Thursday, October 31, 2013


Ansel Adams is an inspiration to me. He was born in 1902 and lived until 1984. During his
lifetime he was a pioneer of photography. 
He captured some of the most stunning images of Yellowstone, Teton National and other Parks in the western U.S. 
He used pack animals to help carry his 8x10 camera and other equipment.
We flew on a plane and drove through Yellowstone in a Suburban. When I came upon this scene, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a camera that wasn't much bigger than a deck of cards and capture this photograph.
I can't help wonder what old Ansel would have done if he'd has access to that technology.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My column from Sunday's Paper

Jilda and I tied the knot in May of 1974. The first 20 years were a blur, and as we approached the milestone date, she kept looking at magazines that featured stories about traveling to Ireland, Paris and Prague.

She left dog-eared copies of those stories in my bathroom and kept dropping subtle hints like, “I want to go to Ireland, Paris, or Prague for our 20th anniversary.”

As it turns out, I was going to college then and on track to graduate in the spring. My finals were the week of May 5.

She understood, but I could tell it hurt her deeply that we couldn’t go somewhere special for what the gift makers call our China Anniversary.

Then, five years later for our Silver Anniversary, the phone company planned a rollout for a new ticketing system. I had worked the previous 18 months on the design and testing team.

As you might have guessed, the rollout was the week of May 5, and I was one of the lead trainers responsible for training hundreds of employees. It appeared that I’d be a no show for our 25th anniversary too.

This one was a little harder for Jilda to swallow. But then the good-fortune fairy stepped in and convinced the team to rollout the software at a later date.

I booked two tickets to Ireland leaving on the first of May. Early the next morning our plane descended through clouds as grey as a gun barrel and touched down on the Emerald Isle.

We deplaned, collected our luggage, loaded the bags into the rental car, and crawled in ready to drive away. It took a second before realizing the steering wheel was on the other side of the car.

Fortunately the gearshift, clutch, breaks and gas pedal were in the right order so after a few moments of orientation, we were on the road.

I thought to myself, “How hard can it be to drive on the wrong side of the road? I’m from rural Alabama, we drive on the wrong side of the road all the time.”

We spent the next few days zigzagging across one of the most beautiful places on earth. We played music in pubs, feasted on what the locals ate, and took what seemed like a million pictures.

We spent our 25th Anniversary in a small cottage by the sea, watching a fog as thick as gauze roll in and listening to the sound of the surf.

Earlier this year we renewed our passports and began discussing what we wanted to do for out 40th next year, and going back to Ireland was at the top of the list.

We’ve been putting back money for the trip, but emergencies always seem to nip away at those funds.

We’ve fretted a little about the cost of traveling abroad and Jilda suggested that we could stay here and maybe go to the beach.

I told her that we’d have the money by May. Even if I have to sell a kidney, or raid our 401k,
we’re going someplace remarkable for this anniversary.

A few of our friends have been married 40 years, but some of them must count the years from previous marriages.

I consider it a miracle that I’ve made it 40 years without waking to find an icepick jammed into my temple. Lord knows at times I’ve deserved it.

The road is long and there are always rough patches. That’s why I think it’s important to celebrate the milestones.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Finding my way

I'm surprised every time I shoot a picture with the Hipstamatic app on my phone. Take this photo
for example. There was color all around us, but the combination of lens and film I chose rendered the picture almost in black and white.The only color that jumps out at you is the pedestrian sign and a splash of red on the sidewalk behind her.The power of these apps is that it give you an opportunity to see things differently. A chance to grow creatively. I know I still have a long way to go, but it's fun finding my way.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A view from my window

We had an opportunity to have a little change of scene recently. I love visiting new places,
meeting new people, and seeing new things.
Driving through the Tetons was an unforgettable experience. Everywhere I turned had the color of an Impressionist painting.
The air was crisp, and so clean it almost burned my lungs. The scent of Lodgepole pine, Douglas Fir, and Blue Spruce was almost intoxicating.
The color of Aspens set against the evergreens, and gun-barrel grey mountains made my photographs seem as if they were 3-D.
It snowed during our visit and I shot the photograph (Hipstamatic) here off the balcony of our room.
The Aspen leaves are golden now, and you could hear them rattle as the wind blew down from the snowcapped mountains.
Jackson Hole is a beautiful place on this earth.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


