may 28, 2017

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“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” ~ Maya Angelou


American spelling


Like most Americans, I am descended from a melting pot of immigrants. Take, for example, this line of German ancestors buried at South Fork, Malone, Morgan County, Kentucky. Rebecca (Patrick) and Patrick H. Risner are my great-great grandparents. They raised my grandfather Adams. He was born in Magoffin County, where they also lived (on Puncheon Creek probably). In the early 1900’s, they bought and moved to a farm at Malone very near the cemetery at South Fork. Mom remembers being at their house when she was a little girl. The house is no longer standing, but you could have seen it from the cemetery. I’ve traced Patrick Risner’s line back to Joachim Reissner, born 1620 in Germany. His great-grandson, Hans Michael Reisner, of Gemmingen Germany, came to the U.S. in 1732 aboard the ship Dragon. He landed in Pennsylvania then moved on to Maryland, Virginia, and Tennessee.  He died in 1805 presumably in Knox County, Kentucky. It’s suspected that he came to Kentucky because he was moving west to fight Indians after losing all his land and money to supplying Braddock’s failed campaign during the French and Indian War of 1755. Fitting then that one of his grandsons should marry a full-blood Cherokee in Letty “Hatchet Grey” Durham; my 7x great-grandmother. I get a real kick out of genealogy, and this line of ancestors continues to prove interesting. 


respecting the ancestors

may 27, 2017

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“Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.”
~ Pema Chodron


old buddies


Mom and I went out decorating the family graves today. We went to the Terry Family plot on Stacy Fork where we ran into Francie Lacy and her brother whose name I can’t remember the save my life. Francie was a year or two ahead of me in school, and she went on to work with mom at Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex until mom retired. I’m pretty sure the two of them kept the rest of the staff in stitches because Francie is one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. It was sure fun to catch up with her today. One of the beautiful things about being from a small town is that you can visit with people almost everywhere you go, even the cemetery. 

may 23, 2017

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“The sun is daily reminder that we too can rise again from darkness,
that we too can shine our own light.” ~ Unknown


Moses and Shero


This guy was one of the coolest dudes I’ve ever seen in my life, and I’ve seen some pretty cool dudes in my day. But this is pretty much what we all thought of him. He was hired to escort our buses through town. It was like watching Moses part the Red Sea. He was aggressive, fast, serious; a no BS kind of cop and a mountain of a man. I saw stark terror in the eyes of drivers so shocked at his commands that they froze. That only made it worse (for them). And the people in crosswalks looked like they’d just come face to face with Jesus and he was angry. Mom and I were in the front bus (we had three) and we got to watch him work all day. He had the entire bus cheering at times. We learned that he works the presidential motorcades, which explained a lot. He sometimes gets so pumped that he accidentally takes off side mirrors with his fist. Mom adored him, and the longer the day went on, the more seas he parted, the more she wanted her picture taken with him. He gladly obliged. Someone from the Alumni Association who’d met us at the Lincoln Memorial offered to take my picture with them, too. Have I mentioned what a great day we had?


the gals and The Dude

may 21, 2017

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“If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.” ~ Maya Angelou


Shero’s Army era


Without a doubt the highlight of our Shero’s Honor Flight was the Women’s Memorial situated at the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery. One of the key components of the Memorial is to catalogue every woman who has served in the United States armed forces. Mom’s entry was one of the first provided to the memorial by former Morgan County Women’s Club President Jewel Smith, an enormous advocate of veterans and women. Alongside Jewell, our Shero and others did what they could from Morgan County to provide support for the memorial’s creation. So, after years of hard work, it was a sad moment when, a few years ago on a trip to DC, there was not enough time for our Shero to visit the memorial. She was convinced she’d never get to see it. However, I think she would agree that it was worth the wait given the reception she received during yesterday’s visit and lunch at the Women’s Memorial. She was the star of the party.


