Tuesday, September 30, 2008
We had gotten lax security wise around the house. Several of our security lights had blown and we rarely turned on our security system. But I fixed all that this evening.
I also locked my sheds and barn. We called our friends at the sheriff's office and they will be patrolling more frequently. Still, if someone is set on taking something that is yours, chances are they can take it.
On the upside, the stock market stopped the free fall and rebounded a little today without any action from Congress.
My head's full now so I'm going to stop typing.
Monday, September 29, 2008
There was an old Garth Brooks song that went something like this - “I am way too young to feel this dang old.” Nowadays, it seems like I’m living that song.
My eyes are going, I’m half-deaf, my teeth seem to be getting dull, and if it weren’t for my ears, I wouldn’t have any hair growing at all. If that’s not bad enough, my knees make squeaking sounds in the morning.
An optimist would say – “well, at least you have your mind.” Think again bubba, because there are times when my elevator is a few shingles shy a roof. Some days I spend half of my waking hours looking for my car keys and the rest of the time trying to remember what I’m looking for.
There’s one thing about it, I’m not alone. My wife Jilda is almost as bad. She has to borrow my glasses to find her own. Neither of us know within a mile of where we ate last.
She got verification recently that her medications had been shipped. As she was reading the confirmation email, I could tell she was visibility agitated. "They are shipping my medications from
I heard what she was saying but it didn't make sense. I stepped over to the computer to see if I could solve the mystery when she said – Oh…..it's not Mexico, it's Medco (Medco is our new online pharmacy). She laughed so hard she almost spewed coffee on her computer screen. I thought it was pretty funny too.
But I’ve been known to jumble up a word or two as well. A few days after the Medco incident, I needed to renew some of my meds as well. When I looked at the cost of the brand name drugs, I discovered they were more expensive than a flat screen TV. I decided to call the online pharmacy to see what my options were. “Does this come in a geriatric?” There was a pause on the other end and I could tell the woman was suppressing a laugh – “Do you mean a generic?” she asked. “Yes, generic” I barked. Jilda was sitting nearby howling with laughter. I covered the mouthpiece and hissed, “IT’S NOT NICE TO MAKE FUN OF OLD PEOPLE!” This only made it worse.
When I first started getting the AARP magazine, I was shocked. “Why are they sending me a magazine for old folks?” I bemoaned. Now that I have come to terms with aging, my only complaint is that the print in the magazine is not two sizes larger.
Getting older is not all bad. I think I’ve become wiser. I choose my battles more carefully now. I don’t get worked up over things that simply don’t matter.
I’ve learned that oftentimes when people want to talk to you about their problems, they really just need you to listen.
When you’re young, you believe you know everything. When you get older, you understand that the more you learn about life, the more you realize you don’t know squat.
Anyone who is old enough to get discount coffee at McDonalds knows that life is a test. The good thing about getting older is that you’ve seen most of the questions before.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Ol' Buddy is a pro at napping. When I nap on the couch, he hops up, gets between my legs and positions himself so that he can lay his head on the calf of my leg, and watch Jilda on the other couch. On a good day, when the phone doesn't ring, we spend what I consider quality time relaxing.
I think our good neighbors to the south have the right idea - which is to take a two-hour lunch which includes a siesta. One of my classes in the Master's program was International Cultural Studies. The idea was to introduce students to the concept that not everyone is American. Different cultures value different things. One case study detailed how an American phone company was in head to head competition for a major piece of business in Mexico. The American team focused on the superior product, superior support, and best pricing.
The French, who had actually done their homework on the culture, focused on the relationships. Their approach was to establish a personal connection to the decision makers and sell what the customers wanted - which was the belief that there was more to the deal than just a good telephone. The French, "did as the Romans did" which was take a siesta after lunch and work into the night to seal the deal.
While the French were taking a leisurely nap, the Americans were working on proposals, talking points, price breaks, service niches, and strategy alignment. The Type A Americans never understood why they did not get the contract.
This post took a strange and unexpected turn, but that happens sometimes. You play the hand you are dealt.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
It's amazing how peaceful it is and there is no better way to start your day than to listen to the morning come alive.
I took a break around lunch and ran down to Dora to take pictures of the Homecoming Parade. The kids get sooo excited. All the folks on the floats and firetrucks toss out candy and Marti Gras beads.
I'll go down tonight and shoot photos of the game.
Have a great weekend.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Last year's event was incredible. Post Editor Leonard Downie Jr. spoke on how technology has impacted news reporting and politic. He said that now, more than any time in the past, writers must make sure they check their facts because a blogger somewhere will. He said it is quite embarrassing to find out that a story is flawed after it is published.
