Last Night’s Rant

For the last several weeks and probably several more, my focus has been and will be on putting Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings in the can. i say that because every time i think i’m almost done, i discover something else that should be added, deleted or changed. Consequently, my posts have been few because my time is devoted to the book…and of course to my great escape, bad golf. Oh yeh, even with what you read here, i have watched nearly all of the National League playoffs.

While hard at work (when i’m not on a golf course) over the last several days, i have been considering sports…or rather the three major sports of my era. Changes over the years have altered the core of what i knew growing up and well into adulthood. You folks younger than me probably are all in with the new era of sports. It sure looks like it with the fans i see in the crowds acting out fantasies for their 15 seconds, not minutes of fame, some even frothing at the mouth. Today’s football, basketball, and baseball make me wonder about our sanity. My conclusions after wondering for a while make me sad.

If i were a manager of any baseball team, especially in the majors, i would require…i mean require or sit for any multi-million dollar player (and since even the lowest players in the majors makes at least $500,000 per season not including the bennies and the per diem compensation for meals, etc., which is pretty much more than i made in annual salary for all of my working days, all 1026 players and their replacements are multi-millionaires unless they blow it)…er, i went off on another rant…i would require them to bunt to the opposite side of a shift. Oh, there are lots of folks who want to outlaw “the shift” but we have too many people trying to make the game better…or worse to make more money, but that is just one more layer of interference in one of the most wonderful sports if played like a sport back when.

Bunt. Hit to the open area of the field. Play BALL, BASEBALL.

Then as i watched the San Diego State beat Air Force in football, i watched a quarterback scramble and throw a pass out of bounds. In my mind, the play begged the question, “When is intentional grounding intentional grounding?” The answer is rarely. You see if a quarterback is not in the pocket and throws the pass out of bounds or over the goal line with no receiver within an area code, the pass is not intentional grounding even though it was intentional grounding. And oh yeh, i think it was Dan Marino that started it, but when the time is running out and the quarterback takes a snap and immediately throws the ball into the ground to stop the clock, intentional grounding is not intentional grounding.

Hmm. It makes my head hurt.

My biggest gripe is games, athletic competition, remain barely on the field of play. Coaches control what is going on all the time. Watch them from the sidelines (and in baseball, watch them march to the mound to fix the pitcher (not) or rearrange the fielders, or heading to home plate to protest something some yahoo in a security booth somewhere watching the boob tube who saw something and call the bench coach who relays it to the manager who works the ump usually fruitlessly but sure to take five minutes or more if video replay is involved because those umps or refs have to consult with their yahoo in a booth watching the boob tube) or players, managers, coaches berating referees or umpires for questionable calls which used to produce unsportsmanlike conduct penalties or ejection from that field of play. Statistics, not athletic ability, now rule football and baseball. The coaches have electronic communication or some other means to direct every play. They call timeouts from the sidelines. The players on the field are puppets even though they have incredible talent, because, apparently are short on brains without computers, videos, and statistics at hand. Oh, i forgot they have those little cuffs above their wrists where signals from the sidelines tell them what’s next.

Rules are made to make football safe. Really? You are trying to knock somebody on their butt at the line of scrimmage, in the backfield, in defensive secondary, and somebody thinks they are going to make it safe? The safe football game, and for that matter, the safe baseball game and the safe basketball game are the games where no one plays.

Nowadays, the athletes are all specialists. A designated hitter doesn’t play in the field. A pitcher doesn’t bat — in the American League and minors, and they are trying to make it for all of professional baseball so there will be more players who can make more ridiculous amounts of money when they can’t play parts of the game.

I still watch. Well, maybe not professional basketball because the rules have been tortured and abandoned. If I want to watch that kind of ball, i will go to a pickup game on some concrete, outside court somewhere.

The National Football League is an exhibition of superb athletes doing incredible things, but quite frankly even the exciting parts are predictable. i still watch baseball and the college sports and root for my teams, yet there is and empty feeling when they win, like so what? when my teams win, it’s not about the players playing the best ball. It’s about recruiting and coaches making them robots, incredible athletes totally under the coaches’ control, and those athletes are there because of money, either what they are making or what potential they can have to make MONEY.

