Sunday, September 30, 2018

Apple time

The August-September heatwave had its way with our crop of apples this year, but a few have survived. They are a few weeks away from being at peak picking time.

Jordan has grown impatient. Throughout the summer when he came to walk with us, he would stand under the tree and look at the fruit longingly. "When will they be ready?" He knows the answer, but he is anxious to have one that he picked himself. He thinks that apples taste better when you pick them yourself. I tend to agree.

He came over yesterday and picked a few low-hanging apples. One of the ones he chose was almost as big as a softball.

I like shining them on my pantsleg and eating them in the field. He prefers them peeled. His mom enjoys coming over and sitting on our back deck to catch up with everything that's going on with us, but he wasn't having any of that. He wanted to go home and eat apples.

Even though they are fewer this year, they are scrumptious.  The deer agree. Each morning, we'll see a few down there checking the ground for apples that have fallen.

I haven't been able to get a picture of one this year, but I looked through my archives and found two under the tree that I'd taken a few years ago. I think it will get my point across.

Saturday, September 29, 2018


We attended the wedding of a friend today. She lost her husband a while back. They were close. She is Jilda's age. We fretted that we may never see her smile again. 

Then something remarkable happened. A man came into her life. They started off slowly. They went to the movies, attended rock concerts, and spent time at his house on the beach and her house on the river.

A few months ago, they came to hear Jilda and I play at the local coffee house. As we surveyed the crowd from the stage, we saw her smiling. 

Today, they had a morning ceremony in her front yard. Hickory trees that reached to the skies dropped golfball sized hickory nuts on the metal roof of the gazebo during the service. Just behind the happy couple I noticed a blue heron on the bank of the river.  Crows fussed off in the distance during the prayers. And our friend smiled the whole time.

On the way home, we saw a field of goldenrod and wild daisies. I pulled to the edge of the road and snapped a few pictures. 

The daisies seemed to be smiling too.

Friday, September 28, 2018


We've had a dead tree in our backyard that had been on my todo list for some time. About a year ago, I called a tree cutter to get an estimate.

Before he made it to our house, a storm with straight-line winds swept through and blew down thousands of trees all over the county where I live.

Suddenly, the tree guy's dance card was punched for months. One thing the storm did do was blow the top out of my dead tree. Instead of the tree being 80 feet tall and within reach of our house, the shed, and our fence on three sides, it was now only 40 feet tall. 

The tree still needed to come down but the urgency dropped dramatically. 

When our neighbor died, his daughter gave Jilda and I his utility shed. It is huge. We decided it would be perfect for Jilda a workspace for her painting project. This building had the potential of solving several problems we've been coping with for years.

The only thing – before we can take delivery of the shed, the neglected dead tree had to come down.

Calling the tree guy, he remembered me and where I lived. He said he'd run by and give me an estimate this afternoon. 

When he got here, he said this shouldn't be a problem at all. "If I'd brought my saw, I'd do it right now." I told him I had a chainsaw. I know he thought I was about to pull out a consumer-grade saw made for cutting twigs and small firewood. When I fetched my chainsaw from the shed, he nodded his head. "Yep. This'll work." 

A few minutes later the tree was on the ground and he was sawing it into small pieces so that I can move it with my tractor. 

I should have taken a picture while he was doing the deed, but I wanted to be out of range of that dead tree.

I will post pictures of Jilda's new painting room when we get it moved and set up.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


I'm word weary tonight. I've been writing for most of the day. My column due and I started working on that but then I got an alert from the local college that they were under a lockdown because of an escaped felon.

As it turns out, the police had him back in custody within 30 minutes, but the editor wanted a piece written for the paper. My column went on the back burner while I called the police chief and got the scoop.

After that, I completed my column and then transcribed a feature story about a set of twins that were adopted shortly after birth. It took them 40 years, but they found their birth mother. I think the story will be a good one.

This evening, I had to cover a city council meeting. 

Jilda had dinner ready when I walked in the door. The rain kept me from getting a decent picture today, so I went back to the archives.

This is a restaurant on the river in Tuscaloosa. Great food with a great view. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


This is post number 4724. I was looking at something in my blog setup and clicked on posts. When I saw this number it did not register at first. A couple hundred shy of 5000 posts. 
No wonder I get out of ideas every now and then.