So, tonight's entry is brief. Have a great Thursday.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
OK, I know I may be on shaky ground with some of my readers, but here is the way I look at it - I could care less whether someone is gay or not. I do my best to look beyond the surface and try to cypher what's in the heart. I know that's easier said than done.
Some of the kindest, most creative, smartest, and most talented people I know are gay. None of these folks have ever tried to "recruit me."
I personally believe that people are born with the tendency to be gay. I have no way of proving it and I certainly will not debate it. But I've known a lot of young folks were gay, long before they knew it.
There are a lot of people who decry the gay lifestyle. Some point to the Bible and say the the Good Books speaks against it. I am one of those who believe that the way you live is between you and the Good Lord. I will have a hard enough time worrying about my own evaluation when I stand in judgment.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
He said that since the government is in a debt forgiving mood, (to the tune of over a half a trillion dollars of bad mortgages held by huge banks), that we should slip in a provision that would have Uncle Sam pay off our mortgages too. I mean wipe the slate clean for everyone.
That simple law would send this country on an unprecedented spending frenzy. I'd go out and buy a new Taylor T5 guitar....and while at it, I'd buy that Porsche I've been wanting for so long.
One guy at lunch, when I detailed the plan, swore that he'd take an extended vacation and drive all over the country staying at Bed & Breakfast establishments and play golf at all the great courses. An under-achiever at the table said he'd get a new set of tires for his car. What a loser.
I've been working on a draft proposal for the Prez - "W" I know I've been a harsh critic of most of your policies, but you can wipe the slate clean with a flick of the pen. We agree whole heartedly with the government's decision to forgive the bank's debts but only if you forgive ours too.
Rick Watson Empire, Alabama
Please add your name to the list and forward to everyone in your address bookwho wants their mortgage paid off by Uncle Sam.
Monday, September 22, 2008
It fell to "Government & Rules".
Abraham Lincoln said "We hold the power and bear the responsibility." I think this is good council for whomever holds the governing offices in our country.
A more cynical quote by Friedrich von Schiller "The world is ruled only by consideration of advantages." I don't want to believe this, but I know there is a lot of truth in these words.
Montesquieu said "Republics are brought to their ends by luxury; monarchies by poverty." This is somewhat scary.
I think one of the best and most pertinent quotes came from Napoleon Bonaparte "The art of governing consists in letting men grow old in their jobs." Maybe to combat the lethargy in government today, we should not allow our leaders to get too comfortable with their positions.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Our apples have been getting bigger and bigger. The limbs on the tree are bending almost to the ground. It seems to have taken the apples longer to ripen this year. I went out to check on them on Friday and they still seemed to have a lot of green on them. I plucked one and wiped it on my pants leg and took a big bite. I could not believe how sweet it was. I had just the right crunch to it too. The apples this year may be the best I have ever eaten.
My nephew Jame's kids were over Friday afternoon so I went out and picked a few for them. They love fruit but are discriminating children when it comes to their apples. If they aren't good, they will let you know is a heartbeat. They loved the apples.
I'll be eating apples, apple pies, apple jelly and dried apples. I'm guessing after the third of forth bushel, I may get tired of them but right now, they sure are good.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
I explained it to him this way - the south is a strange and wonderful place. After the Civil War, the south was set back a hundred years. In those lean years, the south did not have much to crow about. We were dead last in all the statistics -live expectancy, income, infant mortality, etc.
One thing that we are good at is football. There are so many people that have a personal connection to the outcome of a sporting event. If your team wins, your on top of the world. If they lose, it can be really tough. So, right or wrong, a little bit of our self worth is invested in our football teams.
He shook his head in disbelief. I think he thought I was pulling his leg. I know I would have a hard time proving it, but , but I believe this to be true. That's what I believe until someone proves me wrong.
Friday, September 19, 2008
When I turned on the road leading to my house, a red fox ran in front of me. He jumped on a low embankment and turned to watch me pass. I see gray foxes fairly often, but the red ones are rare.
Then last night as Jilda and I were driving home from a Frog Festival meeting, we saw something crossing the road in front of us. I hit the brakes but an oncoming car prevented us from swerving so we hit an Armadillo. I missed him with the wheels so he simply rolled underneath and scurried - well, scurried is probably not the right word, but he made it to the side of the road and disappeared in the tall weeds.
I'm hoping that's the last of the critters for awhile.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I can only imagine it was like a bad dream for him. He could see outside but no matter how hard he struggled he could not escape.