The sun out west play well with clouds. I shot this photo near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  The sun ducked behind cotton clouds, but not before playing the split-rail fence.
The mountains look like a ghost in the distance.
It's been a long day today, so I'm turning in.
I hope you all have a remarkable week.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Old Things

It's interesting how things trigger memory. These triggers are what I live for....things that give me ideas
for songs and stories.
I posted a picture several days ago of two cases of soft drink bottles on the porch of our creative space.
We have had them for as long as I can remember, and through time, they've become almost invisible to me.
A woman who deals in antiques visited us a while back and wanted to sell them on eBay and share the profit.
They aren't plastic bottles, but the vintage green ones with curvy-ribbed sides. Some of the older ones had tiny air bubbles trapped in the glass.
As a kid, I held them up close to my eye, and looked at things around me. Those bottles turned the world into an Impressionist painting.
Those bottles are not junk to me, but remind me of the past.
I'm not sure what they're worth on eBay, but had I sold them, I wouldn't have this blog post, or the column that is sure to follow.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Time Well Spent

Jilda got a request to teach a private yoga class this morning, so I decided to go fishing. She had to be
there by 8 a.m. so I filled my water bottle, loaded up my fishing pack and I was on my way to the water.
The temp this morning was cool, but I've fished in colder weather. When I got to the angler's area, not a soul was there, so I took my time suiting up and choosing just the right fly.
When I got to the water, I discovered that Alabama Power had run the turbines until daylight which meant it would take the water a while to get shallow enough to wade.
It was dropping a few inches every 10 minutes or so.
Rather than call it a day and head back home, I sat on the bank and listened.
It's amazing how quite it is there. Every now and then I'd hear the sound of a truck coming down a steep grade on Highway 69, but I knew it was at a few miles away.
But mostly I heard the sound of wind in the trees, and water lapping on the shore. When the sun burned off the low-hanging fog, the trout began hitting small bugs and flies on the surface of the river.
It was so peaceful, I almost didn't want to wade off into the water which was around 49 degrees.
I spent a few hours alone on the water.
Just before lunch, I heard clanging on the metal steps and the owner of the fly shop had four fishermen headed down to fish.
I decided to fish my way back down river the hundred yards to the access close to the truck. I didn't catch any fish today, but you know what I say: Any Time On the Water is Time Well Spent.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


We let a few pods of okra from summer go to seed. 
After the first frost and before it rains, I'll take the dried pods and strip out the seeds, put them in plastic bags and store them in the freezer until next spring.
I like starting out plants from seeds that survived. It seems to make them stronger. Of course this only works with heirloom plants because seeds left over from hybrid plants are a crapshoot.
Your Big Boy tomatoes will most likely be cherry tomatoes. They'll be good, but they won't be like the parent.
This morning as I stood by the back gate waiting for Jilda to throw some scraps into the chickens, I noticed how the sun played on the pods and snapped this photo with the black and white feature of the Hipstamatic app on my phone.
I pulled babysitting duty today with our great nephew Jordan. He got out of school a half day and rather than sit around down there waiting for his nanna to bring him home, I picked him up after the last bell.
We spent the afternoon outside. When we walked to the old house down by the barn, he missed his wooden blocks that he'd left on the porch.
When he asked where there were, I told him I'd swept them off and under the porch.
"Why didn't you put them back," he asked. I told him jokingly, that they weren't my blocks. He then said, and I quote: "Since you swept them off, it was your responsibility to pick them up again."
I chased his five year old butt around the yard shouting, "I've got your responsibility right here mister."
He squealed with delight as we ran around the oak tree.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

