken from the Vista (whatever that is) as we came over the hill from our parking place. Remember, the pictures are better if you click on them.

As I said we were going to do, Anna and I drove to Asheville, North Carolina, to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary at the Biltmore House.

But we almost didn’t make the full trip. We almost became two greasy spots on the road, marked with two crosses.

When we were on our way, going with the speed of the flow of traffic a van suddenly pulled out in front of me. At the speed we were going, I could not stop. As I swerved to the left land I glanced in my rearview mirror and a car was coming up to my left. Luckily for us, he saw me swerved into his path and he swerved to avoid hitting me – which I can’t say without bragging that the man driving on my left and I did excellent jobs avoiding a disaster. The idiot who pulled out in front of me at such a close range kept on driving. We pulled up beside him and tried to give him a good hateful glare but he never looked our way.

He was an elderly man. He needs to take his pills before he gets out in the ravages of morning traffic.

We cut across country through Roswell via Hwy 92, Holcomb Bridge Road, and Jimmy Carter Blvd. Just a few blocks on Jimmy Carter Blvd before we went down on the I-85 we decided to pull into Martin’s and get a steak and biscuit.

I don’t think Martin’s is a national chain but I could be wrong. I know of about 5 in Metro Atlanta area They have good breakfasts. They seem to attract retirees to have a morning meeting to solve the world’s problems and Martin’s also seems to attract the no-collar workers… not blue collar – no collar.

I noticed in line two or three people behind us was a woman about 40 years old, dressed sexy with a short tee-shirt exposing her mid-drift exposed and tight-ass design denim. There was print on her tee-shirt, I couldn’t read. The other female looked to be about twenty, also with a short tee-shirt exposing her middle, and also tight ass denim. Her tee-shirt said, “I’M HOT!!!”

That is nice, mother and daughter matching outfits.

Their hair-dos were messed up. I suspect they have been partying all night long – or hugging a pole.

We drove on up the road to Asheville.

We had reservations at the Double Tree Lodge. The Double Tree Motel/Lodge/whatever is owned by the Hilton Company.

I like to think a good portion of the money we gave the Double Tree Lodge went to help Paris Hilton party a good hour or so. The black and white poster with Paris looking sad at the camera and sucking her thumb and the bold letters that said, “This girl may have to go sleep sober night.” really got to me.

The entrance of the estate:



After we unpacked we drove to the Biltmore Estate. We were directed to park in parking lot A-6, which is the closest to the Biltmore House. In fact, it was so close they did not have a bus shuttle service for it. We walked. I think it was almost a mile.

As usual we got there hours earlier than we were suppose to be there. Our candlelight tour was at 6:30 and our dinner at the Stables was to be at 8:00. I looked at my watch and it was about 3:00. We had the opportunity to look around some before we went on a tour to look around some.

We went to the gift shops and wandered around. We visited all the specialty gift shops in what was the Stables. The building is a little courtyard away from the main house. It not only holds several gift shops but also the Stable Restaurant, which I thought this time of year with Christmas in the air, it might be profitable to name it The Manger. On the second floor I think is offices now, but when the Vanderbilt family was here, it was the male servant quarters.

The courtyard is relaxing area with a bakery on one side and a ice cream shop on the other – and there might even be a bar on the side too. All the things to make your sitting at an iron patio table more relaxing (and more profitable).

It is hard to find an unused table – there were not any. So, you sort of walk around like a hawk among chickens looking for someone about to get up and rush over and claim that spot… they should rent little flags to claim to spot – another way $$$. We spotted a table with three people sitting and two empty chairs.

We asked the guy who seemed to be just sitting there and not part of the other two sitters were those two seats taken. He said no, help yourself – which we did. It didn’t take long for us to figure he was not part of the group of the two other people sitting. He was friendly. He was waiting on his wife, who was in the gift shops. He is from Lima, Ohio. He told us he has an abnormity: He only has one layer of skin (I think he was telling us the very basic so we could comprehend his condition). He told us that if he is barely touched he will have a terrible bloche of a bruise but it goes away. He showed us a few bruises on his arms he was sporting then. He said he condition was melanoma. I imagined if he went to a down-to-earth bar and some redneck picked a fight with him he would bleed to death underneath his skin is just a short time. The couple left about the time his wife showed up. She told us they just got a computer and was trying to find out ways to use it.

