Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Slip Sliding Away

The weatherman says two more days of hot weather and then we are turning the corner to cooler temps. Man oh man, this has been the hottest summer on record, I am so ready for fall this year! Don't get me wrong, I still love summer. I love everything about it; I love how the sun bakes my bones (it nearly roasted my brain this summer), I love sitting outside on hot nights under the trees (with sweat dripping off the tip of my nose this summer), and I really love moonlight cruises up the lake (but this summer's heat has kept us inside just like winters' big snows kept us cabin bound).

So I can't wait for that crisp morning air...

...and the turning of the leaves!

The crickets are beginning to lose their voices, have you ever noticed that? Toward the end of summer they quit chirping so loud. It's slow, but day by day there are fewer and the sounds of summer slip away.

The sumac is turning already, bright burgundy berries herald the start of fall here in the Ozarks.

Hunting season (just not here on Granny Mountain) was my Dad's favorite time of the year. He loved the woods and being out in nature, I inherited that directly from him.

This weekend...highs in the 80's, low's in the 60's and Razorback football starts... Woo Pig Sooie!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thorncrown Chapel

There's an old folk saying about the Ozarks: "It's not that the mountains are so high, it's just that the valleys are so deep."

It's true, the mountains of northwest Arkansas are breathtaking. The drive over to Eureka Springs is curvy with very few places to actually pull over to enjoy the view. One glance off the road and you might just end up down in the holler!

Highway 62 is a beautiful drive, the White River flows down from Beaver Lake Dam. The clear blue water is so cold, you can't bear to put your feet in it more than a few minutes!

Hard to match Mother Nature's beauty, but just a few miles up the road, just outside of Eureka Springs sets a glass chapel that rivals Nature's majesty.

Thorncrown Chapel was designed by Arkansas architect E. Fay Jones in 1978 and opened two years later in 1980. The 48 foot tall wooden structure has 425 windows and sets in the midst of nature. The dream of retired school teacher Jim Reed, he wanted a place for visitors of Eureka Springs to worship.

Recently, members of the American Institute of Architects placed Thorncrown Chapel 4th on its list of the top buildings of the twentieth century.

Inside the exactness of the design is awe inspiring. Everywhere you look, this woodland sanctuary takes your breath away.

Structure or Nature, one of the rare times that they are equal.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Close Calls

We have had several close calls, natural disasters or dangerous incidents in 41 years of marriage. Some of them were too close for comfort. The first brush with Mother Nature came the very first year we were married, 1970. Springdale, Arkansas had a tornado and we lived only 10 short miles from the destruction. We slept through it and were shocked when we found out the next day that the area had a tornado!

The next time was in North Highlands, California 1972 when Army ammunitions exploded on railway carriers near our apartments. This also happened at night and when they came to the door to have us evacuate, we hadn't heard a thing! No, we are not deaf...we are just sound sleepers evidently!

We lived in Sacramento, California from 1972-1976 and made many trips into San Francisco. I would comment sometimes as we would be in the "sandwich" of overpasses, what if we had an Earthquake? My husband always assured me the roads were built with safeguards. In 1989 the Loma Linda Earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale caused a 50 foot double decker section of the Bay Bridge to collapse. In disasters like that, nothing could withstand the force of Nature.

Another scare came in 1975 in Sacramento when Squeeky Fromme tried to assassinate President less at a park where we often took our young daughter Stephanie.

Fast forward to Harrison, Arkansas in April 1977 when a freak cold front dumped a foot of hail on us. We had gone up to Branson, Missouri for the weekend and couldn't believe the "snow" we were seeing as we got into the city limits of Harrison. A new roof was required from the beating it took with the hail.

The following year the telephone company in Harrison blew up from a gas leak. We lived a few miles away and the only damage we had were broken windows. Just a few miles closer and we would have had major structural damage.

