Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
bring up the Twelve Pounders!
- all the horses are dead here, sir
bring'em up by mule then
- all the mules are dead here, sir
well bring'em up by hand, boys
- all the battery men are dead here, sir
well I need them Twelve Pounders
- there ain't no artillery left here, sir
Lyrics by: Paul Kennerly from "White Mansions"
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I took these five or six years ago maybe longer. Olympus OM1 fully manual with tripod, cable ,and 400 speed film. Sorry, I kept the good ones.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
These relics just north of Vicksburg may or may not go back to 1863, but they did remind me of the area's history. Gen. Sherman burned so many homes in and around Jackson that it was called Chimneyville for decades. Meridian got the same treatment. Vicksburg didn't celebrate July 4th for 89 years. Theis pyromania was just a dress rehearsal for Billy's march to the sea.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
It's been several days since I have cranked up my little Harley (If I haven't told you my daughter and son-in-law got it for me as a birthday present two years ago) Now my kid is very special, not to mention, how many sons-in-law would give an old grump ass a gift like this? Yeah no kidding.
Anyway I went out into our closed in garage this afternoon and turned on a portable heater while I fetched Christmas decorations from the attic. After looking past boxes labeled "kitchen stuff" for an hour, I came down for a break. My wife sent me back up there and I decided to open boxes regardless of their markings. Sure enough, I peaked in expecting to find a spatula and there they were, little green thingy doos, and blue rinky dinks, yes sir, yes sir, three boxes full. How's that for a run on sentence Billy Faulkner?
So, with honey doos over I uncovered "Red Molly." When a man pulls the covers off Red Molly and his eyes lock on her luscious curves his heart beats a little faster. If this doesn't cause the pulse to quicken in a male, he must be a golfer or worse. Men give her longing glances when they think I don't see. Some would take her from me in a second, others are afraid that she may be too much to handle.
I pressed the garage door button (actually I mashed the button) we don't press anything here in the South, not even shirts, anyway, backed her out in the driveway, pulled the choke (fuel enricher) and hit the button. She came alive. By the way I got her name from a Richard Thompson song called " 52 Vincent", a British made Vincent Black Lightning 1952 model. His girl was a sexy red head named Red Molly wearing black leather. I'm pretty sure most young people know the song. If you haven't, find the song and tell me this isn't one of the best guitar players you've ever heard.
With the rich fuel Molly talked fast like she'd had the most wonderful dream. She warmed up to me as I held her close.
In a couple of minutes she was warm enough to push in the choke and she smoothed out. Those Vance and Hines pipes rumbled more quietly. Man, she whispered softly, begging, begging me to run away with her. It happens every time we meet. She's a seductress, a siren. But it was just too cold today. The wife and I had to visit neighbors bearing goodies.
Beneath the covers she settled in quietly. I promised that I would be back for her.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
This is a photo from the top of Cheaha Mountain in East Central Alabama near Anniston. (Cheaha State Park)Cheaha is a Creek Indian word for pain.
It seems there was a brave named "Turns His Head" who was cracking hickory nuts between two rocks, holding with one hand and smashing with the other. No one knows exactly what happened. Witnesses said the last they saw of him, he was going over this point at a full run Screaming the word.
Others say it was that cheap scratchy wool loin cloth he traded for. coupled with an infestation of chiggers while picking black berries that drove him over the edge.
Monday, December 8, 2008
There is a town in the area named Bessemer. Bessemer is actually a method of making steel. There is an iron statue in the city of Birmingham. It's called Vulcan, "god of fire" or something of the sort. It's the largest cast iron statue in the world.
It amazes me how man learned to make bronze and more so that he advanced to make iron.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Dora Lee Biggs told my wife about the sighting. It seems that he was spotted on a bench outside the Gordo Grind, that's a foo foo coffee bar in a portable shed next to the quick stop. They have learned to combine Maxwell House and Folgers coffee with a just a shredding of sweet potato delicately floating on the surface. People in west Alabama are nuts over it. They're comming from Mississippi now. The line was backed up the other day all the way to Gene's saw shop and hog feed.
