Friday, August 21

My Friend Pastor Sherry

Earlier this week I was in the Riviera at Seaside Apartment complex in Mt. Pleasant visiting one of my sons who is staying there in a Stalin era architectural style apartment while he and his wife decide where they will buy a new home. 

This business and residential community is next to Franke at Seaside where I lived prior to my marriage in March 2013. I stopped by to visit my good and dear friend Pastor Sherry Owensby-Sikes, the Lutheran Minister in residence at Franke. I knew she has been battling cancer for the third time in her life, and I was extremely pleased to see her positive, outgoing, "this can be licked" attitude.

Pastor Sherry was wearing a turban and she asked if I wanted to see her head. "Yes," I said, and she removed the turban.  We laughed. Then she called a co-worker to come to her office and take this picture of two baldies. The good part is her hair is starting to grow back in but it is too late for me. Before I saved my head I had that General MacArthur style of hair where three strands were combed over to the side. Gauche in this day and age.

My good and dear friend, Pastor Sherry

My prayer and that of all our friends at Franke and elsewhere are for Pstor Sherry's fight against this latest challenge. We are confident if it can be overcome, she will do it.
God Bless.

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Monday, August 10

Joyce L. Archibald, R.I.P.

It is with a shocked and sad heart that I inform my friends and others that my wife Joyce L. Archibald died on Sunday, August 9, 2015 at around 11 a.m at Landmark Acute Care Hospital in Savannah, GA.

Joyce went there on July 24 after being in the ICU at Hilton Head Hospital for 11 days. We anticipated she would have a recovery at Landmark but she was unable to breathe without a breathing machine and her condition deteriorated after that.

Joyce was an active woman all her life, a fine business woman, a golfer for almost 40 years, she had six holes-in-one, a tremendous feat. She had left instructions that she did not want aggressive medical actions to prolong her life. She could not have lived as she desired with a breathing tube in her throat and a feeding tube in her stomach.

Joyce's son David Perkins and his wife Carol with here for the week preceding Joyce's passing. Her second son, William, had been here several days earlier. My five children and spouses were on hand this week as well. 

Joyce and I were married on St. Patricks Day in 2013. We loved and enjoyed each other in the time we had together. She was a wonderful companion, a friend to all, loved her family and me.
Our wedding

A couple of minutes before Joyce died, I led the family in saying prayers I learned as a child: The Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be. When we finished, Joyce breathed her last. 

I believe Joyce would like us to remember her as in Tennyson's Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.

Tuesday, July 28

Property inspection and good readings

Sometime it is a delight to look our the window and see your front yard being inspected. This Heron recently walked around our front lawn and then decided to inspect our neighbor's yard. So off he went walking tall on the gravel stone walkway up to our neighbor's front porch.

I completed two good books this month: The Billion Dollar Spy, a true story of Cold War espionage and betrayal by Pulitzer Prize winner David E.Hoffman. He recounts in exciting detail how a Soviet engineer volunteered to spy for the CIA in the heart of Moscow. His tales of clandestine meetings put you on the street evading KGB surveillance and your heart pumps during fifteen minute meetings in darkened nights. (Doubleday Publishers, available on

The second book is a memoir from former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell, (with Bill Harlow) who was George W. Bush's briefing officer for much of Bush's presidency. The Great War of Our Time, The CIA's fight against terrorists from Al QA'IDA to ISIS, takes the reader inside the White House and the offices of the CIA from 9/11 to the present. (Publisher: Twelve - A Hacherte Book Group, also available on

Take either or both of these books to the beach on the mountains on your vacation and you will have serious narratives; especially read Morell's memoir if you are at all concerned about terrorism. 

Friday, July 3

Man and his automobile

Henry Ford's development of the assembly line in 1913 was one of those moments Eastman Kodak had been waiting for since it began mass production of the personal camera in 1888. Man and his new automobile have possibly been the subject of more photos over the last 100 years than scantily clad beauty queens at Atlantic City. Not one to break an American tradition, here is me and my new car purchased on Thursday. (The wife is the official photographer.) The auto is a 2013 Lexus ES 350 and easily the finest automobile I have ever driven. which includes a BMW and a long line of Lincoln Towncars (official car of the Mafia).

It will take a while to learn all the wonderful things in this car but already I particularly like the rearview camera which shows a picture on the dashboard of what is behind me when I back up. The built in GPS will be a great aid to getting around, and eliminates the need to carry a portable GPS on long trips.  I've keyed in the garage opener to a button on the bottom of the rear view mirror and will dispense with clipping the opener on the visor. This model is a front-wheel drive, and this eliminates a large hump on the floor in the back seating area; thus seating three comfortably. 
Now, all I have to do is pay for it. Isn't America a great country?

