Monday, June 30, 2008

Shrub Trimming

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 89 degrees, mostly clear skies

After my morning walk, I returned home and did almost nothing until we left about 1030 hours to go to Terri's house. It felt so good to not have to start work early. Of course, all good things come to an end, and once we did get going, we were busy until we came home about 1700 hours. I used the hedge trimmer to touch up the shrubs around the house and weeded the flower beds. The flower box at the end of the driveway needed some water, so I carried a five gallon bucket of water up there and took care of that little job.

As I was working in the yard today, I found myself thinking (novel concept) about how much easier it is to do yard work now than it was when I was a kid. I did a lot of yard work then to earn money for the movies or an RC Cola or.... Back then, I didn't know anyone who had a power mower. If a person had a mower, it was a manual push mower with blades that turned when the mower was pushed. It was really hard work to mow a yard, and yards tended to be small. If a person didn't have a push mower, the yard was cut with a sling blade, or a scythe. Hard, hard work.

No one had electric or gas powered hedge trimmers. Everything was trimmed with manual hedge trimmers, or lopped off one branch at a time. Weed eaters? Hadn't been invented. If a person had a garden, it was dug up with a shovel or plowed by someone using a horse or mule. Sand spurs and crab grass were pulled by hand. Ouch! I can't remember anyone using fertilizer or weed killer. And the yards were smaller than they are now. My, how things have changed.

Terri has three big German Shepherd dogs who are big babies. They look fearsome, but don't have a mean bone in their bodies. They have always lived in the country, with the freedom to roam the property. One of the hard things Terri and Thomas are going through in getting ready to move out of the house is coming to grips with the fact that they will have to find new homes for the dogs. She is exploring some options for this problem, but I have a feeling that whatever decision is made will still hurt. It's a shame, but these dogs will not be happy in a town environment.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Boaz, Alabama: City Of Possibilities

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bought Groceries on Sunday

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 72 degrees, high 89 degrees, mostly cloudy, strong thunderstorms in the afternoon

We did not do much of anything of substance today, other than go for a four mile walk, buy groceries, sell the trampoline, take care of a couple items at Terri's house, go to Birmingham to pick up Thomas - wait a minute, I just realized why I'm tired. I've been busy!

We had decided that we wouldn't buy groceries on Sunday anymore because it's always so busy. However, we were at the point that it was to go to the WalMart Mall for groceries or do without. Since I'm not too keen on doing without, we went to my favorite Mall, which is about three miles away. Fortunately for us, the Mall was not too busy, and we were able to get in and out without too many hassles. After putting the food away, we went out to Terri's because I received a call from a person about buying the trampoline. The caller arrived and liked the trampoline, so I helped him get it taken apart and loaded in his truck. I'm sure it came apart easier than it will be put back together.

After taking care of a couple other little errands, we rode to Birmingham with Terri to pick up Thomas after a visit to see his father in Athens. It rained hard on us most of the way there, but the weather cleared up before we started back, allowing an easy trip back to Tuscaloosa. Carolyn suggested we prepare some food to take with us and stop at a rest area on the way back for a picnic. So that's what we did. I should say Carolyn prepared the food. Egg salad rollups, chips, carrots with ranch dip, drinks, etc., and it was good. There's something about eating like this that seems to make food taste better.

We arrived home about 1930 hours, and were glad to get here. For a day that I didn't do much, I'm wore out.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - South Bend, Washington: Oyster Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Relaxing, Planning, Scheming

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 72 degrees, high 89 degrees, mostly cloudy skies

Today was a day for relaxing, planning, and scheming. The relaxation was earned because of the hard work this week, even though we took a day to go have some fun. The planning took place because of what we will need to do to get Terri moved when the house sells. And we know the house will sell to the first person that looks at it. We can only hope. The scheming was some out of the box thinking on Terri's long term plans with respect to her housing plans. Even though we were not doing anything physical, we were still tired by the end of the day because of how busy we have been.

Our goal is that Terri and Thomas will be out of the house after July. That should give us time to find them a place to live and get moved. It will be a busy month, with Lori and her family coming up from Texas for a visit on July 10. They will be here for a few days, and we are looking forward to seeing them.

We tried another Mexican restaurant tonight. The best thing I can say about Taco Casa is that it was better than the last Mexican restaurant we went to, but doesn't hold a candle to what we can get in Texas. Am I hard to please? Not really, but if I'm paying for something, I should be able to complain if what I'm buying doesn't meet my expectations.

I had to go to the library this morning to get some books, and it was amazing to me how light the traffic was. The library, which is a very nice one with all kinds of services, only had 4-5 customers. Employees greatly outnumbered customers. I'm not sure what's going on, except that people may be trying to save gas by cutting back and combining trips.

The Farmer's Market in Tuscaloosa was open, but I didn't take the time to stop. We'll have to check it out next week to see if they have anything we might be interested in. We like to visit these markets, especially when they have local products.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Lake City, Florida: Florida’s New Gateway

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Work, Work, Work

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 92 degrees, partly cloudy most of the day with scattered showers late

It was back to the salt mine for us today. I did some more mowing and other little tasks, while Carolyn took care of some things in the house. I will be so glad when this place is off our hands. Work, work, work. I think my middle name has become work. This is not my idea of retirement. Don't get me wrong, we are glad we can help Terri. But we will be glad when this WORK is done.

In the middle of the afternoon, we went back to the RV and meditated for a couple of hours. It was a break that was needed and well-deserved. About 1600 hours, we started driving to Bessemer to deliver Thomas to his father, who was driving down from Athens, Alabama to pick him up for a weekend visit. On Sunday, we will have to go back to Bessemer to pick Thomas up and deliver him back to his house. Getting away for something different from WORK was nice, even if it was just to Bessemer.

After getting back from Bessemer, it was time for supper, so we decided to try out Ryan's, a buffet style steak house. We usually try to stay away from buffets, because it seems we always eat too much. Tonight was no different. Ohhhh! All I had was a couple of pieces of catfish, cole slaw (I love cole slaw), brussels sprouts, a piece of steak (small), and a little ice cream. That doesn't sound like much, but it was obviously more than I needed. After an episode like this, I always resolve to not do it again, and somehow I seem to forget. Maybe I'll tie a string on my finger to help me remember.

Speaking of eating, as we have gotten older, we have noticed that we don't get as hungry as we used to, and can't eat as much. We seem to do best with small meals 3-5 times a day, rather than three regular meals. I wonder why that is so?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Carson City, Nevada: Proud Of The Past, Confident Of The Future

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Welcome To New Readers

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 92 degrees, partly cloudy

Terri has an account on My Facebook. Today, she added a link to our blog from her Facebook account so she could share what I write with her friends. I wonder what kind of traffic we will see from that? Welcome to new readers.

