Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Happy Birthday

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 45 degrees, high 75 degrees,  Partly cloudy with a chance of rain

On this date, May 9, 1943, Sunday, Mother's Day, Nannie and Claude Simmons were blessed with their second child, Jerald David. Jerald grew up the way most kids did back in the 40's and 50's, working odd jobs at a young age, going to school, helping his parents out with chores around the house, and being the big brother to his sisters and brothers that followed. Jerald grew up with a strong since of family and always tried to see or talk with them as often as he could throughout his life.
I met Jerald and started dating him in March 1963. May 28th of that year, on my birthday, he proposed. We were married July 2, 1963. We used to laugh about me being the only odd name on our marriage certificate because our preacher was also a Simmons along with Jerald and our witnesses. Jerald was always trying to earn more money while working and to further his education so he went to Central Florida Community College in Ocala and earned his Associate Of Science degree in 1981. He was a member of Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Fraternity while there. In 1991 he was registered with the National Registry of Radiation Protection Technologist and attained his Bachelor of Science in Applied Science and Technology in 1995. He completed SRO Management Certification Training at STP in1998. In addition to being a wonderful protector and provider for his family, he was an avid reader, loved college football, world events, and music. Jerald could cross stitch and crochet better than me. Last but not least, he was famous for his never ending “to do" lists. I am still trying to finish the four he had going when we moved in to our house in Athens and I hope to complete them before the end of this year. Jerald worked many different jobs over the years but his main love was nuclear power. In the nuclear business, he was known for his fairness and ability to efficiently manage large projects; as a result he was highly respected by co-workers and colleagues. He worked in several of the power plants in our country over the years. He took early retirement from STP in the Spring of 2000. I did not know until he signed the papers that he would go through with it. I thought that we would start our travels then but he had another surprise for me, we were going to New York State so in less than 2 weeks of retirement he was working again. Did I mention he loved the nuclear business? He worked other plants until 2004 when we took a long scenic trip through many western states that Spring and Summer. I am so thankful we were able to make the tour because that was our first and only major trip in our RV. He could not resist working and so I let him do what he loved most. We took many short trips to see family and explore the areas where family lived so he was content with that. Jerald was asked to work at STP in 2010. He wanted to work one more outage with the people there as he enjoyed working with them before his "retirement" in 2000. Jerald was sick then and thought he had the flu, better known in nuclear circles as outage crud, but he never recovered. He displayed many symptoms of his disease and was misdiagnosed by more than one specialist until we stopped in Athens, Al in the early Fall .We bought a home, intending only to stay long enough to get his congestive heart problem under control and plan another trip across country, hopefully making it all the way to Alaska this time. We thought. Jerald was diagnosed with Amyloidosis in April 2011. He started treatments soon after, including having a pacemaker put in to assist his heart. Time was a big factor so he was treated aggressively for the disease. He was so sick and had lost so much weight that his body was unable to respond to the treatment as everyone hoped he would. Jerald wanted to win this battle and he gave all he had left in him to give.
Jerald would have been 69 today. We celebrate his birthday today because he will always be here with us, in our hearts and memories. I remember the preacher saying to us on our wedding day that our rings were a circle with no beginning and no end so symbolizing our marriage and love for each other. Preacher Simmons had no idea how prophetic those words would be to Jerald and me throughout our 48 years together. On this day your family celebrates the wonderful person you are. Happy Birthday! We were so blessed to be a part of your life.

We love you,

“Your girls”

More later, be safe.

Today's Town – Waterloo, Alabama Where Eagles Soar

Not all who wander are lost.

Just a few of Dad's favorite photos:

This is how we all should remember him. He loved life and his family more than anything.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Final post from Jerald's family. We miss you.

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 72 degrees, high 90 degrees, partly cloudy

Jerald, my wonderful husband of 48 years, died July 6, 2011 from complications of Amyloidosis. He fought this disease very hard but in the end it was not enough and his strength was depleted beyond fighting to survive anymore. Jerald never gave up and believed to the end he would go into remission and live to be at least 100.

I cannot tell you in words how his family feels losing him so abruptly. He was a strong believer in keeping close family ties, making to-do lists, and making just one more road trip in our RV. We never accepted the possibility of failure and we were positive of his eventual recovery. Me, "his girls" and grand kids will always miss and love him because of the husband, father and Pop Pop he was and will always be to us.

