Friday, April 30, 2010

School Pictures

A few weeks ago some of my blog pals played a little game in which they posted pictures of their classes when they were in elementary school, maybe fourth or fifth grade (here and here). I couldn't join in at the time, since 1) photography had not yet been invented when I was in grade school, and 2) all my non-digitalized pictures were fourteen hundred miles away, a bit inaccessible.
By the time I was in high school there did exist yearbooks, and the page reproduced here is from my first year. Yes, that is the entire freshman class. I was really hesitant to post this simply because of the dorkiness level. Oh, my.
A few months ago, I had the privilege of seeing two of these people at an all-school reunion. (One lives in Kansas, the other in Colorado.) Present were many other people I went to school with in ancient days. Upper classmen, don't you know. Howard I hear from occasionally. He lives in Oregon. The others? I haven't a clue.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Once Proud Marque

Ransom E. Olds founded Oldsmobile in 1897. As a susidiary of General Motors, it was laid to rest on April 29, 2004. The last Oldsmobile came off the assembly line six years ago today. In its 107 years of operation, Olds produced over thirty-five million automobiles.

What young man of my generation did not dream of an "88"? And how many of us "settled" for Chevys and Fords? The "98" was always "old people" transportation. When I was about 23, I had a friend who owned a '52 Olds 98. He had to make a trip of about400 miles, and he borrowed my '50 Ford for the excursion, since he didn't think his car reliable enough; and he knew it was too costly to operate.

Cutlass: It's not your father's Oldsmobile.

But, In memory of Oldsmobile: It was a ride while it lasted.

Setting the Pace, William Hardner Foster, 1909.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Greer Lake

On April 15, I mentioned in the post that we had stayed at Greer Lake near Choctaw, Arkansas. I even mentioned that it was a beautiful setting. But unbelievably, this is the only shot I snapped in the park. This pine bloom was only one of thousands, but this picture just seemed to frame itself in my viewfinder. I like it. Unedited.

© 2010 David W. Lacy

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Just for fun, trying to learn some of the features of my photo "edit" modes. Standing on the west side of the street in Rockport, I aimed my point-and-shoot Canon 520 at the buildings across the street. This panorama is four shots, covering an entire block. Camera was handheld; used "stitch" feature on ZoomBrowser EX. What fun. If only there was time enough to learn all the things one might do.

Monday, April 26, 2010

They Do Grow Up

Nostalgia: Leafing through an old album, I found this image. It was taken at the annual in-our-backyard Easter Egg Hunt in 1995. This brought back memories, and offered me a perfect opportunity to give you an update on some of the grandchildren. This picture shows ten of my eleven grandkids at that time present for the festivities.
In front, white jacket is Jennifer. She is now a high school student and a cheerleader. To her right and your left is her sister Elizabeth who is a high school senior and has finally made her college choice after a very thorough, intense and harrowing set of visitations and serious consideration of her needs. She will be a freshman at Indiana University this fall.

Second row, left to right. Jeremy who is currently a student at Ivy Tech. Jordan is a production worker and the father of three children. Sheena is in the USArmy. Tasha is the mother of two children. Jeffery is at sea with the USNavy. David is the father of two. He has served a tour of duty in Iraq and is a city police officer. Janelle is the mother of three. The tall guy in back is Matthew who is an audio technician and the father of one little girl.
Note: Color coding indicates siblings.
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Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Job Interview

My friend, Chuck, at Secondary Roads posted a story about an interview he conducted with a prospective employee. Fun read, and it brought to mind an interview I had several years ago.

We had had a resignation from one of the elementary music teachers. As per standard procedure, the vacancy was first posted within the school system; then the notice of position available was posted at selected colleges and universities.

We had received several applications and resumes.  I had selected four applicants to invite to interviews. In fact, I had already seen two very well qualified applicants when I received a phone call from a young lady who lived in a remote part of the state, 120 or so miles from our school. She had just seen the post at the university of which she was a graduate, and would be delighted to bring her curriculum vitae with her when she came to interview. I told her that the application date had expired, and we were already well into the interview process. She, in her bright and well-educated manner, assured me that she knew for a certainty that she was just the person for the job, and I did not want to miss the opportunity of a lifetime. I relented, granted her an interview date.

