Sunday, May 27, 2007

Crazy Hats at St. Luke's

As many of you know, I'm a free-lance journalist and sometime photographer. Here are the photos I took to publicize our church's Crazy Hat Luncheon:

Women of Luke's Episcopal Church in Mineral Wells, Texas, will host its third annual Crazy Hats Luncheon on Friday, June 8, from 11:30 am-1:30 pm. St. Luke's Episcopal Church is located at 600 NW 6th Street in Mineral Wells. The price of the luncheon will be $6.00 per person, take out or eat in. Raffles will be held during the luncheon; raffle tickets are $1.00 each. Come wearing your crazy hat, eat, and join in the fun. Prizes will be given for the craziest hats!

Don't ya love these crazy hats?!?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What I've been doing the last couple of weeks...

We drove around to see all the flowers, and Raf took some spectacular photos. These are at the Famous Water Company.This says Texas in the spring.
I saw Bethy and Courtney at Linda's Wedding Shower.Linda's getting married....congratulations and best wishes.
Our Church honored the seniors. Here's our Joey, who will graduate on June 1 and go into the Marines on June 24Congratulations, Seniors!
Mothers' Day...Jen and BethyCarolyn
Mineral Wells has a rodeo each spring. Here's some of the parade.
The parade begins with the fire trucks and police cars. . .

Horses of course. . .

Coeberry Jam. . .Willy Coe and his family

Old Herbaceous and a break

I have just completed the most charming novel. Set in the English countryside from the end of the 19th to the middle of the 20th Centuries, it is the story of a country lad who fell in love with a garden and who, over decades, became the most famous Head Gardener in England. This novel gives glorious glimpses of life in those times, as well as a warmth and human glow as the reader discovers what living at that time, for both the gentry and the common man, was truly like.

A couple of weeks ago Kelli told of visiting the used book store and finding a treasure trove of books. That encouraged me to get online and do the same. Out of that came Old Herbaceous. Thanks Kelli!!

I realize I have been out of pocket for over a week, and I'm sorry about that, but circumstance sometimes conspire to change what we had in mind to do. In the next few days I hope to visit your blogs and to also share, though photo and video, some of our jaunts around the country. I also plan to continue the Culture theme with more of my ravings and rantings. And I will, at some point, publish my June column by guest columnist, James Plyant, on actress Carolyn Jones. Hope you'll join me!

God bless you all...God bless us, everyone.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


We live in the town of Mineral Wells, Texas. It’s not the end of the world…but you used to be able to see it from here!

Not any more. Our town is 60 miles west of Fort Worth, and the town between, Weatherford, has been eaten up with new comers. To the point that the “locals” no longer run the town. The once conservative government has been taken over by the new comer liberals.

There was a big fight about the courthouse lawn in Weatherford several years back, and at least the “locals” won this one. It had been tradition that each Christmas season a crèche was placed on the courthouse lawn. The new-comers had a fit. What were these people thinking of, putting a Christian symbol on the lawn of a public building? How shameful! It probably violated lots of folks civil rights. Well, on that occasion the “locals” won and the crèche remains every Christmas season!

But their town is over run. What was once a small, historical town in North Central Texas has become a bedroom community for the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. And it’s headed west!

By the way, as a historical perspective, this is the area of Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove. Our county, Palo Pinto, is where the Goodnight and Loving ranches were and where the Loving family still has a ranch today. Loving is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Weatherford. This place is keen on Texas history.

But, hey, back to Mineral Wells NOW. So far, our politics, while it is small town, and in some cases, not what you’d always want to call legal, it’s still ours. You know?

We just held elections for school board and for one place on the city council, and all the people who won were “locals”. In fact, most of them were born and raised here.


We have one fellow on our City Council (I won’t mention names, but if you’re from here, surely you’ll know) but he ain’t from around here. He’s, well, from up North some place…likely the Midwest…but not from here.

Now it doesn’t much make a difference which way he came from, the difference is made in his attitude. He came here because of work…we do have some fine industry here. And after he’d been here a little while, he ran for public office.

He’s been on the City Council for years, ‘cause, I reckon, he hasn’t said things to most folks in the area that he’s said to my husband. When he first won his seat, he smiled a Raf at a high school band concert and said he just couldn’t get over this town with all its in-breeding!

"This is really the shallow end of the gene poll!" he said.

He went on to say that most of the folks here were on welfare (quite a number are) and that most are just plain dumb...not deaf and dumb, just stupid, I reckon. Now, I guess he said all this to Raf knowing Raf wasn’t from around here, either. The difference is, Raf didn’t come here trying to change us, but to fit in!

Well, now Mr. New Comer wants to run for mayor, and I’m afraid he will. With that attitude, do you think he should be mayor of this town? I don’t. Perhaps he wants to be king. Or maybe he just wants to show us “locals” how really stupid we are. What do you think?

