Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Buffett Show and New Neighbor at the Cabin

We've had a busy and fun Memorial Day weekend. We were able to check into our hotel early on Saturday before meeting up with Sherry and the kids at the Hillsboro Village Bosco's, the site of my first date with Sherry. After lunch we went back to the hotel so that the kids could have a dip in the pool, and Sherry dropped us off downtown later in the day for the Buffett show. Laura, Leslie and Frazier all had seats together, but mine was a solo seat. Fortunately, there were plenty of seats where La and Les and Fraz were, so we got to sit together after all. Buffett played a bunch of old songs, which we all enjoyed, and although there were locusts this year (well, cicadas) there was no flood.

We headed to our cabin in Estill Springs Sunday after breakfast to meet our friend Johnny, who already had chairs set up in the creek. To our surprise, there is now a house across Rock Creek Road from the cabin on the property Grandmother and Granddaddy sold to help pay for our education. There were people outside when we got there, and I went next door to introduce myself. I was again surprised to find that the owner of the new house was Granddaddy's home health nurse during the last year or so of his life. She's owned the property for years and decided to build a home on it and live there, which means there will be someone right next door to keep an eye on the place for us.

Pollen Under an Electron Microscope

I used to never worry about allergies, or hay fever as Mom likes to call it, but as I age I find myself feeling their effects. Everybody has been sneezing, including our cats. Check out some more images of pollen taken with an electron microscope at Things I Think Are Kinda Cool.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Weekend Photos

The Camp in spring

Frazier caught a couple of crawdads for Sarah's bucket.

Creek melon

The Parthenon

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, on which Americans remember the many members of the armed services who have died for our country. It was originally known as Decoration Day, and people observed it by decorating the graves of the military dead.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Restaurant Review -- Swiss Chalet Rotisserie Grill, Delray Beach, Florida

As we get closer to our annual family vacation, I've been thinking about Florida, though today I am thinking about further south in Florida than where we spend our week each summer on the panhandle. When Mom lived in Deerfield Beach, which is between Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale and is just south of Boca Raton, we used to buy rotisserie grilled chicken from the Swiss Chalet Rotisserie Grill, which is located at 4961 W Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach, FL 33445-3894, telephone (561) 496-5299. Locals just call it the Swiss Chalet. We always called ahead to order our food, and they had it packaged up and ready to take home by the time you could drive there. They also had a wonderful onion loaf, which was onion battered and deep fried like onion rings.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tropical Mood

Laura, Leslie and Frazier, my sisters and brother-in-law, are going to pick me up at about 10:00 this morning for the ride to Nashville and a Jimmy Buffett concert later this evening. We're going to meet Sherry and the kids and a bunch of friends for lunch and then check into our hotel rooms and enjoy the pool until show time. Sherry decided she'd rather hang out with the kids than to see the show, so she's going to hold down the fort at the hotel while we're at the show. On Sunday we (or some subset of us) are heading to Estill Springs to meet our friend Johnny at the Camp, our family cabin in the country.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Interstate Scare

Sherry picked Sarah up from school early today and just called to let me know that they are safely in Nashville after a bit of a scare on the interstate. They hit what she described as a part of a crate or a drawer, and pulled over on the shoulder to check for damage. She didn't find any, and had called me from a mechanic's garage where they are conducting a further inspection. She said a guy in another car also hit the debris in the road, and pulled over just ahead of her. The cad got out of his car, checked his vehicle, and drove away without making any effort to see if the womenfolk in the car behind him were okay.

Last Day of First Grade

Today is Sarah's last day of first grade. She has been a good student this year, and has aced every spelling test she took except for a couple she missed one on. She also does well in math, though neither of her parents liked the subject. She will begin second grade in July because her school, Fort Craig School of Dynamic Learning, follows an all-year schedule. We like the schedule, and we will miss Fort Craig when it closes at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Bacon Meme Lives

How about some maple bourbon bacon, grits and eggs for breakfast (via No Silence Here)?

Aberti's Restaurant

When I posted the other day about the new Pero's Restaurant, it made me think of Alberti's Restaurant, which was another of Dad's favorite places to go out to eat. It became Naples in 1978, and they still serve wonderful Italian food there.

