Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What A Wonderful World-Happy Birthday!

Here's a story for you...a couple goes on at camping trip to   Cumberland Island, Georgia.  They return to their home in the Atlanta area and find a small tree frog in their camping gear. (A squirrel tree frog.)  Concerned for the welfare of the little creature, they contacted AWARE (Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue) and through this great organization, it was arranged for the frog to be driven to St. Mary's, Georgia and with special permission to be boarded on the ferry to Cumberland Island where the frog was happily released. Now, this was done on the Friday after Thanksgiving, so I can only guess at the traffic on that drive.  Well done, volunteers!  There, isn't that a great story?  All of that for that tiny frog? YES! And I am happy to tell you this story.  (The frog that I have pictured is a native frog in the Atlanta is a tree frog on my front porch.)

(By the way, I lived on Point Peter Road in St. Mary's when I was a teenager.  Looking it up on Google maps, I am amazed at how closely we lived to Cumberland Island!  If only my family had owned a boat!)

Also, did you see that the creator of Spongebob Square Pants died? His name was Stephen Hillenberg, he died of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease, I always think of it) and he was only 57.  So sad but how wonderful that he created such well known and beloved characters that will live forever.  I really liked the Spongebob Squarepants movie...and I LOVED the part where Spongebob says that he has a bubble of optimism that always rises to the surface.  ALWAYS. 

Saving a frog and a bubble of optimism, this reminds me of our son who hopefully had a wonderful birthday today!  Go Hawks!  (C. writes about Atlanta Hawks... HE is a great writer!)  The Hawks are going for three wins in a row! Will they make it? Christopher wrote about it just here!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sassafras Tree! (Native Tree With Mittens)

How wonderful it is to learn the names of the native trees that I see on our walks!  Years ago (and please don't ask me how many, they skip along merrily these days!) I was on a walk with the ranger at Arabia Mountain (Ranger Robbie, I have mentioned him before!)  He showed us the leaves of a small tree beside the trail.  It had THREE different leaves and he identified it as a sassafras tree!  Now, on our walks I am pleased to tell you that I am able to identify it.  (Although I never trust myself though, I am constantly looking it up to make sure I am correct.)  Many years ago, people would make tea from the bark of the tree but it is now known that it causes cancer, so no matter what you may read otherwise, please do NOT make tea from the sassafras tree!  Just enjoy the beauty of it, the autumnal colors can be red, yellow and orange...all on the same tree.  I found the most wonderful article written about it -click on the link that I have given you below:

The Tree With Red Mittens   

Yes, my friend, it has a leaf that looks like a mitten! Isn't that marvelous? It will also have a leaf that is just a single leaf and perhaps another another leaf with three bits...oh, I am wording this in a strange way.   ( Sassafras trees have ovate lobe-less leaves, two-lobed leaves, and three-lobedleaves) 

Look, I will show you some photos...

  This was taken on the trail at the Monastery, just before you get to the pedestrian bridge that crosses over busy Hwy. 212 in Rockdale county.

Oh dear, I only have one leaf that is like a mitten! Oh well, most of them were still on the tree for me to enjoy. SASSAFRAS!  I even like the word itself.  Love the colors of this season.  I have more tree photos that we have taken on our walks. More trees for you to see!
It has almost been a whole week since I have written a post.  I do so hope that I will have more energy for my blog.  Wish me luck with that!  

Monday, November 19, 2018

Red Admiral Butterfly/Welcome South

"The natural world is something that gives us all hope.  The migration of butterflies is a wonderful natural history happening that is exciting- life giving."   

(When I was reading about butterfly migrations recently, I copied and pasted this but I must have been interrupted because I didn't write down who said it! We are in need of hope and things that are life giving. I think so anyway.) 

Richard and I saw the Red Admiral butterfly when we went for a walk this past Saturday on Nov. 17th!  I was surprised to see a butterfly but reading about it, it seems that the Red Admiral butterfly actually migrates to the southern states in late autumn and early winter. Isn't that wonderful? The one that we saw actually landed on my sleeve but Richard wasn't able to get his camera out quickly enough but when it landed on the trunk of the tree...well, you can see the photo above!

