Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Oranges And Sunshine

Richard and I saw a movie recently and the movie was called "Oranges And Sunshine".    It is based upon the true story of Margaret Humphreys who uncovered and investigated the thousands of government sanctioned "child migrations" (the number is estimated at 130,000)  from the United Kingdom to Australia, New Zealand and Canada.  You may read more about it here.   It is a terribly sad story and is one that I was not aware of until I saw this movie. The children that were sent away were from the ages of 3 to14 and were told that their parents were dead or that they were not wanted. The movie is based upon a book written by Margaret Humphreys called "Empty Cradles" and it is a book that I would like to read.  The movie's title comes from one of the promises that were made to the children, that they would be going to a land of sunshine and could pick oranges off the trees everyday... 

You will admire the courage of Margaret Humphreys and the strength of the human spirit when you read the stories of these children who endured so much.  I think that the movie is very well done and while it is a sad subject, I think that it is important to recognize wrongs that have been done and try to correct them.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, Ozzie -Remembering Willie B.

This is my birthday, and all I get is this dang CARROT?! 
(Photo by Erik S. Lesser, European PressPhoto Agency)

Another Amazing April Birthday! 
In the Atlanta online newspaper, I read that this past weekend, one of the gorillas by the name of Ozzie at Zoo Atlanta had his 52nd birthday and this makes him the oldest male western lowland gorilla in the world. (As far as we know, anyway!)
 Ozzie was part of the original group of gorillas who arrived at Zoo Atlanta from Emory University's Yerkes National Primate Research Center in the 1980's.  He joined another gorilla at the Atlanta Zoo who had been there since 1961 by the name of Willie B.   I have written of my memories of Willie B. before.  If you would like to read that post you may read it here.  These two gorillas had something in common: they had not been born into captivity but had been born free in Africa.  The news film that was shown when Willie B. was let out of his cage and was able to walk outside for the first time was one of the most moving scenes I have ever witnessed.  
If you ever get the chance, spend some time observing these animals.  Willie B. died in 2000, but some of his descendants still live at the Zoo, along with Ozzie! Do you have any fond memories of visiting a zoo that you would like to share? 

Oh, this reminds me, I can't remember if I told you that I saw the movie  "Rise of the Planet of the Apes", but I really liked it very much indeed. Have you seen it?  Why doesn't Andy Serkis get an Academy Award?  He deserves one!  Click on the following "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"  if you want to know more.  (One of the characters in the film is from the Harry Potter movies, but he is all grown up  and I ALMOST didn't recognize him.  Now, you will have to watch the movie to see who it is!)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

What's In A Name?

Beasley Drug Store in Conyers, Georgia is under new ownership and is now back to the same name that many of the locals have called it for several decades.  Vince Evans bought this pharmacy in the 80's and re-named it Evans Pharmacy, but I have always called it Beasley's. ( It has the best cherry cokes and fresh lemonade and the tuna salad is just as good as it ever was!)  Do you notice that very often even though there might be something that is renamed, that the local people will still call it by the original name?  I was pleased to see that in Alaska there is a good chance that instead of Mt. McKinley, the official name might now be changed to Denali Mountain, which was the first name by the natives who lived there, and it means "The High One" or "The Great One".  The locals and the mountain climbers have always called the mountain Denali.  I maintain that not only does Denali Mountain sound better, it is certainly a good description of it.

How about you?  Is there something like this where you live, and the local people call something by a different name than what it should be?  You really do need to ask what something is called or even how something is pronounced in order not to feel like such an outsider.  I lived in South Georgia as a teenager and I had to learn how to pronounce "Albany" like this, "ALL BENNY".  Hey, I hope that's right, I never could quite get the hang of it. Also, I lived near the little community of Doe Run, which I thought was adorable, but of course, everyone laughed when I said it the way you THINK you should say it.   It is "DOR- un".  Also, I know that GPS is what folks use for directions, but honestly, just ask real people the best way to get to a place.  Yes, they say you can go another way, but we have lived here for a while and we are telling you, this is the best, easiest way to go.  Listen to them.