Hell or High Water Flood Run

Sherry and Jake (pictured above) and Joey participated in the first annual Hell or High Water Flood Run in our former (and the boys' current) neighborhood of Bellevue, which is on the west side of Nashville. The proceeds from the event are to be used for rebuilding in the wake of the Flood of 2010. The Harpeth River runs through Bellevue, so the community had devastating flood damage.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Diet of Worms

Although my mind conjures a plate full of night crawlers when I hear Diet of Worms, it was an assembly in a German city named Worms convened to deal with Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. On May 25, 1521 Emporer Charles V issued the Edict of Worms, which stated,

[W]e forbid anyone from this time forward to dare, either by words or by deeds, to receive, defend, sustain, or favor the said Martin Luther. On the contrary, we want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic, as he deserves, to be brought personally before us, or to be securely guarded until those who have captured him inform us, whereupon we will order the appropriate manner of proceeding against the said Luther. Those who will help in his capture will be rewarded generously for their good work.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pero's Restaurant

I learned yesterday that Pero's Restaurant has been reopened on Northshore Drive in Rocky Hill, which is in West Knoxville. The original Pero's was on Kingston Pike, and it was one of my dad's favorite restaurants. I have a vague memory that their sign included a black cow. Grub Scout has a review.

Giant Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll

I'm not big on sweets, and would generally rather have another helping of mashed potatoes than dessert. However, I saw this dessert on Smitten Kitchen, and thought it looked like a giant Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll. Yum!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Victoria Day

I wish a happy Victoria Day to my brother-in-law Stewart, who hails from Alberta.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Afloat on Abrams Creek

Sherry wanted to drive up Highway 129 to see the tornado damage on the far side of Chilhowee Lake, and Sarah wanted to go swimming, so we drove up into the mountains for the afternoon yesterday. We took Granddaddy's binoculars, and the destruction is even more impressive with a better view. The sides of two mountains have been denuded of everything except stumps, leaving me to wonder where all that lumber went after the tornado swept it away. After surveying the damage, we drove up to Abrams Creek campground for a swim. An added treat was running into one of my law school professors, Professor Hardin, who was very gracious and kind. It has been twenty years since law school. I did not expect him to recognize me, but he was very nice nonetheless.

At first Sarah complained that the water was too cold, even though she swam in it in March, but I blew up her tube and rode it once. That's all it took, and she was in the water for the rest of our visit.

We parked right at the entrace to the campground, and the mountain laurel was in full bloom on the far side of the creek. It was a gorgeous Smokies afternoon!

Y'all come back now, you hear?

Pon Haus -- Pennsylvania Dutch Livermush

I recently received an e-mail from my friend Scott, who lives in Nashville and who lived in the apartment downstairs from me when we were in law school. He said I could share his thoughts after he read my post on livermush:

I read your post about liver mush. I'm thinking it's alot like what we PA Dutch folks call pon haus. (They call is scrapple in Eastern PA.) Mostly corn meal, lots of sage, with a sausage like meat called "ring liver pudding" (and it's not nearly as nasty as it sounds, but it is leftover piggie parts). Dad often made it when we were growing up. We fried it golden brown in bacon grease and ate it with lots of ketchup. It's actually pretty good. I make it once in a blue moon, and more frequently buy it in Publix. I was actually looking for pon haus recipes the other day, and saved the following pages. (The one guy with the CNN blog actually looks a lot like you.) Try a batch, or buy some in the store and fry it up. It's very tasty!



Saturday, May 21, 2011

Emma Bigglesworth

For the first time in her ten years of existance, we had Emma the cat shaved last week. She's had problems with hairballs in recent years, and we decided to shave her in the hope that she will injest less of her own fur. Emma is a small cat anyway, but without her fur she is tiny.

We think she now bears a striking resemblance to Dr. Evil's cat, Mr. Bigglesworth.

For comparison, I've included a photo of her (below) a day or two before we took her to the vet, where she also got her annual vaccinations. Her markings are now much less colorful.

Alpaca Lips

Zombie Apocalypse

The Centers for Disease Control has a new website with suggestions one might take to survive a zombie apocalpse. It states,

There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.

I think our society is losing its collective mind.


Having lived in Nashville for five years, I am aware that Emma's Flowers and Gifts is "The Supoilative Florist" in our capital city. (I'm not sure whether Sherry named our eldest cat Emma after the florist or not.) Their television advertising features that line, and the announcer, Ed Stratton, pronounces the word "superlative" in a distictive way. Mr. Stratton turned 100 yesterday.

Pleasure Reading

Sarah, our first grade student, started reading a storybook version of Alice in Wonderland the day before yesterday. By the time she got home from school yesterday, she had read 160 or so pages of it. I'm pleased to see the child is starting to read for pleasure.

