Saturday, November 30, 2013

Joel Hartman's Thanksgiving

Did you hear this great story about the homeless man in Atlanta? Living on the streets he had discovered a woman's wallet when he had been looking through garbage for food.  Seeing that it belonged to a woman from France, he went to several nearby hotels to see if he could locate the owner. The Omni Hotel showed a photo of the man from their video cameras and asked if someone  could identify him since they wanted to thank him for returning the wallet to their guest.  The man was identified as Joel Hartman and he was brought in and the hotel manager gave him a room through the Thanksgiving weekend along with $500.00.  After this was broadcast on the news, other people gave him more money and several job offers.

But guess what? That is not even the BEST part of the story!  His family saw him on the news and they flew into Atlanta on Thanksgiving Day to see him!  I have the video from WSBTV for  His step-mother said that they had been looking for him for ten years. It appears that he will be going back to Indiana with them. You might have already heard of this story and it is a good one, but the happy ending with the hugs from his family is my favorite part! Joel Hartman, I wish the very best for you.  Please, leave your well wishes for him here, he just might see them one day!

Thanksgiving, indeed!  God bless you, Joel Hartman, I wish the very best of luck to you!

Skies might not always be blue, but always look on the bright side of life!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Birthday To Our Son

Pretty yellow tree on right, that is where we are going!

Happy Birthday and Happy Thanksgiving to our son, Christopher! (Same day this year!)
It was raining the day that we visited C. at his home which is on the OTHER side of Atlanta (which means we have to go through Atlanta traffic to get to him!).  There are so many trees in his neighborhood and even on a foggy day like this one, you could still see the color!

See Richard talking with C. and with his friend Jim? I am taking this photo in the rain!

 MUSIC!  It is so important to our son.  He has written music all through his teen-age years and is a very talented young man.  I only wish that he had more time for it.  The world is in great need of melody just now!  I thank all of you who left encouraging comments on the posts where I have mentioned his band!

Listen to the lyrics of "Simple Man" from Lynyrd Skynyrd and think of me singing this to Christopher!
Of course, I have to have a song from England on here for Christopher! He always loved this song by The Hollies as a little boy and you can tell what good taste he has always had in music! (And I always thought that "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress" sounded like it was from a Southern band anyway!)
  Please note that all of these photos were taken by me! You can always tell my photos, mine are always a bit crooked, or else  I manage to get in a lot of pavement.  I think I must be lower to the ground than Richard!  HA!
 (Oh, just one by Richard...the one of C. on top of Arabia Mountain, touching the tree...I love that one!)

                                                  Happy Birthday, Christopher!  LOVE YOU!  xx

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Georgia In November

We have been having beautiful weather here in Georgia.

 However, today was a very rainy, cold day and tomorrow the high is only supposed to be 37 degrees with high winds which will make it feel like the teens!  Never mind, I will look back at some of the photos from November and remember the warmth and the color... 

Hello from Panola Mountain State Park!   Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!  Kay & Richard  xxx

And sending love to everyone else in the world!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

C.S. Lewis

 C. S. Lewis died on the same day as JFK - November 22, 1963.  Yesterday, on the 50th anniversary of his death, there was a memorial service for him at Westminster Abbey and he now has a memorial stone placed in Poet's Corner.  There has been a bit of controversy about it, since some people say that C. S. Lewis is not really a poet.  I say that that they shouldn't get their knickers in a twist about this. (A nice British expression that I think should be used here, it says exactly what I want to say to people sometimes.) 

Clive Staples Lewis (known as Jack to his family and friends) lost his mother at a young age which affected him deeply and made him question his beliefs.  He was a professor at Oxford where he was great friends with J. R. R. Tolkien, who was such a deep influence upon him that he became a champion of the Christian faith, writing many books.  His most famous books are the Narnia books, which for those books alone, I believe he deserves a spot in Westminster Abbey. (Although, you can't help but wonder if Tolkien might have felt a bit...not annoyed, but dismayed perhaps, because Lewis kept to his Anglican faith instead of Roman Catholic like Tolkien!)

Wouldn't you love to go to Oxford and visit where C. S. Lewis lived?  Well, guess what, Laura from her blog, Happy Homemaker UK has already done that for you!  And she said it was perfectly fine for me to link to her please do not miss her fantastic photos!  You may find it here!

This is the quote that is on his memorial stone...

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen,
Not only because I see it but because by it,
I see everything else.