I think, in fact, if he doesn’t like it here and considers it such a terrible place, perhaps he needs to go back where he came from…and stay there!

Those are my thoughts on the subject, and I’ll stick to them. And, if he runs, I’ll vote for almost anybody BUT Mr. New Comer!

Friday, May 11, 2007

CULTURE..the customs, social institutions, and achievements of a particular people

Culture…how mine might be different from yours, but that’s ok so long as you don’t make fun of me! And I don’t make fun of you!

“Bucksnort and Hickman County! I mean no real people live there, do they? You just can’t mean any real people live in Bucksnort!”

The woman in front of me wasn’t from around here…not even from the South. I could tell that by her accent, she style, or lack there of, and her manner. She wore a straight brown bob with no make up, a brown skirt and blouse and was hold a plastic glass of pink wine.

We were in the Belmont/Hillsboro Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee, waiting for a bluegrass show featuring the Tim Rice and Peter Rowan quartet. People were talking and having a great time, but over and over this woman asked, “Real people don’t live in Bucksnort, do they?”

We were in Nashville celebrating 30 years of marriage. We had both met and married in Nashville, had lived in the city for a while, and then we had moved to, get this, Hickman County. Granted, we didn’t move to Bucksnort. It was too far away. But we did moved to Bon Aqua, and I’m quite sure the same woman hadn’t heard of it or if she had would have made fun of a place in Tennessee with the French name of Good Water!

Neither of us are “from” Tennessee. Raf actually came “from” Pennsylvania by way of New Jersey and Ohio, and I was/am “from” Texas. And we didn’t go to Tennessee and begin making fun of what Raf’s aunt called the “locals” (and that story is for a whole different segment of this writing). I don’t think is occurred to us that they should be made fun of.

As an aside, I just ended the last sentence in a preposition, which always reminds me of the haughty woman who, when asked by a Southerner, “Where you from”, replied, “I’m from a place where we don’t end our sentences in prepositions.” To which the Southern lady replied, “Oh, where you from, Bitch?”

If you move to an area, you should learn the local customs or culture and realize that you are the outsider, the learner, and not the only correct person in the region.

Actually Raf and I didn’t fit in very well in Bon Aqua, perhaps because we were different or perhaps because our religion, Methodist at the time, was not the religion of the county, Church of Christ.

At any rate, in short order we moved to the small town of Kingston Springs, Tennessee, in Cheatham County, where we were accepted and loved. BUT we strove to fit in, to not do or say things that were inappropriate to the area and the people. After all, it was their home, and we were only hoping to one day make it ours.

Eventually, too soon, Raf got a job offer he couldn’t refuse, and we returned to my home, Texas. And because he didn’t want to stand out from the crowd, he chose to use his proper name, Ralph, rather than the name he had used for years, Rafael. He was right, too, using an Hispanic name here at that time would not have been good.

Interestingly, I have lived in several small Texas towns, but I had never lived in a village before, and Bon Aqua and Kingston Springs were both villages, perhaps hamlets.

In Kingston Springs the folks knew what was happening more readily than we did. Even when it was happening in our own house.

After church one Sunday we went out to eat with several of the senior citizens. None of these people were under 75 at the time, and as we were driving down the road one of the ladies turned to me and said, “You know, hon, that boy that’s livin’ in your house is smokin’ marijuana, and I’m just ‘fraid he might get too high and burn down your place.”

I sat there with my mouth open. I had no idea our friend, who had needed a place to live and write his music, was smoking dope. About a week later, he let a pan of water boil dry on the stove, and when we came home the house was filled with smoke. We asked him to leave.

While in Kingston Springs, Raf and I were the counselors for the youth group at the Methodist church. During the summer there was a youth camp going on in Chattanooga, and one of the boys decided to attend. I was able to take him, and a young college student was going to pick him up at the end of the week. On Wednesday of that week she came to me in a panic. It seemed she would not be able, because of work, to pick the boy up. She had told no one, not even her parents, and asked me not to tell until she could find someone to pick him up. While she was there, the telephone rang, and the boy’s mother told me she knew his ride would not be able to pick him up and wanted to know what we needed to do. The girl had told no one, and, yet, the mother “knew”.

The culture of Tennessee is very different from Texas where I grew up and live today. Tennessee is much slower and more refined. Not as wild and wooly. And yet, even in Middle Tennessee, which is culturally very different from the East Tennessee mountain area, there is a feeling that the folks know what’s going on, much as the mountain folk seem to do.

I did a little checking on Bucksnort, and, although it doesn’t have a post office any more, it was only there for about ten years in the late 1800’s, there are people there. They are real. There is a culture there. It is real, as well. Most of the folks are in agriculture, and there is a trout farm in the community, as well as a café which serves the area it’s breakfast each morning.

