Sunday, May 29, 2016

"War Journal: The Incredible World War II Escape of Damon 'Rocky' Gause"

If you live in the USA, there is a documentary that will air on PBS on Memorial Day, Monday, at 7PM and you MUST see it! It is titled:  "War Journal: The Incredible World War II Escape of Damon 'Rocky' Gause".  In Georgia, it will be on Channel 8.  (If you live elsewhere in the country, perhaps you can search and see if it is on a different time for you.)
UPDATE:  Okay, I saw it and it was very well done. Also, if you missed it, look out for it, I am sure it will be repeated.)

  It is based on the book, "The War Journal of  Major Damon 'Rocky' Gause."  Rocky Gause escaped from Bataan and Corregidor in World War II  and along with a fellow soldier, William L. Osborne managed to commander a boat and made it all the way to Australia!  How he did this is a story that you must know- I found a great account for you here.  (His son, Rocky Gause Jr. published a book based on his father's journal in 1999.) Rocky Gause was a fellow Georgian and I found a piece on Athens Online news for you, you may read it just here.  Also, if you are able to go to that link, you may read a comment at the end and it mentions Vernon Carter.  Mr. Carter was a survivor of Pearl Harbor and was the step father of Damon Gause, Jr.  (Sadly, Damon Gause Jr. died a few years ago.)  

After briefly meeting his new born son in December of 1943,  Major Damon Gause returned to duty and then died in a flying mission over Germany in March of 1944.
He is buried in the  Cambridge American Cemetery in England.  
Sweeping arcs of headstones dot the landscape at Cambridge American Cemetery.
Let me know if you are able to see this documentary tomorrow.  I am very grateful that I noticed it in the listings.  Also, search out the book too! 
(Update: I watched the documentary and was most pleased to view it. It was a very good blend of both accounts of the men, Damon Gause and William Osborne (the other soldier with him on the boat to Australia).  The book by William Osborne is "Voyage Into The Wind" and is one that will hopefully I will be able to read very shortly!  You may read of Col. Osborne just here. (His final rank was Colonel. He was a Captain when Damon Gause met him and therefore outranked him but since Gause had more experience with boats by mutual agreement, Gause was in charge while on the boat, and Osborne gave the orders on land!)

 I am thinking of my mother's first husband who died in Korea, Roy Hollifield.  Remembering all who have died in the line of duty.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Thou Art Thy Mother's Glass

Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime...

Sonnet 3, Shakespeare

Christopher liked this t shirt so much he got me the same one too.
Does it remind you of a Beatles song?  You know the one, I bet you can guess it, can't you?  "Picture yourself in a boat on the river"...there, that's an easy clue!

Here is a great video of the Beatles singing "We Can Work It Out". I love that song.  "Life is very short and there's no time for fussing and fighting my friend."  


I am always trying to get my son to read my blog.  Maybe he will read this post!  (You know I love you, Christopher!)

I wish you all a safe and happy weekend. Mind how you go.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Chelsea Flower Show In London

In May of 1981, I saw London for the first time. You can not imagine how it looked to me through my small-town Georgia eyes. ( My sister Jan and I had saved our money for years and after writing to my English pen friend since 1974, we were both excited to have someone to show us around!) Since we were going in May, Jan had high hopes to see the Chelsea Flower Show.  We had no idea how popular it was and that you had to get tickets in advance. (Not even sure I could have afforded them anyway then or now. Oh well!)  Luckily, thanks to the internet, I can enjoy the Chelsea Flower Show from the BBC!

I hope you will be able to see the videos  that I have for you. (I have the link to the flower show gardens above also.) My British friends will have seen all of this already, I am sure!
I was very taken with the garden that will be transported to Great Ormond Hospital.  There is a sculpture of a child with the face turned upwards and the structure above is designed so that light will fall upon the face at 10:20am in the summer.  (Hey, that is what it said!)  I am thankful to Great Ormond Street Hospital.  Richard spent a great deal of time there as a child and the care that he received there most certainly saved his life. 

Honestly though, I enjoy flowers wherever I am... I might not ever see the gardens at The Chelsea Flower Show but that is okay with me.  