My first post was on December 2, 2005. Since starting, I've missed very few days posting. Most of these misses were due to storms. After the 2011 tornados, we were without power for over a week. Even that didn't stop me. When they cleared the roads, I drove 12 miles to McDonald's and used their free WiFi to post my blog.

Every now and then I think of quitting. I run out of things to say and think, "What's the point?" But then something will happen and I can't wait to share it on my blog. Or, I'll come across an incredible scene and capture it with my camera. 

I think that the discipline of writing every day has helped me find my voice. I know I've said this before, but I think it should be repeated. If you want to get better at anything, it takes repetition...practice.

Here's a picture I shot a few years ago. I'm not sure if I posted it or not, but it's rained all day today and the light muted the colors around here. So this picture is what I chose to brighten up my blog.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Mistaken identity

The goldenrod is coming out. I started seeing it on the roadside. It's often mistaken for one of the causes of sinus irritation in the fall, but ragweed is usually the culprit.

Ragweed has white fuzzy blossoms and spread in the autumn wind like dandelions. Goldenrod on the other hand just stands there looking pretty and taking the heat from ill-informed sneezers.


Monday, September 24, 2018

Being in sync isn't always fun ~ my column from Sunday

Jilda and I experience synchronicity all the time. When preparing to go somewhere, we’ll get dressed in our separate bathrooms. When it’s time to leave, and we meet in the great room by the door, we’re often wearing the same color tops and pants. 

Maybe it'ss the 44 years we’ve lived together, or maybe it’s some cosmic prankster having fun at our expense. We always laugh and call each other copycats. This week we experienced synchronicity, and it wasn’t nearly as much fun.

On Monday evening before heading to her community yoga class, I heard her make a pitiful mewing sound. It was kind of like a cat with a hurt paw. 

Stopping what I was doing, I looked to get the scoop. She’d dropped her phone. It didn’t fall that far and didn’t seem to hit the floor that hard, but there was a hairline crack that went from top to bottom of her phone. It still worked fine, but the crack caught the light and was distracting. 

Calling AT&T support, I asked about repairing the screen. I figured I’d need to knock off a liquor store to pay for the damage. The service rep sounded chipper. “Fortunately, you have insurance on that phone,” she said. 

Our moods brightened. That’s not too bad, I thought. We could probably hit a lemonade stand and get enough for that. Jilda failed to see the humor in my suggestion.

Fast forward to yesterday. I headed to Sumiton City Hall to cover a council meeting. I needed a llama to help carry all my stuff inside, but I did something I’d never done before. Instead of putting my phone in my pocket, I put it under my arm. My thinking was that after I got out of the truck and everything situated so that my new bionic knee was happy, I’d slip the phone into my pocket. That didn’t happen. 

When I started to walk inside, the phone slipped from under my arm and smacked the pavement hard. I knew before picking it up and looking at the screen that it would be cracked. I was right. That involuntary mewing sound came from somewhere deep inside. 

Everything worked, but every time I looked at my phone, it seemed to be screaming “SIMPLETON.” 

When I called AT&T support, I got another service rep, and she was a chipper as the other one. That must be a job requirement now. When I told her the story about my wife breaking her phone earlier in the week, I thought I detected a snort of laughter. 

She gave me a ticket number for the repair place for our phones. 

So, today on my day off, I’m not fishing or doing something fun, I’m sitting in a waiting room for a couple hours while technicians replace the screens on our phones.

I think I’m going to cruise around some of the neighborhoods around here looking for a lemonade stand I can knock off.

I shot this picture this morning on the way home from therapy. It has nothing to do with the post, but then my pictures often don't.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Fun Sunday

I missed commenting on the autumnal equinox yesterday. That's what happens when I whine. The weather has been hot, but the weatherman swears that by the end of next week, things will change and the highs will be in the low 80s instead of mid to upper 90s. That will make a huge difference.

Jilda and I have a show the first Saturday night in October. We spent a few hours practicing today. We both stay so busy that we don't get as much time as we like practicing together. Both of us practice guitar and vocals individually to keep our chops sharp, but there is no substitute for practicing together.

We're working on some new material. One song we wrote a few months ago with our friend Joe Greg is entitled Coffee. It's a bluesy song and it is a lot of fun to perform.  We plan to play it for the first time in front of a crowd when we play.

