Thursday, May 31, 2007

Funeral Over; Vacation Begins

GG's funeral was this morning, and we're now entering vacation mode. We had a nice lunch with Grams and Sherry's dad, Papa John, and brother, Jay, at Jim and Nick's BBQ. We're just now preparing to pack our vehicles so we can blast out of here early (i.e. Steve early) tomorrow morning. Captain Randy and Dawn are ready for our invasion, and in fact, I caught Randy on the cell phone working on his sailboat on a windy gulf coastal afternoon. I'm ready for some Jimmy Buffett and some cold beer at Randy and Dawn's place on the gulf.

GG's Obituary

Dorothy McGilton THOMAS
Davidson
May 29, 2007

Of Nashville, passed away May 29, 2007. She was preceded in death by parents, Leon and Helen Buchanan McGilton; sisters Marjorie Hearn and Jean Evins. She is survived by her daughter, Sheridan Thomas Hester; sister, Betty Short; two grand children, John Thomas Hester and Sherry Hester Ferrelli-Ogle; three great grandchildren, Joseph Ryan Ferrelli, Jacob Andrew Ferrelli and Sarah Spencer Ogle; and several nieces and nephews. Dorothy was the founder of the Nashville Alliance for the Mentally Ill and a life long member of the Tennessee Art League. Visitation with the family will be Thursday, May 31 from 10 a.m. until service time at 11 a.m. in Woodlawn's Dignity Hall with John Franklin officiating. Serving as Pallbearers are Jacob and Joseph Ferrelli, Karl Evins, Stephen S. Ogle, and John Thomas Hester. The family requests that memorials be given to Woodmont Bible Church, 1710 Woodmont Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215. Interment will be in Woodlawn Memorial Park. WOODLAWN-ROESCH-PATTON FUNERAL HOME, 660 Thompson Lane, 615-383-4754. A Dignity Memorial Provider.

It's Really Not That Long a Stay

Alone on a midnight passage
I can't count the falling stars
While the Southern Cross and the satellites
They remind me of where we are
Spinning around in circles
Living it day to day
And still twenty four hours maybe sixty good years
It's really not that long a stay.

We've got to roll with the punches
Learn to play all of our hunches
Make the best of whatever comes your way
Forget that blind ambition
And learn to trust your intuition
Plowin' straight ahead come what may.

Some Cute Kid Shots

Here's Gracie with her Auntie Les up at our campout at Look Rock campground a couple of weekends ago. I haven't posted any cute kid photos in a while, so here's several of Gracie and a couple of her third cousin, Charlotte, for your viewing pleasure. I just sent off a roll of film, so I should have some cute photos of our kids to post here by the end of our beach trip. I also expect we'll take a roll or two of film down in Destin.


Here's Gracie posing for her photograph. What a nice shot!


Here's La and Stew's Gracie, all dressed up and ready to go out.


Here's a close-up of Charlotte. You can really see her dad and her grandmother, Barbara, in her facial features.


Here is a recent photo of my cousin Jon's daughter, Charlotte, strolling on the beach.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Seagrove Beach


Here's a photo of Seagrove Beach, where we will be vacationing next week. If a family ever needed a dose of sand and ocean, we do. I know it will do my Caribbean soul much good.

I Not Paralegal; I Ta-Ta

I introduced Sarah to about everyone I saw at the justice center this morning as my paralegal, which produced a few mild chuckles. On the way from the justice center to the courthouse she made a point to tell me, "I not paralegal; I Ta-Ta."

Arrival in Nashville

Sarah and I got to Grams' house about thirty minutes ago after a busy morning in Maryville. I carted Boong with me to Judge Blackwood's court this morning, where she made her first courtroom appearance. I even took her with me into the bar of the court when I addressed Judge Blackwood. My friends in the courtroom were very sympathetic when I explained to the judge that I had my child in court because her great-grandmother passed away yesterday and that we were trying to get to Nashville to attend the services. Judge Blackwood, whom I had not appeared before until this morning, was also very nice and accommodated my request to be relieved of the matter I had in his court today. I should also mention that my friend Charles Carpenter, who took over the case for me, went out of his way to help us. The good people of the juvenile court also put themselves to extra work to enable us to get on the road today by cutting me loose from a case I had there this afternoon.

I also had to get my monthly bills out and to tie up several loose ends over the past couple of days, since we are going ahead with our beach trip after the funeral. I packed for Sherry, Boong and myself for the week, and unfortunately managed to forget both of Sherry's swimsuits. She and Grams have taken the children to swim at the Gordon Jewish Community Center, and they're going to buy Sherry a new swimsuit on the way. I decided to stay here at Grams' house to unwind. I'm exhausted.

Dorothy Thomas Passes Away in Nashville

Sherry's grandmother, Dorothy Thomas, died yesterday afternoon at the hospital with Sherry and Grams at her bedside. Her services will be conducted at Woodlawn Funeral Home in Nashville. Visitation will be at 10:00 a.m. central time, and her burial will be at 11:30 a.m., at Woodlawn Cemetary. We expect the obituary to be published in the Tennessean tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sherry's Grandmother in Hospital

Sherry's grandmother, to whom we refer as GG, was admitted to St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville yesterday. GG is 91, and was diagnosed with cancer and diabetes some months ago. The outlook is grim.

