october 11, 2018

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“Never live in the opinions of others.” ~ Jim Rigby

 

from the inside

 

Just when you think I’ve shown everything there is to show of tiny Augusta, along comes one more place of interest. In the heart of town stands the oldest original jail in Kentucky. It was built in 1811 beside the Bracken County courthouse, which burned in 1848 and the county seat moved to Brooksville, home of Ironside actor Don Galloway whom I wrote about last year. To see inside the jail,  you have to call the tourism board to arrange a tour, but I snapped a few shots through the window bars just to see what I could, which wasn’t much. It would be interesting to see what’s on the top floor since, clearly, the cells are on the bottom. As an aside, Augusta was founded on a Native American burial ground. For real. Apparently most of the bottomland on which Augusta rests is a cemetery. An estimated 10,000 ancient bodies are buried in the vicinity. Early settlers claimed their gardens grew exceptionally well as a result of the organic material. Recent body discoveries dating back 3,000 years seem to confirm the myth. That has absolutely nothing to do with the jail, but I thought I’d share. Go visit Augusta sometime. It’s surprisingly fun!

 

from the outside

october 10, 2018

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“Be polite. Be blind to the shortsightedness of others. Walking away is not necessarily weakness; sometimes it’s real strength. Very few confrontations are worthy of a line in the sand. Don’t seek to rule others and don’t live as if you’re being ruled. Live a life that’s honest to yourself. Love isn’t what you feel. It’s what you do.” ~ Steven Roth

 

riverside

 

The Rental Sisters and I were not alone in Augusta our first day and night. Rental Nieces Cassie and Lisa joined us for a rare young mother’s day away from their toddlers. Along the way we caught wind of George Clooney’s side business. We kept seeing signs for Casamigos Tequila throughout town, and eventually learned that this was George’s side business. (Get your minds out of the gutter!) The local pub featured Casamigos straight up and in a variety of cocktails. After a long day that ended with a nice dinner at Moyer Winery, we retired to our respective rooms. The nieces waited for us old gals to go to bed, as we learned the next morning, and then high-tailed it to the pub to try some of George’s side business. The thing I love about these two is how easily they fit in with the old crowd and still want to go out on their own. I’m so glad they came with us. Time spent with them is never time wasted.

 

fancy pose

october 9, 2018

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“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.” ~ Rumi

 

sunset

 

In operation since 1798, The Augusta Ferry is one of the oldest continuously operating ferries in the U.S. It’s open seven days a week, runs 8a to 8p, and will cost you $5 one way, unless you’re on foot, in which case you can ride for free. I’m kicking myself for not doing it, but it’s just more incentive to go back.

october 8, 2018

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“May you be at peace.
May your heart remain open.
May you awaken to the light of your own true nature.
May you be healed.
May you be a source of healing for all beings.”
~ Unknown

 

the house of Clooney

 

Staying with the Clooney theme from yesterday, the Rental Sisters and I made our way to a wonderful riverfront house in Augusta, the former home of Rosemary Clooney. She is one of Kentucky’s finest exports. Until George came along she was the most famous of the Clooney Clan and rightfully so. Her voice was simply transcendent. Still is, actually. She lived in Beverly Hills of course, but she eventually returned to her home town of Augusta. As the adorable tour guide below told us, Rosemary called her brother Nick and asked for help in finding the right home to buy. This house was flagged for demolition when Rosemary swooped in and saved it. It’s so close to the river that it has flooded several times (you can see it in the last photo from Friday’s post), but they always do a good job putting it back together. Today, it’s owned by former Miss America, another Augusta native, Heather French Henry (also the wife of former Lt. Governor Steve Henry). The house is filled with memorabilia from Rosemary’s career – from the hit songs to the hit movies. Naturally, one room is devoted to White Christmas. One of the fans from the Sisters routine may have been a highlight for me. Bing and his baby blues in pseudo-drag waving that fan just tickles me every time. The tour starts in what used to be the dining room and it’s here that they display a really interesting Clooney family tree – an incredibly talented family – and some George memorabilia as well (note the football uniform behind Pam). It was a delightful tour and I was really pleased to see how nice they’ve kept it. Augusta sure has a lot to be proud of.

 

the best

october 7, 2018

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“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” ~ Audrey Hepburn

 

store front

 