Another close call came when we lived in Russellville, Arkansas. A mass murder, then said to be the worst family mass murder, happened in 1987. Russellville was a small town with practically no crime, when Ronald Gene Simmons went on a killing spree around town...hitting the same places I had just been paying water bills and buying gas. Eerie!

By far the worst and closest brush with Mother Nature came in Seguin, Texas 1998 when the Guadalupe River flooded after 27 inches of rain in 24 hours. We lived on Lake McQueeney which was fed by the Guadalupe River. When the dam broke, our subdivision was flooded. We were evacuated and had no idea we would be returning to a dry house after a long night of rain that sounded like rocks on the roof of the shelter where they took us. The homes that were waterfront all had 12 foot of water ruining everything. We lived two blocks up in the subdivision and the water came just to the edge of our garage. Flood insurance paid for damage to some of the homes that were devastated, but the important things you have in your home can't be replaced. The photo albums that were ruined, Grandma's china that was broke, the things your children made in First Grade...those things are priceless. It was a terrible time in our lives, my heart was broken for our friends and neighbors that were going through this. Hard to write all these years later.

Some of you may ask me where I live and then not move anywhere CLOSE!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Our thoughts and prayers are with residents along the East coast that are facing the effects of Hurricane Irene. If you've ever been in a flood or evacuation, you know the utter fear they are feeling right now as they are desparate to find a safe place to ride out the storm.

We lived on Lake McQueeney in South Texas in 1998 when heavy rains caused massive flooding. Our neighborhood was a disaster along the waterfront with 12 foot of water in homes. We were evacuated by the National Guard and didn't have any idea that we would come back the next day to a dry house. Since we lived 2 blocks up from the waterfront homes, our house escaped flooding. It came to the edge of our garage, you could see the water mark up along the bricks. There were weeks of clean-up, you don't know where to start after the water takes it all downstream.

Regardless of whether you have flood insurance, so much is lost. Not just furniture and clothing, it's the important things like family albums or china that had belonged to your Great Grandmother can't ever be replaced. Gone. We pulled together and helped with whatever we could during those weeks that stretched into months. Something as simple as a meal or clean clothes means the world to someone who's lost their home.

With so many affected, this storm is shaping up to be yet another storm of the century. We've already had one of those here with last winter's bitter cold, ice and snow. I feel like saying, "What's next Mother Nature?"

Friday, August 26, 2011

Explaining voicemail to my MIL:

MIL: I called the phone company to complain this morning about that message people are getting that I don't live here anymore.
ME: What message?
MIL: The one that says I'm not taking any calls and something else that I don't remember.
ME: Oh, that's your voicemail that tells people you are on the phone and to leave a message or call back.
MIL: Well, people are thinking I'm not here anymore.
ME: Tell them it's ok to leave a message and you'll get back to them.
MIL: I don't know how to do that, what button do I push?
ME: The red light on the phone blinks, then you call to get the message.
MIL: I'm just going to cancel my phone service, this is too hard!

Help me Lord. How do I explain 2011?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chuga-chuga Birthday Train!

Here we go again, we've been on the Birthday Train celebrating! From July to September we have birthday, after birthday, after birthday. There is cake and ice cream...

there are presents to open...

Just the right present to bring a smile...

The cake is important, and the birthday wish that goes along with the cake!

Birthday blessings galore...

...exausting work having 87 birthdays!

Happy Birthday Mom and Dad!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Please copy and paste this to your status if you are always asked to copy and paste something to your status by folks who copy and paste things to their status. Many people won't copy and paste this to their status, but my true friends will copy and paste this to their status.

Ever notice how much Facebook is like High School?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What line are you in?

What do you see when you look at this picture, destruction or progress? I asked my oldest grandson Jackson what he saw and he said, "I see destruction, progress shouldn't cause us to take a step back. I'm a tree hugger!" Just like that, he's only 17 and already he knows which line he stands in.

