Monday, April 30, 2012

Morganton, Loudon County, Tennessee

Around these parts of East Tennessee, it is common to name roads after what is at the other end of them. To give a nearby example, the road known as Old Knoxville Highway on this end of it is known as Old Maryville Pike on the Knoxville end. Morganton Road begins near Foothills Mall in Maryville, but the only Morganton I know near here is Morganton, North Carolina, which is about three hours east of here on Interstate 40.

I learned via Wikipedia that there once was a town called Morganton, named for Gideon Morgan, a Revolutionary War soldier who operated a tavern in nearby Kingston. Morganton was a thriving river port, originally named Portville, but it died out as the railroad industry captured most of the shipping business that the river once carried. The site of Morganton, Tennessee, lies now under Tellico Lake.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Awaiting My Wife and Child

While La and I were in the country, Sherry and Sarah were in Nashville.  Sherry and Grams went to see A Prairie Home Companion at the Ryman Auditorium last night for Grams' birthday.  It is my understanding that Joey and Jake were to babysit their sister for the first time yesterday evening while Sherry and Grams went to the show.  I look forward to hearing their tales of the weekend, and to telling mine.

Spring Cleaning in Estill Springs

Laura and Grace just dropped me off at the house after we spent a weekend at The Camp.  Estill Springs was lovely, and we enjoyed both laziness and work.  Above is the wooden ramp my friends Johnny and Terry built in the '90's so that Granddaddy, who was starting to have problems getting around, could get down the hill from the driveway to his cabin. 

The ramp had a bottom step, also wooden, that was starting to rot out.  The square blocks in the foreground are marble slabs that the creek has washed downstream over the years.  Most recently, the children incorporated them into part of their dam.  With spring storms having washed away the dam, Laura and I hauled them up the hill from the river and replaced the rotten last step and added several stepping stones.  La also replaced the handrail.  We'll need to paint the ramp later this spring.

Laura really worked hard this weekend.  She was determined to address the front porch, which needed some love, not to mention some paint.  We plan to replace it after we replace the roof.  She also bleached down the bathroom and vacuumed the house, including the screened porch, which really needed it.  I put a coat of paint on the kitchen table, and dusted all of the very dusty surfaces in the living room.  There's always work to do at the cabin, but every little bit helps.
I took a few snapshots along the creek this morning. 
We started rebuilding the dam, but left a few gaps in it so that Jake and Joey and Sarah can close it off next time we're all there.

Behold, Loghenge!  The logs you see here positioned around our fire pit came from a tree that fell parallel to the creek last spring, making it inconvenient to access the creek at our accustomed spot.  We hired a crew to cut it into manageable logs that we could eventually turn into bonfires.  They await their fate.
There are a lot of cool, old things at the cabin, and I thought I would share some of them here. This is the first. Grandmother Ogle, born Willie J. Spencer, once saw a cobbler's bench, and she decided she wanted one for the Camp.  She had this one built, and during my lifetime it has never served as a work bench for a maker of shoes.  Instead, it holds things of great interest to children, like cards for playing Concentration and Uno, and a kazoo, and an old lock.
My niece Grace, pictured below on the deck, built the rock castle pictured above around a little pool at the edge of the creek where her mother and aunt and I enjoyed the same sort of fun way back when we were her age.  It is wonderful to see the next generation of kids play at the Camp!
Here's a view of the Camp from down at the creek. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Death of Mussolini

Benito Mussolini and his mistriss were executed on April 28, 1945.  Their bodies were then publicly displayed in the Italian city of Milan.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tell a Story

According to my Jimmy Buffett calendar, today is Tell a Story Day in the United States. It is celebrated six months from now, on October 27, in Great Britain. I have collected stories to tell for years, mainly in the form of bad jokes, and especially painful puns. I have several friends with whom I trade stories, and a good joke does wonders for the spirit. If you have a story to tell, today is a good day to tell one.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mount Etna Eruption

Mount Etna erupted on March 4, 2012. This image was taken from Sicily. I have a cousin who lives there. I'll have to ask him about it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Restaurant Review -- Carl's Drive In, Loudon, Tennessee