Sherry drove to Nashville yesterday to pick up J&J and to see GG to assess the situation and to be with Grams. I dreamt about cleaning out my grandparents' house last night, and GG's declining health definitely conjures up all sorts of feelings for me about losing my grandparents in 2000 and 2004.

Monday, May 28, 2007

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

Visit to Mighty Oak


We drove out to Melton Hill Lake yesterday to visit Bart Yancey's place, which his dad dubbed "Mighty Oak" when Bart and his sisters were young. This photo is of Melton Hill Lake, but was not taken from Bart's place. Biff and Leah Byrd camped out there Friday night, and Sherry and Sarah and I got out there before lunch time yesterday. We had a nice visit. The girls floated in the cove in the sun. Boong enjoyed walking around the shallow part of the cove, and was pretty brave about it. I felt a lot better about it once Bart's girlfriend, Kim, brought her a life jacket. Before we left, we took Sarah on a motorboat ride out to Bart's mom's lake house and got to see Mrs. Yancey. It was a good day, but it wore us out the way a day in the sun can. The girls are still asleep.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Steve and Sherry Toast Frazier and Son in Darts

Fraz and his son, Greg, coaxed Sherry and me into a dart game yesterday afternoon at the Fuzzy porch party. We toasted them, and I'll never let Fraz live it down.

Meet Me in Memphis

Jake and Joey are in a soccer tournament in Memphis this weekend. They won their first game 10-0. I don't know if they'll get a chance to do any sightseeing or not, but I just saw a moving story on the History Channel about the Memphis Belle, a World War II bomber that was saved and is now on display on Mud Island in Memphis.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Road to Nowhere

The National Park Service will announce that the Road to Nowhere, which was supposed to run along the north shore of Fontana Lake in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, will never be completed. Instead, a settlement offer will be made to the residents of Swain County, North Carolina, who were promised the road in the 1940's when Fontana Lake flooded an existing road. This is a victory for the park, and was part of North Carolina Congressman Heath Shuler's successful campaign. It is also supported by Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander.

I have only visited Fontana a couple of times, and it is a beautiful mountain lake. The idea of seeing a road cut through on the park side of the lake is revolting. I hope that this will finally put an end to the idea. There are enough cars in the park already.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Predators Sold


Joey and Jake are big fans of the Nashville Predators hockey team, which has just been sold to a Canadian businessman who wants to move the team up to Ontario. I picked up a copy of the Tennessean from the newsstand this morning, and there's quite a bit of coverage of the story in today's edition. It sounds like it is all but a done deal. How sad.

The Nanneys

Sherry will love this. She is a great fan of the Fran Drescher comedy The Nanny. Every morning I am passed by two huge crane trucks that come up Lively Road. Each of then has "Nanney" painted on the side of it, and I get a minor chuckle thinking "There goes the Nanney." Earlier in the week, about an hour after they left, one of the Nanneys was towed home by a tremendous tow truck.

Still on Fire

I just pulled this from the Look Rock tower webcam, and you can still see Hatcher Mountain on fire, with the smoke blowing from right to left as you look at the photo. I think I heard yesterday that something like 200 acres are on fire within an hour's walk of Abrams Creek campground, territory I have walked many a time. We need some rain up there!

Mariachi Music in the Countryside

The neighbors down the street had mariachi music playing this morning as I walked by, which is pretty festive on Friday before Memorial Day weekend. There's some major construction going on just down Lively Road from us. A foundation for a house is being put down next door to the Jesus Saves neighbors. (I hope it's a really ugly house.) There's a big pasture on down the road that has now been denuded of grass, and it looks as though a subdivision is going to be laid out on that property. I sure hope they have another outlet to access it besides Lively Road, because this little road won't handle it. Anyway, the construction will give me something to entertain me on my morning walk.

Overnight at Wannie's

Sarah ended up spending the night with Mom last night. Mom's been really jonesing to have her come stay the night since our move. (They got used to bunking down together when Sherry and I were traveling back and forth during the first couple of months of the year.) I think we'll try and meet up for breakfast later this morning to collect our Boong.

School's Out!


Yesterday was Jake and Joey's last day of fifth grade, and as Uncle Alice would say, "School's out for summer!" They are off to Memphis with their dad this weekend, and will be here sometime next week for our trip to the beach next weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Baby's Gone Shoppin'

Sherry and Sarah met Mom and La and Les for lunch and shopping this afternoon whilst I was fighting the forces of evil and oppression in court. She admitted going to Old Navy and that she was calling from Goody's, so I'm afraid, very afraid.

Boong has been missing Wannie, so the two of them are going back to Mom's house to play, and I suspect Mom's hoping to coax Sarah into spending the night with her.

Rapture?