They have several – more than 2 – grown children. I told them it is excellent way to communicate if they are any distance. We told them we keep our finances posted, genealogy research, and so on. She was impressed with the genealogy research – she told us she was a Mormon. I wonder why she didn’t say “We”?

In time they left and were instantly replaced by two women. One told us she was from Louisiana and the other one said she was from South Dakota. They are both living in Nashville, Tennessee, now – they are part of a efficiently medical group. The one from South Dakota said actually she was her boss. But I don’t think they had a boss and not-boss relationship, although she did say that – they appeared to be more like friends. Their staff move in a hospital and look for ways of being more efficient – and move on to another city for someone looking for their unique talent.

All this time it seemed the lines going into the Biltmore House was endless. Finally when it got nearer our time we went and got in line ourselves. The old uniform guard checked each ticket… if your time was more than 15 minutes away he would politely tell you to stand with the next group or “go visit the gift shop.”

Back of the house:




When we entered the first room was a youth choir of some kind singing Christmas carols. After that you are issued headphones which in each room you enter you get a good description of what’s what and why.

It was a very good tour! It was very enjoyable and educational.

George Washington Vanderbilt was born in 1868 and died in 1914. He was the youngest of 8 children and a mama’s boy. He had the Biltmore House built and it was completed in 1895 when he was still a bachelor. After he married they had one daughter and her two great grandsons are the CEOs today. One of them own the house and its operations and the other owns the surrounding land of thousands of acres and its operations, such as the Winery.

That is a very brief tour I gave you – considering ours cost much more, based on the time you read that, you owe me about $2.43. Look around my blog and find my address – no personal checks, please.

One interesting thing was the daughter Cornelia Vanderbilt married John Francis Amherst Cecil, a Brit. Their sons were born in the Biltmore House and had duel citizenship. I don’t know about both, but at least one of their sons served in the Royal Navy.

I was a bit nervous about the time factor. Our dinner reservation was at 8:00 and our house tour began at 6:30. Would 90 minutes be enough time to look at every thing? I like to get places early – there was no room to arrive early. What was I going to do?

I decided not to ruin a good tour fretting about the time. I refused to look at my watch. I decided let things take care of themselves; we wouldn’t stave.

After we walked out I looked at my watch. Well, we were not early, but not too late either. It was 8:05. We walked up and the friendly hostess seated us….. in the middle of the floor near the kitchen. We asked for another seat. The, then, somewhat offended hostess seated us in another spot in the room, again in the center of the floor. Again, we complained. The hostess, smiling, but probably gritting her teeth, reseated us for the 2nd time, in a little alcove like area with only one table nearby – a part of four – two couples who, I gathered by their conversations the couples did not know each other very well, it must have been a business dinner.

Anna and I both ordered prime rib. I ordered mine medium rare, because medium rare seems to be the tastier and the most tender state of a prime rib. Anna ordered her medium well because she doesn’t like the taste of oozing blood.

The meal came in courses, of course. On the steak and potatoes course, I thought my prime rib was good. When the waitress asked Anna how her steak was she said it was too fatty. The waitress probably walked away reminding herself not to ask questions if she didn’t want to hear the answer. Anyway, the waitress returned in a short time with a newly cooked prime rib, not as fatty but again, not as cooked, it was medium rare, and offered it to Anna to replace the one she had. Anna said No,,, it was medium rare. The waitress asked me did I want it.

“Noooo!” I said with my hand in the stop motion in front of me. I rather stick with my own plate - I feel safer. Although, the whole staff were eager to please.

I did not order wine or tea. I ordered coffee. The coffee was brought in a very large china looking cup. I bet it was 8 or 12 ounces.

The most talkative man next to us said, more or less, “Wow!!! Now, that is a cup of coffee!!! Look at that coffee!!” he told his fellow diners.