At lunch time one day this past week, Richard and I got a coffee and a sandwich from Beasley's and took it to the Vaughn Botanical Garden in Old Town Conyers.  When I looked up and saw the red leaves of this Japanese Maple against that blue sky, I knew I had to share it with you.
  Always look for beauty!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Miss You Girl by Chas & Dave

Richard and I have been trying to get over the loss of our cat, Minnie. She was with us for almost sixteen years.  I found a song by Chas & Dave that is a really good song and even though it is a song of a man singing to a woman, it reflects so much of how I am feeling, I wanted to share it with you.  If you have lost a pet, you will know that I mean.   I love this song and I love the video too! If you notice, there are several women who are almost in tears. Does that mean they are thrilled to be listening to Chas & Dave?  Or does it mean they have been hurt by thoughtless men?
By the way, I ADORE Chas and Dave.  You know women who drool over Brad Pitt and George Clooney? I have nothing against those guys, but give me Chas and Dave, forget the movie stars!  I think they're gorgeous (but then, you know me and English guys!) And Dave (the one on the left) lost his wife and stopped touring for a year or so but I see they have started on a tour again.  I would love to see them in England.  Let me know if you love Chas and Dave as much as I do. And if you don't love them, keep it to yourself! HA!

When our son was growing up, we listened to JAMBOREE BAG NUMBER THREE, which has over one hundred songs!   It has a WALTZ side, a KNEES-UP side, a ROCK AND ROLL side and an OLD TIME BOOGIE side...some of the songs were written by them, but most of them were very old songs but done in a very fresh way. I used to sing one of these songs to Minnie, "My Old Man's A Dustman" and she would meow after each phrase of the song! Of course, she would not do it when anyone was around. Typical! One of the songs on this album was the very first song I sang to my baby boy after he was born, "Cuddle Up A Little Closer".   Please be thinking of our son too, Minnie was really his pet but of course, you can't help but miss a little creature that you took care of for so many years.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cloudland Canyon State Park


Cloudland Canyon is in the northwest part of Georgia. (It is very close to Chattanooga, Tennessee).  My sister suggested it as a great spot to have a birthday celebration for my Dad. (He turns 86 tomorrow!)  After we got back this weekend, I called him in the evening  and asked him if he had enjoyed our trip.  My Dad in his direct, straight- to -the point way said, "It was PERFECT". 

They don't call it Cloudland Canyon for nothing!

Cloudland Canyon truly is a unique spot.  It is the only spot in Georgia that is part of the Cumberland Plateau  If you visit there, you will scarcely believe you are in the state of Georgia, it looks more like something from out West.   The rocky ridges around the gorge have cascading waterfalls and
if you climb down 600 metal steps that have been placed on the side of the gorge, you will be rewarded by not one but TWO waterfalls.  (Remember that is 600 steps down and 600 steps back UP, which means they have signs warning you not to try it if you are not physically fit.)  I took my Arabia Mountain-trained legs and hiked the West Rim Canyon Trail  and after that, I still did those 1200 steps to the waterfalls! Whew!  I'll be honest, it wasn't easy, but I am happy to say that I survived to tell the tale!  The nice thing, there is a beautiful waterfall which is only steps away from the parking lot which is in the picnic area (it is near the Interpretive Center), and my Dad was able to walk there to the edge of the gorge and see this magnificent sight! 

Waterfalls Easily Seen From Top of Ridge

Flowers Right Outside Our Cabin!

Cherokee Falls - 60 Feet High 

Looking Into The Gorge From The West Rim Trail

Hemlock Falls - 90 Feet High

Rocks through a clear mountain stream
One Happy Dad!   Happy Birthday, Daddy! 

Hope you enjoyed this family celebration at Cloudland Canyon. (My siblings were there, honest!) Of course you must know this hiking in all this nature is right up my alley.  I took all these photos, Richard was not able to come. Of course, the photos would have been better had he come along! I have more to say about Cloudland Canyon but it is late, maybe another post!  
Oh, I did find a great video on Youtube for you and it gives you a great idea of what it looks like, except the waterfalls were more spectacular due to all the rain that we have had.  Hope you like !

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thank You, Betty

Thank you, Betty, for always dashing over when we needed you.

Thank you for always having the American flag placed carefully for us on the doorway when we visited England. It was always such a welcome sight! (Along with the English flag and some British Union Jacks in a milk bottle!)