We used to have pickup games as kids. Many of us played three sports or more. Now, the parents, the trainers, and the coaches demand devotion to learning techniques to play the game, their sport. A child can’t play a variety of sports. They have to be specialists. And the athlete from early childhood until they stop playing that sport is a slave to the sport, spending hours learning and practicing the best techniques, the correct stance, swing, throw, run, block, tackle…

Sounds like work to me.

Oh it’s a useless rant of a curmudgeon, but dammit, why can’t we just play ball?

i think i will ask Maureen to go with me for a walk on the beach today. i don’t think it will take 12 to 15 hours to watch pro football today on our television (and no, i don’t subscribe to the NFL network), but it will be fun, and i won’t have to listen to the talking heads.

Thank you for allowing me to let off some steam.




i often knock Joe Buck for being a terrible sports announcer.

He is. Perhaps the worst of all time.

In listening to commentators for the major league playoffs, i have realized they all are pretty close to awful.

Tonight, as the Atlanta Braves were within a pitch of closing out a 9-2 win against the buy-any-thing-we want-so-our-“fans”-can-show-up-late-expecting-us-to-win-and-leave-in-the-seventh-or-eighth-inning-or-earlier-if-we-are-behind-Dodgers, either Jeff Francoeur or Ron Darling, the former players turned color commentators said, “If the Dodgers had scored two runs earlier, this would have been a different ball game.”


And we are listening to this?


i was going to entitle this “Disgusted,” but that seemed unbecoming to me.

i’m sad.

From sometime in the late 40’s until 1969, i was a UT Vols football fan. i attended enough games to fall in love with the game they played in orange jerseys with white numerals, white pants, white helmets, ankle top black shoes and not a sign of anybody’s name. They ran the single wing and had magic names, most notably for me, Johnny “The Drum” Major, and the Canale brothers. I was such a fan when Vanderbilt beat the Vols, 7-0 in 1964 in Nashville, my fraternity would not let me and several other hardcore Vol fans back into our fraternity house.

In November 1969, i took an extra liberty day from my ship, the USS Hawkins (DD 873) in Norfolk to fly to Knoxville where other Vandy friends picked me up to attend the Commodore-Vol  game. One of my best friends was a Vandy defensive back. At the time, even though UT had given up the single wing, high top black shoes, and came up with a bunch of different uniform color combinations with players names on the back of the jerseys, i still had mixed emotions. i rooted for both but would root for Vandy in head to head matches.

There were about a dozen of my friends and i sitting in the east end zone of Neyland Stadium, named after a football hero of mine. Having little time, i was still in my Navy service dress blue officer uniform. Shortly after the game began, Vol fans behind us began to yell obscenities at us and then began throwing stuff at us. In the second half, these “fans” began to throw drinks at us, colas, beers, and whiskey including the paper cups or cans. And i was in my Navy uniform. It was soaked and reeked of beer and whiskey.

i quit being a Vol fan.

Then i came out west. i wanted all three of my Tennessee teams, Vandy, UT, and MTSU to do well in football — there are other stories about basketball and other Tennessee schools for later posts — Again, i rooted for both the Commodores and the Vols until they played each other.

i have many good friends who are big Vol fans who are gracious people.

But last night, when a correct spot of a tackle didn’t go the Vols way against Ole Miss, idiot fans threw golf balls — and anyone who brought a golf ball into the stadium with the intention of throwing it at somebody has become unbalanced — water bottles, and trash at Ole Miss players and coaches. The Vols lost. And their fans lost my respect for them and their team. Sure, other college nuts could do it. But those other out of control fanatics aren’t the team i once loved. The Majors and the Canales are probably crying now at such a terrible representation of their school and their state.

i know i am.