Today was one of those rare days that we did not go out to Terri's house. After yesterday's hard work, we needed a break. We did not go anywhere or do anything to speak of. My walk this morning was good, with the sun staying behind the clouds. It was still hot, but not nearly as bad as it could have been. Back to the salt mine tomorrow.

In the afternoon, Terri asked me to go to the University with her as she took care of some errands. She knows that I like the campus, and am trying to learn my way around it. Generally, I am a laid back driver, not getting in a hurry, staying well back from the rear of the vehicle in front of me, and driving like an old man. Terri, on the other hand, is a typical career girl type of driver, always in a hurry, driving too close to other cars for my comfort, and arriving for appointments closer to the due time than I feel comfortable with. I have tried to keep my mouth shut about her driving, because I don't want to come off as being critical. Today, however, I finally said something about how close I felt she was driving to the cars in front of her. I asked her to remember that I am older and not used to this type of driving. Could she please not drive so close? She responded that traffic in Tuscaloosa requires driving the way she drives. My response was that I seem to get around fine driving like an old man. She did back off a little, and I hope this will become a habit with her. At least when I'm in the car.

Late in the day, we decided we wanted some Mexican food, but have not found a Mexican restaurant that was worthy of the name. At least in our opinion. So, you will know we were desperate for Mexican food when we went to Taco Bell. After eating at the Taco Bell in Northport, the only thing I can say is I sure miss the Mexican food in Texas. We'll keep searching for a decent Mexican restaurant, but right now it doesn't look good for finding one.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Sequim, Washington: The Banana Belt Of America

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Realtor Contract Signed

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 69 degrees, high 92 degrees, partly cloudy most of the day, then a hard rain late in the afternoon

We got our first rain in the last 2-3 weeks late this afternoon. And what a rain it was. Hail, lightning, thunder, wind, heavy rain, it was quite a sight to see. The area has been needing this downpour.

Today was another day of hard work at Terri's house, with a bonus at the end. We arrived at her house fairly early and began working soon after. I mowed the high spots in the yard, which was kind of spotty because it was so dry. After the mowing was finished, I started on the task that I dislike the most, weed eating. Today was particularly bad on the weed eater, one of the most diabolical tools ever created. The weather was hot and muggy, with no breezes. Add in the heat from the weed eater and long pants to keep my legs from being eaten up, and it was a scorcher. In the meantime, Carolyn was getting the inside of the house cleaned up and looking good.

Then, the bonus: we had a Realtor come out to tour the house and give us an idea what we could expect in the market. This lady seemed to have her stuff together, and had an appreciation for the quality of the house and property. This was in contrast to some of the other Realtors who looked at the property. One who looked at the property was honest enough to tell us that he did not know how to price the house because he did not normally sell this type of house. He suggested we contact the lady who came out today. She quoted a price that seemed fair, considering how shaky the real estate market is at this time. I advised Terri that this was probably the right person to handle her house sale, and she signed the contract. Now, let's get this sucker sold and get Terri and Thomas moved. Maybe, just maybe we can get a little bit of traveling done before the summer's over. We have crossed our fingers, toes, legs.......

Now that the house is going on the market, we will be doing mostly maintenance type work to keep it ready to show at a moment's notice. That should make things a little easier on us. We need a break.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Lone Pine, California: Gateway To Fun

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tannehill Ironworks State Historical Park

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 72 degrees, high 92 degrees, partly cloudy

We did something different today!!!

The day was not all work and trying to sell the house. We actually got away with Terri and Thomas to do the kinds of things that Carolyn and I have come to love to do so much. The day started fairly late, just like we prefer to do. We didn't leave home until 1100 hours. On the way out of town, we stopped and filled up the cooler with ice. It already had soft drinks and water in it. Next, we stopped at Subway and got some sandwiches. Then it was on the road to Tannehill Ironworks State Historical Park, about 40 miles away.

The park is off Interstate 20/59, just south of Bessemer. It is located a few miles from the interstate, with a pretty drive through rolling hills and pasture land. The first thing we observed in the park on the access road was a sign that stated that the point we were at was the southernmost point of the Appalachian Mountains. We stopped at the access gate where we paid an access fee to enter the park. Being seniors saved us a couple of dollars on the fee. Then we moved on to the park headquarters, where we reviewed the history of the park. It was developed through the efforts of area residents, Boy Scouts, and other interested parties. In this way, the park cost almost nothing for the original development. As a sidenote, my uncle and aunt helped in the development of the park. I can remember them fussing about how folks like themselves had developed the park, but the state took it over and took credit for it.

Our next move was to find a shaded picnic table and eat lunch. It's amazing to me how good a simple sandwich and chips can taste when you're doing what you like. Ummm, Boy!!

After lunch, we began a tour of all the historical buildings that have been moved into the park or restored from the original buildings onsite. We have seen these types of buildings before, but it's always good to see how folks in the 1800s lived. No air conditioning, no central heat, no running water, TV, radio, electricity......... These types of places help us appreciate all the good things we take for granted.

After going through the housing exhibits, we moved on to the Iron & Steel Museum of Alabama. I hesitated to go in there, because how interesting can iron be? Carolyn said let's do it, at least it's cool inside. I'm glad we decided to tour the museum, because it was very interesting. It gave a history of the history of iron and steel making, as well as the use of coal, coke, and charcoal. In addition, a detailed history of the production of iron and steel in Alabama was presented, particularly for the Tannehill Works. This iron works was one of the most important iron and steel making facilities for the South during the Civil War, producing hundreds of tons on a daily basis until it was destroyed by Union forces in April 1865. And, by the way, it was cool. Nice.

The last major site we explored was a restored blast furnace that stood at least 60 feet tall. Very impressive. At one side of that area was a memorial to the iron makers of the Confederacy. That's the first time I've seen something dedicated to people who made materials for war.

Below are some pictures we took.

Restored blast furnace.

A pile of coke, used to produce iron and steel.

Thomas and a corn crib.

A 2000 pound chunk of iron ore.

A memorial to the iron and steel makers of the Confederacy.

