Tuesday, April 29, 2008

humming birds and purple martins

Dorothy put out a humming bird feeder and the frantic little creatures appeared immediately. I wondered how long they waited in the tree tops for us to hang the feeder. I did some research on the web and learned the birds that come to the feeder are the same ones that were here last year. They migrate during the winter as far south as Panama and in early spring start the trip north. When they arrive at the Yucatan Peninsula they eat until they weigh twice their normal weight and then begin the 22 hour flight across the Gulf of Mexico. When they arrive in Texas they are back to their normal weight and continue on until they alight on our feeder.

They're not the only birds that return to our house every year. We have a purple martin bird house and several families nest there each year. Purple martins are insect eaters and are said to devour their weight in mosquitoes every day. Not only do they eat on the wing, but they drink by dipping over a pond and scooping the water into their lower bill while in flight.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

two sides to every dogwood

This is a beautiful time of year. The Dogwoods are blooming. This year they are especially spectacular. But, while the white flowered trees bloom, my eyes, ears and throat itch like crazy. So, I'll spend the next few weeks loaded with allergy medicine. Behind every cloud there's a silver lining, and behind every Dogwood there's a cloud of pollen. We decided to visit the Dogwood Festival in Siloam Springs. Dorothy likes to look at all the crafts for sale in the booths and I like to look at the people. It's better than going to the zoo. And then, there's the kettle corn.
Before we went to the Dogwood Festival, we went to Marley's soccer game. Here she is posing in her Pink Panther uniform. The team they played were the Rugrats.

Siloam Springs has one of the prettiest downtown areas in the country.

We stopped by the Jolly Roger candy store owned by Roger and Judy Barber. Here is Judy, Elaine, and Dorothy sitting outside the shop.

Here's Roger, his daughter Carrie, and Rich

We ate lunch with Kelly's family at a chinese restaurant. Hunter was amazed at how long the noodles were.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Vicissitudes. That was the original title of this blog. The unplanned happenings of life. There are times when I think I should change it back. If there's one thing in life I've learned it is that when things don't go as planned there can be positive results. For example: When my tiller broke down, instead of spending the money to repair it, I just took it as a sign that maybe I've reached the time in my life when I should scale back my gardening and make room on my schedule for other things. There have been times in my life when I've had to swim against the tide, but now I prefer to drift like a feather in the wind. Life is more interesting when you can take what life sends your way and make something good of it. I guess another way of putting it is playing the hand you've been dealt.

Now, some of my readers my think that's a negative way of looking at things. You may think I'm taking the path of least resistance. But consider this: Many people make long range plans then find something else along the way. You may decide on a certain major in college and then as you learn and are exposed to new ideas find your passion in another field. I wonder how many have worked at careers and struggled to the top only to find that success has left them empty and unfulfilled. And, let's not forget about those vicissitudes. You know what Robert Burns said about "The best laid plans of mice and men..." Sometimes we're blindsided by sickness, loss of work or affection but not all of life's surprises are bad. You may win the lottery (although the odds are overwhelmingly against it), find a new job, or discover an opportunity that will radically change your life.

That's the way I look at things. I believe we were meant to enjoy life on this planet. We have to sort things out and find out what is important and satisfying. Helen Keller said "Life is a great adventure or it is nothing." It's those vicissitudes that bring adventure to our paths.

Marley's request

My daughter, Kelly, has two young Yellow Labrador pups. In the last few days the dogs have been trying to decide whose going to be top dog, and it's been violent at times with lots of growling and snapping of teeth. This has upset Marley, and Kelly told her that once they had the dogs fixed they wouldn't act like that. She explained that a vet would take away some of what made them boys. Marley smiled and said, "Can we have Hunter fixed of some of his craziness?"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

quote of the day

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.

-- Henry Ford, industrialist (1863-1947)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Our grand daughter, Samantha had business nearby today so we told her to stop in for dinner. We decided on tacos. Tara and Dusty decided they wanted in on that and on the way they stopped by and picked up Marley, Hunter, and Jenna. This is the first time we've had all five grand kids here without their parents. I made the tacos and Dorothy made some brownies and we had a great time visiting. While they were here I gave one of my lectures to the oldest ones. I'm just trying to give them some life instructions, but when I saw that glassy-eyed look come over them I cut it short with the condensed version. In the photo you will notice Marley and Sam are holding dishes of brownies they're taking home with them.

Friday, April 11, 2008


We've had a lot of rain this week and Peacheater Creek got up over its banks. This is the highest the water has risen in almost twenty years. The highway to Tahlequah was block for a few hours yesterday until the water subsided.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

kelly and me

My daughter, Kelly, sent me this photo of us today. It was taken 17 years ago.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

in search of dorothy's roots

Every human being searches for his place in the universe. His unique position in the puzzle of existence. That yearning for meaning draws some of us to trace the outline of our family tree. Today Dorothy and I, her brother Bill and cousin Shirley spent the day in north west Arkansas looking at the old home places and cemeteries where her people lived their lives and were laid to rest. I listened to their family stories, looked at the gravestones that have been in place since before the Civil War, and imagined what life was like for people that lived in a different era than my own. We talked about how people lived in an almost cashless society, growing their own food and building their own houses, enduring sickness without modern medicine. People of that time were made of tougher stuff than those of later generations.

Look at the size of that oak tree. We drove through some pretty country

The Dunaway homestead near Wesley, AR. This house is over a hundred years old.

We were driving from the old house to the cemetery and encountered this washed out bridge. We were able to take a longer way around.

Dorothy, Shirley, and Bill look for family headstones.

This is the Confederate Cemetery in Fayetteville, AR.

The municipal buildings of downtown Fayetteville can be seen in the background.

On the way home we stopped by the Sugar Hill Cemetery near Lincoln, AR.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


When the tulips bloom it's time for me to spend my mornings in a lawn chair with a cup of coffee listening to the birds and watching the leaves grow on the trees.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

quote of the day

There was no respect for youth when I was young, and now that I’m old, there is no respect for age. I missed it coming and going.

– J.B. Priestly, British writer, broadcaster (1894-1984)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

grandpa's truck

When I was a kid I loved my grandpa and I loved his truck. He had a 1954 Ford pickup , red with white sideboards. I would ride along with him to the rear of a local market where he would pick up the waste produce the store had set out for him to take home to his ducks. Before we loaded the truck we would enter the store where he bought me a Coke and two cans of Rainier Ale for himself. Back at the truck Grandpa would down those two cans of ale faster than a college boy with a beer bong. I remember the trips back to his house, driving slowly, Grandpa in his plaid flannel shirt, grey twill pants and scuffed brogans. His white hair curled up from under his ball cap. He whistled through his teeth as he drove along working the clutch and and shifting gears.

Now I'm a grandpa and have my own truck and the grand kids love it. We drive it on the highway, on dirt roads, across the pasture and on the gravel creek bed. The little ones like to rest their hand on the floor shift knob and feel the vibration of the engine. I place my hand over theirs and we trace the shift pattern as we make our way through the gears. Whenever we leave the pavement they prefer to ride in the back. Just as my grand father's old red truck has a prominent place in my recollections, my grand children are now forming their own memories centered around my pick up. If you're going to be a grandpa you need to drive a truck. Your grand kids will be talking about it long after they leave childhood.