A Substitute

i have three posts partially written. My book’s photo selection requires some work before inclusion in the layout.  Another manuscript edit is staring me in the face. So when i’m at this infernal machine, i’m working mostly on the book — Bob Lisi, i haven’t forgotten, the SYMLOG input you requested will be there in the next couple of days…sorry. But i thought the below should be put out now:

Golf yesterday at Admiral Baker North Course was delightful in spite of my terrible game. We teed off about 6:50, sunny and 50 degrees. The young man below was undaunted as we walked down the hill from the first tee, a bit skittish but undaunted, approaching within ten yards of us. The bunker on the second green initially looked like someone had not raked after hitting out, a major pet peeve of mine along with folks not repairing their ball marks and at least one other on the green (golfers need to understand they are stewards of the courses they play). On closer inspection, Rod Stark and i realized the bunker had been visited by several deer, not golfers. When we finished our round around 10:30 a.m., it was 85 degrees. We had gone from wind shirts and sweaters not being enough and shorts being inappropriate dress to a bit of a sweat. The deer and coyote had disappeared into the woods.

Last night, i relaxed and watched the school i am rooting for more and more: the San Diego Aztecs who have a terrific football program for a mid-major, a superb basketball program, solid men and women’s golf, and an excellent baseball team. My friend, Sarah’s dog, Billie Holiday, enjoyed the game together:

This morning, i turned the page on my “Non Sequitur” daily desk calendar and once again, decided Wiley Miller was somehow teleporting my life into his potential subject files for his comics. i am not sure of the copyright regulations on this, but i’m hoping many of you will check out his desk calendars and his comics on so someone won’t sue me. This one nailed me and our home improvement efforts. Thus far, i have defied death.

More stuff later.

Big Joe Haynes

Big Joe Haynes

Big Joe Haynes,
’bout 6-4, 300 pounds of Texan
with a big voice and roaring laugh,
came out of the farmhouse in Razor, Texas
greeting me with a hug that took my breath away
before he ushered me to the screened-in side porch
of that farmhouse in February chill
where i would cling to the Old English Sheepdog pup
under the homemade quilts and blankets
before awaking to hoar frost on the farmyard.

Big Joe Haynes
(who to my knowledge was never called “Big”
by anyone but me)
later asked me to ride over the bridge
in the vintage unknown, faded gray pickup,
across the Red River
to the honky tonks and liquor stores
of Oklahoma because
’bout 100 square miles of northeast Texas
was dry
while Oklahoma across the Red River
was wet,
including the honky tonk where
the older, somewhat worn waitress
flirted with Big Joe Haynes
while we sipped our Pearl beers
until they brought out the case,
which we took across the bridge
to drink into the dark of night
followed by the next morning
while i huddled with the sheepdog
once again under the quilts and blankets
on the cold, cold February porch,
he nudged his granddaughter, my fiancé, awake
to inform her that sailor boy of hers could drink.

Big Joe Haynes asked me if i would help
seine a pond on the south side of the farm;
on the next day, we headed out in the old pickup
while Big Joe Haynes took his right hand off the wheel
to reach back and retrieve the vodka bottle
from behind his side of the bench seat,
holding it between his legs to screw off the cap
before taking a swig and passing it to me
several times before we bounced
across the fields to the pond,
where we took the big seine and swiped
across the pond about a dozen times
in the Texas summer heat,
producing about a dozen medium size crappie
Big Joe Haynes had stocked there
before we took the lively lads to the weeds
to produce a clean pond for the cattle’s water,
leaving to bounce across the farm’s terrain
swigging from the vodka bottle,
laughing a lot on the ride back to the farmhouse.

Big Joe Haynes got too old to work the farm;
i was not there to help him out;
so he and Nannie Kat moved
to a comfortable small house in Paris, Texas,
just south a bit,
which did not fit well with Big Joe Haynes
who, with no farm to work, no ponds to seine,
began to take naps,
getting to be longer and more frequent enough
to put his day bed in the front room of the small house
where he just kept sleeping more
until he died.

i am about the same age as Big Joe Haynes
when he passed to the other side;
i take longer and more frequent naps now
to dream of riding over the Red River
in a beat up faded gray pickup
to drink a Pearl beer with Big Joe Haynes,
to seine a pond and swap swigs out of a vodka bottle
with Big Joe Haynes.