The Jesus Saves bus has been gone from our neighbors' yard since at least Monday. I'm hoping it's parked back at the church, where it belongs, for good.

Return of Skippy the Rat

As I frequently do, I took one of my favorite toys, Skippy the black rubber rat, camping last weekend. I guess I paid two dollars for him, and he's provided me with countless hours of fun. My favorite routine is to take him grocery shopping and let him ride the conveyor belt with the groceries. When the clerk notices him, I pick him up by the tail and in mock outrage exclaim, "There are rats in this store!"

Anyway, I did not find Skippy on Sunday when I broke camp, and I was concerned he had gone missing. I was very disappointed, since our beach trip is about a week away, and Skippy enjoys visiting the ocean so. (He even has his own shades and hat.) Anyway, Sherry and Sarah are having lunch with Mom and L&L today, and after I loaded Sarah into the Volvo, I noticed Skippy hanging out in the back of the car. Apparently Boong stuck him, and a baseball belonging to one of our fellow campers, back there on Saturday. I'm very happy Skippy will be able to make the beach trip again this year. (A boy and his rat will soon party.)

Emma or Elmo?


I've been teasing Sarah recently by calling our calico cat, Emma, "Elmo" and by calling Sarah's Elmo toy "Emma." She clearly knows the difference between the two, and is less than amused by the joke. "Elmo's a show. Emma's a kitty!"

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Movie Reviews

Shrek 3

Sherry took Sarah to see Shrek 3 on Monday. It was Boong's first trip to the cinema, and Sherry reported that she stayed in her seat, though it kept folding up with Sarah in it. When I asked Sarah about the movie, she said it was loud. She especially liked the Shrek babies, and brought a couple home.


The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Court officer Jim Pearson suggested this John Wayne/Jimmy Stewart flick. Stewart plays an idealistic young lawyer dreaming of bringing the civilizing presence of law to the violent old west. Wayne plays a gunslinging good guy who thinks law books are all well and good, but that force is a necessary evil. Lee Graves plays a great bad guy, Liberty Valance, who comes after Stewart. Stewart becomes convinced to arm himself, and Graves shoots him in a gunfight. Stewart manages to retrieve his pistol and apparently shoots Graves, which changes his life. Stewart goes on to become a U.S. Senator. The irony is that John Wayne was actually the man who shot Liberty Valance, so that Stewart's entire political career is based upon an untrue legend. Good flick.


Amistad

I recently enjoyed the audiobook about this story of a rebellion on a slave ship that resulted in litigation in the United States that was decided by the Supreme Court. The movie was over two hours long, and features a lot of African dialect with subtitles. I always have problems with that. Anthony Hopkins plays a nearly senile John Quincy Adams, who successfully argues the Africans' case before the U.S. Supreme Court. I made it through the whole movie, but then I'm a history geek.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fire on the Mountain


Hatcher Mountain, which you can see here from the webcam on Look Rock tower, is on fire. There's no rain in sight, so it's pretty serious business for the firefighters.

Sherry and Boong Return from Nashville Early!

Duty calls! Sherry talked to the folks at Skirt magazine, and they convinced her to come home a day early to work on her advertisements. I'm thrilled that she and Sarah will be home a day early! I have court this morning, so we should all be getting back to the house at about lunchtime.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Return from Look Rock


It was beautiful for our camping trip to Look Rock campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this weekend. The rain we had this week pulled all of the moisture out of the atmosphere, leaving us cool, dry air that was perfect for camping. The campground was full of firewood, so we kept a merry blaze going for pretty much the whole campout.

Sherry and the Boong came up for the day Saturday. They had planned to spend the night Friday, but couldn't because Sherry got a bunch of revisions she needed to do for Skirt, a women's magazine she is designing advertisements for, before leaving town for several days in Nashville. She and Sarah took off yesterday afternoon and will be there until Wednesday, when Jake and Joey's dad returns from his trip. Until then, I'm flying Lively Road solo.

We had a decent turnout for the camping event. Johnny George and Fred, a friend of his from work, came up from Atlanta Friday evening. Fred plays guitar and sings and played his fingers sore Friday night entertaining us with old Hank Jr. and David Allen Coe tunes. Angelyn Penland and a friend of hers also came up Friday night. La and Stew came up with Grace for a while Saturday, and Caveman and Dana also visited us during the day. The Fuzzies came up and stayed Saturday night, and we all ate too much. A splendid time was had by all.

The only unpleasant part of the trip was this morning. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. to the sound of a woman screaming at a crying child about five or six campsites away. I am quite certain they woke up the entire campground as the screaming and crying continued for at least an hour, which was about the time Johnny and I decided to head to Townsend for biscuits and gravy at the Back Porch Restaurant. By the time we got back the screaming/crying family had gone back to the trailer park from whence they came.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Andrew Graham Graduates from Heritage High

Laura's stepson, Andrew, is graduating from Heritage High School this evening. Laura is having a drop in BBQ event for him this afternoon, so we're going to drop by and congratulate him before we take off for camping up at Look Rock this weekend.