Shero’s registry entry


In case you can’t read the stats of her register entry above, it says PFC Shirley F. (Adams) Terry, born 1942 at Malone, KY; hometown West Liberty, KY; served 1960-1962 in the Women’s Army Corp (WAC) (incidentally, she was assigned to the Signal Corp at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona where she decoded maps for the White Sands Missile Range). She earned the Army Good Conduct and National Defense Service Medals. Of her service she says, “Although my term was during peacetime, for me to have been capable of serving our country was a most memorable experience I will never forget. I shall always honor the memory of my military training and the friends I acquired with great pride.”  


the General meets our Shero


To build the Women’s Memorial, The Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation was spearheaded by Brigadier General Wilma Vaught, here meeting our Shero. Brigadier General Vaught, the first female Brigadier General in the U.S. Armed Forces, was on hand at the memorial specifically to meet mom and the one other female vet aboard the honor flight. As you can see, the women clearly share a bond, and I believe if our trip had ended after that moment, mom would have been just as happy. She never expected to meet General Vaught let alone visit with her. It was a brilliant moment that she will never forget, and it made our 25 hour day totally worth it.

may 20, 2017

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“We account for one-sixth of the forces of gravity we see in the universe. There is no known objects accounting for most of the effective gravity in the universe. Something is making stuff move that is not anything we have ever touched.” ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson


Our Shero gassing up for #UKHonorFlight


Because I was mom’s guardian at yesterday’s Honor Flight and posted photos to Facebook throughout the day, I thought I’d put them all here together to walk us through the day in one view. What an incredible experience! 


UK President Capiluto meets our Shero


Old acquaintance Jane Rees and vet husband Don sit down next to our Shero’s guardian


#UKHonorFight on American Airlines’ Boeing 737


water cannon salute at Reagan National DC


Our Shero at Iwo Jima Memorial


photo courtesy Karen Czar of WUKY


Our Shero and her paparazzi


Our Shero’s registry at the Women’s Memorial


Our Shero meets her shero, General Vaught


#UKHonorFlight during wreath laying at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier


Our Shero tours Washington DC


Our Shero meets a three-star general at the WWII Memorial


Our Shero at the Kentucky column of the WWII memorial


Our Shero found Kilroy


Our Shero points out Uncle Ralph Paul Terry at the Vietnam Wall


Our Shero at Korea War Memorial


Our Shero with WUKY’s Karen Czar at Air Force Memorial


Sheros dancing for #UKHonorFlight s/hero’s back at Reagan National for homeward flight


#UKHonorFlight vets awaiting mail call


Our Shero accepting her mail call letters from friends and family


#UKHonorFlight survived an aborted landing and went to Charlotte, NC to refuel


#UKHonorFlight arrive back at Bluegrass Airport at 2:20am


Our Shero missed the family at Bluegrass Airport so they decorated the house instead

may 14, 2017

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“The only thing we really have any control over is our own experience.” ~ Traleg Rinpoche


two hens laughing


Who better to feature on Mother’s Day than two of the best moms I know. Mom and Martha have been the best of friends for as long as I can remember. Martha raised three great kids, Betina, Hope, and Charlie Jr. They were invaluable to me when I had to get Janet’s belongings out of the house after the tornado. They came to my rescue even though they had to do the same thing for Martha and Charlie Sr. Sometimes family isn’t family by blood but by love alone. Happy Mother’s Day to our real mothers, the mothers we choose, and the mothers who choose us.



may 13, 2017

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“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ~ Teddy Roosevelt




Today was Aunt Janet’s 78th birthday. Mom, dad, and I were joined by Martha Conley to help her celebrate. It was hard for her to celebrate what with being in a nursing home, but she tried, God love her, and we all enjoyed our fellowship with one another despite where we were. I’m grateful for another birthday to celebrate.


party hats



april 7, 2017

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“Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negativity.” ~ Unknown


telling stories


Our shero was in the studio with Jeff Suchanek once again continuing to tell her story. As you can see, Jeff likes to fatten up his subjects before he makes them talk. Two of my favorite people getting along famously. I call that a beautiful day.

march 30, 2017

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“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt




If you recall, our shero is taking the Honor Flight to DC in May to review our nation’s many memorials dedicated to U.S. veterans, including the Women’s Memorial in which she is represented. The Nunn Center for Oral History has partnered with Kentucky’s Honor Flight folks to document as many of the vets taking the flights as possible. Our shero was in the studio yesterday as one of the first vets to be interviewed for the Honor Flight collection. This was just her first of several oral history interviews. Ever the trooper, she has pneumonia, and had been up most of the night coughing, but she was adamant about keeping her appointment, and keep it she did. All veterans do their part regardless of time served or duties required. One doesn’t have to serve in combat to matter in the big picture. Her service is just one reason she’s my shero. 

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