I was in Loudon, Tennessee, recently, and I stopped at Carl's Drive In, 1254 East Lee Highway, for a chicken sandwich and drink. It is an old-fashioned drive in restaurant where you order via speaker box, and the carhop brings you your meal on a tray that hangs on your car window. They served me quickly, and the sandwich was freshly made and hot. My meal was less than six dollars, including tipping the car hop a buck. The place reminds me of Amburn's Humdingers drive in, which is walking distance from our house here in Maryville.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

1847 Rogers Bros.

These two serving spoons belonged to Grandmother Ogle, and I use them both in the kitchen a lot, especially the larger spoon, which is nine and one-quarter inches long. It is really handy when you are mixing up a big batch of something. The other day I noticed some engraving on the back of the spoons that reads, "1847 Rogers Bros." I was excited by the idea that I might have spoons that were made during the Presidency of Tennessee's James K. Polk.

It turns out the spoons are not quite that old. The 1847 refers to the year the Rogers Brothers perfected the electroplating process used to silver plate their work. From what I can tell from this website, the large spoon is of the pattern Continental, made in 1923, the year Calvin Coolidge became President, and the small spoon is Anniversary, made in 1914, the year that the First World War began.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Barnabus Collins

With all of the buzz last week about Dick Clark's death and Pat Summitt's retirement as head coach of the Lady Vols basketball program, I just learned of the death last weekend of Jonathan Frid, who played Barnabus Collins in Dark Shadows in the '60's. It turns out that Frid was a life long resident of Hamilton, Ontario, where my brother-in-law Stewart has family. I found a report on their hometown newspaper's website.

In connection with the news of Frid's death, I also learned that Johnny Depp will appear as Barnabus in a film version of Dark Shadows, directed of course by Tim Burton, which will be released this spring.

Earth Day

This weekend, in observance of Earth Day, we made a compost bin. I used my new power drill to drill holes in one of the outdoor garbage cans we don't use, and we inaugurated the new compost bin with shredded newspaper and scraps of onion and celery from the Turkey Tetrazzini we made yesterday. We've recycled most of what we used to send to the landfill for several years, so we run about as green a household now as we ever have.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

John Sevier Spring Festival

Sherry and Sarah went to the spring celebration at the school she will attend next year, John Sevier Elementary School. The child was delighted to win the cake walk.

She also got to meet this K-9 officer.

The Alcoa Fire Department was on hand to teach children about fire safety.

Sarah and her friend Jamie got their hair painted.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Martian Dust Devil

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sent home this image of a dust devil dancing across the surface of Mars. The dust devil is about a half mile long. (Via Neatorama)

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I have a dental appointment this afternoon, so this Wall Street Journal article on flossing caught my eye. I've always been diligent about brushing my teeth, and I have my stepfather Ron to thank for getting me to start flossing in my twenties. He offered my sisters and I each $100.00 one Christmas if we could honestly say by the following Christmas that we flossed regularly, and I've brushed and flossed after almost every meal ever since. The WSJ pieces says that flossing "[o]nce a day is plenty." I'll ask Dr. Battle about that this afternoon.

UPDATE: Dr. Battle agrees and advises that one should floss once a day in the evening.

Spring Show

Here's my niece Grace all decked out for her school's spring show. Her mother commented that she is a ham, and I responded that it runs in the family.

La Vie Dansante

My friend Randy, who now lives in Fort Walton Beach on Florida's gulf coast, shared this photograph of his sailboat, La Vie Dansante, yesterday. We didn't get to go sailing when we went down there last summer, so I hope we can work it in on our summer vacation this year. We've already booked our favorite condo down in Seagrove Beach, and Sherry's photographs from her Caribbean trip really have me ready for the beach!

Oreo Cheesecake

Erin's Food Files has the recipe for this delight, Oreo Cheesecake Cake. Yum!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eighteenth of April

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere made his famous ride to warn his countrymen of approaching redcoats. Reading Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, which my Great Aunt Jane (Granddaddy Ogle's sister) introduced me to as a child, has become an annual tradition each April. Grandmother and Granddaddy took my sisters and I to the Old North Church when we were kids, and back then they would still let you climb the ladder to the belfry.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Aquarium Visit

Sarah's class went on a field trip to Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. I hadn't been on a field trip with her since last fall, when the class went to visit the Blount County Landfill, so I accompanied the class as a chaperon. The visit to the aquarium began with a classroom lecture, and there wasn't enough room for the parents on the trip, which gave me some quiet time to take in the nearby exhibits. I ended up responsible for Sarah and three other kids, and it was all I could do to keep an eye on them as they raced through the building during the rest of the time we were there.