Visit from Jerry and Shawn

My friend Jerry Price and his son Shawn drove from North Carolina to visit with us yesterday, since Shawn is on vacation. They got here just before Sherry rolled in with her new wagon. We pretty much just visited and talked, though Sarah took us on in a squirt gun war just as evening was setting in. She's fearless with that little water pistol of hers.

Everyone is still asleep here, and I've got 9:00 a.m. court to take care of this morning, so I'd better get suited up!

New Wheels!

Sherry picked up a new set of wheels, pictured here, yesterday at a local car lot. She's always wanted to drive a Volvo, and we had this one checked out by Ogle's Auto Center in Alcoa. Chuck gave it a clean bill of health, aside from some brake work and possibly a power steering pump. We'll take it to him next week to let him and his crew get her in top shape.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tormenting Louie

I heard the theme music from The Backyardigans, one of Sarah's cartoons coming from her room, and as I walked in to check on her I inquired, "Hey Boong, are you watching the Backyardigans?" She said "no" as I walked in the room to find her crammed halfway under her bed reaching for Louie the cat.

"Are you tormenting Louie?" I asked. "Yeah, I tormenting Louie." At least she's honest.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sarah and Stripes


Here's another photo of Sarah by Sherry's photographer friend Vicky Baptist. She took this one during their recent visit to the Knoxville Museum of Art.

Stir Fry Cafe Still Rocks

Sherry and Sarah and I ate lunch at the Stir Fry Cafe in West Knoxville this afternoon, and it is still as good as I remember it being. I had Thai green curry with pork, potatoes and red pepper, and it was really good. It was sweet, creamy and spicy all at the same time. I asked them to tone the spice down to medium for me, but I'll get full spiciness next time.

George Washington

This morning I finished an audiobook, 1776, by David McCullough. The year we celebrate as the birth of our nation was not a happy one for those who fought to win our freedom. The British had defeated the Continental Army at New York, and several colonies were occupied by either British forces or Hessian (German) mercenaries. By Christmas 1776, most people thought the war was over and that the British had won it.

George Washington was of different mind. In his second surprise nighttime river crossing of the war, on Christmas night 1776 Washington led some 2,500 men across the icy Delaware River and surprised a Hessian force numbering about 1,500 at Trenton, New Jersey. Contrary to what I have always believed, Washington's force did not encounter a bunch of drunk Germans, but trained professional, veteran soldiers, who performed their duties accordingly. Nevertheless, in about two hours of fighting the Hessians were defeated, and the Continental Army had liberated Trenton.

This was a skirmish as battles go, but what it did for American morale at that point in the war is why it was so important in history. Rarely in history have so few men changed the history of the world in so short a time. It showed Americans who thought defeat was at hand that victory could be achieved through determination and resolve, and Washington's leadership showed that democracy could work if people pulled together for the common good. At that point in the war, he had the authority of a dictator, but used persuasion, rather than power, to hold his disintegrating army together. Washington once wrote, "A people unused to restraint must be led. They cannot be drove."

Perhaps because Washington was a military man, I have never really studied him closely. The more academic characters of the founding period, like Madison, Jefferson, Franklin and Adams, have always been more interesting to me than Washington. I have started my next audiobook, Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer, so I am going acquire some new knowledge about the Father of His Country.

You've Got Two Empty Halves of Coconut, and You're Banging Them Together

Caveman sent me an article about an event held April 23, 2007, at Trafalgar Square in London during which 5,877 people, presided over by Monte Python's Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam, set the world's record for the largest coconut orchastra. They banged their empty halves of coconut together to the Python tune "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Life of Brian.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sarah Potter

Sarah is in the storage area under our steps, which is much like the space where Harry Potter lives with his Muggle relatives. She has poor Louie confined in there. No wonder he runs off!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Beach Boong


Here's a nice photograph of Sarah posing in her swimsuit at World's Fair Park.

Louie Returns!

We've been concerned about Louie the tuxedo cat. Sherry last saw him last Wednesday night. We left Thursday for Nashville, and haven't seen him since we returned Friday afternoon. Happily, he has returned home.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

We're Putting the Band Back Together

Here is the first mugshot of the elusive Sarah Blues. I've been telling the Knoxville gang, "We're putting the Band back together." All I can say is that we're on a mission from God, and I'll leave it at that.

Just A-Swingin'


Here's a photo of Boong in action at one of the local parks. I wasn't there, so I'm not sure which park. She's getting bolder and bolder on the swings, especially after playing all weekend with her brothers, who do not know fear. Following in their footsteps, neither does she.

Cursed Bus Returns

The neighbors' bus is parked back in the front yard of their house. Curses!

Our Mothers' Day So Far

I'm using the possessive plural, since most families celebrate several mothers on this holiday. My hot mama and I loaded up our kids and met Wannie and Auntie La and Grace for a very nice brunch at the Italian Market and Grill. Mom and La and Grace came back to our place for a visit afterward, and the kids went outside for some more Water Olympics.

