“Individuality is a precious gift. Never conform to someone else’s standards” ~ Lynette Cox
The oldest item on my bucket list got checked off today. In my hands are tickets to see Sir Paul McCartney perform in July!!!! That’s right. That statement gets four exclamation marks. If you follow the outhouse you know I’ve loved him since I was a little girl, and more recently I’ve found I love him even more as an adult. If I could see anyone perform, it’s him. So, after much dragging of the feet, I’m actually going (with super awesome friends). Now, we pray he stays alive long enough to do the show. I mean, he turned 75 this week, and as Tony Adams told me last week, “He’s not going to live forever.” But wait, there’s more. The newest item on my bucket list also got checked off today. See this photo? It was made with my new 16-35mm lens. I’ve saved a long time for this new (used) baby, and for it to show up the same day I got tickets to see Sir Paul? Throw anything at me today – rotten tomatoes, insults, bad technology – nothing’s gonna bring me down.
“Often we carry the chains of bondage on our backs for a lifetime,
not realizing we also carry within us the key to unlock them.”
~ Terry Gordon
One of the places dad lived as a young boy was a small hamlet called Dwarf on the banks of Troublesome Creek. Troublesome is a single mile short of being a river, so don’t let the word creek fool you. It’s mighty. Several of my aunts and uncles were born in Dwarf. It wasn’t a coal camp. The family moved there precisely because it wasn’t. Apparently my grandmother did not enjoy raising kids, boys mostly, in dirty, mean coal camps like Hardburly where dad was born. Dwarf was close enough to the mines that my grandfather could work and still be with the family. During last Saturday’s adventure we went through Dwarf to see the houses where they used to live. They’re both gone now, of course, but two of the swinging bridges across the Troublesome to “the island” remain, though only just (and it’s all so overgrown you can hardly see them). “The island”, as dad called it, is really a hairpin bend in the Troublesome that has silted up the tip of a mountain ridge with good soil. Dad said The Stacy’s, whomever they are, had a farm on “the island” where the swinging bridges led. The bridge in the bottom photo is where dad and his brother Randolph used to jump into the river when it was up. It’s a wonder they lived to double digits with stunts like that. Growing up in eastern Kentucky was hard back in the 1930’s and 40’s, but dad relishes telling stories about it, and I delight in hearing them. No matter how many times he tells the same stories I never get tired of hearing them. I always learn something new.
“What is important is not so much how long you live as whether you live a meaningful life. This doesn’t mean accumulating money and fame, but being of service to your fellow human beings. It means helping others if you can, but even if you can’t do that, at least not harming them.” ~ Dalai Lama
I have a flower pot by the backdoor. In early spring a weed began to grow in it. I thought it unusual for a weed, so I let it grow. And grow it did. It stands about three-feet tall all these months later. When I let Wally out Sunday morning I saw that the weed had bloomed. If anyone knows exactly the name of this flower I’d be grateful to know it. I’m thrilled I didn’t pluck that little weed. In fact I’ve grown quite fond of weeds. You know what they say: One (wo)man’s weed is another (wo)man’s flower.
“If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.”
~ John R. Wooden
My old friend and colleague Louisa Trott Reeves (bottom left) came to UK from UT Knoxville for some spiffy training today. We were lucky to have a nice lunch with friends and catch up. Our chat was much better than this cobbled picture of us squinting into the noonday sun. I’m very grateful to be in a profession that has allowed me to make good, lasting friends like Louisa. I hope it’s not so many years before we have a chance to catch up again.
“Do not get upset with people or situations. Both are powerless without your reaction.”
~ Buddhist teaching
I rarely capture an image that I love, but this image is one of those rare exceptions. The path leading to the Adam Terry cemetery goes on up the mountain alongside the narrow hollow stream. At first I thought it was an old logging road since all the mountains in Eastern Kentucky, save for the Lilley Cornett Woods, have many times over been logged. And that may still be true, but I realized that the light leading the way through the trail led to an opening. Maps confirm that indeed it does. It opens to an enormous strip mine that has flattened the ridge above Ball Creek and the cemetery.