Zelda (may I call her "Zelda"? writing "the young lady" repeatedly would get tedious) arrived exactly two minutes before the appointed time. Good. I like punctuality. I find "too early" to be almost as annoying as "late." My admin assistant ushered her into my office and made the introductions. Zelda, beaming smile in place, stepped forward, offering me her hand. Her handshake was firm, holding on neither too long nor too briefly. Good. I like her already.

As Zelda was seated in the guest chair, I observed that she was dressed professionally, a quite pleasant appearance with nothing out of place. Stylish, too. I'd tell you all about the Louis Vuitton accessories, the Manolos and so on, but I wouldn't recognize any of that if I saw it.

Note to self: Really need to cut to the chase; this is getting quite long, and the story hasn't even started.

As I glanced through her resume, I asked the leading questions, background, training, basis for choice of career. You know, carefully avoiding the questions one is "not allowed to ask." Zelda assured me that she loved children, had been very successful academically and was avidly looking forward to moving into our music program and sharing her expertise with our kids.

I asked Zelda what musical instruments she played. "Oh," she said, "I don't play." "But," I said, "you do play piano, don't you?" Well, no, she doesn't. I asked how, then, would you expect to teach music wherein not only accompaniment to singing is expected, but the basis for an understanding of musical concepts is to be taught? Oh, Zelda brightly assured me, I would use records.

Trust me, I wanted to ask, "Can you play a phonograph?" But I didn't. As suavely as I could and with the use of as little time as necessary, I got her out the door and on her way home. I did offer her a few words of kind professional advice, and I hope she took them to heart. I do hope, as well, that she has had a happy and productive life. Just not teaching music to elementary students.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jon's a Blogger?

How straightforward is your profile? Did you pad it up to make yourself look good? Don't we all?
Truth: I have read the profiles of the people whose blogs I read; and it is my observation that most writers are self-deprecating, if anything. It is more likely that the blogger is much more brilliant, a much more accomplished writer and observer of the human condition, a much more well-rounded individual than the profile might lead you to believe. But read a blog for a while, and you will get a sense of the person, regardless of what is written in the bio.
Then, of course there are the "Jons" of the blogosphere; but they are easily identified.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April Flowers

Juniper--- Dianthus--- Lilac
Crabapple--- Bradford pear--- Redbud
Holly--- Flowering plum--- Tulips

The sun was well up and I had had a second mug of coffee.
Before I picked up sticks, mowed the lawn or otherwise turned a wheel,
I with camera in hand took a stroll around the yard.
I am a believer: Spring is real.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mountain Folk Crafts Revisited

I mentioned in our travelogue that we had spent a day at Mountain View Arts Center. The craftsmen at work were the real focal point of the excursion. Pictured here is a broom maker at work. This was particularly interesting to me as the man's patter was every bit as fascinating as his craftsmanship. Too, the fact that I know a little bit about the horticulture of broom corn gave me an opportunity to interact with the man. The gentleman's products are for sale. They are not cheap; and after watching him construct this beauty, I fully understand why. The broom is guaranteed for life, provided 1) you don't leave it where it will be eaten by an animal, 2) you don't use it too close to an open fire, and 3) you can get the original broomstick back to him to be rebroomed.
Among some of the other truly fascinating craftspeople we watched were a knife maker, a furniture builder, a seamstress, a quilter, a potter, a wood carver and many more.

Here I captured a real Arkansan (Arkansawyer?) taking a bit of a respite from the arduous task of walking up and down the hills. Mostly, I think, to provide comfort and assistance to the contingency of folk he had brought with him to the festival.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Short Story

We are home safely. Good drive on a sunny day; colder here than we've seen it anywhere for a while (46F); but the grass is long, just as we expected it would be.