A typical restored older house in the park. There are about 15 of these houses in the park. Some of them are being used as rental units.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Dothan, Alabama: Peanut Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Rattlin' Tin Can

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 91 degrees, partly cloudy

Terri and I spent most of the day in Tuscaloosa taking care of some errands. Thomas stayed at the RV with Carolyn. He is used to being in the country with 12 acres to roam around on with three big dogs. Sometimes it's hard for him to realize that the RV is not a plaything. He looks at it as though it is a toy house. By the time Terri and I returned from the errands, Thomas was bouncing off the walls, and Carolyn was almost dizzy from the shaking of the RV. That's not a good situation for her with the vertigo problems she has been having.

After returning home from the errands, we went to Sam's Club to pick up some things that we use from that store. While there, we decided to have a pizza for supper. They have a pretty good deal, with a large supreme pizza served piping hot, right out of the oven, for less than $9.00. Not a bad price, and the pizza was good. I liked the fact that the crust was not so thick that it overpowered the taste of the sauce and other condiments.

Has anyone bought one of the new high definition TVs? Just recently, I started paying attention to the difference in the quality of the picture between the HDTV and the regular TVs. Man, what a difference! When the two types are placed next to each other, the HDTV is so sharp, while the regular TV looks fuzzy. The only problem is we are not having problems with our TV, so it's hard for me to justify buying one when the old one works. In addition, the new ones are soooo expensive. Maybe they'll come down in price over time.

Last week, we had a couple look at the house who seemed interested in pursuing more information. Today, we talked to them, and they are going on vacation tomorrow. When they get back late next week, they want to go back to the house for a more thorough look at everything. I told them that was fine, but that in the meantime, we were going to go ahead and list the house with a Realtor. We will have a clause placed in the contract that we will reserve the right to sell the house to this couple at a pre-arranged price with no commission to the Realtor. I'm not sure how the Realtor will respond to that clause, but we need to move forward with this sale because it would be nice to have Terri and Thomas moved and settled before school starts. That's only about seven weeks away. And, it will be nice to not have to keep that place up. I'm getting to the point where I don't want anything else to do with it.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Vance, Alabama: In The Heart Of Alabama’s Economic Corridor

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thomas's Baptism

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 91 degrees, partly cloudy

We went to church this morning to be present for Thomas's baptism. The ceremony was held at the Bethany Baptist Church, which was established in 1832. Thomas had decided last year that he wanted to be baptised, but events kept it from happening until now. Even though he is only 12 years old, there is no doubt about his sincerity in taking this step. He has been talking about it since we have been here, and he reaffirmed his decision when he went to church camp about two weeks ago.

After the baptism, we let Thomas choose where we would eat lunch. He chose Peking, a Chinese restaurant in Northport. This is his favorite place to eat, but our last experience with it about six weeks ago was not good. This time, it was much better, and everyone enjoyed a good meal.

The last two days have been a little slower for us than usual, and it gave us a chance to realize how tired we were. Yesterday, we meditated twice, and there was a long meditation session this afternoon after returning home. About two weeks of this should have us in tip top shape. I have a feeling, however, that the work is about to start again. We've got to get everything packed or otherwise disposed of so we can get Terri and Thomas moved quickly when the time comes. THEN, things should slow down for sure. We can't wait.

Our daughter Lore and her family plan to come up from Texas for a visit in about three weeks. We are looking forward to the visit. Wouldn't it be great if we could somehow get our both our daughters living in the same area?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Newburgh, New York: Crossroads Of The Northeast

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Indiana Pop Pop

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 66 degrees, high 91 degrees, partly cloudy

We sold the motorcycle this morning, which means one less thing to get rid of. The man who bought the bike was pleased to find it, and was going to give it to his son. Now, only about 200 more things to do something with.

Today was easier than most of them have been lately. I repaired one of Terri's file cabinet drawers, which had gotten stuck and she couldn't open it. We collected some trash to get rid of, and helped Terri get some paperwork sorted and filed. We had forgotten how much stuff people who live in houses tend to accumulate. Everything we need to conduct our lives, including clothes, cookware, dishes, groceries, important papers, computer, television, and so forth are contained in our 31' RV. Life is so much simpler in the RV. Now, if we can just get on the road again.

After finishing at Terri's earlier than we expected, we went home and found that we had time to meditate. I was doing fine on the meditation until I found myself almost snoring. Enough of that, and time to do something else. We mow our lot in the RV park where we are staying. It was time to mow, so I did that as well as weed eating. After cooling off, we had supper. Then it was time for more meditation. I had not realized how tired I was.

As I was sitting here tonight writing the blog, I heard something that sounded like thunder. It was approaching rapidly and getter louder. Then the noise started fading away, but I could still feel it reverberating. That's when I realized the sound was a car with its stereo turned way up with the bass accentuated, and it was playing rap music. Yuck! I can't stand that kind of music, and then when it has the deep bass, it makes it even worse.

When our oldest grandson Julian was a small child, he started calling me Pop Pop. That name has been carried by the other grandchildren. About three years ago, we had not seen Julian for about six months. For some reason, he called me Grandpa. I immediately reminded him that he had named me Pop Pop, and I was proud of that name, and would prefer it if he called me that. This past week, for some reason I have not figured out, Thomas called me Indiana Pop Pop. Was it because he likes to hear our travel stories, or likes to hear about our lives and adventures? I don't know, but he is still doing it. That's okay, because I think he means it as a term of respect. There are many worse things he could call me.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Sleepy Hollow, New York: The Village That Is More Than A Legend

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, June 20, 2008

First Day of Summer

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 60 degrees, high 89 degrees, mostly clear skies

Today is the first day of summer, which means we also have the most daylight hours of the year. In this area, it is dark by 2030 hours, while in Texas where we were living, it doesn't get dark until almost 2200 hours, even though both places are in the central time zone. Of course, it does get daylight sooner here than in Texas, so it all evens out.

The fall-like weather continued today, and we hope it sticks around a little longer. What a great treat at this time of the year.

It looks like Tiger Woods had a worse injury than first expected last week. He won the US Open in a playoff with torn ligaments and two stress fractures. His season is over, and he is expected to be out for at least eight months. It's a shame, because he had already won four tournaments this year, and that was after missing two months earlier. I doubt we will be watching much golf the rest of the year.

Does anyone think Congress is serious about getting us out of the oil crunch and high prices we are paying for fuel? I heard earlier this week that they turned down President Bush's request to open the coastline and other areas for drilling. Is there any doubt about who makes the decisions in this country?

We really don't have much going on today. It would be nice to talk about the great adventures we are having, but things are pretty quiet around here. Maybe we will be able to do something over the weekend.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Decatur, Alabama: The River City

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Jimmy Carter

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 59 degrees, high 86 degrees, clear skies

The last few days have been like early fall, and we're loving it. Lows in the 50s, highs in the 80s, low humidity, it doesn't get any better. And the best part of all is that this is June, which we think may be the hardest month to adjust to, since we are trying to get used to the warm weather after the cold of winter.