J&J and I stopped by the Walgreens on the way home so the boys could pick their mom out a card. We also found a squirt gun for Sarah to use for 99 cents, and I picked up J&J a wiffle ball and bat for our back yard, which is a good size for it.

Mom and La and the Gracester have headed home, and Sherry's down for a nap. The kids are playing quietly in their room. Sherry's going to meet Mark in Cookeville with the boys this afternoon, and they're going to depart here around 4:30 p.m., so we're just enjoying a bit of down time.

Mothers' Day Tail

My friend Robin sent me this Mothers' Day Tail:

So, we had this great 10 year old cat named Jack who just recently died. Jack was a great cat and the kids would carry him around and sit on him and nothing ever bothered him. He used to hang out and nap all day long on this mat in our bathroom.
Well we have 3 kids and at the time of this story they were 4 years old, 3 years old and 1 year old. The middle one is Eli. Eli really loves chapstick. LOVES it. He kept asking to use my chapstick and then losing it. So finally one day I showed him where in the bathroom I keep my chapstick and how he could use it whenever he wanted to but he needed to put it right back in the drawer when he was done.
Last year on Mother's Day, we were having the typical rush around and try to get ready for Church with everyone crying and carrying on. My two boys are fighting over the toy in the cereal box. I am trying to nurse my little one at the same time I am putting on my make-up. Everything is a mess and everyone has long forgotten that this is a wonderful day to honor me and the amazing job that is motherhood.
We finally have the older one and the baby loaded in the car and I am looking for Eli. I have searched everywhere and I finally round the corner to go into the bathroom. And there was Eli. He was applying my chapstick very carefully to Jack's . . rear end. Eli looked right into my eyes and said "chapped." Now if you have a cat, you know that he is right--their little butts do look pretty chapped. And, frankly, Jack didn't seem to mind.
And the only question to really ask at that point was whether it was the FIRST time Eli had done that to the cat's behind or the hundredth. And THAT is my favorite Mother's Day moment ever because it reminds us that no matter how hard we try to civilize these glorious little creatures, there will always be that day when you realize they've been using your chapstick on the cat's butt.

I'm putting my chapstick in my safe deposit box tomorrow.

Praise God in the Highest!

The "Jesus Saves" bus is gone from the neighbors' yard, after having the graffiti washed off of it! I hope it is gone to the House of the Lord, and stays there, where it belongs.
HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY!

Porta-Potties in Townsend

The Daily Times is reporting that local residents have complained to authorities about the Townsend mayor's porta-potty business, which is visible as you enter town coming up from Maryville past Kinzel Springs. It seems like a no-brainer to say that mountain community like Townsend should have a better sight to welcome visitors to town than a bunch of portable toilets, but the other side of that is that a town needs to cultivate its businesses because they produce tax revenue and bring money into the local ecomony. The tricky part is controlling the growth.

Guitar Pickin' and BBQ Chicken

We invited the Baptists over yesterday afternoon. No, we didn't have a prayer meeting. We had Sherry's friend Vickey and her husband Rick over. Their daughter, Allyssa, is about a year younger than Sarah, and the two of them play really well together. I'm really happy Sherry has found such a good friend so soon after moving here.

Rick speaks Star Wars, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings, and plays a mean acoustic guitar, so we get along just fine as well. We did some picking on the back porch yesterday, while the womenfolk took the kids to the park. By the time they got back, we'd both played our fingers sore. We had some BBQ chicken, corn on the cob and hot dogs for the young-uns, and then Rick put the futon we bought for J&J together, which was really nice because the damned thing about frustrated me to death the day before.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I Miss You

I'm upstairs blogging, and was eavesdropping on Sarah telling Joey, "I miss you. Miss Jakey, too." She certainly knows how to express her feelings. It is the hard part of our move.

Blessed Are the Meadmakers

Caveman sent me a couple of cool links of interest to meadmakers. There's a cool list of mead recipes at greydragon.org, including a maple mead that sounds interesting. The Cavester and Lady Dana have also sampled some Tennessee mead from Shady Grove. (In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, mead is a wine made from fermented honey. It was one of the first fermented beverages, and you can still make your own right here in now in 2007.)

Building a House

Jake has a science project on simple machines coming due, and since it's sort of a gloomy day we've been working on it. He has to build a model house and include at least twenty examples of simple machines such as wedges, screws, inclined planes, pulleys and the like. The house of cardboard is coming together nicely, complete with brick exterior and terra cotta roofing courtesy of his mom, the graphic artist.

Boong and Her Bubbas

We got the family back to Maryville from Nashville yesterday without having the wheels fly off of the tires or getting caught in a traffic jam. The weather was nice, so we put out the slip and slide (a sheet of plastic for kids to spray water on and slide on) and filled up Ta's plastic pool. I've been waiting to show off my new double-barrelled water launcher to Jake and Joey, and I found two of the three missing water launchers recently, so that got a pretty good water fight going. I felt bad when Sarah asked, "Where's mine?" The boys turned on the hose for her to spray them with, so it worked out pretty well.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My Guitar Teacher Died

I was just scanning the Instapundit blogsite authored by my former law school professor, Glenn Reynolds, and learned that Terry Hill, who taught me how to play guitar when I was a teenager, died in 2001. I took lessons from Terry in a small house that I assumed he lived in located behind the Pick and Grin Music Store on Kingston Pike in West Knoxville. He later formed a punk band called Balboa, which featured Steve Housewright on drums. Steve and I attended Bearden High School together.