It's been a fun day. I hope your Sunday has been a good one too.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Sun ivy

I've spent more time on the couch today than I have in a long time. My biorhythms must be in the tank.

I had to look at archives to find a picture for tonight. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Historic church

I had errands this afternoon in Jasper, which is the county seat. I had to pick up a check from the coffee house for the last gig we did in August. Then a dash by the seed and feed store to stock up on dog food, bird seed, and chicken feed. As I drove through downtown, I passed the old Methodist Church. It's a historic place. Franklin D. Roosevelt attended the funeral of Willaim Brockman Bankhead. He was the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Harry Truman also attended the funeral. 

It's a beautiful old church. As I drove up the street today, I looked over and the clouds behind the church were stunning. No one was behind me so when I stopped at the stop sign, I rolled down the window and snapped a picture.

I'm out of steam tonight so this is the best I have to offer.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

A gift that keeps on giving

The temps were in the upper 90s today. This afternoon when I walked out to take the garbage to the road for pickup in the morning, the potted plants on the deck looked sad. It's not from lack of water, because we keep them moist, but it's the heat.

We've had the plant below ever since we've been married. Jilda's grandmother Mammie gave it to her. We've cared for this plant through the years like a frail baby.

Each spring we hold our breaths until it starts poking it tiny tendrils out. It's the last plant to put on blooms, but it also blooms until frost.

It's a gift that keeps on giving.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


I had therapy early this morning so I was out after coffee. When I crested one of the Appalachian toes. I noticed the pastoral scene toward the west. No other commuters were behind me, so I stopped, rolled down my window and snapped a few frames. 

My camera would have rendered the scene more dramatically, but all I had with me was my phone.

After therapy, I headed to Birmingham. In a weird synchronistic sequence, Jilda dropped her phone earlier in the week and cracked the screen. I dropped my yesterday. You might have guessed, it cracked my screen. I had the foresight to buy insurance when I purchased the phones so getting them repaired was not nearly as bad had we had to pay the entire charge out of our pocket. 

A bonus is that while the technicians replaced our screens, I sat in a Starbucks and wrote my column for Sunday. You guessed it. It's about our phones.

I hope your Wednesday has been a good one.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

It gives me hope

Even when it's hot in September and people living here in the "hot country" feel that cooler weather may never come, Mother Nature knows that it will be autumn soon. She's confident. And to give us hope, she sends signs.

My walking wings are still clipped. I won't be able to up my exercise level for another week. Right now, I'm walking the maximum allowed number of steps just doing the things I have to do in my job and the chores I do around the house.

But Jilda gives me a report each day. She put a beautiful picture out on Instagram yesterday.

I had to go back into my archives and find one from September of last year. It gives me hope.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Stay safe in the storm ~ my column from Sunday's paper

As I write these words, Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the Southeast coast. Florence looks like a beast. I read that some people plan to stay and ride out the storm. I’m concerned for their safety. We here in Alabama know firsthand about the wrath that storms can bring. 

The first major storm that I remember growing up was Camille. It hit Gulfport, Mississippi, in Aug. 17, 1969. Jilda and I had been dating for about a year. She was vacationing with her family at Laguna Beach, Florida when the storm passed. Laguna Beach wasn’t hit directly by the storm but the weather there was brutal, she remembers. 

Authorities urged residents of Biloxi and other coastal towns to evacuate. Many did, but I read stories about people who stayed in hotels having hurricane parties. This turned out to be a tragic mistake.  When the 24-foot storm surge inundated the area, the death toll surged to 259 people.

I was working in Birmingham at a plant that manufactured bottle caps for Coca-Cola and other beverages. We had an order for a million caps from a bottling company in Gulfport. By the time the wind and storm surge subsided, there was no bottling plant. We wound up tossing a million bottle caps in the dumpster. 

Storms of this magnitude come into the Gulf of Mexico every now and then. It's always a mess. The effects are far-reaching. Many who think they are hurricane safe learn too late just how vulnerable they are.

 Here in Walker County, we are 300 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. When Hurricane Opal came made landfall in 1995, it left a path of destruction through Alabama and northward.

I remember watching the weather that evening until it was time to go to bed. Sometime during the night, the eye of the storm passed over us here in Empire. It still had hurricane force wind gusts. We felt the low pressure in our chests as it came through. We lost power that night, and more trees than I would have thought possible from that storm. It blew the top of the massive sweet gum tree in our backyard onto the roof of our house.

