Another Family Reunion in the Books

“The memories we make with our family is everything.” – Candace Cameron Bure

It’s official another White family reunion is under our belts. All my dad’s brothers and sisters, that are still with is we’re there. Lots of great food and trips down memory lane.

I went to the cemetery to visit the graves of family members. As I stood there I thought back to when I was a child and the Decoration Day’s of the past. Now off to visit my grandparents old farm.

As I stood there in front of my grandparents house my mind began a journey back in time. An image of the house of yesterday began emerging and the house that used to be filled with love and life was once again before me. Much different than the house that was void of both in present time.

I saw my grandpa working the truck patch with his old mule Mike. Grandma was planting marigolds in the soil he had ready for planting. She was wearing her sun bonnet and her apron was covering the dress she wore. She always said the marigolds would keep bugs out of the rest of the garden.

Then the vision of us sitting in the porch swings waiting to take our turn at cranking the handle on the ice cream maker appeared so vividly before me. It was so real I could taste it.

I revisited the Christmas celebrations that happened within the walls of the old house. I remembered sleeping in the unheated bedroom snuggled in the warmth of the featherbed with a hundred pounds of quilts covering me. I would be awakened by the aroma of fresh made coffee and the unforgettable smell of bacon frying and homemade biscuits baking. I would jump out of bed and run into the living room and stand next to the wood stove to get warm.

Life was so simple then. The only technology in the house was the rabbit ear antenna wrapped in aluminum foil to help television reception.

The old outhouse was gone. Grandma had an old tom turkey who would always lay in waiting until I made my morning visit to the outhouse and he would chase me until I reached the safety of the outhouse. As I stood there I caught myself looking over my shoulder making sure the old tom wasn’t stalking me.

The old barn is gone but my grandpa’s pond was still there overgrown with brush. All the grandkids had fished in that pond at one time or another.

The trip down memory lane was so refreshing but the real world is starting to creep back into my mind. Time to go…………..

During your celebration of Memorial Day please take the time to remember those who gave all.

All pictures are the property of Double D Acres LLC and may not be used or reproduced without permission.

No, They Are Not Just Dogs!

Kate

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My dogs are family and treated like family. Yeah, I’m one of those!! If they don’t like you I probably won’t either. If you visit my house I guarantee when you leave you will have dog hair hitching a ride. I can’t imagine what life would be like without them. Kate is a 2011 model and Eros a 2012. Kate had a few problems when she was a pup. She had crystals in her urine and had hip surgery at a year old.

She slept on the couch and I slept on the floor beside her. When she was healed up she became my ride dog.

I am a retired farrier and she loved going to the barns with me. She took her riding shotgun seriously.

Then there is Eros. He was so little when he was a pup. He now ways 124 pounds.

He can be pretty intimidating. He is a big teddy bear. He is definitely a “protector”.

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than you loves yourself.” – Josh Billings

They both have their own personalities. They are good listeners, loyal, and give unconditional love. They are always glad to see you and add joy to your life.

Now don’t get me wrong. They can get sick and leave a big mess to clean up and they can just simply be a pain in the butt. They are a huge responsibility. All in all I still say they are worth it.

Nope they aren’t just dogs. They’re family.

Kindness

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

Kindness was alive and prevalent in the 50s and 60s, I think any way. Folks now days seem to have a bur under their saddle. There is so much hostility in the world. I don’t know if it is because their undies are too tight or maybe there is a lot more stress in the world today.

The good thing about kindness is it doesn’t cost you anything. It’s free and it can make such a difference in someone’s life including yours.

There are so many simple acts of kindness that we can perform also. Smile at someone, open the door for someone, compliment someone, or just say “hi” and ask them how they are doing.

You have 30 items in your cart and the person behind you has 1. Let them go ahead of you in line.

I know people can be rude. Always remember there may be a reason for their rudeness. A family member might have died, their spouse might have left them, or they might have been hit with a medical bill they can’t afford. There are all kinds of reasons, just remember that before you judge them.

