Friday, February 29, 2008

February 29th Leap Year

Just think. If I had been born on February 29th, I’d only be 14 years old. I wouldn’t have to contend with all those birthday cakes and people could save up and buy me a really nice gift when my birthday did roll around. Or….what about this? I could celebrate my birthday on February 28th and March 1st.
I don’t think I have ever met anyone that was actually born on February 29th. I know there must be millions, but I don’t recall ever meeting anyone. I did hear a statistic about birthdays that said if you put 20 people in a room, there is a 50/50 chance that two of them will have the same birthday.
I Googled this and found a website called How Things Work and they gave this explanation:
This phenomenon actually has a name -- it is called the birthday paradox, and it turns out it is useful in several different areas (for example, cryptography and hashing algorithms). You can try it yourself -- the next time you are at a gathering of 20 or 30 people, ask everyone for their birth date. It is likely that two people in the group will have the same birthday. It always surprises people!

Anyhow, I hope you all have a great Leap Year Friday 29th.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Work Stuff

I am mentally drained tonight. I've been sitting here at the keyboard trying to think of something clever to say. But the words are slow to come.
We've been in meetings with AT&T today. They will be taking some of our people and the others will left behind to find another job either with EDS or with some other company.
It has been a mixed bag at work. Some people a quite happy and others are almost shell-shocked.
We've known this was coming for quite some time, but next Wednesday, offers from AT&T will be made and the finality of the situation is setting in.
My boss says I will get an offer and if that's the case, it will be like I never left the phone company so many years ago. If he's wrong, I'll either move to another job with EDS if one is available or I'll take the severance package, retire and move on with my life. Either way, I am at peace with the outcome.
It is trying to be surrounded by such angst.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Treasure Island

I'm almost embarrassed to say it but I had never read Treasure Island. I know I read book in grammar and high school, but I really didn't enjoy reading and as a result, I don't remember much about what I read.
It wasn't until I graduated that I got into reading. The last several years I made up for lost time.
I just finished with
Silent Prey by John Sanford
Eric Clapton's Autobiography
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham
Hoot by Carl Haaison
A book about the History of Guitars in America
Freakanomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
And - It's Never Crowded Along the Extra Mile

Queued up on my player are:
A Thousand Splendid Suns
And T is for Tresspass

Have you read any good books lately?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sleeping Through the Storm

A storm blew through here in the wee hours of the morning. Jilda got up and flipped on the Weather Channel but they only predicted thunderstorms. I guess we were both really tired last night because we uncharacteristically slept right through it.
When I left for work there were limbs all over our yard again and the road from our house was littered with debris.
When I got to work, our building was running off of generator power. A guy that lives there in Hoover said that there were hurricane force, straight-line winds. There were thousands of people without power.
When I talked to Jilda this evening, she said there were trees uprooted down around the barn. I still cannot figure out how we slept through it

Monday, February 25, 2008

Foggy Sun

I gave my niece Jayna a ride to work this morning. We were headed east on highway 78 and the fog was just beginning to lift. At one point I looked above the bare trees and saw the morning sun peeking through the fog-bank. It was just enough fog to diffuse the light and the top ring of the sun had a slight rose tint. I grabbed for my camera but the image disappeared as quickly as it appeared.
Last week I recorded one of my blog entries and it was my intention to post it here, but I've quickly learned that editing audio is not as simple as it sounds.
It was the entry - "The Rain Moves In" from last year, about the sound of rain on a tin roof. The rain was lightly falling when I began recording the story. I made a few mistakes and I re-recorded to get a good take of everything. When I started putting it all together, you could hear the difference in the sound of the rain. The end results were not good so I'm going back to square one. I did learn that you need to be very mindful of background noise when you are recording.
I think it's best to record the voice fairly clean and then edit in the sound effects later.
Every day is a school day.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saying Goodbye