When looking at images of hurricanes at sea from satellites in space, it’s hard to get a feel for the size of the storm. Once they move over land, the clouds often cover entire states. 

Hurricane Florence looks as if it would cover all of South Carolina and Georgia. The jury is still out for what category it will be when it makes landfall somewhere on the Southeastern coast, but it could leave millions of people in the dark. 

Convoys of Alabama Power trucks are headed to that area to help with restoring power when the wind stops blowing. I also read that the Talladega Speedway opened up its vast facility to people fleeing the storm from the Carolinas. They are providing hot shower and restroom facilities, in addition to water hookups for campers and RVs.

I just hope everyone played it safe and headed for higher ground.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Wind chimes

We have wind chimes on our back deck and on the screen porch. Some of them are cheap ones we've picked up at yard sales and discount stores. All of them appealed to us on some level.

But we also have a few that are exquisite. There is one set that has tubes that are almost four feet tall. When the wind blows through the cheaper wind chimes they tinkle, twist, and sparkle. But we have one set that is tuned which means when the wind blows through it, the sound is deep and melodic.

This picture is from 2011. Ol' Buddy was out back fussing about something and I stepped outside to check. The sun was setting in the west. Shafts of light found their way through the pines and lit up the wind chimes on the back deck.

Pulling the phone from my pocket, I snapped a few frames.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Showing out

Even though it is hotter than Lucifer's hibachi right now, there are signs of autumn. The docs still don't want me walking like I did before my surgery so I'm having to pace myself so as not to do damage to my knee. Restraint is hard for me.

I shot this picture a couple years ago. It was September and I was near the spillway where I flyfish. The locks were on and the river was rushing below. This young poplar tree was showing out at the water's edge. I thought the contrast in color was striking so I snapped a few frames. I'm glad I did.

Y'all stay cool.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Nature's fruit

Walking around the barn a few days ago, I noticed that muscadines are ready to pick. These are wild grapes native to this area. There are wild green grapes as well but they are called scuppernongs. My grandmother called them muskydimes and skuppynines.  So naturally, that's what I've called them all my life.

Back when I was a kid, people used to make wine using these grapes. I'm sure they still do, but I don't see it as much now as when I was a kid.

I tried my hand at it as well when I was about ten. I think what I ended up with was grape juice because I drank a quart and didn't get a buzz. My friends told me that a couple of sips would make me loosy-goosy. So, I was disappointed.

Not a lot going on here in Empire. The heat index is a 102 right now. Earlier, I sat on the back steps for about 15 minutes to get my daily quota of vitamin D. By the time I stepped back inside, I was dripping sweat. I know the cooler weather will come here someday. 

Y'all have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Slow down when it rains

I had a city council meeting to cover tonight. As I was leaving a 6 p.m., I heard thunder in the distance. The sky was cloudy and it would have been too dark to walk had our security lights not been on.

No more than a mile from the house, rain began splattering on my windshield. Not enough to swish, but enough to see that I was headed into more.

A bit further and a gentle rain began to fall. The thing about "a little" rain around here is that it mixes with the grunge on the asphalt and turns the roads into a sheet of ice. Most people know that and slow down. But some people don't.

I came across one of the latter before I reached my destination. A woman was going to fast when the light changed to red. She slid through the intersection and hit a Walker County Sherriff. Talk about bad timing.

I sent the police chief a text and asked if anyone was badly hurt. He returned my text saying that everyone was OK.

I'm guessing no one will have to tell her in the future to slow down when it's raining.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Higher ground

I feel for those people living by the shore on the southern east coast. Hurricane Florence looks like a beast. Storms of this magnitude come into the Gulf of Mexico. It's always a mess.

Jilda and I live 300 miles inland and when Hurricane Opal came made landfall in 1995, it left a path of destruction.

It was after we'd gone to bed for the night, the eye of the storm passed over us here. We felt the low pressure in our chest as it came through. We lost trees and power from the winds from that storm.

So, whenever there is a storm warning here we don't take it lightly.

Convoys of Alabama Power Trucks are headed to that area to help with restoring power when the wind stops blowing. I just hope everyone heads for higher ground tonight.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


I've seen a lot of tributes to 9/11 today. Even though it's been 17 years ago, I still remember where I was, what I was doing, and the clothes I was wearing. If I close my eyes, I can still taste the corporate coffee I was drinking.