We have seen the Red Admiral butterfly before and Richard recognized it but he felt he must be wrong since he thought he was confusing it with his British butterflies.  Of course, he was  correct.  The Red Admiral is also in the British Isles! (Is it on the continent of Europe also? Yes! I just looked it up...the Red Admiral is "in temperate regions of North Africa, North and Central America, Europe, Asia, Hawaii, and the Caribbean."  Yes, my friends, I do know that Hawaii is a part of the USA but that does not mean that Hawaii has the same butterflies! In this case, they do.)

La, dee, dah- sounds like I have nothing to do except looking around for butterflies, doesn't it? I have been so busy lately and I find it very hard to get all the necessary things to do in my life, let alone to write on my blog or to read all the blogs that I like to read! I have had some distressing things happen to me recently but guess what...last week, a man walked up to me at the grocery store and asked me if I liked Southern gospel music. What do you think I said?  "Yes, I like it very much!".   He promptly handed me a CD of his own music, songs that he had written! He told us his name was Bud Atkinson and he lived right here in Conyers, Ga.  When we asked him how much should we give him, he said that he didn't want any money, that it was a gift, a part of his ministry.  Well.  
Thank you, God, I needed that.

(I couldn't find a song on YouTube by Bud Atkinson but how about "I'll Fly Away" ? Goes right along with my butterfly story too, don't you think?) 

How about you?  Have you ever had something nice happen to you and it meant a great deal because you had just gone through some rough times?  We need to always show kindness whenever we can, you never know what a difference it can make.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Roy Clark, A Great Talent, A Great Guy

Roy Clark died today at the age of 85.  I first knew of him from "The Beverly Hillbillies"  TV show.  And of course from "Hee-Haw"! That show is still shown in syndication (it was on the air from 1969 until 1997). Very often when I call my Dad and ask what he is doing, he will say, "watching Hee-Haw!". (He must have seen them all but he still enjoys them.)

Roy Clark was not only an entertainer, but a very talented guitarist and even the most famous guitarists would list him as one of the best! I found a video of a British guitarist who is speaking of his admiration for Roy and he shows a clip from a episode of "The Odd Couple".  It is true what he says, by the end of the performance, the actors are not acting but they are just truly enjoying the moment.

I once saw Roy Clark when I was in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was just as you expect him, with that big smile on his face! (I just read that Mickey Mantle, the great baseball player, asked that Roy would sing "Yesterday, When I Was Young" at Mickey Mantle's passing. Of course, Roy did so at his funeral, as requested. They were great friends.)

I will always think of Roy Clark, "picking and grinning".

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Armistice Day/Remembrance Day-"Maginot Waltz"

November 11, 2018.  100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  The memorial ceremony was shown from London on the BBC today.  70 world leaders attended the memorial ceremony in Paris. Both were extremely emotional and moving.

Ralph McTell, the singer/songwriter I have mentioned to you before, has always had a fascination with World War I.  He wrote a song, "Maginot Waltz" which was from his album "Easy" from 1974. I have the song for you here along with the lyrics.  (By the way, a "charabanc" is a type of bus.) 

Ralph McTell was honored to speak recently at the evening memorial ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, France. (Traffic is closed every evening through this gate at 7:00 PM for this memorial.)  You may read about this just here. 

May we always remember those who gave their lives in the Great War,  "the war to end war."

All off to Brighton in a charabanc
Albert played his banjo and how we sang.
The beer was expensive but the laughter was free
Oh how we do love to all be beside the sea.
Albert had a cousin named Marjorie
And I had been noticing that she had noticed me.
I quickly decided if she didn't mind it
I would spend the day in her gay company.
We shared a plate of whelks strolling side by side.
I said she weren't too old to take a donkey ride
But I didn't mind when she laughed and said no
So we paused for a while and listened to the minstrel show.
There was a notice at the Palace Pier
It said there was to be a dance that night and it wasn't dear.
I explained of course that I could only waltz
And so we waltzed to every tune and air.
Nine o'clock come round we had to take the charabanc
And Albert was too drunk to play the banjo but still we sang
All except Marjorie, I could tell at a glance
Because me and Albert was leaving for France.
I said we'll both be home in a week or two
Me and Albert and Lord Kitchener will teach the Hun a thing or two.
I'm sure to return, after me do not yearn
And we will waltz together all our lives through.
Ralph McTell on his Facebook singing this song and also "The Unknown Soldier".  You MUST click on this link and listen, it is incredibly moving. You will thank me.  The link is here.    You're welcome.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Silver Threads and Golden Needles