As a child and a young man, I was a voracious reader, and I spent summers with my nose in a book. All of the textbook reading associated with college and law school killed off pleasure reading for me, though I have been reading more in an attempt to get back in the habit of reading and to set a good example for Sarah and Jake and Joey.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ribs Wrapped in Bacon

The bacon meme may have ended, but I couldn't resist the idea of ribs wrapped in bacon as we enter grilling season.

UPDATE: News Sentinel blogger Michael Silence asserts the suggestion that the bacon meme has ended is heresy. (Thanks to Mr. Silence for the link.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Giant Squid Eye

I must have one of these giant squid eyes, two as often as he can spare them. (Via Boing Boing.) Here's looking at you, kid.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

TVA Birthday

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Tennessee Valley Authority Act into law on May 18, 1933, which means that it is 78 years old today. There are still a lot of families in these parts whose land was taken for TVA projects or for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and who don't think too highly of the federal government because of it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Gruffalo

Sarah recently brought home a book, The Gruffalo, from school, and she is memorizing it. It is a cute story, and she enjoys reading it to anyone who will listen.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sun Pillar

This is a sun pillar I found on Earth Science Picture of the Day.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Sherry took this photograph from an aircraft circling before landing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, during her spring break trip with Grams and the kids. I haven't been to Fort Lauderdale in years, though my mother lived just north of there at Deerfield Beach for several years when I was in college and law school.

Christmas in Florida is a different experience. Because the weather stays warm and sunny in South Florida in December, the locals go all out with their Christmas decorations. We used to go swimming on Christmas Day after opening presents, and the back yard neighbors allowed us to harvest grapefruit and mangoes from their trees. I don't care for grapefruit, at least not what you buy in the stores. From the store they are too sour, but freshly picked they are sweet and wonderful.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I recently mentioned Livermush in my post about our visit to the Snack Bar in Hickory, North Carolina. Two Western Carolina University professors have entered into "The Liver Mush Wager." Each must complete five scholarly articles during the academic year or suffer this horrible consequence:

Should either signatory fail to complete their five (5) articles, they shall have to eat a meal of liver mush prepared by the other signatory, in front of witnesses, preferably at Western Carolina University’s U-Club. The signatory preparing the liver mush may prepare it in any way that they choose, no matter how foul, with the only stipulation that the liver mush shall be thoroughly cooked (for reasons of food safety). Should both signatories fail to fulfill the obligations of the wager, both shall suffer this, The Liver Mush Penalty.

(Via Althouse.)

Last Soccer Game

Sarah's last soccer game is today at 9:00 a.m., assuming it doesn't get rained out. We don't have much planned this weekend other than our grocery shopping and some quiet time. A couple of weeks ago my friend J.P. was in town from Florida, and he wanted to drive up to Look Rock in the mountains. We saw some of the tornado damage on the far side of Chilhowee Lake from the intersection of the Foothills Parkway and Highway 129, and Sherry's been wanting to drive up and have a look. It is pretty impressive. There are two mountains that have had all of the trees on the lake side of them knocked down.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fourth Generation Frisbee Player

Sarah has recently developed an interest in throwing Frisbee, which is the only sport (if you can call it that) that I've ever been any good at. We started playing with a light disc, perhaps 100 to 120 grams, but she wanted to try my 161 gram disc, and she throws better with it than she does the lighter disc. Sarah writes with her left hand, but so far she seems to throw Frisbee equally well with either hand.

It's been years since I've thrown, and I've enjoyed renewing a family tradition. Dad and Granddaddy threw Frisbee together when I was a kid, and I remember the three of us tossing Frisbees creekside many times at the Camp, our cabin in Estill Springs. I like the idea of throwing Frisbee with my kid, like Dad and Granddaddy did with me.

Friday the Thirteenth

For Friday the Thirteenth I introduce the gentle reader to Lizzie, the almost-black cat who presides over our friends Rat and Renee's back porch.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Restaurant Review -- Windy City Grill, Hickory, North Carolina

When we were in my mother's home town of Hickory, North Carolina, a few weekends ago, I made sure to take Sherry and Sarah to the Windy City Grill located at 2514 North Center Street, a commercial stretch of road the locals call 127, its highway number. Windy City Grill is also known as Homer's after the man who ran the short order restaurant when it was housed in a small white building down 127 from where the business is located today.