I went to two different funeral homes this evening. My sister-in-law lost a really good friend. I guess he had a big family because the room was packed with people young and old. Everyone was gathered in the front of the room and everyone was talking and laughing telling stories about Billy.
He was an outgoing person who loved life. Two large paneled TV's hung at either corner in the front and blinked Billy's life in pictures. A long life filled with a lot of joy.
By contrast, I went the another funeral home to pay our last respects to a cousin. He died young at only 28 years old. I had not seen him in many years but the people gathered there were much more subdued. It seemed most of the people were lost in their thoughts. I'm sure most were thinking that 28 is much to young to die...too much life left un-lived.
It is hard when we lose our friends and family but it seems it is especially hard when they go so young.
Paul Thorn has a song called "Angel Too Soon" that I think describes this to a tee:

In a little white house,
On a blacktop road
In her sleep is where she died,
She walked through a tunnel
With a light at the end,
And swam across the river of life
God gave her a mansion,
On a hill in heaven
And her wings that afternoon,
The preacher said
She's in a better place,
But if you want to know the truth
She's an angel too soon,

A pretty flower that never bloomed
Somewhere on the other side
Of the moon
She's an angel too soon

Around the house there's an emptiness
But her room still looks the same
There's heart-throb posters on the wall
And a Barbie makeup case
Today would have been her birthday
So her mama made her favorite cake
She wasn't there to blow out the candles
But daddy lit 'em anyway

She's an angel too soon
A pretty flower that never bloomed
Somewhere on the other side
Of the moon
She's an angel too soon

It's so hard for us to understand
Why she was taken away
But if we could see her spread her wings
Maybe then we wouldn't say
She's an angel too soon

A pretty flower that never bloomed
Somewhere on the other side
Of the moon
She's an angel too soon
She's an angel too soon

Saturday, February 23, 2008

For The Love Of Music

Today was the tenth anniversary of the Old Time Radio Show in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Our friend Paul Jones was the creator of the show and although it is broadcast on a small A.M. Radio station in Lynchburg, people from around the world have stumbled on the show through Paul's website:, or they found it while driving down Interstate 65 on Saturday mornings. Lynchburg is also a very popular tourist location, probably because of the Jack Daniels Distillery, but during the summer and fall, it gets really cozy because of all the people.
Paul routinely get emails and letters from people around the world.
A Japanese Bluegrass band learned about The Old Time Radio Show when they were touring around the south. They couldn't speak a word of spoken English, "but when they sang bluegrass songs, you could understand every word," Paul said. So he invited them to play on the show.
When they returned to Japan, they had an English speaking friend send Paul an email telling him that playing the show was their favorite part of their tour.
I know from experience that playing the show is really fun because The Overalls has played that gig many times. Today was a special two hour show and he had pickers from the past come back to perform on the show. It was not only a joy to play, but to sit and listen to such talent playing for the sheer love of music.
The plaque above was present to Paul by Jack Daniels....well, not actually by Jack himself because he has been dead for some time and that would just have been weird, but from a company representative was on hand to make the presentation. It was a fun day.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Chicken Trauma

I had a doctor's appointment this morning and had to be there early so I decided to work from home afterwards. Jilda left for work before lunch while I was on a conference call.
I heard one of our chickens cackling as if something were in hot pursuit. They still have their wings so normally when the occasional dog or cat comes into the yard the chickens beat a hasty retreat and come back around when the danger has passed.
I hung up the phone and stepped to the front door to check on the commotion and I saw a pack of dogs chasing one of the chickens, Before I could grab my sling-shot, they ran out of the yard yapping. One bolted with a chicken in his mouth. I fired of a few shots but since I haven't practiced with the sling-shot in over a year, my aim off.
I grabbed my shoes and headed out in pursuit. I caught up with them about a quarter mile down the road and when I shouted, they dropped the bird and ran for their lives.
I assumed that Flossy (yes Jilda named them Flossy and Mossy) was in heaven singing with Colonel Sander's Kentucky Fried choir. When I picked her up, she was still alive. She didn't have anyl feathers on the lower part of her body and she was FREAKED, but I spoke softly to her as I carried her home. Mossy was nowhere to be found and I feared the worst.
I put her on the screen porch and pulled the door shut so that the dogs could not sneak back and get her. When I went back out to put a little cracked corn and water on the porch, she had laid an egg on the throw rug.
I kept a check on her and she seemed fine, if not a little embarrassed by having a naked bottom. She somehow found a place on the porch where the screen had come loose and escaped. I looked for her all afternoon but she had vanished. I knew Jilda would be saddened.
Just before Jilda got home, I looked down at the huckleberry bush where they roost and they were both climbing up the tree.
I'll be practicing with my sling shot tomorrow and I can promise you that one whack on the rear with at thing and the dogs will keep a wide berth around the Watson yard.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wrecks, Wrecks, Wrecks