I'm not sure I can add anything significant here, but one of the tributes from a few years ago resurfaced today was a slideshow with incredible pictures. The heavy metal band Destructive sang the Simon and Garfunkel song, "The Sound of Silence." The tribute brought tears to my eyes.

This morning, after I watch the slideshow, I took my mug of coffee to the back deck and sat for a while. The song reminded me of something about 9/11 that I had forgotten. The sound of silence.

Even living in a rural area, I can look up at the sky any time day or night and within a minute or so, I will see a plane overhead. When I got home on 9/11/01 I walked out on our deck and the silence was deafening. No matter how hard I looked at the sky, there were no planes, no contrails, or no whispering sound of an aircraft full of people flying into the sunset. Only silence.

That day changed us all forever.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Driving is tonic for the soul ~ my column from Sunday

I never realized until after my surgery a few weeks ago what driving meant to me.

When the doctors briefed me on what to expect after the operation, I heard the part about not being able to drive for two weeks, but that fact didn’t hit home until after the first week. As I sat on our screen porch looking out at the world outside, it occurred to me that the pain, stiffness, lack of appetite and a few unmentionables were no picnic, but it was not being able to drive that was the most painful.

I’ve been driving since before I could reach the pedals on the floorboard of a car. Sitting on my dad’s lap, we kept the backroads hot. He loved driving as much as I do. 

One Sunday afternoon when I was a little older, he headed out to haul off garbage to the local dump. “Let’s ride, Satch,” he said. That was the nickname he used for me when he needed a sidekick. 

We were in the old 1946 Chevy pickup.  It had four a four-speed manual transmission with
Courtesy of the Internet
the gearshift on the hump in the floorboard. The truck needed front-end work. I knew this because the steering wheel had “play” in it. This meant that you could turn the steering wheel about a quarter way around without the wheels responding. Since the old beast was only used occasionally, repairs were on the “I need to fix that someday” list.

After tossing the garbage off the truck at the Samoset Dump, we took a detour up Fire-Tower Road. It was a dirt road that stretched between the Dora/Cordova Road and the Highway 78 near Argo. There were straightaways miles long it seemed. 

Dad steered to the side of the road. The old tires crunched on the gravel and red rock as we came to a stop. “You wanna drive?” he asked. My eyes said it all. 

He slid over, and I crawled over his lap. My legs were just long enough to push the pedals if I tiptoed. I’d watched him change gears so often that I ‘d memorized them. Getting used to the clutch was a little tricky, but after killing the engine a few times, we jerked out down the road. I fell in love that day.

Through the years, I’ve had more cars and trucks than I can remember. I did a rough calculation in my head on the mileage of vehicles I’ve owned in the past and realized that I’ve driven over a million miles.

A big chunk of these miles came from commuting each day between our home in Empire and my work in Birmingham for over 30 years. Also, Jilda and I have driven over most the eastern half of America.

Sometimes when I feel down, I have an instant cure. Getting behind the wheel of my truck, I can head out down a backroad and drive for a while with the windows rolled down. 

This week when the doctor released me to drive, my spirits soared. Driving is like a tonic for my soul.

Sunday, September 09, 2018


Jilda and I attended the funeral of our neighbor that died last week. His remains were cremated, and his daughter wanted the service on Saturday.

It was a graveside service with a handful of people. Once you reach his age, many of your family and friends have gone before you.

My GPS sent us in the wrong direction, and I worried that we would not get there on time, but we rolled in with five minutes to spare. His daughter and her husband saved us a place next to them. I thought it would be hot by 10 a.m., but lazy white clouds kept the sun at bay, and gentle breeze out of the west fluttered the canopy on the tent. 

Before the service began, a beautiful German Shephard wandered through the cemetery and sat down next to where the preacher was standing. He reached down and scratched the dogs head. "Who does this guy belong to?" the preacher asked. Everyone looked at each other questioningly. "I can only guess that he's here for Harold's funeral." 

The dog made its way around the grave and sat down beside Jilda. Dogs can spot canine lovers from a mile away.

I wanted to pull the phone from my pocket and snap a picture of the dog, but I didn't want to be disrespectful.

The dog sat respectfully as the preacher said a few words. He ended the service by saying I know that Harold would be happy that this boy came to his funeral. 