        I enjoy the English gardens I am able to visit. (And any of the wildflowers at the local monadnocks also!)
Kay...could you put your hand on the railing in an awkward way? Yeah, like that!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Panola Mountain - Great Views, Pretty Flowers, Fresh Air, Nice People!

Panola Mountain...if you remember I told you I climbed it a few weeks ago after the milkweed planting with a nice group of people? Want to see my pictures? Sure you do!


Can you guess what the grassy area is amongst the trees? If you guessed "golf course" you would be right.  I like golf about as much as I like graffiti!  (Please, golf lovers don't give me any grief, 
I don't like it and that's it!)  Just on the horizon is the skyline of Atlanta and it is hard to see in the photo but it is there!

Guess what else you can see from Panola?  If you read my blog, you might already know of ....

Stone Mountain!  Our guide told us it was only about 11 miles away as the crow flies...and you know I had to say it..."Well, let's go then!"   (Everyone laughed. You never know if from my blog but hey, I am one funny lady!)

And what else could we see?  You might have heard me mention this a time or two...

                                           ARABIA MOUNTAIN!
The last time we flew to England, as we left the Atlanta airport, I looked down and recognized Arabia Mountain from the air! It was exciting for me to know it and the funny thing, there were people around me and they all said the same thing, "Look, STONE MOUNTAIN".  It made me smile because they were all wrong! 

The cactus flowers were beautiful!

And be still my heart, I was thrilled to see that I wasn't too late to see a few of the Atamasco lilies!  (Interesting, Linnaeus named this but it seemed he got the word "Atamasco" from the Native Americans. I like that he did that! )This was some distance from me but you can still see the beauty of it, can't you?  (I just read that it is really in the amaryllis family, and we love amaryllis in our household!) atamasco lily

Wait, what we doing at my front door...let's get back on the mountain!

The blooms of the yucca were creamy white and they were all about six feet tall!

As were leaving, they were swaying in the breeze and it was as if they were waving us goodbye!  Don't worry yuccas, we will be back soon!  

They have a Moonlight Hike up the mountain when there is a full moon. It is said that you are able to see the sun set over the Atlanta skyline as you watch the moon rise on the other side.  I hope to see this on the next full moon in June.  I will let you know!  
Hope you enjoyed this hike with me and I hope you are all doing well in your part of the world!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Father Anthony Delisi- Memorial For A Monk

Father Anthony Delisi died May 9 and he was buried at the Monastery on May 14. 

 A  memorial for a monk at a cloistered monastery in Rockdale County, Georgia... do you think many would attend?   The church was full and the monks had to bring in extra chairs. I was honored to be one of the many there.  It was a beautiful service and extremely moving.  Father Anthony Delisi had been at the Monastery for many years.  Many knew of him, like myself, as being in charge of the gardens.  (I have fond memories of the sweet peppers but apparently he took great delight in growing his hot jalapenos!)  

The service began in a most unusual way...with horns from Africa. Unusual it might be, but it was a perfect tribute for him. During the homily, the Abbott told us that he had asked for Father Anthony's forgiveness in not allowing him to return to Africa, as Father Anthony wished to spend the last of his days there. (Perhaps he would not give permission due to the age and health of the monk? I am only guessing at this but you could see that his request for forgiveness was genuine.)
You see, even though Father Anthony had been at the Monastery since 1948, he had also made numerous trips in the 1970's to Africa.   In 2011, he wrote his memoir:  "Black Like Licorice: A Contemporary Monk's Call To Africa".  It is an extraordinary story and you should read it.

You may read his obituary from our local paper here-Father Anthony- Planting Seeds of Faith.

These photos were taken at the Monastery on the day of the Memorial Service, May 14, 2016...except for the first photo, and that was taken from our last trip to England. (It is All Souls Church in Eastbourne.)  One of the readings at the service was from the Book of Wisdom, you may read it here. 

You might remember that I recently wrote a post and asked you if you knew of anyone who had lost a child.  On Friday, I went to work and received sad news.  One of my co -workers had lost his son. (His son had worked with us briefly as a teenager so many of us knew the young man personally.)  