I can remember when kindness abound in the farming communities. They always helped each other. Even they have changed. With a hay shortage some years back in Texas, farmers in other states took advantage of Texas farmers and was selling them hay at over inflated prices. There were some though who out of kindness just gave them the hay to feed their animals.

We as a society need to bring kindness back into the world in epidemic proportions. Set a goal of doing 3,10 or even more acts of kindness a day. Hate can be eradicated with love and kindness. Let’s make the rest of 2019 the “Year of Kindness”.

Remember to spread the love and be kind to one another.

Unfathomable Determination

The rain has pretty much settled in for the night. I sit here with my eyes closed listening to the raindrops dancing on the tin roof creating a soothing symphony.

My mind focuses on those brave men and women, the pioneers, who settled the west. They had no idea of the challenges they would face. The only idea they had of where they were going was the tales they had in there minds put there by the adventurers who went before them.

There were stories of feast and famine. Massacres. Whole wagon trains who died and didn’t fulfill their dreams. Disease and prairie fires. Yet these people had a dream that so obsessed them they were willing to sacrifice anything and everything to follow their dream. That profound dedication my friends died with them and no longer exists in this country anymore.

I don’t know if you have ever been camping in the rain but I can tell you from experience it can be very miserable.

I sit here in the coziness of my cabin listening to the rain and I have a vision of men, women, and children huddled together under the rain fly of a wagon trying to get their nourishment so they will have the stamina to do another 10 to 20 miles beginning at dawn. One can only imagine the sore muscles they must have been nursing. Wondering how much further they have to travel. How many more river crossings and broken wagon wheels they will have to endure. Will it be their wagon that breaks this time? How many more of their possessions will they have to leave behind so they can lighten the load on the wagons so they can get them over the mountain?

With these things dancing through their minds it had to be difficult to sleep. Knowing all to well they needed to sleep so they could get the much needed rest to complete another leg of their journey.

The fingers of dawn ascend on their camp. The rain has stopped and the day promises sunshine to dry things out. They begin packing the wagons, hitching the teams and checking the wagons so they can start out once again. They have to battle the annoying suction created by the mud delivering another hardship for them to deal with.

Guts and grit kept them pushing toward their destination and failure was not an option. True representation of determination and faith. They not only needed faith in God. They had to have faith in those leading them and most of all faith in themselves. There were those who celebrated and those who endured heartbreak. So many died along those trails who never lost sight of their dream and died trying to bring their dream to reality.

People could learn a lot from these pioneers and use it in their lives to achieve their dreams. Don’t ever stop believing. They didn’t.

Spread the love and be kind to one another. It doesn’t cost you anything.

Life 101!

“Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.” Oliver Goldsmith

Once a person slides through the birth canal and pops out into the world, it’s “game on”, the journey has begun.  Nope you can’t go back.  No matter how hard you try, you can’t scratch and claw your way back into the birth canal and hide.  Now put on your big boy/girl panties and grab life by the horns because it is going to be one hell of a ride.

The first eighteen years is tough.   For the biggest part of those years, someone else makes decisions for you.  There will be times that you will swear those people making those decisions have only one purpose in life.  Yep.  In this complicated world, believe it or not, just one.  Make your life as miserable as they can!  When you start thinking this way, the odds are that you have graduated to teenager status and at this point you know it all.

Then that big day comes.  You achieve adulthood and the biggest surprise, you are alive.  You survived.  Now we are going to see what you are made of.  You thought it was tough when the internet was down for 3 days, well you ain’t seen anything yet.

“No one saves us but ourselves.  No one can and no one may.  We ourselves must walk the path.” – Buddha

Now folks this stat may blow you away.  Americans between the ages of 18-34 are more likely to live with their parents than in any other living situation.  Pew Research Center’s analysis found that in that age group 32.1 percent will live with their parents.  Marriage/Cohabitating 31.6 percent, Alone/Head of Household 14%, Other 22%               Men are more likely to live with their parents while women are more likely to take a spouse or partner.  Now I don’t know about the rest of you but these numbers blow me away.  Damn if I did that I bet I would still have a curfew of midnight.  In high school my dates could stay out longer than me.  Needless to say I didn’t stay at home until I was 34.  Nope.  Instead I learned how to cook and do laundry.  Do you know how embarrassing it is when your date’s dad says have her home by 1 a.m. and you say I will sir.  Little did he know I had to be home at midnight.