In his memory and hopefully to help someone out there that may have Amyloidosis, I'm listing the symptoms you need to be aware of if you have have been in and out of the hospital or doctors office for ailments that suggest more than just congestive heart failure. You can be tested and know for sure or you can slowly waste away and leave family members asking why and how could this happen.

Amyloidosis Symptoms Alert:

Many symptoms mimic other diseases, cancer is just one example.
Weight Loss
Numbness of hands or feet
Weak hand grip
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
Bruising around the eyes
Dizziness when standing
Light headed feeling
Shortness of breath
Swelling of the extremities
Difficulty swallowing
Irregular heart rhythms
Enlarged tongue
Changing voice
Diarrhea alternating with constipation
Feeling full after small amounts of food
Another potential key indicator is increased protein levels found during regular blood tests.

Jerald had all of these symptoms at one time or another and most of them before he died. To learn more, please go to

Someone once wrote: The past is history, the future unknown, but The Present is a gift. Treat each day as a gift and remember always that life is fleeting and the present you know becomes the past and those left behind have a future a little less bright without you in it.

Take care all and be safe.
Jerald's "girls" and family

Today's Town (his home town)- Ocala, Florida: God Be With Us

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Missed Something Yesterday

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 64 degrees, high 91 degrees, clear skies

I made a great mistake in yesterday's post - I failed to mention that Carolyn and I had been married 48 years as of yesterday. How in the world did I forget that? The only thing I can think of is that I have been under the weather. Of course, Carolyn is under the same pressure as me, and she has to fight the effects of her vertigo issues. We did wish each other a happy anniversary, and had plans to eat out, but the little problem I had yesterday morning stopped our plans.

But, I did remember the roses. Two dozen of very pretty red roses that Carolyn loves, and she'll tale care of them as long as they are viable.

This post was difficult to write, as it seems the holiday has spawned a horde of people working on their computers. I think many of the people are downloading movies which takes up a lot of band width, slowing the signal down for everyone. Part of the post was written on the HP, while part of it was written on the I-Pad, which doesn't seem as affected by the slow signal.

I had a lot of problems sleeping last night, for the first time in about four nights. So, I'm back to trying to nap in the daytime so I can get some sleep and rest. It may have been the excitement of Lori's family being here, but I have to try to spend some time with them.

The neighborhood we live in is a very nice area, with mostly newer houses and well-landscaped yards. I find it amusing sitting at the dining room window, watching as first one, then another home owner will start mowing. It seems like the daylight hours are filled with the sound of mowers running. Many people use a yard service to keep their yards looking good, and eventually, we may have to go to that. That's too bad, because both of us enjoy working in the yard.

Scott and Chriselda are celebrating a wedding anniversary today, made even more special by the birth of their son. Happy anniversary, guys.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Pulaski, Tennessee: Small Town Style, Big City Services

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Missed Posting

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 64 degrees, high 93 degrees, clear skies

Typical weather for the holiday - hot and dry. I remember one year (2004) when we had to wear jackets for the holiday. We were on the coast of Oregon, and I thought I would freeze. It was so cool that Carolyn chose to stay at home when I went to the fireworks display at the Waldport harbor. Fun memory, better times.

Yesterday was a bad one for me, as I felt so bad I couldn't get up the energy to write the blog. I was told by my doctor's office on Friday that my electrolytes were off-balance. Not bad enough for going in the hospital, Thank God, but bad enough that it made me feel so rotten. Today, we had the levels checked again, and found there has been some improvement in the numbers. They told me to keep doing what I was and check back on Tuesday after the holiday.

Lori and her family arrived from Texas about mid-afternoon, choosing to split their trip up this time. They spent the night in Slidell, Louisiana, and then drove on up here today. In the past, they have made the trip in one day, and found that it's just too difficult. At this time, I don't think I could handle the trip from Slidell.

Recently, I became a new uncle, as my brother Terrell's son Scott and his wife Chriselda became the proud parents of their first child, William Garrison Simmons. Congratulations to the new parents and grandparents.

It's interesting to sit at the computer and watch the hummingbirds and red wasps fight over the feeder that Carolyn put up for the hummers. The red wasps are very aggressive, but the hummers don't back away. Occasionally, we will go outside ans swat the wasps in an effort to get rid of them. We do have some success in swatting then. The dining room is probably our favorite room in the house, because we can look out at the world while working on the computer. In addition, we work on our puzzles in this room because the light is more natural. Nice room with a wood floor.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Winona, Mississippi: The Art And Soul Of Mississippi

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lori And Family Coming

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 59 degrees, high 90 degrees, clear skies

Carolyn had an early dentist appointment (0815 hours) this morning with the new dentist. She likes the new dentist and hygienist, as do I. The only problem we see is that they seem to overbook their time, resulting in more waiting than we expected.