Printed on the front of the program for Father Anthony's service:


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Camouflage At Arabia Mountain/ Tom Smith and A.H. Thayer

Sometimes at Arabia Mountain, we notice that someone has taken great time to remove graffiti.  Richard and I can just detect a very slight difference in the color of the rock and we know that it is writing or crude drawings that have been blessedly erased!

Our mountains of stone (they are really monadnocks) are millions of years old and are awe inspiring...why would anyone want to mar this beauty?  Thankfully, we have volunteers like   Tom Smith  working hard to keep Arabia Mountain the way it should be seen!  I only just learned of this gentleman and his great volunteer work at Arabia Mountain. If you click on his name, you can see that he was recently given the Crossroads 2016 Community Crossroads Kudos award.  (There is a video on the link as well.)  I found it very interesting that he sometimes mixes dirt into the paint when he paints over the graffiti and this reminded me of A. H. Thayer....

image from wikipedia

The photo above shows a bird on the left.  Figure on the right is countershaded and invisible.

Abbot Handerson Thayer (1849-1921) was an American painter, naturalist and teacher and is sometimes called the "Father of Camouflage".  You may read more about him here.  I first learned of him when one of my customers had a book on angels and I must have looked very longingly upon the book cover because she promptly handed the book over to me as a gift!  Here is the painting  by A. H. Thayer that was on the front of the book...

A. H. Thayer spent his childhood at the base of Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire and became an amateur naturalist.. (If you read my blog, you must know how I can completely understand that!) He must have loved it in all seasons, just as we love our monadnocks here in Georgia.
If you get the chance, click on that link and read of his life, it is a fascinating story but a somewhat sad one. (There is even a link to England...he spent some time in Cornwall.)

Some might need "buckets to catch the dripping sentiment" (which was one of the criticisms leveled against A. H. Thayer) but anyone who cares for Arabia Mountain is an angel in my book.  Thank you, Tom Smith!  

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Milkweed, For The Monarchs (AND Life Vests in World War II)

Recently, I was with a group of people who planted over 500 milkweed plants at Panola Mountain State Park.  It was a magnificently beautiful day and after I had spent a great part of the day digging in rock hard dirt, I was able (only barely!) to climb Panola Mountain.  Milkweed, as I am sure you must know, is the host plant for the Monarch butterfly which has rapidly diminished in numbers over the past few years. Perhaps our milkweed plants will take firm hold and flourish where we have planted them, I hope so!

On the day of the planting, we had a wonderful naturalist, Elaine Nash,  to help us and to show us the best place to plant the different milkweed plants that we were given. (Grown by the Atlanta Botanical Society,  they were all beautiful, healthy specimens!)  Some were planted in partial shade, some in full sun, and some in a wetlands area. (Remember my post about the buttercups? The buttercups were growing just beside the wetlands area.)  Here's the thing...speaking with Elaine Nash later in the week, she told me that they had found some milkweed that she believes might have been planted in World War II by Mr. Alexander. (He owned the property then, you remember my mournfulness over the lake at Panola Mountain being drained? Alexander Lake, it is called, named after him.)

During World War II, the life vests for the military were made from the kapok tree from what was then the Dutch West Indies, and is now Indonesia.  Once Japan took over that country, there were no more fibers from the kapok tree for the USA so....the milkweed came to the rescue!  It is an extraordinary story.

After the milkweed blooms, the seeds are encased in a cottony like, feathery fiber which, combined with other fibers have a perfect buoyancy for life vests.  When the US government asked for the milkweed during World War II, it fell to the SCHOOLCHILDREN to walk along the sides of the roads, along fence rows and into the woods to collect it. (Of course, people also planted it, but the fiber from the pods were needed immediately!) Look, I have found a story about it MILKWEED FLOSS.  There, click on that and you will be amazed by this story!  Honestly, I can't believe in all my reading about nature AND about World War II, I have only just learned of it, after Elaine Nash told me about it! (Thanks Elaine!)
To see more photos of milkweed and another great article about it, please read this.

Yes, I do adore my nature walks but I am fascinated by history also.