“Life is a journey and it’s about growing and changing and coming to terms with who and what you are and loving who and what you are.” – Kelly McGillis

Well I hope you enjoyed the blog today.  I appreciate you stopping by and reading it.  Shh, don’t read so loud you might wake them up and they might throw me out.  I am still blown away that more people live with their parents than with a partner or spouse.  Be sure to spread the love.

Is Mother Nature Trying to Tell Us Something?

“Sooner or later, we will have to recognize that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution.  What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.” –Evo Morales

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The calm before the storm hit Monsanto Lake.

“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” – Willa Cather

It seems lately that Mother Nature has lost her mind.  Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and other destruction has been in the news lately.

Ice and Snow in Florida- Early January brought snowflakes to the Florida panhandle for the first time since 1989 ( since 1885 if you are talking about January)

Snow in the Sahara- Algeria received 15 inches of snow.

Coldest April followed by hottest May

Four nor’easters in a row- Northeast US was hit with four winter storms in one month

Fires are destroying thousands of acres in California while parts of Hawaii battles with the destructive forces of a volcano.  What does it mean?  Is Mother Nature trying to tell us something?  Is Mother Earth crying out for help?

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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“It also called upon traditional people in the Four Directions to strengthen the healing ceremonies and asked people to heed the warnings of Mother Earth.” – Dennis Banks

Most folks are going to say I am crazy but I am a firm believer that Mother Nature is trying to warn us that unless we quit destroying Mother Earth things are only going to get worse.

We can’t keep pumping chemicals into our rivers and streams and air.  Mother Nature’s filtration system is getting plugged up.  Think of it as the air filter in your furnace.  It traps all the bad stuff that would hurt the furnace and when it gets full you take it out, throw it away and put in a new one.  Mother Nature can’t do that.

The only way we can help is to get our heads out of our asses and get serious about a plan to heal this planet.  Hell folks, according to Steven Solomon, author of “Water: The Epic Struggle For Wealth, Power and Civilization” , “Water is overtaking oil as our scarcest natural resource in the world.”  We need to desperately change our way of thinking.  We need to realize that we can’t keep depleting our resources without a plan to replenish them.  Trees have a big job in the ecosystem. Some countries are completely destroying the jungles and not replanting.  Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other poisonous gases and emit oxygen.  Don’t know if it is true or not but I once heard that one large tree can supply a day’s worth of oxygen for four people.  What happens if we keep cutting the trees without replanting and suddenly there aren’t enough plants to produce the amount of oxygen needed to sustain life on Mother Earth?

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I want everyone to think about something for a minute.  Yeah maybe I am crazy however, what if Mars once looked like Mother Earth.  Oceans, rivers, mountain streams, vast forest land, occupied by some greedy, uncaring inhabitants.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  It is deeply appreciated.  Remember to spread the love.

 

Memorial Day

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This grave is located in the Masonic Cemetery in Farmington, MO.

Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” – Franklin D Roosevelt

Memorial Day is upon us.  I know some of you out there aren’t going to believe this but there is a real purpose and reason for Memorial Day other than going out and seeing how hard you can party for three days.  It is a holiday with true meaning and really shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Memorial day was first observed on May 30, 1868 and in 1971 by an act of Congress it was declared a national holiday.  The day of observance was also changed from May 30 to the last Monday in May.  It is also referred to as “Decoration Day”.  The practice of decorating soldiers graves has been a custom for some time even before the Civil War.

In 1868 Memorial Day ceremonies began at Gettysburg National Park but wasn’t known nationally until 1913.  That year veterans of the United States Army and Confederate Army converged on Gettysburg to commemorate the most famous and bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

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Picture taken by me in the Masonic Cemetery located in Farmington, MO.