All in all, a good day

Jilda's regular checkup was on the calendar today so we mapped out our strategy early. I'd forgotten to get the coffee pot ready last night so when I stepped out on the deck to dump the grounds in our compost bucket, I noticed low-hanging clouds as dark as soot overhead.
Her appointment was at 11:45, and when we got on the road, the sun had found its way out, and overhead the sky was full of cotton-candy clouds.
The doc says she's doing well, but in order to keep her doing well, she'll have to continue taking her monthly infusion treatments indefinitely.
We kind of figured that, and she's OK with it. 
When we walked out of the clinic, a cool breeze out of the north caused me to shiver involuntarily. Jilda's a weather channel junky so she dressed appropriately, but I didn't wear a jacket and immediately regretted it. 
We decided to eat before heading home, so we stopped at On Tap, which is a bar, but they have great food.
I was craving a Cobb Salad and Jilda got a Jalapeno Cheeseburger. I snapped this photo as we waited for our food.
The service was perfect and soon we were chowing down. 
This evening I built a fire in the firepit and we sat outside watching dancing flames and listening to the crackle as the sun made its way below the horizon.
All in all, it was a good day.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Shamless Self Promotion

OK, You've been wondering when it would happen. The time is here. What follows is shameless self promotion.
I did a slideshow video of a song off our first CD, I Think of You which is about friends.
The CD is now available for download from iTunes, and or an autographed copy from
We put photographs of a lot of our friends in this video. We left some out, but they'll be in the next one :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

My column from Sunday's paper

Jilda and I did some autumn cleaning last Sunday in preparation for our monthly League of Extra Ornery Songwriters meeting, which was at our house this month.

The League is a collection of our songwriting buddies that gather to play new songs, share information on equipment, gigs and the meaning of life.

As always, we gave the house a once over, tossing magazines in the recycle box, which is hard for us to do. We keep them stacked on our benches and coffee tables, thinking that one day we’ll get around to reading them, but we rarely do. Then at the risk of looking like slobs, we sort through the stacks and toss the ones we’ll never read.

At one point I looked up at the ceiling fan and it had dust bunnies the size of Chihuahuas tangled in cobwebs, swirling around.

I cleaned the fan, and then headed outside to spray the sidewalk. Afterwards I went around back to sweep the leaves off the deck, which is a perpetual job this time of year. We have a water oak the size of Rhode Island in the yard. It sheds leaves in an orderly fashion. Unlike other oaks that once bitten by frost, spend about three to four weeks, turning leaves into a tapestry of gold, rust, orange, and red before falling; the water oak spills bushels of leaves each day over the course of fall and winter.

As I swept the deck, I heard an acorn the size of a dime smack on the metal surface of the roof, and then race down the slope before bouncing off the deck and into the yard. It sounded like an old timey pinball machine.

I learned the hard way that you should never look up to see the acorn rolling off the roof. Last year while sweeping, one fell from the top, gained momentum and smacked me right between the eyes. I heard it, but I never saw it coming.

Today, one of the final chores was to get fresh flowers for the table and for the desk near the entryway.

Most of the flowers and vegetables are gone now, but the Old Maids (Zinnias) are still showing out.

Planting those flowers is one of the best investments we’ve ever made. We planted them a few years ago and each summer they bloom prolifically until frost.

I was out rolling up the hosepipe when Jilda walked by clicking the scissors as she headed to the flowerbed.

A moment later I heard her gasp. I thought she’d stepped on a snake basking in the October sun, but when I stepped to the edge of the yard, I saw a bouquet of butterflies feasting on the nectar of the Old Maids.

I pulled the phone from my pocket and tried to snap a photo but each time I got close, they erupted off the flowers into a colorful cloud. There were too many to count.

After a few tries, I decided to just stand back and watch the show for a few minutes. It’s interesting that we started out cleaning our house and ended up seeing a butterfly ballet.