Ronald McDonald Ends It All

Sad, isn't it? He had so much to live for.

Davidson Juvenile

This will be my first appearance in Davidson County Juvenile Court since before we moved in March. My adversary is At-Large-And-In-Charge Adam Dread, a Nashville Metro At-Large Councilman, and the hearing involves a very limited legal issue that shouldn't take very long for us to argue about before Referee Griffin. I'm looking forward to seeing who I may run into while I'm in the juvenile center here, which is where most of my friends and acquaintences in the Nashville legal community regularly practice.

Tour of Harriman, Oakdale and Pine Orchard, Tennessee

We ran into a traffic jam on Interstate 40 just before we got to Crab Orchard yesterday on our way from Maryville to Nashville. Traffic was at a standstill, so we got on the shoulder and drove up to the next exit, which was the Harriman-Rockwood exit. We consulted a road map, and decided to drive some back roads north of the interstate in order to get to the next exit to the west. (Most of the rest of the traffic getting off at that exit was doing the same thing south of the interstate on Highway 70.

Our detour took us through Harriman and through the rural communities of Oakdale and Pine Orchard. When we got back to the interstate, traffic was flowing smoothly. Unfortunately, with the traffic jam, the detour and a stop for lunch, the trip that normally takes three hours took four and a half hours. We were delighted to get to the end of it. We're heading back to Maryville today after I get through with my duties this morning in Davidson County Juvenile Court, so I hope the trip is only three hours.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Starship Enterprise Iris

Grown by Connie Myers, wife of Dave "the boy" Myers

Jesus Saves Bus Parked in Neighbors' Yard

The neighbors in the house next to our duplex have parked a school bus that says "Jesus Saves" in their front yard. The bus looks horrible, appears to have been vandalized with paint, and we have been hoping they just brought it home to wash it. We're already not thrilled with these folks, who do not send their children to school and do not mow their yard until it is waist high. One of their little boys knocked on our door in his underwear to ask if Jake and Joey could come out and play.

Ummm, no.

Nashville Scene Trashes Spiderman 3

I just read a movie review of the new Spiderman 3 movie in the Nashville Scene, and the author trashed the flick as being devoid of plot. The movie is doing incredibly well at the box office, however.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Lunch with Duncan

I had an enjoyable lunch with my former law partner, Duncan, this afternoon. I rode the elevator up to court with him at the justice center this morning, and we discovered we were both free for lunch. We ate at the Palace Cafe, which fronts on Harper Avenue in downtown Maryville, and they make a delicious turkey and Swiss. Duncan knows the owner, and he joined us for a chat, mostly about sports. It was a nice break in the day.

Giant Lite Brite at Knoxville Museum of Art

Sherry sent me a photo via cell phone of Sarah at the Knoxville Museum of Art playing with a giant Lite Brite! This has the advantage of not leaving all those *@%$*&% pegs all over the house. They're heading back over here to play in the yard.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Back Home

It was a busy day! Sherry and Boong are still on their way back from Knoxville, where they went swimming with Sherry's friend Vickie. I had a productive day, though I had prepared for an important hearing that did not occur, which is always anticlimactic. I'm going downstairs to listen to some music.

Monday Morning

We made it back from the Fuzzies. Mom, La, Grace and finally Uncle Fuzzy himself arrived before we left, though. The rest of our Sunday was pretty mellow. I'm about to go on my morning walk, and then I've got to get to work for a juvenile court case I have on the docket this afternoon. I'm in court here in Maryville several days this week, and I have a hearing Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. in Davidson County Juvenile Court. It will be a busy week, especially when you consider the travel time.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Fuzzy Manor

We're here at Stately Fuzzy Manor enjoying a sunny afternoon in the hollar. Their new back porch, complete with tin roof, is a nice addition over the creek. Les took Sarah with her to walk her dog when the two of them spent the afternoon together recently. Sarah rounded up the leash, and the next thing I knew Sherry, Les, Boong and Baby the dog were all out of sight.

John Prine and Mac Wiseman

I just read an article in the Tennessean about Standard Songs for Ordinary People, a new album by John Prine and Mac Wiseman. I'm not familiar with Mac Wiseman, but I'm interested in hearing the album.

Regulating Mechanical Clocks

I have two mechanical clocks, a cuckoo clock Mom brought me from the Black Forest region of Germany, and my Grandmother and Granddaddy's Seth Thomas mantle clock. If one of them runs fast or slow, you have to adjust the pendulum to correct the clock.

I've become pretty skilled at keeping the cuckoo regulated, but I'm still learning with the mantle clock. I'm quite pleased to say that at 7:30 a.m. this morning they chimed in unison. They were both three minutes slow, but I'm making progress.