I very much believe that C. Lewis deserves a memorial in Westminster Abbey, this house of worship.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

BBC Report/ Book About JFK

There has been extensive coverage on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy this week.  Today, the president laid a wreath on the JFK memorial at Arlington Cemetery.  Peter Watson from the BBC was in New York in 1963 when he heard of the shooting in Dallas and he quickly flew there and filed a report.  This report has been reprinted on the BBC website this week and not only it is very well written but I find his observations to be thoughtful and insightful.  You may read his report here.  It has been reproduced as if you are reading his actual type-written notes, and I found it very effective that it was done in this manner. (Could this actually be his report typed on a typewriter? I have no idea, I only know that it is moving for me to read it this way.)

 "The waste and pathos brought me closer to tears more often than I have ever been before".  It is interesting for me to read how someone from another country lived through these events.  I was only six years old but I remember very well, the shock and the sadness that the country experienced.  If you don't have a chance to read this article just now, please read it when you can.

And in case you miss it, it says that Peter Watson died just last week.

I still have to tell you about the services (I went to two of them!) that I attended on the weekend before Veteran's Day.  I took this photo of the young men who reenact the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima...they hold this for several minutes and it is quite impressive.  John F. Kennedy was in the South Pacific, during World War II and the best account that I have read about his heroism after the sinking of his PT boat was written in a book entitled "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye".  If you get the chance, read that book, it's very good. ("PT 109" by Robert J. Donovan is another one.) You might have seen the movie made with Cliff Robertson playing JFK, if not...I highly recommend it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Snake! Panola Mountain Lake Loop Trail

Richard and I met our dear friends, Mary and Steve on Saturday for a late afternoon walk at Panola Mountain and look what I spotted! A long black snake that was so completely still that at first, I thought it must be dead...but it was completely ensnared in the netting that was beside the trail. (The netting was there to stop erosion on the sides of the trail.)  It was well and truly stuck.  Our friend, Steve pulled out an impressive knife and worked for several minutes to free the snake.  (The photo above was taken, after much of it had been freed.)


 This was on such a steep slope that it was even difficult for Richard and Steve to stand, let alone to try and rescue a snake!  Mary and I were on the trail lending our moral support and encouragement..."Even though it's not poisonous, doesn't mean it can't bite"...(Mary)
"Careful, it's very steep, you can fall down, you know!"  (Me)

Who needs super heroes when you have guys like these around?  Do you see where we are here? The  husbands have gotten the snake down on the paved trail (that's the boardwalk just behind them, see it there?) and it is almost free, just a bit of green netting was clinging on...and just at that moment , a man came across the boardwalk, who seemed to be very knowledgeable about snakes and he picked  the snake up by its head in a very expert manner and the netting just fell off. I took the best photo of this man on the bike posing with Steve but I neglected to get his name! on the bike with the dog who helped with this snake, let me know if it is okay with you and I will identify you and show the photo! (Yes, you read that right...he had a dog on a leash trotting along with him!)
The man told us it was a king snake.
Black king snake...predominantly black with traces of white or yellow spots on its sides. (Lampropeltis getula nigra)  Greek for "radiant" or "shiny" shields.. has very shiny coat, a truly beautiful snake.
All king snakes but especially the black king snake eat other snakes, even poisonous ones, in Georgia, that would be from rattlesnakes, copperheads and cottonmouths.
There are 41 species of snakes in Georgia...I am glad we found one of the NON-venomous ones!
 If there are any herpetologists out there, then please feel free to leave a comment here!
Do you see the eye of the snake in the first photo? Compare it to the eye of the snake below.
Of course, you might not want to get this close to any snake!
What about you, would you rescue a snake entwined in netting like this?
And hey!  I took all the photos for this post, just goes to show how much I want to take pictures if the other choice is getting close to a snake!


Copperhead (I took this photo in our front yard last July!)


Friday, November 15, 2013

Lake Alexander/Walking On Water

Lake Alexander at Panola Mountain State Park is beautiful in all seasons and at all times of the day.  Richard and I just stopped on the boardwalk yesterday and had a chat with a fellow walker. We spoke quietly as the sun was setting, the almost full moon was reflected in the lake and a heron on the shoreline totally ignored was quiet and still and the air was fresh and cool.   He told us that it was a shame that Mr. Alexander did not live long enough to see the completed trail...he said that although Mr. Alexander wanted to leave his six hundred acres to Panola Mountain State Park, his family was against it, that some members of the family wanted to develop it and build houses on this beautiful land.  I am so thankful that this did not happen and that we are able to enjoy this natural beauty.

The lake is lovely.  If you look at my last post, you will see that there is Upper Alexander Lake and Lower Alexander Lake, separated by the small road.  As you walk on this road, it is like walking on water. It is for bikers and hikers only (although the park rangers will sometimes drive their trucks on it, they always look out for us, since WE are the ones with the right-of-way!)  The boardwalk that is across the wetlands area of Upper Alexander Lake is wonderful, it arches out so much into the lake, that it too feels as if you are walking on water.
 I found a poem by Sarah Rossiter. I hope you like it too.