I remember the place from when it operated in its old building, and in the old days the men who worked there all wore white aprons and white paper hats and knew just about everyone who walked in the door by name and what they wanted to eat. They still serve their food cooked to order. Sherry got a barbecue sandwich, which she let me try, and they still serve great North Carolina barbecue. Sarah had the perennial kid favorite, chicken tenders, which she enjoyed, and I went for a hamburger with everything on it Hickory-style, which is with chili and slaw.

I'm not sure if the Hickory Pool Room is still in business, but they sold a burger with everything the same way. I was quite surprised the first time I tried it. I prefer a hamburger served with mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and cheese, but it was fun to try one Hickory-style again after all these years. I still give Homer's a double thumbs-up!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


The guys at Amazon's Car Lust blog have been thinking about vintage automobiles lately. Pictured above is a Dusenberg.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

One Bad Dad

Here is a short (16 second) video of a dad who catches a foul ball in his right hand while holding his young daughter with his left arm, and he manages the feat quite casually. Go dude!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hickory Houses

Above is my Grandmother and Grandpa Isenhour's house, where my mother grew up and where my Isenhour grandparents both lived until their deaths. We visited there often as kids, and our Uncle Mack and Aunt Nancy and their daughter Julie lived right next door, with a row of short pines and what I remember as a grassy field separating the two houses. A row of hickory trees, appropriate for Hickory, North Carolina, lined Grandmother's driveway. It and the road the house are on were gravel then, and my sister Leslie recently shared that she remembered sleeping on the way there from Knoxville and waking up when the tires of the car hit the gravel road.

I was amazed at how huge the pines that separated Uncle Mack and Aunt Nancy's yard from Grandmother's have become, and the hickory trees are, alas, no more, though I am now far too old and well-behaved to be asked to make that long walk out to cut a hickory switch that we all dreaded as children. The area between Grandmother's driveway and Uncle Mack and Aunt Nancy's old place is completely taken up by the pines, and the grassy area between the houses is gone.

Some of my memories of those visits include Uncle Mack taking me crappie fishing, playing in the sand in the back yard with jars and spoons and visiting Grandpa's chickens. He always kept a couple of them, and he kept their feed in an old car that we used to like to play in and on. Sherry was shocked to find Pepsi products more prominent than Coke during our recent visit, but Pepsi was always more popular in Hickory than Coca-Cola, which I learned in childhood. I have almost always been the first person in a house to wake up in the morning, but I remember sleeping in Uncle Mack's old bedroom or on a cot in Grandmother's kitchen and waking to Grandmother cooking breakfast in the dark before dawn.

Mom and my sisters lived in this house in Hickory in the early 1980's, which is when I moved to nearby Granite Falls to attend Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson. We were in the car, and I didn't give Sherry a good camera angle for this photo. I thought I'd include it anyway.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Francis Marion Powell and Laura Emaline Church

This is the family of Francis Marion Powell and his wife, who was born Laura Emaline Church, as it existed in 1905 or 1906, when I estimate this photograph was taken. Of the girls that are standing, my maternal grandmother, Grandmother Isenhour, who was born Eula Elvira Powell, is second from the right. I had never seen a picture of her as a girl. She looks remarkably like my first cousin Julie, daughter of my mother's brother, my Uncle Mack. Francis and Laura are my great-grandparents.

Mom called the couple, her grandparents, Mama and Papa Powell. I don't know much else about them other than that Papa Powell operated a country store. Mom has a photo of him standing proudly next to an old gasoline pump, and she said that Mama Powell's father, Squire Allen Church, did not approve of the marriage of his daughter to Francis. It was apparently so bad that Squire would cross the street to avoid the couple, which must have caused his daughter much unhappiness.

Francis was born on July 24, 1869, at Shouns Crossroads in Johnson County, Tennessee, and he died on Valentine's Day 1943 in Abington, Virginia, at the age of 73. His wife, Laura, for whom my sister is named, was born March 28, 1872, in Wilkes County, North Carolina, and she died on April 30, 1947, in Monroe, North Carolina, just after Mom's 9th birthday. Francis and Laura married on September 22, 1889, and they are buried together at the Mountain View Cemetery in Mountain City, Tennessee. Their nine children and the year of each child's birth are as follows:

Luther Conway Powell, 1890 (He died at 8 months old.)
Flora Ethel Powell, 1892
Maude Eunice Powell, 1894
Myrtle Florence Powell, 1897
Eula Elvira Powell, 1899
Mamie Yarborough Powell, 1901
Chester Willard Powell, 1904
Stella Rhea Powell, 1908
Claybourne Forrest Powell, 1910

In the photograph we believe the standing children are, from the viewer's left to right, Ethel, Maude, Myrtle, Eula and Mamie, who was called Mame. The young boy in Francis's lap is Chester, known as Chet. Stella and Clay had not yet been born.