I shot the photo below today and it has nothing to do with this post, I just liked the picture.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Telling Stories

There's an art to telling stories. Some folks are naturally gifted storytellers, but there are some people who struggle with pace, timing, and pieces of the story that hold power for listeners.
For as long as I can remember, I've loved hearing and telling jokes. Many of the jokes I've heard and told, would probably be inappropriate for my readers here, but I think understanding how to tell a joke is important for those who want to write. 
It can't be so long that it bores the listener. It has to be just long enough to add power to the punchline.
I think it was my love of jokes, and knowing how to tell one, that helped me develop as a writer, which is in effect, a story teller.
It's important to tweak the reader/listener's interest up front, and then drop nuggets of humor, wisdom, enlightenment and what not as the story develops.
Pace is everything.  
I got to thinking about this yesterday because a great storyteller performed just before us at the Kentuck Arts Festival.
His delivery of his stories was impeccable  and as a result, everyone in the audience hung on every word.
It reinforced a valuable lesson in my quest to become a better writer.

Below is a photo I shot early this morning with my iPhone, with no Photoshop enhancements.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

When I think of autumn

When I think of autumn, I think of college football. I know it's probably not a big deal at most other locations in the states, but here in the south, we love our football. Roll Tide.
When I think of autumn, I think of fall festivals. Today we played the Kentuck Art Festival. We were on the acoustic stage and practically sat with the audience, without the distance created by an elevated stage, microphones, and wires.
We connected on a level that was what musicians live for. A good day.
When I think of autumn, I think of tapestries. Not the cheap kind made from synthetic fabric, but the real ones, with real color....color that you can smell.
These are a few things I think of when I think of autumn. What do you think about?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Cheater, cheater, pants on fire

I forgot. I did something last night I haven't done in a long time. I forgot to post :(
Friday was a busy day with Homecoming at the local high school where I do the website and then the game Friday night.
When I got home I was exhausted and I simply forgot to post.
So, I'm cheating. I'm posting this morning and back dating it to Friday night. It's like my grade school friend used to say:
Cheater Cheater
Pants on Fire.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Treasure of memories

I love old trunks. Jilda's mom gave her a couple, one that came from her great
grandmother. I have one that came from my mom's house.
 I put things in them from time to time, and then later (sometimes years later) when I open them, it's always surprising.
I opened one today and it smelled of old clothes, dust, and moth balls. I dug around in it and found an old picture of a uncle who was a sailor who died at Pearl Harbor before WWII actually begun. 
I also found my dad's Old Timer pocket knife. In there with it was his old whitstone. The blade was still sharp as a razor, and smelled of the machine oil.
I need to start putting some of my personal effects and souvenirs in those old trunks so that someone can find them some day, and examine each artifact as if it were a treasure. Which in a sense, they are, if only a treasure of memories.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rocking to the rhythm of childhood

Tonight as I type, I hear rain ticking on the metal roof. This spring and summer were the wettest on record for Alabama, but when autumn arrived, it shooed away the rain.
So the earth has been thirsty for a while now.
I could have hugged the weatherman when he said rain was moving in.
As a child living in Sloss Hollow, I played outside every day, except on day when the rain chased me onto the porch that spanned the width of the old house.
On the porch was a swing tethered by chains that squeaked when you swung.
There was also a rocking chair on that porch where I spent many rainy hours rocking to the rhythm of childhood.
I'd make up songs about trains, dogs, and soldiers.
My favorite toys were small Army figures that came from.......actually, I don't remember where they came from, but I fought many wars on that front porch on rainy days.
I shot this photograph yesterday with my Hipstamatic app (do you see a pattern here?), and I just got a chance to look at it tonight. Looking at this photo, sent my mind on a circuitous trip down memory lane.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Nice Day In The Neighborhood

I hadn't taken time to straighten up my fishing stuff all summer.  I got caught up on all my correspondence and afterwards I remembered my long-neglected fishing chore. Besides, I thought, I could use some fresh air.
I pulled everything from behind the seat of my pickup, dropped the tailgate, and sat back there to work.
The temp was in the high 70s with a light breeze out of the west. Clouds started moving in just after lunch, but they were scattered enough to let a lot of sunshine through.
I cleaned and dressed the fly line before tying on new leader and tippet. These are all terms that will mean nothing to you unless you fly fish, but it's routine work that you save for beautiful days when you want to be outside but you don't have time to go fishing.
After I finished, I packed everything back up neat as an Army footlocker, and headed inside to look at my todo list.
The last thing that I HAD to do today was mail off CDs to people who ordered them off our website.
One package had to be shipped to the UK for a radio disc jockey who plays independent artist.
We're hoping to get some airplay over there so that next year we can do some touring abroad.
After the post office, I decided to stop by the boat launch near our house, and cast a few times just for grins.
The sun was sinking low on the horizon, but still high enough to spotlight the river and a plant with white flowers that I couldn't name.
I shot this photo with my iPhone and the Hipstamatic app.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Words are powerful