Junior Officers

i began a post Saturday night with many thoughts i thought would go well as a rambling entry. By mid-Sunday morning, i recognized it would be more like a book than a post: too many things to say with too much to write about any of them.

i started on a different path as i cleared out one more pile in my office. There was a large 12×13-inch old album. i opened it up and there was the tale of tres amigos. It was on my first ship, the USS Hawkins (DD 873), homeported out of Newport, Rhode Island. This particular group of photos was in 1969 when the ship was assigned to be the observation ship, providing a fixed position for submarine Polaris missile training. Our first sub was a British sub that had a perfect Polaris launch. i will not write of our second submarine here. This is a memory of great shipmates on a terrific ship with fantastic officers and a wonderful crew, mostly made up of guys who were there because of the draft.

Great memories:

The goofy guy, ASW Officer, in front of the ASROC Launcher Captain Control Shack
A serious Andrew Nemethy.
Rob Dewitt, the third and calmest of los tres amigos.
Joe, who graduated from Fordham but because of my brain fart, his last name will have to be edited in later.
Joe was taking this photo of Andrew and the goofy guy.
Our pier in Cape Canaveral.
Andrew fishing with crew members.
Hawkins’ lee helm and helm in the pilot house.
Looking aft from the DASH deck en route to our station.
The Brit’s successful Polaris launch.

And with that, i shall rest with my memories tonight.

Uncle Jesse

My cousin, Lori Oxedine, posted photos of Uncle Jesse, my father’s oldest brother today what is his 121st birthday. He was the only one of six children born while my grandparents still lived in Statesville, a beautiful small country town about 20 miles east southeast of Lebanon where they moved in 1902. He was the largest, and in my memory the gentlest of a gentle clan of people. His smile could melt the coldest heart. The below is a poem written about the story he told me the last time i saw him in the mid-1980’s for the last time. 

A wonderful man to remember.

Tennessee Steam Engine

Grandpa Cully and son Jesse
back in eighteen,
when my pap was four,
rode the train to Nashville
– a half day’s journey then,
fetching a steam engine,
the first portable saw mill in those parts.

Jesse was a strapping big man then,
a youth, not yet rounded with gut and jowls,
like when i knew him as Uncle;
when he told this story to me in eighty-four:
he wasn’t so strapping at 83,
shriveled into the baggy old man shapelessness,
pale cream complexion with wispy thin, pure white hair,
those eyes still sparking with mirth and caring
in the lazy boy rocker chair in his youngest daughter’s den
that November with the trees bare and grass
straw colored in the brisk sharp sunshine
of Middle Tennessee.
The trip was before Grandpa Cully
lost most of the fingers on his right hand
in that very same steam-driven saw mill on someone’s farm.
his hair had not turned white as it is
in the lone picture i have in the family book.
Uncle Jesse said Grandpa was wiry thin strong like my father
who sat at the other side of the den paying respect to the family,
while i listened to the tale.
Uncle Jesse said Grandpa Cully was more than
pulling his weight rousting the steam engine.

On the way back, driving that steam engine,
they couldn’t make it in one day:
Stopped the night
on a farm in Donelson Uncle Jesse related.
Pretty nice folks to put ’em up
without any idea who they might be.
had a good supper and pleasant conversation.
by my calculation the farm was
pretty close to where they built Opryland,
but the land was still country with
folks a lot more trusting than they are nowadays.

“When there’s static in the air and you can hardly hear
better turn on the radio of the Lord,”
A.P. and Mama Maybelle would intone.
Lonzo and Oscar, Lester and Earl, Foggy Mountain Boys,
even Minnie from Grinders Switch were real;
even Roy Acuff with his cave in Kentucky
would have made the show and held on till
the deep dark of three in the Nashville night
eating long after the opry closed for the night:
with coffee in thick mugs at Linebaugh’s
on Church Street downtown,
just down the hill from the Ryman.

Long after that shiny new steam engine belched toward
Lebanon from the Donelson farm front yard
by Grandpa Cully and Uncle Jesse
did they start the Opry at the Ryman,
even longer before Opryland
sprouted in its full festival of plastic country glory
in that self-same place
where the farm once was, which was
just before the pale, grown soft baby skinned old man
with sagging jowls and kind countenance
would tell me this tale
the last time i saw him.

