"Slow Road Home" by Fred First

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Fragments From Floyd was one of the first blogs I discovered when I went googleing on the phrase “Blue Ridge Mountains” (actually Marie Freeman’s “Blue Ridge blog” was the first site I hit and it was her links list I was following to Fred’s). Fred’s writing spoke to me and when he starting blogging about the book project I was intrigued. When he made the pre-production order offer I jumped for it.

As you can see from the photo, I have been having a time warping experience of it. Reading both the book and the “Fragments From Floyd” archives. Moving forward on one “slow road” as I move backwards on the other, makes for an interesting if warped sense of time and place.

I highly recommend the book as a great read of the sort I haven’t read in years. And having the ability to follow the evolution of Fred’s style as he explored his muse in public on Fragments only adds to the enjoyment of the book.

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Indiana

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“Enjoy some history about Mail Pouch Barns: “Mail Pouch Tobacco” means bright yellow letters on a barn whose red planks have weathered to dark brown against an Appalachian hillside. In the 1870’s the Bloch Brothers, whose name appears on the sign’s masthead, had a small side business rolling stogies in Wheeling. At some point, they began bagging flavored stogie wrapper clippings as “scrap”, or chewing tobacco, and sold them under the names of the stores who handled their product. Soon the brothers launched their own brand, “West Virginia Mail Pouch Tobacco”. Although it is not specifically mentioned in the company’s 75th anniversary history, for a time the product was also promoted for smoking.”

I found this barn in southern Indiana a few years back. Something about the photo keeps calling me back. It lived as my wallpaper for a while after I took the picture and I keep printing it for different reasons. It was early spring and the light was washed out. The trees were just starting to leave out and the daffodils were blooming all over the countryside. The above paragraph is from the Greene County Pennsylvania Tourism website and they have a bit more to say about the history of the barns, so check it out. My photo has had a bit of Photoshop magic applied… Posted by Picasa

Google Earth

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This is the view of North Carolina that I am dreaming over…Looking north over Boone into Virginia with Mt. Rogers on the horizon.

I can waste more time playing with Google Earth…They shouldn’t put programs like this in the hands of a mapaholic. The only problem I have is, why, with the latest photo update is this part of NC (and only this part) covered with clouds? Have I been using up too much bandwidth guys? I appreciate the higher resolution in the sat photo’s, but higher resolution of clouds is still clouds…

Oh well, If you don’t have Google Earth, get it…it will even work (slowly) on dial up.

North Carolina

A few months back I heard a singer-songwriter on a segment of NPR. His name was Jon Randall and he was one of the two writers (Bill Anderson was the other) of “Whiskey Lullaby” sung by Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss. He has a CD out and one of the songs I like a lot is North Carolina Moon. Check out the lyrics…

North Carolina Moon

I woke up this morning to the humming of the engines
Hauling nature’s finest from the Gulf of Mexico
Ridin’ this ol’ river is peaceful but it’s lonesome
It makes wonder how the old folks are at home
(chorus)
Now the years have blown by me like
the wind through the pines
But the song of the south is ever sweet
as homemade wine
Oh how I miss those mountains when the
Laurels are in bloom
And the southern stars are dancin’
’round a North Carolina moon

Just rolled through Memphis I could
hear them guitar’s a playing
They had the blues so bad it almost broke my heart
Don’t sound nothing like a band of tree frogs singing
When every now and then they’d get in tune
with grandpa’s harp
(repeat chorus)
When I die boys make me this promise
You’ll send my body back up North Carolina way
I don’t want no tombstone just lay me next to mama
And let the honeysuckle grow wild upon my grave
(repeat chorus)
(JON RANDALL, RONNIE STEWART)

Go ahead and follow the link above, there are a number of good songs on his CD…

For a great article on Mountain Laurel, see this (The Sweet Mountain Laurel of Spring) in the Blue Ridge Gazette.

Out My Backdoor – Texas

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I took this shot last year in early spring. Early spring here is generally no later than mid-March. As we are only about 40 miles from the coast, spring tends to bring quite a few foggy mornings.

I generally like this type of spring morning, particularly when I can sit and enjoy the muffled sounds through the fog. Today, we had a morning a lot like this, with the exception of the fog. he temperature was pleasant, It rained most of the day yesterday so there is a cool dampness to the smell you get with that first deep breath you take. Since it is now much later into spring, you also get a whiff of the sweetness from the Texas Privet and the honeysuckle that are blooming in the woods. We are already past our local berry season…I was eating dewberries (our local blackberry) as I walked in the woods two to three weeks back, now there are just a few left in the shaded areas.