This area has some of the prettiest late evening scenes we have seen. With the hills, flowering trees and shrubs, green grass, and long shadows thrown by the setting sun, it all creates a feeling of beauty, calm, and peace. We can see why this area is considered desirable as a place to live.

We had another party look at the house today. They seemed impressed with what the house and property had to offer, and asked if they could come back to do a more complete tour. Of course we said yes, and offered to meet with them at any time. It was interesting that the husband arrived before his wife, and said to me that I looked familiar, had he ever met me before. I said no, but some people say I look like Jimmy Carter. He said that's it. I'm flattered that many people have said the same thing to me over the years, because I consider Jimmy Carter to be a good man. The only problem I had with him was that I did not and still do not agree with his political views.

When the wife of the man who was looking at the property arrived, she assumed for some reason that I was a lawyer. I don't know where that came from. Anyway, she said when I quit being a lawyer, I would make a good real estate person, because I gave the best tour they had ever gotten for a piece of property. Her husband said when I retired from politics, I should go into real estate. So, I guess that's where my next career will be. Go from being a lawyer to politician to Realtor. Quite a stretch.

We tried to get the sprinkler system for the property going today, but were not successful. It's tough to work on stuff like that when you don't know where the sprinkler heads are located and can't find them. Then there's the controls with an instruction book that reads like hieroglyphics. I'm giving up on that little project. If someone wants to use the sprinklers, they can figure it out for themselves.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Lone Pine, California: Gateway To Mount Whitney

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cooler Weather

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 60 degrees, high 87 degrees, mostly clear

Did anyone notice the low temperature of 60 degrees today? Isn't that something for this late in June? If this is global warming, bring it on.

We have another person looking at Terri's house tomorrow evening. If this person is not interested, the house will be listed with a Realtor as soon as possible. I'm tired of working on the house and property all the time. It's too much for Terri and Thomas to take care of, and it's too much house. I'm ready to get rid of this rock around my neck. That is, if it sells. We are aware of the weakness in the real estate market.

Some days, we feel the need to rest a little more. Today was one of those days, and we were home by 1700 hours. It felt good to kick back a little, instead of getting home after 2000 hours.

We will be busy tomorrow with making sure the house is ready to show in the evening and taking care of some other tasks. Sunday, we will be going with Terri and Thomas to church. Thomas has asked us to be there for his baptism.

I was looking through some of our pictures from our trip to the west coast and up through the Northwest US back in 2004. It does me good to look at the sights we saw and helps me remember why we like to travel so much. Especially when it sometimes seems as though we will never be finished with this task we have set for ourselves. Looking at the pictures helps me to get motivated again, and we know everything will eventually work out. We also know we are doing the right thing for Terri and Thomas, and when we leave, it will be with an assurance that they are okay.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Tampa, Florida: America’s Next Greatest City

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 91 degrees, partly cloudy

While the price of gas continues to rise here, the price of diesel has actually stabilized or gone down a little. Highly unusual. When I stop at a station to buy diesel, or I walk through WalMart, or go just about anywhere, the main topic of conversation I hear the most is about the price of gas and diesel. The second topic is the price of groceries, since they seem to go up with the price of gas. People seem to be driving slower. and there seems to be less traffic. I can remember the gas crunch of the 1970s, where a person couldn't buy gas, no matter how much money he might have. Now, you can buy all the gas you want, but it costs an arm and a leg. Where's it going to stop? I think we are in the process of a major change in the way Americans look at travel. The days of cruising around town for pleasure are probably over. It looks as though the RVing community is going through a change, too. With most of the motor homes getting 6-10 mpg, the cost of travel gets expensive in a hurry. I read recently that people are going across the border into Mexico to buy fuel at about half the price of what we have to pay. Is this the start of a reverse in immigration patterns of Americans moving to Mexico?

Has anyone been paying attention to the torrential rain, tornadoes, and flooding that has been hitting the Midwest? I really feel for those folks, and am happy that our weather has been good.

Now I've probably done it. I hope we don't get pounded.

For dessert tonight, we had fresh blueberries (thank you, Ruth and Marsha) and strawberries simmered with a brandy butter topping placed on pound cake, with vanilla ice cream on the side. Ummmmm, Boy!! That was good! We don't always have dessert, but tonight it just seemed right.

I mowed Terri's yard yesterday, and the grass was so high that we had clumps of grass laying everywhere when I got done with the mowing. Today, we raked up the clumps and got them off the grass so it wouldn't die. Now, why did I do that? If I had just left it laying there, the grass would have died and I wouldn't have to mow so often.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Independence, California: The Gateway To Discovery

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dirt Bike Sold

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 71 degrees, high 95 degrees, partly cloudy

I sold the dirt bike!! A man called today asking about the dirt bike, wanting to know if we still had it. We agreed on a time for him to look at it, and he showed up on time. He was looking for a bike for his son, who is 14 years old. As he examined the bike, it was obvious he has a lot of experience with motorcycles. He asked if he could take it for a ride, and we said sure. The bike impressed him with its power and acceleration. The little imperfections didn't bother him at all, since he knew how it had been used. Thomas explained how everything worked, and anything that he knew about that was wrong. We agreed on a price, he paid a deposit, and will be back Saturday to pick up the bike. Success!!! It feels great to sell some of these larger items that would be hard to move. Now, out with the piano, table saw, planer.......

I have been writing about our search for another place for Terri and Thomas to move, since the house is going on the market. We have looked at houses in several neighborhoods, apartment complexes, and various other places. When I make a decision on something or help someone make a decision, I try to do it with as much information as possible. Sometimes, I end up with an information overload. In this situation, there is something about this decision that we are helping Terri make that does not feel right. As a result, we are backing up a little, looking at things again, and listening to the little inner voice that is telling me not to rush into a commitment that may not be the right one. We should have more information in a few days that will enable us to make a decision that will be right for Terri and Thomas from a longterm standpoint.

A little bird told us that there is a contract pending on a RV park that we stayed in near Granbury, Texas. We consider Jerry and Joyce good friends, and we hope everything goes well with the sale of the park so they can get out there on the road. Get 'er done!

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Victoria, Texas: Crossroads of the Coastal Bend

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 69 degrees, high 88 degrees, partly cloudy

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there. I spent my day as I wished, taking things easy. After my morning walk, I read the newspaper for the first time in quite awhile. Then I caught up on the e-mail and sent out replies on all the money that complete strangers are begging me to take. I have some good uses planned for the money when it gets here.

