Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sky Watch #3 - Post 25

This photo was taken during my Memorial Day (May 26) visit to the Little Rock National Cemetery. The morning was balmy, the sky as you see it here, lots of blue with scattered clouds. Later in the afternoon, it rained -- hard! If you don't like the weather in Arkansas, just wait a few minutes!

Sky Watch Friday is hosted by Tom Wiggers. Please visit his web site to see wonderful photos from around the world.
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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008 - Post 24

Today, I accompanied my daughter and her family to the Little Rock National Cemetery, a beautifully kept veterans' cemetery and memorial garden. It it is in this place that my only brother, Edward Wilson Griffith, Captain, United States Army, was laid to his final earthly rest. I wrote about the day of his birth in an earlier post titled "April 10, 1941." I'm not quite ready to write about his death on May 11, 1969, at age 28. There remain too many things to tell that occurred between those two dates.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I'm Back! - Post 23

Hallelujah! The new computer is up and connected to the rest of the world. I still have some mundane software to install but... I have quickly visited all my favorite blogs and have put them back into my FEEDS. That, in itself, took well over an hour. Do I have too many feeds, you ask? I don't think so! Ha! (Yes, I had the good sense to write down the URLs for all of them from my other computer.)

For some reason, the sites I visited look different on this computer. I'm using the same Operating System, same monitor, and the same settings as far as I can determine. I don't know what's caused the difference; I'll adapt.

I invite you to visit Rhymes with Plague to see what a wonderful post he created today using my Sky Watch photos this week. If you like beautiful music at all, please follow his link to the YouTube recording of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Wonderful, wonderful!

I'm about ready to study the inside of my eyelids for a while. Good night to all! See you later.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend - Post 22

The flag of the United States of America pictured at left is a small tribute on my part to the many men and women who have given their lives to and in the service of this country. Neither politics nor the folly of war diminish in any way my thanks to those who, over the years of our country's history, have been put in harm's way, and who have paid the ultimate price. May you rest in eternal Peace.

OTHER THINGS: Thank you, everyone, for all the kind comments you've left on my blog postings. I truly appreciate your visits and the encouragement you've given. I've tried to visit as many of the multitude of this week's SKY WATCH FRIDAY entries as possible, and in all visits have left a comment in appreciation of the wonderful photos from around the world. I continue to be amazed and thankful for the vistas that have been opened to me through the Internet. If I haven't made it to your SWF post yet, please know that I plan to do so, Lord willing (see following paragraph.)

I am posting this just before taking down (forever) my old computer. It's been "acting up" for some days now, and my computer guru has diagnosed an imminent hard drive failure. He says I've been fortunate to stay "alive" (although not "well") as long as I have.

So... I've acquired a new computer and am now faced with the daunting task (for this old person, anyway) of first installing my DSL software so I'll have a connection to the outside world, and then all the other programs upon which I've come to depend. With good fortune, and a few prayers, I hope to be back in operation in the next day or so. Look for me when you see me coming!

Wishing everyone, everywhere, a nice weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sky Watch Friday - Post 21

I do love Arkansas sunsets! When they are quite colorful, there's usually a weather change ahead. It hasn't stormed or poured down rain for almost a week, so we're due for another round in the next few days, I suspect. In any event, I've finally learned to carry my camera with me all the time, just in case there is a pretty sunset. I walked out of church Wednesday evening to see such a sky. Since I didn't have time to make it to my favorite spot at my daughter's hilltop home before the sun disappeared , I drove to the nearest place to the church where I would have an open view of the western sky. Other than cropping, these photos are as they were captured by the camera within a minute or so of each other. Mother Nature is an amazing artist, and she works so quickly!
Sky Watch Friday is hosted by Tom Wiggers. Please visit his web site to see wonderful photos from around the world.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Father - Post 20

Today would have been my father's 122nd birthday. He was born on May 20, 1886, in Elk County, KS, first child and only son of his parents. He died at the age of 78, on January 8, 1965, when I was 31 years old.
I don't have many records of my father's early life. My mother was his second wife and early-years records may have remained with his first family. The first photo of my father that I have was taken when he was 18. Among the documents in my possession is his 8th grade report card of 1904; he was an exemplary student. The eighth grade was as far as the local educational system went, I suppose, but presented no barrier to his becoming a teacher. At some later date, he was the principal of the High School in another Kansas town. Our memory box contains several very formal studio portraits of the senior class students at that school, given to my father as mementos, I suppose. We have no idea who they are, but the portraits are lovely.
I believe that my father was raised in the Methodist denomination but at some point became a Baptist and a preacher. He later attended Texas Christian University and received a degree in Theology. He was by that time single, and was holding a good old fashioned "revival" at a small-town Texas Baptist church where my mother happened to be the pianist. The rest is history, as they say.
I have many tales to tell about my father, but this is enough for now.

