The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Some People Say I Need Help

Boy, what a summer. Hot, hot, hot. Busy, busy, busy. After we finished painting the deck, we took a weekend to celebrate our 50th anniversary. This week we started the busy stuff all over again. After all the painting, etc. the last few weeks, we've been trying to get the house and yard in shape for a visit from Joyce's older sis and her husband.

I went outside a few minutes ago to run to the grocery and nearly fell off the deck because my glasses fogged up so bad. What with all that work earlier this week and the endless heat and humidity, sometimes you feel like you need some help. Help!

Where's Billy Swan when you need him? Remember Billy?

Joyce's sis and her husband are due in about an hour. They're great people and have travelled all over the world, but from our perspective, they're way out there on the liberal limb, so we definitely try to stay away from politics during our conversations. They're pretty tired from travel so we're mainly going to watch old movies and eat, drink beer, and snack. And nap. Sounds like a winner to me.

I'm hoping to be back in a regular blogging mode by next Wednesday. Until then, pardon my lack of posts.

Welcome to my new readers: Staci, Kold, Steve, Kristin, and Mal. I promise to post something new and worthy of your attention soon. I've already looked at your sites once and I'll be checking them out in more detail.

In the meantime, I'm still reading my regular blogs (Andy's, Barry's, Buck's, and George's) as well as Jeanne's and Big Ed's fabulous emails. I may not be commenting, but I'm still there, reading, and keeping an eye out for all you guys.

Andy, that was a great post about the "Caricature" and the tragic death of her sister's new baby. Just when you think you've got somebody pegged, they show you another side. Those other recent posts about your new job have all been interesting to me; sounds like you're getting back into the 9 to 5 life.

And Barry, as always your blog is filled with great new posts. I especially enjoyed the pics and comments about the visit of your son and his lady friend and I also enjoyed the piece on Russell Kirk. BTW, I spent over an hour looking at those depression era color photos you posted. (I missed these at first and then followed an Andy link to check them out. Great pics.)

Buck, I enjoyed the post about your lovely Miata and think her new ass-lift looks fantastic. But that Tart. She's got a super looking ass end as well. I'm looking forward to your hockey posts too--BTW is hockey as dangerous as horse racing? I read somewhere that horse racing was the most dangerous sport.

And George, it seems like you've found your Eldorado. I got a kick out of that Oba-Mao photoshop. Good pic of you and your dog Tige too. Wonder if I'm the only one old enough to get that allusion?

Note to Buck: Fat Tire is in the house! Great stuff. But I think I prefer Labatt's Blue. Just me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We Didn't Buy the Biltmore Estate

We've returned from our weekend trip to Asheville, NC, to celebrate our 50th anniversary. While we were there we stayed in a beautiful B&B, The Lion And The Rose.

We toured the famous Biltmore House, the largest home in America, built by George Washington Vanderbilt, grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. As you may or may not know, old Cornelius was one of the richest men in the US the middle of the 19th century and and gave a large endowment to start Vanderbilt University. George's story and his construction of the Biltmore is a fascinating one and you can find more info about all over the Innernets. Here's a pic of Joyce and me out in the front yard of the place.
We really liked the mansion and grounds, even though I thought it was a little small at only 250 rooms and 225,000 acres. Joyce really liked everything, so, since it was our 50th anniversary, I made some calls to the Obama administration and arranged for a stimulus mortgage package. I approached the current owners and wrote out a large check to purchase the home. That's a pic of me in the restored stables which have been converted into a nice restaurant. I'm writing the government backed check.
Fortunately, the owners (it's still owned by descendants of the family) chose not to accept my offer, which would probably have pushed the US into an even worse financial situation anyway. Not to mention costing you, your children, and your grandchildren an even bigger pile of tax money than they're already going to have to pay in the future.

Glad to be back. More later...

Friday, August 13, 2010

50 Years

Sorry for not posting anything this week. I've been busy again getting ready for our anniversary trip. Joyce and I have been married since 1960; this saturday, August 14, is our 50th anniversary.

We actually first met in the autumn of 1958 in Pulaski, Tennessee, at what was then Martin Junior College.

Martin changed its name toMartin Methodist College in the 80's and became a four year institution in the 90's. 

The picture above is what the administration building looked like in those days. Beautiful campus, lots of big trees.