(That is a photo of milkweed (also called butterfly weed) in the photo above. If you want to see an amazing photo of a kapok tree, my friend Kay from her blog "Musings" from Hawaii had a photo of one on her post  from Mother's Day. She has very kindly given me permission to use her photo here and just look at the size of the kapok tree! Can you see Kay and her sweet Mom at the base of the tree?  Thank you, Kay! (I love her, by the way, you should check out her may find her  just here.)  Aloha!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage

Just heard about a must see movie for me! It is "USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage".  It is based on the true story of the USS Indianapolis, a ship that was sunk by the Japanese in World War II.  You do know what happened, don't you? It was mentioned in the movie "Jaws". (You must remember the great actor, Robert Shaw giving his speech about the Indianapolis.)  There were 900 men who survived the sinking but were left adrift in the ocean for FIVE DAYS and many of them were taken by the sharks.  The story is not just about the incredible strength of the survivors but also of the bravery of those who rescued them. Please, remember the name ADRIAN MARKS...a true hero....he landed his seaplane to rescue the men after being ordered not to do so.  They actually tied the men to the wings of the seaplane and the plane just b...a...r....e...l...y lifted out of the water!
(I just looked this up and I wrote a post about this in September of 2011.  You may read my post just here.

Here are three books that I recommend:
In Harm's Way by Doug Stanton
Fatal Voyage by Dan Kurzman
Left For Dead: A Young Man's Search for Justice for The USS Indianapolis by Hunter Scott and Pete Nelson

That last is a continuing story about the Indianapolis and honestly, it deserves a movie all its own.  By the efforts of this 12 year old from Pensacola Florida, he and the remaining survivors were able to get the US Navy to reverse the dishonorable discharge that had been given to Captain McVay of the Indianapolis. (P.S.   From further might know how this played out. The US Navy did not EXACTLY reverse the ruling but somehow in a technical kind of way, exonerated the Captain without a full pardon, if you will.  Perhaps I have read this incorrectly. If so, I will be happy to come back and edit this. I to try to be honest and get things right on my blog.)

Hunter Scott is now Lt. Hunter Scott and is a Naval Aviator based in California.  And I have read that a movie about his connection to the USS Indianapolis is now in works.  So look out for it in the future! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Fixing A Hole/ Sundrops

Recently, one of our friends had to fix a hole in his ceiling.  Of course you know I had to call and sing a song into their answering machine. AND you must know which one it was!  "Fixing A Hole" is one of the songs from the album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".  I found a clip of Sir Paul doing this in concert, so I hope you like it.  (It says you can't see it, but just click on there and then, you can!)
Interesting to me, on the day that they were to record this, a man was at the door of the recording studio and he asked if he could come inside and listen to the Beatles as they were recording.  He said that he was Jesus.
Typical of Paul, he invited him in and gave him a cup of tea and asked him to sit quietly in the corner while they recorded this song. 
I love that story and I will think of it whenever I hear "Fixing A Hole".  Not that you hear much of the Beatles' music anymore...more's the pity.  
Now, I wonder, do you remember this song? Could you sing it? And do you ever call your friends and sing into an answering machine or am I the only one who thinks to do that? (I have sung "Happy Birthday" like Elvis for years...doesn't everyone?)

I wish that Sir Paul could see all the wildflowers blooming now at Stone Mountain, Panola Mountain and Arabia Mountain...they deserve a song! Sundrops or evening primroses(oenothera)...they are beautiful!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Buttercups- In England and Georgia! (Ranunculus)

What's up, Buttercup?  On Saturday, I was with another group that did a planting at Panola Mountain State Park. (Will tell you about this later, I promise!) There were some small yellow flowers that to me looked very much like the buttercups that I know in England. Well, guess IS the same flower!  We saw a great mass of them growing near the wetlands area where we planted a certain kind of milkweed.  Reading the description, it makes sense that we saw it there since it says that they grow near water. (The name, "Ranunculus" is Latin for little frogs.)  The petals are described as "highly lustrous".  Yes, that sounds just right to me, they were very shiny, almost as if they had been freshly painted. 
They are native to Europe but they are also in North America.  It isn't clear if it is considered invasive...some sites had it listed as a "weed of some concern" but I saw it elsewhere as being perfectly fine if it is in a meadow setting, which is where we saw it.
I looked at a list of buttercups...the list showed 62 different varieties!  So...I only know the flower of the buttercup looked the same in England as the one that I saw in Georgia.  If it is not the same exact flower, it is closely related.   