Anyway Dora said that Elvis was wearing overalls. It seems that his belly hasn't shrunk so he was wearing them with the buttons loosened on both sides to let some air circulate. What caught her attention was his workshirt with the collar turned up. Then he whipped out a little sack of groceries and made up a peanut butter and nanner sandwich right there. Well, that really got her interested cause she knows his favorite food. She said there was no doubt when he reached in and pulled out his upper denture to lick off the peanut butter stuck on them because she saw his big ring that he always wore on his right hand. Before she called my wife she rushed over to the pawn shop to see if that big ring under the glass was the one off his other hand but she said it turned out to be one of those Cupid Zarcondoms.
Dora said, " it was like one on them aberations cause he wudden there the first time she walked over to the liquor store."
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
It seems that somewhere back in the 40's or 50's some young men were hanging out by the depot in Middleton Tennessee. As it often happens, three girls drove up in their car to see what was going on. Now you would have to see Middleton to understand that there isn't much there at all, a hardware store, small tire store, masonic hall, and maybe a service station at that time. The boys were eying the girls as boys always do unless something is wrong with them. The girls were uninterested or at least pretended to be. The more disinterest shown the more the guys began to act fools and grab-ass around.
Well as luck would have it, Southern Railroad's passenger train number 36 rolled in, picked up a couple of passengers and some mail. Jim Ed saw his chance to go down in history as a dangerous man. Girls like reckless guys though not all of them will date these dare devils. So three or four minutes passed. The conductor walked up the steps of the passenger gar with his little stool and closed the door. The train was already moving. Jim Ed ran for one of the steps on the mail car. He jumped on and held to the vertical hand rails glancing over his shoulder to catch one of the girls covering her mouth in amazement. The other two were riveted to the scene. Now you understand that Jim Ed planned to ride for less than one hundred feet and jump off, but he didn't consider the line of box cars on the side track preventing him form making his exit without crashing against one of them. So by the time Jim Ed was clear of a half dozen freight cars the train was going too fast to jump off. There was nothing to do but hold on. The girls were half screaming half laughing in amusement but with a hint of concern as Jim Ed continued to accelerate. His buddies realized that their friend had to hold on until he reached Corinth Mississippi some twenty miles away. They jumped in an old Mercury throwing gravel as they hit the pavement making a small squeal as the tires grabbed. The glass pack mufflers roared as they made their way to U.S. Highway 72 and turned east toward Corinth. The old car sat low to the ground and bellowed toward their lost comrade. Somewhere just west of town they met Jim Ed walking home. He smiled from behind an embarrassed face and beneath a shock of uncombed hair. The boys did a U-turn in the highway and pulled over in front of the hiker. They bailed out and met him as he came upon the rear bumper. He looked a little shaken but did his best to cover his mild shock with " boys, how bout that ride?" They laughed and smacked him around a little, then noticed that the windy ride had beaten every button off the front of his shirt.
This ain't no shit
Most know all its meanings but for those who don't:
Small men had to man the ball turret guns, they could hunch up and roll upside down and shoot at planes coming from below
They wore leather jackets with fur collars
Flack is antiaircraft shells from the ground exploding at a designated height set by the gunners
Nightmare of fighters - German fighter planes much faster than the heavy bomber trying to defend itself
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
When I was a kid there were still sharecroppers around the South. The ones I knew were white. They would work for a large or small farmer tilling the land for part of the harvest. Most of the time they would become disenchanted after getting such a small part of the crop, and move to another run down house and try their luck on another farm. When they moved they would go out to the chicken house the night before, catch their chickens and tie their legs for traveling.