Party Report

Our little gathering yesterday was quite a success. The rain finally cleared away and gave us some time to play outside and get Sarah's new swingset put up. We even got some Frisbee in.

Saturday, May 5, 2007



And Now for Some American History

My mom recently forwarded me the text of the pension record of my Great Great Great Great Grandfather, William Evans Powell (1760-1864), to whom I am related through the family of my grandmother, Eula Powell Isenhour. He served in the American Revolutionary War in North Carolina in 1780 and 1781.

I am in the midst of historian David McCullough's 1776, and have another audiobook to follow on Washington's famous crossing of the Delaware River. It's pretty cool to know that my lineal ancestor fought in the War for Independence.

Mexican Independence Day

Mexican Independence Day is in September and iss not Cinco de Mayo, which celebrates the victory of the Mexican army against the French in the Battle of Puebla in the 1862. I posted the above link earlier. It is to a Wikipedia article that will give you all the details if you're interested.

And Since We're Celebrating Things Mexican . . .


Here's to one of my favorite Mexican imports, good ol' Corona beer. Dox Equis, preferably the amber, Tecate and Negro Modela are also good Mexican brews.

Symbolism on the Mexican Flag

I was curious about the sybolism on the Mexican Flag. Here's what I found via the magic of the internet:

The Mexican flag is full of national symbolism. The green strip represents the Independence Movement. The white stripe represents the purity of the Catholic faith. The red stripe represents the Spaniards that joined in the quest for Independence and the blood of the national heroes. The emblem-shield symbolizes the Aztec heritage. According to legend, the gods had advised the Aztecs that the place where they should establish their city was to be identified when they saw an eagle, perched on a prickly pear tree, devouring a serpent. They saw this mythical eagle on a marshy lake that is now the main plaza in Mexico City. This flag was created in 1821, when the Independence movement had ended victoriously.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!


Like the gringos we are, we just got back from buying fixin's for Mexican food and Corona beer for our Cinco de Mayo party this afternoon. We have a regular gulley washer going here in Maryville, but J&J report that it has stopped raining in Nashville.
When we talked to the boys about 45 minutes ago, they were in the Nashville airport with their dad getting ready to board a flight to Florida for the weekend. They're probably in the air now.

Cache of Toys!

I noticed a box of toys in the garage yesterday. When I opened it I discovered two of my missing hydrobolic water launchers, which will properly arm Joey and Jake for the summer's water activities. Now I need to find a water gun small enough for the Boong to use.

I also found a toy to which I lovingly refer as "happy fun ball." Its proper name is "Foxtail," and I purchased it from a company called Klutz Press, which has a lot of fun toys. Foxtail is a ball with a cloth tale, and the point of the game is that you can only throw and catch the ball by the tail. Johnny George and I developed a two-man baseball game in summer 1993 with happy fun ball that was lots of fun. It's a good toy for our big back yard.

Metro Nashville Schools Dress Code

Metro Nashville has adopted a dress code, which will affect Jake and Joey. It sounds like it's going to be khakis and golf shirts from now until college.

Back to School

There is a nice feature story in the Daily Times this morning about former University of Tennessee, then NFL, football player Jesse Turnbow. He left the university for the NFL without a degree and then came back to school after his football career to complete his degree. He still has to pick up credits in summer school, but he will participate in commencement this spring. He approached Coach Fulmer about how he could be involved with the current football team and is working as a proctor at the athletes' dorm.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Cinco de Mayo

We had an enjoyable lunch at Los Amigos restaurant today and were inspired to try and put together a Cinco de Mayo celebration tomorrow. I've always heard the holiday described as Mexican Independence Day, but it is not celebrated as such. It sounds like we'll have a crew over here before it's all said and done with.

Orange Mold

After we brewed a couple weeks ago, I dumped the spent grains (sort of a mushy oatmeal) out in the back yard where we hope to put a garden. The other day I noticed something out there about the color of Cheetos. When I went to look I saw that the spent grains were covered with a mold of that color. I've never seen anything like it.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Brewmeister Update

Biff has racked his nut brown ale into secondary fermentation and hopes to bottle this Sunday. This news inspired me to put my Irish red into secondary, but when I looked at my brewing equipment I realized it was not suitable for use.

Whew!

It was a busy day for Lawyer Steve, though I did get to take a break for lunch. Sherry and Boong and I met Laura and Grace for lunch at Ruby Tuesday on Northshore Drive. The girls then went to a Hip Mothers' play date at a place called "The Cove" near Concord Park. I went back to work, and had a productive day. I have juvenile court tomorrow afternoon, so I expect it to be a busy Friday as well.

Tomato Head Opens in Maryville Monday

The Tomato Head restaurant is opening Monday on Broadway in Maryville in the old home of Duggan's Men's Store (and later the Soup Kitchen). They have been running an excellent store on Market Square in Knoxville for years, and are known for their fresh, locally produced, ingredients. I had pizza at the Knoxville store with my friend Brent Nolan about a week or so ago, and it was as good as I remembered it being. I'm looking forward to having a Tomato Head in Maryville.