This picture is of the girl's dorm and the cafeteria, Tennessee Hall. I saw her in the cafeteria and many times sitting out on the porch steps after dinner singing with a group of her friends. It seems idyllic and it was. In those days college students did that sort of thing. We did other things too, don't get me wrong.

But, until the weather got too cold, some of the students sat on the steps and sang traditional songs at dusk. The rest of us listened.

I especially listened to her. She was stunning, she had an unbelievable coloratura voice (still does!)and was a confident and intelligent young woman (still is!).
She could also pick cotton. I kid you not.
I figured she was out of my league. But we had our first date at the fall dance that November in 1958. And one year later when I asked her to marry, me she said yes. Here's her engagement picture from the spring of 1960. And my picture from the annual that same year.

She was a PK (preacher's kid) so we married in her father's church in Elkton, TN. Here's what we looked like on our wedding day. We were both pretty skinny because we'd both been working long hours that summer, trying to save up a little nest egg to pay for my fall tuition at MTSU. I think you can easily tell that I married "up."

One more picture from that year. This was our first apartment. Number 45, Vet Village, at MTSU. I wasn't a Vet, it was just what they called those old apartments which I think were built right after WWII to handle the influx of GI-bill vets who were married. Later they were opened to all married students. We paid $25 a month for the place: a tiny living room, combination kitchen-dining area, and a shower.

Joyce just reminded me that this is actually our second apartment. We had the one next to it, 44 I think, but the tennants moved out at Christmas, so we moved in. Since the things weren't air conditioned, we were glad to get two more windows. And on a certain date in the fall, they turned on the steam radiator heat, no matter what the temperature was. But you know what? Still, those were pretty good old days. Really.

I could talk all day about what a lucky guy I am that Joyce said "yes" that cold night in 1959. But instead of that, here are some pics covering all our decades together except the 60's. (I haven't had time to locate those yet.) Some of the ones I do have from the other decades are a bit fuzzy, but I'm still learning how to do pics of pics with my new camera. The first is from an Olan Mills family portrait in 1975 (with our 14 year old son, Barry); the next is Joyce on our then red stained deck in 1980; Joyce at work in 1993 (we both worked at the same college for over 25 years); Joyce and I in 2006 and again in 2007.


I'll talk to you all on Monday when we return from our anniversary trip.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Breakfast of Chumps

Two great ones from Big Ed who is, by the way, a White House insider. Probably only Ed will get that joke but I had to use it.

A Slight Break in the Hot Weather Means Work

A slight break in the hot weather yesterday meant that we finally got a chance to stain our deck. The temperature stayed in the eighties throughout the day reaching a peak of about 89. And there was a bit of a breeze. So we got busy.

Joyce handled the roller and I worked ahead of her using a special paint tool for the cracks. Yeah. That's right. I'm a crack specialist. (You may insert your own jokes here.)

We finished 3/4ths of the work yesterday and hope to finish the rest today in the late afternoon or evening even though it's already up to 93 at 2:22 pm. I think we'll probably wait until around 6 pm to do the rest. There's an ozone alert too for today and a warning to avoid excessive exertion.

Here's a couple of pics to show you that these two 70 year olds can still hack it. The first pic shows the big back deck which faces north and is actually the entrance to our home.

The second pic below shows how far we had come by 5 pm yesterday. This is the western side of our house. By dark, about 8:30, we had come all the way around to the end of the front deck which faces south, so all we lack for this evening is the last 1/4th on the eastern side.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Primary Results

Well, seems like I'm 0 for 2 on primary election day.

I say "seem" because the congressional race may be contested since it ended up so very close. State Senator Diane Black won only about 32% of the vote in the contest to be the Republican nominee for the 6th Congressional district. She was ahead of Zelenik by a little over 500 votes. And less than a hundred votes separated Lou Ann Zelenik from the third challenger, Jim Tracy.

For governor, the winning Republican candidate is Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam. He'll face Former Governor Ned McWherter's son, Mike, in November.

Are You From Dixie?

It's gettin' harder and harder to tell which region of the country you're from. But there are still some useful methods of identifying those recognizable traits, especially when it comes to Southerners. Let's dispense with the usual suspects first. You know the ones I mean, the ones good ol' Jeff Foxworthy and others sometimes use. Like this one:

You might be from Dixie if your mama or daddy ever told you any of the following:

"That's not fit to eat."
"I'm feeling down in the back."
"He's on his third wife."
"You better get down off your high horse."
"Give me some sugar, baby."
"Pipe down."
"Go cut me a switch."
"You better hush crying or I'm gonna give you something to cry about."
"They're just sorry." [as in low class, trashy]

Or, there's this one:

How To Tell If You're A Democrat, A Republican or A Southerner.