Usually I am invisible but this time people are looking at me amazed. Wait! I am still invisible; they were looking at the coffee.

We went back to our room at the Doubletree and got a good night’s sleep, we were tired.

The next morning we checked out and returned to the Biltmore. It was pouring down raining. It looked so good, the rain…. Giving rare water to all the plants on the estate that needed it so much.

We took a shuttle bus back to parking lot A. We asked the driver to take us the hill to level six but he refused, saying he “Can’t do that.” In a polite manner.

The parking lots were almost empty. Anna was very tired and did not feel like walking. She sat at the bus wait place, alone, under a light, while I walked up the hill – six levels, mostly in the dark, to find our car. I was afraid for both of us. But I made it, and drove fast down the hill, going the wrong way down one way connections from one lot to another until I got to her.

The next day it rained. We elected to drive around the estate and look at things.

This is the Bass Pond. You may remember seeing this body of water in the Peter Sellers movie BEING THERE. The movie outside was filmed in the beautifully landscaped property of the Biltmore Estate. I don’t know about the inside. We want to check it out and see it again. It is about a simple gardener employed by a wealthy man of a huge estate. One time someone of importance in the government mistaken him for a wise man that had wise advice. He would ask him something about the economy and his answer would be of the only knowledge he knew: Gardening… it seemed all his answers were something like: “You must pull out the unwanted weeds so the best plants will get the nutrients they need”….. or “good growth needs a good amount of fertilizer” … and the high up man would implement the gardener’s ideas into the economy.



This is the French Broad River. One of my Hunter ancestors had a tavern on the French Broad River in the 1700s. I suppose then a lot of people traveled by the water ways. The Hunters place were nearer the Tennessee border.

The French Broad River runs through the bottom lands of the estate.






We toured the farm which we were told about Biltmore Milk Company that had a huge operation back in the 30s and 40s. There, one of the men that worked there was a retired English teacher. We agreed to swap blog addresses. I thought I would finish with this posting about his employer before sending him my blog address.

All the people who worked there, except maybe the shuttle driver were all laid back and very easy going and polite.

We toured the Winery, which is the below pictures. Part of the tour included wine tasting. A lady of some age, also of some dignity stood behind a bar and poured each of us (6 people) samplings of various Biltmore Wines and educated us on what they went best with, such as fish, poetry, red meat, Asian foods, etc. I think we each sipped about 6 types of wine. Once she referred when we go to the wine tasting in the next room they will have certain bla blas and blas.

So, when we entered the next room we found the wine tasting bar and moved up with 3 other couples. It didn’t take the lady long to figure out we were there for free sips. She, in a polite way, pointed to a sign, and said the tasting in this room was $5 for so many samples and $7 if you want to go with a few more sampling. Then she turned to speak to a couple that asked her a question about the wine they were sampling and when she turned back to us we gone.

The room was the sales room. They had plenty of free samples of dips and things to serve with your wine – so, we may not have got another round of free wine tastes in that room, we made it up in free dip and chips.




We left. It was about 2pm. We decided to have our 40th wedding anniversary lunch at Hardee’s. While we were sitting down with our food the manager called loudly across the room to another employee, “I’m going to the bank!” Now, is that something good to holler across the room – that she is going to make a deposit with today’s cash money? She looked proud when she said it, so I suppose it was her way of saying, “Look at me, I am manager today!” By going to the bank she missed the fun of watching the cashier and the cook get in a food fight. The slipped up on each other and throw a french fry and take off running and the other one would throw some at him… sometimes they dodged the fry and sometimes they got it in the back or in the chest.

Then it was time to head home. As we were getting on the exit Anna was looking at the map and told me to take the I-40 west. At the last moment I saw a sign saying for Black Mountain take I-40 East, which I did. Anna told me that was wrong, the map said take I-40 the other way. But I knew what I knew, the sign said take I 40 east for Black Mountain and I remember seeing an exit for Black Mountain outside of Asheville. Anna convinced me to pull over to an exit to get gas and we would look at the map.