In Nashville, I frequently compared Maryville to Franklin, which is a smaller town to the south of Nashville. I really liked Franklin, and thought about trying to develop a practice there, but my Middle Tennessee caseload was, and is, focused in Nashville. Maryville is becoming a lot like downtown Franklin in its hipness, coupled with small town charm. With the growth that hipness brings comes the traffic that everyone here in Maryville complains about, and it is far worse than it was five years ago, and incredible compared to what it was in 1993, when I moved here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

New Swingset

Mom put up the bucks to buy us a swingset, and Sherry and her friend Vickie brought it home this afternoon. It is a typical metal pole affair, which we can take apart when we leave our temporary lodgings here at Lovely Road. I need to recruit some of the gang to help us put it up.

Emma Home

Emma the calico cat is back home and resting comfortably at the foot of our bed, rather than under the comforter, which is surprising to me after her visit to the vet.

Emma to Visit Vet

Here, Emma, nice kitty . . . . I called the Animal Health Center, who provided care to the Evil Bessie, and they have received Emma and Louie's records from the Belle Forest Animal Clinic in Bellevue. Emma's due for her annual tune up, so my next feat will be to catch her and throw her into the cat carrier for transport.

Queen Elizabeth to Attend Kentucky Derby

I just heard on the Today show that Queen Elizabeth of England is to attend the Kentucky Derby. Also, they reported that it is inappropriate to call Her Majesty "Liz."

Fire at Top of the World

There was a fire yesterday up at Top of the World community, which is right next to Look Rock campground. The fire burned five acres and a cabin before firefighters got it under control.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

What Kind of a Horse is This?


I picked up our Nissan from automobile mechanic Chuck Ogle this morning. He produced this coin and asked me if I knew what kind of horse was pictured on it. I answered that it was the horse the sick Ceasar Rodney rode from Delaware to Philadelphia to cast his vote so that the Delaware delegation to the Continental Congress would vote for American independence.

Chuck responded that it was a quarter horse. I even said, "How do you tell?" before I caught on. We both had a hearty laugh over it to start the morning. I have found a Ceasar Rodney quarter and am looking forward to unleashing the joke tomorrow.

Visit to the Dentist

I visited my dentist, W.C. "Bill" Battle of Knoxville this morning for the first time in five years. Dr. Battle has been treating me since I was in third grade, so I'm happy to be back under his care. It turns out Dr. Battle went to school with the elder Robert Fesmire, whose son has been my dentist in Nashville.

I got out of the chair with a clean bill of dental health, which included Dr. Battle's trademark conclusion of a dental appointment. "Get on out of here, before I find something wrong with you."

Knoxville World's Fair 25th Anniversary

It was a quarter of a century ago (God, I feel old!) that the 1982 World's Fair opened in Knoxville. I was 18 years old and working at McDonalds at 7030 Kingston Pike, where we would get hit by ten or more busloads of yankees at a time. I only visited the World's Fair once, using Mike Kribbs' pass, which is frightening to contemplate in itself.

If the World's Fair didn't do anything else, it cleaned up the railroad yard that existed on the site prior to the fair. Knoxville generally considers the space underused, though I saw Blue Oyster Cult and Styx play there, and my hooding ceremony upon graduation from law school occurred there. Cult played Godzilla, with sound effects of the monster's giant footsteps. It sounded like he was coming down Cumberland Avenue, which was pretty cool.

Law Day

Today is Law Day, which President Eisenhower proclaimed in 1958. Law Day celebrates the rule of law, to which I have dedicated my professional life. The next time you think about disparaging lawyers or the legal system, think about what human existence would be like without the law to order our affairs.

President Eisenhower's proclamation is as follows:

WHEREAS it is fitting that the people of this Nation should remember with pride and vigilantly guard the great heritage of liberty, justice and equality under law which our forefathers bequeathed to us; and

WHEREAS it is our moral and civic obligation as free men and as Americans to preserve and strengthen that great heritage; and

WHEREAS the principle of guaranteed fundamental rights of individuals under the law is the heart and sinew of our Nation, and distinguishes our governmental system from the type of government that rules by might alone; and

WHEREAS our government has served as an inspiration and a beacon light for oppressed peoples of the World seeking freedom, justice and equality of the individual under law; and

WHEREAS universal application of the principles of the rule of law in the settlement of international disputes would greatly enhance the cause of a just and enduring peace; and

WHEREAS a day of national dedication to the principle of government under law would afford us an opportunity better to understand and appreciate the manifold virtues of such a government and to focus the attention of the World upon them;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Thursday, May 1, 1958 as Law Day - USA. I urge the people of the United States to observe the designated day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, and I especially urge the legal profession, the press, and the radio, television and motion picture industries to promote and to participate in the observance of that date.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this Third Day of February in the Year of our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Fifty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the One Hundred and Eighty-second.

(Signed) DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER By the President

JOHN FOSTER DULLES Secretary of State

The White House
February 3, 1958