Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Report

I worked a wonky shift today at the college. The early part of my shift began at 7 a.m., but I left at 11 to check my great nephew, Jordan out of school. It was a ghost town at the elementary school.

When I buckled him into the seat of my truck, he was CRANKED. He'd done his research and watched several YouTube videos on what to expect. Even though he's only starting the 4th grade this year, he's reading above the 9th-grade level. When his reading scores returned he ranked in the 99 percentile in the U.S. He was eclipse savvy.

The glasses I ordered from Amazon the first of August were unusable. After they shipped, Amazon sent me an email and said they could be defective and not to use them. They refunded my money. But by the time the glasses shipped, all the local places were out of glasses. A friend I went to high school with read me post on Facebook and offered to send me two pairs of her glasses. They arrived in time. I was thrilled and thankful.

Jilda doesn't go into work until after 2 p.m. on Mondays, so she whipped up lunch. Baked organic chicken, baked potatoes, and fresh tomatoes. Yum.

The moon started munching on the sun before we ate. Jordan and I sat on the back deck and provided play by play updates on the event. 

Not only did we have glasses, but I helped him build a crude pin-hole viewing device. We'd also heard on the Weather Channel that you could use a colander to view the event.

So as the moon had its way with Ol' Sol, we tried each of the viewing devices. Jilda and her brother Ricky (Jordan's pawpaw) stepped out and viewed the celestial performance. 

The daylight began to dim about midway through. Birds began scurrying from bush to bramble like the do at dusk. The rooster crowed, and the chickens began making their way toward the roost.

The eclipse was not total here, but it was around 94%. We couldn't see the stars like they could a few hours north of here, but the light was eerie. 

When the sun began reclaiming its light, Jordan and his pawpaw headed home. They called me a few minutes after they left. "You have to come down and see the pinhole effect of the light through the trees on the road that runs by our houses.

When I walked toward Jordan's house, I saw thousands of crescent quarter moon lights on the asphalt. I'd never seen anything like it. 

Jordan knew they would be there before he headed back home. Apparently, that was one of the YouTube videos he watched. 

 So that's my eclipse day. How about you?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Uncool day

Jilda and I were sitting on the sofa reading the Sunday papers. The temp outside was 96ish. Just then, the lights went off and the ceiling gently whirred to a stop. Crap. The power went off.

I called the power company and the recording said the power should be on. I'm glad they don't actually record the conversations because at this point I said some unkind things to that machine.

A little over an hour later, I heard the power truck driving up and down the road. They do this every time looking for the source of the problem. Sometimes it's a limb on the lines down beyond us in the bottoms. And, sometimes I think a squirrel poots on the transformer and it goes off.

At any rate, he drove by the house a couple times and the power still didn't come back on.

I got in my truck and drove up the road slowly. I know which pole the fuse is on. When it blows, our power is off until it's reset. He was standing at the pole when I got there and tried to reset the fuse, but it blew again. The problem still existed.

A while later, our power came on and I thought the problem had been resolved. But a while later I saw the power guy walking behind my house and toward the neighbor's house. I walked out back to speak with him.

Apparently, our elderly neighbor's power was still off. He said the transformer behind the neighbor's house had blown and since they couldn't get a boom truck back there, they would have to do it by hand.

I said, "Why don't you drive the boom truck down our barn road and drive it over there. This is my property and whatever it takes to get her power back on, it's OK with me." He said, "Barn road?"

I walked back and showed him how to drive the massive truck down our little road, and through the fields so that they could drive into her yard.

I could see relief spread across his face.

A few minute ago, I looked out the garden door and a truck the size of Rhode Island was driving through our field.

Hopefully, they'll have her power on soon.

I hope your day has been cool.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


We did the wedding tonight. We did cover songs we'd never done before. We practiced till our fingers were raw trying to get the songs right. We play a lot of coffee houses and festivals.  When you play a great deal, it's not uncommon to make a mistake every now and then. But a wedding...A wedding is a life event.

All of my frettings were wasted energy because we played the songs flawlessly. It was a beautiful thing...The wedding I mean.

We are honored that our friend Laken asked us to play on her special day. I've never seen her happier.

We talked to the father of the bride at the reception and he asked if we'd paid attention to the sunset the last night at the rehearsal dinner. I told him I had. He asked if I saw the sunset that was brighter on one side than it was on the other. I told him that I did see it and actually took a picture.