Sipsey Fork of the Warrior River
Words are powerful. I sometimes forget that, even though I’m a writer. Two things happened this week that reminded me once again of the power of words.

I’ve been writing a weekly column in the Daily Mountain Eagle since January of 2007. 

Sometimes I manage to string words together that resonate with readers. I know this because from time to time I get stopped in the grocery store or at Wal-Mart, and they say the column I wrote this week (and they call the topic by name) “really hit home with me.”

“I feel like you’re writing about my life,” is another phrase I hear a lot. I am humbled and flattered that people read my work.

This past week when we played for the Merchants Association’s First Friday night event, a woman came up to me with a faded-yellow copy of a Daily Mountain Eagle LifeStyles page from 2008. 

She said that she’d been carrying the page around in her car because it contained a column I’d written that changed her life. She hoped to run into me one day and get me to sign it for her.

The only word I could manage was, really?

I could tell by the look in her eyes that she had a story to tell. She went on to explain that five years ago she was a single mom with six children at home. With that many mouths to feed, life is tough, but apparently it had been particularly unkind to her, and she’d pretty much become a hermit never leaving her house.

She told me that after reading my column, she made a decision to start going out one day a month and take some time for herself.

She said she’s done it every month since then and because of those words, she’s met incredible people, made new friends and taken back her life.

She asked if I’d consider autographing the paper, which I was more than happy to do. I scribbled something on the page, handed the paper back to her, and then hugged her. I told her I’m glad my words had helped.

The second thing that happened this week, I landed another newspaper for my writing.

I’ve pitched my column to several newspapers in Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama with some success.

The publisher of a large paper in eastern Alabama was mildly interested in my work, but I never got a commitment. 

I decided to send the publisher my column each week until either he started running it or told me to stop sending them. 

This past week’s column on Why I Love October struck a chord with him. 

He told me that he too is in the autumn of his life, and that the column nailed it for him. 

He ran it this week.

I love living on our small farm, but sitting on my screen porch in the suburbs of Empire (that always gets a laugh from people who live out here in the sticks), jabbing away at the keyboard of my laptop, I sometimes feel a little isolated. Writing can be a lonely job.

There were times I’ve wondered if what I write matters. I think one of the saddest fates anyone could face is going to the grave wondering if they made a difference.

It’s gratifying to work in a profession where you can sometimes see your work did make a difference.

I shot the photo above today with my iPhone using the Hipstamatic app.

My book Life Happens is available on You can contact him via email:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bouquet of Butterflies

We invited friends over this afternoon. As always, we gave the house a once over, and spiffed the place up.
I swept the sidewalk and back deck which is a perpetual job this time of year. We have a water oak the size of Rhode Island in the yard. It sheds leaves in an orderly fashion. Unlike other oaks that once bitten by frost, spend about three weeks, turning leaves into a tapestry of gold, rust, orange, red, and amber, the water oak spills bushels of leaves each day over the course of fall and winter.
Today as I swept, I heard an acorn about the size of a dime, fall on the metal roof. It gave a metallic pop as it smacked the surface, and then sounded like rats with cleats racing around the attic.
I've learned that you never look up and try to see the acorn rolling off the roof, because one smacked me right between the eyes last fall. I never saw it coming.
Today, one of the final chores was to get some fresh flowers for the table and for the desk near the entryway.
Most of the flowers and vegetables are gone now, but the Old Maids (Zinnias) are still showing out.
I was out rolling up the hose pipe when I heard Jilda gasp. I thought she'd stepped on a snake basking in the afternoon sun, but when I stepped to the edge of the yard, I saw a bouquet of butterflies feasting on the nectar.
I tried to snap a photo but each time I got close, they'd all do an evasive maneuver that looked almost like a  Rhopalocera Ballet.
I had to settle for just a picture of the flowers.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Waning light of evening