Here is a little test that will help you decide. The answer can be found by
posing the following question:

You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, an Islamic Terrorist with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises the knife, and charges at you. You are carrying a Glock cal 40, and you are an expert
shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family. What do you do?

Democrat's Answer:
Well, that's not enough information to answer the question!
Does the man look poor or oppressed?
Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack?
Could we run away?
What does my wife think?
What about the kids?
Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand?
What does the law say about this situation?
Does the Glock have appropriate safety built into it?
Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children?
Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me?
Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me?
If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me?
Should I call 9-1-1?
Why is this street so deserted?
We need to raise taxes, have a paint and weed day and make this a happier, healthier street that would discourage such behavior.
This is all so confusing! I need to debate this with some friends for few
days and try to come to a consensus.

Republican's Answer:

Southerner's Answer:
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! click.....(sounds of reloading).
Daughter: "Nice grouping, Daddy! Were those the Winchester Silver Tips or Hollow Points?
Son: Can I shoot the next one!
Wife: You ain't taking that to the Taxidermist!
Now, I'm sure ya'll have heard those already. But there's a basic way to tell a Southerner from someone else. But it only works in summer.

He'll have telltale signs of underarm sweat on his shirt. I don't care if it's 8 a. m. There'll be sweat there. I don't care if he's a banker or a farmer. His underarms will be wet. It's hot in the South. Even in the morning's. And contrary to popular wisdom, our cars and trucks are air conditioned now, thank you. But you still got to walk across the parking lot and by the time you get to the front door you'll feel those little trickles of sweat under your shirt.

My banjo buddy Big Ed says that most Southerners know another one when they see one. And I know where Ed's coming from. He's coming from many years of study at Clawhammer State under Professor Grandpa Jones.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Primary Day

Joyce and I are voting today in the primary. The key races for us are for the Republican nominee for governor and for the Republican nominee for U.S. congressperson from our district. I may lose on one or both of these choices. Still, I'm not voting on the basis of who the polls say will win, but who I think best espouses my own political views.

Here are my choices: Zach Wamp for Governor.
Lou Ann Zelenik for Congress.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One Way to Beat the Heat

At 5:00 p. m. it was 100 with a heat index that made it feel like 108. I'm inside, A/C blasting and ceiling fans on high. And I just remembered something else that might help a bit.

Down the steps. Fridge air in my face, cold sweaty bottle in my hand. Back upstairs. Twist off the cap. Now that's better. Here's to all of you who might read this...I'm raising my bottle of cold beer.

Phoenix Flowering Bush

There's a Crepe Myrtle in our yard beside the carport. Our Lagerstroemia has been transplanted twice and has come back stronger each time. It was originally in my Mom's yard. We moved it here in 2008 and then moved it again in 2009 when we added the carport. It looked pretty bad all winter and we wondered if it would return. It did. It's now one big flowering bush.

We took about ten pics but our old camera works efficiently sometimes and at other times we get surprises.  Here's a couple that are at least viewable.

I took the first one from under the carport so the cropping is bad,
but it's one of the clearer ones we took.

My wife took this beauty at dusk.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Thanks to Andy and Big Ed for encouraging me to get this old blog started up again. And to Buck and Barry the Barbarian for their kind comments on my previous post below which was my first one for quite awhile. I've read all your blogs some over the past few days, but haven't commented.

Why haven't I posted for a while? The grandkids left over a week ago. Why didn't I jump right back into the fray and lay down some scintillating wordplay or slicing political commentary of a quality not seen since H. L. Mencken was ripping it up?

I got some reasons for you...

1. We've been planning our 50th wedding anniversary trip. It seems like yesterday when we ran through the falling rice and squeezed into that little open top Fiat outside Joyce's Daddy's church in Elkton, TN, and headed south to Decatur, AL. That's right Decatur dammit. It wasn't Hawaii, or Niagra Falls, or even Gatlinburg. It was Decatur and I'm proud of it. Kinda. I'll tell more about our anniversary plans later and post some old pics. But I'll tell you this much now. We ain't going to Decatur.