I simply raised the window a little bit and he shot out and in a flash he was out of sight. Not one thank you or kiss my feather he was just history.
I've been thinking about tearing the old house down and building a one room A-Frame building where we Jilda can hold yoga classes. It's a natural location for retreat because the old oak and hickory trees cast a welcoming shade. The place feels very old and grounded. There is a well outside with deep water that is cold as water just out of the fridge. I'm looking for an old timey hand pump that I can install so that one can get a cool drink of water pure of chemicals and pollutants.
This week has been a laid back week. I don't have those very often. I've gotten to hang out and piddle around with stuff I enjoy. I think that's how vacations should be sometimes.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
He hopped up into the truck and then bounded onto the seat in his usual co-pilot position. He barked up a few folks sitting in the car next to us at the red light in Sumiton. They were oooing and ahhhing at him and he put on a show.
We were a little late leaving the house, so when we arrived at dump at 4:01 p.m. they were chaining the gates. Buddy didn't even get close enough to smell the refuge. He looked at me dejectedly as I made a U-turn in their driveway.
I stopped by the quick-mart and bought him a SlimJim so he recovered somewhat and was simply pouting this evening. He's a strange little creature.
I picked a great week for vacation. The weather has been outstanding and I've had a chance to work on some fun projects.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
We spent the afternoon rehearsing for our show on Saturday. The North Alabama Folk Festival is Saturday. We play around 3 p.m. If you're in the area, we'd love to see you.
I'll do better with the Blog tomorrow.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I pulled out a lawn chair and sat in the back yard for a long while tonight just looking at the sky. There is something about the sky that makes me feel more grounded.
I needed that tonight because of all the stuff going on in the world. It seems like every election year things get crazy. The last few weeks it seems the news keeps getting worse and worse. The Republicans say they have the answers and the Democrats say that the Republicans are the cause of the problems.
The truth is, we live in complicated times and there are no easy answers. And when it comes to blame, I think we can all share the load.
When a football team begins having problems, a good coach brings it all down the the basics - blocking, tackling, running and throwing. Everybody gets back to doing the things that are necessary to win. America has to do the same thing. We are a great country but we've grown lazy and complacent. We get our information from sixty-second news bites. We let our preachers, our talk show hosts and our mis-informed neighbors do our thinking for us and we make stupid decisions.
My mom and dad lived through the depression and they knew what it was like to go hungry. They were also part of the America that hitched up their belts and turned things around.
I pray that we don't fall that far but I do believe that it's time for the people in this country to wake and start doing their own thinking. Throw out the politicians who can't work together to bring about real change - change that benefits us all and not just the few at the top.
It was not my intention to go on a tear. Thank goodness for a full moon on an autumn night; it kept me from falling over the edge.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I do the website for Horse Creek golf Course www.horsecreekgolf.com which is a local golf course built by the City of Dora. I'm really not getting paid that much to maintain the site, but when I started doing some Internet searches, I realized a TON of sites are linked to the little site I maintain. I was a little embarrassed so I wend down today and shot some new photographs and updated the site a little.
I'm not a golfer, but I have to admit, driving around on one of those little carts was a hoot. All the folks playing seemed to be having a great time.
Jilda is on her way home tonight and she will be a sight for sore eyes.
Y'all have a great week this week.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I stopped by MickeyD's and grabbed a clucker with fries and bought the Budster a burger. He was one happy K-9.
I've decided to take vacation next week. I don't really have anything planned except to practice for our upcoming gig and hopefully get the draft of the book back from the printer. I also started outlining my novel.
Hope you all have a great weekend.
Friday, September 12, 2008
In the soap "As The World Turns",
On Hee Haw,
Kathy Lee and Regis, and a bunch of other stuff.
She's a professional speaker who has written twelve books and she Elvis Presley's cousin to boot. But what really impresses me about Edie is her community service. She heads a foundation that is dedicated to serving the needs of those less fortunate.
We only talked for about an hour but both Jilda and I were energized after we left. I mentioned a few entries ago that Don Earley, one of our friends pitched "The Eagle" to a group of folks doing a made for TV movie. The show is based on a book written by Edie Hand.
Today, she listened to the song that we recorded this past week. My buddy Fred Miller, who is a wizard with sound, took what we recorded on my laptop and made is sound like it was recorded in Nashville.
I'm not sure if any of the stuff we are doing will amount to a hill of beans, but I do know one thing - we are having fun. We are making incredible new friends, and working with old friends on things we love doing. When success does come, it will simply be icing on the cake because when you can do the things you love, to me, you are already successful.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I don't know that I will ever be able to understand and comprehend what would motivate these attacks but those few hours changes us all....forever.