Regarding the town name, Wikipedia tells us: “While some have speculated the community gained its name in relation to the large number of deer in the area, the most often told story about the name dates back to the 1880s, and the owner of a local mercantile named Buck, who sold moonshine on the side. Nearby residents would say they were going to "Bucks to get a snort", hence the name "Bucksnort".”

At the time we lived in Bon Aqua the county was known for its deer and its moonshine. And you didn’t dare drive down unpaved roads if you didn’t want a pickup truck pulling out behind you and staying with you until you got back on some pavement and out of the sight.

There’s a place call Grinder’s Switch in Hickman County, and I’ve seen it…the switch, that is. And there were folks named Grinder who operated the train switching station in the old days. Minnie Pearl, Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon, was born in Hickman County in 1912, and she was a real person! She claimed Grinder’s Switch as her hometown. The house she lived in as an adult sits next to the governor’s mansion in Nashville. So that real Hickman County native made much of herself.

The census for Hickman County in 2000 was a little of 20,000, and I don’t believe the government counts unreal people!

So, you folks out there who have moved to a different part of the country, or the world, you need to know, you have to fit in with the people there. They don’t have to fit in with you. It really wasn’t better where you lived before, and even if it was, you don’t tell them about it. You have to learn their language or dialect, to become accustom to their culture. If you don’t, you won’t be happy, you won’t be accepted, and it just won’t be fun for anyone.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


We are home, and, except for ANOTHER blow out on the other side of the trailer, we are fine!!!

Will, hopefully, start the culture writings tomorrow!!!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Jackson, Tennessee--ugh

Well, as we were pulling out of Jackson, Tennessee, (not the Jackson of Johnny Cash/June Carter Cash fame), I looked in the side mirror and told Raf I thought a trailer tire had blown. We pulled onto the shoulder, and wouldn't you know it, I was right, as usual.

I'm just thankful it wasn't Memphis...probably the dirtiest town in the US of A.

Raf worked for two hours on the tire, discovering one axle was not bolted to the frame on one side of the trailer, and it was free to move two or three inches back and forth, so we pulled into a ratty looking RV park, that has great wifi, went to the local, you got it, Wally World and Lowes (stopping for a Starbucks in the process), as well as a tire store, and we have a new tire and a fixed trailer. It is 6 pm. We had left Nashville at 9:30 this morning.

We will go on to Texarkana tomorrow and home again, home again jig-ity, jig, on Wednesday in time, I hope, for a church vestry meeting...since I'm a member, I should be there, don't ya think?

So...that's our story for the day...but I am planning a whole lecture on culture in the next few days.

Love to you all!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Raf and John

Today we visited with Raf's brother, John, who lives in Nashville. We had a nice visited and a wonderful meal at Antonio's Italian Restaurant in the Bellevue area of Nashville. Again, yum! It was wonderful to see John after his 90+ days in the hospital last winter!

What we did on May 5

Well, yesterday was the day. It starting out pouring, but about noon the rain abated, and we took off. We went to the local Waffle House in Millersville (ugh) for breakfast, not remembering how bad it was the last time we were there. Then we went to the Craft Fair in Nashville. It was a great success...and I will shop what I bought, but not how...shhhh...some are gifts for people who might read the blog! I took a photo of a squirrel...can't see him well, and of Raf in front of the Parthenon in Nashville. Then I took movies of Hillsboro village, big houses, the prettiest church in Nashville, and downtown Nashville.

Then we ate a Zola, another local non-chair restaurant. It was beautiful, good food, great atmosphere, beautiful art on the wall, but my camera was in the car...duh!

But we had a very good day. Now we are off to church in Hendersonville, St. Joseph of Arimathea, an Anglican Communion Network Church, thankfully. So...more later.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

May 5--Our 30th Anniversary

Actually these photos were taken May 4. We discovered that the Upper Room Chapel is closed on the weekend, so we went yesterday to get these photos.
These are taken in what is known as the "side chapel" off the Upper Room Chapel, part of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, in Nashville, Tennessee, where we were married 30 years ago today. The little prayer chapel holds about 10 people. We were married by my boss at the time Rev. James Alexander. Those who stood up with us were Yvonne Glien, Eric Thoreson, and Owen Davis. Helen and Robert Lankford, Janice King, and Charlene Eubanks were there, along with others who happened to be passing by and looked in.

Owen had been married once and Eric had never been married, and they were both terribly against marriage. They were both musicians. Anyway, they both got drunk before the wedding and almost missed it. We were to meet friends afterward at TGI Fridays in Elliston Place, and Eric and Owen never showed up...about 20 others did, however.