A Hike with Waylon, Connections, and Unexpected Uphill Hell

This was begun almost three weeks ago. It was put aside for some drama, fierce second phase editing on my manuscript, golf, and most importantly a weekend visit from grandson Sam, my daughter Blythe, and son-in-law Jason. i resumed last week with the preamble below. It got put off again because i got sleepy. and i always listen to the sandman. Tonight, i listen to Enya in the dark of the evening, late for old folks (i finished but did some editing this morning).

i began this post yesterday morning after a most unusual hike. Now, i sit out next to our slope with a cool ocean breeze floating down from our hill where the flag at the top is snapping in the breeze. i can hear this product of the soft, cool breeze. i have chosen to play Dvořák’s Ninth, “New World” Symphony in E Minor.

It not only soothes me. It gives me hope.

You see, Dvořák took his inspiration for the symphony from Native American music and Negro spirituals.

Ever since i saw Cy Fraser conducting the symphony while listening on earphones in a Vanderbilt library sound booth in the spring of 1963, i have been captured by the beauty of this piece. i have written about it here before.

It is difficult to write this evening as i keep thinking about the passing of my friend Mike Dixon. i keep thinking of all the things we did together over the years and wishing i could capture them all here while i ‘m writing this post.

Then, i think Mike would like this, and i carry on…and i’m very good at carrying on.

My brother Joe and his wife, Carla Neggers, have been in Ireland for a while, hiking in incredible places.

i wish we were with them.

My sister Martha and her husband, Todd Duff, are hiking in Tetons near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with beautiful vistas.

i wish we were with them.

This morning, i decided i did not like the idea of running, not even downhill, this old man’s excuse for a fartlek i’ve recently resumed. So i headed out for the open space and supposed horse riding and hiking trails in our neighborhood. i’ve posted about those trails here before. This time, i thought it meaningful in that my brother in Ireland and my sister in Wyoming also were probably doing the same thing.

i have been not a big supporter of music while working out. i did some semi-serious running a majority of weekdays from 1977 until the late 1990’s. i always enjoyed the surroundings in which i ran. Listening to music on earphones via a cassette player or whatever the next generation of electronics provided seemed to insert itself in a holistic experience, interrupt, interfere, change the experience. But i have conceded it is often pleasurable to listen to my music while i walk or cheat and run.  Now i borrow Maureen’s iEarbuds or whatever they call those things you stick in your ear.

i had those things and my trusty iPhone music in my ears as i began my hike on about a half mile of surface streets before i veered on to the open space onto a hewned out trail down a long slope. i had walked it before but cut it off to complete a circuit around two miles. Today, i was determined to double it.

As i walked down the hill, i first thought of my father. My generation and those that have followed have become fixated with staying fit through every kind of physical exercise and diet regimens of infinite variety, which i’m sure will be added to daily with books and on-line programs and product sales, and i’m waiting for the “Snail Guide to Health: Physical and Dietary Regimen To Let You Live a Healthy Life as a Slug.”

My thoughts were far from that. Jimmy Jewell was one of the fittest men i have ever known, if not the fittest ever. i’m guessing he might have done some exercises during his month or so of early football practice at Lebanon High School in 1931. i’m sure his Seabee bootcamp at Camp Peary in Virginia gave him plenty of exercise. But that was it. Yet he always worked. Hard. i  recall him telling me his abs were better than the bodybuilding ads we see because he frequently had to pick up 250-pound drive trains to line them up and place in a vehicle chassis. And when i was in my late thirties in good shape, he still beat me in the number of pushups we could do. And i wasn’t in bad shape.

There were plenty of men and some women who were fit back then because of work, not working on their body toning. Strange. We don’t do as much physical work, but we work to be more physical.

And walking down that path, i remembered walking at night in the neighbor’s yards on Castle Heights Avenue. i was probably around ten years old after i read a book i had checked out from the Lebanon Library, the old house on West Main. i read a lot of those “histories of great American heroes, excessive in glorifying their exploits and ignoring their faults. One, it turns out was pretty accurate in its praise of the hero. Davy Crockett who fought for the rights of the native tribes, among other admirable acts.