Thank you, Betty for being such a good friend to my in-laws.  (Betty is on the left beside dear Joan and Peter, my husband's parents.)  And I must tell you, I typed "goof" instead of "good" friend.   I corrected it, of course, but I can tell you that Betty would have had a good hoot of laughter about that!
Thank you, Betty, for helping to make our very special meal of smoked salmon and champagne for our wedding anniversary when we were in England in June of last year.  It was perfect.
Thank you, Betty, for the lovely Banoffee Pie!  (The pie at the top of the photo is the Banoffee Pie and Betty told me all about the history of it, click on the link, it is from East Sussex!)
Thank you, Betty, for reading my blog! You are the first person who told me that you read it and enjoyed it. (First person EVER, and she was in England and not in my country of the USA!)
Betty had some wonderful stories. She had lived in California for a time and had met many in show business.  I loved her story of meeting Danny Kaye, who was just as witty and charming in person as she hoped he would be. (She even had tea with him!)  Betty also had some wonderful stories about all the entertainers that she knew in England, her Morecombe And Wise stories are well known!  In her honor, I have a video of Morecombe and Wise here for you...
Betty passed away in the early morning hours this past Saturday.  It was very sudden.  For Betty,
watch this video and think of her letting out a whoop of laughter, I can promise you it is the main thing I remember about her, her laughter!  Isn't laughter a wonderful shared memory? 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Native Azalea At Stone Mountain



Wow, that is is some flower, huh? This photo was taken at Stone Mountain, Richard and I went there  on Sunday.  As soon as we arrived, it began to rain.  Normally, we might have a shower and then, the sun comes out and bright blue skies are enjoyed. Not on this day, it rained solidly all afternoon.  Did that stop us from walking?  No! We simply got wet and ducked into the Quarry Exhibit and waited there hoping for the rain to stop. Anybody want to know anything about quarrying at Stone Mountain?  HA! Ask me anything, we had quite a bit of time to read all the signs under the shelter!  For our walk in the rain, we were rewarded by the sight of this fantastic showy native azalea which was just at the entrance to the Quarry Exhibit.  Could Richard take a photo even with the rain coming down? You know he can and did!  I have looked this up and I think it is Rhododendron austrinum but hey, I could be wrong.  This bright orange color is just so startling, I love it.  In my research to find the name of it, I noted the following from different sites...

"I haven't met a native azalea yet that doesn't get me all revved up and this is no exception."

"If it could sing and dance on Broadway, it would be called a "show-stopper".

"Native azaleas are some of the most gracious, peaceful and charming flowers of the Southeast. They are the epitome of beauty of the southern wildflowers".  
  Kevin, Georgia Wildlife Federation (I wrote his last name down but I can't read my own writing.)
Anybody recognize this? It's the same place that we have photographed before, and I use it when I leave comments!   Can you see that it is raining? Please note that while normally this would be quite busy on a Sunday afternoon, we are the only ones here! It was quite cool too, but hey, all the more reason to enjoy that nice cup of Yorkshire tea when we got home! (And honestly, rain or shine, Stone Mountain is beautiful!)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Richard Jewell

Does anyone remember my post about Richard Jewell?  I wish that there had been someone like Richard Jewell there at the Boston Marathon, someone who might have suspected a bag lying about and thought to alert the authorities.  (Please understand I am not blaming anyone! Such a tragedy and my heart goes out to all who are suffering from these bombings.)  Richard Jewell spotted the bag underneath the bench in Atlanta at the 1996 Olympics and moved people away from it. Had he not done this I believe that more people would have died or been injured in Atlanta.  (One woman died from her injuries from the bombing and a man died from a heart attack.)  The story of how Richard Jewell was treated is a very sad one and one that he did not deserve. You may read my post from last year by clicking on this title post: Richard Jewell-Unsung Hero

I hope that the flowers are blooming wherever you are in the world. Sending flowers to you all, even if these are from last year!


Amaryllis from last April, very late blooming this year!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Frozen In Time

A new book by Mitchell Zuckoff called "Frozen In Time: An Epic Story Of Survival And A Modern Quest For Lost Heroes Of World War II" will be released on April 23rd.  I was able to get an advanced reader's copy of this book and I was very pleased to do so.  It is a riveting read.  The author is a professor of journalism at Boston University and is the winner of the Winship/PEN New England Award. A very prestigious award, I am sure but I can only tell you that this is a very well written book and one that I can certainly recommend to you.

