Welcome Yall!

Hopefully, from time to time, I can share thoughts, experiences and photos from my part of the world. It will usually be opionated, hopefully interesting, or at least funny, and always SOUTHERN.

I make no apoligies for any of the above. I thank everyone for their input and feed back. I praise God. You see, I am proudly an American by birth, but thankfully a Southerner by the grace of God.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Return Road............

We recently were invited to the wedding of the daughter of some good friends. The wedding took place near the city of Grenada in the small crossroads of Gore Springs. It was more or less a return trip down a much traveled road. Our friends are close to us, but have been distanced by life and miles. When my wife and I were very young, we started our lives together in Grenada. It was our first permanent location after collage and marriage. It's where our son was born, we bought our first house and later built a house. We grew up as young parents, you might say, with these friends. The photo of this road that leads out to Grenada Lake is always full of memories.

Visiting with so many friends at the wedding was truly a trip down memory lane. I must admit I was flooded with memories and emotions when I took this photo from the over look area of Grenada on a frosty Sunday morning. It was and still is an important part of my family's lives.

This airport was a training facility during world war two for glider pilots that were used during the invasion of Europe. I soloed my first airplane here. I took my training for my Private and Commercial Pilots license from this field. Flying became an important part of my professional life and helped provide for my family. I still miss flying more than I can possibly explain to anyone.

The down town square, once the center of for city and county activity, now like so many other similar places, struggles for attention. Since Christmas was nearing, the city fathers had seen fit to decorate with what looks like replicas of a previous era. Sadly, it seems to be a tale of a time never to return.

This photo is fitting for the trip back to Grenada. Our friends daughter is headed down the road of marriage much like the couple in the mural on the wall of a store.
We returned on a familiar road to find so many things had changed, but even more important we discovered....... the memories had not.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Steam Power

The first weekend in November is the annual Soule' Steam and Feed Works celebration in Meridian. This facility manufactured steam engines with valve systems that allow variable speed control. It functioned as a foundry until approximately 2003. Some local business men purchased the facility and turned it into a remarkable museum.

A view of less than one fourth of the machine shop portion of the facility. Note the common shaft system of powering the individual machines.

One of the steam engines in operation along with just some of the products produced by Soule' as a foundry.

What would a Steam Festival be without a steam powered Calliope. The young man is pulling a rope attached to the steam whistle.

These have nothing to do with the Steam Festival, but I thought they were interesting. You can see what I do on good days.

A product from a bad back and a over active imagination. Who would think that birds go to church. Of course they must have lots of faith. How else could they fly.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Such Talent!

My wife, in addition to being smart and beautiful, is extremely talented. She is quite artistic with an exceptional eye for jewelry. I realize I'm prejudiced, so judge for yourself.

She has been making many different types of jewelry for quite some time but recently took a Silver Smith class.

She buffed and shined the completed project to a beautiful finished product.

Needless to say, she was quite enthused about her new area of endeavor. It's difficult for me to imagine anyone with this type of talent, so watching her excitement grow over her success is really fun.

All these pieces were produced in less than five days of class.

Paul Revere, eat your heart out.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Signs, Signs, Every Where A Sign!

On a recent trip to the south part of the state we observed this sign on the east side of U.S. 49 just north of Hattiesburg. I sent it to some friends who encouraged me to post it on Wunder Photos on the Weather Underground web site. I was astonished at the number of responses and comments in favor of the billboard.
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Our Sun Porch is some what of a museum to signs. This one I received from my sister Beth for my birthday. I think since she lives in Virgina, she is attracted to things from her native state. We share the same love on the Magnolia State.
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This sign was a gift from my sister Jeri. We know her affectionately as Jerry Lynn, but since she is a professional type she uses Jeri. It pretty much describes our home. What better goal could you possible have for your dwelling?
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This one was a gift from Jeri when she and Beth went on a shopping trip recently while Beth was down for a visit. Corkey the yellow Lab lives on our Sun Porch and he needs several visits outside during the day. He is a great friend and gives me reason to keep my bad back limber. The sign pretty much describes my daily routine.

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What southern porch would be authentic with out a Coca Cola thermometer? This one is the real deal, not a knock off.
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Well, these are just a few of the signs that garnered my attention recently. It seems like you see so many signs on a regular basis, we begin to ignore them, The stop sign is an excellent example. It's easy to just slow down glance and keep going. Not just the traffic sign, but all the other stop signs we encounter daily. Like the ones Mother Nature leaves for us, or the signs of caring and love our family and friends present us on a regular basis.
The song from the 70's titled "Signs", ends by saying, "when they passed around the plate for a collection, I didn't have a single dime, so I got pen and paper and I made my own little sign, I said, thank you God for thinking about me, I'm alive and doing fine, signs, signs, every where a sign.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's Officially Summer.............