I knew a family once that moved so much that every night the chickens would go on the roost and cross their legs in anticipation of another move.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Now I have to fill in some valuable information before I can go forward. A coon hide was skinned out without cutting down the belly, that is, his hide was taken off like one would remove a sock. A trapper would have boards to slide through the hide and stretch that pelt until it dried ready for market. These boards were about 1/2 inch thick 8 inches wide and about 24 inches long gradually tapering to a rounded point on one end. The coon hide would be pulled over the board with the pointy end fitting in the upper lip of the pelt. (do you have a mental picture of this?)
Well, the thing about Ole Hammer was that my papaw didn't have to trap for his coons. He would pull out a certain size board, show it to Ole Hammer, he would go off and come back with a coon that fit that board exactly. If papaw showed him a small board, the dog would bring back a small coon. If he pulled out a larger board Hammer sometimes would be gone for two or three days but he never failed to bring back a coon that fit the board presented to him.
Now my mamaw didn't like this dog, mainly because he sucked eggs. A woman don't like an egg sucking dog. She never saw him do it but she saw the broken egg shells. Her proof was that Ole Hammer's coat was growing slick and shiny. A hound doesn't get that slick eating bacon rinds.
Well, one day she'd had enough. She went in the back room and brought out the ironing board, took it out on the porch and called Ole Hammer. Hammer crawled from under the porch shook himself free of dust and took a gander at that ironing board. He went trotting off into the woods that morning and never came back.
Monday, November 17, 2008
I finally ran across a man who could identify the little horseshoe shaped hooks that hold the trace chains to the hames on the horse collars.
I was visiting an eighty something year old man (Barney McMahan) back in McNairy County Tennessee. He was showing me his car shed/workshop. We went upstairs to look around. I saw his old horse collar with the hames attached to them. On the hames were the hooks. I asked him if they had a name. In a blink he said. Loggerheads. I knew it but I couldn't find anyone from the generation before me to verify it.
Now when you read "Barn Burning" by Faulkner you will know what he is talking about when Snopes adjusts the loggerhead on the hame/collar.
Is this trivial or what?
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Anyway, Alabama fans are fired up. They are undefeated and can smell another national championship; what a game down in the valley of death. Overtime no less. They are the Western Division Champs but will probably have to face Florida. They are bad boys standing on the corner with brass knuckles in their back pocket. Then again Ole Miss went to their hood and left them on the ground. (any given Saturday)
After working twelve hours I hardly had time to stop and pay silent tribute to all the men and women who have served their country.
I'm fascinated with ironies. I don't know why. I think that I just like to look on both sides of every issue. Now I realize that this is not Memorial Day, but many of us think about those who fell in battle as well as the veterans.
Arlington Cemetery began in a shameful way. Some of Lincoln's people thought it would be hilarious to confiscate General Lees beloved plantation for taxes. They began to bury the union dead on his farm until he could never return home to any semblance of normalcy. (it takes a hell of a man to turn down the head of arguably the greatest army in the modern world, an army that is assured victory because you are a Virginian first and an American second. By today's standards we can't understand it, all vestiges of Tennessee first or Montana have been wiped away by centralist.)
I do believe that probably every one of those brave men resting in Arlington waiting on the last roll call admired the old General, those of the Union, from the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and other scattered wars.
The South has its own memorial day. I believe Mississippi's is April 26. It actually started in the town where I live, Columbus. Women decorated the graves of both Union and Confederate that April day in 1866
I always think about those who displayed the same valor as those so tenderly cared for in our national cemeteries with crosses perfectly aligned. I am referring to the boys in grey who fill burial bits at Shiloh, Gettysburg, Sharpsburg, and on and on without markers, known only to their maker.
Soldiers where they admit it or not have a respect for a brave foe as well as Friend. You see, an army or a football team is not truly powerful unless their opponent is equally so.
I believe that the old white haired General would remove his hat for every last soldier who faced his enemy with honor.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
South of Chunky River I met a eighteen wheeler hauling a load of logs. The bug screen on the front of the truck said "Cane Clutter." I laughed to myself. Now I've seen loads of logs in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Maine, New Brunswick and British Columbia to name a few. I don't know If they display their handles or AKA's on their rigs like some of our old boys down here. They are all working men and have my respect.