There is much to do. Picking up fallen branches, mowing, turning some earth. Unloading the RV, scrubbing it down, inside and out. Get off the Texas pollen, the Arkansas dust, the accumulation of the 'stuff' in the nooks and crannies we missed while we were having winter fun. Oh, and laundry. All the clothes we carted along with us. (Yes, we did laundry every week while we were gone; but now everything needs to be done.)
P.S. When I got up this morning, it was in the thirties. Now that's just rude! ;>)

Arts and Crafts

The axe from BBBH to the target!
Dateline: Mountain View, Arkansas
17 April 2010
Today was the day for arts and crafts in Stone County. The visit to the center was rewarding. All pictures taken at the Arts Center, except for the image of the Stone County Courthouse.
We are on the road again, overnighting at West Plains, Missouri.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Safe in the Ozarks

Dateline: Choctaw, Arkansas 6:50 PM 15 April 2010

We concluded our visit in Longview, and we were on the road by 9:40 this morning. We had lunch in Hope, Arkansas. I waited while Princess Nikkipikkilot went back to her hunter/gatherer roots. (Roots. Get it?) As she walked the dog in a weed patch behind the restaurant, she pulled wild turnips for the soup. Oh, boy. And then.

Then we got back on I-30 and drove a short while before all traffic eastbound came to a screeching halt. For the next ninety minutes or so, we got about 65 yards to the gallon. Yet even bad things come to an end and finally traffic was flowing again.

We arrived at Conway at 4:25 and filled with petrol. Well, "filled" these days is a joke at most stations, as they cut the flow off at seventy-five bucks. Of course, one could start over, but one doesn't. He stifles his irritation and grumbles his way back into the driver's seat. The upside: with somewhat less than a full tank, the fuel consumption may, I say may, be infinitesmally better. But I can't prove that. Most of the rig operators I talked to over time assured me that when I traded the 460 V-8 for a V-10 I would get better mileage. I think they are right. It appears to be about ten to twelve percent better, but when one is operating on a base of 8 mpg, that's not a heck of a lot. But grateful for the small benefits I receive. I've stopped looking for large ones.

Anyway, we had a dickens of a time finding a campsite, and in fact stopped at one that had a rather large contingency of RVers parked there, but it had no shower house. But a nice young lady there advised us to press on to Choctaw, where, she said there was a nice campground. And she was so right. This facility is operated by the Corps of Engineers, and thus my Golden Eagle Passport gave us full rights to usage for $8.50. Cannot beat that. Well, unless someone is giving stuff away.

This is a beautiful place on Greer Lake (what do you think the Corps was doing, anyway?) The camper pads are paved and generally level, so we are happy as, oh, say, very tired campers right at the moment.

Tomorrow is another day and we are looking forward to seeing Carl and Bernardine who live a hoot'n a holler and a couple axhandles on up the road.
Dateline: Leslie, Arkansas
9:10 PM 16 April 2010
We made the trip on this fabulously beautiful Friday to Chez C et B which is located in the middle of mountainous Arkansas splendor, twelve miles from the junction of Nowhere Road and You Cain't Get There from Here Lane. We had the grand tour around the three abundantly wooded acres; we petted the horse and the dogs. Then, of course, we seated ourselves around the table for a game of Spades. After that, Carl grilled steaks and Bernardine prepared the rest of a bounteous and delicious dinner. Following the repast, guess what we did! Another game of Spades.
We visited in the awesome outdoors for a time, listening to the singing of the frogs in the property pond and watching darkness slowly swallow up the world. Then to our respective places for a night's rest before a day of celebration in the Ozarks. (We are going to Mountain View to attend a folk celebration.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Joe Btsplk

I have been acquainted with any number of people over the years who could well have carried the name of this Al Capp character. Pronounce it, no, probably not, but live up to it, yes, certainly.

Like this lovable little pinned-together character, these folk go around with a rain cloud as a constant companion. An observation that I have made is that in a good many of these "cases" there is no provision made for the impending rain. They carry no umbrella, probably don't own one and if they did, they wouldn't know where they last put it down.