I've been thinking about you today, Babba.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Odd Shot Monday # 1 - Post 19

Almost every Monday, my friend BG and I have lunch at the same local burger joint. At the table next to us today were an older couple accompanied by their only grandchild --and Bearsy, her constant companion, as we discovered. If having a teddy bear sitting at a restaurant table in her own chair isn't a conversation-opener, I don't know what would be. We had a delightful, if brief, conversation with the grandparents (and shy smiles from the child) and learned that Bearsy always sits at table with them, and always has her own meal --eventually consumed by Grandpa. Today, Bearsy was evidently famished, because that burger is almost bigger than she is. Bearsy was most agreeable when I asked politely if she would allow me to take a photo. This is my first "Odd Shot," taken just because it tickled my fancy to do so.

More Odd Shots can be found at Katney's Kaboodle and through comments to her own Odd Shot Monday post.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sky Watch Friday - Post 18

This is my first post on Sky Watch! I decided only this afternoon that I would try to participate. It was exciting, and a bit frustrating trying to find a good sky shot this evening, just before sundown, when most of the visible sky was overcast. This photo was taken from my daughter's home, which is located on one of the few high spots in our town of Jacksonville, Arkansas, enabling my camera to "over look" most of the city. A little cropping produced this photo.

Sky Watch Friday is hosted by Tom at Wiggers World . I invite you to visit his site to see some great Sky Watch photos from around the world.

Mothers' Day 2008 - Post 17

I had a lovely Mothers' Day with the two of my four children who were close to home on that day. My eldest daughter was taking a long-overdue vacation with her husband and having a good time in Gatlinburg, TN. My youngest daughter lives with her husband and son on the island of Okinawa, Japan. I had telephone calls from both on Sunday. Not quite like having them here, but much appreciated.

I enjoyed a wonderful Sunday dinner with my middle daughter and three of her four children after church, then shared an evening meal with my son and his family.

Edited 5/17/08: The photo is of four generations of my family gathered at my son's home: my son and his wife; their two daughters; the husband of the elder daughter and their two children; and some crabby old woman who insisted on being in the photo.

I am most pleased to have a four-generations snapshop; it's not often enough that we are all together, since my elder granddaughter and her family live in San Antonio, TX.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ooops! Addendum to Post 16

My links in Post 16 don't work! I received instructions from another blogger, and I'm sure I'm somehow not following her instructions correctly. I'll keep working on it. EDIT: ALL FIXED, I HOPE!

Photography - Post 16

I've been absent from this blog for a few days, but not absent from my computer. I've been traveling to many other parts of the U.S.A. and the world each day through the joyous discovery of Photo Blogs. Many of the sites I've visited can be found by clicking here: City Daily Photos . Other wonderful photography sites that have quickly become my favorites can be found in the sidebar on the right hand side of my blog.

There was a major downside to my marathon sitting and browsing , however, not limited to puffy ankles and total abandonment of daily housework. I am afraid that the sins of envy and covetousness entered my heart. I currently use a Kodak D4530 camera for all my photos, having only within the past two years abandoned film cameras. For any number of reasons, I really, really need to be content with what I have, but over the past few days I became convinced that, given a wonderful-state-of-the-art digital camera, I could be transformed in the blink of an eye into a wonderful photographer!

Sigh! What a delusion! I need to get over it, use what I have (point and click) to the best of my ability, and pray for forgiveness.

To say that I have taken a lot of photographs in my lifetime is an understatement. I have boxes and boxes of photos, some of which date back 60 years (and most of which need to be consigned to File 13.) I've been snapping one thing after another since one of my uncles gave me a Kodak Brownie camera in 1948; you know, the one with the square view-finder in the top. I'm sure my parents limited the amount of money I could spend on film, but I had a great time while it lasted, and a few black and white photos taken in those days have survived. Sadly, I have no remembrance what became of the camera.

One of things I always aspired to do was to take a photo that would be good enough to be in The National Geographic magazine. I (perhaps) have come close a couple of times in that I was completely satisfied with how the photo turned out. Both were taken with a Minolta SLR camera (now gathering cobwebs), and were complete accidents, since f/stops and shutter speeds were the same as Ancient Greek to me. Both those photos are on slide film (a passing fancy), and I have no idea how to convert them to a digital images.