The name brought back many memories. I didn't know if the name meant someone who cut logs like one would cut sugar cane. It seems plausible even though no cane is grown in the Pine Belt (a region in the general area between Meridian and Hattiesburg that grows mostly native pine.)
But then I thought about when I was eleven years old and got my first shotgun. We hunted squirrels and rabbits mostly, before I got into ducks and deer. Now I don't know much about lagomorphs except that they have an extra pair of upper incisors for cutting off vegetation.
Sometimes we would hunt the river bottoms of West Tennessee. There is a large rabbit that lives in these watery places. They are called Swamp Rabbits or Cane Cutters. These critters are chased with beagles. I don't see it much anymore. Southerners at one time loved to hear the hounds whether it was running fox all night (three or four men standing by a fire talking about which hound was taking the lead) coon hunting, (we should talk more about this) or even deer.
Apparently we brought this sport from the British Isles. The British still love it. William Faulkner loved to hunt on horseback.
Anyway when a dog or pack or dogs jump a rabbit from a thicket or ditch bank, I'm talking about smaller cotton tails now. He scampers fast. Beagles are short legged and slow. Our objective wasn't to catch the rabbit. We wanted him to run his circle. When a rabbit runs from the dogs, he gets out ahead and runs along just enough to stay ahead. If the hunter will stay close to where the rabbit was jumped, the critter will run back to the same area and start the circle all over again. The hunter will shoot him usually on the first circle.
With a Swamp Rabbit (he's big and husky, but doesn't look like a Jackrabbit.) When he jumps, he runs a much wider circle. Sometimes the dogs will almost go out of rearing range, but eventually he comes back. Sometimes you will think they are running a deer because of the distance he runs. The hunter places himself along a stream or slough. I have shot these big boys running in the shallow water. They are not plentiful anymore fore several reasons.
For people who were raised on concrete or in another part of the country, you may have never thought about it, but there is a proper way to skin a rabbit. The helper holds the rabbit by the Nap of his back with a couple of inches between his hands. The skinner sticks the knife through the skin above the mid-spine. One sticks his eight fingers in the cut pulling toward the head. The other puts his eight fingers in the cut and pulls toward the other end. His shirt and pants are removed simultaneously. Then the head and four feet are removed with the skin. He is gutted washed and ready to cutup and put in the pan.
A squirrel takes more skill. The helper holds the squirrel upside down by the hind feet. The squirrel's belly is facing the helper's belly. The skinner makes a perfect cut across the base of the tail just millimeters above the anal opening. He methodically works his way around the tail with his small knife then severs the tail bone leaving the tail in tact. He cuts a little more to the top of the hips. While the helper holds the hind feet, the skinner digs his fingers under the skin and pulls the squirrel's shirt over his head. Then he cuts the feet off leaving the head with the skin pulled over it. The helper then holds the ball of reversed fur with the head inside. It's just a little knob. The skinner works the squirrel's pants loose at the top around his pretend belt area then pulls the skin down to the feet and cuts them off. The helper takes the bare hind legs. The skinner cuts off the head then inserts the blade into the pelvic area cutting it open and slowly cuts the thin skin down the belly to the breast bone, empties the guts. They wash him and cut him up for dinner. (We'll have to talk about fur bearing animals later. They are a totally different animal. Oops)
Now I don't know if this is common knowledge but I'm told that there is more than one way to undress a feline.
Down here we still have wild game suppers but I don't know of anyone who eats rabbits and squirrels.
You will never need to know things like this unless we have a depression. What are the chances of that?
Oh, one last thing. The National Fox Hunting Association was formed in the parlor of Waverly Mansion just fifteen miles from my house. The home is open for touring every day of the year except Christmas.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
For those who have never been to Meridian, back in the 20's or 30's, I don't remember; anyway, the Key Brothers set a world record for the longest time in the air. You can google it but I believe it was 28 days. They fueled from another plane and got their food in a similar manner. Later all military planes would learn to refuel in the air. Their little plane was called "Ole Miss." She is in some aeronautics museum in Washington D.C.