After reading that book and others about Davy, those night walks in the neighborhood wouldn’t find me pretending to be the “King of the Wild Frontier” (and this was just before Fess Parker, the Santa Barbara winemaker was featured in Disney’s fanciful movie series). In those walks, i would imagine being in leather moccasins, an “Indian”, a term i used in respect for those indigenous tribesmen, i would see if i could walk so quietly no one could hear me while i snuck up on my prey. For a short time walking down that high desert path, i once again tried to walk softly, quietly. Of course, i was wearing good quality cross-training shoes, not moccasins, and i am 77, not nine. i probably couldn’t have snuck up on anyone or anything for real.

This open space is expansive behind all of the development. Supposedly the trail for horse riding is carved out from the Mexican border. It is unlike the Tetons where my sister is hiking and certainly unlike Ireland where my brother is doing the same. This open space is high coastal desert, old farmland, not farmed very much, scrub brush mostly with the nasty cholla cacti and old, broken barbed wire fences, demarcation of property lines, old property lines abandoned when the development men came in, bought all the lands from the farmers who could not afford to say no. The development men carved up the land, ignoring the old lines and built as many homes on the smallest lots allowed, put in a lot of amenities, and made scads of money (it is rumored they wouldn’t even start a development unless they, the development men were assured  $40K in profit per house. But someone somehow saved this open space for trails and not much else.

Recognizing it was rather absurd for a 77-year old man to try and recreate the stealth of a indigenous hunter in moccasins, i turned my attention to just walking, thinking, and enjoying what was around me. Nice. In spite of my resistance to electronic interference, i had my music playing on my iPhone while it tracked my distance and pace, the latter being nothing to brag about.

Rather than hit “shuffle” for the 4700 or so songs i’ve recorded from various sources of my music collection — i still resist the panoply of every piece of music ever made on the airwaves…do they still say “airwaves”…or was it “airways;” somehow they both seem more personal, more direct than “the cloud.” i decided to play two of my favorite artists. i began with Waylon Jennings.

i really got to know Waylon when i was the senior Naval officer at the Texas A&M, 1976-1979, certainly the saddest period of my life facing the inevitable of not being the live-in father for my daughter, but somewhat, somewhat mollified by reintroduction into bachelor life. That’s a good time to listen to country music, and Texas was a great place for country music, mostly swing and the “outlaw” version, but not bluegrass.

Waylon touched my inner feelings. Still does. i marvel at how the thoughts in his songs are nearly always in sync with my thoughts. Perhaps the most accurate of me for me is:


So if you want a good idea of how i think of myself, just listen to Waylon’s album, “I’ve Always Been Crazy” from which this song was included, and to his solo songs with the Highwaymen.

The Waylon collection ran out when i had covered about two miles mostly downhill with a couple of good climbs about half way to the turnaround. i turned and started back up. The music kept playing. It may have helped me a bit. But my focus was now on finishing my trek. It was in the high 80s and humid for the high desert, probably around 70%. i returned on my old route, upward hills mostly, some at a 20% grade or more. i was proud of myself, drank liquids, paused every once in a while, enjoyed the views: Mount Miguel to the east and the ocean and the city to the west. i reached the highest point, which was on my old route i took several times with Cass, my lab, and Lena, the follow-on dog i got at the pound (oh yes, there are all sorts of stories about those two). i decided to go back the old way. It was more difficult than taking the street route, should total about the four miles i wanted to cover, and ended at the top of our slope.

i was doing all right (sounds like a song) even with the grade being steeper than any of the others. Proud of myself although i was drenched in sweat. Decision point: i was about 200 yards from our home if i went the old route, or i could turn left and go on the route i knew was open but was about double the distance and the final 100 yards or so and required me to hug the fences of our neighbor’s back yards. The last time i took that route, even though i did not see anyone, i felt like a peeping tom.