After lunch, we went out to Terri's house, where Carolyn prepared a nice supper that included pork chops and a cabbage that Ruth Plowman, our landlord, and her daughter Marsha gave us. The cabbage was a huge head that had to weigh at least ten pounds. It was sooo good.

I sold the generator today to a man who had just bought a new RV. The generator was the first thing he bought as an accessory for the RV, and he was happy to find that we had exactly what he was looking for. Now, if I could sell that piano, and 14 foot trampoline, and 48 inch table saw, and .........

After supper, we went for a ride to look at some houses for sale. We saw two that may warrant further looking. This does not mean we won't look further at the one we saw on Saturday. We just want to make sure Terri gets the right house.

The RV park where we stay and the owner's property has some beautiful plants and flowers. Below is a picture of Billy Plowman, the owner's brother-in-law, and some of his tomato plants.

Here's some of the many blueberry bushes that Ruth and Marsha have on their property. The bushes are full of berries.

Below is a large Althea bush with double blooms. These folks have green thumbs like you have never seen.

More later, be safe.
Today's Town - Aberdeen, Washington: Come As You Are
Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 72 degrees, high 85 degrees, mostly cloudy all day, sprinkles late

After my morning walk in cooler than normal weather with clouds, we went with Terri to look at a house for sale in Northport. The house is located in a nice subdivision of older homes built in the 1970s. The yards are bigger than normal and the trees and ornamental plants are mature, providing good shade. This house has been well cared for and was updated in 2002. We will be checking into this one a little more.

We are using a Tracfone for a telephone number to sell the items that Terri has for sale. Yesterday, we bought more minutes for the phone, and it took me until this morning to figure out how to add the minutes. The problem was that the instructions were not that clear, and I am probably technically challenged when it comes to the new electronics. Why is it that kids seem to pick up the intricacies of electronics faster than an adult does? Anyway, I finally figured out what to do, and now I can add minutes to the phone. Here's hoping I don't need to do it again, because I'll probably forget what I did.

The US Open golf tournament is being played in San Diego this weekend, and we watched part of it tonight. It was great sports to watch the golf pros and the problems they had on the course. By the end of today's round, the best in the world, Tiger Woods, had proven again that he is the best, even though he has not played in two months because of knee surgery. It was obvious that his knee was bothering him, but he gritted it out to finish today with a one shot lead. If he maintains this lead, he will win his 14th major championship tomorrow. We'll be watching.

Today was a slow day, maybe tomorrow I will have more to write about.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Big Pine, California: Come Play In Our Backyard

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sold Pressure Washer

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 72 degrees, high 86 degrees, mostly cloudy, a shower in the afternoon

Earlier this week, I placed ads in the newspaper for some items Terri is trying to sell. Today, I sold the pressure washer, had a nibble on the 5500 watt generator, and a looker at the dirt bike. At the rate I'm going on selling this stuff, I'll be finished in about nine months.

Just kidding. Should be finished by January, 2009.

It appears the people who looked at the house last week can't swing the financing, so we will probably be listing the house with a real estate firm next week. With the market like it is, selling may take awhile. In the meantime, it doesn't take much to keep everything in the house and on the property in good shape. We should be able to take more trips like yesterday. That makes us feel good, because we need to remember that we are retired, or at least we were when we came up here.

Thomas is back from church camp. He said he had a good time, and is already looking forward to next year.

We had a nice shower in the afternoon at Terri's house that cooled things off and kept me from having to do any watering of plants. The only negative is that the grass will grow faster, meaning that I will have to mow before long. Ah, the burdens of retirement.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Vallejo, California: The Bay Area’s Number One Gateway City

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pickens County, Alabama

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 74 degrees, high 98 degrees, clear in the morning, partly cloudy in the afternoon
Since we didn't have much to do today, we decided to take a drive over to Pickens County, which is west of Coker next to the Mississippi state line. Pickens County is about as rural as a county can get, with small towns and no industry to speak of except some logging. The county is probably one of the lowest in per capita income in the state.
We headed northwest on US 82 and the first town we came to was Gordo. After driving through the downtown area, which reminded us of some of the smaller towns in Texas, we took Alabama 86 west to Carollton, the county seat of Pickens County. This has to be the smallest county seat that we have seen. There was the old courthouse, and a square around the courthouse with some old buildings. That was about it.

The original courthouse was burned by Union troops in 1865. The replacement courthouse was supposedly burned by a freedman (former slave) in 1875. Allegedly, while the freedman was being held in the courthouse, the image of his face was imprinted on a courthouse window by the flash of a lightning bolt. The current courthouse was built in 1876.

This is the view of the courthouse as you drive west on Alabama 86.

These statues are in the front of the courthouse, and commemorate the sacrifices made by the men and women who supported the Confederacy, as well as the people who served in The Spanish-American War and World War I.

This is the courtroom on the second floor. Can you imagine how uncomfortable this room was before air conditioning?

We continued west from Carrolton on 86 to Pickensville, which is an intersection. There is a nice Corp of Engineers campground on the Tombigbee Waterway. The campground has 176 spaces, and is the perfect place to go for people looking for fishing and a slow pace. The Visitor's Center is impressive, and resembles an 1800 plantation house. The hostess said the Corp had tried to copy the original as much as possible, and I have to say they succeeded. Below is a picture of the visitor's center.
After leaving Pickensville, we headed back to Coker. Along the way, we saw a water tower with a shape unlike anything we have seen before. Can you imagine what a drunk would think if he saw the water tower below in a flash of lightning at night?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Carrollton, Alabama - Home Of The Face In The Window

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Too Many Trips To Town

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 71 degrees, high 97 degrees, mostly clear until late in the afternoon, then mostly cloudy

Some days it feels like I stay in the truck all day running errands of one kind or another. Today was one of those days. Normally, we try to plan our errands so that we can get as much accomplished as possible with as few trips as possible. Unfortunately, today was one of those days where I had to make four separate times because combining trips did not work. In addition to being as efficient with my time as possible, I try to save a little money on diesel by combining trips. No money saved on diesel today.

On the last trip to town, we stopped at the WalMart Mall (my favorite store - if WalMart doesn't have it, you don't need it) for a few groceries. One item we buy with some regularity is tortillas. We grew to like them while living in Texas, and hardly ever buy any other kind of bread. We use them as rollups for all manner of foods, including hotdogs, ham, chicken, salad (yes, salad with a piece of meat is good), peanut butter and jelly....... Carolyn also makes quesadillas and home made tortilla chips with them. A side benefit is that tortillas are lower in calories and fat.