Happy Mothers Day

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Soccer Weekend

Sherry is in Nashville for Mother's Day weekend, and she attended Jake and Joey's high school soccer game. The boys attend Hillwood, and last night Hillwood played Hillsboro, which is Sherry's alma mater. The game was at Hillsboro, so she enjoyed walking around campus with her boys after the game, which they won.

Sarah and I went over to Mom's last night and took her out to eat at her neighborhood Mexican restaurant. We spent the night over there, and got up early this morning to get our errands done before Sarah's soccer game at 11:00 a.m.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Restaurant Review -- Snack Bar

When Sherry, Sarah and I visited North Carolina a couple of weekends ago, I insisted we have breakfast at the Snack Bar, located just off Interstate 40 Exit 123 at 1346 First Avenue SW in Hickory, North Carolina, the town where my mother was born and raised. The Snack Bar has been in operation since the late 1940's, and we ate there often when we lived in North Carolina.

I had forgotten how wonderful their sausage was, and I should have asked the server about how to acquire some. I also saw that livermush, somewhat of a breakfast staple in Hickory, is still on the menu, though I don't care for it personally. We were not disappointed and ended up eating breakfast there twice. We kept looking for my Uncle Mack and Aunt Nancy, who live in Hickory and still eat at the Snack Bar regularly, but we missed them that weekend. Our tab for the three of us, including tip was $17.00 to $18.00, and we did not leave hungry.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the defeat of French forces by the Mexican army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It is not the anniversary of Mexican independence from Spain, which occurred on September 15, 1810.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Double Extenders

This is Molly the cat before her recent grooming. The pose she is striking is known in our house as double extenders with a crossover.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


The FBI has updated its Ten Most Wanted List to show Osama Bin Laden's new status, to wit: Deceased.

Warrior Dash

Some friends have invited us to travel to Mountain City, Georgia, to witness something called a Warrior Dash, which looks like a foot race with various obstacle courses to run through. We plan to take Joey and Jake so they can decide if they want to participate in the Warrior Dash that will take place in Manchester, Tennessee, on Constitution Day (September 17) this fall. If we do the fall event, we can stay at our nearby cabin in Estill Springs, which is very pretty in autumn.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Death of Osama Bin Laden

I woke up this morning and turned on the television to hear the news that Osama Bin Laden, who has been a fugitive from justice since the destruction of the World Trade Center twin towers in 2001, has been killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan. There will be no need for a military tribunal for him.

Some of Grandmother Ogle's Plates

My sister Laura has done some research on these dishes, which our grandparents used during the summer, from Blue Ridge Southern Pottery. The pottery operated in Irwin, Tennessee, from the late 1930's until it closed in 1957.

I knew these were valuable, and it’s a shame we’ve lost them. The dinner plates are selling for $65.95 each on Replacements.LTD website. They’re even more on places like EBay. In case you don’t remember the story, Grandmother and Paulene dug through barrels on the sidewalk at Hammers trying to find matches of this pattern. They paid $.25 cents each for them! I found out the name of the pattern is “Weathervane.”

I wonder if they are at our cabin.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunset At the Farm

Sherry took this photograph of Sarah and Bailey the dog at sunset at our friends' farm last weekend.

Busy Weekend

I picked Jake and Joey up from school Friday afternoon in Nashville on my way back home from Montgomery Bell State Park, and we've had a busy weekend. Sherry made two pecan pies, and we cooked chicken and cheesy potato casserole for supper Friday night. We woke the boys up early Saturday morning, and we all had breakfast before walking up the street to Sarah's soccer game, which Laura and Grace joined us for. Afterward, we packed a picnic lunch and drove out to Louisville Point Park to enjoy some sunshine by the lake. Sarah and I even went swimming, though the water was pretty chilly.

After our picnic, we drove over to Laura and Stewart's place on the Little River to visit with our cousins Fran and Kinsey, who were in town from Murfreesboro. We were there for a couple of hours, and then we made our way back to our house for a spaghetti supper. Everyone reconvened for Sunday brunch at the Tomato Head restaurant in Maryville before Fran and Kinsey had to head back to Middle Tennessee. It has been a busy weekend.