Yvonne and I worked together. She was working on a PhD in Spanish at Vanderbilt. Charlene and I worked together, as did Janice and Helen. Helen had been my boss when I guided tours through the chapel before I started working in UMC Communications...while I was working on a Master of Christian Education at Scarritt College in Nashville. Helen provided beautiful roses from her garden for my bouquet.
After taking the photos in the Upper Room, we went to Hillsboro Village and visited Cotton Music. Then we walked down the street to the Provence Breads and Cafe for Raf to get a latté...they had no cold non-coffee drinks!! So, I just read.
This couple was sitting across from us. Look at her face. She is so much in love, and after observing them a while, I think he is, too. It's nice to see young people just starting on the adventure!
Next we picked a restaurant at random on 21st Avenue South. It is called tayst Restaurant and Wine Bar. We didn't know what to expect, but it was absolutely wonderful. I took this photo of a table across the way. The ambiance was wonderful. The menu was limited, but extremely excellent. Raf had filet mignon, and I had grilled scallops. They were wonderful. Delicious. Tasty. We would frequent this restaurant a lot if we lived closer. The waiters, manager, etc. were very attentive, but not too much so. The wine delicious! They had wonderful art on the walls, and light jazz floated around us. If you are in Nashville, don't miss tayst!

We ended the evening in the Belcourt Theatre in Hillsboro Village. It was an historic theatre and used to be called the Hillsboro Theatre. We heard the Tim Rice and Peter Rowan Quartet. Hope you enjoy the music!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Radnor Lake--I did it!!

Yesterday morning we got up early, ate, and drove around Nashville to Radnor Lake. It's off Granny White Pike. We walked the Lake trail from the main parking lot by the office around on the Lake Trail and then the old road that is now closed. It took us a little less than 2 hours, and I was exhausted by the end, but I MADE IT! It was a beautiful walk...always has been. We saw chipmunk, squirrel, geese (one goose had 8 eggs , and 4 or so had hatched...below the dam, but when we got there there was one egg left, no babies, and no goose...just several snakes...ugh!), lots of warblers, cardinals, woodpeckers, and a good look at a bared owl. We too the first photo when we got back to the car.I was really tired by this time.
These are multiple looks at Radnor...and at the end of the blog there are movies which include the beautiful songs of some of the birds.

After we walked we went to the Elliston Place Soda Shop for lunch and a soda. This place has been in operation forever, and it was one of our hangouts when we lived here.

The Elliston Place Soda Shop is on Elliston Place near Music Row. This is looking up, or west, on Elliston Place.

Here is the Gold Rush where we went on our first date...after we listened to Lenny Breau at Mississippi Whiskers. Lenny is dead, and Whiskers is no more.Today we rest and go to Kingston Springs were we lived...see ya!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Back to our Beginnings in Nashville

So we got back into Nashville, as I said last night, and after setting up our rig, we trotted down to Main Street in Hendersonville for some Center Point Pit Barbecue. Now, in Texas barbecue is mainly brisket, but in Tennessee it's PIG. And this place has the best I've had in a whole month of Sundays. It's at the corner of Main and Center Point in Hendersonville, as as you can see from the photos below, it is mmmmmmm....good!The place is very small, but after many, many years they are expanding. Right now the place sits maybe 20, with a lot of to-go.
There are photos of stars all over the wall, all signed by the rich and, perhaps, one time famous, and, of course, t-shirts!
I had pulled pork with turnip greens and white beans, and Raf had the same with garlic mashed potatoes instead of greens. We each had sweet tea, and we took home some tarts (chocolate, pecan, and chess) and some brownies.
This morning we got up, and since Raf was a tour guide in Nashville 30+ years ago he took me on a tour to the house which had belonged to June and Johnny Cash. It was recently purchased by Barry Gibb, and while it was under renovation, it burned to the ground. Here are photos of the burned house and one of John in front of the house in an earlier time. John and June owned the house from 1968 until 2003 when they both died...within 3 months of each other. They often had parties at the recording studio (photo below of the House of Cash), and we attended one of the parties and met John's parents. His mother played the piano for us. On another occasion, my mother and step-father visited Nashville, and we took them out to Johnny's house. He wasn't home but she got her photo taken with his body guard, Mario. He was about Mother's height, 5'2", but he was a fellow you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. Raf said he took a tour out there once when John and Billy Graham were walking together in the garden.

Next we went to the Gibson Guitar Showcase where they make and sell guitars and to the Bass Pro Shop.
Then we came back to Gallatin Pike and took it down through Nashville where it became a Main Street, 8th Avenue North, 8th Avenue South, and finally Franklin Road and Franklin Pike. We went by Big Tractor Music where our friend Madeleine Parletore works as director of admissions. It's been in business 14 years and is a real big deal in the country music world.

We went to Wild Oats Market to get a sort of Central Market fix. Tomorrow, we are going to Radnor Lake for our WALK. The last time we were here I couldn't go all the way...or even a little way around it. My hip is great, but my knee is playing up, so we will hope for the best.

Love to you all...see ya in the funny papers!


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