Friday, July 25, 2014

Ruland Junction Toy Train Museum

 Tracks run all the way
around the room
see them in action

I have never seen
so much
 toy train memorabilia
in on place

Grandpa Williamson 
would be in
hog heaven

Father, Big Ed Ruland
Sons, Wayne and Gary
have collected for decades
it's for us, 
the visitor,
to enjoy now.

Corner of 12th & Walnut Sts.
Heber Springs, AR 72543
Fri, Sat, Sun
Adults $5
Kids under 13 $2.50
Group tours by appt.

2014 Red Convertible Travel Series

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Monday, July 14, 2014

I give you my heart

I didn't do this. 
I found it.
Another heart 
in a mysterious place.
Peanut butter will stick
forget the jelly

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Sassafras Anyone

This is a Sassafras branch. An Arkansas man with Indian ancestry walked into the woods and brought it back for us. Notice the three kinds of leaves on a single stem, right to left: the mitten, three pointed leaf and a single leaf. Repeat. Repeat.
I have a sassafras twig in my purse. It reminds me of old Western movies where a youngster comes in and can’t order liquor. “I’ll have a sassafras, please.” It gives root beer its flavor.

2014 Red Convertible Travel Series

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Friday, June 27, 2014

How to Tree a Boat

“Do you want to go fishing?” man-of-the-house asks.

Not really. I can do without a gazillion mosquitoes and humidity so thick it soaks through my everything. Welcome to the Deep South. I groan and try to think of an acceptable excuse: I’m sick; I have a deadline; I have someplace to go. Guilt overrides. You should spend time together. What if this is your last day? But I’m a Lucille Ball-type klutz.

To say I am not water savvy is an understatement. Our last jaunt, I tilted the boat within a fraction of dumping us into DeSoto Lake. I didn't hand him the right gear. I couldn't get over the seats without stumbling. And the list goes on. I was so inept I earned, “The most failures” award.

He keeps trying. “Bring your book. I’ll put in a lawn chair for you.
Buckshot, let’s go." The guys are off to the truck. Buckshot follows two steps behind at the exact same pace. He’ll even wait to eat when he does, no matter how late in the day it is. They give and receive love and loyalty.

I did what I did not want to do. I got into the truck with that something-dreadful-will-happen-feeling in my gut. Buckshot rode shotgun while I clutched my coveted bag of mosquito repellent, reading material, paper, and pens. I prayed. I prayed hoping I would have a sufficient balance in my “prayed ahead” account.

Scene 2: At a bar pit, small lake, the m-o-t-h says “Mules were the muscle used to haul the earth out to build the dam. The MS River gladly filled them in.” He hands me the boat rope. “Don’t let it get away.

I worry I’ll mess up.

The shallow water is carpeted inches thick with green algae. He backs the boat trailer into the lake, but the boat won’t float off. The rear wheels of the truck are submerged a good 18”. He wades in over his knees and shoves. The boat moves enough to float. “Don’t let it get away."

My stomach is traveling to my throat. My mouth is dry. I'm sweating bullets.

The 16 year-old Bravada eases up the bank. The stern turns toward the bank. I am powerless. “STOP!!!!” He can't hear me over the motor. The trailer wheel catches the boat and shoves it up on the bank. It will take two men to extract it from the trees and launch it.

I'm sick I wasn't prayed up. 

He thinks he’s home free, gets out, and sees the damage. He turns his back on the situation and does a perfect and sincere Philo Bedo imitation, "Why me Lord."

Upset beyond words, he glares at me. “Why didn't you let go of the rope? I could have waded out and caught it.”

2014 Red Convertible Travel Series

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Thoughts for Fathers for Father's Day

Kinds of fathers 
loving, kind, 
happy, strong, 
weak, mean

Their childhood
molded them 
What will Baby 

The father holds his newborn
Speechless, overcome with joy
the responsibility seems staggering
I can't do this 

In his arms their bond is forged
deep, everlasting
Protectiveness rises in him
Gentleness flows from him

Baby trusts him
asleep in his arms
He memorizes baby's lashes,
the all-over scent of Johnson's

Child of my heart
You are the new and improved version
of your mother and I
Be all you can be

Father's option
a choice of the reputation
he gives his child
to live up to

The process is subtle
Not just Father's words,
his thoughts, too
Baby believes he's right

Whatever is thought or said
by the bed of a sleeping child,
he or she will become

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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Buckshot's Sandcastle

Last weekend, Buckshot was initiated into the Mississippi River. Our trip up the river was the equivalent of a wild bronc ride. My visor flew off. I expected it to float. It didn't.

We pulled up to the sandbar where friends and family gather. Probably more so than in church. (I only mention that because it was Sunday.) The older the ladies, the more their bathing suits covered. I kept my jeans and long-sleeved denim shirt on. As fair as I am, I knew I'd pay for it Mon. I am. My forehead and the tops of my feet are on fire. Plus, I grew up with no more water to play in than the bathtub. I'm easing into this "Big Water" life.

Barges were busy moving up and down the River. The lapping of the wake startled Buckshot. He backed to higher ground. Before the afternoon was over, he waded to the boat and jumped in.

He had great fun digging in the sand. Whatever "soft" items he found, he ate, along with a little extra sand for his gizzard. Monday he pooped a sandcastle.

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Memphis, TN VA

When the "Greetings" letter came, the recipient was expected to comply.
Did the VA take care of us after the stint of duty?
Yes, they did.
Recently, our family needed help at the Memphis, TN VA.
We were skeptical. And pleasantly surprised. They were efficient, organized, thorough, helpful, no matter what our need.
When appointments were lined up for two days, we were given a room in their Hoptel within the facility.
Our experience couldn't have been better.
Thank you Memphis, TN VA.

If you have had positive experience with a VA, please tell them.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

USA Memorial Day 2014

I pledge allegiance
to the flag
of the United States of America

and to The Republic
for which it stands

One Nation under God
with Liberty and Justice

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Friday, May 16, 2014

The Homeplace Restaurant, Catawba, VA

     If you are in the Roanoke, Virginia area, I suggest you  take time to enjoy the drive up #322 to Catawba. At the top of the old, worn-down mountain sits The Homeplace Restaurant in an enormous two-story antebellum home. Their placemat states, " . . . built by the John Morgan Family in 1907, it sat on 600 acres. The family raised purebred horses, beef cattle, and later ran a dairy farm. The house sat unoccupied for several years before going up for auction October 7, 1978, when 63 acres, including the farmhouse and dairy barn, were purchased by Harold C. Wingate. Renovation on  the structure began in July 1981. It opened for business on September 17, 1982. The Wingate Family currently owns 150 of the original 600 acres."
     The average wait-time is an hour. As you can see, no one is in a rush. There was a light breeze, and  it was  just warm enough to not need a sweater. I sat on the porch and watched all ages come and go.
     Meals are served family-style, or spoon-style, as it's called. All-you-can-eat. The chicken was outstanding. It had been fried, but wasn't exactly crispy. It seemed steamed. Our other meat was roast beef. Bowls of mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh green beans, coleslaw and cornbread filled the table twice.
Warm blackberry cobbler was served with ice cream once. We could have eaten another one. Outstanding!

     For more information, Google or Bing The Homeplace Restaurant Catawba, VA.

     P.S. The Appalachian Trail is near enough for hikers to hike over for dinner.

     P.S. P.S. Audie Murphy, America's most decorated WWII soldier, was killed in a plane crash in this area in 1971.

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Return of the Blog

I was advised to uninstall Norton Internet Security. I did and the blog returned intact. Go figure!
Ray Sykes has a "computer mind."

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