I remember following the attack, all aircraft was grounded and and for a number of days the skies were strangely silent.
I had become so used to the sound of aircraft overhead, even out in the country where I live, I routinely hear planes making their final descent into the Birmingham Airport. But that sound was a part of my life not unlike a cooing dove or crowing rooster. And I tune them out. But those days following 9/11 the absent of those routine sounds in the sky was eerie.
So this morning, I observed a moment of silence for all those who perished on that day.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The last time I was stung, I was wearing a pair of sandals as I walked down to fetch the morning mail. A day or two earlier, I had thrown out a watermelon rind for the pecking pleasure of Flossy and Mossy (our two chickens), and it seems the only creatures on earth that love watermelon rinds more than chickens, is yellow jackets. As I ambled down to the mailbox, apparently I ventured a little too close to the rind because one of those evil little monsters somehow got between my toes and stung the dickens out of me.
Everybody has a wasp-sting story. My nephew Haven was clearing underbrush around one of his hunting spots a few weeks ago. He had his weed-eater going full bore when he got into a yellow jacket’s nest. Several flew up his pants leg to begin their handiwork and by the time he realized he was in trouble, several more had flown through an opening in the back of his baseball cap stinging him on his head.
He dropped the weed-eater and tore out running like his shirt was on fire. They continued to chase and sting. Finally, he fought those little yellow demons off with a pine top.
When he recovered, he returned for the weed-eater and it was still idling there on the ground. The vibration of that little engine had the yellow-jackets in a stinging frenzy. He left it there until it ran out of gas and only then could retrieve it using his stealth mode.
I used to climb poles for Ma Bell and I learned a very valuable lesson about wasps the first week.
One morning I strapped on my climbing gaffs and stomped up a poled to connect a wire for a new phone. The sun was warm on my back and a breeze out of the west was mild. I could smell the customer’s roses and gardenias. All in all, it was a good day to be alive.
My mind was a thousand miles away as I opened the little rubber telephone cable terminal where the phone wires attach. As I unfastened the latches, I could hear a faint buzzing but I was oblivious to the fact that a red wasp nest as big as a softball was just inches from my face. The instant I opened the flap, they were all over me like cheap cologne. Before I could utter a cuss-word (for some reason I tend to cuss like a sailor when I get stung), I got stung about eight times around my eyes and nose. Another issue was that I was thirty feet in the air and running was not an option. So I furiously swatted and flailed as I descended a telephone pole in about ten seconds flat. I don’t think they had an Olympic event for descending poles back then, but if they had, I’m certain I would have taken home the gold that morning.
By the time I arrived back at the work center, my face looked like I had gone ten rounds with George Foreman back before he started selling grills.
I know the Good Lord put those vicious little bugs on the earth for a reason, but for the life of me, I can’t think of one.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
These dogs, for the most part, were family dogs. Everybody petted and cared for them but they were not “mine”.
My older sister had a Chihuahua given to her by Mama Watson, our grandmother on my father’s side. The dog was about the size of a well-fed gopher and my sister loved Bozie like a child. I loved the dog too but I never really had a dog of my own.
That changed the summer of 1974 just after Jilda and I married. My father-in-law (Sharky) asked me to help him with a plumbing job down below Burnwell, Alabama. When we pulled up to the house, there was a German Shepherd sitting in the yard. He was a longhaired shepherd that weighted about as much as my new wife did.
He bounded up to me as if he had been waiting for me all his young life. All day long, he followed me around. I wrestled with him and tried to teach him tricks. When I picked up a stick and flung it, I thought he might retrieve it. Instead, he looked at the stick, and then looked back at me as if to say, “What’d you do that for?” He never did learn any tricks.
When we finished the job and were collecting our pay, the shepherd was there standing on my foot. Sharky said, “That woman might give you that dog.” I mistakenly thought he had already discussed it with her, so my face lit up with excitement. She stuttered a little but said, “I’ll need to ask my husband. We have a new baby and we had been thinking about getting rid of the dog, but I need to make sure.” She called her husband at work and he agreed to give me the dog. I was ecstatic. I walked to my truck, opened the door, and Duke hoped into the passenger seat and into our lives. That was the day I became a “Dog Person.”
We kept Duke for over thirteen years and when his health deteriorated, we made the decision to put him down. I can say without hesitation, it was the hardest thing I ever had to do.