It's officially summer now! Like we didn't already know. It's been summer for quite a while here in the deep south, regardless of what the calender showed. Temperatures soaring up too, and hovering around 100 degrees. Humidity to match, along with afternoon thunder bumpers that tail off into steamy evenings.

It has been tough but I admit I prefer it to freezing temps and frozen precipitation. I suppose it is because I relate back to my youth. In the winter you were allowed out to go to school, church and work. In the summer, when school was out, My Mother basically said, "get out of my house, don't get into trouble, and come when I call". The holy trinity of summer rules.

I remember riding bicycles in the early mornings. Some times I was sent to the post office, or the grocery, but the most cherished rides were to the plum thicket or to the creek to cool off. Afternoons were reserved for my paper route, baseball practice or the rare trip to the greatly undersized and over used public swimming pool. That is, if I was through with the paper route, cutting grass, (that's mowing lawns to you folk north of the Mason Dixon line) and no one else in the area need me for manual labor.

Oh, but when the afternoons gave way to thunder storms or the occasional gentle tropical summer rain shower the routine had to be interrupted for the ever polarizing mud ball fights. We couldn't afford water balloons so we just threw freshly packed mud balls. Some contained the occasional rock hidden in the center. Purely accidental, of course.

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Recent thunder storms left the heavy feel of summer steam near the Ross Barnett Reservoir.

The rains passed as quickly as they came and yielded to the blistering sun that baked the earth and made the steam rise. I remember inhaling the steam and the feel of the moisture as it entered the lungs and the ever so sweet ozone of natures perfume from the fresh aroma of honey suckle,magnolia, mimosa, plum, pear, and apple trees that seemed to be every where. Not to mention the smell of the fresh vegetable blossoms in every garden and truck patch in the county that were always within reach of our noses.

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The sweet perfume of this magnolia was quite the welcome sign of summer in our back yard.

Summer sunsets were always spectacular, giving way to starry evenings that were brightened by the lights of the little league baseball field and the sound of the families cheering with the crack of the wooden bat. On the nights when there were no scheduled games, the stars were the field lights over the pasture or back yard where we played blooper ball. (sometimes called whiffle ball, but always played with a plastic bat and ball on a make shift field using trees, towels, posts, flower gardens or what ever we could find for bases, or what ever fell into the geometric pattern of the diamond of a baseball field. Yankee stadium or Camden Yard had nothing on our imaginations. After the major league games on television they would have firework displays, after our blooper ball games, we had lightning bugs to put on their light show. Lightning bugs........that would be fire flies to those culturally deprived of Southern Living.

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This nest of Cardinal hatching's near our deck, were quick to open wide to the slightest sound.

Finding a bird nest was always a summer treat. Watching the adults flutter around with twigs and sprigs of grass to build the brooding abode always drew our attention. We would make mental notes of the locations and follow the progress all summer. From eggs, to hatching's to big mouths open wide when the parents lit on the limb adjacent the nest to feed the ungrateful little chippers to the day when the young feathered noise makers attempted their first flights. We often stood yard guard to keep the dogs and cats from feeding on their inept attempts to fly.

Climbing trees to get a better view of the country side, or hide from your buddies during a game of day or, when the parents were watching, night hide and seek, without flashlights. Only sissies needed lights. Bruises, scratches and cuts or any other injuries gained as a result of poor visibility, were worn like badges of honor. Crying from injuries was overlooked, but ONLY if the injury resulted in a bandage. Otherwise you were ostracized by being the last one picked the next time teams were selected for what ever game we were playing.

Summers were great. It's a wonder we survived them. I'm sure glad we did. I'm even happier that they held such beauty and wonder..........and memories.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Needless to say, I am way behind on posting. It's not that there hasn't been anything to write about, I just haven't felt inspired. To be honest, I'm posting this out of guilt.

At any rate, it's been an interesting spring. But before the real warm weather arrived I was still feeding the birds in my satellite feeder.

There is a cemetery in the city of Brandon near where I live that is quite historic. The civil war memorial is quite appropriate for this time of year.

I had the opportunity to return to my home town and share with a few of the folks there, how important the people, town, and time period had been to me. Much to my glee they agreed, without exception. We even smiled at some of our identical memories of our youth.

The number one location of influence, outside my home, during my youth was this beautiful church.

The stained glass has always been beautiful and thought provoking for me. I think that this little sanctuary is probably the most peaceful place I have ever had the privilege of being.