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PS: My earlier blog about a boat lock should have noted it is only one of three such locks on the East  Coast. Two are on Hilton Head Island and the third in Jacksonville, FL. 

Thursday, June 18

A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney

Andy Rooney, likable curmudgeon of the 60 Minutes show on CBS who began “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” in 1978 and kept at until October, 2011, also wrote a newspaper column, TV shows for others and more than a dozen books, most of which were best sellers. His skills were honed during World War II when he was a correspondent for the Army’s Stars and Stripes.

I have not read all of his books, perhaps two or three prior to this latest reading but I remember them generally as good reads. This most recent read, “Years of Minutes”, Public Affairs, New York. (523 pages), was originally published in 2003, and I picked it up in the lending library where I live.

The book contains many of the Minutes essays aired from 1982 to 2003. I found in several of these comments that struck me as especially keen or humorous insights. Here are just a few (quote marks omitted):

You may not think driveways are important, but let me give you one figure. A car parked behind another car in the driveway, with the keys removed and temporarily misplaced, is the third biggest cause of divorce in America today. (1985)

And the one thing that makes us all like America better than any other country…there are more Americans living here than anyplace else. (From Good Things, 1988.)

President Bush gave his health speech the other day and he talked about the kind of health care people want. Well, I can tell him what we want. We all want the kind of health care a President gets. If the President faints, there are two doctors taking his pulse before he hits the floor. That’s the kind of health care we’d all like to have. (1992)

August is the only month without a real or fake holiday. That’s because we don’t want to waste a day off work during our vacation. (Official Holidays, 1996.)

Does anyone read Time, Newsweek and U.S. News?   I mean all three? (Wealth of Information, 1999.) I subscribed to and read all three in the 90’s. What does that say about me?

First, we learned that the United States spent several hundred million dollars digging a tunnel under the Russian Embassy in Washington so we could spy on them. Does this make you proud to be an American.(Most News is Bad News, 2001.)

The (New York) Times gets about $75,000 a page Sunday…multiply that by 250 pages. This edition would bring in $18 million. (
The Sunday Paper, 2001.)

Andy died in November, 2011, following complications of surgery. He was 92 years of age. 

Saturday, May 23

Lock at Windmill Harbor

The boat lock at Windmill Harbor is the first and only one I have seen on Hilton Head Island. When i went to the boat show earlier this month it was an interesting surprise. An attendant told me the lock had been closed last year for about three months for repairs. When this happens the boats in the anchorage are locked in and those outside are locked out. Not a happy time for boaters. This was all the more interesting because before my visit I read a story of how British forces blocked and blew up a lock built to accommodate Germany's largest battleships. When this happened in March,1942, the lock was not usable by the Germans for the duration of World War II. 
The gate to the lock.

Inside the lock.

The anchorage.

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Sunday, May 10

My Sister Carol

Today at 11:12 in her home in The Villages, Florida, my youngest sister, Carol, died with three close friends in attendance. She had declined chemotherapy and radiation a couple of months ago. This was her third bout with cancer and it was too much for her. I visited her in April along with my son, James. 

Carol was born on June 7, 1935. She would have been 80 in a month. She was a retired federal employee, a contract officer for the Air Force during her working life. She started with the Air Force in an entry position and worked her way to the top civil service grade short of the Executive Service.

She was an avid golfer for fifty years and won many tournaments and served as the president of her golf club. She was blessed with many friends, among them Carole Tessier with whom she shared her life. They moved in together when their mothers died and owned property together. 

Carol was a friendly and outgoing personality who had a good sense of humor, was smart, liked a beer and cheered the Red Sox and New England Patriots. She was especially voluble when the Sox ended a 100-year drought and won the World Series in 2004. 

Carol was the linchpin of our family She lived with our mother all her life and took care of the business affairs of an aunt and uncle. She was especially close to her older sister and younger brother. Our brother Charlie preceded Carol in death, also a victim of cancer. 

My mother told me that of all her five children, Carol took my father's 1940-41 abandonment of us the hardest. Like all of us she struggled to put herself through college and overcome hardships we all faced. She did this with the same courage and discipline that she refused the final chemo and radiation treatment.

Carol was a lifelong Roman Catholic and received the last rites recently. I have no doubt her soul joined our mother in heaven on this, Mother's Day, 2015.

We, her siblings, my family, Carole Tessier, and the multiple dozens who knew and loved Carol will miss her as we continue to pray for her.

Carol Tessier and Carol Archibald, 2010