There will be a special ceremony at this Revolutionary Soldier’s grave tomorrow but I am sorry I don’t know the time.

“For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.” James A. Garfield

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My office at K of P Cemetery located in Farmington, Mo.

As I sit here writing my mind is taken back many years ago when I was a child and we would go camping upon the banks of the St. Francois River at a place we dubbed “sandy banks” located just below the Lake Wappapello dam.  There are a lot of great memories on those banks.  It has been at least 45 years since I have been there but it just seems just like yesterday.

War brings so many casualties and adds to the populations of the cemeteries.  This is the day that was designated by Congress to remember those that lost their lives while serving in the military.  To all you party revelers out there, you have had two days to play and party hard.  I ask that you take one minute of your time today and have a moment of silence for those brave men and women who paid the ultimate price with their lives.

I mow three cemeteries and know for a fact that a lot of graves never receive flowers or visitors.  I would like to see a movement in this country where folks adopt one of those soldiers graves and decorate it with flowers.  You don’t have to know them to place flowers on their graves.

 

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My great grandparents headstone located in Arkansas.

Many areas of the country also decorate the graves of their family members regardless of them not being a vet.

In closing I want to wish everyone a safe holiday and if you are traveling be careful.  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.

 

Bonne Terre, Mo Vacation

 

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St. Francois River in Silver Mines Recreation Area

 

Vacation time is upon us.  Do you like small towns?  If you do, don’t look any further than Bonne Terre, MO located in St. Francois County about 60 miles south of St. Louis, MO..  Population is a little over seven thousand and it is located in the lead belt of Missouri.  The French settled here in 1720 after the discovery of iron ore.  It was platted as a town in 1880.

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Bonne Terre Dragstrip

National Geographic calls Bonne Terre Mine “One of America’s Top 10 Greatest adventures. Take a walking tour of the old mine and take a boat ride on the Billion Gallon underground lake.  They also have scuba diving classes.  You can find out more at http://www.bonneterremine.com.

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A turtle sunning at Bismark Lake

There are many near by attractions one can also enjoy.  If you are a fisherman you are in luck.  Big river is near by and Bismark Lake.  Bonne Terre has its own city lake.  Then there  is Monsanto Lake located in beautiful St. Joe Park.  You can also ride your four wheeler or dirt bike in the off road park inside St. Joe Park.

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Monsanto Lake

Bonne Terre is only 32 miles from the Arcadia Valley.  In the valley you will find the towns of Arcadia, Ironton and Pilot Knob.  A significant battle of the Civil War happened in the valley at Fort Davidson in Pilot Knob.  Just up the road from there you can find Johnson’s Shut-Ins, Elephant Rocks and Taum Sauk State Parks.

 

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A building inside St. Joe Park

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  It is much appreciated.  You get a chance check out Bonne Terre.  Be safe out there.  Spread the love!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change; Good or Bad?

“Every human has four endowments- self awareness, conscience,  independent will, and creative imagination.  These give us the ultimate human freedom… the power to choose, to respond, to change.” Stephen Covey

Once we squeeze through the birth canal and leave the warmth of the womb and take that first breath there is no turning back.  Our “life clock” has began ticking and we have so much to learn and everything we learn is subject to change.  Sometimes change is good and sometimes it isn’t.

Life experiences are responsible for defining our character and preparing us for adulthood.  The leaders of life experiences are parenting and schooling.  One prime example of change is parenting.  Parenting of the 50s and 60s was a whole lot different than the parenting of today.  My life clock began in 1954 and I have seen parenting change for the worse in my opinion.  Schooling has changed immensely also and all I have to say is I am glad I was a child of the 50s and 60s.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Unfortunately as we are rolling along down life’s highway with adulthood in our sights, we can pick up something like “bigotry” or other negative energies and they pollute our hearts and minds and if we let it, it will pollute everything around us.  Therefore we need some kind of filtration system and be smart enough to identify these negative energies.