I'm not sure I was standing in lines at 17, I didn't even know my voice might make a difference. That's a little odd since I was a teenager in the 1960's when there was so much unrest. We'd watch the news before we'd sit down to dinner and every night it was the same thing, the war in Viet Nam and riots. We'd sit in silence as we watched, Walter Cronkite delivered the news with the seriousness it deserved. My brother was stationed near Bien Hoa, he served with the Army at the 101st Airborne Division. Bien Hoa Air Base was a major base 1961 through 1973, Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine units were there. In our house we supported the war. It was clear cut and like so many Americans we saw right and wrong in black and white. My Dad would just shake his head when they would show the protesters on TV. He truly, honestly didn't get it. That generation served their country in WWII, in fact my Dad, his brothers and his cousins couldn't wait to graduate so that they could enlist. It was the right thing to do. I'm glad Daddy didn't live to see the mess we are in right now, it would sadden his heart.

Somewhere along the way to 59, I did find my voice though and I haven't shut up. I know that I can make a difference in how I live, with what I buy and who I support. As the candidates start getting in line, I'm taking notes!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Photo courtesy of Jackson Reese Athey

This is one way you can tell the students are back in Fayetteville, another is having to wait through more than one light at intersections. We are spoiled to having easy commutes, anything that requires more than 10 minutes in Rogers or 20 minutes in Fayetteville gets us all upset. All of you who live in big cities can quit rolling your eyes now, it seems bad to us!

Another way you can tell the University is back in session are the "new" old hippies, they look like the "old" old hippies that I am familiar with from the 1960's. They embrace a laid back vegetarian lifestyle and celebrate independent living. "Live and Let Live," my Grandparents used to say. Those words come back to me just before I criticize.

Saturday mornings you can find a mix of all the things that make Fayetteville such a unique place to live at the Farmer's Market.

You never know who you'll run into at those Saturday morning Farmer's Markets!

*Fayetteville Farmers Market photos from MRSHfans Creative Commons on Flickr

Friday, August 19, 2011

Butch's Small Fortune

I have a retraction to make ~
Wednesday when I said that the Doling Park Pooch inherited millions, I misspoke. It wasn't was thousands, $98,500 to be exact. Accounting for inflation, that's more like $223,426 based on the
so it could still be considered a "Small Fortune!" One thing for sure, when Butch the Bulldog inherited the money in 1983 from his master William"Billy" Morrison, he was first in line for a
Real Gravy Train!

Some of Billy's heirs contested the will, but it was in writing, a trust fund had been set up and was overseen by caretaker Ruby Keen with a list of Butch's likes and dislikes. He had his own armchair where he liked to spend his days watching television and eating Kentucky Fried Chicken. Daily she filled his bowl with only ice water and took him for rides in a van that he also inherited. Nights he slept like a baby... in a baby bed!  The good life continued until 1992 when Butch went to that big dog park in the sky at the ripe old age of 12. At that point, the remaining funds went to the heirs, including Ruby who had cared for Butch lovingly through the years.

Who says loyalty is just a trait for dogs?

*Thanks to Buck Van Hooser on Facebook's Springfield, Missouri page for sharing a link to the Los Angeles Times article that appeared HERE.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ernie Something-or-other

School started this week and I've been thinking a lot about how my GRANDsons are coping. Jackson is starting his last year and Gavin his first year of middle school. Middle school is much like our junior high, that pivotal time when being cool was more important than food.

Pipkin Junior High, 1963, 7th grade and first period was P.E. That meant wearing those horrible, sleeveless blue gym rompers, they had elastic around the waist and legs so whether you were skinny or fat.. you looked awful in them! We were expected to have them clean on Monday mornings, STARCHED and PRESSED! Gym was my least favorite class and no matter how much time I had spent on my hair that morning, it was all undone in the 45 minutes of dodge ball, sit ups and jumping jacks. The remaining time was a quick shower that plastered my sweaty hair to my head and set me up for a miserable rest of my day.