On one of my trips today, I went by the Tuscaloosa newspaper and placed ads for three items in it for the next week. In addition, there is a weekly shopper's paper in Northport that allows free ads, so I placed five ads in that paper. We are hopeful that we will be able to sell some more of Terri's unneeded items using this method of advertising. During that trip to town, I took a quart of paint by the paint store to get them to add some tint to the paint for touch up work in the house. That little task was successful, and the man at the store did a great job of getting the tint correct.

On one of the other trips, Carolyn and I met a realtor to view a house for sale in Northport. This house has been up for sale for approximately 14 months, which gives an idea of the real estate market in this area. At first glance, it appears the house may work for Terri and Thomas, so we made an appointment for them to see the house on Saturday. I'm not sure what will come of this viewing, but we have to keep looking until we find something that will work.

I hope tomorrow is a little slower. I'm wore out.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Scottsboro, Alabama: Lost Luggage Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another Slow Day

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 71 degrees, high 91 degrees, partly cloudy

Today was a little cooler, which made my morning walk easier. What really made my day was that I didn't have to do any weed eating. Have I mentioned how much I don't like that job?

We looked at another house for Terri today. Can you believe this house had particle board as the sub floor? That stuff is notorious for falling apart if it gets wet. So that's one more house off the list. That's too bad, because the outside of the house and yard looked good. We have an appointment to see another one tomorrow.

After looking at the house, we went back to the RV so I could do some power meditating. I don't get to do much of that since we have been here with all the work. Thomas is gone to church camp in Kentucky this week, so we don't have as much to do. After the meditation, I did some yard work around the RV. We expect rain sometime this week.

Since we had not been to Terri's house today, we went out later in the afternoon. I fed and watered the dogs, watered some plants, and puttered around. Carolyn did some small chores in the house, then prepared fried shrimp for supper. After supper, I brushed the dogs down in an attempt to remove some of their winter fur. They are outside dogs, so they developed a thick coat as protection against the cold winter. Now that the weather is hot, they are suffering from the heat. After brushing them, I collected a WalMart plastic bag full of fur to get rid of. Maybe the brushing will help the heat issue for the dogs.

As you may have already gathered, today was a quiet day for us. We have been needing some days like this.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Helena, Alabama: Home Sweet Home

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Weed Eating

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 81 degrees, high 99 degrees, partly cloudy until late in the evening, then cloudy

Last week, I mentioned in a post that I really don't like to weed eat the yard, especially one as big as Terri's house has. When you consider how big the area is, the heat and humidity, sun beating down, poson oak, poison ivy, fire ants, and, oh, yeah, dogs snapping at the string on the weed eater, it is an experience I'm glad I don't have to do but every three weeks. Maybe this house will sell soon, and we can get rid of the loud, hot, heavy weed eater that Terri has. I might take a hammer and beat it to pieces.

A typical day of using the weed eater begins by taking it out of storage in the garage. There is a gas can with a mixture of gas and oil that has to be agitated (shook up, for the word challenged) so the mixture is proper. If I'm not VERY careful when putting the gas and oil mixture in the weed eater tank, the mixture will overflow, causing the weed eater to smell before I get started running it. Why is it that I'm VERY careful everytime I put the gas in the tank, but I spill some of it? After putting gas in the weed eater, I check the cutting string, which usually needs to be replaced. Now, where did I put that string. Okay, now that I have the string, where are the pliers?

Finally, I'm ready to start the weed eater. Pump up the bulb to get gas into the weed eater. Put the choke in the on position. Pull the start cord a couple of times. Turn the choke off. Pump up the bulb another three times. Pull the start cord 4-5 times. Whew, it's about time to take a break. Put the choke back on. Pull the start cord another 3-10 times. Finally, the weed eater belches and tries to start. Turn the choke off. Pull the start cord again until the weed eater finally starts, with a roar and belching of smoke. Then the fun starts, as the dogs start snapping at the string. It's strange, but after awhile, I don't even notice the dogs snapping at the string.

As I proceed with the weed eating, grass and debris flies through the air, with most of it seeming to land on me. It's a good thing I always wear long pants when doing this task. The little bit of debris that doesn't land on me lands on the sidewalks or driveways, which means I am not finished when the weed eating is done. Then I have to get a broom or leaf blower to clean the sidewalks and driveways off. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Some of the debris includes fire ants, which sometimes lands on me. That makes for interesting times.

About the time I get going good, the string will break and need to be replaced. Or, sweat will run into my eyes, causing me to temporarily go blind. Or, I will feel like I'm about to have a heat stroke, and have to stop for a break. Great fun.

Just think, if I hadn't made a detour to Alabama, I'd be in Alaska about now.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Tupelo, Mississippi: Birthplace of Elvis Presley

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Looking At Houses

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 81 degrees, high 99 degrees, clear skies

I cut my morning walk a little short because it was so hot early on. No breeze, high humidity, no shade, whine, snivel, sob. I guess I'm getting to be a wimp.

This afternoon, we met a real estate agent to tour a house that might be of interest to Terri. The house was taken as a trade-in on a new house, and had been for sale for several months. It was obvious when we toured the property that it had not been lived in for at least a couple of years. The builder that took the house as a trade-in has done some repairs to it, but it still has much to be done. The land consists of 1.37 acres on a corner lot, with a lot of landscaping that has been allowed to die or get so big that much work needs to be done on it. After looking at the house and seeing some of it's issues (such as foundation problems, wet dirt under the house where the rain water goes, and on and on and on), we decided Terri did not need a house that would be a project that would take Carolyn and I several months to get in shape. The project at her current house is more than enough, thank you.

After leaving the house, we ate lunch with Terri and Thomas, then separated as Terri had some errands to do in town. We decided to drive around in some of the local neighborhoods to see what types of houses might be available. We found two that may be worth looking at more. One of them had a brochure in a holder outside the house. In looking at the folder, it appears a lot has been to the house in the last year. This may be something we check on tomorrow. The other house is a bank repossession that has been vacant for almost a year. The yard is fairly nice, and the outside of the house looks pretty good. Both houses are in nice neighborhoods, and are only about four miles from Terri's work. Thomas's school is about a mile away. I expect to follow up on these tomorrow.