I spent a lot of time sitting still on the highway this evening. Interstate 65 North started turning into a parking lot just after 4:30 p.m. Once I got past one wreck, traffic would speed up for a mile or so and then come to a screeching halt and all you could see was brake lights.
I finally navigated through downtown and made it to my exit. I went about three miles on Arkadelphia Road and in the middle of nowhere, traffic stopped again. I sat there for twenty minutes before traffic began to move. I didn't see any wreckers or emergency vehicles and when I got up to the accident scene, apparently several people got out of their cars to help push the wrecked car out of the roadway. Apparently someone had lost control, hit a tree and ended up back in the road.
I got home an hour late but when I walked in the door I smelled supper on the stove and my blood pressure dropped twenty points.
There is no place like home

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Good Day

I was disappointed when I arrived home this evening because the sky was overcast with angry looking clouds to the south and west. I thought to myself, "I'm going to miss another eclipse."
We had our friend and bandmate Steve over for practice and he left a while ago.
As I stepped out on the deck to check the sky, I saw that the clouds had lifted and the eclipse had started. I shot several photos but when you zoom in the maximum amount of zoom, it's hard to hold the camera still.
So here is what I captured. Pictures don't do it was a remarkable things to see.
Today has been a good day. It was announced today that the people in our group would be offered jobs with AT&T. So, if everything follows through as promised, the only thing that will change is the color of my check. Not everyone at work had good news however. It is not appropriate to talk about it here, but some groups/people were not as fortunate. I have no idea how it will all play out, but I have those folks in my thoughts and prayers.
My brother-in-law Ricky Phillips, owner of R&H Plumbing had a medical procedure today and he came through with flying colors and for that we are thankful too.
All in all, it has been a good day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Totally Eclipse of the Moon

We are supposed to have a total eclipse of the moon on Wednesday evening. It's been some time since I've seen a lunar event. The last time we had an eclipse I think it was cloudy and I remember feeling cheated.
The NASA page shows the event beginning just before 8 p.m. central time with the mid-point...the full eclipse coming at 9:26 central time.
I'm going to try and get some photographs for the blog. Not sure how good they will be but it's worth a shot (pun intended).
Tomorrow we are having a town hall at work and we are supposed to get some news about the fate of our future at EDS. Theoretically we should know if the customer plans to transition us over or not. If they do not, I have about a month to find another job within EDS or I'm on the street with my severance package.
As I've said before, I am at peace with whatever happens. I'm hoping they have information to share. A lot of the people I work with are stressed tighter than a banjo string and I know it has to be affecting their health.
Good news or bad, I will celebrate the gift the Good Lord is sending in the form of a celestial light show.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Under the Weather

Not sure what's going on, but I'm a little under the weather this evening. I'm hurting in my lower back but it doesn't feel like the normal twist-too-fast and pull a muscle thang. Could be a kidney thang, but I decided to go to business school instead of pursuing the medical degree.
If I'm not a lot better tomorrow, it's time to call the doc.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Audio Blog Update

I had the perfect environment for reading one of my columns. It was the one entitled "The Rain Moves In" and talked about living in a house with a tin roof when I was a child. I took the column to the screened-in porch this morning along with my mp3 recorder and read the column. The rain was pattering on the roof and the wind gently tinkling the wind chimes but I kept stumbling over words. So I tried re-recording the entire column but I kept messing up. What I finally did was re-record the parts I messed up. That's fine and dandy, but at some point, all the pieces have to come together.
I've learned that this audio interviewing is not as easy as it sounds. Once you get the stuff recorded, then you have to go in and edit the segments and put them all together.
This is all very good information because now I know that I need to make notations on the script where the splices should be so that I don't have to waste time trying to find pieces that fit.
Every day is a school day. I hope you all have a great week.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Late Night