My filtration system is Mother Nature.  It might be camping out along the river, kayaking the river or sitting on a high spot on a ridge watching the sun set or rise.  Mother Nature does a good job of absorbing those negative energies that have hitched a ride with me.  It doesn’t have to be Mother Nature but should be something you love doing.  Shedding those negative energies is a positive change.

“If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

I don’t think we understand that “egos” cause a lot of problems and changes.  I call it the “hungry beast” because it seems like it needs to be fed a lot.  I know some people who are constantly feeding their egos without realizing how much damage that massive ego can do.  It can be a person’s worse nightmare.  It can completely change a person from well liked to a person who can clear a room by just walking into it.

Sometimes society goes head first in the world trying to change things.  A lot of times they do this without thinking it through and not taking the time to envision what these changes are going to do in the long run.  What impact is this change going to have on the highway of life?  Is it going to be full of speed bumps or is it going to be like gliding down a toll road?  We really need to start looking at the full impact of changing something before we do it.  Just this humble bloggers opinion for what it is worth.

“Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.” – Hugh Prather

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  It is deeply appreciated.  A big shout out to all of you who follow me and read my posts.  I finally broke 200 and I thank everyone of you who made it possible.  Remember, spread the love.  It will make the world a better place.

One Hole or Two

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If you use Facebook I am sure you have seen this before.  If you have used one you are going to know where I am coming from but if you have not I may be hard to follow.

My story begins in Lafe, Arkansas in the 50s.  My grandparents had a farm located here.  They lived in an old farmhouse with out running water and ………NO BATHROOM!  Yep you heard me right, no bathroom.

Now it just so happens that they did have an outhouse.  Because of their glamorous aroma, especially in the hot weather months, the outhouse was located some distance from the house.  Did I mention that it didn’t have electric in it.  Anyway ours wasn’t just any old outhouse.  No siree!  It was a genuine two hole privy.  Not just one hole by two!  Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, we were styling.

Or were we.  Now if you have never seen a two hole privy let me tell ya, the holes ain’t that far apart and there is no divider or stall like you see in the public bathrooms today.  Nope, just two holes cut in a piece of wood.  However my grandpa had installed a couple of real toilet seats which added some comfort.  Now for the life of me I can not, CAN NOT, imagine two people sitting there, that close together, beside each other having their morning bowel movement.  I read that back and it even sounds sick.  I don’t ever recall seeing two people coming out of the outhouse together.  One hole would have been enough.

 

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Grandparents old house.

Now when I was knee high to a grasshopper I became acquainted with my grandma’s tom turkey.  Now he had somehow figured out that I was terrified of him.  Now in my defense, if you have never seen an old tom all puffed up and strutting his stuff and coming at you don’t pass judgement on me.  I am here to tell ya that will scare the devil out of you especially when you are only 5.

Now every time I had to go to the bathroom that old tom would be between me and the outhouse.  I need to explain something at this point.  When a guy is headed for the outhouse that can only mean one thing because there were plenty of trees to tinkle behind.  Ok now that I explained that, when you have had a big plate of biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast time is of the essence.  It is dangerous to be playing around at this time.

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Another view of the old farmhouse.

My grandparents got running water in 1970.  All the kids, there were nine, chipped in and had a well drilled for them.  Then five years later my uncle and I put a bathroom in the old farmhouse for them.  I remember one visit in the summer not long after we installed the bathroom, I saw grandma grab the TP and head for the barn (outhouse had finally succumbed to gravity).  I asked her why she didn’t use the bathroom and she said it was too “purty” to mess up.  That winter when I was down visiting and the snow was whirling she used the inside bathroom.  I guess the bathroom wasn’t that “purty after all.

I had a lot of fun on the farm.  I wish my son would have been able to experience some of the things that happened on the farm.  It was a great time in my life that I will always cherish and Grandma White, well she was a saint and the sweetest person you ever met.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post.   I hoe you enjoyed it.  Remember share the love.