Monday, August 31, 2015

Steve's Birthday

Today is my birthday, so here is a picture of me as a baby.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Birthday Saturday

We celebrated my birthday yesterday, and the weather was fine for enjoying the deck and catching some sunshine as our summer winds down.
Grams had this cool lounge chair shipped to us for my birthday. Jake gave it a thorough test drive.
We had way too much food, including this cool Spiderman cake Sherry bought for the party. (I turn 52 tomorrow, but you're never too old for a Spiderman birthday cake.)
We had some old friends come out for the gathering, including Sike, pictured here with Laura and me. Two old friends, Mel and Brent, with whom we went to high school, also came out, and we annoyed the neighbors until way past my bedtime. It was a fun day.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Around Maryville

Although my birthday is still a couple days away, we are celebrating today and expecting friends and family to join us. It should be fun.
Last weekend we had lunch at Barley's after the Primary Players auditions. I had pizza, specifically the white pie with sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and Italian sausage. It sounds like an odd combination, but it is very good. As you can see, across the street the Capitol Theater was having some work done on its marquee.
This is a shot I took of Blount Memorial Hospital, Sherry's place of employment, last week.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Saint Augustine

On August 28, 1565, the Feast of Saint Augustine, Spanish ships commanded by Admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés spotted land in Florida. He founded the city of Saint Augustine shortly thereafter.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Throwback Thursday

For throwback Thursday, here is a picture of Sherry, the boys and me in 2002 on Crab Island near Destin harbor. It was our first trip to Destin with Jake and Joey after our marriage on Valentine's Day that year.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Meanwhile, On Mars

The Curiosity rover has now spent three Earth years up on Mars. This is a view from its mast camera. Visit NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day website for a better view.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Stamps, Cherry Trees and Dogwoods

Everyone knows that Washington, DC, has lovely cherry trees that blossom in the spring, a gift from Japan during the Taft administration (1912). Taft reciprocated by sending dogwood trees to Japan, which is something I did not know until I read the back of the pictured postage stamps.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my father's birthday. Phillip Ellis Ogle would have been 78 today, but he died in 1993 at age of 55.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Suddenly, a Wild Jake Appeared

Joey, Sarah and Jake

Jake has been talking about moving here from Kingston Springs for some time, with the conversations with his mother about it becoming more serious of late. There was talk yesterday that he might be heading this way, but when I went to bed he was to stay the night with a friend in Nashville. When I got up this morning, his truck was parked on the street in front of the house, so after breakfast we helped him bring in his clothes and worked on making some space in our upstairs bonus room, which will serve as his bedroom until the lad can get himself to work and get an apartment of his own. Needless to say, his mother is overjoyed.

Meanwhile, his brother Joey moved into his first college apartment this week up in Clarksville after living in the dorms last year. He and three friends have an apartment together, and from the pictures I've seen, it looks pretty nice, much better than the garage apartment I lived in up on Fort Sanders hill when I first moved out of the house.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Today, So Far

Sherry has taken Sarah to audition for a part in the upcoming Primary Players production of The Little Mermaid, Jr. She has to both sing and do a spoken monologue. I tried to get her to do Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech, but her mother convinced her to do Sally in the pumpkin patch berating Linus after the Great Pumpkin turned out to be just Snoopy. As I usually do on Saturday mornings, I ran errands around town.

The girls were going to have bagels at the audition, so I started out with a chicken sandwich for my breakfast at the Bojangles on the parkway before hauling our recycling to the recycling center and then doing our weekly grocery shopping. I suspect that the Primary Players gang will grab lunch somewhere after the auditions conclude, and Sherry's going to come pick me up so I can join them if that is the case. Mom was talking about coming over for a visit thereafter, so we should have a fairly busy Saturday when it is all said and done with.

Leslie's Pictures from the Camp

Sister Les, shown above getting some love from her adoring nieces, sent me these pictures she took during our trip to the Camp last weekend. Last Saturday we started our morning with a nice big breakfast at Sample's Family Restaurant, which is on Main Street (Highway 41-A) in Estill Springs and very close to our cabin.