Which I did, and we looked at the map. Black Mountain is in the opposite direction.

Oh.

We drove home. In the gift shop of the farm we bought an Arcadia book of Biltmore and Anna read me the complete book on the way home. Of course, I didn’t get to see the many pictures in the book, but will come back to that.

The book made George Washington Vanderbilt and his wife Edith Stuyvesant Dresser to look like the kind and generous humanitarians of that part of the Blue Ridge… which I am sure is partly true… their very presence generated jobs… many jobs. I think I heard 1200 jobs with all the farm projects and building projects and all. And Edith, the book said, was known to visit the sick of the families that worked for them and helped them.

Don’t you think to run a big conglomerate of interests and to keep the workers more or less to the grindstone, he had to be a bit ruthless?

We had our anniversary dinner at the Olive Garden in Roswell.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

"I Never Met A Nut I didn't Like"


I want to thank Laura Armstrong columnist for the Marietta Daily Journal for boosting my ego. She wrote a very kind article about this blog and it's captain. Damn the Torpedoes, full speed ahead.

I think Laura was very fair – and when you consider we have some opposite political views proves just how fair she is.

That is what it is being an American. You can express your views and the Will Rogers observance naturally flows in.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Out To Lunch - Will Be Back Soon


This blog will be dormant for a day or so. This morning we are leaving for Asheville, North Carolina. We have reservations in Asheville for tonight. This evening we have reservations to tour the Biltmore House on their Christmas Candlelight Tour and afterwards we have dinner reservations at “The Stables”, which is also on the Biltmore Estate.

We are celebrating our anniversary, which is officially tomorrow, December the 9th. Then, we will have been married 2 scores and many snores.

About the visit to the Biltmore, I am nervous that something will gone wrong, administratively. What if they lost our names? Remember, things go wrong with invisible people all the time – things fall through the cracks and get lost. I can’t even drive a fast food window without them getting the order wrong.

Maybe when we made the reservation for the Stables Restaurant the reservation-taker checked off the real stables instead of the restaurant Stables and then tonight when we show up for our romantic anniversary dining experience they lead us to a stall, throw us a bale of hay, a trough of water, and two whole apples for dessert. Then what?

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Friday, December 07, 2007

The Stove Top Installer Man

The man installed our stove top yesterday. He is probably in his 50s, but he had a very youthful outlook. I am not talking about his opinions, I am talking about his enthusiasm and positivism. He was one happy person!

After petting Willow to gain her trust he told me had to put his Great Dane, 16 years, down – he had a series of illnesses, hip displacer too. His old buddy had to go, rather than suffer. He also told me of his mother’s Daschaun and how she was working on the dog a coat with buttons. He said he thought it would be good to make the coat look like a bun with relish, catsup, and mustard on top.

I said I want a Willow to have a dark Navy blue or black tee-shirt with big yellow letters on the back that say “Security”. He laughed, he thought that was good too – but went back and hinted that a jacket looking like a dressed hotdog would be funner.

“A wiener dog – get it?” He asked. I told him I did . I just don’t normally burst into giggles like he did when I told of the Security Tee-shirt idea.

He also showed me a picture of an old WWI ambulance vehicle with a certain body boxed body style and asked me did I know where he could find a box like that. No. He said he is working on a model of such an ambulance now… he said he is trying to duplicate it exactly. He found some spoked lawnmower wheels that look very similar to the wheels in the photograph. So! It is going to be a big model! He went on to say it is to go with his model WWI bi-plane he just completed.

Everybody needs some kind of pursuit or interest. Good for him.

This is the exact ambulance he is trying to duplicate I found on Google:



Someplace in our conversation I picked up he used to work for Atlanta Gas Light Company and lost his job when the State of Georgia opened up the natural gas business for competing providers. I asked where did he work and he said here in Cobb County.

I asked him did he know an old acquaintance of mind in school, Don E. He said Don was his immediate boss. He did Don was retired now.

I told him I thought Don retired long before he retired. Every time I would go in McDonald’s, no mater what weekday Don was there sitting, sipping a cup of coffee talking to someone.