I know this post is just a bunch of ramblings, but they were on my mind. Each day has been filled with my plans or intentions to write something worth while, but I have fallen short. Maybe it was spring fever or old age that caused me to procrastinate. More likely, it's just plain ole laziness. GUILTY!

The days have lengthened, the sun is hotter each day, the sweet smell of honey suckle and gardenia fill the air while chlorophyll green is the color of the day.

Enjoy the Summer.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Keeping your roots...........................................

It's been quite some time since the last post. I've had a birthday. My Grandson had a birthday. Spring arrived. The next day it snowed and sleeted. I learned early in the month that a childhood friend was ill. I hadn't seen him in several years. Not since our last, joint high school reunion. He was a year younger than I, but we knew each other for many years. We were in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorers, M.Y.F. We played summer league baseball on the same team. In our teenage years we were in a rock band. He was our drummer, maintaining our tempo and providing quite a bit of the vocals. I was and still am a terrible musician. But, I love it as much today as then. The rest of the band was quite talented. I still think I loved the time we spent together in a band more than the rest of the band members. I was, and am grateful they tolerated my participation.

My friend had become a dentist, raised a family and recently celebrated the birth of his first grand child. Two days after I learned of his illness I was informed of his death. His passing evoked memories that reinforced my belief that I grew up during a great era in a wonderful community. The only way I can describe it's effect on my life, is to show these photos and relate their similarities.

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The plaque tells an amazing story. On the campus of the Gulf Coast branch of the University of Southern Mississippi in Long Beach, stands a tremendous symbol of life, growth and survival. The Friendship Oak is over 500 years old. Imagine the hurricanes, storms, and droughts it has endured. This tree is massive in size, sprawling in girth, and far reaching with it's root system. Though it easily covers a block, it is not proportionally tall. You would expect a tree this old to tower hundreds of feet. Instead it's growth is outward and inward. Largely in an area that is not visible.

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The photo above shows it's statue from quite a distance away.

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The huge branches reach out, sometimes down, and ultimately terminate in a luscious green enveloping canopy. Looking up at this living marker of history is an amazing experience. What I am constantly overwhelmed with is it's root system. The anchoring branches known as roots are far more intricate and far reaching than are visible or even imaginable. They are overlapping, meandering, and constantly searching for moisture to maintain it's life, to continue it's growth and strengthen it's existence. How does it know? Even though it's on a college campus, it's never had a formal education. No one trained it. It didn't have a life coach. The nature of it's existence is to search for the moisture to supply it growth and to anchor it's base.

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The root system is the anchor, just like my formative years. Just like my time spent learning with my friend. Each time I think of my youth, I realize how blessed I was. I am so thankful for being who I was, when I was, and where I was. My friend, just like all the others who influenced me, (and there were many) were my root system. My anchor. Building base. The terms are infinitesimal.

I have mourned the loss of my friend and the passing of one of those roots. The loss has caused much reflection and reminiscing. It has brought even more prayers of thanksgiving. I can not undo the time that has passed, but I can take action to reconnect. To, graft some roots. I plan to visit our home town, and try to make contact with more of those roots. I feel compelled to tell them what they did for me and how much they have meant through my life.

I guess in short I need to.................... KEEP MY ROOTS WET.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Sometimes it seems like this winter just won't end. The photo above is from the second snow of the winter, the first one of 2010. It left us with just under five inches of winter precipitation. We were very fortunate that it didn't cause any roadway and power line problems for most of us. This particular view is from our front porch. Some times the best view is from your own widows looking out. Especially if it's cold.


The birds took full advantage of one of our feeders. The combination of gold finches and house finch adds a touch of color to the white. It's not much, because the birds are still in their winter colors. They don't really put on the bright colors until late March or April. Then their brilliant colors serve to attract their mates. The usual bickering and fighting that normally takes places between our feathered friends seemed to come to a stop during the snow fall. The truce appeared to be short lived. As soon as the snow melted the fowl tempers came back.

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Since the roads were in good shape, we made a trip up the Natchez Trace and found the bridge at the swamp partially protected from the snow. You can tell the stately cypress trees seem to stand guard while providing a canopy over the foot bridge. The snow adds a blanket of insulation to natures normal sounds. It's difficult to imagine in this winter silence that the surroundings of this scene is in hibernation from the sounds of an active ecosystem.

In less than 48 hours the snow was gone. The south was sunny again and kids were back in school with only stories and memories of our second of what is now our fourth snow fall of the winter. Thankfully, the best thing about Mississippi winters is they are brief in their periods of severity and there are always flowers waiting to bloom after the cold snaps and warm the eyes and the heart.