Thomas has a Yamaha dirt bike that Terri asked me to try to sell. An ad was placed in the paper last Wednesday, and the first person called about it today. I explained what kind of motorcycle was for sale, and that it was not street legal. The person asked if they could look at it, even though they are looking for a street bike. I met them at the house, and we ran the bike for them. In the end, they decided it wouldn't do for their needs. Maybe the next one will buy it.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Tavares, Florida: The Hub Of Lake County

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

New Restaurant

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 73 degrees, high 96 degrees, mostly clear

The humidity here is like being in a sauna, and a person will sweat standing still in the shade. Feels great.

Remember I wrote yesterday about the problems with the fan blade for the kitchen exhaust fan? This morning, when the fan was turned on, the motor started making noises like it was trying to throw up. Since we didn't have a lot to do today, I decided to take the motor to the RV parts store to see if I could buy a replacement. They did have a replacement, so I bought it and installed it when I got home. The new motor is working fine, and is quieter. Maybe our problems with the exhaust fan are finished with this fix.

When we are in a new town, we try some of the restaurants that the local folks seem to like. Sometimes that works, and other times it is a complete bust. Tonight, we went to a local restaurant named The Front Porch. A couple of weeks ago, we had noticed that their lunch business was good, so we commented at the time that it must be a good place to eat. I had the tilapia special and Carolyn had her old standby, chicken fingers. Each of us had two sides with our meals. The tilapia was not bad, but I like catfish better. Carolyn's chicken was the better of the two meals. We will probably return to this restaurant, and I'll probably get the chicken.

As we were getting ready to go to supper, Carolyn told me that if I did not change my pants, she was not going anywhere. I asked her what was wrong with them. She said the right pants leg had a hole in the knee. Now, we're talking about a pair of pants that I have had about five years. They are just now getting soft and comfortable. And she says I can't wear them to supper? I told her Alan Jackson wears pants with holes in them. And I'll bet my legs look better than Alan's. She said Alan Jackson has a lot more money than I do, and he can wear whatever he wants. However, if I want her to go with me, I'll have to change my pants. Guess what? I changed my pants. I don't understand it. Just when a pair of pants is comfortable, I can't wear them. Sheesh!

Since we know that Terri will be selling her house (hopefully, sooner rather than later), I have been keeping an eye open for houses that might be suitable for her. We saw one today that appears to be in a good location, and have an appointment to see it tomorrow afternoon. We'll see how the viewing goes. We may or may not have a further interest.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Hartford, Connecticut: The Insurance Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Exhaust Fan Blade

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 73 degrees, high 97 degrees, partly cloudy

It seemed like I was on the road all day, having to go to Cottondale two times, and to Tuscaloosa once. The exhaust fan in the kitchen of the RV has a defective fan blade, which causes it to fly off. It is a little disconcerting when the blade comes off. The two trips to Cottondale were to pick up a new blade at an RV parts place, and a trip back over there to return the blade they provided because it did not work. For the time being, we will make do with the blade flying off. In the meantime, we will do some research on the Internet to see if we can find the proper blade. Isn't the Internet a wonderful tool? Even if Al Gore did invent it.

Terri had a boat and trailer that they used for duck hunting. She asked me to see if I could sell it for her. I placed an ad in the local newspaper on Thursday, and it was sold late this evening. The person who bought it didn't even haggle over the price. Maybe I priced it too low? Anyway, those two items are gone, and that's two less things to move. Now, if we could just sell that piano, and the 5500 watt generator and the gas powered pressure washer and the........

What happened to the stock market today? I happened to see that it was down 3% today, but I don't know what caused the meltdown. Sometimes it seems like the market is looking for a reason to go down. Seems like it could find some reasons to go up.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Zephyrhills, Florida: The City Of Pure Water

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 71 degrees, high 94 degrees, partly cloudy most of the day, a shower in the mid-afternoon

I spent part of the day mowing most of the yard at Terri's house. There was a breeze blowing, which helped with the heat until near the end, when it stopped. Then it got hot. It rained for about 15 minutes in the afternoon, which made the humidity feel like a wet blanket. Have I said before that I don't like the humidity?

Around noontime, the people who came to see the house and property yesterday were back. We told them to look around as much as they liked, and turned them loose to go where they wanted. They took that permission literally, and walked in on Terri as she was changing clothes. After apologies were made, they continued on with their tour of the property. The interest level seems even higher than yesterday, and we discussed price and items that would stay with the house. As they left, they said they would be in touch. We shall see. If this family backs out, we will be placing the property with a real estate company on Monday. It would be nice if we don't have to do that.

Thomas challenged me to another game of basketball. I guess some people like to be punished. The score was tied 10-10 when we had to stop. I had him just where I wanted him, ready to pound him into the concrete. Lucky for him we had to stop. Then the little scamp goes and tells his mom that he beat me because he had me where he wanted me. It's a shame kids don't respect their elders today.

Tomorrow I will be doing the weed eating. I hate that job, with the dirt, sweat, and noise. It always wears me out.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Helena, Alabama: You Have A Bright Future In Helena

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Old Man Wins One

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 95 degrees, mostly clear

Hot weather has arrived in Alabama. The heat index today was over 100 degrees, and more of the same is expected the rest of the week.

Terri has been having a problem with getting a conflict resolved with Dish Network. She stopped the service and sent their equipment back in pre-addressed boxes provided by Dish Network. Since she stopped the service, Dish Network has been saying that she still owes them for the equipment, even though it was sent back. I spent part of the day tracking the UPS shipments, and found that two of the boxes had been received in Spartanburg, SC at the Dish Network warehouse. The other box had been placed in shipment to Spartanburg, but there was no record that it had ever been signed for at the warehouse. UPS said that we could notify Dish Network of our findings, and gave us a phone number for Dish to call to track the shipment. UPS said if the box could not be found, they would reimburse Dish for the contents. After finding the tracking information, I called Dish and gave them the information from UPS. When Dish checked Terri's account, the account representative told me that her account showed a zero balance. I'm not sure what caused the balance to go to zero, and they could not tell me why. However, at this point, it looks like my snooping around found what happened to the equipment, and if Dish tries to charge her again, we have the information to clear it up quickly. Whew!

We have been planning on placing the house on the market by the end of this week. Today, we had an interested family ask to look at the property. They showed up about a half hour before dark, so I gave them a whirl wind tour of the house and property. They appeared very interested, and did not seem to be turned off by the price I gave them. They asked if they can return tomorrow to look more, and of course we said yes. We have our fingers crossed that these folks will be doing more than looking.