I've been a zombie today. The concert didn't start until 10 and we didn't get home until about 1 a.m. which is WAYYYY past my bedtime. We saw Paul Thorn at Workplay in Birmingham.
Paul put on a good show as always, but he seemed a little slicker this time. Jilda swears he's losing his accent. I'm not sure I noticed that, but I did notice that something was different.
He had backup singers this time and his new CD was released this week. The CD is really good - "A Long Way From Tupelo". He said last night that he will be appearing on Conan O'Brian's show in March. That should really be a boost for his career. I'm proud for Paul because he is a very hard working musician who deserves a break.
Jilda has a Yoga class tomorrow evening so I think my buddy Fred and I are getting together to try and learn more about Pro Tools recording software.
I'm drifting too far from the shore, so I'm cutting this post short.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Audio Blog

I've been trying to record one of my entries to add a little something extra to the blog, but my reading sounds forced and choppy. I listen to book on tape constantly and these readers sound as if it is effortless. Maybe it just takes practice. I should have something up this weekend.
I also contacted the local public radio station to get submission policies and guidelines. My friend Becky suggested this as a way to broaden my scope and it's an excellent idea but I've got to work on my "interviewer's voice" if I have any chance of success.
My friend Dan that recently built the boat gave me an excellent idea for an interview and I'm working on that now. Seems the subject is a bit shy so I'm not sure if that story will materialize or not. I should know something Monday. I hesitate to mention the topic because I think it has broader appeal than just Walker County, Alabama. I'd would not be happy if someone scarfed up my story.
I took off today because we are going to a concert tonight and I wanted to have my party face on instead of being tired and run down.
Hope you all have a great weekend. Watch out for the falling satellite.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

I got my eye on a new mandolin for Jilda. She has a one, but it doesn't have pickups which makes it awkward to play through a sound system. In order for a mandolin without a pickup to work, you have to stand close to a mic.
This little Ovation has electronics and it actually has better action on the neck.
We have been trying to spruce up the sound of our band, The Overalls, and I think this little puppy will do just the trick.
Problem is, we sort of made a promise to ourselves that we wouldn't spend money out of our budget until the job situation firmed up.
I began to think about all the stuff I had that I no longer used so I sold a practice guitar, and some old recording equipment that I no longer need and I'm so close I can smell the barn.
Tonight is Valentine's and I can smell supper on the stove. We are grilling some big thick steaks and I stopped by the store and bought a bottle of French wine.
I hope all you guys remembered to get cards, flowers and candy.
Happy Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I really fell in love with writing a long time ago but I realized the power of words back with I was president of the local Telephone Pioneers for Riverchase (the place where I have worked since the early 80's).
It was my job to raise money and convince others to do volunteer work for the needy. There are a lot of good people who work for the phone company and many do not need coaxing, but sometimes when the need is great, you had to get creative.
I chose my causes carefully but when I came across a special need, I would invest time to compose a touching appeal. The first time I tried this approach was with a child dying of cancer who had a special need. I choked up and I typed the words but they flowed effortlessly. Our administrative provided me with a distribution list of everyone in our building. At that time it was several thousand people. I was not sure how it would be received but I hoped people would take it in the spirit I intended.
I was unprepared for the result. About ten minutes after I hit the send button on the email, I was walking down to the restroom and a guy stopped me in the hall, pulled out his wallet and gave me a twenty-dollar bill. This is for that kid he said. Before I left that afternoon, two women stopped by my desk and wrote me checks for forty dollars each.
The next morning my mailbox was full. I don't recall the exact figure, but in a mater of days, we had collected over a thousand dollars for the child.
One of our projects was Camp Smile-a-Mile which was a camp for terminally ill children. A local merchant donated a really nice racing go-cart to raffle off to raise money for the project. The tickets were $5 each. My friend Tom, Ken and several of the other guys arrived to work early and stood out front of the building selling chances on the go-cart. They were making money hand over fist. One woman who was an executive with the phone company came blowing by and Tom asked her if she would buy a ticket - I'm late she barked, I don't have time for this!!! Tom simply said, "I understand lady and I'm sure the dying kids who won't get a chance to go to Camp Smile-a-Mile won't hold it against you."
The woman stormed on by, but there was something in Tom's words that hit home because she turned around, came back outside and gave Tom a $100. "If I'm late, they can just wait," she said smiling as she turned and walked back inside.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Jilda and I wrote a song some time back with our friend Tracy. The title was "How Will I Be Remembered."
When I started thinking about a column for next Sunday's paper, I was thinking about doing it on this subject.
One of the self-help books I read recently said that thinking about your epitaph is a good exercise - what will people say about you when you die. It was supposed to make you consider your values and how your were spending your time. I found the topic a little morbid and didn't think about it much until I started working on the column this evening.
I decided to do a quick search on epitaphs and what I found was very interesting. Some of them were poignant some were profound and some were downright funny.