Stay warm and enjoy the view.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Warmth and Hope


After what seemed like an eternity of ice, cold temps and frozen ducks, Mother Nature granted us a reprieve, how ever brief it might be.

It's said about the deep south, "if you don't like the weather, just wait three days". Well, this last round of cold lasted far longer than three days. It only made the warm air, sunny days and relatively mild nights even more welcome.



I realize it's some what of a false sensation, but the sunny afternoon feels much like an early spring. Though the cold temperatures and precipitation are sure to return before the real winter relief, we find the results of the temporary trend of rising temperatures brings more than one type of warmth. Nature is quick to recover from the frigid fest and regale us with a hopeful interlude of blue Skies and signs of hope. The birds seem to be a little more chipper with their movement. Perhaps more playful than scurrying and scrounging for food. The trees aren't drooping with the weight of winter. Their branches seem to be strengthened, reaching more skyward toward a warming sun.


I was on our deck servicing the bird feeders,(we have at least four that feed the feathered friends)when I observed a cocoon twirling in the wind from an overhanging branch. The limbs are stripped of leaves and all signs of green have long since passed, but the cocoon stood out as brightly as the blue sky it was silhouetted against. It was obvious that it had already been vacated but it brought a smile to my lips. Warmth and hope. More than welcome after gray skies and the absence of the sun's comfort. Granted, a cocoon is the symbol of rebirth, the continuing cycle of life. But just the sight of such a symbol was a reminder that the cold and gray won't last forever. That's a good thing to remember.

Warmth and Hope,


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cold Enough.......ENOUGH COLD!

This is suppose to be the Sunny South. Here lately mother nature has been suffering post Christmas blues, resulting in our being blue. A result of poor circulation from all the cold temperatures. It's been below freezing for several days and down to fifteen degrees at night. I realize that's not cold north of the Mason Dixon line, but here it's equivalent to living inside the appliance we preserve meats and our garden vegetables in. Come to think of it, it resembles a deep freezer. Lots of white rime frost on every surface and every droplet of condensation turned into ice. Every time you open the door, a blast of Arctic like wind hits you in the face. If the wind blows hard enough and hits you in the forehead, you wind up with the same feeling you get in the summer when you eat home made ice cream too fast. A brain freeze! That explains some of the brilliant ideas coming from our nations capital. I'm afraid those brains are permanently frozen.

I've heard people all my life saying they liked winter more than summer. (These people are traitors of the southern life style) They say things like, "I can put on enough clothes to keep warm, but I can never stay cool in the middle of the summer". Well I can't put on enough clothes to keep warm, but I can easily sweat in the summer. I don't have to make an effort to sweat. I have to constantly make an effort to stay warm in the winter. It makes me stay inside. I much prefer the freedom of being outside. I feel like I'm being held hostage in the winter.

The other morning when I was leaving the house while the temperature was sixteen degrees, I noticed some ducks frozen in the pond across the road. After I took a picture, I tried to check and make sure they were really stranded. Sure enough they were wedged in the ice.Their little feet had to be freezing. I made some noise and slid some objects across the ice to get the quackers attention. Finally after lots of flapping, squawking and feathers flying, they pulled free. They waddled around and slipped and slid until they got a clumsy running start and flew away.

When I was very young I had a paper route. Actually several paper routes. When it rained I put on a rain suit and climbed on my bike, as I got older, a motorcycle and later a car. When it got cold, I did the same thing and just got cold. Before I had a drivers license if there was ice and snow, I had a piece of tin from a barn roof that I would tie a rope to and pulled my papers around the route. Even though the Down Hill Racer Sled was built in Mississippi, no one I knew owned a store bought sled. I have been so cold delivering papers, that when I got home and pulled my boots off, the heels of my feet had cracked and bled. Now that's cold! This was an omen of things to come. After that, every job I ever had required that I deal with foul,(fowl), weather. This winter, I can stay inside and keep my feet propped up under a nice warm comforter. I still hate winter. I feel like I'm being held prisoner.

The one thing that makes me smile in the winter is the odor of a fire burning. The kind that I use to appreciate as a child. Red oak, or hickory flaming away in a fire place. You knew when you smelled the smoke you were headed in the direction of comfort. The embers glowed and often were the primary light of the rooms they occupied. If you moved away from their warmth you immediately were reminded of their importance.

Life's memories are like those burning embers of a fire. When you move away from those elements of your life that provide your inner warmth, you are immediately aware of the cold reality of the world. If you move too far you may get stuck in the ice. At least until something or some one comes along and urges you to break free from the ice and fly away to those glowing embers.

Keep your feet,...................... and your hearts warm.