This part of the Eastern Kentucky landscape has been radically altered by strip mines and highways. When I was a little girl, almost 50 years ago now, the family made a trek to Ball Creek. It was still pristine back then. You could only drive the road up the creek so far before you had to drive in the creek, and then eventually, take a footpath to the head of the hollow where the Terry homestead used to sit. I think that part of the hollow is now Highway 80, filled in, the waterway changed accordingly and shown on the map as Big Branch. (Terry Branch of Ball Creek is closer to Soft Shell, a ways from the cemetery). Bad Ad owned the whole mountain I’m told. His oldest son, my grandfather, would have known all the details, and on this Father’s Day, I wish he was here to ask.
If I’m not mistaken, Adam and Lettie Terry’s graves were relocated when Highway 80 was built, hence their close proximity to it now. As much as I like the faster transportation through the mountains, I hate the thought of how much progress has changed family history. In fact, dad said time and again yesterday how he could have never imagined such a road through the mountains. I’m thankful for the easy travel, but I am especially grateful that I saw the mountains as God made them all those years ago (well, closer to the way God made them than they are now). They are part of me through and through. You can take the girl out of the mountains, but you can never take the mountains out of the girl. Not this girl anyway.
“Where there is great love, there are always wishes.” ~ Willa Cather
I got to spend another Father’s Day with this guy, the best dad I could ever wish for. We grabbed mom and off we went for another Eastern Kentucky adventure. After pigging out on excellent BBQ ribs at Prestonsburg’s Pig in a Poke, we went in search of Adam Terry’s grave. Known to many in Knott and Perry counties as “Bad Ad”, Adam was dad’s grandfather. When he wasn’t farming, or drinking, he made a living protecting moonshiners particularly during prohibition. According to family lore, he had over 20 stills in his care at one time. He killed an estimated 9-15 men. Four revenuers came up Ball Creek (it follows highway 1087/ Vest Talcum Road). They never left and were never found thanks to Bad Ad. They say he was so mean the preacher refused to bury him in the family plot at Ary where his first wife, my biological great-grandmother Elizabeth Jones, is buried. Instead, he was buried on his farm on Ball Creek with his second wife, Lettie Creech. Today, the cemetery sits beside Highway 80 near the Knott/Perry County line (it’s actually in Knott County). Dad and I tried to find it last year, but the trees had grown so much that we drove right past it, and we would have done it again if not for mom’s eagle eye. Some of dad’s cousins are now buried alongside Bad Ad. Even though the cemetery sits just off the road, the trees have provided a decent barrier, making it a quiet, beautiful spot. I love my Father’s Day adventures with dad. Today did not disappoint.
“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
I needed a day off to do some work at home. But all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl, so Stacy and I caught a matinee of Wonder Woman. The movie is about love triumphing over hate. That the lead is a bad ass female makes it all the better. Gal Gadot is gorgeous, and the perfect Wonder Woman. Chris Pine is stunningly handsome as Steve Trevor. The other characters are perfect. The effects superb. It’s a good film most importantly because, more than ever, we need movies where love triumphs hate. Go see Wonder Woman and believe that love will always win. It’s true.
“When walking through the ‘valley of shadows,’ remember, a shadow is cast by a Light.”
~ Austin O’Malley
My tiny office, which I jokingly call my closet because that’s what it once was, got a rearrangement today when I got a new (used) desk. It feels like a huge room comparatively speaking. I feel like having a closet warming party it’s so big. I win Thursday.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” ~ Mark Twain
I’ve been to a couple of pretty awesome weddings in my time. Lindsay Harwkins and Søren Hannerup’s wedding ranks at the top. You haven’t lived until Elvis opens the show, officiates the ceremony, and croons for the mother-in-laws for an hour. Meet Stephen Freeman AKA Elvis. I just had to ask; “When you were a little boy, did you want to grow up to be an Elvis impersonator?” “No,” he laughed. “I wanted to be a cop.” And so he was for eight years until he was repeatedly hired as Elvis, finally turning in his badge, going all Elvis all the time. As a certified Elvis impersonator by the Presley Estate, he has travelled the world as The King. He was the nicest guy, a great Elvis, and the most perfect nuptial officiant for one of the coolest couples ever.