He laughed and “That was Don!” He ran his operation from a McDonald’s lunch table.

Small world.

As far as I can tell, the stove glass top stove works fine. It looks better because it doesn’t have a crack – yet.

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December the 7th


What were you doing Sunday, December 7, 1941? Each year the percentage increases of people that don’t remember that day. That is why the USS ARIZONA is still in the harbor, mostly submerged – to remind us.

December 7, 1941 is a day to remember, even if you were not born yet. I was almost 5 months old then – I don’t remember. The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese took us by surprise and changed our way of life for the next four years or so. I remember seeing my uncles come and go in their military uniforms in the mid 40s. It was a definite reason to jump into war. We were attacked so we jumped back at our attackers and their allies – it was a package deal.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Tough Look


In the 80s I ran often. I would run for exercise and when there was an organized race, which happens often, I would run in those. Just about always the money your registration fee goes to a worthy cause and of course there is the pretty tee-shirt you get for the race. I have many race tee-shirts that accumulated through the years… now they are too small or I am too large…. Hmmm, I wonder which?

Have you noticed when you go to different events of the same type – say like bluegrass music – you start seeing the same faces? I have. And the same goes about races.

Most of the races were attended mostly by this area’s yuppies. Most of the runners had that yuppie Young Repubican look about them – except me. And also except three mean looking characters who would look at home in a prison yard.

They had many tattoos. Not the neat looking little type of tattoos you seem some upper income people wear, but things like evil looking scaly dragons with huge bloody fangs, and nude women. Their hair was long and not styled in anyway and maybe even matte. My first thought when I started seeing them at races were: pirates. They looked like pirates, I am surprised one of them didn’t have a one-eyed parrot sitting on his shoulder.

Their running shorts were raggedy. You could almost hear one yuppie after another take a deep breath after seeing their raggedy unstylish shorts. How horrible! A pair of shorts with a rip?! The yuppies also gasped when they saw the three men stand around smoking.

They just didn’t fit the typical runners’ profile at all. They didn’t give a shit.

All three ran and smoked and carried on a casual conversation. They had a good pace and stayed up front. I wonder if people parted like the Red Sea as to let them through.

They came as they went – after about a spring and summer of different races they vanished. I wonder what they did with their tee-shirts – tee shirts were not their style. No shirts or body shirts were their UFOD.

Boy, were they mean looking! Behind their closed doors at their homes they probably fretted about details and clipped coupons out of the paper and cuddled with a bed with full of Seseme Street characters.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Gambling With Computers, a Religious Thing


Are you a person who likes to take a chance now and then? Or maybe you are one who likes to take a chance more often, maybe you are a high roller, maybe you live your life in the fast lane, so to speak.

Not me! I remember playing marbles “for keeps” one time in grammar school and losing the prettiest marble I ever owned. It taught me a value lesson about gambling: Cheat.

Seriously, it taught me taught me not to gamble unless I was ready to accept losing. I didn’t gamble again until I was in high school and our lunch every day was 25¢. Sometimes we would match our quarters… sometimes I would lose and sometimes I would win… either way, it didn’t matter, I skipped lunches most days anyway – it was mostly a social thing.

Several years ago Anna and I went to Cherokee, North Carolina, to see the “Unto These Hills” play about the plight of the Native American Indians. While in town we went into the reservation’s casino. We decided we would gamble on blackjack. We decided $10 would be our limit.

I doubt if I fitted the James Bond image in Casino Royale. With my frantic look I probably more like a desperado. I think I bought chips – I don’t think I used real money – there is probably something of a trick to your mind – it you are not playing with real money, and playing with colored chips – well, it is something like playing with Playdoh Money – it is not as hard mentally to lose. I played blackjack with a computer. I think it was 50¢ a game – or a 50¢ token. I think I played good. It took that machine two whole hours to take my ten dollars.

To give you an idea of my desperately holding onto the $10 worth of chips think of a wet rat holding for his life onto a piece of wood in a flood.