One I saw said:
I Told You I Was Sick!

Another read:
Here lies an Atheist
All Dress up and No Place to Go

Not sure how I'd like to be remembered but I'm not sure there could be a better tribute than:

A Friend 'till the End

Monday, February 11, 2008

Electric Guitars

I've been longing for an electric guitar. I've had a number of electrics through the years but for one reason or the other I had to sell, trade, or otherwise dispose of them.
The first and best electric guitar I ever had was a Gibson Les Paul. We still lived in the trailer then and a little mobile home park in Sumiton, Alabama.
I was working at the Community News as a photographer and reporter and I bought the Les Paul on the installment plan. It cost more than either of our cars.
A few years later I got out of work and had to make some difficult or play guitar. Most people probably don't understand this, but it was a hard decision for me. After many fretful (pun intended) nights without sleep, I put the word out that I had to sell the Les Paul.
Within a matter of hours, I got a call that a friend in Birmingham wanted to look at it. So I took it out of the case and played it one last time before polishing it and placing it back into the case. Jilda snapped this photograph to keep as a memento.
The thing about it is, in a matter of weeks I had another job and the money started flowing in but my friend had already fallen in love with the guitar and I hated to ask him to sell it back to me.
Today that guitar is worth between three and five thousand dollars.
So once the current job/work/career situation firms up, I'm going to be looking for me another electric guitar. One that I can play loud enough to make my ears bleed if I so choose and I hope the days of having to sell the things I love are in the distant past.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


The recent storms that rumbled through left a bunch of pines blown down around my yard. The weather has not been hospitable the last few weekends so I let them lie.
This weekend, the weather was beautiful with the no clouds in the sky and the warm sun overhead. I decided yesterday morning to fire up the old chainsaw and cut up mountains of sawed up trees, limbs and straw. I had three piles that were taller than my truck.
This morning I went to the tool shed and pulled out all the cardboard we'd been collecting for months. We could not burn because of the drought so we stored the paper, dog food bags and cardboard boxes until the rain came.
I started the fire early this morning and it burned all day long. Tending a fire is serious business, especially when the wind is blowing. I kept a hose nearby and did a controlled burn. The fire did not burn as fast, but it seems to have burned more completely. I spent the morning keeping all the ends raked into a pile.
I sat in the warm sunshine for a long while meditating as I watched the fire. My mind has a tendency to race but today I got lost in the flame and the warmth of the fire and all I thought about was crackling pine. Taylor the Blunder Dog wandered up and I scratched her ears. It felt good to be alive.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Berkley Bob's Coffee Shop

