Thursday, May 05, 2016


Forty-two years ago this afternoon, Jilda and I got married on the front porch of the preacher's house in Brewton, Alabama.

Like most everybody who sticks it out, there were some hard times.  During those first few years, I'm not sure our parents on either side thought we would stay together. But on the road of life, we managed to keep it between the RC signs.

Looking back, it's not worth wasting energy trying to remember the bad times. All I can say at this juncture, is that I'm glad we found a way.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Mystery of the bowl

This morning all the bowls we use from day to day were sloshing around in the dishwasher so I'd pulled this one from the top shelf and mindlessly poured it full of flakes, milk, and honey.

As I ate eating the raisin bran, I fretted because I didn't have a viable  idea for my column this week. So I munched dejectedly staring at nothing in particular when the bowl containing the serial came
into focus.

Slowly turning the bowl, I realized it was exactly like to bowl from which I ate corn flakes when I was a kid. It wasn't the same bowl, I knew that, but it was a twin.

Where did it come from? Was it somehow vibrating at a frequency just outside my visual range which kept it cloaked until this very moment?

I called to Jilda and asked her where it came from and she said it had belonged to her mother. Apparently we've had the bowl for many years. How could that be that I'd never noticed it?

I pride myself on being observant and "seeing things," but in reality, I think I've been walking around asleep.

All afternoon I've been opening cabinets, pulling our drawers and looking on shelves taking stock of what's here.

Maybe the bowl finally appeared to provide a topic for a future column.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Road less traveled

Many years by this time, it's hotter than Satan's shovel here. But this year has been different. Cold fronts have moved rain further south and as they move off to the southeast, they leave incredible skies and San Francisco temperatures. I could get used to it.

Today, I had coaching sessions in Pickens County. It's over a hundred miles down there. I clicked on the GPS on my phone and let it take me the road less traveled.  Several times I had to pull over and snap pictures.

One of my attendees stood me up, but the other one was delightful and we spent a few hours honing her job search plan.

It was a beautiful day to be alive.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Miltary Days

I opened a wooden jewelry box this week that has been a fixture on my desk for 40 years. I was looking for an old pocketknife, but what I found was a piece of paper that represented a milestone in my life.

The jewelry box was a gift I bought myself in Panama in 1972. It came from a duty-free shop that smelled of sandalwood incense and cedar. The box is perfect for storing small things I want to keep but no longer use that often. A firebird necklace Jilda bought me as a birthday present in the 1980s is in there along with an old leather wallet that I didn’t want to throw away.

It was in the wallet where I last remembered seeing my DD-214, which is an official document that Uncle Sam gave me signifying I served honorably in the U.S. Army. One of the last things an Army official told me as I walked away from Fort Sumter, South Carolina was, “Hold on to this, it’s important.”

Flipping open the tired old wallet, I saw the document still tucked beneath the picture holder. It was tissue-thin and yellow from age. When I unfolded it, there were holes in the corners where the folds met. Holding it between thumb and forefinger, it looked like a crocheted handkerchief my great grandmother made.

June 1971
I moved closer to the bedroom window to get a closer look. I was in the Army from April 1971 to April 1973. Gently folding the document, I tucked it back into the slot where I’d found it and placed it back in the cedar box.

Reflecting on my time in the military, I can say without hesitation that serving was an honor, and it changed my life.

I sometimes wonder what our country would be like if the draft were still in effect. I guess if it were, both men and women would be pressed into service.

From experience I can tell you that time in the Army did me a world of good and changed my point of view. I got a chance to see other parts of the world and do things I would never have done had I not been drafted.

Many of my friends served in Southeast Asia, and they had a harder time than me, but getting drafted, when viewed from this vantage point, was a good thing for me.

My military service gave me a leg up when applying for jobs, loans and college.

But things are different now. It’s hard to know how young folks would do in the military. Most of the young people I know are tech-savvy, and the military is high-tech, so I’m betting it would be a good fit in most cases but who knows.

Having said this, I do believe that we would look at world conflicts differently if military service was compulsory. I think we would be less willing to send our troops in harm’s way if we had sons, daughters, and grandchildren in the military.

Things look different when you have skin in the game.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

How does your garden grow

The garden is looking beautiful. We'd fretted that the squash wouldn't come up because there was a gully washer came the day after we planted the garden, but today when I stepped down, they had bounced out of the soil ready for action. 

We planted several tomato plants in the garden, but we planted two cherry tomato plants in pots that we'll tend from the back deck. I'd like to put a time-lapse camera on them for about 8 hours because I'm sure I could see them grow.

The sunflowers also shot up in the last few days. We've had incredible luck with sunflowers over the years. Once they start blooming, they' have bowls of sunshine on every stalk. 

The inside of the house will look like summer until fall when frost nips them. Below is a photo from last year.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Festival Season begins

Twenty years ago we would have played the Natchez Trace Festival and accepted the invitation from
one of the folks there to come to their farmhouse for an all-night pickin' party. But today, it was all Jilda and I could do to drag our rear ends of the car when we got home this evening.

We always have a great time. One of the sound guys said, "We have a woman who loves your music and wants to play the harmonica on one of your songs." We've had these offers in the past and some of them turned out badly, but the folks in Kosciusko have been so kind to us, we agreed.

We played one of our songs in the key of G, and though she'd never heard the song before, played it like a professional. Both Jilda and I were blown away.

I know it will be an early night tonight for both of us. I hope your weekend has been a good one so far.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Gig Face

Jilda and I have been getting our gig faces on this week. We've practiced hard this week. A funny thing about practicing any particular skill. You work for months without noticeable improvement and then without warning you can do things you could not do before.

I know my blog buddy Joe over at Cranky Old Man can identify. He's a guitar player too and I'd be willing to bet he's experienced this same experience.

Over the coming months, we will play somewhere almost every week. Several of you have asked about us posting videos. We've done a few but I haven't been that happy with most of them. We now have the equipment and software to make that happen and it is my intention to put something together over the coming weeks.

It was a beautiful morning here, but storms moved in this evening making our dogs crazy. I'm asking the vet for doggie downers so that we can sedate them next time storms are forecast. I did manage to shoot a picture of the rhododendron that lives next to the house. It's one of my favorite plants.

Have a great weekend.

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