Saturday, April 19

Joyous Greetings at Easter 2014

Joyous greetings to all in this new Easter season. It is a time for reflecting on all the good and many years we have enjoyed in the company of each other and with friends gone on. For renewing our camaraderie with family and friends, many of whom we do not see every day but carry in our hearts. And, last but not least, for giving thanks to a forgiving and blessing God our Father, and for all those who are near and dear to us. We are truly blessed. We live in a great country surrounded by mostly good people. We have taken advantage of great opportunities. It doesn't get any better than this.

New growth symbolizes the new Easter season.

Monday, March 24

A child's retirement says you are old!

At dinner on March 17, 2014, the first anniversary of my marriage to Joyce, I told her, two of my sons and a daughter and daughter-in-law, that I was experiencing signs of getting old: Walking has slowed down, I've given up bike riding, hearing is less than what it used to be, and a few other things (best left un-described) are a bit slow in responding. “But what really makes me feel old,” I said, “is having a child retire.”

A retirement ceremony, scheduled at the CIA where my second son, James, an attorney, had completed 27 years of service in various legal positions, had been cancelled because snow shut down the entire federal government in Washington, D.C., on St. Patrick’s Day. Talk about the luck of the Irish. We had the retirement dinner anyway and told James how much we loved him and how proud we were of his service to our country (in addition to an earlier four years as an officer in the USAF.) Three of the agency's leaders passed along laudatory comments about James and his service. I only wish we could have heard them in person.

My wife and I drove to Washington from Hilton Head, S.C., and the trip was uneventful until we got about 90 miles south of the nation’s capital where, for no explicable reason other than density, traffic slowed down to a crawl. We beat the snow, however, but it started to come down and stick on the ground around 7 p.m. on March 16. 

The most notable event of the return trip heading south on March 18, was passing a multiple vehicle accident in the north bound lanes. It looked like a car had been on fire. As we came up on the scene, there were too many vehicles (cars, 18 wheelers, and emergency vehicles) stopped and jammed together to figure out what happened. Not being involved and unable to assist we kept on going. Joyce was at the wheel and measured the traffic back up as stretching two miles from the accident site. It was less than a stellar day for a lot of people.
Our car (BMW) on the left.

One year married and already out in the cold (LOL)

Birds puffing out their chests to keep warm

The retiree with his shovel and friend.






 

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Sunday, March 9

U Pick

About six or seven miles from our home, five acres of daffodils stretched out before us. And this was only one field. A second field is nearby. On a sunny Sunday afternoon we turned off U.S. Highway 278 in Bluffton, SC, and traveled on a paved secondary road and then a well maintained unpaved road to what had been for years a dairy farm. "I milked a lot cows in my day," Chuck Merrick, the owner and operator of U Pick Daffodils, told us. He laughed easily, "a dairy farm is like the 7-11 store." It was not necessary to say which life he preferred. "Cows get milked at 4:30 am, the daffodil farm opens at 10."
Note the "ant" warning.

Ladies picking their own.

Joyce bought some for a friend going in the hospital.

The old pack mule, with a light load.

The click-able link in the first paragraph will take you to a brief history of Merrick's farm and family. Both are interesting and enjoyable, especially the notes about the grandsons.
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Thursday, March 6

The view from the Top of America ... Look, enjoy and be amazed

One World Trade Center is rising like a Phoenix and is being prepared to open. The link below opens the gateway to a staggering and magnificent 360-degree image taken 1,776ft up on the top the nation's tallest skyscraper, as well as other photos of the site.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2574788/The-view-America-Staggering-360-degree-image-taken-1-776ft-nations-tallest-skyscraper-released-One-World-Trade-Center-prepares-finally-open.html


Hope you enjoy! 

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Saturday, February 22

It's embarrassing

I begin each day with coffee, English muffin, and the local newspaper, The Island Packet. It is a ritual I began when I retired a couple of decades ago. Former Chief Justice Earl Warren started his morning paper with the sports section because it is “about winners” and the front section is “about losers.” I wade right in, however, and take on the front section, then sports and end with the comics and feel good stories.