After her appointment was finished, we stopped across the street at McDonald's for a sausage egg mcmuffin. Then, it was back home to allow Carolyn to do a little more housework that she wanted to get done.

I slept well again last night, again without a sleep aid. My body is soaking up the rest and sleep, remembering what it is like to sleep well again. In fact, I took two naps of about an hour each today. I think that part of the sleep stuff in the day time is caused by the chemo treatment, but that's okay. I feel better after each nap. I'm hopeful that I'll feel stronger tomorrow so I can mow the yard for the weekend.

Lori and her family expect to be here late Saturday for about a week. While here, they will be helping John's mother, who lives in Huntsville, with some repairs on the house and cleanup in the yard. Maybe they will find time to do some vacation stuff.

By the way, did you notice the low temperature? Are you kidding me, 59 degrees in late June? Carolyn loves it. I kinda like it, too.

Carolyn is afraid of any type of bug that might sting. Bees, red wasps, and that sort of thing. This morning after the dentist visit, we were in the garage when we noticed several bugs buzzing around in a holly tree next to the garage. I knew right away that they were bees, but she didn't think they were. She thought they were some kind of beetle that have been eating her rose blooms. I asked her to close the garage doors so they couldn't come in, keeping it low-key. About an hour later, we checked and the bugs were gone. I still think they were bees, moving in a swarm that paused in the holly tree on their trip to wherever they were going. At least no one got bit, and Carolyn didn't get stressed.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Ozark, Alabama: A City For All Seasons, A City For All Reasons

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 64 degrees, high 84 degrees, high fog early, then clear skies

Last night was the best night for me as far as sleep in many days. I got 6-7 hours without the use of any type of sleep aid. As a result of me sleeping better, Carolyn got more sleep because she is so tuned in to what is going on with me.

The chemo treatment from Monday caught up with me today, as I was nauseated most of the day, with no appetite. I enlisted another specialist to help with my care in the event I have to go back into the hospital or just need to see him in his office. He is an internist, and is aware of Amyloidosis. In addition, he will handle anything beyond my pulmonary or cardiac system. In effect, that makes him my primary care physician, and I feel comfortable with that. My hope is that with these three specialists helping me now, I can stay out of the hospital a little more.

We have an I-pod we bought a few years ago that we kept in the truck to play over the radio. Over time, we almost forgot about the pod, not using it for the last six months. A few days ago, I brought the pod in the house and played it some to make sure I remembered how. Sure enough, I couldn't remember everything. But I have a pod manual on the lap top, so pulled it up and started reading. At this time, I'm fairly proficient with the pod again, but am still trying to figure out how to delete several songs that we don't care for anymore. Once I do that, I'm going to check out some cds from the library and put them on the pod. We have a docking station we're going to use that has a really good sound for the pod that we'll use most of the time. I'll also sync the pod to the I-Pad so I can listen to music on it. Makes the pad even more useful.

More late, be safe.

Today's Town - Nacogdoches, Texas: The First Town In Texas

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 64 degrees, high 77 degrees, rain most of the day

The rain started about 0600 hours this morning, and continued until mid-afternoon. The farmers are loving this weather.

We were getting weather crazy about noon time, so I suggested we go get a hamburger at Jack's in Athens. I guess it was good, because Carolyn said it was. I ate about 3/4 of mine, and it seemed to take a long time to eat that much.

After the hamburger, we took a ride down Nick Davis Road to see how things have changed along a road that we used to travel quite a lot. A lot of new homes have been built on and just off the road, but we still like the scenery out that way.

I was reading up on Limestone County, and found that it is the fastest growing county in the state. That statement was a little surprising when I first read it, and then I realized that the county draws a lot of people who work in Madison and Huntsville. Both of those places have a lot of government jobs as well as high tech jobs.

I finished a new book by C W Box that I checked out of the library using my I-Pad today. I immediately returned it electronically, and checked out another one that I'll start reading tonight. This electronic book reading is pretty neat. So far, it hasn't cost me anything to check out books. No taking a chance on going to the library hoping I find something to read. I just browse the electronic section and find something that's interesting, and down load it in about ten seconds. Pretty neat.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Atlanta, Georgia: A-Town

Not all who wander are lost.