To make it complete, all was needed was a female dancehall robot laugh in my face and walk off to find another sucker and two bigger robot thugs grab me by both arms and throw me out with the music of a player piano playing in the background…. But I was hurt enough - $10 is $10 (which reminds me of a joke I will not tell now).

And I haven’t gambled since.

But I do play the Georgia Lottery.

I play the Mega Millions and the Fantasy Five weekly.

Wait! Let me explain.

I forgot which James Michener book I read this in but it was one of his massive infinite-detailed books a farmer threw a certain amount of what he harvested back to the soil.

And I read a similar thing in another Michener book that an Indian did the same with game he had killed.

It was a religious thing – to pay back a portion of what was given you.

The Georgia Lottery funds the Hope Scholarship in Georgia. The Hope Scholarship is for students that keep a certain high academic average. Thousands of Georgia resident students with good grades earned their education with the Hope Scholarship, my two sons included.

So, each week I play the Georgia Lottery with the help of a software program try to pick the winners – I try to win, just in case I overpaid and the system and it wants to give a certain portion back.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Gertrude Jones (1898-1986)


This is Anna’s great aunt Gertrude Jones Wood (1898-1986). I used to see her at family functions and she seemed like she was a witty person who rather keep her thoughts to herself - she had a twinkle in her eyes.

She married late, 1946, to Twigg Wood (1895-1966). As I was typing his name just now for the first time I noticed that the sound of his first name complements his surname. He probably had parents with a good sense of humor.

They are both buried in Midway Methodist Church cemetery, between Alpharetta and Cumming, Georgia.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Art For the People!

There are many forms of art. Some are appreciated more than others. Probably illustration art is more widely seen – such as ads in magazines and illustrations of stories – to me, Norman Rockwell is probably on most people’s list as a superb artist. A few years ago the High Museum in Atlanta had for a limited time a collection of Norman Rockwell’s. We spent hours there one day.

Art is art in the eyes of the beholder. Some of us appreciate comic book art and can look at a glance at a comic book drawing and tell you who drew it. I have certain artists I watch for and let the others slide on by… well, you can easily tell my taste in comic book art if you just surf in the archives of my blog.

There are many forms of art on the canvas. I have always liked Salvador Dali and some of Picasso…… some I don’t like… when both eyes are on the same side of the face… ugghh! But, I do like his Blue Period and others.

Folk Art is nice. Howard Finster comes to mind when I think of folk art. I think of folk art as someone who has not been formally trained as an artist enough to be aware or unaware of dos and don’ts of art. I think, in the case of folk art, the breaking of guide lines and rules is what makes their art stand out… but I think it should still represent something… symbolism or a mood or a blip moment in a story that leaves it to you to fill in the details or something.

A good example of primitive folk art is below. For instance, there is no doubt that the figure is a cow – right? And the belly button in a “in-ny” What do you think the “inny” belly button represents? And I must admit, at first look of the picture I thought the little things in mid-air were fumes to represent the stench that comes with “breaking wind”. But, on a closer look I see they represent flies. Of course, that is probably a likely place for flies to hang around. And notice the smirk on the cow’s face… just like she just shot you with a good methane gas blast. Also notice the sedate color. Most of all, notice the canvas the art is on. They say the human body is a work of art… such as a perfect physique as this – well, it is beyond words. It is like praising the frame holding the picture as much as praising the picture itself.

See how much one can look for details and appreciate good art?

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Marietta Pilgrimage - aka Tour of Homes




Saturday we went on the home tour of Marietta. Each year five or six homes put their homes up for inspection by the public in general – whoever willing to pay their money to go through these houses. The houses generally belong to people who spared no expense in remodeling or renovating.

The above stone wall and gate was not on the tour. We just walked by it and I took a picture of it. Until recently the wall leaned forward towards the sidewalk, but somehow they corrected that. In my teenage years my friend Gene had an aunt that lived behind the wall. Sometimes when I was with him he would park his car alongside the sidewalk and walk through the gate and stay 15 to 30 minutes and return. Then I never thought to look behind the house to see what kind of house his aunt lived in, but recently I did. There is a huge barn or garage there. It is in the back yard of a big white house on another street (Kennesaw Avenue). I told in an earlier blog that Gene died in an auto wreck which he was drag racing. I wonder why he always went in his aunt’s house the back way? Here is the house his aunt probably lived in.