Today, before I left page 7 of the 10 page front section I felt embarrassed for our country and personally down hearted that we have in many quarters not advanced much in the last 50 or 60 years. Discrimination, hate and meanness still reverberate throughout many segments of society.

In Oxford, Mississippi, members of a fraternity hung a noose and old confederate flag on the statue of James Meredith, the first black to enter the University of Mississippi in 1962. The offenders have been kicked out of the fraternity and the fraternity chapter has been suspended indefinitely by the national organization. While the response is good, the basic act itself is vile and contemptible.

Down in Texas, the rock guitarist, Ted Nugent, on the campaign trail for a gubernatorial candidate publicly called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel.” Later as protests arose he went on a radio station to apologize – not to the President – but on behalf of “much better men than myself.” Obviously, referring to the candidate with whom he was stumping for votes. Such insults are the stuff of meanness, hatefulness and stupidity. They demean all of us and are unworthy of Americans.

And then there is the Arizona legislature, which it is fair to say, leads the country in anti-immigration legislation and other progressive acts called for in the 21st Century. This time gay rights are the focus of the legislative ire.  Over “shrill objections” of Democrats and three Republicans, a bill has been passed, and is on the governor’s desk, which allows business owners with strongly held religious beliefs to deny service to gays. (It doesn’t say how to identify gay people.) Opponents of the measure said it was clearly designed to allow discrimination against gays. Governor Jan Brewer’s decision may come next week. The business community considers the bill another “black eye” for the state, and a major distraction as Arizona prepares to host the Super Bowl next year. Reportedly four companies have put on hold plans to open facilities in Arizona until they see if the bill becomes law.

And this is just three stories on one day. Tomorrow it will be something else. It is embarrassing.We are better than this; if only we would act it.



Wednesday, February 5

Making Dad proud...Daughter is an author

Many years ago on a pleasant January day in Hanahan, SC, (near Charleston) I came home from work one evening and was confronted by my wife and youngest daughter, our fifth child. Would I adjust the training wheels on the child's bicycle so it could be a real two-wheeler? We bought the bike as a Christmas gift and within a couple of weeks she had mastered riding it so the training wheels were no longer necessary.
"Are you sure, I asked?" Wynn's little face lit up and she assured me she could handle it. I smiled, went to the garage, got a wrench and the training wheels were history. I stood on the walk outside the front of house and enjoyed the moment as my daughter successfully wheeled off toward the house of her best friend.
Last evening this same daughter, now an outgoing, exuberant adult, wife and mother, teacher and businesswoman, sent an e-mail announcing her book, How To Be a Great Teacher: Create the Flow of Joy and Success in Your Classroom, had been published and was available at Amazon.com five days ahead of schedule.
Wynn taught school, kindergarten through fourth grade, for several years and then created her own business, The International Academy of Bee-Sharp Teachers, to help teachers improve their skills and make learning better and most enjoyable for students. She attracted the attention of McGraw Hill education representatives and joined them in similar goals. Now, after several years of traveling all over this wonderful country and interacting with teachers, principals, students and parents she has published a 108 page softcover book that ought to be in the hands of every primary school teacher, principal, and school board member, as well as parents involved in their children's education. If it takes a village to raise a child, then this book will help teachers do the work and parents to know what to expect.
The girl who could ride without training wheels, Wynn Cooper Archibald Godbold, is riding on different streets now but I am still enjoying the moment of her success.

Saturday, February 1

Pick a number


As if peace in Syria and a nuke-free Iran are not enough on your plate there is the problem of not remembering what you’ve read.
Have you gone to the library and found a book by one of your favorite authors only to realize after you take it home and read twenty pages that you have read this book before? Well, my wife recently gave me a solution for that. It is so simple in its conception and execution that I may nominate her to be on the team struggling with the Syria and Iran issues. She has selected a page in every book she reads and when she finishes she circles the page number and returns the book. The page is always the same. When browsing the library weeks or months later she finds a book she will enjoy she checks the page number and if it circled she knows she has read it and moves on. I am now doing this and have chosen a page number which means something special in my life so it is easy to remember. If you pick up a book in the library and find two page numbers circled, it is a pretty good conclusion that Joyce and Archie have read the book.
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