Thursday, May 23, 2019

Telling stories

I interviewed an older gentleman this morning for the paper. He was delightful. During the conversation, I learned that he was good friends with my dad and my grandparents. 

The morning slipped away before I realized it. 

I have a deadline for this story, so I said my goodbyes and headed home to write.  A few hours later, I was editing copy and choosing pictures to run with the story.

Stories like the one today is why I love the work I"m doing. Telling stories that would otherwise go untold.

This is another one I will share once it runs.

When I was looking for a photo tonight, I came across some beach flowers that I shot a few weeks ago at Tybee Island.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The way I roll

My phone chirped yesterday evening as I was headed home. I glanced at the screen and saw that the ISS was coming overhead in five minutes.

I pulled to the curb to get the direction from which it was coming and the angle. Fortunately, there was a place nearby with a large dimly lighted parking lot with an unobstructed view of the horizon.

A few minutes later I pulled into the lot and clicked the gearshift into park. My shoe crunched on the gravel as I stepped out to lean against the truck. Even though the sun had set 30 minutes earlier, the black truck was still warm. 

It only took a moment to see the ISS come into view. I stood there looking into the sky. A motorcycle pulled into the lot a moment later and I noticed the rider had taken his helmet off and was also looking up. I'm not sure if his phone beeped or he saw me and wondered what I was looking at.

He was across the lot so I pointed to the space station silently skimming across the sky. I'm not sure if he knew or he thought I was "teched in the head", as my grandma used to say.

A few minutes later it slipped past the horizon.

I'm not sure why I love watching the space station, but I do. Even though I've seen it dozens of times, if I know it's coming over I step outside to see it.

If anyone asked me why I would simply say, "That's the way I roll."

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Getting hotter

Today was a hot one and it gets hotter as we move into the weekend. They're saying it could near 100 degrees F.  I'm excited.

I feel kind of like this carving on the fireplace mantle in the B&B where we stayed in Savannah.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Planting seeds for the future ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Time has made some of the things in my past a little fuzzy, but there are other moments in my life that are as clear as a Windexed window. High School graduation day is a good example. 
It was my first date with Jilda Phillips. She was a 10th grader then. She told me I looked good in my graduation gown. I’d never worn a dress before, so it was a new experience for me. I appreciated her feedback. I remember the swishing sound the gown made as I walked down the aisle. The flat hat tilted to port, and it made me wonder if my head was tilted to port, and it made me wonder if my head was slanted to one side. 
Mr. Gant was the principal at that time. He planted a lot of seeds with his wisdom. When he handed me my diploma, he looked me in the eyes and said in a low voice that only I could hear, “Make us proud, Ricky.” 
Flipping the gold tassel from the right side of my face to the left was an iconic moment in my life. It felt as if I were stepping through a gateway into the future. I wasn’t sure what was in store for me, but getting on with my life was top priority. The experience was exhilarating. 
My work at the Daily Mountain Eagle takes me to local high schools, and I’ve had the opportunity to interview several seniors. The thing that strikes me is they all seem a little restless. I remember that feeling. Most of them enjoyed high school, but they are ready to turn the next page in their lives. I’m excited for them.
I don’t remember many opportunities for scholarships when I graduated. They were there I’m sure, but my grades probably put me on the bottom of the list for potential award offers.
Both Jilda and I attended college. Through the years, we’ve learned the value of an education. Back around 2006, we became active in the Dora High School Alumni Association. During our work there, we both decided it would be a good idea to fund a small scholarship each year for a senior that might otherwise be overlooked for an award. We started in 2008.
Awarding scholarships is our way of planting seeds. Some of them fall on fallow ground, but our hope is that a few of them take root and grow strong. 
Our first recipient was William Justice. Will has done well. He not only graduated from Birmingham-Southern College, but he went on to earn a master’s degree. Since he graduated, he’s done well.

 We put a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt on each certificate we award these days. It says: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
We are both excited for the young folks making their transition from high school to the next phase of their lives.
The scholarship this year is going to a young woman who wants to go into forensics. Together Jilda and I will wish her well. Maybe when she becomes successful, she’ll come back to Dora High and plant some seeds of her own.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Eventful day

Today was kind of eventful in a down-home kind of way. First of all, we picked another basket of blueberries. This is from the first four bushes. They get morning sun earlier than the other bushes on the terrace row. We picked some berries today that were as big around as a nickel. We put an old newspaper down on the table and spread the berries on the paper. This allows them to get fully ripe.  I love picking them and popping the sun-warmed berries into my mouth. Yum.

Then, I went down to check the beehives. I was disappointed that the first three hadn't started making honey in the top super which is where they make the honey for me. When I opened the fourth hive, it was full. I selected the first two frames and took them to the deck to try my hand at extracting the honey.

I have all the equipment, but using it the for the first time was wonky. I learned a great deal. I need a few more pieces of hardware to make this task easier.

When I finished, I had two pint jars of sweet amber heaven. I'd promised one of the first jars to my nephew who helped me get the hives on day one. The second one is next to the coffeemaker. I'll use a spoonful in the hot tea we have this evening.

The last event was I finally completed the chicken pen. My great nephew Jordan and his mom helped in the process. After lunch today, they brought the plastic tub of chicks over and turned them loose in the pen.

It took them a while to venture out of the tub, but when I looked down there at dusk, the were jumping at moths that had been drawn to their warming light.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Blue moon

Jilda and I had dinner with friends tonight. They live in Fayette and we live in Empire, so we met in Jasper which is in the middle.

We don't get to spend enough time with our friends. The last time we saw them was at Christmas. 

We had a delightful time catching up.  

We paid the tab and headed to the cars. I heard Jo Frances say, "Oh look! The moon."  Between two buildings, I could see the moon rising over the city.

I had the camera in my car so I strapped on a telephoto and shot a few frames.

After we said our goodbyes and headed home, the full moon was like a hood ornament for a while before ascending into the sky.

Jilda told me it's the last blue moon of this decade. I'm thrilled that the skies were clear.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Lick the sky

I know I've been into skies these last few days, but this morning when I got up and stepped into the kitchen, I could see color on the window seal. After starting the coffee, I stepped over to the garden door and looked at the sky to the south.

Pulling the phone from my pocket, I snapped a picture but the camera thought the color should be something other than what the irises in my eyes saw – which was clouds the color of butterscotch.

Standing there, my mouth watered involuntarily. I love the taste of butterscotch. I wanted to step outside and lick the sky.

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