2. We shopped online for a new camera for about three days. Thankfully, Joyce is very thorough about this sort of thing. I'm much more of an "Okay, that looks good, I'll take it" kind of guy. We finally ordered an Olympus Stylus 7040. I'll tell you more about it when we get it and I post some pics. Here's a pic of it:
3. It's been very hot. And humid. Did I mention humid? I know Andy will say we're wusses way up north here in TN, but damn, it has been hot. The temperature here in Middle TN has been averaging around a 1000 degrees every day. I'm not lying. And if you add on the heat index you feel like you're inside a solar flare. And the humidity. It's so bad you can stick a straw into the outside air and take a drink, that is if you like scalding water. Which is also pretty much what the air feels like when you inhale some of it.

Okay. I know my computer is in an air conditioned room. Still, just knowing that kind of HOT is out there makes me feel like I'm in a 50's movie version of a Faulkner story, like the one they made out of "Barn Burning,"  Long Hot Summer, where every one sits around fanning and sweating and fanning and sweating. Especially Big Daddy (Orson Welles); he sweats a cistern full. Newman sweats a lot too. But Joyce says his sweating is kinda sexy. Anyway, that kind of heat sucks the life right out of you.

5. I've been spending a lot of time in the mornings revising a mystery novel I've been working on which I hope to place with a POD publisher in the next few weeks. It's a vanity thing I suppose and few people will read it, but I enjoy doing it. It's title is Blood Country. The narrator, Joe Rose, is a Nashville sideman (guitar of course) whose day job is as a P. I. The plot is derived from Hamlet and concerns a dark secret a Country Music family dynasty is hiding. I may write more about it later.

6. Letdown. Joyce and I worked in over 20 college drama productions over the years. I directed and she did set decoration, makeup and sometimes took an acting part. If you've ever been involved in anything like that, you know it's a lot of long hours and hard work over 6 - 9 weeks, which for a college production leads up to about four or five performances. In short, you work your butt off, there's a tremendous elation on opening night which carries you through the remaining performances till you strike the set, party until late late, and then suddenly it's all over. There's a big let down. A BIG LET DOWN. It's like that with the grandkids. The house is filled with their great noisy joy and and energy and laughter and then they go home and the house is quiet again. It takes awhile to get back to where you were before.

7. And the seventh reason builds on what I said in #6. I've been in a "Lately I've Let Things Slide" kinda mood. You ever get in one of those?  Nick Lowe has. Be careful when you listen to this song. Especially if you've felt that "hammer" in your head that he describes. Don't play it in the dead of night. Play it in daytime, outside with people around.

But now I've stopped the sliding. I'm working. I'm posting. Good to be back.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I'm Back

Hey out there in blog land. Your humble correspondent has finally decided to take up the keyboard again. This first post will basically be a few pics of our grandkids' adventures. I'll save my excuses and explanations about why I haven't posted for awhile until a little later.

We returned home from TX late Monday night July 12th (the trip was interminable to the grandkids since our car doesn't have video like their van), and had them to ourselves until the 16th when Barry and Teresa arrived from TX; Barry and family returned home on 19th. While they were here we visited the Adventure Museum, the Planetarium, the movies ("Despicable Me"-all of us, "Knight and Day"-Brent and I), a bowling alley, and two visits to a laser tag/game room.

We got a few pictures during the grandkids visit but unfortunately most didn't pan out. Our little Nikon is just about ready to give up the ghost--more on that later. But here's a few of the pics that did come out okay.

First up, here's our 6 year old grandson Daniel who pointed out to Joyce on the phone yesterday that he could easily be 9 if he just turned the number upside down. In this pic he's enjoying a giant lollipop after a visit to Cracker Barrel for lunch.

 Next is a photo of our visit to Beech Bend Water Park. That's son Barry after making a non printable statement about the orange clog pool shoes his Mom brought for him to wear; our daughter in law Teresa laughing at Barry, and in the foreground, grandson Brent (14) diplomatically making the peace sign.

I forgot to mention there was a war during July. I'm surprised it didn't make the news. Here's a photo of a major skirmish it that war. Brent attacks grandpa from the front with his water blaster on max while Daniel sneaks up by his side.

Brent checks his water blaster.

Even though I look semi-aggressive in this photo, as you can see, I'm the one who's soaked.

Finally, on our bowling night, here's Daniel demonstrating perfect "body English" after a shot.