The kids enjoyed touching the horseshoe crabs. Primitive things, horseshoe crabs have been around for 300 million years. They were swimming around Earth's oceans 100 million years before the dinosaurs, and they existed before flying insects and flowering plants.

This example of the species, homo sapiens sapiens, was running amok in the aquarium. It took a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, her native fare, to calm her down.

This is a depiction of the skeleton of a giant, prehistoric crocodile. These bad boys were about forty feet long.

The aquarium has impressive exhibits with sharks, sting rays, giant sea turtles and moray eels, and there is a cool penguin exhibit there as well. We got to see the penguins feed, but I couldn't get a photograph because of the flash reflecting off of the Plexiglas. I managed to get this snapshot of a shark, though.

Notice the shark bearing down on Sarah. Sharks eat neither lawyers nor members of their family due to professional courtesy, which explains her lack of concern.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wild Stonecrop

Shortly after I first started practicing law in Maryville there was a little street fair on Broadway, and I bought a couple of wildflowers from one of the vendors. One of them was a wild stonecrop plant like this one. According to Wildflowers of the Smokies, its scientific name is sedum ternatum, and it can be found on Little River Road and Chestnut Top Trail in the Smokies. The little street fair, by the way, grew up to be the Foothills Fall Festival.

The aforementioned wildflower book indicates that stonecrop is a plant one wants to keep happy. "Mountain folklore claims they act as barometers. If sedum thrives near the home, good times will follow. Conversely, a withering plant foreshadows death." Alas, the stonecrop plant I bought at the street fair died several years ago, but I quickly replaced it with this thriving plant I transplanted from my friend Bart's place, Mighty Oak, on Melton Hill Lake.

Saint Kitts

The second port of call on Sherry's Caribbean adventure was Saint Kitts, which had lovely weather while she was there.

They diaper their monkeys down in Saint Kitts, which is probably a good thing if you are going to let them sit on your head like Joey and Jake did.

Sherry and her boys dine after exploring the island.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saint Martin

The first port of call for Sherry, and Grams and Jake and Joey was Saint Martin, and these are photographs that Sherry took there and aboard the cruise ship. Above, they pose for a group shot in what appears to be the ship's dining room. Below, Joey and Jake pose on the beach with the obigatory Caribbean reggae singer. Sherry bought his CD, and it's pretty decent.

Here are a couple of views of the island.

I'm sure the boys enjoyed having a cabin to themselves.

Trillium at the Camp

Johnny and I took the kids on a wading drip down the creek a ways last weekend in Estill Springs, and we were surprised to find some trillium growing along the bank. This caused us to immediately start plotting and scheming about finding some to plant at the Camp. There was no need. This plant was growing along the walk from the driveway to the house, and another was growing beside the driveway.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spaghetti Saturday

Sarah spent the night with Mom last night while Sherry and I attended the Blount County Lincoln Day Dinner. I drove over to Knoxville to pick the child up this morning, and we had breakfast with Mom at the Papermill Drive Waffle House, which is our usual routine when Sarah stays overnight with her paternal grandmother.

When we got back home, we picked up Sherry to run some errands, including our weekly grocery run. I've got a batch of spaghetti sauce on the stove, most of which will go into lasagna, and we've got a turkey to cook tomorrow for a belated Easter dinner, since Sherry was traveling home from the Caribbean last Sunday.

Yokanu Tower

While on their rainforest excursion in the El Yunque Rainforest on Puerto Rico, Sherry and Jake and Joey visited Yakanu Tower, where they were able to get a view of the rainforest from its top. I am curious about the tower's history, but couldn't find any online.

Joey and Jake gaze at the rainforest from between the merlons. I don't think of islands having mountains, but Puerto Rico apparently sports some decent peaks and ridges.