When i was taking this hike regularly a number of years ago there was a patch on manzanita about half way between where i stood contemplating my options and our home. The city of Chula Vista had cut and maintained a path through those trees. In recent years, they had allowed it to become overgrown and looking impassable from our hill.

i thought i could check it out. Perhaps i could get through the old manzanita path and if not, work my way around it. When i reached the manzanita grove, it appeared there was a way i could wiggle through the branches. Soon i was in the middle, pushing limbs out of the way, limbs pushing back and poking or scratching cuts in my arms. It took about ten minutes working my way through. Then i hit was i recognized was impassable. i turned and could not ascertain how i got up to that point. i decided to go sideways and double back. This was not a bright idea.

i fell on my backside several times, each time sitting just a bit longer contemplating my next step in the escape. The dirt was soft. My hiking stick would not grab the soft dirt and was essentially useless, even a bit dangerous if i leaned on it.

When i sat (awkwardly) again, sweat was messing with my vision. i took out my trusty bandana and made a trifold cover to go under my sweat soaked ball cap. This time i thought of people being lost in the wilderness and being found dead. i knew i was too stubborn to call for help. i could see them giving me a helo lift out when i was only yards from my home. i knew i wasn’t going to die, but i did feel stupid…and hot…and tired…and really, really stupid. So i decided i didn’t want this spectacle on the nightly news and resumed my treacherous trek through the brambles and brush back down to where i should have taken the street route.

i reached civilization. Bwana made it through the jungle. Beat, i decided i could now call Maureen and have her pick me up at the end of this cul de sac. She did not answer her phone, out on a walk with a friend.

i began the walk up the hill, walking on the road to avoid the hot, hard sidewalk. There were no brambles, cacti, brush, or stands of manzanita, but it was a steep hill for about a half mile until i would reach our street.

Made it. i turned the corner of our cul de sac and saw Paul Shipley, our gardener and landscape man supreme in our front yard.

As i approached, he sort of gasped and said, “My God, you look like you have been out in the Australian bush.”

“Oh no,” i replied, “It was worse than that.”

The hike i had anticipated to be roughly four miles and take about 90 minutes ended up being six miles, over three hours, and about 20 something small but bleeding scratches on my arms.

i cleaned off the blood and patched up my arms after taking a cold shower. i sat down with a glass of ice water and listened to another of my favorites:

…and i didn’t worry about a thing then or now.


i awoke this morning intending to be very productive. Continuing editing on my manuscript was high on my list. But first, i would prep the kitchen for Maureen’s French toast breakfast, straighten up what i forgot last night, repair some blinds, clean my grill, get rid of the pests attacking our tomatoes, and complete a post i began almost two weeks ago. Exercise and some more writing for friends were included.

Well, you see, i started piddlin’ with the excuse i was organizing my office, cleaning up the piles of paper and photos stacked in corners. Piddlin’.

So here is the result of that piddlin’. It is part of my effort to pass along family photos to family:

My mother and aunt in 1918. Wonder if any folks in Lebanon know about the “Novelty Studio.” It apparently was before Seat’s Studio was the go-to for portrait photography.

A family outing, in the Smokies, i think, in 1936. It was mostly Joseph and Kate Webster’s offspring…and one invited guest, my father, Jimmy Jewell, who is the first one on the left of the front row. Following down that row are Estelle Prichard, Bettye Kate Prichard, Ethel Bass, and Billy Prichard; second row: i’m not sure who the lady is. She appears too young to be my great aunt, Ida Wilson. I can’t name the gentlemen in the back row or the car. The second lady in the back row is Thelma Wilson Bass, the wife of Ethel. Finally, there is unmistakably my grandmother, Katherine, not soon enough to be known as “Granny,” Webster Prichard, the mother of the Prichard’s on the front row.

My mother, the graduating basketball star in June 1935:

This one, discovered in my Aunt Evelyn’s cache her daughter Nancy Orr Schwarze a couple of years ago, is the best photo i have ever seen of my Uncle Bill’s P51 Mustang he flew out of Britain during World War II.

Sometimes piddlin’ has its own rewards.



This is a post for the Prichard, Webster, Ferrell, and Wynn families. i am posting it here rather than Facebook as many of my kin receive notice these posts through email and not all are on Facebook. i have numerous others of folks from the paternal side of Jewell relatives. i think these might hold interest for many of those kinfolks.

My grandparents, Joe Blythe and Katherine Webster Prichard, 1912:

My aunt and uncle, James “Pipey” Orr and Evelyn Prichard Orr, 1944: