Thursday, April 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Neelds Galore in '24

Now this is a family portrait! It was taken in Tampa in 1924. That little baby in the middle grew up to be  Mike's mom, who was my Grandma Grace, and the others are her mother's very large family. Grandma's mom is the lady holding her, and to their immediate right is her daddy, holding her sister, Evelyn.

Grandma turned out to be a very smart lady. One smart thing she eventually did was make up a sketch with the names of all the people in the photo. Notice that most of them are Something-or-other Neeld, but there are some inlaws and outlaws sprinkled in there, too.

M says more people should think to do stuff like that, as it makes looking at old family pictures much easier for their descendants.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Happy birthday to me!

A "5 Years Ago Today" reminder popped up on Jeannie's Facebook page this morning. For some reason I always celebrate my "birthday" (in New Buddy Years) on or about April 13th, by going to the vet to get stuck with needles and have my nails clipped and various other indignities. But it beats living in a sinkhole and sleeping in the rain. Thanks for sharing your home with me, Mike and Jeannie.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy birthday, Jeannie!

Well, J, wouldn't you know it? On our walk this morning, M informs me that today's your birthday.

"April fools, right?" I asked him.

"Alas, no, dawg," he replied. "I'm sure I mentioned it last week."

He did no such thing. What's more, he knows I count on him to give me a loud and clear heads-up for these special once-a-year dates, since I still struggle with the human calendar.

As you might imagine, it's hard to come up with birthday blog ideas on short notice. But I did find a nice lady named Casey Henry on YouTube who said she'd be glad to play "Happy Birthday to You" on her banjo. She does a great job with it--and there's a nice bonus: After she rips through it up-tempo the first time, she plays it again slower, in case you want to learn how to do it yourself. It looks like all you need is a banjo, nimble fingers, and a pair of opposable thumbs. (To learn more about Ms. Henry and her banjo lessons, go to her website.)

Happy birthday, dear Jeannie!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick: The Movie - and other stuff

A popular legend says that St. Patrick chased all the snakes out of Ireland. Now M and I aren't scientists, but we do know how to Google up scientific facts. And not to rain on anyone's St. Patrick's Day Parade, but the fact is, there have never been any snakes in Ireland. Well, except for zoo specimens and the occasional pet. (Crikey!) The internet abounds with chapter and verse about how a snakeless Ireland came about. It's interesting--but a bit dry, unless you happen to dig science.

Let's face it, most folks would rather believe the legend, since it's easier than doing research. And many are content to watch the movie, which I think is already on DVD:

In other news, M says today's Celebrity Cipher was pretty clever:

"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy."
--William Butler Yeats

In keeping with our theme of separating legend from fact, we have to say that this marvelous statement, widely attributed to Yeats, might have been thought up by somebody else. The problem is, it's hard to find exactly where Yeats said it. On the other hand, it's also hard to find it attributed to anyone else. But in any case, M says it describes the Irish mindset pretty well. (He's allowed to say that, since his pedigree includes a lot of Scots-Irish.)

I leave you today with this very Irish-sounding blessing: May the wind at your back always be your own.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everybuddy!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"Deliverance Days" - Throwback Thursday

Way back in what Mike calls his "Deliverance Days," he would spend a week at the end of each school year in the mountains of northeastern Georgia, camping, hiking, trout fishing, and trying not to drown in the whitewater rivers. Sometimes he'd go by himself, but more often than not he went with his friend Nick. As the years passed, the camping gave way to staying in rustic cabins. But the hillbilly-ing continued pretty much the same.

Mike usually drove up in his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck. Here are a couple of pictures he took of his truck at the Stovall Mill Covered Bridge on Chickamauga Creek, near Helen, Georgia. He's pretty sure these are from one of his solo trips, which is why he's not in either of them.

By the way, Mike says there's another Chicamauga Creek in northwestern Georgia, where a famous Civil War battle was fought in 1863. That's not this one. This one, however, was featured in a pretty good 1951 movie called I'd Climb the Highest Mountain, starring William Lundigan and Susan Hayward.

Here's a photo Mike took of Nick in 1999, fishing in the West Fork of the Chattooga River:

And here's one Nick took of Mike sitting on his truck's tailgate, enjoying something called a "chilly brewski" after a long day on the river:

Over the years the Chattooga's West Fork became one of their favorite troutstreams. The main part of that river, however, is much better known for its whitewater canoeing, rafting, and kayaking. One summer the boys decided to see what all the shouting was about. Here they are in the front of a raft doing a manuever called "getting flushed down a toilet":

That's Mike at the bottom-left, with his paddle actually in the water--as if that would make a difference. Mike says his term "Deliverance Days" comes from their adventure on the Chattooga, which was one of two Georgia rivers used in the filming of a movie called Deliverance. Here's a still shot that was taken of the main actors on the Chattooga:

Mike also points out that his trip down the Chattooga with Nick turned out a lot nicer than the one for the movie characters. That's because (spoiler alert!) he and Nick weren't chased down the river by these guys: