Thursday, June 23, 2016

New blog buddy

Over the weekend we gave our friend Denise the grand tour of Walker County. We took her to see the historic homes and other places of interest. We drove to Smith Lake and we showed her one of the largest earthen dams in the country. And below it where I fly fish for rainbow trout.

We had a huge time and when we got back home we had vanilla ice cream with fresh blueberries. She said that she was also interested in blogging.

A few moment later we were at my computer and she had a blogger account. We left her alone while she struggled with her first entry. I started following her by email and tonight I received the automated notice that she'd posted again.  I think she will do well.

Please consider visiting her blog and offer some words of encouragement.

Stepping Out, Shining Through

I hope you all have a remarkable Friday.

The crepe myrtles on campus are blooming.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pretty dish

My mom was a good cook. Her specialty was desserts. She made candy, as well as baking cakes, and pies, but she was good a home cooking too. I'm fairly certain she never gave much thought to how the food looked, but I promise I never pushed away anything she put on my plate even if it was ugly.

Jilda, on the other hand, is an artist at heart and she often considers how the finished dish will look.
When our friend Denise visited this past weekend, one of the dishes Jilda prepared was quinoa, with feta cheese, spinach, framed with homegrown cherry tomatoes. It was almost too pretty to eat...but I forced myself.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Just shoot me in the knee

I'm excited. Tomorrow I begin a series of injections in my knees. The syringes have needles the size of  milkshake straws and feel  about as blunt. They deliver a substance with a viscosity of  STP Oil Treatment. I procrastinated on the treatments as long as possible, but my knees are reminding me it's time to pay attention to them. So I made the appointment last week and I go in tomorrow.

The downside to the treatments is that my walking routine is put on hold for the three weeks.  That's just about the length of time it takes to change a good habit to a slothful one.

I've made arrangements to  do my exercise on a stationary bicycle for the next three weeks which won't be as much fun as walking, but it will keep me in the groove.

On a lighter note, the Old Maids are blooming.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Historic Highway

The last leg of the Appalachian Highway opened today. It's now called I-22 and runs from
Birmingham to Memphis. It's big news here because it took just under 40 years to complete.

Funding for the project started in the mid-1970s, and the work began in Memphis in 1978.  Workers finished up in Tennessee first, and then in Mississippi several years ago, but Alabama focused funding on the beltway around Birmingham. The Appalachian Highway simmered on the back burner.

Alabama work began about 10 years ago but the state apparently ran out of money. The last mile and a half included several bridges and overpasses connecting I-22 with I-65 in North Birmingham. This mean it would take years and cost more than the annual gross national product of say Panama.

A few years ago work began on the overpasses and it seemed to talk forever. Finally, at the first of this year, they started painting, putting up signs, and other finishing touches.

A month or so word spread like a juicy rumor that the highway would open today, on the summer solstice.

This morning I had to take our friend Denise to her hotel where she will be doing some promotional work for Elizabeth Arden Makeup company this evening and tomorrow. As we approached the end of I-22, I had hoped the road would be open, but apparently they were awaiting the arrival of the governor, so we had to get off.

After I dropped her off and headed back to work, I got a news flash on my phone that the ribbon had officially been cut.

I put on my blinker and took the exit toward Memphis. I wasn't the first, but I was among the first few hundred travelers to inaugurate this historic stretch of road. I did a video clip on my phone to keep for posterity.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

My dad died in May 1986. It was a few weeks before June and that first Father’s Day without him was one of the saddest days of my life.

I had lost grandfathers and a grandmother but nothing prepared me for the experience of losing my dad. I still feel melancholy at times when I think of him. But my father left things that I cling to.

He felt at home in work clothes. I’m not sure if he got married in overalls, but he wore them in the only surviving picture from their wedding day when he married my mother. When he landed a job as a welder, he started wearing coveralls. He wore them when he worked at home too.

When the family was young, feeding his wife and kids took most of the money so if the car broke down, he fixed it. His diagnostic procedure was always the same. He’d draw a cigarette from the pack in his pocket, tap it gently on the fender to tamp down any loose tobacco, open his Zippo and swipe the flint wheel on the leg of his coveralls. When the tiny flame sprang from the lighter, he’d lean his head to one side and light the cigarette. With the hood open, he’d study the motor as if it were an ancient text. After a while, he’d say, “I think I can fix this.”

When old enough, I became his designated helper, holding flashlights and fetching tools. I also kept a cold glass of ice tea within his reach. He didn’t consider himself a mechanic, but his philosophy was, “It ain’t gonna fix itself.”

My folks scrimped and saved enough to buy a Jim Walter shell home in the early 1960s. After the sound of knocking hammers and hacking handsaws faded, my dad’s work began.

My brother and I helped him wire the house, install light fixtures, hang sheetrock and install plumbing. That house kept the family warm and dry for years. I think he coined the phrase, “Just Do It,” years before Niki trademarked the concept. That’s something my dad taught me that has served me well through the years.

The relationship between my father and me was rocky after I returned from the Army. I had grown tired of people wearing green telling me to cut my hair so when I returned home after my service in 1973, I decided to go with the flow and let my hair grow. My dad had a problem with that. I was young, stupid and stubborn. I got the stubborn part from him, so our relationship suffered.

During that time, he didn’t say much to me but he still talked to Jilda. He adored her.

After a few years, I think we both grew weary of holding on to the anger. Afterward, it was as if we’d never had a harsh word between us.

This morning after our first cup of coffee, I heard Jilda’s car keys jingling, and I realized she had an early morning session at work. She called over her shoulder as she walked out the door, “The fan in the bedroom is making a funny noise.”

I poured my second cup of coffee and went into the bedroom. I sat and sipped for a long while looking at the fan before saying to myself, “I think I can fix this.”

Happy Father’s Day.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Delightful day

It's been a delightful day. We picked our friend Denise up at the airport and came back home to the
farm. We talked and laughed all afternoon, and then this evening Jilda started preparing dinner.

We had squash I picked earlier in the day, asparagus, quinoa with spinach and fresh cherry tomatoes from the garden. With that, we had baked wild salmon and crusty bread. Jilda whipped up a dip for the bread made with virgin olive oil with fresh herbs from the deck.

After dinner, we sat in the living room and talked until our tongues were tired.

If we can hold out until 9:14 we'll step out back to see the space station zip overhead.

It doesn't take much to amuse us :)

I hope you all have a delightful weekend.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday update

Jilda and I walked early this morning. The temps have dropped a little but the humidity made the shorts and tee shirt feel like a wetsuit.

The sun peeped in through the trees on our second lap, and I snapped a picture. A sunbeam slashed through the trees and highlighted a wild hydrangea. It looked like something primal as I imagined how things looked before man came and "made improvements."

We were still in the sprucing stages in the house and yard today getting ready for our company tomorrow. 

After lunch, I got a call from our niece asking if I'd pick up a new fridge she'd just bought. It had to be picked up today. 

The folks at the store helped load it, but my straps didn't secure it as well as I'd like so I drove the 25 miles home  at a turtle's pace.  There were some agitated commuters because there are stretches of road where I couldn't pull over and let them pass. But that's the way it goes sometimes.

The fridge got home safely.

I am a tired puppy tonight. 

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