I was browsing Digital Photo Challenge earlier this week and read that the person who took a winning photograph had taken one hundred ninety three (193) shots of the same thing before she came up with the one she entered in the challenge! Guess it was worth the effort; she was mightily pleased with her peer-conferred blue ribbon. If that's what it takes to be a wonderful photographer, I'd best just sit back and admire the work of others. Which reminds me -- I need to see if Abraham Lincoln , Hilary , and my French friend whose site name I cannot pronounce, have uploaded more wonderful photos!


Friday, May 9, 2008

And the Tree Came Tumbling Down - Post 15

My neighbor to the east of me is a pleasant woman. She and her pretty cat have been in residence for several months, and she tries to let me know if anything out of the ordinary is going to be going on at her place. Last week she told me that a crew of tree-trimmers would be working in her yard in a few days. Therefore, I was not surprised to hear the sound of a chain-saw at work this past Wednesday.
Later in the morning, while I was enjoying myself reading blogs and having a second cup of coffee, I was startled to hear a loud thud on my roof. Hmmm... that was not the pitter patter of squirrel feet, m'dear!
I went outside just in time to see another long branch fall to rest on my roof, and then watched in some unease as yet one more limb came crashing down across my chain link fence.
"We didn't hurt nothin'" the chain-saw-wielding one yelled down to me from my neighbor's roof. "No other way to get'er down."
It seems they were correct. There's no damage to my house or fence, but I was a bit unsure about it for a while. They carefully cleaned up any debris, and other than one really ugly, limbless, leafless tree by my neighbor's car port, it's hard to tell they were ever here. I'm hoping that tree will sprout some new leaves... soon.
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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Flowers 2- Jean's Photos - Post 14

My daughter, Jean, sent me these photos of plants from her yard. I don't know how she does it (special seed?), but outside her door she has a large clump of clover that contains more than the usual number of those with 4 leaves. She thinks, and I agree, that this photo would make a great jig-saw puzzle.

Photo 2 is a lovely iris. Sorry, don't know the variety; perhaps some reader can identify.

Photo 3 is a Clematis which has taken up residence in the boxwood hedge just off her front porch.

Thanks for sharing these with me, Jean. Love, Mom

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Booze in the Window - Post 13

I had lunch today after church with a woman who has been a fellow worshiper for about 5 years. Although I speak to CJ every Sunday, I find I'm just now really getting to know her. I am learning that she's an intelligent, delightful, multi-faceted individual -- and a great story-teller. We had a lovely, long lunch with lively conversation and lots of laughter. I repeat here one of the stories she shared.

At the time of this event, CJ was 6 years old and lived in a small southern Arkansas town; you know, one of those where everyone knows everyone... and everyone's business; not many secrets there. CJ's daddy was a deacon in his church (one of the teetotal denominations), and although everyone knew he was a deacon, come Christmas time, someone (not a church member, of course) would inevitably gift him with a bottle of bourbon. Being the good deacon that he was, the gift was never directly consumed, but would be given over to the care of their cook, who would store the bottle on top of the refrigerator then use it as flavoring for the next year's holiday fruitcake. The fruitcake was wrapped in cheesecloth, liberally soaked in the liquor, then put aside to "mature" until the holiday meal. [I happen to be quite fond of southern fruitcake, but cannot think of anything worse to do to it than drench it in bourbon, the flavor of which I find overwhelming!]

After this year's fruitcake making, CJ and her best girl friend, being of a curious nature, decided they needed to sample some of the remaining whiskey. They pulled up a chair to stand on, retrieved the bottle, got two small glasses from the cupboard and poured about a finger of whiskey in each. They didn't actually drink the stuff, she said, but instead stuck their tongues into the glasses for "a taste." One tongue-full was more than ample; they spewed and snorted and poured the contents of their glasses down the drain. Thinking they heard an adult approaching, and not wanting to be caught with the bottle, CJ grabbed it and ran to the living room. Seeking a hiding place, she placed it behind the curtains in the room's bay window.

[You know what's coming, don't you?]

About an hour later, the neighbor across the street telephoned CJ's mother. She told her she might want to check the front window, because there was something in there which was causing motorists to really slow down as they passed.

Now, CJ is younger than I, although not by many years, but she clearly remembers the tongue-lashing she received from both her parents. Mother was horrified and mortified; Daddy was distinctly distressed. She did not say if the discipline she received was more than verbal.