I couldn't agree more.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Foothills Festival

Jilda and I went to the Foothills Festival this afternoon. The paper where I work was a sponsor and had a booth. I signed up to work the booth for a few hours.

After my shift, we headed over to the music stage The McCrary Sisters were on stage. They are a gospel group and they put on a great show.

Following them was Paul Thorn. We've seen Paul several times in the past and he puts on a great show. He got the McCrary Sisters to join the band onstage and they brought the house down.

My knee was screaming by the time we left, but as they say, Fun Ain't Cheap.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Maybe next year

My high school team is playing an arch-rival tonight. I'm getting updates on scores via Twitter. I'm a little bummed about not being on the sideline.

For the past 15 years, I've maintained an alumni website for the high school. Each September when they hit the field on Friday nights, I was there. Not only did I take pictures of the game, but the band, the cheerleaders, majorettes, and the crowd at the game. I often took hundreds of pictures and posted them on the website.

On Saturday following games, the website would "light up" with visitors to see the photos.

This year, when I was trying to determine the best time to do my knee surgery, I weighed in the fact that I wouldn't be on the sidelines. Maybe late in the season, I might be able to go shoot a few, but right now, I'm not sure that will be feasible. I still have a lot of healing to do.

So tonight, I'm pulling for my Bulldogs from my couch and getting updates via my phone.

Maybe next year I can be down close to the action.

Here is a slideshow I did several years ago of one of the games. I hope it still works.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Story of Lucy continues

I've spent most of the day writing.  This morning after lunch, I got a text from the local rescue group. It was good news. My neighbor's dog Lucy that ran away a while back is now back at the shelter. 

A guy that lives across the road from the church where she's been staying has been trying to get his hands on her for the last few days.  But he had patience and yesterday, he had the time.  He coaxed her close enough to catch her. 

Today, after I finished writing, I needed to run to the post office, and I wanted to get my truck washed. It was getting sad. 

Someone on the Facebook thread about Lucy suggested that someone get something that belonged to her dad and take it to her. 

That sounded like a good idea to me, so I ran over to her house and got one of her dad's old tee shirts and a pair of his cloth work gloves.

On the way to the shelter, I stopped by the gas station and picked up a fat Slim Jim. When I stepped into the shelter, the woman behind the counter greeted me. "Did you come to visit Lucy?" I asked if I could leave the tee shirt with her. She said of course.

When I stepped back to her cage, she was sitting in the corner. She recognized me. She made the most pitiful sound I'd ever heard from a dog. That sound and the look in her eyes put a lump in my throat. 

I stooped over and offered the shirt and gloves. Lucy wagged in recognition.  I petted her and fed her the Slim Jim. 

As I stood to leave, she was sniffing the clothes I'd left.

The forever home they had for her fell through during the time she was missing. The search goes on. I plan to write an appeal on Facebook for help finding her a good home. 

While the story still doesn't have a happy ending, I have to believe that it will end well for Lucy.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Falling rain good for autumn leaves

The last few weeks of August were hot and dry as tinder. I worried that the lack of rain in the forecast would cause our fall foliage to be nonexistent.

It turns out, my tropical storm forecast wasn't far off the mark. The rain that was supposed to miss us here and move off to the west, but I had a feeling that the storm would come up the river in Mobile. I was close.

Sometime after midnight, the rain droning on the roof brought me almost to consciousness. I didn't wake up all the way, but I woke enough to know that it was raining. I slept even deeper for the rest of the night.

This morning, as I stood at the window making our morning coffee I could see an old slow rain falling. The earth seemed to be rejoicing. I'll probably have to pay someone to cut my grass one more time, but that's a small price to pay for a beautiful autumn.

I shot this picture of the sweet gum tree in our backyard a few years ago.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Storm's a comin'

The weather folks have been saying for days that Tropical Storm Gordon would come into the Gulf
and make landfall west of Alabama. This graphic was from 10 a.m. this morning.

Now I'm not a weatherman, but this storm looks to me like it is headed into Mobile. It won't be long now and we'll see who's right.

Yesterday, I talked to our friend Wes who has a condo in Destin, Fl. He said the weather was beautiful. I'm guessing if he's still down there, he is probably hunkered down. 