    Do you know how to sew? Perhaps you don't make your own clothes but at least do you sew on buttons or crochet or knit? I read recently on the BBC that it has been found that surgeons who have gone through their medical training are having trouble sewing up their patients because they never learned to sew! (Of course, I am paraphrasing this but you understand the point I am trying to make.) Could this be from years of playing computer games? Maybe so.  (Manual dexterity- the ability to use your hands in a skillful, coordinated way to grasp and manipulate objects and demonstrate small, precise movements.)  I don't know about you but this makes me want to teach children to thread a needle and to sew on a button! Also, I learned to crochet as a teenager and while I have always enjoyed it, I have never been...well, an expert at it, but that doesn't stop me! (I knitted a scarf in 1985 and...let's just say, that was enough knitting for me. It is crochet I love. It is such a wonderful feeling to create something out of a skein of yarn!) 

Our time changed this past weekend.  I spent the extra hour...sewing on buttons!   Years ago, my mother-in-law gave me a pack of sewing needles from England.  Such a good design! They are silver but the top of them are gold and since that is a different color, it makes it easier to thread.  I love something well designed, don't you?  Now, of course, that reminded me of a song! "Silver Thread and Golden Needles".  

How about you?  Are you a fine example of a person with great manual dexterity?  Work on it! You might be asked to perform surgery one day if our surgeons aren't able to do so! (Just kidding, doctors, I promise.)

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Tom Hanks As Mr. Rogers

 Tom Hanks will play Mr. Rogers in the new movie which will be released in October 2019.  If you are reading this quickly, you might think I am talking about the documentary about him which was out this year. ("Won't You Be My Neighbor"). 

 Apparently, that was a marvelous film!  This will be a NEW film and it is not a documentary but rather it is based upon a friendship between Mr. Rogers and a journalist from Esquire Magazine, Tom Junod.  I have a wonderful link about it for you just here!  

("The climate of the times" is mentioned in that article...we are certainly needing Mr. Rogers in the climate of the times that we are having just now in America.  The last of the eleven who were killed in the shootings at the synagogue in Pittsburgh was buried yesterday, the oldest was a 97 year old woman.) 

If you are reading this from another country, you might have never heard of Mr. Rogers.  Fred Rogers, also from Pittsburgh,  had his own TV show for children from 1968 to 2001, called "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood".  You may read more about him here.  Sadly, we lost him to cancer in 2003. We often see his words quoted after tragedies...when he was a child and was scared by bad news on TV, his mother told him to "look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping." 

(Speaking of his mother, did you know that she knitted all those sweaters that he wore on his show?  You always think of how thin he was but did you know that he was chubby as a child and was teased and called "Fatty Freddy"? He was befriended by a football player and I think must have credited that with helping him to fit into school. I could be wrong but this is what I think I remember reading. Not to discount the great influence from his mother, of course. And Mr. Rogers was also a Presbyterian minister...a true man of God, I believe.) 

Now, back to Tom Hanks.  I think he is the perfect actor to play Mr. Rogers.  I loved him as Walt Disney in the movie that he made with Emma Thompson.  Did anyone else see that one? ("Saving Mr. Banks". )We need more people like Mr. Rogers and Walt Disney.  Who do we have for our children to look up to these days? Who is represented on our TV screens? If we have anyone that is a positive influence, we should try to make sure that our children know about them.  Adults too, for that matter.

This mushroom in my yard has been a welcome sight.  The days are shorter, so my drive to work in the morning is in the dark. It seems to glow in the predawn hour, having pushed itself up from the mess and the muck of my side yard, like a candle in the darkness.