He said one of his friends told him the reason that the horizon was darker on the western side. He said it was the shadow of the earth. I'd never seen the phenomena but I knew there had to be some explanation. Maybe his friend was pulling our chain. Have any of you ever seen this phenomenon?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Birmingham Sunset

A young friend of ours is getting married tomorrow. She asked us to play a few songs just before the ceremony. She's the daughter of two very old friends and we've known the bride to be for most of her life.

Tonight was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. We were invited. The dinner was at one of the oldest country clubs in Birmingham. It's perched on the edge of Red Mountain and has one of the most beautiful views of the city at night.  The one during the days not bad, but the view at night is breathtaking.

As servers scurried around with lofted trays, the sun outside the windows put on a show.

I love weddings. They seem to lift the vibration level of everyone around.

The scenery was just a bonus tonight.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ghost town

Here's a Throw Back Thursday photo. I shot this photo 12 years ago in 2005. It's of one of the buildings still standing in my old home town. Harry Shaws Drug store was a few steps further down the street.

The entryway door had a small bell on a hook that jingled when customers walked in. The high ceilings were dark. Years of using a coal-fired stove for heat and cigarette smoke made the wooden walls look as old as time.

At one time, there was a soft drink maker in the old town. Dora Colas were made there but that was before I was born. I never tasted one, but I saw one of the bottles. The glass was opaque. When you held the bottle to the light, you could see tiny air bubbles in the glass.

Most of the town burned to the ground in 1957, but that was when the mines were in full swing and the railroad rumble through the town.

When the 78 Highway connecting Memphis and Birmingham was completed in the late 50 businesses started moving toward the highway. The old town slowly died. It's a ghost town now that lives only in pictures and in the memories of those who once loved that old town.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A beautiful place

I started therapy on my knees a few weeks ago. Each year, doctors inject the joints with my knees with a substance designed to add cushion. For a five or six months my knees are not bone on bone. The needle used for these injections feels like it's as big as a Dixie straw, but that's probably just me being a wimp.

The injections are followed by therapy. My niece Samantha is a physical therapy assistant. She cuts me no slack. When I start to complain, she gives me that "suck it up whiny baby" look and I buckle down.

This morning's session was at 9 a.m. and by 10:30 I was on my way home. My windshield view was a perfect late-summer sky. Blue sky and clouds that looked like the innards of a home-cooked biscuit.

At one point, there was a field of corn on the crest of a mountain. I've pulled into the entryway to this field during fall and winter. When I walk to the edge of the garden and look toward the west, it looks as if I could see Mississippi. It's a beautiful view. 

Pulling in today, walked to the edge of the field, the corn was as thick as thatch. I didn't want an observant farmer mistaking me for a critter, so I stepped back and settled for a picture of the sky.

I'll shoot another picture from this vantage point in late Autumn when the corn is plowed under, and the leaves have fallen. I think you'll agree that it's a beautiful place.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Passing of time

I have a program on my laptop. It has only one function. It reminds of passing time. The program on my laptop is set to sound a Tibetan gong every 30 minutes.  When I hear this soothing sound, I stand. If I'm extremely busy, I remain at my desk a stretch. If I'm between task, I walk a lap around the hallways. But strangely, the gong helps keep me focused on the important tasks.

Most of us think nothing about the passing of time. I know people who watch TV for hours and only stand up when they need to go pee.

The sound of this gong makes me aware that time is passing. Two gongs and an hour has passed.

I read a feature on two Irish businessmen who started Square. Square is a small credit card reader that clips into the earphone jack of a smartphone. The software behind the little reader makes it possible for small businesses across the world to accept credit cards for their wares. When I started accepting credit cards at my book signings, my sales tripled.

These amazing brothers are two of the youngest billionaires today.

One of the brothers has a clock on his wall. It's not a regular clock, but one that shows how much life he has left. He did research on his expected lifespan and programmed his clock to count down. At any given moment he can tell theoretically how much time he has left. Obviously, this does not take into account, disease, accidents, or disasters. But it for this young man, it serves to remind him that there are only a finite number of days, hours, and minutes left.

This kudzu flower has nothing to do with passing time, but I shot it two years ago today. That in itself was a wakeup call because I didn't realize it had been that long.

Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required