The Jimmie Rodgers museum is in Meridian. He is in both the country music and rock-in-roll halls of fame. He was a brakeman for the railroad.
Peavy still makes amplifiers here.
Hey. I love trains.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
A fairy tale begins with "once upon a time"
A sailor's story begins with "this ain't no s--t
You know how this story begins. For those of you who are old enough to remember the "Walking Tall" movies.
I was born and raised in McNairy Co. Tennessee. I actually rode in the car with Sheriff Buford Pusser and I wasn't going to jail. He gave a ride to three of us kids one Friday night, just two miles to the next crossroads. He always wore a grey suit and carried a service revolver in a shoulder holster. That night he was in a 64dodge two door hard top with a 383 engine. The car had a console with an automatic shift. On the console was a sawed off double barreled shotgun partly wrapped in a towel. He was talking about Toe Head White. Even as kids we figured that one of them would die. (Hollywood must have invented that big stick the actor carried in the movies)
If this person interests you at all, there is a book " The State Line Mob" I forgot the writer but I know the places and some of the people. One of the mobsters had a daughter in my school class. Her body was exhumed ----- no that's enough
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
English speaking pioneers translated bois de arc to bo-dark, board arc or bo-dock. This stuff is one of the hardest woods I have come across. Farmers cut them to use as fence posts, but they nail the fence to them while they are still green otherwise it may be impossible later. This is the only tree when dead and dried that has ever caused sparks to fly from my chain-saw bar.
We have a hardness scale not unlike the one geologists use: examples
"harder than Japanise arithmetic" is that politically incorrect?
"harder than, how do I say, a preacher's anatomy"
"harder than a bo-dock chunk"
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
This posting is not to boast about my kid though you find that hard to believe at this point.
It is this. People are horrified even at the thought of being rediculed, ostracized, scoffed at. This fear is magnified many times over when you are seventeen. Kids can even deal with parents brutally opposing them but not their classmates and buddies. This is worse than death.
My daughter's friend was troubled as a teenager years ago and never recovered. He wasn't popular in high school. My daughter on the other hand was very popular. When she became homecoming queen she chose Ray to escort her for the school festivities with teachers protesting that it was poor taste. I am so proud of her because she has always understood that people are very much alike regardless of their social standing. Perhaps that is what scares people about themselves. Some of her friends wanted to shun her friend and others that didn't meet their standards. She stuck to her guns. Everyone was welcome around her. Some couldn't deal with it. I suppose that is OK. We hang out with those we choose.
He died too young not yet forty. No one was surprised after all, it was just old Ray.
He learned much from my daughter. She learned more from him. Someone once said, "wisdom is often found in rags." His own two daughters are very well adjusted. He taught them that they were homecoming queens. They are.
The punch line:
We as teachers tend to be followers. I suppose we have little choice since the mandates come down from the national level. We need to have the courage to step out when possible and encourage kids to be individuals. Maybe we need to do tougher role play to teach them how to resist peer pressure, to be who we were made to be. Perhaps kids could find the courage to split with the group from time to time. What greater lesson is there than to learn how to be truly free. In a time when schools more frequently than not teach that decisions should be made as a group, is there anyone left to point a child in the direction of freedon?
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I don't get too torn down over this green movement. I sense that it is tied to something larger. By just having fun I probably do more by accident to enrich the earth with flora than those who cry "the sky is falling." The earth is in trouble. Perhaps it is wearing out. Perhaps it's ment to. A famous writer once said "all creation groans." I have planted hundreds of acorns. It's not like I'm on a mission, but one day a kid will play in the shade of a tree that I planted.
Acorn is an interesting word. In the south we call them acerns. Sometimes we are laughed at for these strange pronounciations. I did some research on the word. The Old English is Aecern. That would make sense wouldn't it.
Yes I digress but I'm an N as INTJ