Today, I struck a blow for senior men. Everyone knows that senior is the same as old, don't they? Anyway, Thomas challenged me to a game of basketball, so I told him to make it easy on himself when he chose what game we would play. He chose one on one, with the first player to 21 points winning the match. I scored the first two points, then it was seesaw back and forth until the score was 14-14, when I went on a run and held him scoreless the rest of the match as I won 22-14. I played him into the shade. I wonder if he will think twice before he challenges me to play in the future? Of course, I did have a few advantages, such as being about a foot taller and out weighing him by about 70 pounds. The biggest advantage I had though was my vast experience in life and subterfuge.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Madison, Alabama: Where Progress Meets Preservation

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Obama versus McCain

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 94 degrees, mostly clear skies

We didn't have much going on today, other than buying some groceries and some minor chores at Terri's house. As I write this post, it looks like the big news of the day is that Obama has been declared the Democratic nominee for president, joining McCain as the Republican nominee. In my opinion, neither nominee stands out as a strong candidate. Is this the best we can do?

Neither candidate has said or done anything that makes me think he would be an outstanding president. It appears to me that both of them offering more of the same old politics, with Obama having the most liberal voting record in the Senate, while McCain offers up policies that used to be Democratic Party standards. Obama makes flowery speeches, without giving specifics about what he would do. He says trust me. Well, look at the politics of the church that he just resigned from after 20 years of membership. And he didn't know what their views were before? Come on. McCain has said he will support sanctuary cities for illegal aliens. Both of them will open our borders to more illegal aliens, and entitlements (giveaways) will mushroom. Where is a true conservative when we need him or her?

As I have said before, I am concerned for the future of our country. The events in the primary elections have not done anything to make me feel better.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Winter Haven, Florida: The Chain Of Lakes City

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Long Day

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 69 degrees, high 91 degrees, partly cloudy

We had a long day today, not getting home until about 2130 hours. In addition to us having a lot to do at Terri's house, Terri had to work late and did not get home until 2100 hours. That meant we had to stay there with Thomas until she arrived home. I put everything back in its proper place after the yard sale over the weekend. In the afternoon, I did some mowing and other yard work at our RV site because we were expecting rain late in the afternoon. The rain did not arrive, but at least our yard looks good.

I made up a list of items that we will be advertising for sale in the newspaper. If we do as well with these items as we did in the yard sale, we will be happy.

Terri's house is in the country, about 15 miles from Tuscaloosa. There are several nice things about the house and its location that we like. However, some of the things that we don't like are the horse flies, deer flies, yellow jackets, red wasps, and other assorted biting insects. I spent part of the day killing as many of these insects as I could. They can put a ferocious bite on you, and it will itch for several days. This is the worse place for these types of insects that I have seen in many years.

It's been a long day, and I'm wore out. Maybe we will have more to write about tomorrow.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Orlando, Florida: The City Beautiful

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Remembering 1950

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 69 degrees, high 84 degrees, partly cloudy in the morning, cloudy with light showers in the afternoon

After I took my morning walk, we stayed at home the rest of the day. All the work getting everything ready for the yard sale and then doing the yard sale for two days left me tired. Since it looked like we were going to have unsettled weather for most of the day, we decided we would not look for anything to do, other than rest. We have several things we want to get accomplished at Terri's house next week, and felt we should take this opportunity to rest.

As I mentioned last week, I wrote a short story of some memories of my childhood for Terri to place on her facebook page. She thinks I should share it with everyone, so here goes.

Remembering 1950

In 1950, my family and I were living in north Florida near the Georgia state line. At that time, there were five of us kids along with my mother and father. Janie and Keith had not been born yet. I was seven years old, and had just started first grade, going to school in Hilliard by bus. Kindergarten and pre-school were not available. I learned my ABCs and how to print and count at home.

We lived in a house that was located near the local grocery store. The store was not like the marvels of marketing that we take for granted today. It did not have any refrigeration except for a small meat counter. The items in the meat counter did not have the number of choices that we take for granted today, and consisted mostly of big rolls of cheese, bologna, and hog head cheese. Hardly anything was sold in cans, with most items being weighed from bulk and packaged in a paper bag.

There was no air conditioning in houses or businesses. Ceiling fans were used for cooling, along with hand fans or a folded piece of newspaper. We did not have an indoor bathroom, instead using a one-hole privy placed over a hole in the ground. Sometimes, going to the toilet was a real adventure, with fighting the wasps and other bugs that would gather there. Even worse was stepping in and coming face to face with a snake.

The kids took baths in a washtub, and the water was usually cold. Washing clothes was done by hand, because we did not have a clothes washer. Laundry was dried on a clothesline. We had a wood cook stove, which meant that someone had to cut the wood, bring it in the house, and start a fire before anything could be cooked. In the winter, the stove helped warm the house. In the summer, the stove made the house unbearably hot, and it must have been torture for my mother to cook because of the heat.

Water was obtained from a pump that we had to prime every time we needed it. There was no running water, such as the vast majority of houses have today. If water was needed for washing clothes, the pump was primed. Then, water was pumped into a bucket and taken to a washtub as many times as needed until there was enough to do the washing. When rinsing was done, the whole process was repeated. Washing clothes took most of a day.

If clothes needed to be ironed, we had some irons that were placed on a hot stove to heat up. When the irons were hot, the clothes would be ironed until the iron cooled off, and the irons would be heated again. Ironing was another chore that took a lot of time. We didn’t have permanent press clothes in those days.

We did not have a television, and did not even know that there was such a thing. That also meant we didn’t have computers or computer games. We did have a radio, and it was a treat to listen to the old serial programs. It seems my mother was a fan of one of the old programs, and named me after one of the lead actors. Saturday nights were spent listening to The Grand Ole Opry out of Nashville, and I can remember falling asleep many times to the sounds of bluegrass and country music. I still love that music.

One Saturday afternoon that fall, I was turning the dial on the radio to see what I could find. I happened to tune into a football game between the University of Florida and, if my memory is correct, Auburn University. Otis Boggs was the announcer for Florida, and he had a way of describing the action that electrified me. I didn’t even know what football was. His descriptions were so vivid that I felt like I was at the game. The teams moved up and down the field, with neither being able to take a decisive lead. Florida kicked a field goal at the end to win the game. Can you imagine the thrill I felt? Imagination obviously had a lot to do with what I felt, but I can still remember the descriptions by Otis Boggs of the action on the field.

From that point on, I was a Gator fan and followed their success or lack of success over the years. For many years, the mantra that Gator fans used was “Wait until next year”, because Gator football was not very good. However, over the last 30 years or so, Gator football has become one of the powerhouses of college football, and I still love to watch and listen to their games as much as I enjoyed the first game I heard. Go, Gators!

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Lake City, Florida: Florida’s Crossroads

Not all who wander are lost.