One book leads to another...

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Blue Moon Serenade

Roger, my northern squirrel-friend was quite perturbed by the backhoe and refused to come down from the neighbor’s tree for a visit the entire time our fence was being built.  He did, however, throw a few pinecones ;-)  I guess you can tell we’ve been to the cabin, and while the mighty oaks are thriving nicely, the aspens once again shimmer in the wind, and in the sway of the lofty pines is the distinctive sound of ocean waves, enjoyment was marred only by the brutal head cold which we shared, one by one, the entire six days we were there. Incidentally, I don’t recommend watching people work, not when it takes two hours to go and get whatever they forgot or need to replace – three times a day! It was frustratingly slow-going, and my girls practically tore up the flooring, wanting to get outside.  I’m considering the feasibility of apprising Guinness book of the vast amount of tissues we went through! Especially since the bird that sings his little heart out at three in the morning is a new discovery for me alone, and is, in fact, well known throughout the mountain community (shucks).  It’s a Northern mockingbird, adept at mimicking daytime songbirds and apparently prone to all night serenades. He is pitch black in color, which explains why I couldn’t see him – even beneath a glorious Blue moon. Did anyone else see that?  Other than that, we made it home; safe and sound, to a flooded kitchen - due to a water leak in the icemaker.  Sometimes we travel with gremlins ;-)

Before I left, I read a terrific post by Stephanie Faris with guest author Elizabeth Seckman about a place with a most unusual name and a fascinating origin. Then, for whatever reason, the theme itself began to simmer. 

Knockemstiff, Ohio for example, is the scant remains of a once rough-and-tumble village located in northeastern Ross county; haphazardly strewn around the remnants of a rural intersection.  One of only two main roads now ends in dirt and location signs are not replaced because “the residents already know where they are, and not many strangers pass through.” ~ Donald Ray Pollock
But if you go, you’re liable to hear the screams of a long-ago suicide echoing from below the cliffs at Devil’s Leap as a cigarette-smoking specter lingers in the mists of a dip in the road called Foggymoore.  If you care to wander the hollows at night, you might encounter the mournful wails of the beautiful Lindy Sue, whose life was taken too soon on the bridge over Paint creek. And it’s not so much Donald’s pond, but the ancient souls of the long forgotten cemetery behind it that just might quicken your pulse.

Though the word itself is widely known as slang for moonshine, a popular belief is that the town acquired the name when two women fought over a man in front of the church, and the preacher suggested that instead of fighting each other, they should go after the man and “Knock em’ stiff”!

Happy Trails!

Have you ever had a ‘gremlin’ vacation? Does your town have an unusual name?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Summer Passages; Diverse Perceptions

Hello Summer!

Hey there, Folks!  I’m seizing the time to share while I’m home, near my computer, and not relying on friendly northern neighbors for internet access ;-) The transition and shifting contrasts of living between two places is a new one for me, so I hope you’ll bear with me as I acclimate. 

We’ve traveled these roads countless times, amassing almost as many memories of the drive as we have of our adventures. One of those memories comes to mind as I dared a quick look at the river far below, just as we all leaned left for another switchback. 

Not yet June, in a year when summer blazed on winter’s heels; scorching springtime splendor, my husband couldn’t wait to go fishing up north. So he packed up his gear, his dog, and our young daughter at noon, mid-week, and headed for the mountains. I would follow after I’d finished up the work week on Friday. Years ago (before we had cellphones), there was a weather-beaten phone booth just outside the very last town before bear country. I knew my husband would use it to let me know they’d made the trip safely, right about the time I got home from work. But he didn’t.  Mild concern boiled into searing fear and I’d worn a visible path in the carpet by 8; pm when the phone finally rang. They were fine, he said in a tired voice. They’d even had an impromptu picnic at the bottom of the canyon and frolicked in the river before trekking the last 100+ miles of the journey. The truck had performed well; “ran cool as a cucumber,” and nothing blew out of the back this time. You spent three hours at the river? I was incredulous. He never allows that much time for leg-stretching.  Oh,” he sighs “Sweet Pea lost her tooth on a corn chip. That’s great, butShe forgot it on the picnic table. We were 20 miles from here (the phone booth!) when she remembered.” Oh, Lord. The four-hour drive was long enough, but backtracking? Surprisingly, he was still talking, saying something about dinging the truck bumper while backing up. I truly hoped Sweet Pea was duly appreciative, and I wondered what she’d say when she got on the phone and gushed “Daddy hit a tree!” That’s it. That was her summary! Kids.

And then there are the imaginative adventures that spring from the scenery and leap onto the page as if chased by unseen demons
Fully intent on fleeing the city, his Law practice, and the uncomfortable overtures of the tempestuous redhead, Jacob barely noticed the scenery at all. His aging Cherokee may as well have been heading north on auto-pilot as it navigated the dizzying switchbacks and hairpin curves of the Salt River Canyon. A little down time at the cabin was just what he needed, and that thought alone relaxed the stiffness of his hands on the steering wheel until a body exploded through his windshield…               (Except ‘Canyon Crosses’)

Do you have a vacation memory which differs from others who were there? Have you had eventful journeys? Do you have a preference in transportation, car, plane, train?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Blogging A -Z Challenge 2016 - Reflections

I survived another exhilarating month of daily blogging during the 7th annual Blogging A-Z Challenge (Yay!) and took a few days to gather the many thoughts that floated and swirled like autumn leaves before they settle down to dry. Thankfully, the wistful winds of mischievous fate whisked away the unimportant ones ;-)  

As it happens, the Question of the Month is: What are three pieces of advice you’d give to someone starting their own blog? Which I can easily answer as I reflect on last month’s blogging challenge.

First and foremost, (and I probably said this last year too) the very best advice I ever received was to be prepared. Have a theme. Thank you, Lee @ Tossing it Out!  Once you have a plan for each (and any) day of blogging, let the fun begin! Respond to the comments you get and prepare to be amused, amazed and entertained by all the blogs you visit. :-)

The second thing I learned was to ignore the numbers - it’s not the multitude that counts as much as the faithful few friendly followers who, often as not, become true friends.  Thank you Shady @ Music & Memories!  As in any garden, patience and care is essential, and in all honesty I don’t know that I could keep up with 30 – 100+ comments and make a few rounds each day myself! So I also learned to overlook unacknowledged comments.

Third, and not to be confused with last, because it isn’t, by any means – is Enjoy! Have a good time. Meet new bloggers, make new friends while welcoming everyone to your blog. Not only did I run across some fantastic new blogs, I thoroughly enjoyed those I already follow, such as Stephanie, Jeffrey, Debbie and Stephen, Cynthia, Ann and Barbara! (These and more are listed on the right, below ‘Blogs I Enjoy’). And after this challenge, I’m sure my list will grow :-)

In all, I’ve had a fantastic time and am left with the irresistible desire to do it again next year! 

Congratulations to all survivors and many thanks to all participants!

Gone fishin'! Be back soon!