Now, generally speaking, I like people. I feel for the misfortunes that befall even those with whom I'm not acquainted. But while we may not live in a victim-less society, it is certainly the case that there are more instances of self-inflicted misfortune than most people like to own. Many of the people I have observed are near and dear to me, yet their ills are more often than not brought upon themselves by their own choices and behaviors. I could go on and on. Just saying.

He doesn't have sense enough to pound sand in a rathole. --Dad's second-favorite saying. (The pronoun is interchangeable with "she." And with "they" and "you" combined with "don't" instead of "doesn't.")

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Extreme Northeast Texas

A beautiful Tuesday evening in Jacksonville, Texas. Eighty degrees and sunny, though the sun is ten degrees from the horizon and will soon take its nightly rest.

We drove a mere 350 miles today, getting away from Rockport at ten a.m. We had a bbq lunch in Schulenburg then pounded on down highways 77 and 79 until our stop at six in the evening. We have walked around the park, BBBH is fixing potato soup, Cookie is resting (he's almost always resting these days, unless someone invades his space).

This will no doubt be published after an addendum which will include tomorrow's adventures, for we are so deep in the piney woods that we have no internet. ttfn.

Wednesday night, relatively late (for me). We drove to Longview this morning and after grocery shopping and lunch at a pizza store, we arrived at Cousins Eunice and Vern's house about two p.m. Also visiting there were Cousins Martha and John, so we had a very nice time rehashing old times. (Old people do that.) We all went out to dinner at a very nice Mexican restaurant. Very nice. And the food was delicious, too.

After John and Martha left for their drive back to Dallas, we visited a while longer then repaired to the RV for the night. There I lucked upon an open connection within range, hence this update is now on its way to you! Nitol

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Coal Miner's Daughter

Loretta Webb Lynn was born on April 14, 1934*. I am making no attempt here to provide a biographical sketch, nor am I listing her accomplishments. This has been done abundantly and much better than I could do it. Suffice it to say that this is a lady whom I greatly admire and respect.

Loretta and I went to different schools together. In different states. Which is just my way of saying that we are contemporaries, having been born in the same year (or not).

Happy Birthday, Ms. Lynn.

*Or, it is claimed (AP, 5/18/12) 1932.  Does it matter?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Beach Once More

Our last full day before heading to the Northland. On the way to Port A, we had lunch at The Big Fisherman. Talapia stuffed with crabmeat, served on a bed of rice with popcorn shrimp and broccoli, along with five deep fried shrimp. Mmmm! Cannot beat seafood on the Texas coast.

The ferry ride across to the island was accomplished without delay, and we did see dolphins cruising the channel.

It was very windy on the beach. The gulls were begging, as usual, and the group we saw here were almost intimidated by them. Two young men were kiteboarding, a very fascinating thing to watch, for while the wind was blowing pretty much parallel to the shoreline, they would make a run way out into the sea then return to almost exactly the point where they started. Must be fun. If you are young and fit, that is.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Christmas is Coming!

Only 256 days until Christmas!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

It is Well

"When peace like a river attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say 'It is well, it is well with my soul'.

"And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul." --Horatio G. Spafford

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fauna and Flora

Enjoying some of the beauties of nature that surround us. Someone once said, "A squirrel is just a rat that knows how to dress." Be that as it may, I find the squirrels in these surroundings to be fascinating. This particular one was posing on a branch about four feet above our "front" door. Most of them do not spook easily, but will move off a bit when one gets within six feet or so. One of our neighbors who is from Renton, Washington and occupies the same lot here in Texas every winter has befriended these furry little beasts. He feeds them regularly. Some of them will eat from his hand, and one or two of them will walk across his shoulders.
How many flowers have you observed lately that are more flamboyant or more beautiful than the one pictured here? Yes, it is a thistle and since they are considered to be "weeds" most of the ones we see are along the roadsides rather than in yards and gardens. Go figure.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Park Neighbors

Directly across the lane from us, Bob and Jan from Hawkins, Michigan are camped. Don't bother looking for it on the map, unless you have a very old map, says Jan. They live fulltime in their RV and have travelled extensively around North America.