We played at a small community festival today, and afterwards we visited an elderly friend who's had some health issues lately.
He and his wife do a community gospel show each week and they've supported Jilda and I in our writing and music endeavours. We took them a copy of our new CD.
We talked for some time and afterwards, we tried a new Mexican Restaurant in downtown Jasper.
We had fish tacos which were scrumptious. 
Performing and visiting took the wind out of our sails so we took a late nap.
I think I may have slobbered on my pillow.
Afterwards, I stepped down to throw out a little corn for the deer. I snapped this photo of the waning light of evening.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Picture of patience

I find myself tapping my toes a lot. When Jilda and I are getting ready to go somewhere, I ALWAYS get ready before she does.
That's probably because my hair-drying time is zero. But I have a
closet full of T-shirts, a few polos, and in the winter, I have sweaters and turtlenecks. It takes me about three seconds on a slow day to figure out what I'm wearing and them BAM, I'm jangling keys and wiping the face of my watch with my thumb.
At this point, I can literally blow out a temple artery, or I can sit down and breathe. To say that I've haven't mastered the virtue of patience is an understatement.
Caillou, on the other hand, is the picture of patience. While he's waiting for us to walk, or to put food in his bowl, he will lie around, take a nap, lick his paws (or something else), and he never gets excited until he sees us getting ready to walk out the door, and then he's bouncing off the walls.
I shot this photo with the new the Hipstamatic film I downloaded today. It's tintype film that makes photographs look really old.
He was napping while I finished up some emails before heading out on our evening routine of gathering eggs, and feeding the deer.
He is the picture of patience.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Idle moments

The Alabama Media Professionals sponsored a fall workshop today in Birmingham on how to make money as a freelance writer.
The facilitator that planned the workshop was called to Washington D.C. for a meeting, so she asked if I'd help make the workshop happen.
I agreed, but I realized afterwards that I'd have to be in Birmingham at 8 a.m. to meet the speaker and get him situated prior to the guests arriving.
That meant I'd have to be on the road by 7 a.m. Normally I get up at 6 a.m. to sip coffee and leisurely read the morning paper.
This morning I tossed down the java like a stale bagel, and I was on the road.
It was another beautiful day here. Wispy white clouds crawled lethargically  across the sky. 
After I got the speaker situated, I stood out on the front of the building waiting for participants to arrive. The workshop was held at a beautiful facility converted from an old loading dock next to the railroad tracks.
The access is a little cumbersome, so I stood on the dock watching for confused people.
As I stood there, I saw two smoke stacks a few blocks away. Forty years ago, they would have been belching smoke as thick as syrup into the air, but now, they stand to remind us of a by-gone era.
You can Google Birmingham, Alabama and read about the city's past. 
It's both remarkable and tragic. It was the center of industry for many years. In the 1960s and 70s, people were willing to overlook the fact that the air was just slightly less dense than the red clay in the surrounding fields and hollows, because industry provided jobs in the coal and steel industries that allowed people to work at jobs for decent pay, build homes, schools, and colleges. 
Then things happened here during the civil rights era that we'd all like to forget. 
It's interesting what runs through ones mind at an idle moments. 

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

It's Here

Making a CD of our music has been on our vision board for several years. The project  came in fits and
starts as the old saying goes.
But earlier this year we began putting a great deal of focus on the project. Our good friend Fred, who is a sound man extraordinaire encouraged and guided us through the process.
We sent it off to press about a week ago and I got an email yesterday saying it shipped.
The morning was frantic for us. We had errands to run and a ton of chores on our todo list. After lunch we took a short nap to recharge our batteries.
When I woke up, I opened my UPS app on my phone to check on the progress of the shipment. It said the package had been delivered about 45 minutes earlier.
When I stepped to our screen porch, the box was sitting on the table. I ripped open the box, and there it was. We high-fived each other before stripping the cellophane off the cover and popping it into the player.
Shameless self promotion:
The music will be available from CDBaby and on iTunes, but I'm not sure when that will happen. If anyone would like an autographed copy, you can visit our website
Tonight Jilda cooked a special meal and we did a toast to each other, and to music.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Tiny Pumpkins