The weather report for today calls for seasonable cool…high today is predicted to be in the low 80’s… Posted by Picasa

Quotes of the Day – The Quotations Page

Quotes of the Day – The Quotations Page: “We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” – Frank Tibolt

I guess this could explain the problem I have had with both blogging and journaling, I always wait for the inspiration. If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years it is that inspiration never comes at a convenient time or place. It seems to me that it usually hits on the freeway, in traffic, while you are driving at 70mph…Which is where I need to be heading.

A Lonely Warning On Debt

A Lonely Warning On Debt: “‘The question I ask is, what sacrifice are we making? Anyone in the know who is watching us has to wonder about our character, our intellectual honesty, our concern about our national security, our nation’s competitiveness in the global marketplace now and in the future, and, last but not least, our don’t-give-a-darn attitude about the standard of living and quality of life of our children and grandchildren.

‘The question is, are we willing to be honest with ourselves and the American people and make these tough decisions?'”

George Voinovich, a Republican Senator from Ohio said the above in a speech on the floor of the Senate on May 3rd.

I find myself thinking that if there were more politicians in America today who would speak and vote these sentiments, I might still consider myself an Independent.

I was proud in the first 20 years of my voting history to vote the man not the party. That changed in 1992. That was the year I had the misfortune to attend every minute of the Republican Convention (it was my job not choice), and it was what I heard and saw there that caused me to change my mind about a lot of things. At the convention I tried to explain my political philosophy and I called myself a “fiscally conservative, social liberal” and the person I was speaking with could not understand what I was talking about.

Many things have changed in the last decade, but, the one thing that hasn’t changed in my opinion is the basic makeup of the American People. I feel that the majority of us still believe that America should live up to the ideals upon which it was founded. Someone recently commented on some trait or the other (I think it might have been something about the way we were treating prisoners), and the sentiment they expressed was that this was how our prisoners were being treated. My comment was that “as Americans, we are better than that, and I expected us to act like it.” I guess what I was really saying was that I chose to be better than that, and I expect the people who chose to represent me in government to live up to and by the Ideals I have chosen.

This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with morality. And my morality seems to boil down to the old “Golden Rule”, do unto others as you would have them do unto you…

Unseasonable Spring

I was sitting at the kitchen table this morning with the doors and windows open enjoying our unseasonably cool morning, answering email and reading the daily news and views (as in blogs), when my youngest daughter wandered in and wanted to know why the AC wasn’t on. Now folks, the outside temperature at the time was just hitting 72 (I told you it was unseasonable for SE Texas), and I had really been enjoying the breeze along with the birdsong and wind chimes.

I think the poor girl would shrivel up and die if she had to go through the summers we went through with only an attic fan. Now for those of you who don’t know what an attic fan is, it’s a large fan that is built into the ceiling (usually in a central hallway) that pulls the hot air out of the house. Usually, when you ran it all night with the bedroom windows open it would get so cool you had to have a quilt or a blanket before morning. During the day you would turn the speed of the fan down and close up the house to keep the cool in while blowing just enough fresh air through the attic to keep the heat from building up too high before evening when you would start the whole cycle over.

As I remember things, the fan would provide a low white noise (not that we knew what that was back then) and you could still hear the night sounds through the open window. I guess we could be a little more trusting back then, ’cause I’m sure not many folks today would want a window open all night by their bed…

Being as we were deep south here the only real disadvantage to this whole affair was that the humidity would still permeate the whole house and everything in it. Even so, some night I really miss the old days.

Our Government At Work

The Carpetbagger Report “The Washington Post ran an interesting chart this week that every Democrat should memorize. It shows your annual savings under the latest Republican tax cut. Here are the figures:

$10,000-$20,000: $2
$20,000-$30,000: $9
$30,000-$40,000: $16
$40,000-$50,000: $46
$50,000-$75,000: $100
$75,000-$100,000: $403
$100,000-$200,000: $1,388
$200,000-$500,000: $4,499
$500,000-$1 million: $5,562
More than $1 million: $41,977″

Ok, I am trying not to go off into the political blog side of life, but…The chart above from The Washington Post by way of The Carpetbagger Report makes my blood boil. Does Congress really think that the people making over a million dollars a year really need another $41k?

You, know I am from Texas and I have to admit in this state we get exactly the type of government we pay for…and in case you are wondering, we don’t pay much. Needless to say, with all of those Texans now in Washington they seem to be trying to duplicate the Texas experiment on a national scale…be afraid America, be very afraid.

Chron.com | These 'rural' legends amount to a whole herd of cows

Chron.com | These ‘rural’ legends amount to a whole herd of cows: “These ‘rural’ legends amount to a whole herd of cows”

Sometimes you really have to take your hat of to a real storyteller…check out the latest from one of my favorite authors.

My family has been reading Mr. Hales newspaper columns since the 1950’s and he continues to inspire me. Once upon a time I wished I could follow in his footsteps, the only problem I had was lack of confidence and no drive to practice…better late than never (as the old saying goes).