I'm looking forward to our next long lunch.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Bad Weather - Post 12

My daughter-in-law arrived at my home this morning during a heavy rain storm, accompanied by her daughter and her two young grandchildren, who are visiting here from San Antonio. They didn't leave home in the rain, but it was coming down buckets by the time they arrived. After a lot of kissing and cootchy-cooing (on my part), getting the baby out of the car seat, helping them shake out umbrellas and finding a spot for their damp shoes, we settled down to look at photos of my granddaughter's new home in SA.

In the midst of our conversation, my granddaughter's cell phone buzzed; it was her husband, calling from a tornado shelter at Jefferson, AR, approximately 50 miles south of where I live. He is working for a few weeks at The National Center for Toxicological Research which is located there. In Arkansas, where they are installed, tornado warning sirens will (and should) get your attention! He and others from the NCTR had been evacuated into a place of relative safety; he was calling to alert his wife to the possible impending danger to our area and to assure her that he was safe.

I don't watch TV during the day, and didn't have a radio on, either. Rain, especially lately, even when accompanied by a few thunder claps, is simply "rain." However, as soon as I heard her say "tornado," the TV was turned on to the channel which has the best weather reporting. We were relieved to see that where we live (NE of Little Rock) was not in the tornado warning area, even though we were, by then, experiencing very, very heavy rainfall, and moderate-to-strong wind gusts.

However, sad, sad news for other parts of the state: six confirmed deaths, many injuries, and untold hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in damage to property. As far as I'm able to tell at this point, the nearest tornadic touch-downs were about 60 miles to the northwest and 60 miles to the north of here. TV remote crews were on-site in two of the hardest hit locations, and the video footage tells their tragic stories to those of us who are fortunate to sit in dry and unscathed homes.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those who suffered losses today.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Flower 1 - Post 11

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As seen outside the restaurant where I had lunch this past Sunday. (A quick edit: this is a Peony blossom, one of several large blooms on the bush, and is over 6" across. I took photos of all of them; this one was best.)

The Summer of '41 - Post 10

I guess I might have titled this post "The Summer of '42," but that particular string of words has already been used and, besides, that's not when all this stuff happened.

The months following the birth of my brother were full of activities. The ones I recollect were:
* Mama created a small garden for my sister Meg and planted lettuces.
* Said lettuces were just coming up nicely when Colonel Henry decided that particular spot was where he was going to plant his new rose bush, and he summarily tore out the lettuce. Meg cried a lot. Mama got mad.
* The aforementioned Col. Henry decided that Eddie cried too much at night (he had colic I was told in my later years -- Eddie, not Col. Henry) and evicted us from the ground floor apartment in his home.
* We moved into a second story apartment a few blocks away in the home of a lovely couple, Mr. and Mrs. Carrington; lots more space, but a lot of going up and down stairs.
* I don't recall ever seeing Mrs. Carrington without her apron on, but that was OK because she made wonderful cookies!
* The Carrington's small Chihuahua dog bit the heck out of Daddy's leg when he came home one night after dark. Tore Daddy's trousers, too. I remember a lot of hollering -- and blood.
* Meg got pneumonia and couldn't go to Kansas with Daddy and me. Meg cried a lot.
* The morning Daddy and I left for Kansas, Mama let me have my first cup of coffee, liberally laced with cream and sugar, so I could "stay awake and help Daddy drive."
* The highway we traveled from Las Vegas, NM to Grandma's farm passed through Garden City, Kansas. Daddy told me stories about the towns we passed through, but I don't remember them. I just remember the name Garden City.
* It was really, really hot in Kansas that summer; I was allowed to crawl out the bedroom window onto the roof and sleep on a pallet, along with older cousins who were in residence at the time.
* I nearly chopped off the big toe on my right foot with one of Grandma's sharply-honed garden hoes while I was trying to chop "sticker-weeds" out of the front yard (which was all dirt and sticker weeds, no grass.) I cried.
* Grandma stuck my foot into a can of kerosene to staunch the bleeding and prevent infection. I cried a lot.
* I got to lie on Grandma's bed in a little alcove downstairs. I cried some more.
* Daddy went to the store in Fall River for supplies, and brought back a small white paper sack about half-full of lemon-drops candy. I quit crying.
* I sucked on lemon-drops until the hard sugar crystals on the outside made my tongue sore. I don't recall sharing any of them with my cousins. I still love lemon drops.