Our great nephew Jordan stayed with us part of last Wednesday when school met only a half day.
It was a beautiful afternoon and we spent most of the time outside.
At one point he asked me if the tiny pumpkins were good to eat. I explained that the little pumpkins are green and you couldn't eat them until they got big.
He insisted that the tiny pumpkins weren't green. He'd seen our pumpkin plant when it was small and he watch the single pumpkin grow to the size and color of a basketball.
I asked him where he saw tiny pumpkins. He said on the pumpkin tree in the front yard. At this point, I thought he'd grown an imaginary tiny pumpkin tree in his youthful mind, but then he said come on and I'll show you.
When I walked to the front yard, he pointed to a ripe persimmon lying on the ground and said, "see."
I thought to myself, dang, I've seen millions of ripe persimmons and I'd never made the connection that it actually looked like a tiny pumpkin.
But he was right.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Why I love October

Today is the first Sunday in October. This month has a lot to offer. The pastimes changed from water
sports, weekends at the beach and gardening to football, fall festivals and getting ready for Christmas.

October is an assault on the senses with color that changes from moment to moment.

The lush green leaves give way to subtle shades of orange, yellow, maroon and brown that cause one to stop and contemplate all of life’s gifts.

Later when the leaves begin to fall, people flock to their yards to enjoy the beautiful weather.

Driving through most communities, you will see mounds of leaves and columns of smoke that hang in the air like fog after a rain. The aroma of burning leaves in the air smells like expensive incense.

When I was in the Army in the tropics, the weather rarely changed. The only seasons were ones where it rained, and ones where it rained a lot more.

In October, all the guys there were missing autumn. The sister of a platoon buddy sent him a care package and used autumn leaves as packing material.

We headed to the beach that evening, built a campfire and burned the leaves a handful at a time.

The smell of those burning leaves sent us all home for a little while.

Another thing I love about October is that the kinds of food we eat change. We have no more fresh tomatoes in our garden, but the greens are coming up.

Jilda stepped down to the apple tree yesterday and picked a half dozen apples the size of softballs.

She then baked a fresh apple pie that tasted as good as any dessert I’ve ever put into my mouth.

But autumn is also a metaphor for where I am right now in my life. Gone are the spring and summer days of youth. These days I can party hardy as long as they don’t go past my bedtime at around 9:30 p.m.

My life goals and priorities have also changed. When I was 30, my philosophy was bigger, better, faster and newer.

I can’t remember how many new cars I bought through the years, and at times, I dreamed of getting a bigger house.

I’m not sure why because we didn’t have kids, and more house would have meant more time spent cleaning and maintaining, and paying for something we really didn’t need.

I worked hard to earn money for a rainy day. In my 40s, it was hard for me to imagine a time when I didn’t have to “clock in.”

The autumn of my life seemed as far away as the Milky Way, but then like autumn, the days began to get shorter.

I woke up one morning and my hair was gone, my waist line had expanded, and my knees squeaked when I stood too fast.

And in looking back, all those things that seemed so important back then seem almost frivolous now.

As the old song goes, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

It’s my intention to enjoy this autumn.

Happy October.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

It won't leave me alone

The grass at the edge of the garden won't leave me alone. I don't think I did anything to provoke it, but
it's always there.
In the morning when the sun is in the east, the grass and goldenrod fades into the underbrush and goes unnoticed, but it's there.
But in the evenings as the sun "lazes" toward the western horizon, the light plays on the grass and transforms it into something that's hard to ignore.
One morning last week, my nephew was doing some bush hog work on his fields that adjoin our property, and he offered to mow down the grass at the edge of my garden.
I thought about it for a moment, and then declined.
After, it became the subject of several photographs, and this blog entry.
Maybe it's not such an intruder after all.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Fun Frog Day