When the weather is good, the beach on Alabama's coast is stunning. It's where we go almost every year on my birthday. Last year, our niece Samantha and Jordan joined us. I snapped the picture below of him having fun in the surf. I've probably posted this pic before, but tonight it's what I have.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Harold and Lucy

I wish this story had a happy ending, but it doesn’t. I got a text this morning from Texas. It was from the daughter of the elderly neighbor I wrote about a few weeks ago. He died this morning.

He had a bad wreck driving his truck to the grocery store. The single-vehicle accident sent him to UAB Hospital. Miraculously, he wasn’t badly injured in the wreck, but tests revealed something was going on in his head. It wasn’t a stroke but some kind of issue with his brain. No one would speculate whether this contributed to the accident or not, but I think it probably did.

I got a chance to run by and see him in the ICU there at UAB. It took him a while to realize who I was. His voice was as fragile as a feather, but he managed to tell me he didn’t think the wreck was his fault. I shook my head as if I believed that too.

We had a good visit until nurses shooed me from the room for some additional tests. Before I left, he asked me to take care of his dogs. I promised I would. That’s the last time I saw him.

He remained at UAB until they got him stabilized.

His daughter made it home to see her dad. She found him a bed at a rehabilitation facility at a local nursing home. He was there for a short while before heading back to the hospital with a suspected stroke.

While his daughter was here in Alabama, she made arrangements for local animal rescue groups to find new homes for his precious critters. Hershey, the older of the two dogs, was the first to go. Lucy took a few extra days to place.

I went over every day and let her out to do her business. Each time she'd run to the swing in the front yard where she had spent quality time in the evenings at the foot of her dad.

Only after a lot of coaxing with a treat would she go back inside. I repeated this every day. One evening while sitting in the swing, I had a heart to heart with the pup. It was hard explaining to Lucy that her dad would not be coming home. She listened, but she kept looking down the road for his truck.

When it came time for Lucy to go to the vet for treatment before going to her new home, I wasn’t sure how I would get her in my truck. Her middle was bigger than her neck. I borrowed a harness from my niece for the job. Before trying to wrestle Lucy into the harness, I had a thought. Walking over to my truck, I opened the door, and she jumped in as if she did it all the time. I’m guessing her dad had taken her for a ride before.

Forgotten Tales Rescue came a few days later after her treatment to pick Lucy up. Between the vet’s office and the car, Lucy backed out of her collar and ran away. She’s been missing ever since.

I put her picture on Facebook with a little history, and the response has been amazing. Several people have seen her near the Faith Worship Center in Sumiton. She is frightened and confused. So far no one has been able to get close to her.

I was hoping we could catch her and take her for one last visit with her dad, but it’s too late now.

Take care Lucy. RIP Harold.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

A tonic for my soul

I'm going to try starting back to work tomorrow on limited duty. I have some interviews I did back a few weeks ago so I plan to knock those out. I also have several on my todo list. Getting pictures might be challenging, but if I'm released to drive this week, that will make things doable.

I've got cabin fever. The last few weeks the only places I've gone are to therapy and with Jilda to the store. Before the surgery, I spent time on the road almost every day. Even when I had no particular destination, I had a chance to ride, observe, smell, and photograph things that interested me. Not being able to do that has been harder on me that I would have imagined. I don't have much experience with depression, but I think the side effects of anesthesia, and the other meds have played with my spirit.

Jilda is observant and she picked up today that I was down. We needed a few groceries so, after breakfast, we headed to the store. On the way, she swung by the Forks of the river. It was during church time so there wasn't anyone fishing. We pulled down to the edge of the parking area and switched off the engine, rolled down the windows, and sat for a while. It felt good. That place is like a tonic for my soul.

This afternoon, I've felt much better. Jilda fixed Italian sausages and veggies on the grill. I sat on the deck and supervised.

I'm hoping the worst is behind me.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

One day at a time

I’m feeling much better. The hard part is not overdoing it. I want this behind me and I have a tendency to push. The doc was happy with my progress but he cautioned that doing too much too soon could be as bad as not doing enough.

His met was not lost on me. The LAST thing I want is for him to have to go back in to fix something that was avoidable.

So the last few days I’ve done what’s on my recommended plan and then spending time resting.

College football started back today. I went out early and took down the summer flag hanging from our arbor and hung my University of Alabama flag.

I’m hoping our team jells and we play well.

I hope your team wins today unless of course, you are a Louisville Cardinal fan.

Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required