A visit to Franklin County often finds us visiting the Wal-Martians in Decherd, and this trip was no exception. We dropped some cash there for household supplies, groceries and some new lamps for the cabin to serve us until we have some electrical work done next year.
Saturday afternoon, of course, found us back in the creek enjoying the sunshine and playing in the water. No one was interested in damming up the creek, as we often do, but we burned up the wood the roofers put in our fire pit, so we had a nice fire to run the bugs off and to toast marshmallows.
Yes, my sisters are twins.
As you can see, we dress very casually at the Camp, and I usually keep my head covered with a bandanna or T-shirt to avoid ticks, which are plentiful there. We also keep plenty of deep woods Off insect repellent on hand.
The kids had a good time together on this trip, both at the creek and in the cabin playing on the living room floor, both of which my sisters and I enjoyed when we were little kids and Dad and the grandparents would take us out there.
Grace had a Leslie-powered boat for a while that afternoon. A couple of years ago Sarah spent a good thirty minutes hauling me upstream on a float and letting me float back downstream. I commented at the time, if I had never thought about having a kid for any other reason, it would be worth it just for that service.

Acropolis of Athens

My friend Thanos was planning to visit us here in East Tennessee this weekend from Mississippi, but he was unable to make it. We are hoping to reschedule. He is originally from Athens, Greece (not the one just down Highway 411 in McMinn County, Tennessee), so in his honor here is a picture of the Acropolis of Athens.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hawaii Admission Day

On August 21, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the proclamation admitting Hawaii to as the 50th state in the Union. The event is celebrated on the third Friday of August as Hawaii Admission Day. Aloha!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Throwback Thursday

For Throwback Thursday this week, here is Sarah as an infant surrounded by toys in her nursery.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Remember Winter?

We've had a hot summer here in East Tennessee, although temperatures have been cooler this week inasmuch as we've had some rain. As a reminder of winter's wrath last February, I thought I'd post a couple of photographs from our rough winter weather earlier this year. The ice storm knocked out power out for a couple of days, which was not fun.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Happy Birthday, Virginia Dare

Virginia Dare, the first child born to English parents in America, was born August 18, 1587. She was born in what is now North Carolina.

Monday, August 17, 2015

My Next Car

I've been thinking of replacing my Honda, but was unsure of what I wanted to drive next. I think I have that problem solved. (Via Neatorama)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

New Roof at the Camp

In August 2011, my sisters and I started contributing monthly to an account in order to save money to replace the roof on our grandparents' cabin in Estill Springs, Tennessee. Over the years, as the roof needed to be replaced, Grandmother and Granddaddy hired roofers that just added new shingles on top of the old shingles, resulting in a lot of weight bearing down on that old house for many decades.
As you can see, the old girl has a new roof to protect her. It is our generation's biggest contribution to the Camp during our stewardship of it. We put Sarah and Grace on notice this weekend that they will be responsible for putting the next roof on our Hillside Cottage.
The two cousins enjoyed lots of play time, and spent hours playing make-believe with some of Grace's new toys. They also did plenty of adventuring in the creek, and they spotted a very pretty snake warming itself on a tree branch extended out over the creek downstream from us. I was proud of how they handled the experience. They did not panic, as some people might, but enjoyed observing the creature without disturbing its sunbathing. I was glad they called us down to take a look.
Ogles in their natural habitat.
Franklin County had a bit of rain Friday, and the wet woods provided a nice mist that evening when we made it down to the creek after a lot of cleaning inside in the wake of the roofing project. It was nice to cool down at the creek after a couple hours of wiping down surfaces and cleaning floors.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


My friend Gregg's family had a vacation home in Yaupon Beach, North Carolina, back in the 1980's, and we stayed there a couple of times. I remember that it felt like a residential neighborhood, except you were on the ocean. It was the most quiet beach I've ever visited, although I'm sure it is busier now.