The first house we went to was the Alamo house. It has several unique rooms and unique designs and unique conversation pieces inside the house. As a matter of fact, that is what all these houses consisted of: conversation pieces.



Each house had a person on the outside of the house to make a checkmark on your book in the appropriate box to show you have been there and to allow so many in the first room at a time, where a docent would be waiting with his or her notes.

Outside the second house we visited the person on the outside to let so many go in at a time was Rachel. I met Rachel a previous year on the tour. That year we were touring the Leander Newton Trammell house and I started taking pictures. A lady came up to me that also was taking pictures – except her camera was expensive, she said, “I don’t think you are allowed to take pictures in the houses.”

I said, “You are.” and made a nudge in the direction of her camera.

She drew back and said something to the effect, “I own this house”.

I said, “I am related to Leander Newton Trammell…. “

She said, “Ok!” We got into a long conversation and she showed me other things of the Trammell family not on the tour.

We emailed each other for several weeks. We got a hold of a great grandson, and we were to get together with him… then suddenly he stopped emailing – which caused me to stop writing…and I guess that stopped Rachel too.

She was telling me that she is still giving tours…. Anybody walking down the street looking at the house in an interesting way she invites them in and gives them a tour.

One house that was on the tour was what is called the Green House. That was because it was owned by the Green family for 59 years. Anna worked with the lady who lived in the house for 59 years partly as a child and finally owner.

Another house was once owned by a family whose son was Anna’s uncle, by marriage.

Outside one house was a man sitting playing a docimer (?). We thought he was part of the entertainment but he said no, he was just waiting outside while his wife was inside touring. He gave us a quick lesson on how to plunk out a tune of the beautiful wood-string instrument.



In one of the houses a blond lady, also touring said, “Anna?” And Anna said her name with a question mark. When you get our age, people you haven’t for a long time, you often say their name with a question mark. When Anna said her old friend’s name I immediately knew her last name.

Anna said, “Eddie was in school with your sister.” Actually, Anna got that part confused. I was in school with the lady’s older sister’s first husband.

As a matter of fact, I ran around with her brother-in-law Larry. One time Larry retained his cousin Jesse and me to spy on his sister-in-law because he suspected she was having an affair.

I asked her how was her sister (by name). She was speechless for a moment and said she is suffering from dementia. Where is she? Anna asked. In Columbia, SC, the lady said.

I saw no reason to keep the conversation going by saying one time I was hired to spy on her sister. Some things are best forgotten, which her sister must be doing a good job at.

Our last house we visited Rachel’s husband had the same job Rachel had – letting so many people into the house at a time. We talked Trammell stuff to him too. He asked me my name and I said, “Eddie Hunter”

He said, “Are you the one that writes a blog?”

Yep!

Then we talked about my blog. He is a very congenial person. Very nice.

That is about eight to ten people in this area that I know read my blog. Some night, after dark I expect them to approach our house with torches, tar, and feathers.

That house was once owned by the assistant principal when I was in high school. The assistant principal and his sister owned the house. Then his sister died, and he married a woman with the same name as his sister and they did a lot of innovations. I think there is a story here.

The latest owners built a big media room that the screen on the wall was almost as big as a drive-in theater. He also had a very nice plush office with a big album of old family relatives.

This is the Howell House. It was not on the tour, but we walked by it. As a teenager I hung out many hours at this house. I was friends with one of the four teenagers that lived there. I mentioned in a previous blog about the family owning a garment factory and now the production operation has moved to Blairsville. I hope this house is on the tour one year.






Also, I am proud to say my first cousin’s daughter was the co-chairman of the event this year, as she was the last year. Both years were well organized.

You are not suppose to take pictures inside the houses, as Rachel let me know, but sometimes I would snitch one. Here are some various pictures I took on the tour.





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