The book alternately tells the story of three planes that crashed in Greenland during World War II and the quite complicated and difficult task to rescue the survivors and then, a more present day tale of those determined to find one of those planes encased in ice, "Frozen In Time", if you will.  For nearly FIVE MONTHS during the brutal Arctic winter of 1942-1943, the survivors fought to stay alive and to keep their sanity.  The bravery and courage by these men surviving in the extreme cold  (and not all of them survived) is something to know and to honor.  As I read the book, I had no idea of who would make it and who would not...I think it is possible that I read a good bit of this book without breathing, it is just that kind of book.  Chapter 7, A Light In The Darkness, was so good I read this whole chapter ALOUD to my husband.  I have NEVER done that in my entire life! This particular chapter tells the amazing story of three men from The Royal Canadian Air Force and they were able to...sorry, you just have to read it!  There are maps of Greenland and photos of the survivors and also all the people (including the author, Mitchell Zuckoff) who located the plane that had been frozen in time.   I don't want to give you too much information about this book. I want you to find out for yourself what happens. 

"Other military branches were America's swords and spears; the Coast Guard was its shield".  That is one of the sentences that I jotted down while I was reading this book.  You will have such a respect for those who serve in The United States Coast Guard.  I know that I do.

NOTE:  I had most of this post written as a rough draft.  Tonight, the evening of April 15th,   I thought that I would add more detail to it and let you know more about the book.  However, all I can think of is the fact that the author lives just outside Boston and about the bombings that occurred today at the Boston Marathon.  Please, say a prayer.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Amazing April At Arabia

Diamorpha smallii blooming on Arabia Mountain (That is solid ROCK that you see, the plants are in very shallow soil directly on TOP of the rock!)
This Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) must have been passing by and was puzzled that he was in Georgia! He seemed to be a bit overwhelmed by the beauty.


Yellow Jasmine (Gelsemium Sempervirens)-Wish you could smell this!!

It's time for the diamorpha to bloom...tiny white starlike blossoms.  Look closer...
Do you see why I don't want anyone to step upon any of the sand on Arabia Mountain? You don't want to miss seeing this! And you would not want to destroy it!

One flower stitchwort (minuartia uniflora)...I call them JOY-flowers because I am overjoyed when I see them!)
Yellow Sunnybells  (Schoenolirion croceum)  
Can you see the pale green leaves on the horizon? So lovely to finally see them!
I have given you the botanical names of the wildflowers at Arabia Mountain but it is not necessary to know their names to appreciate their beauty.  Enjoy! (All photos taken by my husband, Richard on our TWO hour walk, late afternoon of April 12th.  We didn't want to leave!)

And I have to share this photo from last weekend...these are the cherry trees along the trail at Lenora Park in Gwinnett County, the county just north of us. Richard and I stopped here and had a bit of a walk.  We couldn't resist walking under these trees.   Almost all of them have lost their blossoms now, but they were magnificent! Hope your Spring is coming along nicely!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Yellow Daisy Seedlings

Yellow Daisy Seedlings on Arabia Mountain
The Seedling by Paul Laurence Dunbar

AS a quiet little seedling
Lay within its darksome bed,
To itself it fell a-talking,
And this is what it said:

"I am not so very robust,
But I'll do the best I can;"
And the seedling from that moment
Its work of life began.

So it pushed a little leaflet
Up into the light of day,
To examine the surroundings
And show the rest the way.

The leaflet liked the prospect,
So it called its brother, Stem;
Then two other leaflets heard it,
And quickly followed them.

To be sure, the haste and hurry
Made the seedling sweat and pant;
But almost before it knew it
It found itself a plant.

The sunshine poured upon it,
And the clouds they gave a shower;
And the little plant kept growing
Till it found itself a flower.

Little folks, be like the seedling,
Always do the best you can;
Every child must share life's labor
Just as well as every man.

And the sun and showers will help you
Through the lonesome, struggling hours,
Till you raise to light and beauty
Virtue's fair, unfading flowers.

They will grow into this by September/October! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

11 Year Old Georgia Boy Saves Mother


Please, click on the link above and watch this video! It is an interview with an 11 year old boy in Cumming, Georgia who saved his mother's life when the Jeep that they were in veered off the road, went off a steep embankment and landed in a small creek UPSIDE DOWN.  If you have ever been in an accident, you may know that you will feel dazed and confused after it happens.  Imagine, being in the vehicle and you are just a kid and you know it is up to you get help for your mother who has serious injuries and the water is coming in... Watch the video!!   What really gets me is at the end, where he is asked what does it feel like to be called a hero and he says, "It's better than being picked on".  That just breaks my heart!  How can anyone think of bullying him!  I have written about bullying and kindness before which you may read here.   I saw another video of this young boy (his name is Charlie Polk) and he is is just as quiet and unassuming as he is in this video.

I don't have a photo of Charlie Polk to show you but I will show you a photo of MY Georgia boy who also has an English heart, by the way!  Love you son, boys are the best!