We ran up to Berkley Bob's Coffee Shop tonight to get a feel for the vibe of the place. They have live music there and we wanted to check it out to make sure:
1. There was no smoking
2. The stage setup/sound system was decent
3. The acoustics of the room were good
4. And the coffee was good
Berkley Bob's passed with flying colors. One thing they had that I loved was a sketch book in which they encouraged guests to draw pictures, write poems, and leave words of wisdom. I carry a packet of colored pens in my backpack so I fetched them for Jilda and she whipped up an objet d' art.
They have open mic every Monday night 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. and they have a singer/songwriter or small group of musicians that play every other Saturday. This turned out to be an off week, but we learned from the Berkley Bob website that Microwave Dave will be playing there unplugged next Saturday night. Old Dave puts on a great show. We opened for him a few years ago at WorkPlay Theatre. He wasn't unplugged that night and he blew the roof off. What a great show.
You can check out Berkley Bob's by hitting their website:

Friday, February 08, 2008


My friend Becky gave me an excellent idea after reading my post last night. She suggested that I record myself reading some of my columns, and pitch them to the local NPR station.
When I mentioned it to Jilda, she added that we could add some of our original music as intro/background. I have to say that I really like this idea. I'm not sure how hard it is to get on NPR, but I doubt that it is any harder than getting the column in 200 newspapers.
My Buddy, Granpappy from Arizona said that I should pitch to the Arizona Republic, which is the local paper there. I will indeed approach them. I might have to make a road trip out there just to try to seal the deal in person.
I'm going to work on recording a column this weekend and I'll post a link to it to get feedback.
Thanks to everyone who gave me suggestions.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Pitch

I started building a website for my columns and books. The idea is to send out the emails to newspapers far and near and give them access to examples of my work. My goal is 200 newspapers. That is the number I need to be able to write for a living.
I'm not sure how to go about convincing 200 editors and publisher that they need to run my column weekly but this is the first step. If anyone has idea on how to self promote, I'm all ears.
What follows is the pitch email that I plan to send out within the next day or so. Please have a look and feel free to give me feedback. If you hit the website, bare in mind that I still have some tweaking to do.

What do you get when you cross a redneck and an expensive liberal arts education?
You get stories and columns written from a unique point of view. Words that can put a smile on your face or bring tears to your eyes. Many of the columns will take you for a walk down memory lane.

Clarke Stallworth, former writer and editor at the Birmingham Post Herald:

This sounds high-falutin’, but it’s not. Rick makes pictures, and I see them clear and plain, and the images bind me to his story. He achieved the writer’s double whammy -- he made me laugh out loud and he broke my heart, all in the same column.

Like Homer, like every other born storyteller across the ages, Rick tells a story. I believe he will become our Bubba With a Heart, our Compassionate Goodoboy, writing from his Eden in the Woods near Jasper, Alabama.

Lona Williams, former Lifestyle Editor at the Daily Mountain Eagle in Jasper, Alabama writes: “Rick Watson and his Life 101 column have added color to the front page of the Lifestyles section of our small-town daily paper. Every Sunday readers reach for that page first because they enjoy a chuckle and feel a connection to the rural Alabama living that his stories depict.

His writings are natural and relaxed with an emotional depth that captures the reader and brings him back week after week. We left the column out one week by mistake and felt the wrath of disappointed readers who had missed their visit with Rick Watson that Sunday. This column has a following. It will likely find its spot in any newspaper with a suburban or rural coverage.

The reason you are receiving this message is simple, I would like to continue to eat. I have been writing “on the side” for many years. I have a weekly column in the Lifestyle section of The Daily Mountain Eagle in Jasper, a monthly column in Senior Living, and a monthly column in 280 Living.

I could afford to spend time doing what I love because I had a day gig. I got a letter from my employer this past week saying they will no longer need my services after the end of March 31st. After thirty-one years, I’ll be on the street.

If I can become successful at self syndication, perhaps my wife and I won’t have to eat dog food to survive. We have five dogs and they don’t like to share. You can help us avoid that fate by picking up my weekly column.

For more information, or to see more glowing recommendations, please contact me at: or call me at 205-648-9952

Thanks so much for your consideration.