Would you believe I walked on water as Jesus did, and
Peter too, that is, until fear weighed him down? It wasn’t
A miracle, not like his, though as I slid across the pond,
Lily pads swayed underfoot while minnows slipped,
Slim silver needles through water like transparent silk.
Which is to say it felt like one for even though the black ice
Held, who can trust what can’t be seen, and, so, like Peter,
I felt fear. And yet, I walked--I didn’t sink--on polished glass
Between two worlds, the one we live in, and the next where
From cold depths, a turtle rose with eyes like dark seeds, bright,
Unblinking, until he stopped, surprised by ice, a mirrored sheet
Of shining light through which, as I lay down we looked,
To see each other face to face.   

by Sarah Rossiter

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ryan Ferguson, A Free Man!

Ryan Ferguson is FREE.  (I hope you have already read my posts about him. He was convicted of murder without any physical evidence whatsoever. The jury believed two witnesses who said that he had committed the murder. Years later, they both came forward and admitted that they had lied.)
Because of the name of my blog, many people get to my blog by typing in "Ryan Ferguson and girlfriend"!  I am NOT Ryan's girlfriend (but he has a beautiful one, I have seen her photo!) and I do not know him personally but I really am grateful that he has been released.  (Note, I mailed a letter of support to Ryan last Christmas, and I treasure the post-card that I got from him in reply!)  Thanks, Ryan, if you ever read this blog, just know that there are a lot of people still pulling for you.  If you are ever in Georgia, get yourself over to Stone Mountain and I will climb it with you! What do you say?!  (You will have so much to do and to learn now you have been released. Do NOT be overwhelmed by it all! Just remember the baby-boomers like me, we have had to deal with it, and we are not as young as you can do it!!)

Now, this begs the question, if Ryan Ferguson is innocent, then someone is guilty of this crime. Let's hope that the REAL criminal will be found!

The facebook page has been changed to "FREED Ryan Ferguson"!  If all of those who supported him could think of sending a few dollars his way, just think of how much of a great lift that would be...the link to do that is here.

Freedom is so precious, something that we take very much for granted.

Straight Ahead Into The Future! Good Luck, Ryan!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

In Remembrance

Very moving for me to attend services honoring veterans on both Saturday and Sunday.  There are some speakers that I would like to tell you about but before I do that I want to ask you, did any of you see on the news about the 99 year old Royal Air Force veteran who just died?   Harold Jellicoe "Coe" Percival never married and had no children, so someone put this out on Facebook, asking for folks to attend his memorial service.  One hundred people filled up the building at his funeral and hundreds of others stood silently outside in his honour. (There, I spelled it the English way, since this was in England.)  God bless them! It looked as if it was raining and I felt profoundly moved by them doing this.

One of the songs that they sang at the service was "Jerusalem", which is a very well known song in England, but one that Americans might not know.  It is a poem by William Blake set to stirring music and is certainly one of the favorites of my husband and my in-laws and if you are reading this from England, I am sure it is one of yours too!  I found this on You-tube with the lyrics...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Father's Day In Norway/Veteran's Day In USA.

"Do not fear what may happen tomorrow. The same loving Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and everyday. Either he will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings."

St. Francis de Sales

Did you know that Father's Day will be celebrated tomorrow in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Estonia?  It is always the second Sunday in November in those countries.   Spiderdama, a wonderful mountain-climbing blogger from Norway just had a post about Father's Day.  (I have never been to Norway, but is one of those places that I believe I love although I have never seen it.)

There is a movie which will come out shortly.  If you live in the USA, you might have seen the trailer on TV.  It is called "Delivery Man" and stars Vince Vaughn, who discovers that due to a mix-up at a fertility clinic, he is the father of 533 children!  For me, it looks very funny but also has a theme of theology behind it.  Apparently, he is not supposed to know who these children are but you can guess what happens. Of course, he looks at the files and goes to find all the children and he cares about each and every one of them, and wants to look out for them and protect them. 
Okay, I know you must be thinking...a Vince Vaughn movie and I am thinking of God? Just pay attention to the movie trailer and you will see what I mean!

I will see my Dad this Sunday.  We will attend the Veteran's Day service at his church, which includes a nice dinner that they have for the veterans and their families. Afterwards, we will go back to his house where he has already told me that dessert will be waiting for us...his homemade sweet potato cobbler!  It will be heavenly, of that I am certain.

Remembering all the veterans who have served.  It is called Remembrance Day in England (the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.) It can also be called Poppy Day, as they wear poppies in memory of those who have died. The VFW once sold paper poppies here, do they still do that, I wonder?  I will also go to a service at the VFW today, I will let you know!