When you become a dog person, you pretty much give up the notion of eating an entire hamburger in peace. You should also expect to have some things chewed….like shoes, tools, furniture, sports equipment and small appliances. Your house will never be “spotless” again. When you ride in our cars, there is a very good chance you’ll get some dog hair on your clothes. Sometimes when you least expect it, the air in the room gets as foul as a clogged sewer and the only way to breathe normally again is to open all the doors and windows.
But the dogs I’ve had throughout my life have been a blessing to me. The thing about dogs is, they’re always happy to see you no matter how bad a day you’ve had. When you’re sad, they hang with you until the sadness passes.
They make a simple walk through the woods like a mini vacation. Jilda and I never had children so in some ways our dogs are like our kids. I know this; life would not be the same without the love of our dogs.
Monday, September 08, 2008
He also is restoring the first guitar I ever owned. I've written about the Teisco Del Rey that I got in 1962. It cost $25 then and at the time, it was all my folks could afford. I played a LOT of songs on that old guitar. I actually wrote my first song using that axe.
I've had it in the back of my closet for many years and recently when I was doing some cleaning, I pulled it out. The pickups and the knobs were shot along with the tuners. I remembered my friend Phillp and asked him if he would have a look at the old Teisco. He asked me to keep an eye on eBay to see if we could find one like it so that we could glean the parts. I started looking but to my surprise, these guitars are consider collectibles now and are alot more expensive.
What he really needed was the pick guard, to complete the job. I turned the house and barn upside down looking to no avail. But last Saturday, I went to the old house to get a book that was packed back and I came across the pick guard for the old guitar.
I delivered it today so hopefully in a few weeks, I'll have my old axe. I'm excited.
If you'd like to see some of Phillip's work, go to http://www.cigtone.com I think you'll be amazed.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
The only thing, after we eat, we all turn into slugs so we have to get our practicing in before we chow down.
It will be an early night tonight. Have a great week.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
I can remember the night, August 17th 1969, that Hurricane Camile hit Gulfport, Mississippi. The winds were over 200 mph with the surge over 20 feet.
I was working nights at Hutchinson Company at that time and going to Jeff State College during the day. Our company printed and pressed bottle caps. We had an order from the Coke bottling company in Gulfport for one million bottle caps. It was the largest order we had ever received. I remember thinking - "these will never ship." And, they never did.
Jilda and her family were vacationing in Panama City, Florida. They only took one vacation a year and Sharky, her dad, was not going to let a little "blow" ruin his vacation so they rode out the storm. They were a long way from landfall, but Jilda still remembers the howling wind and driving rain.
Anyhow, let's all say a little prayer that Ike weakens and hits someplace that needs the rain.
Friday, September 05, 2008
This evening we went to our friend Fred's house to work on mixing a recording of "The Storm Brings Out the Eagle". I think it is going to sound really good, but my head got full so we headed home.
On the way, we could see lightening off in the distance. I rolled down the window and I could smell rain. It will be sleeping weather tonight....and that suits me just fine.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
It's a pretty good office.
Today, Jilda had to run to the store to pick up some things and when she returned, I stepped off the porch and over to her car to help lug the groceries inside. Just then I heard a very loud crack which I knew with certainty that it was a large limb falling. When I looked over the roof of the house, I saw smoke. I FREAKED!!! I threw the groceries back on the car seat and ran to the other side of the house. As it turns out, it was a section of limb that was about 25 feet long and the base, where the limb broke off, was bigger than my thigh...and I've got a pretty big thigh. The limb had fallen on the open wires that servers electricity to my barn.
My power was still on so that meant the lines were still energized. I did not dare try to move the limb for fear of one of the wires breaking and turning me into a crispy critter.
I called Alabama Power to report a dangerous condition and they were out here in a hurry.
They turned the power off in the house while they removed the limb and cut others that were in danger of falling.
There is nothing like getting your adrenalin cranking in the morning. I've had a buzz all day.
Monday, September 01, 2008
that will enable me to start plugging in content as I get closer to the publication date.
Jilda is a master a grassroots promotion. She has already lined up some gift shops in local hospitals, flower shops, and drug stores. She also has contacted the scheduler for our local TV station and they have agreed to do an interview after the book is printed. She has written query letters to Cracker Barrel and Books-a-Million to find out how to submit books for consideration.
She's working on my wardrobe and coaching me on how to do readings. I think she is as excited as I am.
Anyhow, I'm meeting with the printers again tomorrow to do a little tweaking and hopefully we will get the draft in our hands for editing.
If you would like a sneak peak at the new website, click here. All comments welcome.