Rick Watson

Will Write for Food

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

We Were Lucky

The weatherman had a long night last night and so did we. The storms that created havoc in Mississippi and Tennessee made its way to Alabama early this morning. We had dozed off when it looked like the storms may be headed north of us, but the dogs started acting squirrelly just before daylight. When I looked out the window, all I could see was constant lightening. Our big ol' wussy dog Astro tried his best to get up in the bed with us. He weighs about a hundred pounds.
When I turned on the TV, the weatherman was hoarse from talking all night and the scrolling text at the bottom of the screen said that Patton Hill had been hit. I jumped out of the chair and grabbed for the phone. Patton Hill is where my nephew and niece Haven and Alesha live.
The phone rang but no answer. I was about to put on my pants, grab Jilda and head south to Oakman when the phone rang. Haven had been on the phone with his mom letting them know they were OK.
In looking at the news coverage today, it was obvious that we were lucky that more people were not hurt or killed.
A couple of positive things came from the storm - the air was as clear as crystal today and four dead pine trees in my yard blew down making it much easier to dispose of them.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Dan's Boat

My friend Dan Nix decided last year to build a boat that was seaworthy. Dan's brother took him fishing in the Gulf of Mexico a while back and the brother took his bass boat.
Dan said that not only did he get his fanny wet but the waves beat the bass boat like an unruly child. He said it scared the crap out of him.
When he went home he started doing some research and found a plan for an ocean skiff and decided the build it himself. He ordered the plans and hand the wood shipped in from Tennessee and Florida and he went to work.
What came out of his shop was closer to a work of art than a fishing skiff. Dan showed me pictures from the various stages of construction and I was amazed. To be quite frank, I was a little envious too because it takes a special person to set their mind on a goal and see it through.
After the boat was constructed, he and his brother hauled it to the Gulf this past summer and did some fishing. He said it behaved much better in the angry surf.
I also got a grand tour of the house Dan built a few years ago. He's been quite busy since he retired. Maybe I could get him to help me re-do my barn.

Monday, February 04, 2008


You may have noticed that my entries have been quite short as of late. I'm sure there is a good explanation, but I have no idea what it is. I know it is related to the amount of time I spend writing. That is to say, I have so many pots in the fire that it is difficult carving out the time to do a better job with my posting.
But I've also been struggling with finding things to say. Keeping the entries fresh is not an easy thing to do.
I've read some blogs that are funny commentary about life, politics, religion, and other topics and frankly I'm not sure how they pull it off, unless they are writing full time. Right now I just don't have that luxury. Perhaps after April 1st, I'll have more time than I know what to do with. We'll see how that turns out.
For now, I ask that you bare with me until I get my head screwed back on straight.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl

I didn't give my NY Giants much of a chance tonight, but I thought I'd watch just show my support. But as I watched, I saw something remarkable. I saw the underdogs play their hearts out and win. The interview with the receiver at the end of the game literally put tears in my eyes.
I love this game.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Reunion Planning

I met some folks today from my high school class of 1968. It seems that it's been 40 years since that fateful day we walked down the isle. We met today to start planning the event. It seems impossible that forty years have passed.
I had not seen Sandra since graduation and I could tell there was no recognition in her eyes when she saw me. In fact, I think she thought I was just another customer coming into the restaurant until Becky spoke to me. I told her I could be an assassin. I truly believe my mother would not recognize me if I weren't with my wife Jilda.
The weather was beautiful today. Took the dogs for a walk this evening and they dashed out of the gate like racing horses. I walked to the barn, climbed up to the hay loft and sat for a long while just soaking in the sights and sounds. The world, when views from the open door of that hay loft, seems much clearer.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Happy Groundhog's Day

The rain moved out this morning leaving a cloudless blue sky. This evening on my drive home, I saw a jet racing towards the sunset leaving a red-orange vapor trail I didn't shoot this photo, but it captured the moment.
I've heard people complaining about all the rain, but you won't hear those words come from my mouth. The lakes and rivers around here are still very low and we need the rain. It will be time to plant the spring garden before long and I would like to see the water table recover from last year's drought.
Tomorrow's Groundhog's day and tonight we are going to stick to our annual ritual and watch Bill Murray in Groundhog's day. It's one of my all time favorite movies. It's a self-help freaks dream. To keep living each day over and over until you get it right.
Have a great weekend. Happy Groundhog's Day.

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