Monday, April 8, 2013

Cherry Trees-Agents of Friendship


Hideo Ogino, who was the President of Maxell Corporation, planted Yoshino cherry trees as a gift to the people of Rockdale County . A Cherry Blossom Festival was created to "nurture the friendship and exchange of Japanese culture".  The first festival, in 1982, had Japanese cooking classes, origami exhibits, silk flower arranging and karate demonstrations. Since that time, many people here have admired these trees and have planted many cherry trees of their own.  These photos are of the three Yoshino cherry trees in our own front yard that we purchased many years ago.  You might recognize the blossoms from post-cards from Washington, D.C.

In 1949, a man by the name of William Flicking noticed a beautiful tree with lovely blossoms in his backyard of Macon, Georgia, but was unable to identify it and no one living there could identify it either. On a business trip to Washington, D.C., he recognized that his tree was a Yoshino cherry tree, the same ones lining the Potomac River. Upon his return home, he propagated the tree and began giving the trees to those in his community.  One of those neighbors, Carolyn Crayton, talked him into having 500 cherry trees planted in her neighborhood in 1973. With all these beautiful trees, the first Cherry Blossom Festival was held in Macon in 1982 and the theme of the festival was "Love, Beauty, and International Friendship".  It is believed that there are now 300,000 cherry trees in Macon and the Cherry Blossom Festival there is very well attended!

The Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. is very well known. The gift, of 3200 cherry trees from Japan, were received in March of 1910.  There were actually 12 different varieties but the majority was the Yoshino cherry tree.  Another gift of 3,800 trees were given in 1965 by Japan and presented to one of my heroes, Lady Bird Johnson, who did so much to call attention to gardens and flowers.  In 2011, some of the original trees from Japan, were propagated and sent back to Japan making this circle of friendship complete.  I love the thought of trees being called " agents of friendship".  Isn't it wonderful to see this kind of beauty and also think of it as being used to promote peace and goodwill around the world?
It is not just in Georgia that you will see cherry blossoms against a blue sky but even in England!Look at Julie's blog at Home Jules.  Also, she has some incredible work that she shows by a textile artist by the name of Elizabeth Wall.  It inspired her to make a 4 birds quilt which I love!  Beauty, I will always exclaim over it.  You don't want to know how much I marveled over our cherry trees this past week.  Today, the pale pink petals are showering down like snow...like magic!


Friday, April 5, 2013

Col. Ben Purcell and Anne Purcell

When I did my last post, I did not know that Col. Ben Purcell had passed away the day before.   Here is his obituary. I have written a post about the book that he and his wife, Anne wrote together.  It is entitled "Love And Duty" and I highly recommend it.  I just read a book review about it and it said that they told their story "simply, honestly and without bitterness".  Col. Purcell returned to Vietnam and FORGAVE his captors, just as Mr. Zamperini did. (See my other posts about Louis Zamperini!)  In the photo above that is my Dad on the left, Anne Purcell in the middle and Col. Purcell on the right.
I took this photo at Centennial Baptist Church after a Veteran's Day Service  in 2008.  Col. Purcell and his wife, Anne had both spoken of their experiences during the Vietnam War.  Col. Purcell was 40 years old at the time of his capture and he spent 5 1/2 years imprisoned and 58 months of that was in solitary confinement.  During that time, Anne Purcell took care of the children (five of them) without knowing if her husband was dead or alive.  Anne was one of the founding members of the National League of Families that raised awareness of the POW's and MIA's in Vietnam.

  It was such an honor to meet them both and to shake their hands.  Col. Purcell had such a strong handshake! Of course, he was in his full uniform with all his medals, but honestly,  he had such a strong military bearing about him, you could just sense it, even if he had been in civilian dress.  Such a strong Christian couple, I can't tell you how much I admire them!  I found a video that was made through a program on the history channel and please, take the time to click on the following and watch and listen to this remarkable woman. http://www.history.com/shows/vietnam-in-hd/bios  (Once there, click on Anne Purcell's name and then click the watch video at the bottom.)
If you watch it to the end, you will be rewarded by seeing Col. Purcell himself.  I love the home movies of themselves as a young couple which have been added into this video.  At the end it shows them playfully running into the camera and it captures their young love perfectly.

One of the things that I saw written about him was this:  "He was a soldier for peace and a warrior for the Lord".   I treasure the words that they wrote in my copy of their book.
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.