Here is my Dad doing his best Grandpa Walton impression! (This is for you, Henry!)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Happy Birthday, Henry!

 Henry with the court jesters, Dave and Richard!

  Please join me in wishing Henry a very happy birthday on November 7th!  Richard has been friends with Henry since 1973.   HA! He's not quite sure. Henry, you will have to tell me if he has the correct year!
  I always have told Henry that there is a bit of an air of royalty about him, what do you think?
"Henry, royal? Oh please!"

The King's Castle

The King In His Garden With Royal Dog and Crazy American Lady!

King Henry With his Queen, Sarah!

Henry's Parents, Joy & Henry Posing With Their Close Relative, Queen Elizabeth! See, I told you, ROYALTY!
Don't All Royal Gardens Have Some Topiary? I rest my case!

Of course, I have a song for you, Hen-er-y!  It was written in 1911 but went to number one in 1965 by Herman's Hermits.  Enjoy your birthday, we wish you happy returns of the day! xx

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

HOPEFUL News for Ryan Ferguson

"When guilty men escape, the law has merely failed.  When an innocent man is condemned, it creates the very evil it was to cure, and destroys the security it was made to preserve."   
Sir Samuel Romilly, House of Commons, 1820.

I have written about Ryan Ferguson before. He is a young man who was convicted of murder and he has been in prison for 9 1/2 years.  I believe, along with many others, that he is innocent. You may read my posts about him here and here.

 Today, the appeals court in Missouri ruled that Ryan Ferguson's convictions have been vacated.  You may read the exact court documents here.  The state of Missouri still could bring a new trial against Ryan, they have 15 days to do so.  Let's hope that they will do the right thing and Ryan Ferguson will be released and be home with his family in time for Thanksgiving. (Nov.28th this year, it is always the 4th Thursday in November.) 

Let's hope that soon, the word "Free" on the sign will be a description rather than a demand!


Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Candy Bomber/Chocolate Pilot

On June 24, 1948, in response to the Soviet Union blocking all rail, road and canal access to Berlin, the Western Allies (USA, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa) organized the Berlin airlift and dropped food and supplies to the people of Berlin. This lasted almost a year, until May 12, 1949.  You might know these facts but do you know the story of the US Air Force pilot, Gail Halvorsen?
Gail Halverson, shown here in 1998 on the 50-year anniversary of the Berlin Airlift at Berlin's Tempelhof airport, was the original "Candy Bomber" pilot. He came up with the idea of dropping sweets for the children of Berlin.
It's a wonderful story!  Lt. Gail Halvorsen was one of the pilots bringing food and supplies into Berlin but on one of his days off, he spoke with a group of children behind the barbed wire fence at the Tempelhof Airport.  It was a group of about 30 children and all of him thanked him for the food that had been brought to the city.  What really impressed the young pilot was that not one of the children had asked for any candy or chocolate, they were simply grateful for the food and fuel dropped from the planes.
Of course, that made Gail Halvorsen wish that he had something to give to them.  He reached into his pocket and brought out two pieces of chewing gum, breaking each one in half and giving that to four of the children.  The rest of the children just took the chewing gum papers and SNIFFED the sugary sweet smell of the wrappers!  From that encounter, the pilot had an idea...he took handkerchiefs and tied pieces of chocolate and gum to the corners and dropped them from his plane, dipping his wings slightly to let the children know when he was making his candy drop!  The children were delighted and called him "Uncle Wiggly Wings" and the "Chocolate Flier".  Some of the children wrote to him to let them know that he had missed their houses and to those children, he wrote them back, enclosing chocolate and candy treats. He shared a correspondence with them for many years.  (Here is a children's book that I want to read, "Mercedes And The Chocolate Pilot" by Margot Theis Raven.) 
At first, Gail Halvorsen was in trouble since what he was doing was very much against regulations, but eventually, the top brass approved and he was given full approval to continue his "candy drops".  It was called "Operation Little Vittles" (the Berlin airlift was called "Operation Vittles" in the USA) and American children helped in making the little parachutes for the candy.   Candy and chocolate companies got on-board and donated Life-Savers, chocolate bars and chewing gum.  25 other air crews worked on this as well and by the end of the airlift over 23 TONS of sweets had been dropped to the children of Berlin.
(On a personal note, my Dad was in Berlin just after the war ended in 1945 and he very much remembers the poverty but also how grateful and happy the German people were to have the American GI's there. You can read about my Dad in this post.)
 Happily, I can tell you that Gail Halvorsen retired as a Colonel and is still going strong at the age of 93.  You may read more about Col. Halvorsen here.
Here's another book I want to read..."The Berlin Candy Bomber" written by Col. Gail S. Halvorsen!