I do the website for The Frog Festival which is always the first Saturday in October. Last year it rained
for the first time, but this year, even though there is a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, the rain stayed away.
By noon, it was hot enough to bake cupcakes on the pavement. Jilda and I walked around most of the morning greeting old friends and taking pictures for the website.
It was a fun day, but after last night, I've had about as much fun and I can stand for one weekend:)
I plan to sleep in tomorrow and nap a lot.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Reaching for the sun

At a time of year when most vegetation is winding down toward winter, the Old Maids (Zinnias) keep
reaching for the sun.
We planted these flowers many years ago and they come back every spring raring to go, and the later in the year it gets, the more beautiful they become.
They will bloom until frost. After that, they die back to nothing and next year when the days get warmer, they peep up and start the show all over again.
Speaking of shows, we played the first Friday Night Street Festival in Jasper, the county seat.
Our songwriting group started at 5 p.m. and played through until 8 p.m.
I'm whupped right now, so I'm making this a short post.
I hope you all have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

A beautiful month

I had several errands today. The land taxes are due, and I needed to check out the stage where we're playing Friday evening.
The weather was fall-ecious today so I turned off the A/C, and rolled down the window to let the wind
blow through what's left of my hair.
I decided to run by the Riverside Fly Shop to buy some more flies.
Mr. Big Honkin' Trout that I wrote about a few days ago, broke my line and I lost my favorite fly.
The owner gave me some recommendations for additions to my fly box.
It was all I could do to keep from sweeping my arm expansively and telling the owner that I'd take one of each in this area.
I kept the plastic in my wallet, plumped down a few bucks for the new flies and I was on my way.
As I crossed the bridge over the Sipsey Fork of the Warrior River, I looked out the window and saw the sun playing the field of goldenrods and pine like a symphony.
That was quite a feat as you can tell by the cloud cover in the photograph.
As it happens, my timing was perfect.
Is October a beautiful month or what?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Missing Ol' Buddy

I've been thinking about my dearly departed mutt Ol' Buddy lately. A few weeks ago my blog buddy Granpappy Miller sent me a pencil drawing he done of our old house with Ol' Buddy sitting on the
Ol' Buddy on the Porch by Robert Miller
When Jilda opened the mail that day and we realized what it was, tears filled both our eyes. Bob is an incredible artist.
Fast forward to yesterday:
I got a postcard from the Vet telling me that it was time for Buddy's annual vaccination.
When they put him down back in May, they apparently didn't make a note on his chart. I had to call them to let them know he was gone.
Then last night, I dreamed about him. I thought I felt him wiggling at my feet as I slept. When I came to my senses, I sat up straight in the bed and looked at the pillows around my feet.
I sure miss that little critter.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Any Day On The Water

Everybody needs an escape....a safe harbor, where they can find time to relax, recharge their batteries, or mend.
I'm not the first to say this, but life is messy; it doesn't always come pre-packaged for you...that has all the things you love, and conveniently leaves out all the things that chaps your butt.
Sometimes things don't work out, no matter how hard you try. Life spanks you like a mischievous child. There are times you work yourself weak, and things still go south.
During these times, I think it's vital that you step back, take a breath, and say, "Can I get back to you on that?" And then do something that brings you joy.
For some it's shopping, cooking, restoring old cars, or jumping from planes. It's something that resonates deep within, and often we don't know why.
For me, it's wading waist deep into water that's missed being solid by only a few degrees, and casting tiny hand-made lures into swift water.
I went fishing this morning and spent a few hours on the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River. It seemed like a blink of an eye, .
I have the good fortune to live twenty minutes away from one of the few places in Alabama where you can catch rainbow trout.
This morning I hung the largest trout I've ever hung. I had him within a few feet of pulling it into my net, but then his/her wild side kicked in and with every ounce of energy he/she could muster, snapped my line and swam downstream.
The trout had no way of knowing that I would have released it anyhow, but I saluted it as it headed away from me.
I don't take credit for "catching" a trout unless I have it in hand, but just spending some time with this one made me smile.
I'm ready to wade hip deep back into life.

Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required