Thursday, October 26, 2017

Happy Birthday, Mama




Violet Beatrice Gean Stricklin
October 26, 1917-November 11, 2007


It's my mama's birthday.

The Earth raced around the Sun and the seasons changed ninety times while she was here.

She was uneducated, but wise.

Beautiful, work-roughened hands that were never still.

Her life was taking care of her family, and that she did well, even when the road was hard.

She did massive amounts of laundry on a wringer washer; her clothes lines full every sunny day expect Sunday.

She could coax nutritious vegetables out of tired clay soil, rising with the sun to do battle with weeds.

Her quilts still warm our beds and our hearts.

Known for her incomparable biscuits, she made enough in her lifetime to completely fill a Cracker Barrel.

More familiar with pain than joy, she endured.

She lived to see adult children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren.

We are educated, talented, well-traveled, scattered.

She lives in all of us.

Beadie Haynes, Marie Thompson, Mama, Geneva Gean


In heaven, we are promised a mansion, blissful rest.

I'll bet my mama's has a clothesline, white robes waving in the breeze.
Could be she's sitting on the porch, waiting for her children to get home.


She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed. Proverbs 31: 27,28

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wonder in the Sky


I really wasn't that excited about the solar eclipse, but the mountains were calling me.  We went to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee,  for a few days, including August 21. Pigeon Forge was just outside the northern boundary of totality. On Monday, attempting to get a better view, we drove south from Pigeon Forge on Wears Valley Road to the Church of the Cove, a place where we have worshiped before on our mountain trips.  It is about two miles north of Townsend, and traffic was bumper to bumper on that curvy road more than two hours before the eclipse.  When we got to the church's picnic area, some of our new best friends were already there, and some came a little later.



We were from Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, and Alabama.  Some of them had guitars (could we possibly be more blessed?) and we sang every eclipse-related song we could think of--Don't let the Sun Go Down on Me, I Feel a Bad Moon Arising, etc. We ate snacks and talked and waited. It was the perfect place for viewing.



Something amazing that I wasn't expecting was the shadows of the crescent sun, dancing off just about everything.


The picnic table,


Our SUV,



My new best friend's guitar,

one of my new best friends,



and the ground. (Somebody stop me; it was just so amazing!)


When we knew we were minutes away from the total eclipse, everyone got quiet, although the crickets and tree frogs were singing a tune.  The security lights at the church came on, and then, it happened!



We were oohing and aahing,


Cheering and tearing,


with our mouths hanging open in wonder.


The best diamond ring EVER!!!



This sweet family is from Maryland.  They drove all night Sunday and Monday morning to make it in time--I'm so happy we got to share this event with them!


This experience bonded us together.  We may never see each other again, but we won't forget this day.

On April 8, 2024, there will be another total eclipse in the United States, and the 100% totality lines include Little Rock and Dallas, totally do-able for us here in NW Alabama.  I cannot guarantee I will be here in almost seven years, but I'm saving my glasses, just in case.


When I consider thy heavens, the work
 of thy fingers, the moon and the stars,
 which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of 
him? and the son of man, that thou 
visitest him?  Psalm 8:3-4

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Homeplace





The Homeplace, an 1850's interpretative center, is located near Dover, Tennessee, in the Land Between the Lakes recreational area.  I knew I was going to love it when I saw the quilts at the entrance.  Then, when we went inside, there were quilts sunning on the porch.



A tobacco farmer showed us his tools and explained the long process of caring for and harvesting tobacco.



They were sunning their mattresses on this hot summer day.



This worker patiently showed us how to care for oxen while fighting biting flies and gnats.








See the hallway that goes through the house?  We sat there and watched a worker make thread from fleece gathered from sheep grown on the farm.  Although it was a very hot day, there was a breeze and it was cool in the hallway.


Adult tickets are $5 each, but because we have a National Parks pass, it was $2.50 each.
Land Between the Lakes Recreational area is a great weekend trip.  If you go, check out nearby Paducah and Hopkinsville, Kentucky.