The RV is a 1946 model Trailmobile trailer which they have turned into a very interesting and commodious home to suit their travel needs. It is towed by a 1965 White 3000, which while they are camped, serves as their transportation around the area. Jan and Bob maintain a blogsite here on which you may learn about the "Little Green Truck" and follow their travels.
Thursday morning we scootered over to "The Red Barn," where we met Bob and Jan for breakfast. The cook/proprietor could probably justly be described as "an old hippie," though he isn't really old in the sense that I am old. He waited on us, regaled us with tales from his past, gave us a "tour" of the building, the interior walls of which had been painted in tromp l'oeil by
another o.h. friend. Then he cooked our orders. Example: I had six beautiful and delicious half-slices of French toast and two large patties of sausage. Cost: $3.00.
The Little Green Truck pulls out this morning, on its way to a truck show three or four hours up the road.
Safe travels, Jan, Bob, Grizzly Dog and Green Truck!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Chief Noc-A-Homa

Born February 5, 1934, Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron hit his 715th homerun on April 8, 1974 to break the record held by the legendary Babe Ruth, thus adding to his own legendary status in the world of baseball. This feat occured in the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Mr. Aaron was facing Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers and put the shot into the left field bullpen.

On season opening day this week, Aaron threw out the first pitch at Turner Field in Atlanta for the ceremonial start of the game in which the Braves defeated the Cubbies. Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron hit 733 of his 755 career home runs while playing for the Braves.
Mr. Aaron is currently a Senior Vice-president with the Braves organization.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bobby Bare

Robert Joseph Bare was born April 7, 1935 in Ironton, Ohio. His son, Bobby Bare, Jr., is also a musician.

Bare has placed his works on the charts, both country and pop, even reaching number 1.

Happy 75th Birthday, Mr. Bare!

(1976, the world's only Christian football waltz.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Park Pond

There is a nice little pond on the property here. I enjoy walking out onto the peninsula, sitting on a park bench and listening to the bullfrogs as I watch the birds. In addition to the egrets and grackles, there are several whistling ducks that have claimed this as their home.

Black-bellied whistling duck.

The grackles seem to be ubiquitous throughout Louisiana and South Texas. They are a sight during breeding season, the way the cock blows himself up to twice his normal size. This appears to me that it would intimidate rather than attract the nondescript little hen, which is only half his size in any event. But each season brings forth a new generation of grackle. Raucus.
Boat-tailed grackle

The duck and the egret are not facing off. In fact, they seem to rather enjoy one another's company.

Monday, April 5, 2010

March Madness in April

Loud and Proud. How can you not like a team like the one Butler fielded in the NCAA tournament? Well done, Gentlemen!
--Vanilla, MS '64 Butler University

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Joyous Easter!

"He isn't here! HE is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen." -Matthew

"The resurrection tidings are far and away the most astonishing news to ever break across the tired, old face of this earth." -Gardner C. Taylor

" The Easter resurrection is the ultimate reason why failure and crosses need not intimidate us." -Ed Hird

"It is hard to imagine anything less hopeful than the sight of a burial. When the body of Christ was taken down from the cross, wrapped in a clean linen cloth and laid in a new tomb hewn out of the rock, how many who looked on had the faith to hope that inside three days this dead Man would be walking again among men and women, alive forevermore? But so it came to pass. Aaron's rod budded. The leafless tree on which the Savior died sprang into bloom. What had been stark death before became life at the touch of God, and the gallows became the gate to everlasting life.

"One thing the resurrection teaches us is that we must not trust appearances. The leafless tree says by its appearance that there will be no second spring. The body in Joseph's new tomb appears to signify the end of everything for Christ and His disciples. The limp form of a newly-dead believer suggests everlasting defeat. Yet how wrong are all these appearances. The tree will bloom again. Christ arose the third day according to the Scriptures, and the Christian will rise at the shout of the Lord and the voice of the archangel.

"Faith can afford to accept the appearance of defeat, knowing the true believer cannot be defeated finally. 'Because I live, you also will live.' That is the message of Easter. What a blessed message for the whole world if men would only believe it." -Aiden Wilson Tozer

Easter: The Greatest of Holidays.