The Rental Sisters knew a lot more about Augusta than I did. We walked into an adorable antique shop on Main Street, of which there are many, to be immediately greeted by a delightful woman and her tiny shop dog named Nate (I think that was his name). Apparently, Nate had had a long day by the time we arrived. Ordinarily, so we were told, he’s at your feet as soon as you come through the door. He greeted us with a yawn from his basket behind the counter. We fawned over him just the same and continued our perusal of the Donny Osmond vinyl, vintage books and toys, and assorted celebrity photos and magazines. I was eyeing a mural-size canvas photo of a young Nick Clooney and colleagues behind an early 70’s-era CBS news desk when Stacy leaned in and whispered, “This is Nina’s store.” “Oh,” I said, as if I knew who Nina was. Stacy, who knows me all-too-well, was quick to recognize that I had no clue who Nina was. “Nina Clooney,” she whispered again, “George’s mom. Nick’s wife. That’s her at the front desk.” “Oh!” I replied, now understanding who Nina was. By the time we left Nina’s shop we’d been treated to smiles and kindness and sweet conversation. Nina was beyond adorable! We assumed that would be the end of Clooney connection for the weekend. Sunday morning, while I was taking pictures of river fog, the sisters had gotten a table at the General Store for breakfast. The first person I saw when I walked in was none other than Nick Clooney. He raised his fork to me with a smile and nod as if he’d been expecting me. And maybe he was. I found the sisters at the table next to he and Nina and two others. (What an opportune time to photograph the sisters, I thought) When The Clooney’s left the General Store, waves and goodbyes were exchanged because, of course, they and the sisters had been chatting with each other before I showed up. Nick, like Nina, was as honestly warm as could be. The Clooney’s are sweet down home Kentuckians that you can tell are pleased as punch to live in their tiny river hometown and show kindness to everyone that visits. It was an honor to be in their company.  

 

with the stars

october 6, 2018

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“Keep trying, keep fighting, keep smiling every minute you’re alive; you’re going to be dead a long time.” ~ Unknown

 

battlefield

 

This is one side of the battlefield at Perryville, Kentucky where over 2,000 men from both Confederate and Union troops were killed. In fact, some of the dead were buried where they fell and many of those graves remain unidentified. The park was holding a commemoration event of the battle today, though it did not include a reenactment. If it did, you know I would have been there, camera in hand. The battle started on October 7, 1862 and ended late the following day. 156 years ago tonight men were positioning themselves to kill one another. That life, that war, is hard to imagine. So many things have changed since then. I’m watching a football game (a game that didn’t exist in 1862) on a television (really didn’t exist) that’s so dang wide and thin it takes up a whole wall (unfathomable). Yet more and more I marvel at how little our society has changed. As a nation we continue to struggle ideologically, to find and hold common ground, and that’s never been more apparent to me than over the last two years. Thankfully, I know a lot of really good, smart, compassionate young people and it’s because of them, and the belief that goodness, mercy, and love will ultimately triumph over evil, that I keep the faith that one day no person of color has to be afraid, no woman has to stay silent, no poor person has to die because they can’t afford medicine, people can love who they want, and the American system of government has been further refined to abolish an archaic electoral college and all the loop holes that allow mentally challenged, corrupt people to hold office have been closed tight as a drum. These things would form that more perfect union we always talk about but have yet to realize. I’m sure 156 years ago people thought we’d have this all sorted out by now. Shoot, when I was born people thought we’d be the Jetson’s driving to work in tiny spaceships by 2000! I am reminded that indelible progress is a mighty long road. I am surrounded by truly great friends and family who help me stay positive in a negative world. Well, them and Wally. Wally makes everything better. Dog is God spelled backwards after all.

october 5, 2018

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“Life is about how you handle Plan B.” ~ Unknown

 

up the river

 

I awoke last Sunday to find a thick blanket of fog had settled over the Ohio River valley at Augusta. Naturally, out the door I went, heading straight for the water. My timing was perfect. The fog was thick and the water surprisingly still. It had been steadily rising since we’d arrived Friday afternoon, and yet, this morning, it was as still and mirror-like as if it was a pond. Admittedly, there wasn’t much to mirror in a blanket of fog except more fog, but it was peaceful beyond all imagining. Then, I saw something unusual peeking through. It grew larger, and though it was suspiciously quiet, I soon realized it was a very large barge headed upstream. It’s wake seemed to disrupt the entire world. The water broke its reflective stillness and the fog began to lift as if the barge itself was upending the fog as it moved upstream. It was a gorgeous moment really, and it set the tone for a beautiful week ahead. 

 

from the fog

october 4, 2018

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“Be who you want to be. Be who God has created you to be.” ~ Tayvis “Tayvho” Akpan

 

sunset

 

In all the birthdayness and busy of this week I’ve not had time to even look at what I shot in Augusta last weekend. That is, until this evening. There are some okay shots, but the photo above of Pam Bick photographing the sunset stood out to me. The river is peaceful. Pam is peaceful. The sky, the sunset, beautiful. Beautiful like Pam. She’s a special person to so many. I don’t think her sisters could love her any more than they do. They adore her. And I’m very lucky she adopted me. What an honor.

 

The Rental Sisters

october 3, 2018

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“Together we can change the world, just one random act of kindness at a time.” ~ Ron Hall

 

siblings

 

Dad’s sister, Barbara Ann, gives him a birthday kiss as their great-niece Macie looks on. Dad loves his family so much and they sure do love him back. I’m still so happy he had a birthday dinner that so many of the family could be at. 

october 2, 2018

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“Happiness, true happiness, is an inner quality. It is a state of mind. If your mind is at peace, you are happy. If your mind is at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy. If you have everything the world can give – pleasure, possessions, power – but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy.” ~ Dada Vaswani

 

birthday boy

 

Because, when you turn 80, you get as much pie as you want. And when you’re my hero, you get many, many, many posts.

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