The only thing that made life bearable was your best friends, the ones you walked to class with, the ones you ate lunch with and the ones who had your back when someone said something unkind. Mary Moore and I met at Boyd and for years she and I spent every waking moment at each others' houses or talking on the phone. Summers we played tennis and rode horses, I'm not sure which one I loved best! Once we were in Junior High, our interest swung to boys... mine to
Ernie Something-or-other
who wore a grey zip up sweater just like Paul McCartney. He was undoubtedly the cutest boy on the Planet, and his locker was only 3 down from mine. I had to walk past him every morning after P.E. and my heart would almost beat out of my chest with excitement. If he'd ever spoken, then I wouldn't be here to tell you about this.... I would have died on the spot! The fact that I looked so good when I got there each morning but I never saw him until after P.E. was one of those
 Life Isn't Fair Things.
I eventually met someone who had more going for him than a grey zip up sweater. He has that ability to make my heart skip a beat too, just like Ernie Something-or-other! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dog Inherits Millions

Friday nights we'd go to Katz out on Glenstone and then, if my brother and I were lucky and we'd been good all week, we'd go to the Doling Park Roller Rink. 

In the distance I could hear Gigglin' Gertie in front of the 'Funhouse.' She kind of creeped me out, she was a life size robot Fortune Teller who shook as she turned left to right, her eyes followed you! I don't think I ever put money in the machine, I would have peed my pants first! 

I couldn't wait to get inside the roller rink, rent my skates and get out on the old maple floors. Round and round we'd skate to the live organ music coming from the little glass booth up above the stands.

There's a new page on Facebook that I've been glued to since I found it last week...

You know your from Springfield, Mo. if...

Pictures and memories and even some untold stories that are filling in the blanks in my memory. This is how it looks on Facebook, read the entries and you will see why I'm hooked like a big fish...

My great-uncle/aunt ran the rink. Billy & Lillian. You really remember it if you knew Blackie! Broke my knee on that rink. Recall the original organ?? Gosh, I think that means I am old.
August 5 at 9:11am ·

Yes, yes its where I first went skating and I was so little I had to have my wheels locked so I could be walked around the rink by my aunts and cousins. Good times!
August 5 at 9:13am ·

Didn't Billy & Lillian's son or grandson take over the rink and they retired. I can't remember the guys name right now but I do remember he had a son and his name was Chris...
August 5 at 9:16am ·

I don't think they had any children. They are the ones that left their money to the dog. Made national news. Maybe Chris (?) was the son of their partners in the amusement park??
August 5 at 9:18am ·

Oh are right...I thought they were bad...I was on the speed skating team for a few years and Chris was on it also...from what I remember he thought he was God's gift to
August 5 at 9:20am ·


I knew a Kathy Blevins that figured skated there...and a redheaded gal whose name was Patricia...I went to the Saturday morning dancing lessons class...stayed for afternoon skating...then speed skating practice...then evening
August 5 at 9:25am ·
Memories in snipits, sometimes! funny

August 5 at 9:29am ·
Now I'm off to Google Billy and Lillian's dog who inherited millions, I missed that one!

Monday, August 15, 2011

When you don't have enough mantle for all the cards, when the phone doesn't stop ringing on your birthday, when your sister comes down the mountain to help you celebrate... you know you are blessed.

No one has to tell Aunt B. that she is a lucky woman. She has children who sing her praises and Grandchildren who worship the ground she walks on. She is the one who makes "Grandma Food" ... the one who serves one green salad, one fruit salad and one jello salad all in one meal just because she wants to make everyone's favorites!

Aunt B. is one of those people who savors life, she doesn't miss a thing. She fully participates in life, whatever it dishes out on her plate. From the time I met her 40 years ago she has been an inspiration to me, I've never met anyone who is so strong but so gentle.

She and Uncle George have made a little piece of Heaven here on Hackett Hill. This beautiful little patio is always cool and shady.

The path leads down to a wonderful place to sit...

...the perfect place to start or end their day.

Under these trees they gather their thoughts, whisper their prayers and count their blessings...

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