"Build Me Up Buttercup" is a great song from 1968.  If you don't know it, you should!  (This was by The Foundations...did you know this was a British band, the first multi-racial band in the 1960's to have a hit in the UK? The songwriters are Mike d'Abo and Tony Macaulay. See what you learn from me!)  

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

You Raise Me Up

Do you know anyone who has ever lost a child?  This terribly difficult loss is further compounded by the financial hardship that it can cause the family. In England, there is a charity called "You Raise Me Up" which helps pay the final expenses of young people aged 16-25. They also provide a 24 hour phone line for the families who may need to just talk. You may go to their website and read about the charity and you may find the website  just here.     There, that should get you to it!  
They also have a Facebook page, if any of you are on FB (as many like to call it now!) 

Sad to say, I know of this charity because of the death of a young man who was a neighbor of Richard's parents.   I remember him from not that many years back as a boy with his brother, kicking a football over the fence and coming into the back garden of my in- laws' to retrieve the ball. The older brother died in October of 2011.  ( I well remember the perfect manners of the boys, politely asking permission to get their ball.  Joan and Peter didn't mind one bit seeing them! Knowing them and their love for children, I could see how tickled they were to have that youthful energy around.) I will always remember this.

If you are ever on the southeast coast of England, "You Raise Me Up" has a coffee shop in Polegate (which is not far from Eastbourne) and I hear that they have very good cheese scones!
(You do NOT want to get me started on how much I love cheese scones! You know how Winnie the Pooh likes honey? Okay, you get the idea?)  Lots of other sweet goodies are there too, along with "jacket potatoes" which is what we in America call "baked" potatoes! 
Image result for you raise me up coffee shop photos

At the coffee shop, they have a beautifully drawn tree with butterflies. Each butterfly is in remembrance of a young person who has passed away.   Sadly, I read that another name was added to a butterfly just recently.  

Please let me know if you are able to read and learn more about this charity.  If you are able to donate, that would be wonderful.  Your thoughts and prayers for these families would also be much appreciated.   Thank you.

Monday, May 2, 2016

What Is This Plant? It is Neomarica (Apostle Plant)

Do you ever feel like you are being used? Sorry my friends, but you are all so SMART, I just know that at least one of you will be able to identify this plant for me! (NOTE- Plant has been identified for me by Kristi from thickethouse.  Thanks, Kristi!)  My brother gave us this plant last year and we have no idea what it is.  (He is not sure of it either. He says that it is a cutting from a plant that we gave him! If so, we gave him a plant that we must have liked the look of without knowing of its name!)
Anyway, the photo above was from May of last year, of the flower in bloom and the following is from this year...

The plant has leaves kind of like...well, I would say like an iris. (I wouldn't say it is an iris, it is just that the leaves remind me of my Dutch iris.)  The buds are pictured above and when you see them in the morning like this, by lunchtime, they bloom into ....

THIS beautiful flower!  It is creamy white with the most exquisite blue and brown center and look at the middle part, like three small crosses connected at the base of each cross.  It has a delicate fragrance that is lovely.  Ah, if only I could make it into perfume!
Okay! Here is the plant as well as I am able to photograph it for you.  Richard says it reminds him of a spider plant, see how it has the little plantlets at the bottom? If we get those off and plant them, we could make more plants!  So, what do you think it is?  Let me know!
I appreciate your help!

Really pretty, don't you think?  We really are enjoying these flowers!
And just to show you...the photo above is of our Dutch irises, you can see what I mean how the leaves are similar. 

And you can take the man out of England but you can tell by our flowers, you can't take England out of the man! We have our English garden on our front steps!  And these are early days, wait until the summer, flowers will be blooming from all corners!

Chives in bloom! That colour! (There, I spelled it the English way.)