It never occurred to me to wonder what Yaupon was. According to an article I recently read on the NPR website, it is a bush, pictured above, that can produce a tea, a practice learned by Europeans from Native Americans back in the day.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Grey Morning in Louisville, Tennessee

I am planning a meeting that will take place later this summer at Louisville Point Park, just down the street from my former home in that fine municipality. I went out to measure the tables at the pavilion so I could buy plastic covering, and it was a grey morning out there. This shows the Tennessee River with west Knox County on the other side.
Louisville Point Park is a peninsula that separates Louisville Lake, the flooded out valley of Lackey Creek, from Fort Loudon Lake, the flooded out valley of the Tennessee River. You can just see Louisville Lake through the trees and past the playground.
Although there was a drizzle, there were a few intrepid fishermen that launched from Louisville that morning. Having lived on the lake for about eight years, I think all the weather out there is beautiful. It's like the beach, only at home.

Happy Birthday, Buck Owens!

Country music star Buck Owens, known for the Bakersfield sound, was born on August 12, 1929. I know him best from his performances on Hee Haw. He passed in 2006.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Breakfast With Uncle Mack and Aunt Nancy

Before we departed Hickory, we met my Uncle Mack and Aunt Nancy for breakfast at the local Cracker Barrel, and it was the first time I'd seen either of them in person for many years. As Mom's younger brother, Uncle Mack was an important influence on my love for the outdoors. I remember going out on Lake Hickory before dawn in his boat to catch crappie, and we came home with a chain full of them. I still have the quartz arrowheads he gave me when I was a boy, and he has a killer spaghetti sauce recipe. Aunt Nancy and Uncle Mack have been together since they were teenagers and are a love story that cannot be beat. I can understand why he wanted to marry her as soon as he met her. She is one of the sweetest human beings I have ever known.
Uncle Mack, being a much superior photographer to this author, captured this shot of our group around the breakfast table.

Monday, August 10, 2015

In Hickory With Many Old Friends

I spent my freshman and sophomore years in college at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson, North Carolina, which is about 15-20 minutes from Hickory, and I still have friends in the area, as well as family. We planned a lunch gathering downtown for Saturday, and saw a lot of old friends.
Cousin Jon bought this hunk of pig to roast for supper, and he fired up his grill early that morning to begin the smoking process. We made a run to Krispy Kreme for breakfast, and the hot doughnut sign was alight. I was able to bring my good lady wife hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast in bed.
We had a big group, and the servers kindly pushed a bunch of tables together to make room for us. After lunch, I sort of roamed from one end of the table to the other, occupying empty seats as they became available to visit as much as I could with everyone. Here I am with my friend Ben and his wife.
Sherry and the newly engaged Robert Internationale are shown in this picture. (He is Internationale from a trip to Europe in 2000 and was our Alexander County ambassador to the world.) Apparently braided beards are a thing in Hickory these days. Robert's and Ben's weren't the only ones we saw.
From left to right are Tracey (known by his D&D name, Tazmar), myself and Kevin. Taz and I talk frequently on the phone, and he came to my birthday a couple of years ago. He wants to plan a camping or cabin trip this fall, and I'm trying to sell him on Roan Mountain State Park.

Kevin was one of my first friends in North Carolina when I moved there to go to school, but I had not seen him since fall 2006. I had to contact our mutual friend Sig to get a number for him. It was fun to catch up with a longtime friend.
Pictured are my second cousins, Scott and Jon (seated). We worked together for their parents at Style Craft Sample Company, a business that crafted fabric samples for the furniture industry before most of it went overseas from North Carolina. Their mother Barbara and my mother Wanette are first cousins.
Another friend I don't get to see very often is Todd, whom I still think of as Purple, his nickname back in our college days. He and I independently devoted much of our professional careers to protecting children, which gives us something in common besides spending part of our college time together.
From left to right are Gregg, myself and Tazmar. We have had many adventures and shared much history together. There's plenty of both left for us, I think.
My friend Pat and his wife Miki pose in downtown Hickory as our gathering dissipated. This whole trip started for us when I realized I hadn't talked to Pat in years. I called Jon and got Pat's contact information, and we made plans to meet in Hickory for a Style Craft reunion. (Pat worked there, too.) It blossomed into an excellent gathering of folks.